Posts Tagged ‘Learning English’
Camden, Maine, and its environs offer one of the most popular destinations in the USA for summer sailing, as well as for hiking, kayaking, biking, and other outdoor sports.
During Acadia Center’s summer and fall English immersion courses – offered from May through October - twice-weekly excursions led by experienced teachers give students a chance to practice their English conversation in small groups while exploring Maine’s beautiful bays and mountains.
We are excited to announce that our intensive English immersion courses in Camden, Maine, will start up again on May 6, 2013. Take advantage of the 5% early registration discount by registering before January 15.
English immersion courses are offered from May through October. From November through April, sign up for online English lessons in conversation and/or writing.
We look forward to a great new season in 2013!
In a recent New York Times interview, iconic American writer and radio host Garrison Keillor was asked: Have you ever felt carried away by a particular place in America? The phrasal verb carried away, used in the passive with the verbs be, feel, or get, means delighted and enraptured, and can also imply getting a little over-excited and out-of-control. For Keillor, the most intoxicating places in the USA include the Grand Canyon, the back roads of rural Tennessee, the High Plains of North Dakota, and the coastline of Maine.
Carried away, in its possible sense of emotion getting the better of reason, can also carry a more negative meaning, as in this quote from the Catholic writer and mystic Thomas Merton.
The idiom swept away has a similar meaning to carried away, with perhaps a dash more vigor. It appears in one of the best (and longest) movie titles ever, Swept Away by an Unusual Destiny in the Blue Sea of August – the English translation of the Italian title of Lina Wertmuller’s 1974 film and shortened to just Swept Away in the 2002 remake starring Madonna.
Between you and me? Between you and I? Between me and you? Even native speakers of English confess to feeling perplexed when it comes to choosing the correct pronouns.
In his entertaining podcast Lexicon Valley on the online news website Slate, Mike Vuolo presents a satisfyingly thorough and often funny discussion of the confusion provoked by this expression.
Although most accept between you and me as the correct standard usage (following the rule of using the object pronoun, not the subject pronoun, after a preposition), champions of the form between you and I make the argument that if it was good enough for Shakespeare (in Merchant of Venice), it’s good enough for them.
Here is some vocabulary from the podcast that might, without explanation, stump (be too difficult for) even advanced students of English:
hypercorrection – a mistake in grammar caused by a false analogy with another rule that is commonly ignored
smartass – someone who is obnoxiously self-assertive and impudent
high dudgeon – intense indignation
up for grabs – available to the first person who wants it or tries to get it
roll my eyes – express exasperation
persnickity – placing too much emphasis on trivial or minor details; fussy
cottage industry – a small, loosely organized flurry of activity or industry
from your lips to God’s ears - when used sarcastically, a pessimistic way of dismissing another’s naive hope
A great way to practice English is to read the comics – they’re short and funny, they feature everyday English vocabulary that you can really put to use, and like movies they give you plenty of visual clues to what’s going on.
A classic American comic strip is Gary Trudeau’s Doonesbury. in circulation since 1970 and featuring such legendary charactes as Duke, whose exploits on the sketchiest fringes of the diplomatic world make for witty political satire; BD, the football star and army vet who never removes his helmet; and Alex, the daughter of the strip’s title character, “a true child of the media and searcher for the Killer App.”
Check it out, and if you have any questions about the vocabulary in the strip, let us know and we’ll help you out!
Either as a relative pronoun or question word, whom is rarely used in conversation. Formal writing, yes, but ordinary conversation, no.
With whom did you go to the movies? is correct but sounds like a police interrogation.
Who did you go to the movies with? is technically incorrect but is the way we usually say it.
Is it better to be correct and absurdly formal, or incorrect and more accurate in mimicking native speakers, including the most educated? In ordinary conversation, generally speaking, the answer is you’re right to be wrong – use who.
Still, it’s a good idea to know which is correct in a given context. The quick test in choosing between who and whom is to substitute he or him. If he sounds better, who is correct; if him sounds right, whom is correct. That’s because as a pronoun whom is used to represent the object of either a verb or a preposition, while who represents the subject of a verb.
He is the consultant whom we contacted for advice. (We contacted him.)
To whom was the letter addressed? (The letter was addressed to him.)
He is the consultant who can answer your question. (He can answer your question.)
In the two examples above, the formality can be toned down by omitting the pronoun in the first, and using the more casual who in the second:
He is the consultant we contacted for advice.
Who was the letter addressed to?
The he/him test works well unless you’re confronted with a choice between whoever and whomever as in this sentence:
You can just talk with whoever/whomever answers the phone.
Even native English speakers get confused by this, because our instinct tells us that whom, not who, should follow the preposition with. However, there is another rule in English which dictates that every verb in a tense needs a subject. Here, whoever is the correct choice, since the verb answers needs a subject.
Might there be another situation when, besides addressing the Queen at a tea party, it makes sense to use whom as an object pronoun? If you see someone walking a dog, and the dog is so big and strong that it’s all its owner can do to keep up with it, you can ask, without risk of sounding ridiculously formal: Who is walking whom?