Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Grinch Who Stole Christmas

One of the Christmas classics of American TV is The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. This animated movie is based on the book of the same name by the popular children’s author Dr. Seuss, another American classic. The main character is a creature, inspired by the Scrooge of Charle’s Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, who despises Christmas.

One of the highlights of this film is the song You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch. The lyrics are below.

You’re a mean[1] one Mr. Grinch
You really are a heel[2].
You're as cuddly[3] as a cactus,
And as charming[4] as an eel[5], Mr. Grinch!

You're a bad banana,
With a greasy black peel[6]!

You're a monster, Mr. Grinch!
Your heart's an empty hole.
Your brain is full of spiders.
You've got garlic in your soul, Mr. Grinch!

I wouldn't touch you
With a thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole!

You're a vile[7] one, Mr. Grinch!
You have termites in your smile.
You have all the tender sweetness
Of a seasick[8] crocodile, Mr. Grinch!

Given the choice between the two of you,
I'd take the seasick crocodile!

You're a foul one, Mr. Grinch!
You're a nasty, wasty skunk[9]!
Your heart is full of unwashed socks.
Your soul is full of gunk[10], Mr. Grinch!

The three words that best describe you
Are as follows, and I quote, "Stink[11], stank, stunk!"

You're a rotter, Mr. Grinch!
You're the king of sinful sots[12]!
Your heart's a dead tomato,
Splotched with moldy, purple spots, Mr. Grinch!

Your soul is an appalling dump-heap[13],
Overflowing with the most disgraceful
assortment of deplorable rubbish imaginable,
Mangled-up in tangled-up knots![14]

You nauseate me, Mr. Grinch!
With a nauseous super naus!
You're a crooked[15] jerky jockey,
And you drive a crooked hoss, Mr. Grinch!

You're a three-decker sauerkraut
and toadstool[16] sandwich, with arsenic sauce!

[1] antipatico, [2] talon (literal), canalla (figurativa), [3] adorable, mimoso, [4] encantador, [5] anguila, [6] piel, [7] vil, [8] mareado, [9] mofeta, [10] porquería, [11] apestar, [12] borracho, [13] pila horrorosa de basura, [14] nudos enredados y mutilados, [15] torcido, [16] seta venenosa

Friday, December 17, 2010

Company Christmas Party

Imagine you are the PR Manager ( public relations manager) of an important company in London. This year you are in charge of ( a cargo de) planning your company’s Christmas Party. It can be a fun experience but also nerve racking ( destroza los nervios) .
Bash, party, reception: whatever you call it , there’s no better way of impressing potential customers and showing staff and clients how important they are to the company.But it is easy to get it wrong. Organise the right event and your guests will remember it for years. Get it wrong and they will remember it too . But not in the way you want !
Start with a good location . It helps to create a positive atmosphere and gives a great impression of success.
Have a look at the ideas below and tell us which one you would choose !
Option 1. Brilliant White Christmas Cruise. ( £115.00 +VAT per person, Savoy Pier) Enjoy a brilliant White Christmas party in London aboard the finest luxury river-yacht on the Thames.

Sparkling wine upon arrival
Three Course seated Christmas dinner
Unlimited beer, house wine & soft drinks
'Brilliant White Christmas' event styling
DJ & Disco
7:00pm Guests embark
7:30pm Cruise begins
10:45pm Return
12:00am Guests disembark

Option 2 Casino Royale (£75.00 +VAT per person. WC1B Bloomsbury )
The James Bond festive event in London where the office Christmas party will have a licence to thrill. (ilusionar, emocionar)
Champagne reception
Themed decor
Themed Bond music played over dinner
Four course meal
James Bond laser shooting game
Roulette and blackjack tables
007 vodka ice sculpture
DJ and disco

Option 3. Diamonds in the sky.( £99.00 + VAT per person.Westminster)
Live the high life this Christmas and join a spectacular shared Christmas party at the top of the Millbank Tower in Westminster.

Delicious 3 course dinner
Coffee & chocolate truffles
Christmas crackers on the table
Disco & DJ

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

One in 8 Million

In a city of 8 million, like New York City, it's easy to feel like an ant in anthill. But each of us is special. As you can imagine, due to its immigration legacy, the Big Apple is very diverse and full of interesting characters. The New York Times found and interviewed 54 such people in a video series called One in 8 Million. So why not hear their stories and get a taste of New York City life?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Stand by me

This video clip is a cover version (1) of the Ben E. King classic by musicians around the world adding (2)their part to the song as it travelled the globe.

This song says ...no matter (3) who you are...no matter where you go in your life...at some point (4) you are going to need somebody to stand by you (5).


1-cover version : canción versionada.
2-adding : añadiendo , sumando
3-no matter : no importa.
4-at some point : en algún momento .
5-stand by somebody (phrasal verb) : ayudar y dar apoyo a alguien que está atravesando momentos difíciles.

