16 December 2014


We use not only X but also Y in formal contexts:

The war caused not only destruction and death but also generations of hatred between the two communities.

The car not only is economical but also feels good to drive.

This investigation is not only one that is continuing and worldwide but also one that we expect to continue for quite some time.

We can sometimes leave out also:

I identified with Denzel Washington not only as an actor but as a person.

To add emphasis, we can use not only at the beginning of a clause. When we do this, we invert the subject and the verb:

Not only was it raining all day at the wedding but also the band was late.

Not only will they paint the outside of the house but also the inside.

When there is no auxiliary verb or main verb be, we use do, does, did:

Not only did she forget my birthday, but she also didn’t even apologise for forgetting it.

16 November 2014


On Wednesday, 19th at Cisneros Primary School, THE  POCKET OXFORD THEATRE COMPANY are going to perform this play. You can watch this summary to get an idea of what the story is about.

5 November 2014


Data are or data is?

The Wall Street Journal has just published this blog post, in which it finally decides to move away from data "are", saying:
Most style guides and dictionaries have come to accept the use of the noun data with either singular or plural verbs, and we hereby join the majority.
As usage has evolved from the word's origin as the Latin plural of datum, singular verbs now are often used to refer to collections of information: Little data is available to support the conclusions.

Otherwise, generally continue to use the plural: Data are still being collected.

Here's the root of the matter: strictly-speaking, data is a plural term. Ie, if we're following the rules of grammar, we shouldn't write "the data is" or "the data shows" but instead "the data are" or "the data show".
In Latin, data is the plural of datum and, historically and in specialized scientific fields , it is also treated as a plural in English, taking a plural verb, as in the data were collected and classified . In modern non-scientific use, however , despite the complaints of traditionalists, it is often not treated as a plural. Instead, it is treated as a mass noun, similar to a word like information, which cannot normally have a plural and which takes a singular verb. Sentences such as data was (as well as data were ) collected over a number of years are now widely accepted in standard English.
The official view from the Office for National Statistics takes the traditional approach. The ONS style guide for those writing official statistics says:
The word data is a plural noun so write "data are". Datum is the singular.
Andrew Garratt of the Royal Statistical Society says the debate goes back to the 1920s - and reared its head recently with some heated discussion in the Society's newsletter. "We don't have an official view," he says. "Statisticians of a certain age and status refer to them as plural but people like me use it in the singular." National Geographic magazine has debated it too.
So, over to Guardian style guru David Marsh, who makes the rules in these parts about language use. He says:
It's like agenda, a Latin plural that is now almost universally used as a singular. Technically the singular is datum/agendum, but we feel it sounds increasingly hyper-correct, old-fashioned and pompous to say "the data are".
Data takes a singular verb (like agenda), though strictly a plural; no one ever uses "agendum" or "datum"
According to Professor Michael Swan:
Ok, well I say data and um I say both I say "Data is" or "Data are" but probably mostly "is". Originally, data was a plural noun, it comes from a Latin word that means things which are given, and that’s plural. The singular of that is datum or datum (different pronunciation). But English speaking people mostly don’t know Latin and so not everybody recognised the word was supposed to be plural. 
It looks singular to an English speaker, so more and more people came to use it as a singular and now that’s quite normal. At the beginning "The data is" was definitely a mistake but it’s so widely used now that it’s no longer possible to say that it’s a mistake. It’s become part of the language. This is actually quite a common reason for language change. People make mistakes and the mistakes are repeated by other people, and finally they no longer count as mistakes. It happens a lot with vocabulary.

22 October 2014


Telephoning in English includes learning a number of special phrases, as well as focusing on listening skills. Some of the most important phrases include how to answer the phone:

Hello, this is Ken
Brighton 0987654

The first example response is in American English and the second is in British English. As you can see there are differences in both forms. The telephone articles include both British and American English as well as phrases that are common to both forms.

In American English, we answer the phone stating "This is ..." In British English, it's common to answer the phone by stating the telephone number. The phrase "This is ..." is used only on the telephone to substitute the phrase "My name is ..." which is not used to answer the telephone.

4 July 2014

Interesting Facts: Why Do We Celebrate the 4th of July?

Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States of America commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and political speeches and ceremonies, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. Independence Day is the National Day of the United States.

