Chapter 11 – If I Were You

If I Were You



Page No 138:

Question 1:

• Gerrard lives alone in a lonely cottage. An intruder, who is a criminal, enters his cottage. He intends to murder Gerrard and take on his identity. Does he succeed?

• The following words and phrases occur in the play. Do you know their meanings? Match them with the meanings given, to find out.

culturedan informal expression for a fashionable vehicle
count onunnecessary and usually harmful
melodramaticsophisticated; well mannered
to be smarthere, a tone of voice
wise guyan unexpected opportunity for success
a dandy bustrap
tradespeoplea Christian religious teacher who teaches on Sundays in Church
gratuitous(American English) a person who pretends to know a lot
dodgedepend on; rely on
lucky break(American English) an informal way of saying that one is being too clever
Sunday-school teacheroccupied; busy


• No, the intruder does not succeed in fulfilling his plans because he is outsmarted by Gerrard’s wit.

culturedsophisticated; well mannered
count ondepend on; rely on
engagedoccupied; busy
to be smart(American English) an informal way of saying that one is being too clever
inflectionhere, a tone of voice
wise guy(American English) a person who pretends to know a lot
a dandy busan informal expression for a fashionable vehicle
gratuitousunnecessary and usually harmful
lucky breakan unexpected opportunity for success
Sunday-school teachera Christian religious teacher who teaches on Sundays in Church

Page No 144:

Question 1:

“At last a sympathetic audience.”

(i) Who says this?

(ii) Why does he say it?

(iii) Is he sarcastic or serious?


(i) The speaker of the given line is Gerrard.

(ii) He says it as he is asked by the intruder to speak about himself.

(iii) He speaks the given dialogue sarcastically.

Question 2:

Why does the intruder choose Gerrard as the man whose identity he wants to take on?


The intruder chooses Gerrard as the man whose identity he wants to take on as they were of similar built.

Question 3:

“I said it with bullets.”

(i) Who says this?

(ii) What does it mean?

(iii) Is it the truth? What is the speaker’s reason for saying this?


(i) Gerrard says the given line.

(ii) It means that when things went wrong, he had used his gun to shoot someone for his escape.

(iii) No, it is not the truth. The speaker says this to save himself from getting shot by the intruder.

Question 4:

What is Gerrard’s profession? Quote the parts of the play that support your answer.


Gerrard is a playwright by profession. Several parts of the play that reflect this. Some of these are:

• “This is all very melodramatic, not very original, perhaps, but…”

• “At last a sympathetic audience!”

• “In most melodramas the villain is foolish enough to delay his killing long enough to be frustrated”.

• “I said, you were luckier than most melodramatic villains.”

• “That’s a disguise outfit; false moustaches and what not”.

• “Sorry I can’t let you have the props in time for rehearsal, I’ve had a spot of bother – quite amusing. I think I’ll put it in my next play.”

Question 5:

“You’ll soon stop being smart.”

(i) Who says this?

(ii) Why does the speaker say it?

(iii) What according to the speaker will stop Gerrard from being smart?


(i) The intruder says the line under reference.

(ii) Peeved at the smartness displayed by Gerrard, the intruder says this to warn him against acting smart as he is unaware of the consequences that he might suffer.

(iii) The speaker thinks that Gerrard would stop acting smart once he comes to know about his plan to kill Gerrard and take over his identity.

Page No 145:

Question 6:

“They can’t hang me twice.”

(i) Who says this?

(ii) Why does the speaker say it?


(i) The speaker of the given line is the intruder.

(ii) Since he is already being hunted for having killed someone else, murdering Gerrard won’t make any difference. Hence, he says that he cannot be hanged twice.

Question 7:

“A mystery I propose to explain.” What is the mystery the speaker proposes to explain?


The speaker proposes to explain the mystery about himself. He tells the intruder that he would not be able to lead a peaceful life even as Vincient Gerrard. This is because he himself is a criminal living an unstable life, being hunted by the police.

Question 8:

“This is your big surprise.”

(i) Where has this been said in the play?

(ii) What is the surprise?


(i) This has been said twice in the play. On the first occasion, it is spoken by the intruder while revealing his plan to kill Gerrard. Secondly, it is spoken by Gerrard before he reveals his fictitious identity to the intruder.

(ii) The intruder’s surprise is his plan to kill Gerrard and take on his identity to lead a secure and hassle-free life. Whereas, Gerrard’s surprise is his fictitious identity, his way of refraining the intruder from killing him.

Question 1:

Consult your dictionary and choose the correct word from the pairs given in brackets.

1. The (site, cite) of the accident was (ghastly/ghostly).

2. Our college (principle/principal) is very strict.

3. I studied (continuously/continually) for eight hours.

4. The fog had an adverse (affect/effect) on the traffic.

5. Cezanne, the famous French painter, was a brilliant (artist/artiste).

6. The book that you gave me yesterday is an extraordinary (collage/college) of science fiction and mystery.

7. Our school will (host/hoist) an exhibition on cruelty to animals and wildlife conservation.

8. Screw the lid tightly onto the top of the bottle and (shake/shape) well before using the contents.


1. The site of the accident was ghastly.

2. Our college principal is very strict.

3. I studied continuously for eight hours.

4. The fog had an adverse effect on the traffic.

5. Cezanne, the famous French painter, was a brilliant artist.

6. The book that you gave me yesterday is an extraordinary collage of science fiction and mystery.

7. Our school will host an exhibition on cruelty to animals and wildlife conservation.

8. Screw the lid tightly onto the top of the bottle and shake well before using the contents.

Question 2:

Irony is when we say one thing but mean another, usually the opposite of what we say. When someone makes a mistake and you say, “Oh! That was clever!” that is irony. You’re saying ‘clever’ to mean ‘not clever’.

