Friday, April 29, 2011

Human Interest Stories: From Tabloid Sensationalism to Texts Worth Reading

Each day the broadsheets and news programs feed their readers and followers news regarding politics, business, crime, sports, celebrities and many more.  Most of the stories focus on presenting facts and figures about topics such as elections, global warming, war efforts, cancer research, sports athletes’ salaries, latest technology and others.  Although most of these topics are useful to know and of great importance to most, sometimes you would like to hear how an issue really affects a community, a family or an individual.  This is where a human interest story enters.
A human interest story is one where you have a human lead.  It is a feature story that presents the side of an individual or a group of individuals in an emotional manner. It may talk about people’s achievements, concerns and problems or a human disaster and how the human wave is coping.  This type of story is written in such a way that it elicits both interest and sympathy for the person or persons involved.  A human interest story is often called by journalists as ‘the story behind the story’.  They point to the person in the local interest story as ‘the face behind the story.’
Newspapers and magazines abound with human interest stories about everything from the life of soldiers or their families, volunteers in famine stricken Africa, persons with unbelievable achievements, survivors of cancers and other health issues, to natural disaster and financial ruin survivors and much more.  On television, there are human magazine shows tackling similar topics but are more thought provoking and heart wrenching for viewers because you see the actual person or persons describing their experience.
Another source of human interest stories is the internet.  If you are interested in finding this type of feature story online:
  1. Type ‘human interest stories’ on the search tab of your browser.
  2. Refine the search by entering what topic the story should be about.  For example, you can look for stories about Afghan refugees, famine, bank foreclosures, a blind swimmer, a child prodigy and many more. 
Below are some websites you may want to check out for human interest stories:
  • CNN – go to World’s Untold Stories for video versions of human interest stories.
  • UNICEF – type ‘real lives’ in the site’s search engine to bring you human interest stories around the globe.
  • International Middle East Media Center has human interest stories focusing on the Middle East region.
  • The Salvation Army has very short human interest stories for quick reading.
  • Reader’s Digest - Look under ‘Inspiring People’ to read about individuals who went beyond what they thought they are capable of achieving.
For more human interest stories, check out the websites of the following:  local and international newspapers, magazines like Time and Newsweek, television news programs and magazine shows.  They usually have many stories dealing with triumphs and adversities of the human spirit.
Although some human interest stories may tend to be sensationally written, others really peel off the layers of a person or group of persons’ experience and describe how this experience affected them and the people around them.  When you read a human interest story in this jaded world, try to read it with a fresh eye and look beyond the sensationalism.  Allow human interest stories to inspire you to go beyond your comfort zone.  Who knows, maybe you can write one yourself and inspire others.

Have a great week,

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Some Fun :-)

Funny Complaint Letter

Our friend Sebastian (5th F) sent this hilarious text and I'm still laughing! :)) Thanks a lot for sharing it!

Hope it brings laughter to all of you too, enjoy!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

This Calls for Celebration!


We've reached 10.000 pageviews since we started blogging last October!

            Thank you all for following Takethe5th!


Grammar Tip # 6: WORD FORMATION

The following list does not include the adjectives derived from participle forms of verbs e.g.(verb) interest (adjective) interesting /interested nor does the list include the adverbs derived by adding suffix "-ly" at the end of adjectives. eg.(adjective) deep (adverb) deeply.

Notice that this chart shows word formation starting with the letter "A". If you click on the following link, the chart will continue alphabetically WORD FORMATION CHARTS.

enable ability able unable ably
absence absentee absent
accident accidental
accommodate accommodation
acknowledge acknowledgement
act action activity activist actress actor active inactive
activate activation
add addition additive additional additive
adequacy inadequacy adequate inadequate
admire admiration admirable admirably
advantage disadvantage advantageous disadvantageous
advertise advertisement advertiser
admit admission admittance
adopt adoption
advise advice advisability advisable inadvisable advisably inadvisably
affection affectionate unaffectionate
affect effect effective ineffective
agree disagree agreement disagreement agreeable disagreeable agreeably disagreeably
alcohol alcoholic alcoholically
allow allowance
ambition ambitious
amuse amusement
annoy annoyance
excite excitement
anxiety anxious
apologize apology apologetic apologetically
appear disappear appearance disappearance apparent apparently
applaud applause applauder
apply application applicant applicable applicably
appoint appointment
appreciate appreciation appreciative
approve disapprove approval disapproval
argue argument argumentation arguable argumentative arguably
arrange arrangement
arrive arrival
assist assistance
associate association
assume assumption
astonish astonishment
attend attendance
attention attentive
attract attraction attractiveness unattractiveness attractive unattractive
avoid avoidance avoidable unavoidable avoidably unavoidably

Source: Good site.

