I. Difficult Sentences
1) I wouldn’t want to pick up where I left off.
I didn’t mean to resume my education by taking the subjects I had once missed at college.
2) Too much of what I know of the great philosophers comes secondhand or form
My knowledge of the great philosophers came indirectly or from some simplified works.
3) This is just a little conversational conceit, but that’s life.
This is just a trick employed in conversation to show off, but I think we all naturally do so.
II. Words and Expressions
1. inclination n.
— a preference or tendency
I’ve no inclination to follow my mother into accountancy.
Their initial inclination was to build the plant in India but then decided to put it up in China.
— to tend in feeling, thought, habit, etc. Example
I incline to believe his innocence.
— having a tendency
She’s more inclined than most people to help out when you ask her.
2. pick up
— 1) to start again after an interruption Example
After China’s entry into WTO, many Chinese picked up English in their 40s or older.
— 2) to take hold of and raise
She opened the door, picked up a letter on the floor and started reading it.
— 3) to collect, take on board
I’ll pick you up at 6 outside the gate.
3. leave off
— to stop, cease
The rain left off after a whole week of pouring. Ted left off talking about his adventure.
4. appeal (to)
— 1) v. to please, attract, or interest
What appeals to me about his painting is the colors he uses. It’s a program designed to appeal mainly to 16 to 25 year olds.
— 2) n. interest, attraction
Men worry about going bald because they think they will lose their appeal.
The films directed by Spielberg have a wide appeal.
5. get at
— 1) to reach, gain access to
A sensible man keeps his savings in the bank — not in the house where a thief can get at them.
— 2) to suggest, in an indirect way
I don’t know what you’re getting at exactly, but if you want to borrow money from me you’ve found a wrong person.
— something in a finished form or is available to use immediately
Ready-made frozen meals sell well in the supermarket. When she married Giles, she acquired a ready-made family ― two teenage sons and a daughter.
7. gourmet n.
— 1) a person who knows a lot about food and cooking, and who enjoys eating
Our specialty foods will appeal particularly to the gourmet. — 2) (as a modifier) something for a gourmet Example
If you want to have a gourmet meal, you don’t go to a fast-food restaurant.
8. deny v.
— to declare untrue; refuse to accept as fact Examples
The three defendants deny all charges.
Neil denies breaking the window, but I’m sure he did.
There’s no denying.
— It’s true.
There’s no denying that this has been a difficult year for the company.
9. stink v.
— 1) to be extremely bad or unpleasant
His acting stinks, but he looks good, so he’s offered lots of movie roles.
— 2) to smell very unpleasant
The morning after the party, the whole house stank of beer and cigarettes.
10. make a buck
— to earn some money
The eldest son had to make a buck to support the family. Don’t expect to make an easy buck; everything is earned in a hard way.
11. go with
— to accompany; to be part of
The younger children stayed with their uncle while the older sons went with their parents
Crime does not necessarily go with poverty; criminals with wealth are not uncommon.
12. bet v.
— 1) to risk (a sum of money) on the unknown result of an event Examples
She bet ?500 000 on the horse which came in second. I bet you $25 that I’ll get there before you.
— 2) to state confidently (what will happen or has happened) Example
I bet (that) he won’t come.
13. break one’s back
— 1) to work very hard or too hard; make every possible effort Example
Before the final exam, Frank broke his back over mathematics. — 2) to make life difficult or impossible for
These new taxes will break the back of the working poor.
14. conceit n.
— too high an opinion of oneself
The young man was puffed up with conceit.
— full of conceit
A conceited man believes he’s always right about everything.
15. stump v.
— to leave (someone) unable to reply; puzzle
Your question has stumped me. We’re all completely stumped ― we can’t work out how he escaped.