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 THE STEPHEN KEELER COLUMN

It brings tears to my eyes

Thank you so much! What a fantastic welcome back. It was like coming home and seeing dear old friends I hadn't seen for ages. You are all so kind – and loyal! You waited for me! Reading some of your generous comments brought tears to my eyes.

And, talking of tears, Lucy and I were at a concert last night. (Every now and then I go a little bit crazy and buy tickets for everything. We're going to eight concerts in the next three weeks! I went to hear a tango band a few nights ago. Here in London it was such a mild April that it feels like high summer already. We sat outside in short-sleeved shirts drinking cold beers before going into the auditorium. It felt like a South American night – in London, in April!)

Anyway, as I said, Lucy and I were at a concert last night. The programme was conventional enough: Schubert, Mozart and Tchaikovsky. Nothing too demanding. We were at the Cadogan Hall, just off Sloane Square, near the King's Road, in Chelsea (for those of you who know London). I think it is the most comfortable concert hall in London. I have long legs, a back problem and a short attention span so I need comfort in a theatre.

Tchaikovsky
Tchaikovsky
The Schubert was short and sweet. The Mozart was, well, Mozart – it never fails to please. Then there was the interval and Lu and I each had a flute of champagne before going back into the auditorium for the Tchaikovsky. Do you know Tchaikovsky's 6 th Symphony, the Pathetique? Maybe you hate European classical music, so I won't spend long on this. The point I want to make is about the effects some music can have on the listener.

I hadn't listened to the Pathetique for very many years, but there was a time (when I was a student and only owned about three records, two of which were by The Beatles) when I played it more or less all the time, so I know practically every note of it. The first movement is so lovely I can't even talk about it. The second movement was, I think, a mistake. If Tchaikovsky were here now I think he'd have to admit that he wasn't really concentrating that day. The compensation comes in the third movement. It is loud and strong and powerful and… well, the tears poured down my face as I listened.

The final movement has everything that the third movement has and is even sexy, too. Tchaikovsky has gone out of fashion a bit here and I really can't understand why. Maybe he's just a bit too sentimental for our tastes these days. Let's get back to the third movement for just a second or two. I told my girlfriend that I cried during the third movement and her comment was, “I am so glad I wasn't there”. OK, maybe she wasn't being entirely serious, but it's an interesting response.

Woman with champagne, crying
Does alcohol make you cry?
Last week I read one of those silly surveys, in an even sillier magazine, about what makes people cry. According to this survey it might have been the flute of champagne I drank in the interval that 'helped' me to cry at the music: alcohol, in small quantities, evidently makes you sentimental. But I don't need alcohol. I cry at the drop of a hat. (Is it wise to admit this to the entire world, Stephen?) I cry at certain pieces of music. Being an Englishman I find it difficult not to cry if I listen to the Nimrod variation (Elgar's Enigma Variations). However, being an Englishman I am maybe untypical in being able to cry at all. Being a man I am maybe untypical in being able to cry! Is it a gender thing or a cultural thing or a personality thing? Maybe the only thing that would make some men cry would be seeing a Ferrari being badly driven, slowly, by an old man wearing a golf sweater. I would weep at that.

David Beckham
We talked about national anthems last time. I couldn't possibly cry at ours (maybe that's treason and I'll be arrested and locked up in the Tower of London before I get the chance to write to you again – come and visit me when you're here on holiday, and bring food!) but the French national anthem (surely the best in the world?) can easily reduce me to tears, just like the old Russian one. Big, strong, macho footballers regularly cry before international matches when their national anthem is played. What's that all about?

Then there's great writing. Some great writing makes me cry – some of the great Shakespearean speeches, for example. Even some of my own writing – when it's that bad – brings tears to my eyes. To be serious, though, for just a minute. I was at a funeral this week. You remember that I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in February? Well, one of our little group of climbers was killed in a car crash last week. He was only 29 and was such a sweet and lovely man. The funeral was held in a tiny medieval church in a beautiful little village in the heart of the English countryside. The weather was kind. The place was silent except for birdsong and the sound of lambs in a nearby field. I stood on the soft grass in the churchyard, surrounded by ancient gravestones and wild flowers, and shed a tear or two for this man I hardly knew. So sad. It was the first funeral I had been to since my wife's, almost four years ago now, and I'm not sure that I wasn't crying at least as much for her as for this young English man who should have lived so much longer.

But not all tears are tears of sadness. There are tears of joy, too. Like when I switch on my computer and see the dozens of fantastic comments you've posted. I promised I'd reply to some of them direct – and I will, but just to finish on this crying business, what is it that makes you cry? Sentimental movies with sad endings? Love poetry? Particular pieces of music? Visiting certain places? In your culture is it as acceptable for men to cry as it is for women? This is not the psychiatrist's couch, remember, but it could be interesting, entertaining even, if you shared a few (not too heavy) thoughts with us.

Now, it was great to hear from my old student Suzie, in Budapest . When I say 'old' I don't mean she's ancient. I mean 'former', of course. Suzie was in my Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) class at a college in west London between 2005 and 2006, and now she's training to be a teacher of English in Hungary . I can't take any credit. She was a great student. Good luck with the studies, Suzie!

Did you notice that Anita, from somewhere in Slovakia , actually visited London last month while spending time with her daughter who is studying at Reading (pronounced / redding /) University? She seems to have had a good time but doubts whether she'd have had the confidence to speak to me if she'd seen me in the street. Anita, Anita, Anita! It would have been delightful to be recognised in the street. It would have made me feel like a movie star!!!

A Boy Scout

A picture of a Boy Scout from
the 1930s

No, Luna (Krasnoyarsk), I certainly don't know the words to the Russian national anthem, but I do think I could manage a couple of verses of ours – God Save the Queen. More years ago than I would like to remember (or admit) I was a Boy Scout. One of the many things we had to memorise was the national anthem. I'm not sure how valuable that was, but I definitely believe that memorising certain texts can be a very useful learning tool.

