Scissors, sunburn...and Shakespeare
Hello again, Federico,
So, you’re going on another business trip this weekend: what does your girlfriend think about that?
I was very interested when I read your confession that you prefer travelling to working in an office. I share your enthusiasm for travel travelling. In fact, I think that’s one reason why I became an English teacher. I wanted to travel to and live in many foreign countries, and the easiest way for me was to train to become a teacher of English.
You mentioned the IELTS exam and Australia. I have never taught an IELTS course, although I have colleagues who do. Is it a visa requirement for Australia that you must have an IELTS qualification? Do you attend a weekly evening class or are you studying for the exam by yourself?
I’m surprised that the Peruvian Scissor Dances aren’t better-known around the world (or is it just that I am very ignorant? Don’t answer that!). They seem to be an important part of your culture. Talking of culture, Lucy and I will go into town tonight to see Much Ado About Nothing, a comedy by William Shakespeare. It is being performed by the Royal Shakespeare Company, and one of our best comedy actresses is in it. I am very excited about it. It was extremely difficult to get tickets because the whole run is a sell-out.
There is one more thing I’d love to hear a little more about: the ‘Jesus Boy’ of Chumbibamba. Who or what is it? Or am I just being ignorant again? Sorry.
Well, Federico, the after-sun cream may not be helping much but I’m glad my advice and corrections are. It’s so good to see you using some of the new language. Well done. A few more tips and suggestions to look at now, then maybe you have time to relax with a chilled beer…before slapping on more after-sun cream and getting back to work.
Don’t work too hard!
Bye for now,
SOME USEFUL WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS
If you make a confession you admit to having done something you might normally not want to admit to.
something you must have or do, or some condition you must fulfil, before you can get a visa
something you have when you have passed an examination
if you are ignorant of something you do not know about it
all the performances of a theatrical production
the situation when every ticket for every performance has been sold so that it is no longer possible to get a ticket
an idiomatic expression, very often used about sun cream, meaning to put lots and lots of something onto your body
WORDS (AND GRAMMAR) TO WATCH
These are all examples of what some teachers call uncountable (or uncount) nouns. In English, if you want to make ‘toast’ plural, you have to say, some toast or two pieces of toast or two slices of toast.
If you want to make ‘news’ singular, you have to say some great news or a great piece of news. It’s the same with ‘advice’: He gave me some good advice or He gave me a piece of good advice.
This is normally a verb or an adjective. If you need a noun, it is better to use ‘journey’ or ‘trip’. Also, notice that in the ‘-ing’ form (of the verb and the adjective) it is spelled with double ‘l’: travelling: example sentences:
I prefer to travel alone.
I love reading travel books.
Next month I’m travelling to Kenya.
Look again at the end of your first paragraph. Both of these versions are possible:
I will stay there for two or three days. It depends on how fast I do my work.
I will stay there for two or three days depending on how fast I do my work.
[not in my work]
corrected sentence: I was thinking about your questions…I had read at work.
[not good on]
corrected sentence: …so your help can make me improve my English, especially my writing, because I am not good at it.
For all proper names such as days and months: Saturday, December
You have written a very complicated piece here, and it is good. You communicate very effectively and there are very few errors (remember that adjectives don’t have to have number agreement with nouns in English). But because it is a complicated paragraph and because you said you don’t think you are good at writing, here is a re-written version for you to compare with your original:
When I was on the bus going home I began to think about your questions about the Scissor Dances, which I had read at work. Yes, you are right. Originally, they only danced at Christmas. But the Christmas celebrations are very long in my hometown. They start on 24th December (Christmas Eve), in Talavera, and continue for three days. Then there is a second round of celebrations which take place in Andahuaylas, a town near Talavera (the trip takes about 40 minutes). These celebrations start on 31st December (New Year’s Eve) and finish three days later. Then the last, and most important, celebration starts on 24th January, in Chumbibamba, in the countryside on the outskirts of my hometown. There is a small chapel there where the ‘Jesus Boy’ lives. This is the most spectacular celebration because there are other dances – not just the Scissor Dances – to be seen. I will say something about them soon. The Scissor Dancers take part in all our Christmas celebrations but there are also some other ‘commercial’ dancers who you can pay to dance at a special event or on a special occasion. They may be good, but they’re not as good as the real thing.
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