Thanks for all the information you gathered about Teachers’ Day in different countries. I’m starting to suspect that Britain is the only country in the world which doesn’t have a Teachers’ Day at some time in the year. This seems extremely unjust to me – if other teachers in other countries get flowers and presents and a day off, why don’t I?
In fact, maybe I’ll just invent a Teachers’ Day for Britain. Maybe I’ll tell my students that next Friday is British Teachers’ Day. “Yes, that’s right everyone, it’s Teachers’ Day on Friday. How do you celebrate Teachers’ Day in your countries? Yes, yes, that’s very interesting. In Britain, on Teachers’ Day, the teachers don’t do any work at all, they just relax and read the newspaper while the students prepare fine foods for them and massage their feet. Also, it’s traditional for students to give teachers a present on Teachers’ Day. Flowers? Yes, I suppose you could bring me flowers, but the traditional gift is cash, extremely large amounts of cash. At least a thousand pounds.”
Hmmm, I wonder if they’ll believe me.
Thanks also for telling us about Luis, and how he comes to be your houseguest. I’m impressed that he’s learned so much Chinese so quickly. Once, several years ago, I took a few lessons in Chinese. I did this because I was teaching a lot of students from China and Taiwan, and I wanted to put myself in their shoes, at least a little bit. I’m afraid my attempt to learn Chinese was a complete failure, though – in particular I found the pronunciation nigh on impossible. I take my hat off to any Westerner who can learn Chinese – and of course to you, James, and any Chinese speaker who can learn English, or any other Western language! I know what a difficult task it is.
Let’s move on to the subject of homework. A couple of days ago, I asked you to write two example sentences, one using the verb ‘to practice’ with the –ing form, and the other using ‘according to…’. Thanks for putting so much work into this, James – you wrote not just two sentences but a whole paragraph:
‘In Taiwan, there is one and half hour of lunch break. According to the weather forecast, Today is a shinny day, and I got to prepare writing my today’s blog, so, during the lunch break, I were out to buy a book which Teacher Nick mentioned, its name is “Angela's Ashes” that written by Frank McCour. I hope the book can inspire my writing. But I can’t find the book in Yilan city with the population of ten hundred thousand, and, according to the clerk of book shop said, there is no Chinese version of this book, therefore, I prepare surfing on the internet to buy one.’
Let’s start with ‘according to…’. Your first example with ‘according to’ is very good; well done. ‘According to the weather forecast,…’ is exactly the kind of phrase that native speakers often use. In the second ‘according to’ sentence, the idea is good but I’m afraid there’s a grammar mistake. You wrote:
‘According to the clerk of book shop said, there is no Chinese version of this book.’
After ‘according to’ we need to use a noun or a ‘noun phrase’. ‘The clerk of the book shop said’ isn’t a noun phrase, it’s a clause. We need to remove the verb ‘said’ and make a sentence like this:
‘According to the clerk of book shop, there is no Chinese version of this book.’
Now we come to the second part of the homework, sentences with the verb ‘to practice’ followed by the –ing form of the verb. Um… er… Please read your paragraph again, James. Can you see the mistake here? I’m sure you can. You didn’t actually use the verb ‘to practice’ at all; you used the verb ‘to prepare’ instead. Oops!
‘To prepare’ has a different meaning from ‘to practice’, of course, but it also has different grammar. We normally use the verb ‘to prepare’ with to + infinitive or for + noun, meaning to get ready for something or to make oneself ready for something. For example, as I sat on the bus this morning, I was looking at my teaching notes and reading exercises in my textbook. I could say,
‘I was preparing for my nine-o’clock class.’
Or I could say,
‘I was preparing to teach my nine-o’clock class.’
Also, we sometimes use the verb ‘to prepare’ followed only by a noun. I wrote a sentence like this above:
‘The students prepare fine foods for them and massage their feet.’
This means that the students make fine foods for them. Please note that in modern English, ‘to prepare’ + noun is most often used when we’re talking about food (and we don’t say ‘prepare my homework’ – this is a mistake that I’ve heard thousands and thousands of times!)
So, anyway, I’m sorry James but I’ll have to ask you for another sentence or two with ‘to practice’, when you have the time.
I thought Friday might have another message for her many fans, but she’s fast asleep on the windowsill so I guess not. I’ll post a picture of her instead. Isn’t she beautiful?
All the best,
The adjective unjust means unfair. It’s related to the noun ‘justice’.
Cash is an uncountable noun meaning money in physical form (i.e. notes or coins).
Hmmm is the sound we make when we’re thinking. In particular, we use it when we’re not sure about something.
The noun houseguest is pretty easy to understand – it means a person who’s staying at your house, normally for a long period of time.
To put yourself in someone’s shoes means to put yourself in another person’s position or situation, or to imagine that you are that person.
Nigh on impossible is one of those old-fashioned phrases that I like to use. It means ‘almost impossible’.
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