jueves, 12 de diciembre de 2013

Videos about Education

If you want to practise listening comprehension you can use these videos about education:
If you wnat to practise reading here you have two articles:
This is an article about education in Spain, just in case you want to expain it to other foreign people

miércoles, 11 de diciembre de 2013

Modal Verbs of Obligation

A modal verb is the one that gives you the clue of what the speakers want to say, I mean, it's a way of saying something; in this case, haow to express obligation or necessity:

  • I have to lose some weight  --- I have a necessity of losing weight
Sometimes the modal is also an auxiliary verb but sometimes it isn't as it happens with HAVE TO; besides, a modal can change its meaning depending if you use it in afirmative, negative or interrogative form:
  • I can play here (I'm allowed)    I can play the piano (I know how to do it)   I can't play the piano here (It's forbidden-prohibition)   Can I play here? (I ask for permission)

Here you are some links about modals of obligation and some of them also have exercises at the end: here you have one of them with a chart so click here; this one is with the form ought to, a form that is not very used, click here; or this one in which other modals are included, click here

If you want to practise, you can do these exercises:
For those who want to improve their English in the future, you can use this site with many more possiblilities, but it's for a much higher level; click here.
See you in class!

lunes, 9 de diciembre de 2013

Present Perfect versus Past Simple

The main difference between these two tenses is the reference of time:
  • Present Perfect: no clear reference (twice in my lifetime) or anything referred to UP TO NOW.
  • Past simple: this tense needs a reference to past (last summer, 3 week ago, in 2012, when I was young, etc.)
Exercises:  exercise 1    exercise 2     exercise 3
Surf on your own on the internet by using past simple versus present perfect and you'll find plenty of exercises. Enjoy your surfing!
If you want to practise present perfect/past simple orally you can use these sentences we saw in class:
  • Have you seen a good film recently?
  • Has a friend of yours ever been to Africa?
  • Have you bought a present recently?
  • Have you ever been abroad?
To solve the problem with GONE or BEEN go to these links: explanation and exercise
but if you need more help remember how to translate it: she has been to NY (ha visitado, ha estado en NY) she's gone to NY (se ha marchado a NY)

miércoles, 4 de diciembre de 2013

DO versus MAKE (lesson 4.1)

"To DO or to MAKE... that's the question" Seriously, this is a difficult problem to solve, especially for Spanish speakers. As a general rule, MAKE is more connected to actions related with constucting, building or using your hands, while DO is more general and you use your brain. But there are a lot of exceptions and the best way is to do a lot of exercises. Let's start.
To finish with I think you should practise using a context such as:

I do my homework every day. Then I do exercise and when I finish I make lunch; meanwhile my friend is making the bed because we share the housework: I do the cooking, the ironing and the cleaning and he makes the bed, does the dishes and the laundry. We both do the shopping.

martes, 3 de diciembre de 2013

A Day in Alcalá de Henares

At the end of lesson 3 we are asked to write about a day out in our town and here you have a video about Alcala; click here. To have some model sentences you can watch this video with photos and some comments (no audio); click here.
If you want to see more examples here you have some videos about other cities:
To finish with here you have the videos about Christmas in British Council; click here and here

miércoles, 27 de noviembre de 2013

Improving your writing

I've just found a link with some help for writing. The author is a teacher called Jennifer, who has a blog and a webpage for learning English, and I think it's worth a visit but be patient because it takes time to see all the videos. If you are interested, go to this link by clicking here

Another long, deep explanation about how to write in English is in the following site but I think it's too difficult for your level of English; click here

This last web page has quite a lot of information about rules for writing (spelling, capital letters, etc) but it's rather extended but if you are interested here you have the link

Don't worry too much about these links.I think it's better to write little by little, hand out compositions regularly and keep them to see what mistakes are the most common ones when you write and try to avoid them.

Remember I'm there, in class to help you so ask me as much as you like.
See you!

