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Showing posts from 2012

Christmas Vocabulary (Part 2)

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Source: Wikipedia

the Nativity -

a nativity play -

a nativity scene -

New Year's Day -

New Year's Eve -

a pantomime -

reindeer -

(New Year) resolutions -

Scrooge -

Season's Greetings

a shepherd -

a sleigh -

stuffing -

the three wise men -

tinsel -

turkey -

Twelfth Night -

to (un)wrap -

wrapping paper

a wreath -

FCE Mistakes

Only two of the following sentences are correct. Can you correct the others?
I never came to class the last week. What did I miss?She's thinking to look for a new job. She isn't happy where she is.I feel much quieter now that the interview is over. I was so nervous before it.Do you know who will be our new teacher?I don't know where are the keys. I hope I haven't lost them.I think is the best film I've seen this year.A: Did you enjoy the party?       B: Yeah, I liked a lot. I met some interesting people.I'm so nervous. I have to make a presentation tomorrow and the boss will be there.I don't like phoning him when he is in the job.Do you know to change the wheel of a car?A: What does she do for a living?          B: I think she works as a lawyer.A: What's it about?          B: It's a moving story about a couple who fall in love during the war.

Christmas Vocabulary (Part 1)

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Source:Yatharth (Wikipedia)

a bauble -

bells -

Boxing Day -

a candle -

a chimney -

(Christmas) cards -

(Christmas) carols -

Christmas cake -

Christmas Day -

Christmas Eve -

a Christmas hamper -

Christmas lights -

Christmas pudding

a Christmas tree -

a cracker -

a crib -

decorations -

a donkey -

elves -

Epiphany -

Father Christmas -

a fireplace -

fireworks -

frankincense

gold -

goodwill -

Hogmanay -

holly -

jolly -

a manger -

Merry Christmas -

Midnight Mass -

mistletoe -

myrrh -




Elephant poo coffee

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Source: Associated Press (You Tube)


One lump or poo: World's most expensive coffee at £30 a cup made using beans digested and, er, flavoured by elephants
Black Ivory is produced in northern Thailand costing $1,100 (£685) per kg Elephants are fed the coffee and beans are taken from the dung Unique coffee only sold in Thailand, the Maldives and Abu Dhabi

Forget robusta and arabica - this is the world's most expensive coffee, given its unique flavour by...an elephant's digestive tract.

The thought of a coffee bean passing through an elephant's internal organs might not leave coffee-lovers overly enthused.

But the unique coffee, created in the hills of northern Thailand, is now the world's most expensive variety.
Source: Daily Mail

Vocabulary:

a lump (of sugar) -

poo -

to feed (fed,fed) -

dung (n) -

flavour (v/n) -

gut (n) -

to scurry -

to sift through -

a price tag -

brave (adj) -

to give stg a try -

to pursue (an idea) -

to break down (proteins) -

smooth (adj) -

Driving / Cars Vocab (Part 2)

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Source: Sarah777 (Wikipedia)

It's a "puente" for some this weekend and many people will be driving somewhere.

I wonder how many times I've been asked how to say "puente" in English.

un día festivo = a holiday

If the holiday lands on a Friday or a Monday, then we can say it's a "long weekend".

If, like now, the holiday is on a Thursday, we can take Friday off. Otherwise, it's a normal, working day.

So really "puente" doesn't exist in English - we just "have a day off".




Here is A - M (Part 2). You can also refresh your memory by reading Part 1.


to accelerate -

the accelerator -

an accident -

an airbag -

the back seat -

a back seat driver -

a bicycle lane -

the bonnet -

the boot -

to brake -

the brakes -

to break down -

the bumper -

a car park -

the clutch -

a dent -

double parked -

the engine -

the fast lane -

to fill up (the car) -

a flat tyre -

gas (US) -

the gears -

gridlock -

the hard shoulder -

headlights -

a hig…

Adverbs of manner

Adverbs of manner tell how stg is done.


