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to motivate; to stimulate; to provoke; to influence; to encourage
criticize
comprise
inspire
annoy
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ESL Lesson: Usage of Adverbs

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Quite so

It was quite dark when we left the house that morning. You simply could not see a thing. It was 4a.m, it was early January and it was, to say the least, rather cold In fact when I think back to that winter morning, I believe we must all have been quite mad. The house we had left was deep in the heart of the country and since most people were safe in their beds at that time of day except for the milkman driving his milk float along the country lane and keeping as quiet as possible, we were the only human beings afoot - George, Charlie and me. In view of the limited number of pedestrians foolhardy enough to venture out at this hour, the local council had considered it quite unnecessary to keep the street lights on.

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The reason why we were out at that time is quite simple: we were on the lookout for a 'monster' that had allegedly killed 25 sheep over the last two weeks. I say 'allegedly' because we were not quite sure of our facts. We were what you might call 'quietly confident' as political leaders say on television when the votes are being counted after an election. Asked straight-out we would say we were quite confident but by no means one hundred per cent sure.

You see the three of us had decided to go on holiday together as we all worked in the same office as private investigators for a detective agency and when we heard of this terrible sheep slaughter, we felt that with all our vast experience we would find it fairly easy to solve the crime and become heroes of the local community. We rather liked the idea of that. Such was the theory and now we were putting it into practice.

The basis of our reasoning was fairly straightforward. Over the previous few nights we had got chatting to the local people in the public house called The Tall Story, rather appropriate as it turned out, and in the way things go we told them about what we did for a living and they told us something about the life in the village and everybody seemed rather interested in us as newcomers. Then quite unexpectedly on the second evening old Joe, who was regarded as a rather simple old man, spoke about the 'monster' that kept attacking sheep and killing them. One of the regulars came up to us surreptitiously and said he would rather we didn't take the story too seriously because it would be bad for business. But old Joe, who was a rather small old man and as far as we were concerned seemed quite bright and fairly harmless, was quite insistent that there was a monster and according to him it tended to make an appearance around 4 to. 5 in the morning.

This then explains why we were on our early morning mission at such an ungodly hour. At around 5.15 we all felt that we had had quite enough and were all agreed it would be sensible to make for home. It was at 5.20, I'm quite certain about that because I had just looked at my watch, that we saw 'it1. The 'it' to which I am referring was a totally black creature, running on all fours and emitting a sound quite alien to all of us rather like a cross between a roar and a scream. We ran after it but it obviously it was familiar with the lie of the land and it would have got clean away had it not stumbled on a rock and fallen over. We caught hold of it and dragged and pulled this furry object to the police station pleased with our success. As we came into the police station, we met the police sergeant who seemed fairly relaxed about our arrival. As we gleefully announced with one voice: 'We've caught your monster', we saw a well known figure climbing out of the black fur 'monster-'. It was then that we realised that all Joe was not only rather small, quite bright and fairly harmless but also rather a practical joker. The police sergeant coughed politely, tried not to laugh and solemnly declared: 'Quite so, gentlemen.'

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Author: Alan Townend


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