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I have sent out a few tweets this week, but I’m still not exactly sure how the system works, and I still need to write the bio to explain what “bitsofenglish” is and who it is for. Starting this project has made me even more sensitive to English phrases and expressions that I think people might not know, so it has definitely been useful in that respect. I will try to get the Twitter feed included in this blog as soon as possible.

Here is some feedback on this week’s comments.

It says “How many people are there in your family?”. It doesn’t make sense!
Thanks for pointing this out, and “It doesn’t make sense” is a very nice expression.

I don’t use Twitter nor facebook
I don’t use Twitter or Facebook.
OR
I use neither Twitter nor Facebook.

Actually, I was reading this after I’ve posted my comment to David.
Actually, I read this after I posted my comment to David.

I’m still thinking if I should make an account or not.
I’m still wondering whether I should make an account or not.

It’s actually because I’m not really familiar with PC.
It’s actually because I’m not very good with computers.

I set up the account of twitter about one year ago but have hardly used it.
I set up a Twitter account about a year ago but have hardly used it.

I “guess” you can not “retweet” or “follow” someone’s Twitter without signing up.
I think that is correct.

the idea is that children are taught about all religions and not taught that one religion is better than another
This might be true now, but it was not the case when I was in school. We just got Christian dogma rammed down our throats.

As you may know, most of Japanese people are unbelievers(I’m one of them!).
most Japanese people …

After doing a few hearings from my friends(is this correct English?),
I’m not sure what you mean here. Do you mean “After talking to a few friends…”?

This is a reply to your second tweet: Same to me! and what’s worse, the annual party season is coming right away.
I think the most natural thing to say here would be “Me too” or “Same here.” By the way, I am not posting these Tweets as real sentences, so there is no need to respond to them. I am just posting example sentences to show how a particular piece of language is used. Actually, I am in better shape than I have been for many years!

The problem is that I’m not a facebook user( I don’t have a facebook account!), but I got troubles with facebook.
I have never heard of this before. I didn’t know that Facebook can send you messages even if you don’t have an account.

Thanks for your story. It made me pull my socks up.
“Pull my socks up” is not natural here. It is best to avoid these kinds of idiomatic expressions unless you are 100% sure they are correct.

I can’t and probably she doesn’t allow me to do that.
I can’t, and she probably wouldn’t let me do that anyway.

To tell the truth, I felt a bit strange when I read your sentence,
To tell the truth, your sentence looked a bit strange to me when I read it.

It was a 3000 km’s bus ride.
Welcome back! Glad to hear you had a good time, but that should be “a 3000-km bus ride.” (A-Z: compound adjectives)

So my comment meant like this: “It’s the same to me whether David is out of shape or not!” Sorry, David.
I don’t think it meant that. If you wanted to say that, it would be “It makes no difference to me whether David is out of shape or not.” As I said, however, please remember that these “bits of English” are just example sentences.

I didn’t tell her that I was annoyed about her,
I didn’t tell her that I was annoyed with her,

“Anybody who murders innocent people for a self-serving ideal is a terrorist in my book.”
Thanks. That is a useful expression.

Have a great weekend, and I will see you again on Monday with a new topic.

17 Comments

  1. amo on Friday November 23rd, 2012 at 02:46 PM

    Hi David,

    I didn’t notice that you already did new entry. I’ve just posted a comment on previous entry. It seems that you forgot to close last entry. Anyway, thanks for your feedback.

    amo



  2. YU on Friday November 23rd, 2012 at 04:24 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your feedback!

    >It’s actually because I’m not very good with computers.

    I see.
    I guess your sentence means “私はパソコンがあまり得意じゃありません”, am I right?
    I know “be good at~ ” means “~が得意です”, but I’ve never used “be good with~” before. Are there any differences between the two expressions?

    > This might be true now, but it was not the case when I was in school. We just got Christian dogma rammed down our throats.

    That means, you had Christian classes when you were in school? If so, that is very different from Japanese schools.
    By the way, “dogma” and “ram down a person’s throat” were new to me.

    > I have never heard of this before. I didn’t know that Facebook can send you messages even if you don’t have an account.

    Me neither.
    I always thought that I would not be involved with facebook unless I make an account!

    Hi amo,

    > I hate to say this but if I were you, I’d finish with her. 私ならそんな人とは友達やめます。

    Actually, she isn’t a very good friend of mine, but just one of the friends from my English club. Probably I should have written “知人”, but I read in one of David’s books saying that you should use the word “friend” even if the person is not a friend of you.
    実は友達というか知り合い(英語サークル仲間)なんだけど、前にデビッドの本でホントに友達じゃなくても英語では”friend”を使うのが自然と書いてあったので”friend”にしてみました!

