Author Archives: Dan

Present Perfect

 

Listen to the verses of Queen’s classic song We Are the Champions. What sort of actions are they referring to?

They all refer to actions and states that occurred at an indefinite time in the past. To describe these concepts we use the Present Perfect tense.

We construct this tense by using the present simple form of the auxiliary verb to have together with the past participle form of the verb that describes our action.

I + [to have] + [to pay] ===> I have paid my dues, time after time

I + [to have] + [to do] ===> I have done my sentence

But [Ì’ve] committed no crime

And bad mistakes: I’ve made a few.

I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face

But I’ve come through

Remember that you cannot use the Present Perfect if you want to be specific about when this action happened – we have the Past Simple for that:

“Have you had lunch yet?” Present Perfect – we’re talking about an unspecified time in the past.

“Yes, I ate a sandwich at 2 o’clock” Past Simple – we’re talking about the exact time that the sandwich was eaten.

 

We also use the Present Perfect to refer to states that began in the past, and continue to be true today:

“I have lived in Madrid for three years”.

“I haven’t slept for days… I’m exhausted!”

The song We Are The Champions is reproduced for educational purposes only, and is the property of Queen and Sony/ATV

Welcome Back

Summer is sadly over, but with the changing of the seasons (not yet though – phew, it’s hot here in Madrid!), here in our language schools in La Elipa and La Almudena, the new academic year is already getting going. We’ve already nearly finished our first full week of English, French and German classes.

But fear not, there are still slots available for you to take advantage of our team of native teachers, and vastly improve your language skills.

We have classes available for all levels and age groups in our schools in La Elipa (Gerardo Cordón, 51) and La Almudena (Gandhi, 19), from 10 in the morning to 10 at night, Monday to Friday, and on Saturday mornings.

Whether you’re looking for a chance to practise your conversation skills, brush up on your grammar, or prepare for one of those important official exams, such as CAE or First Certificate, we have a native teacher and a class for you!

Please come and see us in La Elipa or Gandhi any time from 4.30 to 9.30 in the evening, and 10.30 to 13.30 on Tuesday and Thursday, and we’ll find your ideal class.

Don’t forget we also have French and German classes available.

SPORTS IDIOMS

LIKE phrasal verbs- there are many idiomatic phrases in English that can be quite difficult for non-native speakers.

For example what does this phrase mean and what sport does it refer to?

 

The run-up to the election was neck and neck.  It was very close. 

Image result for neck and neck

 

Guessed it?

Neck and neck means to have an equal chance in winning  a race or a competition.  It comes from horse racing!

Synonyms are: equal, tied, level, side by side

 

ALOT OF IDIOMS in English are based around SPORTS.

Match the following idioms with the sport it originates from ( you will use one sport twice)

tennis                      boxing

hunting                       cards

  1. She´s always had the upper hand in the relationship.
  2. His career was on the ropes once he was embroiled in the scandal.
  3. ¨You´re barking up the wrong tree , mate.  I´m not interested!¨
  4. ¨I´ve done everything I could- the ball is in your court now.  It´s up to you.¨
  5.  Your comment was a bit below the belt.  Not only is it irrelevant to what we are talking about, but it also hurt my feelings!

  1. cards
  2. boxing
  3. hunting (is it a sport these days or just cruel?!)
  4. tennis
  5. boxing

 

NOW match the meanings to the idioms:

  1. to have the upper hand
  2. to be on the ropes
  3. to bark up the wrong tree
  4. the ball is in your court
  5. to hit below the belt

a.  to do or say something that is unfair or cruel, and usually irrelevant

b. to have a better chance at winning

c. it´s your responsibility to do something

d. on the verge of defeat or collapse

e. you´ve got the wrong person or idea

 

  1. to hit below the belt
  2. to have the upper hand
  3. the ball is in your court
  4. to be on the ropes
  5. to bark up the wrong tree

LINKING WORDS practice

Today we are looking at different types of conjunctions, or linking words.  We use these words to connect ideas.  Today we will focus on 4 types of connecting words and their functions.

 

Look at these 4 sentences and put them into the correct category:

CONTRAST      REASON AND RESULT     TIME     CONDITION

  1.  I went to the shop,  because I wanted to buy some coffee.
  2.  I won´t speak to him  unless he apologizes first.
  3.  Hilary Clinton won the popular vote, however she lost the election.
  4. While vacationing in Fiji, they adopted a pet iguana!

Image result for connectors english

  1. reason and result
  2. condition
  3. contrast
  4. time

NOW put the following conjunctions into the 4 categories:

however           such…that           while              depite           even though            as long as

           although          until           so…that           unless         so          in case           as

  1. Reason and Result

2. Condition

3. Time

4. Contrast

 

Image result for connectors english

  1. Reason and Result : such…that, so, so…that, as
  2. Condition: as long as, unless, in case
  3. Contrast: however, although , despite, even though
  4. Time: until, while               
  5.  

PRACTICE:

Fill in the gaps with an appropriate conjunction. (more than one answer may be possible!)

