April Fools’ Day

I was interested in the history of April Fools’ Day, so I did some research. I decided to share what I found out here. It was really interesting to me.
April fools’ Day is celebrated on the first of April. People play jokes on their friends, family, and even on people they don’t know. In France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Russia, The Netherlands, Brazil and in the US, the jokes are played all day long. However, in the UK, Australia, Canada and South Africa, they are only played until noon. If you play one after noon, you are called an “April Fool.”

It is thought to have originated in Canterbury Tales (1392) by Chaucer. In there is the Nun’s Priest’s Tale and it speaks of March 32. Since March only has 31 days, people thought that April 1st was a joke. In the tale, a cock was tricked by a fox. Some people believe that Chaucer really meant 32 days after march, which would be May 2nd, but nevertheless, we celebrate it on April 1st.

There are other possible origins of April Fools’ Day that you can read at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_Fools . This is where I got my information, as well as a few other web sites. They also have a list of pranks that people have played in the past.

http://www.infoplease.com/spot/aprilfools1.html This site has even more possible origins for April Fool’s day, but I still like the one I wrote about best because I like Canterbury Tales.

Leave a comment on how your country celebrates it or if they celebrate it at all.

Using Can in English

The word ‘can’ is used a lot in the English language. Here are some of the uses:

You can use ‘can’ to talk about possibility of something happening. (You can also use ‘could’ here.)

Can I do that?
I cannot run a marathon.
You can park your car right here.

‘Can’ has 2 negative forms. ‘Cannot’ and the contraction ‘can’t’ We usually use ‘can’t’ when we are speaking.

I can’t go with you today.
She cannot eat peanut butter.

You can use ‘can’ to talk about ability or opportunity. (Another phrase you can use here is ‘to be able to.’)

I can speak English.
I can swim.
I have free time. I can help her now.

You can also use ‘can’ to ask permission for something. (You can also use ‘may’ or ‘could’ here. ‘May’ is more polite.)

Can I go to the park with you today?
Can I come in?

Giving instructions is another way to use ‘can’.

After you make your bed, you can go and sweep the kitchen.

You can use ‘can’t’ for deduction.
You can’t be tired, you just woke up.

And don’t forget the noun ‘can’.

Will you take the can of corn out of the pantry? (a metal container of food)
I’m going to kick him in his can. (the ‘bottom’ of a person)
She needs to run to the can. (another word for toilet)

Lastly there is the ‘can-can’ or (cancan) which is the French dance with high kicks.

She loves to dance the cancan in France!

Metaphors in English

I had a few people ask me about metaphors, so I thought I’d write a post about them. Metaphors are like similes because they both show how 2 different things are alike. Similes use ‘like’ or ‘as’ and metaphors do not. So, metaphors are a bit more subtle than similes.

Here are a few examples of metaphors:

The United States is a melting pot.

My son’s stomach is a bottomless pit.

You are the sunshine in my life.

Life is a roller coaster.

Love is a camera, full of memories.

Similes in English

A simile is when you compare 2 unlike things using the words ‘like’ or ‘as’. You can make a simile out of anything; however, here are some of the more common ones that I hear quite often:

He’s as busy as a beaver.

It’s as clear as mud.

It’s as easy as pie.

It’s as flat as a pancake.

She’s as mad as a hornet.

That’s as pretty as a picture.

It’s as smooth as silk.

It’s as white as snow.

She’s as wise as an owl.

He’s as blind as a bat.

It’s as big as a boat.

He fights like a lion.

She swims like a fish.

And my person favorite: He’s as bald as a baby’s bottom.

Please leave me a comment if you have a question about any of these! Or make up your own simile and let me know what it is!

They’re, Their and There

Here are 3 words that sometimes people get confused: they’re, their and there. They are all pronounced the same way.

They’re is the contraction for ‘they are”.
They’re at the grocery store. (They are at the grocery store.)

Their is the possessive adjective of them.
It’s their book that I love reading so much. (The book belongs to them.)

There refers to a place either concrete or abstract.
Sally hid the gift over there.
There is the pet store.

Here’s a mini quiz to see if you have them straight in your head.

1. I really wanted to try some of _______ cookies.
2. ________ my best friends in the entire world.
3. I want to build my new house right ______.
4. _______ is no place like home.
5. Sue accidentally ate ________ candybars.

1. their
2. They’re
3. there
4. There
5. their

Hey You!

If you want to get someone’s attention – “Hey You!” Is probably not the most polite way to go about it, but it would work.

An extremely polite way to get someone’s attention is to say:
I beg your pardon, sir.
I beg your pardon, ma’am.
I beg your pardon, miss.
(However, I rarely (if ever) hear people say these where I live.)

A typical and still polite way to get someone’s attention is to say:
Excuse me, sir.
Excuse me, ma’am.
Excuse me, miss.
(Adding sir, ma’am or miss at the end make it more polite. You don’t have to use them though.)

If you’d like to get the attention of a friend, you can simply say their name.

You can also use “hello” or “hi” as a way to get someone’s attention.

Another way is to get someone’s attention is to clear your throat. (But, you have to be close enough to the person for them to hear it).

If you are trying to get the attention of a whole group of people, you could whistle, if you can. Or, you can say, “Listen up!”

More Slang for the Soul!

DUDE!!! This has to be one of my favorite words to say. You can ask any of my friends. I say it all of the time. What does it mean? It’s slang, and it means ‘man or person.’

Here’s how you can use it:
Dude, what are you doing?
Instead of saying the person’s name, you can just say ‘Dude…then the rest of the sentence. In order to say this, you should know the person you are saying this to fairly well. This is the same with most slang. You can use it with your peers/friends.

I am giving you props for that story you wrote. It’s great!
This means you are impressed with their work and you are giving them recognition.

This town is the armit of South Carolina.
It means that it is an undesireable place.

bent out of shape
Don’t get so bent out of shape. I was just joking.
It means that someone got really upset about something.

He is bonkers. He just jumped off of that tree.
It means crazy.

come up for air
He has been working so hard that he really should come up for air.
It means take a break.

That was a great flick, I watched last night.
It means movie.

get it
I told her 2 times, but she still didn’t get it.
It means to understand.


Do any of you have any problem areas in English that you’d like me to write about? Or are there any words that you find difficult to say?

I just wanted to let you all know that you can make requests about what I post about and I’ll be happy to write or record them for you! I’m your own personal English teacher!

So, let me know if you have any English questions at all!

I’m Hungry! Ways to say this in English

Here are my favorite ways to say “I’m hungry!” in English.

I’m famished

I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.

I’ve got the munchies!

I’m starved.

I’m craving XXX. (When you are hungry for something specific.)

I’ve got a hankering for XXX. (What you are hungry for something specific.)

Leave a comment and let me know what your favorite way to say you’re hungry is or let me know what your favorite food is.

To, too, & two

This post is about 3 different words that are sometimes confused:

To has many roles, like as a preposition or used as part of the infinitive phrase of a verb.
I walked to the store.
He went to the library, so that he could read.
I hope that he helps to clean up this mess.
Sally wanted me to cook her a big cake for her birthday.

Too is an adverb that means also or in excess.
She likes to eat ice cream too.
He was too tired to watch the TV show.

Two is the number 2.
I ate two pieces of cake.