These links below are great reading about Word Formation:
-BRIGHTHUB_Back Formation and Derivation. Also Conversion, Compounding, Clipping and Blending. Pdf. Article by Ingo Plag on Word Formation.
-WORD BUILDING LIST. Compiled by Tomasz Szczégola, Poland.

International House, Bristol

Have a good week,

Friday, April 8, 2011

Don't Stop The Music - Jamie Cullum

Jaime Cullum's AWESOME version...Have a grrreat weekend!!  :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Useful Links  View this site as a slide or text, plus exercises. Very useful.  Different types and templates. Good site for writing tips. Rocío, here's someone else wondering the same thing you did in class today: 'Calling someone "Dear" when you're writing a complaint?' :),75614&content=44072 Here's to download all sorts of legal templates.



A valediction (derivation from Latin vale dicere, 'to say farewell'), or complimentary close in American English, is an expression used to say farewell, especially a word or phrase used to end a letter or message, or the act of saying parting words- whether brief, or extensive.
For the greetings counterpart to valediction, see 'salutation' below.
Valedictions normally immediately precede the signature in written correspondence. The word or words used express respect, esteem, or regard for the person to whom the correspondence is directed, and the exact form used depends on a number of factors — including:
  • the formality of the correspondence
  • the relationship to the recipient
Conventions also change over time, and of course differ by language.
English valedictions typically contain the possessive pronoun yours. "Yours truly" and "yours sincerely" (or its American English variant, "sincerely yours"). Earlier style closings were usually much longer, and often a complete sentence.


Formal valediction

English language valediction typically contain the word yours, a contraction of your servant; valediction was traditionally voluminous, a complete sentence of the form:
I am, Sir, your most humble and obedient servant,
I beg to remain, Sir, your most humble and obedient servant,

This form is occasionally abbreviated to
Your obt svt,
The phrase et cetera may be used in place of the remainder of the valediction, as in
I am, etc.,
As well as

Yours sincerely or faithfully

In British English, valedictions have largely been replaced by the use of "Yours sincerely" or "Yours faithfully", a shorter form of the archaic "I am yours sincerely". "Yours sincerely" is typically employed in British English when the recipient is addressed by name and is known to the sender to some degree, whereas "Yours faithfully" is used when the recipient is not known by name (i.e. the recipient is addressed by a phrase such as "Dear Sir/Madam"). One way to remember this is the saying "S and S never go together" (for Sir and Sincerely respectively) or remembering "Sir Faithful". When the recipient's name is known, but not previously met or spoken with, some people prefer the use of the more distant Yours faithfully, at the risk of annoying the recipient.
In the American English, "Sincerely yours" or "Sincerely" is commonly used in formal correspondence. "Faithfully yours" is rare. Other formulas such as "Best wishes" and "Best regards" (see below) are also common in formal correspondence. In contrast to British English (see above) there is no special convention for combining these with any particular salutation.

Yours truly,

Yours truly can carry either or both of two connotations: as a valediction, and by implication, as an informal reference by a person to themselves – "the speaker".
"Yours truly" is also used in professional correspondence when writing to a client by his name, but signing the letter in the name of the firm where neither "Yours faithfully" or "Yours sincerely" would be appropriate e.g. Dear Mr. Brown ................Yours truly, Smith & Jones
As valediction
Commonly appearing in the US as "Yours truly," or "Yours very truly," use in the UK was an indication that the signatory was of a higher status than the recipient. Since this could be regarded as offensive, and since most valedictions are designed to show respect to the recipient, or at the very least courtesy, it was rarely used and has now become entirely obsolete.
As self-reference
  • "Yours truly made the cake" – a more prudish way to say "I made the cake".
  • "If yours truly hadn't been sick that day..."
In this manner, one may sarcastically refer to a third person present in the conversation:
  • "Everything was going fine before yours truly, here, showed up..."

Yours aye

"Yours aye" is a Scottish expression  meaning "yours always"

Yours hopefully

"Yours hopefully" is occasionally used in letters of respect or complaint.

Yours, etc.

Used historically for abbreviated endings. Can be found in older newspaper letters to the editor, and often in US legal correspondence. "&c." may be seen instead of "etc." (see et cetera).
In Jane Austen books, some letters are signed Yours, etc. or Yours Sincerely, etc.

Regards, kind regards, best regards

Increasingly common in business usage, "regards," "kind regards" and especially "best regards" are often used as a semi-formal valediction in emails. In informal usage, "best regards" and "kind regards" are often abbreviated to "BR" or "KR". The use of "kind regards" is most likely derived from the more formal, "kindest regards," which is itself a phrase derived from the even more formal combination of "Kindest regards, I remain,""yours" or "truly yours" or any one of a number of valedictions in common usage.


