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My friends, here is my new intermediate test for you to master your knowledge. You may think it is more complicated than my previous intermediate tests, but it is not. The sentences are longer, but the grammar is the same. You know what to do, don't you?

  1. We thought our kids would go for sleep before we will return (3 mistakes).
  2. The teacher stayed in Philadelphia a week before she realized she can’t do nothing for Sam (4).
  3. I thought I will tan all day long but weather was rainy and I must stay home (4).
  4. Anything didn’t do before I returned (3).
  5. I asked did he know the address of our friend who moved in the other city (4).
  6. When she came in the theater she saw the play already began and the actors were performing at the stage during few minutes (5).
  7. I am looking for my glasses for half an hour, but didn’t still find it (4).
  8. I knew the parcel left at the door, but when I returned home, it was disappeared (4).
  9. He said when I had called him yesterday, he had been watching football game (3).
  10. I really interested of the results of this test as I spent many time trying teaching you (5).

The deadline is the next Monday, February 27.

Have a nice Sunday! Hahahaha!

February 27

My friends, today is a deadline for this test and I see you are all done. So, here are the answers and my explanations. Sure, you can ask your questions.

  1. We thought our kids would have gone to sleep before we __returned (3 mistakes).
  2. The teacher had been staying in Philadelphia for a week before she realized she could do nothing for Sam (4).
  3. I thought I would be tanning all day long, but the weather was rainy and I had to stay at home (4).
  4. Nothing had been done before I returned (3).
  5. I asked if he knew the address of our friend who had moved to another city (4).
  6. When she came to the theater, she saw the play had already begun and the actors had been performing on the stage for a few minutes (5).
  7. have been looking for my glasses for half an hour, but haven’t found them, yet. (4).
  8. I knew the parcel had been left at the door, but when I returned home, it had disappeared (4).
  9. He said when I __ called him yesterday he was watching a football game (3).
  10. am really interested in the results of this test as I have spent much time trying to teach you (5).

And here are my explanations.

  1. I explained such use of the tenses on the previous test and on my blog about the future tenses. I also used the American expression GO TO SLEEP that means to FALL ASLEEP.
  2. First, the teacher spent a week in the city. Then, she realized she was unable to do anything. So, the first verb must be in the past perfect progressive tense. Besides, there must be FOR before A WEEK. In the last clause we must use COULD as we speak about the past. WE can say COULD DO NOTHING or COULDN’T DO ANYTHING, but the first is better, sounds more natural.
  3. This sentence is in the future past tenses. It was my intention to tan all day long. So, it must be the progressive tenses. We use THE before WEATHER. We can’t use MUST in the past. And we say AT home.
  4. I have explained more than once we don’t use ANYTHING/ANYBODY as a subject in the negative sentences. So, if NOTHING is a subject, it is obvious that the people didn’t do anything; it is the passive voice. Besides, they hadn’t done it BEFORE I returned. It must be the past perfect tenses.
  5. My corrected sentence is good if all those actions were some time ago in the past and are not related to the present.  However, if I have just asked my question “Do you know the address of our friend who has moved?” and report it a few minutes later, it will be “I asked if he knows the address of our friend who has moved to another city”.
  6. Both actions had been BEFORE she came to the theater.  If we mean some/several minutes, it must be A FEW minutes. FEW is an antonym for MANY. Sure, the actors were performing FOR a few minutes.
  7. Both actions have been BEFORE I say this phrase. STILL is not used in the negative sentences.
  8. This one turned out to be the hardest! So, here is the situation. One day I was out and the mailman brought a parcel. He didn’t find anybody at home and called me to say that he was leaving the parcel at the door. When I returned, I didn’t see any parcel. It means it disappeared while I was out. Now, about the tenses and the voices. The mailman left a parcel (active), But the parcel was left (passive).  The parcel disappeared (it is the active voice, DISAPPEAR is an intransitive verb). If I had used the verb STEAL for example, it would be the passive voice, as somebody stole it. Both actions had been before I returned, so both verbs must be in the past perfect tense.
  9. Here is the rule many of you don’t know. If the direct speech is a complex sentence in the past tenses, the tenses in the reported speech must be the same.
  10. We say “to be interested in”. TIME is an uncountable noun. “To teaching” is obviously wrong as TO is an infinitive particle. And, of course, the present perfect tense in the subordinate clause represents the fact of my not having stopped teaching you till now.

Thanks everyone for participation!

Read more…

My friends, today I will tell you how to use the tenses correctly speaking about the past actions not related to the present and how to use them if some events were in the past, but some of them are taking place now or are expected in the future.

The Sequence of Tenses in a story about the past actions not related to the present.

The first thing you should remember is the following: if you write or say any complex sentence with one or more subordinate clauses, one of the predicates must be in the Past Simple Tense. It is like the origin of coordinates for using other tenses because only the Simple Past tense tells us, when the action took place. Other tenses rather describe the process. Besides, if we speak about the past, we should use only the Past Tenses and the Future in the Past. The best example of such a sequence of the tenses is the author's words from the third person in any fiction.

So, there may be 3 different cases. Let's consider an example with one subordinate clause where the predicate in the main clause is in the Simple Past Tense.

1. Both actions were simultaneous. In this case we should use the Past Simple or Past Progressive tenses in the subordinate clause:

I knew he was busy (that moment).

I thought they were playing tennis (that moment).

2. The action in the subordinate clause took place before the action in the main clause. In this case, we should use The Past Perfect Simple or The Past Perfect Progressive in the subordinate clause:

He said he had been to the movies the day before/yesterday.

He didn't notice her red eyes and didn't realize she had been crying (before he saw her).

3.The action in the subordinate clause took place some later than the action in the main clause.  In this case, we should use The Future in the Past Tenses in the subordinate clause:

He said he would call the next day.

He said he would be lecturing at 11 am the next day.

Now, if there are two or more subordinate clauses, we should analyze the sequence of actions to use the tenses correctly. Here are the examples from my tests:

a)   When he came to school, he recalled he hadn’t learned what he had been assigned.

b)   When she entered the kitchen, he had already laid the table and was waiting for her.

c)    He said he would have sold the old car before he bought a new one.

Let’s consider them.

a)   First, a student was assigned to learn something, then he didn’t learn it and only later, when he came to school he realized it. So, his coming to school was the last action in this sequence. He recalled his not doing anything for class WHEN he came to school while he had been assigned and he hadn’t learned it BEFORE he came there. Both earlier actions must be in the past perfect tense.

b)   First, he laid the table and started waiting for her. So, he was waiting for her WHEN she entered (the last action). He had laid the table BEFORE she entered.

c)    He said that some later (in the future past) he was going to sell the old car BEFORE buying a new one. So, the verb SELL must be in the future past perfect tense.

Here is an example of a story written from the third person.

