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Friday the 31st of October, 2003
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A SPECIAL HALLOWEEN DAILY VITAMIN

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Good morning everybody. Happy Halloween!

Today's Daily Vitamin, like yesterday's, is a bit different.

It includes:
1) An expression with a Halloween-related word (skeleton).
2) A brief history of Halloween and some informative Internet links with more information.

1. TODAY'S HALLOWEEN EXPRESSION is:

To have a skeleton in your cupboard (United States:To have a skeleton in your closet).

Meaning: A skeleton in the cupboard is an embarrassing secret about your past that you don't want anyone to know about.

Example 1:
If you want to be a successful politician you can't have too many skeletons in your cupboard.

Example 2:
After just 6 months of marriage, Lisa and Bob got a divorce. Apparently, Bob had quite a few skeletons in his cupboard.

2. THE HISTORY OF HALLOWEEN

Halloween (also spelled Hallowe'en, especially in UK English) is generally considered to be a typical 'U.S. Holiday.' However, its origins are European.

There is lots of disagreement as to the exact origin of Halloween, but most believe that the modern celebration of Halloween is a VERY distant descendant of the ancient Celtic fire festival called Samhain (pronounced 'sow-in'). It was the biggest and most significant holiday of the Celtic year. The Celts (pronounced 'Kelts') lived more than 2,000 years ago in what is now Great Britain, Ireland, and France. Their new year began on November 1.

Here is a website that you can visit for more information about the history of Halloween:

The history of Halloween

For more websites, simply type 'Halloween' in a search engine like Google and you will get millions of options.

Have a good weekend!


Thursday the 30th of October, 2003
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NUMBERS AND DECIMAL POINTS IN ENGLISH

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Good morning everybody!

Today the Daily Vitamin is a little different. I hope you enjoy it.

Today's topic is: Numbers and decimal points in English and how their use differs from numbers and decimal points in Catalan and Spanish.

Explanation: Remember that in English the commas and the decimal points with numbers are used in exactly the opposite way as in Spanish and Catalan. One thousand three hundred dollars would be written like this:

$1,300

Tres coma cinc/Tres coma cinco would be written like this:

3.5 (Three point five)

You should also remember that any numbers to the right of a decimal point are pronounced individually and not together. So 1.456 is pronounced one point four five six and NOT one point four hundred and fifty-six.

Practice 1:
What are the equivalent English numbers for the following Spanish/Catalan numbers? (To see the answers put your cursor over the number.)

1) 3.452.987,02
2) 1,568
3) 0,04

Practice 2:
How would you say the English equivalents of the above numbers?

Answer 1 (put cursor here)
Answer 2 (put cursor here)
Answer 3 (put cursor here)

Have a great day!


Wednesday the 29th of October, 2003
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TO GET THE HANG OF SOMETHING

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Good morning!

Today's expression is quite colloquial: to get the hang of something.

It means: To learn how to do or use something over time.

Example 1:
After weeks of practice, I'm finally getting the hang of driving.

Example 2:
If you practice your English pronunciation regularly, eventually you'll get the hang of it and you will begin to sound more like a native.

Have a nice day.


Tuesday the 28th of October, 2003
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FALSE FRIEND: TO REALISE

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Good morning!

Today's word is a very useful verb: to realise (esp.= darse cuenta de / cat.= adonar-se)

Meaning: To begin to understand something that you did not know or notice before.

Example 1:
When I converted the price from Euros to pesetas, I realised how expensive it was.

Example 2:
I've just realised how much I miss him.

Enjoy the rest of your day.


Monday the 27th of October, 2003
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BODY EXPRESSIONS: BEHIND SOMEBODY'S BACK

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Good morning! I hope you had a relaxing weekend.

Today's expression is: behind somebody's back

Meaning: If you do something behind someone's back, you do it without them knowing, in a way which is unfair.

Example 1:
I don't want to talk about it behind his back, since I consider him to be a friend and would prefer to discuss it with him present.

Example 2:
She was accused of going behind her colleagues' backs to talk to management.

Enjoy your day.