A Cup Of English

Friendly, everyday English to help the anxious language learner. Texts, grammar notes, and photos on the blog page. Another great podcast by LibSyn.com
RSS Feed Android App iOS App
2016
February
January


2015
December
November
October
September
August
July
February


2014
December
November
October
September
June
May
April
March
February
January


2013
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2012
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2011
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2010
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2009
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January


2008
December
November
October


Categories

All Episodes
Archives
Categories
Now displaying: Page 1

    Share on Qzone       All time downloads = 5,321,210

Feb 13, 2016
Party Central.

Isn't it fun when you stumble across(1) something interesting or worthwhile in a very unlikely place? Perhaps you have gone for a walk through a forest, and along the way you find a beautiful stone statue. Or you are at the beach, and you find a small cave with hieroglyphics in it. These are exciting things to find. My daughter and I found the largest party store in the whole of the U.S in a small town called Moses Lake. Ok, it's not historic, or beautiful, but it is fascinating. If you heard my previous podcast, about Moses Lake, you will know that it is really in the middle of nowhere. And it isn't even a very populated town. So why would the company called Party Central decide to build their biggest store in this out-of-the-way(2) place? My answer is really that I don't know, but I'm assuming(3) that the company has a good reason. Domini had finished a weekend of basketball and wanted to have a quick look in some shops. This store looked entertaining so we walked in. From the outside I couldn't tell how big it was; however, when we went in, it seemed to open up into a huge, cathedral-like place that was filled with plastic this and plastic that. There were enormous shelves on every aisle that must have been at least 20ft tall, and about 200ft long. And there was aisle after aisle of party supplies: plates, hats, cutlery, masks, balloons, makeup, presents, prizes, oh the list goes on to infiniti. I noticed that the employees who worked in this store were quite slim; its not surprising, seeing as they probably walk for miles each day just around the store. My daughter and I had a good look around. We only bought a Valentine's card and a small box of candies. I really didn't want to buy anything; I found the huge quantity of products quite off-putting. When I went to pay, I said to the employee, "This is the biggest party supply store I have seen!" That's when he told me that it is the biggest in the U.S. "Really? In Moses Lake?" I asked, wondering why it wouldn't be in a big city like Chicago or Los Angeles. Hmm, I'm still puzzled. Perhaps the middle of nowhere is the best place for a huge party.

1. 'To stumble across/ upon' means to find accidentally.

a. The children stumbled upon a purse in the mud. It looked like it had been there for years.

b. While she visited her grandmother, she stumbled upon a family secret.

c. Howard Carter and George Herbert, with the help of many workers, stumbled upon Tutankhamun's tomb in 1922.

2. 'Out-of-the-way' means remote.

a. Even in the middle of nowhere, in this out-of-the-way place, you can places find to stay.

b. After getting lost on the moors, the travelers took shelter in an out-of-the-way abandoned farm.

3. 'To assume' is to have an idea about something without really knowing facts.

a. He comes to see us every weekend, so I'm assuming he will this weekend.

b. I assumed that he was an athlete because he is tall and strong, but actually he is a dancer. 

Click here to download The Golden Whisper for free!

Click the link for the Android app

Click here for the iOS app

Feb 11, 2016

Liz gets pulled over for speeding by a policeman.

Liz: Hello Officer. What seems to be the problem?

Officer: Well, Miss, you were going eleven miles per hour over the speed limit. Can I see your driver's license please?

Liz: Yes, of course. Here it is.

Officer: Also, I need to see your car insurance card.

Liz:Ok, let me find it. I think that its mixed in with all of my papers. Ah yes, here it is. Gosh, I didn't realize that I was going so fast; I must have been distracted by the music on the radio....

Officer: Please stay in your car. I need to go back to mine to radio-in this information.

Liz: Ok Officer.

Officer: Well, it looks like you have a clean record, no outstanding fines. I will, however, have to give you a ticket for speeding. This is a fast highway, and speeding makes it more dangerous.

Liz: $70? Wow. This will teach me not to get distracted.

Officer: That's the one good thing about fines, they make you think. And if we think, then we become safer drivers.

Liz: That makes sense. I've  certainly learned my lesson today. Have a good day Officer.

Officer: You too, Miss.

Click here to download The Golden Whisper for free!

Click the link for the Android app

Click here for the iOS app

Feb 9, 2016
Chief Moses.

Moses Lake is a town that is situated about an hour and a half from where I live. I don't usually choose to go there; however, in the winter, my children will often have basketball tournaments there once or twice. The journey there takes you through flat farmland, and then through miles of dry open areas of, well, nothing really. The type of land is called 'scabland' where there is very little rainfall(1), and a bush called 'sagebrush' grows everywhere. Geologically speaking, it's part of the largest lava plateau(2) in the world, and it stretches for miles and miles and miles. Part of the road to Moses Lake travels along side the Columbia river which is impressive. But as the road turns away from the river, the land stretches out for miles with no sign of trees or houses. Moses Lake has, of course, a very large lake which initially provided fish for the inhabitants of the town. It was named after Chief Moses, the leader of the Sinkiuse tribe, who had to negotiate with the U.S government to give up the land in exchange for a reservation. The High School is named after him. His picture is on the walls, and a point of pride for the town. As each basketball team has a name, like The Wenatchee Panthers, Moses Lake High School athletes are called the Chiefs, meaning the leaders in Native Indian tradition. The rest of the town doesn't seem to reflect much of its Indian roots(3) which is a shame. It has an important airplane training base, and some farming, but the town itself is not very attractive. I can imagine, however, Moses Lake transformed by some good planning and creativity. It could become an attractive reflection of Native Indian history, and modern progress.

1. I used the word 'rainfall' in the podcast instead of 'rain'. Why? Its because I was talking about the average amount of rain in a year. You can also use the word when talking about a shorter amount of time, like a month. It implies a measurement.

a. The rainfall in Seattle is actually a lot more than in the U.K.

b. The rainfall each Spring causes floods in town. (Here you could use 'rain', but I wish to indicate volume).

2. The word 'plateau' is a geological term that is sometimes used figuratively.

a. The castle is situated on the edge of a plateau that sits in the middle of the valley.

b. The computer sales plateaued after three weeks, and then went down.

3. 'Roots' here in the podcast refers to the Native American ethnic heritage. The use of the word is figurative, but of course we use the word literally as well.

a. Cutting down the tree was easy, but pulling up all of the roots was hard work!

b. They have just moved to a new town, and hope to eventually put down roots there.

Click here to download The Golden Whisper for free!

Click the link for the Android app

Click here for the iOS app

Feb 7, 2016
Sniff The Dessert.

