English proverb of the day

"The negative side of the American Dream comes when people pursue success at any cost, which in turn destroys the vision and the dream "

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  • Topic of this Week: "HEALTHY LIFESTYLE (May 9, 2021)"

    Dear Advancers,
    Some old topics (yet still helpful) will be picked for ONLINE discussion during this period.
    Please refer to the steps below to join the discussion:
    1. Download the Discord app either on mobile phone or using web based on laptop https://discordapp.com
    2. Register an account
    3. Join the room chat https://discord.gg/dDPbMZa
    The online discussion will start at 3.00pm and close at 5.00pm on Sunday 9th, May 2021.
    Topic 9th, May 2021: HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
    (The topic actually was discussed on WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2016)

    “Health is not valued till sickness comes” - Thomas Fuller
    “It is only when the rich are sick that they fully feel the impotence of wealth” - Benjamin Franklin
    Young people, who are full of energy and eager to discover the whole new world ahead, may feel “hollow” or “theoretical” when you try to discuss with them about “a healthy lifestyle”. But they will soon realize that a healthy lifestyle would leave them fit, energetic and at reduced risk for diseases. Early recognition of healthy lifestyle practices would help young people make good use of their time and lead a more meaningful life.
    Healthy lifestyles could be defined physically and mentally. In terms of physical healthy lifestyles, people are advised to pay appropriate attention to basic daily activities including:
    - Eating: Good nutrition, reduce alcohol, fat and sugar intake;
    - Exercising: weight control, do exercise daily;
    - Sleeping: Sleep adequately;
    - Reducing Stress: Managing stress in positive ways, instead of through smoking or drinking alcohol.
    For mental well - being, it is interesting that advises given are very simple but of remarkable importance:
    -To enjoy regular family meals: This allows parents to serve as good role models, can promote more nutritious eating, and sets the stage for lively conversations.
    -To smile and laugh out loud several times a day: Read the comics, watch a sitcom, or tell jokes, raise a pet; forgive people and forgive yourself to bring out those happy feelings.
    -To have a positive attitude: Do your best to look at life as if "the glass is half full." You must believe in yourself, have good support systems, and think positively ("I think I can, I think I can…") to succeed.

    Questions for discussion:
    1. What lifestyle habits do you engage in that contribute to an illness or health condition you have right now?
    2. If you continue with these bad habits without making any lifestyle changes, what might your health be like in 10, 20, or 30 plus years?
    3. Do the bad habits you described above have any negative effects on people you care about or love? If so, please describe the habit and its negative effects.
    4. Can you think of any positive influence or hope you could bring to the lives of people you care about if you changed bad lifestyle habits to healthful ones?
    5. What thing would you love to do to change your lifestyle habits? What would be your goal?
    6. Who do you love or value enough to make the sacrifice necessary to break your bad habit and?
    Topic writer: Van Anh Tran


    Enjoy and have a fruitful discussion! 



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    It or that

    (06:48:55 AM 04/04/2014)

     The other day on Lang-8, I answered a post about when to use "it" vs. "that". I think the distiction this poster was asking about is the type of difference that

    • takes a long and complicated explanation
    • has a lot of exceptions to the rule
    • doesn't cause much confusion when used differently from how a native speaker would use it

    And therefore should be learned by memorizing specific examples rather than trying to apply a set of rules.

    Here's the question:

    I don't know well how to use "that" and "it" correctly. When I was in Canada, I came across the expression "You can't do that!". I'd like to consider the "that"/"it" distinction through that expression. 

    Situation: One day, my friend and I went to a coffee shop together. I purchased a cup of coffee there but he did not because he had his coffee with him which he had got somewhere. When he tried to use sugar at the coffee shop, a salesperson said to him, "You can't do that!" 

    Question: In this situation why is "it" not correct ? (why can you not say "You can't do it!" ?)

    I asked several English speakers about this question, but the question seemed to them to be difficult to answer, though intuitively they knew "that" was absolutely correct.

    And here was my response:

    Hi tsurubun,
    I found this topic interesting. Here's my opinion, based on teaching, learning and thinking about language for a few years.

    The reason people can't explain why you use "that" instead of "it" in the phrase "you can't do that" is because people don't choose which word to use based on reasons. Instead, they hear a lot of people around them saying "You can't do that!" over and over again, and so they learn to say it that way. Then they learn another phrase that uses the word "that", and then another, and then another. This is how people learn to understand what "that" means.

    Sometimes it's useful to try to understand the reasons for using one word instead of the other. But other times, it's just better to remember the correct form and accept that that's the way to say it. One day you might learn some other phrase using "that" and think, "Oh, this is just like the phrase "You can't do that." Now I see!" But for now, whatever explanations you read on this site probably won't help you to use "that" and "it" better.

    What do you think of this idea?

    I know it's probably annoying for me to answer this way when someone is asking questions about grammar. I do try to answer when I think that knowing a rule could be a shortcut. But in cases where there aren't any shortcuts, I can't help but point out that sometimes you just have to learn each case one by one.


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