The plane was flying through the rain and the mist. A flight attendant came up to one of the passengers who asked when the plane landed at last. They had been talking about something for a few minutes when another passenger passed by them along the aisle. The flight attendant took an order and went to the bar to fill it. Before he returned to the cabin, he had discussed with another flight attendant the soccer game that had been the day before.

The Sequence of tenses in a dialogue or a story where some events were in the past, but some of them are taking place now or are expected in the future

In such a conversation or a story we use all the tenses.

  1.    If the events were in the past and are not related to the present, we use the sequence of tenses described above.
  2.    If some events are taking place now or related to the present, we use the present tenses. We also use the present simple tense it we speak about axioms, laws, rules, geography, natural science, etc.
  3.    If they are expected in the future, we use the future tenses.

Here is the example of a story told from the first person. Just imagine that I am telling you about my yesterday.

Yesterday I met my university mate I hadn't seen for ages. He said he had got married and has a son. He said they are living in Texas but are going to move to Florida soon. We talked about this and that and he said he will call me the day after tomorrow.

As you can see, I have used the past tenses telling about yesterday and the actions before yesterday (past perfect). However, I have used the present tenses speaking about the actions or facts that are still the same today. I also used the future tense meaning a day after tomorrow as it hasn't come, yet.

Now, I'd like to add a few words about YESTERDAY/THE NEXT DAY, TOMORROW/THE NEXT DAY, etc.

Let me use the calendar dates. TODAY is Feb. 17. So, YESTERDAY is the day before today, Feb. 16. TOMORROW is Feb. 18 that comes after TODAY. Now, if we speak about Feb. 2, the DAY BEFORE is Feb.1 and Feb.3 is the NEXT DAY. The same about HERE/THERE, THIS/THAT and so on. Just imagine, I am telling you about some party, for example my birthday party in December, at my place (and I am at home now).

On my birthday my friends came to greet me. The day before, they told me they would come to my place. So, when they arrived, I was glad to see them here, in my house. I remember our sitting at this table talking about our youth.

Are my explanations clear enough? If they are not, ask me your questions, please! And now, are you ready to practice a little?

Here is your task. Please, write some sentences (or, better stories) using both types of sequences. It would be nice, if you write two stories: from the third and from the first person.

Read more…

I have decided to post this learning blog as I see you have some problems using the present and the future tenses correctly. Speaking about some future actions we often use the present tenses. Let’s consider when and how to use them.

1. If we speak about some future actions taking place on schedule (classes, transport, TV program, holidays, etc.), we use the present simple tense as we have no doubts about any schedule.

His plane arrives at 10 am tomorrow.

The soccer game begins at 7:30.

I teach two classes tomorrow.

Next Monday is a holiday.

2. If we speak about our future plans and actions we are sure in, we use the present progressive tense. It means, we are almost sure, but we are people and everything may happen. So, we just take into account some unforeseen circumstances.

I am leaving tomorrow (I am sure, I will).

He is graduating from the university this year (It is his last year of study).

3. If we are not sure in what we will be doing (at least, in American), we use going to. Probability of such an action is rather low.

Will you marry me?

I am going to think it over (it sounds like NO)

              Another example:

-  Our lock needs fixing.

-  I know, I am going to fix it these days (In fact, he said he will not do it).

             One more example:

I am going to rest in June (At the moment, I have no idea if I will be able to, I am planning it, but have a lot of doubts).

Now, there are four future tenses. We mostly use the simple and the progressive tenses, but let’s not forget there are the perfect tenses. Let’s consider when we use the future tenses independently on our certainty or doubt.

1.When we promise something :

I will give you a call.

I will do it.

2. When we propose others our help or service. However, it is a kind of proposal they can’t refuse from:

I will make you coffee.

I will do it for you.

3. If we start the sentence like: I think/hope/believe/guess…..

I believe he will win.

I hope he will be fine.

4. If we use some adverbs defining probability of an action: probably/ surely/certainly/possibly

I will probably go there.

I will surely read it.

In all above mentioned cases we use the future simple tense.

5. If we speak about our intentions, we use the future progressive tense.

I will be using the network for a few more hours.

We will be shopping some later.

You should remember that in the conditional (if) and time clauses (when, before, after, as soon as, by the time, until, until after) we use only the present simple and the present progressive tenses. However, we use any of four future tenses in the main clause.

I will do it before I take a vacation.

I will call you as soon as I am back.

If it is raining tomorrow, we will stay at home.

Now, about the future past. I hope you realize what time period it describes. Let me explain it again.  That time period is in the past when you speak, but one day in the past it was in the future. For example, let’s speak about New Year, January 1. On December 20 I said “I will meet New Year in Kiev”. So, if I report my speech now I will say “On December 20 I said I would meet New Year in Kiev”. I believe it is clear. So, if we use the future past tenses, we use them exactly like the future tenses. We only replace WILL with WOULD and the present tenses by the appropriate past tenses:

Direct speech: I will have done it before I take a vacation.

Reported speech: He said he would have done it before he took a vacation.

Direct speech: “When does the train arrive?”

Reported speech: He asked when the train arrived.

And now I will ask you to write some sentences describing the future/future past actions. Of course, you can ask me any questions as usual.

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Hi, everyone! It may be the last intermediate test if you do it correctly. I see, you have learned a lot from the previous tests and now you know many things you had a lot of doubts in. It is very good and I am really happy. This test is approximately like Test IX. You know what to do, don’t you?

  1. When he came in school, he recalled he didn’t learn what he assigned (4 mistakes).
  2. When he solved the problem incorrect, the other student tried to correcting him (4).
  3. He said he would sell the old car before he will buy a new one (2).
  4. The earlier you will take medicine, the better you feel (3).
  5. He asked were it many big cities in USA (3).
  6. You don’t forget switch out light when you will leave (5).
  7. She is nice both look at and to talk as well (3).
  8. I have sent her parcel but it doesn’t still delivered (4).
  9. He asked have I heard a news on the TV yesterday (4).
  10. If anyone will not do this test correct, I wash my hands (4) Hahahaha!

The deadline is February 20.

My friends, if you can’t understand what this or that sentence means, just ask me to explain, OK?

Good luck and try not to disappoint me!

Read more…

Well, here is your new task. It is quite easy, mostly the tenses, voices, prepositions. You know what to do, but if you don't just check out the previous blogs with the same title.

  1. When she entered to the kitchen, he already laid the table and waited to her (4 mistakes).
  2. She said if she will get sleepy, she goes to bed before I will return (3).
  3. I asked did she know when his plane will arrive (2).
  4. Anybody didn’t know will he win or not (3).
  5. I am waiting to her but she didn’t still come and called (3).
  6. He saw the bed is empty and sleep not last night (3).
  7. He didn’t notice her red eyes and hardly can realized she cried (4).
  8. When he saw his friends coming to see him out, he came to them (3).
  9. He asked when will I leave (2).
  10. I never experienced teaching English grammar before I joined to EC (3).

