Pub quiz this Thursday!

Don’t miss out pub quiz this Thursday in El Rincon de Juanca, right by metro La Almudena on C/ de Santurce, 1. We will be having some drinks and enjoying a trivia night from 20:30 this Thursday. Come practise your English with us in a fun way and get to know other English speakers around the neighbourhood.

Looking forward to meeting you!

5 ways to remember new vocabulary

Remembering new vocabulary when learning English can be tricky. When studying any new language we come across new words all the time and it can seem like an impossible task to remember them all. Here at The Language Corner, we’ve made a simple list of tips to help you with this daunting challenge. Remember, at our language academies in Madrid, our native teachers are always willing to help you. So, let’s have a look at some of the best ways to retain that new vocabulary you have learnt.

  1. Visualise what a word or phrase looks like to you. This works especially well for those pesky idioms. While they can’t be translated literally a lot of the time, they often conjure up an image in your mind which can make remembering them a hell of a lot easier. If you are artistically inclined you can draw or sketch something to help you recall a new word or phrase. If not, you can usually rely on google images to turn up something similar. Here’s an example. “To race against the clock.” It means your trying to do something before a certain deadline. Usually a pressured situation where it is really important. 
  2. Put new words into a context that is relevant to you. When we learn new words and expressions if we can’t relate them to our own lives, we have little hope in remembering them at a later date. We need to associate the words we want to remember with something that is important to us. So for example, if you like music and you want to remember the word “soothing” you could say “I find instrumental music very soothing”
  3. Write it down. Keep a notebook for new vocabulary and write down the things you want to remember in a sentence so you can remember the meaning easily. It’s important to go back and look over this from time to time to refresh your memory.
  4. Learn it in chunks. Trying to memorise stand-alone words is pointless, not only do we need context to make sense of it but it also is of great benefit to learn a group of words that go together. THese can be verb/noun collocations or just expressions that are almost always followed by a certain structure or word. This technique comes in very handy when learning phrasal verbs. Take for example the phrasal verb “make up” On its own, it’s difficult to remember it means to invent, but if you always think about making up a story you can instantly recall the meaning.
  5. Repetition. Repetition. Repetition.  It seems obvious but the more you repeat something, the easier it will be to remember it at a later stage. The trick with this, however, is not to repeat ad nauseam the day you discover a new word but to actively try in incremental stages to recall it. This means an hour or so after learning it, trying to use it in a sentence. Again the next day repeating it in that or another sentence. After that every few days should suffice until it is firmly lodged in your long-term memory.

Hopefully with these tips you’ll start to retain the new vocabulary you’ve been learning in your English classes at The Language Corner. Feel free to stop by our academies in La Elipa and Calle Gandhi for information about our classes.

COMMON MISTAKES FOR SPANISH SPEAKERS

DO YOU THINK IN ENGLISH? OR SPANISH?

Many of our students here at the academy in Madrid still think about a new language by translating through their first. This leads to common mistakes often spotted by our native teachers. Here we have listed the top mistakes for you to learn quickly and sound more native today!

Using COMO – HOW for questions.

  • How is this?
  • How spell this?

Using WITH – INSTEAD OF TO

Married TO someone as opposed to married WITH

John has been married with to Caroline for 5 years.

They have five years together.

This is also not correct as we have to specificy what they have together, 

They have been together for five years.

TENER V SER – AGE 

In English we don´t have our years, but we are them, this often causes confusion for beginners who like to say I have 10 years old instead of I am 10 years old. 

James and John have ten years.

If this sentence seems correct to you, you´d be among the hundreds of Spanish speakers who also incorrectly use HAVE instead of TO BE when discussing ages. This is a fairly common mistake as of course in Spanish we use ´tener´.

AGREEMENT

I am agree

This sentence should be I agree with no use of am as agree is a verb itself!

WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? INCLUDE THE SUBJECT!

It is very important to refer to the SUBJECT. In Spanish this can be omitted, so even advanced students are tempted to start their sentences with ´is very easy to´, but this leaves us feeling rather baffled; but what is easy? IT of course! IT is easy!

