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Historic or historical?

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Neil Edgeller Neil Edgeller | 11:00 UK time, Monday, 11 July 2011

Hi Paloma and welcome to the BBC Learning English student blog. It's great to meet you. I used to work as an English teacher in Madrid, so it's always a trip down memory lane for me when people describe Spain. I really miss it!

During my time in Spain, I managed travel around and I think the south is one of the country's most vibrant regions. It was wonderful to hear about Malaga and in particular Pedregalejos. As you said, Malaga is well known to European package tourists, but Pedregalejos sounds like a well-kept secret away from the hordes.

It'll be interesting to hear more about your hometown, but I also love your idea of reflecting on the peculiarities of life in the UK from the perspective of an au pair. Perhaps you could visit Brighton. It's a British seaside town which became popular in the 19th century, so it would be interesting to contrast it with Pedregalejos. As you can see from the photo, the weather is probably quite different for a start.

A man on Brighton beach

Brighton beach in August


Your English is of a very high standard and you don't need much help, but there are a few things I noticed which could be improved.

In your blog you say:

I have the pleasure to be the blogger of this month.
When we use I have the pleasure... it should be followed by of + verb + ing. So the correct sentence is I have the pleasure of being the blogger this month.

I have been working as an au pair in the UK the last two summers and at the end of this month I'll go back...
We use the structure have + been + verb + ing when we are talking about activities which started in the past and continue to the present. Because you are not working as an au pair in the UK any more (even though you will again soon), you need to say I worked as an au pair in the UK the last two summers.

A very minor but interesting point next. You wrote:

It's so easy to find someone to practice languages with.
What's wrong with this? Nothing! However, In British English, when it's a verb, we tend to spell the word practise with an 's' rather than a 'c'. So in British English your sentence should be It's so easy to find someone to practise languages with.

One more thing I noticed. You say:

In Pedregalejos there's a historical building called...
They look similar, but there is an important difference in meaning between the adjectives historical and historic. Historical means that something is connected to the study of history. For example, an historical novel is set in the past and concerns events from history. Historic means that something is important in history. For example, in the USA, 4th of July is an historic day. So your sentence should say:

In Pedregalejos there's a historic building called...
That's all I'm going to look at this time. As I said, your English is very accurate so there's not that much work to do!


Seeing as we've been talking about historic towns, for the homework I'd like everyone to write about a building where you live. Why is it important and what makes it historic? I look forward to reading your answers.


• a trip down memory lane - to remember happy times.
• to miss (something or someone) - to feel sad that something or someone you like is not there.
• vibrant - exciting, colourful and full of energy
• package tourists - people who pay a company to provide them with an all-inclusive holiday.
• a well-kept secret - something good which only a few people know about.
• hordes - a large group of people.
• reflecting on (something) - to think carefully about opinions.
• the peculiarities of life - things you find unusual or strange about life.
• for a start - the first among many things


  • Comment number 1.

    Actually I´m living in the north coast of Colombia,in a big town named Barranquilla,well known to be part of the Colombian´s most vibrante regions:The caribbean.I feel lucky to live here,in a seaside town, surrounded of historic places and closer by the historic town Cartagena de Indias,well known around the world.Closer to Barranquilla,there´s an historic pier called "Muelle de Puerto Colombia".Today the pier is on ruins and used for the tourists just to take pictures,enjoy the seafood restaurants , the panoramic view and take a trip down memory lane when the oldiest folks remember de pier gold age and good times.

  • Comment number 2.

    I mean...vibrant regions

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi, In Turkey we have an amazing historic building designed by Mimar Sinan (Sinan the Archictect) for the daughter of Sulemain the Magnificent, Princess Mihrimah. Mihrimah Sultan is an Ottoman Mosque located in İstanbul. Mimar Sinan was in love with Mihrimah when they were young. But they couldn't be together..When Mimar Sinan was 50, he designed 2 mosque for her. In 21st of March you can see the sun goes down from Selimiye Mosque, at the same time moon shows itself from Mihrimah Mosque..And Mihrimah means sun and moon. I think that is so special.

  • Comment number 4.

    Yasemin....that was a really beautiful story......As far as I know Istanbul is one of the most beatiful,iconic and historic town in the world.One day I will be there to enjoy all his historiography......

  • Comment number 5.

    hi ,

    İ would lıke to narrate the legend of Maiden's Tower in İstanbul.İn fact there are lots of diffirent legends but i pick for you the most known and liked ones.
    It begins...
    Constantine, one of the Byzantine emperors had a beautiful daughter whom he loved dearly. The soothsayers said that the girl would one day be bitten by a snake and die.

    To protect his daughter the emperor commissioned a tower to be constructed on the small island where Kiz Kulesi(Maiden's Tower) stands now and sent his daughter there. But the girl was killed by a snake which came to the small island in a grape basket
    Today ,maiden's tower is being used as a cafe-restaurant in daytime ,in evening it uses for as a special restaurant for native and foreing visitors.And besides wedding,meeting are very frequenly done in this historic building.
    have a nice week

  • Comment number 6.

