Splendid

Do you know the adjective “splendid“? Read the conversation below. Can you guess the meaning?

Bill: How was the hotel in Paris?

Sarah: Oh, it was splendid. It was like a palace.

Does it mean:

a) dirty

b) expensive

c) noisy

d) excellent

The answer is below!↓

architecture carpet chandeliers design

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Answer: d) excellent

[Short Story] The Sunhat

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Fiona is going to a wedding. Her friend Carol is getting married. Carol’s boyfriend’s family is rich. They live in a big house with a beautiful garden. The wedding will be in the garden.

Fiona doesn’t have a job so she doesn’t have a lot of money. She loves fashion and wants to wear something beautiful to the wedding. Fiona’s mother gives her one of her old dresses. Fiona cuts it up and makes a new dress for herself. It is pink. It is very short and has thin straps over the shoulders. Fiona thinks she will look good in it.

Then she thinks, the wedding will be outside. It will be hot and sunny. I don’t want to get sun burnt. I need a hat. She goes to the $2 shop and buys a sun hat. Then she uses the material left over from her dress to make flowers.

She puts the flowers on the hat. Oh, it doesn’t look good. I need some flowers in different colours, she thinks. She finds some blue, and some white material in her mother’s sewing basket. She makes some more flowers. She adds them to the pink flowers on the hat. The hat looks wonderful!

Fiona is very excited on the day of the wedding. She knows she looks good.

It is a very beautiful day. It is hot and sunny, but it is also very windy.

After the ceremony, everyone is standing in the garden drinking champagne and eating snacks. Fiona has a glass of champagne in one hand and a sandwich in the other. She cannot hold on to her hat.

Suddenly the wind blows hard. It picks up Fiona’s hat and takes it high into the air.

“Oh no! My hat” shouts Fiona. Everyone laughs as they see her hat fly away.

Fiona is sad because she has lost her hat, but she cannot do anything about it.

The next weekend, Fiona and her mother go on a garden tour. They visit many gardens. Garden tours are popular and there are many people. Suddenly Fiona’s mother says, “Fiona! Is that your hat?”

There is a very smart woman looking at some rose bushes. She is wearing Fiona’s hat. Fiona runs up to her. “Excuse me, but that is my hat!”

The woman looks surprised. “Are you sure?” she says.

“Yes. I don’t know how you found it. I went to a wedding in Grampstead Road. The wind was strong and my hat flew away.”

“Oh,” says the woman. “I live in Grampstead Road. I found it in my garden. I will give it back to you.”

She takes the hat off and gives it to Fiona.

“Thank you,” says Fiona.

Then the woman says, “I really like it. Where did you buy it?”

“I made it,” says Fiona. She explains about the $2 shop sunhat, and making flowers to put on the hat.

“Really?” says the woman. “You are very clever.”

Fiona gives the hat back to the woman. “Please keep this one. I can easily make another one for myself.”

The woman smiles. “I have an idea. My name is Valerie Osten. I have some fashion shops. I sell clothes for weddings and other special occasions. Will you make some hats for me? I think they will sell very well. Here is my business card. Please call me.”

“Oh, yes!” says Fiona. “I will do that.”

As Fiona runs back to her mother she thinks, I was so lucky that I lost my hat. Now I have a job!

Amiable

Do you know the adjective “amiable“? Read the conversation below. Can you guess the meaning?

Gertrude: What is Neil like?

Brenda: He’s an amiable young man. He always says hello when he sees me.

Does it mean:

a) rude

b) pleasant and friendly

c) scary

d) timid

The answer is below!↓

photo of orange yellow and red hello molding clay

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Answer: b) pleasant and friendly

[Short Story] The Present

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Cora has been married for six months. She lives with her husband in a small town outside the city. Houses in the city are very expensive, so they bought a house with a big garden about an hour by train from the city. Brian, her husband, takes the train to work every day. He works in a bank. Cora doesn’t have a job. Sometimes she gets bored. Brian bought her a dog for Christmas. The dog is very naughty but he is good company during the day.

Today is Cora’s birthday. I wonder what Brian has bought me? she thinks. I hope it’s something very pretty.

