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Friday, May 11, 2012

April Showers Bring May Flowers




GET READY:

1. Can you guess the meaning of this saying?
2. Have you ever had a bad experience that turned out to be a good thing?

READ THIS:

James sees his student, a girl named Mary, standing in a bus shelter on a rainy day. James runs under it also, closing his umbrella and wiping his face.

James: Yikes! Hi, Mary. Don't you just love this weather?
Mary: What are you talking about? It's raining!
James: Yeah, but "April showers bring May flowers."
Mary: I've heard that before, but I thought it was just a metaphor.
James: It can be. In that case, it just means that sometimes trouble can result in something good. But in large parts of the northern hemisphere, it's literally true.
Mary: How so?
James: Well, lots of places get "Spring rain" in April. That's followed by an increase in blooming plants and other vegetation in May.
Mary: So, the rain really does make the flowers grow. I can see why you like it.
James: Yeah, and besides, "It's nice weather for ducks!"
Mary: What's that?
James: It's the title of an old song. But it's also true!
Mary: Oh, there's my bus. Gotta go!
James: See ya!

NOTES:

Whether you love the rain or hate it, rain comes anyway. But after the rain? Flowers!

Life's like that, too. We have a saying: "Into every life, some rain must fall." That means that everyone has troubles. But after the troubles come benefits.

So today's proverb has both a literal and a metaphorical meaning.,

More notes:
  • bus shelter: a small building, often with only one wall, to stand under while waiting for a bus. They often have advertising on them.
  • Yikes!: an expression of strong feeling. It's usually a little negative, and might be used when you're surprised, or when something a little bad happens.
  • What are you talking about?: this is another way to say, "Are you crazy?" It means the person is talking nonsense.
  • metaphor: a figure of speech where one thing stands for another. If I say, "he's an animal!" I mean that his behavior isn't appropriate for a person; here "animal" stands for "badly-behaved human."
  • northern hemisphere: the northern half of the world, north of the equator. "Sphere means "ball" (roughly the shape of the earth); "hemi-" means "half." So a "hemi-sphere" is half of a ball, or in this case half of our globe.
  • How so?: Mary could also simply ask "Why?" here. "How so?" is a shorthand way to ask, "How is it that that is so?"

PRACTICE:

Use the above terms in one of the following sentences. Be sure to use the correct form.

1. __________! What was that huge noise?
2. I don't mean you're REALLY a pig; it's just a __________ that means you eat a lot.
3. A: I can't come to your party. B: __________? A: I have to work.
4. I waited in the __________ for 30 minutes before my ride came.
5. You think I'm not your friend? __________? Of course I am!
6. When it's autumn in Australia, it's spring in the __________.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION OR WRITING:

If you can, try to talk about these questions in English with a friend. If not, try writing your answers.

1. Do you like the rain? Why or why not? Is rain important where you come from? How? Is rain ALWAYS "good"? Give examples of what happens when rain is "bad."
2. Do you know some other metaphors in English? How about in your own language? Talk about them.
3. Which hemisphere is your home country in? (Actually there are TWO answers: northern or southern; and eastern or western.)

ANSWERS TO THE PRACTICE:

1. Yikes; 2. metaphor; 3. How so; 4. bus shelter; 5. What are you talking about; 6. northern hemisphere

This lesson is ©2012 by James Baquet. You may share this work freely. Teachers may use it in the classroom, as long as students are told the source (URL). You may not publish this material or sell it. Please write to me if you have any questions about "fair use."

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