Exam: What British people eat

What British people eat


Because Britain is full of individualists and people from different cultures, generalisations are dangerous. However, the following distinctive features may be noted:


A ‘fry up’ is a phrase used informally to denote several items fried together. The most common items are eggs, bacon, sausages, tomatoes, mushrooms, and even fried bread. It (6) is not generally accompanied by ‘chips’ (the normal British word for French fried potatoes). The British eat rather a lot of fried food.


Although it is sometimes poetically referred to as ‘the staff of life,’ bread is not an accompaniment to every meal. It (7)  is most commonly eaten, with butter and almost everything else, for a snack, either as a sandwich or as toast (a British household regards toasting facilities as a basic necessity). This may explain why sliced bread is the most popular type. On the other hand, the British use a lot of flour for making pastry dishes, both savoury and sweet, called pies, and for making cakes.


Eggs are a basic part of most people’s diet. If they are not fried, they are either soft-boiled and eaten directly out of their (8) shells with a spoon, or hard-boiled (so that they can be eaten with the fingers or put into sandwiches).


Cold meats are not very popular. In a small supermarket, you can find a large variety of cheeses, but perhaps only one kind of ham and no salami at all. To many British people, preserved meats are typically ‘continental’.


It is common in most households for a family meal to finish with a prepared sweet dish. This (9) is called either ‘pudding’, ‘sweet’, or ‘dessert’ (class distinctions are involved here). There is a great variety of well-known dishes for this purpose, many of which are hot (often a pie of some sort). In fact, the British love ‘sweets’ generally, by which they mean both all kinds of chocolate and also what the Americans call ‘candy’.


They also love crisps (what the Americans call ‘chips’) A market research report in 2005 found that they (10) eat more than all the rest of Western Europe put together.


 For Questions 1 – 5: TRUE or FALSE                                          (5 marks)

  Read the statements to the right of the text and decide whether they are True or False according to this text.


For Questions 6 – 10:  Reference                                                 (5 marks)

What do the highlighted and underlined words in the paragraphs above refer to?

Use one or two words to identify each reference:


For example: Tom likes playing football. He has been playing for 5 years now.


Some individuals think talking about British food is dangerous.



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French fries are eaten as part of a ‘fry-up’.



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Most British homes have a toaster.



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Cold meats are only found in small supermarkets.



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French fried potatoes are called chips in America.



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‘It’ refers to aQuestion Blank

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‘It’ refers toQuestion Blank

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‘their’ refers toQuestion Blank

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‘This’ refers to aQuestion Blank

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‘they’ refers toQuestion Blankpeople







 All about London


London (the largest city in western Europe) dominates Britain. It is home to the headquarters of all government departments, the country’s parliament, its major legal institutions, and the monarch. It is the country’s business and banking centre and the centre of its transport network. It contains the

  1. __________of the national television networks and all the national newspapers. It is about seven times larger than any other 12. __________in the country. About a fifth of the total population of the UK lives in the wider London area.

The original walled city of London was quite small. (It is known colloquially today as the ‘square mile’.) In the early days, it did not contain the 13. __________ or the royal court, since this would have interfered with the autonomy of the merchants and traders who lived and worked there. It was in Westminster, another ‘city’ outside London’s walls, that these 14. __________ institutions met. Today, both ‘cities’ are just two areas of central London. The square mile (also known simply as ‘the City’) is home to the country’s main financial organisations. During the daytime, more than a quarter of a million people work there, but fewer than 10,000 people actually live there.

Two other well-known 15. __________ of London are the West End and the East End. The former is known for its many theatres, cinemas and expensive shops. The latter is known as the poorer residential area of central London. It is the traditional home of the “Cockney” and for centuries it has been home to successive waves of immigrant groups.

There are many other parts of central London, some of them quite distinctive in character, and central London itself makes up only a very small part of Greater London. In common with many other European cities, the 16. __________ in the central area decreased in the second half of the twentieth century. The majority of ‘Londoners’ live in its suburbs, millions of them travelling into the centre each day to work. These 17. __________ cover a vast area of land stretching in all directions. The most recent trend has been an expansion of London to the east, down towards the Thames Estuary.

Like many large cities, London is in some ways untypical of the rest of the 18. __________ in that it is so cosmopolitan. Although all of Britain’s cities have some degree of cultural and racial variety, the variety is by far the greatest in London. More than 300 languages are spoken there; its restaurants offer cuisine from more than 70 different countries. In fact, nearly a third of the people in London were born outside

  1. __________.

