Author Archives: Luisa

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

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.

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!

freepik

VALENTINES – THE HISTORY & VOCABULARY

Every February, we see an assortment of flowers, balloons chocolates and hearts decorating the shops near La Elipa in Madrid, asking us to buy something special for our loved ones for the ultimate declaration of love. Some now believe it is only for commercial gain however there is a religious tradition hidden behind the very large pink cards we send!

assortment
əˈsɔːtm(ə)nt/
noun
noun: assortment; plural noun: assortments
  1. a miscellaneous collection of things or people.
    “the room was filled with an assortment of clothes”
declaration
dɛkləˈreɪʃ(ə)n/
noun
  1. a formal or explicit statement or announcement.
    “a declaration of love”

Aptis Speaking Test Part 1 & 2

The Aptis by British Council is a relatively new exam but it is quickly gaining popularity among English language learners. This is due to it becoming more widely accepted both here in Spain and around the world, it being cheaper than other exams like Cambridge, and being able to get the results more quickly.

Knowing exactly what an exam entails is half the battle when preparing for it. Today we’re going to look at the Speaking exam. The entire exam is done on a computer, so for the speaking part, you have to record your answers within a given time limit. This means preparation is key. Knowing what to expect and being ready to show off your language skills will help achieve your goal.

Part One

In the first part, you have to answer questions about yourself. There are three questions and you must talk for thirty seconds for each question. Possible topics you could talk about include Family, Your Job, Hobbies and Interests, Future Plans, Films and Books, The Weather, Daily Routine etc. This means four or five clear sentences. If for example you are asked, “What’s the weather like today?” You might think it impossible to have your answer last a full thirty seconds. This is why it’s important to brainstorm things related to the weather. What do you like to do when it’s hot outside? What clothes are you wearing for the current season? Is it typical weather for this time of year? Is it unusually hot or cold? So a typical answer to “What’s the weather like today?” doesn’t have to be difficult to elaborate on. Instead of just replying “It’s cold but sunny” you can add “but this is normal for Madrid in winter. People usually wear hats, scarves, winter coats and boots to stay warm. A typical winter snack is roasted chestnuts which you can buy from street vendors.” Instead of talking solely about the weather, we can incorporate other related vocabulary like in this instance; clothes. But we could also talk about what people generally do in when the weather is hot/cold etc. The questions in part one of the Aptis lend themselves to elaboration. You should keep talking, adding relevant sentences until your time is up.

Part Two

In the second part of the Aptis speaking exam, you are given a picture which you have forty-five seconds to describe. You then have to answer to related questions with a limit of forty-five seconds for each.

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?

 

Describing a photo is a question that comes up in many exams. With this type of question, you should take as much time as possible to gather your thoughts. Then use all of the time given to talk about it.  Below are some useful phrases to describe the position of things within a picture.

When talking about what people are doing or wearing in a photo we must use the present continuous. Subject + is/are + verb in ING It is also important to speculate about what the subjects of the picture might be doing using expressions like:

It seems as if…

They might/may/could be …

It makes me think of …

I think …

Let’s try to answer the questions above. Remember you have 45 seconds for each answer which should be approximately 5 to 7 clear sentences.

  1. In this photo, I can see a group of people sitting around a table. In the background, there is a large window and the room is bright. There are posters on the wall behind them. They seem to be working on something together.  In the middle of the table, there is a model of something which they are pointing to and discussing. Maybe it’s a building. They might be doing a project together for a university class. Maybe they are engineering students and they are doing a project on town planning.
  2. When I was at university, I often had to give presentations with other students. We would be given a project to discuss and research and would have to present it together in front of the rest of our class. I enjoyed working with my classmates on these projects as it gave me a different perspective on the topic. However, I also got very nervous having to speak in front of so many people. I used to practise as much as I could beforehand to feel more relaxed about it.
  3. Teamwork is very important, not only in university but also in the working world. As I mentioned before, having more than one person working on a project allows for more input and different points of view to be considered. Being able to work in a team is beneficial as it reduces the workload for everyone involved and means projects can be finished more efficiently.

As you can see, each answer has clear, concise sentences. I hope this helps you in your preparation for Aptis or indeed any English exam in which you are asked to describe a picture. In the next part of this series, we will look at parts 3 and 4 of the Aptis speaking exam. Don’t forget to check back soon.

In our English academies in La Elipa and Garcia Noblejas, you can prepare for Aptis as well as the Cambridge First Certificate and Advanced.

False Friends in English and Spanish

Most of the time, we can look at a word in English and figure out what it means because it resembles a word in Spanish. This is because words in both languages share a common etymology and therefore a similar or identical meaning. These are called cognates and are extremely useful when learning English. It gives you a built-in vocabulary base which can be drawn on when learning new English words despite there being minor pronunciation and spelling differences. Common examples of this are education and educación or notification and notificación.  It’s usually safe to say if a word ends in /tion/ in English, it will have a pretty similar counterpart in Spanish ending in /ción/. The same is true for something like difference and diferencia. All in all, there are many cognates in English and Spanish which as English learners I’m sure many of you have come across. These can give you confidence in your knowledge and thus improve your English abilities overall.

The problem comes when we come across false cognates or as they’re more commonly know; false friends. Today we’re going to have a look at some common ones and others that may cause a little embarrassment.

First let’s take a look at ones which are the exact same word, but which have a significant difference in meaning.

 

Word English Pronunciation English Meaning Spanish Meaning
Actual

[ak-choo-uh l]

Real, True Current
Sensible [sen-suh-buh l] having, using, or showing good sense or sound judgment Sensitive
Pie [pahy] A baked dish of fruit, or meat and vegetables, typically with a top and base of pastry Foot
Diversion [dih-vur-zhuh n] The act of diverting or turning aside, as from a course or purpose Fun

These are just a few you need to be careful of. Next time, we’ll look at other false friends in English and Spanish. Learning these words will help you as well as taking classes in The Language Corner in La Elipa and Calle Gandhi to improve your English.

New Year’s Idioms

Have you made any New Year’s resolutions this year? Maybe you’re trying to turn over a new leaf and start exercising more, learn a new language, or save money by tightening your belt. Do you jump on the bandwagon every year and sound like a broken record talking about your resolutions? Do you ever have to go back to the drawing board because you’re not sticking to your goal? Whatever your resolution is this year, just remember practise makes perfect. Don’t give up unless of course you’re a smoker and you’re trying to kick the habit.

Do you understand all of the idioms above? Why not make improving your English at The Language Corner one of your main goals in 2018 and discover more like these. We have classes in La Elipa and Garcia Noblejas in the morning or afternoon. We have everything from General English to Exam Preparation and even German and French classes.

To turn over a new leaf: start to act or behave in a better or more responsible way

To tighten your belt: cut your expenditure; live more frugally

To jump on the bandwagon: to suddenly become involved in something because it is fashionable or likely to succeed

To sound like a broken record: to repeat the same thing over and over again

To go back to the drawing board: start again from the beginning especially if the first attempt has failed

Practise makes perfect: Only by practising or repeating an action or activity can you become skilled at it.

Kick the habit: slang for overcoming an addiction; like cigarettes

Happy New Year

Here at The Language Corner, we would like to wish all our students a happy 2018.

We’re back from the holidays with a bang! What better time to start learning or indeed improving your English than the start of a new year. Make it one of your resolutions and here at our academies we’ll make it easy for you with our fun, dynamic classes with native, qualified teachers.

Whether you want to prepare for the Cambridge Exams, TOEIC, or Aptis, or simply improve your spoken English, we have a class for you.

Drop by our language schools in La Elipa and García Noblejas or call 673 340 106 for more information.