    If she were a good friend of mine, I would have complained to her more strictly! However, I have to see her every week at our English Club, and unfortunately, her son goes to the same kindergarten as the one my son is going to from next spring so I judged quarreling with her wasn’t a very nice idea for me. I’m calculating!



  3. amo on Friday November 23rd, 2012 at 07:34 PM

    Hi YU,

    >I have to see her every week at our English Club, and unfortunately, her son goes to the same kindergarten as the one my son is going to from next spring so I judged quarreling with her wasn’t a very nice idea for me. I’m calculating!

    Oh, I got your situation now. Hope she would realize what she is doing is a real pain in the neck for people around her and change her privacy settings asap.

    > I know “be good at~ ” means “~が得意です”, but I’ve never used “be good with~” before. Are there any differences between the two expressions?

    Let me share my understanding of both phrases.
    “be good at ~” means 〜が上手/得意です like you said, but “be good with ~” is more like の(扱いが)上手/得意です.

    If you want to say, “彼女は子供の扱いが上手い” in English, you would say “She is good with children.” but not “She is good at children.”

    Actually, I made the same mistake in the comment on the last entry. I noticed when I read David’s feedback that I had made a mistake.
    I should have been more carefull when I want to say 〜が得意です in English, now I remember that him correcting this kind of sentence before 🙁

    amo



  4. David Barker on Friday November 23rd, 2012 at 09:34 PM

    Thanks Amo,

    That is a really good explanation.



  5. kattie on Friday November 23rd, 2012 at 11:31 PM

    Hi Yu,

    I’m sorry I have only just seen your follow-up question which asked why parents often think CofE schools are better. Actually, I think a lot of Faith schools perform better academically than their secular counterparts but I’m not sure whether this is because the teaching is any better. I think a lot of it is because these schools can be more selective in their intake than secular schools, so they generally have more children from wealthier, disciplined and more stable families and fewer children from deprived backgrounds. This means the schools get better results, which means that parents think the schools are better!

    My eldest daughter went to a Catholic state 6th form college (6th form colleges are for 16-18 year olds) which is very near to us – she wanted to go there because they did the subjects she wanted to study and because most of her friends were going there. The college gets good results compared to a lot of other local colleges so demand for the places is very high. If you live nearby and are Catholic, you automatically get a place there, if you are not Catholic (and I think most students aren’t) the system is more complicated. For several years they had a first come, first served queueing system – this meant that people would actually have to camp overnight (in the winter) to be assured of getting a place! When my daughter applied they had just changed the system to a phone-in morning which seemed a better solution but, in reality, was also quite ridiculous. They opened the telephone lines one Saturday morning at about 7am and allocated places on a ‘first come, first served’ basis. I heard that one person who had a local business, got all his staff to come in especially and ring the phone lines for him, but most people got groups of friends together to call for them to improve their chances! Of course, this means that the students at this college generally come from families who value education and so they are generally highly motivated also if parents find the teachers lacking, they often pay for extra tuition, so a college/school can easily look better than it actually is.

    As I said before, Faith schools are controversial and seem to be at odds with (do you know this expression?) secular state schools which simply inform students about the various religions – the idea being that because the students will have a better awareness of the different belief systems they will be more tolerant to people from different backgrounds.

    You also asked whether there was a religious reason why you had Wednesday afternoons off at your missionary college. I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to this one – when I was at school we played sports on Wednesday afternoon – I think this was just because it’s half way through the week and because we had school on Saturday mornings. A lot of businesses in small towns in the UK still close on Wednesday afternoons and again I think this is because they open on Saturdays.

    Hi everyone,

    I hope you all have a lovely weekend – the weather is forecast to be stormy here, I hope it’s better where you are.

    Kattie



  6. Fumie on Saturday November 24th, 2012 at 07:26 AM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your feedback. I put “bitsofenglish” in お気に入りso I will check the expressions from time to time.

    I noticed some of words and expressions from Kattie’s comment.
    >deprived backgrounds – deprived is pc word for poor. (I should use this word in stead of poor.)
    >highly motivated – we can use like motivated students.
    >it’s half way through the week – this is new to me.
    >at odds with – this is also new to me.
    >the weather is forecast to be stormy here. – I never use “forecast” as a verb.

    Hi Kattie,

    I hope the weather will be better where you are! Does the christmas decoration being put up already in your town? Have a lovely weekend too!

