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Friday the 30th of January, 2009
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FALSE FRIEND: SENSIBLE

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Good morning.

En la Essential Weekly Vitamin de hoy, comentaremos otro false friend.

Today's word is: sensible
(La palabra de hoy es: sensato)

It means: reasonable and practical.
(Significa: razonable y práctico.)

Example 1:
We are looking for someone sensible for the job; someone who can think for themself and work without direct guidance.
(Estamos buscando a alguien sensato para el puesto; alguien que pueda pensar por si mismo y trabajar sin orientación directa.)

Example 2:
Usually you are a sensible person, but today you are very difficult to work with; you are asking us to do things that you yourself would never do.
(Normalmente eres una persona sensata, pero hoy es muy difícil trabajar contigo; nos estás pidiendo cosas que tú mismo no harías.)

REMEMBER!
Sensible es un false friend. En español/catalán significa 'sensato/assenyat' y NO 'sensible'.

La semana que viene repasaremos otro false friend (sensitive = sensible).

I hope you have a great day and a relaxing weekend.



Thursday the 29th of January, 2009
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BRUSH YOUR TEETH

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Good morning.

Today's expression is: To brush your teeth

Meaning: to clean your teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste and water.

Example 1:
David. Can you please brush your teeth before going to bed?

I've included this expression today because it's very common for Spanish and Catalan speakers to translate lavar los dientes/rentar els dents directly to English as wash your teeth. Although this is possible, it is more common in most dialects to use brush your teeth.  

If you have any questions about today's Daily Vitamin, please post them in the Daily Vitamin Plus! forum section on our website (www.ziggurat.es).

Remember that tomorrow we will send the Essential Weekly Vitamin for Spanish-speaking students of English.

I hope you have a good day.



Wednesday the 28th of January, 2009
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CAN'T GET YOUR HEAD ROUND SOMETHING

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Good morning.

Today's expression is: Can't get your hear round something (informal)

Meaning: If you say that you can't get your head round something, you mean that you cannot understand it

This expression is especially popular in UK English. People in the US can't get their head round it, so they don't use it very often. ;-)

Example 1:
I just can't get my head round these documents. They're so complicated!

If there is something you can't get your head round in today's Daily Vitamin, please ask for clarification in the Daily Vitamin Plus! forum section on our website (www.ziggurat.es).

I hope you have a great day.



Tuesday the 27th of January, 2009
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ACCOUNTING

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Good morning everyone.

It is quite common for Spanish- and Catalan-speaking students to experience confusion with the English words accounting and accountancy (= contabilidad/contabilitat in Spanish and Catalan, respectively). Many use incorrect words such as accountability (=responsibility) or countability (=the quality of being countable).

Today's words are: accounting and accountancy 

Meaning: According to a definition from Wiktionary, accounting is "the development and use of a system for recording and analyzing the financial transactions and financial status of a business or other organization." In other words, it is the work or profession of an accountant.

Example 1
With some very creative accounting, the company managed to record earnings for two years when in reality it was losing money.

NOTE: Technically, accountancy is the profession and accounting is the methodology (the actual activity of preparing the books); that is, if I am an accountant I work in accountancy and do the accounting. However, in many dialects these words are often used interchangeably and the difference is not clear.

Example 2:
Alice: What do you do?
Jack: I'm an accountant...I work in accounting.

OR

Alice: What do you do?
Jack: I'm an accountant...I work in
accountancy.

If you have any questions about today's Daily Vitamin, please post them in the Daily Vitamin Plus! forum section on our website (www.ziggurat.es).

Enjoy the rest of your day.



Monday the 26th of January, 2009
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GOOD FOR HIM

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Good morning. I hope everyone had a good weekend.

Today we answer another question from one of our readers, this time Miriam Mensa. Here is her question that she sent us some time ago.

Hola! Vuelvo a ser Miriam, y esta vez nos hemos apostado con mi padre lo siguiente: la expresión irónica de "pues bien por él / suerte para él / ..." en inglés, ¿cómo es? Good for him? o Luck for him? Gracias!! (Miriam Mensa)

First of all, this expression, I think, in both English and Spanish can be used ironically or seriously. It depends on the context and the tone of our voice.

Today's expression is: Good for you / somebody / them, etc.

Meaning: used to praise somebody for doing something well.

Example 1:
David: I passed the exam the first time!
Matthew: Good for you! Well done!

Example 2:
Barack: I was elected President of the United States!
Michelle: Good for you honey. Let's go out for dinner tonight and celebrate! I'll call the babysitter.

With the word luck, we can say "lucky you" or "lucky him". Again, they are not necessarily ironic.

I hope this answers your question Miriam.

If anyone has any questions about today's Daily Vitamin, please post them in the Daily Vitamin Plus! forum section on our website (www.ziggurat.es).

I hope you have a good week.