News Letter

In this issue…

–Feature Lesson–

1 – Quiz
2 – New Words from the Vocab Club
3 – Student Essay
4 – Comments on the Essays
5 – Few, A Few, Little, A Little
6 – New Year Traditions
7 – Interesting Facts
8 – Quiz Answers
9 –  Tell Your Friend
10 – Removal
11 – Feedback

–Feature Lesson–
EnglishPractice students  and parents have asked for help for
their children to learn English. This week, EnglishPractice is
continuing a weekly children’s lesson. It will help your children
to learn simple vocabulary and sentence structure. Study the
Feature Lesson at

Remember: We also have some great software available for purchase
so that you can study offline! Visit the Store at

1 – Quiz
Complete the following sentences using Few, A Few, Little or A
Little.  Answers are in section 8.  Studying Part 5 will help with
this exercise.

a) She has ______ money in the bank.  She is very poor.
b) There are ______ countries in the world smaller than Andorra.
c) I’m hungry.  Could I have ______ chocolate?
d) She bought ______ books at the bookstore.
e) This coffee is bitter.  It needs ______ sugar.
f)  Are you finished the test?  No, I need ______ more minutes.
g) I’m going to the library.  I need ______ information for my
h) I traveled to Brazil ______ months ago.

2 – New Words From The Vocab Club
Our Daily Vocab Club has learned seven new words this week. Here
are the seven new words:

reasonable = not extreme or excessive. (adjective)
sink = to go to the bottom. (verb)
thirsty = deficient in moisture. (adjective)
unite = to form a single unit. (verb)
virus = an infective agent. (noun)
wink = to shut one eye briefly. (verb/noun)
authentic = conforming to fact or reality. (adjective)
The EnglishPractice Assistant is now shipping. Thank you to
all who finished your 60 words. When new students are done, they
will get a link to the new software!
Visit the Daily Vocab Club and learn more about our new words at

3 – Student Essay
If you enjoyed reading this essay, you can find more to read at Because only
one essay can be chosen to appear in the newsletter, other
excellent essays submitted to us recently will be posted. The
essays available to read will change regularly. This essay was
submitted by Xiao Fei 2001.

That is a interesting question. Now I am a mother of a ten years
boy. According to my experience a child should become independent
at age eighteen.  Firstly at age eighteen it is a important for
a child transfering into a teengeras well as they finish high
school edcation. Most people will entrance college for farther
education.  They may choose a college near their home. So they
still can stay with their family. But many people choose a college
far away their home.  So they have to be apart from their family.
Secondly they must keep their budget. That is very important thing
for them to manage their daily expense. If they spend money as
water their parents will be worried about their affording.  In my
opinion the earlier a child is independent the more benifets for
both of them. A child will  understand to know how it is hard to
make a live.

4 – Comments about the Essay
This is a good essay.  In this writing we can read a mother’s
perspective on a child’s independence.  The writer expresses some
personal ideas and important arguments for us to consider on the
topic such as the child’s moving away, understanding finances, and
learning about the difficulties life presents us with.  This essay
is well done and contains many important points on this topic that
we can relate to and appreciate. There are some points which we
should consider in order to improve the structure of this writing.
In the beginning you should say “I am the mother of a ten year
old boy…”.  This is how we usually express age.  You use a great
English idiom in this essay.  You should say “If they spend money
like water…” or something like this. “Money as water” is a
little different.
Also, be careful of spelling: transferring, teenagers, education,
and benefits.  Apart from these points, this essay is well done
and an interesting read.  Keep going with your English study – it
really looks great!
Good Work Xiao Fei!

5 – Using Few, A Few, Little and A Little
The use of few and little can be confusing to those studying
English.  Look at the following guides for using these words.
The phrases a few and a little have a positive meaning.  They talk
about something that you have or something that exists.

