Coincidences can certainly fascinate us. Some of them may seem strange and irrational, but psychologists say there is a reasonable explanation for every coincidence. They insist that even the strangest coincidences can be explained by the mathematics of probabilities. For example, the destinies of Presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy were linked by an amazing series of coincidences.
1. Lincoln was first elected to Congress in 1846. Kennedy followed exactly 100 years later, that is in 1946. 2. Lincoln was elected President in 1860. Kennedy was elected president in 1960.
3. Lincoln had a secretary whose name was Kennedy. Kennedy’s secretary was Evelyn Lincoln. 4. Both Lincoln and Kennedy were assassinated by Southerners. 5. Both were succeeded by Southerners. Their names were Andrew Johnson and Lyndon Johnson.
6. Lincoln’s successor Andrew Johnson was born in 1808. He was a Southern Democrat and a member of the Senate. Kennedy’s successor Lyndon Johnson was born in 1908. He also was a Southern Democrat and a Senator. 7. Both Lincoln’s and Kennedy’s assassins were known by three names. The names of both assassins contain 15 letters each.
8. John Wilkes Booth, the man who killed Lincoln, was born in 1839, while Lee Harvey Oswald, Kennedy’s killer, was born in 1939. Both assassins were shot before they came to trial. 9. Booth committed his crime in a theater and then ran to a barn. Oswald pulled the trigger on Kennedy from the window of a warehouse – and ran to a theater.
10. Lincoln and Kennedy were both shot on a Friday, in the back of the head. Their wives were with them. 11. Lincoln was shot in Ford’s Theater. Kennedy was shot in a car made by the Ford Motor Company – a Lincoln.
These coincidences may seem unbelievable, and yet they’re all true!
Observe the three sentences coming next. Can you see the difference between the active and passive sentence? 1a. Coincidences can certainly fascinate us. 1b. We can certainly be fascinated by coincidences.
2a. The mathematics of probabilities can explain even the strangest coincidences. 2b. Even the strangest coincidences can be explained by the mathematics of probabilities .
3a. An amazing series of coincidences linked the destinies of Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy. 3b. The destinies of Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy were linked by an amazing series of coincidences.
Subject verb object The flood damaged my camera. My camera was damaged (by the flood) Subject verb (agent)
Millions of CDs are sold every year. PRESENT SIMPLE AM / IS / ARE + PP They sell millions of CDs every year. Fireworks were invented by the Chinese. PAST SIMPLE WAS / WERE + PP The Chinese invented fireworks.
St Valentine’s Day will be celebrated by millions of people . FUTURE SIMPLE WILL + BE + PP Millions of people will celebrate St Valentine’s Day. My purse has been stolen by someone. PRESENT PERFECT HAS / HAVE + BEEN + PP Someone has stolen my purse.
The dishes should be washed by you. MODALS MODAL + BE + PP You should wash the dishes.