EFGU-English For Grown Ups

17 mai 2017

Construction of the present perfect - B1

dog_present_perfFor more on the Daily Mail: How humans bred some dogs to be unrecognizable from their ancestors

CONSTRUCTION OF THE PRESENT PERFECT

Positive form:

Subject + auxiliary have/has + past participle

The past participle is the -ed form of the verb.

Humans have changed man's best friend.

In the case of an irregular verb, pick it up in the 3rd column. Irregular verbs have their own forms.

The ambassador has eaten all the Ferrero Rocher chocolates.

  • Interrogative form:

As you remember, when you want to ask a question, you need an auxiliary. Make it simple, use have or has.

Have you seen Celine’s incredible show in Vegas?

  • Negative form:

Scooby-Doo and Shaggy have not arrived yet and we all wonder where they are.

*Next to come in English for grown ups, when to use the present perfect in three parts.

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When to use the present perfect, part 1 - B1

You can use the present perfect when a past action has an impact on the present situation.

dog cone

Look, the dog has broken his leg. 

The action took place in the past. We don’t care where or when. What matters is the impact on the dog’s present life: he has a plaster and a cone (of shame).

 

Oh shit, Michael has been to the hairdresser’s!

Again, what is important here, is that a past action (to go to the hairdresser’s) has an effect on the present: he looks very different.

Now, watch this short video and construct a nice sentence describing the final scene:

 

Our proposition: The astronaut has eaten too many beans. He has farted and will be killed.

 

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When to use the present perfect, part 2 - B1

Use the present perfect when you want to talk about your life experience. In this case, what is really important is what happened and not when or where it happened. If it was the case, we would have used the preterit. When questioning someone’s life experience, use EVER like in this song by the Standells "Have you ever spent the night in jail?"

 

Click on this link for the lyrics: the_Standells_Have_you_ever

A 13-year-old Irish boy asks a similar question in a powerful video he posted for Safer Internet Day (February 9th 2016). The teenage boy, who has previously been cyberbullied, made it “to help raise the awareness for other people about how to handle cyberbullying”.

 

 

cyber_bullying3

Click on this link for the script: cyber_bullying

And you, have you ever been cyberbullied? Have you ever spent the night in jail? Some answers could be : Yes, I have already been cyberbullied. No I have never spent the night in jail.

 

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When to use the present perfect, part 3 - B1

The present perfect can be used when something started in the past and is still happening now. I have lived in Paris for 10 years. This example means that you started living in Paris 10 years ago and still live in the French capital city. So it is very important to use the present perfect when you want to express an ongoing action that started in the past and that is still true now. If you had used the preterit, it would have meant that the action is over. I lived in Paris for 10 years means that you lived in Paris in the past, but that you now live somewhere else.

You can also find the progressive, or continuous form of the present perfect. Not many differences with the simple one and quite common when you want to talk about unfinished situations, or stress the fact that the activity is continuing now.

Subject + have/has + been + Vbing

For example: I have been waiting for two hours. We have been living together for too long.

 

Or less common:

Alf-post-letters

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12 mai 2017

“I am not your negro” - B1

Everybody has heard about Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. and about their fight for Civil Rights in America. But have you ever heard about James Baldwin? James Arthur Baldwin (1924–1987) was an African-American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet and a social critic. Baldwin was also known to be an activist and he dedicated a large part of his life to put up a struggle for black people Civil Rights. Inspired by Baldwin's words and works, Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck directed in 2016 a masterpiece movie about the black condition in America. I am not your negro”, is a journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter. To understand Baldwin's punchy and smart fight for rights, have a look at the following trailer of Raoul Peck's multiple award-winning documentary.

notyournegro

If you enjoyed the trailer and want more, “I am not your negro” is now in theaters and also available in streaming or on legal downloading platforms.

Useful definitions:

Civil Rights: The rights that every person should have regardless of their sex, race, or religion.

Civil Rights Movement: Also known as the American Civil Rights Movement, is a term that includes the social movements in the United States whose goals were to end racial segregation and discrimination against African-Americans.

playwright: A person who writes plays.

to put up a struggle: To protest about something over time.

masterpiece: A supreme intellectual or artistic achievement.

Black Lives Matter or BLM: Is an international activist movement, originating in the African-American community, that campaigns against violence and systemic racism toward black people.