Brian gets up very early in the morning. He has to take a train at 7:00am. He always brings Cora a cup of tea in bed before he leaves for work. Today he brings Cora’s tea and a parcel wrapped in beautiful paper with a big ribbon tied around it.

“Happy birthday!” he says. “I hope you like your present!”

Cora puts her teacup on the table next to the bed. She unwraps the present.

“Oh,” she says.

“Aren’t they great?” says Brian. He is very pleased. “They will be perfect for working in the garden!”

Cora looks at her present. It is a pair of black rubber boots. Cora is very unhappy, but she doesn’t say so. She knows that Brian thinks it is a very good present.

“Oh, thank you!” she says. “They look very useful!”

“I have to go,” says Brian. “I’ll see you tonight. I have made a reservation at the local hotel for dinner.” He kisses Cora and leaves the house.

Cora is very sad. Then after she gets out of bed, she starts to feel angry.

What a terrible present! I hate these boots. I wanted a romantic present!

She throws the boots into the garbage bin and goes into the living room to watch TV.

A little later she hears the mailman. The mailman rides a motor scooter. It stops outside their house.

Maybe my mother has sent me a present, thinks Cora. She knows I like pretty things.

Cora goes to the door. She wants to go to the mailbox, but it is raining heavily.

I didn’t hear the rain because I had the TV on very loud. Where are my outdoor shoes? Did the dog take my shoes? Where did he hide them?

Cora looks everywhere, but she can’t find her shoes.

The dog is out in the garden. Cora opens the kitchen door and shouts, “Bad dog!”

The dog runs to her. He is wagging his tail. He is a very friendly dog. Then Cora sees the garbage bin. I could wear those ugly black rubber boots, she thinks.

Cora goes to the garbage bin and takes the boots. She takes off her slippers and puts on the boots.

Oh no! They are ugly and they don’t fit! They are too small and very uncomfortable. Why did Brian buy these?

She feels very angry. She takes the boots off, and throws them into the garden. One of the boots lands upside down. Cora can see something on the ground. It is a small box. She runs into the garden in her bare feet. She picks up the box. She takes the other boot and shakes it. Another box falls on the ground.

Cora takes the small boxes back into the kitchen. She sits down at the table and opens them.

There is a beautiful pair of earrings in one box and a matching necklace in the other box.

 I am very lucky. The garbage man will come soon and he will empty the garbage bin. Brian is a wonderful husband but sometimes he has very crazy ideas!

 

 

 

Gigantic

Do you know the adjective “gigantic“? Read the conversation below. Can you guess the meaning?

Pat: Have you seen that spider in the bathroom?

Mike: Yes, it’s gigantic. I don’t know how we are going to get rid of it.

Does it mean:

a) small

b) medium-sized

c) tiny

d) very big

The answer is below! ↓

white bathtub in bathroom

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Answer: d) very big

[Short Story] Socks

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Pedro works as a waiter in a big hotel. He starts work at 6:00am because the hotel serves breakfast from 6:30am to 9:00am. One night Pedro takes his laundry to the laundromat. He washes and dries his clothes. He carries the basket of clean clothes back to his small apartment. He is very tired.

I won’t put my clothes away tonight, he thinks. I will do it tomorrow.

He puts his smartphone to on charge and goes to bed.

During the night there is a big storm. The wind damages the power lines. Pedro doesn’t hear anything. He is sleeping. In the morning he wakes up. The room is very dark.

What time is it? he thinks.

He looks for his clock alarm but he can’t see it. The display has disappeared.

Oh, there is no electricity! What time is it? My alarm didn’t go off. I might be late!

He jumps out of bed and finds his way to his table. He can’t see in the dark so he uses his hands to find his phone.

I can get the time from my phone, he thinks. But his phone has no charge. Oh no! There has been no electricity for hours. I must go to work! I must hurry!

Pedro falls over the basket in the corner of his room. He finds socks and underwear and his waiter’s uniform. There is no hot water so he can’t have a shower. But there is some charge in his shaver so he can shave and wash in cold water. He still doesn’t know what the time is so he hurries to get dressed. He puts his wallet and keys in his pocket and runs to the bus stop. At the bus stop he speaks to another man waiting for the bus.

“Excuse me, Sir. What time is it?”

The man looks at his smartphone. “It’s 5:30am,” he says.

