A very belated welcome
First of all, apologies to Omar and everyone for not being around for the last week. I've been away for a few days in Cornwall
but now I'm back and raring to go!
Omar: even though I've been on holiday I've been reading and enjoying your blogs very much. They've generated a lot of discussion, which is fantastic! I thought your suggestions for ways to improve your English were great - although you're a brave man to tackle calling a call centre! Your English is actually very good and as many of our online friends have said, you tell a great story. Your blog about South Sudan made me cry. It was a bit embarrassing as I was sitting in the office at the time!
Before I pick holes (only joking) in your blogs, I thought I'd tell you about my own experience of the Olympics. This week I feel my Olympic journey has come a full circle. Let me explain. In 2005 London was one of the cities shortlisted to host the 2012 Olympics. On 6 July I was sitting in the BBC office in the centre of London, just before lunch, when it was announced that the choice was between Paris and London. I quickly left the office and rushed down to Trafalgar Square to await the result of the vote. Thousands of us were squashed into the Square. At the front there was a huge stage, a giant screen and loudspeakers. On the screen we could see Jacques Rogge. He said "The International Olympic Committee has the honour of announcing that the games of the thirtieth Olympiad in 2012 are awarded to the city of......." And then there was a long pause. All of a sudden the people right at the front of the crowd starting cheering - then he said ".....London!" and the whole of Trafalgar Square erupted. You can see the BBC news report here
Minutes after the announcement was made there was a roaring overhead and the Red Arrows flew over the Square, trailing red, white and blue smoke.
This Sunday marked the end of the Olympics and Paralympics. On Monday there was a huge parade through the streets of London. The GB athletes were carried through the streets on 21 giant trailers pulled by lorries. I, along with thousands and thousands of other people (some newspapers say there were 1 million people), waited for hours to see the athletes pass by.
As the parade reached Buckingham Palace, I found myself once again standing in Trafalgar Square. And once again, there was a roaring overhead....and there were the Red Arrows again, trailing red, white and blue smoke. So you see: a full circle!
Now then, back to your blogs. I'm not going to say anything about your first blog, as I think it was such a great way to get people talking. Actually, I am going to say something: well done to everyone who commented and joined in the discussion: this is another way to improve your English. Don't be afraid to have a go at writing something: whether it's a single line or a whole essay.
Let's start with a few vocabulary bits from your other two blogs. Nothing major!
- Play and games "And what kind of plays do they play?" To play as a verb is used in sport (to play football); but as a noun (a play or plays) it's theatre! For sport, the noun is a game. So, "And what kind of games do they play?"
- Make a party: "They make a very big party" - here you need to use 'throw a party' or simply 'have a party'.
- Skinned: "They were so skinned, lightweight..." I think you mean skinny (very thin)? Do you know that if you go in to a coffee shop and ask for a "Skinny latte" you will get an espresso coffee with nonfat milk?
The other thing I want to look at briefly is the Simple past tense vs present perfect. You said
"During the war, more than 2.5 milion people have been killed, and 5 milions people have become displaced in other countries, becoming refugees."
The war is over - it's finished, so you need to us the simple past:
During the war more than 2.5 million people were killed (not have been killed)
5 million (note singular when you have a figure) became (not have become) displaced
Now then, here's some homework:
"I recollect it from the ground". Recollect is a formal way of saying 'remember' e.g. "Do you recollect when we used to go to the seaside for our holidays?" I think you were thinking of the word 'collect', but what you should have said was "I picked it up from the ground". Pick + up = verb + preposition. However, sometimes the second word (in this case 'up') gives a special meaning to the verb. This is called a 'phrasal verb'. So, "I picked up my cup of coffee" = verb + preposition. "I went home after work to pick up my car" - meaning I went home to collect my car, not literally pick it up - is a phrasal verb. Take a look at the eight sentences and decide whether they contain a verb + preposition or a phrasal verb:
1. Have you had your interview? How did you get on?
2. He failed his exams, so he dropped out of college.
3. She dropped her keys and had to pick them up from the floor.
4. I was very angry, so I shouted at him.
5. She fell asleep in the car and crashed into a tree.
6. I go to the gym every day to work out.
7. They saw their friends in the street and ran out to say hello.
8. We couldn't have a cup of tea this morning because we had run out of milk.
Raring to...: to be eager to do something
To pick holes in something: to find weak points in something
Erupt: in this case, to suddenly start shouting and cheering
The Red Arrows: the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team