Tuesday, 29 April 2008

I Contest of English Slogans

This week we have started our 1st Contest of Guinness of English Slogans as English is all around, as you already know, even in our Spanish magazines. Some products use other languages to catch customer's eye.

We hope all of you enjoy looking for these slogans... and good luck for the contestants!

And... if you remember our articles about US nicknames, here you can learn about US states slogans!

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Do you Love Books?

Then this is the page for you! You'll find lots of links to great websites about the latest books, book clubs and your favourite authors.
Book Box
This is a mini-site by TV's Channel 4. It has information about books, authors, and also some tips for writing your own book.
Cool Reads
Find hundreds of reviews of books for 10-15 year olds, written by children aged 10-15
Stories from the Web
A site with stories, poems, interviews, and information about books. You can also send in your own stories and poems.

And much more websites with lots of book reviews, games, songs, etc: The Big Wild Read, The Blue Peter Book Club, Wired for Books - Kids Corner, Kids Review, The Zone at Scholastic...official webpages of some authors such as JK Rowling, or David Pullman...

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Earth Day 2008

These facts and statistics give you every reason to take a stand, make a statement and take part in Earth Day 2008 and educate even more!

And... how many passive sentences have you read?

Monday, 21 April 2008

Passive voice I. General

The passive voice is used when we want to focus attention on the person or thing affected by the action. Normally, the performer of the action, or the agent, comes first and is made the subject of the verb and then we use the active form of the verb. The other person or thing is made the object of the verb. Consider these examples:

'The boss invited her to the party.'
'The construction company in Station Road employs three hundred people.'

However, if you want to focus on the person or thing affected by the action, you make the person or thing the subject of the sentence and use the passive voice:

'She was invited to the party by the boss.'
'Three hundred people are employed by the construction company in Station Road.'

To have a complete review of this topic you can have a look on the following:
General grammar or try the quizzes 1-2-3 for simple passive, quizzes 1-2-3 for continuous passive, quizzes 1-2-3 for perfect passive.

For listening practice see next post.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

How to Call a Relative

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.

Friday, 18 April 2008


Family is very important. Let me tell you about my family. What are my children like?
Find out by doing these four exercises:
Exercise one Pre-listening vocabulary.
Exercise two Click on the words you hear.
Exercise three Complete the text
Exercise four. Listen and match up

(by Caroline Brown)

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Expressing Annoyance or Anger

In this BBC programme, we look at language used to express annoyance or anger about something. There are all sorts of very strong words in English used to show annoyance (some of which you probably already know!), but we'll be focusing on those expressions which aren't quite so offensive, so you don't find yourself upsetting people too much! When you've listened to the programme, don't forget to practise what you've learned with the quiz below!
Tapescript for the programme (remember to click on the right mouse button)


Expressions for showing annoyance:

Oh, dear! Oh, no! Bother! Damn!*
I can't believe it! Why does this always happen!

For { goodness/ heaven's / pete's / pity's /God's * } sake!

*(some people may find this offensive)

What have you learnt ? Have a go at using some of the expressions we looked at the quiz....

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Operation Beijing Storm: Rockets Target Rain

(From Reuters)

China is preparing an arsenal of rockets and aircraft to protect the Olympics opening ceremony from rain, hoping to disperse clouds before they can drench dignitaries at the roofless "bird's nest" stadium.

Officials believe there is a 47 percent probability of rain during the August 8 opening ceremony and a 6 percent chance of a heavy downpour and will try to drain humidity from clouds before they reach Beijing.

More than 100 staff at 21 stations surrounding the city will have 10 minutes' notice to fire rockets or cannons containing silver iodide at approaching clouds in the hope of making them rain before they reach the stadium. Three aircraft will also be on stand-by to drop catalysts to unleash rain from the clouds.

The government has spent $500,000 to build up Beijing's cloud seeding capacities over the last five years and authorities will conduct practice runs in June and July. It typically uses pellets of silver iodide, which is highly insoluble in water and can concentrate moisture to cause rain.


Saturday, 12 April 2008

Obesity Epidemic

Last weekend we read on the newspapers about a five-year-old boy who died because of his obessity, he weighed 50 kilos!
Read about this problem on BBC News and try the quiz to check your comprehension or if you want to know more about this story.

