The different meanings of MANAGE - plus, who was Sherlock Holmes? | DailyStep English

The different meanings of MANAGE - plus, who was Sherlock Holmes?

This is Jane Lawson's Audio Blog #048 at DailyStep English


Hello, I’m Jane at DailyStep English and welcome to my Audio Blog.

This is my first blog for several weeks, as we have been busy at DailyStep making some changes that will (I hope) make the website much faster!

This blog is all about Sherlock Holmes, as 22nd May is the birthday of his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. To celebrate this famous detective, we will soon be releasing a full length audio Sherlock Holmes story – The Adventure of the Speckled Band on DailyStep.

In the Audio Word Study below, you can learn all the meanings of MANAGE, and in the Famous Quotation box near the end of this blog, you can hear two famous Sherlock Holmes quotations. 

So, Happy Birthday to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and let’s take a look at his most famous creation!

To download this premium audio, please subscribe to DailyStep English Audio LessonsThis will give you 5 Audio Lessons per week, plus full access to hear and download all DailyStep blogs. 

Who was Sherlock Holmes?
by Jane Lawson on


When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote his first Sherlock Holmes mystery in 1887, he could not have imagined just how famous his hero would become. Sherlock Holmes is the most famous fictional detective in the world. His stories have been translated into over 60 languages, and we still watch films and TV series of the stories today. So what makes him such an enduring character?


Sherlock Holmes lived at 221b, Baker Street, London. Even though this was the address of a fictional character, it has now been turned into a Sherlock Holmes museum, and as you can see in the top picture, the London Tube station nearby has his famous profile picture on the walls, wearing a deerstalker hat and smoking a pipe. Holmes shared much of the detective work with his friend Dr Watson, who could be described in modern terms as Holmes’s sidekick, in other words, the one who helps him but is not as clever or important as him. In nearly all modern detective TV programs and films, the main detective has a sidekick – such as Smithers in DailyStep’s own Smithers and Boyle!


Holmes was an eccentric character, who could solve any crime, no matter how complex it may be, using only his powers of logical deduction, his sharp observation and, of course, his magnifying glass, which you can see in the bottom left hand picture. However, in his personal habits, he was very untidy and apparently disorganised. Here is a revealing quote about Holmes by Dr Watson:


“Although in his methods of thought he was the neatest and most methodical of mankind ... [he] keeps his cigars in the coal-scuttle, his tobacco in the toe end of a Persian slipper, and his unanswered correspondence transfixed by a jack-knife into the very centre of his wooden mantelpiece ... He had a horror of destroying documents.... Thus month after month his papers accumulated, until every corner of the room was stacked with bundles of manuscript which were on no account to be burned, and which could not be put away save by their owner.” In other words, Holmes was untidy, disorganised and a hoarder – not qualities which we would expect from such a man! But it is idiosyncrasies such as these which make him such a real character, even someone we can identify with!


Holmes’s arch-enemy was Professor Moriarty, who was a criminal mastermind and was described by Holmes as the ‘Napoleon of Crime’. Even though Moriarty appears in only two of the Sherlock Holmes stories, it is Holmes’s attitude to him that has made him one of the most famous of all fictional criminals.


You can hear a full Sherlock Holmes story, ‘The Adventure of the Speckled Band’, on DailyStep, but for now, let’s move on to our Audio Word Study, where I will teach you the different meanings and uses of MANAGE.

Here is Audio Word Study #048
  from Jane Lawson at


Different meanings of MANAGE


This word study was requested by Zoya from Ukraine, who asked me to explain the various uses of MANAGE. This is a good question - it is one of those words that has different meanings that can be easily confused. Let’s see if you know these all these meanings!


MANAGE (verb)

Meaning 1:  to be responsible for controlling or organising someone or something, especially a business.

Examples: 1. He is not very good at managing his time – he is always late for everything, and he never finds time to finish his day’s work.

2. Does this new recruit have much experience of managing projects?

3. You need to be very careful with your choice of words when you are managing people because it can be easy to cause offence.

Meaning 2: If you manage to do something, especially something difficult, you succeed in doing it.

Examples: 1. Sherlock Holmes always manages to solve the crime in the end!

2. I managed to run the marathon, even though it nearly killed me!

3. He only just managed to catch the train – it was due to leave two minutes after he arrived at the station. (note: ‘only just managed’ means ‘almost didn’t manage’. You can read more about this structure in my Audio Word Study #41)

4. I hope to manage a holiday later in the year. (note: this means that I hope to find enough time or money for a holiday later in the year.)


Meaning 3: to live on a small amount of money.

Examples: 1. How are they going to manage after he loses his job?

2. I don’t know how they manage on so little money.


MANAGER  (noun) 

Meaning: A manager is the person who is responsible for managing an organisation, a department within a company, or a team, such as a sports team, or a group.

Examples: 1. Could I speak to the manager, please? (note: this means ‘Could I speak to the person in charge please?’)

2. The manager of the England football team has just changed. The new England manager is called Roy Hodgson.

3. The band was great, and the music was fantastic, but they did not have a good manager so they didn’t get very good gigs. (note: the manager of a band, singer, actor or other performer is responsible for arranging the business side of their work, and agreeing prices etc.)


There is another related verb which you often hear, particularly in relation to politics. This verb has its origins in the theatre, as a stage manager is someone who organises and controls the theatre’s stage:



Meaning: If you stage-manage an event, you arrange and control it in order to achieve your desired result.

Example: The televised debate between the politicians was carefully stage-managed, so much so that it was hard to know what they were really thinking.


Now, try to write your own sentences using all these meanings of MANAGE. Make sure these sentences are true to your own life, or about someone you know, because this will help you to remember them better. That is all for Audio Word Study #048 on 

Here is Famous Quotation #002 from Jane Lawson at .

. .

"When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."


Source: This quote is said by Sherlock Holmes, the fictional detective character invented by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Meaning: Even if something might seem almost impossible to believe, it must be the truth if there are no other possible explanations.


“Elementary, my dear Watson!

Source: This is what Sherlock Holmes says to his famous sidekick, Dr Watson, in one of the early Sherlock Holmes films. The quote actually never appeared in exactly that form in any of the books. 
Meaning: The explanation is simple, my dear Watson!

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Well, that is it for today! I’ll be in touch again soon. Thank you for your many requests about subjects you would like me to cover in my blogs. I will cover as many of them as I can!


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