Most adverbs of manner end in -ly.


Notice the change from adjective to adverb:

She's a careful driver.                                     She drives carefully. (How does she drive?)

Her Spanish is perfect.                                   She speaks Spanish perfectly. (How does she speak?)

It was an easy win.                                         They won easily. (How did they win?)



Some -ly words are in fact adjectives:

That was a silly mistake.

We had a lovely time.

He's a friendly guy.



There are, as always, exceptions to the rule.

Your English is good.                                        He speaks English well.

He is a fast walker.                                            He walksfast.

She's a hard worker.                                         She workshard.

I had a late night.                                               I got homelate.

I have an early start tomorrow.                          I have to get upearly tom…

FCE mistakes

Only two of the following sentences are correct. Can you correct the others?
I borned in Valencia. We moved to Madrid when I was about six.I am interested in collecting stamps since I was a teenager.He studied medicine in the university.I started work in a law firm not long after I finished my career.How long do you know your boyfriend?She hopes to work abroad for one or two years.I need to improve my English for getting a better job.I'm doing the FCE because is a useful qualification to have.They've been married since over ten years.We've got the same teacher like last year.I didn't understand nothing. Can you say that again?What does he do in his spare time?

St Andrew's Day Scottish Quiz

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Today is Saint Andrew's Day. St Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland.

So here is a quiz to test your knowledge of Scotland.


1. Which is the biggest city in Scotland?

A. Inverness
B. Aberdeen
C. Glasgow
D. Edinburgh

2. Scotland's population grew to its highest ever in mid 2011. How many people live in Scotland?

A. 2,550,690
B. 5,254,800
C. 10,320, 400
D. 18,000,150

3. Sean Connery is Scotland's most famous actor. Which of the following didn't he do before choosing acting as a career?

A. He polished coffins.
B. He was a milkman. (he delivered milk)
C. He taught English to immigrants.
D. He worked as a nude model for students.

4. What's the lowest recorded temperature in Scotland?

A. - 5.9 ºC
B. - 16.7 ºC
C. - 27.2 ºC
D. - 32 ºC

5. Which of the following wasn't created by a Scot?

A. Peter Pan
B. Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde
C. Sherlock Holmes
D. Robinson Crusoe

6. What is the Scottish word for "yes"?

A. Wee
B. Dram
C. Aye
D. Hogmanay

6. The Gaelic for whisk…

A good Samaritan

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New York Good Cop Lauded For Act Of Kindness
The image of Officer Larry DePrimo buying boots for a barefooted homeless man earns wide praise for his random act of kindness.
It was meant to be a private gesture, but the New York policeman who bought a homeless man a $100 (£62) pair of boots has won international and official praise. Officer Larry DePrimo appeared before throngs of reporters and cameras on Thursday after being awarded a pair of cufflinks by his boss, NYPD Commisioner Ray Kelly.

The 25-year-old explained that he had been inspired by his grandfather to buy the anonymous barefoot man a pair of shoes, after encountering him during his beat near Times Square on a cold evening in early November.

Soure: Sky News Vocabulary:

to laud -

barefooted /barefoot (adj) -

homeless (adj) -

praise (v/n) -

a throng of -

to award -

cufflinks -

(a policeman's) beat -

to stick out in your mind -

a basement apartment -

to besiege -

a truck -

to snap a photo -

to do the rounds -

to kick off -

a…

Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy

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Source: You Tube (dulwich gallery) Key words: masterpiece clark percy


Do you recognise the painting?

Listen to the guide. Complete the following extracts.



I'm going to talk to you about this painting: Mr and Mrs Clark and Percy by David Hockney.

It's on loan from Tate Gallery.

It's a portrait of Ossie Clarke and Celia Birtwell.

Ossie Clarke was a ___ ___ and Celia Birtwell...

The couple, independently moved down to London, to Notting Hill and they ___ married in 1969.

David Hockney was the best man at their ___.