Naheed, from Karachi in Pakistan, would like me to write about what it's like being the father of an eighteen year-old girl. Actually, Naheed, it's terrific if your daughter is as lovely and kind and thoughtful and helpful (and crazy, sometimes) as mine. But, of course, I am a little bit biased. We were in St Andrews, in Scotland, a couple of weeks ago, looking at the ancient university there where Lucy has been offered a place to study History of Art. In a future column I'll write something about how young people prepare for university here, and about the stresses and strains of studying for final examinations. Perhaps I could persuade Lucy to write something, too. Don't worry, she's good.

I read every comment you post – several times. I keep them all and will reply to more of you next time. Have a good fortnight. Talk to you all again soon. Bye for now.

Stephen Keeler



SOME USEFUL WORDS AND EXPRESSIONS

for ages
for a long time

brought tears to my eyes
If something brings tears to your eyes it makes you cry.

Every now and then
Occasionally. Alternative expressions include: 'every once in a while'; 'every now and again'; 'every so often' and 'from time-to-time'.

auditorium
The part of a theatre or concert hall where the audience sits.

demanding
needing a lot of concentration or effort to understand

just off
very near; adjacent to

attention span
the amount of time you can pay attention to or concentrate on something

interval
break between two parts of a play or concert (see below)

flute
champagne glass

compensation
something which cancels out another thing that has had a negative effect

surveys
investigations, for example of people's behaviour or opinions

at the drop of a hat
A colloquial expression meaning very easily.

weep
A literary word meaning cry sadly and (usually) silently.

treason
The crime of betraying your country.

reduce me to tears
A common collocation, this means 'make me cry'.

funeral
ceremony for the burial or cremation of someone who has died

shed
To shed tears means to cry.

I hardly knew
I didn't know very well

couch
sofa

VOCABULARY EXTENSION

When a concert or play is divided into two (or more) parts the break between the parts is called the interval . However, English uses different words for a break between two halves (or two or more parts) depending on the situation.

SOME EXAMPLES:

half-time – is the name of the break in a sports (football or rugby) match. Notice that we don't use an article with 'half-time' (EXAMPLE SENTENCE: I'm going to watch the match until half-time then I have to go to work.) .

The intermission – is the name of the break (if there is one) in a film. This does need an article (EXAMPLE SENTENCE: Have I got time for a glass of wine during the intermission? ).

break – is the general term for a short period of time when you have a rest.

NB: The word 'pause' can be a false friend here. In English it can only be used to mean to stop for a short time (EXAMPLE SENTENCES: (a) I paused for a couple of minutes to stare at the beautiful sports car in the showroom window. (b) He was speaking so excitedly that eventually he had to pause to get his breath back. (c) I paused for a moment and then told her the bad news .

 

WAYS OF TALKING ABOUT CRYING

To shed a tear means to cry a little.

To burst into tears means to begin crying suddenly and dramatically.

To be reduced to tears means to be unable to stop oneself from crying, eventually.

To cry inconsolably means you are too sad to be comforted.

To weep with joy means you are crying because you are happy.

To laugh until you cry means that you laugh so much that eventually your laughter turns to tears.

There'll be tears before bedtime is an expression often used by parents to try to calm down over-excited (young) children.

It'll all end in tears is another expression similar to the one above. It has a more general application, though, and can be used about anything – a project, a relationship – which looks as though it may eventually end in failure.


WRITE TO STEPHEN
This section is now closed. Thank you for sending your comments.

Ana, Argentina
Hey Stephen, I am new in BBC learning English section, and think that your article is awesome. Really interesting how you've presented the vocabulary, and so hillariously too. Thanks !!! Have a great week.

maria argentina
It was a pleasure to read your letter, It was my first time, you brought into my mind th beatiful time I had when I was in London.Now, is not rare to see man crying.

Trang,Vietnam
Thank you for writting such these beautiful things to us,the ones who want to improve our English.Maybe they not only improve our English,but also make us see the life in some different ways that we have never seen before.There're something really touch my heart.I'm sorry for wife and your friend.Losing a friend is one of the saddest things that people have to face.About the question "What makes me cry?".There're many things in the world that can make me cry.It's not clear all the time,sometimes just because of the feeling of loneliness,sometimes I cry for nothing.

Teodoro Viteri, Ecuador
Congratulations...!!! This is a very good place to learm idiomatics expressions... Thank you so much.

Rehab Mohamed & Egypt
Thank you stephen for your interesting writing. It has helped me very nuch to improve my language and my vocabulary. I think the most sad situation make me cry is seeing a child crying because of illness, poverty and violence. we've seen this sight every day and this brought tears into our eye. children don't have any way to express thier feelings except crying.

Irina, Germany
Hello, Stephen! Nice to meet you!I’m so glad there is a wonderful opportunity to read your so lively and sincere, filled with gentle humour, comments.It sounds great you and your daughter like to hear live music.I like to listen to classical music and go often to concert, too.As regards the second movement of Tchaikovsky's 6 th Symphony maybe it wasn’t played so lovely by some musician like other ones. OK, now I am being serious. The Symphony Pathetique is fantastic. There is everything in this one: gladness, magic, suffering and tragedy.By the way the tune of the old Russian national anthem “God Save the Tsar” sounds in Tchaikovsky’s music.What is that make me cry?Almost one month ago now M.Rostropovich died. The funeral was transmitted live on television. Seeing a sad farewell brought tears to my eyes. He was a great musician and a marvelous person. Well, dear Stephen, I really admire your father’s talent and wish you and your sweet Lucy all the best.I’m looking forward to read your nice comments again soon