Making a phone call

Speaking on the phone is very difficult when you are learning a new language but sometimes it is very useful, especially when you want to call home from abroad, to book a table in a restaurant, to check your flight tickets and so on, but it's also really useful for business. You have some models in Unit 3.3 and here you have some links with useful vocabulary or videos to practise:
  • phone call vocabulary; click here
  • a chart with typical sentences; click here
  • if you work with English, this link gives good advice about how to speak on the phone; click here
  • here you have a simple example for starting with business phone calls; click here
  • this video is with a higher level but the quality is not great and the end has Arabic subtitles but it's a good example; click here
  • this video gives you some examples of phone calls, in informal and formal style; click here

See you in class!

martes, 26 de noviembre de 2013

Invitations (unit 3.1)

There is an exercie on the book about how to make invitations. It is for writing skills but I think it's more usual when you speak. Nevertheless, if you do it well when you say it, you can do it when you write it.
If you want to see some typical expressions to invite, go to this link. Then you can do this listening comprehension here.

As a curiosity here you have a video about Pollock and how he used to paint; click here

About grammar, here you are a clear video with an explanation (click here) and then try to do some exercises to work with questions without auxiliaries:
See you in class!

lunes, 18 de noviembre de 2013

Unit 3.1: London for free

In this unit we are working with future wit two similar forms: Present continuous or GOING TO.
As you can see from the grammar section (p. 132) the difference is rather small and it's only depending on the inner meaning:
  • I'm going to have dinner with my parents next weekend (your plans, your intention, NOT arrenged yet or not fixed but something I want to do in a close future)
  • I'm having dinner with my parents (everything is arranged, with a fixed time/place)
On the book they say that GOING TO is more common when other people are not involved in the action but I prefer to explain that this form is connected to WANT TO, which indicates your intention, what you want to do in a close future.

If you want to practise you can do these exercises: exercise 1    exercise 2    exercise 3

To know something about London and practise with listening you can watch these videos:
You can also go to this link with a lot of material about London for English students; click here

miércoles, 6 de noviembre de 2013

Unit 2: Work

This unit deals with work so I've taken some links to hear people talking about their jobs. Here you have them:
  • here you can find a link form BBC Learning English. Although it's difficult at first you can use the script when you've listened to it several times. Click here
  • this is the opposite to work: to get redundant. You can listen to this person and his experience; click here
  • here you have a game about matching  what you hear with a photo; click here
  • this listening is about a dream job for a girl; click here
  • a memory game about jobs; click here
About grammar you have present continuous or present simple. You can go to a previous entry in this blog; to do it faster click here
If you want to practise more or you've alredy done the other exercises, here you have some extra ones to do
  • exercise 1        exercise 2
  • exercise for frequency advebs: click here and here
  • a video with clips of songs working with present simple; click here but I prefer the song Tom's diner by Suzanne Vega or this version of Abba's song I have a dream
  • if you have children, you can use this really easy video about present simple; click here

martes, 29 de octubre de 2013

Reading + Halloween

Here you have some links to practise reading. Sometimes the texts are a bit difficult but reading makes you feel more confident about vocabulary, structures and how to write or speak properly. Try some of these:
Here you have some information (and exercises) about this typical feast in English speaking countries:
  • A listening comprehension about Halloween; click here
  • A reading comprehension; click here
  • the text we read in class; click here
  • you can listen or read this Halloween story here
To finish with here you are the video we watched in class about introducing yourself; click here but you have some more practice here but focusing on pronunciation

miércoles, 16 de octubre de 2013

Simple Past

In  lesson 1.2 we saw simple past. Here you have a summary of what I explained in class.

