Monday, February 16, 2015

Habits of Happy Couples

Read and Listen: International Survey Shows Habits of Happy Couples

True or False: Discuss

Happy couples tend to share equally in housework.

Happy couples divide housework into specific chores for each person to do.

Happy couples make the relationship the most important thing.

Happy couples hide information that might hurt the relationship.

The United States is the most romantic country.

Public affection and affection in general is important in a good relationship.

Women need more romance than men.

Men feel criticized by women who try to help them.

Kindness in relationships is not that important.

Happy couples can change and have different interests as long as they can talk about it.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


"John Wesley Powell" a Great Explorer from VOA.



I'm Shirley Griffith.


And I'm Ray Freeman with the VOA Special English program People in America. Every week at this time we tell the story of someone important in the history of the United States. Today we tell about explorer John Wesley Powell. He was also a scientist, land reformer, and supporter of native American rights.



The date is May twenty-fourth, eighteen sixty-nine. The place is Green River, Wyoming, in the western United States. The Green River flows in a curving path south through Utah and Colorado until it joins the great Colorado River.

The Colorado, in turn, flows through a huge deep canyon. Years from now, that formation will be called the Grand Canyon.

Ten men are putting supplies and scientific equipment into four small boats. They are about to leave on a dangerous, exciting exploration. The leader of the group is John Wesley Powell.


Powell writes in his journal: "The good people of Green River City turn out to see us start. We raise our little flag, push the boats from shore, and the current carries us down. Wild emptiness is stretched out before me. Yet there is a beauty in the picture."

So begins John Wesley Powell's story of his trip on the Green and Colorado Rivers. It was one of the greatest trips of discovery in the history of North America. He and his men were the first whites to travel in that area. Until then, the land had been known only to Indians and prehistoric tribes.


John Wesley Powell was thirty-five-years-old. He had served in the American Civil War. He had lost an arm in that war. He was an unknown scientist, temporarily away from his job at a museum in Illinois.

John's parents had come to the United States from England. They settled in New York state, where John was born in eighteen thirty-four. They later moved to Ohio. Mister Powell made clothes for other people, and farmed a little, too. He also taught religion. His teaching duties often took him away from home. Missus Powell believed young John needed the guidance and protection of a man. So she asked a friend, George Crookham, for help.


George Crookham was a rich farmer. He also was a self-taught scientist. He kept a small museum at his home. It contained examples of plants and minerals. Native animals and insects. Remains of Indian tools and weapons.

From George Crookham, John Wesley Powell received a wide, but informal, education. The boy learned many things about the natural sciences, philosophy and history.


In eighteen forty-six, the Powell family moved again. This time, they settled even farther west, in Wisconsin. John wanted to go to school to study science. His father said that if John were to be sent to college, it would be to study Religion -- not something as unimportant as science.

The argument continued for three years. Then John decided to leave home to seek an education.

He soon discovered that he knew more about science than any teacher he met. He realized that the only good scientific education in the country came from colleges in the East, like Harvard and Yale. But he was too poor to go to them.


John Wesley Powell got work as a school teacher in Illinois. Whenever possible, he went on scientific trips of his own.

In April, eighteen sixty-one, civil war broke out in the United States. John joined the Union forces of the North. At the battle of Shiloh, a cannon ball struck him in the right arm. The arm could not be saved.

Although John was disabled, he returned to active duty under General Ulysses S. Grant. Grant would later serve as secretary of war and president. Powell's friendship with Grant would help win him support for his explorations of the West.

After the war, John Wesley Powell taught science at two universities in Illinois. He also helped establish the Illinois historical society. He urged state lawmakers to provide more money for the society's museum. His efforts

were so successful that he was given responsibility for the museum's collections. One of the first things he did after getting the job was to plan an exploration of the Rocky Mountains.


Powell got help from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D. C. The Smithsonian gave him scientific equipment. He got help from the army. The army promised to protect the explorers in dangerous areas. And he got help from the railroads. The railroads agreed to let the explorers ride free as far as possible.