The deadline is the next Monday, February 13.

Have a great time!

February 11.

As I was asked to post the answers, here you are!

  1. When she entered __ the kitchen, he had already laid the table and was waiting for her (4 mistakes).
  2. She said if she got sleepy, she would go to bed before I __ returned (3).
  3. I asked if she knew when his plane arrived (2).
  4. Nobody knew if he would win (or not) (3).
  5. I am waiting for her but she hasn’t come or called, yet (3).
  6. He saw the bed was empty and hadn’t been slept in last night (3).
  7. He didn’t notice her red eyes and could hardly realize she had been crying (4).
  8. When he saw his friends who had come to see him off, he came up to them (3).
  9. He asked when I was leaving (2).
  10. had never experienced teaching English grammar before I joined __EC (3).


had never been experienced in teaching English grammar before I joined __EC.


Now, I will explain the mistakes.

1.We use ENTER without any preposition after it. TO WAIT FOR is a phrasal verb. He had laid the table BEFORE she came and was waiting for her WHEN she entered.

2. The reported speech is in the future past tenses. The second verb in the conditional clause must be in the simple past tense. The fourth verb is in the time clause. It must also be in the simple past (not the future past) tense.

3. It is reported general question (yes-no question). Such question must start with IF/WHETHER followed by the direct word order. She knew (or didn’t) WHEN she was asked. TO KNOW is not used in the progressive tense. So, it must be in the past simple tense. The last clause supposes the plane not to have arrived before the question was asked. It is the time clause and we use the past simple tense.

4. This sentence is similar to the general reported question (See No3). It is obvious that it is the future past simple tense. We can’t use ANYBODY as a subject in the negative sentence. So, it must be NOBODY KNEW.

5. This sentence is in the present tenses. Sure, she hasn’t come or called till the moment when I say this phrase. We can’t use STILL in the negative sentence. It must be YET at its end. In the negative sentence we use OR instead of AND.

6. It is my favorite! The passive voice again! I am explaining this sentence again although I have already done it a few times. One morning some man saw the empty and made bed. He realized that nobody had slept in it at night (the night was over!). It is the active voice, but what for to use it if there is the passive voice!?

7. An adverb must be between the modal auxiliary and the verb. Her eyes were red. It means she cried for long. The perfect progressive tense will emphasize this point. And, of course, she had been crying BEFORE he saw her.

8. Well, it’s even better than 6! First, about the phrasal verbs. When we come to the station, airport, etc. to say “Bye!” to those who are leaving, we SEE them OFF. If we receive guests and they are leaving we SEE them OFF if we go to their cars together with them. But we SEE them OUT if we walk them only to the door, close it after they have left and stay inside. We also SEE OUT the Old Year. Now, if we near someone/something, we COME UP to it. About the tense: I meant his friends came earlier than him and, as I used the verb COME, I thought it would be clear, but it was not. So, in case he came earlier than his friends, the correct sentence will be:

When he saw his friends coming to see him off, he went toward them.

9. It is a reported question with the time clause. The actions were in the past, so the verb must be in the past progressive tense. If he was sure I was about to leave, it is the past progressive tense like in my corrected sentence. If he was not sure, it would be “I was going to leave”.

10. It may be either the active or the passive voice. Both are good and correct.

Thanks everyone for taking part and trying hard. Sure, you can ask me your questions.

Read more…

Dear Luci, sorry for being late but I have a great excuse! I am having a poetic battle with my wife and she is about to win!

Nevertheless, here are a few slogans I could come up with.

Toilet parer:

Feel a tender touch sitting in the only one place you can be yourself!

A kitchen knife:

So sharp is it that seeing your wife holding it, you had better put on the cuirass!

A trash can:

Be a gentleman or you can find yourself there one day!

A plastic bag:

If you are sure you are not a docker, just use plasic bags to deliver your wife's purchases. But if there is something she will not be happy to see, we will provide you with paper bags!

A clothespin:

It is so tight you will never get off the hook!

Sorry , dear! No pictures, but I tried! I am done with all your words! Satisfied? hahahaha!

Read more…

The Passive Voice

Well, in my last tests were a few sentences in the passive voice and they turned out to be the most complicated for you to correct. So, I'd like to explain you how to use the passive voice correctly. Let's compre the active and the passive voices.

In the active voice, the subject performs the action denoted by the verb (the predicate).

told you a funny story yesterday.

In the passive voice we can change the word order and use any of the objects as a subject. It means that the subject is no longer active, but is, instead, being acted upon by the verb. So, it becomes passive.

You were told a funny story yesterday.

What a funny story was told yesterday!

The passive form of a verb is:

The verb “to be” in the necessary tense + the past participle passive (V-ed for the regular verbs and the III-d form for the irregular verbs).

In the examples, given above I have used the past simple tense (was/were).

I will show you the correct forms of a passive verb in all the tenses.




Present Simple



Present Progressive

Am/is /are being


Present Perfect

Have/has been


Past Simple


+ past participle, passive

Past Progressive

Was/were being


Past Perfect

Had been


Future Simple

Will be


Future Perfect

Will have been



Now, I will give you some examples in all the tenses:

Active: Workers build many houses every year.

Passive: Many houses are built every year.

Active: The workers are building a new house on our street.

Passive: A new house is being built on our street.

Active: The workers have just buit the house.

Passive: This house has just been built.

Active: The workers built this house last year.

Passive: This house was built last year.

Active: When I returned, the workers were still building the house.

Passive: When he returned, the house was still being built.

Active: The workers had built the house before he returned.

Passive: The house had been built before he returned.

Active: The workers will build the house soon.

Passive: This house will be built soon.

Active: The workers will have built this house by the end of the year.

Passive: This house will have been built by the end of the year.

The tenses in the passive voice are used according to the general rules.

As it is a "lesson" you can ask me any questions.

And here is your assignment: please, write at least 10 sentences in the passive voice using different tenses.

Read more…

My dear wife Tanya kindly posted a blog on my challenge. If you remember, we had to use some words guessed in January and to write a funny story or a poem. Well, her story is great, very funnny and sarcastic. She made her best! But my dad always taught me to be a gentleman and not to leave ladies' statements without attention. So, I haven't slept all night long thinking about some adequate reply and there you go!

My wife's story.