Ana, Poland
Hi, Stephen. La Marseillaise – yes, this is almost the most beautiful anthem and as a person brought up in the cult of French culture and history I can sing its first lines at any time, but this is our Polish ‘Mazurek’ that can reduce me to tears. What is it about? This is of course our history, painful and entangled, our national character (if something like that exists), but what seems to me really important is the secret power of music and singing that trigger our feelings, also that deeply hidden. Mozart – yes, you are right, he never fails to please. Have you ever happened to listen to one of his missae arranged and performed in accordance with Mozart’s intention during the mass celebrated in Latin? It was an incredible experience, but I couldn’t say that tears poured down our faces – they were just rising up in our eyes. Perhaps it’s also a magic of Latin – it gives you an impression of coming back to your roots ... Writing – yes, you can cry without limits curled up on the sofa. Just two examples: when I was ten I cried inconsolably after having read ‘The Paul Street Boys’ (F. Molnar) – it was the first time I realized that sometimes there is no happy end. It made me felt like an adult. When I’ve eventually become an adult person I happened to read ‘News on Kidnapping’ (G. G. Marquez) in a public place. I was so embarrassed when I felt tears pouring from my eyes, but was unable to stop it. At that time I felt like a child. We are talking about crying but actually this is mostly about the power of art. Don’t you think so, Stephen? All the best,

Uddhav, Nepal
Hi, Stephen. This is my first time, I have gone through your feeling by an exciting article. You have furnished your feeling very well and you have choosen very new and sweet words for new english language learners like me. I very much enjoied reading the article which is really on the ground of reality. I think this is your real story. In Nepal aslo, there is strong believe that only women can cry but not a man. But like you sometime, I also cried within the bathroom. I don't know, why sometime tears want to come out by passing our eyes. After cried, I feel a kind of different feeling and I thought the all the sad things have gone. I will continue to read your article and I am sure that you will not leave us on the middle of the path. I want to learn more English words, Phrases, grammer and others. Please keep continue to write for us.

Truc Ly, Vietnam
Hi Stephen!Nice to see you again! As you known, when we were born, we cried the first not smile...that is reason why anyone cry when feeling sadness, unhappy in their life...it's truth in our life. My father always said that with me that " When you was born, everybody look at you and smile while you cried. You must how to live for your life ending, you're always smile in your face while everybody mourn for your death! All the best wishes to you, Stephen! Best wishes, Truc Ly

Donny,Hongkong
dear Stephen,my name is Donny Chan. I'm from Hongkong.This is the first time I've read your essay.That's fantastic.I leant many new words and expression from it.I'll keep reading. In the essay,you talked about the tears.I think human being is very emotional creature.If we have long time no see our friends as we meet each other we cry for happiness.As we go to cinema to watch the movie,the tragic plot makes you cry that's for sadness or sometimes my son makes a joke that makes me laugh until cry.All the example could be a weight of our mind.So,it was many different way of expression to relieve our emotion.

Anita, Slovakia
Hi Stephen! I do hope that I will visit London one day again. I will make sure that if I recognise you in the street I will address you. I promise…Your current entry about crying is very timely to me. Actually, my eyes are swimming with tears at the moment because I would like to share some stories concerning me and my daughter. Firstly, when we said “Goodbye” to each other in Reading in April I tried to force my tears back because I saw her tearful eyes and I did not want to make our parting much more difficult. But I was in floods of tears at home, mainly because I will probably only see her again in December. I do not want you to panic, but I bet you will do the same when Lucy will leave to continue her studies at the university in Scotland. I absolutely agree with the words that my teacher blogger, Lewis Davies, wrote me - “I sometimes think that only when you have been apart for a while do you realise how important people are to you.” I also think that it is very important to let our children live their own lives and accept their decisions. Secondly, my daughter has turned 20 recently and I cannot give her such a wonderful, big hug, I cannot bake her any birthday cake with candles, we cannot celebrate together. As a father you can imagine how difficult this is for me. So, I reckon, I have a reason to shed a tear. Thirdly, but it is not about my daughter, fortunately. If I see ill children it will move me to tears as well. I feel helpless. I am also sorry to read about that young man. I hope that your next column will be full of good news! I am looking forward to reading it. I send my best wishes to you and Lucy.

Monica, Brazil
Hi Stephen,I love reading your column, it makes me laugh out loud. I like your sense of humour and your conversational style, it´s light and I enjoy the connection you make.One day I'll write like this!!!Well, as for what makes me cry, I have to confess that I dried up all my tears when I was a little girl cause I went to a boarding school and I hated the idea of being away from home and from my pets. I used to cry inconsolably, poor me! So now, I can say I´m a tough lady who hardly ever cries. And when this happens, it´s something so rare, that people really feel sorry for me. However, I got married to a such a sentimental guy! He cries at the drop of a hat, alcohol evidently, makes him even more sentimental.Like in England,it´s quite unusual to see man crying round here. I guess it implies weakness!Poor man as if they did not have heart! So my hubby is the melted butter at home!This is an expression we use to say that someone cries too much and too often. Do you have a similar expression in English?Love,Monica

Maru, Argentina
Hi, Stephen! You can't imagine how much I liked your last column. You did a great job! I used to read your blog and now I'm a fan of your columns; anyway this is the first time I leave a comment here.As for tango, I dind't know you like it. Have you ever came here? If you like tango you should visit La Boca, a neighborhood of Buenos Aires, which is popular for its colourful houses and many tango clubs.I still haven't cried because of Shakespeare (it must be 'cause I read his books in Spanish) but I have to admit I almost cry while I was reading a quote of The Duchess of Padua by Oscar Wilde, I was very sensitive that day.OK, that's all for now,I'm looking forward to your next column.Hugs

Ara, INDONESIA
Hi Stephen. It is my first time to join this bloog. It is interesting talk about tears. Untill now, when i will go to sleep, because i am sleepy or tied, tears will fall from my eyes. Any body fell something like me? Besides i am a sensitive person. I can weep with joy if i see our atlet or student can winner the international competitions. Actually i do not know who they are. Besides that, i am rathers emotionals people. Some time i cry inconsolaby when i fell verry sad.

kassim, Benin
Hi StephanI just discover a good tool to learn english. I will be connect five times a week.Any specifical advice to improve my english quickly?Thanks a lot to you and BBC.Regards

Rajesh Kolla, USA, Logan,
Hi Stephen,The way you drive the words or phrases by circumscribing with-in a story is really great.Looking forward for more...

