Sunday, May 30, 2004

Class, repeat after me

As an ESL teacher, I have a chance, now and then, to brush up on my English grammar. One term that's rattled in my head for the last few weeks is "phrasal verb." A phrasal verb, as you might surmise, is a verb that goes with some other particular word (usu. preposition, maybe noun). For example, "take out" is a phrasal verb with at least three quickly recognizable meanings: 1) take out the garbage, 2) take out a pretty girl, and 3) take out a loan.

With phrasal verbs on the brain, I realized I may have coined a new pair of them here in Taiwan: "get off of bed" and "get on bed". (Yes, I know "get off" has another meaning, but let's keep ahead of it for now, shall we?) Most people say they "get out of bed" or "get into bed" at such and such a time. Not I. I haven't gotten into or out of bed for almost ten months, in fact. I can't get out of bed because I can't get in to bed. I've gotten off of bed every morning here because I've gotten on it every night before.

But how? Why? Because my bed is not a bed. My bed, as I deign to still honor it, is a two-inch thick mat made of thin horizontal bamboo shafts on one side (for summer) and the other side being covered with puny padding (for winter). Truth be told, my bed is only a glorified section of the floor. I get on this special patch of floor each night and then get off of it a few hours later. Some days I'm chipper and alert; other darker days I guess I just woke up on the wrong side of the floor.

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