Dilemma

September 21, 2007

Contents

1) Dilemma
2) Vocabulary Box
3) Grammar Spot: Should

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TODAY’S JOKE
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Dilemma

“I’m in love with two girls. One is very beautiful but has no money, the other is ugly and has lots of money. Who should I marry?”

“ Well, I’m sure that you must really love the beautiful one, so I think you should marry her.”

“OK, thank you very much for your advice.”

“Don’t mention it. By the way, I wonder if you could give me the name and telephone number of the other girl?”

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VOCABULARY BOX
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Let’s explain some of the words in today’s joke!

– You can say don’t mention it or I’m glad that I could help.
– To wonder is used in phrases, at the beginning of a request, to make it more formal and polite.
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GRAMMAR SPOT
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Should

Agatha Christie once said “Good advice is always certain to be ignored, but that’s no reason not to give it.” Today’s lesson will teach how to give advice or make recommendations but this is not all you are going to learn because the modal verb ‘should’ can be used in different contexts.

Let’s start with the form:

Affirmative: Subject + should + verb (short infinitive).
Negative: Subject + shouldn’t + verb (short infinitive).
Interrogative: Should/ shouldn’t + subject + verb (short infinitive)?

‘Should’ can be used for present and future or for past after a verb in the pats tense.

He shouldn’t smoke so much. (present)
He shouldn’t smoke when he visits his grandparents next week. (future)
He shouldn’t have smoked so much. (past)

We use ‘should’:

– to give advice or make recommendations

You should see a doctor.
You should exercise more.
Should we buy her a present?
You shouldn’t be so selfish.

– to express obligation or duty

I should call my dad tomorrow.
He should apologize to Martha.
You should be ashamed of yourselves.
We should return this book to the library by the 5th of May.

– ‘should + perfect infinitive’ expresses unfulfilled obligation or recommendation

She should have talked to him, but she didn’t.
I should have written to her but I haven’t had time.
I should have listened to you.
He should have called her.

– ‘shouldn’t + perfect infinitive’ expresses regret or disapproval regarding an action in the past

They shouldn’t have come so late.
I shouldn’t have spoken to him like that.
He shouldn’t have drive so fast.
You shouldn’t have eaten so much.

– ‘should + continuous infinitive’ shows that the subject is not fulfilling his duty/ obligation

He should be studying for his exams.
We should be wearing seat belts.
I shouldn’t be doing this.
They shouldn’t be playing cards.

– to express expectations

She should be there.
Jerry should arrive here at 12.00.
The answer should be ‘A’, not ‘B’.
You should find this guidebook helpful.

Equivalent expressions:

– be supposed to

I should be at work before 8.30.
I am supposed to be at work before 8.30.

– ought to

You should tell the truth.
You ought to tell the truth.

Some set phrases with ‘should’:

– somebody should be shot = someone’s actions are unreasonable, outrageous

They should be shot for selling cigarettes to minors.

– How should I know?

– you should have seen/heard something/somebody

You should have seen him. He was hilarious.

– I should think not/so (too). = We suggest that something is correct or incorrect.

“He bought her flowers to apologise for his mistake.”
“I should think so too!’

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_______________________________________________________

That was all for today. I hope you have enjoyed yourself and learnt
new useful things. Till next time, take care.

Your tutor,
Ana
______________________________________________________

Copyright© 2007 English Through Jokes. All Rights Reserved.
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A Married Couple

September 18, 2007

Contents

1) A Married Couple
2) Vocabulary Box
3) Grammar Spot: Might

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TODAY’S JOKE
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A Married Couple

Although this married couple enjoyed their new fishing boat together, it was the husband who was behind the wheel operating the boat.

He was concerned about what might happen in an emergency. So one day out on the lake he said to his wife,

“Please take the wheel, dear. Pretend that I am having a heart attack. You must get the boat safely to shore and dock it.”

So she drove the boat to shore.

Later that evening, the wife walked into the living room where her husband was watching television. She sat down next to him, switched the TV channel, and said to him,

“Please go into the kitchen, dear. Pretend I’m having a heart attack and set the table, cook dinner and wash the dishes.”