Diema,Bulgaria
Dear Stephen!Thanks for sincere sharing your emotions with us! Nature has given tears to us for physical and emotional relax. Don't worry to use them - as a man , as an Englishman - with joy and sadness. What bring me always to tears are children's shows in my son's kindergarten. I always weep with joy whatching small colourfully dressed children , triying to focus on thier performance and to find their parents amongst the spectators at the same time. You can imagine how cute they are. Their imperfection make me laugh and cry. These moments always shade difficult moments in bringing up kids and make it worthy.

Deng Sudan then from Australia at the moment.
What a very intersting topic Stephen?It is all that you had said about crying.I think most of us experienced all those cryings in our circumstances if not all. As man from Dinka in Sudan, men do not just crying openly as women and kids do. If even it is dealth.Men are said to be crying from thier innermost. It is some thing like a taboo.Men even make jokes about it that "why do you crying a like woman". I think not because men do not feel the point of crying as women and kids do but are expected be strong and courageous during bad times such as death in a family.It is part of Dinka men's responsibility to show strong feelings even when bad things are happening.On the other hand sheding tears for enjoy is what is considered be good feeling and is acceptable even men shed one or two.I should say there are tears of sympethy as well. for example,some policians can moblise people about some situations which reduce them into tears. For instance When Tony Blair commented on peace in Northern Ireland his message of peace given children chance, who had been living in the shodow of fear hope and future. Honestly I when heard that message I shed tears. I feel very symphethic about the chidren of North Ireland and other children in same situations.I know what it,s mean to be a child those fears.Anyway the whole is that is kind of cryings what we go throught at some points.But if you have a chance to go Dinka land don't cry like a woman. Otherwise, keep up the good work Stephen!!!... I shed a couple tear when I was reading the message. GOOD LUCK !!! From me Peter Deng bye for now

Javier & spain, valencia
Hello Stephen, I read this article on the weekend and in my opinion is depresive. I agree with you that we can cry because of a great variety of motivations, with sadness or hapyness.In my point of view it was unnecessary to tell us about the accident thouhg I am sorry.If I were you, I´d try to focus the message relating the differents traditions of crying which are used in differents cultures.In Spain, tradicinally women can cry and express their sentimental feelings whenever they want. Obviusly the men is in the opposite case.Now the situation is changing. Women are becoming "stronger" and men more weak so I think in a few years we will meet in the middle of the field and we will be equal in this subject.What is happening in China, India, Vietnam, England, Germany, USA, Finland, ...Thank you very much for reading my words.

hyoshil,lincoln
When my son,who is five,comes into the kitchen after playing in the garden he clings around my waist and says "mum,I love you it brings tears in my eyes.When one of my friends is called by her son's headmaster because of his hypeactivity I feel like weeping for her.Watching a friend who had to send her mother to a residental home and sobbing for her mum made me move to tears.I am a very sensitive soul but l like to give a shoulder to cry on.Thank you very much for your great column and take care of yourself!

Mohamed Ibrahim Ali,Yemen,Hadrmout
Hi,I hope all is well with you.I owe you alot of thanks because you are one of our teachers.I've learnt alot from the bbc english. Wish you luck all the time

Rustam Ali.. SWAT Pakistan
Hello Stephen … Hope you will fine and I think will be busy in crying. Ahh I think it is better to talk about happiness in life then sadness, you and some of the reader might not agree with me, by arguing that cry makes us to feel relax. Talking about the crying of men, I agree with you to cry for a moment but to persuade other for crying is not good.Thanks this is a great opportunity for me to learn English even though I know nothing of English. Regards

divyaprasadhv,india
Hello Mr.stephen Keeler,first of all I'd like to thank you for teaching us the reading and writing skills without our knowledge!Eventhough I came to know that you cry at the drop of a hat after reading your column, I have made up my mind to respond to your column.By chance if you feel like crying as you read my letter,please don't do so sir.Just stop reading my letter.It is as simple as that! Do you know why I am telling you like this?Because I can't learn English so well in such a funny and friendly manner from anybody else.The result would be that as long as you cry ,every student of yours including me might have to cry for a period of time for missing your teaching!It does n't mean that being a man you should not cry.I don't want you to waste your precious time in crying while you read my letter. But what to do?Your style of writing will force me to read it fully and respond to it.It's your speciality exclusively given to you by GOD.It is only possible for you to write taking a boring topic like crying in such an interesting manner. You have described each and every point in detail about crying . Reading your column about crying made me weep with joy here and there.Generally I don't show interest to read long passages.I am neither used to write letters to anybody.But now a days I not only started reading but also started responding to your columns!Definitely all the credit goes to you sir! How lucky your daughter LUCY is to learn a lot from you while having fun! Please convay my BEST WISHES TO LUCY and request her on behalf of me and persuade her also to write something as long as you continue to cry atleast. Hope you will read my comment and give a reply next time.Thank you very much sir.

Helen,China
What a excited things to see you again, Mr. Stephen, a kind face and some interesting essays, after you left the learning English Blog , I have wait for you to come back soon again all along , to share your colorful and abundant life with us. I feel sad that I haven’t found this column at the first time you wrote here. But I will never miss your essays again. I will read them and learn them carefully, and reading your essay is already become my part life now.What a happy thing to read your essays again, and also to brighten my life again. Maybe the reader of your column will become your fans someday, I think I have already become your fans now, But to be your fans maybe will pass some exams that you given, only a joke for you. I hope you feel happy everyday.About the crying in China, the man seems stronger than the women, the crying is the “patent “of the women in a way, there is a saying that “the man does not shed tears easily” in China. Maybe the man can control his feeling validly,they can abreact their sad feeling through other ways ,for example to drink alcohol, to smoke and so on.

