Burning Man – English Reading Comprehension Exercise

Burning Man is a late-summer arts festival that takes place annually in the Black Rock Desert, northwestern Nevada, U.S.

Burning Man was inaugurated in 1986, when Larry Harvey and Jerry James – two members of the San Francisco arts community – burned an eight-foot- (two-metre-) tall effigy of a man on San Francisco’s Baker Beach in celebration of the summer solstice. Twenty people witnessed the event. Over the next four years Harvey and James (and expanding crowds) returned to the site with increasingly taller effigies. In 1990, however, when a 40-foot- (12-metre-) tall effigy was prepared, but the police intervened at the last minute and forbade the annual ceremony. Consequently, the event was moved that year to the Black Rock Desert, where the effigy was burned on the Labor Day weekend, in early September. Once it had relocated, the festival never returned to San Francisco or to the solstice. On the contrary it made the desert its long-term home and created a new landmark out of nothing. Every Burning Man festival has a unique theme, announced well in advance of the event, and virtually all aspects of the festival reflect that theme. For example, in 2000 the theme was “The Body,” and the streets of the city were given names such as “Head Way” and “Feet Street.” The many camps and villages within the city are founded on relevant subthemes and may be organized further around particular foods, sports, learning disciplines, or arts. Unlike most other festivals, Burning Man is virtually vendor-free. With minimal products for sale, people are expected to bring with them whatever they need for a week’s existence in the desert and to trade for anything they may need. Ultimately, Burning Man is an exercise in balancing cooperation, self-sustainability, individual expression, and creative collaboration in the formation of an artistic community.


Now try the quizzes below to test your knowledge!


Burning man | Definition Match

Put the following words to the correct definitions.


Burning man | True or False

Indicate which sentences are true and which ones are false.

Reading Comprehension: The History of Guinness

Guiness is an Irish beer which is enjoyed by millions of people around the world every year, and is probably the most recognizable name in the beer industry. So why is it so popular? Today’s English blog post will go into the history of the beer and how it has become a giant in the sector.
In 1759, at the age of 34, Arthur Guinness signed a lease for the St. James’s Gate Brewery, Dublin. He leased the brewery for 9000 years at an annual rent of £45. The brewery was only 4 acres in size, disused, and had little brewing equipment. In any case, Arthur quickly built up a successful business and by 1769 he had begun to export his beer to England.
In the 1770s, Guiness began brewing ‘porter’, a new type of English beer, invented in London in 1722 by a brewer named Ralph Harwood. Porter was different from ale because it was brewed using roasted barley, giving the beer a dark ruby colour and rich aroma. Arthur’s porter was successful and in 1799 he decided to stop brewing ale altogether, and concentrate on porter alone.
Arthur Guinness brewed different types of porter for different tastes, including a special export beer called ‘West India Porter’. This beer is still brewed today and is now known as GUINNESS Foreign Extra Stout. It accounts for 45% of all GUINNESS sales globally and is popular in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.
By the time Arthur died in 1803, he had built a successful brewing business, with a promising export trade.
At the end of the 20th century, GUINNESS had become an international brand and the largest brewery in the world. In 1901 a laboratory was established; using science to enhance generations of brewing craft.
The brewery at Park Royal in London proved successful and overseas breweries for Guiness were built in Nigeria (1962), Malaysia (1965), Cameroun (1970), and Ghana (1971). New licences were also issued to brewers in other countries so that Guiness could be brewed locally. At the end of the 20th century, Guiness was being brewed in 49 countries, and sold in over 150.
A new research and development facility was built in 1964 and made for more innovations. Guiness Draught in Can was launched in 1988 with new packaging innovation. This process brought Guiness Draught into the home for the first time.
GUINNESS Stout today is sold in over 150 countries around the world and 10 million glasses are enjoyed daily around the world.

The History of Guinness | Definition Match

Put the following words to the correct definitions.

The History of Guinness | True or False

Indicate which sentences are true and which ones are false.


Adapted from this article.


