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New Year Resolutions - a poem
I have a poem for you today. It is called New Year Resolution, and it is by Edrey Allott. She does not tell us what her New Year resolution is. She just says that she knows that she should have done it a long time ago, but this year she really will.
Oh I could’ve, I would’ve, I should’ve,
Yes I should’ve
Done this or that
But no, I didn’t,
I’m sorry, I didn’t.
I left it flat
But don’t despair,
I’m nearly there,
You virtuous chaps.
This year I’ll do it,
I’ll really do it.
In spoken English, we often shorten auxiliary or “helper” verbs. For example, instead of saying “did not” we often say “didn’t”. When we write words that we have shortened, we write an apostrophe ( ’ ) to show that we have left some letters out. There are lots of examples of this in the poem.
Could’ve is short for could have.
And would’ve and should’ve are of course short for would have and should have.
Didn’t means did not.
Don’t means do not.
And I’m means I am, and I’ll means I will.
In the sixth line of the poem, “I left it flat” means “I left it (the thing she wanted to do) and did not do anything about it”. “I left it flat” is not really a normal English expression – but I think the writer needed to find something to rhyme with “that” in the third line!
Sometimes, when we talk about something which we think has happened, or which we think will happen, we use the expression “it looks like….”
There are dark clouds in the sky. You think that it will soon start to rain. What do you say?
I think it is going to rain.
It is probably going to rain.
It looks like it is going to rain.
Kevin cannot find his car keys. He searches the house for them. Perhaps he left them at George’s house. What does Kevin say?
I think I left my keys at George’s house.
Probably I left my keys at George’s house.
It looks like I left my keys at George’s house.
Sarah invites Joanne and Kevin to a party. She tells Joanne about the wonderful food she is going to prepare for the party and about the band that is going to play. What does Joanne say?
I think it will be a great party.
It will probably be a great party.
It looks like it will be a great party.
It sounds like it will be a great party (because Joanne HEARS from Sarah how good the party will be).
Kevin wants to stay at home and watch the football on the television. But he knows that Joanne will be upset if he does not go to Sarah’s party. What does he say?
I think I must go to the party.
I suppose I must go to the party.
It looks like I must go to the party.
So he records the football on the video and watches it the next day.
“Suppose you are planning a holiday in England. Your friend in England might say to you, “Please let me know when you are going to arrive.”
Or suppose I am talking to a friend who is planning to move to another town. I might say, “Please let me have your new address.”
What do these expressions mean – “let me know”, and “let me have”?
You have probably guessed the answer. “Let me know” means “tell me” and “let me have” means “give me”. Easy. Simple.
Well, actually it is a more complicated than perhaps you think. If I say to you, “Tell me how to get to your house”, I expect you to answer straight away. I expect you to say, “Take the underground to Highgate station, and a bus from there.” But if I say, “Please let me know how to get to your house”, I mean “Please don’t explain now if that is inconvenient; please tell me later, when you are ready, when you have time”. So, “let me know” is a less direct way of saying “tell me”. And because it is more indirect, it is often more polite and formal as well.
Here are some more examples:
Joanne’s friend Judy and her boyfriend have decided to get married. They still haven’t made any detailed plans, about when the wedding will be and what sort of wedding they want. Joanne is very pleased and excited when Judy tells her. Here are some of the things that Joanne says:
When you have decided, let me know the date of the wedding.
And let me know where the wedding will be.
Please let me know how to get there.
And let me know whether there is anything I can do to help.
Let me know what I should wear.
Let me know what you would like as a wedding present.
And let me know who else is coming.
And after the wedding, please let me see all the wedding photos.
And as for Kevin, he has just finished writing a report at work. It is a report on new developments in the market for cat food. It doesn’t sound very interesting, does it? But Kevin is very proud of his report, and he wants to impress his boss and his work colleagues. “I might be able to let you see my report,” he says to one colleague, loudly so that the whole office can hear. “When you have read it, perhaps you could let me have your opinion on it.” Poor Kevin. Perhaps someone should let him know that there are more important things in life than the market for cat food.
It is April, and the spring has arrived, even here in Birmingham. When we talk about the spring, what sort of things can we say? What words and expressions do we use? Here are some examples:
In spring, the days grow longer. We put our clocks forward by one hour at the end of March, so that there is more light in the evenings after work.
The days get warmer, too. But there can still be cold days, and sudden showers of rain. There is a little rhyme which goes:
March winds and April showers
Bring forth May flowers.The daffodils bloom in the garden, and there is blossom on the damson trees. The leaves on the trees begin to open.The birds sing in the trees, and they start to build their nests.
In the garden, we sow the first seeds, and plant potatoes. We mow the lawn for the first time this year.
We go for walks in the country to enjoy the spring weather. We see lambs and young calves in the fields, and rabbits in the woods, and primroses in the hedgerows.
Often we need words to explain how probable something is. Lets look at some examples.
Will it rain today?
There are dark clouds in the sky. It will definitely rain today.
Will it rain today?
There are no clouds in the sky. It will certainly not rain this morning, but perhaps it will rain this afternoon.
Are you going on holiday this year?
Maybe. We may visit my mother. Or we may go to see my friend in France. But probably we will just stay at home.
Will Kevin go to the football match on Saturday?
Definitely. He always goes when City are playing at home.
And will City win?
It is likely that City will win. but it is unlikely that they will win the Championship this year.
Will Kevin go to the pub with George after the match.
Probably he will, but it is possible that he and George will come back to the flat to watch TV.
Will Kevin remember to buy flowers for Joanne’s Mum’s birthday?
Probably he will forget
And will Joanne be cross with him?
Definitely. You bet she will!
Grammar and Vocabulary Note
Words we can use
certainly, definitely, absolutely
probably, it is likely that …
perhaps, possibly, maybe, it is possible that, it may…, it might….
probably not, it is unlikely that..
certainly not, definitely not