WHEN THE NIGHT HAS COME cuando cae la noche
AND THE LAND IS DARK y la tierra está oscura
AND THE MOON IS THE ONLY LIGHT WE SEE y la luna es la única luz que vemos
NO I WON´T BE AFRAID no, no tendré miedo
NO I WON´T BE AFRAID,no no tendré miedo
JUST AS LONG AS YOU STAND, STAND BY ME siempre y cuando estés conmigo (a mi lado, dándome apoyo)
IF THE SKY THAT WE LOOK UPON . si el cielo que vemos encima(nuestro)
SHOULD TUMBLE AND FALL se desmoronase y cayese
AND THE MOUNTAIN SHOULD CRUMBLE TO THE SEA y la montaña se derrumbase sobre el mar
I WON´T CRY, I WON´T CRY no lloraré
NO I WON´T SHED A TEAR no , no derramaré ni una lágrima

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Native American view of Thanksgiving

On the fourth Thursday in October, Americans celebrate their most important holiday, Thanksgiving. You probably have a general idea of how Thanksgiving Day is celebrated through movies. The origins of Thanksgiving have been romanticized. Pilgrims (peregrinos) fleeing religious persecution in the Old World come to the New World, where they are helped by the indigenous people to survive. To give thanks to the Native Americans, the pilgrims hold a big feast in their honor. The video below talks about the significance of Thanksgiving from a Native American perspective

Friday, November 12, 2010

Manuel's English

Manuel is the waiter at Fawlty Towers hotel and he is also learning English !! Watch this hilarious ( very funny) video of the famous BBC sitcom (situation comedy). Have fun !


Manuel: You see, I speak English well.I learn it from a book.
Hello, I am English, hello. How are you Sir ? I can speak English.
Hello Major! How are you today ?
Major: AaaaaaaaaIIII I am fine, thank you.
Manuel: It's a beautiful day today.
Major: Is it ? Yes, yes, I suppose it is.
Manuel: I can speak English. I learn it from a book.
Major: Did you ? Did you really ? Oh. There you are, Fawlty !
Faulty: Yes, I am just going to open up , Major.
Major: Oh, fine. . I say , that’s a remarkable (1) animal you have there Fawlty. Where did you get (2) it ?
Fautly: Sampson’s in the town.
Major: Really ? Was it expensive (3) ?
Fawlty: 12 pounds I think.
Major: Good Lord. Japanese was it ?
Fawlty: Canadian , I think Major.
Major: I didn’t know Canadians were as clever as that.(4) My God.
Fawlty: He’s started early today….


1- Remarkable = unusual, special.
2- Get = en este contexto, comprar. Where did you get it ? = Where did you buy it ?
3- Expensive= caro
4- I didn’t know Canadians were as clever as that = No sabía que los canadienses fuesen tan listos.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Verb! That's what's happenin'

Continuing with School House Rock series of educational cartoons, here's a groovy (genial) one about verbs that mixes motown with superheroes!

I get my thing in action (Verb!)
To be, to sing, to feel, to live (Verb!)
That's what's happenin'

I put my heart in action (Verb!)
To run, to go, to get, to give (Verb!)
(You're what's happenin')

That's where I find satisfaction, yeah! (Yeah!)
To search, to find, to have, to hold
(Verb! To be bold)
When I use my imagination (Verb!)
I think, I plot, I plan, I dream
Turning in towards creation (Verb!)
I make, I write, I dance, I sing
When I'm feeling really active (Verb!)
I run, I ride, I swim, I fly!
Other times when life is easy
(Oh!) I rest, I sleep, I sit, I lie.

(Verb! That's what's happenin')
I can take a noun and bend it,
Give me a noun -
(Bat, ball, rake, and plow)
Make it a verb and really send it!
(Show me how)
Oh, I don't know my own power. (Verb!)

I get my thing in action (Verb!)
In being, (Verb!) In doing, (Verb!)
In saying
A verb expresses action, being, or state of being. A verb makes a statement. Yeah, a verb tells it like it is!

(Verb! That's what's happenin'.)
I can tell you when it's happenin',
(Past, present, future tense)
Ooh! Tell you more about what's happenin',
(Say it so it makes some sense)
I can tell you who is happenin'!
(Verb, you're so intense)
Every sentence has a subject.
(Noun, person, place, or thing)
Find that subject: Where's the action?
(Verb can make a subject sing)
Take the subject: What is it? (What!)
What's done to it? (What!)
What does it say?
(Verb, you're what's happenin')

I can question like: What is it?
(Verb, you're so demanding.)
I can order like: Go get it!
(Verb, you're so commanding.)
When I hit I need an object
(Verb, hit! Hit the ball!)
When I see, I see the object
(Do you see that furthest wall?)