“Thank you,” says Pedro.

I’m lucky, he thinks. I have enough time to get to work. I will not be late.

When Pedro is sitting on the bus he remembers he didn’t shine his shoes. He looks down at his feet. His shoes are OK but Pedro sees his socks!

I am wearing one black sock and one red sock! I couldn’t see in the dark. Everyone will think I am crazy. Or maybe no one will notice.

At first there are no lights in any of the buildings or apartment blocks, but as the bus gets closer to the hotel everything looks normal.

It is only in my area that there is no electricity, thinks Pedro. I hope they have fixed the problem before I go home. I didn’t even have a cup of coffee this morning.

Pedro gets off the bus near the hotel.  He waits to cross the busy road. There is an older woman standing next to him. She is very smartly dressed. She looks at him and smiles.

I wonder why she is out so early? She doesn’t look like a worker, thinks Pedro. I think she smiled because she saw my socks!

Suddenly the woman falls down. Pedro tries to help her. She seems very ill. She cannot speak. He calls out.

“Please someone, call an ambulance! She is ill!”

Many people come to help, but Pedro stays next to her. He is worried someone might take the woman’s bag.  He picks it up and holds it. He waits until the ambulance comes. He gives her bag to the ambulance driver.

“This belongs to her. Please make sure it is safe and she gets it when she wakes up,” he says.

Then he hurries to work.

The other waiters see Pedro’s sock. They laugh at him. They make many jokes. Pedro feels bad, but he can’t say anything because it is true. He is wearing one black sock and one red sock. The restaurant manager is angry. “You look very strange. Don’t make such a mistake again.”

Two weeks later Pedro is busy serving customers. The restaurant manager comes up to him. “Come with me now.”

Pedro is worried. Am I going to lose my job?

The manager takes Pedro to the guest lounge. “You have a visitor,” he says. There is a woman sitting in the guest lounge. It is the woman who fell down in the street.

“This is Mrs Van Velden,” says the manager. “Her son owns this hotel. She wants to talk you.” The manager goes away.

“Please sit down,” says Mrs Van Velden.

Pedro sits down. Mrs Van Velden smiles at him.

“Two weeks ago, there was a bad storm,” she says. “I couldn’t sleep. And then there was no electricity in my part of town. I was cold and hungry. So I decided to come here to my son’s hotel to have breakfast. But you know I felt very ill and fell down in the street. You were very kind to me. You looked after my bag. You are a very kind young man.”

“No! No!” says Pedro. “I didn’t do anything special. You don’t need to thank me.”

“I want to thank you,” says Mrs Van Veden. “I want to give you a little present.”

She takes an envelope out of her bag and gives it to Pedro. Pedro doesn’t want to take it, but Mrs Van Velden says, “Take it! Open it.”

Pedro takes the envelope and opens it. There is a lot of money inside.

Oh, I can send this to my mother, thinks Pedro.

Thank you very much!” he says. “But how did you find me?”

Mrs Van Velden laughs. “That was very easy. I saw your uniform so I knew you worked in this hotel. So I just asked who was wearing one red sock and one black sock that day!”

 

 

 

[Easy English Blog] Magazines

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Do you buy magazines? Which ones?

I haven’t bought a magazine for years. This is because I get all the information I want and need from the Internet. Also, many magazines have Internet versions, so if I want to read a story, I can usually find it online.

When I was younger, I loved magazines. There was a pop music magazine in the UK called Smash Hits. It came out twice a month. I used to look forward to it coming out and I would go to the newsagents (newspaper and magazine shop) to buy it. I was also interested in Formula 1 racing, so I bought many car magazines.

When I was studying Japanese, I bought Japanese magazines for reading practice. I used to buy Nikkei magazines like Nikkei Woman and Nikkei Business. They were useful for building vocabulary. I also bought a monthly magazine called Nihongo Journal. This was a magazine for learners of Japanese. It had a CD, which I often listened to while I was on the train, or when I was going to sleep. Sometimes I listened to it overnight as I slept. I think I still have the CDs somewhere in my house!

I wonder what will happen to magazines in the future. More and more people are getting their information from the Internet and digital publications. Maybe the day will come when physical magazines don’t exist. What do you think?