martes, 27 de octubre de 2015


Ancient Origins of Halloween

Halloween's origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in).
The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.
To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities.
During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other's fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.
By A.D. 43, Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain.
The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of "bobbing" for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.
By the 800s, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saints' Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It is widely believed today that the pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints' Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween. Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2 All Souls' Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints', All Saints', and All Souls', were called Hallowmas.


miércoles, 21 de octubre de 2015





Possessive ’s. From

We use apostrophe s (’s), also called possessive ’s, as a determiner to show that something belongs to someone or something:
Is that Olivia’s bag?
Britain’s coastline is very beautiful.
We can also use it in complex noun phrases (underlined):
Greg is her youngest daughter’s husband.
We can use two possessive ’s constructions in the same noun phrase:
We went to Jake’s father’s funeral.
We also use possessive ’s to talk about time and duration:
Is that yesterday’s paper?
I’ve only had one week’s holiday so far this year.

Rules for using possessive ’s

We use ’s after a singular noun and after a plural noun.
singular noun + ’s
plural noun + ’
The girl’s bedroom
(The bedroom belongs to one girl.)
The girls’ bedroom.
(The bedroom belongs to more than one girl.)
We use ’s with irregular plural nouns (e.g. children, men, people, women):
The children’s parents decided which university they would go to.
They have no respect for other people’s property.
The rules for the pronunciation of a noun with ’s are the same as the rules for pronunciation of plural forms of nouns.
noun + ’s or
plural noun
The cat’s dinner is in the fridge.
The cats were running around the garden.
The kids’ uncle gave them all some money.
The kids are getting impatient.
George’s brother was there.
There are three Georges in my family.
When a first or second name ends in -s, we can either add or ’s. It is more common to use than ’s. When we speak, we usually pronounce the final part of the word as /zɪz/ or /sɪz/:
Is that James car? (or Is that James’s car?) (both usually pronounced /ˈdʒeɪmzɪz/)
I love Keats’ poetry. (or I love Keats’s poetry.) (both usually pronounced /ˈki:tsɪz/)
With compound nouns, we add ’s to the final noun:
My sister-in-law’s friend came with us.
Not: My sister’s-in-law friend
We don’t usually use the possessive ’s with things:
the door handle
Not: the door’s handle
the shop window
Not: the shop’s window
the kitchen table
Not: the kitchen’s table
Spoken English:
When we talk about places which are familiar to the speaker and the listener, we sometimes don’t use the noun after possessive ’s:
the hairdresser’s salon – the hairdresser’s
the doctor’s surgery – the doctor’s
We had to take our cat to the vet’s twice last month. (the same as: We had to take our cat to the vet’s clinic twice last month.)
Do you shop in Marks and Spencer’s?
We decided to go to John’s after the cinema. (the same as: We decided to go to John’s house after the cinema.)
In short answers, we can omit the noun if it is not necessary to repeat it:
Is that your coat?
No, it’s Sandra’s.
We use possessive ’s with words such as one, anyone, someone, anybody, somebody:
It’s important to know one’s rights as a tenant.
Is this someone’s coat here?
When we use else with these words, the ’s is added to else:
Why didn’t you come? Everyone else’s husband was there.
The pronoun other has the same forms as nouns. We add ’s to the singular form, and we add an apostrophe after the plural -s ending in the plural form:
They took each other’s hand and started walking.
All of our luggage arrived but the others’ cases didn’t. The airline promise they will be here this evening.
We don’t use ’s with possessive pronouns:
Is that dog yours?
Not: Is that dog your’s?
I think that car is theirs.
Not: I think that car is theirs’
We don’t use ’s with the possessive determiner its. It’s means ‘it is’:
The city is proud of its parks.
Not: The city is proud of it’s parks.

Possessives with of

Noun phrase + of + possessive pronoun

We can talk about possession using the pattern: noun phrase + of + possessive pronoun:
A friend of mine told me that all of the tickets have already sold out.
Where’s Martin?
He’s gone to pick up a cousin of his at the station.
Is Linda McGrath a close friend of yours?
We use a possessive pronoun, not the object form of the pronoun:
A neighbour of mine called late last night.
Not: A neighbour of me

Noun phrase + of + possessive ’s noun phrase

We can also use the noun phrase + of pattern before a noun phrase with possessive ’s:
He’s a brother of Maria’s.
A friend of my sister’s has opened a café on Dawson Street.
She was a daughter of the President’s.

’s or of or either?

There are some general rules about when to use ’s and when to use of but there are many cases where both are possible:
The film’s hero or The hero of the film
The car’s safety record or The safety record of the car
The report’s conclusion or The conclusion of the report
Sometimes when we first mention a noun, we use of, and later when we refer to it again, we use ’s:
The mountains of Pakistan are mostly in the north. At least one hundred of them are above 7,000 metres … Most of Pakistan’s mountains are in the spectacular Karakoram range.

When we don’t use ’s

We don’t use ’s when the noun is not a person, animal, country, organisation, etc., or when the noun phrase is very long:
The name of the ship was ‘Wonder Queen’. (preferred to The ship’s name was ‘Wonder Queen’.)
The house of the oldest woman in the village. (preferred to The oldest woman in the village’s house.)