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VOCABULARY BOX
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Let’s explain some of the words in today’s joke!

– A wheel is a circular device that helps us control a vehicle.

– The man in our jokes was operating the boat, that means he was controlling the functioning of the boat, he was running the boat.

– To be concerned means to be worried.

– If someone docks a ship, they bring it into a dock (harbour).

– When you switch channels, you change from one channel to another.

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GRAMMAR SPOT
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Might

The subject of our previous lesson was the modal verb ‘may’. Today we shall continue what we started last time and introduce the pair of ‘may’ into our story, the modal verb ‘might’.

Affirmative: Subject + might + verb (short infinitive).
Negative: Subject + might not/mightn’t + verb (short infinitive).
Interrogative: Might + subject + verb (short infinitive)?

He might pass the examination.
He might not pass the examination.
Might he pass the examination?

When ‘might’ express possibility, just like in the examples above, we can use it in the interrogative, but ‘could ‘ or ‘do you think…?” are more usual.

Could he pass the examination?
Do you think he will pass the examination?

We use ‘might’:

– to express possibility in the future or present

They might emigrate to New Zealand.
He might go to London tomorrow.
Things might not be as bad as they seem.
She might be sleeping.

Both ‘may’ and ‘might’ can be used in this context, but ‘might’ suggests more doubt.

– after verbs in the past tense, especially in the indirect speech and the sequence of tenses. In this case, ‘might’ is the past form of ‘may’.

I knew that he might visit us on Sunday.
He said that he might call her later.
They warned me that he might not like my idea.
He asked his boss if he might leave earlier that day.

– the construction ‘might + perfect infinitive’ is used when we speculate about the past.

You might have left your keys at the office.
She might have won the contest.
They might have lent you the money.
It might have been worse.

– in conditional sentences to indicate a possible instead of a certain result. ‘Might’ is the conditional form of ‘may’.

If I took part in the essay competition, I might win the big prize.
If I didn’t have to work, I might go with you.
If you had left your purse there, someone might have stolen it.
If you had invited her to your party, she might have come.

Equivalent expressions:

– could

He may/might/could be in the living room.
The plane may/might/ could be delayed by the bad weather.

Note that in the negative, there is a difference in meaning.

He might not have his cell phone. = Perhaps he doesn’t have the cell phone.
He could have his cell phone. = It impossible that he has his cell phone.

– to be likely/ unlikely

Is he likely to win?
It’s likely that the meeting will go on until later in the evening.

– perhaps

Perhaps he is ill.
Perhaps they have already arrived.

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_______________________________________________________

That was all for today. I hope you have enjoyed yourself and learnt
new useful things. Till next time, take care.

Your tutor,
Ana
______________________________________________________

Copyright© 2007 English Through Jokes. All Rights Reserved.
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A Fine Place for Trout

September 12, 2007

Contents

1) A Fine Place for Trout
2) Vocabulary Box
3) Grammar Spot: May

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TODAY’S JOKE
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A Fine Place for Trout

A man was busy fishing along a quiet stream when a stranger came by and enquired,

“Catch anything yet?”

“No,” was the answer.

“That’s strange. I heard this was a fine place for trout.”

“It may be…,” the fisherman said skeptically.

“On second thoughts,” he added, “it must be! They refuse to leave it.”

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VOCABULARY BOX
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Let’s explain some of the words in today’s joke!

– Trout is a fish that is a popular food. The plural is trout or trouts.

– A stream is a small river.

– To enquire or to inquire means to ask for information.

– The meaning of skeptically is doubtfully. The fisherman is not sure.

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GRAMMAR SPOT
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May

So far we have talked about “can”, “could”, “must”, “have to”. Are we done with modals? Not yet. Today’s guest star is the modal verb “may”. My presentation is structured in two parts. First, we are going to have a look at the form of this verb and then we are going to learn how to use “may” in different contexts. This being said, let’s proceed.

Affirmative: Subject + may + verb (short infinitive).
Interrogative: May + Subject + verb (short infinitive)?
Negative: Subject + may + not (mayn’t) + verb (short infinitive).

She may help us.
I may do it.
May I take your book?
May I see your passport, please?
They may not know it.
It may not work.

