A mystery and a bargain
Reading what you wrote about nightlife in Spain, Silvia, I was reminded of something that's always been a mystery to me - how do people manage to get up and go to work in the morning after a whole night of eating, drinking and nightclubbing? Maybe the siesta helps, but you can only really have a siesta if you've been awake and active in the morning, I suppose. I find that after a few days in Spain my biological clock breaks down completely and I end up wandering round in a state of permanent tiredness!
One of the pairs of shoes in the photos is indeed a bit worn-out. It's an old photo and when it was taken those shoes had walked many, many miles.
I'm a loyal customer of one particular shoe manufacturer - can't tell you which one, 'cos that would be advertising! Their shoes are particularly well-made and durable, and quite expensive, but they have a lot of sales where you can pick up real bargains if you search through to find the right size and the right design. When I'm in England I always have a look. I got the best bargain ever last year when I found a pair of suitable-looking shoes priced at £5. The full price would be about £60 or £70, so I thought there must be some mistake. But no, it turned out that the reason these shoes were so cheap was ...... Can you guess? ..... because they weren't really a pair. They were two different sizes. But they didn't look different, except for the obvious fact that one was left and the other was right. I tried them on and walked around the shop a bit and they seemed OK, so I bought them. And I've been happily wearing them ever since. Maybe my feet are two different sizes, who knows? And maybe the two shoes will find their partners one day, when I meet somebody who bought the other non-matching pair?
Answers to questions from last time:
A journey that takes three hours is a three-hour journey.
A holiday that lasts one week is a one-week holiday (or a week's holiday).
A course that lasts four years is a four-year course.
This time, something about contractions. Look at these sentences and decide whether you can contract the subject and verb or not:
0 (example) I have never been there. > I've never been there.
0 (example) But I have. - (You can't contract 'I have' in this case')
1 Sorry, I have to go now.
2 You must not tell anyone.
3 I have dinner when I get home in the evening.
4 The programme will be starting soon.
5 There are no tickets left.
6 No, it is not.
7 One is all right but the other is rubbish.
8 If I could help you, I would.
9 I had had three coffees by the time she arrived.
10 Here is one idea.
11 This is something that has always confused me.
12 I have a look whenever I go to England.
13 What is the difference?
Ana Paula asks: "Could you give us some tips to brush up our English speech please?" Hmm ..... a big question. Here's one idea: If you like watching films in English, choose one character you can identify with in a film that you've got on DVD or video, and choose one scene where that character has an important role. Imagine that you have to stand in for them, so you have to imitate their accent, tone of voice, words, pausing, rhythm, emphasis, intonation, gestures, facial expression, movements - everything, in fact. Practise being their double while you're watching a short extract from the film, and playing and speaking the role in parallel with them. Then, when you've learned the scene, you can practise it whenever you like, wherever you are. (You might get some funny looks from other people, of course!) As a next step, try improvising other scenes, other situations you might imagine yourself in, as if you were that same character.
Maybe other readers have other suggestions about how to practise English speech?
Monika: I went to the exhibition of old Flanders masters at the National Museum in Warsaw. It isn't my kind of art, but it's always educational to see so many eminent paintings from one period gathered together. You asked: "What is difference between these phrases:'a pair of socks' and 'a couple of socks?" A pair of socks means two matching socks, two socks that belong together, one for each foot, but a couple of socks just means any two socks that don't make a matching pair.
Pary: I've seem Iranian films in cinemas in Poland and Britain, and on TV in Poland. Yes, the name Makhmalbaf definitely rings a bell.
Christine: 'Information' isn't really the same as in German, because in German, and in European languages generally, it can be plural. But not in English. Not yet, anyway.
Lewis: When I wrote "when you’re in front of it" I meant when you're standing in front of it in a gallery.
Tomorrow, a bit more about Poland.
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