Life gave you lemons and you made lemonade.

Chủ Nhật, 13 tháng 5, 2018

Life gave you lemons and you made lemonade.

Now, the VOA Learning English program Words and Their Stories.
There are several kinds of citrus fruit. The most common are limes, oranges, grapefruit, tangerines and lemons.

Out of all of them, it is the lemon that has found its way into a number of English language expressions.
While eating an orange or grapefruit can be pleasant, we don't usually eat plain lemons. Lemons are really sour. The acid in them makes it really hard to eat them raw. Lemons are so acidic they can actually take the protective enamel off your teeth.
So, biting into a lemon does not bring a smile to your face. In fact, when someone is unhappy she may have a puckered look on her face. In this case we can say she looks as if she just sucked on a lemon. We can also call this person a sourpuss. This is a person who always complains and always looks unhappy.
With its really sour taste, sucking on a lemon is unpleasant. So, telling someone to "Go suck a lemon!" is a way of showing your anger. It's not really nice and sounds childish. But there are worse things you could say!
While we don’t usually eat lemons raw, they can add taste and vitamin C to food and drinks. But in everyday speech, the word “lemon” usually represents something poor, bad or broken.
For example, if you hand someone a lemon, you have given them something that is broken or doesn’t work. This expression means that you have cheated them. A "lemon" can also mean an unsatisfactoryanswer.
In this April 10, 2017 photo, workers package lemons into boxes at a plant in Tucuman, Argentina.
As we said, a lemon can be something you bought that does not work. It is defective. Americans often use the word lemon to describe a newly-bought, but defective vehicle.
Let's say you go to an automotive dealership and buy what you think is a good car. On the streets around the dealership, it runs perfectly. But on the drive home, everything goes wrong. The gas pedal sticks. The engine starts smoking. Then it just stops running in the middle of the road!
You have bought a lemon.
As you watch the tow truck take away the car for repairs, you call the dealership and demand your money back. The salesman says with a laugh, "No way! All sales are final!"
Now, many people would get angry. Not only do you not have a car, but you have lost a lot of money. But you don't get upset. You find a way to make this situation work for you.
After all, you are a person who looks on the bright side. Your life's belief is: When life give you lemons, you make lemonade!
Here, the term "lemon" means a problem or difficulty in life. Lemonade is a cool refreshing drink. You could say it is the prize you get by overcoming difficulty with your good attitude.

So, we use this expression to describe a situation where something goes wrong but the person in the situation chooses to turn it into a positive experience. People who turn lemons into lemonade we call optimistic. They have a can-do attitude!
This is a common phrase and we use in many different situations. Sometimes we don't even need to say the whole thing. If you simply say, "When life gives you lemons ..." people will know what you mean.
So, back to our broken car story. You take the lemon of a car you bought at the dealership and you make lemonade.
First, you learn about your rights as a buyer under a measure known as the lemon law. In the United States, this requires an automobile manufacturer or dealer to replace, repair, or refund the cost of an automobile that proves to be defective after purchase.
Under the lemon law, you will get your money back. But don't stop there. Why make a glass of lemonade when you can make a whole pitcher!
You warn friends and neighbors about that car dealership. You write an article for the local newspaper about lemon laws. The newspaper receives many emails and letters from people who had similar experiences. Knowing their rights, they also demand their money back for the lemons that were sold to them. The newspaper is so happy with the amount of responses that it offers you a part-time job writing stories about consumer issues.
You've turned a bad experience into something good and you've helped others. Life gave you lemons and you made lemonade.

And that's the end of this week’s Words and Their Stories.
I'm Anna Matteo.
While we don’t usually eat lemons raw, they can add taste and vitamin C to food and drinks. But in everyday speech, the word “lemon” usually represents something poor, bad or broken.
For example, if you hand someone a lemon, you have given them something that is broken or doesn’t work. This expression means that you have cheated them. A "lemon" can also mean an unsatisfactoryanswer.
And that's the end of this week’s Words and Their Stories.