Powell's group brought back enough information to satisfy those who supported it. A second, similar trip took place the following year. Then Powell centered his efforts on the plan that would make him famous: exploration of the Green River and the Colorado River.


It was a voyage never attempted by white men. Indians who knew the area said it could not be done. But John Wesley Powell believed it could. And he believed it would provide a wealth of scientific information about that part of America.

Once again, Powell turned for help to the Smithsonian, the army and the railroads. He got what he wanted.


The explorers left Green River, Wyoming, on May twenty-fourth, eighteen-sixty-nine. All along the way, Powell measured distances, temperatures, heights, depths and currents. He examined soils, rocks and plant life. Since the explorers were mapping unknown territory, they named the places they passed as they went along.

The trip was just as dangerous as expected, perhaps more. The rivers were filled with rocky areas and waterfalls. Sometimes, the boats overturned. One of the boats broke in two against a big rock. The explorers suffered from a hot sun, and cold rain. They lost many of their supplies. Yet they pushed on.


On August thirteenth, eighteen-sixty-nine, they reached the mouth of a great canyon. Its walls rose more than a kilometer above them. Powell wrote in his journal: "We are now ready to start on our way down the great unknown. What waterfalls there are, we know not. What rocks lie in the river, we know not. We may imagine many things. The men talk as happily as ever. But to me, there is a darkness to the joy."

The trip through the great canyon was much the same as the earlier part of the trip. For a time, the Colorado River widened. The explorers were able to travel long distances each day. Then the canyon walls closed in again. Once more, the group battled rapids, rocks and waterfalls.

Conditions grew so bad that three of the men left to try to reach civilization overland. Two days later, the rest of the group sailed out of the dangers of the Grand Canyon.


The story of the brave explorers was printed in newspapers all over the country. John Wesley Powell became famous.

Powell's explorations led to the creation of the United States Geological Survey in eighteen-seventy-nine. The survey became responsible for all mapping and scientific programs of American lands.

Powell's interests, however, were becoming wider than just the geology of the land. He found himself growing deeply interested in the people who lived on the land. On every future trip, he visited Indian villages. He talked to the people, and learned about their culture and history. He helped establish a Bureau of American Ethnology within the Smithsonian Institution to collect information about the Indian cultures. Powell headed the bureau for more than twenty years.

In a message to Congress, Powell explained why he felt the bureau was so important: "Many of the difficulties between white men and Indians are unnecessary, and are caused by our lack of knowledge relating to the Indians themselves. The failure to recognize this fact has brought great trouble to our management of the Indians."


Where the Green meets the Colorado
John Wesley Powell's scientific studies of western lands shaped his ideas of how those lands should be used. He proposed programs to control both crop farming and cattle raising. He was especially concerned about water supplies.

Many of John Wesley Powell's ideas were far ahead of his time. Congress rejected Powell's proposals for land and water use. He died in nineteen-oh-two. Years later his ideas were signed into law.



This is Shirley Griffith.


And this is Ray Freeman. Join us again next week at this time for another People in America program in Special English on the Voice of America.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Monday, October 19, 2009

Grammartalk 12, Page 1 - Two Word (Phrasal) Verbs.

