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Sean | 15:54 UK time, Monday, 16 July 2012

Dear Jinghua and everyone,

First of all, let me introduce myself as it's a while since I blogged here in the Teacher Blog. My name is Sean - some of you may remember my Staff Blogs. I'm the Editor of the Multimedia Team here at BBC Learning English and responsible for the production and team of producers and broadcast and online assistants who bring you all the content on www.bbclearningenglish.com and www.bbcukchina.com as well as the English Language Teaching (ELT) content on the BBC World Service Language sites

I used to be a Teacher of English as a Foreign Language to Adults (TEFLA) and have a diploma in TEFLA, with distinction! I worked mainly as a teacher in London and France but my work for the BBC has taken me to many countries, including China. So I'm delighted we have Jinghua as our Student Blogger this month. What a LOVEly blog! I LOVE it!

Jinghua - well done on your first blog. It is beautifully written with a great deal of heartfelt emotion. I really like your photos too.

Now, part of my job here is to highlight some errors so you can improve your English and other readers can benefit too. I have to say, Jinghua, you have made this job very easy, as there are very few errors.

The main point is that with abstract, uncountable emotions - like anger, jealousy, fear, hatred... and, of course, love - we don't use the definite article (the). So, your first question should read -

What's real love?

The same applies to 'life'. So, we would say "However, real life is always different."

The other errors are minor. Everything is perfectly understandable, but you could improve further by paying attention to nouns and verbs. You say there are many problems in front of them (you could also say 'ahead of them'): 'quarrel' is a singular noun but here we would either put it in the plural 'quarrels' or use the verbal noun - quarrelling. You also say 'they know the perfect is not exist'. Here we would say 'they know perfection (or the perfect something, like the perfect relationship)' as this has to be a noun (perfection) or the adjective (perfect) needs a noun it is describing (relationship, partnership and so on). You also say 'is not exist' when we would say 'does not exist' - that's a common mistake for learners of English. So is missing the 's' on the third person verb - it should be 'my mom makes concessions first.' Also, 'choice' is a noun and the verb is 'to choose' so we would say 'Although you have known (we would more naturally say 'Although you know' here) he or she has many shortcomings, you still choose and love him or her.'

Talking of choosing, I can tell you have studied American English by your choice of the word 'Mom'! In the UK, we call our mothers Mum!

Love is a fascinating subject, isn't it? It's clear from your post that your Mum (or Mom!) and Dad love each other very much - especially given that lovely Chinese saying.

If you want to hear some real English people saying 'I love you!' check out this video on www.bbclearningenglish.com, which we made in celebration of Valentine's Day. Do you celebrate Valentine's Day in your country? And are you willing to tell us something about who or what you love?! You can also find lots of related love stories in the right hand column.

I'll leave you with some photos which may inspire people to add some comments (please do, as I love reading them!) -

Do you love coffee? How do you like it?

A lovely cup of coffee.  A close-up of a cappucino.

Some people love money. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

An old fashioned cash register

I love this old style cash register or till.

This is a lovely bed. Do you love sleeping?!

A comfortable bed

Are you a shopaholic? Some people just adore shoes! How about you?

Shelves of colourful shoes in a shoe shop

Of course, these are all things and Jinghua is talking about love between people. So how about these photos I took in Paris (often called the City of Love!)... I think they tell their own story of love. What's yours?

A young couple on a park bench sitting apart.

A young couple on a bench in a park.  The young man extends his arm towards the girl.

Couple on a bench in a park. Now sitting close together.

A couple on their wedding day

And finally, I thought you might enjoy these quotes -

I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life. - Rita Rudner

All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. - Leo Tolstoy

We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly. - Sam Keen

You don't marry someone you can live with, you marry the person you cannot live without. ~ Author Unknown

If kisses were the water I would give you the sea, if hugs were the leaves I would give you a tree, but if love was time, I would give you eternity. ~ Author Unknown

Where there is no love, pour love in, and you will draw love out. ~ St. John of the Cross

Love is not love that alters when it alteration finds. ! William Shakespeare

To love someone deeply gives you strength. Being loved by someone deeply gives you courage. ~ Lao Tzu.

If you love something let it go. If it comes back to you it's yours and if it doesn't, it never was.

And finally, finally!... as it's supposed to be a summer of sport... here are a couple of sporting idioms with a love theme!

Out of someone's league Team sport
not as good as someone
I'd like to date Maria, but I'm afraid I'm out of her league

plenty of other fish in the sea Fishing
there are many other men and women to date
I know you still love Jack, but remember there are plenty of other fish in the sea

Really looking forward to reading more of your blogs and comments!


  • Comment number 1.

    Hi Sean,

    I found your post really enjoyable and your questions are very interesting as they make us think of what we love and why. It's true that there are plenty of things we can love. For example I love coffee. I like drinking a large black coffee early in the morning while I'm studing English. If someday there is not coffee left, I don't feel like studing! It's just a previous ritual I need to do.

    On the other hand, you ask us about money and people who love it. I think it is the big global problem. Nowadays we associate money with a successful life so everyday there are more greedy people who always want more and more money and envious people who want to have more money than everyone. And we usually forget that real happiness is inside us!

