Match the words to their definitions

constituency a a seat where a particular group of politicians sit
chamber b the title of the person whose job is to control the discussions in a parliament
speaker c a group of people who have the power to make and change laws
bill d the whole system of rules that everyone in a country or society must obey
noble e the judges of a country or a state, when they are considered as a group
bench f a district that elects its own representative to parliament
legislature   g the part of a government responsible for putting laws into effect
executive h a person from a family of high social rank
judiciary i a written suggestion for a new law that is presented to a country’s parliament so that its members can discuss it
law j one of the parts of a parliament

4. Reproduce these pieces of explanation on the House of Commons choosing the right form of the words.

The House of Commonsconsists of 659 (popularity/popularly /popular)elected members. Each member iselected from a constituency in the United Kingdom. Members receive a salary and hold their seats for the (durable /duration) of a Parliament. A general election for all members must be (held/hold)at least every five years. The House of Commons is the (legislate/legislative /legislation)authority in the United Kingdom. Among its powers are the right to impose taxes and to vote on spending issues affecting the (vary/ various/ variety) public departments and services. The (pass/passage) of legislation, however, is the primary function of the chamber.

The speaker of the House of Commons is elected by the members and acts as the president of the House. Members of Parliament are controlled by their party whips, who round up members before a vote and (organize/ organizer/ organizational)debates in the Commons.

Members of the House of Commons belong to one of the British political parties. The party that wins the (majority/major) of parliamentary seats forms a government with the party leader as prime minister. Of the remainingparties, the one with the (largest/large) number of seats becomes the (official/officially) opposition.

5. Read the text choosing the right words from the columns. Do you agree that the House of Commons, the lower chamber of Parliament in practice dominates the upper chamber, or House of Lords, in terms of activity and political power?

The beginnings of the House of Lords can be traced back as far as the 11th century. Prior to 1999, this chamber of Parliament included hereditary peers, or nobles by inheritance or birth. That year, however, Parliament passed the House of Lords Act of 1999, which disqualified all hereditary peers for membership in the House, with the a) ... of 92 individuals who had been elected by their fellow peers and were allowed b) ... their seats on a temporary basis. The Act provided that hereditary peers in the future were welcome to run for c) ... to the chamber. Other members of the House include life peers, or individuals with nonhereditary titles conferred by the Crown; law lords; and archbishops and senior bishops of the Church of England. Peers receive no salary. Although more than 670 individuals are qualified to sit in the House of Lords, only a little over half regularly attend sessions. In d) ..., the powers of the modern House of Lords are extremely limited. Despite this, the chamber plays an important role in Parliament. Among its most e) ... functions are the review and revision of bills that the House of Commons has not formulated in sufficient detail. In the House of Lords the lord chancellor fulfills the same role as does the f) … in the Commons.

verb noun adjective
to retain retainer retainable
practise practice practical
except exception exceptional
to use usage useful
speak speaker speaking
elect election elective

6. What is the difference between the Commons and the Lords? Speak about the Houses of Parliament.

7. Read the text about Britain’s Crown and find out what role the Queen plays in the life of modern Britain.

The Crown, or sovereign, is the supreme power in the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary. The sovereign is also the head of the established Church of England and is commander in chief of the armed forces. In practice, however, the sovereign acts only on the advice of the Crown's ministers and cannot reject or ignore their advice. Since 1952, the sovereign of the United Kingdom has been Queen Elizabeth II. In effect the United Kingdom is governed by her majesty's government in the queen's name.

The queen still has several significant functions. The Prime Minister and Ministers receive their appointments from the Queen at Buckingham Palace. Laws are not laws until they have received the Royal Assent. She calls and dissolves Parliament, and she opens a new session with a speech from the throne. This speech is not written by her, however, but by the government in power, and it outlines the government's policy for the forthcoming session of Parliament. Similarly, the queen confers honors in the form of peerages, knighthoods, and decorations that are given on the advice of the government and that often reward people for services to the political party in power. She can award some honors herself, however such as the Order of the Garter. She appoints judges, army officers, diplomats, and officials of the Church of England also on advice.

Royal duties include visiting many parts of the UK, paying state visits to foreign countries. Although the queen has in fact little authority of her own, she is kept informed of events and is sometimes consulted by the government in power.

In addition to her other functions the queen is head of the Commonwealth, which consists of a number of states that formerly belonged to the British Empire. The queen and her family members are largely supported by the state. Parliament annually approves allowances for members of the royal family.

