Inspire a generation
Welcome to the BBC Learning English blogs, Zibaxa and thank you for writing two such different and interesting blogs. I have to confess that I had to look at an online atlas to see exactly where Armenia was. I realise how little I know about your country and I look forward to finding out a lot more in the next few weeks.
You have a lovely writing style. In your first blog, about children, you paint some great pictures with your words! One small thing: the correct phrase is "Children's home" rather than "Child home". I don't know if you've seen any of the Olympics over the last few days? If so, have you noticed the slogan "inspire a generation"? Seven years ago, Britain won the bid to host the Olympics. The organising committee promised that if London was host city, it would encourage young people to take part in sport. Young people have been at the heart of these Games. Did you see the Opening Ceremony? If so, did you enjoy it? What was your favourite bit? If you did see the Opening Ceremony, you will know that children played a major part. There were children dancing, acting, singing and 7 young athletes were chosen to light the Olympic Cauldron. I liked the comment Hassan left on your blog: "kids are the men of the future" (and of course the women of the future ;-)) It's true: we have to protect and encourage children: they are the future of this world - the way we treat them now will affect the adults they become. "Inspire a generation" is a great slogan not just for the Olympics but for life!
You put some fantastic photos in your second blog: what a beautiful country! I'm looking forward learning more - especially about your food: I see you have promised to share a recipe with us!
Qarahunj looks fascinating - and I can see the similarities to Stonehenge. When I was a child I visited Stonehenge with my family. In those days, you could walk amongst the stones and touch them. Sadly, now the visitors are kept at a distance, in case the ancient monument is defaced or eroded. It is estimated that Stonehenge was built in 3100 BC. No-one really knows why it was built: like Qarahunj, it may have been used for astronomy - or it may have been used for human sacrifice. Yuck! It certainly is a dramatic sight.
Now let's look a little bit at your writing. First of all, it's OK to make mistakes: it's by making mistakes that we learn. This time I'm going to concentrate on a very common mistake. English uses articles all the time: "a" and "the". I don't think you have an equivalent to "a" or "an" in Armenian, do you?
"a" or "an" (before a vowel) is called the indefinite article because it doesn't define a particular thing or person, but is used in general.
In English we use "a" and "an"(before a vowel) to say what kind of thing somebody or something is.
- a children's home
We use it for people's jobs:
- she wants to be a model;
- he is a doctor.
And we also use "a" and "an" for describing something:
- a shiny girl (Zibaxa, I'm not sure here what you mean by shiny? Perhaps you mean radiant? That's a quality, referring to someone's personality. We'd use shiny more for things, like jewels or a new car - sometimes for people if someone has shiny face or a shiny head if they're bald!);
- an old man.
'the' is called the definite article because it defines someone or something.
So, we use "the" when we are talking or writing about a specific thing:
- The first time I entered the children's home (you have already told us you volunteered at a children's home - in your next sentence you are telling us what happened when you went to that particular home)
We also use "the" with some place names, with seas, rivers, mountain ranges and deserts:
- The Vorotan river
Articles are very complicated - so don't despair if you don't always get it right!
Just one more thing today: you need to be careful with your spelling: English is not a phonetic language, so it's a good idea to check your spelling with a dictionary. For your homework, can you correct the following?
- Older then
- Plent trees
You're doing a great job: keep it up! I love the way that you are interacting with everyone who leaves comments!
At the heart of: to be at the centre of something
Defaced: to spoil something by writing or drawing on it
Erode: to gradually destroy something - in this case by touching the stones
Yuck!: an expression meaning something is disgusting
Don't despair: Don't lose hope