Category Archives: English tips

HOW TO MOTIVATE YOURSELF TO LEARN ENGLISH THIS AUTUMN

WATCH A FILM

Watching a film (or TV series) that you already know you enjoy can keep you motivated as you’ll already have an idea of what they’re talking about and the kinds of things that are being said, which means you won’t need to concentrate as much on the storyline and you can pay more attention to the language being used. If necessary, try turning on the subtitles IN ENGLISH so that you can read and listen at the same time (but be aware that sometimes the text doesn’t always match the audio 100%)

SPEAK TO FOREIGNERS

Here in Spain, there are so many English-speaking foreigners that you won’t have to look hard to find native English speakers in Madrid to practise with. Something as simple as giving someone directions on the metro in English, or even having an in-depth conversation about local history, can be enough to show that you know more than you think you do, as is the case with many English students in Madrid, and can be enough to give you that much-needed confidence boost and keep you motivated to continue learning and improving your English in Madrid.

TAKE CLASSES AT AN ACADEMY

Although it can sometimes be hard to find the motivation to get started, once you’ve had that first English class in an English academy, you’ll find that your level of motivation will also increase. Here at our language academies in La Elipa and García Noblejas, we often find that our English students are a bit unsure at the beginning but with time and more English classes both their motivation and their confidence increases.

SUBSCRIBE TO A YOUTUBE CHANNEL

With the same benefits of watching films on TV series in English, but in a much shorter length of time, watching YouTube videos in English can be a great way of staying motivated. Most of us in 2019 probably have a YouTube account and watch videos on the platform regularly, so why not give it a try?

PLAN A TRIP

What better way to motivate yourself (or scaring yourself!) into learning more English could there be than knowing than you will soon be in an English-speaking country, surrounded by people who only speak English and not being able to reply on your native language? Having a specific goal like this in mind can be the perfect way to motivate yourself to improve your English quickly.

SET GOALS AND REMINDERS FOR YOURSELF

As previously mentioned, whether it’s the FCE or CAE exam, or an upcoming trip to an English-speaking country, having a specific goal in mind can be an excellent way of maintaining your level of motivation. If you set reminders for yourself, such as leaving post-its around the house or having weekly meet-ups or English classes to prepare for, you’ll be less likely to forget about these your goals and you’ll be surprised by just how quickly you’re able to advance.

If you’d like to know more and are interested in our English classes in Madrid, feel free to contact us or drop by either of our English academies in La Elipa and La Almudena, where any one of our native English teachers will be able to give you more information on our highly economical English classes in Madrid this autumn.

We hope to see you soon!

Autumn Idioms

Autumn years – often this is used to refer to the later years in someone’s life:
“In her autumn years, Debbie was able to enjoy her free time much more”

Turn over a new leaf – to reform and begin again:
“She has learned her lesson and has turned over a new leaf“.

To drive someone nuts – to make someone go crazy:
“That song is driving me nuts. Please stop playing it!”

To squirrel something away – to hide or store something like a squirrel:
“Paul squirreled away a lot of money while he was working and now he can enjoy his retirement”.

Golden handshake – Used in businesses to refer to a sum of money that is given to an employee (normally high level) when they leave:
“The CEO was given early retirement and a golden handshake of €500,000 when the company was restructured”.

IMPROVE YOUR ENGLISH WITH MUSIC

Do you already listen to songs in English? Do you ever look up the lyrics? It is important to also look up the lyrics. Sometimes the artist is saying something different than what we originally thought.
Here is an example:
Son Reebok o Nike?
And here is the song (with the lyrics) of the song he actually likes: The Rhythm of the Night It is called, The Rhythm of the night.

Here are some tips for learning English with songs:
-Listen to the radio, go the the club, turn on MTV or VH1, find songs you like.
-Use Shazam or trackID or any other song identification program to remember songs you like.
-Sing out loud to your favorite songs. Songs are more than just lyrics, songs tell a story, they are emotion, passion, excitement, sadness, try to pick up on the emotion and try to capture that feeling while you sing.
-Next check out the lyrics in English azlyrics here is an excellent site with the lyrics to most songs. This step is important to be sure that you are singing the correct lyrics. I am a native speaker and many times I have looked up the lyrics to English songs. This ensures that you are learning the right words.
-If you have any doubts about words or meanings, get your dictionary and attempt to understand or look for the lyrics in Spanish.
-Sing along to the song while looking at the lyrics. You can also go to www.youtube.com and type the name of the song + singer + lyrics (ex: The Rhythm of the Night, Corona, Lyrics) to see the video with lyrics on the screen.
-Feeling brave? Want to have more fun with the song? Practice the song as a Karaoke. Here is a program to convert songs into Karaoke format. Karaoke player
-Keep practicing singing along and revising the lyrics until you have learned it. Once you have learned the words to a song it is something you will not easily forget.

We can guess a lot about a song by the tone of the singer, but please remember to always look up the lyrics!
The Dramatic Song: The Dramatic Song

Do you think you already understand enough English to not need to look up the lyrics? Please check out this site: lyrics training This site allows you to search English songs by level of difficulty and practice your listening skills by filling in the missing words of popular songs. It’s a fun way to enjoy training your listening and writing skills.
Here is another site that has popular songs ranked by level where you must fill in the blanks.