If somebody wears a gold liripipe on his biretta, it is just a tribute to his doctorate degree, but nothing more for me. Our same mortarboards sit next to each other in the closet and I am sure that my biretta always asks her companion what its master is up to. And, I tell you, his master is always up to something! To be a good chemist is true temptation! He always knows the right mix to make a man get drunk or to make a lady feel excited. He is a great mixologist and a great deipnosophist and all women around flip over him! But just come home, darling! And never say it was a dry run of your concert so, you had to have a keg of beer to relax and to be dead to the world! I don’t like to sleep with a corps in my bed! My silent treatment and my cold shoulder mean nothing for you. So, I will meet you at the door with my rolling pin your face will feel for sure and I will not call the ambulance. No gurneys any longer!  I do know that trick! But I love you so much that I don’t want you to suffer! So, I will probably use my bow and arrows to be sure you will not suffer any more as I am a perfect shot, you know! So, what do you prefer: to have one more plastic surgery and to wear the casts or to pass away without even realizing it? We live in a democratic country, you always have a choice, but if I were you, I would choose the last!

My reply.

flip over you harder than ever.

I had better forget you forever!

Decomposing on a hospital gurney

's not the end I am choosing, my Honey!

Though you're cruel and crafty like Nero,

It is better to die from your arrow!

It is better to die being handsome

Than to look like your son or your grandson!

It is better than your freezing shoulder,

Silent treatment as if I're a scoundrel.

It is better to die than to live

like a eunuch! To die is relief!

And to die being sober and healthy

Is the same as to starve being wealthy.

I'll get drunk and, I tell you, it is better!

If I lie, I'll eat up my beretta!

Now, my friends, it is for you to judge who is a winner! Hahahaha!

And I've got a better idea. Why not to join this poetic battle like dear Rose did? You all are welcome!

I will add all the verses written on this blog.


It's none of matter you are handsome!

I'll never pay a penny ransom

If you're kidnapped by your lover.

Just try to use your charming power!

Convince her not to change your chin

By using  heavy rolling pin!

But if she does, you don't complain

As love is everlasting pain!

It's pain and pleasure, you decide!

I know, darling, I am right!

One day you'll get what you deserve.

Get lost, stop getting on my nerves!


You ask us who might be the winner,
now we fidget like a fish at the spinner,
because you want us to decide
who of you both can feel his pride.

Believe me, I have got my opinion
and of course I have a minion.
For me is it better to be still
Because I don't want pay the bill.

Although it never was my manner.
and sincerity is always my banner. 
But I don't want to land on a gurney
to go to the very last journey. 

So no one of you both get my vote
because I liked the writing of both.
Being between of the fronts
is always a way of confronts.

I see already how you swing
with your long arm a rolling pin. 
To stay still healthy and stay clever...
Shut up! is now my motto for ever.

Now is my turn! Please, join us and have some fun!

My reply to Tanya's verse.

Yes, love is pain or even death,

But I will love to my last breath!

Don't torture me, tell me at once

If you will give me my last chance,

Last chance to have a keg of beer,

To hug all those who are dear,

To swim in our Crystal River

Until I freeze and get high fever!

Will you have mersi on the guy

Who is so sick, about to die?

I hope, you will and my last day

Will be postponed at least till May!



How funny is that "battle" here!
I think, I need to drink a beer!
I am waiting for the second act,
no winner yet, yes, that is fact.

To heat up now much more the battle
our duty is, with words to rattle.
Just try it once, please be so brave,
it's your turn now to ride the wave.

The wave of fun and witty words
this battle is not just for nerds.
And if you don't know what to say,
be not afraid your hair turns grey.

Just read the blog and then comment
that is enough for the moment.
But do not rest on lazy skin, 
and tell who then deserves the win.

Thank you, dear!


To vote means to be in between

I’m lost for words and I need to be keen

Both are good, no one can deny

The world will read this and will ask why

These two good people that are clashing

Seems like rocks that keep on smashing

To side to whom will be my great suffer

To chose which one hits my brain to clutter

 Though I love to see a lady’s man fall

Seeing the agony that will make him crawl,

Oh my gosh! I’m so cruel

Let me help to sharpen that arrow and make her rule

Oh no, oh no! I need to back –off

The marine will attack and send me to take off

Tanya's reply to my poem:

To live till May?! You must be kidding!

It's real joy to see you bleeding!

My word is last, I hold my ground!

You are a loser in this round!

Who is the next?

Rose's reply:

Hey Danny, end the battle now,
as long as you are knowing how.
I advice you, fall on the knees 
and promise her you stop to tease.
Tanya will hang arrow and bow
then on her wall just here an now.
You did admit you lost the battle
Tanya avoids to play the rattle.
That is the best for getting peace
although is was just fun, just cease! 
Because I think you know the women,
they are not that kind of crimine.
But are they teased by such words
they find no end even if it hurts.
But I can't vouch for your success,
for me as woman: just my guess.
If you don't want to sleep outside,
then open to her your arms wide.
Just telling her you lost the struggle
Just so can you the node unravel,
Avoid to sleep on couch too often,
it's necessary Tanya's mind to soften.
She knows you loves her so she will,
be ready to pay with you the bill.

My reply:

I've lost the round!!! You are funny!

MY Word is last, excuse me, Honey!

You started it and I will end.

That's it! The message has been sent!

I screwed it up, what else to say?

I'll hardly see another day!

Take off my hat before you, Lady!

Where is your bow? Come on! I'm ready!

Tanya's reply:

I see you're ready to depart

So, let me ask you, Purple Heart

If you have left your sacred will

For those who will stay to live?

And if you didn't, just be sure

I'll dig you out and for sure

I'll throw your ashes all around!

There'll never be another round!


Tanya gets my understanding
not to want a quick crash landing.
I tried to end the couple's battle,
now I am in my own struggle.
I said it was my last comment
but I am stuck at this moment.
What can I do? I do not know.
the best will be I'm going now.
I leave my last advice for you:
Speak last words together, huuuuh !!!!
There is no loser and no winner
and you can say it at a dinner.
now to see how both compete,
I will watch it on backseat.

And our battle is over: Tanya and I tied and our winner is Rose! Hahahaha!

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Well, January is coming to the end and this month we have guessed many interesting and funny words playing Jeopardy. Looking through them makes me laugh as I already "see" a few funny stories and verses I can write. So, I propose you to do the same. Please, write a funny story or a funny poem using some of these words. I will correct the stories, so they must be within 200-250 word limit.

Here is our vocabulary:

A GURNEY (American) is a weeled stretcher to put a person into an anbulance, for example.

A MORTARBOARD is an academic cap. The other word is a BERETTA.

A LIRIPIPE is a tassel on an academic cap or a hood.

A TZITZIT is a tassel decoratind a tallit (Jewish ceremonial wear).

TO SCREW UP (American) means to make a mistake, fail, mismanage or mishandle a situation.

A MIXOLOGIST (American) is a person skilled in mixing cocktails.

TO GIVE SMBD THE SILENT TREATMENT means a stubborn refusal to talk to someone, especially after a recent argument or disagreement.