    Fumie



  7. YU on Saturday November 24th, 2012 at 08:02 AM

    Hi amo,

    Thank you for your explanation!
    I didn’t know the differences, thank you! 🙂

    Hi Kattie,

    Thank you for your explanations!

    > I think a lot of it is because these schools can be more selective in their intake than secular schools

    That is the case in Japan, too.
    As I mentioned before, my brother and I went to missionary universities. Those schools often have the kindergarten, elementary school, junior and high school of their own. And once your children managed to enter the kindergarten, they would not need to experience Japan’s so-called “entrance examination hell” in their life. So, those schools are very popular among Japanese parents, demand for the places is very high, and the schools get better results.

    As you explained, the students are often from wealthier families. However, my family isn’t that rich(normal), and so both my brother and I went to “normal” school until high school and then took the entrance exams for the universities. As you said, the tuition is often higher than other universities so my parents always asked us not to repeat the year!!

    > For several years they had a first come, first served queueing system – this meant that people would actually have to camp overnight (in the winter) to be assured of getting a place!

    This is not a story about colleges, but about kindergartens… I’ve just completed entrance formalities for my son’s kindergarten. Apparently, some kindergartens(not my son’s) in my city are so popular(because they offer Japanese, English, and arithmetic lessons!) that parents need to camp overnight to get a place for their children. I heard that sometimes fathers even take a day off for “the day”!!

    Anyway, it seems that parents value education and spare no trouble anywhere in the world!!

    > A lot of businesses in small towns in the UK still close on Wednesday afternoons and again I think this is because they open on Saturdays.

    I see.
    In Germany shops close on Saturday evenings and Sundays, but open on Wednesdays. Actually I was always frustrated with this system and missed Japan. In Japan shops open on Saturdays and Sundays because they are the best time(rush periods) for their business!

    Have a lovely weekend!

    Talk to you soon!!

    P.S. “be at odds with” was new to me, thank you!



  8. Kattie on Saturday November 24th, 2012 at 09:52 PM

    Hi Yu,

    Just to clarify, the school my daughter went to was a state faith school – when we talk about’state schools’ in the UK we mean schools paid for by the government so there are no school fees – only 7% of children in the UK are privately educated. However, sometimes parents pay for a little private tuition outside school if they think their child is struggling. As you say, it seems that a lot of parents (no matter where they live) are very keen that their children get a good education. I want my daughters to get a good education so they can appreciate things (travel,culture,books etc) I am not bothered about them earning lots of money.

    Hi Fumie,
    The main tree has just been put up in our local town but they haven’t decorated yet, on 8th December they are having a special day where the shops will be open late and they’ll have Christmas carols, craft stalls, mulled wine and mince pies. However, the highlight for me is the Christmas markets in Manchester – they opened lsst Saturday and my eldest daughter came home (over 200 miles) just to go round them with me! They are the best they have ever been this year and I’m going again tonight with Tom (he’s not playing this evening which is very unusual)Here’s a link to a video of the markets to help you get into the mood! http://www.visitmanchester.com/articles/video/christmas-markets-for-groups/



  9. YU on Saturday November 24th, 2012 at 10:43 PM

    Hi Kattie,

    Thank you for your clarification!

    > Just to clarify, the school my daughter went to was a state faith school – when we talk about’state schools’ in the UK we mean schools paid for by the government so there are no school fees – only 7% of children in the UK are privately educated.

    I see, I didn’t know that. Thank you.
    As far as I know, in Japan, there are no “state” schools except universities. There are lots of municipal and prefectual schools, but we usually just call them “public” schools. There are no school fees to go to those schools.
    In Japan, even if you enter the “national” university(like the one David works for), you still need to pay the high tuition. It is just lower than the one of private universities(maybe because a part of them is paid by the government), but I think it is still quite expensive.
    The university I studied at in Germany was state funded and the tuition was free as well.

    Anyway, getting an education in Japan costs quite a lot!!
    Sigh….

    See you soon!



  10. YU on Saturday November 24th, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    Hi Kattie,

    I’m sorry, I think I gave you a wrong information. There are many “national schools” in Japan. They all seem to be attached to national universities.

    By the way, I watched the video.
    Please enjoy yourself with Tom!

    See you!



  11. Anne on Saturday November 24th, 2012 at 11:32 PM

    Hi David and everyone,

    Are you having a great holiday?
    Kattie, I hope the weather in you place is getting better now. Thank you for letting us know about the system of schools in the UK and sharing the video of Christmas market. Hope you had a lovely time with Tom.

    David, thank you for your feedback.
    >that should be “a 3000-km bus ride—Yes! It’s embarrassing to make such a mistake! Thank you.

