Author Archives: Luisa

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”

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.

Christmas Idioms and Expressions

‘Tis the season to be jolly or Bah! Humbug!? Do you enjoy the Christmas festivities or are you more of an Ebenezer Scrooge when it comes to the holiday season? Whichever you are, Christmas is a good time to pick up new expressions and idioms in English. Today we’re going to look at some related to Christmas.

It’s like turkeys voting for Christmas = used to describe a person who puts themselves in a bad situation despite knowing it will turn out badly for them.

I’ll be there with bells on = when you are enthusiastic or excited about an upcoming event or party.

Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth = This is an expression we should all heed. It means even if you don’t like or want your present, don’t let the person who gave it to you know.

Christmas comes but once a year = used as an excuse for overindulgence, whether on food or on gifts, on the basis that it doesn’t happen often.

Don’t be a Scrooge! = Telling someone not to be negative, especially around Christmas.

Bah Humbug! =  what a Scrooge says whenever someone mentions something festive and joyous.

 

I hope you enjoyed these Christmas expressions and you try to use them over the holiday season.

Merry Christmas from all of your native teachers at The Language Corner and we wish you all a prosperous New Year. Se you in January!

Reading Resources

Last week, here at The Language Corner, we brought you some of our favourite Listening resources to help you improve your comprehension skills. This week we’ll be looking at Reading. We’ll look at some interesting and useful websites to help you not only practise but also improve your reading skills. These kind of websites and mobile apps are a great add-on to English classes in both our academies here in La Elipa and Calle Gandhi. Whether you spend 5 minutes or 20 minutes reading, every little helps when it comes to improving your overall language ability. Reading in English is by far the best way to pick up new vocabulary. You might occasionally have to reach for your dictionary, but after a while, you should get used to figuring out the meaning through the context, a valuable skill to perfect if you intend taking the First Certificate or Cambridge Advanced exam.

If you’re studying for Cambridge Exams like the FCE or CAE, these websites will definitely come in handy for increasing your vocabulary as well as exposing you to idiomatic expressions and phrasal verbs.

First on the list is Read Theory. This website has a vast library of short texts which accompanying questions which range from purely comprehensible to deducing the writer’s opinion and tone. To start, you do a short test which determines your reading level. Then after each quiz, the program decides if you should move up or down a level or simply remain where you are. The great thing about this site is when you give an incorrect response, you’ll get an explanation justifying the correct and incorrect answers. It’s especially useful for Cambridge exam practice

National Geographic also has a dedicated interactive reading website for English language learners. It’s divided into three levels so you can choose the one which best suits. After you’ve read the text there are some comprehension questions to answer.

Another great free resource is ESOL Courses which along with other skills you can practise reading for information, and also learn new vocabulary along the way.

Really Learn English has a great section of graded short stories. The offer a wealth of vocabulary with interactive quizzes to check you remember it so you can enjoy the story without worrying about having to have your dictionary on hand.

These are just some great websites you can use to brush up on your reading skills outside class. Do you know of or use any others? Let us know which one is your favourite! And don’t forget, sometimes when you learn a new word by reading it, you may not be sure of the pronunciation; this happens to native speakers too so don’t fret. Just ask your native teacher at The Language Corner the next time you have class in our academies in La Elipa and Garcia Noblejas and they’ll be delighted to help.