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Friday the 22nd of December, 2006
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HAPPY HOLIDAYS 2006

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Good morning.

Today is the last Daily Vitamin until Monday, January 8th.

The main objective of today's DV is to wish you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year. We also wanted to give you the chance to review some more Christmas vocabulary, to follow up from yesterday.

For those of you that read our December ZEN (Ziggurat English Newsletter), you will have seen the drawings on the front page with Christmas vocabulary. (If you didn't receive it, send us an email and we can send it to you again.) Those drawings and vocabulary are from our 2005 Ziggurat Christmas card. If you would like to see the flash version of last year's Christmas card, go to the following link. Be sure to turn up the volume, because it includes music too. ;-)

www.ziggurat.es/christmas

You should have also received this year's Christmas card (Sustainable New Year's resolutions) on Wednesday. If you still haven't seen this year's card, you can go to the following link to see it.

http://www.ziggurat.es/nl/061220/email.htm

We hope you enjoy them. We'll see you in 2007.

Please post any questions about today's Daily Vitamin in the Daily Vitamin Plus! forum section on our website. If you have any questions about how to use the Daily Vitamin Plus! section or would like to receive a Daily Vitamin Plus! manual, please contact us.



Thursday the 21st of December, 2006
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CHRISTMAS VOCABULARY

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Good morning everybody and Merry Christmas!

To stay with the holiday theme, today we look at some concepts related to Christmas. For example, during the Christmas holiday season we often wish our friends and colleagues a Merry Christmas or a Happy Christmas.

Merry Christmas is generally more common in the United States and Happy Christmas is more common in the UK. However, you may hear both in either country.

The 24th of December is Christmas Eve and the 25th of December is Christmas Day. Santa Clause comes on Christmas Eve. Families generally exchange gifts on Christmas Eve and/or Christmas Day.

Remember, tomorrow will be the last Daily Vitamin until Monday, January 8th, 2007.

If you have any questions about Christmas, please post them in the Daily Vitamin Plus! forum section on our website. We'll look at some more Christmas vocabulary tomorrow.

Have a great day!



Wednesday the 20th of December, 2006
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MERRY CHRISTMAS

LISTEN TO THE DAILY VITAMIN HERE:

Good morning everybody.

Today's Daily Vitamin is a little different. It's our Christmas/New Year's card. Click on the link below to see the card:

http://www.ziggurat.es/nl/061220/email.htm

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!



Tuesday the 19th of December, 2006
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AGREE

LISTEN TO THE DAILY VITAMIN HERE:

Good morning.

One of the most common errors that my Spanish and Catalan-speaking students make is with the verb AGREE. Which one of the following sentences is INCORRECT?

i) He says that there is global warming; I am agree.
ii) He says that there is global warming; I agree.

Sentence (i) is INCORRECT.

Agree is a verb, NOT an adjective. The verb BE (I am...) can be followed by an adjective or a noun, but NOT a verb infinitive:

iii) She IS a teacher. (BE + NOUN)

iv) Janet and Mark ARE very happy. (BE + ADJ)

v) Chris and Lola ARE eat. (**INCORRECT**)

Sentence (v) is a horrible sentence. I'm sure it sounds incorrect to you; but sentence (i), has the same incorrect structure.

In Spanish and Catalan, sentence (ii) above (I agree) is expressed with the verb BE (estar) + an adjective (estoy de acuerdo / estic d'acord). When students say **I am agree**, they are most-likely translating directly from their mother tongue. However, remember that agree is a verb.  

Example 1:
Although Frank is very intelligent, I don't agree with what he is saying. 

Example 2:
Hillary and I always agree. I think that's why our marriage has been so successful.

If you prefer to use something that is more similar to Spanish or Catalan, you can use BE + in agreement.

Example 3:
We are in agreement about the money we should spend on a new car.

Please post any questions about today's Daily Vitamin in the Daily Vitamin Plus! forum section on our website. If you have any questions about how to use the Daily Vitamin Plus! section or would like to receive a Daily Vitamin Plus! manual, please contact us.

I hope you have a good day.



Monday the 18th of December, 2006
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DISCREET vs. DISCRETE

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Good morning. I hope everybody had a good weekend.

This week will be the last week of Daily Vitamins in 2006. We will take a break from December 25th to January 5th. The first Daily Vitamin after the holidays will be Monday, January 8th. If you are a Daily Vitamin Plus! user, the rest of the services (including the online English coach) will still be operative.

Today we answer a question that we received from one of our own students, Silvia:

Hello Matthew, I have problems with this pair of English words: DISCREET and DISCRETE. Maybe there is a former Daily Vitamin about the subject. If not, would you please offer us a new one explaining it? Thanks, Sílvia

Thank you Silvia. We had never talked about these two words before. They are pronounced exactly the same: [dI' skri:t], but have different meanings. They are homophones (they have the same pronunciation, but different spellings and/or meanings).

Discrete means: separate and distinct; independent of other things of the same type.

Example 1:
The company is composed of three discrete units.

Example 2:
The organisms can be divided into discrete categories.

Discreet means: careful in what you say or do, in order to keep something secret or to avoid causing embarrassment or difficulty for somebody. A synonym would be tactful.

Example 3:
My friend Mark is always very discreet about his love affairs.

Example 4:
My wife only likes to wear discreet jewlery. For her birthday I bought her some very discreet earrings made out of white gold.

When speaking, Silvia, there is no problem since the words are pronounced the same. When writing them, you must remember that the word that ends in ETE (discrete) means distinct and the one that ends in EET (discreet) means tactful.

Please post any questions about today's Daily Vitamin in the Daily Vitamin Plus! forum section on our website.

Enjoy your day!