Monthly Archives: April 2015

Be My Guest!

I have a new page on my blog titled, Be My Guest!

Be My Guest
Be My Guest

The title reminds me of a song from the Disney move, “Beauty and the Beast.” I can hear Mrs. Potts (an animated tea pot) and Lumière (the candlestick) singing, “Be our guest! Be our guest! Put our service to the test!…”

This page was created for guest writers who want to contribute to My Virtual English blog. (Don’t worry if you don’t have perfect English, I will edit it before publishing it).

Today’s contribution is from my sister, Melinda DeCouto (known to her students as “Mrs. DeCouto).  She talks about an expression used by pilots…

Holding Short

This afternoon I learned something about air traffic courtesy and communications.  I picked up my youngest son, Michael, from Turlock High School at 12:25.  He had a big smile on his handsome face and his long strides sped up a bit as he came towards the car.  Tall and handsome, I figure he takes after his mother (me!).  He got in the car and after greeting me said he wanted to go to the airport to practice some take offs and landings.  He asked if I would go and watch him for a while and wait until his flight instructor, Bill, came at 1:45.  “Sure,” I said.  “I would love that, and I’m not going anywhere.  I’m on vacation!”

“You’re on vacation!”  Michael repeated, happy to know I was feeling great and was enjoying myself.  Michael often tells me: “Mom, you need to take care of yourself.,”  “Mom, you work so hard.,”  “Mom, I love you.”  He really is a valentine from the Lord,  born Valentine’s Day 1997.  He is happy when I am happy.  As we drove into the driveway, he said “Just wait in the car.”

To continue reading, click this link….

   My Take On It

I love this engaging story and the insight that Melinda has about “holding short” for God’s Spirit.  She also used some good vocabulary which is explained at the end of her story.

If you’ve ever thought about writing, or if you have something you have written that others would enjoy, please share it.  Be my guest!


Rest Assured, Reassure

Rest Assured I’ll Reassure You

Assured versus Reassured

I have a student who used the word “assure” instead of “reassure.” These words are similar enough that they are sometimes used as synonyms (often incorrectly).

The student was answering the question, “Why do people feel threatened by those who are different?” She said that people like to assure themselves that they are okay.

According to Webster’s Dictionary, one of the definitions of assure is, “to give confidence to.” Giving ourselves confidence makes sense.  So, the student’s answer,

People like to assure themselves that they are okay Click To Tweet

makes sense in other contexts. But, the strongest sense of the word assure is to guarantee or promise.

Reassure is closer to the student’s intended meaning. According to Webster’s again, reassure means “to make someone feel less afraid, upset, or doubtful.”  Indeed, “reassurance” means to remove doubt or fear, or provide comfort, or encouragement.  So, reassure should have been used as the answer to my question. People don’t feel threatened by others to assure, meaning “to guarantee” anything.  But we DO want to reassure ourselves that we are okay when we encounter people who are very different.  (See the “My Take On It” section for more about this)

Rest Assured I’ll Reassure You

Look at the clever title above.  The expression “rest assured” means that you can relax because I am promising you something.  In other words:

Don’t worry, I’ve got it covered.*

Reassurance, Assure Reassure
Helpful support = Reassurance

The last part of my title is a twist on the expression, “Let me assure you.”  We use this expression to guarantee that something is true or will happen. It is similar to saying “trust me.”  However,  I changed the expression from assure you to reassure you.  This changed the meaning from trust me to a promise that I will give you peace, or reassurance.  I believe in my ability to explain the use and differences of  the word assured versus reassured.

 My Take On It

Just for fun, I found some Bible verses which contain the word assure, or reassure, or variations of these words.  I did this is because another name for The Holy Spirit*  is the  Comforter (Note: Muhammad claimed to be the comforter. So, this is an area of disagreement between Christians and Muslims.)  The word reassure means to comfort, or give encouragement to so I immediately thought about the Great Comforter (this link will take you to several versions of John 14:26 with different names for the Holy Spirit including, the Advocate, the Helper, the Counselor, and the Comforter).

Holman Christian Standard Bible
“I assure you: Anyone who believes has eternal life. John 6:47

 GOD’S WORD® Translation
When the officer had assured him that Jesus was dead, Pilate let Joseph have the corpse. Mark 15:45

New International Version
I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you. Ephesians 6:22

also, Common English Bible (CEB) I’ve sent him for this reason—so that you will know about us. He can reassure you.  Ephesians 6:22

GOD’S WORD® Translation
Ruth replied, “Sir, may your kindness to me continue. You have comforted me and reassured me, and I’m not even one of your own servants.” Ruth 2:13

New Living Translation
but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. Luke 2:10

International Standard Version
Now faith is the assurance that what we hope for will come about and the certainty that what we cannot see exists. Hebrews 11:1

 To recap* assured versus reassured : Assurance =  a guarantee, a promise; Reassurance = comfort, the removal of doubt or fear
One Last Thought about Differences

I mentioned earlier that  we want to reassure ourselves that we are okay when we encounter people who are very different.  Personally, I am not completely sure why people are threatened by other’s differences.  It is something that makes our relationships interesting and exciting.  Additionally, If we believe Genesis 1:27 which says,

GOD’S WORD® Translation
So God created humans in his image. In the image of God he created them. He created them male and female.

