Monthly Archives: May 2014

Idioms Part 2

Happy Friday!

We hope you had time to solve the last two idioms that The Language Corner, Gandhi student Raul illustrated.

If you still need a little extra help, here are the answers:

1. Kill two birds with one stone. This means, to solve two problems at one time.

Ex: I really like Game of Thrones and I need to watch the last episode, but I should really study my English. I will kill two birds with one stone by waching the Game of Thrones episode in English.

2. Pull the wool over someone’s eyes. This means to deceive someone.

Ex: Jessica told me that she was going to travel in July and there would be no English classes. I know she is pulling the wool over my eyes because both English Academies (The Language Corner, Gandhi and The Language Corner, La Elipa) are open and operate during the month of July.


Here is another Idiom to try to solve over the weekend:

Guess the Idiom with Raul, from The Language Corner Gandhi

Guess the Idiom with Raul, TLC Gandhi


Learning English with Idioms

What exactly is an idiom?
An idiom is a group of words that when placed together have a distinct meaning. For example if I say, “It was a piece of cake.” I am not actually comparing something to a piece of cake, rather I am declaring that it was easy.

Why are idioms important?
Idioms allow native speakers to express in a more descriptive manner. Many idioms give the possibility of creating a visual picture. Idioms give the speaker more “flavor” in his/her conversation.

Why is it important to learn idioms?
Idioms are a regular part of English expression. This means idioms are used frequently in conversation and in written texts. In order to participate fully in speaking and to get the most out of watching series or movies and reading books, magazines and/or news articles it is important to study idioms. The more you master idioms the more natural you will sound as an English speaker.

How can I learn idioms?
There are many books dedicated only to English idioms. It is important to keep your ears and eyes open. When you come across an idiom that you think can be beneficial write it down. Write the idiom in a memorable phrase and attempt to use it in conversation.

Can you guess the Idiom??

The Lanuage Corner Gandhi student, Raul, is showing us an idiom. Can you guess which one?

Here is Raul again, can you guess this idiom?

Here is Raul again, can you guess this idiom?



English Language Newspapers

uk papers

Reading in English is a great way to improve your comprehension and vocabulary, as well as other important areas such as sentence structure and punctuation. You can focus on a particular topic of interest and learn the relevant vocabulary to enable you to talk with confidence in English about recent topics. Often new terms are created or spread by newspapers, which you are unlikely to find in an English dictionary. Recently there have been various expressions relating to the financial crisis that passed into everyday use in English, such as ‘bailout’ and ‘financial haircut’. This makes it particularly helpful if you are preparing for one of the Cambridge exams such as First Certificate (FCE) or Cambridge Advanced (CAE). In newsagents and libraries you can often find print versions of UK and US newspapers such as The Daily Mail and The Wall Street Journal. While it may be difficult to find these in Ciudad Lineal they are widely available in the centre of Madrid. Within Pueblo Nuevo the best options are to try papelerias and kioskos on the main roads such as Calle Alcalá, Avenida Marques de Corbera or Calle Hermanos García Noblejas.

With your English language newspapers you also need to distinguish between the broadsheets and the tabloids; broadsheets are the larger intellectual newspapers and tabloids the smaller, more entertainment-based papers. There are no dedicated English language sports newspapers like you can find in Spanish, but normally the everyday newspapers will have a large dedicated section or pullout for sports.

An advantage is if you have visited a particular part of the country or have English speaking friends who have told you about current events in their area. If you are interested in a particular story then looking at the local newspaper for that area could provide more specialist information. Here are the complete lists so you can choose for yourself:




There are also online English language newspapers with a satirical take on current events, with probably the most well-known being The Daily Mash. This is similar to the Spanish El Mundo Today, though it is worth pointing out you will need to know the actual news first!

May is National Photo Month

Why The Smartphone Camera Changed Photography Forever


In celebration of National Photo Month we have been discussing photography in our English classes at The Language Corner, C/ Gandhi, 19. We have talked about our favorite photos and about popular trends in photography. Three of the trends we looked at are: selfies, forced perspective photos and photobombing.

A selfie is a photo a person takes of oneself. This can be taken with a camera or a smart-phone. Often after taking a selfie on a smart phone people upload the photo to sites such as facebook or tuentie.

Forced perspective photos create an optical illusion. Normally one person is in the foreground (and appears larger than normal) and the other is in the background and appears smaller. The person in the foreground must give the appearance of touching the object or person in the background.

Photobombing is when you jump into someone’s photo unannounced, or when someone jumps into your photo unannounced!