Expressions we often use in an ironic fashion are:• Oh, wasn’t that clever!/Oh that was clever!• You have been a great help, I must say!• You’ve got yourself into a lovely mess, haven’t you?• Oh, very funny!/How funny!

We use a slightly different tone of voice when we use these words ironically.

Read the play carefully and find the words and expressions Gerrard uses in an ironic way. Then say what these expressions really mean. Two examples have been given below. Write down three such expressions along with what they really mean.

What the author saysWhat he means
Why, this is a surprise, Mr – er –He pretends that the intruder is a social visitor whom he is welcoming. In this way he hides his fear.
At last a sympathetic audience!He pretends that the intruder wants to listen to him, whereas actually the intruder wants to find out information for his own use.


What the author saysWhat he means
You won’t kill me for a very good reason.Gerrard is just pretending to have a ‘very good reason’ even though there is no such reason.
Sorry I can’t let you have the props in time for rehearsal, I’ve had a spot of bother – quite amusing.The ‘spot of bother’ that Gerrard calls ‘quite amusing’ is actually a life-threatening situation, where a criminal actually threatens to kill him.
You have been so modest.Here, Gerrard means that it is immodest on the part of the intruder to know so much about him without disclosing his own identity.

Page No 146:

Question 1:

A word can mean different things in different contexts. Look at these three sentences:

• The students are taught to respect different cultures.

• The school is organising a cultural show.

• His voice is cultured.

In the first sentence, ‘culture’ (noun) means way of life; in the second, ‘cultural’ (adjective) means connected with art, literature and music; and in the third, ‘cultured’ (verb) means sophisticated, well mannered. Usually a dictionary helps you identify the right meaning by giving you signposts.

Look at the dictionary entry on ‘culture’ from Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 2005.

(Noun, verb, adjective, adverb, synonyms, etc. are signposts which help you locate the right meaning and usage, and give information about the part of speech that the word is.)

Look up the dictionary entries for the words sympathyfamiliaritycomfortcare, and surprise. Use the information given in the dictionary and complete the table.



sympathysympatheticsympatheticallysympathizefeeling of pity for others in their misfortune
familiarityfamiliarfamiliarityfamiliarizehaving close acquaintance with someone or something
comfortcomfortablecomfortablycomforta state of physical ease
carecarefulcarefullycarefeeling of concern or caution for someone or something
surprisesurprisingsurprisinglysurpriseastonishment at an unexpected event

Page No 147:

Question 1:

Which of the words below describe Gerrard and which describe the Intruder?


Write a paragraph each about Gerrard and the Intruder to show what qualities they have. (You can use some of the words given above.)


The words that describe Gerrard are cool, confident, witty, nonchalant, humorous and clever. While the Intruder could be described by the words like flashy and smart.

Gerrard is a cool and confident playwright. He is a witty fellow, as is evident from the way he tackles a grave situation in which he finds himself face to face with a dangerous criminal. When he is asked for his personal information by the Intruder, he talks to him in a nonchalant and humorous manner. He cleverly convinces the Intruder that he too is a criminal and then manages to lock him up in his wardrobe.

The Intruder enters Gerrard’s premises dressed in flashy clothes. He is smart in his attempt to extract all the personal information about Gerrard.. But he is outsmarted by Gerrard’s wit. He fails to see through Gerrard’s concocted story about himself.

Question 2:

Convert the play into a story (150 – 200 words). Your story should be as exciting and as witty as the play. Provide a suitable title to it.


On Confronting an Intruder

One day, a professional playwright named Gerrard is visited by a flamboyantly dressed Intruder. The Intruder points a gun at him. Even though he is alarmed, Gerrard starts a conversation with him in a nonchalant manner. In time, the Intruder reveals his plan—to extract all the information from Gerrard before killing him. This he wants so that after killing him he can start living as Gerrard, freely and without the fear of being hunted and imprisoned by the police. But, Gerrard cleverly concocts a story about him being a criminal like him. He says that he has a man posted on the main road who shall inform him if he the police approaches. He shows him his traveling bag, fake moustaches to make the Intruder believe his story. And believe he does. Finally, Gerrard shows him a door to exit, which is actually of a cupboard. He pushes and locks the Intruder inside, and picks up the fallen revolver. He then informs the sergeant of the criminal. In this way, the clever and witty playwright Gerrard manages to save himself from the Intruder.

(A model answer has been provided for students’ reference. It is strongly recommended that students prepare the answer on their own.)

Question 1:

Imagine you are Gerrard. Tell your friend what happened when the Intruder broke into your house.

[Clues: Describe (i) the intruder — his appearance, the way he spoke, his plan, his movements, etc., (ii) how you outwitted him.]


One day, while I was packing things in a traveling bag, I heard someone bump against the table behind me. As I turned, I was taken aghast to see a man of similar built as mine, dressed in an overcoat and a soft hat. He was pointing a revolver at me. I tried to keep myself calm so as to find out the intruder’s motives. He threatened me and said he would kill me and thereafter live his life as me, Vincent Charles Gerrard. He wanted to know everything about me. I tried to delay his plan by telling him a made-up story about myself. I won his trust by declaring that I too was a crook like him and that I could help him to escape. I told him to exit by a door, which actually was of a wardrobe. I pushed him inside and locked him up. Then I got a call from a friend, whom I asked to inform the Sergeant.

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