    I’ve learned lots new expressions from you and Kattie’s comments. I feel like I need to prepare a special note for this blog and take notes again. (I tried it once, but gave up halfway…)

    Hi YU,
    >By the way, I always thought that the capital city of Turkey was Istanbul until I found that it was wrong about 15 years ago.
    —NO wonder you felt that way! Istanbul is the biggest city in Turkey, and Ankara became the capital of the country in 1920s. Image is completely different from that of Istanbul, and government offices and armies are concentrated in this city.

    Good night, everyone!

    Anne



  12. Fumie on Sunday November 25th, 2012 at 05:47 AM

    Hi Kattie,

    Thank you so much for let us know about the Christmas market. I kmow it’s your favorite season of the year. The Christmas market in Manchester is so nice! The video made me into the mood. I know there are Christmas markets in other countries, for example Germany. I saw some pictures of them in brochures of travel agencies.
    I hope I can go there some day. Hope you will have a lovely time there with Tom.

    Fumie



  13. Biwa on Sunday November 25th, 2012 at 02:53 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you so much for your feedback. Can I ask some questions?

    Comparing the sentences below, I understand that “if” cannot be used in the second one, but I don’t get why “if” is incorrect for the first one.
    >I’m still wondering whether I should make an account or not.
    >”It makes no difference to me whether David is out of shape or not.”

    >I’m not sure what you mean here. Do you mean “After talking to a few friends…”?
    Thanks for this, too. I guess you cannot use “hearing” as a noun as in Japanese. “After talking to” sounds natural, but I wanted to make sure if there was a way to express a very very easy/short survey or questionnaire you do to your friends about something you’re thinking to begin or purchase.

    Also, I got the idea that you just want to introduce those useful “bits” on the Twitter, but I’d still like to know how to respond naturally. I’m really embarrassed that I can’t even use the most easiest phrases like “same here!” properly.

    Lastly, thanks for letting me know about the idiomatic phrases. What would you say for 「あなたの話を聞いて、私もよりいっそう気を引き締めなくては、と思いました」?
    Is “Listening to your story, I thought I should be even more careful.” okay?



  14. Biwa on Sunday November 25th, 2012 at 03:30 PM

    Hi everyone,

    I spent all morning doing the laundry. I wish I had a larger veranda to dry everything at once!
    After all, my sons were “survivng” nicely except the laundry. I think they need to practice more.

    It was more than 10 years since we’ve last met our grandmothers before. My grandmother is 92, and my husband’s is 96 now. It was a bit sad to see how older and weaker they got, especially my husband’s grandmother is hard of hearing so it took lots of time to communicate with each other. However, what impressed me most was that they both said they were thankful for everyone who helps them and for being able to live this long. They also seemed to have a nice smile. I’d like to be able to say like that when I get old!

    Hi amo,

    Thanks for the expression “jump in conclusions/a conclusion”. This is quite a useful one for me!



  15. Kimi on Sunday November 25th, 2012 at 09:31 PM

    Hi David,

    Thank you for your feedback and your tweets are very useful for me. Sorry, I didn’t thank you earlier.



  16. Biwa on Monday November 26th, 2012 at 07:37 AM

    Hi everyone,

    Sorry, I think I don’t need “before” at the end of my sentence.
    >It was more than 10 years since we’ve last met our grandmothers before.

    One more, “for being able to live this long” should be “for being able to live that long”.

    Hi Kattie,

    Thanks for the information about the education system in the UK. Also, the video of the Christmas market was lovely! As many other members say, I hope I can visit there some time.
    It reminded me of the stalls/malls we have during the New Year Days(12/31~1/3) and the Obon Days (8/13~16, when the spirits of our ancestors come back home). The big temples and shrines have a festive mood during those days, and we walk along various food/game stalls drinking sweet sake(it’s not really alcoholic so even children can drink it). However, it’s not so large scaled as this market, and I can easily imagine how people get excited. I love to hear how things go on in other countries!



  17. David Barker on Monday November 26th, 2012 at 01:33 PM

    Hi Biwa,

    Comparing the sentences below, I understand that “if” cannot be used in the second one, but I don’t get why “if” is incorrect for the first one.
    >I’m still wondering whether I should make an account or not.
    >”It makes no difference to me whether David is out of shape or not.”

    “If” could be used in both of these sentences.

    Also, I got the idea that you just want to introduce those useful “bits” on the Twitter, but I’d still like to know how to respond naturally. I’m really embarrassed that I can’t even use the most easiest phrases like “same here!” properly.

    Short responses are actually very difficult, and it takes a long time to learn how to use them all naturally, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much if I were you.



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