Back in April 2009, Gordon Brown was the UK Prime Minister and we were in the middle of a swine flu pandemic. It all seems so long ago (except that we've not got Ebola, of course). By now, cartoons had become a regular feature on The English Blog, and I often use cartoons with my students in the classroom (shown on PowerPoint) as discussion starters or to illustrate certain language points. In fact, I would have to say that explaining and commenting on editorial cartoons is the thing I enjoy most about doing The English Blog.
Every breath you take, every move you make, we’ll be watching you. Find out why in this episode.
Slow dialog: 1:28
Fast dialog: 14:25
Russ: Why are you wheezing like that?
Cheryl: I’m not wheezing. I’m just a little short of breath. My lungs feel like they’ve closed up.
Russ: Maybe you should get that checked out. You could have asthma.
Cheryl: Do you really think so? My nasal passages have been stopped up, so I just thought I had a bad cold. My sinuses hurt, too.
Russ: I’m not a doctor, but you may have something more serious, maybe bronchitis or pneumonia. You need a chest x-ray or something.
Cheryl: Wow, so this could be something really serious?
Russ: Why do you sound hopeful that you have a serious condition?
Cheryl: I’m not. That would be stupid.
Russ: And yet, you sounded positively giddy that you might be laid up for a couple of weeks. Does this have anything to do with your upcoming business trip to Abrahamville?
Cheryl: If you had to go to Abrahamville, wouldn’t you wish for an out, too – any out?
Script by Dr. Lucy Tse
A group of children dressed as a witch, a skeleton and a ghost are approaching a house. Since it's Halloween, we can assume that they are trick or treating. This is when children in costumes travel from house to house in order to ask for treats such as candy (or, in some cultures, money) with the phrase "Trick or treat!". The "trick" is a (usually idle) threat to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given to them.
In Mac's cartoon, however, the children are in for a nasty surprise. The homeowner has dressed up as a scary monster (we can tell it's only a costume by the zip on the back). His wife tells him, "Oh for heaven's sake, Donald. They're hoping to scare you!" (I think you have to stress the 'you').
For heaven's sake is an expression used for emphasizing that you are annoyed or impatient with someone. • Oh, for heaven's sake! Anyone would think this was difficult!
One of the most powerful men in the tech and U.S. business industry Tim Cook has announced he's gay.
In a 10-paragraph op-ed for Businessweek published early Thursday morning, the Apple CEO wrote, "While I have never denied my sexuality, I haven’t publicly acknowledged it either, until now. So let me be clear: I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me."
The reveal is hugely significant, evidenced if nothing else by the apparent crash of Businessweek's website and the article only minutes after it was posted. Full transcript >>
The billions Britain pours into foreign aid are actually doing harm by making corruption worse in many parts of the world, a damning report reveals. It says projects funded by UK cash are increasing opportunities for bribery. In some areas, they are even pushing poor people ‘towards corrupt practices’. After we spent millions on a scheme to tackle police bribery in Nigeria, locals said they were even more likely to have to pay backhanders, the report found. Full story >>
To fuel means to to make something increase or become worse, especially something unpleasant. • Graf's back problem fuelled speculation that she might soon retire. • People's fear of crime is fuelled by sensationalist reports.
2008 was a pivotal year for The English Blog. There were no posts at all from January to May, and I remember being tempted to give up completely. In the end, I went the other way and decided to take the project more seriously, resolving to post at least one article a day. I must have got a bit carried away though, since there are 281 entries in the December 2008 archive! Still, someone must have been taking notice ...
We sifted through some 300 blogs relating to language and learning. Each blog was looked over and ranked with a number of points. No system is perfect, but we based our ranking on objective values, which were assigned according to the blog’s content and features.
They're now asking people to vote for their favourite blogs. So if you enjoy reading The English Blog, head on over to the polling page and vote for us! And why not check out some of the other blogs on the list while you're at it?
While it's always nice to get some (any!) sort of recognition, I must admit that I no longer even bother to look at any of these 'Best Blog' polls. They're often just an excuse for self-promotion, and far too easy to manipulate (e.g. by asking all one's students to vote).
In our podcast for 30 October 2014, hear about three important differences in the pronunciation of British and American English.
GIRL 1: You guys are eating burgers?
GIRL 2: Hey, summer's over.
GIRL 1: Halloween's coming. You gotta stayin in shape for all the costumes.
MAN: What's that?
GIRL 2: You know, like attractive nurse, spicy Red Riding Hood, Viking princess warrior, hot devil, sassy teacher, and foxy fullback. Touchdown.
MAN: Could we go over the Viking lady again?
VOICEOVER: Whatever you're staying fit for, start at Subway. With loads of delicious low-fat sandwiches like tender turkey piled with any of your favourite veggies. Subway. Eat fresh.
You can find more Halloween commercials here.
Britain is gearing up for a warm Halloween with a blast of hot air from the Continent bringing an unusual end to the month.The mercury is expected to start rising today (Thursday) before reaching 71F (21C) on Friday in the south making it the hottest October 31 on record. Supermarkets say instead of stocking up with soups and hot drinks they are gearing up for a run on barbecue foods this weekend instead. Tesco is expecting to shift 80,000 packs of barbecue pork ribs, 450,000 packs of party food snacks and six million bottles of beer. Read more >>
The cartoon by Paul Thomas from the Daily Express shows a park in London (you can tell it's London from the familiar skyline). In the sky, in place of the sun, there's a giant pumpkin. A father tells his child, who is dressed as a witch, "Looks like Halloween's going to be hot."