Wisarut,Khonkaen ,Thailand
Hello there.. I would rather not shed a tear or burst into tears at which I experience an drmatic situation - excluding sometime girlfriend break up me. To be honest , when I was young , I normally teared ahead of bed time . I did not known why I cried . Nowadays I weep with joy and laugh until me cry at the couch rest room , when I watch television , DVD ,VCD or whenever I have a sense of humor. I suppose that person who usually laugh or smile, it is good for you to live longer .Thus I would rather make up smile' people rather than reduce to tears in any places. Because Thailand is the land of sweet smile and I do not need to obess with any bad circumstances . Anyway I would like to compliment you on posing astonishing columns and useful vocabularies . Better luck next times .

Lucile, France
Hello Stephen! It's always a real pleasure to read you! What is that make me cry?? Well, before being a mother, I was a very strong girl, never a tear! Now I'm worse than you! Everything began the day of my firt scan.. I was not sure to desire that baby, but when I saw this little thing on the screen, I couldn't help shedding a tear! Now I'm worse than a toddler! When Bamby's mam is killed, I cry, when I see something sad on television or in the newspaper, I cry (Maddie vanishing or the death of a famous person for example)... I feel awful about it, it's quite silly to cry for someone you even don't know, isn't it? I'm also inclined to shed a tear listening to some songs that make me think about good moments of my life, for instance, a song that makes me remember my childhood and my home... I wouldn't have to think about all these because It's make me sad! Please next time, choose one funnier subject!Oh, and before leaving, I want to tell you that I'm sorry for your friend, very sad to die so young...

Uyen from Vietnam
Dear Stephen,My name is Uyen. I'm from Hochiminh city, the biggest city of Vietnam.This is the first time I've read this part of the site. Thank you for spending your time writing to us and reading our comments. This is very useful for us who is learning English. From this article (can I call it so?), I found that we can express one thing in many way. I'm trying to write to improve my writing skill, but I have no one who have time to correct my mistakes or give me some advise to write better. So I try to find as many friend as I can to share experience. Thank you and best regard,U.
BBC Learning English: Please do not include contact details in comments.

Naheed from Pakistan,Karachi
Hello Sir,It was great to read about the concert and thank you for the reply. It sounds interesting about Lucy studying History of Art,that means she must be close to nature that she has chosen to study this subject. It would be great if she writes about her experience of studying in a university.As you wrote about European music, I have listened to Mozart and I liked him very much. Are you a fan of The beatles? I like them too. Is this you as a young boy scout? Well,this boy looks gorgeous I must say that. You have asked an interesting question about tears. I can well describe them as ocean of eyes. A moment of joy as well as sadness brings tears in eyes. If someone says hard to me I just can't stand my tears. I also can't see animals dying before my eyes specially when they are in a terrible condition. In our culture,it is said that men should not cry but I think when you feel your heart heavy, don't mind crying. With lots of love,Take care

kyaron, nepal
hi,i read your column and i really like the use of different words and idioms which really help students like us to how to use the words and keep them while making a sentence. Keep working and we will be waiting for your next column.Thanks

Andrea, Slovakia
Hi Stephan and all readers,Firstly, I would like to thank to Stephan for writing his fantastic column with interesting topics and even more attractive thoughts and opinions. I thank you the readers for your responses and your contractive criticism too. For us, the English language learners, this is a wonderful tool, how to improve the command of this foreign language. What are the right themes for debate? Is there the right ones or everything is essential to discuss, what stands on a human being’s mind? Secondly, I am pleased to place here my opinion on the crying business.I had read your article and my mind started spinning and I thought about myself, my feelings and my reasons for crying? There is one sad story, which made me weep, from the deepest part of my heart.I would like to dedicate this story to my cousin.Well, it was a number of years ago now. I lived abroad and studied English first and then the business. My life was fine. I lived a remarkable life, except of days, when I was too tired and sick of using English all the time. Don’t worry, I love it now. Anyway, one day in late September I received a phone call from my father that my young 19 years cousin had died due to a bike accident. Walking alone through streets I was rambling, shaking and weeping. The city, where I had lived for almost a year, was so unknown and tasteless. I couldn’t stop crying for this young girl, for myself and for the rest of the world. I was so alone.May be so alone, as here and then a person waiting to be granted a citizenship? Who knows? May be less or more? This is a sad story, but this story is connected to my strongest emotions. And I am proud of shedding tears that time. We should be always proud of our inner feelings and even prouder to show it. However, how it was said, it Stephan’s article, we should not forget the tears of joy and happiness. I wish you to enjoy your lives and celebrate it.Take care all, love and hugs.

asif masood islamabad pakistan
dear Stephan,its fine to receive praise but its hard to stomach when it comes in such a great number and from all over world. Say how is your stomach?oh stephen i cannot help praising your writing. you write so well and coherently but please tell if you find time how to write good so that there may be a replacement after you.great thanks and kind regards stephanbyee stephen for fortnighti am looking forward to your next column.

Paul Klimos, Lebanon
Dear Stephen,This is my first time on this page. I have enjoyed every word, it is very interesting and really helpful for people trying to improve their english. As for the tears, this is a usual issue(Wishing you all tears of joy!); right choice. Keep up the good work Stephen! Waiting for updates!

T.Ishimura, Japan
Hello, Stephen My pleasure is improve my english skill and understand world issues through English. Everyday I listen BBC intenet radio regardless I understand them or not.Your columns was very understandable andfun to me. If you don't mind please advise me how I can reach yours, Anyway many thanks for your superb teaching text.

Adriana from Brazil
This crying business is unpredictable, at least for me. On my grandmother's funeral I was supposed to cry a whole river but when we all together went to the funeral (here the cars go in a line) I don't know what happened because I lost the line and ended in another funeral. In my family I am always expected to be the strong who receives the bad news firstly. Sometimes, it doesn't work and I become the weakest of the family. In general, I rarely cry in my personal situations but I cry oceans when I see children dieing in wars or in urban violence or in an accident.

hala, lebanon
Dear Stephen. It's the first time that i read your column, I found it very interesting. I am from Lebanon (Do you know about it - something else then war). Here, a man crying is not a man thanks God that the culture is changing now. The arabic countries are known by how emotional people are.In fact, we get angry, nervous, happy, we shout immediatly but men are not allowed to cry. This is may be the only emotion that they can not show.