... you can tell that he spent a rather long time workingon it.

and they had to pose for him for a very long time.

He also ___ photographs to work from in his studio...

He said he wanted to capture the tension within their ___ but they actually chose to pose for him in this particular way with Celia standing and Ossie seated.

Usually, you would have the man standing in the position of ___ and the woman being submisive whilst seated with her husband.

... but here we …

"Too fat to fly"

Delta and KLM sued over 'too fat to fly' Vilma Soltesz
The husband of a US woman who was too big to be flown home from Europe - where she later died - is to sue the airlines involved for damages.
Vilma Soltesz, who weighed about 30st (193kg), was refused a place on two flights in October.

She died of kidney failure before a suitable flight could be found, after refusing treatment from local doctors.

Source: BBC News Vocabulary:

to sue sb -

to refuse -

to take on (a responsibility) -

to trust sb/stg -

to suffer from (a disease) -

the cockpit -

to get off (the plane) -

to seek damages -




Do you think her husband should get damages?




FCE - Phrasal Verbs

Here is a list of Phrasal Verbs we have seen in class:

bump into

come across

find out

get by

get over

look into

look out

look out for

look up to

make up

take up

turn up


Put the verbs (in their correct form) into the following sentences:
Leave it with me. I ___ it and get back to you as soon as possible.I'm tired of just ___. I want a job with better wages.He ___ the post of headmaster last year.He needed a long time ___ the break-up with his girlfriend.Don't worry! He ___.  He's probably stuck in traffic.Look what I ___ when I was tidying out the attic.___ her. She said she was going to the conference too.You'll never guess who I ___ on the way here.___! There is a car coming.I didn't feel like going to the dinner so I ___ an excuse.Children should ___ Olympic sportsmen and women rather than footballers.Can you ___ when the meeting is? I need to get organized.
Click on Phrasal Verbs (below) to find more posts.


Election Vocabulary

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Source: Wikipedia (Rama)

a ballot -

the ballot box -

a ballot paper -

to call an election -

a campaign -

a candidate -

to challenge -

the city hall -

to concede defeat -

a council -

a councillor -

the electorate -

an exit poll -

a floating voter -

a government -

the incumbent -

a lame duck -

a landslide -

leadership (n) -

a leaflet -

left-wing -

a majority -

a mayor / a mayoress -

an MP -

an opinion poll -

a party political broadcast -

a pledge -

the PM -

a polling station -

(to go to) the polls -

postal vote -

a proposal -

to punish -

right-wing -

to run for office -

a seat -

a speech -

to stand down

a swing -

a term -

a town hall -

a (low / high) turnout -

undecided (adj) -

to vote for sb -

a voting booth -




Can you think of any words that I have missed out?

Gangnam breaks record

Gangnam Style becomes YouTube's most-viewed video Gangnam Style, the dance track by South Korean pop phenomenon Psy, has become You Tube's most-watched video of all time.
It has notched up more than 808m views since it was posted in July.

The video pokes fun at the consumerism of Gangnam, an affluent suburb of the South Korean capital Seoul.

Source: BBC News Vocabulary:

a dance track -

to notch up -

to poke fun at -

portly (adj) -

to trot -

the reins -

to spin a lasso -

to spark -

a craze -

a sun lounger -

to gaze -

longingly -

to work out -

tight (adj) -

copycat (adj) -

a prison inmate -

an award -

to hold a record (held, held) -

a link -




What do you watch on You Tube?

What other crazes did you hate / join in? 

Articles - the same or different?

The following sentences demonstrate when and when not to use def/indef articles in English. Think how you would say the sentence in Spanish. Is it the same or different (S or D)?