A DRY RUN  is a rehearsal of a performance or procedure before the real one.

MORONITY is the same as DEMENTIA, i.e., mental deficiency.

TO FLIP OVER means to make 180 degree turn or to be mad about someone/something, to like/love very much.

HYPNOBATIA is the same as SOMNABULISM. It means doing something while sleeping.

A KEG is a rather small (not more than 40 litres) metal barrel for keeping beer.

A ROLLING PIN is a kitchen stuff for flattering dough or telling a husband he is wrong! Hahaha!

A BOFFOLA is a very funny joke said in time or a line of the script written in place that makes you laugh.


A DEIPNOSOPHIST is a person who is a master of dinner-table conversations, the life of the party.

A TRANSOM is a ventilator window above the ourside door.


1.to widen in scope; increase in size or intensity; enlarge; extend.

2.to make great or greater in power, wealth, rank, or honor.
3.to make (something) appear greater

A MOUSE POTATO is a person who spends much time before the computer screen.

A COUCH POTATO is a person who spends much time on the couch watching TV.

I hope you will enjoy this challenge.

Looking forward to your replies!

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Hi, my friends! As the rainy weather spoiled all our plans for today, I will go on teaching you a little.

Well, looking through your answers on the previous grammar tests, I noticed that some of you are not sure whether to use IT IS or THERE IS in this or that sentence. It is really surprising as it is not even the intermediate level, it is basic. Anyway, we use both constructions very often and you should know how to do it correctly.

SO, IT IS is mostly followed by an adjective:

It is windy.

It is important to know that.

Here, IT is a subject. Sure, it is pro forma, as it means nothing. But we all know there MUST be a subject in ANY English sentence.

IT IS may be followed by a noun phrase if we speak about time or distance.

It is Sunday today.

It is winter.

It is early morning now.

It is 30 miles from here to the nearest city.

IT IS may be also followed by an objective pronoun, a personal name:

It was him who told me about that.

It is Tom who has to do it.

Now, let’s consider THERE IS. It is a construction with the inverted word order, like in a question. IS/ARE is a predicate and is followed by a subject, i.e., a noun phrase. THERE is not a subject in such a sentence.

There is a strong wind outside.

Here, IS is a predicate, WIND is a subject.

So, THERE IS/ARE is always followed by a noun phrase:

There is a possibility of buying this house.

There are many people on the street.

There was no answer.

Sometimes, we can express the same mind using both constructions. It depends on the part of speech we are going to use:

It is cloudy today (adjective).

There are many clouds in the sky (noun).

It is unnecessary to meet me (adjective).

There is no need to meet me (noun).

As it is “a lesson”, you all can ask me your questions. And I’d like to believe that after reading it, you will easily do this exercise.

Insert IT or THERE.

  1. ___ is nowhere to go in this town.
  2. ___ is the end of January now.
  3. Is___ cheaper to travel by bus or by train?
  4. The colder ___ is, the worse she feels.
  5. Is ____ any excuse for me?
  6. ___ is nothing to say.
  7. ___ is her who is in charge of the office.
  8. Is ___ rainy today?
  9. Is ___ much rain in your area?
  10. ___ is too much for me.

There is no deadline for this test, just learn these easy rules!

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Hi! Here I am again with the next “portion” of the intermediate grammar as I am not satisfied with the results of my previous test. You all know what to do: you should find and correct all the mistakes in each sentence.

There you go!

  1. Letter brought before I left (3 mistakes).
  2. When I packed my stuff, somebody knocked at the door (2).
  3. He asked will I take part at the conference (3).
  4. She put aside the letter she wrote and started to think (3).
  5. There was the nice day for walk (3).
  6. I am interesting of history (2).
  7. When I came for the party, everybody left the table and danced (3).
  8. I, together with my wife go on vacation after a week (3).
  9. I asked how many classes will she teach the next day (2).
  10. I didn’t know I waited  my friend the day before (3).
  11. It was much puddles in the street (4).
  12. He felt himself best after he took medicine (3).
  13. I didn’t know he got sick and called off  meeting (2).
  14. I hardy might decide whose guilt was it (3).
  15. If you will go on make  same mistakes, I retire at EC!(5)!!!!!!!

The deadline for this test is February 6.

Have a great time and good luck!

February 6.

My friends, here are the correct sentences together with my explanations. If you still have any questions, don't hesitate to ask them, OK?

  1. The letter had been brought before I left (3 mistakes).
  2. When I was packing my stuff, somebody knocked on the door (2).
  3. He asked if I would/will take part in the conference (3).
  4. She put away/down the letter she was writing/had written and started thinking (3).
  5. It was a nice day for a walk/walking (3).
  6. I am interested in history (2).
  7. When I came to the party, everybody had left the table and was dancing (3).
  8. I, together with my wife am going for vacation in a week (2).
  9. I asked how many classes ___she taught the next day (2).
  10. I didn’t know I had been waited by my friend the day before (3).
  11. There were many puddles on the street (4).
  12. He felt __better after he had taken the/his medicine (3). Or He felt better after taking….
  13. I didn’t know he had got sick and called off the meeting (2).
  14. could hardy decide whose guilt it was (3).
  15. If you __go on doing the same mistakes, I will retire from EC!(5)!!!!!!!

Now, I will explain some mistakes.

1.It is the passive voice. One action preceded the other, so it is the past perfect tense.

2. I was in the process of packing, it is the past progressive tense. When we knock, we touch the door.

3. It is the reported question. There must be the direct word order. The idiom is TO TAKE PART IN.

4. When we hold something, we PUT it AWAY/DOWN or SET it ASIDE. About the tenses. I think while writing a letter she got some idea. So, she didn’t finish it and started thinking over that idea, maybe, what else to say or how to end the letter. But it is quite possible that she finished the letter and started thinking about something else. I’d like you to realize the difference. When you change the tense, you change the meaning of the sentence. START must be followed by a gerund.

5. I have already explained in the blog about IT IS and THERE IS.

6. It is the passive voice. If something interests us we say “I am interested in it”.

7. The guests had left the table before I came and were dancing when I entered.

8. In this sentence, the subject is “I”. So, the verb must be in the first person, singular. I am speaking about my plans for the nearest future, so, there must be the present progressive tense. When we say that we are leaving our place to spend a vacation somewhere else, we say “I am going for vacation”. But if we mean we did/going to something during a vacation, we say “On my vacation I was in Europe”.

9. This question was asked on some day in the past. Teachers teach classes on schedule and I have already explained that if we speak about the future action taking place on schedule, we use the simple present tense. In this case, we should use the past simple tense as we mean the future in the past.

10. It is quite clear that somebody waited for me and I didn’t know about that. So the next day I would say “I didn’t know I had been waited by my friend”. It is the passive voice.

