You have lots of things in your living room, I’m sure. Do you know their names in English ?
In Europe, you measure height in metres and centimetres.
In the UK and the US, we use the imperial system, and that includes feet and inches. The ‘foot’ was based on 1/3 of the length of King Henry I’s arm. 1 inch is about 2.4 cm. There are 12 inches in 1 foot. I measure 1.74 m, but in the UK people say that I measure 5 feet, 8 and a quarter inches !
Now, the tallest person in the world was Robert Wadlow who lived in the US from February 22, 1918 to July 15, 1940. Unfortunately, he died very young and at his death he measured 8 feet 11 inches, thats 2.72m.
Can you imagine that ? Just look at this film of the gentle giant with his father !
Steven Spielberg had an original idea. He decided to make an action film about classical composers. He contacted 3 action heroes to play the different parts.
He said to Bruce Willis: “Hey Bruce! Which composer do you want to play?”
Bruce said: “I love Mozart. Can I play Mozart?”
“Yeah! Sure!” said Spielberg. “And you, Stallone. Who do you want to play?”
Stallone said: “I love Beethoven. I would love to play Beethoven in this film. Is that OK?”
“That’s fine.” said Spielberg. “And you, Arnold. Who would you like to be in the film?”
Schwarzenegger thought for a few moments, and then he said :
“I’ll be Bach!”
In the 1980s, a TV show called Fawlty Towers became very popular in the UK and is considered a classic nowadays.
It is set in a hotel in England, with an ‘unorthodox’, slightly racist manager (played by John Cleese), and a staff of funny personnel including a Spanish waiter (played by British actor Andrew Sachs). Manuel is learning English and this leads to confusion and hilarious situations. This is a short extract from one of the most famous episodes.
I hope you enjoy it.
English people use phrasal verbs very regularly and it’s sometimes difficult to understand because they are not literal. For example, look for – look after – look up are all very different verbs. You will find phrasal verbs with “look” on a different post. Here are some common ones with the verb “come”.
A husband and wife were driving through Louisiana. As they approached the town of Natchitoches, they started arguing about the correct pronunciation. They argued and argued, then they stopped for lunch. At the counter, the husband asked the waitress, “Before we order, could you please settle an argument for us? Would you please pronounce where we are very slowly?” She leaned over the counter and said, “Burrr-gerrr Kiiing.”
We have many idiomatic expressions using colours. Here are some common ones.
- He’s a very good gardener. He really has green thumbs !
- Manual workers who work in a factory are sometimes called blue collar workers.
- If you spend more money than you have on your bank account, you will be in the red.
- If you receive a surpise call from a long lost contact, you can say that they called you out of the blue.
- When you get the agreement to do something, you can say that you have the green
- He is new to the job and doesn’t have a lot of experience. He is a bit green.
- When it’s difficult to say where responsibility lies, or if the answer is not clear because there are 2 opposing views, we can say that it’s a bit of a grey
- You don’t look well ! You look as white as a ghost.
- He said to Tom that he would tell his wife everything if Tome didn’t pay him 10 000€. It was a typical case of blackmail.
- We’re going to celebrate your promotion and go out for a drink. We’re going to paint the town red !
I found this interesting article about the expression “Bless you!” on an American site. The link to the full article is just after the text, in case you want to learn more …
Many people have become accustomed to saying “bless you” or “gesundheit” when someone sneezes. No-one says anything when someone coughs, blows their nose or burps, so why do sneezes get special treatment? What do those phrases actually mean, anyway?
Wishing someone well after they sneeze probably originated thousands of years ago. The Romans would say “Jupiter preserve you” or “Salve,” which meant “good health to you,” and the Greeks would wish each other “long life.” The phrase “God bless you” is attributed to Pope Gregory the Great, who uttered it in the sixth century during a bubonic plague epidemic (sneezing is an obvious symptom of one form of the plague).
The exchangeable term “gesundheit” comes from Germany, and it literally means “health.” The idea is that a sneeze typically precedes illness. It entered the English language in the early part of the 20th century, brought to the United States by German-speaking immigrants.
The BBC is famous for its comedy shows, and here is one of its famous sketches.