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Jennifer | 11:22 UK time, Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Hello again everyone, and a very warm welcome to our new student blogger - Jane from Thailand. We'll take a look at your first two blogs later.

Here in the UK it was Valentine's Day yesterday, so many people were caught up in buying romantic cards and gifts for their loved ones. Many people are quite cynical about the day and think that all of the hype comes from greetings card companies and shops who want you to buy their products.

To some extent I agree with this view. For the last couple of weeks, shops and supermarkets have been swamped with items that we're told we should buy if we want to prove to our other half that we love them. Seeing stacks of heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, overpriced bottles of pink champagne and cards in every shape and size imaginable does put the pressure on you to spend lots of money; after all, you don't want your Valentine to be disappointed!

Valentine's Day cards for sale

Hundreds of Valentine's Day cards on sale

But should it not be more important to show your partner that you love them all year round? Surely a spontaneous kind gesture would be better than a mass-produced card and predictable box of chocolates from the supermarket? Is it better to hear an unexpected 'I love you' than seeing it on a cheesy card? I think being genuinely loving all year round might be a better than being forced to spend lots of money on one day in February.

But however much I question the real value of Valentine's Day, I do know this: I would have been terribly upset if I hadn't received a little card... And some of the Valentine's cakes on offer are really too good to miss...


My tasty Valentine's Day surprise!


It's great to read your first two blogs and see that you're so enthusiastic about learning English. Such keenness will stand you in good stead and help to develop your language enormously.

Your writing is very engaging and full of passion and emotion and, contrary to what you think, your vocabulary and grammar are generally very good. However, I've noticed a few repeated mistakes that I think we can take a look at...

In your writing, you have a tendency to write nouns in the singular form. Look at these sentences from your first blog:

"I like reading comic book so I read those in English language."
"I like watching movie so I watched them in English language."
"I like song so I listening to them in English language."

Your object pronouns here ('those/them') are correctly plural - you just need to match this with the object of your sentence, which also must be plural here. So what you should write is:

"I like reading comic books"
"I like watching movies"
"I like songs," etc.

There are a few examples of this in your second blog too. Let's take a look at this beautiful paragraph about your experience at university:

"When I think about the thing we have done together, the moment we all had fun, the moment we all share our sadness, etc, and to think that I have to say Goodbye to them soon, tear starting to form in my eyes."

We need plurals here too to make this sound more English, so it should read:

"When I think about the things we have done together, the moments we all had fun, the moments we all share our sadness, etc, and to think that I have to say goodbye to them soon, tears start to form in my eyes."

Have a look back through your first two blogs and take a look at the nouns you have used, thinking about whether they may need to be plural or not.

Jane signs off her second blog with "btw" - do you know what that means? It's an abbreviation of the phrase "by the way", and is a common way to communicate a message, particularly in email, internet chat or text messaging. Do you know what the following abbreviations mean and where you might see them?
1. lol
3. brb
4. ttfn
5. A.O.B

That's all from me for this week. There's one last thing I wanted to know from Jane, though. How did you and your friends jump so high on your last photograph? It's been puzzling me for ages!


stand you in good stead - become useful to you
cynical - mistrustful
swamped - overwhelmed by
other half - partner
overpriced - costing more than it's worth
put the pressure on you - make you feel you must do something
spontaneous - unplanned
predictable - expected
cheesy - bad taste


  • Comment number 1.

    Dear Ms. Jennifer,
    Nice to know your thoughts about valentine day. It seems to me so matured.

    Ok, I think I know a few of the abbreviations:
    LOL: Laugh Out Loud
    ASAP: As soon as possible
    BRB: Be right back
    TTFN: sorry, I don't know
    A.O.B: sorry, I don't know

    Best Wishes,

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi Jennifer
    It is always a great pleasure to read your blogs. I completely agree with your aspect in the case of Valentine's celebration. We had two lovely daughters and my husband brought us two white and a red roses yesterday. I asked him funnily whether he did something wrong.
    Being as a middle age woman, I had to use some help to find out the meanings of the abbreviations. I prefer the lively connections and communications between people.
    A.O.B.: Any Other Business
    ttfn:Ta Ta For Now -informal "goodbye"
    L.O.L.:Laughing Out Loud
    A.S.A.P.: As Soon as Possible
    brb: Be Right Back or also sometimes treated as a symbol of "bathroom break"

    Finally, I would like to draw your attention to a world-wide used abbreviation R.S.V.P. which is come from the French expression "répondez s'il vous plait", meaning "please respond". Next time you see it on an invitation you receive, please call your host and respond promptly.
    Sincerely yours
    Krisztina from Hungary

  • Comment number 3.