Remark: The form “mayn’t” is rarely used.

When do we use “may”?

– to talk about present or future possibilities

He may be in his office.
She may be upset.
I may vote for him.
They may go to France.
I may not be able to meet you at the railway station.
She may not come to the party.

– to ask for/ give permission. “May” is more formal than “can”.

May I have another piece of cake?
May I make a phone call?
May I see that?
You may leave at 7:30 if you like.
You may have a sit.
You may join us if you like.

– to express past possibilities. The pattern is: may + have + past participle

She may have been asleep. (Perhaps she was asleep.)
They may have gone to lunch. (Perhaps they went to lunch.)
You may have left your umbrella in the restaurant.
He may have gone shopping.

We end today’s lesson with some set phrases.

– may well

He may well not want to pay by credit card. = It is very likely that he won’t agree to pay by credit card.

– May the best man/person win. = You want the best competitor to win/succeed.

– To whom it may concern. = You write it at the start of a formal letter when you don’t know exactly who it should be addressed to.

– may I ask/ may I suggest

What, may I ask, was the purpose of your actions?
May I suggest we take a short break?

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_______________________________________________________

That was all for today. I hope you have enjoyed yourself and learnt
new useful things. Till next time, take care.

Your tutor,
Ana
______________________________________________________

Copyright© 2007 English Through Jokes. All Rights Reserved.
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A Serious Case

September 10, 2007

Contents

1) A Serious Case
2) Vocabulary Box
3) Grammar Spot: Have to

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TODAY’S JOKE
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A Serious Case

A newly married doctor received a phone call inviting him to go and play cards.

“I have to go out, darling,” he said to his wife.

“Oh no, not again,” she said. “Is it serious?”

“Oh yes,” replied her husband, “there are three doctors there already.”

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VOCABULARY BOX
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Let’s explain some of the words in today’s joke!

– The meaning of newly is recently.

– To reply means to answer, to react to an action by someone else.

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GRAMMAR SPOT
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Have

In our previous lesson, we learnt that we can use ‘must’ and ‘have to’ to say that it is necessary to do something. There are situations when it doesn’t matter whether we use ‘must’ or ‘have to”. But there is a difference in meaning between ‘must’ and ‘have to’ and sometimes this is important. In today’s lesson we are going to explore precisely these differences.

A distinction would be that ‘must’ refers to an internal, personal need or obligation while ‘have to’ is used to refer to an external, impersonal need or obligation.

In England, you have to drive on the left.
In Britain, most children have to wear a uniform when they go to school.
Tim has to wear a tie at work.

In each of the above examples, the obligation is imposed from outside. ‘Have to’ is used to talk about rules, laws, whereas must is useful for official notices and instructions.

Every man has to do military service in my country.
Policemen have to wear a uniform.

You must carry your passport at all times.
You must not smoke in the toilets.

Compare:

I must work harder otherwise I won’t pass the exam. (It’s my own decision)
I can’t come out with you tonight. I have to work. (impersonal, external obligation)

‘Mustn’t’ and ‘don’t have to’ are quite different, the first indicating that something is prohibited, while the second implies an absence of obligation or need.

You mustn’t do something = It is necessary that you don’t do it.

It’s a very important meeting. You mustn’t be late.
Don’t make so much noise. We mustn’t wake up the baby.

You don’t have to do something = You don’t need to do it, but you can if you want.

I don’t have to get up early at weekend.
We don’t have to pay. It’s free.

Some remarks:

1. In spoken British English you can also use ‘have got to’ and ‘haven’t got to’.

There has got to be a mistake.
You haven’t got to leave now.

2. People often drop the ‘have’ from ‘have got to’. But in formal writing ‘got to’ is not ordinarily considered acceptable.

We got to get up early.
You got to go.

3. We can use ‘have’ to in all tenses, and also with modal auxiliaries.

Why did you have to go to the hospital?
We’ll have to be there at 10 o’clock.
She may have to do it again.

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That was all for today. I hope you have enjoyed yourself and learnt
new useful things. Till next time, take care.

