My Fair Lady / Pygmalion- worksheets and questions

 Movies in English — «My Fair Lady»

«But, let a woman in your life and your serenity is through…»


Task 1. Discuss the issues from the movie «My Fair Lady» in pairs or small groups:

1. Did your father ever do any housework/take care of the children/cook?
2. Who does most of the housework in your home now?
3. What makes you angry with men/women?
4. What do you like about men /women?
5. Is it more fun to be a girl or to be a boy?
6. Is it harder for men or women to grow old?
7. Women live longer than men. Why do you think this is true?
8. What would make the world the better place?
9. Is it OK for a woman to go out with a younger man? Why or why not?
10. When you were a child, were you allowed to shout? fight? run?
11. Did you have to help with the housework? Why or why not?
12. Were there different rules for boys and girls?
13. “A mother is more important than a father.” Is this true?
14. “Men are more intelligent than women.” Is this true?
15. Is God male or female? Or both?
16. Do you think it would be a good idea if women ran the world? Why?
17. Do women listen to men too much? Why or why not?
18. Are women afraid of men? Why or why not?
19. What is hard about being a woman? A man?
20. What is good about being a woman? A man?
21. Is it okay for men to stay home and women to go to work?
22. Do you think most parents want boys or girls? Why?
23. Do men or women have a more difficult life?
24. What do you think equality is?
25. How are women portrayed on TV? In movies? In music videos? In commercials? In newspapers? In magazines?
26. How are men portrayed on TV? In movies? In music videos? In commercials? In newspapers? In magazines?
27. What did your culture teach you about being a woman? A man?
28. Is it important for women to get a good education? Why?
29. Is it important for men to get a good education? Why?
30. Who has more money – men or women? Why?
31. Who has more free time – men or women? Why?
32. Who has more responsibility for children – men or women? Why?
33. Should women always look beautiful? Why?
34. Should men always look handsome? Why?
35. Do you think marriage is good for men? Women?
36. Do you think women should have children? Why?
37. Is it important for a woman to marry a man with money? Why?
38. Is it important for a woman to make her own money? Why?
39. What is the right age for a woman to marry? Why? For a man?

Task 2. Research some relevant background information to find out the following details:

a) a profile of the playwright — George Bernard Shaw;
b) the source of the play’s name — Pygmalion;
c) the connection between Pygmalion and the musical show;
d) a definition of the expression «A Pygmalion Effect».

VIEWING ACTIVITIES FOR My Fair Lady and Pygmalion

Watch «Pygmalion«

Task 1. While you watch, ask yourself:

  • what role speech and language play in social classes;
  • how women should be treated by men;
  • how social morals, leadership, friendship, education, and life decisions have changed in the twenty-first century;
  • why the characters do the things they do and how they make their decisions;
  • how the characters speak.

Task 2. Focus on the main characters.

Watch how the characters interact, react, influence each other, change or stay the same. Which characters are leaders? Followers? Which characters are positive influences on the others? Which are negative?

Task 3. Have 8-10 questions by the time the movie ends.

These questions will be used as a basis for a discussion later in the track. You are free to consider any scene, character, theme, etc.


TASK 1. Answer the following questions:

1. Where is the scene laid?
2. When did the action take place?
3. Who are the main characters?
4. How does Eliza Doolittle make her living?
5. What does she look like?
6. Who ran into Eliza and what happened to her flowers?
7. Who was Higgins taken for and why?
8. What will keep Eliza in the gutter to the end other days in Higgins’ opinion?
9. Why can’t the English teach their children how to speak?
10. What did Higgins say he could make of Eliza?
11. What was Colonel Pickering famous for and what did he come to London for?

TASK 2. Who made these remarks? Say them in indirect speech. Describe the situations.

“Two bunches of violets, trod in the mud. A full day’s wages.”
“I haven’t done anything wrong by speaking to the gentleman.”
“Don’t let him charge me. They will take away my character and drive me on the streets for speaking to gentlemen.”
“Who is hurting you? That do you take me for? Do I look like a policeman?”
“I can place a man within six miles. I can place him within two miles in London. Sometimes within two streets.”
“Remember that you are a human being with a soul and the divine gift of articulate speech that your native language is the language of Shakespeare and Milton.”
“If you spoke as she does instead of the way you do, you might be selling flowers, too.”
“Why don’t you look where you are going?”
“Her way of speaking, not her wretched clothes and dirty face, that keep her in the gutter.”
“Do you want me to catch pneumonia?”
“I myself am a student of Indian dialects.”