"Butterfly" by Andy Warhol

A: When are you going to fill out those job applications?
B: I’ll fill them out tomorrow.
A: You should do this one over. There are several
B: All right. I’ll do it over now.
A: When will you hand them in to the employers?
B: I don’t have to hand them in until next week.
A: When do you drop off your children?
B: I drop them off at 8:00 am every morning.
A: When do you pick them up?
B: I pick them up at 3:45 pm every afternoon.
A: Do your children get along with their classmates
and teachers?
B: Yes, they do. I’m glad I didn’t take them out of that
A: Have you heard from Bob recently?
B: No, he hasn’t called me up in a long time.
A: Someone told me he moved out of his apartment.
B: Did you look up his new phone number?
A: I tried to look it up, but it wasn’t listed.
B: I hope we hear from him soon.
A: I have to throw out these old newspapers.
B: Yes, you should throw them out right away.
A: I also need to take back my library books.
B: Yes, they’re due. You ought to take them back now.
A: I’m giving back those tools I borrowed.
B: Yes, thank you for giving them back. I need them.
A: I ran into Sally yesterday afternoon.
B: Oh, really? Where did you run into her?
A: On Mission Street. She was getting off the bus.
B: What were you doing? Getting on the bus?
A: No, I was getting out of my car.
B: I should call on Sally sometime. I like Sally.
A: Our neighbors won’t turn down their stereo.
B: I know. It’s very annoying. Why won’t they turn it
A: Actually, I think they just turned it up. It’s louder.
B: It’s after 11:00. They really should turn it off.
A: I’m going to call them now and tell them off.
B: Don’t. They’re big guys. They might beat us up.
A: Put on your sweater. It’s very cold.
B: I don’t want to put it on. I don’t feel that cold.
A: I don’t know why you took it off.
B: I took it off because it’s worn out.
A: How did you wear out your sweater? Did you work
out in it?
B: Check out these sleeves. You see these holes?
A: Where can I hang up my hat and coat?
B: You can hang them up in the closet next to mine.
A: Where should I put away these tools?
B: Put them away in the plastic box in the basement.
A: Should I throw out these old magazines?
B: Yes, but don’t put them in the garbage. Recycle
A: I forgot to write down Mrs. Parker’s phone number.
B: You can look it up in the phone book.
A: She offered me a job last week. I thought it over.
B: What did you decide?
A: It’s definitely better than my current job.
B: Take the phone book out of the drawer now and
call her up.
A: We used up all of our toothpaste.
B: I didn’t know we used it all up.
A: That’s okay. I never cared for that toothpaste.
B: Let’s go to the drugstore and pick out a different
A: Did you know that they ran out of my favorite
B: I didn’t know they ran out of it. Why bring up the
subject of toothpaste now? We have more important
things to think about.

Grammartalk 12, Page 2. Two Word or Phasal Verbs.

"Campbell's Soup" by Andy Warhol

A: I can’t figure out this telephone bill.
B: Why can’t you figure it out?
A: There are some calls to out of state numbers.
B: I never called anyone out of state.
A: We need to get in touch with the phone company.
B: Yes, but can’t we put this off until tomorrow?
A: I’d like to try on those shoes. I wear size 8.
B: Sure. You can try them on. How do they fit?
A: They don’t feel right. You can bring them back
where you got them.
B: I’ll put them back, but you have to take them off
A: I’d like to look through these shirts first.
B: All right, but don’t forget to give back those shoes.
A: I’ve decided to give up smoking.
B: It’s a good idea to give up that habit.
A: I didn’t use up all these cigarettes.
B: No problem. You can just throw them away.
A: I’m going to find out what kind of damage smoking
can cause.
B: There’s a lot of information about that in the library.
A: The party is over. It’s time to take down the
B: Some of them are on the ceiling. We’ll need the
A: I’ll take the ladder out of the closet and bring it here.
B: Where should we put these decorations away?
A: You can put them away in these plastic container.
B: This lantern is torn. We might as well throw it out.
A: Doris, nice of you to drop by. Come in and have
some tea.
B: I was in the neighborhood and decided to drop in.
A: I’m glad you did. Give me your jacket. I’ll hang it up.
B: Can I put down these shopping bags somewhere?
A: Sure. Put them down by the front door.
B: I wanted to invite you to come over next Friday
night if you have time.
A: May I take back the shoes I bought last week?
B: Sure. Just bring them back within ten days of your
A: I picked them up about a week ago.
B: Good. Bring them in, and we’ll give you your
money back.
A: I’d like to try on another pair.
B: That’s fine. You might be able to pick out
something you like better.
A: Did you hear? The Parkers called off their
daughter’s wedding.
B: Why what happened?
A: You didn’t know? The groom got cold feet.
B: What does that mean, “He got cold feet?”
A: He decided not to go through with the wedding.
B: I’m really sorry the wedding was called off.
A: You’ll never guess who I ran into yesterday.
B: I can’t possibly guess. You’ll have to tell me.
A: I ran into my old college professor, Dr. Hernandez.
B: Oh, that’s wonderful. I really look up to her. She
helped me a lot in college.
A: She wasn’t feeling too well. She had a little cold.
B: A cold? I certainly hope she gets over it soon.
A: Timmy doesn’t get along with his sister very well.
B: Oh, really? Why doesn’t he get along with her?
A: She picks on him too much. He can’t stand it.
B: What are their parents doing about the problem?
A: They’re looking through some books on child
B: I’m sure those kids will grow out of it. It’s just a
A: The teacher says I have to do over my homework.
B: Do it over? That’s going to take a lot out of you.
A: Yes, it is. She crossed out several mistakes.
B: I would help you, but I have a slight headache.
A: I thought you said you got over it yesterday.
B: I did get over it. But, then it came back last night.
I’d better take the rest of the day off

