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¿Quieres mejorara tu inglés antes de tu próximo gran paso?,
¿Te has dado cuenta de lo que saber inglés te puede aportar tanto a nivel profesional como personal, pero no tienes tiempo o la determinación necesaria para hacerlo? ¿te apetece hacerlo de una forma divertida y rápida? ¡Este es tu blog!
La idea es aprender inglés a través de series, películas, vídeos, charlas, canciones y pequeños documentos teóricos que a mí me han ayudado a aclarar dudas comunes. Sin más, espero que os sea de ayude y disfrutéis. Un saludo!

Si tenéis alguna duda, sugerencia,...y queréis poneros en contacto podéis mandarnos un mail a

martes, 29 de mayo de 2012


"You shall know a word by the company it keeps." 
J.R. Firth (1890-1960)

What is a collocation?
Collocations are common word combinations, words that often go together that just sound "right" to native English speakers, who use them all the time, such as bright idea, talk freely.

Why learn collocations?
(It´s all advantages!)
- You will be more natural and easily understood. 
- You will have alternative and richer ways of expressing yourself.
- You will express yourself as a native speaker and that´s the whole point, right?
- It is easier for our brains to remember and use language in chunks or blocks rather than as single words.
- if you are getting yourself ready for an English exam, collocations might make the difference between passing ot or not.

How to learn collocations.
- Be aware of collocations, and try to recognize them when you see or hear them.
- Treat collocations as single blocks of language. Think of them as individual blocks or chunks, and learn strongly support, not strongly + support.
- When you learn a new word, write down other words that collocate with it (remember rightly, remember distinctly, remember vaguely, remember vividly).
- Read as much as possible. Reading is an excellent way to learn vocabulary and collocations in context and naturally.
- Revise what you learn regularly. Practise using new collocations in context as soon as possible after learning them.
- Learn collocations in groups that work for you. You could learn them by topic (time, number, weather, money, family) or by a particular word (take action, take a chance, take an exam).
- You can find information on collocations in any good learner's dictionary. And you can also find specialized dictionaries of collocations.

Strong and weak collocations.
If we look deeper into collocations, we find that not only do the words "go together" but there is a degree of predictability in their association. Generally, in any collocation, one word will "call up" another word in the mind of a native speaker. In other words, if I give you one word, you can predict the other word, with varying degrees of success. This predictability is not 100%, but it is always much higher than with non-collocates. It depends on how frequent/infrequent the colllocation is.

- The predictability may be strong for example  with "auspicious" as it collocates with very few words:

auspicious occasion.
auspicious moment.
auspicious event.

- But the predictability may be weak with for example, "circuit" as it collocates with more than 20 words:

circuit collocates. 
racing circuit .
lecture circuit.
closed circuit.
integrated circuit.
printed circuit.
circuit breaker.
circuit training.
circuit judge.

Types of collocations.
They can be “grammatical collocations” or “lexical collocations”:
-  A “grammatical collocation” contains a noun/verb/ adjective plus a preposition or a particular form of the verb (-ing or infinitive).

Verb + Preposition: depend on (NOT depend of)
Adjective + Preposition: afraid of (NOT afraid at)
Noun + Particular form of verb: strength to lift it (not strength lifting it)

- In a “lexical collocations” a verb, noun, adjective or adverb forms a predictable connection with another word, as in:

Adverb + Adjective: completely satisfied (NOT downright satisfied.)
Adjective + Noun: excruciating pain (NOT excruciating joy.)
Noun + Verb: lions roar (NOT lions shout.)

These are some of the most common types:
- Adjective +preposition: keen on sports, fond of music, hungry for knowledge, angry at the children.
- Adjective+to infinitive: it´s nice to be here, it´s necessary to work on that issue.
- Adjective +that clause: They were afraid that they wouldn´t win the match.
- Noun + Noun: a surge of anger (NOT a rush of anger.)
- Noun+preposition: apathy towards, dissatisfaction with, differences with, reason for...
- Noun+to infinitive: I felt the urge to do it, It was a pleasure to see you, they made an attempt to do it.
- Noun +that clause: We reached an agreement that she would come with us.
- Verb + Noun: commit suicide (NOT undertake suicide), keep an eye on. 
- Verb + Expression With Preposition: burst into tears (NOT blow up in tears), apply for a job.
- Verb + Adverb: wave frantically (NOT wave feverishly), drive dangerously.
- Preposition+noun: by chance, at random, in pain.
- Different verb patterns in English (verb+inf) She began to cry, (verb+bare infinitive) we must do it.

viernes, 25 de mayo de 2012

Talk of the town, by Jack Johnson.

Good morning Friday!
The post today it´s short, warm and full of good vibrations as it´s Friday and actually a really warm Friday after weeks! At least here in Manchester. Hope you all enjoy it and have a great weekend!
We´ll be back on Monday.

Talk of the town.
I want to be where the talk of the town
Is about last night when the sun went down
(cuando el sol se puso)
And the trees all dance
And the warm wind blows in the same old sound
And the water below gives a gift to the sky
And the clouds give back every time they cry
And make the grass grow green beneath my toes
(bajo mis pies), (toe= dedos de los pies)
And if the sun comes out
I'll paint a picture all about
The colors I've been dreaming of
The hours just don't seem enough
To put it all together
Maybe it's as strange as it seems
And the trouble I find is that the trouble finds me
It's a part of my mind it begins with a dream
And a feeling I get when I look and I see
That this world is a puzzle, I'll find all of the pieces
And put it all together, and then I'll rearrange it
I'll follow it forever
Always be as strange as it seems
Nobody ever told me not to try
And the water below gives a gift to the sky
And the clouds give back every time they cry
And make the grass grow green beneath my toes
And if the sun comes out
I'll paint a picture all about
The colors I've been dreaming of
The hours just don't seem enough
To put it all together
Always be as strange as it seems

miércoles, 16 de mayo de 2012

Why going abroad?