– She has a few friends in her new class.
(Positive: She has some friends.)
– George drank a little water because he was thirsty.
(Positive: Some water)

The words few and little have a negative meaning. They talk about
something that you don’t have or something very small, almost

– She is not popular.  She has few friends in her new class.
(Negative: She does not have many friends; almost no friends)
– George drank little water and now he feels sick.
(Negative: George drank almost no water; very little water.)

You can use Very to make the negative idea stronger or the amount
seem smaller.

– They are very poor.  They have very little money.
(Negative: They practically have no money; almost nothing.)

Important:  Few and a few are used with plural countable nouns.
Little and a little are used with uncountable nouns.

6 – New Year Traditions
Not all countries celebrate New Year at the same time, nor in the
same way. This is because people in different parts of the world
use different calendars. Long ago, people divided time into days,
months, and years. Some calendars are based on the movement of the
moon, others are based on the position of the sun, while others
are based on both the sun and the moon. All over the world, there
are special beliefs about New Year.

Long Ago Festivals:
Ancient Egypt
In ancient Egypt, New Year was celebrated at the time the River
Nile flooded, which was near the end of September. The flooding of
the Nile was very important because without it, the people would
not have been able to grow crops in the dry desert. At New Year,
statues of the god, Amon and his wife and son were taken up the
Nile by boat. Singing, dancing, and feasting was done for a month,
and then the statues were taken back to the temple.

Babylonia lay in what is now the country of Iraq. Their New Year
was in the Spring. During the festival, the king was stripped of
his clothes and sent away, and for a few days everyone could do
just what they liked. Then the king returned in a grand
procession, dressed in fine robes. Then, everyone had to return to
work and behave properly. Thus, each New Year, the people made a
new start to their lives.

The Romans
For a long time the Romans celebrated New Year on the first of
March. Then, in 46 BC, the Emperor Julius Caesar began a new
calendar. It was the calendar that we still use today, and thus
the New Year date was changed to the first day of January. January
is named after the Roman god Janus, who was always shown as having
two heads. He looked back to the last year and forward to the new
The Roman New Year festival was called the Calends, and people
decorated their homes and gave each other gifts. Slaves and their
masters ate and drank together, and people could do what they
wanted to for a few days.

The Celts
The Celts were the people who lived in Gaul, now called France,
and parts of Britain before the Romans arrived there. Their New
Year festival was called Samhain. It took place at the end of
October, and Samhain means ‘summer’s end’. At Samhain, the Celts
gathered mistletoe to keep ghosts away, because they believed this
was the time when the ghosts of the dead returned to haunt the

Jewish New Year
The Jewish New Year is called Rosh Hashanah. It is a holy time
when people think of the things they have done wrong in the past,
and they promise to do better in the future. Special services are
held in synagogues, and an instrument called a Shofar, which is
made from a ram’s horn is played. Children are given new clothes,
and New Year loaves are baked and fruit is eaten to remind people
of harvest time.

Muslim New Year
The Muslim calendar is based on the movements of the moon, so the
date of New Year is eleven days earlier each year. Iran is a
Muslim country which used to be called Persia. The people
celebrate New Year on March 21, and a few weeks before this date,
people put grains of wheat or barley in a little dish to grow. By
the time of New Year, the grains have produced shoots, and this
reminds the people of spring and a new year of life.

Hindu New Year
Most Hindus live in India, but they don’t all celebrate New Year
in the same way or at the same time. The people of West Bengal, in
northern India, like to wear flowers at New Year, and they use
flowers in the colors of pink, red, purple, or white. Women like
to wear yellow, which is the color of Spring. In Kerala, in
southern India, mothers put food, flowers, and little gifts on a
special tray. On New Year’s morning, the children have to keep
their eyes closed until they have been led to the tray. In central
India, orange flags are flown from buildings on New Year’s Day. In
Gujarat, in western India, New Year is celebrated at the end of
October, and it is celebrated at the same time as the Indian
festival of Diwali. At the time of Diwali, small oil lights are
lit all along the roofs of buildings. At New Year, Hindus think
particularly of the goddess of wealth, Lakshmi.

