19 October 2017


Did these women plan to have a big family or a small family?
Financial implications of both types of families
Advantages of a big family according to David
Disadvantages of being an only child according to the second woman.

18 October 2017

5 Things to Say When You Don’t Understand Something!

When you are in the middle of an English conversation, it’s normal to feel awkward or nervous. It’s normal to get stuck because you don’t understand what someone said, or because you can’t remember a word or you don’t know the right word in English. Don’t fight it. Don’t waste your time and energy thinking and worrying about how awkward or nervous you feel. It will just make things worse. Instead, memorize these useful sentences so that you know what to say the next time you get stuck in a conversation.

1. "Sorry?"
Make sure that your voice goes up at the end of sorry so that it sounds like a question.
This is not an apology. This is a polite way of asking someone to repeat themselves, or say something again. 

2. "Sorry? I didn't catch that. Can you say that again, please?"
In this context, the verb catch means hear or understand something that someone said. When you say, “I didn’t catch that,” it means that you didn't hear or understand what the other person said.

3. "Can you speak more slowly please?"
"Can you speak a little slower please?" 

Native speakers sometimes speak fast. There are people who speak so fast even other native speakers can’t understand them!
Most English speakers won’t mind if you ask them to speak slowly. Just remember to say “please”

4. "I'm sorry, what was the last thing you said? Can you repeat that please?"
Sometimes you might not understand one or two words in a sentence because the speaker said the word so quickly.
Natural spoken English is different from the English that you learned in school. It’s much faster, and words are reduced and linked together, so sometimes it’s difficult to understand every word that someone says.
5. "I’m sorry, what does ____ mean?"
(NOT: What means _____ ? )

Sometimes you might not understand a word in a sentence because you’ve never heard that word before. You can ask someone to repeat a word or ask what that word means. 

Finally, after all of that, if you still can’t understand what the person said, ask them to write it down!

17 October 2017


TO GET can be used in a number of patterns and has a number of meanings.
  • got my passport last week. (to obtain)
  • She got her driving license last week. (to obtain)
  • They got permission to live in Switzerland. (to obtain)
  • got a letter from my friend in Nigeria. (to receive)
  • He gets $1,000 a year from his father. (to receive)
  • She got a new coat from Zappaloni in Rome. (to buy)
  • We got a new television for the sitting room. (to buy)
  • How are you getting home tonight?
  • We got to London around 6 p.m.
  • What time will we get there?
  • When did you get back from New York?
  • I am getting old.
  • It's getting hotter.
  • By the time they reached the house they were getting hungry.
  • I'm getting tired of all this nonsense.
  • My mother's getting old and needs looking after.
  • It gets dark very early in the winter.
  • Don't touch the stove until is gets cool.

to get at:                    try to express           
                                   I think I see what you're getting at. I agree.
to get away with:      escape punishment 
                                   I can't believe you got away with cheating on that test!
to get by:                  manage (financially) 
                                  Sam doesn't earn much, but we get by.
to get down:             depress, descend     
                                  This rain is really getting me down.
to get off:                  leave a form of transport (train, bus, bicycle, plane)
                                 We got off the train just before the bomb exploded.
to get on:                 1. enter/sit on a form of transport (train, bus, bicycle, plane)
                                He got on his bicycle and rode down the street.
                                2. have a relationship with someone
                                Amy and I really get on well.
to get on with:           to proceed               
                                 I have so much homework, I'd better get on with it.
to get out of:            avoid doing something, especially a duty
                                 She got out of the washing-up every day, even when it was her turn.
to get over:              recover (from an illness, a surprise)         
                                 Have you gotten over your cold yet?
to get through:        use or finish the supply of something
                                 We've got through all the sugar. Can you buy some more?
to get up:                 leave your bed                           
                                 He gets up at 6.00 a.m. every morning.

  • Do you get it means do you understand.
    Do you get what the teacher was explaining in class?
  • He's getting dinner tonight means he's preparing the meal.
    You can relax. It's my turn to get dinner tonight.
  • I'll get the bill means I'll pay.
    Put your wallet away! I'll get the bill.
  • That really gets me! means that irritates me.
    It really gets me when my sister shows up late.
  • To get rid of something means to throw it away.
    I'm going to get rid of all these old newspapers.
  • To get out of bed on the wrong side means to be in a bad mood.
    He got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning and he's been horrible all day.
  • To get your own back means to have your revenge or punish someone.
    She's getting her own back for all those rude things you said at the party last night.