There is a Chinese restaurant and a pizzeria near where I live. The Chinese restaurant is usually quiet but the pizzeria is always busy. (When we first talk about something we use "a", the second time we mention it we use "the")(a) Do you know who the Prime Minister of Britain is? (b) The Titanic sank in 1912. (c) Have you ever seen the Loch Ness monster? (We use "the" when the person or thing referred to is unique)(a) X: I'll wash up.       Y: No, just put everything into the dishwasher.   (b) I haven't read the newspaper today.   (We use "the" when it is clear what we are referring to)(a) The telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell. (b) The pigeon is a fascinating bird. (We use "the" to talk about a generic class of things)(a) Is the Amazon lo…

Beware of male drivers

IT’S OFFICIAL...WOMEN ARE SAFER DRIVERS THAN MEN MEN may not like reading this but women are officially better behind the wheel. They break speed limits less, brake less suddenly and avoid danger after dark by driving considerably less often at night than male motorists. Overall, a team of experts has concluded, women are up to a fifth safer on the road. The verdict comes from the study of data from black box recorders in the vehicles of 19,000 motorists which were used to monitor more than 40 million journeys and 154 million miles of travel over four years. Source: Daily Express Vocabulary: behind the wheel - the speed limit - to brake - overall - up to (a fifth) - to carry out (research) - insurance -  to set (premiuims) - to ban - purposes - a trend - to gather (information) - to come into play - to rely on / reliable (adj) - to rocket - to speed - So, is it true? Are women better drivers than men? 

The Good Giraffe

Armstrong The Good Giraffe speaks about his acts of kindness A man who dresses up as a giraffe and carries out random acts of kindness towards people across Scotland has said he does it to feel good.
Twice a week Armstrong Baillie, 32, dons a furry suit his mother made him, before travelling to different places to do good deeds.

He calls himself The Good Giraffe and lives in Dundee with his girlfriend and her daughter.

Source: BBC News Vocabulary:

to dress up as sb/stg -

to carry out -

random (adj) -

to don (a suit) -

furry (adj) / fur (n) -

(to do) a good deed -

to spot -

the drums -

to hand out -

litter (n) -

to give away -

a passer-by -

a cage -

unemployed (adj) -

to busk -

to hitch-hike -

to pick up -

a convertible -

due to -

cheery (adj) -

a lookalike -

to have (your glasses) on -

to carry on -




When did you last do a good deed?


Right or wrong? (Pre-int)

Which sentence is wrong - (a) or (b)? Correct the mistakes.

 1. (a) X: What's his name?            Y: David.
     (b) X: How old has he?             Y: 30

 2. (a) X: Where's he from?         Y: He's from Spain.
     (b) X: Are they german?          Y: No, they aren't.

 3. (a) How many children have you?
     (b) Do you have any brothers or sisters?

 4. (a) X: What's his job?           Y: His job is a police officer.
     (b) X: What's her job?          Y: She works in a bank.

 5. (a) My grandmother is eighty.
     (b) Our son is two years.

 6. (a) X: What do you do?              Y: I'm civil servant.
     (b) X: Where do you work?        Y: I work at the Ministry of Education.

 7. (a) What do you do in the free time?
     (b) What does he like doing in his free time?

 8. (a) I go for a walk on Sunday morning.
     (b) I practise football at the weekend. We won 2 - 0 last week.

 9. (a) X: How do you spell that?        Y: G - R - A - H - A - M
     (b) X: Wha…

Obama's victory speech

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Source: You Tube (The New York Times) Key words: Obama victory speech 2012

Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the (a)____ of perfecting our union moves forward.

It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great (b)_______ of hope, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people.

Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America the best is yet to come.

I want to thank every American who participated in this election, whether you voted for the very first time or…

FCE Pasapalabra

What A is a linking word we use to contradict a previous idea eg I took the exam ___ I thought I wouldn't pass. ?

What B is a verb that means to meet by chance eg I __ __ an old school friend on my way here. ?

What C do you take when you do something that involves a risk?

What D is to challenge someone to do something that involves some kind of risk?

What E do you feel at when you feel relaxed?

What F is to say nice, positive things to sb to make them feel good?

What G is a deep, narrow valley?

What H is an activity that involves flying without an engine?

What I is a synonym of rude?

