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Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Music to run to

Hi Enrico,

Thanks for your latest posting. It was really interesting hearing about the kind of music you like. Music is so personal, isn't it? Do you find running with music makes you bond with certain tracks? Do you make special music mixes for races? I know I did, and to this day, there are some songs that can immediately take me back to a particular run or race whenever I hear them.

When I ran the Dublin marathon it was so long ago that I was using a little Walkman tape recorder to listen to my special marathon mix. As I told you before, I was quite a slow runner so I even managed to run out of batteries during the marathon so I had to stop and go into a little shop to buy some more. I remember there was a young lad in the shop who started making fun of my being in the shop (with my running number on – clearly in the marathon). He said in a really loud voice for everyone to hear 'Oi! This woman's cheating! She's stopped for a rest in here. She's not allowed to do that, so she's not!' I tell you, I paid for those batteries and got out of that shop as fast as I could! I was mortified!

But I still had a great time on that marathon and can remember as clear as day the finishing line coming into sight with Kirsty MacColl blasting 'Us Amazonians' in my ears. I just flew along on the last couple of minutes of the race, thanks to Kirsty!

Let us know what your inspirational running tracks are Enrico.

Today I thought we'd look at a few areas – spelling and apostrophes to show possession (that something belongs to someone).

Here are some words that you didn't spell correctly. I think a few of them might just have been a slip when you were typing, but can you have a look at them and see if you can correct them?

studing (English)

In English, we use an apostrophe before the s to show that something belongs to a person (or animal). For example, if you want to talk about one girl who has one book, you can write:
The girl's book

One student who has one newspaper:
The student's newspaper

One dog with a bone:
The dog's bone.

If you put the apostrophe after the s it shows that something belongs to more than one person (or animal). For example, if you want to talk about three girls and their books, you can write:
The girls' books.

Two students sharing one newspaper:
The students' newspaper.

Fours dogs and their bones
The dogs' bones.

Can you see how you could improve this phrase from your last posting?

The Brazilian godmother of my daughter.

Apostrophes are often difficult for lots of students because there is no equivalent in their own language (in Italian you'd say the godmother of my daughter, wouldn't you Enrico?) So don't worry, you're not alone with finding this area of English difficult!

There is one problem you should be aware of after you've mastered the possessive apostrophe, and that's that you don't overuse it. Usually if the thing that is owned is an object, a piece of furniture or a building, we don't use an apostrophe. Here are a few example:

We write:
The computer keyboard
The back of the chair
The cinema entrance

The computer's keyboard
The chair's back
The cinema's entrance

If you like, here's a little task for you to do which you can post with your next blog. Have a look at these sentences and decide if they are correct or wrong. If they're correct, just write 'correct' next to the number. If they're wrong, re-write them correctly.

1. The girls shoes (2 girls, each with a pair of shoes)
2. The tourist's passports (3 tourists, each tourist has a passport)
3. The boy's pens (1 boy with 5 pens)
4. The book's cover
5. The runner's numbers (25 runners, each with a number)
6. The uncle of my friend
7. The drivers' cars (4 drivers, each with a car)
8. The doctors surgery (1 doctor with her surgery)
9. My kitchen sink
10. The babys toys (one baby with a lot of toys)

personal - relating or belonging to a single person rather than to a group or an organization
mixes – mixtures, varieties of
bond with– have a close connection with
tracks – songs on a CD or record
to this day – even though it was a long time ago
run out of– If you run out of something you have no more of it left (here, my batteries no longer worked, there was no power left in them)
lad – young man
mortified – very embarrassed
remember as clear as day – remember very clearly
blasting - making a very loud noise (here, the music was playing very loudly)
possession - something you own
a slip – a mistake
you've mastered – you are able to do something very effectively
overuse – use too much


" ... if you want to talk about one girl who has one book, you can write: The girl's book " to talk about one girl or about one book?

Hi there, Nuala This is Mergui writing, I’ve decided to write here for the first time due to the fact that I’ve found really funny your experience running that Marathon and I’ve listened that song as well, I didn’t know that song and it is really nice. Besides I wanted to practice my writing skills since I haven’t written anything at all for a long time. Well, let me tell you something about me, I am from the South of Spain, and I envy you (in a good sense) for being able to run the way you did, because I never could do anything like that in my life, since I had a kidney transplanted twenty years ago, but actually I shouldn’t be here complaining about that because the fact is that I think that I was a lucky guy for being chosen that day. Anyway, I don’t want to bore you all with my words and I’d like to take this opportunity to tell you that in my opinion this is a good way of improving our English skills, as a result I’ll try to read your comments as often as possible, since I think that “the more I practice the English the better it will be”. By the way, Was I allowed to answer to your question as well? Thanks for your advice, they are really useful. Best regards.

Good morning Nuala, I liked very much the lesson about the possession and the apostrophe. I had some experience with it but a lot was new to me. It's always good to learn new things. And the thing you said about the marathon mix is really nice. I guess it's very good to prepare a specific soundtrack for a specific purpose like running a marathon. I guess if you choose the song properly it can really help you go forth. Do you still run? It must be a wonderful experience. Nuala, if I may ask, I wish you would talk about the difference of use between "like" and "such as". I remember that once an english teacher corrected my writing changing one for the other, but I don't know exactly when to use one or the other. So if there's time and it's appropriate you could comment on that. Thank you for the blog. Best wishes Mauricio.

Mergun, I'd like to show you my sympathy for your problem. I had a surgery a few days ago that was not nearly as big as what you've been through but I can tell you how fragile we feel. I guess the important thing, like you said, is to focus on the positive side of having the chance to go on. We should always be thankful for that. Let me say your writing is very nice. Best wishes!!

Hi Nuala! Ha, from what it has been written here, it seems to me that running is perhaps the best to train in big cities with apropriate mild weather. Yesterday I drove from work directly to the post in my village. However, due to the crowd waiting there I decided to take the walk around the lake instead. There was just one man running round the lake in temperature below zero. My village with about four thousad inhabitants is a wonderful place among hills with woods and lake and big space of fields. We have now very changeable weather every day, the lake is not iced enough for scating and it is long to wait for swimming there too. But, probably you could have heard about the oldest European marathon in Košice which has been continuing for more than eighty years. Maybe if you apply to run there you will have had nice story to tell about one day. Regards!

Hi, Nuala, it so interesting you have run a maraton, listening music. Can we say that music is a power? Anyway I have a silmilar experience when I travelled Turkey last year. When we spent quite long hour in a bus, I used to read books or watch scenary through the window. But my friend was always listening music. Oneday I tried to listen music with my friend's MP3 in a bus. I had a really special experience at that time. The scenary that I was watching was something different. The music helped me widen my imagination. I cannot forget the beautiful Turkish scenary I looked with the music Nellafanatsia that's composed by Ennio Morricone.

Thanks for all your contributions. This blog has now closed and can no longer accept new comments.

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