Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Just because... it doesn't mean...

Just because... it doesn't mean..." is an expression  we use to look beyond the obvious and expected. It shows us that there are other alternatives, possibilities, options or outcomes.

7. Getting divorced just because you don't love a man is almost as silly as getting married just because you do. - Zsa Zsa Gabor

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

A "nice touch"

A nice touch is a small detail that improves the appearance/ atmosphere/ quality/ comfort/ design/ idea, etc. of something.  

1. Do you pay attention to small details at home? Do you decorate your home with nice little things or putflowers on the table? Having some plants, especially in your living room... or at the entrance, is a nice touch.

2. If you've ever been to a wedding celebration, you will have noticed small finishing touches everywhere... from flowers, linen and silverware to placeholders. I think a nice touch is giving the guests some type of keepsake to remember the special day. 

3. Can you remember a nice restaurant or hotel that you stayed in where they paid attention to detail? Was there anything particular or exceptional about the room service or service in general that you could say was a nice touch? Some hotels fold their towels into the shapes of animals and put them on your bed. Some people think that's a nice touch. Personally, I think it's weird.

4. On some flights, after you have finished eating, the air hostess hands out some hot, scented napkins/ towels for you to clean your hands. More recently, flights in Brazil have dispensed with those nice little touches… now, if you are hungry, you can buy ruffles and the sort of snacks that you can find in a vending machine in-flight. I think it's something to do with cutting costs.

5. Putting a cherry on top of a cake is generally a nice touch. If you want to ask someone very nicely to do you a favor, you can say, "Pretty please with a cherry on top!" 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Over + verb

When we use "over" + a verb/ noun/ participle, the resulting adjective or verb describes a situation of being "too much" or "excessive". Likewise when we use "under" + any part of speech, we are talking about, "not enough", "insufficient" or "too little".

1. If someone is “overworked and underpaid”, they earn peanuts (very little money) for the amount of work they do. Do you feel that way about your job?

2. There are many obvious consequences to oversleeping… Such as: being late for work, missing an appointment or arriving late to English class.

3. Some people (including myself) like to complicate things and overthink them. Sometimes the solution is a lot simpler than we think... or life is not as complicated as we make it out to be.

4. Do you feel that you are underappreciated at work or in your family? Do people take you for granted?

5. Do you think the World Cup soccer tickets were overpriced… or do you think there was a price to pay to attend football's greatest spectacle? What services do you think people overcharge for?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

A new blog you might enjoy...

Hi guys,

I rarely post anything other than my English teaching material. This is one of those rare moments ;-)

For those of you who are in any way interested in the world of productivity or in organizational apps such as Evernote and Workflowy... or even if you just like Star Wars and other such geeky things, you may find my new blog interesting as well as entertaining. I launched it last week.

Productivity Mashup

The first 2 posts are about a list-making/ outlining app called WorkFlowy. I talk about how I've been using WorkFlowy during the World Cup Soccer this last month: 

  • Completing a soccer album with no less than 649 stickers
  • Keeping track of soccer scores in my own home-made digital list 
If you've been following Natively Speaking Comics for some time... heck, you may even be curious as to the face behind this blog... you'll learn a little more about me there. It's all in English, of course... and you'll notice that my writing style is a tad bit different! No "dumbing down" (simplifying) my English... so it will surely be a challenge to many of you. Who said English was easy!?

So... head on over there if you're curious (and sign up for email updates!):

I will continue with posts right here next week. The World Cup comes to an end today!! Good luck to both Argentina and Germany. May the best team win!



Tuesday, July 1, 2014

On the other hand...

"On the other hand" is a popular expression which we use when comparing and contrasting situations. We may be comparing two sides of a story, two extremes or two possibilities.

1. When Fortaleza (One of the host cities for the World Cup in the Northeast of Brazil) hosts a soccer game, you can almost be guaranteed that there will be no rain (which is a good thing)… But on the other hand, it is so hot that players need a time-out to refresh themselves because of the heat and humidity. 

2. Life in the tropics is fantastic, because it is quite literally an endless summer. On the other hand, we have to find ways to keep cool.

3. When a Third World country hosts the FIFA World Cup (or Olympics), it is a mixed bag of blessings. On one hand, there is the benefit of an influx of tourism which lasts until long after the World Cup ends, as well as a renewed interest in Brazil in general… On the other hand, the country oversteps its budget in preparing the infrastructure and building stadiums. There is also a demand for - and therefore an increase in - prostitution.

4. It is incredibly frustrating when referees make obvious bad calls during a game. For example, not awarding a goal when it really is one… Or calling a penalty when there shouldn't be one. Also, there are unpleasant stories in the news. For instance, African teams not receiving their money from their confederations... On the other hand, what would the World Cup be without a little controversy? Don't you think we need these types of things to happen so that we have something to talk about… Something newsworthy?

5. Brazil's top goal scorer and star player, Neymar, did not score any goals against Chile during their recent match, apart from a penalty (because there were always 2 to 3 Chilean players on top of him). He was not able to shine as he usually does… On the other hand, we know that he worked really hard because he ran about 13.5 km during the game, where normally most players would run about 10 km. Maybe that was also because of overtime.

6. I live one block from the FIFA Fan Fest in Fortaleza. They have a super big mega screen to watch matches, tons of foreigners supporting their teams and plenty of other events planned during the World Cup. It sure is a lot of fun! On the other hand, the activity and "noise" is constant. It starts at about 9 AM and continues until past midnight... every day. That makes it difficult to sleep well.