29 June 2014

Archduke Franz Ferdinand assassination and the start of World War I (History Channel Documentary)

Franz Ferdinand, aged 51, was heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire. He was married to Sophie Chotek von Chotvoka and had three children. Franz Ferdinand was, however, very unpopular because he had made it clear that once he became Emperor he would make changes.
Franz Ferdinand decided to visit Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovnia, to make an inspection of the Austro-Hungarian troops there. The inspection was scheduled for 28th June 1914. It was planned that Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie would be met at the station and taken by car to the City Hall where they would have lunch before going to inspect the troops.
A Serbian terrorist group, called The Black Hand, had decided that the Archduke should be assassinated and the planned visit provided the ideal opportunity. Seven young men who had been trained in bomb throwing and marksmanship were stationed along the route that Franz Ferdinand's car would follow from the City Hall to the inspection.
The first two terrorists were unable to throw their grenades because the streets were too crowded and the car was travelling quite fast. The third terrorist, a young man called Cabrinovic, threw a grenade which exploded under the car following that of the Archduke. Although the Archduke and his wife were unhurt, some of his attendants were injured and had to be taken to hospital.
After lunch at the City Hall, Franz Ferdinand insisted on visiting the injured attendants in hospital. However, on the way to the hospital the driver took a wrong turn. Realising his mistake he stopped the car and began to reverse. Another terrorist, named Gavrilo Princip, stepped forward and fired two shots. The first hit the pregnant Sophia in the stomach, she died almost instantly. The second shot hit the Archduke in the neck. He died a short while later.

17 June 2014


Senator Fulbright envisioned an educational and cultural exchange program that would connect people and encourage them to learn about each others' cultures and values - that vision became the Fulbright Program.
If you want to know more about application procedures: http://fulbright.es/

12 June 2014

Did laughter evolve to make us healthy?

Researchers are looking into what laughter can do for our health. More than a form of communication, laughter helps people thrive. Some folks take that to heart and gather for "laughter yoga."
 Dr. Alex Eingorn, Laughter Yoga Leader and Chiropractor
We need to get back to the natural, built in mechanisms that we have for self preservation and health.
Laughter is one of them.
Debra Corwin, Laughter Yoga Leader
Laughter Yoga is a way for people to use laughter without telling jokes and being able to get the
laughter to help them feel better.
 The interesting thing is that it helps ease pain, it can ease depression, it's a way to move and get into your inner child and it's a lot of fun. And adults don't remember necessarily how to have fun.
Dr. Michael Miller, Director, Center for Preventative Cardiology - University of Maryland Medical Center
The bottom line of our research is that laughter not only makes us feel good but it has a direct effect on our blood vessels. And our blood vessels control the likelihood of us developing a heart attack or a stroke. So if we keep the blood vessels healthy, then we're going to be healthy.
You can burn up to 40 calories for 5-10 minutes of laughter. But equally important is the blood vessel opening we see is the same as going jogging or even taking one of our cholesterol medications. You get the same effect in terms of opening up your blood vessels as you do with a good, deep, belly laugh.
Laughing on a regular basis is not only good for our soul, but also great for our heart.
Dr. Alex Eingorn
Laughter is a way of communication and that's why it's contagious. When I'm laughing you're looking
and me and you're like 'wow, this is a positive energy' and you're more likely to join me in the laughter.
Dr. Robert Provine, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience
But laughter's not present at birth. It appears about 3-4 months of age and it's one of the most important
early means of communication between babies and mothers.
A mother will tickle the baby and the baby will smile and laugh. And the mother will do more of that. If the baby does like it, the baby will fuss or cry and the mother stops. It's a kind of instinctive language that exists before we learn to talk.
Laughter, like speech, evolved to change the behavior of other individuals. Does it have to have other purposes? It probably does, but we're just now starting to tease out what those differences are.
Did the benefits of laughter come from the act of laughing or is it the social context, spending time with friends, family, and lovers. All of these are very difficult scientific issues that haven't been teased out.
But laughter clearly feels good when we do it. Isn't that enough?

26 May 2014

Thank you and good luck!

Dear Class,

The year is coming to an end... It has been a great year and I want you to know that I have enjoyed every moment.

You've kept me busy, and it's been great fun. I hope you feel the same and that you will take what you have learned this year and build on it as you continue your studies.

Good luck with your exams.

Thank you for everything.


