Many happy returns!
Hi, Ha! Or should I say, Happy Birthday! It must be your birthday, right? In which case, let’s all sing together …
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday dear Ha-aaaaaaah,
Happy Birthday to you!
I hope you have a great day and lots of fun, Ha! If you were in England on your birthday, we would bring out a round birthday cake, which had been hidden from you (it should be a surprise!) as we sing this song. On the cake there would be candles. If possible, one candle for each year of your life (this gets tricky once you get above the age of 20). Then, you would blow out all the candles and make a wish. But – and this is very important – you have to keep your wish secret, otherwise it won’t come true!
Do you have any special birthday traditions in your country?
Ha, I noticed you used the phrase ‘let the cat out of the bag’ correctly in your last blog. Well done! Panther says thank you very much!
However, don’t forget about the present continuous tense – in your first sentence you wrote:
‘I have just finished my dinner and start to blog now.’
You’re talking about something that’s happening right now, so you should write:
‘I have finished my dinner and am starting to blog now.’
In fact, if you ever want to write the word ‘now’ in a sentence, stop and think – are you writing about something that’s happening at that very moment? If so, chances are that you’ll need to use the present continuous tense.
OK, I won’t go on about the present continuous tense any more, I promise!
One more language point, Ha, then I’ll shut up. It’s your birthday tomorrow, after all! You wrote about your lost love (sniff!) and said:
‘I used to fall in love with one guy …’
We use ‘used to’ to talk about habits in the past, i.e. things we did more than once, e.g.
I used to go ice-skating when I was a little girl, but now I don’t have the time.
(I went ice-skating regularly and more than once when I was a little girl)
If you want to talk about a single completed action in the past, you use the simple past tense, e.g.:
I went ice-skating when I was a little girl, but I didn’t like it.
(I went ice-skating once when I was a little girl)
So, I can rewrite your sentence as follows:
‘I fell in love with one guy …’
When I was a little girl, I used to go to dance classes. I also used to play the piano. Can you write a couple of sentences telling me what you used to do when you were young?
OK, enough grammar. Ha, you asked about love. This is a Big Question and I’m sure I don’t have the answer. I’m not sure I believe that there is only one person in this world for each of us. I mean, there are billions of us on the planet. What are the odds of us finding just one single person? And what if that person is on the other side of the world? The most important thing is to be happy with yourself. When you least expect it, your Mr Right will come along, I’m sure. As anyone who has been reading my blogs knows, the love of my life is my fella Richard. (Richard, if you’re reading this, are you blushing?) What do I love most about him? Probably that he makes me laugh. If you can laugh about things, it makes life a lot more fun. Ha, I’m sure you’ll meet someone who makes you laugh soon!
I’ve loved reading your ideas about what you would do if you had a million pounds (notice the If- clause there?). But I’m afraid to tell you it might not be enough. I read an article the other day that said if you really want to live in the lap of luxury you would need at least Ģ10 million. Can you believe that?
Ah well, we can dream …
Many happy returns! A more formal way of saying ‘Happy Birthday!’
round – circular
candle – a stick of wax with a string in it. You light the string to produce a flame.
blow out – push air out of your mouth to extinguish the candle flame
chances are – it’s likely that
go on – in this context, ‘go on’ means ‘keep talking’, usually to the point that the reader/listener gets bored.
the odds – the chances of something happening. If something is ‘odds-on’, it’s very likely.
Mr Right – the perfect man
the love of my life – you use this phrase to describe the person for whom you have romantic love. For example, you wouldn’t really say that your sister is ‘the love of your life’.
blushing – when you blush, your cheeks go red because you are embarrassed
live in the lap of luxury – have everything you want and need, because you’re very rich
Answers to your comments
Filippo – Yes, ‘So would I’ is the correct way to answer in agreement – excellent!
Jorge – I’m glad you found us, and welcome!
Melissa – I started studying French at the age of 11, and I’m still learning new things all the time. I tell you this not to discourage you from learning English, but just to share with you that if you learn a language, you never stop learning. I’m learning new things about English all the time, too.
Kamran – ‘would that those words had come from the Secretary of State’ is a rather elaborate way of saying ‘If only those words had come from the Secretary of State.’ It’s quite a wordy (using lots of words) style, isn’t it?
Sherzod – good luck with the competition! But even if you don’t win, you can always write in here!
Paulraj – You’re right, we should be proud of our achievements. And yes, you used the idiom perfectly!
Jill – Nice to have you back! Yes, your use of the If- clause was just right!
Leila – thanks for your kind words, and yes of course I have noticed you. I remember you got that estate agent’s description word perfect. :-)
Jai and Eenvy – keeping a note of new phrases is a great idea. I hope I can give you lots more useful vocabulary.
Mavis – Yep, that’s the right preposition! Thanks for your comment.
Ruth – yes, those examples are perfect usage of the phases. Great stuff!
Stevieboy – It would be very nice to meet you on your trip! ‘Now that’ is a conjunction. It means the same as ‘now’, but you’ll see ‘now that’ more often in written language. ‘Enjoying’ (in this context) means ‘having something as a benefit/advantage’.
Maria – If you say ‘should you choose to accept’, it means the same as ‘If you choose to accept’. How did the cake turn out?
Harry – yes ‘I would like to be alone rather than go out with you’ is correct grammar. We use ‘rather than’ to express a preference, e.g.
I would drink tea rather than coffee. (I prefer tea.)
You can also change the word order around in a different way:
I would rather drink tea than coffee.
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