 

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05 mai 2017

Cats and their verbs - B1

Why do cats act so weird?

People love cats because they are cute, and also because they can be cuddly, crazy, curious, wild and in the meantime peaceful.

In the following animated TED-Ed lesson, Tony Buffington shows how cats’ behaviors such as exploring, pouncing on different things and squeezing into tight spaces are all instinctual. In other words, they are not that weird, that bizarre.

To us, the great interest of this video lies in the large number of action verbs that are used. Here is bellow a non-exhaustive list of some them with their explanation.

 

cats_weird

to pounce: to move suddenly forwards to catch or attack

to bounce: to jump up and down

to cram / to squeeze into: to force sth or sb into a small space

to stalk: to move slowly and quietly towards sb or sth, in order to catch or kill

to claw: to scratch with claws (nails if human)

to chatter: to make a series of short high sounds. To know more about this special phenomenon, have a look at Leo who talks to birds by making cute chattering noises. See how it is different from purring, which is a more low and continuous sound coming from the throat.

 

to sharpen: to make things sharper, like the blade of a knife or teeth

to baffle: to confuse sb completely

vantage point (from advantage point): a position that allows a clear view or understanding

to be compelled: to be forced to do sth

to rip things to shred: to cut things into small pieces

to thrive: /ai/to flourish

nap: a short sleep

to heal: to become healthy again

stealthy: when you do things secretly or quietly

to outsmart: to gain an advantage over sb by doing sth clever

 

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26 avril 2017

Police stories around the world – Kampala (Uganda) - B1

On the 9th of December 2016, the latest police parade in Kampala (Uganda) was a bit weirder than usual.

To protest against sexual violence, to educate their community and raise money for rape crisis centres, women’s shelters and other sexual prevention and recovery services, some police officers decided to walk a mile in women’s high heel shoes.

This march aimed at shedding the light on the significantly increasing number of rapes, sexual assaults and domestic violence.This kind of demonstration called “Walk a mile in her shoes” was initiated in 2001 by Venture Humanity Inc. (a U.S. based non-profit organisation) to stop violence against women and is now sponsored by U.N. Women – the United Nations organisation dedicated to gender equality.

Congratulations to all the participants in the march, and let’s hope they won’t give up their fight in the 115th country out of 152 in term of gender equality.

Vocabulary:

weird: bizarre

shelter: a place where someone is protected

rape: the crime of forcing someone to have sex especially by using violence

domestic violence: violence between members of a family including children

sexual assault: the crime of sexually attacking someone

des-policiers-manifestent-en-talons-pour-les-droits-des-femmes-en-ouganda-1019826_w650policewamileinashoes

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10 avril 2017

The Law is weird, but it is the law – B2

If you know someone who is about to travel abroad, the best advice you can give them is that they should consider the existing laws in the country they want to go to. Laws are written to rule a society and directly depend on its peculiarities and culture. That is why, they are often difficult to understand or anticipate in a foreign country.The following video of the Sam O’nella Academy is a good illustration of that.

Capture

Click here for the script

If you are interested in the topic, you can also have a look at this article from the Daily Mail.

The top 10 weirdest rules from around the word

No sleeping donkeys in the bath after 7pm in Oklahoma Illegal to be overweight in Japan, the country who brought us sumo Turn that frown upside down if you're in Milan, Italy When travelling around the world, it's not always a bad idea to do your research on local laws and traditions.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk

And remember: wherever you go around the world, the law is harsh, but it is the law.

Vocabulary:

abroad: In or to a foreign country or countries

peculiarity: A strange or unusual feature or habit

harsh: Cruel or severe

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05 avril 2017

Pregnancy - B1

In this brutally honest FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) poster about pregnancy, discover some of the most sarcastic answers given by an OB (obstetrician).

useful vocabulary:

moody: bad tempered, grumpy

reliable: s.o or sth that can be trusted

alimony: (especially American) The money that a court orders sb to pay to their former husband or wife once they are divorced.

diaper: American word for the British nappy. The material you stick on the baby's bottom to absorb their pee and poop.

pregnancy

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04 avril 2017

Canine Pawsecution Service - B1

In 2013, after an arrest in which he participated, PC Peach was asked by the British CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) to write a report about it. The thing is that PC Peach is neither a fruit nor a policeman, he is a police dog from a K9 (canine /'keinain/) unit. When CPS persisted with their demand to get a statement, officers from the West Midlands Police, fed up with not being listened to, decided to send them the following document they so badly wanted.

canine

 

PC Peach, pictured with his handler:

Peach

 

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31 mars 2017

Z pronounciation - A2

You probably noticed that the Brits pronounce the letter Z as /zed/, but how is it that the Americans say /zi:/ (= zee) instead?

