TAKING A RISK                                                                       

Recent research sheds some light (= something or someone that casts/ sheds/ throws light on a situation provides an explanation for it or information that makes it easier to understand) on taking risk and suggests it may be down to the psychological make-up of a person. It seems that 60% of risk-takers are sensation seekers- which means people who thrive on novel (= very innovative) and exciting experiences. This doesn’t necessarily involve risk, but it is a common by-product (=something that is produced as a result of making something else, or something unexpected that happens as a result of something) . Sensation seekers are more at risk from drink or drugs, and more likely to take a chance on a long shot. They are less likely to err on the side of caution. However, not all risk-taking is bad. Mankind has only evolved by taking risks. Without it probably we would stagnate (= to stay the same and not grow or develop).To find out what happens in people’s bodies when they take risks, psychologists studied trainee parachutists. The results revealed (=show) that levels of adrenaline increased as much as 8 times during the jump. People react to stimuli differently, depending on the way the brain operates, The brain wave patterns in introverts are fast which means their response to stimuli is stronger. However, surprisingly, the nervous system of extroverts is slow. That is why, extroverts have to do risky things to give them enough excitement. One is sure, people taking risks experience various types of feelings from being: petrified, scared stiff, sick with fear, panic stricken, frightened to death to being exhilarated, thrilled, on top of the world and relieved. 


to be happy and excited to be sad or scared
to be on cloud nine

to be over the moon

to be in seventh heaven

to feel on top of the world

to be thrilled

to be exhilarated

to be thrilled

to be relieved

to be fed up with sth

to be sick and tired of sth

to be down in the dumps

to be gloomy

to be petrified

to be scared stiff

to be sick with fear

to be panic stricken

to be frightened to death



Put the phrases in the right order, then answer the questions. Explain your opinions.

  1. to prevent/ can be taken/ precautions/ What / accidents
  2. people/ take up/ do / Why? / extreme sports
  3. or do you think/ risk-takers/ admire/ Do you / they are irresponsible?




In this lesson I’d like to draw your attention to functional language which will help you to describe pictures.



– use Present Continuous Tenses to describe what you can see in the picture
– use modal verbs for speculation to express possible actions in the future and in the past
– use a variety of adjectives and adverbs


Describing a picture:

Each photograph / the photo … shows, depicts … / is of a person, people … doing… taking risk…. craving risk….

In one photograph there’s something that looks like a …. / 

I think it’s a thing for…

In the pictures I can see …

It reminds me …. of ….



It looks as if …as though ….they’re enjoying themselves…

They must feel …. Quite…

I imagine …/ suppose … they’re the sort of people who …


Expressing opinions: 

Personally, I believe…/ I think … /  I hope …

As far as I’m concerned …

To be honest,…

To my mind, …

The way I see it, …



HEDGE YOUR BETS = reduce the risk of losing by choosing several possibilities instead of just one

STICK YOUR NECK OUT = take a risk by doing or saying sth that may be criticized or proved to be wrong



GO FOR = try to achieve sth difficult

BURN OFF = exercise in order to improve the strength or appearance of your body


Complete the sentences with phrasal verbs and idioms from above.

Remember to eat healthily and exercise at least two hours to ……………… calories from one cream cake.
If I was investing money, I’d probably …………………… and spilt it up a bit.
Tommy Box says he is ……………… the world record in tomorrow’s 100 meters freestyle event.
I’m always prepared to …………………… if someone asks my opinion.




“Those who think extreme sports are all about risk-taking are missing the point, according to a QUT researcher. Eric Brymer, a lecturer from the School of Human Movement Studies in the Faculty of Health, has been researching whether the element of risk was an important factor among participants in „extreme” sports such as waterfall kayakers, mountain climbers, big wave surfers and B.A.S.E. jumpers
Dr Brymer found that, although the image of those who take part in extreme sports was that of risk-takers and adrenaline junkies, the opposite was true.
„I wanted to do this research because in my masters studies I was hearing about sensation seeking, risk-taking behaviour in extreme sports people, and it just didn’t match what I knew from my background in kayaking and canoeing,” he said. „The people I knew were very careful, disciplined, determined and focused, not at all reckless or risk-taking; for some people to get to a certain level of a sport, it takes 15 years dedicated training, which is not something you would associate with a thrill-seeker.”


adrenaline junkies = somebody who can’t stop looking for risky activities
kayaking = the activity of travelling in a kayak
canoeing = the activity of travelling in a canoe
reckless = doing something dangerous and not worrying about the risks and the possible results
thrill-seeker = somebody who is looking for excitment


download lesson (pdf)




  1. What precautions can be taken to prevent accidents?
  2. Why do people take up extreme sports?
  3. Do you admire risk-takers or do you think they are irresponsible?


1.Remember to eat healthily and exercise at least two hours to ……burn off………… calories from one cream cake.

  1. If I was investing money, I’d probably ……hedge my bets……………… and spilt it up a bit.
  2. Tommy Box says he is ………going for……… the world record in tomorrow’s 100 meters freestyle event.
  3. I’m always prepared to ………stick my neck out…………… if someone asks my opinion.