SMS: Mom, can you pass me the salt, please?

It’s a fact that our lives are way different from our parents´ lives 20 years ago. It’s easy to notice because now we have something called smart phones.  But how has this device affected our lives? And what does it have to do with families? Well, the answer is simple. It has to do a lot. It’s funny how parents use technology as nannies. Every time I go to a family reunion, I can see the adults on one side of the house and the children on the other side taking pictures with their cell phones, twittering or posting something on Facebook. It seems that the remedy to prevent offsprings from jumping and hanging around you is to give them a cell phone and they will leave you alone.

Some days ago in a restaurant something funny caught my attention. There was a family sitting around a table, each member with a smart phone. They were minding their own businesses and not talking to each other at all until one of the kids talked to his mother and said, ¨there you are, I left you a message on your Facebook wall mom¨, and then the rest of the ¨quality time¨ remained in silence.

I’ve got to be honest. I have one of these gadgets at home. Fortunately for me, I haven’t become dependent on it yet.  People will say I am just exaggerating, but cell phones have such an influence on our lives that even a new phobia has been created. I’m talking about the Nomophobia (no-mobile-phone phobia) which consists on the fear people have when not having a cell phone. I could see that when the Blackberry service collapsed and all its network broke down. It was really pitiful to hear a person saying, ¨My God! What am I gonna do now? How am I gonna survive without my cell phone?” It made me wonder how dependent people are on their cell phones in the present time and how much they will be in 10 years. It is really outrageous and scary to think that in the future people will use their cell phones to “talk” to each other even when sitting around the same table.

I don’t pretend to tell you what to do. I just want to say that every minute you spend talking to your parents or friends is priceless. Think about it before sending a message saying “I love you” to your friend. It’s better to say it to that person directly. It will grant you a hug or even better a kiss.

Vocabulary

Break down (v): Stop working

Collapse (v): Fail.

Gadget (n): An electronic item.

Grant (v): To give.

Offspring (n): Formal way to refer to children or kids.

Outrageous (adj): Shocking, unpleasant.

Pitiful (adj): Pathetic.

Prevent someone/something from doing an action (v): To stop someone/something from doing something.

Priceless (adj): Really important, with a lot of value.

Remain (v): Prevail invariably.

Are you nomophobic? Have you ever been without a cell phone? What did you do?

Send us your comments, opinions and any kind of feedback to goesling.wordpress@gmail.com. You can either write us an email or send us a voice message.

INDIRECT QUESTIONS

Direct Question: How dependent are people on their cell phones?

Indirect Question: I  wonder how dependent people are on their cell phones.

When we want to know something we can use a direct question (What time is it?) or we can also use an indirect question (Could you tell me what time it is?).

Both have the same meaning but we use indirect questions when we want to be more polite or more formal.

An indirect question is a question that is part of a statement or another question.

I don’t know what his name is. (part of a statement)

Do you know what his name is? (part of a question)

We form the indirect questions following the same order as a positive sentence (Subject+Verb).

Direct: Where are you from? 

Indirect: Can you tell me where you are from?

Since we are following the same order as a regular sentence, we don’t need the auxiliary DO.

Direct: What does she want?  

Indirect: Do you know what she wants?

NO:         Do you know what does she want?

Direct: Where did she go?   

Indirect: Do you know where she went?

NO:         Do you know where did she go?

When the direct question doesn’t have a question word (who, what, when, etc), we need to use if or whether in the indirect question. For example:

Direct: Is there any coffee?         

Indirect: Can you tell me if there is any coffee?

Direct: Did she go the party?       

Indirect: Can you tell me whether she went to the  party?                                                                   

Here are some of the most common phrases used for asking indirect questions:

Can/Could you tell me … ?
I wonder / was wondering ….
I have no idea …
I’d like to know…

I don’t know…

I’m not sure…

Advertisements

To tag or not to tag: the Facebook era

2.50 pm. I’m back home from work. I turn on the computer and reheat my lunch.  Then I type my email address and password.  And here I am……finally in “Facebookland”. This
is my time to see what’s new with my friends, relatives and even with that girl my best friend has a crush on.

Facebook has indeed become part of many people’s lives.  It is said that Facebook has more than 800 million users. Can you believe that? Facebook has such an undeniable power and influence in our modern society that a great number of its users have developed a sort of addiction to it. For instance, they can’t spend one hour without logging in, commenting on a friend’s picture, updating their status or just telling the world where they are or what they are eating. And now, with the arrival of the smartphones and tablets, having access to Facebook is just as easy as 1,2,3.   I can declare myself a Facebook fan but I haven’t gotten to the point of biting my nails or pulling my hair if I can’t read the latest posts. I check it on a daily basis but when I can’t, it’s no big deal. I can survive and go on with my life.

What do I like about Facebook? Well, it has allowed me to get in touch with classmates from my elementary school whom I haven’t seen since I was 10. We all have definitely changed.  I’ve also been able to see how my nieces and nephews, who live in other countries, have gone from toddlers to first graders. I can also share with friends and relatives what’s going on with my life, not only with words but through pictures.  Another advantage of Facebook is that I can wish my friends Happy Birthday without having to call them…..Yes, I have to admit that I’m not much of a phone person, but I guess my “phone phobia” can be a topic for another post 😉

And since nothing in this world is absolutely perfect, there are of course some things about Facebook that I’m not fond of. One of them is the tagging feature. I do love my friends, but I do not appreciate being tagged by them on pictures which don’t show the best of me.  Another thing I don’t like about Facebook is the video spamming. I can handle people wanting to share some videos they like or want to recommend, but sharing tons of videos and taking over your news feed section is definitely kind of abusive.

Well, we can go on and on because there are still many things we can write and talk about Facebook….Just remember, Facebook is a public site, so regardless of your private settings, be careful of and responsible for what you publish.  If it’s something that is better kept to yourself, keep it to yourself.

Vocabulary

1. to have a crush on somebody:  to have a feeling of love for somebody. It usually does not last very long.

2. undeniable (adj): true or certain, irrefutable.

3. updating – update (v): to supply the recent information about something

4. on a daily basis: every day.

5. it’s no big deal: it’s not important.

6. toddlers (n): children who have recently learnt to walk.

7. first graders: children in first grade of primary school..

8. (be) fond of:  to like something.

9. tagging – tag (v): to put a label or name to something or somebody.

10. news feed: the most recent information of your contacts.

11. settings (n): configuration and management of your account.

And what about you? How often do you check facebook?                                           Do you check it at work? Have you had any bad experience with Facebook?

Send us your comments, opinions and any kind of feedback to goesling.wordpress@gmail.com. You can either write us an email or send us a voice message.

Who or whom?

WHO

Jorge is a teacher. He is wearing a blue suit.

Here we have two sentences talking about the same subject: Jorge and he.

We can connect these 2 sentences just by replacing he with who.

Jorge is a teacher who is wearing a blue suit.

WHOM

When using whom, we have to remember that this word talks about the object of the sentence. We can replace the object pronoun with whom.

Mary is a nice girl. I can work with her.

Mary is a nice girl whom I can work with.

Here the object pronoun was replaced by whom and it changes its position in the sentence.

For very formal situations

We can put the preposition before whom

Mary is a nice girl with whom I can work.