14 May 2014


Dear Kayla,
Thank you for being an excellent conversation assistant! We know teachers like you are not easy to find. We appreciate your time, your patience and your smile. Good luck!
Your students have left some messages for you. (Click on the Comments section)
Mon-Wed 17:00

Mon-Wed 20:00

Tue-Thu 18:00

1 May 2014


This is a very good video activity from this blog  http://mythatsenglish.blogspot.com.es/ . You can find more video activities there. You also have the transcript to check your answers.
Today we celebrate in Spain and in some other European countries Labour [Labor in American English] Day. The same holiday is observed in the US on the first Monday in September.
1 What was imposed in the work place in Canada and US in the 19th century?
2 Why was 1872 important for unions?
3 Why was September 5th chosen to celebrate a workers parade in New York City?
4 What activities did workers do on September 5th 1882 in Reservoir Park?
5 What did workers have to choose when the parade was moved to the first Monday in September?
6 What happened in 1887?
7 What happened in 1894?
8 What three things happened in the second half of the 20th century?
9 What significance does Labour Day have in US today?
The Industrial Revolution modernized the United States and Canada during the 19th century. As people enjoyed steady employment, they compromised their rights in the work place. Longer work hours and pay cuts were imposed. US labour groups began protecting themselves by unionising. In Canada unions were illegal until 1872 when thousands of autolabourers marched to Prime Minister John McDonalds’ home. That year Canada wiped the entire Union Law from its books, and the march became an annual Canadian tradition.
In 1882 Toronto labour officials invited an American union leader Peter G. McGuire to Toronto’s Labour celebrations. McGuire was so impressed that he suggested a workers parade in New York City Central Labour Union. He chose September 5th as the date because it filled a long void between July 4th and Thanksgiving. Coincidentally, that same year a machinist from Patternson New Jersey, Matthew McGuire also proposed a labourers celebration. On Tuesday September 5th 1882 thousands of New York City labourers marched from City Hall to Union Square. They gathered in Reservoir Park for an afternoon of picnics, concerts and speeches, rallying for an eight-hour work day.
Two years later the Central Labour Union moved the parade to the first Monday in September. They also encouraged all US cities to follow New York’s lead and marched for the working men’s holiday. For many the choice was to either spend the day at work or march without pay. That began to change when Oregon became the first state to legalise the Labour Day holiday in 1887. Other states, including New York, soon followed.
It took a political disaster to put Labour Day on the national calendar. In 1894 railway workers in Pullman, Illinois, went on strike to protest wage cuts. President Grover Cleveland faced pressure to end the demonstrations and sent 12,000 federal troops to break the strike. Violence erupted. Two strikers were killed and Cleveland’s harsh methods made headlines. In an attempt to appease the nation’s workers he signed a bill to make Labour Day a federal holiday. Cleveland still lost that year’s election.
American workers continued to gain power through the 1950’s when over a third of all labour forces were unionized. Labour Day had become a time to rally workers for safer conditions, fair pay and benefits. But in the second half of the 20th century the US labour force diminished, many factories closed, jobs were outsourced to other countries.
Today, workers still parade through blue-coloured neighborhoods on Labour Day and speeches unite the ever dwindling labour force. But the day’s true call has quietened. For now most Americans leisurely enjoy the holiday as summer’s last bow.

10 April 2014

Hiring and firing vocabulary

This is a list of business vocabulary related to hiring, firing and human resources.


To terminate the employment contract of (an employee), especially for cause (such as misconduct or poor performance). Synonyms of fire are: dismissmake someone redundant, give the sack, give the axe, sack.

get the sack

To be dismissed from employment.Synonyms of get the sack are: get the chopget the boot,get the elbow.

lay off

To dismiss (workers) from employment, e.g. at a time of low business volume, often with aseverance (see below) package


To quit (a job or position).
I am resigning in protest of the unfair treatment of our employees.


To withdraw from one's occupation, business, or office; stop working.

give notice

To announce one's intent to leave a job; to inform an employer that one is leaving.
He gave notice yesterday that he'll leave in two weeks.

notice period

A period of time before which an employee, by contract or by courtesy, must inform his/her employer of his/her intention to leave the current job.

redundancy payment

a sum of money given by an employer to an employee who has been made redundant

severance pack

severance package is pay and benefits an employee receives when he or she leaves employment at a company.

unfair dismissal

Unfair dismissal is the term used in UK labor law to describe an employer's action when terminating an employee's employment contrary to the requirements of the law.

constructive dismissal

also called constructive discharge, occurs when employees resign because their employer's behavior has become so intolerable or heinous or made life so difficult that the employee has no choice but to resign


recruiter is someone engaging in recruitment, or the solicitation of individuals to fill jobs or positions within a corporation. recruiters are also called headhunters


To employ.
They hired a new accountant.


a letter or certificate giving evidence of the bearer's identity or competence presented to employers before being hired

9 April 2014

KTLA Reporter Mistakes Samuel L. Jackson for Laurence Fishburne

Samuel L. Jackson took a Los Angeles entertainment reporter to task Monday after the reporter appeared to confuse the actor for Laurence Fishburne.

