New Yorker cartoonist Liza Donnelly shares a portfolio of her wise and funny cartoons about modern life — and talks about how humor can empower women to change the rules.









  • womanhood – the state or condition of being a woman
  • shadowy – used to refer to someone or something about which little is known; mysterious
  • to eat sth up – to enjoy sth greatly
  • imprinted – marked; stamped
  • tenuous – uncertain or weak
  • to bring sth to a table – to provide or offer a useful skill or attribute
  • to get at the truth – to succeed in discovering the truth
  • succinctly – in a concise or verbally brief manner

Use the right form of the verb ”to be” in these gapped sentences below:

(go to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmlRinjYKfM to check your answers)


I ….. (1) afraid of womanhood. Not that I ….. (2) not afraid now, but I’ve learned to pretend. I’ve learned to …. (3) flexible.

Back in the ‘50s and 160s when I …… (4) growing up, little girls ….. (5) supposed to …… (6) kind and thoughtful and pretty and gentle and soft, and we ……  (7) supposed to fit into roles that ….. (8) sort of shadowy.

We know there …. (9) rules out there but we don’t always know we don’t perform them right, even though we …… (10) imprinted at birth with these things, and we …… (11) told what the most important colour in the world is. (…)

Now the rules that I’m talking about are constantly ……. (12) monitored by the culture.We …. (13) ……. (14) corrected.

We always have this vague notion that something …… (15) expected of us. (…)

My work lately …… (16) to collaborate with international cartoonists (…).


Key: 1. was; 2. am; 3. be; 4. was; 5. were; 6. be; 7. were; 8. were; 9. are ; 10. are; 11. are ; 12. being; 13. are; 14. being; 15. is; 16. has been


Practice Makes Perfect

Fill in the gaps in the sentences below with the right word in bold:

bring (sth) to the table           succinctly        

  womanhood             shadowy              tenuous


  1. She had done so much that no one could think how to put it into words ……. .
  2. A moment later a ………….. figure came into view.
  3. Terry was the right person to hire – he …….  a lot of experience and some important skills ………… .
  4. The money was good but the work ………… and difficult.
  5. Girls might face difficult times as they grow into………….. .


 ANSWERS: 1. succinctly; 2. shadowy; 3.  brought … to the table; 4. tenuous; 5. womanhood                   




  • Do you laugh a lot? Is laughter important for you?
  • What’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the sound of laughter?
  • When is laughter wrong or ill-advised?
  • Can you always contain your laughter?
  • What are the differences between chuckling, roaring or bursting into laughter?
  • Do men and women laugh about different things?




Explore it more to create your own teaching-learning experience!


Laughter isn’t always positive or healthy