    Hi Neil,
    and welcome. Your explanations are very interesting, but I guess for very advanced people in english. In fact I left a post for Paloma saying that in my wiew she writes very well and so she should be speaking as much well.
    I live in a town near Rome. Her name is Frascati, the Beverly Hills of the Roman Castles, 'cause very close we have the famous movie studios of Cinecittà, so many italian films have been moved on our areas. We have also many historical villas, built by great italian e foreign artists and architects like Maderno, Della Porta, Cavalier D'Arpino, Bernini, van Wittel and many others.
    We have many tipical fanny squares and also many tipical osterias, where you can buy the white wine, known all the world. During the Eight Century many voyagers visited Frascati, because the town was includet on European Grand Tour. Today Frascati is visited for his mild wheather and for his beautiful landscapes, where you can appreciate the vibrant and magnificent sunset over Rome.

  • Comment number 7.

    Hi Alfonso, I hope you can visit İstanbul and other historic cities in Turkey..

  • Comment number 8.

    Hi Yasemin....Thanks for your message.....What a nice surprise for me!
    I was living in USA the last ten years and I recently came over from America to Colombia again.Those years in America gave me the oportunity to share experiences whith some friends from Turkey so your historic country and your beautiful town Instanbul don´t looks strange for me.Hopefully , one day I´ll be there to enjoy that marvelous,iconic and historic country.All the best

  • Comment number 9.


    I'm brazilian and I live in Angra dos Reis, Rio de Janeiro - a very nice place to admire its natural beauty and to know about Brazil's history. Angra was one of the first cities visited by the portuguese and it happened in 1502. Although its historic buildings are not well preserved, what is more important (in my opinion) we have here: there's still descendent native groups and ex slave descendents reunited in specific places, trying to keep bravely their culture and habits. Besides, the tourist may go to the Big Island, where ruins of an ancient prison still can be seen in a wonderful beach. At last, The nuclear usine with its modern architecture may be explored. Well... this is where I live. Is there anyone here who's visited Brazil?!?

  • Comment number 10.

    Hello everybody ! I live in a cozy small town in the countryside near Rome which - it goes without saying - probably possesses the highest concentration of historic buildings in the whole world. Since I don't want to look predictable then, I am not going to speak about one of Roman innumerable architectural pieces of art. I would like you to know instead of a little medieval castle located in the town where in live: Savelli Castle in Palombara Sabina. Its tower dates back to 900 a.C. and its function was essentially being a lookout, due to its position at the top of the hill, as to say a sort of watch tower. Later on other parts of the castle had been built and it wasn't finally completed until the 15th century under the dominance of the Borgheses, Sforzas and Torlonias, among the most important Italian dynasties of the Renaissance period. Nowadays, it's one of the council properties but still keeps its charm and it's often offered by the Mayor to the couples who wish to have their wedding celebrated in a fascinating and truly unusual location. By the way, which lady would not dream about being brought to a magnificent ancient castle by her beloved knight riding a romantic white horse and then becoming his bride and live happily ever after ? Ok ok maybe I have exaggerated just a little bit with the roamanticism but, at the end of the day, why not ? Oh by the way, even if you are not going to get married or you are allergic to horses, you could come to Palombara even just to enjoy an eye-catching stunning susnset in the castel gardens watching Rome from a different point of view, couldn't you ?

  • Comment number 11.

    Hi Neil! Thanks a lot for your explanations, they are really useful for us.
    Here it's my task:

    During my trips to Central America I have always admired "The Panama Canal Administration Building" because of the location is at the top of a hill prominently overlooking the Canal. I have read that this historic building was inaugurated on July 15, 1914, exactly a month before the official opening of the Canal.

    As an English teacher you are I noticed that you take care of your punctuation, I mention this because it's important to know the rules and apply them when writing.
    What about if you mention in your next posts anything about British punctuation?
    With my warmest greetings to you,


  • Comment number 12.

    Hi everyone my name is Jemil.I am living in Istanbul. It is the biggest wen of Turkey.Actually There are alot of touchy feely turkish people who don't want to blow their own trumpet here.
    There are a bunch of historic buildings in Istanbul.
    The church of Saint Antonie is the biggest Catholic Church in Istanbul which has has established in 1725.It is located in the center of a courtyard is entered through the gate on the roadside between two apartment buildings which were built to provide funding for the church. The church was built by concrete, and has neogothic style. It has the biggest number of congregation.

    You probably won't see any priests or nuns on the street at least, you won't see them in their religious garb. When Turkey became a secular state with the proclamation of the Turkish Republic in 1923, clergy and other religious persons of all faiths were forbidden to wear religious raiment in public places. Mitres, pastoral collars and nuns' habits are restricted to the interiors of religious buildings, private homes and vehicles.

    Good luck

  • Comment number 13.

    An excellent piece of teacher's reply. In a plain and not patronizing language. Thank you, NE, for your comment.

  • Comment number 14.

    Dear friends
    I read all of your comments and was very wonderful.Let me to share my experience that I gained in my country.Have you ever seen my country,Iran?What do you know about that?In my country you can see all season at the same time and so many historic buildings and our special culture.What is your opinion about my country?

  • Comment number 15.

    I live in the Kuri-city which is located in the west southern part of South Korea . Truth be told. I'm so happy to be a citizen of Kuri-city. Because Kuri-city was the capital of Koryeo dynasty . So we have many historic sites . for example Donggu-reung is one of the most famous historic sites in Kuri. It's also record on UNESCO too. Dong Gu reung (동구릉) is the place where has tombs of 17 kings and queens of Joseon dynasty . not just the history . Dong Gu reung is also famous for the environment too. so people visit here every year to see the beautiful scenery of here ^^ when I was in middle school. I've been there alot for volunteering such as picking up the trashes or trample down the grasses around the tombs . so it's a trip down memory lane whenever i see middle school students visit there for school volunteering


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