I'm Anna Matteo.

Have you ever had to make lemonade from the lemons life gave you? Or do you have a similar expression in your language? Let us know in the Comments Section.

“Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet. But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat. Lemon tree very pretty and the lemon flower is sweet. But the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.”

Anna Matteo wrote this story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor. Peter, Paul and Mary sing the song “Lemon Tree” at the end of the piece.


Words in This Story
citrus – n. a juicy fruit (such as an orange, grapefruit, or lemon) that has a thick skin and that comes from a tree or shrub that grows in warm areas — often used before another noun

sour – adj. having an acid taste that is like the taste of a lemon

acid – n. chemistry : a chemical with a sour taste that forms a salt when mixed with a base / acidic – adj. containing acid : having a very sour or sharp taste

pucker – v. to pull the sides of (something, such as skin or cloth) together so that folds or wrinkles are formed : puckered – adj.

defective – adj. having a problem or fault that prevents something from working correctly : having a defect or flaw

optimistic – adj. having or showing hope for the future : expecting good things to happen : hopeful

positive – adj. good or useful

can-do – adj. having or showing an ability to do difficult things

attitude – n. the way you think and feel about someone or something

refund – n. to give back money that someone paid for something (such as a product that was returned or a service that was not acceptable)

consumer – n. a person who buys goods and services

 Read more :  VOA Special English

Participial Phrase With Famous Songs

Chủ Nhật, 9 tháng 10, 2016

From VOA Learning English, this is Everyday Grammar.
“Don't Stop Believing” is one of the most popular karaoke songs in the world.
You have probably heard the rock group Journey perform the song even if you do not remember its name.
It begins like this:
Just a small-town girl
Livin' in a lonely world
She took the midnight train
Goin' anywhere

You can learn English grammar by singing along to the words. In fact, you can learn how to use two parts of speech: participles and participial phrases.
In today's program, we will explore a common grammatical construction: the participial phrase.
Relative clauses
In an earlier Everyday Grammar, we discussed relative clauses – groups of words that act like an adjective in a sentence.
Common relative pronouns -- such as who, whom, which, or that -- often begin the relative clause.
Here is an example: She is just a small-town girl who lives in a lonely world.
In this sentence, the relative clause begins with the word who. It is a clause because it has a subject and a predicate. Predicates express what is being said about the subject.
So, how does this discussion of relative clauses relate to participial phrases?
Participial phrases are like shortened relative clauses.
When reading or listening, English learners often have trouble understanding participial phrases. That is because, unlike relative clauses, such phrases do not have a pronoun – words like that, who,or which, for example.
Do not fear! In the way you might derive a problem in mathematics, you can also derive, or get, participial phrases from relative clauses.
However, unlike complex math, creating participial phrases can be fun.
What are participial phrases?*
A participial phrase is a group of words beginning with a participle – in the present tense, the base form of a verb plus an –ing ending.
These phrases often serve as an adjective in a sentence.
In general, you can change a relative clause to a participial phrase by removing the relative pronoun and the verb BE. Then add –ing to the end of the verb if it does not already have an –ing ending.
Think back to the words of our example:
She is just a small-town girl who lives in a lonely world.
If you take away the relative pronoun "who" and change the verb "live" to "living," you get this sentence:
She is just a small-town girl living in a lonely world.
This sentence is almost exactly like the words you heard in Journey's song, "Don't Stop Believing." The only difference is they removed the subject, she is, for artistic reasons.
So, what happens if the verb already has an –ing ending?
Here is an example that shows you this process is even simpler.
Consider the following examples:
The young students who are taking the final exam look afraid.
The young students taking the final exam look afraid.
These examples show you how to change a relative clause to a participial phrase. When there is a relative clause, you can remove the relative pronoun and the BE verb.
You can also see that when the verb already ends in –ing, you do not need to change it.
Place in a sentence:
You will often see participial phrases following a noun. Think back to some of the words from Journey's song:
A small town girl living in a lonely world
In the example, the participial phrase living in a lonely world ismodifying the important noun, girl. This phrase is describing the girl, so you know it is acting like an adjective.
Like other adjectives, participles can sometimes move to different places in a sentence. You will often see participial phrases following a noun, but sometimes they can come at the beginning of a sentence.
For example:
Walking at night, the hikers used headlamps.
The participial phrase "walking at night" is describing the subject, the hikers.
When you see participial phrases at the beginning or end of a sentence, they are modifying the subject of the sentence.
We will discuss this idea in future Everyday Grammar programs.
Practicing Participial phrases with karaoke
Verbs from any of the sentence patterns we discussed in earlier Everyday Grammar stories can work as participles. If you recognize and understand the common sentence patterns we discussed, then developing your own sentences with participial phrases should be easy.
We are going to leave you with some homework. Can you change these sentences with relative clauses to sentences with participial phrases? Write to us in the Comments Section of our website or on our Facebook page.
1.    Do you recognize those people who are singing in the karaoke room?
2.   The old man who sings karaoke has a nice voice.
I’m John Russell.
And I'm Jill Robbins.
John Russell wrote this story for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments Section.
*We are discussing participial phrases in an adjectival role. A discussion of other common adjectival participles is beyond the scope of this story.
Words in This Story
karaoke – n. a form of entertainment in which a device plays the music of popular songs and people sing the words to the songs they choose
participle – n. a form of a verb that is used to indicate a past or present action and that can also be used like an adjective
participial phrase – n. a phrase that starts with a participle
relative clause – n. a kind of dependent clause. It has a subject and verb, but it is not a sentence. Relative clauses are often called “adjectival" because they function like adjectives.
derive – v. to have something as a source : to come from something
modify – v. to change or amend something
pattern – n. a repeated form or design; the repeated way in which something is done
construction – n. the way something is built; a structure
Source :

