Sorry I'm Late!
Me in Paris, 1 January 2007 (the snow is fake!)
Imagine me, Soyoung, rushing into a classroom where the students are all sitting politely waiting for me. I am out of breath, flustered, dropping my books and papers all down the corridor. I tumble into the room, dump my books on the desk, grab a whiteboard pen, look up and contemplate the serene faces sitting waiting for me. “Good morning, class, and welcome to the lesson.”
[That was a difficult first paragraph, Soyoung. I know that. Don’t panic. You can do this and it will be a lot of fun for both of us.]
That’s how I feel right now. You arrived on time. You have completed your ‘homework’ and it is sitting on my desk waiting for me. You have prepared your ‘lesson’. I am the one who is late, disorganised and unprepared. Well, that’s not quite true, but I feel a little ashamed that you were already blogging while I was still in Paris having a good time (and spending far too much money).
I am actually very organised, and I am very prepared. And now I’m even here. So “Hi!” and congratulations on winning the BBC Learning English monthly blogging competition. Thank you for posting your first two blogs and for sending such lovely, artistic photographs.
You probably know that I was in Paris to celebrate the New Year. I too made a few New Year resolutions, Soyoung, but I’m afraid I broke most of them before half-past midnight (drink less, eat less, be a nicer person – all broken before the celebrations had ended, I’m afraid). Never mind. I can always try again next year.
Yes, cautious is a good word to use about someone’s character. You could also describe someone as careful, too. So are you someone who never takes risks? It will be interesting for me – and all our readers – to get to know you a little better during this month. Yes, Soyoung, we have readers. Lots and lots and lots of them! They are usually very generous and kind and I think you will soon find that you have an international fan club. Right now, however, you and I need to get to know a little more about each other. I will ask you more about your music and what sort of yoga you do, later. Also, it would be interesting to hear about some of your favourite books (most of our readers are very interested in books).
You probably read the blogs between me and Federico, from Peru, last month. I told him quite a lot about myself. I could repeat all that, or you could ‘interview’ me to find out exactly what you want to know. Why not post a blog which is a series of (fairly simple) questions you would like me to answer? You could write it like a questionnaire or a list. Then I will try to give simple, direct answers. You can ask me anything you like and I will do my best to answer everything you ask. I’m looking forward to your list.
Meanwhile, I have added some language notes for you, below, and some photos (which I’m afraid are not as good as yours) to make the blog look a little less ‘heavy’.
Take it easy, Soyoung.
I’m looking forward to hearing from you soon.
SOME USEFUL WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS
out of breath
If you are out of breath you are breathing quickly and deeply because you have been running or rushing. If you run for a bus, for example, you may be a little out of breath when you get on it.
feeling a little nervous or confused
to fall or roll forward
drop or slam down
get hold of (roughly)
look at and think about
congratulations on winning
Notice the structure with the preposition on and the –ing form of the verb. It is probably easiest to remember this as a fixed expression. Some examples: Congratulations on passing your driving test. Congratulations on becoming a father. Congratulations on scoring the winning goal.
Even if you use a noun instead of a verb, you should remember the preposition on with the word congratulations. More examples: Congratulations on your 18th birthday. Congratulations on your degree. Congratulations on your success.
SOME GRAMMAR TO THINK ABOUT
Read this sentence again and think about the grammar: You were already blogging while I was still in Paris having a good time.
We can make it a little simpler: You were blogging while I was having a good time.Think about: You were blogging…This structure helps us to describe something in the past (were) which was happening [but has finished happening now] at the same time (while) as something else was happening (I was having a good time).
So this is a structure we can use when we want to talk about two things happening at the same time, but which have both finished happening now. Here are some more example sentences:
I was reading the paper while Jane was making breakfast.
They were talking to their teacher while the other students were working in the library.
HOW WE USE ENGLISH – some punctuation
Both the words homework and lesson are printed in single inverted commas [‘…. .’] in my blog to show that I am using them in a special way. Of course, Soyoung, you have not actually done any homework. And this, of course, is not a lesson. But I am using the words homework and lesson to paint a picture, to give an impression. I am comparing our situation with an English lesson and so I am using homework and lesson in a creative way. When you do that, in English, you need to show your reader that you are using the words in a special way, so we use single inverted commas.
…AND DON’T FORGET THE ARTICLE
Read the following list then look again at your excellent blog. You don’t have a problem with the article, but just look again at these examples. Compare your version with items in the list to see where there are some missing articles. [We’ll focus on the article again during the month, so take it easy.]
…the blog competition
…the City Hall
…the New Year bell
The temperature is around 9 degrees.
…in a library
…to learn the guitar
I’m looking for a music institute…
SOME RE-WRITTEN SENTENCES
Find the original sentences in your first and second blogs and then compare them with the following, corrected versions:
1. I never imagined I could win the blog competition this month.
2. I have been working in this field for almost ten years.
3. I could say that I like this sort of work but that sometimes my workload is too heavy to handle.
4. Do you know anything about freight forwarders?
5. It was nice for me because I haven’t had time (not a time) to think about myself properly.
6. There’s a chilly wind.
7. I have to lose (not loose) weight (not my weight).
By the way, Soyoung, I’m pretty sure from looking at your photo that you don’t need to lose weight! Don’t overdo it.
Just before leaving for home.
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