TASK 1. Remember the following words and phrases:

to wallop – сильно побить
to jot down – кратко записать
strew (strewed- strewn) — раскидать
presumptuous – самоуверенный
naughty – непослушный, вредный
lingo – непонятный жаргон, тарабарщина

TASK 2. Answer the following questions:

1. Describe Professor Higgins’ study in Wimpole Street.
2. Why did Eliza come to visit Professor Higgins?
3. Why was Henry Higgins disappointed when he recognized Eliza?
4. Why did Henry Higgins say that it was the biggest offer he ever had?
5. In what way did Colonel Pickering make Henry Higgins accept the offer?
6. Why did Henry Higgins consider the experiment almost irresistible?
7. What instruction did Henry Higgins give to Mrs. Pearce?
8. Why was Mrs. Pearce against the whole thing?
9. How did Prof. Higgins explain the aim of the experiment to Eliza?
10. What did Henry Higgins think of the outcome of the experiment?
11. What type of man did Henry Higgins think he was and what was his idea of women and why did he consider it impossible to make friends with women?

TASK 3. Comment on the remarks. Say who and under what circumstances made them, what preceded and followed them.

“If you were a gentleman, you might ask me to sit down.”
“If you consider a shilling, not as a simple shilling but as a percentage of this girl’s income, it works out as fully equivalent to sixty or seventy pounds from a millionaire.”
“Are you a man of a good character where women are concerned?”
“І am a confirmed old bachelor, and likely to remain so.”
“If the girl is to put herself in your hands for six month for an experiment in
teaching, she must understand thoroughly what she is doing.”
“І won’t let anybody wallop me.”
“In six months — in three if she has a good ear and a quick tongue, I’ll take her anywhere and pass her off as anything.”
“Forgive the bluntness but if I’m to be in this business, I shall feel responsible for the girl. I hope it is clearly understood that no advantage is to be taken of her
“І find that the moment I let a woman make friends with me she becomes jealous, exacting, suspicious and a damned nuisance.”

TASK 4. Explain the meaning of the following in your own words.

1. I’ll say you are the greatest teacher alive if you can make that good.
2. She is so deliciously low, so horrible dirty.
3. You can’t walk over everybody like this.


TASK 1. Answer the following questions:

1. What is Ascot?
2. What was Ascot for Mrs. Higgins?
3. Why did Professor Higgins bring Eliza to Ascot?
4. What bet did Colonel Pickering make with Professor Higgins?
5. What did Professor Higgins teach Eliza?
6. What impression did Eliza produce at first?
7. Why do you think Eliza failed at her first try?

TASK 2. Who made these remarks? Use these remarks in indirect speech. Describe the situations.

“What a disagreeable surprise. Ascot is usually the one place I can come to with my friends and not run the risk of seeing my ion. Whenever my friends meet him, I never see them again.”
“He had to come. He is taking the girl to the annual Embassy Ball and wanted to try out first.”
“Heaven’s, no!. She is a flower girl. He picked her up off the kerbstone.”
“You’d better stay close to the car. I may be leaving abruptly.”
“I’ve heard you’ve brought a common flower girl from Covent Garden to my box at Ascot.”
“Being pinned. Some of the clothes we bought for her didn’t quite fit.”
“The first race was very exciting. I’m so sorry you missed it.”
“The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain. But in Hertford, Hereford and Hampshire hurricanes hardly ever happen.”
«The rain in Spain falls mainly in the plain» is not just a catchy old refrain. Yes, it’s the number from «My Fair Lady» in which professor Henry Higgins coaxes the cockney girl Eliza Doolittle to speak like a proper lady. But it also illustrates the dominant method used to teach generations of American actors to speak like, well, proper actors.
“I’ve taught her to speak properly and she has strict orders as to her behavior. She’s to keep to two subjects: the weather and everybody’s health and not just let herself go on things in general. Help her along. You’ll be quite safe.”

TASK 3. Explain the meaning of the following in your own words.

1. He may be the life and soul of the Royal Society soirees but he ‘s rather trying on more commonplace occasions.
2. Then she came to so sudden that she bit the bow off the spoon.
3. Oh, that’s the new small talk.
4. Gin was mother’s milk to her.


TASK 1. Answer the following questions:

1. When and where was the scene laid?
2. In what state of mood was Colonel Pickering before the ball?
3. What did Colonel Pickering worry about?
4. What did he accuse Higgins of?
5. Why do you think Eliza mattered immensely to Higgins?
6. What can you say about Z. Karpathy?
7. Describe the outcome of the ball.

TASK 2. Who made these remarks? Use them in indirect speech. Describe situations.

“Suppose she’s discovered. Suppose she makes another ghastly mistake?”
“I warned you about those French designers.”
“You act as if she does not matter at all.”
“I’ve grown terribly fond of that girl.”
“I’ve made your name famous throughout Europe.”