The Far East
In Vietnam, the New Year is called Tet Nguyen Dan or Tet for
short. It begins between January 21 and February 19, and the exact
day changes from year to year. They believe that there is a god in
every home, and at the New Year this god travels to heaven. There
he will say how good or bad each member of the family has been in
the past year. They used to believe that the god traveled on the
back of a fish called a carp, and today, they sometimes buy a live
carp, and then let it go free in a river or pond. They also
believe that the first person to enter their house at New Year
will bring either good or bad luck.

In Japan, New Year is celebrated on January 1, but the Japanese
also keep some beliefs from their religion, which is called
Shinto. To keep out evil spirits, they hang a rope of straw across
the front of their houses, and this stands for happiness and good
luck. The moment the New Year begins, the Japanese people begin to
laugh, and this is supposed to bring them good luck in the new

Chinese New Year
The Chinese New Year is celebrated some time between January 17
and February 19, at the time of the new moon, and it is called
Yuan Tan. It is celebrated by Chinese people all over the world,
and street processions are an exciting part of their New Year. The
Festival of Lanterns is the street processions, and thousands of
lanterns are used to light the way for the New Year. The Chinese
people believe that there are evil spirits around at New Year, so
they let off firecrackers to frighten the spirits away. Sometimes
they seal their windows and doors with paper to keep the evil
spirits out.

New Year in the West
New Year’s Day processions with decorated floats and bands are a
part of New Year, and football is also played all over the United
States on New Year’s Day. In Europe, New Year was often a time for
superstition and fortune-telling, and in some parts of Switzerland
and Austria, people dress up to celebrate Saint Sylvester’s Eve.
In AD 314, there was a Pope called Saint Sylvester, and people
believed that he captured a terrible sea monster. It was thought
that in the year 1000, this sea monster would escape and destroy
the world, but since it didn’t happen, the people were delighted.
Since then, in parts of Austria and Switzerland, this story is
remembered at New Year, and people dress up in fantastic costumes,
and are called Sylvesterklauses.

In Greece, New Year’s Day is also the Festival of Saint Basil.
Saint Basil was famous for his kindness, and Greek children leave
their shoes by the fire on New Year’s Day with the hope that he
will come and fill the shoes with gifts.

In Scotland, New Year is called Hogmanay, and in some villages
barrels of tar are set alight and rolled through the streets.
Thus, the old year is burned up and the new one allowed to enter.
Scottish people believe that the first person to enter your house
in the New Year will bring good or bad luck, and it is very good
luck if the visitor is a dark-haired man bringing a gift. This
custom is called first-footing.

The song, Auld Lang Syne is sung at midnight on New Year’s Eve,
and this custom is now celebrated all over the world.

7 – Interesting Facts
1) 4,000 people are injured by tea pots every year.
2) A 60-minute cassette contains 565 feet of tape.
3) A coat hanger is forty-four inches long if straightened.
4) A good typist can strike twenty keys in a second.
5) A toothpick is the object most often choked on by Americans
6) A typical double mattress contains as many as two million house
dust mites.
7) All hospitals in Singapore use Pampers diapers.
8) An average of 200 million credit cards are used every day in
the United States.
9) As of 1983, an average of three billion Christmas cards were
sent annually in the United States.
10) Colgate faced a big obstacle marketing toothpaste in Spanish
speaking countries. Colgate translates into the command “go hang

8 – Quiz Answers
Here are the answers from section 1:
a) little
b) few
c) a little
d) a few
e) a little
f)  a few
g) a little
h) a few

9 – Tell Your Friend
If you want to have this information newsletter sent to a friend,
you can now do the following:
Go to and
fill in the form.

10 – Removal
If you are no longer interested in receiving this newsletter,
please send a message to with your
e-mail address in the subject. Thank you.

————- is interested in hearing your opinions
about our latest announcements and developments. Please forward
your comments to


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