Showing posts from April, 2013

Gay Catholic teacher fired

Gay Teacher Fights to Get Catholic School Job Back
A (1) P.E. teacher at an Ohio Catholic school is fighting to get her job back after being fired. Carla Hale worked at Bishop Watterson High School for 19 years —  the termination came after she published her partner’s name in her mother’s obituary back in February.

A parent wrote an anonymous letter to The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus saying they were surprised a parochial school would employ someone who contradicted the (2) of the church.
Hale told NBC she had no problem putting her partner Julie’s name in her mother’s obituary.
CARLA HALE: “I told Julie what I (3) done. She instantly questioned me and she said, ‘ Are you sure you want to do this?’”
The Columbus Diocese has not publicly commented to any news outlets, but has given a (4) that said, “The Catholic Church respects the fundamental dignity of all persons but also must insist those in its employ respect the tenets of the church.”
After help from supporters proved to be uns…

Linkers for adding information


Also is used to add an extra idea or emphasis.

We don't usually start a sentence with "also". It goes before the main verb but after the verb "to be".
I enjoy gardening. I also like to do crosswords in my spare time.Glasgow has two important football clubs. It is also the most populated city in Scotland.
Too / as well

Too / as well mean the same as "also" but go at the end of the sentence.
We did a lot of sightseeing on our holiday. We bought a lot of souvenirs as well.I had a busy weekend. I went to the theatre and I saw the Dalí exhibition too.
As well as

As well ascan be used at the beginning of a sentence or in the middle.
She is gorgeous as well as being very successful.As well as the main course, I made a trifle for desert.
Not only... (but) also...

We use not only... also ... to add emphasis.
Not only do they sell furniture, they also sell electronic gadgets.If the plan fails, it will affect not only our department, but also the whole organization.

FCE Speaking (Part 1)

In Part 1 the examiner will ask you questions about yourself such as where you come from, your  studies, your job, your interests, your family and future plans.

This part only lasts around 3 minutes. (90 seconds per student!)

There are no complicated questions.

Example questions:

Where are you from? / Are you from Madrid?

What do you like about living in Madrid?

Can you tell me something about where you live?

What do you do? / Do you have a job or do you study?

What would you like to do when you finish university?

Tell me about what you do in your spare time.

What do you usually do at weekends?

What did you do last weekend?

Do you have any plans for the summer?

Where are you going for your next holiday?

Tell me something about your family.

Do you have a big family?

How long have you been learning English?

Why are you doing the FCE exam?


Never give one word / sentence answers like: yes, no, maybe, sometimes, I think so...

Examiner: Have you got any plans for the summer?

Student: I&#…

Raining money

'Raining money': Belgians urged to return stolen cash Police are urging people from a small town in Belgium to return tens of thousands of euros in cash that were thrown out of a speeding car by thieves attempting to make a getaway.
The incident occurred in the Flemish town of Zedelgem after the thieves stole a safe from a nearby house.

The thieves threw the safe out the car to distract police officers. It broke open and passers-by grabbed 50-, 100- and 200-euro notes that were scattered.

Source: BBC News After reading the text, translate the following words and expressions:

cercano/a -

una caja fuerte -

recoger -

coger (con fuerza) -

un ladrón / ladrones -

instar -

un transeúnte -

emprender la fuga -

la cárcel -

hasta -

yiendo / ir a gran velocidad -

dispersar -

un funcionario -

el fiscal -

afrontar -

en fuga -


Another said it was as if it was "raining money".

As if / though + subject + past tense  (present meaning)

We use the above form to indicate unreality…

"Suspended coffee"

Buy a coffee for someone who can't afford it: The new donation scheme coming to cafes in the UK 'Suspended coffee' scheme taking off as big firms look to get involved  Idea began in Naples, Italy, and is quickly spreading across the globe  John Sweeney, a plumber from Cork, Ireland, coordinating social networking campaign It doesn't sound as enticing as a cappuccino, flat white or latte, but a new beverage called the 'suspended coffee' is set to take cafes across the country by storm.

In a concept born in Naples, Italy, caffeine drinkers not only place their own regular order, they also request a second drink for someone who cannot afford to pay for their own.

Source: Daily Mail Vocabulary:

to afford -

to take off (a business, an idea) -

to spread -

a plumber -

enticing (adj) -

a beverage -

to be set to

to take (the country) by storm -

to request -

to aim at -

the homeless -

out of work -

broke (adj) -

so far -

to sign up -

good faith -

unlikely -

needy (adj) -

to set…

Twitter recruitment

Why not join me on Twitter? I think it is a useful tool for learning English and you never know, you might get to like it.

The tweets (messages) can only be 140 characters long, so you won't be overwhelmed by vocabulary and it won't take you long to write something.

I sometimes write silly tweets about my day:
#LaLatina, normally teeming with people on a holiday, was deafeningly quiet. Pleasant lunch at . Bit tipsy after wines.
— Graham Mad Teacher (@madteacher72) 25 de julio de 2011
I've had one of those days when you get up with a feeling of DOOM AND GLOOM and the day ACTUALLY TURNS OUT TO BE a positive one :D
— Graham Mad Teacher (@madteacher72) 26 de septiembre de 2011

You can reply to any of my tweets. If you write a tweet of your own, I will reply.

I sometimes retweet:
personality adjectives - an interactive crossword puzzle
— english247 (@english247) 1 de octubre de 2012
Sexy ads urge Spaniards to rent as mortgag…

Deciding on a film to see

Here's a typical conversation between two friends deciding which film to see. Complete the conversation with suitable words. Take a note of the different ways of making suggestions.

