Joe's Cafe

Joe's Cafe


Personal blog of EnglishClub founder Josef Essberger - see Menu

Would you choose the Future or Past?

Somebody locks you in a time-machine and you have to go forward (the future) or backward (the past). You will never come back to “now”.

You can go any length of time, one day, a thousand years, a million years… Which would you choose? Future or past?

And why?

Please leave your comments below :)

time-machine (noun): an imaginary machine that lets people travel in time and go to the future (for example tomorrow or next year) or past (for example yesterday or last year)

Would you like to be famous?

Would you like to be famous? And what would you like to be famous for?

If achieving fame meant that you would lose all your friends, would you still want to be famous?

Please leave your comments below :)

famous (adjective): known by many people
achieve (verb): successfully get or reach
fame (noun): the state of being known by many people

House or home?

These two words may seem alike but actually they have rather different meanings.

A house is a building that people live in. It stands on its own land (unlike, say, an apartment or flat) and often has a garden. It may be detached (not joined to another house), semi-detached (joined to one other house), or terraced (in a row, like townhouses all joined together).

  • We are selling our house and want to buy a bigger one.
  • That house used to be brown, but last week the owners painted it white.

A home is the place where you live, especially as part of a family. It could be a house, or it could be a condominium or apartment or flat, or anywhere else.

  • I have to go home. I’ve just remembered that I left my apartment door open.
  • After the hurricane they had to move into a temporary caravan. But already they’ve made it into a real home for the children.

Just think of house as a physical thing, and home is more like an idea.


NB: there is a tendency by real estate agents in the USA to use “home” instead of “house”. So they advertise “Home for Sale” instead of “House for Sale” etc. This is perhaps due to the emotive nature of the word “home”, which may better serve the purposes of commercialism. But we have seen what happens when words lose their meanings.


What Are Your New Year Resolutions for 2015?

resolve (verb): decide firmly to do or not to do something (for example: He resolved to discuss the matter with his boss.)
resolution (noun): a firm decision to do or not to do something (for example: He never regretted his resolution to stop drinking.)

I resolve

2015 is upon us. Pray tell us. What have you “resolved” to do in 2015? Or not to do? ^^

And don’t forget to tell us what happened to Last Year’s resolutions :))


What to call the United Kingdom if Scotland goes independent?

On Thursday 18th September 2014, the people of Scotland will hold a referendum on whether Scotland should be an independent country. Currently, and for more than 300 years, Scotland has formed part of the UK, whose full name is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Great Britain comprises England, Scotland and Wales. The rest of this united kingdom (which is really a queendom at present with Queen Elizabeth II as head of state) is comprised of Northern Ireland. If Scotland goes independent, what shall we call what’s left of the UK? United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland? Disunited Kingdom? Divided Kingdom? Take a look at the map hereunder (and also this explanation of the current UK nomenclature), and please leave your suggestions in the comments below.

map of United Kingdom

Wordchecker
referendum (noun): a general vote by the population on a single political question
independent (adjective): free from control by another country; sovereign
kingdom (noun): a country ruled by a king (or queen)
hereunder (adverb): below; under this
nomenclature (noun): the system of names in a particular field


Do you have any New Year Resolutions for 2014?

For 2013 there were nearly 500 answers to a similar question. Have you kept those resolutions, and what do you plan to do this coming year? Read on »


What’s this guy got to do with English?

This guy is “Guy Fawkes”, and English was his mother tongue. His death is gruesomely celebrated in England every 5th November when ordinary people mindlessly burn effigies of him on bonfires. Read on »


Organic or Conventional? WT*?

I was intrigued to read about research into what fruit flies think of organic food. Apparently they like it:

“By nearly every measure, including fertility, stress resistance and longevity, flies that fed on organic bananas and potatoes fared better than those who dined on conventionally raised produce.”

Read on »


How many “slugs” do you see here?

slugs

How many uses of the word “slug” do you see above? Can you write one sentence for each in the comment box below?

illustration courtesy Andy Singer


What are your New Year’s Resolutions for 2013?

When we “resolve” to do something, we decide firmly to do it. It’s like a promise to ourselves. The verb is “resolve” and the noun is “resolution”. Typically, at the start of each year, people make New Year’s Resolutions such as: Read on »