Have you ever walked into a house when someone has just made a delicious dessert? What is it that most people do in that situation? Yes, they sniff. I know that when my family comes home from school or work, they are hungry(1). So, when they walk in the house and smell some good food that is ready, I know that it brings a smile to their faces(2). One such dish that smells really good is baked apples. It is a super easy, and healthy alternative to other desserts. The key is to choose the right kind of apples. When apples cook, they go soft and a lot of their juice comes out. Therefore, its important to choose apples that are not too juicy, otherwise, after cooking, you will be left with a very small dessert, and a lot of juice!

After washing the fruit, you have to remove the core, which is tricky(3). The typical kitchen vegetable peeler works well for this job because it has a rounded end that helps you dig out the flesh from the middle of the apple. It is only a small kitchen tool, but it really does the job. Next, the apples go in a glass or ceramic dish with the holes facing up. You pour a mixture of saltanas or raisins, brown sugar, and cinnamon into the holes, and then you put a square (knob) of butter on top, like a little lid. Put the dish in the oven at about 350 degrees for twenty minutes. And that my friends is that. The smell of the cinnamon and cooking caramel will fill your house and make everybody sniff, sniff, sniff.

1. 'Family' with 'is'. Ok, family is a singular noun, so we use a singular verb with it, 'is', 'was', 'goes' etc. However, it implies more than one person, so a sentence that expands on that idea could say, 'they are ...' Think about the sentence in my podcast:

'I know that when my family comes home from school or work, they are hungry.'   I could not say 'it is hungry', - that just doesn't sound correct at all. HOWEVER, I could say 'my family is hungry'; that sounds very good. 

I could change the sentence to something like this:

'After school or work, my family is hungry.' Let's see some examples of using 'they' or even 'we' after family.

a. When my family gets together for Thanksgiving, they all help with the washing up / or 'everybody helps with the washing up.

b. When my family had a disagreement, they talked about it until they found a solution. 

c. When their family goes on vacation, they always choose to go to the beach.

2. 'To bring a smile to someone's face.' This means to make someone happy; it shows the action of the subject on the person who becomes happy.

a. That photo of you really brought a smile to my face.

b. When she sent me a friend request on Facebook, it really brought a smile to my face.

3. 'Tricky' means difficult in many ways.

a. That History exam was very tricky because the questions were worded strangely.

b. Doing the Rubick's cube is tricky; you certainly need to practice it a lot.

 

Click here to download The Golden Whisper for free!

Click the link for the Android app

Click here for the iOS app

Feb 2, 2016
Secret viewers.

In our modern societies, its quite normal to coexist quite happily with other species: dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, and many other kinds of pets. I have seen people take their animals into shops, take them into restaurants, and even travel with them on planes. I think it is becoming more common. Being a pet owner myself, I understand the strong attachment that some people have to their animals. However, there are some places where you don't expect to find animals of any kind. I picked up my daughter from the cinema the other day, and found that her friend's teenage sister who had accompanied them had secretly taken her pets as well. She reached in her pocket and brought out two very colorful geckos. I was shocked. First of all I was surprised that they hadn't escaped, as I know that they can move very quickly. If they had, it would have been a disaster, because the cinema is huge and it would have been impossible to find them. Just imagine them running around on the floor of the dark viewing room, around people's feet, and slipping into someone's handbag or up a trouser leg. Ugh! The thought makes me shudder(1)! Secondly, I couldn't stop thinking about salmonella bacteria. I hope Maria, the owner, wasn't eating popcorn while watching the movie and stroking her pets at the same time! Well, she seemed perfectly healthy. She then told me that the reason she had brought them to the theater was that she didn't want to keep them at home. She had a four year old cousin staying at home, and he was a bit rough. She didn't want to risk (2)them getting hurt. So, she sneaked(3) them into her pocket without anyone knowing. Maria loves reptiles and wants to be a responsible pet owner. As I drove home I realized that we were lucky that she didn't own any snakes!

1. 'Shudder' is the verb which means 'to shake' with horror or disgust. 

a. Elizabeth looked at the large cut on the man's face and shuddered. She knew that she could never be a nurse.

b. The new boy shuddered to think of sitting next to the school bully on the bus.

2. 'To risk' plus a verb in the present continuous, is a shorter version of saying 'to run a/the risk of + verb in continuous.

a. I left early because I didn't want to risk being late / run the risk of being late.

b. The prisoners escaped quietly so they wouldn't risk waking the guards / run the risk of waking the guards.

3. 'To sneak' has a very different ending in the past tense in the U.S compared to Britain: 'snuck'.

a. The children sneaked into the cinema without paying (British).

    The children snuck into the cinema without paying (U.S.)

b. The cat sneaked slowly up the tree while the bird was away from its nest (British).

    The cat snuck slowly up the tree while the bird was away from its nest (U.S.)

Click here to download The Golden Whisper for free!

Click the link for the Android app

Click here for the iOS app

Jan 28, 2016
Leavenworth Winter Sports.

I have written on several occasions about Leavenworth. It's about 30 minutes by car from where I live, and a very popular destination for tourists. Because of its mountainous landscape(1), it receives more snow than we do, and stays a few degrees colder. There is a skiing area in Leavenworth that is busy each winter. It offers regular downhill skiing, tubing, nordic skiing like cross country and skate skiing, and also a ski jump. We usually go tubing there. It's the easiest of all the activities because it just involves sitting down! You sit on an inner tube, which is the inside rubber tube of a wheel. An assistant hooks you onto a pulley that pulls you up the hill where you are detached, and then you slip down the hill very quickly indeed. It's great fun, and even young children can do it safely. The other skiing activities are spread out over(2) three different locations: on the ski hill itself, along the river, on a golf course, and in the central park. In fact, when there is enough snow, you can see people moving around the town, going here and there on skis, because it seems to be safer than walking. One sport that I think I will never attempt is the ski jump. Instructors are available so beginners can slowly learn to make little jumps, gradually increasing the length of the jump to 15 meters. Those who are more experienced(3) and confident can graduate to 27 meters. I think that would make me dizzy! The Leavenworth ski jump is actually the only one on the West Coast of the U.S, so it's very special. Some people like heights, and enjoy the feeling of flying through the air, so it's perfect for them. I, however, like to have my feet on the ground...Then after a few hours of tubing, or some good exercise skiing, you can't go home without having hot chocolate in the ski cabin.

1. Different kinds of landscapes:

a. Because of the arid landscape, water is expensive, and the farms are irrigated.

b. The flat landscape of Texas makes it prone to tornados.

c. The mountainous landscape of the highway becomes dangerous in rain storms, resulting in landslides.

