A Quick English Lesson in Honor of Halloween

A fun Halloween post that teaches the meaning of an American English idiom, a “play on words”, if you will. Happy Halloween!

Ankara Legal English


Question:  What does it mean to “drive a stick”?

Answer: Driving a stick means driving a car that has a manual transmission.  The “stick” is short for the “stick shift” in English.

The Joke: In literature and film, witches fly on a broom – also known as a broomSTICK.  So she (or he) DRIVES a STICK!


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9 thoughts on “A Quick English Lesson in Honor of Halloween

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      1. I’ve never been asked before 😀 (I can’t drive – never learned) but I’m told by my betters that it’s called a gear stick! But, as I said, it’s never really mentioned as few people drive cars with automatic transmission. Unusually, Liam is only licensed to drive an automatic car as he couldn’t get to grips with the gear stick/clutch combo!

  1. I’m with Jack here, an Englishman (or woman) would gaze at you blankly if you just use ‘stick’ – sticks fall off trees or have lollies attached (and sometime not which results in many tears and tantrums). Gear is invariably attached to ‘stick’ and only rarely to ‘shift’ when associated with cars and trucks or lorries or artics (never ‘semi’). As that wicked old despot Winston Churchill once said that the (US) Americans and the British are ‘two peoples divided by a common language.’ Here’s a teaser for your students at Ankara legal (US) English: how many times in succession can you use the word ‘and’ in a sentence and still have it make perfect sense? – this is not a trick question.

  2. ps there are no ‘men’ witches – witches are witches. ‘Men’ witches are called warlocks. I’m noted for being a bit of a pedant as well as being a ‘boffer’ (English interpretation of ‘boffer’ not US)! 😉

    1. Alan, every time you and your British cohorts comment, I have to look up a ton of words! Lorries? Artics? Thanks for keeping me busy. 🙂 I will think about your teaser and get back to you, but my first guess would be zero. Also, I agree that back in the days of Samantha’s “Bewitched” that witches were women and warlocks were men. But this is 2014 – actors are actors – flight attendants are flight attendants – Witches and Warlocks? Hmmmmmmmm.

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