TASK 3. Explain the meaning of the following in your own words.

1. Higgins this is no time for flippancy. The way you have driven her these last six weeks has exceeded all the bounds of common…
2. Are you sure she’ll retain all you’ve hammered into her?
3. I have not your imposing appearance, your figure, and your brow.
4. I make him pay though the nose.


TASK 1. Who made these remarks and under what circumstances?

“Her English is too good which clearly indicates that she is foreign.”
“I’ve won your bet for you.”
“Has anybody behaved badly to you?”
“Hit you! Your infamous creature. How dare you accuse me of such a thing? It is you who have hit me. You have wounded me to the heart.”
“How did you learn manners with my son around?”
“Then get out of my way for I won’t stop for you.”
“Stop being a plain idiot. If you are going to be a lady you’ll have to stop feeling neglected if the men you know don’t spend half their time sniveling over you and the other half giving you black eyes.”
“I’ll many Freddy, as soon as I’m able to support him.”
“I don’t want him to work: he wasn’t brought up to it as I was.”
“Five minutes ago you were a millstone around my neck. Now you are a tower of strength, a consort battleship. I like you like this.”

Post — Viewing Activities for My Fair Lady

TASK 1. Explain your answers in 3 or 4 sentences each.

1. What do you know about the author of the play on which the film «My Fair Lady is based»?
2. If you were a scriptwriter, what end of the film would you suggest?
3. Are you impressed by the actors? What can you say about their acting?
4. Entitle the scenes we discussed and give short accounts of the scenes.
5. What is the main idea of the play?
6. What brought Eliza to Professor Higgins?
7. What did we learn of Eliza and her life?
8. What was it that helped the girl to make such a remarkable progress?
9. Why was Eliza so upset when the experiment was over?
10. What kind of person was Professor Higgins?
11. Why was professor attracted by the idea of the experiment?
12. How does professor’s attitude to Eliza characterize him?
13. What type of man was Colonel Pickering? Describe him.
14. What did Pickering come from India for?
15. What notions are challenged in the play? (Against what is the criticism of the play directed?
16. Why do you think this movie is called My Fair Lady?
17. If you had to give the movie a different name, what would you give it?
18. Would you recommend this movie to a friend? Give two reasons for your answer.
19. How believable is this movie? Explain your answer with three good reasons why it is or isn’t believable.
20. Was My Fair Lady a “good watch?” Why or Why Not?
21. To whom would you recommend watching it?
22. What was your most (least) favourite episode in the film?
23. Who starred as the main characters in the movie version of the play Pygmalion?
24. What is the most significant thing you have learned from watching the movie?

TASK 2. Describe the characters:

Professor Higgins:
— his appearance, profession and hobby;
— his thoughts about the verbal class distinction and elementary education in English society;
— Prove that Professor Higgins was a remarkable scholar.
Eliza Doolittle:
— her appearance, occupation;
— her earnings;
— dreams.
Colonel Pickering:
— his ambitions;
— his appearance, profession.

TASK 3. Explain the meaning of the following in your own words.

To call smb smth to set a good example to smb
to mean no harm to pass smb off as …
to utter smth to believe smth
to spot smb by one’s brogue to stay at
to be painful to to be short for
to charge smb with smth to be stuffed with

TASK 4. Make up sentences based on the film. Use the following:

In white tie;
to suffer embarrassment;
to call off smth;
to quieten one’s nerves;
to retain;
to be at stake;
to be indirect;
to be captivated; Ø brow;
to be indispensable to smb;
to make smth. famous;
to make smb pay through the nose.

TASK 5. Fill in the сhart with as many details as you can find.

Name of Character

Position in Society


Place of Birth

One Famous Quote

Eliza Dolittle    
Henry Higgins    
Colonel Pickering    
Mrs. Pearce    
Alfred Dolittle    
Mrs. Eynsford-Hill    
Freddie Eynsford-Hill    

TASK 6. Summarize the essential differences between a northern working class girl and an urban (i.e. London) upper class girl.

TASK 7. Read the quotations below and discuss in pairs if you agree or disagree with what is said by Higgins to Eliza. Comment on them.

“If you can’t appreciate what you’ve got, you’d better get what you can appreciate.” (Higgins)
“I know your head aches. I know you’re tired. I know your nerves are as raw as meat in a butcher’s window. But think what you’re trying to accomplish. Think what you’re dealing with. The majesty and grandeur of the English language, it’s the greatest possession we have. The noblest thoughts that ever flowed through the hearts of men are contained in its extraordinary, imaginative, and musical mixtures of sounds. And that’s what you’ve set yourself out to conquer, Eliza. And conquer it you will.”
(Higgins to Eliza, regarding her strenuous language tutoring)