11. I have already explained how to use THERE IS and IT IS and whatever you see on the ground is ON the street.

12. TO FEEL is an intransitive verb, it can’t be followed by any complement. And, of course, first, he took some medicine and then he started feeling better.

13. Somebody got sick and called off the meeting, but I didn’t know about it.

14. HARDLY must be inside a compound predicate. It is not a question or inversion. So, we need a direct word order at the end of the sentence.

15. We use the present tenses in the future conditional clause while we use the future tenses in the main clause. TO GO ON must be followed by a gerund. We always say THE SAME. We retire FROM our jobs.

Thank you all for being so active and curious! I will post one more intermediate test very soon.

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Well, well! It seems it was not a good idea to start this year with the test on advanced grammar! OK, your answers made me change my mind and propose you much easier test. Again, you should find and correct all the mistakes in each sentence. There may be more than one mistake in each sentence (their number is in the brackets). You can change the word order if it is wrong, add or delete articles, prepositions, change tenses, voices, but you shouldn't replace or add any other words.

Here is your task:

1. If you will not hurry, we miss the train (3 mistakes).

2. This house had built last year (2)

3. There is windy from the morning (3).

4. When the teacher gave an assignment he recalled that the Monday will be a holiday (3).

5.  He asked can I come the next day (2).

6. I, as well as my wife are the teachers (2).

7. I asked when will the train arrive (2).

8. He said when I had called him yesterday, he took shower (3).

9. She couldn't speak  word in English before she started to learn it (3).

10. It was anyone  home. Everyone left (4).

11. It was little people at the street (4).

12. In the past, he must worked hard to provide to him family (4).

13. I experience to teach (2).

14. He is tall like I (2).

15. If you will not be succeeded for this test, I will go grey for sure! (3).

The deadline is January 30.

After that, I will tell you the correct answers and explain all the mistakes.

January 28

Well, I will post the answers today as we both will be offlive for a few days.

Here are the correct sentences and my explanations.

1. If you do not hurry up, we will miss the train (3 mistakes).

2. This house was built last year (2)

3. It has been windy since the morning (3).

4. When the teacher had given/was giving an assignment he recalled that __Monday was a holiday (3).

5.  He asked if I would be able to come the next day (2).

6. I, as well as my wife am a teacher_ (2).

7. I asked when the train arrived/had arrived/arrives (2).

8. He said when I __ called him yesterday/the day before, he was taking a shower (3).

9. She hadn’t been able to speak a word in English before she started learning it (3).

10. There was nobody at home. Everybody had left (4).

11. There were few people on the street (4).

12. In the past, he had to work hard to provide for his family (4).

13. I am experienced in teaching (3).

14. He is as tall as me/I am (2).

15. If you do not succeed in this test, I will go grey for sure! (3).

Now, I will explain the mistakes.

  1. It is a real condition in the future. In such sentences we use the present tenses in the conditional clause and the future tenses in the main clause.
  2. The action took place in the past (last year). Besides, the house was constructed by workers. So, the verb must be in the past simple tense, the passive voice.
  3. FROM the morning is wrong, but it had to give you an idea what I meant: the wing has been blowing for some time. The verb must be in the present perfect progressive tense. Besides, we say IT IS WINDY.
  4. The first predicate can be either in the past perfect or past progressive tense as we can’t be sure WHEN the teacher recalled it. But all people know when holidays are. For example, we all know that January 1 is New Year every year. In this case we should use the simple tense.
  5. It is a general reported question. Such a question must start with IF/WHEATHER and there must be the DIRECT word order (no inversion). THE NEXT DAY tells us it was in the past. So, the verb in the subordinate clause must be in the future past tense. We don’t use CAN describing our ability to something in the future/future past. So, CAN/COULD has to be replaced by TO BE ABLE TO.
  6. In this sentence, the subject is I.
  7. It is a reported question, too. There must be the direct word order. Besides, trains arrive on schedule. In this case, we use the simple tenses meaning the train is/was going to arrive or the perfect tense meaning it had already arrived.
  8. Yesterday my friend was taking a shower. It is a process. While he was taking it, the phone rang.
  9. It could be yesterday or some day in the past (the day before).
  10. For example, when I came to that house, there was nobody. It means that all inhabitants had left before I came.
  11. PEOPLE is a countable plural noun. It must be WERE FEW PEOPLE. Besides, people, cars and all the rest on the ground (snow, puddles…) are ON the street.
  12. I meant it was NECESSARY for him to work hard and he worked. The correct verb is HAD TO. PROVIDE is followed by the preposition FOR.
  13. This sentence means that I have some experience in teaching. Using the passive voice, I can say am experienced in teaching. TO BE EXPERIENCED is followed by the gerund.
  14. If we want to say that two objects are the same, we use the comparison AS…AS.
  15.  It is the same as 1.

I will be glad to answer all your questions if you have any. I will go on posting the intermediate tests until you learn the basic grammar rules.

And I am reall happy you have participated  trying to improve your knowledge. Thank you, guys, but don't stop learning!

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Well, I am laughing while typing these lines! To join such words like DISTILLATION, FLEXIBILITY and FREELOADER in one verse is not an easy task. But I like to solve insoluble problems. So, here is my verse. Sure, it is funny and is not good at all, but I like ad-lib, so there you go!

Why not to write about distillation,

One of the greatest world inventions?

This word inspires me giving a chance

To write much more than a single stanza.

Its final product is the nectar,

A godlike pure fantastic drink

And, no doubts, its inventor

Must have been either god or shrink!

Freeloaders are always ready

To have it everywhere for free,

But free is only for a lady

Who makes believe that she agrees,

Agrees with my infamous nature,

My wild adventurous heart,

Whose flexibility allows her

To catch the ball before the bound.


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Hi, my friends! Our dear Onee-Chan asked me to post the blog “Find and correct the mistakes” as a continuation of Tanya’s and my previous blogs with the same title. For those who haven’t taken part in such tests before, I will give some explanations. Each of the given sentences contains one or more grammar mistakes. They may be articles, prepositions, tenses, participles, gerunds, wrong forms of a pronoun, modal auxiliaries, whatever. You should find and correct all of them. You shouldn’t change the vocabulary, it is correct, but you may change the word order if it is wrong.

Here are the sentences for you to correct:

  1. Neither my wife nor I go nowhere today.
  2. He climbed on the top of the tree to look on the covered by the snow forest.
  3. He got twice more scores on the test.
  4. The higher rose the plane, the coldest was there.
  5. Being discussed article had written few months ago.
  6. In the room the door was opened on the river.
  7. She don’t approve him drive so fast.
  8. He didn’t greet me and I thought he mustn’t notice me.
  9. If I thought, I will be misunderstood I would have made myself clearest.
  10. She denies that she fools by him.