Reasons to visit Leeds

A lot of people have heard of the famous British cities. Aside from London; Liverpool, Manchester and Edinburgh are always high on tourist agendas for people visiting the British Isles. But the city where I come from, Leeds, is roughly the same size as Edinburgh and geographically very close to Liverpool and Manchester. Nevertheless, it is barely mentioned in the guidebooks for the UK. In fact, as this article will show you, Leeds is one of the hidden gems of England and here are some of the main reasons why…

Thornton’s Arcade, Leeds

The Corn Exchange, Leeds (A place farmers used to come to trade corn, is now a bustling hub of artisanal shops)

The friendly folk

Leeds is the 4th biggest city in England and situated in the county of Yorkshire, or West Yorkshire to be precise. In fact there are many people from around the world living in Leeds and the surrounding area and over 2 million people live in the metropolitan area. The city has a long history of immigration from the Caribbean as well as India and Pakistan. More recently the city has welcomed more newcomers from the EU and students from across the globe, thanks to the two outstanding universities, Leeds University and Leeds Beckett.

In general, in Leeds there is a fantastic mix of cultures and there is a great feeling of community. Next to the Jamaican jerk chicken place you can find a fantastic south Indian curry house, and next door to those is probably a traditional old pub. There is a great blend of different folk who live together in peace and are very accepting of each other’s differences. People always want to help each other and at the end of the day just have a laugh. This is helped massively by the famous friendliness of Leeds and Yorkshire folk, and if you’re ever waiting for a bus in the city of Leeds, you can be sure someone will strike up a conversation with you, usually about the weather!

The Cuisine

English food sometimes gets a bad reputation for being bland, especially compared to the fabulous flavours of other world cuisines. But recently a food revolution has taken place in the UK and Leeds is at the front and centre of this. Here you can find a plethora of amazing restaurants with cuisines from all across the world, with many first generation immigrants setting up shop here.

As I mentioned already, the different cultures and backgrounds of the people of Leeds make it a wonderfully diverse place and the food is no different. A stroll around the city centre will help you discover fantastic fresh sushi, spicy Thai dishes, delicious American barbeque and burgers, real Italian pizza and, of course, the traditional Yorkshire staples. Our most famous export is no doubt the Yorkshire Pudding. It is a light and fluffy savoury side dish made from crepe batter. Put these along with some lovely British beef, roasted potatoes and gravy and you have the wonderful Sunday Roast. In Leeds Kirkgate Market you can now find Yorkshire wraps, which are wraps made with Yorkshire Pudding and all the trimmings inside. Yummy!

Yorkshire puddings (centre at the top) and all the trimmings

The Bars and Music Scene

One of the best things about the UK is that we know how to party. Our world famous bands and artists have captured the attention of the entire planet for generations and these days festivals like Glastonbury are still the highlight of any music-lover’s calendar. Now, Leeds does not have many famous artists that come from the city, but we make up for this by our cultural offering.

Leeds is home to countless fabulous bars that serve outstanding local craft beer and whip up delicious cocktails. Not only this, most of the bars always know how to play it with the music, and you can be sure that during an evening in Leeds you will hear some great tunes to get you clicking your fingers or (later on) up on the dancefloor. For the real party people there are always some great DJs from across the world in town for the weekend, which you can catch at one of the many nightclubs, some of which offer music and dancing until well past 4am. Outside of this there is the yearly Leeds Festival, which has hosted the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Radiohead and Metallica. If you’re a real culture vulture then you’ll be happy to know the city has a rich West Indian heritage and every week there is the chance to get down to some reggae, dub and ska music, played through world class homemade sound systems.

The Yorkshire Dales

Now technically I’m not talking about Leeds itself here, but definitely a reason to visit the city is that it is a great base to travel out into the surrounding Yorkshire countryside. As mentioned, Leeds is situated in the heart of West Yorkshire and Yorkshire is the largest county in England. Commonly nicknamed ‘God’s own county’, Yorkshire is simply beautiful.

Rolling hills fall into each other amid beautiful lush valleys, divided by quaint little stone walls into separate squares (or dales). Many people have seen the quintessential postcards of the English countryside and usually, the photographs are taken in the Yorkshire Dales. Charming old villages are the gateways to outstanding circular walks that take in waterfalls, old viaducts and stunning views from the top of the many hills. At Malham Cove you can find a huge limestone gorge with breath-taking views from the top and on a fresh sunny day in the summer there is no better place to be than walking and picnicking in the Yorkshire countryside. After your walk, stop by at the local pub in the village to relax the muscles with a pint of the local bitter ale or tuck into a hearty pie. There really is no place as peaceful and beautiful as the Yorkshire countryside.

So there are some excellent reasons to visit Leeds!  Now try the quiz below to test your knowledge of the words in bold.

Reasons to visit Leeds Quiz

Look at each word and choose your definition carefully. You can always go back and change your answer if needed. Good luck!