Other less formal expressions exist, often some variant of Best wishes such as All my best or, simply, Best. For family members or intimates, an expression such as Your friend, Your loving son or (in the case of lovers) Your Albert may be used; or the name may simply be preceded with All my love or Love.
Less commonly, other adverbs or adverbial phrases may be used, in keeping with the tone of the letter, such as In solidarity or Fraternally. Christian clergy often use Yours in Christ, Sincerely in Christ, or Yours sincerely in Christ.
Within the United States military services, two complimentary closings are standard. Respectfully is used by a senior addressing a service member of lower rank. Very Respectfully or Respectfully Submitted are used by a junior addressing a service member of higher rank. The closing Very Respectfully may be abbreviated "V/R" in brief emails and short notes (or, similarly, "R/S" for Respectfully Submitted), but these closings are always written out in formal correspondence.


Valedictions in e-mail

Valedictions in formal e-mail are similar to valedictions in letters: on the whole, they are variations of "regards" and "yours". However, a wide range of popular valedictions are used in casual e-mail but very rarely in letters. These include:
  • Cheers
  • Thanks
  • Keep in touch
  • Take care
  • Warmly
  • Love
  • N/R
  • Best
  • All the best
  • GLHF (meaning: good luck, have fun)
E-mail messages, especially those used for very brief communication, are commonly signed off without valedictions, these being replaced by automatically appended signature texts. Some are not signed at all, since a sender's name is usually provided in the message headers.


A salutation is a greeting, in particular a formal greeting used in a letter. Salutations usually take the form "Dear [recipient's given name]". For each style of salutation there is an accompanying style of complimentary close (valediction).

The salutation "Dear" in combination with a name or a title is by far the most commonly used salutation in both British and American English, in both formal and informal correspondence. It is commonly followed by either by an honorific and a surname, such as "Dear Mr. Smith", or by a given name, such as "Dear John". However, it is not common in English to use both a title of address and a person's given name: "Dear Mr. John Smith" would normally not be a correct form. A comma follows the salutation, while a colon is used in place of a comma only in American business correspondence. This rule applies regardless of the level of formality of the correspondence.
If the name of the intended recipient is unknown, the most often acceptable salutations are:
Dear Sir or Madam: (If the reader is most likely a male or the sex of the reader is entirely unknown.)
Dear Madam or Sir: (If the reader is most likely female.)
To Whom It May Concern: (If the writer wishes to exclude the sex of the reader from the salutation and/or to convey that the reader should forward the copy to one more suited to receive or respond appropriately.)
"Gentlemen", commonly used in the past, is today often thought inappropriate unless one is certain one is addressing a group that is entirely male.
In older British usage and current American usage, "Mr.", "Mrs.", and "Dr." are typically followed by a period (full stop), as is "Ms." even though it is not really a contraction, but it is common in recent British usage to drop the period after all such titles. Professional titles such as "Professor" or "Doctor" are frequently used both in business and in social correspondence. Dignitaries and holders of certain public offices are sometimes addressed by their titles, e.g. "Dear Lord Mayor", although in American practice the office is commonly prefixed by "Mr." or "Madam", as in "Dear Mr. President", or "Dear Madam Secretary".
"Miss" is generally reserved for unmarried women. "Ms." is for cases in which the marital status is either unknown to the writer or is irrelevant. For example, if you are writing a business letter to submit a bid to a female purchasing agent, "Ms." is entirely appropriate. "Mrs." is reserved for married women, and usually only those who have taken their husband's last name. In older conventions, "Miss" is always for unmarried women and "Mrs." is for married women. "Ms.", in such cases, is not used.
Messrs. or Messieurs is a term used to address many men rather than "Mr Pink, Mr White, et al." Messrs is the abbreviation (pronounced "messers") for messieurs and is used in English.
Similarly, Mesdames is a term to address many women or a mixture of married and unmarried women. It is pronounced "medam".
On occasion, one may use "Sir" or "Madam" by itself as the salutation. The severe and old-fashioned formality of such a salutation makes it appropriate for very formal correspondence (for example, addressing a head of state, or a letter to the editor), but in the same way the formality and stiffness of such a salutation would make its use in friendly social correspondence inappropriate.

From Wikipedia. The Free Encyclopedia.

The financial crash in Iceland in 6 minutes according to ABC´s 20/20.

In the early 21st century, Iceland experienced one of the most spectacular cycles of boom and bust in history.  For centuries, Iceland was a simple fishing society, largely shut off from mainland Europe. The people survived off the sheep in the meadows and the fish in the sea. For cultural sustenance they had elaborate sagas -- intricate tales of fairies and goblins, heroes and ghosts -- that would inspire J.R.R. Tolkien and other fantasy writers.  

At the peak of Iceland's boom, Stefan Alfsson left his fishing boat and started trading commodities for an investment bank. "We could do more," he said. "I got a bigger house, bigger and more cars, better snowmobiles."
Then a modern saga began to unfold -- that of a nation of fishermen who became millionaires, only to lose it all and return to the seas.
From The Daily Bail, March 7th, 2011

Mª Jesús, this is in relation to what you mentioned on your last post.