Are You How To Talk

Thứ Hai, 30 tháng 5, 2016

We judge people by the way they speak and the grammar they use.
Listen to several Americans from different regions speak. Don’t worry too much about what they are saying, just listen to their different speaking styles. Can you guess where they are from?
Fran Drescher: "What’s this about? Why’s there only one woman?”
James Earl Jones: “I feel wonderful to be back on Broadway.”
Sarah Palin: “The difference between a hockey mom and a pitbull? Lipstick.”
Dolly Parton: “You know, I’ll wake up sometimes from a dream and think I’d better get up and write that down or I’ll forget it.”
Surfer: “Dude, you got the best barrels ever dude.”
John F. Kennedy: “Not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”
Tom Brokaw: “A moment that will live forever. You’re seeing the destruction of the Berlin Wall.”
Wendy Williams: “How is it getting up and being there and getting your hair fried and the eye lashes and all that stuff.”
Rosie Perez: “I’m exhausted.”
Rhett Buetler: “Everybody kind of relates rodeo with kind of a wild energizing experience…something that gets out of control.”
As you listened to these different speakers, you probably started to form ideas about them. The minute you open your mouth, you are giving clues about yourself—where you grew up, with whom you grew up, and where you went to school.
Non-standard dialects
If you study English in the United States, you are probably learning Standard American English – the kind of English used in books, business, government and school. But there are millions of native speakers who have their own vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation that is different from Standard American English.
Linguists call these non-standard dialects. Basically, a non-standard dialect is a dialect of a language that is not taught in school.
There are dozens of regional varieties of American English. People disagree about what makes a distinct dialect or accent. But it is clear that a farmer from North Dakota does not sound like a police officer in Boston. And a lawyer from Seattle does not sound like a fisherman from Louisiana.
Some people look down on certain regional accents and dialects. They might describe them as "slang," "ungrammatical" or "broken English." Richard Epstein is a linguist from Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey. He says it is a mistake to judge people by the way they speak.
“When we hear someone use grammar that we think of as perhaps not standard, it’s very easy to judge them as uneducated, and maybe they’re not toobright. But that’s a stereotype. There are many people who speak non-standardly who are extremely bright.”
African-American Vernacular
One of the largest non-standard dialects in the United States is what linguists call African-American Vernacular English, or AAVE. It is spoken by some African-Americans, especially those living large cities. A small number of white teenagers also speak AAVE, Epstein says.
AAVE follows the grammar rules of Standard American English with a few exceptions. For example, AAVE speakers might drop the “to be” verb in the present tense. Instead of the standard, “The coffee is cold,” some speakers say, “The coffee cold.”
Epstein explains.
“So, of course, white folks who don’t know African-American dialect raise their hands up in despair and say, ‘Oh, this is ungrammatical, it’s illogical, how can you possibly have a sentence with no verb? It doesn’t make sense.’
