viernes, 31 de enero de 2014

Meeting People in Madrid

Here you are the information about Madridbabel, a kind of cultural association to learn languages.
Dear friends:

In February we look forward to meeting you at our usual free international language exchange encounters every Wednesday from20:30 on and every Sunday from 19:00 on at Café Galdós (Los Madrazo 10 – metro Sevilla), which maintains its special offers for the attendees, as well as free canapés for everybodyThere you will practise languageswith people from all over the world, make new friends and have great fun. The coordinators will welcome you and introduce you to nice people in a very friendly and fun atmosphere. Awarded as Best Language Exchange of the Year by the European Vibe Magazine.

Furthermore, this month we will host two very special events: a greatInternational Night at Bernabéu Stadium on Friday 7, whose details you can find below, and a spectacular Wine & Arts Evening on Friday 21, about what we will inform you very soon.



On Friday, February 7th, MadridBabel invites you to its GREAT INTERNATIONAL NIGHT AT THE STADIUM, which will take place from 23:00 to 3:00 at the Real Café – Gate 30 of Bernabéu Stadium (Concha Espina 1 – metro Santiago Bernabéu).

There will be our usual fun and friendly international atmosphere, this time at one of the most famous stadiums in the world!

The entrance will cost €5, which includes a welcome glass of wine.

Reservation is not needed, you can bring all your friends; it’s going to be an unforgettable evening in a very impressive venue.

I hope you'll enjoy, folks!

miércoles, 29 de enero de 2014

Let's Talk about ...

Many students have problems with speaking skills. The only way is to practise as much as possible and you have some possibilities:
  • Have meetings with some other students and talk about a topic: choose a subject and talk about that but it's better if you have prepared the vocabulary in advance. Pay attention to the structures needed (suggestions, invitations, expressing opinion, giving advice and so on)
  • Use skype to speak to other people, not only Spanish but foreigners as well.
  • Try to find conversation groups in the place you live or start one on your own.
If you need topics to talk about you can find some on the internet:
Another possibility is to use a short reading and to comment about it: first you summarize the plot, then you speak about the characters and finally you may explain your point of view and if you've liked the story; maybe you could speak about what you would like to change or imagine a different ending. If you need stories, go to this link.

To finish with you should use English in a natural way such as going shopping, have a drink, talk about your family, your job or use the things you are interested in (sports, reading, art, politics, etc)

lunes, 27 de enero de 2014

Verbs Followed by Infinitive or -ING form

In Unit 5 we are working with verbs followed by infinitive or -ing form. In class, we've seen that there are not many rules to say which verb goes with each form. In general, we have these three big groups:
  • verbs indicating likes and dislikes go with -ING form: like, love, hate, don't mind, fancy, feel like, can't stand...
  • after prepositions: -ING form
  • verbs inidicating desire and/or command go with infinitive: want, hope, decide, expect, need, ask, choose, etc.
There is a general tendency to distinguish between -ing form and infinitive:
  • Infinitives are usually referred to future actions
  • -ing forms are usually connected to past or present actions
Let's have these two sentences:
  • I like playing tennis (first I play then I like it; playing tennis is reffered to a past action which comes up to now)
  • I'd like to play tennis (first I like, I want to do something and then I do it; to play is referred to a future action)
This link gives some clues (pistas) about when you use gerund or infinitive; click here

Here you are a list of adjectives followed by prepositions so you must use -ING like in this example: she is good at playing chess. click here for the list

Another way of learning the verb pattern is to use synonims and the contrary. Let's see an example:
  • finish / stop / give up + -ing form  -----  continue / keep on / go on / start / beguin  + -ing form
But the best way to learn this grammar point is by doing many exercises. You can use these:
exercise 1     exercise 2     exercise 3    exercise 4

To finish with, here you have some videos with songs using gerund or infinitive: click here

lunes, 20 de enero de 2014

Past Simple vs. Past Continuous

We've already seen these two tenses in class and I reminded you that it's similar to Spanish tenses but we have more tenses in our language. Compare these sentences:
  • Llovía cuando llegué a casa: It was raining when I got home
  • Estaba lloviendo cuando llegué a casa: It was raining when I got home
  • Llovió mucho ayer: It rained a lot yesterday
  • Estuvo lloviendo todo el día: It was raining the whole day
If you see the grammar section it's said that it's quite usual to find simple past and past continuous together, especially when you use when or while:
  • She was working at the office when I phoned her
  • While I was watching TV, Susan phoned
However, sometimes you can use it in a different way:
  • While I was cleaning my husband was making dinner
Remember we use past continuous to make the action sound more interesting, more lively.

If you want to practise, use these links with exercises:

martes, 14 de enero de 2014

Revising Present Perfect and Past Simple

Spanish speakers have a lot of problems to distinguish between these two tenses because both are pretérito (past) in Spanish. Let's revise them:

  • PRESENT PERFECT (up to now)
    • we use it with typical questions such as Have you ever been to...?
    • with ever / never
    • with expressions such as once / twice / many times
    • with already (+) and yet (- and ?)
    • with for and since
  • PAST SIMPLE (past reference of time)
    • last _______
    • __________ ago
    • when I was young...
    • in ______ (year)
Here you have some exercises to practise:

lunes, 13 de enero de 2014

Coming back after Christmas+lesson 4

Happy New Year! Here we are again after Christmas holiday. Are you ready to go on with our classes?
We've revised most things in class but we haven't finished yet. There were problems with the difference between BEEN TO and GONE TO so here you have a couple of links:
We've seen how to give advice and we've worked with these forms:
  • should / shouldn't  (ought to+infinitive)
  • need to
  • could
  • I think it's a good idea if ...
  • why don't you ...
If you want to revise this go to this link:
You have a video here to see how to give advice called "What's the matter?" (health problems); click here. Thia is another typical way of using advice.

To finish with, I gave you some suggestions to improve your listeninig and here you are the links we saw 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...