The deadline is January 30. After you all are done, I will tell you the correct answers and explain all the mistakes.

January 28.

Well, my friends! I will tell you the correct answers today as both Tanya and I will be offline for a few days.

There you go!

  1. Neither my wife nor I am going anywhere today.
  2. He climbed up to the top of a tree to look at the forest covered with (the) snow.
  3. He got twice as many scores for the test.
  4. The higher the plane rose, the colder it was.
  5. The article being discussed was written a few months ago.
  6. In the room was a door opening to the river.
  7. She doesn’t approve of his driving so fast.
  8. He didn’t greet me and I thought he couldn’t have noticed me.
  9. If I had thought, I was going to be misunderstood I would have made myself clear(er).
  10. She denies being fooled by him.

Now, I will explain the mistakes.

1. If we speak about our plans for the nearest future, we use the present progressive tense. If NEITHER…NOR… used as a subject, a verb must be in the person of the last noun/pronoun. Neither…nor… is negative, so we must use ANYWHERE.

2. The top of a tree is ABOVE us. So, he climbed UP in the direction of the top (TO). We always  look  AT something. The participle phrase must follow the noun.

3. If we use some multiplier in a comparison, the construction must be: …AS many/much (AS)…

4. This comparison must be:

The + comparative adjective + subject+predicate

in both parts. Besides, we say “IT is cold”.

5. BEING DISCUSSED is a participle phrase that must be after a noun. Some months = a few months. And, of course, the predicate must be in the past simple tense, the passive voice.

6. If we start a sentence with the modifier of place, it must be immediately followed by the verb. It is called the inversion of a predicate. Besides, a door opens somewhere. It is the active voice. So, we need a participle in the present active form, i.e., OPENING.

7. The verb APPROVE must be followed by OF and a gerund. A pronoun/noun before the gerund must be in the possessive form.

8. If we want to say that most probably something happened in the past, we say:

It must have happened.

If we mean that most probably it didn’t happen, we say:

It couldn’t have happened.

9. It is the unreal condition in the past. In the conditional clause the verb must be in the subjunctive perfect form. If the action in the second subordinate clause relates to the future past, we use TO BE GOING TO as a predicate. Besides, there is the wrong form of an adjective at the end of the sentence.

10. The verb DENY must be  followed by a gerund. And, of course, in this sentence the gerund must be in the passive form.

I will be glad to answer all your questions on this test!

Thank you all! I hope you will go on taking part in our tests improving your grammar.

Read more…

Well, in this blog I will tell you about Participle II and how to use it.

The Participle is a part of speech combining the features of a verb and an adjective/adverb. In English there is Participle I and Participle II and their functions in a sentence are different. In my previous blog I told about Participle I.

Now, about Pariciple II. Contrary to Participle I used as a modifier of time or action, Pariciple II is used as an adjective, i.e., an attribute of a noun. 

It has the following forms:


The Active Voice

The Passive Voice



being seen




The present active and the past passive forms can be used before a noun:

I couldn’t go to sleep because of a crying baby (a baby who was crying).

stolen car hasn’t been found, yet. (A car that was stolen hasn’t been found)

The present passive form as well as two others followed by some words and called a participle phrase should be used after a noun:

The film showed on TV yesterday was great. (The film that was showed on TV yesterday was great)

The warmth being felt was coming from the heaters hidden in the walls. (The warmth that was being felt was coming from the heaters hidden in the walls).

I saw a boy eating an ice cream. (I saw a boy who was eating an ice cream).

I'd like to add we can't usually replace such participles with clauses. I have done it just to explain how to use them and what they mean.

So, I will ask you to write some short stories within 200 word limit using all forms of the patriciple. You can also write some separate sentences. It depends on your desire and fantasy.

I will be thankful for your posting the replies here, OK?

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My friends! We are back home after the long vacation in Ukraine and are ready to teach you a little again. Ha-ha!

Well, reading and correcting your stories on my last challenges, I noticed some of you have true problems using nonfinite verbs, especially in the passive form. So, I am planning to post a few blogs related to this part of grammar. I'd like to start with the Participle I. Last year, Tanya posted the blog where she explained how to use participles correctly. Here is the link:


However, I will try to explain it again.

The Participle I has the following forms:






being learned


having leaned

having been learned


In a sentence, the participle I is used as a modifier of time. In fact, it replaces a time clause. The perfect forms are used when the action defined by the participle preceded the action defined by the predicate. If both actions are simultaneous, we use the simple form:

Learning English, you should pay more attention to its grammar. (When you learn English...).

Having learned some grammar, the students started using it correctly (After the students had learned some grammar, they started...).

Being taught grammar, you shouldn't say you don't need it to speak good English (When you are taught grammar....)

Having been asked to use participles correctly, the students said, there was no need as they could replace them with the clauses (When the students had been asked to use .....).

Commenting my last example, I will say that using participles, you make your English sound much better, especially when you write or tell your stories.

So, I will ask you to write some short stories within 200 word limit using all four forms of the patriciple. You can also write some separate sentences. It depends on your desire and fantasy.

I will be thankful for your posting the replies here, OK?

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My Winter Fairy Tale

Well, I feel like writing my fairy tale  today as I am lucky to see a lot of snow, to feel severe frost and all winter magic at last! My tale is based on Ukrainian and European folklore as I have already been staying in Europe for about two weeks.

One morning at the end of December, Father Frost (Ukrainian/Russian Santa) woke up after his long sleep as he felt like going to die because of the high temperature.  He took a glass of icy drink to cool down and looked around. “There is still no snow or frost!” he exclaimed, “People need it to feel New Year spirit!”

He immediately asked his granddaughter, Snow Maiden, to wake up all snowflakes as it was their time to get down to work. Father Frost promised to keep the appropriate temperature for them to get down to the ground and cover it with the virgin white snow.

All snowflakes obeyed and started their way to the ground. They didn’t mind becoming parts of snowdrifts, snowballs, snowmen as they had always known they were destined to gladden people.

However, one of the snowflakes was such an imp, a mischievous child! She didn’t feel like being one of million, she wanted to be unique. And she asked her friend Boreas (god of the north wind), to take her to some special place. It took her rather long to see the place she wanted to lend. It was a nice, brightly illuminated house where lived one lonely chemist. He was a nice, polite, aged man who understood snowflake’s desire. She was so fragile and tiny… He wanted to give her a hug and a kiss when she lent on his palm. But he knew his kiss would kill her. So, he invented a special method to keep her always alive and put her on the top of his New Year tree. Since then, every New Year Eve he opens the box with the toys and Snowflake sparkles and smiles at him making him not feel lonely. She made him happy and he did make her feel unique.

I dedicate my tale to one of EC members, my lovely little imp.