In honor of National Photo Month we encourage you to take lots of photos, and share your selfies, forced perspective and photobombing photos on our tuentie page or facebook page. Some ideas of this around Pueblo Nuevo would be to take a Selfie with a famous person at Plaza de Ventas, or a Forced Perspective photo of you holding El Pirulí.
Share them with us on Facebook or Tuenti!Be sure to write a caption, in English. 😉

The Language Corner Tuenti

The Language Corner Facebook


Meet Rachel


Name: Rachel

Where are you from? Sheffield, England

Tell us a bit about yourself: I have a degree in Modern Languages and I am currently learning Italian. I love Spain and have lived in Madrid for over 3 years. I am also trying to learn how to cook!

How long have you been working at The Language Corner? 3 years in La Elipa

What do you like most about teaching? It is very rewarding to help students improve their English, and you meet lots of interesting people.

What kind of music do you like? Chart music

What is your favourite movie? Slumdog Millionaire

What book are you reading? The Pillars of the Earth

Where is your favourite place in Madrid: Retiro Park

Top tip for learning English: Study a bit (or a lot!) every day, consistency is important.

Social Networks

Social Networks are an excellent way to improve English language skills. You can set accounts to English and increase vocabulary. You can also make new English speaking friends or join English language groups. The Language Corner has joined Tuenti! The Language Corner Tuenti Stop by and visit our page frequently to practice English.



San Isidro – A Foreigner’s View


For foreigners the festival of San Isidro is more than just a public holiday, it’s an opportunity to learn about the history and customs of Madrid. The sight of children wearing their distinctive outfits, the processions in the street and of course the rosquillas all give the non-native an easy introduction to the customs. A visit to the Museum of San Isidro is also a must, and is an excellent place to learn more about the history of Madrid. You don’t necessarily need to visit around the festival of San Isidro either.

If you want to stay around Pueblo Nuevo there are still many things to do and see. For a start the parks, bars and restaurants are full with people enjoying the holiday and relaxing. Most of the shops on Calle Alcalá are still open so you can take the opportunity to go shopping. Perhaps the most famous event is the bullfighting festival at Ventas, featuring the cream of the best bullfighters from Spain and the world. Plaza de Ventas is only a short walk from La Elipa so it really shouldn’t be missed.

Overall it is an interesting cultural experience as the festival is quite different to the typical English festival. The UK does not have separate festivals for the different regions in the same way. The closest festivals are those for the individual countries, and regions with a strong identity such as Cornwall and Yorkshire.


sianName: Sian

Where does your name come from? It is a Welsh form of Jane.

Where are you from: Sidcup, Kent

What did you study? Psychology. I am currently studying a Master to be a school counsellor. I also have a CELTA.

How long have you been working at the Language Corner? 1 year in La Elipa and 4 months in La Almudena.

What do you like most about teaching? Seeing people’s progress, meeting new people, and working with children.

What hobbies or talents do you have: I love reading (mostly thrillers), going to the cinema and drawing.

What kind of music do you like: I quite like Indie Folk Music (I really like Mumford and Sons) and pretty much anything that isn’t heavy metal or Reggaeton. I also really like Flamenco.

What book are you reading right now? The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

Where is your favorite place in Madrid? Templo Debod and Malasaña

Tell me something interesting about yourself: I have an identical twin sister.

If you could be any animal, which animal would you be, and why? A bird because it would be awesome to be able to fly.

BEST TIP FOR LEARNING ENGLISH: Don’t limit yourself to classroom time. Try to expose yourself to as much English as possible (books, magazines, news, films, music…) and ask your teacher for homework.

Theatre in English

Are you a fan of the Bard? Do you enjoy walking the boards?


If you have a real passion for theatre then think about joining a theatre group in English. This is a fun way to practise English by learning new vocabulary, grammar and pronunciation. This will also give you great practice in speaking clearly and potentially under pressure. If you have a job interview or presentation in English then theatre performance can help you deliver a scene in a less stressful environment. As well as the benefits of communication, teamwork, confidence, reading and writing you will also have the chance to mix with native English speakers, further improving your English in everyday situations.

There are various options close to Pueblo Nuevo where you can enjoy or participate in English language theatre:

The Madrid Players:

Face 2 Face Theatre Company:

Lingua Arts Theatre Company:

As well as various visiting theatre groups performed by native English actors.

Probably the most well-known English theatre in Madrid is Teatro Cofidis on Calle Alcala: that has performances by both Spanish and native English actors. This means that English theatre is only a short journey from The Language Corner in La Elipa and La Almudena.

Another option is to join the English Theatre groups with The Language Corner. These are offered both for children and adults to gain confidence in performing in English while improving their grammar, conversation and pronunciation in a natural way. Children appreciate the theatre group as it takes them out of a classroom setting, while our native English instructors will correct mistakes where necessary. Ask any of the staff in the La Elipa or Garcia Noblejas schools for more details.

Do you know any common phrases that have their origin in the theatre that are now commonly used in English? A couple of examples are ‘Green Room’ and ‘Break A Leg’.