Women at Arms: Mother and Medic


Writing tips – Separating Coordinate Adjectives

Grammar – Present Perfect Simple and Present Perfect Continuous

Answer Sheet: “Distracted Drivers”

Women at Arms: Mother and Medic

Video podcast:
“Women at Arms: Mother and Medic

Quote of the Day:

Plato (427 BC – 347 BC)

“I exhort you also to take part in the great combat, which is the combat of life, and greater than every other earthly combat.”



To deal (with, in)

Solving, coping, doing business. Slang: To buy and sell illegal drugs.

“to deal with a problem”, “to deal with our company”, “to deal in used cars”

“I couldn’t deal with it. I didn’t know how to love my children.”

To leave something or someone

To go away, depart, stop

“We leave for Europe tomorrow”, “The train left an hour ago”, “He left music to study law”

“Leave children at home and go to Iraq”

Come back, Coming back

To return, retort

“It all comes back to my memory”, “I asked him a question, and he came back at me with a witty remark”

“I didn’t know that coming back (home) would be so difficult and depressing.”

To be challenging

Difficult, testing one’s ability, though-provoking

“a challenging training course”, “a challenging game”, “a challenging test”


Unsuccessful outcome, becoming insolvent or bankrupt

“His efforts were a failure”, “the mission was a failure”, “the bank became insolvent and went bankrupt”

To snap

To talk to or interrupt a person quickly and sharply, to say words in quick, sharp, and commanding manner

“To snap complaints”, “to snap at children with anger”, “I didn’t know how bad our mom would snap at us”, “I would be snapping at my children for nothing and couldn’t stop”

To be raised

To grow, breed, care for

“To be raised as a child in a military family”

To serve

To be in service of, to render active service, to perform duties of

“To serve in the military”

To compel, to be compelled

To force, make, subdue and overpower someone

“She was compelled to serve after 9/11 Disaster in NY”, “The team was compelled to withdraw from the project after the customer changed the project specifications”


To enter into some cause, usually voluntarily, to enrol for military service

“Enlist to work as a medic with Iraq”, “He decided to enlist in the Marines”

See off

To see as someone leaves or departs (sets out) on a journey

“Seeing my mom off, seeing her leave was very distressful experience for me”

A calling

A profession or trade; a strong impulse, desire to do something, inclination

“My calling was to go to do what I did”, “She went to Iraq in response to her inner calling”



To lead organized cheering, as at sports events

The Reserves

The part of a country’s fighting force not in active service, the enrolled but not regular components of the U.S. Army

The National Guard

State military forces, in part equipped, trained, and quartered by the U.S. government, and paid by the U.S. government, that become an active component of the army when called into federal service by the president in civil emergencies.


Spreading out of troops so as to form an extended front or line

Front line positioning of troops


To spread out strategically, to come into a position ready for use

“To deploy a combat unit to Iraq”, “The plane can’t land unless the landing gear deploys”


To move or allocate to a different position, use, function, or the like; reassign

“I want to be redeployed in Iraq”, “the combat units were redeployed from one theatre of operations to another”

Incoming (shell)

Coming in, arriving

“The incoming tide”, “the incoming shell hit directly into the building”

Take a toll (on someone or something)

To cause damage or wear by using something or by hard living.

To have a bad effect on someone or something (often + on)

“Drug abuse takes quite a toll on the lives of people”, “Bringing up nine children had taken its toll on my mother.”

Act up

To behave badly

“Sometimes kids act up because they just want attention”, “Act up a lot at home”

Grades dropped

His school marks got worse after his mother left to Iraq


Posttraumatic stress disorder

Living pay check to pay check

Living from month to month, making just enough money to get by

Set somebody/something back also set back somebody/something

To delay or stop the progress of someone or something

“She suffered a set back. She realized she wasn’t physiologically ready for combat, to combine the traumatic burden of war and the obligations of a single mother.”

“I needed a second operation, which really set me back.” “New violence has set back the peace process.”

Decide against something

Not to do something; To rule against someone or something; To make a judgment against someone or something.

“Jane decided against the supplier.”

Listening Comprehension Answer Sheet

Instructions for completing the listening exercise

  • Listen to the recording once and answer the questions below.
  • Read the Vocabulary, and listen to the recording the second time. Correct and complete your answers.
  • Read the Script and check your answers

Detail questions

  1. What challenges did Ms. Holschlag experience when she returned from her deployment in Iraq?
  2. When and why did Ms. Holschlag enlist as a medic in Iraq?
  3. How many single mothers have served in Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001?
  4. How long was Ms. Holschlag deployed in Iraq for the first time?
  5. Why did Ms. Holschlag want to redeploy in Iraq after going through such a difficult come back?
  6. What made Ms. Holschlag decide against her redeployment?

Listening Comprehension Summary

Summarize in 50 words or less the main point of the recording you have listened to.