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You may remember that I have asked you to prepare some tales while I am on vacation Some of you have already posted a few great tales. Here are the links:

http://www.myenglishclub.com/profiles/blogs/get-a-wife-sir-danny-s-... (Risty)

http://www.myenglishclub.com/profiles/blogs/clarine-the-water-sprite (Risty)

http://www.myenglishclub.com/profiles/blogs/danny-clark-s-challenge... (Luci)

http://www.myenglishclub.com/profiles/blogs/once-upon-a-time-4 (Rose)

http://www.myenglishclub.com/profiles/blogs/a-winter-fairy-tale-written-by-rose-with-asking-for-corrections (Rose)

http://www.myenglishclub.com/profiles/blogs/winter-fairy-tale-woodcutter-and-his-good-deeds?commentId=2524315%3AComment%3A5973499&xg_source=msg_com_blogpost  (Bet)

I hope, you will go on posting your fairy tales and I'd like to add that I realize how difficult it is for those who have never seen winter and don't know how romantic it is to write a good winter tale. So, Your tales don't have to be "winter" if you can't describe its beauty, but your tales MUST be fairy, magic and romantic.

If your stories are short enough (within 300 word limit), I will correct all mistakes. If they are longer, I will try to do the same, but not at once. Anyway, I will read and comment all of them ponting out to your principle mistakes if there any.

Looking forward to your great fairy tales!

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My dear friends! I haven't come up with any learning blogs for rather long, but today I am starting two new writng challenges. This one is dedicated to the rare uncommon words and some idioms we have guessed playing Jeopardy and Wheel. I have started such a discussion in my group, but unfortunately, it has remained unnoticed till now. I hope, you will pay more attention to this blog and take part in my challenge.

So, your task is the following. Read the list of the words and idioms with thier definitions and write a short story using a few of them (at least five). You can write any story you like. The only one limitation is its length: try to keep within 200-250 word limit). Please, post your stories in my blog so that everone could read  them and my corrections. I hope, I have made myself clear. If you have any questions or suggestions, I will be happy to reply.

Well, here is the list:


Uninhibited (adj). If you describe a person or their behavior as uninhibited, you mean that they express their opinions and feelings openly, and behave as they want to, without worrying what other people think.

EXIMIOUS (adj.).  It is not one of the words we usually use. It is of Latin origin and it rather means a famous, outstanding person. It is very close to EMINENT. On the other hand, we can use it describing some piece of art meaning it is unique, there is nothing else like that.

PROFLIGATE (adj.).  This word is mostly used to define a person who is reckless in wasting money or other sources. Besides, it defines a person, mostly a man, who is shamelessly immoral.

Equipoise (noun, verb). It is used to show even balancing, equal value and/or weight. 

Scrumptious (adj.). Speaking of food that is extremely appetizing or delicious.

Indefatigability (noun). This noun defines the human ability to suppress fatigue and to do without sleep or rest for long.

Obnoxious (adg.) It means extremely unpleasant.

SUPERCILIOUSNESS (noun). It is a kind of behavior when a person behaves, looks or speaks as though he were superior to others.

COMPUNCTION (noun). It is  feeling of guilt or moral scruple that prevents or follows the doing of something bad.

QUINQUENNIUM (noun). It is five year period.

SOLILOQUISE (the more regular spelling is "soliloquize")(verb) is a verb defining an action when a person talks to himself.

To gawk (verb) may mean some imprudent look, but may also be a synonym of STARE, i.e., looking intently.

Assessment (noun) is evaluation and/or estimation.

Embonpoint (noun) is plumpness or stoutness. This word is mostly used to describe the plump or fleshy part of a person's body, in particular a woman's bosom.


To catch the ball before the bound means to say or to do something ahead of time.

To have what it takes means to be able to act efficiently and effectively.

To be the in-thing means to be popular or/and fashionable at the time.

To be broke - to be out of money.

To make ends meet. If you find it difficult to make ends meet, you can only just manage financially because you hardly have enough money for the things you need.

To work out - to happen or develop in a particular way.

To be in the red - to have debts. In American it may also mean "to be unprofitable".

In the long run (British) - at last, in the end, finally, eventually.

Looking forward to reading your stories!

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My dear friends! I told you I came to Europe expecting at least some snow and frost here on New Year. I hoped to see Kiev like this (on the left), but when we arrived we saw such a misty, dull and unattractive landscape (on the right)! We were really disappointed, but then, we reminded ourselves of being the masters of our lives. It is not the weather that makes our mood, it is us who enjoy any weather!

So, we went on enjoying holidays in Kiev.  One day I saw hoarfrost outside and tried to take a few pictures.

They are not good although I tried to edit them.  So, I will show you a few picturesque places borrowing the pictures from the net.

Ukrainians like to celebrate different hoidays and New Year is the most desirable. In this picture you can see one of the most ancient places in Kiev.

It is the Cathedral of St. Sophia that it about 1000 years old. The square in front of the cathedral is a place for Christmas town and the main Ukrainian New Year Tree that is delivered here from the Carpathians.

The name of Ukrainian Santa is Father Frost. He is always accompanied by his granddaughter, Snow Maiden. They both are an integral part of the winter holidays. Ukrainian kids are eager to tell Father Frost their devout wishes for him to make them come true! This year I have noticed that Father Frost has got new assistants, elfs. Perhaps, our Santa lended Father Frost his elfs so that all Ukrainian kids could get their gifts! Hahaha!

Well, I'd also like to tell you about one special place in Kiev. Its official name is The Park Bridge, but all Kiev residents call it "The Lovers' Bridge". It is more than 100 years old and has its sad history. At the very end of the 19th century one young guy, a high school student, jumped off that bridge just onto the road due to one-way love. It was the first suicide in a long chain of self-murders in the name of love on that bridge. The last two took place on the same day in 2007 when a boy and a girl who hadn't known each other at all, commited two suicides there. I really wonder, why they chose such a great place to say their last "goodbye"! Anyway, despite such sad history, the bridge is one of the most romantic places in Kiev. To walk it, to kiss on it is just a tradition for those who are in love. Lovers leave locks on the bridge's fencing as a symbol of their unbreakable union and it so touching to see even aged couples walking on the bridge looking for their locks. There is our lock, too. I put it there many years ago and I become speechless when I think that after the Revolution of Dignity in 2014 when the Lovers' Bridge was burned down, it has been reconstructed by volunteers and all the locks have been put back.

What else to say? We are expecting severe frost at the end of the week and frosty Christmas (that is celebrated on January 7 here) is supposed to compensate melting New Year! The winter holidays are going on in Ukraine! If the temperature falls below -20 C and it is impossible to start a car engine or just to go out as even breath freezes, we will still have a comfortable place to stay with a nice tree, our new friend, Teddy Bear (one of Tanya's gifts) and my true feeling that is able to melt even The Snowqueen's heart!


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