    Paula CB

  • Comment number 2.

    Hi, Sean!
    It was a great pleasure to read your comment. Thank you for correcting Jinghua`s maistakes, I make the same very often. I`m from Russia, I`ve been learning English for many years, but unfortunately I`ve never had any chance to practice my English with native speaker and I have some difficulties with listening English speech. For me it`s rather complicated to understand So, today I`ve registered in BBC and now I have a great oppotunity to write here my own comments in English. That`s absolutely amazing! I think BBC really can help me improve my English which I love very very much. It`s my passion, my hobby and I hope that one day I will become an interpreter.

  • Comment number 3.

    Hi Sean,
    I am happy I fortunately came up with this part of BBC learning English. Apart from being utterly useful for correcting grammar and vocabulary mistakes I find it enjoyable because of your quotations. They have caused a great impression on me.

    Although I have passed most of my life learning English (I started learning English when I was a child and now I am 51), I do not have a good command of it. However, I really like learning English. It broadens my mind and I am thankful for that.

  • Comment number 4.

    Hello Sean,

    what a nice blog entry you wrote. I especially "loved" the sentences you collected related to the topic. How nice was it to read them.
    As a matter of fact I'll try to memorize some of them. I'm sure occasion will come for me to use them in a conversation.
    And what to say about the pictures. Really nice. Did you really take them all yourself in Paris? It's amazing how they came in just handy for this specific entry.
    Again, thank you for your great guidance.
    Looking forward for your next post, I say goobye.

  • Comment number 5.

    Hello Sean,

    it was nice to read your writing. You asked us to tell you what we love. Well, I love my wife, she is the most important person in the whole world for me. I love also our two cats and I love to go to swim early in the morning. I love also my books, my music CDs and DVD-movies and a warm shower in a cold winter day. I love almost everything except rainy days.

    One curiosity here! In Finnish it is not good to say you love for example cats or dogs. A Finn may understand this the way that you have a very strange kind of hobby. If you say you love something in Finnish an object always must be a person. Word love is so strong word in Finnish that you can love only a person. Finns only like cats, dogs, coffee, mornings or something that is not a person never love them.


    - Ompputhecat -

  • Comment number 6.

    Hi Sean,

    this is my first interaction i do love english but know very little. That's why i decided to write comments on the blog so that i my impove my writing and comprehension ability.
    the pictures which you have taken in paris of a couple sitting on the bench are very romantic. I am from asia where such scenes are very rare and people used to love behind the door because our society is orthodox and doesnot allow to sit together with opposite sex in open.
    However i am married and love too much my wife and kids they are my whole universe to bank on. I do job away from my home town and i go to home only on weekend. Sometime it makes me frustrated to being away from home but i have no other option. But i really enjoy when I go to home on weekends since every one is waiting for me and they also enjoy when we meet.


  • Comment number 7.

    Hi sean,
    This blog is the very plesher and very lovely for my alone life.I 'm Pahan Buddika from Srilanka.I have been learnning English for many years,but i m not satisfact about my English writen ability..
    But i supposed the i'm lucky boy , so join with your blog.I have registerd in BBC .Now i can join with u and wite the my comments to to BBC.I think and belive BBC really can help to me improve my writing ability . i want to be a reporter like as the English men.
    I love to so much..


  • Comment number 8.

    Hi Sean,
    What we love makes our lives meaningful. I love watching a sunset, birds flying back home, walking barefoot on the wet beach, reading a good story, listening to music, the flavor of the rain-soaked ground after the first rains and being with people I love. Everybody has their own list of things they love but most people love the idea of love. So elusive things like true love , aura , and soulmates make
    everbody's list.

  • Comment number 9.

    Hi Sean,
    Your post is very nice, i love it a lot. I'm from Vietnam and it's in Asia. So, we don't say the sentence "I love you" a lot. For me, it have never happened. But, after this time, I will try my best.
    I've learned English for 5 years but I haven't had a chance to share my thinking to other people and make friend with them. So, now, i decide to join the student blog, but I don't know how. Can you help me? I've clicked on the link "Send us an email" but it doesn't work so well. Thanks a lot.

  • Comment number 10.

    Hi Sean,
    and thank you very much for your advices and suggestions.
    I love coffee. I really “love” it. I cannot just say that I like it. I could use for coffee one of the nice expressions you suggested: “You don't love something you can drink, you love coffee because you cannot live without drinking it”. What a bad world would it be without coffee !! And I like money too, but it doesn’t love me and this is a problem … but it’s a small problem: I just need a little money to take coffee. With a good cup of coffee I can almost face every sort of problems.
    Shoes are very important: in Rome they say that if you are healthy and have a good pair of new shoes you can go around all over the world. It’s not a matter of fashion: you need shoes to walk and walking is the most simple way to travel. So, in a certain sense, I like shoes (comfortable shoes) because I love freeedom.
    And I like what tanuka wrote: "What we love makes our lives meaningful". In my opinion this is a very good sentence

    Best regards
    maria teresa


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