LEVEL A1.2/A2.1






’Have you heard the latest company gossip?’
’No, what do you mean?’
’Jane Gardner was promoted.’
You’re kidding! (= an informal phrase to show that it’s difficult to believe something) ’
’No. We were all surprised when we heard it (= we felt strange because we didn’t think this would happen), no one expected this to happen (= thought that this would happen).’
’Well, I definitely didn’t see it coming (= an idiom meaning to think that something is going to happen)…’
’No one did. And I also heard that they’re going to double her salary. I was astonished (= very surprised)!’
’Double her salary…? How interesting… (= an informal phrase to show that you are interested and surprised) I’d like something like that, too.’
’Well, the directors have a talent for doing surprising things (= things which people do not expect). Can you remember when they changed everybody’s working hours in just one week?’
’Yeah, I remember, that came totally out of the blue, too (= an idiom meaning it was a surprise).


More contexts for the new words: 

  • ’I’m going to have a three-week holiday in August.’ ’ You’re kidding!’ 
  • I wasn’t surprised when she asked me for help again. 



Choose the best word to complete the sentences.

  1. ‘I’m getting married.’ ‘You’re childing / kidding!’
  2. The promotion came totally out of the blue / green.
  3. ‘She has a lover.’ ‘What / How interesting!’
  4. I definitely didn’t hear / see it coming.
  5. We were all surprised / surprising to hear the news.
  6. No one expecting / expected this to happen.



Match the question halves, then answer the questions.

  1. When was the last time                          a) see coming?
  2. Which recent political event came       b) totally out of the blue?
  3. Which workplace changes didn’t you  c) a friend surprised you?




Not all words which end in ’-ed’ are adjectives. ’-ed’ is also the ending of regular past verbs. 

No one expected this to happen. (verb)
They changed everybody’s working hours. (verb)
We were all surprised. (adjective)
I was astonished. (adjective) 


Not all words which end in ’-ing’ are adjectives. ’-ing’ is also the ending of the verb in the Present Continuous tense. 

You’re kidding! (verb)
I am expecting to get promoted. (verb)
How interesting! (adjective)
The directors have a talent for doing surprising things. (adjective)





A/ Winter has TAKEN drivers completely BY SURPRISE.
B/ Right, yesterday the weather was perfect and today – bam, snow!

If something takes you by surprise, it happens unexpectedly.



  1. When you’re TAKEN ABACK, you are shocked or surprised, especially by something that someone says or does to you.

Henry was taken aback by the girl’s rudeness.
The news really took us aback.


  1. When your eyes BUG OUT, they open very wide, because you are surprised or shocked by something. This is an American expression.

Her eyes will bug out when she sees this huge report.
The news will make her eyes bug out with astonishment



Decide if the sentences below are true or false. Correct the false ones.

  1. When your eyes bug out, they become smaller.
  2. When you’re surprised, you can say you’re taken back.
  3. When something takes you by surprise, you haven’t expected it.






Tricia Hammond, a student from a small town in Somerset, has just had the worst surprise of her life. It was her birthday yesterday, so her friends had decided to get together in her house and throw her a surprise birthday party. However, when Tricia was coming home, she got suspicious – she remembered she had left the curtains open, and now they were closed. Also, she noticed some movement inside the house. She was too afraid to go in and instead called the police. The police arrived, noticed a lot of people moving inside the house, and called for support. When five police cars and about twenty police officers had arrived, they decided to enter Tricia’s house.

Freeze, it’s the police!’ they shouted.

‘Surprise!’ shouted Tricia’s friends, opening champagne and popping balloons.




throw a party – organize a party
suspicious – believing that something has gone wrong
support – help
– freeze – don’t move
popping – breaking


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  1. kidding
  2. blue
  3. How
  4. see
  5. surprised
  6. expected

Ex. 2

  1. c
  2. b
  3. a


  1. False – they become larger
  2. False – you’re taken aback
  3. True