Your tutor,
Ana
______________________________________________________

Copyright© 2007 English Through Jokes. All Rights Reserved.
_______________________________________________________


A Miracle

September 7, 2007

Contents

1) A Miracle
2) Vocabulary Box
3) Grammar Spot: Must

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TODAY’S JOKE
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A Miracle

An old lady had been to Lourdes, and as she went through the customs on her way home, the customs officer found a bottle in a suitcase.

“This must be whisky,” he said.

“Oh no,” said the old lady. “It’s holy water from Lourdes.”

The customs officer opened the bottle to smell the liquid.

“That is whisky,” he said.

“Praise be to God!” said the old lady.
“Another miracle!”

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VOCABULARY BOX
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Let’s explain some of the words in today’s joke!

– Lourdes is a major place of Christian pilgrimage (a journey made to special places for religious reasons).

– A customs officer is a person whose job is to look inside travellers’ bags to make certain they are not taking goods into a country without paying taxes.

– Holy means sacred.

– The meaning of the verb ‘to praise’ is to honour, to worship.

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GRAMMAR SPOT
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Must

Today we shall continue our journey into the world of modal verbs. Our guest is the modal verb “must”. The story of “must” is simple, but I am sure that our joke and the following examples will make it more exciting and interesting.

Let’s make the introductions:

Affirmative: S + must + the short infinitive of the verb
Negative: S + must not/mustn’t + the short infinitive of the verb
Interrogative: Must + S+ the short infinitive of the verb?

He must pay the rent by Wednesday.
You must eat here.
Must I eat all that cake?

We can use ‘must’ in the present or future, but not the past. Its substitute, ‘have to’ can be used in all forms, but we are going to talk about ‘have to’ next time.

Now that introductions are made, let’s get to know ‘must’ better.

We use ‘must’:

– to express obligation imposed by the speaker. The following general example will help you understand this better.

You must do something. = I (the speaker) say it is necessary.

I must stop smoking.
You must phone her.
We must hurry. It’s late.
He must wear a suit tonight.

– to express necessity

You must have a visa to visit this country.
Students must pass a test to enter this college.
Father must take these pills. He’s sick.
You must fill this form.

– to express certainty

This must be the right address.
This must be the answer to our question.
That must be John. He said he would be here by five.
That must be the royal palace.

Add today’s joke as an example.

We use ‘must not/ mustn’t’:

– to express prohibition

You mustn’t walk on the grass.
Students must not use dictionaries in the exam.
You mustn’t park here.
You must not cross the road on the red light.

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That was all for today. I hope you have enjoyed yourself and learnt
new useful things. Till next time, take care.

Your tutor,
Ana
______________________________________________________

Copyright© 2007 English Through Jokes. All Rights Reserved.
_______________________________________________________


A Counterfeiter

September 5, 2007

Contents

1) A Counterfeiter
2) Vocabulary Box
3) Grammar Spot: Could

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TODAY’S JOKE
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A Counterfeiter

A counterfeiter decided that the easiest way to pass off his phony $18 bills would be to unload them in some small rural town, so he drove until he found a tiny town with a single general merchandise store.

He entered the store, went up to the counter, and handed one of the bogus bills to the man behind the counter.

“Could you change this for me, please?”

The store clerk looked at the bill for a few seconds then smiled at the man.

“Of course I can. Would you prefer two $9 bills or three $6 bill?”

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VOCABULARY BOX
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Let’s explain some of the words in today’s joke!

– A counterfeiter is someone who makes copies, usually for dishonest or illegal purposes.

– To pass something off as something means to pretend that something or someone is a particular thing or person when they are not.

– Phony means not real, false. Bogus has a similar meaning.

– The meaning of ‘to unload’ is to dispose of, to get rid of.

– Merchandise are goods sold and bought.

– You can say a tiny town or a small town.

– A clerk is someone who sells things in a shop.

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GRAMMAR SPOT
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Could

In our previous lesson, we learnt that ‘could’ is the past form of ‘can’. Today we are going to see that we can also use ‘could’ in a number of other ways. Below I have listed the situations when we use ‘could’.

We use ‘could’:

– to express a general ability in the past

She could ski when she was only three.
I couldn’t see him clearly because of the fog.
He spoke in a very low voice but I could understand what he said.
They could speak three foreign languages.