There are two kinds of verbs: REGULAR and IRREGULAR verbs. To get the past form of the first group you must add -ED to the infinitive; e.g. to work --- worked;  to play --- played
You have some rules for the spelling of this form:
  • when the verb ends in -E you only add -D; e.g.: move --- moved . Logically you cannot do write moveed because the pronunciation should be /mu:vi:d/
  • when the verb ends in CONSONANT+VOWEL+CONSONANT and the vowel is stressed you must double the consonat of the infinitive like in these examples: fit --- fitted; prefer --- preferred but only if it's stressed, if not you leave it: open --- opened (you don't double the consonant)
  • when the verb ends in CONSONANT+Y you change that Y for -IED like copy --- copied; but not in verbs like play --- played
Another problem we have with the REGULAR verbs is the way of pronouncing the ending -ED:
  • /d/ : vowels and most consonants (voiced consonats, that is, with vibration); e.g. lived, played, opened, preferred
  • /t/ : with voiceless consonants, and the most common ones are /k/, /p/ and /∫/; e.g. worked, stopped or finished
  • /ɪd/ : when the last sound is /d/ or /t/ you add an extra syllable; e.g. end /end/ ---  ended /'endɪd/
You can see this video to practise the pronunciation; click here
The IRREGULAR verbs are those which have different forms in past and/or past participle and they are presented in a long list you must learn by heart (de memoria),usually in alphabetical order likein this video but I recommend to study them in different ways:
  1. Choose a letter and try to say as many verbs as possible; e.g. H --- hurt-hurt-hurt; hit-hit-hit, hide-hid-hidden, have-had-had, hear-heard-heard and so on. It's funnier if you work with someone else!
  2. Learn them according to the pattern: A-A-A (cut-cut-cut), A-B-B (buy-bought-bought), A-B-C (write-wrote-written) and A-B-A (come-came-come) Here you can watch this video to help you; click here
  3. By meaning like senses (hear-heard-heard; see-saw-seen; smell-smelt-smelt...), money (buy-bought-bought, sell-sold-sold, spend-spent-spent...), learning (learn-learnt-learnt, teach-taught-taught, , write-wrote-written...), speaking (speak-spoke-spoken, say-said-said, tell-told-told, understand-understood-understood...), everyday activities (do-did-done, cut-cut-cut, put-put-put, sleep-slept-slept, eat-ate-eaten...) Notice that most of these typical actions are irregular verbs while more "modern" ones are regular, especially those which come from Latin: copy, phone, film, register, etc.
  4. Try to recognise similar spellings and pronunciation: -ought /ɔ:t/ (bring-brought-bought, buy-bought-bought, seek-sought-sought, think-thought-thought...); - /i:/- /e/ - /e/ (read-read-read, feel-felt-felt, meet-met-met, leave-left-left...); /əʊ/-/u:/-/əʊn/( grow-grew-grown, blow-blew-blown, fly-flew-flown...or -en in the last form (write-wrote-written, drive-drove-driven, ride-rode-ridden... and also notice other similarities in the present and past form);here you have a video about this topicin a different way.
Here you have some pages to find a list of irregular verbs:
http://www.englishpage.com/irregularverbs/irregularverbs.html : with the meaning but not the pronunciation
http://www.usingenglish.com/reference/irregular-verbs/ : this includes the 3rd person in singular in present
http://www.saberingles.com.ar/lists/irregular-verbs.html : with the translation into Spanish but without pronunciation.

Both regular and irregular verbs use the auxiliary DID for questions and negative form; e.g. Did you go to work last Saturday?  No, I didn't. Notice that the reference of time is very important, using words such as:
    • Last ________
    • When I was a child _____
    • In _____ (past dates)
    • Yesterday _________
    • __________ ago
To finish with, you should practise with these verbs to get familiar with them. Here you have some exercises to practise:
  • exercise 1 : a page with many exercises
  • exercise 2 : divided in different levels of difficulty
  • exercise 3 : with different games to practise
  • exercise 4: the traditional form of studying the list
  • exercise 5: a video with the 50 most used irregular verbs
  • exercise 6: 5 more exercises about irregular verbs oriented to ESO students
NOTE: there is a post in this blog I published in May 2009. This is the post about past tenses and the pronunciation:
If you are interested in practising the ending of past have a look at this chart and them do this exercise. It's quite clear and interesting. When you have it clearer, try to do this practice with pronunciation. It's slow but you can practise with it. To finish with here you have a listening comprehension; it's a bit difficult but the questions aren't difficult. Have a look but don't worry if you can't do it perfect.