The variety does not stop there. London has most of both the richest and poorest areas in Britain. Despite this, you have less chance of being the victim of a crime there than you have in many other British cities. In late 2007, it was voted the most popular city in the world in an on-line poll of international tourists. It is also the most frequent choice for Chinese companies expanding into Europe. This popularity is probably the result of its combination of apparently infinite cultural 20. __________ and a long history which has left intact many visible signs of its richness and drama.


For Questions 11 – 20: Gap fill                                                  (10 marks)


Use one word occurring somewhere else in the text to fill in the gaps. 

Do not change the form of a word.


Example: London  is the celebrated Capital of the UK.

 A fifth of the total population of the UK lives in the wider London area.













3Section 2 Text 1

Class in Britain

Historians say that the class system has survived in Britain because of its flexibility. It has always been possible to buy, marry or 0 ___work___ your way up, so that your children will belong to a higher social class than you do. As a result, the class system has never been swept away by a 21. ____________ and an awareness of class forms a major part of most people’s sense of identity.

People in Britain regard it as difficult to become friends with somebody from a different ‘background’. This feeling has little to do with conscious loyalty, and nothing to do with a positive belief in the class system itself – most people say they do not approve of clear class differences. It results from the fact that the different classes have different sets of attitudes and daily 22. ____________ . Typically, they eat different food at different times of day, they talk about different topics using different styles and 23. ____________ of English, they enjoy different pastimes and sports, they have different values about what things in life are most important, and different ideas about the correct way to behave.

An interesting feature of the class structure in Britain is that it is not just, or even mainly, relative 24. ____________ or the appearance of it, which determines someone’s class. Of course, wealth is part of it. But it is not possible to guess a person’s class just by looking at his or her clothes, car or bank 25. ____________ . The most obvious sign comes when a person opens his or her mouth, giving the listener clues to the speaker’s attitudes and interests.

But even more indicative than what the speaker says is the 26. ____________ that he or she says it. The English grammar and vocabulary used in public speaking, radio, and television news broadcasts, books and 27. ____________ is known as ‘standard British English’. Most working-class people, however, use lots of words and grammatical forms in their 28. ____________ speech which are regarded as ‘non-standard’.

Nevertheless, nearly everybody in the country is capable of using standard English (or something very close to it) when the 29. ____________ demands it. They are taught to do so at school. Therefore, the clearest indication of a person’s class is often his or her accent, which most people do not change to suit the situation. The most prestigious accent in Britain is known by linguists (though not by the general 30. ____________ as ‘Received Pronunciation (RP). It is the combination of standard English spoken with an RP accent that is usually meant when people talk about ‘BBC English’ or ‘the Queen’s English’.


For Questions 21 – 30: Gap Fill                                        10 marks 

Choose a word from the box below which best fits each gap in the text above. Use only ONE word in each gap. There is an example at the beginning (0 = work). 


work spring clean everyday routines
money words motors way
prepared language revolution newspapers
voice accents newsagents public
government wealth balance situation







4Section 2 Text 2


The area in town where the local shops are concentrated is known as the high street. British high streets have felt the effects of the move towards out-of-town shopping. In the worst-affected towns, as many as a quarter of the shops are vacant. But high streets have often survived by adapting. In larger towns, shops have tended to become either more specialist or to sell especially cheap goods (for people who are too poor to own a car and drive out of town).

Many have become charity shops (selling second-hand items and staffed by volunteers) and discount stores. Many of the central streets are now reserved for pedestrians, so that they are more pleasant to be in.

Even most small high streets still manage to have at least one representative of the various kinds of conventional food shop (e.g. butcher, grocer, fishmonger, greengrocer), which do well by selling more expensive luxury items (although the middle classes use them, supermarkets have never been regarded as smart or fashionable places in which to shop). The survival of the high street has been helped by the fact that department stores have been comparatively slow to move out of town. Almost every large town or suburb has at least one of these. They are usually not chain stores, each company running a maximum of a few branches in the same region. There is one other popular shopping location in Britain. This is a shop by itself in a residential area, normally referred to as ‘the corner shop’. These often sell various kinds of food, but they are not always general grocers. Their main business is newspapers, magazines, sweets and tobacco products. It is from them that most paper rounds are organised. Thirty years ago, it was thought that, in the motorised age, this kind of shop would die out. But then they were largely taken over by Asians who gave them a new lease of life by staying open very late.

The most significant change in shop opening hours has been in regard to Sundays. By the early 1990s, many shops, including chain stores, were opening on some Sundays, especially in the period before Christmas. In doing this, they were taking a risk with the law. Sometimes they were taken to court, sometimes they weren’t. The rules were so old and confused that nobody really knew what was and wasn’t legal. It was agreed that something had to be done. Most shops now open on Sundays, but there are still a few restrictions. At present, small shops can open as long as they like but large shops and supermarkets can only open for a maximum of six hours.