Writing tips – Separating Coordinate Adjectives

Use “,” (comma) to separate coordinate adjectives.

For example,

“That tall, distinguished, good looking fellow”, as opposed to, “the little old lady”.

If you can put an and or a but between the adjectives, a comma will probably belong there.

For example, “He is a tall and distinguished fellow” or “I live in a very old and run-down house.”

It is the same as, “He is a tall, distinguished man” and “I live in a very old, run-down house.”

But, you wouldn’t probably say, “She is a little and old lady,” or “I live in a little and purple house.” Commas would not appear between little and old or between little and purple.

Try it

The last book I read was interesting exciting.

We went to a small Italian restaurant.

He bought a powerful sporty car.

A compact sporty car roared by like lighting.

Grammar – Present Perfect Simple and Present Perfect Continuous

Present Perfect Simple

Finished actions with current relevance

What happened, not when!

Key words: Just, Already, Yet


(has or have + 3rd form of the verb)

I have worked. He has worked. We have worked.

I haven’t worked. He hasn’t worked. We haven’t worked.

Present Perfect Continuous


(has or have been verb+ing)

I have been working. He has been working. We have been working.

I haven’t been working. He hasn’t been working. We haven’t been working.

Present Perfect Simple: John has just finished his report.

Present Perfect Continuous: John has been finishing his report all day.

Present Perfect Simple: Jane has already shopped at this supermarket.

Present Perfect Continuous: Jane has been shopping at this supermarket for 10 minutes.

Present Perfect Simple: I have not spoken with Jack today, yet.

Present Perfect Continuous: I have been speaking with Jack for five minutes.

Try It

Correct these sentences

  1. We walk ten kilometres.
  2. We walk for three hours.
  3. You walk too fast. That’s why you are tired.
  4. He eats seven ice-creams.
  5. He has dinner for half an hour.
  6. I pick up 5 apples.
  7. I pick up apples since this morning.
  8. Our team performs very well since the beginning of the quarter.
  9. Our team generated 50 million in sales this month.
  10. I try to pass this exam twice.
  11. I study for this exam for 5 days.

Answer Sheet: Distracted Drivers

Listening Comprehension Answer Sheet

Detail questions

I. What activities are mentioned as some of the most frequent distracters of driving?

Cell phone, lighting/smoking of a cigarette, eating, texting, reading, clipping nails, putting on a make up.

II. Why are drivers who talk on the phone while driving considered being intoxicated?

Because drivers who talk on the phone often become so distracted as if they were really drunk.

III. What findings did the research of Ph.D. David Strayer reveal?

Distracted drivers can’t multitask as well as they would have if they paid all their attention to driving.

IV. What was the reaction of the general public to these findings and statistics?

Largely, by ignoring.


Listening Comprehension Summary

Write a 50 words or less summary of the recording you have listened to.


We often get distracted at the wheel, especially by calling and texting.

This reduces our attention, impedes our ability to multitask and substantially increases the risk of an accident.





Writing tips – The Sentence and Its Parts

A sentence expresses a complete thought, whereas a sentence fragment does not.

All sentences have two basic parts: the subject and the predicate.

A sentence often contains a subject, verb and an object in order to complete a thought.

A Direct Object receives the action of the verb.

An Indirect Object provides us extra information, such as to whom, to what, or for whom, for what. Indirect Objects appear between the verb and the Direct Object.


Try it

Indicate which sentences contain Indirect Objects:

1. The participants showed to the presenter their progress.


2. John studies English every day.


3. The company did not pay out dividends to its shareholders last month.


4. The manger awarded the most dynamic team member with an incentive bonus.


4. The General Manager instructed the staff of new policy changes.


Grammar – Present Continuous and Present Simple

Present Simple, in general, is used to express facts, laws, general events, routines and states of mind, sense, emotion, etc. (permanent situations)

Auxiliary verbs:

Be: am, is, are

Do: do, does

Present Continuous is usually used to emphasize that the situation is temporary or is in progress now (transitional situations).

Auxiliary verbs:

Be: —-

Do: be verb+ing

Try it

Put the verbs in brackets into the Present Simple or Continuous form:

1. You can’t talk to John now. He (have) meeting.

He is having a meeting.

2. How she often (go) to cinema?

How does she often go to cinema?

3. I (take) the bus today because my car is at the service station.

I am taking the bus today because my car is at the service station.

4. You (leave) now?

You are leaving now.

5. How often you (read) books?

How often do you read books?

6. Tom (call) the customer at the moment. He usually (meet) customers in person.

Tom is calling the customer at the moment. He usually meets customers in person.

7. I (see) that a new complaint has just been posted in our system. But, I can’t read it because I (not wear) my glasses.

I see that a new complaint has just been posted in our system. But, I can’t read it because I am not wearing my glasses.

8. The cake (smell) great.

The cake smells great.

9. I (hear) a loud noise outside.

I hear a loud noise outside.

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