English Tip of the Month



February 2021

Would you mind?

There is one question where the best answer is “no”! It is an indirect question:
“Would you mind opening the window?”
If you like the idea of opening the window and it is not a problem for you, then the correct answer is: “No, not at all!

“Would you mind repeating that?”
“No, problem!”


December 2020

Photo by Any Lane on Pexels

Did you know that there was a time when Christmas was banned in Britain?

Yes from 1644 – 1659 it was legally forbidden to celebrate Christmas. In the time when Oliver Cromwell was the ruler, you were punished and could be thrown into prison if you treated December 25th as a special day. The Puritan government abolished the festival because they saw no basis for the celebration in the Bible and didn’t want people to use Christmas as an excuse to eat and drink too much! What would they say if they saw us today? So, let us be happy that we can celebrate! Happy Christmas everyone!


Oktober 2020

Photo by Jonathan Pielmayer on Unsplash

Elevenses

Elevenses is a typical mid-morning break. It’s the time when you’re feeling hungry between breakfast and lunch, so 11 o’clock is the perfect time for the English! Drink a cup of tea or coffee, have a biscuit or two, and refuel your battery. This break time is held all over the world but has different names in different countries, in some places it may even be called “second breakfast”! So, if you feel a bit hungry around 11 a.m., don’t feel guilty, it’s natural and the feeling is known all over the world.


May 2020

Photo by Arno Smit on Unsplash

May Day Bank Holiday

The public holidays of Germany and England are often on different days. The reason for this is that English public holidays not linked to the church calendar are usually on a Monday. So, May Day in England is on Monday 4 May 2020. Traditionally on May Day a pole is put up on the village green with colourful ribbons attached to the top and people dance around the pole, making a beautiful pattern with the ribbons. (For an example search for Maypole Dance on YouTube)

Public holidays are also called bank holidays. The name goes back to a law in 1871, which specified that nobody had to make any payments on a bank holiday and the first Monday in May was named as one of these special days. The Spring Bank Holiday is on the last Monday in May and the Late Summer Bank Holiday is on the last Monday in August. So, in England, a long weekend is Saturday, Sunday, Monday and those are the weekends, you had best avoid the motorways!