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Everyday English 1
Everyday English 1

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3.3 Images

Different kinds of images
Figure 16 Different kinds of images

All of the following are types of image:

  • photographs, charts, maps, illustrations, cartoons, diagrams, graphs, logos and symbols.

Many people spend hours each week watching television and films or playing computer games. You will be used to seeing all kinds of images. Your computer and phone screens are full of images. These are the symbols that tell you which apps you can open.

Often a picture can tell you much more than a written text. You may have heard of the saying, ‘A picture is worth a thousand words.’

This means that it can be very difficult to explain what something is like or how to do something, whereas one simple picture can make something easy to understand.

You now look at why images and symbols are used in texts and how images can add extra meaning.

Activity 25 Images around you

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes
  1. Take a few minutes to think about all the images you see on a typical day and note down as many as you can. Include the images you see around you right now.
  2. There are two examples below. What do these road signs mean?
Two road signs
Figure 17 Two road signs
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  1. The kind of images you see every day include the following:
    • company logos
    • app logos
    • road signs
    • ID badge photos
    • health and safety signs
    • pictures on packaging.
  2. The first road sign means warning or caution.

    The second road sign means ‘Danger of driving off the road’.

Activity 26 Symbols and meanings

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

Now look at the following symbols. What does each one mean to you? Drag each symbol to the meaning you usually give to it.

Using the following two lists, match each numbered item with the correct letter.

  1. a skull and crossbones

  2. a red cross

  3. a cross or crucifix

  4. a tick

  5. five rings linked together

  6. US flag with stars and stripes

  • a.Olympics, unity

  • b.correct, good or finished

  • c.Christianity

  • d.a Red Cross organisation, first aid

  • e.United States of America

  • f.pirates, danger

The correct answers are:
  • 1 = f
  • 2 = d
  • 3 = c
  • 4 = b
  • 5 = a
  • 6 = e

Signs and symbols are important because they:

  • can be understood by people who do not speak the language of the text
  • can help to explain how to do something
  • add meaning to written texts
  • can make texts more interesting and keep your attention.

In summary, you can tell a lot about a text from the way it looks and how it is laid out.

You now turn to reading a text: reading carefully and finding the information you actually need.