NEW WORD?

baffle
ˈbaf(ə)l/
verb
past tense: baffled; past participle: baffled
  1. 1.
    totally bewilder or perplex.
    “an unexplained occurrence that baffled everyone”
    synonyms: perplexpuzzlebewildermystifybemuseconfuseconfoundnonplusdisconcertthrow, set someone thinking; More

Idioms Explained

Idioms in English can be hard to figure out. Translating them into to your own language is not going to help. But, native speakers throw them into to conversations whenever they feel like it! How can you get your head around them? It’s a tough one we know. Here in our English academies in Madrid we’re always trying to think of ways to help our students remember these useful phrases, be it for exam preparation like Aptis or FCE or just to sound more fluent in everyday conversation.

A good way to learn new idioms is to use images which illustrate their meaning. This post is trying to do just that. We hope it helps!

Back to square one

Having to go back to square one means you have to start whatever process you were doing over again. It’s usually negative since it implies you didn’t make much progress the first time.

The big cheese

Someone who is a big cheese is an important or knowledgeable person in their field. It’s quite an informal expression and means they hold some influence.

A birdseye view

This one is perhaps more literal. It means you have a view of something from a high point…just like a bird would.

To bite your tongue

 

 

To bite your tongue means to keep yourself from critizising or insulting someone even if you want to. Someone says something stupid and instead of highlighting it, you say nothing and maybe even smile at them.

To be on cloud nine

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, if you are on cloud nine, you are really happy about something. We hope you are too having learnt some new English idioms!

 

CAE EXAM – An Brief Overview

Preparing for the Cambridge Exam here in Madrid? This little guide from our teachers will give you a head start to pass with flying colours! It is a good idea to familiarise yourself with the exam format as well as the relevant grammar topics as it will help reduce anxiety and nerves on the day. So lets get started and aprender ingles a domicilo! 

Can I take this exam?
If you are using English in a work or study environment with some confidence, it is useful to have this qualification to show your knowledge! More than 60,000 students sit this exam every year all over the world. It is difficult, and is ADVANCED level. If you haven´t yet experienced the format, we strongly recommend doing the FIRST Certificate exam intially. Not only will this build your confidence and knowledge of the exam format, but it is a better guarentee for success as the exams are quite expensive. 

The TEST FORMAT:
You should expect four sections to test your English;

  1. Reading & Use of English – 90 minutes
  2. Writing – 90 minutes over two tasks
  3. Listening – 30 questions divided over 4 parts with 90 minutes in total. This is often the last part of the exam and you may be tired by this point!
  4. Speaking – a 15minute interview divided into four parts, some sections with another student.

Criteria and Marking
A, B, C (pass)
D, E or U (fail)
CAE pass is accepted for entry to some universities.

The Reading and Use of English section counts for 40% of the marks.
The Writing, Listening & Speaking sections each count for 20% of the marks.

You will receive a Statement of Results. If your performance ranges between CEFR Levels B2 and C2, you will also receive a certificate.
Pass Grades:
Grade A (C2), Grade B (C1), Grade C (C1)

If you do not pass, but still do quite well you are issued a B2 certificate.

Paper-based or computer-based exams
You can do the CAE exam on a computer or on paper.

When can I take the test?
We can help you book the test here at our academy in La Elipa or in La Almudena. Simply give us a call or tell the office manager at your convenience and our native teachers would be delighted to discuss the exam with you. It can be taken throughout the year and costs approximately 190-200 euros to sit.

Am I ready to take the test? 

Can you answer these Reading and Use of English questions from examenglish.com with ease? Or do you need to book one of our exam preparation classes to feel more confident? Contact La Elipa or La Almudena on 910 01 42 81 today for advice, information and help para Preparar el examen del Advanced de Cambridge. 

1.   Brian was really interested in North American history in his school days.

interest

Brian   North American history in his school days.

2.   When it comes to population, Beijing’s is much bigger than Auckland’s.

populated

Beijing is   than Auckland.

3.   The manager should think about experience when hiring new staff.

consideration

The manager should   when hiring new staff.