This is a video where English Language Assistants share their experiences of living abroad. I´ve founded it useful as they talk about the advantages of living abroad and they show us some words and expressions worth knowing.

Where is the best place to do a language assistanship?
- Somewhere beyond (más allá), completely out of your comfort zone: 
- Obviously I´m slightly biased: obviamente mi opinión está ligeramente sesgada.
- Trick question: a question which is difficult to answer, because there is a hidden difficulty or because the answer that seems obvious is not the correct one.

What´s the reason of your recommendation?

How would you describe your experience?
- Challenging: que representa un reto.
- Thrilling: emocionante (a thriller!).
- Gratifiying: gratificante.
- Nerve-racking: a situation or experience makes you feel very tense and worried.  
- Enlightening: esclarecedor, instructivo.
- A life-changing experience.

What personal and professional skills did you gain?
- I was hugely lacking of confidence: tenía una carencia enorme de confianza.
- to encourage students: motivar a los estudiantes.

When we see students come back from the end of it, they really are different people: brighter, ,more engage, more culturally aware, more confident.

martes, 8 de mayo de 2012

Phrasal Verbs, by Paul Knowles.

We have a new article from Paul Knowles, our personal native English teacher from A2Z School of English ( Manchester. Phrasal verbs. Enjoy it!

When non-English speakers learn English, usually at about pre-intermediate/ Intermediate level they become aware of these things called phrasal verbs… and they then usually start to cry because these things make no sense and are completely irrational and are almost like a separate language.

But for me they are the most exciting and unique aspect of the English language, forever evolving and being invented and they are the basis of a lot of our comedy.

Everyday a new phrasal verb is invented – on the TV, in the street, in a hip-hop song, at the market. Nobody know how many there are because they are impossible to count but they make the English language what it is.

Phrasal verbs is a verb plus preposition or adverb which creates a different meaning from the original verb and often the meaning is very specific.

- I ran into my teacher at the movies last night 
(Run + into = meet by accident.)

What also happens a lot is a phrasal verb can have more than one meaning, normally completely different to each other.

- They got down to work while she got down to the music. 
Got + down = focus on something
Got + down = dance intensely to music

Sometimes phrasal verbs can be split up (separable) and some can’t. Some can be split and kept together.

-I talked my mother into letting me borrow the car.
-They are looking into the problem
-I looked up the phone number. I looked the phone number up.

Why? There is no answer, no rhyme or reason, logic or deduction they just do and you have to learn each one individually by rote. This is why learners of English start crying when they become aware of phrasal verbs.

Furthermore (or to make things worse) native English speaker use phrasal verbs all the time. We prefer them to their French, latin, greek equivalents. It is more natural and more concise and more colloquial.

- He couldn’t put up with him sounds more natural than he couldn’t tolerate him.  

For non-native speakers and English language learners it can feel like they have to start learning English again. They are difficult to find (look up) in the dictionary and hard to use correctly.

But I say embrace them and try to use them as much as possible  - get into phrasal verbs.

Top ten phrasal verbs:
1. To kick off - to start something - a fight, a football match or an argument
2. To spark up - to start a fire or open a fizzy drink
3. To wind someone up - to make someone really annoyed (derived from when you used to have to wind up a car to start it)
4. To size up (a situation) : to try to understand what is happening (going on ) in a situation
5. To super size something up - to make to much bigger (like a macdonalds)
6. To sort it out - to fix something or organise something
7. To hook up - to meet or connect with someone
8. To get down - to dance in a funky manner
9. To get into sth. - to begin to enjoy or become more involved with something
10. To big someone up - To exaggerate someone's importance  

miércoles, 2 de mayo de 2012

Why we have too few women leaders.

Good morning my friends. 
I wanted to share this talk at the risk of sounding feminist, because it´s interesting, true and has some expressions we can lean from. pay attention to the collocations more than to the actual meaning. I´ve underlined them.
¡Féliz miércoles!

- But all that aside: Pero a parte de todo eso/ poniendo todo eso a parte.

- Women are not making it to the top of any profession anywhere in the world. 

- The numbers tell the story quite clearly. 

- Women face (afrontar, enfrentarse ) harder choices between professional success and personal fulfillment (satisfacción personal).

- I was pitching a deal (lanzando una oferta), and I was in one of those fancy New York private equity offices you can picture (visualizadlo).

- Workforce: all people capable of working in a company/country (plantilla, fuerza laboral).

- I am convinced, is that women are dropping out (abandonar -estudios, carrera profesional,...-). 

- Now, at the outset (al principio), I want to be very clear that...

- Just a couple weeks ago at Facebook, we hosted (albergar, ser la sede para un evento) a very senior government official...

- above all else, is...: sobre todo lo demas está...

 - And everyone's (everyone IS) nodding (asentir/ saludar con la cabeza).

-...the men are reaching for opportunities more than women.

- We've got to get women to sit at the table: tenemos que conseguir que las mujeres se sienten en la mesa.

- Who do you think drops out when someone needs to be home more? 

-...with the objective of staying in the workforce 

- How am I going to fit this into everything else I'm doing?: ¿Como adapato/ integro esto en todo lo demás que estoy haciendo?

- To look for a promotion.  (To get a promotion).

- To take on a new project.

 She starts leaning back: echarse hacia atrás (figurado). 

So, my friends:

Sit at the table. Make your partner a real partner. And don't leave before you leave. 

Studies show that households with equal earning and equal responsibility also have half the divorce rat