Friday, September 11, 2009

Links to Gerund Lessons and Practice

Gerunds at English Club
Gerund Tutorial at
Gerunds Quizzes at Just do quizzes 1 to 10.
Kaye Mallory's Gerund or Infinitive Test
Another Gerund or Infinitive Quiz
Gerund or Infinitive? Correct answer is a smile sideways, like this: :-)
Piglet is adopted by a mother dog.
Video of Nora The Cat playing piano
Panda babies and adults

Grammartalk 9, Page 1 - Gerunds

I avoid driving downtown whenever I can.

A: Sylvia avoids driving downtown.
B: She doesn’t enjoy driving downtown? Why not?
A: She always has trouble finding a parking place.
B: I thought she was good at finding a parking place.
A: She’s good at finding a parking place, but she’s tired
of looking for one.
B: Personally, I can’t stand driving downtown.
A: You keep talking about the weather, and it’s boring.
B: I’m interested in learning more about the weather.
A: But, I’m tired of hearing about the weather all the time.
Can’t we change the subject?
B: I’m sorry, I can’t stop talking about the weather. I think
it’s going to rain tomorrow.
A: Instead of talking about the weather, let’s discuss
A: Did you hear about Spike? The police accused him
of robbing a jewelry store.
B: I’m sure he’s guilty of robbing it. He told me he was
planning on doing it.
A: He denied robbing the store, but they put him in jail
B: He probably misses being with his friends.
A: Yes, and he dislikes eating prison food.
B: Personally, I couldn’t stand being in jail.
A: He anticipates getting out of jail in a year.
B: I bet he’s looking forward to getting out.
A: He certainly is. He’s really tired of not being free.
B: He spends a lot time reading and writing so he can
pass his GED.
A: He also practices playing the guitar.
B: When he gets out, he won’t risk getting arrested again.
He’s going to obey the law.
A: His girlfriend Tina admitted helping him rob the
B: She was probably afraid of helping him.
A: Yes. And now she really regrets driving the car.
B: I thought she didn’t believe in committing crimes.
A: The problem is, she can’t help loving Spike.
B: But, her parents told her she must quit seeing him.
A: Why do you insist on talking about politics?
B: I can’t have a conversation without talking about
politics. It’s so interesting.
A: But, it’s boring. You have a one track mind. Would you
mind changing the subject?
B: But I don’t complain about listening to your small talk.
A: I apologize for talking about small matters.
B: Thank you for apologizing. Now, let’s discuss the
recent election.
A: Do you like to watch TV?
B: Yes, I enjoy watching TV. Watching TV is my favorite
way to relax.
A: I’m tired of watching TV all the time.
B: Is that why you avoid watching TV after work?
A: Yes, I can’t stand hearing the TV on all the time.
B: I’m excited about seeing the movie on Channel 9.
A: Do you and your friends like to dance?
B: Yes, we enjoy dancing. Dancing is our favorite
A: I practice dancing every day, but I’m still not a good
B: I think you’re capable of being a great dancer.
A: Thank you for encouraging me.
B: Keep on dancing even though you’re frustrated.
A: I’m sure you’ll enjoy working at The Big Name.
B: Yes. I’m looking forward to serving the customers.
A: You’re also responsible for sweeping the floor.
B: Nobody told me that. I object to sweeping the floor. I’m
a salesperson, not a janitor.
A: Aren’t you proud of working at The Big Name?
B: I thought I was in charge of selling clothes on this floor,
not sweeping it.
A: I sometimes dream about becoming an acrobat.
B: You really want to risk walking on a thin rope?
A: I’m excited about performing in a circus.
B: You should quit thinking about doing that.
A: You can’t prevent me from dreaming about it.
B: I would worry about walking on a tight rope if I were

