Wednesday, 27 June 2012

BYE-BYE, BIG BEN?



Yesterday in the British Parliament the House of Commons Commission approved a measure to rename the Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster - known to millions all over the world as "Big Ben" -  the Elizabeth Tower, to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Officially, the tower never was "Big Ben" as "Big Ben" is really the name of the bell inside. Members of Parliament accept that people will continue to call the tower "Big Ben" anyway, just as they do now.

What do you think?  Have your say in the poll below:

Is it a good idea to rename the "Big Ben" clock tower?



Monday, 25 June 2012

WHEN AN EGG LEADS TO LOVE....

Image: freeclipart.net


The 2012 edition of the oldest tennis tournament in the world, now known as The Championships, Wimbledon, begins today at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, Wimbledon, London.

But have you ever wondered why a nil [zero] score is given as "love" in a tennis match? Well, one theory is that the term is a corruption of French l'oeuf, meaning "egg".  The zero used to be drawn in the shape of an egg.  There are other theories about the etymolgy of the term but this is my favourite!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

A SOCCER WORDSEARCH




Association Football or soccer, most often called simply "football" in Britain, is on everyone's mind in England and Italy this evening so here is a soccer wordsearch:


D J P M M D E L R F F K R M W
R B L G G F E E E N O E D I Y
A G A Z A T D F P A D U N V S
W H Y P K I C K E L G G L L H
S N E K S Z R N E N E U M A R
E Y R F S N G I K R D A E O E
L E F F X Q F P L T E E P G F
B O R X O D E O A T T B R B E
B C E U I N E R O C S Z K O R
I H H M A F Y J G O D Y E C E
R B C L Y S U P P O R T E R E
D I T T M T O J Q M J Z V C B
J Y Q Z I P I I U C H X O K V
N H R W V P I C A P T A I N W
R E K I R T S Q R L S R C Y M



CAPTAIN
DEFENDER
DRAW
DRIBBLE
FOUL
GOAL
GOALKEEPER
KICK
LEAGUE
MIDFIELDER
OFFSIDE
PENALTY
PITCH
PLAYER
REFEREE
SCORE
STRIKER
SUPPORTER
TEAM
WINGER

Thursday, 21 June 2012

PRETTY OR BEAUTIFUL?

Here are some adjectives that often cause confusion:

We use pretty to mean attractive in an endearing, cute or delicate way. We can use it about people or things:

a pretty girl; a pretty cottage


The Elgar Birthplace in Worcester, England - a pretty cottage


[Sometimes "pretty" can be translated as carino in Italian.]

We use beautiful to mean wonderful in a sensory way, especially when we are talking about the sense of sight. We can use it about females or things but we do not usually use it to describe a male person:

a beautiful woman; a beautiful picture

To describe a male person, we usually use handsome instead of "beautiful":

a handsome man

We use lovely to mean that someone or something has a beauty that is more than physical:

a lovely man - the man is a very nice, kind person. He may or may not be attractive to look at, too.

a lovely day - the day is not only sunny but has qualities that appeal to the emotions.

We often say, "I'm having a lovely time" to mean "I'm enjoying myself".

Roy Orbison - Pretty Woman


RAINBOW

Here's my favourite song for teaching colours:

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

SOME "ENCHANTED" GRAMMAR!

This evening we're going to look at the song I used in Monday's post again as the lyrics contain three grammar points that I would like to explain:

Some Enchanted Evening - Lyrics

Some enchanted evening, you may see a stranger,
You may see a stranger across a crowded room,
And somehow you know, you know even then,
That somehow you'll see her again and again.
Some enchanted evening, someone may be laughing,
You may hear her laughing across a crowded room,
And night after night, as strange as it seems,
The sound of her laughter will sing in your dreams.
Who can explain it, who can tell you why?
Fools give you reasons, wise men never try.
Some enchanted evening, when you find your true love,
When you hear her call you across a crowded room,
Then fly to her side and make her your own,
Or all through your life you may dream all alone.
Once you have found her, never let her go,
Once you have found her, never let her go.


- Song by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II


1.  hear her laughing

She will be in the middle of the action of laughing and you will hear this.


    hear her call

You will hear her call from the beginning through to the end of her action.

