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Why Do We Hate Immigrants?
So you can guess how shocked and demoralized you feel in the aftermath of the mass shooting in El Paso
Texas, by a young white man who, just moments before he unleashed death and violence, posted a hate-filled, anti-immigrant manifesto that speaks of a “Hispanic invasion of Texas.”
You can guess what it looks like to my eyes when I see the heartrending images of immigrant children and their families being held in detention centers.
You can guess what it sounds like to my ears when I hear people—even some of our politicians—describe these immigrants in the most animalistic and anti-human ways.
And you can guess what it feels like inside my heart to hear of the abuse, the neglect, and the pain we are inflicting on those we do not want inside of America, just because they are different from us in some way.
The first reason is the simplest. The growth rate of the economy comes from two parts: income growth per capita and population growth. Birthrates generally plunge when countries get rich.
Scholars debate the causes, but the inescapable fact of fewer babies results in an aging population in advanced economies.
And the overall population is already shrinking, or will soon most likely be, in Japan, China, South Korea and much of Europe.
But that hasn’t been happening in the United States, at least not until now. Yes, the country is aging, and the baby boomers are retiring.
But its population is expected to continue to grow by 90 million, from 327 million today, over the next 40 years or so, assuming immigration continues at its historical rates.
That assumption is critical, however. The only way the United States has avoided the demographic pressure facing other rich countries is through immigration.
The census estimate of population growth includes around 1.4 million immigrants a year.
The birthrates for women born in the United States have been dropping, just as they have in other rich countries.
The fertility “replacement rate” needed to sustain the existing population level is around 2.1 children per woman.
But last year, the birthrate in the United States dropped to 1.73, approaching the dwindling rates in the European Union, China and Japan. Without sustained immigration, economic growth will be notably slower.
Moody Analytics analyzed the data and estimated that if annual United States immigration stayed at only 200,000 rather than a more normal one million, gross domestic product would be $1 trillion lower a decade from now.