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Feb 12, 2013

The subject of many people's conversations is the flu. Everybody is talking about it. The clinics and hospitals are full of people who have flu symptoms, and supermarkets have shelves full of medicines, tissues(1), and vitamin powders. I've been lucky so far(2); my children and my husband have had it, but not me(3). And I'm not going to, I keep telling myself. I'm using mind over matter(4). When I do go to the supermarket, I'll often hear a horrible cough in one direction, and a sneeze in another(5). So what do I do then? I get as far away as possible(6). I push my shopping cart to the opposite part of the store as quickly as possible. I bumped into a man I know the other day, and he said, "Anna, you are the fastest moving thing(7) in the store!" At home I've been moving fast as well. There is extra washing to do. I wipe the countertops with disinfecting wipes(8). I remind the kids to wash their hands with soap and water, and to drink lots of water and juice. And I open windows as much as possible. And after all of that, really the only thing you should do is rest, stay warm, and sleep. 

1. 'Tissues' here mean paper handkerchiefs. The word 'tissue' is the general word used, as 'handkerchief' is out dated. It is also the general word for organic material.

a. Do you need a tissue? It sounds like you have a bad cold.

b. He lost tissue from his hand in the accident.

2. 'So far' could be replaced by 'up until now'.

a. So far he has been very successful in his career.

b. We haven't been able to get a loan so far.

3. 'My children and husband have had it, but not me.' The last part of this sentence is a simplified way of speaking. It is equally normal to say 'but I haven't' at the end of the sentence, as I have already used the verb 'to have'. However, I think an easier way of completing the sentence is by saying 'but not me'. It is correct and also common use. Even if I had used the verb 'to do', I could have finished the sentence the same way.

a. They did it, but not me (but I didn't).

b. The class read the book, but not her (name).

4. 'Mind over matter' is a set phrase which means that you are trying to convince yourself, and control your own physical symptoms.

a. I was terrified of bungie jumping, but I used mind over matter, and I did it!

b. He doesn't like giving speeches, but with mind over matter he manages.

5. As with most languages, the word 'another' or other implies the repetition of a noun, so you don't have to mention it twice.

a. In my kitchen I found a mouse on one chair, and a spider on another!

b. He cut his finger on one knife, and his thumb on another.

6. 'As far away as possible' is an example of the phrase 'as possible'. The words 'far away' might make it seem more complicated, but it's actually not. 'Far away' is simply put in between 'as' and 'as possible', like many, many other things.

a. He ran as fast as possible to catch the bus.

b. He always stands as close as possible to people, but his breath stinks!

c. She writes her essays as carefully as possible.

7. "Anna, you're the fastest moving thing in the store" this sentence uses 'moving thing' to add humor because it shows me as a thing and not a person. In fact, the speaker could have said just 'the fastest thing in the store' and missed out 'moving'. We use a superlative adjective with 'thing' in these sentences.

a. That child is the loudest thing in the whole shopping center.

b. That dog is the ugliest thing I've ever seen!

c. That article is the most ridiculous thing I've ever read!

8. 'Disinfecting wipes' are disposable cloths that have disinfecting liquid in them. The word 'wipe' is a verb, and a noun with two meanings: the action of wiping, and the cloth,

a. I need a 'baby wipe' to clean the baby.

b. Wipe your mouth, you have spaghetti sauce on it.

c. He cleaned the glass with one wipe.

Join me on FACEBOOK at Anna Fromacupofenglish; you're all invited. My app is available in iTunes called A Cup Of English, and my email address is if you wish to give me any suggestions or if you have any questions.