2. 'To spread ... out over/to be spread out over ...' is a very useful phrase that can be applied in many situations.

a. The talks will be spread out throughout the day, so we can have breaks in between.

b. The fire fighters spread out over the whole area, trying to surround the fire.

c. The gypsies are an ethnic group that is spread out over many nations.

3. 'Those who are more .../ the ... who are more...'

a. Those of you who are more athletic can climb the 259 steps up to the Whispering Gallery; the rest of you can explore the main level of St. Paul's Cathedral. 

b. The children who are more studious will be picked for the advanced math competition.

c. The women who have access to good medical care will do well in their pregnancies and have healthy babies.

 

Click here to download The Golden Whisper for free!

Click the link for the Android app

Click here for the iOS app

Jan 22, 2016

Mr. Brown: "Did you want to see me, sir?"

Principal Stevens: "Ah yes, Mr. Brown, do come in, please."

Mr. Brown: "Do you want me to close the door?"

Principal Stevens: "Yes, if you would. Don't worry about the broken handle; it doesn't work. The custodian was going to fix it, but he didn't. I don't know what he does with all of his time... Make yourself comfortable; you can take your coat off. I'll get the secretary to bring us some coffee."

Mr. Brown: "Thank you. I'll keep my coat on; its a bit chilly."

Principal Stevens: "It does feel cold in here, doesn't it? Don't tell me the heating isn't working now! I'll have to see what the custodian can do about that as well."

Mr. Brown: "Do you need a copy of the class grades? If you do, I have extras."

Principal Stevens: "No, don't worry. I have it all on my computer. I'll get to the point, Mr. Brown. The counselor has told me that she doesn't have any concerns about the girls in your class, but she does about the boys. We expected them to do well on their exams, but they haven't. The girls have done well, very well. That group of boys that you have just hasn't done a good job in anything: attendance, projects, or studying. Do you know why?"

Mr. Brown: "Well, they had a plan of working together to finish their projects, and also to have study groups. That didn't work out because they have been so ill with the flu. They had done a lot of traveling together for basketball. One of them got the flu, and so all of them did. They had done quite a lot of work before the basketball season started, but they hadn't done enough to get a good grade. I gave them an alternative test that involved working in a group, but it didn't improve their grades. I don't know what to do at this stage."

Principal Stevens: "It sounds like you've done all that you can. Sickness is sickness, I'm afraid. I will talk to the superintendent to see if we can give those boys a pass or fail for the year, instead of a grade. We do do that sometimes, when it's necessary. And don't worry, Mr. Brown, I don't see this as a reflection of your teaching abilities. You have always done a good job."

Mr. Brown: "Thank you Principal Stevens. I did urge the parents this year to vaccinate their children. When the boys got sick I realized that they hadn't done that. "

Principal Stevens: "Well, there's nothing else you can do, really. I'll let you know as soon as I do about the grades. Thanks for meeting with me."

Mr. Brown: "Thanks for your time, Principal Stevens."

 

 

Click here to download The Golden Whisper for free!

Click the link for the Android app

Click here for the iOS app

Jan 21, 2016

Liz calls Barbara on the phone:

Liz: Hi Barbara, are you up for yoga tomorrow at 7?(1) I know its a bit early, but it'll be worth it. 

Barbara: I'm really sorry Liz, but I can't go. (2)I threw my back out yesterday, and I'm really miserable.

Liz: Oh, you poor thing! How on earth did you do that?

Barbara: You know I work in the library on Wednesday's. Well, I had to carry boxes of books from the storage room and stack them on the shelves. I overdid it, of course. That kind of thing always throws my back out.

Liz: Do you need to see a doctor or a chiropractor?

Barbara: Not really. I'm taking meds for the pain because I think that the injury is just muscular. When my muscles finally relax, I'm sure the pain will go away.

Liz: What have you been doing to help it?

Barbara: Apart from the pain killers, I have been lying flat on my back with my head on a small pillow and my knees up a little. I've also iced my back. Last night I wrote my essay lying down. I probably looked ridiculous!

Liz: Well, who cares what you look like? The important thing is that you feel better. It sounds like you're doing everything you can. I hope you get better soon! I'll miss you at yoga!

Barbara: Yeah, have fun!

 

Click here to download The Golden Whisper for free!

Click the link for the Android app

Click here for the iOS app

Jan 20, 2016
Sushi or sashimi?

My husband and I have developed an addiction to Japanese food. We are so happy that a few Japanese restaurants have finally opened in our town. Though we don't often have the opportunity to go out to dinner alone, when we do, we choose to eat at one of those restaurants. For a long time, we have enjoyed shushi, with its mixture of sticky rice, vegetables and a small amount of raw fish. It has been our only experience of eating uncooked fish, as I am British, and my husband is American, we are accustomed to(1) only cooked meat and fish. However, we have come to really appreciate the extremely clean taste and soft texture of the raw fish. Also, after eating shushi, our stomachs always feel satisfied but not bloated at all. So, the other day, when we went to Iwa's restaurant, all we wanted was raw fish(2). We ordered a plate for two people which had a variety of different fish. When the waitress gave us our plate, I was impressed. It was beautifully presented, and looked artistic and colorful. I ate some tuna and salmon which I am very familiar with. Then I tried the mackerel which had a flaky texture, similar to cooked fish. I wasn't sure about the octopus, however. I did eat a piece, but found it really chewy. It's surprising how filling raw fish is! We couldn't finish the plate. One of the many reasons we keep returning to Iwa's is because we trust the chefs. We can see them working in their spotless(3) kitchen, and the fish is always cut carefully with very clean knives and very clean hands. And that, I think, is the philosophy of making sashimi: getting an amazing taste from the freshest fish, and the cleanest hands.

1. 'To be accustomed to' is like saying 'to be used to' but it implies a cultural habit.

a. I am accustomed to having coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon.

b. He is accustomed to watching American football every Sunday during the winter.

2. The word placement of 'All we wanted was raw fish' is worth mentioning. The sentence could be written the other way around: 'Raw fish was all we wanted'. Both are perfect sentences, but there is a subtle difference between the two. The first sentence shows more focus and intent; it feels more exclusive (no other food should be considered). However, in speech, you can always emphasize a word or parts of a sentence as you wish in order to make an impact.

a. Peace and quiet is all I want.

All I want is peace and quiet.

b. To pass the last exam is all he needs.

All he needs is to pass the last exam

c. Money is all they ask for.

All they ask for is money.

3. 'Spotless' is absolutely clean. It can be used figuratively.

a. She spends a lot of time cleaning her house; it is always spotless.

b. As a business owner, he had a spotless record of paying his taxes on time and treating his employees with respect.

Click here to download The Golden Whisper for free!