Grammartalk 9, Page 2 - Gerunds Continued

A: Does Michael like to visit his mother-in-law?
B: No, he can’t stand visiting her.
A: Why does he worry about visiting her? She’s very
B: He hates seeing his mother-in-law’s four cats.
A: Why does he object to being around her cats?
B: Whenever he sees them, he starts sneezing.
A: Michael isn’t accustomed to being around cats.
B: Is that why he can’t help coughing and sneezing?
A: Yes. He should plan on getting an allergy test.
B: If he isn’t used to being around cats, he should get a
A: Then, he won’t ever be able to stop sneezing.
B: True, but he can’t avoid visiting his mother-in-law
A: I can’t imagine buying an old house.
B: Why not? We’re considering buying the house at 320
Sycamore Street.
A: But, I’m not accustomed to painting and decorating.
B: Once you practice painting, you’ll find it’s not too
A: Painting and redecorating are very time consuming.
B: It’s true. Once you start painting, you have to finish
painting. You can’t stop painting.
A: How did you learn to swim so well?
B: Well, I started swimming when I was young.
A: I envy you. Personally, I’m afraid of swimming.
B: If you’re used to swimming, you stop being afraid of it.
A: I would like to practice swimming a few times.
B: Good. Don’t risk swimming in deep water at first.
A: How did you learn to use a computer so well?
B: I practiced using a computer a lot in college.
A: So now you’re used to working with the computer.
B: I’m excited about using my computer all the time.
A: You never get tired of sitting at the computer?
B: No. Besides, I’m responsible for writing web pages.
It’s my job.
A: I believe in working overtime. That’s why I don’t
quit working at 5 o’clock.
B: I don’t blame you for working hard. You need the
A: I’m not concerned about getting home late.
B: Don’t you have trouble falling to sleep at night?
A: I never think about falling to sleep. It just happens.
B: How would you feel about starting early tomorrow?
A: Starting early doesn’t bother me. What time?
B: 7:30 AM. You’re in charge of opening the office.
A: I will plan on being here at 7:30 AM sharp.
B: All right. You’re responsible for making sure the
computers are turned on.
A: Don’t worry. I’m very good at taking care of details.
B: You’re right. You’re very capable of doing excellent
A: How long have you been thinking about getting
B: Well, I considered getting married years ago, but I
never did.
A: Getting married is a wonderful idea.
B: I was worried about getting married because I was
worried about money.
A: Don’t be afraid of not having money. It all works out.
B: Also, I’m accustomed to living by myself.
A: I have a new cat. Her name is Sally.
B: Great news. You hesitated getting a cat for a long time.
A: Sally keeps on jumping on my lap.
B: That’s probably because she loves sitting on you.
A: She can’t help licking my hands and face.
B: I envy you. You should be proud of having a beautiful
new cat.
A: Sally taught me how to stop sneezing.
A: I decided to postpone starting my own business.
B: But, starting your own business is a great idea.
A: I’m having trouble giving a name to the new store.
B: I suggest naming it the Saver Store.
A: Why do you insist on calling it that? Do you think
people will save money at my store?
B: Yes, and I’m sure they won’t mind saving money!