Actors Samuel L. Jackson, left, and Laurence Fishburne

"You're as crazy as the people on Twitter. I'm not Laurence Fishburne!" Jackson said during a live TV interview. "We don't all look alike. We may be all black and famous, but we all don't look alike. You're busted."

The outburst momentarily stunned CNN affiliate KTLA's Sam Rubin, who had asked Jackson what the reaction was to his Super Bowl commercial.

"What Super Bowl commercial?" Jackson replied.

Rubin looked off camera, confused. He immediately owned up to the mistake, but Jackson dug in.

"You're the entertainment reporter for this station and you don't know the difference between me and Laurence Fishburne? That must be a very short line for your job outside there," he said.

Rubin apologized repeatedly, at one point slapping himself in the face in jest. Jackson kept the mood light.

"I'm the other guy," he said. "There's more than one black guy doing a commercial. I'm the 'What's in your wallet?' black guy. He's the car black guy. Morgan Freeman is the other credit card black guy. You only hear his voice, though, so you probably won't confuse him with Laurence Fishburne."

Rubin later issued a more formal apology.

"I indicated to Samuel that I'd seen him during the Super Bowl, and he thought that I had confused him with the commercial Laurence Fishburne had done for a car company. Of course a 'Captain America' ad had also run during the Super Bowl, but I immediately felt so dumb, I didn't bring that up -- and he gave me the shellacking that was well deserved," the reporter said.

Jackson is set to appear in the upcoming sequel "Captain America: The Winter Solider."

"I pride myself on the fact -- that unlike a lot of people who do this kind of work -- more often than not, I really do know what I'm talking about. But I didn't 30 minutes ago, and I'm really embarrassed about it, and I very much apologize to Samuel L. Jackson and anyone else who was offended for what was a very amateur mistake," Rubin said.

2 April 2014

Possessive before gerunds


Shouldn't your be changed to you in the sentence Sarah was surprised at your leaving early?


In the example your is correct. Your is the possessive form of you and acts as the subject of the gerund leaving.
In formal writing, when we want to show who or what is doing the action in a gerund (called the subject of the gerund), we use the possessive form of a personal noun or pronoun in front of the gerund:
Gord's winning the contest gives us all a reason to celebrate.
Natalie objected to my borrowing her hockey stick.
Your leaving early was a wise decision.
In informal writing, there is a trend toward dropping the possessive before a gerund. We often use a simple noun or an object pronoun instead:
We celebrated Gord winning the contest.
Natalie objected to me borrowing her notes.
Also, the possessive form may be important for clarity. Consider the difference between the two examples below:
Jorge is in favour of the candidate being interviewed Friday.
(Jorge prefers the candidate who has an interview on Friday)
Jorge is in favour of the candidate's being interviewed Friday.
(Jorge wants the interview to be on Friday)
If the possessive before a gerund seems artificial or too formal, simply reword the sentence:
Gord's success gives us all a reason to celebrate.
Natalie objected when I borrowed her hockey stick.
Your decision to leave early was a wise one.
Jorge is in favour of holding the interview Friday.

30 March 2014

Today is Mothering Sunday in United Kingdom

Mothering Sunday, sometimes known as Mother's Day, is held on the fourth Sunday of Lent. It is exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday and usually falls in the second half of March or the beginning of April.
Traditionally, people visited the church where they were baptized. Mothering Sunday is now a celebration of motherhood. People visit and take gifts to their mothers and grandmothers.

29 March 2014

Spring forward 2014: When do the clocks change and British Summer Time begin?

It’s spring time, and apart from blooming daffodils and gambolling lambs this means one thing: the low-level hum of worry as the general population tries to remember when the damn clocks change. So, to save all that mental wear and tear, here goes nothing: the clocks will go forward one hour on March 30th, a Sunday that also happens to be Mother’s Day. British Summer Time always begins on the last Sunday of March and ends on the last Sunday of October.

17 February 2014

What does "OK" stand for?

Dear Cecil:
This question seems like such an obvious candidate for your column that someone must have asked it before. But on the chance no one has, here goes: what does "OK" stand for, and where does the expression come from? I've heard a lot of different explanations over the years.
— Norm, Chicago

Cecil replies:
Yeah, and it's about time I got things cleared up. Despite the fact that the origin of OK was conclusively established decades ago, few etymological dictionaries, even recent ones, give it accurately. On the contrary, some persist in giving equal time to explanations that have been discredited for decades.  READ MORE...