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Mar 17, 2009

Beginners.

On the highways here in the United States you will find some signs that say, "Buckle up! We love you." The message is to remind people to fasten their seat belts to stay safe. It's a good idea. Another thing that is available on the highways is free coffee. In certain areas on the long roads, there are places where you can stop to get a  free cup of coffee. This helps to keep people awake when they drive at night. It saves lives, and also money. Another good idea. Today, as I was driving my kids to school, I noticed a lot of police cars . I passed one of their cars that was flashing. This was serious. Suddenly, a policeman on the side of the road waved me over. I opened the window and he said, "Hi Ma'm, we're doing a safety belt check today." "Oh, good idea," I said. "Are all your children strapped in?" he asked, looking in the car. I looked behind and saw that none of my three boys had their belts on. Oh great! My daughter did. I always strap her in. On the way to school, I always tell the boys to do up their belts, but obviously today they didn't. The policeman pointed out the problem. He asked me for my driver's license. Guess what? I had left my bag at home, so I didn't have my license either. He informed me that it is illegal to drive without the license. I actually didn't know that. Oh what a morning! The policeman was very kind, and let me go with just a small fine. The experience was a good reminder, and a warning.

Grammar notes.

Important vocabulary: driver's license, seat belt, buckle up, to strap in/ to do up, illegal, message, sign, warning, reminder.

Verbs: to remind, to guess, to strap in/ buckle up, to point out.

Exs: Please remind me to pay the bill tomorrow.

He guessed the answer; he didn't really know it.

Strap yourself in/ buckle up, we're going to drive on a busy street.

He pointed out that the speed limit in town is thirty miles an hour.

Advanced.

"If you don't strap yourself in, I'm not going anywhere." That is something I say regularly to my three boys when we get in the car, especially when I tell them to put their seat belts on and they don't pay attention. They look at me with impatient eyes, as if they want to say, "Mum don't nag us; it's too early in the morning." Well, sometimes I don't nag enough. This morning I got into trouble with the police for three of my four kids not being strapped in. The policeman was perfectly reasonable and calm, which I appreciated. If you get one in a bad mood, the situation could be more unpleasant than necessary. We live only a four minute drive from the school, so it is a temptation, I confess, to just get there quickly and to not double check the seat belt situation. Well, when I agreed with the policeman that their project was a good idea, he seemed surprised. "Most people don't respond like that. We usually get a lot of excuses." There is no point being dishonest, is there? It's all about the safety of the children, so we should comply. I felt quite comfortable in the situation, even though I was the one at fault. Probably I was still too tired to imagine myself behind bars, or having to pay a huge fine. I hadn't had my morning coffee yet, so my imagination was not awake enough to scare me. Anyway, I don't have to wear a stripey suit and get locked up. Just a small fine is the only punishment. Let's all stand corrected!

Grammar notes.

Verbs: to pay attention, to nag, to appreciate, to be honest/dishonest/at fault.

Exs: I wish the students would pay attention.

He says that his wife nags him about his spending habits.

I appreciate all the hard work you have done.

He has to make a choice between being honest or dishonest.

When I'm at fault, I say so.