Click the link for the Android app

Click here for the iOS app

Jan 19, 2016
Rainy Olympia

Last Tuesday, I had an impromptu trip(1) to Olympia, the capital of Washington State. I have been taking exams to become a medical interpreter in Spanish and English, but those exams can't be taken in Wenatchee. If you want to take the test, you have to sign up online when a spot(2) becomes available, and that doesn't happen very often. You usually have to wait for at least three months. I have become impatient with the whole sign up process, and all the waiting involved, so when I found an opening(3), I immediately signed up. I had only a week to prepare, and then a three and a half hour drive to get there. The drive was easy enough as I drove on main roads the whole way. I also took the opportunity to record a lot of vocabulary and sentences to listen to in the car. As I approached Olympia it poured with rain. I could tell that the area receives a lot of rain each year as the trees are covered with moss. This was quite a contrast to where I live now.

I arrived in plenty of time to find the testing center. It was in a very large social services building, up several flights of stairs. The closer I got to the exam room, the more nervous I became. "Now calm down Anna," I said to myself. "If you don't pass it this time, you'll just have to try again." The lady who administers the test was very nice. She made me feel comfortable, and she also gave me some good advice about relaxing and speaking clearly and slowly.

After the exam I headed over to the State Legislative building which is the main landmark of the city. It was surrounded by mist, and looked as if its domed roof was going to disappear into the clouds. I didn't stay long, as I had a long drive home. I just wanted to catch a glimpse of this political center, and the beautiful building that represents it.

1. 'Impromptu' describes a sudden and unplanned or unexpected event or other kind of noun.

a. Our get-together led to an impromptu group singing.

b. As I was volunteering in the class, I became an impromptu teacher because Mr. White, the English teacher,  suddenly felt ill. 

c. After talking on the phone with her brother, Mary bought a ticket and took an impromptu trip to see him. 

2 & 3 'A spot' can mean an available place or appointment, as can 'an opening'. Opening, however, is more common, and applies better to appointments. In speech, we can often use both in the same sentence.

a. She had a spot on the radio show where she read a few lines and sang a song.

b. Finally there was an opening to see the dentist; I had waited for weeks.

c. There were a few openings for the exam to choose from: 11am, 2pm, and 4:30pm. I chose the 2pm spot/ opening.

 

Click here to download The Golden Whisper for free!

Click the link for the Android app

Click here for the iOS app

Jan 8, 2016
Winter vocabulary, a story.

The old man woke to the sound of his dog barking. He knew that his companion could smell the deer outside, so he slipped his winter boots on, and opened the door to let him out. The biting cold wind blew on him; he shivered and closed the door. Thunder, his Karakachan Bear dog, could be heard in the distance barking at the deer. He didn't feel the cold because he was so fluffy, a true winter dog. It could be far below zero(1), and he would still want to play and run in the snow. 

The old man stoked up(2) the fire and looked out of the window. Icicles hung from the roof blocking his view of the mountain road. He looked through the evergreen forest to the distant glacier that always seemed to look back at him, another wilderness companion. His son and family were coming to visit; they did so often. They loved to go snowshoeing together and build an army of snowmen. But today was bitterly cold, and the road was probably blocked. "I'd better snowplow down to the main road, or they'll never get here." he thought to himself. Sometimes, the snow was so deep that he would have to transport his family, two by two, on his snowmobile, from the main road up to his house. For years his son had tried to convince him to move into town. "Why do you insist on living in such a place?" he would ask him. "You've already lost two fingers to frostbite." But the old man would no longer even reply. This was his place in life, in his cabin, on the mountain, through the storms, the snow, the freezes and the thawing and melting of the Spring. He couldn't imagine a better place to be.

He pulled on his winter boots, buttoned up his fleece coat, and grabbed his gloves and ear muffs as he left. Oh yes, it was nippy. The wind chill factor(3) made the cold feel sharp against his face. His eyes watered, and he pulled his warm hood over his head and buttoned up the neck. He pushed the fresh snow off of his snowplow, and started the engine. Thunder came running up behind him enthusiastically, ready for an adventure. "Come on boy!" said the old man. "Let's get to work!"

1. 'Zero, zero degrees, below zero, far below zero.'

a. It's below zero but the snow is still melting! The ground must be warmer than the air.

b. As the sun went down, the temperature dropped to far below zero. Everything was dark and frozen and still.

2. 'To stoke up the fire' means to make the fire bigger. It can, of course, be used figuratively. 

a. The fire has died down. Let's stoke it up! I'm getting cold!

b. His words stoked (up) the argument. They were not very helpful.

3. 'The wind chill factor' is how the wind can add to the effect of the temperature.

a. The temperature didn't seem too bad, but the wind chill factor made quite a difference when we started hiking.

b. The movement of the air on your skin chills you more than just the outside temperature.

Click here to download The Golden Whisper for free!

Click the link for the Android app

Click here for the iOS app

Jan 5, 2016
One to One Hundred Birds.

Two days ago, we were hit hard(1) by snow. It snowed all night, leaving a thick blanket that seemed to insulate everything. The entryway, driveway, and neighborhood road looked like they had been carpeted with white. The back garden has got deeper and deeper with snow, as we don't clear it. There is nothing to do in the garden now that it is winter, nothing other than playing and building snowmen. There is, however, one place in the back that I have to keep clear of snow. That is the bird feeding area. Because we live in the country, and our neighborhood has many trees, there is a huge variety of birds that live here. The ones who stay in the winter need food, and that is where I come in(2). I like to help them a little, even though I know that they are very capable of helping themselves. I put a couple of dishes of bird seed out for them, and then I made frozen balls of bacon fat and seed. I hung these balls from the trees, and hurried back into the kitchen to watch from a comfortable spot. Gradually more and more birds swooped into my garden and came to the feast. They were little round birds who hopped quickly, fought with each other, and twittered(3). They acted like excited, young school girls at the shopping mall. Before long, the seed was gone. I hunted around in my garage for more bags, and managed to find just enough for the birds' second course. I decided to add some dry dog food to the mix. The birds came in a second time, but then suddenly flew away. There was an ugly squawking sound, and suddenly, I saw four beautiful blue jays. They swallowed up the dog food in no time, and left as soon as it was gone. Bird watching is proving to be quite addicting, especially when these loud but lovely birds come to visit.

1. 'To be hit hard by ...' is a phrase that can be used in the context of weather, financial problems, or many other kinds of changing situations.

a. We were hit hard by job losses when the factory closed.

b. The whole state was hit by a heat wave that dried up the farms.

c. A migraine hit me hard, so I had to pull over and take some medication.