We often use these structures with the verbs see and hear:

I saw him walking

- He was already walking when I saw him.

I saw him walk

- I saw the whole action.


2.  When you find
     When you hear

This is the present simple after when to express a future action:

I'll do it when I arrive.

When I arrive means I will arrive some time in the future [not "quando arriver├▓" as in Italian].


3.  Once you have found her

Once here means immediately after or as soon as and we usually use it in this sense with a perfect tense.  In the song and in the examples below the present perfect is used, even though we are referring to future time:

Once you've done your homework, you can go out.

Once you've read these grammar tips, listen to the song again!


Monday, 11 June 2012

WHEN DO WE SAY "GOOD EVENING"?

Evening in Modica, Sicily

In Italy people usually start saying "Good evening" instead of "Good afternoon" after siesta, so this can be as early as 3.30 pm.  In Britain, however, we do not say "Good evening" until at least 5pm and usually a little later, perhaps between 5.30 and 6 pm.  We go on saying "Good evening" until we are parting from someone for the rest of the night or are going to bed, when we say, "Goodnight".

Now let's clear up one or two other misconceptions as well:  The afternoon officially begins at 12.00 midday so you can say "Good afternoon" after that time until ... the evening!

12 am means 12 o'clock at night as the new day begins then.  The translator of this notice in Italy has made  a mistake as there is no postal collection at midnight in this town!



We do not say "ante meridiem" or "post meridiem" when we are talking about time.  We might say "a.m." or "p.m." but usually it is obvious whether we mean morning, afternoon or evening so we leave these abbreviations out.  We do not use the 24-hour-clock in conversation but it is used in announcements or notices about timetables.  So we would say, "See you at two" and not, "See you at fourteen" or "fourteen hundred" to confirm a meeting at 2pm.

And now, for romantic students of English everywhere....

Frank Sinatra and Rosemary Clooney - Some Enchanted Evening







Note:  Summer evenings are long in Britain, as it can be light until around 10 pm.  That's why, if you were watching the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert last Monday evening, you didn't see anything happening in the dark until nearly the end!

Robbie Williams and the Coldstream Guards open the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert, 4.6.2012, 7.30 pm:



Tuesday, 5 June 2012

SOME "BOATING" IDIOMS

The River Thames and the boats that travelled along it on Sunday were in the news all over the world, so this seems a good time to have a look at some "boating" idioms in English.

First of all, let's have a look at the terminology:

Boat is a general word for a sea or river vessel but usually refers to smaller ones.

Ship is used for larger sea-going vessels.

A barge is a flat-bottomed boat used for the transport of goods along rivers or canals. Barges are often towed. In naval terminology, a barge is a boat assigned to a flag officer, often for ceremonial occasions.  The Queen travelled on a very special barge on Sunday:

Image: Wikimedia Commons via
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ianpatterson/7329591976/



To go boating means to take a trip in a boat for pleasure.

Now see if you can match the following sentences 1- 8, which all contain idioms about boats, with their meanings a - h.  The answers are at the end of the post.

1. I understand how you feel because I'm in the same boat.

2.  When my ship comes in, I'll buy you a car.

3.  I should have applied for the job but I missed the boat.

4.  Everything is ship-shape and Bristol fashion.

5. In the end he decided not to rock the boat.

6. She barged in on the meeting and annoyed everybody.

7.  My boss runs a tight ship.

8.  I wouldn't touch that project with a bargepole!


Broad Quay, Bristol, UK
 in the eighteenth century


a.  I was too late.

b.  I think the situation could be dangerous or stupid.

c.  The person is very strict in the way he or she manages the company or institution.

d.  When I become rich I will do this.

e.  The person did not want to cause a problem or disturb a situation.

f.  I am in the same situation as the other person.

g.  Everything is absolutely in order.

h.  She interrupted or entered in a rude way.


Highlight the space below to see the answers:

1f, 2d, 3a, 4g, 5e, 6h, 7c, 8b.

You can see the origin of the saying, "Ship-shape and Bristol fashion" here.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

FROM MY POSTCARD ALBUM

Royal family on balcony of Buckingham Palace after Coronation of King George VI, 12th May 1937.
Front row, left to right:  Queen Elizabeth, Queen Consort of King George VI [ later known as
Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother], Princess Elizabeth [later Queen Elizabeth II], Princess Margaret
and King George VI.