And after so much grammar, let's sing a song by Adele. First do this exercise of filling the gaps and then go to this link Set Fire to the Rain. See you!

martes, 15 de octubre de 2013

Revision of Present and Past Simple

We're going to revise this tense but keep in mind that it's not the same as the Spanish simple present: this tense is connected to routines, habits or frequent actions. That's the reason why we normally use frequency adverbs with this tense. There are also verbs that are normally used in present simple such as need, think, feel, want, like, have and so on. Let's see some examples:
  • I come to English class twice a week and I usually use public transport.
  • I think I need a new notebook. This doesn't have enough pages so I want to buy a new one today.
  • I like watching TV at night when I have time and I don't feel too tired.
If you want to practise with this tense go to these links:
To finish with, have a look and sing this funny song. The singers use past simple a lot so we are going to try to see which is the present tense of each verb. To listen to the song click here: I don't care, I love it 

lunes, 14 de octubre de 2013


In this first lesson we are speaking about what you do in your free time. We have here the exercise we did in class; click HERE.
If you want more practice, go to these exercises:
We also worked with questions and the use of  AUXILIARY and we've seen DO-DOES-DID. We did this exercise to practise; click HERE. If you want to do more exercises you can go HERE or HERE. Once you've finished with grammar, let's go with music. "Eternal Flame" is a good example of how to make questions; click HERE. For further practice with questions you can use these exercises:
I hope you find this helpful. See you in class.

lunes, 7 de octubre de 2013

Starting the new level (NB2 2013-14)

Welcome everybody!. We're starting this school year and we're going to use this blog as a class diary to know what's on in class.

These first days we are going to revise the main contents of the previous level (NB1), such as:
  • numbers: time, years, numbers up to a million, etc.
  • letters: the alphabet
  • use of the auxiliary in questions: are you ...? do you...? can you ...? did you ...?
  • yes/no answers: yes, I am / no, I'm not ; yes, I do/no, I don't ; yes, I can/no, I can't, etc.
Next week we're going to start with the new book, although it's the same the one we used last school year: Speak Out Pre-intermediate (Pearson/Longman). Try to get it as soon as possible because we are eager to start with it

Here you are my welcome present for all my students: one of my current favourite songs; click HERE

See you in class!

miércoles, 29 de mayo de 2013

Less versus Few and Comparative

It's frequent to misuse less and fewer, especially in a comparative sentence. Have a look these two sentences and decide which is wrong:
  • In this course there are less students in class
  • In this course there are fewer students
When you use plural (countable nouns) the right form is FEW and FEWER and you use LITTLE and LESS for singular (uncountable nouns) or to modify an adjective.

You can go to these links where you can find a really good explanation and some exercises at the end of the page to practise with. Click here or here
If you need further practice, do these exercises:  exercise 1 - exercise 2

martes, 28 de mayo de 2013

Preparing Oral Exam NB2

These are the typical topics in oral exams. You can prepare the topics at home and try to record the ones you can such as descriptions, expressing your opinion, giving instructions and so on. Topics:
  • Going shopping:
    buying clothes or items
    having a problem: complaining
  • Health problems:
    going to the doctor's 
    at the chemist's 
    being on a diet 
    getting fit
  • Describing your town:
    giving/asking for directions 
    describing places 
    what to do in a town
  • Eating out:
    Going to a restaurant 
    At a cafeteria/fast food restaurant
  • Family:
    describing relatives 
    talking about problems (generation gap, elderly people...)
  • Comparing things, animals, towns, people...
  • Food: habits about food, how much/how many, recipes
  • Using past tenses:
    Talking about past events, stories, etc. 
    Talking about memories: past tenses and used to
  • Modals: suggestions (should, why don't you..., don't do..., shall we), habilities (can/could), permision (can, could,may), rules and prohibitions (must, have to, can't/couldn't), possibility (can/may/might)
  • Habits, likes and dislikes (enjoy/love/hate+----ing)
  • Expressing opinions (I think..., from my point of view, etc.)
  • Agreeing and disagreeing (with reasons: I know what you mean but..., don't you think ..., I don't agree, I don't think so)
  • Talking about future (present – will – going to):
    predictions, plans (going to): it's going to rain, we're going to play tennis 
    possibility or not planned (will): I'll do it if I can; I'll go, no problem
    something sure to happen (present): the train leaves at 5; I'm working tomorrow

