Friday, 30 November 2007

Red Phone Box


At the botton of this page you can see a list of images of Great Britain I like so much. In one of them there is a phone box, a red phone box, one of those items that instantly marked the nation's identity to overseas visitors.
But what do you know about it? and since so many of us have mobile phones now, could we be forgiven for hardly noticing?
If you want to discover its history try on the left "Undertstanding them" section Icons at a glance.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

How to Curse without Cursing



Click on the image to enlarge.
"Basic Instructions" is a comic strip. Any advice contained herein is intended as humor, and should not be followed as actual instructions or advice.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

What's on? Elisabeth: The Golden Age


Elisabeth: The Golden Age a historical thriller documenting Queen Elizabeth I's reign, is filmed and set in a number of locations around the country, if you want to enjoy these places click the link and walk around the same places this Queen lived or enter the film website straight away where you can enjoy trailers, images, audio and much more.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Thanksgiving Day and US President Pardon

The first Thanksgiving feast was celebrated by the pilgrims of the Plymouth colony and about 90 Wampanoag Indians in 1621. The pilgrims had survived a devastating winter in which nearly half had died. Without the help of the Indians, all would have perished.
After the first harvest, Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving and prayer to God. The food, which was eaten outdoors, included corn, goose, turkey, duck, eel, clams, leeks, plums, cod, bass, barley, venison and corn bread. The feast lasted 3 days.
George Washington proclaimed the first national day of Thanksgiving and it is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.

Nowadays turkeys win Thanksgiving pardon from US presidents and you can see George W Bush's on that day:




And what do you know about it?
Try the Thanksgiving Quiz Trivial

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Seen at a Teenagers' Club



If you have any doubt about what harass means or you can't imagine the Oxford Dictionary on your left says:

harass
/harrss, hrass/

• verb 1 torment (someone) by subjecting them to constant interference or intimidation. 2 make repeated small-scale attacks on (an enemy) in order to wear down resistance.

— DERIVATIVES harasser noun harassment noun.

— USAGE The word harass is pronounced either with the stress on the har- or with the stress on the -rass; the first pronunciation, which is the older one, is considered by some people to be the only correct one, especially in British English.

— ORIGIN French harasser, from harer ‘set a dog on’.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Friday, 23 November 2007

Tractor Lady



Dutch actor, Manon Ossevoort decided she wanted a bit of an adventure. So she set out on a journey from Europe to the South Pole... on a tractor! She's been travelling for two years through many countries and had all sorts of interesting experiences along the way. We hear about her journey so far.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Housework

These days our students are attending some useful classes about how to survive alone. Well done!



Click on the image to enlarge but...
for those who need something more than enlarging the image, the bubble words are:
"I’m going to ask you to take out the garbage … find something heavy for you to the lift…. leaving your shoes in the middle of the kitchen floor, tell you that the garage needs to be cleaned, remind you that you promised to help me wash windows this weekend and give your dad a hand with painting the guests bedroom etc, etc..."

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Listen... PLEASE!

One of the most difficult activities for my students to do is listening. They don't have a good pronunciation and what is more, they don't make an effort to improve it by listening easy conversations. The reason is that they think they are too childish, but it is foolish to continue making the same mistakes once again. So YOU... don't be shy!
One of the selected links about listening is the British Council's page, have a look!
choose one topic, listen, read and learn new words!

Sunday, 18 November 2007

American English and much more


On October 19, 1959, the Voice of America broadcast the first Special English program. It was an experiment. The goal was to communicate by radio in clear and simple English with people whose native language was not English. Special English programs quickly became some of the most popular on VOA. They still are. Special English continues to communicate with people who are not fluent in English. Over the years, its role has expanded. It helps people learn American English while they learn about American life and stay informed about world news and developments in science. It provides listeners with information they cannot find elsewhere.

Have a look on this examle or try it on the right column Media section:

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Yet, Already or Still?



If you doubt about this topic try this new BBC Challenge lesson: quiz 1, quiz 2 and use the grammar

We use 'still' to talk about something, a situation or an action, that's continuing, often for a longer time than expected. It hasn't changed or stopped. 'Still' usually goes in the middle of the sentence, before the verb.

Are you still married to him?
Is she still unemployed?
I'm still living with my parents.

We use 'yet' mostly in questions and negative sentences. Using 'yet' shows that we're expecting something to happen or have happened. In spoken English 'yet' almost always comes at the end of the sentence or question and is commonly used with the present perfect.

Questions with 'yet'
Have you tidied your room yet?
Have they seen the film yet?

Negative statements with 'yet'
You haven't met her yet
She hasn't spoken to him yet

We use 'already' to talk about things that have happened, often earlier than expected. It usually goes in the middle or the end of sentence, just before or after the verb and is also commonly used with the present perfect.

Present perfect with 'already'
Have you two already met?
He's already done it
They've already sold their car

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

BBC World Service:How to ...




