Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Some expressions for all you cool cats who love English!

There are many idiomatic expressions which take cats as their inspiration. Let's study a few today!

Fat cat
A negative description of a rich and powerful person.
Those fat cats in government don't care about the poor.

Cat got your tongue?
Has the cat got your tongue? is an expression we say to people when we want them to speak but they don’t answer us.
You’re very quiet Jenny. What's the matter, has the cat got your tongue?

Curiosity killed the cat
Basically, being too curious can get you into trouble. It's used to warm someone they are asking too many questions.
Simon: Stop asking questions about my private life! Curiosity killed the cat so mind your own business!

Not a cat in hell's chance
When something or someone has no chance of being successful, it doesn't have a cat in hell's chance.
We haven't got a cat in hell's chance of getting there before 5:30 with this traffic.

Look like something the cat dragged in
When someone looks very untidy and messy, they look like something the cat dragged in.
Go and shower and get changed before your granny gets here. You look like something the cat dragged in!

Let the cat out of the bag
When you accidentally tell someone a secret, the cat is out of the bag.
I tried to keep John’s surprise party a secret from him but Susan let the cat out the bag when he asked her what the cake was for!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Watch the skies...on March 20th

Solar eclipse, Supermoon and Spring Equinox: Friday  sees three rare celestial events

The solar eclipse refers to a phenomenon where the sun and moon line up, so that the latter obscures the former. And while it won’t be affected by the two other events, it is rare that the three events happen even individually. 
As the eclipse plunges the UK and other places into darkness this Friday, two other rare if less spectacular celestial events will be taking place, too: a Supermoon and the Spring equinox.

A Supermoon, or perigee moon, happens when the full or new moon does its closest fly-by of the 
Earth, making it look bigger than it normally does. And the spring equinox refers to the time of the year when the day and night are of equal duration, mid-way between the longest and shortest days. Most of the time, there are between three and six Supermoons a year. There are set to be six in 2015, two of which have already happened. The next will take place on March 20th, the day of the eclipse, and the others will come in August, September and October.

Eclipses can only happen at new moon, when the moon appears is entirely in shadow. And the 
spectacular Supermoon images that are often spotted can only happen when the moon is full, since it can only be seen then.

As a result, only the last three Supermoons of this year will be visible — because the moon is new 
rather than full on March 20, it won’t be seen. But it will be gliding past us closer than ever, and its shadow will be visible as it blocks out the sun on Friday morning.

The equinox will also happen on March 20. While it won’t have any discernable, direct impact on how the solar eclipse looks, it will contribute to a rare collision of three unusual celestial events.

On March 20, the Earth’s axis will be perpindecular to the sun’s rays — which only happens twice a 
year, at the two equinoxes. After that, it will start tipping over, making the days longer in the northern hemisphere.As such, the equinox has long been celebrated as a time of beginning and renewal, by a number of historic cultures, and is linked to Easter and Passover.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Spicy Chicken Nuggets

Are you having a party? Do you want something different to serve your guests? Why not try some of these nuggets? They are quick and easy to make, and after you eat one you will not be able to stop all night. Happy dipping! 

The chicken nugget, like the hamburger, has a bad reputation because of its association with fast food. But when it is freshly made (recién hecho) using different herbs and seasonings,(condimentos) it makes a wonderful snack, perfect for parties. You can vary the herbs to create various flavours,(sabores) increasing the amount of chilli if you want to make them spicier. Children especially will love dipping them into mayonnaise. You can also dip them into mustard (mostaza) or a mixture of mustard and honey. 


Ingredients for 36 nuggets

2 lbs boneless (sin hueso) chicken breasts,(pechugas de pollo) cut into 1-inch pieces

3 eggs, beaten (batidos)

½ c plain dry breadcrumbs (pan rallado)
1½ tsp chilli powder (en polvo)

1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp ground cumin (comido molido)
1 tsp thyme leaves (hojas de tomillo)
¼ tsp paprika

a pinch (pizca) of salt
oil for frying

Note on British measures:
lb = 1 pound = 453g
tsp = 1 teaspoon(X) = 5ml 

c = 1 cup = 240ml 

Firstly, cut the chicken breasts into pieces. Beat the eggs and dip the chicken pieces into the mixture. Next, mix the breadcrumbs, chilli powder, onion powder, cumin, thyme, paprika and salt in a bowl. Dip the chicken in the breadcrumb mixture, coating (cubriendo) well. Heat (calienta) the oil in a large frying pan and fry the chicken on a medium heat,(a fuego medio) turning once, until done. Drain (escurre) on kitchen roll.(en papel de cocina) Serve warm with mayonnaise and with assorted mustards.(mostazas variadas)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Irregular Past Forms .(3)

Y finalmente revisamos el último grupo. El de los verbos con pasado y participio distintos. No olvides comprobar tus conocimientos completando la actividad final.

En esta tercera categoría aparecen algunos de los verbos que los hablantes utilizan con mayor categoría. El más importante, sin duda, es el verbo to be, que tiene la siguiente forma.

ser, estar

Habrás notado que el verbo to be es el único que tiene dos formas de pasado. Recuerda que, a diferencia de todos los demás verbos ingleses, que usan la misma forma pasada para todas la personas gramaticales (desde yo hasta ellos) -- y en eso el pasado del Inglés es mucho más fácil que el del español -- el verbo to be tiene un mínimo de conjugación. Compara los dos verbos siguientes y comprueba que el pasado del verbo to do es siempre igual, independientemente de la persona que va delante del verbo, como la mayoría de los verbos. Sin embargo, el verbo to be cambia su forma de pasado según quién es el sujeto de la frase.

