Category Archives: vocabulary

Backyard Chickens

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On Tuesday, my husband and I went to see one of our friends. She lives in a nearby city. Even though she lives in town, my friend has chickens.

My friend’s chickens live next to her house. There are two hens (female chickens) and one rooster (male chicken). Right now, she also has some chicks (baby chickens). They are so cute! They like to move around a lot, so it was hard to take a picture of them.

Fuzzy little chicks!
Fuzzy little chicks!

I got to hold one little chick in my hand. It was so cute and small.

My friend gave us four eggs. Two of the eggs were a soft blue-green color, and two were brown. Some of these chickens are a type that comes from South America. This type of chicken lays bluish (kind of blue) eggs. We have already eaten the eggs, and they were really delicious. The yolks were a deep orange color. The color was much stronger than supermarket eggs.

Chickens who eat and live naturally are able to lay eggs with a deeper color. Most people think these natural eggs are also more nutritious and have a stronger flavor. That’s one reason why “backyard chickens” have become popular recently. (There’s even a magazine!)

Where do you get your eggs?
In a supermarket? At a small grocery store? At a farmers’ market? From your own chickens?

“got to hold”: The reason I wrote “I got to hold” is to add the meaning of “my friend let me” — “I was able to” — “I did something fun and special.” It means I had a chance to do something or an opportunity to do something, and I did it. This verb pattern is very common in English, so watch for it.

Fuzzy” is an adjective. One meaning is “like short hair or fur.” Yarn can be fuzzy. Flowers can be fuzzy. (Click for Flickr photos.)

Lay” is the verb that we use when a chicken makes an egg. For example, “Our chickens laid six eggs yesterday.” “How many eggs will your hens lay this week?”

Nutritious” is an adjective that means “full of the things you need to be healthy.” It doesn’t mean the same thing as “healthy,” because “healthy” is about the total healthfulness of the food (nutrition + calories + fat, etc.). For example, “Brown rice is more nutritious than white rice.” “A fruit tart is more nutritious than a chocolate bar, but neither one is very healthy.”

Pitfalls: MV, PV, CM, CF

warning symbol of exclamation point in triangle, by zeimusu at

The terms “MV,” “PV,” “CM,” and “CF” are popular in countries such as Japan, China, Taiwan, and Korea. However, most people in North America and other English-speaking countries don’t know what MV, PV, CM, or CF mean. You need to be careful with letter-based words (usually called “acronyms”). Even though they’re based on real English words, native English speakers may not use the same acronyms.

  • Pitfall: MV, PV
    American English: Music video. We don’t generally use this abbreviation (short form). We just say “video” or “music video.”
    Example 1: My band made our first music video this weekend! Example 2: Did you see Gnarls Barkley’s new music video? I really liked it!

    Here are two music videos that I like. The first one is “Two Silver Trees” by Calexo, and the second one is “Many Moons” by Janelle Monae. It might be hard to hear the words, so you can look up the lyrics here. Their lyrics are very poetic, so they’re probably still hard to understand! (And there are some “adult” words in the Janelle Monae song, so please only try it if you are in high school or older.)

  • Pitfall: CM or CF
    American English: Ad (casual), advertisement, commercial. (Note: “advertisement” is pronounced differently in British and American English.) Usually, to refer to both radio and TV advertisements, we just say “ad.”
    Example 1: I really hate that new diamond ring ad–it’s sexist and insulting to women. Example 2: I love watching TV shows on DVD because I don’t have to see any commercials!

    This ad from the pay-TV network Discovery Channel was really popular last year. A lot of people made their own versions, and the geeky webcomic xkcd even did a parody.

Do you know some other acronyms that you’re not sure about? You can leave a comment and ask, and I’ll try to to answer you or write about it in a future Pitfalls post.

(Read other “Pitfalls” posts about words and phrases that can be a little dangerous.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Oh no, I haven’t posted since Halloween! I’m sorry. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. You can read about Thanksgiving in the United States at Wikipedia (and also in Simple English). An interesting note in the main article is that many Americans associate the day after Thanksgiving with shopping. It’s the day sometimes called Black Friday. A lot of people read the newspaper ads on Thanksgiving (or check various websites) and find special discounts that they want to get. Sometimes people line up for hours to get a very cheap TV, videogame system, etc. Some of the stores can get really crazy.

Because of all the emphasis on buying things, some people think this day reflects the negative materialistic parts of our society. Instead, they promote thoughtfulness and lack of wastefulness through Buy Nothing Day, when they don’t buy anything. I don’t know if I’ll buy stuff on Friday or not!

Anyway, we’ll have four guests tomorrow for Thanksgiving, so the eight of us will eat turkey, pie, mashed potatoes, etc. Tomorrow, you should be able to see lots of Thanksgiving dinner photos on Flickr. Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, I’m still waiting for your comments. Please comment! I need to know that you are reading, so that I will be encouraged to keep writing.