Welcome back! Remembrance Day and a few replies...
Now that’s not a very catchy title for a blog is it? Sometimes there’s just too much to say in one post and one title simply does not sum it up!
First thing’s first, well done Olfa for overcoming your fear of the blank page. Look at the response you’ve got - definitely worth it, don’t you think? :) Well, as you are still attempting to look at the work I gave you last time I will not over scrutinise your blog today but instead give you time to get into the flow of things and look at a grammar point which has come up with a few people and which I promised to discuss last time. I always believe a good grammar ‘gift’ should be contextualised so what better a context than Remembrance Day for my chosen structure – used to.
Used to misusing used to? Let’s get used to using it accurately. :)
November 11 is Remembrance Day - the day on which we pay our respects to the soldiers to have fought for us over the last 90 odd years. It started as a tribute to those who lost their lives in the First World War but now in the UK, and other countries too, we use this day to remember soldiers who have died in more recent wars or conflicts as well. This year is a special year as it is the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War. So, why November 11 and what do we do to remember the soldiers? Well, it is a very interesting story, the basic facts of which are these: On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 the First World War ended. Apparently, the Armistice was signed in a railway carriage in the Forest of Compiegne, France a few hours earlier. To find out more about this and other interesting tit-bits visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/remembrance/how/silence.shtml
November 11 is also known as Armistice Day or Poppy Day.
I remember as a kid everyone in school wore poppies and we used to observe a 2-minute silence at 11 am to reflect on those who gave their lives in the first (and second) world wars. Everything used to stop – apparently even public transport would grind to a halt in the olden days to ensure absolute silence was observed. I like the idea of using silence as a way to help us remember people and events which have shaped our history and I wish we were more used to practising it. We didn’t use to think twice about buying a red poppy to wear as a symbol of remembrance. Nowadays, some people are more used to wearing a white poppy as it is seen as more of a symbol of peace. The story of the red poppy is interesting though. At the end of the day, it is all about symbolism and whatever works for you as an individual. Red makes me think of the blood shed during battle and I am not used to associating white with remembrance so if I were in the UK I’d still be buying a red one. As it is, here in Colombo I didn’t take part in any service or silence today.
It is sad that the First World War was not the war to end all wars as it was hoped it would be but c’est la vie. I think we are all war-weary and too used to seeing horrific images of modern day warfare and as a result we have got used to its catastrophic effects and sometimes find it easier to forget.
Now, for a change of mood - a few replies to all you diligent bloggers:
Ernesto – yes, it is very common to be barefoot in the house in this part of the world, partly due to the climate and partly cultural. I personally love the cool feel of marble or stone on my feet.
Ana Paula – I’m still not sure about White Tiger. Will keep you posted on that one.
Cheikh Vall – and all others interested – sorry for being remiss about the use of ‘reunified’ in Olfa’s first blog. I would rephrase the sentence to something like this: Events conspired against me to make that day particularly sad and desperate.
Tiasha – It’s good to hear from a Sri Lankan. I know exactly what you mean about being able to talk to people in different parts of the house. It does create a feeling of togetherness. Do write more and join in the dialogue about your beautiful country.
Mukta – Keep trying to make up stories to contextualise the vocabulary you are trying to practise. It really helps and you did pretty well.
Wahib – The topic of multicultural marriage is a vast but interesting one. Let’s see if other people are interested in hearing my story and then I might venture into that territory. We also use the term ‘melting pot’ in the same way as you do.
Hyoshil – I used the present tense amongst other reasons because they (my in-laws) are still with us. Keep analysing language in this way though. It is a very useful skill to develop and will help increase the range and accuracy of your usage of English.
Answers to last post’s challenge
Well done for noticing most of the ‘home’ phrases. One phrase a few of you didn’t manage to use accurately was homesick. Remember to think about the part of speech when you learn a new word. Homesick is an adjective yet some of you tried to use it as a noun “I hope you get over your homesick”. Actually the noun is homesickness. The others were:
Home from home – a place other than your home where it is possible to make yourself at home.
Home sweet home – expresses the sentiment ‘there’s no place like home’. This phrase originated in an English song from the opera Mid of Milan in 1823.
Home is where the heart is – expresses the sentiment that you prefer home to all other places; home is where you are emotionally attached.
Homely – familiar, unpretentious
Home owners - people who own their own home (fairly self explanatory this one)
Home and dry – successfully having completed something
And today’s challenges are…
1. Notice the way ‘used to’ is used and its different forms. Which verbs can be used with ‘used to’? How do we make the negative and question forms? I will give you a breakdown of the grammar of this in the next post.
2. What do the words and phrases emboldened mean?
3. Tell me the kind of topics you would like me to discuss on this blog – Olfa gets first choice here folks. :)
Good night everyone and Olfa – keep on blogging now you’re on a roll. :)
Thanks for all your contributions. This blog has now closed and can no longer accept new comments.