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Improve your vocabulary, listening or reading skills with the quizzes below.
Vocabulary Quiz
ml bottles • ran off • run-off
soak up • vast
  1. The from the farmland made the rivers really dirty.
  2. Please buy two 600 of soda.
  3. They live on a piece of land in the country.
  4. Use a towel to the extra water.
  5. The milk the table and onto the floor.
Comprehension Quiz
Answer the following questions about the interview.
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878 Water Worries
Rebecca talks about the drought in Australia and how people deal with it.

  • Transcript
  • Audio Notes
Vocabulary notes (text only) explain key vocabulary and phrases from the interview.


Water is about four dollars for 150 mil-bottles.

'mil' formally written 'M-L' is a spoken short form of the word milliliter. There are 1000 milliliters in one liter.  Notice the following:

  1. Wine is usually sold in 750 ml bottles.
  2. The medicine comes in 5 and 15 ml bottles.

runs off

It just runs off because the ground's so dry.

The verb phrase 'run off' describes the action of a liquid, usually water, when it hits a dry solid surface.  Notice the following:

  1. The wax ran off the candle onto the table.
  2. Rain just runs off my weatherproof jacket.

the run-off

You just have the run-off.

'Run-off' the noun form talks about the flow of rain water or snow-melt into rivers, seas or oceans. The best example of this is the water we see on a rainy day that runs into the sewers along the side of roads.  Notice the following:

  1. Factory run-off is a major cause of water pollution.
  2. In my hometown, winter run-off starts in the mountains and ends in the ocean.

soak it up

The ground doesn't soak it up.

The verb phrase 'soak up' means to same thing as 'absorb'.  Notice the following:

  1. The hot sun helped soak up the rain.
  2. There's so much rain the ground can't soak it up.


Australia is so vast.

A 'vast' area is very, very big.  Notice the following:

  1. Tokyo is vast but easy to get around.
  2. The Sahara desert is hot, dry, and vast.