'We need political leadership to stop making the world fat'
The world needs to tackle the growing epidemic of obesity with the same sense of global urgency as climate change. The head of the international obesity taskforce, Professor Philip James, said that we needed greater political leadership at the international level. This report from Matt McGrath:
The scale of the obesity epidemic is such that the world needs a global pact on the best ways to tackle it. At present, according to Professor Philip James, an expert on nutrition, obese children outnumber the malnourished by two to one. This worldwide weight gain is sparking a marked rise in some diseases - the number of people with type two diabetes is expected to double to 366 million by 2030.
According to Professor James, there is no point in blaming individuals for being overweight - we need real political leadership to change the environment that is rapidly making the world fat. The fat content of food needs to be labelled clearly, advertisers must be prevented from targeting children and governments must encourage people to get out of their cars.
Professor James also said that new data from Scandinavia indicates that the weight of a child at the age of 7 to12 predicts whether or not they are going to die early from heart disease or other problems.
Matt McGrath, BBC News, Boston, Massachusetts

Listen to this story.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Good Cook?

Cooking is something that is essential but also a great pleasure for a lot of people. Is it something I am interested in and good at?
Find out by doing these four exercises:
Exercise one Pre-listening vocabulary
Exercise two Click on the expressions you hear
Exercise three Is this exactly what you've heard?
Exercise four Complete and listen

(By Caroline Brown)

Thursday, 10 April 2008

April Fool's Day

April Fool's Day or All Fools' Day is a notable day marked by the commission of hoaxes and other practical jokes of varying sophistication, the aim of which is to embarrass the gullible.

BBC Central Learning English offers some information on this topic and if you don't understand the meaning of some word, you can do double click on it and Cambridge Dictionary Online will give you the answer.

Magazine article: “The first of April is the day we remember what we are the other 364 days of the year.” Read article

Word games: Famous riddles: Why did the chicken cross the road? Why do birds fly south in the winter? Find out here! Play game (1) and game (2)

Story: April Fool's Day: Danny Applewhite was developing into a rather arrogant young man. He was among the top five achievers at his school, but would he be smart enough to avoid being a fool on April 1st? Read story or listen to it (click on the right button)

Cartoon: "What are you doing? You aren't going to hurt me, are you?" "No, don't worry, I'm ..." See and listen to the cartoon

Trivia: Quote: "You couldn't fool your mother on the foolingest day of your life even if you had an electrified fooling machine." (Homer Simpson) See more April Fool's Day trivia

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Excavation at Stonehenge

For the first time in nearly 45 years, an archaeological dig is being conducted at Stonehenge's "Double Bluestone Circle," the first stone structure that was built on the ancient site.

The excavation—which will last from March 31 to April 11—is being led by two renowned Stonehenge academics: Professor Tim Darvill of University of Bournemouth and Professor Geoffrey Wainwright, President of the Society of Antiquaries. Darvill and Wainright speculate that Stonehenge was a center for healing and not a place for the dead, as many previous scholars have believed.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Tidying up?

Click (as always) on the image to enlarge.

What are your favourite household activities?
Or do you have any problems on making the bed, cleaning the bathroom, ironing a shirt, removing a stain, wash-dry-fold your laundy, defrosting your frezer, fixing a zip, having kids' proof home, changing a diaper..?
Try these links to solve all of them.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

Would you Like to Leave a Message?

Here you are a new gadget to leave any message. Select letters or symbols,
drag them to the screen... and enjoy:

Saturday, 5 April 2008

Tibet Unrest

We know this year Olympic Games will be held in China, but what is happening about this event? Learn more in BBC Words in the News
A spokesman for the Tibetan government-in-exile in northern India says demonstrations in Tibet's main city Lhasa have for the moment stopped. The spokesman, Tenzin Takhla, said he had no reports of further violence. Listen to this report from Chris Morris.
The spokesman said it was impossible for anyone to hold a demonstration in Lhasa at the moment. The city has, he said, been clamped down by Chinese security forces. There are house to house searches going on, and a number of former political prisoners are reported to have been detained again.
The spokesman, Tenzin Takhla, said protests have still been happening outside Lhasa. 'I can confirm, he said, that several thousand people have been demonstrating about four hours east of Lhasa, and the Chinese authorities have not intervened'.
China has given demonstrators in Tibet until midnight tonight local time to surrender. Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has said he is concerned about the deadline. He says up to a hundred people have been killed in protests over the past week. Chinese officials say the number is much lower, and they deny that any lethal force has been used to quell demonstrations.
Chris Morris, BBC News, Dharamsala in northern India.

And if you have doubts about Tibet learn about its history, geography, religion and much more in Inside Tibet

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Picture Books You Can Discover, Share and Talk About

In this web page you can have a look on some very interesting books. If you click on the eyes image you can enlarge and even turn on the pages. Some of their books have got marvellous pictures so...
Enjoy them visiting the place.


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