Category Archives: phonics/pronunciation



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!

noun: assortment; plural noun: assortments
  1. a miscellaneous collection of things or people.
    “the room was filled with an assortment of clothes”
  1. a formal or explicit statement or announcement.
    “a declaration of love”

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.


Keep reading our blog or follow us on facebook, twitter to receive more English tips and advice 🙂

The short “a” and long “a” (æ and eɪ ) sounds

Welcome to our new series looking at pronciation and phonics.

English pronunciation can be tricky sometimes as the way we write words can vary. The same sound can be made with different combinations of letters. Something helpful we can use is the phonemic chart, which shows us all the sounds we have in English. The chart is below


The chart has every sound we use in English but there are different ways to write the sounds using standard letters. Today we are going to look at the short “a” sound – æ and the long “a” sound – eɪ


This is the short ‘a’ vowel sound we use with the following words


This is the long ‘a’ vowel sound we use. It sounds the same as the name for the letter, A but watchout! – there are lots of ways to write this sound.

For example, words spelt with a_e

inglesenmadridphonics ae

We also use it for words spelt with ai



and with words ending with ay



occasionally we also use it with words spelt with eigh



and as always there are some exceptions

grey, great cafe

so to recap

æ = a – a short “a” sound

=a_e, ai, ay, eigh, a long “a” sound, like the letter a

If you learn these letter combinations and remember that they all have the same sound, it will be easier to pronounce new words when you see them.

More phonics coming soon!!!