20 July 2017


This is an excellent site to develop the reading, listening and vocabulary skills for students of all levels. (CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO ACCESS THE SITE).
Every working day a short video news item is published. The content is adapted for level 1 (beginners) and level 2 (intermediate) and level 3 (advanced).
There is always an accompanying transcript with the key words highlighted. These key words are also defined for the students in level 3.

If you read and listen to two articles every day, your reading and listening skills can improve fast. You can learn quickly and after some time you will not have to translate into your own language. You will simply understand. Why should you do this?
When you listen to people in your native language, you do not translate. You simply understand. The same has to be in English. When you learn English, you have to learn the whole sentences in context.
Students, who translate English texts, do exercises and do tests are very good at translating, doing exercises and doing tests, but they have problems with understanding English in real life. In real life, nobody waits for your translation. People usually use simple English when they speak but they use it fast. You have to understand with no translation to your native language. If you translate, you cannot be part of communication because you are thinking about the language too much. These words are maybe hard to read but they are true.
You also have to hear every new word 5 to 10 times if you want to remember it. That's why we use the same words in one level. If you read and hear the same words again and again, you will understand them and remember them. If you know words from one level, you can go to a higher level and learn new words. It is important to go step by step, and read and listen to words which are used in English often. This is what we do with our news. In our short news, we use words which are used in English often. Level 1 has the 1000 most important words. Level 2 has the 2000 most important words, Level 3 has the 3000 most important words.
So, if you want to understand English fast and learn fast, read two articles or more a day. You can improve your reading and listening quickly when you read easy English news. We will help you learn English fast and understand it. When you use this website every day, you can learn 3000 words which you need for communication with anybody in English.
Read more: http://www.newsinlevels.com/

9 July 2017


Want to practise your written English? Write & Improve gives you feedback in seconds. 

Simply choose a task, write or upload your text and submit your writing for feedback. Then try again and use the feedback to improve.


6 June 2017

BBC Learning English Upper- intermediate course

As part of the BBC World Service, BBC Learning English has been teaching English to global audiences since 1943, offering free audio, video and text materials to learners around the world. 
Perhaps the best thing about BBC Learning English is that many of the materials are delivered as full length courses, a service which would you usually have to pay for. However, each component of the course is standalone and can be studied on its own. This means the learner can choose the best way to study for them; by following a full course or by following the individual materials most appropriate to them. A new feature is site maps, which allow you to find a particular grammar point or language area to work on. You can see the site map for the Lower-Intermediate Course here, and find out more about the current and future courses here.
Here are direct links to the courses. The courses consist of 30 units (click on OPEN UNIT SELECTOR to access each unit):
As well as courses, they also have a range of long-running features such as 6 Minute EnglishWords in the News, and The English We Speak, some of which are available as podcasts.

4 June 2017

Jeremy Paxman interviews Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May

Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn face questions from Jeremy Paxman on the big issues of the 2017 General Election, hosted by Sky News and Channel 4.


Presented by comedian Jay Foreman, this short film follows the progress of an election campaing right up to the polling day and the formation of the coalition government. Jay Foreman visits a constituency in the middle of an election campaign and finds out from the candidates and local young people why it's important to vote and make your voice heard.

The UK election explained

Here's a good video from the Financial Times that explains the UK General Election, scheduled to take place on June 8th.

28 May 2017

Security Researcher And Microsoft Worked To Stop Spread Of Cyberattack

  • In what ways was this attack an international issue?
  • Why were computers in Russia especially vulnerable?
  • Why were the reporters discussing the age of the person who created the kill switch?
  • What was learned from this cyberattack?

18 May 2017


I have received an email from a student at the Universidad Europea de Valencia. He is carrying out a study to analyze both student's and teacher's preferences and beliefs regarding error correction in oral interaction. The study will also analyze the connections between error correction and foreign language speaking anxiety.  
Click on the link and do the survey:

17 May 2017



CouchSurfing is a worldwide network for making connections between travellers and the local communities they visit. Watch the video and decide if the following statements are TRUE or FALSE. 


1.- Couch Surfing has been invented recently. 

 2.- The collapse of the airlines hasn’t affected the cost of the holidays.

 3.- Couch Surfing is similar to Facebook. 

 4.- The first thing you have to do is make a request to stay at some else’s house. 

 5.- This year, the number of people couchsurfing has gone down.

 6.- Brian, from California, is travelling around the world.

 7.- A friend from California told Brian about Couch Surfing.

 8.- The only advantage of Couch Surfing is that you save some money.

 9.- After Brian’s positive reference, our reporter found a host in Tokyo for 1 night.