But when we talk about what happened in a particular situation, on a special occasion, we use ‘was/were able to’.

The police officer chased the thief, but he was able to escape.
The fire spread quickly, but he was able to escape through a window.
The boat overturned, but we were able to swim to the bank.
They left twenty minutes later, but they where able to the airport.

– to express possibility in the present or future. It is similar in meaning to ‘might’.

It could rain later. Take an umbrella.
She could arrive anytime now.
Could he be any happier?
The phone is ringing. It could be Jim.

– to say that something was possible in the past, but it didn’t happen. The pattern is could + have + past participle.

I was so hungry. I could have eaten a horse.
She was really lucky. She could have broken his leg.
The situation was bad but it could have been worse.
Be careful with that stick – it could have gone in my eye!

– to ask permission or to make requests. ‘Could’ is more polite than ‘can’.

Could we leave our bags here?
Could you tell me where the bank is, please?
Could I bother you for a moment?
Could you turn the music down a little?

– to make suggestion and offers

We could go to the cinema.
You could stay with Mary.
You could hire a car for Sunday.

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That was all for today. I hope you have enjoyed yourself and learnt
new useful things. Till next time, take care.

Your tutor,
Ana
______________________________________________________

Copyright© 2007 English Through Jokes. All Rights Reserved.
_______________________________________________________


A Useful Warning!

September 3, 2007

Contents

1) A Useful Warning!
2) Vocabulary Box
3) Grammar Spot: Can

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TODAY’S JOKE
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A Useful Warning!

“When you go diving,” said the Caribbean instructor, “always take a friend with you.

If you run out of air, your friend can help you.

If you forget which way is the surface is – it may sound silly, but it does happen – your friend can help you.

If you have problems with your equipment, your friend can help you.

Most important of all, though, is that if a shark turns up, your chance of survival is 50%, not 0!”

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VOCABULARY BOX
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Let’s explain some of the words in today’s joke!

– To go diving means to swim under water, usually with breathing equipment.

– If something runs out, all of it has been used or it is completely finished.

– You can say it sounds silly or it seems stupid. They have the same meaning.

– To turn up means to come, to arrive in this context.

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GRAMMAR SPOT
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Can

Today’s lesson will teach you how to use the modal auxiliary verb ‘can’. ‘Can’ is one of the most commonly used modal verbs in English. It can be used to express ability, to make requests, to ask for or give permission, and to show possibility or impossibility.

Here are the basic properties of ‘Can’:

1. It are always followed by the bare infinitive of the verb (infinitive without ‘to’).

I can ride a horse.
You can cook.

2. It has only two forms can (present) and could (past). So sometimes it is necessary to use ‘be able to’.

I haven’t been able to sleep recently. (‘can’ has no present perfect)
I’ll be able to do that when I feel better. (‘can’ has no future)

3. Negatives are formed by putting ‘not’ immediately after the modal. The negative of ‘can’ is written as one word ‘cannot’, more usually shortened to can’t.

She cannot see you on Wednesday.
I’m afraid I can’t help you.

4. Questions are formed by placing ‘can’ before the subject.

Can I ask a question?
Can you pass me the salt?

When do we use ‘can’?

You already know the answer to this question, but in order to make things clear I suggest we exemplify all the situations when we use ‘can’.

– to talk about ability

She can drive a car.
We can speak German.
I cannot hear you.
Can you see that man?

– to make requests

Can you make a cup of coffee, please?
Can you turn off the lights?
Can you give me lift?
Can you hurry up, please?

– to ask for or give permission. Note that he use of can for permission is informal.

Can I smoke in this room?
Can I make a suggestion?
You can take my dictionary.
You can sit here if you want to.

– to show possibility or impossibility

Learning Chinese can be a real challenge.
You can get rich if you work hard.
She can’t be at home.
He can’t be forty. He looks so young.

___________________________________________________

This newsletter is sponsored by:

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_______________________________________________________

That was all for today. I hope you have enjoyed yourself and learnt
new useful things. Till next time, take care.

Your tutor,
Ana
______________________________________________________

Copyright© 2007 English Through Jokes. All Rights Reserved.
_______________________________________________________