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How to Write Your Memoirs' by Ina Hillebrandt...Makes writing your life histories fun!
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Kids Do Say The Darndest Things!


Even in the UK!

Take a look at this wonderful mystery cooked up by a very young (he's somewhere between 5 and 8 years old), and very talented gent in England...And see how some of the words are put together a bit differently than they are in the U.S.  Also, note that in the UK, punctuation is different.  Can you tell what the difference is? (for the answer, scroll down)

NOTE:  If you are hearing a musical sound, is it from England or somewhere else in the UK?  Where?  For those who don't get automatic sound, click here.

By Stewart Hannah, UK

I knew something was wrong when the phone went during English. Ms Jones, my teacher, went out to answer it. When she came back in, she looked at me, distraught, and told me that the head teacher wanted to see me immediately.  Everyone in the class looked at me as if I had just killed someone.  I felt frightened and nervous as I went down the stairs. There was long dark corridor in front of me, and at the bottom of the staircase was the place where only teachers would go, or bad pupils. As I walked along the corridor I saw a large wooden door situated at the end of the hall. I walked towards it for what felt like a lifetime. I knocked on the door; the sound echoed through the corridor.

“Come in”, the head teacher said in a chilling voice.  I walked in and saw an enormous table with trophies, medals and awards which the head got for winning polo competitions.  The room was immaculate. Well polished through to the last speck of dust, it even had the plastic cover over the couch which she would not take off because the couch would get scratched or even ripped. She was such a perfectionist I could only imagine what her house must look like.  “Why do you think you are here?” she shouted.

“I don’t know, Miss”, I said. She held up a large bottle of vodka, which was half drunk, and a packet of cigarettes. “Can you explain this?” I felt confused and worried in case she was accusing me of drinking and smoking on the school premises. “No, Miss, honestly I don’t know what you are thinking of.  This has nothing to do with me.”

“I hope so”, she said. The teacher gave me a note to give to my father that would have to be returned the following school day.

I left the office in panic as I was just accused of something I wouldn’t dream of. I was a little bit suspicious about some people in my class who might have blamed it on me, but no nothing like this. I knew my dad would be home and I would have to show him the letter and explain why. My dad shouted my name as soon as I walked in the door. He sounded really disappointed. I felt as that my dad will believe the head teacher and not me. I ran up the stairs and locked my bedroom door behind my and put my headphones on so that I couldn’t hear my dad shouting, it was no use. I slowly crept down the stairs without making a sound from the floorboards, I opened the living room door and quickly sat on the couch. My dad came in with a grin on his face, and said to me, “Why did you not tidy up your room when I told you to?”  

“Sorry.  I’ve just got a lot on my mind recently. I’ll go and tidy it up later”. As I stepped outside the door I took a breath of relief and was glad my dad didn’t know about what the head teacher was accusing me of. I felt better after that. 

The next day at school I went straight to my friend Christine and told her about what the head teacher was accusing me of.  She stopped and laughed. “You, smoking, drinking?  I don’t believe it”!  

As she was laughing I stared seriously at her. “You smoke, you drink, don’t you”. At this moment I had suspicions that Christine has not been loyal to me and has blamed me for drinking and smoking.  

“Yeah, and…” she said, “No you are not saying that I …” I looked at her as if she had taken advantage of me, or was just friends with me for an excuse. But deep down, I knew Christine wasn’t like that. She would always stick-up for me at the very worst of times. But there was something unusual going on. A few minutes later Christine confessed everything to me, saying that she had been bullied into blaming it on me. I really wanted to know who it was. Christine wouldn’t say anything. I blackmailed her by saying “I’ll tell the head that it was you”, but inside I knew nothing could come between me and my friend. “No”, she said, “It was Kirsty”.  

“What?” Kirsty was my twin sister and she was always jealous of me even at Christmas when I got the better presents and birthdays, too. And then I knew why she did it. All those years Kirsty wanted to get her own back on me and it had to be in school, the most embarrassing place ever. I wanted to know why Christine had the guts to blame it on me. She apologized and everything was sorted. She even went to the head teacher and told her the truth. Christine and Kirsty got suspended for three days for breaking the school rules.

The End

Punctuation Station

In the U.S., when we use quotes around words, periods and commas are always included inside the quotes.   In the UK, commas and periods are put outside the quotation marks.  Take a look at the story above and see if you can find the British style of punctuation.  Then compare it with the U.S. standard.  Examples:

Ex. 1  In the U.S.:  "Come in."  UK  "Come in".

Ex. 2  In the U.S.:  "Come in," the headmistress said.  U.K.  "Come in", the head said.

Do you see another difference in the second example?  Hint:  it's a difference in words.


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