  1.  Wear your hat _______  it´s sunny.  (in case/until)
  2. My Spanish has been improving ________ I´ve been studying! (however/ because)
  3. ____________ studying my Spanish, it´s not improving! (Even though/ Despite)
  4. We won´t know anything more  ____ the results are back. (so/until)
  5. I´d love to come to your party, _________ I´ve already made plans. (however, despite)
  6. She´s _____ a nasty person ______ no one likes her.  (so…that/such…that)

Image result for connectors english

  1. in case
  2. because
  3. despite
  4. until
  5. however
  6. such…that

 

EASILY CONFUSED WORDS

              Today we are looking at…

                         CONFUSING WORDS IN ENGLISH     

 SO / SUCH                                 ITS / IT´S                                   FOR / SINCE

 

                                   So and Such…When and how do I use them?

 

We use so to modify adjectives.      so + adjective        Don´t be so foolish!

We use such to modify nouns.         such + noun         Don´t be such a fool!    

                   

 

                                                 Its and It´s…What is the difference?

 

When you see it´s with an apostrophe, it is a contraction.     It´s = it is or it has

When you see its with no apostrophe , it shows possesion.

 

Look at how its and it´s are used:

                                    I´m thinking of an animal.  Its stripes are black and it´s from Africa.  It´s got                                         four legs and its diet is vegetarian.

 

For and since are words used to describe time, but used differently.

We use for when we are talking about a length of time.      for + a period of time

I´ve been living in Madrid for two years.

We use since when we are talking a specific point in time.      since + a point in time

I´ve been living in Madrid since 2015.

Both are most often used with the present perfect.  Here are some commonly used words with for and since:

for: a long time, two weeks, 3 months, years, most of my life, ten minutes, many hours…

since: last Tuesday, I was young, last summer, May 20th, this morning, I last saw you, 8 o´clock…

 

 

 

Used to or Used to?

Compare these two sentences.  What do they mean?

 

Image result for city life noisyImage result for country life

        I´m used to living in the city                                              I used to live in the city. 

Image result for used to

I am used to living in the city.   =  I am accustomed to the noise, the crowds, etc.

to be + used to + something = something isn´t new or strange for me

I used to live in the city = I no longer live in the city, and have moved away. 

used to + to do something = I did something regularly in the past, but not now

 

Now  do the following Oxford University quiz- practicing  the correct form of used to:

 

USED TO

LIKE or AS???

What is the difference between these two sentences?

1. As your teacher, I advise you to always do your homework!
2. Like your teacher, I advise you to always do your homework!

 

Resultado de imagen de like or as

The prepositions as and like have different meanings.

As + noun means ‘in the role of’

like + noun means ‘similar to’ or ‘in the same way as’.

 

As your teacher, I advise you to always do your homework!

The speaker is the listener´s teacher.

 

Like your teacher, I advise you to always do your homework!

The speaker is not the teacher, but wants to act in the same way as a teacher.

 

Now practice writing sentences on your own, using like and as.  Please send them to me in the comments for review!

 

FCE/CAE ADVANCED LISTENING PRACTICE: ¨A nation without borders is not a nation¨.

Question:  What makes a country?  

Answer:  The people, the food, the customs, the weather, the culture, the history….

Okay….but who said ¨A nation without borders is not a nation¨ ?

Image result for wall

That´s right!  You´ve guessed it…President Trump.  As you may have already heard, President Trump has planned to fulfill his campaign promise, and will be indeed  building that wall.  Hence, I have put together an advanced listening practice about the infamous wall from National Public Radio in the U.S.A. This is a totally authentic news source, and is a great task for advanced students preparing for the FCE and CAE exams. 

LISTENING ADVICE- BEFORE LISTENING

  1. Read the questions first, and look up any words you don´t know OR try to guess the meanings of the words from the context.
  2. From the questions, decide which kinds of words you will be listening for.  Is it a place, a time, a person…?
  3. Make notes as you listen.
  4. Use the first listening to answer the questions, and your second listening to check them.
  5. Never assume!  Make sure there is evidence in the listening to support your answer!

OKAY! Now we are ready to begin!  Read the questions first, then LISTEN!

 

  1. How many new border patrol agents will there be?
  2. Immigration officers?
  3. What program does Trump want to bring back?
  4.  What does this program do?
  5. What funds will be cut off by Trump?
  6. What is the estimate of how much the wall is going to cost?
  7. Who is going to pay for it initially?
  8. When does Trump want the building to start?
  9. Who will ultimately pay for the wall?
  10. When is the Mexican president going to meet with Trump?

 

SEE ANSWERS BELOW

Image result for wall

  1. 5,000
  2. 10,000
  3. Secure Communities
  4. It deputises* local law enforcement to help find immigrants entering the U.S. illegally.
  5. Sanctuary cities that harbour illegal immigrants.
  6. 15 billion dollars
  7.  The U.S. Treasury
  8. Within a few months
  9. Mexico
  10. Next week

*to deputise someone means to appoint them as a substitute for something

e.g. The administration made a formal request to the Attorney General’s Office to deputize an agency lawyer to handle all animal rights cases.