2. 'That is where ...come/comes in' is a casual and slightly playful way of introducing something into a clear context.

a. The skiers will come in the restaurant looking for a warm meal. And that is where the new chefs come in. They will have hot stews and soups ready for them.

b. Tourists typically try to see the most historically significant places in a city, but it is difficult. That is where a guide comes in. He can save the tourists a lot of time and frustration.

3. 'To twitter'. It must be one of the most well-known words at the moment because of the social media giant, Twitter. It describes the quick, chatting noise that a bird makes which is different from its singing.

a. I love the spring, but oh my goodness, the birds start their twittering at 5am!

b. What are you two twittering about?                                

 

Click here to download The Golden Whisper for free!

Click the link for the Android app

Click here for the iOS app

Dec 29, 2015

Barbara: Hi Liz, sorry to bother you. I know you're busy studying, I just wanted to double-check(1) the time that we're going to the basketball game.

Liz: Uh, let's leave at about six thirty. It starts at seven thirty, but it'll be packed, so we'll need time to park and find seats.

Barbara: Ok. Oh, I love what you've done(2) with the Christmas cards!

Liz: Thanks. I like to arrange them on the wall and save them for at least a month. Look, I got several from my friends in York. This one is made from photos. See how snowy it is? And those are my three friends: Suzy, Jeff, and Peter. They took a selfie next to the(3) statue of Emperor Constantine. They look so goofy!

Barbara: Oh that's great! That is definitely worth keeping!

Click here to download The Golden Whisper for free!

Click the link for the Android app

Click here for the iOS app

Dec 28, 2015
Fancy That App.

I hear almost every day about useful apps. I have many already on my iPhone that make my life easier and more productive. One of the most practical that I have found is Google Maps. It has saved me so much time and frustration. It is essentially a map with a voice that guides you, step by step, to your destination. Hurray for that! For those of us who love languages, there are hundreds of language learning apps. A friend of mine from Iran recently told me about an extremely popular app that can be used for anything from teaching languages, business communication, sharing of files, or simply messaging and friendly chats. It's called Telegram. I have read quite a lot about it, and will continue to do so because it sounds very useful indeed. It was developed by the Durov brothers from Russia, but has its head quarters in Berlin. And the founders have covered all the costs(1), so it is free, and there is no advertising at all. Hamed, my friend from Iran, is an experienced English teacher who is quite the perfectionist(2) when it comes to learning English. In fact, he used to Skype with me in order to perfect his accent. Telegram is an easy platform for him to share videos, grammar notes, or even to have general discussions. It sounds like something that I can use! It is also dedicated to its users' privacy. In this competitive world of social media, it will be interesting to see if Telegram outdoes Facebook and Twitter by offering better service and more privacy. Hamed certainly gives it the thumbs up(3), and invites anyone who wants to learn English to try his free group. Just install Telegram on your device and try the link:

Hamed's English Group

   

 1. 'To cover the cost' means to pay for everything. This phrase it usually used in the context of business or insurance.

a. The company covered the cost of the business dinner.

b. Thankfully, my insurance company covered the cost of getting a new engine for my car.

2. 'To be quite the (perfectionist) etc'. This phrase is emphatic, and similar to saying, "He is such a perfectionist."

a. I was surprised. My shy brother was quite the entertainer at the party last night.

b. She is quite the activist. She never misses an opportunity to speak for those who need help.

3. 'To give someone/something thumbs up/down'. This phrase describes giving approval or disapproval. It is related to the Roman Caesars' thumbs up or down given at the end of gladiator games.

a. We got the thumbs up from the principal to hold a health assembly in the High School.

b. I give Google Maps an enthusiastic thumbs up.

Click here to download The Golden Whisper for free!

Click the link for the Android app

Click here for the iOS app

Dec 15, 2015
Wildcat Weekend.

Ellensburg is the home of Central Washington University. I have been lucky enough to be a student there twice. The building was constructed in the late 1800's, and makes a lovely center piece for the town. The town is quite small really; there are only about 18,000 residents. It is odd, actually, to think of such a large university being in a small town. This happened because, in the 19th century, Ellensburg made a bid(1) to be the political capital of the state, but lost. As a consolation(2), the university was built. The rest of the town is agricultural and fairly modern, with a few historical buildings here and there. I have a soft spot(3) for both the town and the university because of my good memories of being a student. Now I have another reason for visiting the town. Two of my children play AAU basketball, which is a non-school league. Last weekend their teams played in the university gym, so we spent the whole weekend there. Just outside of the gymnasium is a very large statue of a wildcat which is the mascot of the university. It was covered with a thin sheet of frost, and looked very intimidating. There were people everywhere, mainly students, of course. Above the gymnasiums is a jogging track, and next door is a huge weight room, and a climbing wall. It is a wonderful and useful modern addition to this historic place. The weekend came and went quickly, with lots of wins and losses, and before long, we had driven over the mountain pass and were back at home in Wenatchee. 

1. 'To make a bid' is to ask to win/receive a contract. We also 'ask' for bids from companies to see which one can give us the best service.

a. Many countries made their bids to host the next Olympics.

b. We asked for bids from several builders, to see which one could build our garage for the most reasonable price.

c. At the auction, the highest bid for the antique chair was $1000.

2. 'Consolation' is a gift of some kind to compensate for a loss. The verb 'to console' is to offer kind words to someone when they have lost something.

a. The loser of the competition received a consolation prize of a laptop.

b. I consoled her after her pet died.

c. The policeman gave the child a teddy bear, as a consolation, until they could find her parents.

3. 'To have a soft spot for something/someone' is to have positive/ tender feelings sometimes related to memories.

a. I have a soft spot for the college because I have good memories of being a student.

b. I have a soft spot for cats; we always had cats when I was a child.

c. They have a soft spot for Madrid; they first met and later got married there.

Click here to download The Golden Whisper for free!

Click the link for the Android app

Click here for the iOS app

Dec 8, 2015
The Turkey Run.

Thanksgiving was on 26th of November. It is always on the fourth Thursday of that month. It is a day that everyone looks forward to. It is a welcomed break for school children and anyone who works. And, of course, there is a big meal to share with family, friends, or both if you are lucky. This year, I decided to try something different. Each Thanksgiving morning here in Wenatchee, there is The Turkey Run. It is a 5km run or walk that is organized to raise money for charity. Participants(1)need to pay a certain amount to receive an official number in the race. Then, all you need is a good pair of running shoes, and some warm clothes. I had got(2) up early that morning to go to the supermarket. It was freezing cold. "Uh!" I thought to myself, "The race will be miserable if it stays this cold." Thankfully, by the time my daughter and I were ready, the sun had come out, and it was a few degrees warmer. At the starting line, there were hundreds of people of all ages, all dressed in winter clothes, some wearing funny hats, and even a couple of ballet Tutus. There were lots of smiles and laughter, and a few serious runners who disappeared along the road and up the hill as fast as lightening. My daughter wanted to run ahead to find one of her friends, so I jogged behind her. I kept my eyes on her bright pink sweater, as it darted through the crowd. During the run, I saw people I know, and was able to walk and talk with a few. I also was able to admire those in wheelchairs who were making a wonderful effort for charity. There were people with turkey hats on, others dressed in the Seattle Seahawks colors, and even babies bundled up like Eskimos being carried by their parents. I can only imagine that  with such a good turnout(3), a lot of money was raised for charity. I will definitely take part in the race next year; I'm tempted to buy a silly turkey hat just for that occasion.

