In my class the other day, we were talking about "things of the past". Do you remember MP3 players? Huge mobile phones? Minitel? (That one's only for my French students:-) Well, they are all things of the past.
Here's another one:
Let's do a little bit of grammar. Do you notice it says "I'd pick it up without knowing who was calling"? The 'd there is would. We can use would in this way to talk about repeated actions in the past that we don't do now.
My Mum would always send me and my brothers and sister outside to play.
I would play the piano for hours.
See that we often use would with always.
You probably already know used to. We can use it in the same way as would but used to can also be used to talk about past states as well as actions.
My Mum used to send me and my brothers and sister outside to play.
I used to be really shy (NOT I would be really shy.)
I used to live in London (NOT I would live in London.)
Now over to you: What did you used to do when you were young? What would you always do when you were a child?
I love this song, Rihanna has such a powerful voice singing it.
Here's some useful vocabulary before you listen to the song:
Love on the brain: when there is something that we can't stop thinking about, we say I have **** on the brain.
fall apart: literally this mean to break into lots of pieces. We can also use it to talk about your mind, if you are having lots of emotional problems and you can't think well or do anything.
put me together: when something falls apart, you can fix it by putting it back together
Don't quit loving me: this is exactly the same meaning as the previous line, don't stop loving me.
fist fighting: fighting with your bare hands (a fist is when you clench your hand ready to hit something.)
beats me black and blue: hits me until I have a lot of bruises (in this song it's not literal, she is talking about being emotionally beaten)
I can't get enough: I always need more
it keeps cursing my name: keep + Ving is very useful. It means something keeps happening again and again. For example, I keep losing my keys.
Cursing my name means that love is not working well for Rihanna, it's only going wrong, like there is a malediction on her.
I'm tired of being played like a violin: I've had enough of being fooled (in love)
Here are the lyrics for you to sing along to. Enjoy!
Ever wondered why English-speakers sound like they're eating their words? Because they are! I've talked about sentence stress before, but what happens to all the words in between the stressed words? In natural spoken English, these unstressed words are shortened and fixed together. We are literally eating the words.
Here's a very useful table showing what happens to some very common words when you speak. Next time you hear someone speaking English, listen carefully and see if you can recognise any of them. And don't forget to try it out yourself!
My blog has changed! If you're looking for my English-practice exercises, they're all still here, just look in the archives.
Catherine: blogging about learning, language, culture, France and more...