If you can see it there, put the ball over the fence, man!
Go ahead. Yeah, alright.
What?! He hit it. It's going, it's going, it's gone!


I get my thing in action.
(Verb, that's what's happenin')
To work, (Verb!)
To play, (Verb!)
To live, (Verb!)
To love... (Verb!...)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Someone stole my bike !!!

Yes, someone stole my bike last Friday. I had chained my bike to one of the cycle racks in front of the office and when I left work... it was gone ! &%?Ç@# ! They broke the lock and I was really, really upset.
Has this ever happened to you? How did you feel? What did you do?
Listen to these people talking about their experiences. Don't forget to check the vocabulary first !

chain (noun) = cadena
chain (verb) = encadenar
cycle rack(UK)/ bike rack (USA) = aparcamiento para bicicletas
lock (noun) = candado
break the lock = forzar el candado
lock( verb) = cerrar con llave
fit out (phrasal verb) = equipar
you know= sabes. Se utiliza al hablar para hacer tiempo mientras piensas lo siguiente que vas a decir .

I had just spent about 400 dollars having this beautiful bike fitted out . I had chained it with this ginourmous kriptonite lock. I think I left it a little longer than usual. Maybe an overnight stay. When I came back only the lock remained. (ha,ha) .There was nothing else there and I think it takes you a minute -you know-to realize whether did you in fact leave the bicycle at that location or you spaced out or something like that , so it takes a few minutes and then you realize that your bike is gone. There is definitely a personal affront -you know- feeling like it is some sort of personal attack , even though it is totally not. When you buy a bike -you know- you totally appreciate that it is like a circular method-you know- you buy it and then it gets stolen . Then you buy another one and so-you know- I think you try to just enjoy the one that you have while you have it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

School House Rock

From the early 70's to the early 80's, American kids used to be very entertained on Saturday mornings, in between cartoons, on the channel ABC, with short musical films, called School House Rock. They only lasted about 3 minutes and were even educational. Various episodes were created based on several themes, including grammar, history, multiplication and science. Probably one of the most memorable hits of this series was the one below.

Conjunction Junction, what's your function?
Hooking up words and phrases and clauses.
Conjunction Junction, how's that function?
I got three favorite cars
That get most of my job done.

Conjunction Junction, what's their function?
I got "and", "but", and "or",
They'll get you pretty far. "And":
That's an additive, like "this and that".
That's sort of the opposite,
"Not this but that".
And then there's "or":
O-R, when you have a choice like
"This or that".
"And", "but", and "or",
Get you pretty far.

Conjunction Junction, what's your function?
Hooking up two boxcars and making 'em run right.
Milk and honey, bread and butter, peas and rice.
Hey that's nice!
Dirty but happy, digging and scratching,
Losing your shoe and a button or two.
He's poor but honest, sad but true,

Conjunction Junction, what's your function?
Hooking up two cars to one
When you say something like this choice:
"Either now or later"
Or no choice:
"Neither now nor ever"
Hey that's clever!
Eat this or that, grow thin or fat,
Never mind, I wouldn't do that,
I'm fat enough now!

Conjunction Junction, what's your function?
Hooking up phrases and clauses that balance, like:
Out of the frying pan and into the fire.
He cut loose the sandbags,
But the balloon wouldn't go any higher.
Let's go up to the mountains,
Or down to the seas.
You should always say "thank you",
Or at least say "please".

Conjunction Junction, what's your function?
Hooking up words and phrases and clauses
In complex sentences like:
In the mornings, when I'm usually wide awake, I love to take a walk through the gardens and down by the lake, where I often see a duck and a drake, and I wonder, as I walk by, just what they'd say if they could speak, although I know that's an absurd thought.

Conjunction Junction, what's your function?
Hooking up cars and making 'em function.
Conjunction Junction, how's that function?
I like tying up words and phrases and clauses.
Conjunction Junction, watch that function.
I'm going to get you there if you're very careful.
Conjunction Junction, what's your function?
I'm going to get you there if you're very careful.
Conjunction Junction, what's your function?
I'm going to get you there if you're very careful.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Dinner for One

Did you ever have an imaginary tea party with dolls when you were younger? If you have (or even if you haven't) you might appreciate this imaginary dinner party for adults!

Did you ever have a party that you thought would be a disaster but ended up alright in the end? Or vice versa, did you have a party you were looking forward to end up in disaster?

Friday, September 24, 2010

How to reduce, prevent and cope with stress

Are your problems getting on top of you ? (If your work or a problem gets on top of you , it begins to make you feel unhappy and depressed). Are you feeling depressed and under stress? Read these suggestions. Try to add your own ideas to the list !