1. 'Participants' is the noun, from the verb 'to participate' meaning to take part in something.

a. We were participants in the race, but not serious runners.

b. Now it is time for the participants to be judged.

2. 'Got' is used in British English as the past participle, instead of 'gotten' which is used in the U.S.

a. We had got tired of the cold, so we went back to the house.

b. They missed the bus because they hadn't got up until really late.

3. 'Turnout' is a number of people coming to an event.

a. I'm so pleased at the turnout of this political rally.

b. The turnout for the new video game was a record breaker. 

Click here to download The Golden Whisper for free!

Click the link for the Android app

Click here for the iOS app

Nov 30, 2015
A Winter's List.

"Wake up! Look at the frosty morning!" I said to my children on Monday. I knew that they wouldn't want to get out of bed; after all, it was a school day. But something about the beginning of winter makes the morning more interesting for them. I opened the curtains in the rooms of my two youngest, who normally moan and complain when they have to get up. "Wow, look at all the crunchy frost," my daughter said. She was right. As we looked out on the back garden, there seemed to be a sheet of sparkling powdered glass laying on everything. It twinkled(1) in the morning light. "I'll make some hot chocolate," I said, still trying to coax(2) them into coming downstairs. I had their winter clothes laid out on the lounge floor:coats, boots, gloves, hats, and scarves. While they ate their porridge, I spoke to my oldest sons. "Now, its best to leave early, so you don't have to hurry. Keep your distance when you drive because its icy." They both nodded in agreement, and gave me that look, the look that says, "Mum, I already know all of that. I'm a teenager, remember?" As I went outside to warm up the car, I noticed a neighbor was scraping the ice off of her windshield(3). Another neighbor was sprinkling ice melter on his path. I realized that winter has arrived, and we need to prepare ourselves in order to live comfortably with the cold. Just then, I got a text from my husband, "Remember to get the snow tires put on your car" it read. Yes, it was another thing to add to my list of preparations for winter. Here are some more things to add to it:

Flu shots for everyone.

Chop wood for the fire.

Buy vitamin C and Zinc.

Ingredients for soups and stews.

Put fuel in the snow blower, and get the snow shovels out of the shed.

Each day I try to check off one or two things from the list so we will be ready for the chilly season. Nobody likes to be unprepared, especially when it is so cold.

1. 'To twinkle' is a verb that refers to an intermittent shining of light. We associate the verb with Christmas lights, frost, stars, and other kinds of light.

a. It was a very clear night. There was a full moon, and the stars were twinkling.

b. Look at those twinkling lights on the trees. They are so pretty!

2. 'To coax someone into...' this phrase is similar in meaning to 'to persuade someone to do something'.

a. I coaxed my dog into going to the vet by giving him pieces of bacon.

b. I coaxed my husband into going to see a ballet with me by promising that I would go hunting with him. 

3. 'Windshield' is the main front window of a car. It shields/ protects you from the wind. 

a. My windshield cracked when a big truck went past me and threw up some stones.

b. You might prefer a motorbike with a windshield if you are traveling far.

Click here to download The Golden Whisper for free!

Click the link for the Android app

Click here for the iOS app

Nov 18, 2015
The Redwood Forest.

The Redwood forest is located on the west coast, from the south of Oregon to the south of California. There isn't just one forest; there are several along and near the coast. Together they cover 133,000 acres. In the 1800's many people went to the west coast to mine gold. Of course, a lot of people didn't find any, and so logging became a second option. At that time there were 2,000,000 acres of redwoods. The trees were quickly chopped down and used for buildings in the San Francisco area. In 1920 a movement started to preserve the remaining trees, but it wasn't until(1) the 1960's that they were finally safe. And I'm so glad that they are. I was lucky enough to take my family there this summer, and we were amazed at their size and beauty. Their age was just as astonishing(2). We came across a slice of a massive tree that was around(3) before the Vikings came to the Americas. Some trees had fallen over, and their root systems were the size of houses! We walked around the forest, straining our necks to keep looking up, up, up. I noticed a few things in particular. First, the bark of the redwoods is spongey, not hard. Second, there are hardly any plants on the forest floor because of the lack of sunshine. And third, the forest is so, so quiet. There are so many photos on the web of these amazing trees. Click this link to see some.

1. 'It wasn't until...' is a phrase that indicates the passing of time until an event/ change/ an action. I mentioned that a movement to preserve the trees had started in the 1920's, but nothing happened until the 1960's. That is why I used 'it wasn't until...'

a. We asked for building permission, but it wasn't until 3 years later/had passed that we were given permission.

b. I asked him to close the door, but it wasn't until he got cold that he closed it!

c. We bought our ski gear, but it wasn't until February that we were able to use it.

2. 'Their age was just as astonishing.' This is a separate sentence which refers back to the size and beauty of the trees of the previous sentence. 

a. The boys received excellent results in English. Their mathematics results were just as good.

b. She is tall and attractive. You are just as beautiful.

c. The new car is computerized and stylish. It's fuel efficiency is just as impressive.

3. 'a tree...that was around before the Vikings..' Here I could have used 'was growing' or 'was alive', but 'to be around' is a highly used phrase for something or someone being alive or present.

a. I am wise because I have been around for a long time.

b. That radio program has been around for about 50 years!

c. How long are those noisy kids going to be around here?

 

Click here to download my free ebook ‘The Golden Whisper’

Click here to buy or rate my Apple app

Click the link for the Android app

Nov 9, 2015
Football Fever.