Christine, Germany
Hello Stephen, today I discover to my surprise, that you write a column at BBC. It's wonderful. A few month ago I've read your blog at BBC and enjoyed your very fresh and personal way of writing.Here are my answers to your questions: I grow up with a very special proverb " Red Indian don't cry", it was especially used for little boys, for example, when they felt down and had a wound. Nowadays it is more accepted, when a boy or a man cries. I know several situations that reduce me to tears.It can be a film, music, a poem or a very emotional situation ( joy or sadness). Do you know the film " Gottes vergessene Kinder", I don't know the english title. It's about a teacher for deaf children and he fall in love with a young deaf woman. There is a scene, where he tries to explain the music from Bach with his hands and his body. This scene always reduce me to tears.Now I'm looking forward to your next column and wish you and your daughter a good time Christine

Shirley, Beijing
There is a chinese saying that ""(Note from BBC Learning English: unfortunately these characters can not display in this system.) It means that men should not shed tears easily . Because men should be strong enough and shoulder most responsibilites in traditional concept.It is happy to say that people become more open and understand men also need crying to realease the pressure or negative emotion . It is good to men's health. But men had better not cry often ,otherwise, he would be thought as a feminine men.

Lily, Saudi Arabia
First of all I'd like to say hello to u Stephen and all the readers.Its nice to participate in such a wonderful blog.By talking about tears, I can describe myself as one of those who cry at the drop of a hat.Sometimes i try to hide my tears but unfortunately my nose turns red and my voice tone changes,so everyone knows that I'm going to cry.It's really embarrassing.By theway what the right expression that should be said to describe ( the inability to talk when I'm going to cry, it's something heavy I feel it in my throat)I hope my qustion is clear.regards

Kirsti, France
Hi, Stephen. I've recently discovered your column and I like it. When am I crying? Ages ago I was accompanying one of my children and his 4-5-year old schoolmates on an excursion and we came to a road that we had to cross. So we signed to the cars to stop and of course they did. I was surprised to feel that I was close to tears. Can a crybaby like you understand it?

Claudia, Brazil
Hi Stephen,This is the first time I've read your column and I just loved it.Reading it was a bit moving for me. I lived in London for 3 years - long ago, and now I work in an American company in Brazil and got used to the American style (if you can call it that) of writing.It was nice to be reminded of the "English way" of thinking. It certainly brought back a lot o good memories. Thank you for that.I can't say your text brought tear to my eyes, but it certainly touched a soft spot.

Katy , Iran
Dear Stephen ; Warm hello and grateful thanks for your fabulous columns. I really enjoy them. Talking about tears and according to this great crying business , just like you I am a very sentimental person who easily cries even at the drop of a hat. But you know , nowadays the world around us is unfortunately going in a way that reduces every human being to tears. Watching the poverty and misery of the third world on , being exposed to everyday news of dozens of innocent people whose lives are claimed by some insane violence , due to some irrational ethnic or religious divisions , because of some inappropriate decisions made by some selfish rulers ..., these are some poignant scenes that make everybody burst into tears. And something else that has made me sadly cry for many times during the past few years has been being the victim of some stereotypical attitude. I have suffered from this way of thinking by some people. How many of us are open-minded enough to respect people as individuals and not prejudge them as members of a nation that is being misunderstood because of some wrong , or even terrible acts of their decision makers? It feels terribly bad when your humanity, your dignity, your commonsense, your knowledge, and your everything that you are proud of as a human being is under question due to some bad things going on in the world for which not you and not many many other individuals of your kind are to blame. Being snubbed , being looked down, and being condemned for some unfair things that as a member of a society , you are personally opposed to and you know that it's not the general way of thinking of your society is an excruciating pain. And it makes me weep from deep inside my heart. Hoping for brighter thoughts, more fair judgements, and a world brimming with love and peace, I'll be waiting to hear from you. Katy / Iran

Ccuswyo
Dear Stephen,Thank you for your articles, most of the time I had been considered as not very good communicator for they think that as my English is my second language, so it fails me in many occasions. They propose to me that I should work on enhancing my communications by improving my English. I am happy to find this website so I can improve by using it, or you might recommend any other means that can speed-up my learning curve. I regard this as problem for me to be advanced in my careers. My writing needs freshen, where to put commas and full stops, etc.I wish I will find a good help in improving my English through your pages.Thank you & Best Regards,WYO,

oasiszoo China
I think tear shows the most soft part of one person's heart.Thank you for your sharing the subtle feeling with us, because a lot of people deprive themselves of rights of crying as if they were the stronggest in their lives (actually they are not!)

Nidhi,Switzerland
Hello Stephen,I have just read your column first time.I'm an Indian but have been living in Switzerland for last two years.I'm trying to learn english with the help of internet.And i found your column interesting one,indeed.Especially the expressions you have used and i also cry at the drop of the hat(i have learnt it right now).Thank you.

Kriszta, Hungary
Dear Stephen, I have just realised your coloumn and I have to tell you that I am totally amazed by your teaching and writing skills! I am a language teacher too (German) so I can judge it quite well!(I hope so...)Well, as for your question, when we cry - I most often cry with joy or at sentimental events, for example when my 5-year-old sun recites me a poem on Mother's day. And I cry when I am very worried, for example when my son throws a huge stone at my three-year-old daughter's head and she keeps weeping and her head is bleeding and there is no doctor available...and I also cried with joy when her wound turned out to be not too serious! In fact, in my country men are not supposed to cry, it is understood as a sign of weakness - but I would encourage all men all around the world to cry because it definitely helps to bear sad things and recover from them!So, I am really glad to have found your entries!!!Best wishes to you and your daughter!