Pasado del to be (excepcional)
Pasado del verbo to do (norma general)
was (fui, era, estuve o estaba)
You were (fuiste, eras, estuviste o estabas)
He/she/it was (fue, era…)
We were (fuimos, éramos…)
You were (fuisteis, erais…)
They were (fueron, eran…)
did (hice o hacía)
You did (hiciste o hacías)
He/she/it did (hizo o hacía)
We did (hicimos o hacíamos)
You did (hicisteis o hacíais)
They did (hicieron o hacían)

Además del to be, te presentamos aquí otros verbos muy usuales que hay que aprender pronto y que no son fáciles de incluir dentro de ninguna categoría.

Ahora pasaremos a examinar algunos de los modelos que te ayudarán a aprender los verbos de esta tercera categoría. El primer grupo es el de los que cambian la vocal del infinitivo, normalmente una –i, por una –a en el pasado y una –u en el participio. Completa la lista:




Otro grupo es el que ejemplificamos a continuación, donde la vocal del infinitivo se convierte en -o- en el pasado y se le añade una -e al final, y donde el participio se forma añadiendo una –n al final de la forma de pasado. Completa la lista según los modelos:




Y un último grupo serían aquellos cuyos pasados acaban en –ew y sus participios

en –own. Examina la lista y completa los ejemplos que faltan.

saber, conocer





Hasta aquí los diferentes modelos de formación de verbos irregulares. Si estudias tú mismo la lista, verás que podrían encontrarse algunos más, aunque algunos serían en realidad modelos con tan sólo un número muy pequeño de casos. Lo que aquí pretendíamos no era tanto clasificar en modelos todos los verbos irregulares cuanto hacerte notar que, a la hora de aprenderlos, el análisis cuenta tanto como la memoria. Por muy difíciles que puedan parecer, al final las formas de hacer pasados y participios son muchas menos de las que parecen, si eres capaz de ir comparándolas y encontrar las muchas similitudes entre unos verbos y otros.

Para acabar, unas últimas advertencias. La primera: existe algún verbo que te puede despistar porque, a pesar de que su pasado se hace de manera regular, con –ed, el participio es irregular. El más conocido es show/showed/shown (mostrar), aunque hay alguno más.

hay algunos verbos que tienen un pasado y participio irregulares en Inglés británico pero que se han regularizado en Inglés americano y, por lo tanto, forman el pasado y el participio con –ed. Los que encontrarás con más frecuencia son dream (soñar) y learn (aprender). Compara sus formas respectivas en cada uno de los dos dialectos:

British English
American English

Por último, ten presente que lo normal es que, si conoces un verbo, conozcas también el pasado y el participio de los verbos que se componen a partir de él. Observa estos dos últimos ejemplos:

llegar a ser

Ahora, utiliza los verbos de las listas que acabas de estudiar para rellenar los espacios del siguiente texto con los pasados (y un participio) de los verbos entre paréntesis.

I (1)_________ (go) to bed and (2)_________ (sleep) for a few hours. Next morning, I (3)_________ (have) a quick shower and carefully (4)_________ (cut) my moustache. It (5)_________ (be) too long, and I have always liked to wear it short. I counted my money and (6)_________ (put) twenty pounds my wallet. I (7)________ (be) ready to go out when I (8) _________ (hear) the milkman at the door. “Sorry, no milk today!” I shouted at him. “Alright, sir,” his reply (9) ________ (come) to me through the door, followed by a loud noise of breaking bottles and a terrifying scream: “Ahhhh!” No milk today, and tomorrow, either, I presumed. The milkman had (10)_________ (break) his leg.

Answer key:

1.went  2.slept  3.had  4.cut  5.was  6.put  7.was  8.heard  9.came 10.broken

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

So and Such

Using “so” and “such” can be confusing, so let’s take a look at the most common examples.

"Is it so or such ? " 

So + adjective for exclamations.

• The music is so loud! I wish they would turn it down.
• The restaurant was so expensive! I don’t recommend it.

It can also be used with “that” to introduce result. “That” is optional.
• The music is so loud (that) I can’t sleep.
• The meal was so good (that) we decided to have dinner at the same restaurant again tonight.

So + adverb to show extreme actions. This form is often used in exclamations.
• She spoke so quickly! She sounded like a machine gun!

 It can also be used with “that” to introduce  result. “That” is optional.
• She spoke so quickly (that) I couldn’t understand her.
• He sings so well (that) they offered him a recording

So + Many / Few + Plural Noun to show extremes in amount.
• I never knew you had so many brothers!
• She has so few friends! It’s really quite sad.

This structure can be used with “that” to introduce result. “That” is optional.
• He had so many cars (that) he had to build a new garage.

So + much / little + non-countable Noun plus a non-countable noun to show extremes in amount.
• Jake earns so much money! And he still has trouble paying the rent.
• They have so little food! We need to do something to help them.

This structure can be used with “that” to introduce result. “That” is optional.
• Jake earns so much money (that) he can’t spend it all.
• They have so little food (that) they are starving to death.

Such + Adjective + Noun to show extremes.
• Don has such a big house! I think he’s too ostentatious.
• Shelly has such beautiful eyes! I have never seen that shade of blue before.

This structure can be used with “that” to introduce result. “That” is optional.
• Don has such a big house (that) I actually got lost on the way to the kitchen.
• Shelly has such beautiful eyes (that) she got a job as a model.