*Get up 15 minutes earlier.
*Go for a walk.
*Say "no" more often.
*Exercise regularly.
*Make duplicate keys.
*Don't rely on your memory...write things down.
*Smile more.
*Get enough sleep.
*Avoid negative people.
*Look up at the stars.
*Get to work early.
*Leave work early(with permission :-)).
*Repair things that don't work properly.
*Strive for excellence NOT perfection.
*Take a different route to work.
*Know your limitations...

Click on the link to watch a video about the Top 9 Ways to relieve stress (WARNING:teenagers only! )http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2grJErCVRJc

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Office

Often TV shows that are very successful in one country are sold to other countries' TV stations. They are then changed somewhat to suit the audience of that country. Here's an example of a show called The Office, originally produced in the UK.

First take a look at the British version.

Now, take a look at a shorter clip of the American pilot episode.

How do they compare? Is one easier to understand than the other? Are you able to understand the humor (of one more than the other)? Which do you like more? Why?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A commuter's life .

" A commuter: someone who travels a long distance every day between work and home, especially by train"

I wish I had the option of walking or cycling to work but, unfortunately, I don't. My two daily journeys last about 45 minutes . That's when I am lucky; sometimes it is more like two hours ! Like today. I got stuck (1) in a tunnel because of a problem with the catenary ( the overhead power lines). I got to work late and stressed out (2) .Can't wait for the journey home ! In these situations I always make a complaint (3) I may only be able to claim for the price of a single fare (4)but it is the principle that counts !.Because most commuters are travelling at the same time of day , commuting causes a morning and evening "rush hour” (5) with congestion (6) on roads and public transport systems. This makes the cost of commuting in petrol and pollution high and can also cause health problems.
According to an article in Business Week commuting is associated with “ raised blood pressure (7), musculoskeletal disorders ,increased hostility , lateness (8) , absenteeism (9) and adverse effects on cognite performace” in other words...extreme stress. I feel lucky to be alive !Stress expert Dr.David Lewis conducted a study that says that a commuter can experience greater stress than fighter pilots going into battle. Dr Lewis said” the difference is that pilots have things they can do to combat the stress that is being triggered (10) by the event but commuters, particularly on a train , cannot do anything about it at all. Dr Lewis has identified a syndrome he calls “commuter amnesia” where people forget large parts of their journey because of stress.

Music by the Beatles. "I am only sleeping ".

The average journey is between 45-60 minutes , so people switch off their minds and turn into zombies for 90 minutes a day. According to this study commuting makes people feel “frustrated, anxious and despondent (11)“ and most consider their journey to work as an ordeal (12) ,some describe it as a nightmare. I certainly agree !!
But how can workers avoid the stress of commuting ?Travelling to work outside peak hours (13) , carpooling (14) or working from home are some alternatives but if this is not possible Dr Lewis suggests a brisk (15) walk between the end of the journey and arriving at the office to “burn up (16) the hormones released and build up (17) the cardiovascular system “.


How do you get to work? Is it really as stressful as Dr Lewis' study suggests ?Does your journey to and from work send your blood pressure through the roof ? How do you avoid the stress of commuting ? Tell us your story !

Vocabulary building
1- get stuck: unable to move (atascado)
2-stressed out: feel very nervous and worried.(estresado)
3-make a complaint: formally say that something is wrong or not satisfactory
4-fare:the money that you pay for a journey on a vehicle such as a bus or train
5-rush hour : the busy part of the day when people are travelling to work or home .
6- congestion:roads and towns where there is too much traffic
7-raised blood pressure: (tensión alta)
8- lateness:(happening or arriving) after the planned, expected, usual or necessary time
9-absenteeism: not being at school or work when you should be
10-trigger: to cause something bad to start
11-despondent:unhappy and with no hope or enthusiasm
12-ordeal:a very unpleasant and painful or difficult experience
13 peak hours: when most people are using or doing something (hora punta)
14-carpooling :a group of people who travel together, especially to work or school, usually in a different member's car each day
15-brisk: quick,energetic and active.
16-burn up :to use energy by doing a lot of physical exercise
17-build up: increase

Monday, July 12, 2010

English Listening Exercises

I have found a nice website, called English Listening Exercises, by an Englishwoman called Caroline Brown. There are several subjects you can choose from. Each subject has several types of listening activities. As you know, listening comprehension is essential to learning a language, so give it a try! Click on the name to go directly to the website.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Located near Salisbury in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside, Stonehenge is probably the most important prehistoric monument in the whole of Britain. Watch the video and try to answer the following questions:
1-Why was Stonehenge built ?
A-To worship the sun B- It was a calendar C-We don't know.
2-The workers pulled the stones upright to form ...
A- a square B-a circle C-a perfectly horizontal stone.
3-The trilithons (two large stones set upright to support a third)were placed:
A-inside the circle B- outside the circle C- round the circle.