miércoles, 22 de mayo de 2013

Going shopping

This is a really common situation not only in the oral exam but when you are travelling so here you have some practice using videos. The only problem is that they are in American English (try room instead of fitting room) and they use more situations than the standard; I mean, when you want to change something, comments with other people about purching, etc. Here you are the videos:
  • buying shoes; click here
  • buying clothes; click here

martes, 21 de mayo de 2013

Working on listening skills

Here you have a couple of things to work with:
  • cloze test (textos con huecos): if you want to practise, here you have some with different levels and topics. Click here
  • if you want to practise listening here you have some from PET examinations. These exercises were done in class.  
 Multiple choice: click here
Filling the gaps: click here
True/False listening: click here

  • To have further practice, go to this link where you can find a lot of exams of this kind. You can do all of them if you want but the parts which are more similar to our exam are part 2, 3 and 4. Click here
Hope to be useful. See you in class.

martes, 14 de mayo de 2013

An interesting link

I've been given this link to practise English. It is graqded and you can choose the level you need. Have a look and tell me if you like it. See you in class.

lunes, 13 de mayo de 2013

At the hotel

Here you have some practise for this typical situation. If you want to see a model of conversation, here you have for the reservation, the check-in and the check-out and you have some practice at the bottom; click here.
But if you prefer images, here you have some videos:
I hope this will be helpful for you. See you in class.

martes, 9 de abril de 2013

LIKE versus AS

The main differences between LIKE and AS are:
  • about meaning: She works AS a doctor (she's a doctor) while she works like a doctor (she isn't a doctor but similar)
  • about grammar: LIKE goes with a noun or pronoun; 
For a good explanaition go here

Used to

Used to is a verbal form to speak about something you did in the past but you don't do it any longer. Here you have some links to help you:
  • an explanation with exercises at the end; click here
  • a shorter version; click this
  • another one but they introduce would with this meanining; click here
  • last exercise
The most important thing is to use it while speaking because it's quite easy when you use it in texts.

jueves, 14 de marzo de 2013

May / Might and So / Such

We have seen in class the difference between these forms but here you have some exercises to practise:

Hsere you have the short video shown in class; click here

jueves, 7 de marzo de 2013

Present perfect+ FOR and SINCE

In lesson 6.1 we're wroking with present perfect and the use of FOR and SINCE connected to this tense. Here you have some activities to practise:
  • FOR/SINCE: click here    or   here
  • Present perfect: grammar explanation here
  • Present perfect continuous: explanation and exercise
  • Present perfect simple/present perfect continuous: explanation and exercises at the end. Other exercises are here  and here

martes, 5 de marzo de 2013

Starting with the Final Exam-Writing

Here you have some tips for the writing part:

  • Be careful with the topic and the number of words; read the taks several times and think of what you are expected to do
  • Take notes to organise your writing but don't write it twice; you'll waste time
  • Leave a couple of minutes at the end to revise the final writing
  • Mind these typical mistakes:
  1. every verb must have a subject; be careful if it's 3rd person in singular of habitual present: Is a beautiful place; it have a cathedral
  2. mind modals without to+infinitive; don't write I can't to go or I must to do it
  3. no plural for adjectives (things are differentsand remember to use adjectives before nouns (they are children very intelligent)
  4. revise the correct form between singular and plural: that people, she work, this cars, the childrens are, our lifes, the children is
  5. be careful with possessives and personal pronouns: his husband, ours children, he's Sylvia, it's my, I work with she
Remember you have to be accurate and varied, not original or creative. Try to show what you can not what you can't or what you would like to do.