These programmes are about language you might use to give feedback at work, make a complaint and give praise. The programmes in this section include:

- Making a complaint
- Saying sorry
- Accepting an apology

After listening, don't forget to practise the new phrases you've learnt with the quizzes at the end of each programme!

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Interactive Map


Click here to see the original map.
If you move the mouse over the map the names of the places will appear.
Soon we'll learn about them in detail.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

British Council for Fun



Click on the image to enlarge.
The British Council web page contains several games in relation with grammar, vocabulary,spelling, etc... Try them and enjoy yourself!

Friday, 9 November 2007

Icons. A Portrait of England


Icons are everywhere.
Wherever you go in England you'll find museums, galleries and all sorts of other places linked to icons. Click on Icons at a Glance section to find the solutions for this crossword and learn more about symbols of England.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Doubts When Using Articles? III


The "Zero" Article
There are a lot of rules about when we don't use articles. Here are four of them:
We don't use an article:
1. to talk about plural and uncountable nouns or when talking about things in general:
I'm terrified of heights
I'm into drum and base.
I hate cheese.
2. before countries, towns, streets, languages and single mountains:
I'm from China.
I've climbed Mount Everest.
She speaks French.
3. Before some places and with some forms of transport:
I live at home with my parents.
I came here by car.
He goes to work by bus.
4. In exclamations with what + uncountable noun:
What beautiful weather!
What loud music!
What disgusting food!

Listen to Anastasiya programme to spot correct and incorrect uses of 'zero' articles.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

How to Make a Decision


Click on the image to enlarge.
"Basic Instructions" is a comic strip. Any advice contained herein is intended as humor, and should not be followed as actual instructions or advice.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Doubts When Using Articles? II


Indefinite Article

A / AN
Use 'a' with nouns starting with a consonant (letters that are not vowels),
'an' with nouns starting with a vowel (a,e,i,o,u)
Examples:
A boy An apple A car An orange A house An opera
NOTE:
An before an h mute - an hour, an honour.
A before u and eu when they sound like 'you': a european, a university, a unit

The indefinite article is used:

to refer to something for the first time:
An elephant and a mouse fell in love.
Would you like a drink?
I've finally got a good job.
to refer to a particular member of a group or class
Examples:
- with names of jobs:
John is a doctor.
Mary is training to be an engineer.
He wants to be a dancer.
- with nationalities and religions:
John is an Englishman.
Kate is a Catholic.
- with musical instruments:
Sherlock Holmes was playing a violin when the visitor arrived.
(BUT to describe the activity we say "He plays the violin.")
- with names of days:
I was born on a Thursday

to refer to a kind of, or example of something:
the mouse had a tiny nose
the elephant had a long trunk
it was a very strange car
with singular nouns, after the words 'what' and 'such':
What a shame!
She's such a beautiful girl.
meaning 'one', referring to a single object or person:
I'd like an orange and two lemons please.
The burglar took a diamond necklace and a valuable painting.

Notice also that we usually say a hundred, a thousand, a million.

NOTE: that we use 'one' to add emphasis or to contrast with other numbers:
I don't know one person who likes eating elephant meat.
We've got six computers but only one printer.



For exceptions see here

Doubts When Using the Articles? I


Articles in English are invariable. That is, they do not change according to the gender or number of the noun they refer to, e.g. the boy, the woman, the children.
'The' is used:
1. to refer to something which has already been mentioned.
Example: An elephant and a mouse fell in love.
The mouse loved the elephant's long trunk,and the elephant loved the mouse's tiny nose.

2. when both the speaker and listener know what is being talked about, even if it has not been mentioned before.
Example: 'Where's the bathroom?'
'It's on the first floor.'

3. in sentences or clauses where we define or identify a particular person or object:
Examples: The man who wrote this book is famous.
'Which car did you scratch?' 'The red one.
My house is the one with a blue door.'

Continue here or click on the right column at Grammar Online

To be continued....

Monday, 5 November 2007

Used to or Would?



BBC Learning English offers you a section called ·Ask About English· where students ask about their difficult points on learning it. Click on the image to enlarge and see if you have got the solution for this doubt, or enter the page.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Tests on Common Errors in English



Click on the image to enlarge.
Here's a list of some words, which are often used incorrectly because they are homophones, homographs or homonyms. Includes short explanations, exercises and quizzes.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Hi, again!


After so long time without writing anything, I'm here again.
I've been travelling with a group of students around Frankfurt for a week and I hope they have realised how important is learning English or any other foreign language. No matter where you go, if you learn English, French... it will be easier to communicate each other.
We attended some lectures about the exchage market, visited the European Central Bank, the Deutsche Bundesbank Geld Museum and some other museums, and in all them we faced with the real world, knowing another language apart from ours is essential to move around the world. In Germany all adverts, information... was in German or in English so....Take the bull by the horns!

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