Then understanding each other’s differences gives us a more complete picture of God!  Let’s look at life as a journey that we are all travelling together.  We are all looking to complete the journey successfully. That means learning our purpose and fulfilling it.  I think successful journeys require an encounter with God.  He created us for a relationship with Himself and anything short of that is unsatisfying.  But we all have different starting points on this journey, and different understandings, and different vantage points.  It’s okay!  God loves us and wants a relationship with us.  He will draw those He loves (everybody) to Himself.  And those of us that know Him and love Him get to be a part of His efforts to make Himself known.  If that ‘s not exciting, I don’t know what is!

Blessings, Michele
Take Lunch, Sack Lunch Photo

Take Your Lunch and Eat it too!

In many languages the word take can be used like the word intake (as in eating or drinking). Frequently English language learners use the word take to mean eat or drink. In English, we only take our medicine! (not our food or beverages)

The sentence, “I took lunch at  that restaurant,” is confusing because “take lunch” generally means to “take your lunch with you” (sometimes called a “sack lunch”).  Use the verbs have, eat, and drink to describe consuming food or beverages.

We should say, “I had lunch at that restaurant,” or “I ate lunch there.”  Easy peasy*, right?!

And since we are discussing meals, we might as well* talk about dinner.  One of my students was surprised to learn that the word for the evening meal is supper, not dinner.  Dinner means the “big meal” of the day.  Typically most people eat their big meal in the evening (at suppertime). So, dinner has become synonymous with the evening meal. But holiday dinners, especially Thanksgiving and Easter dinners, are often eaten in the middle of the day.

Many of you recognized the play on words in the title of this post, Take Your Lunch and Eat it Too! Click To Tweet

There is a famous expression, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too!” meaning once you have eaten your cake, you no longer have any left.  But since we use the verb “have” to mean eat or drink, this expression can be little confusing.  Just for fun, here are several of my grandchildren on their first birthday demonstrating that indeed you CAN have your cake and eat it too!


Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
     My Take On It

So, whether you’re eating your lunch, or having dessert, take some time now to let me know if you have any English questions or suggestions for future articles. Be sure to check out the Notions page and subscribe to my blog.  You might as well!* ( ͡~ ͜ʖ ͡°) wink!, Michele

The Word? Word!

Shortly after I began writing this blog I began to question myself.  Do English and Christian ideas have anything to do with each other? Was I stretching it? (To stretch something means to extend it beyond reasonable limits.)  I was second-guessing* my decision to bring the Word and “words” together. There it was!  It hit me!*  The Word!, words.  Word!*

The Word is another name for God. The Bible verse John 1:1 says,

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

The Bible, is also called the word, or the word of God. When Word is capitalized it refers to God/Jesus. Lower case, the word, refers to scripture or to the smallest meaningful piece of language.

Of course “words” have everything to do with teaching and learning English.

Words are powerful.  Words are fundamental to our thoughts, to understanding ourselves and developing relationships with others.  Words can build up or tear down.

As a Christian, this makes sense to me since I believe that God is a god of relationships.  I believe that God Himself came to earth as Jesus (fully human and fully God).  Jesus was the bridge that restored our ability to have a relationship with God again.  He did this by being The Word: telling us and showing us what God is like.  Second, He did this by acting as a “stand-in” for each of us.  Since God is perfect He can’t be a part of anything imperfect.  Jesus Christ died as all men die, but because He was also God “death could not hold Him” (Acts 2:22-24). So, Christ (meaning the Anointed One) freakin’* rose from the grave! (This is the most amazing thing that has ever happened!) As our substitute, the life that Jesus restored…is our life.  So we can have a personal relationship with God, our Creator and our Savior.

Word! Click To TweetThis is an expression of affirmation meaning “I agree”, or “You said it!”, or “Right on!” (which is short for “right on target”= exactly right!)

Remember earlier when I said words are powerful?  The very first chapter of the first book in Bible, Genesis, says that God spoke things into existence. Later, Jesus said that with faith anything we ask for will be given to us (see Matt.7:7-8, 21:22, Mark 11:24, Luke 11:9, and John 14:13-14).

As a child I remember shouting this when other children were saying mean things and taunting* me,

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me!”

Now we are much more aware of the psychological and emotional damage that harsh and careless words cause. Maybe the true practice of religion is using our words like Jesus did, to communicate love, compassion, forgiveness, and kindness?  Word!

Michele MVE 02 Icon 80 Percent JPEGBlessings, Happy Easter!        Michele
Our granddaughter helps set the table for Easter dinner
.              Our granddaughter and her Easter eggs!