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Last week during my online class with Ana, we discussed the latest Sherlock episode she had just watched. She told me that she has always had a passionate interest in Sherlock Holmes.

She has read all four novels and some of the short stories and watched the famous BBC series with Jeremy Brett as Sherlock Holmes that was shown in the 1980s.

More recently, she has been watching the new series with the wonderful Benedict Cumberbatch. Ana told me that she has been watching the series as a way to also improve her listening skills in English. And I thought, what better way of practising English than to combine it with something that you love doing (the topic of a previous post).

221B Baker Street

221B Baker Street


Sherlock Holmes is synonymous with all things British and in particular, with London. After all, who hasn’t heard of 221b Baker Street, London?



Holmes and Watson in Moscow (Wikipedia)

Holmes and Watson in Moscow (Wikipedia)

Before writing this post I asked my husband what words came to his mind when he thought of Sherlock Holmes. This is what he said: pipe, deerstalker, my dear Watson, crime, detective, sleuth, martial arts, mystery, logic, intelligence.

What words come to your mind when you think of Sherlock Holmes?

To me, Sherlock Holmes is the master of the use of forensic science skills in solving crimes, of astute logical reasoning and of disguise.

So much has been written about Sherlock Holmes. Indeed, there are some wonderful resources on the web to help English language learners like this one from a wonderfully talented fellow trainer, David Nicholls. It’s based on the Sherlock series with Jeremy Brett and there are some great grammar, vocabulary and comprehension exercises you can try. It’s suitable for Upper Intermediate level students.

Holmes's First Appearance in 1887 (Wikipedia)

Holmes’s First Appearance in 1887 (Wikipedia)


What I wanted to do instead is to share with you 10 quotes by Sherlock Holmes given to him by his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

These quotes appeared in the various stories. In total there were 56 short stories and 4 novels written from 1887 to 1927.



1. ‘My name is Sherlock Holmes.  It is my business to know what other people don’t know.

(The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle)

2. ‘I am the last and highest court of appeal in detection.’
(The Sign of Four)

3. ‘There is nothing like first-hand evidence.’
(A Study in Scarlet)

4.”The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.
(The Hound of the Baskervilles)

5. ‘You see, but you do not observe. The distinction is clear.
(A Scandal in Bohemia)

Photo: Sidney Paget

Photo: Sidney Paget

6. ‘It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.’
(A Scandal in Bohemia)

7. ‘I never guess. It is a shocking habit,—destructive to the logical faculty.’
(The Sign of Four)

8. ‘You know my method. It is founded upon the observation of trifles.’
(The Bascombe Valley Mystery)

9. ‘There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.’
(The Bascombe Valley Mystery)

10. ‘I listen to their story, they listen to my comments, and then I pocket my fee’.
(A Study in Scarlet)

Photo: keepcalm-o-matic

Photo: keepcalm-o-matic

By the way, that famous quote “Elementary, my dear Watson” was never actually spoken by Sherlock Holmes or written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The words “elementary” and “my dear Watson” appear in the stories but never together.

As I mentioned earlier, there are plenty of learning resources you can access to practise your English through Sherlock Holmes. Here is one activity that I found that looks like fun.

If you liked this post, please share it. If you don’t want to miss out on my posts, don’t forget to subscribe to my blog.

Ciao for now


Source: Kameron Kent Searle

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