Daily English in March

How it all began: No order, no system, just a little English every day and a lot of fun:

The internet is a poor substitute for all the lessons we should have had if Corona hadn't cancelled them. I'll try to find something instructive and fun for you to do during this time of worry (and maybe boredom). 

16th March 2020

I think I'll start with something that hasn't got anything to do with the virus: spring flowers. The cursor will show you their names.So lean back and enjoy! (Sorry, some of them won't rotate.)

17th March 2020

You might know Hägar the Horrible but have you read the original? Some of you should recognize the proverb "Familiarity breeds contempt" from class.

18th March 2020

You'll probably hear this song some time, when you're listening to the radio. I heard it while I was driving and thought the lyrics might interest you. 

Here's the video on Youtube:

19th March 2020

Today just a few false friends, although there are lots and lots of them:

English word Wrong translation Correct translation
map Mappe Karte
menu Menü Speisekarte
meaning Meinung Bedeutung
stadium Stadium Stadion
chef Chef Koch
lecture Lektüre Vortrag
billion Billion Milliarde
fabric Fabrik Stoff
confession Konfession Beichte
alley Allee Gasse
gymnasium Gymnasium Sporthalle
gift Gift Geschenk
closet Klosett (Kleider)Schrank
caution Kaution Vorsicht
art Art Kunst

20th March 2020

Do you know the tenses?

 

A circus trainer was riding his horse around the circus ring when a little dog jumped into the ring and shouted: "Hello there!"

"Hello," replied the surprised trainer, "I didn't know that dogs could talk."

His horse turned its head and said

"You learn something new every day, don't you?"

 

The tenses are always a bit of a challenge for learners. If you follow this link, you can choose the perfect exercise for your level.

 

https://www.ego4u.de/de/cram-up/grammar

 

Have a look at this overview to find out what exercises you need. If you have any questions, you can always send an E-mail or text me.

Zeiten mit Beispielsätzen.doc
Microsoft Word-Dokument [41.5 KB]

21st March 2020

Since we are all forced to stay at home most of the time, we should at least be able to talk about it. Can you describe your place? Have a look at these pages from a visual dictionary (for children) by Helen Davies:

My home 1.pdf
PDF-Dokument [844.2 KB]

And even more detailed the Merriam Webster Visual Dictionary Online:

 

http://www.visualdictionaryonline.com/house/location.php

22nd March 2020

Yesterday you learnt something about your home, today I've got a joke about it:

 

An Irishman walked into a pub with a front door under his arm.

"Why are you carrying that door?" asked the barman. 

"Well," said the Irishman, "last night I lost the key, so in case anybody finds it and breaks into my house I'm carrying the door around."

"But what happens if you lose the door?"

"That's O.K." said the Irishman, "I've left a window open."

23rd March 2020

If you want to get the latest facts and figures about about coronavirus in the UK and learn important vocabulary into the bargain, you can visit this website: 

 

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-51768274

 

Do you understand what the UK is doing against the spread of the virus? What's the same in Thuringia / Germany and what's different? 

 

 

Try to organise your new vocabulary in order to keep it for future use. When this is over, you might want to travel again and yes, some people get ill while travelling.

 

For topic vocabulary it's always a good idea to make a kind of mind map or poster on a sheet of paper. You could even add pictures or symbols. Of course you can also use index cards or a list - whatever suits you best. Choose 10 words or expressions to learn and try to memorize them. 

24th March 2020

When I asked you what you were going to do if / when most of us have to stay at home because of the virus, some of you named tidying up, cleaning etc. If you don't feel like tidying up, look at this:

25th March 2020

When do we use some and when any? Do you remember? Some in positive sentences, any in negatives and questions. Here are some examples:

"There's something I can do that nobody else in my school can do. Not even the teachers!"

"What's that?"

"Read my handwriting!"

 

"Waiter, bring me coffee without milk."

"We haven't got any milk, Sir. How about coffee without cream."

 

A man had stopped his car at a set of traffic lights. The lights kept changing...red...yellow...green...

Finally a policeman came up to him and leant into the car.

"What's the matter, Sir?“ he asked. "Haven't we got any colours you like?“

 

Dad: "Do you want any help with your maths homework?"

Son: "No, thanks - I can get it wrong on my own."

26th March 2020

The text you can download here is from the introduction of a very interesting book by anthropologist Kate Fox called Watching the EnglishI've added a few tasks / questions to help you understand what the text is about. You'll need a dictionary to find out new words and expressions, but make sure that you read the complete entries, don't stop after the first translation. It might not be the one you need in this context.

