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  1. Check out "Es Yo Soy Hermano Mayor". This book is written in Spanish and should be an interesting read for a young boy. The main character is called Nacho. He's a little boy who is looking forward to having his little brother get bigger so he can play with him.
  2. There's a site called Cuentos Para Chicos that offers lots of stories for kids. Accessing the stories on the site is free. Of course, the stories are written in Spanish. You should visit it and have a look at what they offer under various themes. They have classics and if a child wants to listen to a story instead of reading it, audio files are available.
  3. I enjoyed reading this book. There's actually an app that makes it easy for you to read the Spanish and English versions side by side. If you have an iPad, that makes the whole process much easier, since you can read whenever you have free time. The app is called Side By Side. You will have to go to Project Gutenberg to get the English and Spanish version of the book and then you'll be good to go! The Side By Side app is free.
  4. That's a good idea. I love finding out what the roots of the words that we use everyday are. I used to study that in school. They taught out root words in order to help us with our spelling. In many countries, up to few decades ago, it was common for students to study Latin along with their other subjects. I think it would be fun to do it here.
  5. In some countries a person who is drunk is described as being "red". The description comes from the change in a person's skin and eyes that occurs when they are drunk. Many people have red eyes when they are drunk or their cheeks and nose turn red. This change is more obvious in people with pale skin but occurs to some degree in all people.
  6. I usually see a gender difference in the way that the two terms are applied. Smart tends to be used more for men and elegant tends to be applied to women. People don't normally say that a man is elegant. They say that he is classy, dapper or smartly dressed. A woman who is classy and graceful and dresses that way will usually be described as elegant. Elegant covers everything from her choice of jewelry to how she walks. A woman who dresses smartly but behaves in a silly manner would never be described as elegant.
  7. This is a useful link for persons who are planing to take the TOEFL. I am sure that individuals who want to take the test will appreciate all the extra help that they can get. Nothing beats preparation. When you have prepared for an examination by testing yourself repeatedly, you will feel more confident and less anxious.
  8. When someone requires another person to do something, they sometimes use "must" in order to emphasize the fact that they have to comply. Must is more forceful than need, when you are giving directions or commands to someone else. For example, "You must remove your shoes after entering the building". "Need" may be used when making suggestions that you think the other person should follow. Since it's a suggestion, not a command, the word "need" gives the person more room to choose other options. For example, you may tell a friend that you're upset by something someone said to you. While giving advice, your friend might say, "You need to tell him/her that you're upset".
  9. I don't really keep track of how long words are when I'm using them. Usually, I only realize that they're long when the person I'm speaking to frowns at me. I have been learning to consciously substitute shorter words in order to make what I write and say easier to understand. Some things are hard to substitute because the longer word is more of an euphemism than the shorter replacement. For example, "promiscuous" sounds nicer than some of the alternatives.
  10. Good to know that you are on FaceBook now. I had a look at the page and gave it a like! A friend also made a comment. I am relatively new to this forum but I am glad to be here. The discussions are interesting and it's good to find other people who are interested in the nuances of language.
  11. Good points. I use exclamatory words quite often. My friends use them a lot too. I think that people who become parents probably use them more than anyone else. These are just a few of the ones that are typically used when adults are telling children to hurry along, stop loitering, go out the door and get to school on time and so on. "Come here!" "Run!" "Go!"
  12. I want to learn Portuguese. I have always been interested in the language and I have a few friends from Brazil. It's interesting to hear the sounds that are associated with certain Portuguese words. After that, I would like to learn Yoruba. Whenever I hear people speaking Yoruba it sounds musical. The language is very rhythmic.
  13. I don't think I overuse it. I think it depends on the nature of the conversation. If I say something that I think is funny, or the other person writers something funny, I will definitely use it. In an average conversation on messenger I will use it at least once. Maybe twice, if we are joking about something. If nothing is said that calls for it, I don't use it.
  14. I'll be careful of how I use "latte" if I ever visit Germany. Many people know of brands such as Samsung and General Electric, that are associated with household appliances. There's a fairly new brand known as Mabe, that had a hard time in some parts of the world because the brand name was pronounced as "Maybe". No in those countries wanted to buy a fridge or stove that would probably not work.
  15. I generally use exclamation points to express strong emotions. For example, when writing about emotions such as anger, fear and disappointment I use exclamation points. I think that sometimes, there's a risk that people may misinterpret a writer's use of the exclamation point. You may intend to convey surprise and a reader may think that a statement conveys anger instead.
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