Monthly Archives: October 2011

What’s your take on strikes?

What’s your take on strikes? And I’m not talking about bowling.

Workers go on strike when they refuse to work and even prevent other from working in order to draw attention to a specific situation they’re not happy about, such as salary, benefits, working conditions, discrimination, etc, supposedly when they have exhausted all other forms of negotiation with employers.  The refusal to work may cause employers to cave in, for the longer the strike, the higher the losses.

 

We have seen a series of strikes lately, involving essential services such as the mail and banking services, as well as air transport and even medical services. I’m sure these workers had their justifiable reasons to go on strike. However, the sad truth is that the ones who suffered the most from the effects of this legal and democratic manifestation of citizenship were the citizens themselves.

It’s a shame that human beings, with their exceptional power of communication, cannot seem to agree on something as basic as working conditions…

Well, you can read these articles to know more about the recent labor strikes:

Qantas:      article 1        article 2     article 3

Brazil Postal workers:     article 1         article 2      article 3

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Get on with it!

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This will be a thoughtless week…

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Silence is golden

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DIY

Note: DIY means Do It Yourself.

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Confusing words: Actually x Currently

It’s natural and healthy for adults to resort to words which sound similar to the ones in their own mother tongue when learning a foreign language. That’s why Brazilians tend to use the adverb “actually” when they mean that something is happening now or around now. This word looks and sounds very similar to “atualmente“, which in Portuguese means exactly “now, these days“.

So, how would you express this idea in English? Here are some possibilities: currently, at present, at the moment. Let’s take a look at some examples.

“The company currently produces 3,000 vehicles a month.”
“There are twenty doctors in the hospital staff at present.”
“He’s working as a clerk at the moment.”

And now for the $64,000 question: when should we use “actually” and what does it mean?

According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary (7th Edition), there are four uses to the adverb “actually”: 1) to emphasize a fact, or to day that it’s really true (ex: The plane can actually seat 60 passengers comfortably); 2) to show contrast between the truth and what one believes, expressing surprise (ex: I can’t believe he actually knows the President!); 3) to correct somebody in a polite way (ex: Actually, I was born in São Paulo, not in Cotia.); 4) to attract someone’s attention or to start a new topic (ex: Actually, I was just thinking about going for lunch. Would you like to join me?).

Now that you know when to use one and the other, there’s just one thing left to do: practice! Get down to it!

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Mens sana in corpore sano

 

So organize your thoughts…

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