It’s finally summer – the time for going to the beach, having barbecues, watching baseball and relaxing under the sun.

June is the month when schools let out for summer vacation and high school graduations take place. Graduates walk into their ceremony as “Pomp and Circumstance”, the unofficial anthem of graduation, plays.  Most students wear a cap, also known as a mortarboard, and gown for the event. A tassel with the graduation year hangs on the right side of the cap and graduates move it to the left once they receive their diploma. At the end of the graduation ceremony many students famously throw their caps into the air, as they officially become “grads” and celebrate moving from one stage of life to another. Also in June, don’t forget Father’s Day on the 17th. It’s often a day for barbecues with Dad and the family.

In July we celebrate Independence Day on the 4th. On that day we commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The first “4th of July” was celebrated a year later with fireworks in Philadelphia in 1777. Nowadays the 4th calls for picnics, barbecues, fireworks, flags, flags and more flags. Speaking of fireworks, there are about 14,000 displays around the country to celebrate the day. Independence Day is a federal holiday which means that most people have the day off and that whatever is open has shortened hours. So, remember to stock up on all your barbecue supplies the day before.

*Vocabulary Tip Did you know that John Hancock was the first to sign the Declaration of Independence and that is why when someone asks for your “John Hancock” they are actually asking for your signature?

While there aren’t any official holidays in August, there are many fairs, open air concerts, festivals and other fun events throughout the country such as Nevada’s Burning Man Festival and the World’s Longest Yard Sale in the first week of August. The Yard Sale, with over 2,220 people selling items, stretches from Michigan to Alabama, through 6 states and over 690 miles. That just goes to show that American’s like to supersize most things. Whatever you do in August, make sure to sit back and relax because it will be back to school time before you know it.

Expressions related to summer:

Dog Days of Summer – The very hot days of summer when it’s hard to do much of anything because of the high “temps”.

Soak up the sun – What we do when we sit outside and enjoy the sun. It’s also the name of a popular Cheryl Crow song.

It’s a scorcher – Scorch means to burn and is related to fire so when the weather forecast warns that “it’s going to be a scorcher”, you should prepare for very high temperatures.

Grammar Reminders:

Remember that we always say “People are….” Never “People is…” For example, “People are talking about Primera’s new blog.”

The past tense form of Bring is “brought”, as in “I brought all my friends to the barbecue.”

Pronunciation Tip:

-tion – is pronounced with a “sh” sound and we do not make a “t” sound at all. For example, section is pronounced like sec-SH-on.

If there is an “s” before the “-tion” then we pronounce the “-tion” as “ch”. For example, question is pronounced like que-sh-ch-on. We do not make an “s” or “t” sound.


By Fleur-Isabelle Stewart,

English expert at Primera Languages for Business

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