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Literature is GREAT - Part 2

Modern-day authors cast their own spells, too, and Richard visits a very magical place to find out about contemporary English writers.

Task 1

Which is the best summary of the video?


Task 2

Watch the video again, and choose the best answer.


Task 3

Drag and drop the words to complete the sentences.


Task 4

Complete the paragraph about Philip Pullman by typing the missing words into the spaces.




Language level

Advanced: C1
Upper intermediate: B2


I'm peter,I learned a few things about pounds magazines are for short prizes and the other things to.When you carry a few things then you don't need a bag to carry them.

My question is about the sentence “His Dark Materials, which…(sell) over fifteen million copies to date.” from the 4th task.
In my opinion:
A person sells books.
So, a book is sold by a person, or simply - a book is sold.
That’s to say, a book can’t sell, it can only be sold.
I mean, that if “a book” is a subject, we have to use passive voice.
Dark Materials is a book. And it’s a subject.
So, according to the logic described above, I expect here the passive voice - “Dark Materials, which has been sold…”
But the correct answer is “Dark Materials, which has sold…”.
Could you explain to me this matter?

Hello Yshc

In English, the verb 'sell' is most often used as a transitive verb, i.e. a verb that has a subject and object -- for example, 'She sold the books'. As a transitive verb, it can also be used in the passive: 'The books were sold.'

But 'sell' can also be used intransitively, and it is often used in this way when we're speaking about quantities. This is how 'sell' is used in the sentence that you ask about. If you follow the link to the dictionary I included above, you can see a few other example sentences (see the second entry ('to be bought in the way or quantities that are mentioned; to be sold at the price mentioned').

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Literature invites us to a kind of microcosm which has multi-layered time where a reader can travel back and forth and be pulled and pushed in many directions.
I've recently read "Vanity Fair" by William M. Thackery. British literature is...

To be honest, I don't know why the Harry Potter Series is so popular, but I think it is related to the fact that even if they're fantasy books, they deal with problems that everyone goes through, like puberty.

The only books mentioned in the video which I've read are the Harry Potter Series and Narnia.

Well, yes, I can write a novel. I think everyone can write. It's all about practice. Of course, imagination matters too, but, in general, everyone can write something, people just have to try.

Hi, BC! I would like to know if it is possible to say: "The trilogy WON numerous prizes..." instead of "The trilogy HAS WON numerous prizes....."

Hello Stanislav,

Yes, that is certainly possible. Which form is correct depends on the context. For example, in a news article about how the trilogy recently won many prizes, 'has won' would be more likely. But if you're speaking about how it won many prizes in a time that is conceived of as finished, 'won' would be more likely. You can read more about this on our talking about the past page.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

thank you for these interesting clip
I would like to know why all the three tenses (simple past , present and past perfect) could be used, interchangeably, in task 4 {including the Whitbread Book of the Year Award in 2002 - the first time the prize was given /has been given /had been given}

Hi ibrahimadam667,

The perfective is not a tense. We describe it as an aspect and it describes how the time of the action is seen by the speaker - as complete or not, as in progress or not, as permanent or temporary, as an isolated action or one related to another and so on. This means that we often have a choice of how to describe a given action depending on how we see it. For example, both of these sentences are possible:

I live in London. [present simple]

I've lived in London for 10 years. [present with perfective aspect - present perfect]

The difference is what the speaker chooses to emphasise. In the first sentence the speaker is stating a bare fact without any other information. In the second sentence the speaker sees that fact as an unfinished process which continues into the present from the past. The fact is the same but the speaker gives it a different emphasis by choosing to use a particular aspect.


There are several options in your particular example for the same reason:

including the Whitbread Book of the Year Award in 2002 the first time the prize was given to a children's book. 

The speaker is simply relating a fact about the prize in 2002.


including the Whitbread Book of the Year Award in 2002 the first time the prize has been given to a children's book. 

The speaker is now telling us not just that the prize was given, but that it has still (today, at the time of speaking) never been given again to a children's book. The present perfect tells us that the action described (being given for the first/only time) is still true today.


including the Whitbread Book of the Year Award in 2002 the first time the prize had been given to a children's book. 

The past perfect tells us that the action described (being given for the first/only time) was true at the time but may not be true now. There is no difference in fact between this form and the past simple (above) in this context; the choice is really a stylistic one.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Team.
Help me with this, please.
In the Task IV :
" For the past forty years, Philip Pullman [has enchanted] young people with his fantasy novels. He [has written] over twenty children's novels, but [is] best known for his trilogy, his Dark Materials, which [has sold] over fifteen million copies to date.
My question is ; Don't you think the last essay will be appropriate in passive form?
" which [has been sold] over fifteen million copies to date".
Is my opinion wrong?