If at first you don´t succeed … 284 words in a month #5

Maybe you know the quotation “If at first you don´t succeed, try, try again” .  It seems that it first appeared in Thomas Palmer´s ‘Teacher’s Manual’ (1840)  and in ‘The Children of the New Forest’ (1847) by Frederick Maryat, an English novelist.

It must have been in my childhood that this was first quoted at me.  I liked the idea of persisting instead of giving up, but it is sometimes hard to try again when you have not been succesful.  Also, no-one likes banging their head agaist a brick wall.

Many years later, I saw this version of it: “If at first you don´t succeed, redefine success”.  This seems a great idea, because it lets you continue to aim for the same result if you want to, but you can approach it from a slightly different angle.

Yesterday I went out with a list of ten words which I intended to learn while I walked, but completely forgot to take the list out of my bag.  So today I will define “success” as remembering to look at the words!

Today´s challenge is to write an e-mail to a friend or a member of your family, or to talk to them, about 3 of the 10 words below:

BROADcasting, exTENsive, none-the-less, sufFIcient, capaBIlity, exTERnal, oMIT, supPORT, PAtient, THOrough.


  • It makes you select some of the words as being more important to you than some of the other words in the list.
  • While you are writing about them, you are using them to communicate, which is what words are for, not sitting in a list, lost among other words.
  • It makes the list shorter – you will read all the words but only need to take action on some of them.

Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”

Chinese proverb

By the way, have you read “The Children of the New Forest”?  This book review on the Amazon page looks interesting:

“With their father killed fighting for King Charles and their mansion home burnt down by the Roundheads, the four orphaned Beverley children find refuge with old Jacob Armitage, a forester and loyal servant of their father’s. In his cottage, deep in the New Forest, the children quickly have to learn hunting, housekeeping and the crafts of living off the land. When Jacob dies, the children are left completely alone to fend for themselves but despite being at constant risk of discovery, Edward, the eldest, is determined to help restore the king and regain his own inheritance.”

Other reviews say that the attitudes in the book seem snobbish now, but it still sounds worth reading to me.  I must go and see what the price of it is.

Do you know the New Forest, near the city of Southampton, in England?

Actually, the “New” forest has parts which are unchanged since the times of King William I of England in the eleventh century.  It is famous for its wild ponies.

Now, where was I before all these diversions into literature, forestry and history?

Ah, yes.  I must go and contact a friend about three words.


About Fun with languages

Blogging about learning languages, making it fun Hobbies: paragliding, cycling, reading, BBC radio 4.
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2 Responses to If at first you don´t succeed … 284 words in a month #5

  1. jennifer says:

    I often see today’s ten words in english novel and I know exctaly their meanings.But when I tried to use it, I found that I have no capability to use the words to make sentences……It’s so weird…besides I omitted to take my Oxford dictionary,it added to the difficulty,but none-the-less I sent the email to my best friend.

    • Hi Jennifer
      It´s interesting that you find it difficult to use the words in sentences. I will see about posting some challenges which involves doing that next week. If you have any ideas about it, please let me know.

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