Archive for August, 2009
Today is the last day of our Book Giveaway contest. If you still want to enter the chance to win a free copy of Culips’ new book, English Q & A (in English and Japanese), look at the blog post below and make a comment.
As I was looking back at the previous post and others I noticed that I almost always use the exclamation mark (or exclamation point) in the title of my blog post. The reason I always do this is because I want to express my excitement and interest in what I am posting.
It also made me think about this interesting article I recently read. This article was all about the exclamation mark and how it had become popular again. In the very recent past, it was not common at all to use this punctuation. It was used only in novels and stories or by over-excited teenagers in notes to friends. But as email became more and more popular so did using exclamation marks.
(Here is where I found the article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/apr/29/exclamation-mark-punctuation)
The article is not an easy read for those of you who are just learning English. Here is a short list of some of the more interesting points I found.
- In the past many famous writers spoke against the use of exclamation marks. F. Scott Fitzgerald said, “An exclamation mark is like laughing at your own jokes.”
- The book Send: The Essential guide to Email for Office and Home states that “Thanks!!” is much friendlier than “Thanks” and using an exclamation mark for “I’ll see you at the conference!” shows that you are excited, but without an exclamation mark it is just stating a fact.
- Emails can be boring so using exclamation marks can help make the email more exciting.
- In the past, many typewriters did not have a key for the exclamation mark.
- Females use exclamation marks more often than men.
- Exclamation marks were first seen in 1400 and possibly come from the Latin lo, which means joy.
- Some people like the increase in the use of exclamation marks (like me) and other people do not!
One more point of advice is that if you decide to use exclamation marks, don’t use too many in one email. It is unnecessary and may be mistaken for sarcasm or insincerity.
Sometimes we embarrass ourselves by saying something stupid. You can say, I embarrassed myself by saying something stupid or you can say I put my foot in my mouth. In this episode we look at that expression and also to make a fool of myself. Both of these expressions are used for embarrassing behaviour. Listen to this episode to hear our examples of situations most people consider embarrassing.
Harp: Yeah, I like this one as well. So, this is to put your foot in your mouth.
Maura: Right. So the meaning of this expression is to embarrass yourself by something you that you say.
Harp: And this can also make others uncomfortable or embarrassed too.
Maura: Right! So you say something stupid or strange and it creates an uncomfortable situation.
Harp: Yeah. If you imagine trying to actually put your foot in your mouth, it would be embarrassing, and make you look stupid.
Maura: Yeah, I think for most people it would be a very difficult thing to do, to put your foot in your mouth.
Maura: So, the result is really the same. In both cases, whether you say something stupid or you try to put your foot in your mouth, you are embarrassed and you look stupid.
Podcast/ Lipservice: Culips ESL Podcast, Photo: Jo Jakeman
Our site is to help you learn English and improve your listening comprehension at your convenience. Learn to speak English like a native speaker by listening to natural conversation. Play or download free audio files on our site or iTunes.
Have you ever been in trouble? If you have been in trouble, then you have probably wanted to be out of trouble too! In this episode we look at expressions that mean out of trouble, like off the hook and in the clear. Listen and find out how we use them!
Maura: A friend of mine was actually arrested by the police recently, Harp.
Maura: Yeah, for robbing a bank.
Harp: Wow, I didn’t know that you hung around those sorts of people.
Maura: Well, actually I don’t. My friend didn’t do it. So after a couple hours the police saw that it wasn’t my friend that did it, so then my friend was off the hook.
Harp: OK, so, your friend was no longer blamed for robbing the bank.
Podcast/ Lipservice: Culips ESL Podcast, Illustration: Asami
Moheb is joining the Culips team and helping us create an online writing course (We will let you know as soon as we start taking students!), so we wanted to introduce him to you. We talk a bit about his interesting experiences in Egypt, the U.S. and Canada. Can anyone hear a difference between the Canadian and American accents?
Maura: Yeah, for sure. So how old were you when you came to the U.S.?
Moheb: I was just 6 years old.
Maura: Ok, so do you remember it at all?
Moheb: You know, being 6 years old, I knew how to speak Arabic…
Podcast/ Lipservice: Culips ESL Podcast, Photo: Culips
We have some exciting Culips news to tell all of you about!
- Why do you want to study English?
- How do you think Culips could be improved?
- What three topics would you most like us to discuss in future podcast episodes?
Just answer one of these questions and your name will automatically be entered into the contest. We’ll announce the winner at the beginning of September and contact you by email to get your mailing address. So get posting!