Simon Whistler of Today I Found Out will give you the answer in the following very interesting video.

z

 

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27 mars 2017

Women and self-defense - B1

In the world we live in today, rape and sexual assaults are some of the most common forms of crime against women. Sometimes inappropriately referred as the « weaker sex », women used to be considered easy targets. But not anymore!

ABC

In this ABC News video below, check how self-defense tactics has helped this 36 year-old woman to defend herself and ensure her own safety.

 

Vocabulary:

To fend off: To defend yourself against someone who is attacking you

Weak: not physically strong

Chills: a feeling of sudden fear; apprehension

Battered: beaten with successive hits

Frantic: feeling a lot of fear and worry

Expletive: a syllable, word, or phrase inserted to fill a vacancy

Stall: a small enclosed place (in this case a public restroom)

Jammed: blocked

Surge: a sudden, large increase (in this case, of adrenaline)

Overwhelming: very great in number, effect, or force

Harassment: to annoy or bother (someone) in a constant or repeated way

Stitched: wound or large cut closed or joined with a special piece of thread (string)

Bruise: colored area of the skin that is caused by an injury

 

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16 mars 2017

Saint Patrick's Day Origins - B1

To celebrate Saint Patrick's Day on the 17th of March and add some culture in your beer, have a look at the following video about the origins of this celebration day. If you are not too thirsty after that, you can also test your knowledge of this very Irish topic and, who knows, win some pints of black Irish stout by betting with your friends at the pub.

HT_St_Patricks_Day_gfx_bc_150317_16x9_992

 TEST:

1/Saint Patrick was born in Ireland: true/false

2/The first Saint Patrick's Day parade took place in Dublin: true /false

3/The original colour associated with Saint Patrick is green: true /false

4/Saint Patrick’s Day is the Ireland’s national day: true/false

Answers

Vocabulary:

Patron saint: holy person who is supposed to give a special protection to something in particular.

To be thirsty: to feel that you need to drink.

Stout: (in this context) a strong dark beer.

To bet: to risk something on the results of a competition.

Shamrock (Irish) or clover (GB): a small plant with three green leaves.

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13 février 2017

COPS AND DOUGHNUTS STEREOTYPE - B1

Roses are red, violets are blue, cops eat doughnuts (donuts in American English).

In a very interesting and instructive episode, Today I Found Out comes back on the probable reason why the idea of American police officers (the boys in blue) eating doughnuts is such a widespread stereotype.

In the mid 20th century, establishments selling food were all closed at night. That’s why there were only two options left for those working night shift : diners and doughnut shops.

A diner is a small restaurant that serves cheap meals.

doughnuts1

 

simpson_cop

 

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02 février 2017

Something in the “hair” - B1

In 1964, a certain David Jones, who will later be known as David Bowie, was the leader of the band The Manish Boys. To gain visibility and publicity, they created the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired Men. And it worked, as they appeared for the first time on the BBC in a show called “Tonight”. A good opportunity for us to learn or practice some good English like the following:

They are tired of losing their jobs

Can I carry your handbag?

To have long hair

Some like it long, others like it short

Please also note the beautiful quality of the interviewer’s questions and the use of question tags.

 

Bowie

 

 

 

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01 février 2017

Vote with your butt - B1

In the United Kingdom, as anywhere in the world, many associations fight against littering. One of them decided to use humour to incite people to change their bad habits. Among many other fun ideas, the environmental foundation “Hubbub” has developed a clever concept to pick up and gather cigarette butts. As you can see in the following video, this innovative kind of street ashtray named “ballot bin” invites passers-by to answer a poll by throwing their cigarette butt in the hole corresponding to their opinion. And it works.