Aptis Exam Explained

 

Here at The Language Corner in La ELipa and García Noblejas we have been getting many requests for information about Aptis, the latest exam by The British Council. In both our English academies we offer preparation classes for both Aptis General and Aptis Advanced. But before you sign up to English classes in our academy, let’s explain exactly what the Aptis entails.

Firstly, it’s worth noting that the entire Aptis exam is done on a computer. It takes a total of 2hours and 32 minutes with all the skills being tested. It’s a scaled exam so there is no pass or fail mark but your results are given as a CEFR level for A0-C for the Aptis General and B1-C2 for the Aptis Advanced.

The Aptis, as well as being a cheaper and quicker alternative to the Cambridge exams such as The First Certificate and Advanced it is also becoming more widely recognised here in Spain. The Aptis General is valid if you are a student and need to demonstrate you have a B1 or B2 level and the Aptis Advanced is accepted by the Comunidad de Madrid as proof of linguistic competence for teachers.

As with most English language exams, Aptis is split into sections covering Reading, Writing, Speaking Listening and Grammar & Vocabulary. Let’s have a look at each section and how to best approach it.

Speaking

Part 1

The first part of the Speaking consists of 3 simple questions which you have 30 seconds to respond to.  They are usually related to your life, your hobbies, family or holidays. Each question will usually require you to use a certain tense so be mindful of that when you are answering.

As the test is done on a computer, a good way to practise this particular part is to record yourself answering some basic questions on your phone while using a timer. This will not only help you with time management but also with your pronunciation and intonation.

Being the first part of the test means the questions are simple but it doesn’t mean your answers have to be. I don’t mean that you should try to over-complicate things but it is a good idea to use these short questions to show off some vocabulary you know related to the topic. An example could be to learn an idiom that describes a person such as “He/she is a blast!” (the person is a lot of fun) This way you can use it to describe a friend, family member or someone you work with.

Here are some typical questions from Aptis:

  1. Please tell me about your family.
  2. Where did you go on your last holiday?
  3. What’s the weather like today?

Each answer should be between 4 and 6 sentences long. Speak clearly and at a pace you’re comfortable with and you should have no problem answering the questions from part 1.

Part 2

In the second part of the Speaking Test, you will be asked to describe a picture and then answer two further questions about it. This time you have 45 seconds to respond.

A typical example of this could be the picture on the left.

  1. Describe the picture.
  2. Do you often have to work in a team in work or university?
  3. Why is teamwork important?

 

 

 

To see example answers to these questions and tips on how to describe pictures, check out our previous entry on Aptis Speaking.

 

Part 3

In this part of the exam, you will be shown two pictures and asked to compare them. This is quite similar to the FCE or CAE and finding examples from those exams will help immensely. Again, there are 3 questions which each have a 45 second limit for answering.

  1. Compare the two pictures.
  2. Why might people choose each type of holiday?
  3. Which of these types of holidays are better for you?

Part 4

The last part of the Speaking test for Aptis, you are once again given a photo with three questions. This time, however, you’ll have one minute to prepare your ideas and two minutes to cover all three questions.

  1. Describe an old person you admire and why.
  2. How do you know them?
  3. What characteristics do they have that you like?

Check out our previous post for ideas and tips on how to answer these parts of the Aptis

Don’t forget you can prepare for the Aptis exam in Madrid in our English academies in Madrid in both La Elipa and Garcia Noblejas. All of our native teachers at our language academies are familiar with not only the Aptis but also all of the Cambridge exams. So if you are looking to prepare for the FCE in Madrid or the CAE in Madrid, make sure you stop by our English academies in Madrid in La Elipa and La Almudena. Looking forward to meeting you!

Aptis Speaking Parts 3 & 4

Today at The language corner we’re going to look at the second part of the Aptis Speaking test, with tips and sample answers to give you an idea of what is needed in this relatively new exam by The British Council.  Of course, here in our English academies, you can prepare for the Aptis as well as The Cambridge exams with our native teachers.

Part 3

In this part of the exam, you will be shown two pictures and asked to compare them. This is quite similar to the FCE or CAE and finding examples from those exams will help immensely. Again, there are 3 questions which each have a 45 second limit for answering.