Script: Salisbury plain in southern England 2500 BC the same time as the pyramids in Egypt are under construction , workers here complete the outer circle in Stonehenge.
They haul huge rocks (Arrastran rocas enormes) some weighing up to 45 tons across rough terrain .
They work each granite-like stone into shape , then pull them upright (poner de pie) to form the great stone circle
Thousands of people work on this massive project … when they complete this phase ... an inner horseshoe (herradura interior) of five great arches will be enclosed by a ring of 30 stone uprights and topped by a circle of perfectly horizontal stones called lintels(dinteles)
But while we know this was an incredible feat (hazaña) of engineering… who these people were and why they built Stonehenge has remained one of the great unsolved mysteries of the ancient world.. .

What is Stonehenge and what was it used for ?
According to Professor J.C Atkinson “There is one short, simple and perfectly correct answer; we do not know,and we shall probably never know ”. Anyway, several theories have been proposed to explain Stonehenge. These are the most common:
a-It was a temple for sun worship.
b-It was a sacred site for the burial of high-ranking citizens
c-It was a centre of medicine with the circle’s creators believing that the stones had magical powers .
d-It was a calendar and observatory . The stones are aligned with the summer and winter solstices-the longest and shortest days of the year.
e-A centre of mystical lines of energy that cross Britain.
f-A launching point for spaceships.…

What do you think it is? What was it used for ? What is so special about Stonehenge ?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Do You Speak English?

Has this ever ever happened to you?
  • When you're in a foreign country, do you ever get the feeling that people actually understand you but pretend they don't?
  • Or have you ever pretended you didn't know the language when a foreigner came up to you?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Football is coming home !

Just in case you hadn’t noticed it yet … the football World Cup has already started !
It was a bad start for England and a terrible one for the Spanish team who lost their first match against Switzerland.
But let’s not get too pessimistic about their chances . Singing is a very good way to lift people’s spirits and also to improve your pronunciation !

So here’s some good old Britpop for you to enjoy!

The original song “Three Lions” (the emblem of the England football team ),was the official anthem of the team for the 1996 European Championship held in England and has become one of the most popular songs in football. In fact Skinner (who wrote the music ), Baddiel and Broudie (lyrics) have made a new version of the song for the 2010 FIFA World Cup with Robbie Williams and comedian Russell Brand.
The lyrics tell us how since 1966 every tournament has ended in dashed hopes for the English team but still having the feeling that England could win the Cup. Not unlike The Spanish team ! .
The song starts with some pessimistic comments “I think it is bad news for the English game” but ends on a more optimistic note which suggests that England could win the championship
“Good old England, England that couldn’t play football “.


(I think it's bad news for the English game )
(We're not creative enough and we're not positive enough)
It's coming home, it's coming home, it's coming,
Football's coming home
(We'll go on getting bad results)
It's coming home, it's coming home, it's coming,
Football's coming home (x4)

Everyone seems to know the score, they've seen it all before
They just know, they're so sure
That England's gonna throw it away, gonna blow it away
But I know they can play,
'Cause I remember

Three lions on a shirt
Jules Rimet still gleaming
Thirty years of hurt
Never stopped me dreaming

So many jokes, so many sneers
But all those "oh so near's"
Wear you down, through the years
But I still see that tackle by Moore
And when Lineker scored, Bobby belting the ball
And Nobby dancing

Three lions on a shirt
Jules Rimet still gleaming
Thirty years of hurt
Never stopped me dreaming

(England have done it! In the last minute of extra time!)
(What a save, Gordon Banks!)
(Good old England, England that couldn't play football)
(England have got it in the bag)

I know that was then, but it could be again..

It's coming home, it's coming home, it's coming,
Footballs coming home (x2)

(England have done it)

It's coming home, it's coming home, it's coming,
Footballs coming home (x2)

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

You are so amazing !!

There are many different reasons to give a compliment. The most important is that it makes you feel good ! Take a look at this award-winning subtitled short video and make a list of all the nice things you can say to people !

( Visiona el video e intenta hacer una lista de al menos 5 cumplidos , puedes añadir tus propios halagos y compartirlos en un comentario !! Aqui tienes algunos ejemplos: You are awesome ! You have so much life experience ! You are so amazing ! You have the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen ! )

Validation en Español. from neuromanagement on Vimeo.

Here is a summary of the plot:
A cheerful parking attendant considers he has to do more than validate parking tickets. He wants to validate the customers themselves, saying nice things about their appearances and the inner qualities behind them. Everyone who comes up to him with a ticket walks away validated as a worthwhile human being. Soon, the parking attendant becomes so popular that people line up for validation. He appears on news broadcasts and even ends up validating George W. Bush and Saddam Hussein. His life hits a roadblock when he goes to the DMV to get his driver's license photo taken and is met with a beautiful photographer whom he can't get to smile.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Robin Hood

Ridley Scott's latest film Robin Hood was released on 12th May .To some it is a fresh new perspective on the legendary outlaw to others it is just a replica of Gladiator.

