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Wednesday the 29th of February, 2012
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Good morning.

Today is February 29th, which, as you know, is not a common day!

What is a leap year?

2012 is called a leap year in English because it contains 366 days instead of the usual 365 days. February 29th is a leap day. Leap years only occur every 4 years. Normally, the earth takes approximately 365 days to orbit around the sun, but this number is approximate. In order to compensate, an extra day is added to the calendar every four years, the leap day (February 29th).

A leap year can also be called an intercalary year because an extra day is intercalated in the calendar. The western world follows the Gregorian calendar but many other calendars also have intercalary days or months, such as the Hebrew or the Chinese calendars.

The years between leap years (with 365 days or 28 days in February) are called common years.

Were you born on February 29th?

People who are born on February 29th may be called leaplings. They can celebrate their birthday on February 29th if it is a leap year but if it is a common year, they must choose to celebrate on February 28th or March 1st.

A Leap Year Folk Tradition

According to, in the British Isles, a woman may only propose marriage on leap years. Tradition said that if the woman was refused, she should be compensated with anything from a kiss to a silk gown. Denmark and Finland have similar traditional folk beliefs. In Denmark, if a woman's proposal was refused, she had to be compensated with 12 pairs of gloves!

Have a great leap day and I'll see you tomorrow, when we will finish our series about the word LEAP.


Tuesday the 28th of February, 2012
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Good morning again. Today we are going to look at a couple of phrasal verbs with the word LEAP.

Today's 1st phrasal verb with LEAP is: to leap out

Meaning: to describe something that stands out or is conspicuous in some way. This verb is often used to describe things that are written.

Example 1:
Those red letters really leap out of the page, don't they? I'm sure everybody will notice that sentence!

Example 2:
The green and pink outfit that she's wearing really leaps out of the crowd, but I have to say that I wouldn't wear it. It doesn't fit my taste.

Today's 2nd phrasal verb with LEAP is: to leap at

Meaning: to accept an offer in an eager or excited way

Example 2:
When Tony was offered the position of head technician, he leapt at it.

Example 4:
They've dropped the selling price by 30%. If I were you, I'd leap at it before someone else makes an offer on the house.

If you have any doubts related to today's lesson, please post a question in the Daily Vitamin section on our website.

Tomorrow is a special day for the word LEAP, so make sure you don't miss it!

Monday the 27th of February, 2012
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Good morning everyone. I hope you had a good weekend.

This week we are going look at meanings of and expressions with the English word LEAP. It is a synonym of the word JUMP, which we studied during the week of September 19th, 2011, but there are some differences. As we shall see this week, LEAP is even the name of a very special date!

To start off, today we will explain the basic meanings of LEAP and give some examples.

Meaning 1 of LEAP: to jump a long way or to jump across something.

Watch how the dancers leap gracefully across the stage.

Example 2
I'll give you five pounds if you can leap across that stream without falling in.

Meaning 2 of LEAP: to move quickly and suddenly; to make a sudden movement because of surprise, fear or excitement.

Example 3:
I leapt* out of the way when I saw the bicycle coming towards me.

Example 4:
The game is simple. You have to leap aside before the rope touches your feet.

Meaning 3 of LEAP: to increase dramatically

Example 5:
Inflation leapt by 15% when the new currency was brought in.

Example 6:
The birth rate is predicted to leap by 20% in the next 5 years.

*NOTE: You can say leapt or leaped as the past simple and past participle forms of to leap.

If you have any questions about today's lesson, please post your comments after this lesson in the Daily Vitamin section on our website.

Have a great day and I'll see you tomorrow.

Friday the 24th of February, 2012
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Good morning.

La semana pasada estudiamos la palabra conceited como traducción del adjetivo PRESUMIDO. Dijimos que conceited era una palabra negativa. Sin embargo, en castellano a veces PRESUMIDO no tiene connotaciones negativas. Considera las siguientes frases que nos envió un lector de la Daily Vitamin.

1) Luisa es muy presumida; nunca la verás mal arreglada.
2) Me encantan los collares, las pulseras... es que no puedo evitar ser tan presumida.

Si traducimos estas frases al inglés con el adjetivo conceited para PRESUMIDO, cambiamos el significado de las frases y parece que el locutor se está autocriticando; Conceited, en otras palabras, suele significar CREÍDO/A.

A continuación incluimos una traducción posible de las frases mencionadas arriba.

Example 1:
Luisa is very elegant; you'll never see her badly dressed.

Example 2:
I love necklaces, bracelets... I just can't help being flamboyant.

Por supuesto, la traducción "exacta" es cuestión de interpretación. En mi humilde opinión, la persona que dice la segunda frase en castellano sí suena un poco conceited. (Sin embargo, recuerda que no soy nativo de castellano.) A veces una traducción exacta no es posible.

Si tienes alguna pregunta sobre el contenido de la Essential Weekly Vitamin de hoy, por favor pon un comentario en la sección de la Daily Vitamin en nuestra web, clicando en el botón "Add a Comment".

I hope you have a nice day and a great weekend!

Thursday the 23rd of February, 2012
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Good morning.

Today we will explain our last expression of the week related to the word DRAW.

Today's expression is: to draw a blank

Meaning: we use this phrase when we want to recall a memory, like the name of something or a word, and we are unable to do it at that moment. We can combine this phrase with words like total or complete for emphasis: to draw a total blank or to draw a complete blank

Example 1:
Walter: Why didn't you introduce me to that guy you were speaking to?
Andrea: You know, it's so embarrassing but I drew a complete blank on his name. I didn't mean to be rude and I sure hope he didn't notice. I am so bad at remembering names!

Example 2:
There is a really good book on that subject. I'd recommend it to you but right now I'm drawing a blank on the name and author. When I get home, I'll look it up and send you the title.

Example 3:
Laney hates it when the teacher calls on her in class. She always draws a total blank even if she knew the answer two seconds previously.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions about today's Daily Vitamin, you can post a comment in the Daily Vitamin section on our website. Remember that tomorrow we will post the Essential Daily Vitamin in Spanish.

Have a great day!