Excerpt Watching the English.doc
Microsoft Word-Dokument [1.3 MB]

27th March 2020

Some more false friends, verbs this time. And this time I've left out the correct translation. Look them up in your dictionary and check your answers on Monday. ;-)

English Wrong Correct

to blame

blamieren an-/beschuldigen
to blink blinken blinzeln
to clap klappen klatschen
to conserve konservieren schonen
to fasten fasten befestigen
to flatter flattern schmeicheln
to grab graben packen
to impregnate imprägnieren schwängern
to lock locken zusperren /abschließen
to overhear überhören zufällig hören
to oversee übersehen beaufsichtigen
to overtake übernehmen überholen
to resign resignieren zurücktreten
to spare sparen (ver)schonen
to spend spenden verbringen /ausgeben
to swindle schwindeln betrügen
to tip tippen Trinkgeld geben
to wander wandern herumlaufen /umherstreifen
to wink winken zwinkern

 

28th March 2020

When I see the beautiful springflowers everywhere, I always think of a famous English poem about one of those flowers. It's from 1807 and its language is poetic but I think you'll get the gist and understand the feelings that inspired William Wordsworth. I even found a video that gives you some background information about the poet and pictures of the scenery described in the poem. 

 

William Wordsworth, I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud / Daffodils

 

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
and twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not be but gay,
in such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
what wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

29th March 2020

Some people wear "their hearts on their sleeves", which means that they show their true emotions (and by doing so make themselves vulnerable). One way of letting out your feelings or opinions is wearing a statement on the front (or back) of your T-shirt. Anyone can do that, but here are some ideas for golden agers:

 

Eat well, keep fit, and die anyway.

I came into this world fat and bald and intend to go out the same way.

I'm retired. Don't ask me to do a damn thing.

If it's too loud, you're too old.

We're spending our children's inheritance.

If older is better, I'm approaching magnificent.

I intend to live forever or die in the attempt.

At my age I've seen it all, I've heard it all, I've done it all, I've done it all, I just can't remember.

30th March 2020

Idioms make your language more colourful and very often an image conveys a meaning better than a long explanation. In descriptions we often compare things to something similar. Here are some idioms of comparison that are the same in German:

 

She's as cunning as a fox

He's as poor as a churchmouse.

She's as busy as a bee.

 

But others are completely different - and even more fun. You might already know some of them and you can always make an educated guess.

 

Use these expressions to complete the sentences: 

a the hills  -   b a fiddle  -   c a clockwork  -   d a cucumber  -  e two peas in a pod  

g the grave -  h a bat  -  i a lord  -  j a picture  -  k gold

 

1 He's as blind as ?.

2 She's always as cool as ?.

3 I'll be as silent as ?.

4 This house is as old as ?.

5 The twins are as like as ?.

6 His calls are as regular as ?.

7 It's as good as ?.

8 You're as pretty as ?.

9 She's as fit as a ?.

10 He was as drunk as ?.

 

Answer key at the bottom of this page.

31st March 2020

These days we all need a bit of gallows humour and I know just the thing: Murphy's Law. It's a perfect explanation when things go from bad to worse as they so often tend to do. ;-)

Murphy's Law

 

If anything can go wrong, it will.

 

Corollaries1:

  1. Nothing is as easy as it looks.

  2. Everything takes longer than you think.

  3. If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong. 

  4. If you perceive that there are four possible ways in which a procedure can go wrong, and circumvent these, then a fifth way will promptly develop.

  5. Left to themselves, things tend to go from bad to worse.

  6. Whenever you set out to do something, something else must be done first.

  7. Every solution breeds new problems.

  8. It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious.

  9. Nature always sides with the hidden flaw.

  10. Mother nature is a bitch. 

 

The Murphy Philosophy:

Smile ... tomorrow will be worse.

 

Murphy's Constant:

Matter will be damaged in direct proportion to its value.

 

1 In mathematics and logic, a corollary (AE:/ˈkɒrəˌlɛri/, BE: /kɒˈrɒləri/) is a statement which can be readily deduced from a previous, more notable statement, but whose importance tends to be secondary in nature.

Answers:

 

Idioms of Comparison: 1h, 2d, 3g, 4a, 5e, 6c, 7k, 8j, 9b, 10i

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