But what is the historical fact behind the legend of Robin hood ? It is simply not possible to locate the historical Robin Hood with any certainty. His fame and popularity were such that within a generation his true identity had been obscured by legend. There is some written evidence of a fugitive called Robert Hod, nicknamed "Hobbehod" in 1225 and an epitaph on a grave at Kirkless dated 1247 .On this flimsy evidence , it is possible to construct a chronology; Robin hood active in the 1190s, an oulaw by 1225, dead by 1247 and a legend by 1261.

(Escucha el video mientras compruebas el texto, faltan algunas palabras que debes rellenar. La solución está al final)

King John: The king does not bargain for the loyalty that every subject owes him. Without loyalty there is no ______(1). There is nothing.
Robin Hood: I am here to speak for Sir Walter Loxley.
King John: Speak...if you must.
Robin Hood: To try to ____(2) for the future , you must set the foundations strong. The laws of this land ,enslave people to its king, a king who demands loyalty but offers nothing in return. You build a country like you build a _________(3): from the ground up!
Empower every man , and you will gain ______(4).

1-kingdom 2- build 3- cathedral 4- strength

Have you watched the film ? Did you like it ?

Tell us what you think. You can start like this:
From my point of view....
In my opinion...
Personally, I would say that...
To be honest....

Friday, May 14, 2010

1,000,000,000 people live in chronic hunger

and I am MAD as HELL !!!

Jeremy Irons is mad as hell that one billion people live in chronic hunger. Watch the video while you check the script below. And if you are also mad as hell...Don't forget to check out the link below and sign the petition to push for action. http://www.1billionhungry.org/
(Escucha el video mientras compruebas el texto , faltan algunas palabras que debes rellenar. Las respuestas están al final).

Somebody said:"I don't have to tell you things are bad". Well, he was _____(1). I mean, everyone knows things are bad.Seems like we are stuck in a world where we can't _____(2) a single thing but the climate.

Every time we check the _____(3) we've been hit by a quake or a storm or a financial disaster. We know things are bad..._____(4) than bad... they're crazy ! It looks like everything , everywhere is going _____(5) so we don't go out any more. But we still think we are connected with all the people of the world. But that's not true, people ______(6) the world suffer hunger , cronic hunger! One billion people, one billion of us , now that's bad, worse than bad, that's crazy.

And we've got to get mad.
I want you to get mad
I want you to get up right now , stick your head out of the window and _____(7).
I am mad as hell.
I am mad as hell
I am mad as hell and I am not going to let one billion people go hungry.

You tell them.

(Answers: 1-right 2-change 3-news 4-worse 5 -crazy 6-around. 7- yell )

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Charles Dickens

Have you ever wondered about the life of the English author, Charles Dickens? Well, the BBC website has an entertaining, animated story about his life that is very easy to understand! There is also an interactive game, called Survive Dickens' London, where you have to help one of Dickens' most popular characters, Oliver Twist, while learning about the life and time of the author. If that's not enough information, you can enter the BBC's encyclopedic page of Historic Figures, and learn more about him or any other important historical person.

Friday, April 30, 2010

A student's diary of five days at Saloufest

Un nuevo fenómeno se ha instalado sigilosamente en la ciudad de Salou. Se trata de Saloufest, la mayor fiesta estudiantil británica del año.La pasada semana santa más de 4.000 estudiantes de cerca de 100 universidades del Reino Unido pasaron unos dias de fiesta y diversión en esta población.El tabloide británico "The Sun " pidio a la estudiante de diseño gráfico Saskia McCarthey que escribiera un diario de su estancia y destapar lo que realmente ocurre durante estos dias.

British student holiday company ilovetour.co.uk launched the first of their annual Saloufest events in the resort ten years ago - and last month more than 4,000 students from 100 universities across the UK went to Salou for their Easter break.
But not everyone enjoys the party atmosphere,locals have complained of sleepless nights and waking up to vomit- and urine-filled streets.
We asked graphic design student Saskia McCarthy, 22, to keep a diary of her trip to Saloufest. Here ,the second year student at Lincoln University lifts the lid on ( to cause something bad that was kept secret to be known by the public) what really goes on (happens) at the biggest student bash (party) of the year.

