ADVANCED - READING

As you read the story, think about the answers to these questions.
1. According to the article, what are three things that make English difficult to learn?
2. What does 'wicked' mean to teenagers?

Contronyms
"a contronym is a word that has two opposite meanings"

Spelling and pronunciation are not the only things that make English difficult. Contronyms are another problem. A contronym is a word that has two opposite meanings. Here are some examples:
to clip
- to fasten / to cut (I'll clip these papers together. / I clipped his picture out of the newspaper.)
to bolt - remain firmly in place / run quickly (The tables were bolted to the floor. / I realised I was late so I bolted.)
to buckle - to fasten / to fall apart. (He buckled his shoes up. / The bridge buckled under pressure.)
to screen - to show / to hide (The movie is screening now. / He used plants to screen the ugly view.)

Teenagers often take words and use them in the opposite way to their usual meanings. For example 'wicked' usually means 'evil and bad' but teenagers use it to mean 'excellent and good.' (It was a wicked movie.)

Learning a language is like doing a puzzle. English isn't always an easy puzzle!