American football is an autumn sport here in the U.S. The season goes from September until December approximately. Out of my three sons, only my youngest likes to play it; infact, he loves it. His last game was a couple of weeks ago, as middle schoolers have a short season. We went to the local High School stadium, and sat with a small crowd to watch the game. It was a chilly day, so most people had brought blankets and warm coats. I am more accustomed to football (soccer) and rugby, and so, it has taken me a while(1) to get used to the stopping and starting that take place in American football. The sport was based on rugby when it was first invented, but evolved during the 1870's into what it is today. Here, in the U.S, it is called 'football'; they call 'football' 'soccer' to distinguish between(2) the two. In order for a team to win it has to, first, have possession of the ball, and then advance into the opposing team's end zone. A 'touchdown' is the term used for a 'goal', just as in rugby we say a 'try'. There are also goal posts that the ball can be kicked through. So, you can see how American football is a hybrid of rugby. My son's team ended up(3) losing, but it was a great game. A few times the possession of the ball changed from one team to the other, and that is always exciting. The sport is the most popular in the country, and the amount of children who play it increases each year. It's following on television is also huge, with last year's Superbowl having 114 million American viewers.

1. ' It takes a while / it has taken (a person) a while to + verb'  is a very common expression which shows how time is needed in order to accomplish something.

a. It takes a while to get onto the highway because the traffic in town is bad.

b. It takes me a while to wake up in the morning!

 2. 'To distinguish between' is similar to saying 'to show/tell the difference between' when contrasting two things.

a. We can only distinguish between the twins when they are wearing different clothes! / We can only tell the difference between the twins ....

*Note 'to tell the difference' is used when we figure out/ calculate the difference, whereas 'to show' the difference is used when you are teaching or explaining what the difference is.

b. Can you distinguish between your father's voice and your grandfather's?

3. 'They ended up losing..' is a very natural sounding way of saying 'the end result was that they lost'. You could simply say 'they lost' of course, but 'they ended up' refers back to all the effort and time that went into their activity.

a. We won eight out of ten matches and ended up going to the state competition!

b. My car broke down and I missed the bus. My bicycle had a flat tire, so I ended up walking to work.

Click here to download The Golden Whisper for free!

Click the link for the Android app

Click here for the iOS app

Nov 5, 2015
A Thousand Dalias.

On one of my many walks on the Apple Capital Loop Trail, I came across an amazing patch of flowers. On a corner of land, next to an indoor market(1), a garden of only one kind of flower had been planted. They were dahlias. I happened to have my iPhone with me, so I climbed in amongst (2)the tall plants, and tried to find the perfect angles for the photos. So what is so special about dahlias? Their variety and sizes are quite incredible. There are 42 species, and many hybrids, so the colors, shapes, and sizes vary tremendously(3). I grew just a few this year for the first time. One was a huge, yellow dahlia called a 'dinner plate'. You can imagine how big the flower head is! The dahlia also has an interesting history. It is the national flower of Mexico, and used to be grown by the Aztecs for its tubers (which are like bulbs) which they would eat. One of the dahlias I photographed was a red and cream stripy flower with a very large head. I played around with the photo for this blog, and actually decided that it looks better in black and white because the petals have so much texture. See what you think. 

Check out my Facebook page for more dahlias!

1. 'Indoor/ outdoor' is quite obvious in meaning, but let's practice some examples:

a. We have indoor markets all winter because it is too cold outside.

b. They have an indoor swimming pool. How lucky!

c. There will be an outdoor theatre all summer long.

d. They live in Arizona where it is nearly always dry. They have an outdoor pizza oven.

2. 'Amongst/ among' are interchangeable. Note, however that in the US people don't really use 'amongst' as it sounds out of date. 

a. Divide the chocolate among you three.

b. In this group, you are always among friends.

3. 'Tremendously' is a powerful adverb that is similar in sense to 'enormously'.

a. She is a tremendously talented mathematician.

b. He is tremendously helpful.

c. The personalities in my classroom vary tremendously.

 

Click here to download The Golden Whisper for free!

Click the link for the Android app

Click here for the iOS app

Nov 4, 2015
A Park for the People.

Walla Walla park is right next to the river in Wenatchee. When I first came here twenty three years ago, it had just opened. Now, twenty three years later, the trees are so much bigger, and the park is well used by the locals. Its biking and walking paths run(1) for about five miles along the Columbia river. Then they continue over a bridge to the north, follow the other side of the river south, and finally, cross over the southern bridge to form an oval, or what we call The Apple Capital Loop Trail. It actually gets very busy as the walkers and bikers share the same paths. There is a courtesy rule(2) that as a biker approaches people walking in front of him, he must call out, “On your left!” That way, the walkers can move over to the right and let the biker pass safely. Safety is, of course, very important when lots of people are using the same place for sport. The water sports, such as kayaking and fishing, also need safety precautions. The local council has supplied life jackets for anyone who wishes to use them. So, if a family brings a boat to go fishing, they can use as many life jackets as they need, as long as(3) they put them back afterwards. The same goes for kayakers, water skiers, and paddle boarders. It is a generous and practical idea. It also encourages people to be honest, and to give back what they have borrowed. Along with the drinking fountains, toilets, play areas for children, and coffee hut, the free life jackets ensure a safe and enjoyable experience of the park.

1. ‘Run ….along/ the length of’ describes how a physical or imagined road travels, and what it is next to.
a. The route we will take runs up the mountain face and then along to the right.
b. The state boundary runs right along the river.
c. Semi-precious stones can be found on the entire length of the stream.

2. ‘A courtesy rule’ is a rule that is established for the good of the general public, for safety, and for comfort.
a. Opening the door for a lady used to be a courtesy rule.
b. Waving at a driver who has just let you into traffic is a courtesy rule.

3. ‘…as long as…’ is similar in meaning to ‘if’, but it implies that a condition has to be met.
a. You can go to the cinema, as long as you are home by eleven.
b. They can borrow our car, as long as they buy extra insurance.
c. She can borrow twenty dollars, as long as she pays me back by Thursday.

 

Click here to download The Golden Whisper for free!

Click the link for the Android app

Click here for the iOS app

Oct 29, 2015

1.Barbara: Liz! How are you? I'm so glad you're back. We all missed you!

2.Liz: Oh, thanks. I can't believe that the six months have been and gone!

3.Barbara: So, you must be super-fluent in English now, right? It sounds like the language course in York was really thorough.

4.Liz: My English really is so much better! Well, when you live around it everyday, it has to get better, right? The people in York are so friendly and chatty. And the city is amazing.

5.Barbara: We have to go to our favorite coffee shop, so you can tell me all about it. And don't forget your photos!

6.Liz: That's a great idea. But gosh, I have so much to tell; I don't know where to start!

Click here to download The Golden Whisper for free!

Click the link for the Android app

Click here for the iOS app

Oct 26, 2015
The Sea, the Sunset, and the Ocean Crab.