DAY ONE I'm going to Saloufest with the university hockey team. There are 40 of us in three groups. Mine is called The Slappers (a woman who has sex with a lot of men ) though there are lads (a boy or young man) as well as girls. I've paid 350 pounds for the trip as we're flying. It's cheaper by coach but that would be horrendous on the way back.
On the coach to East Midlands Airport somebody is already drunk. We try to get her sober enough to fly.
As soon as we get to the hotel we start drinking .We brought with us large, industrial funnels (embudo) with plastic tubes attached.
You get on your knees, the funnel is filled with sangria or beer and you have to drink it all. Sangria is 50 cents a litre here, cheaper than water.
On the first night we go to an Irish bar called Charlie's where we're given free shots (a small amount of an alcoholic drink , "chupito" ) and have vodka poured into our mouths with funnels .
We visit three bars and have a couple of beers in each, then shots of vodka and tequila. Go to bed around 2am because we are tired from the early flights and have to be up early to play hockey.
DAY TWO Go out to the sports pitches to play in a tournament but they're not real matches. We run round giving each other piggybacks (ride on someone's back) or trying to form a human pyramid.
The drinking starts at midday and doesn't stop for the rest of the day. Head back (go back) to the hotel at 6pm and drink sangria as we get ready, followed by beer at the hotel bar and more beer and shots with dinner.
Because we are drinking so much we forget to eat and by the evening we are all concentrating on how much we can drink.
The fancy dress theme tonight is geeks (a person who is boring and not fashionable) . Go to a bar called Kiss, which is packed (completely full) .
Get home at 4am and jump into the pool before going for more drinks in each other's rooms.

DAY THREE More hockey and drinking in the day. The theme tonight is cowboys so we dress up and go to Snoopy's, the main club. The stewards aren't getting drunk like everyone else so you could go to them for help if anything went wrong. But I can see how it could be dangerous if you get lost while you're wasted ( slang: very drunk or ill from drugs)
Inhibitions are lower because of the alcohol. I did see a guy naked on the side of the road. All his clothes had been stolen . He had a bottle of tequila strapped to his arm . Some Spanish holidaymakers look horrified when they see us.

DAY FOUR On the last day I drink the most because we've finished the hockey tournament and spend the whole day on the beach drinking.
One of the girls passes out (become unconscious for a short time ) on the beach as she's drunk so much, so we move her out of the sun.
We still go out, drinking more beer and free shots at the bars and we stay out until we have to leave the hotel at 4am for our plane home.

DAY FIVE I didn't go to bed but by 4am I've sobered up. My room-mate is so exhausted she's crying so I pack her suitcase and we head to the airport.
There is more drinking on the plane but when I get home I'm shaking from all the alcohol. I was only sick once on the trip but other people were sick several times a day.
I loved every minute of Saloufest but it's a one-off.(something that is done only once) I don't drink like that at home - I couldn't afford it ! . It's a really full-on (great ) experience, but it's a great chance to have fun and meet new people.

Saskia's approximate drinking total: Sixty funnels of sangria, 15 beers, 40 shots - around 213 units.

What do you think ? Please write your comment !


Monday, April 19, 2010

Lyrics Training

Lyrics Training is an interesting, fun website to practice your listening skills. While watching and listening to music videos from YouTube, you have to fill in the text gaps with the correct lyrics (letra). There are various levels of difficulty to choose from. Check it out!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

What Does it Look Like? (Part 1)

Why do many language students often sound uninteresting when they talk or write about their experiences? In many cases, learners of English have a good understanding of the language, but they forget to make what they are saying or writing interesting. How can these students overcome(1) this problem? What can make the speaker or writer more interesting to read or listen to? The answer is usually by describing the people, places or things, in more detail. This will help the listener or reader to visualize the message. What we need are some adjectives.

The Importance of Adjectives
OK everyone; imagine you have just won the lottery and you want to spend some of your winnings(2) on a new car. You could not go to the car dealer(3) and say “I have been dreaming about a car since I won. I know exactly what I want. Please give it to me.” Of course the car dealer would think you were a little crazy, but he would also ask you a very important question: “What does your dream car look like?” You would need to describe it to the car dealer, or you would get the car that the car dealer could not sell. And that would not be your dream car, but the car from your worst nightmare!(4)
Fortunately, you can use adjectives to describe the car of your dreams. They are an excellent way to make your writing or speaking a lot more interesting. Think about the following sentence: “I want to buy a car”. Is this an interesting sentence? Does it describe the type of car you want to buy? In both cases the answer is definitely no. The listener or reader does not know what type of car you want. Do you want a big or a small car? A fast or slow one? One that is new or second-hand, red or black? It is anyone’s guess.(5) It is not only poor writing, but also very boring. Fortunately, it is a problem that can be fixed(6) with a little practice.The salesman would probably ask you to be a little more specific about the type of car you want.

You could say: I want to buy an Italian car. I want to buy a fast car. I want to buy a red car.
The adjectives Italian, fast and red are all used to describe cars. These three sentences suggest you want three different cars. However, if you only want one car, how could the sentences be combined into one sentence? The answer is to put all the adjectives together. You could say: I want to buy an Italian fast red car. Is that correct? Are there any problems? Yes, there are! There is an order for adjectives that native speakers of English usually follow instinctively, and in the above sentence the order of adjectives is wrong! Below is a table that offers a guide to the order for adjectives. Although certain other combinations may be acceptable, this is the correct order in most cases.

