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rush; haste; urgency
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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 - 2005FREE email English course
Dear Friend,

If you were rich and had plenty of time on your hands, you could in the 19th century sit and write letters all day and «furthermore» (and in addition) there would be someone standing by in your household who could «deliver» (take round) the letters for you. Of course you not only wrote «elegant» (attractive) comments but you also used your best «copperplate» (as in a manuscript) handwriting.

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Although nowadays the comments we write to each other may not be so «flowery» (pretty) and the handwriting is neither here nor there, we also have a similar type of instant communication and we call it «email». So far we don't have to pay for it and at the same time we don't have to wait around for a «dedicated» (special) messenger to run around delivering our emails. We simply press a button. How «envious» (jealous) those fashionable ladies and gentlemen of a hundred and more years ago would be if they knew about the Internet.

Come to think of it when this site first came into being, Torsten and I were often in daily contact via email — sometimes even more than once a day. I would write a test and Torsten would reply that he had accepted it and then it would be passed to Slava, our Webmaster and very quickly or as we say, «before you could say Jack Robinson», it would appear on the site ready for use. Now that we have known each other for a few years, probably our use of language has become more «informal» (relaxed) than it was when we first got to know each other. «Nevertheless» (at the same time) there still remains a «fundamental» (basic) difference between the spoken and the written language. You may have noticed this yourself if you have ever been asked to make a speech at an «occasion» (event) like a wedding for example where the «tone» (style) of your speech has to be «light-hearted» (amusing). Nothing is worse than someone reading a so-called funny speech and following the text word for word. It's fine to have a few notes available but «laboriously» (with great effort) to read every single word out aloud and expect it to sound as amusing as you think it is, can lead to «disaster» (a very bad situation). You have to know that you are actually speaking to live people.

When I sit down and write this letter, I have a picture of someone who might be reading it but I don't know whether they're laughing, crying, falling asleep or even «yawning» (what you do if you can't stay awake). In most cases it is clear that whatever and whenever you write something, you have to make it as clear as possible. That's why I have this habit of writing explanations in brackets ( ). Please forgive me if you do know the word but remember someone doesn't so at least they will be happy, I hope. I must just use another word and that is «waffle», which means go on and on without getting to the point. And at the moment I'm afraid that's what I am doing so let me explain.

On one of our forums this week a user suggested we had a sort of writing workshop where you could send in a piece of written work for other users to correct/comment on/suggest improvements to or whatever and possibly if there is a problem, either Torsten or I could help. With this in mind I wrote a short piece of about 200 words (which seems to be the sort of right length) that has an introduction, a middle and a conclusion and it's called «My first day in a new job». You can see what I wrote at the end of the letter. What we want to know is whether you would be interested in the idea. If the «response» (reaction) is good, then we'll set up a forum for that purpose. There is a forum called: «What do you want to talk about?» And that's the one to write to if you're interested. So as we usually say at the end of a letter — Look forward to hearing from you.

Alan Townend

P.S. My first day in a new job
It had been a very difficult interview but somehow the company had decided that I was the best person for the job. As my first day got nearer, I became more and more nervous but trying to look confident I reported for duty at 8.30 in the morning as the new sales assistant. A very serious looking manager showed me round the store and introduced me to the other members of staff in the computer department, where I had to work. The first morning was very quiet but later that afternoon it became busy and I had to deal with a very bad tempered customer who kept asking me to show him different pieces of equipment and in the end he decided that he didn't want any of them and left the shop. My boss congratulated me on the way I had handled the situation. By now I was feeling very tired and must admit I kept looking at the clock. At last at six o'clock they turned off the main lights and slowly the shop started to empty. I could now relax and look forward to a nice little holiday of two days. You see my first day fortunately was on a Friday.

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