Hi Ana Paula and everyone else,
I'm worried today. In particular, I'm worried about some of the people who read these blogs and write comments on them.
I think you'll agree that, in general, our readers seem to be particularly smart, good-natured people who have their heads screwed on. Their comments are intelligent, supportive, and often very funny.
However, several readers have commented on the 'cheese with fudge issue', and I'm sorry to say that almost all of them think that cheese with fudge is a good idea. What is wrong with these people? I think you are having a bad influence on them, Ana Paula. Of all the readers who commented on this subject, only Spanish Antonio from Belgium agreed with me that cheese with fudge sounds terrible. Spanish Antonio from Belgium, you are a scholar and a gentleman, thanks very much for your comment.
I'm writing quickly today I'm afraid, as I have to go out soon - I'm going to a concert tonight. When I was younger, I used to like loud, nasty, aggressive music, and in fact I used to play the guitar in a punk band with some friends. The band was absolutely awful, with no musical ability at all, but we had a lot of fun playing together. When I turned thirty, though, something very strange happened. Suddenly, almost overnight, my musical tastes changed. I no longer wanted to listen to strange, evil-looking men screaming and making horrible noises on electric guitars. Instead, I wanted to listen to people in cowboy hats singing sad songs about mountains and horses and things like that. I don't know how and I don't know why, but at the age of thirty I suddenly became a country and western fan.
Weirdly, the same thing happened to my friends from the punk band - when they turned thirty, they lost interest in punk music and got into country music instead. Now we have another band, playing country music together. We're still awful musicians, but we still have fun playing music together. And this evening we're all going together to listen to some country singers.
What kind of music do you like, Ana Paula? Actually, before you tell me I'm going to guess. I think you're a fan of the American band Nirvana. Why do I think you're a Nirvana fan? Because of one small mistake which you've made a couple of times recently. In English, we sometimes use the phrase 'never mind' when we want to say that something doesn't matter or that it is not important. Please note that 'never mind' is two words. However, when Nirvana used this phrase as the title of their album, they put the two words ('never' and 'mind') together and made one word, 'Nevermind'. I don't know why they did this, but I've noticed that you often do the same thing - you write 'nevermind' when you mean 'never mind'. Did you pick this up from the title of the Nirvana album?
I asked you to correct this sentence:
'If the Minas cheese wouldn’t be perishable, I would send a Fedex straight to Oxford Street.'
You wrote this:
'If the Minas cheese wasn't perishable, I would send a Fedex straight to Oxford Street.'
Well done, this makes a very good second conditional sentence. However, it's important to remember that this is an informal sentence. In the second conditional, we can make the sentence more formal by changing was to were, like this:
'If the Minas cheese weren't perishable, I would send a Fedex straight to Oxford Street.'
Both are good sentences, and the meaning is the same; we just use them in slightly different situations.
I'd like to continue from Monday and say a little about the third conditional. The third conditional looks like this:
['if' + past perfect] + ['would have' + third form of the verb]
['would have' + third form of the verb] + ['if' + past perfect]
So, I could say:
'If it had rained yesterday, I would have got wet.'
'I would have got wet if it had rained yesterday,'
As we can see from the word 'yesterday', the third conditional is about the past. The important thing to remember in this example is that it did not rain yesterday. We use the third conditional to imagine something, in the past, which did not happen. Here's another example:
'If I hadn't gone to work this morning, my boss would have been angry.'
In fact, I did go to work this morning, and my boss wasn't angry. In this sentence I'm imagining a situation in the past, and I'm imagining the results of that situation, which are also in the past.
I hope that's clear to all the readers, because I'm going to set an exercise for everyone today. please rearrange these words to make correct English sentences. I've done the first one for you, to give you an example.
1. FEEL / IF / SUN / I / SHINES / HAPPY / THE = If the sun, shines I feel happy.
2. BE / MORNING / OUT / TOMORROW / WILL / I / STAY / LATE / I / TIRED / TONIGHT / IF =?
3. CHEESE / I / WITH / WOULD / FEEL / FUDGE / IF /PROBABLY / I / SICK / ATE =?
4. HAVE / INSTEAD / HAD / THE / BLOG / WALK / WOULD / GONE / IN / NOT / THIS / I / WRITTEN / I / FOR / TODAY / IF / A / PARK =?
Have fun! I've got to go, or I'll be late for the concert. As the cowboys say, so long!
The adjective smart sometimes means well-dressed (and it suggests that someone is wearing more formal clothes). However, it can also mean 'intelligent', and that's what I mean in this sentence.
If someone is good-natured, they have a nice personality.
I've included a couple of more complex idioms in today's blog. The first is an informal one, to have (his / her / their / etc) head screwed on. If people have their heads screwed on, this means that they are sensible, and aware of the world around them.
The second idiom is 'you are a scholar and a gentleman'. This is a compliment; it simply means, 'I think you are a good person'. It's a formal and old-fashioned idiom, but sometimes it's fun to use formal, old-fashioned language.
Nasty is the opposite of nice.
Punk is a particularly loud and aggressive style of music. Probably the most famous punk band was the Sex Pistols.
I turned thirty means that I became thirty years old. We can use the verb 'to turn' with any age, in this way - for example, my cousin Lydia will turn five this year.
If something happens suddenly or very quickly, we can say that it happens overnight.
Country and western is another style of music, but it's much softer and quieter punk. Country and western music (sometimes called 'country music') comes from the southern USA, and is associated with cowboys.
The adjective 'weird' means 'strange', so the adverb weirdly has the same meaning as 'strangely'.
To lose interest in something means to stop being interested in this thing.
To get into something means to become interested in this thing.
An album is a group of songs or pieces of music which have been put together. for example, if you buy a CD, the music on it will probably be an album.
So long is American slang for 'goodbye'. If you watch cowboy films, you will probably hear this phrase!
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