The Adjective Order Table

Number/Article-Opinion -Size- Age -Colour- Material- Origin-Purpose -Noun

Two pairs of black leather(7) riding boots
Six beautiful old African lions
An attractive tall Brazilian model
A modern red brick(8) house
A small ceramic flower pot

Following the instructions of the above table, we can put the three adjectives together to form the following sentence:I want to buy a fast [opinion] red [colour] Italian [origin] car. This sentence will indicate to the car dealer what type of car you want to buy.

Now watch the video to learn more about the order of adjectives !!

(1) to overcome – superar
(2) winnings – ganancias
(3) car dealer – concesionario de coche
(4) nightmare – pesadilla
(5) to be anyone’s guess – ¡Vete a saber!
(6) to fix – arreglar
(7) leather-cuero


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Only the English Could Have Invented This Language

(here’s a poem article that’s been floating around the internet for a while)

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
Then shouldn't the plural of pan be called pen?
If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.
We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!

Let's face it - English is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
English muffins weren't invented in England
We take English for granted, but if we explore its paradoxes,
we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square,
and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing,
grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham?
Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend.
If you have a bunch of odds and ends
and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English
should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.
In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
We ship by truck but send cargo by ship.
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.
And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,
while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?
You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language
in which your house can burn up as it burnsdown,
in which you fill in a form by filling it out,
and in which an alarm goes off by going on.
And, in closing, if Father is Pop,?
how come Mother's not Mop?

I would like to add that if people from Poland are called Poles
then people from Holland should be called Holes.
And the Germans Germs!!!

Subtitled YouTube Videos

Now it's possible to watch Youtube videos in English with English subtitles! What better way to improve your listening skills than with entertaining YouTube videos. To find out how to install subtitles in the videos, click onto the link below.


Tuesday, March 2, 2010

False Friends (part 2)

Here are some more of those mean false friends!

1.Spanish largo vs English large
Spanish largo means long, while English large means grande or importante.

  • Tienes que medir el largo del pasillo. = You have to take measurements to find out how long the hall is.
  • I have a very large garden = Tengo un jardín muy grande.

2. real vs English real
Real means royal, while real translates as vervadero or auténtico.

  • La familia real vive en Madrid. = The royal family lives in Madrid.
  • You’re a real friend. = Eres una verdadera amiga.

3. raro vs rare
Raro usually means strange or odd, while English rare means poco común or excepcional.

  • Mi vecino tiene un perro muy raro. = My neighbour has a strange dog.
  • These stamps are very rare. = Estos sellos son excepcionales.

4. recordar vs record
Recordar means remember or recall, while record means grabar.

  • Tienes que recordar lo que me prometiste ayer. = You have to remember what you promised me yesterday.
  • You need to record that in the CD. = Tendrías que grabar esto en el CD.

5. suceso vs success
Suceso is an event, incident or outcome, while success refers to un éxito or triunfo.

  • El fatal suceso se comenta en todas partes. = The fatal incident was talked about everywhere.
  • Their latest work has been a success. = Su último trabajo ha sido un gran éxito.

And as I mentioned before this is just a small taste of all the false friends you can find out there in the English/Spanish world!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

False Friends (part 1)

Below, you have a few examples of words in English and Spanish that are often confused. They look the same but they have different meanings. That's why they are called false friends. So don't translate them literally!

1. Spanish actual vs English actual
Spanish actual means current or present, while English actual either means verdadero or efectivo.
  • El actual primer ministro inglés está en Italia en este momento. = The current British Prime Minister is in Italy at the moment.
  • This is not the actual contract. = Éste no es el contrato verdadero.
2. asistir vs assist
Asistir means attend, while assist means ayudar.
  • Los Reyes de España asistirán a la boda real. = The Spanish King and Queen will attend the royal wedding.
  • Tell me if you need me to assist you to your car . = Dime si necesitas ayuda con el coche.
3. campo vs camp
Campo means country(side), field or farm, while camp refers to campamento.
  • En este campo crece una variedad de frutas inimaginable. = An unimaginable variety of fruits grow in this field.
  • You cannot play ball games at this camp. = Usted no puede jugar a pelota en este campamento.

4. carpeta vs carpet
refers to folder. Carpet refers to una moqueta.
  • Mete en la carpeta todos los archivos finalizados. = Put all the completed files in the folder.
  • I bought this carpet in Turkey. = Compré esta moqueta en Turquía.

5. delito vs delight
Delito can mean a crime or offence, while delight refers to el placer or una delicia.
  • El ladrón cometió un delito. = The thief committed a crime.
  • It has been the delight of many children. = Ha hecho las delicias de muchos niños.
Very confusing, isn't it? And imagine, this is just a small sample of false friends!!