    Sorry, I made a mistake: of course we also have our daughters at this moment, so I should have written present time in that sentence above

  • Comment number 4.

    hello jannifer
    iam anew member in bbc sit
    I want to learn English can you help me?
    your topic very nice

  • Comment number 5.

    i find your topic very nice and for the meaning of the abbreviations i know just one
    lol: laugh out loud
    and i want to learn the others i'm new blogger and thank you for your help
    best wish

  • Comment number 6.

    and i want to ask you how can i write my own blog i tried but didn't succeed
    tank you

  • Comment number 7.

    hi jennifer
    thanx about ur interesting topic
    i just knew about L.O.L.:Laughing Out Loud!
    i have a question:shouldn't u have used a singular object instead of THEM?doesn't it refer to other half that is single?"....we should buy if we want to prove to our other half that we love THEM"

  • Comment number 8.

    Hi Jennifer,

    It's nice to read your thoughts about Valentine day. Although I am still not that used to this day and have little knowledge about the real meaning, I think it would be nice to make our mundane day very special and say 'I love you' to their loved ones. I wish my other half had told me that......^^

    It's fun to know the meaning of abbreviated words. I'd like to use them one of my e-mails.

    1. lol : laughing out loud
    2. ASAP : as soon as possible
    3. brb : be right back
    4. ttfn : ta ta for now
    5. A.O.B : any other business

    Thank you very much!

  • Comment number 9.

    Hi Jennifer, I'm a new member of BBC site. I'm 45 years old and I love English language. Unfortunately, I don't practice enought and I lose it. It's the first time I register to a blog but I really apreciate it because I learn a lot of vocabulary. I agree with you about Valentine's day. For my part, I just want my husband to tell me Happy Valentine's day. In general, if we go to a restaurant, we go with my two children to celebrate it together (even if they don't have girlfriends for the moment). About abbreviations, I only know LOL and ASAP.
    Thanks for this funny topic.
    Best wishes, Ingrid

  • Comment number 10.

    @rainyman, you've a valid query. However, In English it's now a practice to avoid being gender bias. So, the sentence in question could be written in the following alternative ways:
    1. ...we should buy if we want to prove to our other half that we love him/her...
    2. ...we should buy if we want to prove to our other half that we love them...
    The second option, i.e, pluralizing the object/ subject, is most commonly used now a days in written English, though it does not seem to agree with the context. I just tried to give you an idea, I believe, a learned teacher would be able to guide you better.
    Best Regards,

  • Comment number 11.

    Hi Jennifer,

    I'm a new member,

    and I really was stuck by your blog. I consider myself staying among who are considered "cynical", and I'll try to explain my reasons adopting a double point of view.

    As a man, I find ridiculous to prove your love buying red flowers or a predictable box of choccolates simply because it has become habitual. Signs of real of love might be unexpected and truly sincere.

    As a student of economics, Valentine's Day as well as Christmas and similar events represent an extraordinary opportunity to boost the so called "consumer confidence". Who benefits? Firms, with fresh returns, as well as workers enjoy this temporary breath of oxygen.

    In conclusion, love, whatever exists, cannot be commercialized. Men and women should make a jointly effort to free the concept of love from most of the common constraints.

    Best Regards,

  • Comment number 12.

    hi rajeeb
    thanx for ur helpful comment....
    wish u the best

  • Comment number 13.

    Hi Jennifer,

    I`m also a newcomer and hope i`ll learn much here) Concerning your post, i can say that of course we celebrate Valentine`s Day and it`s great to send Valentine cards and gifts to each other. As for me, it`s not Must! Sometimes i can only congratulate my lover with warm words and it`s enough i think because we people should love each other not for gifts and of course we can show our tender feelings not only this day, but every day!

    Best regards,


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