Maria, Russia, Pskov
Hello Stephen. It's my first time to write a comment to your column) Let me start with the things, that bring tears to my eyes) Sometimes, when i look at my husband, i think how i'm lucky to be next to him, and tears are coming to my eyes) maybe it's silly and too sensitive, but it happens) Thanks for your writing, it's very interesting and funny. Good luck!

delphine, france
Hello, It's a very sad column, cars accidents are too numerous, the number of mortal accidents increases all the time.Do you really think that the french national anthem is the best of the world? maybe, you don't understand the lines, because it's a warrior song.It asks to people to resist to the invaders and kill them. I rather prefer a more peaceful song to represent France.I'm not very fond of classical music, when I was at london, I saw "Mamma mia", it was funny.There is a wide variety of shows in london, so, you can't get bored.I don't like to cry in public, but, if i see a movie in which an animal is beating or killing, i can't stop crying.Bye, have a nice fortnight.

nora feit new york,usa
I loved reading your article and your sensativity touched me beyond belief. It is easy to shed tears when one listens to a fine piece of music. I too, adore music and feel moved to tears by it. Surprisingly ,I could just as much relate to shedding tears when listening to the Israeli anthem Hatikva,(since I am a native Israei and reside in NY most of my adult life)it is natural that I would feel just as moved by the American Anthem ,but when I heard the Marselliese I was so touched and moved to tears and suddently realized that perhaps I may be a sentimental sort , or perhaps moved by a beat of nationalism. Again, thank you for your sensativity and generosity of spirit. Sincerely, nora

Jill Huang From Beijing
Stephen, I think you like surveys, especially some interesting surveys. I still remember that in one of your previous blogs, you wrote many things that make you cry. And you did mention ‘western classical music’ and Tchaikovsky. While I’m writing to you now, I’m thinking of what makes me cry. Absolutely, I cry quite often. If I quarrel with my boyfriend, I cry. If I miss my grandma who passed away almost 9 years ago, I cry. If I watch a sentimental movie or read a sad novel, I cry. These are common reasons for crying. And yes, if I feel sorry and suddenly hear a song that describes my bad mood, I’m sure I’ll cry. In China, about 5 years ago, there was a popular song – Man Could Cry Without Guilt, sung by a famous Chinese singer named Andy Law. In the year the song released, you could always hear it from the CD players of the shops when you walking along the street. I think people especially men liked it because it was resonant and touched their hearts. I like people who show their emotions directly. If you want to cry, just cry, no matter woman or man. That’s what I think. Stephen, I hope in this little place, you show us your true feelings, both happiness and sadness. We like you because you are a kind, generous person. You treat your every article here seriously and help us a lot! Thanks, our teacher and friend Stephen! Wish you all the best. Please say hello to Lucy instead of me and I’m looking forward to reading her essays. I think this comment is a little bit longer, so I divide it into two and send them separately. Bye for now and I will come here later. Take care. Jill.

Jill Huang From Beijing
Hey, Stephen. I’m late! I’m late!! I’m late!!! I miss you so much! I miss you SO MUCH! I miss you SOOOOOOOO MUCH! Do you still remember me? If not, please don’t tell me. I feel sad that I haven’t found this column at the first time you wrote here. Why I didn’t find it earlier? God knows. But why God didn’t tell me? I feel sad. But I will never miss (in Chinese, we say: Cuo Guo) your essays again. I will read them and learn them carefully and send my comments as frequently as before. By far, I want to say one sentence: your articles brighten the whole website. I’m very glad to get to your essays again. Learning English is such an interesting thing through reading your columns. You are going to eight concerts in three weeks? Are you serious? I envy Lucy and I wish I were in London now. Maybe you would like to give a ticket to me as a gift for my comments and loyalty, wouldn’t you? In your third paragraph, the names of the concert hall, square and road are completely strange to me. But I hope one day I can go there. Maybe we’ll meet each other. I believe I can recognize your face. :) And I promise I will not hesitate to say hello to you if I see you. Is that a big surprise?

Roxana Carina, Buenos Aires Argentina
Hey Dear stephen!I was so happy to hear from you again!I really enjoy reading about you and Lucy. Regards!

Claudio, Chile
Hello Stephen!!I am Writing from Chile. I started to read your blog because it is very funny and interesting. Well I studied english for one year when I was hear at the university and besides I lived in England for one year as well, in Bristol. In Britain I took an english course for six months and it was free!!! I want to improve my english, specially on writing because I think my pronunciation is OK. In your blog you asked:What is it that makes you cry?Well, when I listen a song in english. (Cat Stevens or The Beatles)When I left England because I wanted to stay there for more time but I couldn't because I haven't any kind of visa and I wanted to become a british citizen like your friend from Russia.If you are a man and you want to cry it's quite difficult in Chile. It's a cultural thing. If you want to cry you become an effeminate. And you become the butt of everyone's jokes.If you are woman you can do it.This thing is not fair.I hope I can write you again. I want to read some opinions about my writing.Do you find a lot of mistakes?Answer me, please.Good bye.Claudio.

Marula, Scotland
Hi Stephen, it's absolutely great to read you again! And I'm glad it's not only the football that makes you cry! :)As for myself autumn is the time when anything brings tears into my eyes. Autumn makes me more sensitive, I guess.And it's great to hear that Lucy is going to study in St Andrews. I could meet her often, as I live in Fife. She's welcomed for coffee at my place. :)))))All the best for you and all the Readers,M.

Marianna, Slovakia, Bojnice
Stephen Stephen! It is May, it`s not time to weep sadly! I have revised if I own the Patetique. Unfortunately not, so I can`t discover how sexy it is. My goodness! I am only scared so that this page would not be canceled. Human ignorance knows no bounds. A person is always able a foolish thing to do. Have we got then cry or laugh? If it is very English to leave us waiting a fortnight we will suffer this time with pleasure...and regtret only not possesing your lightness to put down the thoughts! There is a ritual in my family where my father, who will be 8O in two month, begins sobbing regularly. Until my l4 his father lived with us and died as 92y.o. Since then my father took over the speach to us on Christmas Eve befor the dinner started. His character is strict and hard. He finnished ski running marathon as 57 y.o. with very strong cardiac arrest, said nothing about the pain three long days and went to work. Yet a half year after the atack doctors in a spa looking at his EKG were excited about who sent a dead-man`s results there. Father never spoke much. At the solemn festive Christmas mood he wasn`t able to keep control over his emotions and used to burst into tears hidden behind a strange laughter. We, children and grandchildren later too, burst into laugh usualy because we had all known what the situation we would face. Last December it was diffrent. Everything went quiet in a peace and he spoke the speach first time relaxed. Were we all without the tears?