When we don’t use of

When we are talking about things that belong to us, relationships and characteristics of people, animals, countries, categories, groups or organisations made up of people, we usually use ’s:
The men’s dressing room is on the left at the end of the corridor.
Not: The dressing room of the men
The cat’s paw was badly cut.
Not: The paw of the cat

Possession: typical errors

  • We don’t use ’s with plural nouns:
It’s my responsibility to deal with customers’ complaints.
Not: … to deal with customer’s complaints.
  • The possessive determiner its has no apostrophe:
We bought this car because we liked its colour.
Not: … because we liked it’s colour.
  • We don’t use ’s to make nouns plural. When we want to show that something is plural, we add -s without an apostrophe:
They had to rebuild the roads after the earthquake.
Not: They had to rebuild the road’s

martes, 13 de octubre de 2015




The simple present tense is often confused with the present continuous tense. This page will explain when to use each one.

1. The simple present tense

The simple present tense is used for two main types of action:
Habits Actions which happen regularly (for example, every day or every week)
States Things which do not often change (for example, opinions and conditions)
Some examples will help to make this clearer:
Type of action Examples Explanations
Habit Young-Mi goes to class every day. “Every day” is a habit.
It rains a lot in Vancouver. This means that it rains often.
Santos always talks about his family. “Always” means this is a habit.
Jerry spends Christmas with his parents. This implies that he spends Christmas with his parents every year.
State Bianca lives in Florida. This is a state, because it doesn't change.
Jean-Paul has red hair. Someone's hair colour doesn't usually change.
Martin likes chocolate. When we like something, usually we will always like it.
Anna believes in God. Beliefs and opinions are states. They don't often change.

2. The present continuous tense

The present continuous tense is used for two main types of action:
A temporary action happening now Something which is going on right now (but it will stop in the future)
A definite plan for the future Something we intend to do, usually in the near future
Here are some examples:
Type of action Examples Explanations
Temporary action happening right now John is winning the game. Right now, John is winning, but the game isn't finished yet.
It's raining outside. It's raining right now (but it may stop soon).
Soraya's working in the library. She's working there right now.
Sihol is spending Christmas with his family. He's spending Christmas with his family right now, this year. (Maybe next year he won't.)
Definite plan for the future I'm playing soccer tomorrow. This plan is already arranged and definite.
Sarah's leaving for San Francisco on Friday. She has probably already bought her ticket.
The Olympics are taking place here next year. This is already certain.
I'm having a party next week. All the plans have been made.  

jueves, 8 de octubre de 2015


Types of Papers: Narrative/Descriptive (FROM ROANE STATE EDU)

To write a narrative essay, you’ll need to tell a story (usually about something that happened to you) in such a way that he audience learns a lesson or gains insight.
To write a descriptive essay, you’ll need to describe a person, object, or event so vividly that the reader feels like he/she could reach out and touch it.
Tips for writing effective narrative and descriptive essays:
  • Tell a story about a moment or event that means a lot to you--it will make it easier for you to tell the story in an interesting way!
  • Get right to the action!  Avoid long introductions and lengthy descriptions--especially at the beginning of your narrative.
  • Make sure your story has a point! Describe what you learned from this experience.
  • Use all five of your senses to describe the setting, characters, and the plot of your story. Don't be afraid to tell the story in your own voice.  Nobody wants to read a story that sounds like a textbook!

How to Write Vivid Descriptions

Having trouble describing a person, object, or event for your narrative or descriptive essay?  Try filling out this chart:
What do you smell? What do you taste? What do you see? What do you hear? What might you touch or feel?
Remember:  Avoid simply telling us what something looks like--tell us how it tastes, smells, sounds, or feels!
Consider this…
  • Virginia rain smells different from a California drizzle.
  • A mountain breeze feels different from a sea breeze.
  • We hear different things in one spot, depending on the time of day.
  • You can “taste” things you’ve never eaten: how would sunscreen taste?

Using Concrete Details for Narratives

Effective narrative essays allow readers to visualize everything that's happening, in their minds.  One way to make sure that this occurs is to use concrete, rather than abstract, details. 
Concrete Language Abstract Language
…makes the story or image seem clearer and more real to us. ...makes the story or image difficult to visualize.
…gives us information that we can easily grasp and perhaps empathize with. …leaves your reader feeling empty, disconnected, and possibly confused.
The word “abstract” might remind you of modern art.  An abstract painting, for example, does not normally contain recognizable objects.  In other words, we can't look at the painting and immediately say "that's a house" or "that's a bowl of fruit."  To the untrained eye, abstract art looks a bit like a child's finger-painting--just brightly colored splotches on a canvas. Avoid abstract language—it won’t help the reader understand what you're trying to say!
Abstract:  It was a nice day.  Concrete:  The sun was shining and a slight breeze blew across my face. 
Abstract:  I liked writing poems, not essays.  Concrete:  I liked writing short, rhythmic poems and hated rambling on about my thoughts in those four-page essays. 
Abstract:  Mr. Smith was a great teacher. Concrete:  Mr. Smith really knew how to help us turn our thoughts into good stories and essays.

Sample Papers - Narration

Sample Papers - Descriptive

jueves, 1 de octubre de 2015