For Questions 31-35: Matching                                             (5 marks)       

Match the definition of the word highlighted and underlined in the text to the meaning in the text.


For Questions 36-40: Multiple Choice                                       (5 marks)

Choose the correct ending for each statement based on the meaning in the text.

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more important than others

a long way above the ground

greater than usual

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not thinking about anything

empty and available for use

a job that nobody is occupying

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metal rings connected together

owned by the same person or company

a series of similar things in a line

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separate parts of a competition

drinks for each person in a group when socialising in a bar

a series of visits to houses to deliver items

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British high streets

have become busier in recent years

have more competition from shopping malls outside the city

are exclusively for specialist shops

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Some local shops in the high street

need charity to survive

rely on volunteers to help serve their customers

only allow pedestrians through their doors

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Department stores

are still represented in most large towns

have branches in every U.K. city

are threatening the survival of the high street

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Corner shops

died out thirty years ago

sell daily and weekly publications as well as cigarettes

were invented by Asian shopkeepers

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British shops

could open shopping courts from the 1990

could open legally on Sundays from 1990

do not have complete freedom to open when they like on Sundays, even today





Section 3

Public and private industry in the UK and the distribution of wealth

  1. The ‘modernisation’ of business and industry happened later in Britain than it did in other western European countries. It was not until the 1960s that large corporations started to dominate and that a ‘management class’, trained at business school, arose. Even, after that time, many companies still preferred to recruit their managers from people who had ‘worked their way up’ through the company ranks and/or who were personally known to the directors. Only in the 1980s did graduate business qualifications become the norm for newly-hired managers.
  2. British industry performed poorly during the decades following the Second World War (some people blamed this on traditional British characteristics). In contrast, British agriculture was very successful. In this field of activity, large scale organisation (i.e. big farms) has been more common in Britain than in other European countries for quite a long time.
  3. As in all European countries, the economic system in Britain is a mixture of private and public enterprise.Exactly how much of the country’s economy is controlled by the state has fluctuated a great deal in the last fifty years and has been the subject of continual political debate. From 1945 until 1980, the general trend was for the state to have more and more control. Various industries became nationalised (owned by the government), especially those concerned with the production and distribution of energy. So too did the various forms of transport and communication services. By 1980, ‘pure’ capitalism probably formed a smaller part of the economy than in any other country in western Europe.
  4. From 1980, the trend started going in the other direction. A major part of the philosophy of the Conservative government of the 1980s was to let ‘market forces’ rule (which meant restricting the freedom of business as little as possible) and to turn state-owned companies into companies owned by individual members of the public instead (who became shareholders). This approach was a major part of the thinking of Thatcherism (Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister at that time).
  5. Between 1980 and 1994, a large number of companies were privatised (or de-nationalised). That is, they were sold off by the government. By 1988, there were more shareholders in the country than there were members of unions. In addition, local government authorities were encouraged to ‘contract out’ their responsibility for services to commercial organisations. At the time of writing, virtually the only services left in government hands are strictly social ones such as education, social welfare, and health care. ‘Pure’ capitalism forms a larger part of the economy than in any other country in western Europe.
  6. The British economy has performed rather well in the last two decades and it is possible that this great shift in structure has contributed to this turnaround. (There are, of course, other factors, one of which is Britain’s widespread use of temporary labour from other countries.) However, it has also had negative effects.
  7. Firstly, the privatisation of services which western people now regard as essential has necessitated the creation of various public ‘watchdog’ organisations with regulatory powers over the sector which they monitor. For example, Ofcom monitors the privatised communications industry (including television, radio and telecommunications) and Ofwat monitors the privatised water companies. But despite the existence of these bodies, consumers often feel cheated by the companies they deal with.
  8. Secondly, it has contributed to the widening gap between rich and poor. Letting ‘market forces’ rule means that there are more opportunities for people to make money, as both shareholders and employees. But it also means there are fewer safety nets and less job security for those who have not made money.
  9. In the early 1970s, Britain had one of the most equitable distributions of wealth in western Europe. By the early 1990s, it had one of the least equitable. The rich had got richer but the poor had not. Some surveys suggested that, by this time, the gap between the richest ten percent of the population and the poorest ten percent was as great as it had been in the late nineteenth century. The picture has not changed much since then, except that perhaps the difference between rich and poor has become starker.
  10. A survey in 2007 indicated that the number of people who were ‘average’ – that is, neither rich nor poor – was decreasing. Of course, the overall British people have become much richer over the last few decades, but the survey also found that an increasing number of households were ‘breadline’ poor’; that is, they had enough money for basic things such as food and heating but none left over to enjoy the opportunities which the rest of society has.
  11. Class and wealth do not run parallel in Britain, so it is not a country where people are especially keen to flaunt their wealth. Similarly, people are not generally ashamed to be poor. Of course, they don’t like being poor, but they do not feel obliged to hide the fact. However, this same characteristic can sometimes lead to an acceptance of relative poverty which is surprising for an ‘advanced’ country.




