The Most Complicated Word

Theresa  - author of the lesson   Theresa I January 21, 2024
General English, Speaking Lessons
Education, Language Learning
B1 Intermediate
Grammar, Speaking, Vocabulary, Listening
Lesson ID
Lesson Time
45 minutes
Students engaged in an ESL lesson about language learning, discussing various aspects and methods while learning and practicing prefixes and vocabulary related to this topic.

Lesson Overview

Do you know all of the ins and outs of the English language? In this lesson, students will discuss language learning. This lesson features a video of a Finnish comedian who talks about American English and how “ass” is the most challenging and complicated English word. Students will learn and practice prefixes and vocabulary relating to this topic. The lesson includes plenty of engaging discussion activities and worksheets that have been developed for adult and teenage learners.

Lesson Objectives

  • Grammar: Students will learn about prefixes and how they change word meanings. They'll practice using prefixes like "anti-", "hyper-", and "mis-" in different contexts.

  • Listening: Learners will watch and listen to a video of a Finnish comedian discussing the complexities of the word "ass" in American English, highlighting the subtleties and challenges of language learning.

  • Speaking: Students will engage in discussions about language learning, sharing their experiences and the difficulties they face, especially with words that have multiple meanings or uses.

  • Vocabulary: Key vocabulary includes prefixes and their meanings, and phrases like "lazy-ass husband," "overreact," and "misunderstand." Understanding these will help students grasp how prefixes modify word meanings.

  • Homework: Tasks include exercises on choosing correct answers, matching words with prefixes, using expressions correctly, and correcting sentences with prefix errors. These will reinforce understanding of the lesson's grammar and vocabulary concepts.


“That is a blue-ass shirt.” “Those are badass.” “Move your ass!” Did you know all of these phrases mean something different? Watch this video of a Finnish comedian talking about American English and how “ass” is the most challenging and complicated English word.

Video Transcript

Vocabulary and Pronunciation

stand-up [adjective]: relating to a comedic performance to a live audience
improv [adjective]: relating to improvisation, especially as a theatrical technique
subtle [adjective]: so delicate or precise as to be difficult to analyze or describe
scoot over [phrasal verb]: to move one’s sitting self or seat aside so the other person has more space
break a leg [idiom]: an expression that means good luck
sympathize [verb]: to feel or express sympathy; to agree with a sentiment or opinion
curriculum [noun]: the courses offered by an educational institution
globalization [noun]: the process by which businesses or other organizations develop international influence or start operating on an international scale
overrated [adjective]: rated or valued too highly
underestimate [verb]: to estimate as being less than the actual size, quantity, or number; to place too low a value on
hyperventilation [noun]: rapid or deep breathing, usually caused by anxiety or panic
postgraduate [adjective]: of, relating to, or engaged in formal studies after graduation
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