 10.- In Tokyo, he slept on a traditional straw mat and Shitaro showed him around.


1. The Mesoamerican barrier reef stretches from Cancun to __________.
2. The barrier reef faces different threats, for example _______ and ______.
3. Jason Decaires Taylor is trying to help to protect the reefs through ______.
4. His project involves sinking _____________.
5. Taylor wants to attract tourists to these artificial reefs and keep them away from__________.
6. The fish can use the sculptures to _____________from predators.
7. This museum is atracting a growing number of ___________________.
8. The museum will add sculptures as long as ____________________.



Watch the video and find out how global warming and deforestation are melting the vast snow fields of Mount Kilimanjaro. Complete the following statements:
1-Mount Kilimanjaro is also known as __________________.
2-It is located in ____________________.
3-People travel there to ____________and______________.
4-Ernest Hemingway described the ice fields as________________.
5-The glaciers are a vital source of ___________ and __________ water.
6-Since 1912, the glaciers ________________ by more than 80%.
7-The NASA satellite has been taking pictures for _____________.
8-As the Kilimanjaro is located in the tropical area, glaciers _____.
9-Deforestation means that trees _________ in large quantities.
10-Some consequences of the loss of the glaciers include: __________ and__________.

1-the roof of Africa
2-North Eastern Tanzania
3-climb the mountain_and view the gracier-covered peak
4-wide as the world, great high and unbelievably white in the sun
5-drinking_ and _farming
6-have shrunk
7-more than a decade
8-are especially vulnerable to climate changes
9-are cut down
10-lack of water resources in the area,  a decrease in the amount of tourism

15 May 2017


1. You help out at a music festival which is held in your town every year. This takes place outdoors over one weekend. The organisers want to improve the festival and so have asked you to write a short report.. You should comment on the site, the programme, the food and other facilities, the cost and anything else you consider relevant. (180 words)
2. Some American students are on an exchange programme with your college for a month. The college has asked you to write a report on entertainment in your area for the teacher who is in charge of the group. You should give advice on such things as types of entertainment, venues and prices. (180 words)
3. Your headteacher (or University Chancellor) has sent you a letter explaining that the government is awarding 50, 000 euro grants to organizations which are making big efforts to become greener. He asks you to tour the school (or university) to see what can be done to make the building more environmentally friendly. Then he wants you to write a report describing the current situation and making recommendations on how improvements can be made. (180 words)
4. You belong to a youth club which is subsidised by the village council. The youth club leader has asked you to write a report on the activities of the club to help the council decide whether or not they will increase the small grant they give every year. (180 words)

10 May 2017


Watch this video about smart houses. For statements 1 to 10 complete the gaps with the missing information. Number 0 has been completed as an example. You do not need to use more than five words.

0. The technology displayed in the house will be available in ____5 years___.
1. The kitchen is often considered to be _________________.
2. It is designed to have all the __________ and ____________ in a modern kitchen.
3. Apart from a built-in LED TV and a music player, you can have _____ you need for cooking.
4. If you fancy a romantic evening, you just have to ______________ on the smart board.
5. If you run out of wine, you can add it to your ______________ list on the smart board.
6. The smart board helps you with your everyday ______________.
7. In order to pay your bills, the smart board will _______________ your fingerprints.
8. You can warm your towel in a modern _________________.
9. The electrical appliances are controlled by ________________
10.  The house of the future is equipped with the most hi-tech and coolest __________.
1.The heart of the house
2. Comfort/functionality
3. Every piece of equipment
4. Press the touch screen
5. Grocery
6. chores
7. screen
8. Towel heater
9.  automation/an easy to use system
10. gadgets

29 April 2017


What would be the modern version of that folktale or fairy story?
What makes a good story?
What makes a good storyteller?
Do you know anyone who's a particularly good storyteller?
What kind of stories does he or she tell?
When did you last hear a good story? What was it about?
Do you prefer reading stories or listening to them?
How important are folktales and fairy stories in forming someone's cultural background?
Are folktales and fairy stories taught in schools?
Certain groups of people criticise myths and fairy tales for communicating an undesirable set of values. How do you feel about this?

Personal story: A change in plans
You are going to tell your partner about a time when you had to change your plans. 
  • What had you planned? A holiday? A party? A career change? A new home? Something else?
  • Were you responsible for making the plans or did someone else do the planning?
  • How far ahead were the plans made? Was there a lot of planning involved?
  • What exactly was the original plan? Were you looking forward to it?
  • What happened to force you to change your plans?
  • Did the change happen at the very last minute or did you have time to make new plans?
  • How did you react when your plans fell through?
  • Did you do something else instead? Do you think it turned out for the best in the end?
  • Is there anything else you'd like to add?
To illustrate the topic you can watch the story of Little Red Riding Hood, included in Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes.

ht www.mythatsenglish.blogspot.com

26 April 2017




future time clauses


Useful language for letter requesting information:

Opening remarks:
I am writing to enquire about ...;
I am writing in connection with ...