Choose the best paraphrase a, b, or c for the highlighted sentence from the text.


The ‘modernisation’ of business and industry happened later in Britain than it did in other western European countries.

(Paragraph 1)



  1. Business and industry were modernised in Britain ahead of other western European countries.
  2. Western European countries were quicker than the UK to modernise their business and industry.
  3.      The UK was modernised by other western European countries in respect of business and industry.

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    Choose the best paraphrase a, b, or c for the highlighted sentence from the text.


As in all European countries, the economic system in Britain is a mixture of private and public enterprise. Exactly how much of the country’s economy is controlled by the state has fluctuated a great deal in the last fifty years and has been the subject of continual political debate.   (Paragraph 3)

  1.  There has been agreement over the role of the state in business for the last 50 years in both Britain and other European countries and the economies of the countries have been controlled by the state.
  2.  Britain has public and private businesses as in other European countries, but the ratio has changed continuously over the last 50 years and been discussed endlessly in political circles.
  3.      There has been continuous debate between Britain and other European countries over the last 50 years on the fluctuating role of the state in private and public enterprise.

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Choose the best summary a, b, or c for each paragraph from the text:

Paragraph 4

  1.  Thatcherist philosophy believed in allowing businesses freedom to run themselves.
  2.  Margaret Thatcher was made Prime Minister so that state owned’ companies could be owned by private individuals.
  3.  The government of the UK in the 1980s was ruled by market forces and this made it difficult to restrict business.

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Choose the best summary a, b, or c for each paragraph from the text:

Paragraph 5

  1. The government of Britain was sold off in the eighties and early nineties along with many public companies. This ‘pure’ capitalism will form a large part of the economy once the other local services are sold too.
  2.   In the 1980s and 90s a lot of union members became shareholders because of privatisation. Along with local government services being contracted out, this means that Britain is more capitalist than the rest of Europe put together.
  3.  In the final two decades of the 20th Century a lot of companies were put in private hands. Allied to this was a contracting out of local services. This has resulted in fewer state-run enterprises than in other countries in the rest of Western Europe.

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Choose the best summary a, b, or c for each paragraph from the text:

Paragraph 7

  1.  It has become necessary to create regulatory bodies to oversee privatised companies, though this system has not been completely successful.
  2. ‘Watchdog’ organisations have been created by the public to stop companies from cheating consumers.
  3.   Western people thought it was essential to create public ‘watchdog’ organisations as they felt cheated by the privatisation of services.









Questions 46 – 50 Matching


Developments in Britain since World War II


  1. Managers hired with business qualifications.
  2. ‘Market forces’ encouraged by government.
  3. Nationalisation of industries.
  4. Creation of ‘watchdog’ organisations.
  5. Increasing wealth of the elite.
  6. Acceptance of relative poverty.
  7. Slow development of industry just after the war.
  8. Contracting out of public services



Reason: Emergence of business schools who trained potential managers


Answer: A


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Policies promoting state control of the economyQuestion Blank

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Election of Conservative government in the 1980sQuestion Blank

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Increasing opportunities to make money through work and owning sharesQuestion Blank

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Local government encouraged to cede responsibility to commercial organisationsQuestion Blank

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Wealth is not seen as directly related to class structure in societyQuestion Blank











Questions 51 – 55: VOCABULARY

Example definition                                                                                                          Answer

A large organisation or company              (Paragraph 1)                                               corporation



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Qualities or features that are typical of someone or something (Paragraph 2)Question Blank

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The sharing of things among a group of people (Paragraph 3)Question Blank

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Related to the buying or selling of things (Paragraph 5)Question Blank

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Making sure a system works properly or fairly (Paragraph 7)Question Blank

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Unpleasantly clear and impossible to avoid (Paragraph 9)Question Blank





Questions 56 – 60 True or False






The 2007 survey showed that there was an increasing number of people who considered themselves as “average”.



  •  False


British agriculture was more successful than British industry in the 1950s.



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The use of workers for short periods of time is probably one of the factors in the British economy performing well in the last 20 years.



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There was a trend in the 1980s, encouraged by the government of the time, to create more state-owned enterprises.



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British people do not really like to exhibit their wealth, but neither do they feel ashamed if they are poor.



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By the 1970s, big companies preferred to employ well-qualified rather than experienced staff as managers.