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Keep in touch with us and learn new English words and idioms through our newsletter. Every month Alan Townend will send you a short essay on a particular topic such as advertising or money. The texts contain a lot of expressions and idioms related to the theme in question. With our newsletter you can both learn and smile as Alan writes his texts in a unique and humorous style. Explore the English language in a very amusing but informative manner and see just what fun learning can be. If you are concerned about the privacy of your email address, you can browse through the back issues of our newsletter before you sign up for it. Still got questions? Contact us on our forum. See you soon.
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Newsletter May 26 - 2006FREE email English course
Dear Friend,

On May 8th 1962 a musical called «A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum» opened on Broadway, written by that wonderful American musician and lyricist, Stephen Sondheim. If you ever want to hear English in all its varieties and nuances and music with infectious rhythms, go and watch a Sondheim musical and you'll come away with your head reeling with delightful phrases and memorable songs. The play is a comedy and is based on a work by the ancient Roman playwright, Plautus.

Entertaining English Usage EssaysPrintable, photocopiable and clearly structured format
Designed for teachers and individual learners
For use in a classroom, at home, on your PC or anywhere

The Forum of course was the main centre for discussion and the place where laws were passed in ancient Rome and the building within the forum where the Emperor presided was called the Senate. It was here that the great dictator, Julius Caesar was stabbed to death. The expression that someone has «got their knife in you» means they don't like you because of what you have done or said. They don't go and stab you of course because this is only a figurative expression. Caesar's wife warned him not to go that day because she had suspected that there was trouble. But of course I mustn't start giving a history lesson. I just wanted to mention the word «forum» and explain that the word has now come to mean anywhere that discussion takes place in. And in a way it's an unashamed «plug» (a sort of promotional advertisement) for where we in www.english-test.net have our discussions.

We have several forums among which are: «English Teacher Explanations» — «English Vocabulary and Idioms» — and one that I've just created (so excuse me for «blowing my own trumpet» — talking about myself) called: «General English grammar questions» (EFL/ESL) in which I have picked up some recent questions asked on the forum and explained them further in short anecdotes. Anyone (oh and I've used that particular pronoun because that's one of the words I've incorporated in a story. Here's a «snippet» (a small bit) from the story — «The ONE thing that the boss couldn't stand was a hint of dishonesty. SOME people believed if you closed a deal by whatever means, then that was acceptable. OTHERS thought that you should always be ethical and play according to the rules. And that's what the boss, Andrew thought.

He realised that OTHER people thought he was too traditional and believed he should see the OTHER person's point of view. But Andrew wasn't having ANY of that. If you didn't like his way of working, you could do the OTHER thing and in his mind without ANY doubt that meant you had to leave.

And then ONE fine day Andrew was faced with a challenge. ONE of his newly recruited staff had just clinched an amazing deal and she did this all on her own, without ANY help from ANYONE. He had always wanted someone to do something like this ...» Now if you want to read the rest of the story, just log on to that forum. I'll let you into a secret — it has a happy ending.

Now back to what I was on about — anyone can join in the comments or discussions on our forum. You may want to know why a particular word was chosen in a test, you may want to ask for an explanation of a phrase or an expression you've come across. If you really want «to let your hair down» (be totally relaxed or informal) then start a topic or as we say a new «thread» (a line of discussion) and make your comment in the forum called: «What do you want to talk about?» Say what you like because we «won't turn a hair» (won't mind in the least). And if someone says something you don't like, «keep your hair on» (remain calm).

There, that's enough propaganda for the site for the moment. We look forward to hearing from you. And by the way things have changed a bit since the days of Julius Caesar. On our forum there are no knives. You'll be perfectly safe!

Alan Townend


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