Seniors – Hamlet Act II Notes

Please print these two pages and bring them to class on Tuesday.

Hamlet Act 2 Notes & Quotes


New list for seniors – quiz on Monday 2/28

Cultural Literacy List #5: French words and terms used in English

1.)  joie de vivre – exuberance; love of life

2.)  je ne sais quoi – an elusive, mysterious quality (literally translates to “I don’t know what”)

3.)  au contraire – on the contrary

4.)  c’est la vie – that’s life

5.)  du jour – of the day

6.)  touché – “you got me!” (literally translates to “touch”)

7.)  faux pas – a social blunder

8.)  haute couture – hot/high fashion

9.)  savoir –faire – social adeptness

10.) raison d’être – reason for being; justification; basis

11.) en route – on the way

12.) femme fatale – an attractive but dangerous woman

Cultural Literacy Unit #4 (for seniors — quiz on Tues. 2/22)


1.) To throw the book at someone means to punish him or her to the fullest extent possible.

2.) To air your dirty laundry means to speak about private matters publicly.

3.) The elephant in the room is the issue or situation that everyone is aware of, but no one is speaking about. Eventually it will have to be addressed.

4.) Having skeletons in the closet refers to having things in your past that you aren’t proud of and therefore wish to keep hidden.

5.) Making a tongue-in-cheek comment means speaking ironically; not meaning what is said.

6.) A sacred cow is a value or belief so deeply rooted that it cannot be criticized or challenged.

7.) To quit something cold turkey means to stop immediately and completely.

8.) To pay lip service to someone means to tell him/her what he/she wants to hear, despite having no plans to follow through with actions.

9.) To play second fiddle to someone else means to take a subordinate role to them.

10.) The idiom “the pot calling the kettle black” is used to indicate that a person is being hypocritical, especially if criticizing someone else.

11.) A crackpot idea is useless or impractical.

12.) Getting cold feet means backing out of a commitment at the last moment.

13.) The eleventh hour is the last possible moment to take action on something.

14.) The writing on the wall is a sign of impending doom.

15.) A golden parachute is a large payment or other financial compensation provided for an employee (usually an executive) when he or she leaves a company.

Now THIS is an interesting resource…

Sometimes when you’re engaged in creative writing, one of the best things you can do is generate a list of words associated with your topic. This allows you to free-associate words and concepts without immediately working them into your writing, and hence avoids deadly writer’s block at the beginning of the writing process.

Once you have your word list and a basic idea of what you want to write about, THEN you can proceed to try to incorporate as many of the words from your list into a piece of writing. It’s amazing to see how a list of loosely related words can help shape a poem, essay, song, or story — if you don’t believe me, just look at some of the cool things you’ve generated through out vocabulary creative writing assignments!

While helping a student with an entry to the GeneratioNext writing contest, I stumbled across a website called Wordnik. Not only does it function as a dictionary, but it also allows users to comment on uses of words, identify regional pronunciations of words, and (my favorite) create lists of associated words. Here is a perfect example: WORDS RELATED TO ZOMBIE ATTACKS. You’ll notice that the words aren’t synonyms of each other, but rather are words that are frequently used when discussing the same topic. I haven’t had enough time to fully explore the site, but since I know some of you are hard at work on various writing ventures I thought I should introduce it as a possible source of inspiration.

Seniors, remember when we examined different adjectives to describe your strengths with during a job interview without being redundant? This could be a good resource to continue that exploration. Pre-AP students, need to spruce up your Reader’s Journal entries? Try searching for lists of words associated with the topic you’re investigating. It looks like it’s worth a shot.