Use Your English Quiz Time 6

C1 Advanced Use of English Column

Test your English, learn and get better with our fortnight Use of English quiz.

C1 Advanced use of English

C1 Use of English Quick Quiz

Do You Remember?

Revise the previous quizzes from our Advanced Use of English column. Good luck!

We hope our fortnight quizzes will do the trick. Not only will they help you step out of your comfort zone as an English learner, they will also enhance your English proficiency in the Cambridge C1 Advanced exam. Whatever the case might be ;), just try all out and you will get there!

Before you leave, I’ve got something interesting for you today. I’ve always been fascinated by idioms in English, and, each time I come across a new expression, I feel intrigued by the origin behind the idiom. For this reason, I’d like to share with you, each time you do a quiz, the story behind one expression. This will help you remember way faster a given idiom, as well as surprise your peers with your findings. 

In the limelight today:

English idiom



To use the ideas, policies, etc., devised by another person, political party, etc., for one’s own advantage or to anticipate their use by the originator. 


It was my idea, but you stole my thunder and turned it into an up-and-coming song without giving me credit.


Most modern sources agree that the idiom stems back to the 18th century, to the playwright and dramatist John Dennis. In February 1709, his play, Appius and Virginia, opened in London following six weeks of royal mourning after the death of Queen Anne’s husband, Prince George of Denmark. Unfortunately, it didn’t go down well with audiences, who described it as boring, and so was shut down after four nights. 

So, the play was a flop! This is despite the fact he’d invented an innovative thunder machine that mimicked the sound of thunder better than any other device that came before it. Later, the performance Macbeth was put on and the theatre company used Dennis’s thunder techniques without his permission. As Robert Shiels and Theophilus Cibber wrote in The Lives of the Poets of Great Britain and Ireland:

“Mr. Dennis happened once to go to the play, when a tragedy was acted, in which the machinery of thunder was introduced, a new artificial method of producing which he had formerly communicated to the managers. Incensed by this circumstance, he cried out in a transport of resentment, ‘That is my thunder by G—d; the villains will play my thunder, but not my plays.”

Fancy watching today’s idiom-related video? Here you are Steal someone’s thunder

So, this is when and how the idiom “steal my thunder” was born!

You’ve armed yourself with your daily dose of knowledge, have you! Now you do deserve a study break!

Stay tuned for more words of advice and handy material!

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