Agree or disagree with the following sentences, in your answers use the expressions of agreement or disagreement:

1. As Head of State, the Queen is informed and consulted on every aspect of national life. 2. The head of the government is commander in chief of the armed forces. 3. The Sovereign formally summons and dissolves Parliament 4. Royal duties include choosing the Cabinet. 5. The Queen does not have to explain her actions. 6. The Queen visits only the states of the Commonwealth.

Work in pairs. These dialogues are between British students and their colleagues from Belarus who are spending their holidays in London. Restore the dialogues. Use the questions from the box given below. Act the dialogues out.

1. A: …?

B: Well, the National Gallery, to begin with, then comes the National Portrait Gallery, then the Tate Gallery.

A: …?

B: Oh surely, you ought to go there, but the British Museum is not a museum of Fine Arts. In the first place it’s a museum of history, archaeology and ethnography. It’s also one of the largest libraries in the world.

2. A: I think we’ll get off the bus near the Circus…


A: Oh no, I mean Piccadilly Circus, it’s just a square.


A: Well, it isn’t exactly round. As a matter of fact any open space where a number of streets meet can be called a ‘circus’. You can come across them all over England. But when a Londoner speaks of the circus he means Piccadilly Circus.

3. A:…

B: Covent Garden? I’m afraid not. I have only been to Green Park, Regent’s Park and Kensington Gardens.


B: I certainly do. It’s the Royal Opera House. I was just pulling your leg.

4. A: This is Fleet Street.

B: …

A: Nothing of the kind. It suggests journalism.

B: …

A: Because all the big British daily newspapers are published there.

5. A: …

B: Exactly so. Here the Prime Minister of Britain lives.


B: The London residence of the British kings is Buckingham Palace. When the Queen is in residence the Royal Standard is flown at the mast-head.

6. A:

7. B: Oh, very much indeed. We could see a great deal within those fifteen days of our visit.

A: …

B: London, Stratford-upon-Avon, Leeds, Glasgow and Edinburgh.


B: Well, it isn’t easy to describe it in one word.

1. - I see. Why is it called that? Is it round or what? 2. - Dear me! Don’t you know what Covent Garden is? 3. - Does its name suggest a sea voyage? 4. - Why? 5. - And where is the residence of the Queen? 6. - What did your programme include? 7. - How did you enjoy your stay in Britain? 8. - What’s your general impression? 9. - Which are the most notable picture galleries in London? 10. - I suppose you’ve been to Covent Garden? 11. - Do you mean to invite me to a circus show? I’d love to see it in London 12. - Yes, but what about the British Museum? I’ve heard a lot of it. 13. - Is it №10 Downing Street?

9. Work in pairs. Make up questions to which the following phrases are the answers. Complete this dialogue and act it out. (The dialogue is between a student from Belarus who is having a holiday in Britain and a British student.


B: I don’t think you’ll be able to see a lot in one or two days. Today London is one of the largest cities in the world.


B: Nine million, I believe. I mean the population of Greater London, of course.


B: Well, the main parts of London are: the City, Westminster, the West End and the East End. If you are interested in churches and historical places you should go to Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul’s and the Tower.


B: The City is so important because it is the banking and commercial center of the world.


B: Well, you certainly ought to see the British Museum. But if I were you I should leave that for some other day. You could spend a whole day there. It’s much too big to be seen in an hour or so.


B: In the first place, Whitehall is the name of the street. In the second place, it is the political center of Great Britain. All the chief government offices are in the Whitehall, you know.

10. Work in pairs. Ask your group-mate who has just returned from his (her) trip to London to tell you:

a) what historical places (places of interest, monuments) he saw there; b) what attracted his attention; c) about the Tower, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral etc.; d) what else he happened to see; e) what impressed him most.


Showing interest while listening I see. Oh, yes. How interesting! Has/Does it? Indeed? Asking if someone knows about something Excuse me, do you know anything about…? Did you know about…? Do you realize…? Have you heard about…? Saying you know I do know about… I hear… They say….
Saying you don’t know I’m afraid, I don’t know anything much about… I’m afraid, I’ve no idea…. I’m afraid, I know very little about … Saying you are curious I wish I knew more about… I’d like to know … I wonder…? I’d be very interested to know … I’m rather curious to know about… Comparing …better (worse) than… There’s absolutely no comparison between … and…