One of my students (thanks Andrey!) came up with the idea of trying Fargo English lessons. ‘Fargo’ is a new US crime thriller. These lessons are for season 2, and only episode 1 has been on the screens so far. As the other episodes appear, I will write exercises and put them here. I hope you all retell the show to your teachers and friends, and I’m sure your English will improve with practice.

Fargo English Lessons
Fargo English Lessons – Series 2

 

Episode 1

 

Characters

Floyd Gerhardt (tough matriarch of the Gerhardt family)
Otto Gerhardt (patriarch of family)
Rye Gerhardt (youngest of the three sons)
Bear Gerhardt (biggest of the three sons)
Dodd Gerhardt (eldest the three sons)
Lou Solverson (state trooper) Betsy Solverson (wife)
Hank Larsson (Sheriff)
Karl (friend of Lou’s)
Peggy Blomquist and Ed (the butcher)

Comprehension

1) When and where is this TV show set? Is it fact or fiction?
2) Why have the illegal profits of the family gone down?
3) What machine is Rye going to be the sole distributor of, provided that he can persuade the judge to unfreeze the accounts of his friend?
4) What story does the judge tell Rye while they are sitting in the diner?

5) What dire consequences ensue after the judge refuses to change her mind?
6) What does Rye see after the murders?
7) What do Hank and Lou talk about while at the scene of the triple homicide?
8) What does Hank see up a tree, near the crime scene?
9) What is Karl constantly going on about?
10) What kind of treatment has Betsy recently undergone?
11) What does Betsy ask her husband when he comes home?
12) What does Ed find in his garage? Why? What do they resolve to do?
13) What kind of business is the Gerhardt family involved in?

 

Match the words in the two columns to make phrases from the show

 

to unfreeze debts
to freak homicide
gambling distributor
sole s.o out
a devout the accounts
a triple A conclusion
military believer
to jump to marks
a botched industrial complex
skid robbery
To run s.o over
To take s.t over

 

 

Put the collocations in the following sentences

 

  • As soon as you talk to the judge and she unfreezes the ____, then we can turn on the money spigot.
  • Assuming you’re willing to forget certain ____ debts owed to your family.
  • We’ll be the sole ____ of this machine in the Mid-West region.
  • Please, lady! You’re ____ me out a little! (scaring me!)
  • Job was a ____ believer in God.
  • There was a triple ____ at the waffle restaurant.
  • Connecting the ____marks to the triple homicide would be jumping to ____.
  • Hank thinks the triple homicide is a ____ robbery.
  • She ran ____ Rye and then her husband stabbed him with a gardening tool.
  • In 1950 Otto ____ over the trucking business

 

Grammar – Gerunds and Infinitives

Use GERUNDS:
As the subject of the sentence
After prepositions
After certain verbs (admit, deny, consider, regret, suggest, recommend etc..)

Use to + infinitive:
To express purpose (in order to)
After adjectives
After certain verbs

Use infinitives (without to):
After modal verbs
After make, let and help

Fill in the following sentences with gerunds and infinitives

1) ____ the skid marks to the triple homicide would ____ jumping to conclusions. (connect / be)

2) He said that he’s thinking of ____ next year. (retire)
3) ____ the butchers shop would be great! (own)
4) Rye has to make the judge ____ the accounts of his friend, in order ____ sole distributor of the typewriter. (unfreeze / become)
5) ____ you’re willing ____ certain gambling debts owed to your family. (assume / forget)
6) Peggy admitted ____ him over when her husband found and killed him.  (run)
7) You should always ____ back your gambling debts. (pay)
8) Peggy was too scared ____ to the police after ____ Rye over. (go / run)
9) She persuaded Ed ____ her ____ up the crime. (help / cover)
10) The judge refused ____ her mind. (change)
11) Peggy regretted ____ Rye over. (run)

Discussion questions

  • Do you think this really is based on a true story?
  • Have you ever had any gambling debts?
  • Have you ever left skid marks on the road? What happened?
  • At what age are you thinking of retiring at?
  • Do you think Peggy and Ed made the right decision? Not going to the police? Will they succeed in covering up their crime?
  • Which of the sons do you think will take over the family business?
  • Do you think the Gerhardt’s will be able to resist the other gang which wants to take over their business?
  • Have you ever been involved in a car accident? Or run over an animal?

Answers:

1) Minnesota, USA. 1979. It claims to be a true story, with fake names, but real events.
2) Another outfit (gang) from the South have been competing in the gambling, drugs and prostitution business.
3) A kind of electric typewriter.
4) She tells him the story of the book of Job (from the bible). Her point is that if the Devil couldn’t change Job’s mind, how could he change her mind?

5) Rye shoots the 2 employees and the judge, after the judge sprays him in the eyes with bug spray.
6) He sees a UFO in the sky, but while he is distracted he is hit by a car.

7)  Firstly, Hank recognizes one of the victims (Henry Blanton). Next, they talk about their wives, and how Hank has been invited to dinner. It’s a very domestic conversation. Next they discuss the series of events which have taken place at the waffle hut.
8) He sees a shoe in the tree.

9) He’s constantly going on about conspiracy theories, the military industrial complex, Kennedy assassination etc..
10) She has had chemotherapy, so she must have cancer.
11) Do you think there was an accomplice in the getaway car? His wife is very interested in the case.
12) Ed finds Rye and a fight ensues. Rye is in his garage because Peggy ran him over outside the waffle restaurant, and his body remained stuck in her windshield. Peggy was scared, and decided to just drive home and pretend it had never happened. In the end, Ed stabs Rye with a gardening tool. So Ed and Peggy resolve to ‘clean up’ the mess they have made.
13) The Gerhardt family control trucking and distribution for the entire Mid-West

 

Put the collocations in the following sentences

  • As soon as you talk to the judge and she unfreezes the accounts, then we can turn on the money spigot.
  • Assuming you’re willing to forget certain gambling debts owed to your family.
  • We’ll be the sole distributor of this machine in the Mid-West region.
  • Please, lady! You’re freaking me out a little!
  • Job was a devout believer in God.
  • There was a triple homicide at the waffle restaurant.
  • Connecting the skid marks to the triple homicide would be jumping to conclusions.
  • Hank thinks the triple homicide is a botched robbery.
  • She ran over Rye and then her husband stabbed him with a gardening tool.
  • In 1950 Otto took over the trucking business

Fill in the following sentences with gerunds and infinitives

  • Connecting the skid marks to the triple homicide would be jumping to conclusions.
  • He said that he’s thinking of retiring next year.
  • Owning the butchers shop would be great!
  • Rye has to make the judge unfreeze the accounts of his friend, in order to become sole distributor of the typewriter.
  • Assuming you’re willing to forget certain gambling debts owed to your family.
  • Peggy admitted running him over when her husband found and killed him.
  • You should always pay back your gambling debts.
  • Peggy was too scared to go to the police after running Rye over.
  • She persuaded Ed to help her cover up the crime.
  • The judge refused to change her mind.
  • Peggy regretted running Rye over.

More Fargo English Lessons coming soon…

More lessons for TV shows

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Learn English with Sherlock (UK): upper intermediate level
Learn English with Sherlock (US): advanced level
Learn English with Willy Fogg: pre intermediate level
Learn English with Father Tedintermediate level
Learn English with Blackadder: upper intermediate level
Learn English with Harry potter: intermediate level