Unit 1 Identity

In this unit we will read the short story A Case of Identity by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Part 1 - Before you read…

think about these questions:

1. Who are some famous detectives? What makes them famous?
2. Have you ever had to solve a mystery of any kind?
3. If you are trying to solve a mystery, do you think it is the small points or the big ones that help you most?

Then look at the vocabulary below.

Idioms and expressions:

When you read this story, you will find these words and expressions that aren't English.

  • outre - passing the bounds of what is usual or considered proper; unconventional; bizarre
  • Affaire de coeur - a love affair
  • Pince-nez - a type of eyeglasses
  • denouement - the final resolution of the intricacies of a plot, as of a drama or novel, solution
  • Voila tout - That's all!

You will also find these words that are not used very much in the US. You don't need to learn them, but you need to have some idea what they mean to understand the story.

  • twopence and shilling - units of money
  • gasfitter - a person who installs gas pipes and apparatus in buildings
  • quinsy - inflammation of the tonsils
  • hansom - a horse-drawn vehicle for two people
  • muff, frock-coat, waistcoat and gaiters - types of clothes
  • clew - old spelling of the word “clue”
  • superscription - an address on a letter
  • bisulphate of baryta - a chemical substance
  • cumbrous - serving to obstruct or hinder; burdensome
  • coquettish - flirtatious
  • panoply - an impressive show of special clothes, decorations etc
  • purport - the general meaning of what someone says
  • chaff (v) - to mock, tease, or jest in a good-natured way

Now it is time to read the story!

After you read the story, click here.

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