FACE YOUR FEARS

How has fear impacted on your language learning?
Many people suffer from anxiety at the idea of studying or improving English.
Now-a-days English is a very important part of life, but for some the thought of having to have a conversation in English can be nerve-wrecking.
Some students may think;
“I don’t know enough vocabulary.”
“My pronunciation is horrible.”
“I don’t think quickly enough to hold a conversation.”
“What if they laugh at me?”

And for some, listening can be just as frightening;
“I won’t understand anything.”

Today, and everyday, is an opportunity to face your fears!
At The Language Corner we offer English classes to help you gain confidence in your English abilities.
We have two language centers located in Madrid.

For learning English both academies offer small class sizes with native teachers.
We offer flexible class times in the morning and evening. You will be able to practice speaking, listening, writing, grammar, dialogue and practical English to use in your daily life.

At The Language Corner we understand learning a new language can present fears.

We invite you to visit one of our English schools on C/ Gerado Cordón, 51 or C/ Gandhi, 19
today. After a simple, stress-free, talk with one of our staff we will discuss your current level and your future English goals and place you in a class that will allow you to face your fears and develop your English skills!

Ian Brown – F.E.A.R (With Lyrics)

Already a student with The Langauge Corner, and still interested in more ways to face fears with English learning?

Set goals for your language learning. Be sure to set attainable and realistic goals. It is easier to stay motivated if you set an achievable goal that you later achieve. If you set a difficult goal and fail, it is harder to stay motivated.
Example: Instead of saying “I will do one hour of English study every night,” begin with 15 minutes and once that is achieved increase to 20 and then 30, etc.
Do things you enjoy, in English. Check out what’s happening at The Language Corner. Frequently there are Book Clubs, television series discussion groups, theater classes, laughter yoga sessions, and more.
Write and read daily in English. This is an excellent way to increase vocabulary and gain confidence to join in on conversations.

 

 

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.

Compare the two pictures. (45sec)
Why might people choose each type of holiday? (45sec)
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 🙂

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.
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.
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.

Tell me about the first thing you bought online.
How did you feel about the purchasing?
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!

POEM IN YOUR POCKET DAY

Today is “POEM IN YOUR POCKET” Day!

Poetry is an excellent way to improve your English. Poetry is diverse and allows you to choose from many different topics of interest. There are also endless styles and formats of poetry. Poetry vocabulary varies from simple to complex.
Many poems us repetition, rhyming, and rhythm to help increase your English pronunciation.

Go ahead, choose your favorite poem, in English, and get to reciting!!

The British Council has a great poetry and stories section to practice English, check it out here: Stories and Poems.

If you would like to use poetry in the English learning classroom, our native teachers can help you with that!

Visit or call us
The Language Corner
C/Gandhi, 19 <M> La Almudena <M> Garcia Noblejas
C/Ricardo Ortiz 60 Posterior <M> La Elipa
673 340 106.

TLC

Keep Improving Your English This Summer… Don’t Sleep On It!

Keep Improving Your English This Summer… Don’t Sleep On It!
This summer in-between your travel plans you should make time to keep improving your English. Taking an English audio book to listen to while you’re on the beach or something to read on the plane are great ideas to continue learning.

Don’t Sleep On It Inglés Madrid Verano!

At The Language Corner we don’t close during summer so for Intensive English Summer Courses in Madrid look no further! In addition to some regular classes continuing throughout the summer, we have special one week courses of 2 or 3 hours every day. It’s the perfect way to boost your English!

We have adults’ and children’s classes, from Beginner to Advanced, and Cambridge exam preparation (PET, First Certificate, CAE.) Ask us to find out our timetable.
Come and join our native English teachers in La Elipa to make rapid improvements while the rest of Madrid sleeps!

TLC

Our Favourite Irish Bars In Madrid!

Whether you are looking for a quiet bar to relax or somewhere with a bit more life, you can find many excellent Irish bars in Madrid. Most offer interesting English, Irish and World beers. Most have live music, performances or quiz nights in English, and show the best English football. Often the bar staff are native English speakers so you can also use the opportunity to have a conversation with them and practise your speaking skills!

irish flag

Irish Corner – This is the perfect local bar for us in Pueblo Nuevo, as it is a short distance from both the La Elipa and La Almudena schools. The bar is at the corner of Calle Hermanos García Noblejas and Calle Alcalá right next to Ciudad Lineal metro station. They show all the English Premier League football as well as La Liga games and have regular live music in English.

James Joyce – Further along Calle Alcalá is the James Joyce bar, which is always packed for the big sporting events that are shown on the big screens. In particular we recommend going to watch 6 Nations rugby here which includes the English, French and Italian national rugby teams.

Jarritas Irish Pub – This is unlike the other bars we recommend, in that it is very small! This gives it a fantastic authentic Irish atmosphere, with an authentic English speaking landlord!

Triskel Tavern – A favourite of Brits and Americans this is a city centre bar where you are sure to hear English conversations from the customers. Another reason it is one of our favourite Irish bars in Madrid is their open mic music night on Thursdays, where you can often see The Language Corner teachers having a drink, and in particular one of our English teachers singing and playing guitar!

Dubliners – We recommend Dubliners because of their great selection of live music that they tuck into the corner of their city centre bar. The music is a mixture of Spanish and English from the 60s to the present day. It gets busy at the weekend which makes for a great atmosphere with various nationalities mixing together.

TLC

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 😉

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.