As .. as

Hello again.

I have a fairly easy exercise or two for you today.

I took a short break for a couple of weeks to look after my father. He is aged 93 and has just moved house from England to France. He will be living with my sister but I had to be there while she moved her furniture south.

The weather here has been extremely poor for the time of year. Comparatively low temperatures and lots of thunder storms and rain. Normally around here we worry about forest fires at this time of year. Not this year ;-)

Pearson BROWN

First Conditional

Today I have some exercises on the First Conditional. I hope you enjoy them.

I have just been watching a television documentary about a comedy group called Monty Python. They were very popular when I was a student but that was 45 years ago. Now they are putting on some shows in London, even though they are all over 70. I cannot believe it will be very good but the general public clearly does – all the shows were sold out in a matter of hours.

In a few days we will know if this was a good idea or not. I suspect not.

Zero Conditional

Hello again.

Today’s exercise is about the Zero Conditional. You can find it by clicking on this link

In my last newsletter, I told you about my friend who had the bad fall. Since then, she has been confined to bed as the scan showed that she has broken a bone in her back. My friend is one of those people who is always moving around and she has found the whole process very frustrating.

I got some comments about a verb I used, “strim”. I assumed that this word had come into British English from American English but I was wrong. In fact not all British dictionaries have this verb form, although they all have the noun form “strimmer”. This word is a contraction of two words, “string” and “trimmer”, and refers to a machine which cuts long grass and weeds by spinning a string very quickly.

The Oxford and Cambridge dictionaries do not cover the verb form but other dictionaries do. You can see some clear examples here

Off now to visit my poor friend.

prepositions plus -ing

Hello again.

This weeks’s exercise is about prepositions that are followed by the -ing form. You can find the exercises here

I have told you before about my friends who have the big house and the intelligent dog. I have another story about them but this time it is quite amazing.

My friends live in a house on the side of a mountain. Below the house is a small stream but it is difficult to get to the stream because the slope is so steep. When they strim the grass on this slope, they have to be attached to a rope.

The husband was away in England for a few days and the wife was staying by herself. One night she woke up at about three o’clock in the morning and found that she was lying down by the stream. She tried to get up but couldn’t as she was very sore everywhere. The dog was beside her, licking her and encouraging her to move. All she could do was to crawl very slowly back up the slope.

What seems to have happened is that she walked in her sleep, went outside and fell down the slope. She is lucky to still be alive. She has a very sore back but is otherwise OK.

If she had broken her leg, she might have lain there for several days, until her husband came home. She was very lucky.

Pearson BROWN

PS Instead of lain, I could have written laid.

More multi-word verbs

Hello again.

I have some exercises for you today on multi-word verbs.

I have been away for a few days on the island of Mallorca. It is only a short flight from where I live, about 45 minutes, but it is a completely different world. The island has long been a popular destination for English tourists and it is almost like being in a sunny version of England. Quite a contrast from the French mountain village where I live.

I am in fact moving from my village soon but only to a similar one on the opposite side of the valley. I am buying a house there, though the whole process is proving long and exasperating.

Pearson BROWN

New lesson on Gerunds

Hello again.

I have a new exercise for you about that complicated subject of infinitives, gerunds etc.

I have a happy ending for my story about my not seeing my daughter in Barcelona. She is coming again next week. Fingers crossed.

On the first of May it is Mayday. My other daughter and granddaughters will be out selling bunches of mayflowers in Lyon. They go into the local woods to pick the flowers and then sell them for two euros. The mayflower is also called the lily of the valley.

You might know that the term mayday is also used as an international signal of distress.But why? It has nothing to do with English at all. In French, “m’aidez” means “help me” and that is pronounced “mayday”.

Hope you have a nice week.

Pearson BROWN

Another listening activity

I have a new listening activity for you. It is number 6 on this page

I heard last week that my younger daughter was coming to Barcelona with her work. As some of you may know, she is cabin crew working for an airline in Dubai. So I booked a room in the same hotel she was due to stay in and set off early on Sunday morning to go and see her. This involved driving for two hours over the border into Spain. Then I took the fast train from Figueras to Barcelona. This train is based upon the French TGV and hurtles through the Spanish countryside at 240 kms/hour. That is 150 miles an hour. After fifty minutes, I got to Barcelona and took the metro to the hotel. All went really well. It took about 5 hours door-to-door.

But when I got to the hotel, my daughter wasn’t there. She had been transferred to a flight to London. I was very sad. I haven’t seen her since October. Still I had an excellent meal of tapas and paella, which cheered me up.

Pearson BROWN

help for students of English