Hi Yumi and everyone,
I was very interested to read about your night out with your colleagues and the comments that people wrote about it. It’s interesting how different cultures treat occasions like this. I remember being surprised when I first moved to India because when it is someone’s birthday normally they bring in sweets or chocolates or cake for everyone to share – sometimes for everyone in the whole office which can be 200+ people! In the UK it’s the opposite (usually) – other people bring in treats for the birthday girl or boy… of course when it’s my birthday I prefer the UK tradition but when it’s other people’s birthdays I like how it’s done in India :-)
So at the moment we are packing up and getting ready to head back to Delhi. The only thing I’m not looking forward to is the heat – I expect it’s going to be a bit of a furnace (although I’m pleased to hear from Paulraj that it’s been raining a lot). Some of you have asked whether Ed and Louie live in India with me – yes they do. Ed and I moved there in 2004 because I got a job there. He worked for a bit but now he’s a househusband and looks after Louie at home while I bring home the bacon .
We’ve had a great holiday here and have been very lucky with the weather considering how much rain there has been in some parts of the country. I expect our readers will have heard about the horrendous floods we’ve been having? Terrible. We spent quite a lot of time in Cornwall where my parents live. Cornwall is a beautiful county in the far southwest of England, with lots of lovely beaches. My parents live in a little village called Polperro. It’s got its own harbour and narrow winding streets with lots of little shops. My father’s family has lived there for many generations – in fact my grandfather was born in the house just down the hill from ours. Our house was built by my great-uncle and so has always been in the family. My parents moved there about 10 years ago. Unfortunately Polperro does become quite overrun with tourists in the summer and feels a bit like a theme park – hundreds of visitors traipse through the streets each day. But it’s still very nice and when I’m not there I miss the sound of the seagulls (and my parents of course :-).
Here is a photo of the village (seagulls on the left!):
Okay, now I’ve noticed, Yumi, that sometimes you have problems with using articles (a, an and the) so I thought we could have a little look at that today. I know Jo talked about this part of grammar back in June, but extra practice always helps and besides, this is a very common problem because lots of languages don’t have the pesky little things. So - today we’re going to concentrate on the definite article – ‘the’. To do this, I’m going to tell you a story about someone I met recently when I was in Polperro. Have a read and then I’m going to ask you some questions…
The man I met is called Mr Warren. He told me that he is one of the richest men in the world. At the moment, he is living in the Seagull Hotel in Polperro. Everyday, he goes downstairs to the lobby, smiles at the American tourists, and goes and sits on a bench near the English Channel. He always sits on the same bench and stares at the sky. This is where I met him. We had an interesting conversation about all sorts of things including whether the rich are happier than the poor. It was an interesting chat.
Okay. So, you might be wondering – what kind of a weird story is this? Well, like I said, we’re looking at articles, so that’s exactly what I’d like you to do for homework. Look at the last paragraph and circle all the definite articles you can find. Then, I’d like you to decide why each article has been used. Here are some of the reasons (there are more!) why we might use the definite article – see if you can match them and we’ll discuss the answers in the next blog.
We use the definite article…
1. With the names of most rivers, seas and oceans
2. With the names of hotels
3. With superlatives
4. With groups of people
5. When we are talking about something we have mentioned before
6. When there is only one of something
7. When both the reader and speaker know the thing being spoken about
Just before I go, well done on all the suggestions for the sentences I asked you to rewrite. Here are a couple of ideas:
1) *I am a lucky girl that I could meet two teachers here
“I am so lucky to have met two teacher bloggers on this board” (thanks Naheed!) – I think the phrase ‘lucky to have done something’ works better here than ‘lucky girl/thing’
2) *It is rare that the street got full of the food shops and this attracts all the people!!!”
“It is rare that the street is / gets full of food shops” (well done Myen!) the important thing here is that the verb needs to be in the present tense, because we’re talking about a general fact. Instead of food shops, I think I’d say ‘food stalls’ though – they sound more temporary. For the second part I think ‘this attracts loads of people’ works best.
Okay, I’m off to do some last minute shopping. Next blog from Delhi, where I’ll try and reply to some of our readers' comments :-)
p.s. The photos are great Yumi! Glad you worked out how to post them.
p.p.s. Apologies to Sanja - I didn’t see that you had answered the tricky ‘between’ preposition question correctly – well done!
p.p.p.s (!) I realised that the bison in the photo I posted looks a bit bald. Actually that’s quite normal for the time of year the photo was taken as she was losing her winter coat – she’s very healthy even though she looks a bit bedraggled !
Definitions from the previous blog:
Memorable: easily remembered
To tweak: to change something a little bit
A troublemaker: someone who causes trouble – can be used affectionately or more seriously
Daunting: frightening or scary, usually because you don’t know if you will be able to do something
Cheeky monkey: an expression usually used to describe children who are a bit naughty (often used affectionately)
To get the blues: to start feeling sad
To vouch for something: to say that something is true
Clumsy:not smooth, awkward
Interchangeably:used the same way, can replace one another without a change in meaning
New words and phrases (definitions next time!):
To bring home the bacon
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