Evelina, Bulgaria, Sofia
dear Mr. Keeler,I am always happy to meet you here with all your various themes and exciting experience in which I have been interested for long time. It' s difficult to me to find people to talk to about literature and feelings, but I need it. Somehow, we are very busy nowadays and we seem to forget our soul and dreams. What can make me kry is the treachery. It' s very hard to realise that a friend has committed this. And I also cry, when I find out I have been used by people who I have believed in and who I have helped. If I have to lose my faith in my friends, I would surely cry

Adek, Poland
Hellow Stepham :) I've been looking for the English equivalent of one expression. Should it be 'by music' or maybe 'with music', and discovery! you've used the expression two or three times: at the music! Thanks so much. But I found in you blog 'being an Englishman' used twice, what surprised me a lot because I once found in one of my grammar books that the expression isn't correct; the author suggested to use 'as an Englishman' instead. As for crying, I think a lot of men cry from time to time, me too. But as for me, only sentimental movies with happy endings make me cry. I sometimes feel stupid when, in the presence of other people, a lot of tears course down my cheeks.

gaetano italy
Hi StephenThank you for your interesting columns.It makes me cry the regret for what it could have been and it has not occurred.

Farida, Pakistan
Hello Stephen, your crying business brought tears in my eyes especially when I read about the sad demise of your group member. He was so yound really it is so sad. Please dont write again these depressive columns. The first thing I do in the morning to open the BBC world service and read your column and blog. So, it makes me sad if I read things like that as I am very sensitive person, and my ears filled with tears when I watch tragedic scenes in movie, reading books and even listening someones painful experiences. Believe me if I see some patients in pain I feel it as I am suffering with the same. So, be careful next time. In our country men usually don't cry. In my whole life I saw only one man who was weeping on his mother's death. Men are emotionally more strong as compared to women and do not shed tears like women (like me). I was waiting for the description of party with your friend but alas you didn't pay any attention to it while crying so much (may be next time. You are lucky that you have so much time to attend so many concerts in few weeks and enjoy life in full. I love to read books but these types of concerts are neither very common in our country (except the local pop songs)nor, I would say,I understand the music (what a freak). However, my husband and both sons are very fond of music and our home is filled with equipment and albums. What are the job opportunities after completing education in your country? Do the students easily get job over there? I hope Lucy will get the admission very soon and you'll see that she'll be very successful in her career. Take care, love to Lucy. Farida

Ana Paula, Brazil
Hello Stephen!How nice hear from you again!It´s really hard to difined what makes me cry. Actually, I think some things that I´ve lived make me shed some tears when I remember them. For example, the smell of a cake being bake, which recalls me to my childhood, a perfume that my dad used to wear and when I smell it I remember him, a word read in my handled favourite book, which touch me deep inside, a sunny December afternoon with a light rain falling down, the sweet voice of Renato Russo singing in Italian, or even a movie scene, which doesn´t need to be a sentimental one, it makes me cry indeed. Wow! Gee! Now I realised there are lots of things that make me cry! Nowadays in my country, if a man cries, he doesn´t have to be afraid of wheteher or not people will question his masculinity, on the contrary, this attitude shows that he´s a courageous man, due he shows his feelings, and therefore it´s believed that this man is a strong man. However, those men still have to deal with the jokes made for their other male friends, who "kindly" call them as "weep babies."Best wishes,Ana Paula.

Antonio from Tubize, Belgium
Hi Stephen, I must admit that I do not go easily to tears but I can have a lump in my throat in certain situations : watching some sequences or films; listening to some lyrics, some anthems and folklore music specially from my area if I am abroad. If I was awarded or something similar I probably could get out of speech. I am quite sure I’ll weep with joy if anyone of my children is awarded or doing a performance and I prefer not to think about the day when my daughter will leave home to fly on her own.Pure music does not affect me in that kind of emotion, nevertheless, when I listen to classical music or some vocal jazz, I can feel, like being in the heaven, very relaxed and it helps me de-stressing from mental overload.

George, Argentina
This is my first time at reading your column, I relly enjoy it a lot.In my home country men are not aloud to cry in public, but sometimes could be a good trich to cacht a girl.(ja ja ja )See, you.

larissa from Israel
Hi StephenI recently found this site and i just can't get enough of it, especially your writing. It is very helpful for learning english students like myself.Also i must say it's very much enjoyable reading i've encountered recently. I will continue reading your columnand keep the good job!!!!

Nozomi,Japan
Hi,Stephen!Speaking of tears,I shed tears just a few days ago while reading a certain book.Although I had cried because of some sentimental books with several sad endings,I had never wept for ordinary books.But this time,a book with glorious and fine description of nature itself moved me and brought tears to my eyes much more than any other book I had read before!The book has particularly no sad twists (to be honest,I haven't finished reading the whole story...the half of the book is left).All it has is beautiful literary sentences,that's all.I'm wondering why the author had such a terrific skill to write subtlty of nature. Incidentally,the splended book is titled "Ghosts",and written by Morio Kita.If you haven't read it,I really recommend to you(According to an English web site, it is available in UK)!Did you read any impressive books recently?If you could let us know,I would be glad.So long!!

Marianna, Slovakia, Bojnice
Hi! I am scared only so that this page would not be canceled. Human ignorance knows no bounds. A person is always able a foolish thing to do. Have we got than cry or laugh? If it is very English to leave us waiting fortnights we will suffer this time with pleasure!

nela romania
Hello,Im impressed.Ive never heard of you before.Not many things happen in here.But I think this is a great oportunity to improve my English. Thank you

 
Stephen Keeler
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