jueves, 14 de febrero de 2013


This unit 5 is related to travelling. If you want to see a good list of vocabulary about this topic you can go to this link
Rememer the difference between to travel (we speak about the action so it's a VERB) and a trip (a NOUN so you can add an adjective or a characteristic like a business trip)
Here you have another interesting link about this topic of travelling: a conversation about a tourist information office and giving directions (lesson 5.3); click here

lunes, 11 de febrero de 2013

Clothes: verbs and vocabulary

Although you aren't study this topic at the moment I think it might be helpful to watch this video with typical verbs and expressions about clothes. Click here to see it.
If you want to revise your vocabulary with pronunciation go to this link; it's great!
To finish with and if you want to increase your vocabulary go to this page: you'll find a lot of words described by images.
Here you have a video from Pretty Woman about shopping; click here to see watch it.
See you in class!

jueves, 7 de febrero de 2013

Past simple versus past continuous

These two verbs are very similar to the ones in present but they are more connected, especially when you use when or while. The only thing you should keep in mind is that there are 2 simple past forms in Spanish but only one in English so in some context you use both past continuous or past simple. Have a look at these examples and the possible translation:

  • While she was having a coffee she saw the car crash  ( Mientras se tomaba un café...)
  • She had a coffee with Peter  ( Se tomó un café...)
  • She had coffee with Peter every week (Se tomaba un café con Pedro todas las semanas)

Here you have a couple of links with an explanation and an exercises at the end. Click here or here

If you want to practise some more here you have more exercises:

jueves, 24 de enero de 2013


We have some modal verbs in this lesson at class which are very important because we deal with special verbs. In this lesson 4 we are going to see some of them. Let's expain them:

The verb CAN is used to speak about "poder" or "saber" in Spanish. The main characteristics are:
  • it's a modal verb: it is a way of saying something; in this case: necessity/ lack of necessity/ possibility/ permition / prohibition
  • it's defective: with NO infinitive, NO -S in the 3rd person in singular and NO past participle. To solve this problem we use to be able to 
  • it's an auxiliary verb: we use it for negative and interrogative forms and it's followed by infinitive without TO
To practise with listening, here you have these songs with CAN: Hall of fame and The Eagles
To practise with gammar, you can do these exercises:

  • exercise 1: a fill in the gap exercise with CAN and COULD
  • exercise 2: different meanings/uses of CAN
  • exercise 3: if you want to see how to use to be able to
The verb MUST is used to speak about "deber hacer algo", but it's very similar to HAVE TO in Spanish "tener que haccer algo". If you want to see the difference between them you can go to this link but here you are the main differences:

It's a modal verb: it means obligation; in negative it means prohibition and it’s similar to CAN’T
It's a modal verb: it means obligation, like MUST but in negative it means NOT NECESSARY
It's defective: with NO infinitive, NO -S in the 3rd person in singular and NO past  or participle. To solve this problem we use to have to 
It's NOT a defective verb: you can use it in any tense ( HAVE – HAD –HAD)
It's an auxiliary verb: we use it for negative and interrogative forms and it's followed by infinitive without TO
It's NOT an auxiliary verb: we need an auxiliary for negative and interrogative forms (DO/DID/WILL,etc.)

To practise with modals you can use these two exercises:
To finish with, here you have another song to see the use of CAN and MUST with Enrique Iglesias: It must be love

martes, 22 de enero de 2013

DO versus MAKE

What's the difference between DO and MAKE?
  • DO is more general  What do you do? I'm a student
  • MAKE is similar to build, when you use your hands  I love making cakes
However, there are certain expressions which are with DO or MAKE. The best way is by doing exercises until they are familiar to you. To practise go to these links:

jueves, 10 de enero de 2013

A curious family

Here you have a link with a curious story about the first family to sing country music. It's a long text but it has examples of their music and you can use the reading and the listening. Try to do it reading first and then you can listen to it without the text in fornt of you. This video is taken from VOA (Voice Of America). I think it's quite interesting although it's a very characteristic way of singing. You'll tell me if you like it. Go to the link here

lunes, 7 de enero de 2013

Happy New Year 2013

Coming back to class after holidays. As you can see I let you have a rest to enjoy with your family and friends but it's time to refresh your English. Here you have some new sites of interest:

Hope to see you again in class.

More tips for the exam

Writing: here you are an exa mple of an email with some tips or this one and this example Listening: again go to this link to practise...