Introduce first request:
Could you possibly send ...;
I would be grateful if you could...;
Would it be possible for you to tell/send me...;
I would appreciate some information about...

Introduce further request:
Could you also please send me...;
Another matter I need information on is ...
I would also like some information on...

Closing remarks:
I look forward to receiving...;
I would appreciate it if you could inform me as soon as possible.

You have just seen this advertisement in a Pet’s magazine and you would really like to take the course. However you feel you need some more information before taking the course. Write a letter between 120 to 180 words in appropriate style.

Train your dog in our special classes.
Register now for the autumn course.
For more information write to:
Smart Dogs
3, Longhill Green

- breed/age of dog
- specific aspects it needs training in
- cost of the course

Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing to inquire about your advertisement in the September issue of Favourite Pets magazine. I am interested in dog obedience classes but I would be grateful if you could send me further details.
Firstly, I would like to know what breeds of dogs are accepted for the classes and whether the dog must be a certain age in order to take part. I have a six-month-old male cocker spaniel which I am anxious to train. He is very excitable and especially needs to learn how to walk without pulling on his lead.
I also require information on the cost of the course, when it will commence and how long it is likely to last.
I look forward to receiving details about the dog obedience classes.
Thank you in advance for your help.
Yours faithfully,
Kristen Miller.


Instructions: You belong to an activity club. In the last meeting, it was decided that the group would arrange a river-rafting trip. Peter was in charge of writing a letter to a rafting club requesting some more information about it. He wrote this letter and asked you to revise it. However you have found some impolite phrases and expressions and you have underlined them. Rewrite the sentences in Italics for something a bit more formal.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I was reading a magazine when I saw your ad the other day so I decided to write. Our school activity club is planning a river-rafting trip next month and I want you to tell me some more information about your club.
Can you tell me how many people can go on your trip? There are about thirty planning to go in our group. Is that too many?
As we will probably just go for a day I also want to know what it costs for a whole day of rafting per person. Can you also find out what it costs to hire a coach for one day? This would be helpful as that is how we intend to travel.
Finally, it is necessary to take any special safety precautions to go rafting? Obviously we will want to be properly prepared and equipped before we start.
I hope you can help me with these details. Please let me know as soon as you can.

All the best,

Teri Bauer

The advertisement below appeared in the last weekend edition of ´Beauty´. You are interested in spending a holiday at this resort and decide to write a letter requesting further informantion about it. You letter must be of about 180 words.

Spend a whole week in paradise in the company of attractive people of your age.
Leave your worries behind: here all you will find will be beauty and pleasure.
Boost your ego: an experienced advisor will be at hand to point to improvements in your looks.
Revitalize yourself: we have the most modern swimming pools, courts, and disco around.
And who knows? Maybe meet your soulmate?

Write to us for free details about the chance of your life.


10 April 2017


Get together with the members of your conversation group and talk about the questions below.
  • Do you think Art is important?
  • Do you know much about art or know someone who does?
  • Do you own any art books?
  • Which do you prefer, painting , photography, sculpture?
  • Do you have a favourite painting or artist?
  • How often do you visit art galleries or museums?
  • What was the last exhibition you saw?
  • When you go to another city, do you usually visit an art gallery or museum there?
  • Can you name some art galleries and museums in New York, Paris, London, Madrid, Florence?
  • What do you think is the most famous painting in the world?
What’s your reaction to the remarks below?
     ‘Art isn’t art until somebody says it is.’
     ‘A painting belongs to the person who’s watching it.’
     ‘Art? What’s that?’
     ‘Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.’ Picasso.

To gain further insight into the topic you can read this article on David Hockney's exhibition in London last year from The Telegraph. Watch the slideshow of Hockney's paintings accompanying the article and
  • describe the pictures
  • compare the pictures
  • do you like them?
Finally, watch the accompanying video. You can answer these questions, also taken from the It's Magazine activity.
  1. In the video, Alastair Sooke describes David Hockney as ... 
  2. He describes the landscapes in the first rooms as ... 
  3. He thinks the series of landscapes of woods are full of ... 
  4. In the next room, he thinks the paintings are ... 
  5. In his favourite room he describes the paintings as ...