 

  1. Compare the two pictures. (45sec)
  2. Why might people choose each type of holiday?  (45sec)
  3. Which of these types of holidays are better for you?  (45sec)

As we saw in our previous post when describing photos we usually use modals of deduction to say what we suppose is happening in the pictures. Let’s have a go at answering these ones 🙂

  1. In the first picture on the left, a couple can be seen relaxing in deck chairs at the beach. I imagine they are a couple as they are holding hands and the woman seems to be gazing at her partner. There is a bag hanging off one deckchair and a hat hanging off the other. It looks idyllic if I’m honest.  In the second picture, we can see a group, with backpacks on hiking through the mountains. They appear to be following a trail and are properly prepared for the terrain. It reminds me of going trekking with my friends in the mountains outside my city.
  2. I reckon people choose beach holidays to get away from the hustle bustle of the city and to completely switch off. Not only do they get to relax on what seems like a paradise island but they also don’t have to worry about the stresses of their daily life. On the other hand, this type of trip can seem utterly boring to some people which is why they might prefer to do something more active. They also want to escape the fast-paced way of things in the city by getting fresh air in a pristine landscape but obviously lying on the beach for days would just bore them to tears.
  3. Both types of holiday have their benefits. Relaxing on a beautiful beach for a week might do somebody who has a high-stress job or day to day life the world of good as they can just switch off and forget about everything for the time being. However, the hiking holiday is obviously more active and in that way, it’s physically better for you. I suppose it all depends on whether you want to do something active or would benefit just as much from simply taking a break from your daily routine.

Part 4

The last part of the Speaking test for Aptis, you are once again given a photo with three questions. This time, however, you’ll have one minute to prepare your ideas and two minutes to cover all three questions.

 

  1. Tell me about the first thing you bought online.
  2. How did you feel about the purchasing?
  3. Would you recommend online shopping?

For this question, since you have a minute to prepare it’s a good idea to jot down the points you want to mention without writing full sentences. Be careful not to describe the photo given as this is not the task in this question. The questions are more abstract (e.g a feeling). Make sure you answer all three questions and stay on topic. Doing otherwise will lose you valuable points. You are free to glance at your notes while you speak so it’s really important to practise brainstorming and making the most of this.

Here is an example of how you can brainstorm some ideas in one minute. Notice that as well as answering the questions I’ve also included short structures to include in my answer. This final part of the Aptis speaking exam is aimed at the higher levels so it’s important to incorporate advanced structures into your answer. Think about inversions (not only but also, only if/when), passives, conditionals etc. It’s also good to use any related vocabulary you can think of. Having said that, we also recommend you stick to what you know in the exam. Practise these structures before the exam so you are confident using them. Don’t try to wing it in the exam by throwing in structures you half know and are likely to get wrong. Accuracy is of vital importance in any speaking exam and the Aptis is no different.

Let’s have a go at answering this one:

If I recall correctly, the first thing I bought online was a necklace from eBay. It was being auctioned on the site and I thought it was really beautiful. I remember feeling excited by the bidding process. I would place a bid and wait to see if someone outbid me for the item. In the end, mine was the highest bid and I won the auction. I also remember feeling quite nervous however because of the payment method. Only by giving the website my credit card details could I proceed. I was also worried it wouldn’t arrive even after paying for it. I decided I’d have to take the chance and thankfully my necklace arrived shortly after.

I would definitely recommend shopping online nowadays. There are so many shops and you can buy virtually anything delivered to your doorstep. It’s really handy for people who work a lot or simply don’t enjoy going shopping on the high street, especially around the holidays or sales when bricks and mortar shops are packed. Not only is shopping online faster and more efficient but it’s also cheaper than the high street stores a lot of the time.

As you can see, I used the notes from the spider diagram to shape my answer but also added more information as I thought of it. I hope this helps. Don’t forget you can prepare for the Aptis exam in Madrid in our English academies in Madrid in both La Elipa and Garcia Noblejas. All of our native teachers at our language academies are familiar with not only the Aptis but also all of the Cambridge exams. So if you are looking to prepare for the FCE in Madrid or the CAE in Madrid, make sure you stop by our English academies in Madrid in La Elipa and La Almudena. Looking forward to meeting you!