Wishing all friends of this blog a happy Jubilee weekend,
 wherever you are.

Friday, 1 June 2012

QUIZ: WHICH QUEEN?

On the eve of the Jubilee weekend in the UK, here is a quiz to test your knowledge of queens.  Not all the queens in this quiz were real or were people!  You'll find the answers at the end of the quiz.




1.  Which queen reigned for 63 years and seven months?

2.  Which queen was able to carry 1,957 people?



3.  Which queen reigned for only nine days?

4.  Which queen's favourite phrase was "Off with their heads"?

5.  Which queen led a major uprising against the Romans and, with her warriors, defeated the Roman Ninth Legion?

6.  Which queen was known throughout Europe as Gloriana?

7.  Which queen was locked out of Westminster Abbey on the day of her husband's coronation?

8.  Which queen was executed at Fotheringhay Castle, Northamptonshire on 8th February 1587?

9.  Which queen lived to the age of 101?




10. Which queen is thought to have been instrumental in causing the Wars of the Roses?

The Red Rose of Lancaster


The White Rose of York



Highlight the space below for answers:

1. Queen Victoria  2. RMS Queen Mary, a ship  3. Lady Jane Grey  4. The Queen of Hearts in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll  5. Queen Boudica [Boudicca / Boadicea]  6. Queen Elizabeth I  7. Caroline of Brunswick-Wolfenb├╝ttel, Queen Consort of King George IV  8. Mary, Queen of Scots  9. Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Queen Consort of King George VI and mother of Queen Elizabeth II  10. Margaret of Anjou, Queen Consort of King Henry VI.

SUBJECT PRONOUNS


We use subject pronouns to avoid repetition of names.
 Replace the words / groups of words in bold with the pronouns  he / she / they:
Mrs. Jones lives in Cardiff.  Mrs. Jones is married.  Mrs. Jones has two sons.  Mrs. Jones also has a sister but her sister doesn’t live in Cardiff.  Her sister lives in Swansea and Mrs. Jones’ sister goes to Cardiff once a week. Mrs. Jones and her sister like  shopping in Cardiff.  Mrs. Jones and her sister go to Howell’s store and Mrs Jones and her sister have tea in town.  Mr. Jones stays at home because Mr. Jones doesn’t like shopping.  Mrs Jones’s sons don’t live in Cardiff because Mrs Jones’ s sons are at university in London.
Highlight the space below for answers:

she she she she she she they they he they
Now replace the words in bold with the pronouns she / we / he / they
My sister lives in Swansea.  My sister comes to Cardiff once a week.  When my sister comes to Cardiff my sister and I go to Howell’s store and my sister and I  have tea in town.  My husband stays at home because my husband doesn’t like shopping.  My sons don’t live in Cardiff because my sons are at university in London.
Highlight the space below for answers:
she she we we he they

A DIAMOND JUBILEE WORDSEARCH



Official emblem of Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth 11
by ten-year-old Katherine Dewar from Chester, UK



DIAMOND JUBILEE WORDSEARCH

A P B B B S E S C X N F D B N
G F Y E U E E A E O O I N T E
S N L D L N T G I V I R O H E
E L I I E H T S A Z T E M A U
S C B V E L S I C I A W A M Q
V U A D I E I M N E R O I E T
J L R L C G N Z D G B R D S A
S A G O A F S U A F E K A J O
L T R K U P P K J B L S J C B
X P A G E A N T N P E N T E K
Y H C R A N O M C A C T A D Y
B U C K I N G H A M H C H T B
C R O W N V M J K J O T X O J
E G R A B S E O U N L I M M O
N O D N O L X R C C S Q A X H

BARGE,  BEACON,  BELLS,  BOAT,  BUCKINGHAM,  BUNTING,  CARRIAGE,  CATHEDRAL,  CELEBRATION,  CROWN, DIAMOND,  ELIZABETH,  FIREWORKS,  JUBILEE,  JUNE,  LONDON,  MONARCHY,  PAGEANT,  PALACE, PROCESSION,  QUEEN,  RIVER,  SIXTY,  THAMES, THANKSGIVING.