Category Archives: English tips

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


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:


  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               


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


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!



WHEN I first came to Madrid, I spoke little Castellano. Very little. Sure, I had picked up some vocabulary here and there- mostly via pop culture. You know, the hasta la vistas and so forth. Having lived in California, I was bound to hear some south-of-the-border chatter. It´s impossible not to. For those of you learning a second language: I hear your moans, I feel your pains, I can taste your anxiety! For those of you who have so much to say, and not the words to say it. For those of you brave enough to submit yourself to the utter embarrassment that comes with not only learning a second language, but actually using it. This is for you. You are not alone.
It was  Christmas, 2015. I was in the fancy supermarket (it´s Christmas, after all)  doing some last-minute food shopping. Like you do here in Spain, I wanted to order some ham from the deli counter. The woman, of whom I had the deepest sympathies for, looked rather disheveled. The remnants of a busy day were surrounding her. Bacon trimmings, plastic wrap gone awry, russian salad drops, squished pickled onions, chorizo chaos, and of course…ham. It being Christmas, I went for the bad boy- the top shelf. After about 30 seconds of fumbling my way through the numbers, I pointed to the serrano I wanted and smiled, portraying what I´m sure was a rather grotesque display of delight and need. I was just trying to communicate. A look of understanding flickered through her eyes, and we were on our way. Success! Oh the thrills of communicating! It can be so exhilarating-not having made a fool of yourself AND getting what you want. Glorious.
But wait. Now she is holding out a slice over the counter. What am I supposed to do with this? I did what I thought was best, and I snatched it up and gobbled it down- showing my approval in a series of over-the-top facial expressions that could (and maybe should) have been taken for something rather serious. I thanked her immensely for this display of comraderie, practically bowing at the counter. I felt so special. Well done me. That glorious feeling lasted only but a minute, for her thunderous look soon clouded over my picnic of pride and ham. She was not happy with me. But why? Confused and slightly wounded, I Charlie-Browned out of there, ham in hand.
I asked my Spanish friend later what I had done wrong. Apparently the sample was not a sample at all, but for me to check the thickness of the slice.
Why would such a minor incident have had so much of an effect on me? Because it happens all the time. The highs and lows of learning a language are extreme. From exhilaration (giving correct directions to a stranger on the streetcorner) to sheer embarrassment. The other day on the train a man asked:
¨Eres Español?¨
¨Sí! Un poco.¨
Oh dear, I´ve done it again…

While the extents and extremes of embarrassment are cultural- they are still universal. No matter how intense. We all feel a bit stupid when learning a new language. But fear not!

We can do this…together. Ham and all.

Uncomfortable? No worries. As English teachers here at The Language Corner, we know all about the difficulties of learning a second language (we´ve done it ourselves!) Studies show that confidence can greatly affect your progress in language-learning. We strive to lower the affective filter*, allowing you to fully capitalize on your potential. Exam preparation, entertaining classes for children, adult conversation classes- whatever you are looking for- our staff are native and knowledgeable. We love to tell a joke and explain why it´s funny. In such a big city like Madrid, @TheLangCorner is your place for a little TLC.

* The Affective Filter is the term Stephen Krashen has used to refer to the complex of negative emotional and motivational factors that may interfere with the reception and processing of comprehensible input. Such factors include: anxiety, self-consciousness, boredom, annoyance, alienation, and so forth.

It’s Summer!!!



It’s summer and we know what you’re thinking…beach, sea, a nice spot under a tree…but remember


are still open in July and August. Don’t miss the opportunity to keep practising your English. We will be open Monday to Thursday, mornings and evenings in both the academy in La Elipa and en San Blas/Pueblo Nuevo.

We are offering our usual general English, Cambridge exam preperation and conversation classes as well as French and German, all with native speaker teachers.

We are also running intensive First and Advanced Cambridge exam preperation classes. See details of our SPECIAL OFFER here.

And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and on our blog. Sea, tree, we…did you see the connection???

Wishing everyone a great summer!!!!


Phonics: the long and short e

Welcome to the next part of our phonics series. Today we are going to look at the long and short “e” sounds. (part one is here)

The short “e” sound has the same phonemic symbol e. It is a short sound used in many words. Some examples are below. The important lesson, if an e is between 2 consonants, it usually has the same sound.


The sound sound we are looking at is the long “e” sound, iː. It can be written using a variety of letter combinations.





or ie


but all of these letter combination often create the same sound.

One more important point, there is a shorter “long e” that is NOT included in the phonemic chart! It is a similar to but only appears at the end of words with more than one syllable. The phonemic symbol is i. Usually it is spelled with either y or ey. Here are some examples.


English can be inconsistent with its spelling so although you can never be 100% sure, these letter blends will help you guess how to pronounce and new word when you see it. And remember, you can always use a dictionary and the phonemic chart to check pronunciation of any word.


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English idioms #17


To Sit on the Fence


meaning: to be neutral in an argument or discussion, or to not know which side to choose.



Tom: I think we should have the party in a restaurant.

Dave: I disagree, we should have the party at my house. What do you think Bob?

Bob: I don’t know, I’m going to sit on the fence.