 

madrid academy language

Best Vegan Food in Madrid

Below is collection of our favourite plant-based & vegetarian places only 20minutes from The Language Corner academy in La Elipa. Our teachers , ´profesores nativos´ have also listed their favourite thing or what they most enjoy in each place. As we are based near metro La Elipa, and our sister language academy based in La Almudena, we can get to most of these locations on Line 2 direct to Sol and then change!

What do you think? Do you have others to add?

La Colectiva Café
4.5  (120) · Coffee Shop
Calle Francisco de Rojas, 9
Breakfast · Cosy · Casual

Visit for the spacious laptop area and working space downstairs. The selection of cakes is absolutely divine, and vegan! If you still have fussy friends, cows milk is available but their kitchen is vegan.

La Encomienda
4.5
  (287) · Vegan

Calle Encomienda, 19
Cosy · Casual · Vegetarian options

Visit for their delicious cheesecakes. The daily menu isn´t their best offering but allows a price point to try some of the different dishes. Our favourite is the seitan.

Restaurante Vegetariano Artemisa Sol – Gran Vía
4.2  (395) · Vegetarian
Calle de las Tres Cruces, 4
Reservations required · Outdoor seating · Cosy
Visit for their desert! The custard cinnamon tart is heavenly.

Veggie Room
4.8  (131) · Natural Foods Store
Calle de San Vicente Ferrer, 19
This isn´t a restaurant but had to make the list as it is known on the scene as the best store for veggie and vegan items such as meat cuts, ice creams and egg replacement.

Llanten Veggie Bar
4.6  (183) · Vegan
Calle del Cardenal Cisneros, 40
Cosy · Casual · Vegetarian options
Their menus can be quite cost effective if you want a nice rich flavourful meal. Their dishes are mostly mushroom based, and the starters have our vote

Bunny’s Deli
4.8  (25) · Vegan
3.8 km · Calle San Gregorio, 17
Breakfast · Cosy · Casual
A bit pricer, this is more of a takeout stop offering superb quality dishes with a menu that changes daily.

Pizzi & Dixie
4.4  (167) · Restaurant
Calle de San Vicente Ferrer, 16
Cosy · Casual · Good for kids
Visit for the ´Dixie Classic´. Our absolute favourite on the list, this all-vegan pizza place is a must for non-vegans too! They make their own coconut cheese in-house and even have a charcoal pizza – known to be a good hangover cure! Try their Dixie Classic on your first visit.

ENGLISH TENSES – 12 TENSE REVIEW

Sometimes learning a language can be overwhelming. A visual overview of the language can be very helpful at understanding the context of the different tenses you have learnt in class or at the academy. Take a look at our guide below or speak to one of our native english teachers who would be delighted to provide further guidance.

Here at The Language Corner academy, both in La Elipa and in Pueblo Nuevo (La Almudena metro) we love to use a variety of resources to bring languages to life, but sometimes a simple table can help! We have collected our three favourite online tables to explain the tricky grammar!

An Overview – Table 1
This table unfortunately uses the verb ´to eat´ and some of the conjugations are irregular so take care when trying to follow a pattern, another table below might be better. This table does however present the SVO form.

An Overview – Table 2
This table is a bit clearer to read, but note that done is also irregular and the endings are not in line with the usual form but I love the colours! It reminds me of our colourful language academy, as the walls are painted a very similar colour at La Elipa!

An Overview – Table 3
This table is great for knowing how to form these tenses as it gives us a useful how to guide on how to create the tenses yourself.

If you are not sure WHEN to use which tense, take a look at this guide below;

PRESENT SIMPLE

  • Daily routine
  • Behaviour that happens again and again or is repeated
  • Facts

PRESENT CONTINUOUS

·         To describe something happening RIGHT NOW. 

PAST SIMPLE

·         Something which has finished and terminated

PAST CONTINUOUS

·         Something which was occuring in the past and still happening at the moment in the story

FUTURE SIMPLE

·         Something which will happen in future

FUTURE CONTINUOUS

·         For something which will be happening in the future and will be occuring at the time in the story

PRESENT PERFECT

·         Something which you were doing in the past and have finished right now in this present moment.