"But of course it makes perfect sense. The verb ‘be’ in the present tense doesn’t really give you any information of any use at all. So in many languages, not just African-American dialect, they don’t have the verb ‘be.’ Or if they don’t have it, they don’t use it.
“So the most logical language of all in our folklore is Latin, and Latin also frequently also left out the verb ‘be’ in the present tense. … So there’s nothing illogical or ungrammatical about saying, ‘The coffee cold.’”
Presidential Grammar
It is common for people to change dialects for different social situations. Someone who speaks AAVE at home might speak Standard American English at work.
Sometimes even the rich and powerful adopt non-standard grammar. Former president George W. Bush grew up as the son of a senator and went to Harvard and Yale. But when he was campaigning, he spoke like a “regular Joe,” or someone from the working class. Listen to his speaking style at a campaign rally in the southern state of Alabama in 2006.
“For those of you who are stuffin’ the envelopes and puttin’ up the signs and gettin’ on the telephones and turnin’ people out to vote, I wanna thank you in advance for what you gonna do for this excellent governor.”
Notice how the former president dropped the letter “g” at the end of a word. He shortens “going to” to “gonna” and “want to” to “wanna.”
George W. Bush was speaking with a working class Southern accent, even though he grew up in New England. Bush’s critics said that his informal speaking style showed that he was not very smart. Epstein says President Bush used non-standard grammar to his advantage.
George W. Bush is not alone. Many politicians change their speaking style to try to build a connection with their audience.
Dialect and identity
Epstein says the way we speak is part of who we are. He says not everyone who speaks a standard dialect is intelligent. And not everyone who speaks a non-standard dialect is uneducated.
“It’s very clear that we speak the way the people we most cherish and love most, the way they speak. . . Our language is a sign of who we are as much as our religion, much more than it’s a sign of our intelligence. There is no link between dialect and intelligence.”
We leave you a song performed by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. In the song, a man and woman disagree about how to pronounce the words “potato” and “tomato.” As a joke they decide to cancel their wedding or “call the whole thing off.”
Neither, Neither,
Let's call the whole thing off!
You like potatoes
And you like "potahtoes"
You like tomatoes
And you like "tomahtoes"
Potatoes, "potahtoes"
Let’s call the whole thing off!
I’m Jill Robbins.
I'm John Russell.
Adam Brock wrote this story for VOA Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.
To find out about the speakers you heard in the audio for this story, take the quiz. (look to the left on web or below on mobile).
Words in This Story
Standard American English  n. The variety of the English language that is generally used in professional communication in the United States and taught in American schools.
non-standard dialect  n. not conforming in pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, etc., to the usage characteristic of and considered acceptable by most educated native speakers
variety  n. a number or collection of different things or people
dialect  n. a form of a language that is spoken in a particular area and that uses some of its own words, grammar, and pronunciations
bright  adj. smart, intelligent
African American Vernacular English  n. a variety of American English, most commonly spoken by urban working-class African Americans.
folklore – n. traditional customs, beliefs, stories, and sayings