1

Moreover, “ballot bins” are just part of a bigger ecological campaign held by “Hubbub” and called Neat Streets. If you want to learn more about Hubbub’s funny programs and initiatives, check their catalogue or their website. There, you will discover the “talking rubbish”, the “naked bin men”, or the “peppermint pointillist”. Enjoy!

Vocabulary:

cigarette butt: the part of a cigarette that is left after smoking

ballot: a system of voting

bin: a container for waste

litter: small pieces of rubbish that have been left lying on the ground in public places

littering (offence): antisocial behaviour consisting in volontary throwing down or dropping rubbish on the ground in a public place

rubbish: waste material or things that are no longer wanted or needed

ballotbin

 

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24 janvier 2017

The Netherlands welcomes Trump in his own words - A2 / B1

On January the 20th, the whole world was watching the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States.

In this hilarious video, the Dutch television decided to welcome President Trump in a manner he would understand, using his own words and lexical field. More than that, they also wanted to introduce, in a sarcastic way, their tiny country to the newly elected president of the “huge” United States of America.

NL

tiny: very, very small

huge: very, very big, enormous

to screw over: to fuck

big time: a lot (in this context)

to get along: to befriend

Founding Father: a person who participated in the writing of the US constitution. Here, the expression is used ironically

scumbags: (offensive, slang) unpleasant person, bastard

to date someone: to go out with someone

to grab: to catch

disabled: handicapped

to make fun of someone: to mock someone

to do an impersonation: to imitate

NATO: North Atlantic Treaty Organization

amnl

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13 janvier 2017

Surprising borders and geography - B2

These days, borders are a wide spread matter of concern. In the following video by Real Life Lore, you will discover the most surprising and peculiar situations concerning borders in Europe. You will also hear the word "Panhandle". It is a long and narrow piece of land joined to a larger area. A "panhandle" looks like the part of a cooking pan that you use to hold it.

2

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31 décembre 2016

Happy new year - Canty Hogmanay - B1

As you gear up to greet the New Year with a grand salute and joyful celebration, we want to shed a light on an outlandish Scottish custom for those celebrations. This traditional event which is called “Hogmanay” draws its origins in the 8th and 9th centuries, when Scotland was invaded by the Vikings. At that time, Norsemen paid a particular attention to the arrival of the winter solstice and celebrated its passing. Hogmanay begins on the 31st of December and it ends on the 2nd of January (1st and second of January are national holidays in Scotland). So, how to celebrate “Hogmanay” as a real Scot in four steps (no kilt required)?

First step: On the 31st of December, you have to clean your house, take out the ashes from the fire and clear all your debts before the bells sound midnight.

Second step: Immediately after midnight, sing the traditional Scottish song “Auld Lang Syne”

 

Third step: First footing” (or “first foot” in the house after midnight). To ensure good luck to your house, the first person who crosses its threshold should be a dark male who brings with him a piece of coal, salt, a shortbread, a black bun (a kind of pastry) or a wee dram of whisky. Probably because at the time of the Vikings invasions, a big blond man with an axe at your front door wasn’t a good presage to spend a happy year.

Fourth step: Enjoy the fireworks or do a torchlight procession in the streets of your city with your family and your friends.

Fifth step (optional): On the 2nd of January, take pills to fight your hangover.

Edinburghs-Hogmanay-Torchlight-Procession-Up-Helly-Aa-Vikings-credit-lloyd-Smith

procession

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017! CANTY HOGMANAY 2017!

Vocabulary:

outlandish: exotic

ash: the soft, grey powder that is left after something has burnt

axe: tool or weapon that has a heavy iron or steel blade at the end of a long wooden handle, used for cutting wood (or heads!)

debt: something, especially money, that is owed to someone else

threshold: the place or point of entering (in this case, a house)

wee dram of whisky: a shot of whisky

hangover: disagreeable physical effects following heavy consumption of alcohol

Edinburgh Castle and street party

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21 décembre 2016

Merry Christmas

This Christmas is a special occasion for us. It's been a year now that we've started this blog and we would like to thank you all for following us. We do hope to see you again next year for more fun. As we began this blog with a Christmas video, we would like to finish this year with a Christmas advert from Down Under.

merrychristmas

Down Under: term traditionally referring to people living in Australia or New Zealand

Aussie: Informal term for Australian people

weird: bizarre

reindeer: Horned animal pulling Santa's sleigh

aussies

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