·         Something which has consequences on the present situation

PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS

·         Something which you were doing in the past and are still doing it today

PAST PERFECT

·         When you have two past situations and you want to refer to the situation which happened earlier

PAST PERFECT CONTINUOUS

·         Something you had been doing continuously in the past, but has finished

FUTURE PERFECT

·         Something which you would have done in future

FUTURE PERFECT CONTINUOUS

·         Something which you would be doing in the future

If you have some more questions on this quick guide, leave us a comment below and one of our native english teachers will be able to help. Do you have a visual aid you use for grammar? Share it with us!

ingles en Ciudad Lineal has never been so easy 😉

british, la elipa, madrid

10 Very British Foods!

  1. Sunday Roast & Yorkshire Pudding
    Sundays in England are mostly spent with your family. Relatives gather around the table for a ´late lunch´around 2pm arguing over the last roast potato because there can never be too many roast potatoes! Every plate in my household has at least six. A roast beef joint or leg of lamb has usually been prepared for hours in the oven and the meat of choice, is accompanied by a delicious green sauce called Mint Sauce. Chicken is now also a popular choice for many families as red meat has become less popular in Britain. The Yorkshire Pudding is the pride and joy at these dinners and can now be bought frozen from the supermarket for those who are not so brave!
  2. Eton Mess
    As delightful as it sounds, this desert literally is a mess of cream and fruit! This traditional desert dates back to 1893 as a dish served at Eton College, a famous upper class college for boys in the South of England. Ask your teacher if they love this summer pudding or maybe they have a different favourite? If they are native, they must have eaten this every summer in England!
  3. Pie and Mash
    A staple plate in most households, ´Pie and Mash´ is a family favourite, especially with fussy children! Unlike the upper class merengue desert above, Pie and Mash started as a more working-class dish served in Central London. Originally they contained eels or fish!
  4. Bangers and Mash
    Similar to the Pie and Mash above, Bangers is a very colloquial British term for sausages! Using very thick, pork sausages covered in enough gravy to sink a boat! If you want to try this in Madrid, The James Joyce near Retiro offers a pretty ´bang on´version. (bang on = collaquial slang for éxact´)
  5. Full English Breakfast
    What is a visit to England without a good ´fry up´? Usually eaten in a small cafe affectionately called ´greasy spoons´ by locals due to the oil and fat used in the cooking process.
  6. Sticky Toffee Pudding
    This is definitely my mothers favourite, although you will certainly never find it in my lunch box at the academy! This is often served at weddings, parties or celebrations as a desert option.
  7. Afternoon Tea
    If you have been to England, you must have tried the Afternoon Tea. Made famous by Royalty as a snack between lunch and dinner, tiny ¨finger sandwiches¨ and cakes are the centre of the table with pots of tea in fine china crockery. Nowadays, this has grown in popularity for celebrations as opposed to a daily snack. We can tell our profesores are nativos because they can be found munching on cucumber sandwiches in between lessons!
  8. Fish & Chips
    Traditionally served in a paper packet in a seaside town, this Friday Favourite is enjoyed amongst many families in Britain, but what is better, mayonnaise or ketchup?  Here at La Elipa we vote mayonnaise with our chips, but our teachers in our sister academy at La Almudena on Calle Gandhi vote Ketchup!
  9. Beef Wellington
    This dish is traditionally made of beef, mushrooms and pâté, cooked in a pastry crust with a gravy encompassing a Madeira wine. A staple at the local pub, I haven´t seen any in La Elipa or around Ventas, but let us know if you find a version near our language academy for us to try!
  10. Spotted Dick
    Although not as common, most households have heard of this very British dish, even if they do not consume it often. Made from a flat sheet of pastry and dried fruit, it is rolled up before cooking which gives it the round appearance. If only we had a kitchen at The Language Corner…

Want to know more? We at The Language Corner would love to hear about your experiences  with British cuisine. Maybe you have a favourite we can add to the list!