VISUALS: 9 common mistakes and how to avoid them

Oops, Sorpresa, Nota Adhesiva, RosaHere are 9 mistakes that pop up regularly in conversations with students. Have a look and make sure these are not a problem for you. There will be more posts on this matter. You can subscribe to my mail list* if you want to be in the loop. 

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PHRASAL VERBS: Grammar patterns 1

Alfabeto, Carta, Inicial, De Fondo, Scrapbooking, PAlfabeto, Carta, Inicial, De Fondo, Scrapbooking, V

The sooner you make friends with phrasal verbs, the easier your life as an English learner becomes. The difficulty that they are associated with and the sheer number of them should not stand in the way if you have the right approach. As with everything in life, small steps will take you far. There is a lot to be said about systems to learn them effectively and progressively and the keyword here is context (see footnote), but what this blog post will hopefully do is give you an understanding of how to use them well in terms of grammar and that is a solid first step. Continue reading “PHRASAL VERBS: Grammar patterns 1”

Learning collocations: vaccine

Covid-19, Vacuna, Corona, Virus, Clínica Following the latest developments in vaccines for Covid-19, this term has become commonplace in our conversations. Therefore, it seems the perfect time to learn how to use it in context. In other words, to learn some collocations or words that are used with it naturally. 

A vaccine can protect somebody against something (e.g. flu) or it can prevent something (e.g. a vaccine to prevent tuberculosis).  Continue reading “Learning collocations: vaccine”

CAE Essay (Mini-series Part 3) – Final tips

Take every essay assignment as a golden opportunity to start training for exam day

I have hardly seen any students rejoice at the idea of writing an essay task for homework but here is the key to achieving that level of confidence you are aiming at. If you are consistent in dedicating time to writing periodically before exam day, you will get there with, admittedly, considerable effort, but also with the guarantee that the essay will not be a problem for you. Continue reading “CAE Essay (Mini-series Part 3) – Final tips”

CAE Essay (Mini-series Part 2) – Writing Stage

This is the second part of a CAE Essay writing mini-series of blog posts. Click here for part 1

Let’s begin by taking a step into the future. To make sure your essay is up to the mark, you should be able to answer with a “yes” to the following questions once you have finished your writing:

  1. CONTENT:  Did I cover all the points?
  2. COMMUNICATIVE ACHIEVEMENT: Did I use the right register and develop the points effectively?
  3. ORGANISATION: Are my ideas organised into a suitable layout?
  4. LANGUAGE: Did I make use of advanced grammar structures and appropriate connectors?

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CAE Essay (Mini-series Part 1) – Getting started

There is no choice here. If you take the CAE -C1 Advanced, the essay is mandatory. 

It is, therefore, crucial to be prepared and well-informed about what is expected of you. Daunting as it may seem at first, breaking it down into smaller tasks will help you get the hang of it. Let’s give some thought to what to do before you start writing. This simple action will guide you through and help you elaborate a successful piece of writing. 

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Favourite places in the UK – Cornwall and the South West Coast Path (SWCP)

Many moons ago, I had the first glimpse of this stunning region as an Inter-rail pass holder. The philosophy of Inter-rail travelling at the time, and probably still now, was to visit as many places as possible within the validity period. Far from ideal as I see things now, but back then it was thrilling to be moving fast across countries, probably missing amazing spots along the way but undoubtedly gaining a sense of adventure and broad horizons. During a short stay in Penzance (Cornwall), I discovered the South West coast path and was totally captivated by it. This sparked a  desire to return to Cornwall with more time and preparation to walk some stretches of the Cornish section of the SWCP long-distance trail.

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5 ideas to keep learning English outside the classroom this summer

Summer 2020, a most unusual one, but that is not to say that we should let it slip through our fingers. Every moment counts and more so than ever. We have come to realise that nothing is certain, and life as we knew it can change overnight.

So many sweeping changes, but I am going to speak about the one that my blog is devoted to English learning. Don’t let it stop!

Our plans to travel abroad to English speaking countries have been, for the most part, put on hold this year. I encourage you to try and find alternative engaging ways to keep your English in check. Here are five ideas to get you started. For more on this subject, you can read last summer’s post:  here Continue reading “5 ideas to keep learning English outside the classroom this summer”

Coronavirus Covid-19: Easing restrictions

This blog post aims to look at the language that is emerging as countries are relaxing their coronavirus restrictions and moving on towards a new phase. Replicating the format of a previous blogpost (dealing with the terminology the Coronavirus arrival brought with it, here), I will introduce language relevant to this stage while providing context examples taken from newspapers.

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A mish-mash of some of my favourite reduplicatives

When I first heard the word mish-mash, it was love at first sight.

We were sitting by the fire in the rustic living room of an old National Trust farmhouse located in a remote valley of the Peak District. A perfect end to a day of volunteering work in the morning, and an afternoon in the hills.

I was having a drink and chatting about languages with the international team. One of them (a fellow volunteer at the time and now a close friend) used the word mish-mash. It was clear from the context that she meant something like a jumble, a mixture of things. A pot-pourri. I asked her to repeat the word just to hear the sound of it in her beautiful British accent. Mish-mash! Love it. Continue reading “A mish-mash of some of my favourite reduplicatives”