Allan: What are you (1) to tonight?
Karen: Nothing much. Why?
Allan: Do you (2) like going to the cinema?
Karen: Yeah, I’d love (3). What’s (4)?
Allan: Have you seen the (5) Tarantino film? It’s had some good (6).
Karen: His films are too violent for my liking. I’d (7) see a comedy.
Allan: (8) have a look in the paper.

Allan: How (9) this one? It (10) Hugh Grant.
Karen: Oh, I can’t stand him. Is there nothing else?
Allan: Do you (11) seeing an action movie? This one (12) quite good.
Karen: I’m not very keen (13) them. Sorry for being so (14).
Allan: (15) we see this one then? It’s a documentary; they give it 4 stars.
Karen: We could just rent a DVD – a classic like “Casablanca”.
Allan: Great idea. I wouldn’t (16) seeing it again.

Unscramble the ten anagrams:

Tips for seeing films in English
Seeing a film at the cinem…

Hug your pet or partner?

Pet poll reveals owners' devotion Many UK pet owners prefer to hug their animals (1) than a close relative when feeling low, a poll for a social networking website suggests.
Half of the 1,124 people quizzed for My Social Petwork said they acted in (2) a way and a third said they spend (3) to 30 days a year caring for their pets.

One in five has cancelled social plans to be with their pet, March's survey conducted by OpinionMatters found.

The website described (4) survey as the "UK's first pet census".

The survey suggested that one in five pet owners regularly uses social networking sites Facebook or Twitter to share pet images, and 10% of people have taken their pet to occasions such as christenings or weddings.

'Healthy and happy'

About 7% of owners have cancelled a date and 4% have called in sick to work (5) of their pets, the survey said.

A quarter of UK pet owners said their pet was (6) like a child to them than a pet, while 15% said their pe…

Lady Thatcher in quotes

Here is a selection of Margaret Thatcher's. What is the right way to complete the quotes?

"To be / Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren't." "In politics, if you want anything said, ask a man. If you want anything done / made, ask a woman.""Don't follow the crowd, let the crowd follow / to follow you.""I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end / at the end.""Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked downby / for the traffic from both sides.""If my critics would see / saw me walking over the Thames, they would say it was because I couldn't swim.""I always cheer up immensely if an attack is particularly wounding because I think, well, if they attack one personally, it means they have not a single political argument / discussionleft.""If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise o…

Fleeing the country?

The Spanish Monarchy is making headlines yet (1). The King’s son-in-law, Iñaki Urdangarin announced his plans to move to Qatar — while he is still facing corruption charges in Spain.

Last week, Urdangarin’s wife, princess Cristina, prompted international headlines after she was named a suspect in the Noos Institute corruption case — in (2) her husband is involved. (Via TheNew York Times)

“The former olympic handball player who holds the title of Duke of Palma, is accused (3) diverting millions of euros of public money meant for the non-profit organisation he controlled to private offshore accounts.” (Via Euronews)

Bloomberg reports, Urdangarin was offered a job working alongside Spanish handball coach Valero Rivera training Qatar’s national handball team.

Rivera trained Urdangarin (4) 14 years when he was still a player on Barcelona’s handball team and also in the Spanish selection before he became Duke of Palma when he married Princess Cristina. (Via RTVE)

Urdangarin’s organization, t…

Sunny, sunny Spain (it's all a myth!)

Source: You Tube (Geoff Thompson) Key Words: Viva España Sylvia

Y Viva España - Sylvia

All the ladies fell for Rudolph Valentino
He had a beano* back in those balmy days
He knew every time you meet an icy creature
You've got to teach her hot blooded latin ways
But even Rudy would have felt the strain
Of making smooth advances in the rain

Oh this year I'm off to Sunny Spain
Y Viva España I'm taking the Costa Brava 'plane
Y Viva España
If you'd like to chat a matador, in some cool cabaña
And meet senoritas by the score, España por favor

Quite by chance to hot romance I found the answer
Flamenco dancers are by far the finestbet
There was one who whispered oh hasta la vista
Each time I kissed him behind the castanette
He rattled his maracas close to me
In no time I was trembling at the knee

When they first arrive the girls are pink and pasty
but oh so tasty as soon as they go brown
I guess they know ev'ry fellow will be queuing
to do the wooing his girlfriend won't …

Remind v remember

What's the difference between remind and remember?

If you remember a fact or something from the past, you (by yourself) keep it in mind, or bring it back to your mind:
Can you remember what we did in the last class?He didn't remember that it was his parents' anniversary.I don't remember turning off the light.*                            Past                                                   Now
I turned /didn't turn            (then)                       I don't remember
off the light                                                                             

or not forget to do something (later):
Rememberto turn off the light when you leave.*I must rememberto call her next week to wish her a happy birthday.Did you rememberto e-mail her?         Now                      Future (later)
                      Remember (then) turn off the light

* See previou…

Don't believe what you read in the papers - especially today

Today is April Fools' Day - a day when most newspapers try to fool their readers by publishing an absurd story. Check out its origins and some of the stories by clicking on the April Fools' label ( in left hand column or at the end of this post).

Here  is a video and article about high-tech googles from the Guardian.

First glass cabin: Virgin launch new jet with SEE-THROUGH floor
Pioneering bosses at Virgin are introducing a jet with a glass floor to give passengers an uninterrupted view of the Earth from 30,000ft.
It will offer an amazing “walking on air” experience, with the world at your feet.

The plane has been commissioned as a one-off to join the airline’s new domestic Little Red fleet – flying once a day between Heathrow and Aberdeen.

And it has been granted special permission to fly over Loch Ness for a unique view of the Scottish scenery.
Source: Daily Mirror And here are some stories that sound like April Fools' but apparently aren't: German flea circus hit by…