They walk sideways on their ten, bony legs. They are hard, and seem unfriendly. They run away from humans. Some people have them as pets, but I wouldn't! Their world is water, rivers, oceans, where they live with other cold-blooded animals. They are experts at hiding. And if you catch one, watch out! Your fingers will be pinched if you're not careful. You've probably guessed that I'm talking about the crab. It's a wild, sea creature, though some of them live in rivers. And it is unusual, compared with(1) most animals. It doesn't have any fur or feathers, and it doesn't seem to show emotion. It even wears its skeleton on the outside! One thing that it really does have is a good taste. It was that delicious flavor that prompted (2) my family and some friends to go to Birch Bay. The place is 100 miles north of Seattle, and about 35 miles south of Canada. It is a beautiful, wide bay, that is surrounded by forest. Our friends had a boat, crabbing pots, and all the equipment needed to trap our dinner. The sea must be healthy in that area, because after waiting for just a few hours, we had 30 crabs, far too much for us! We cleaned and boiled them right next to the beach, and then had a feast! The sun went down as we ate, and the most amazing colors developed on the horizon and through the sky. It was really a magical time. Those hard, but delicious creatures had lead us to a beautiful part of the country. We took so many photos of the sunset and its changing colors, and we sat after our meal, and enjoyed the gentle lap(3) of the waves on the shore.

1. 'Compared with..' is an essential tool to use in English conversation and writing. It allows you to create interesting, intermediate sentences. It points to differences, whereas saying 'compared to' points to similarities.

a. Life can be compared to a journey.

b. Ludovico Enaudi, as a composer, can be compared to Vivaldi in many ways.

c. My life in London was very different compared with my life in Wenatchee.

d. Compared with our school funds from last year, this year's funds are really low.

2. 'To prompt' is to encourage or remind. It can be used in many ways.

a. The wonderful weather prompted us to go for a hike.

b. The taste of crab prompted us to go fishing in Birch Bay.

c. During the play, the drama teacher prompted Deborah when she forgot her lines.

d. The rise in the price of milk prompted demonstrations in the capital city today.

3. 'Lap' is a noun and a verb. Your lap is the top of both thighs when you are sitting down, where someone or perhaps a pet can sit. 'To lap' is a gentle forward and backward motion, like a wave on the edge of the shore, or the tongue of an animal when it drinks.

a. We sat at the edge of the river and watched the water lap on the shore.

b. I gave my cat some milk and she lapped it up!

c. Her granddaughter sat on her lap and told her about her day at school.

d. My dog jumped up onto my lap and got me covered in mud!

Click here to download The Golden Whisper for free!

Click the link for the Android app

Click here to buy or rate my app

Oct 23, 2015
Di Caprio, real or wax?

Marie Tussaud was a French woman who became famous for her wax models. She was born in Strasbourg in 1761, and developed her hobby by watching the doctor who her mother worked for. He taught her the difficult art of wax modeling. When she was older, she travelled around Great Britain, showing many of her creations, and eventually settled in London, opening up her famous wax museum. There are actually many Madame Tussauds. One that I went to this summer was in San Francisco. It was the first time that we had been to that city, and as (1)we were there for only a couple of days, we wanted to see all the main tourist attractions. We had a great time in the museum, and really laughed a lot. I was surprised when I learned that you are allowed to touch the wax models. When we learned that, there was no stopping us(2). We hugged them, kissed them, pulled faces near them, and copied their poses. When I spotted Leonardo di Caprio, I had to pose with him. He is one of my favorite actors. I pretended that he and I were walking on the red carpet to see the premier of his latest film. When I looked at the photos we had taken, the wax models looked more real than we did (3)! The figures are so perfectly made. I couldn't decide which one of us looked more real, me or di Caprio!

1. '..as we were there for only a couple of days, we wanted...' as here is used the same way as 'because' or 'seeing as though'. It is good to practice producing such long sentences with as.

a. We got off the bus, and as we already had the tickets, we went straight into the theatre. 

b. Maybe you can explain our car problem to the mechanic, as you know more about cars than I do.

2. 'There was no stopping us/ there's no stopping us' is obvious in meaning, and is used to express enthusiasm or determination.

a. We wanted to hike, but it had rained for two weeks. When the sun finally came out, we put our boots on and headed out. There was no stopping us!

b. The business owner was so angry about the rise in taxes, that he went to the local government building to complain. There was no stopping him!

3. 'The wax models looked more real than we did!' I chose this sentence in order to practice the end auxiliary 'did'. This type of sentence sounds very natural. Remember, that we don't use 'did' with the verb 'to be'.

a. He ate more cake than everyone else did!

b. He is definitely taller than you are.

c. She is more generous than you are, but she has less money than you do.

d. She studies less than you do but still gets good grades.

e. They saw the movie before we did.

Download my free ebook, 'The Golden Whisper'

Click the link for the Android app

Click here to buy the iOS app.

Oct 20, 2015
Pioneer village.

A museum that is close to my house is the Cashmere Museum and Pioneer Village. Cashmere is a little town that is just eight miles away. It is a very small, country town surrounded by hills, and is known for(1) two things: a candy factory, and the museum. As my aunt was visiting from Spain, and is very interested in history, I thought that it would be nice to take her and my mother there for a day out. The museum had a lot of Indian artifacts and photos, and by Indian, I mean Native American Indian. There was an impressive amount of tools, baskets, and ceremonial instruments. This area is rich in Native American history. Outside of the museum building, however, was a collection of original pioneer houses. They were wooden cabins, and had been collected from a forty mile radius(2). They were arranged in a square, and together formed a perfect little village. There was a school, a few shops, a jail, a saloon, a church, and a couple of private houses. They had all been built around the 1880's. Everything inside the cabins revealed the progress of history. There was a printing cabin, with an original printing press. This reminded me that printed news, at that time, was quite a new thing. The cabins revealed to me how sophisticated our lives are now; back then(3), they were very basic. The homes usually had just one or two rooms, with the beds quite close to the oven, so they could stay warm in the winter. The photos that you can see on this link show a how the pioneers of this area lived, just before the Industrial revolution reached the U.S.

1. '...is known for' means 'has the reputation for', 'does something regularly' or 'has done something memorable'.

a. Rosa Parks is known for initiating the civil rights movement in the U.S.

b. Paul Klee is known for experimenting with color in his art.

c. Mrs Brown is known for her fabulous pies.

2. 'Radius' is a mathematical term meaning the line from the center of a circle to the perimeter.

a. To calculate the area of a circle, you need to know the radius.

b. The police searched a radius of two miles outside of the city.

 3. '..back then..' refers to a point in time that has already been mentioned. It is mainly used to refer to the distant past.

a. When my father was a boy, the Second World War was taking place. Back then he lived on a Canadian island.

b. The pioneers came to Wenatchee in the 1800's. Back then, they didn't have electricity.

Download my free ebook, 'The Golden Whisper'

Click the link for the Android app

Click here to buy the iOS app.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Next » 29