What J is an adjective that means you share something eg first place in a race?

Contains K. A car and a bike has these; it helps you slow down or stop.

What L is a phrasal verb that means you are happy or excitedabout stg that is going to happen?

What M is to mix with other people at a party?

What N is a negative adjective that describes something really bad, unpleasant or unkind eg a cut  or stg that…

Listen v hear

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Source: Norrie Adamson (Wikipedia)
I am surprised at how often I hear mistakes with "listen".

Or is it listen to mistakes with "hear"? :-)


What's the difference?

Listening is an intentional activity - you make an effort / pay attention. (It is often followed by to)
What kind of music do you listen to?Don't listen to her. She doesn't know what she's talking about.Listen, I think you need a holiday. It'll do you good.Sorry - I wasn't listening. My mind is elsewhere. You can hear something even when you don't want to hear it.
He heard a strange noise so he went outside to see what it was.Can you turn it up? I can't hear what they are saying.My grandad can't hear very well.
Listen! Did you hear that?No. I can't hear anything.Listen! There's that noise again. What is it?
There are a few cases where listen and hear are interchangeable.
I heard a really interesting programme on the radio the other day.We heard them live in concert.

Taking chances

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In one of last week's classes we saw the expression to "take a chance". As with many expressions, you can relate it to a famous song. Some hadn't heard of this ABBA one, or at least the way that I sang it. :-)

"Taking a chance" is "taking a risk"; so in the song they are really saying "be with me - I'm worth the risk".




Source : YouTube (abbavevo) Key words: take chance on me




If you change your mind, I'm the first in line
Honey I'm still free
Take a chance on me
If you need me, let me know, gonna be around
If you've got no place to go, if you're feeling down
If you're all alone when the pretty birds have flown
Honey I'm still free
Take a chance on me
Gonna do my very best and it ain't no lie
If you put me to the test, if you let me try

Take a chance on me
(That's all I ask of you honey)
Take a chance on me

We can go dancing, we can go walking, as long as we're together
Listen to some music, maybe just…

LOL and other abbreviations

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Source: Wikipedia

LOL is a common abbreviation; you will have seen it at the end of a funny comment.

What does it stand for?               
LOL stands for Laugh Out Loud.

What does "laugh out loud" mean?      
When you find something very funny, you LOL - you don't contain your laughter.

We use "stand for" to say what an abbreviation represents.


In the UK, the PM David Cameron thought LOL stood for Lots of Love. He used to exchange texts with Rebekah Brookes, the editor of NOTW (News of the World). Read the story here.



UK stands for United Kingdom.What does GB stand for?

PM stands for Prime Minister. Politicians in the UK are referred to as MPs. What does MP stand for?

TVE stands for Televisión Española. Do you know what BBC stands for?

LOL is used in texting, e-mails and so on . Can you guess what the following abbreviations stand for?
Hi! Howr u?CU L8R M8I've seen it b4.G2G. I'm late.TGIF! What r u up 2 this weekend?I'm glad that u r OK. KIT! xxxI…

Have you ever got a fine?

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Image source: Certo Xornal (Wikipedia) a fine: money that has to be paid as a punishment for not obeying a rule or law to fine sb for stg: to charge sb as a punishment for not obeying a rule or law to get a fine: I got a fine for speeding. = I was fined for speeding. toputgive sb a fine: They gave him a €100 fine for dropping litter. = He was given a fine. astrongheavy fine =  a severe punishment an on-the-spot fine = one that is given to you at the time of breaking the law. What things can you be fined for? What can you get an on-the-spot fine for? Do you think fines are too lenient? Should they be increased? Or maybe you think some of them are harsh? Have you ever got a fine for something? Have you ever refused to pay a fine?

Have you ever argued with a traffic warden? Did you win the arguement?


Once I got a fine from Metro Madrid. It was many years ago when I used to get a monthly ticket.

First you need to get a card with your photo on it, and keep the card and ticket together in a plastic poc…