Cláusulas relativas y participios en inglés

There are some simple rules in English for how to use present participle/past participle and relative pronouns with relative clauses.

First, relative clauses.

Type : Defining
Purpose : defines noun
This is the shirt that I bought for €90, the rest were much cheaper.(that I bought for €90 identifies the shirt from many)

If the object of the verb in the clause (following the pronoun) is the same as the subject then the pronoun (and aux) can be taken out.
This is the shirt which is made for the typical tourist.

A non-defining relative clause is different.
Purpose: add extra info.
• between commas
• pronoun introduces clause
•• you cannot use that
Many people in Spain, who live on the coast, were contacted for their opinion.

Without the extra info the sentence still makes sense (remember to take out the commas!).
Many people in Spain who live on the coast were contacted for their opinion.

Participle clauses
We are used to past participle in the passive.
The book was written by JK Rowling, and was very successful.

But we can simplify the passive.
The book was written by JK Rowling and was very successful.
But there has to be a clause after the participle.

Many cakes were being eaten. ✓
Many cakes being eaten. X
Many cakes being eaten at the party were horrible. ✓

Present participle clauses
An ing form without the verb to be is usually referred to as the present participle .
Swimming (present participle) is great fun.

We use it in active clauses, and a lot in relative clauses.
Look at this sentence with its pronouns.

The film which starred Brad pit and that was filmed in Japan was a wonderful experience.

Using past/present participle
The film, (comma) starring (present participle) Brad pit and filmed (past participle) in Japan was a wonderful experience.

We use participles to keep sentences simple and more fluid rhythmically.

British Christmas Food

Christmas is the traditional time of year when families get together and share memories of the previous year, swap presents, and go crazy eating and drinking. There is an orgy of tastes, textures and smells as food is prepared and cocktails are mixed – there really is no other time like it!

Here’s some pictures of Christmas food… Be warned, you will be hungry after looking at them!

A hearty breakfast.
Christmas dinner… Delicious roast turkey, beef and pork with roasted seasonal vegetables and various sauces.
Christmas pudding, drenched in brandy and served with cream.
Mince pies… Delicious with cream or brandy butter.

Conectores formales – B2

When writing a semi formal or formal essay, report or article use these connectors…

Moreover – additional supporting evidence.


Studies show a an increase in social isolation as well as impaired interpersonal skills. Moreover, an American study published evidence supporting previous studies…

In addition to/additionally – supporting evidence.


In addition to the survey’s findings it was also discovered that…

Therefore – consequence.


Evidence gathered from our Student Survey suggests that current technology within the classroom is inadequate. I therefore recommend that….

Likewise – additional information.


The study indicated a drop in intelligence. Likewise, exam results were also negatively affected.

Similarly – additional information.


The study indicated a drop in intelligence. Likewise, exam results were also negatively affected.

However – contrasting evidence.


The results of the survey were analysed and provided a clear indication of the negative impact of technology on the young. However, family background and upbringing were equally important.

Although – contrasting evidence.


The results of the survey were analysed and provided a clear indication of the negative impact of technology on the young, although family background and upbringing were equally important.

Whereas – contrasting evidence.


Whereas the results of the survey were analysed and provided a clear indication of the negative impact of technology on the young, it should be noted that they were not 100% reliable.

Despite/In spite of – contrasting evidence.


Despite the results of the survey providing a clear indication of the negative impact of technology on the young, family background and upbringing were found to be equally important.

In fact – statement of fact opinion.


The results of the survey were analysed and provided a clear indication of the negative impact of technology on the young, in fact there could be no doubt about the results. 

Indeed – reinforcement of fact.


 The results of the survey were analysed and provided a clear indication of the negative impact of technology on the young, indeed there could be no doubt about the results. 

Inmobiliaria -Vocabulario Inglés

vocabulario inglés por inmobiliaria

Buyer: that’s you!
Seller: someone who is selling their property, usually through an estate agent.
Vendor: this is another term for the seller.
First Time Buyer: an individual who has never bought or owned a property before. Renting a property does not count as buying or owning.
Freehold: a type of occupancy which means you own the building and the land it sits on.
Leasehold: this is where you own the property but not the land it is built on – for example, you may own a flat, but not the building it sits in.
Commonhold: an alternative system to leasehold usually in place in buildings or estates of multiple occupancy (such as a block of flats), whereby you own the freehold to your property, and all property owners collectively help manage the upkeep of the building or estate (such as all chipping in to repair part of the building).
Deposit: a set amount of money which acts to secure a purchase, usually at a low percentage of the full price. Paying this usually means you are committed to going through with a purchase and will pay the rest of the amount off later.
Mortgage: a loan of money used to pay for a property, which you pay back over time with interest to whoever lent you the money. The property itself is considered collateral, which means if you don’t keep up with your repayments, it can be seized and sold to make back the money.
Bridging loan: a temporary short-term loan which enables a buyer to purchase a property before selling their existing property.
Equity: equity, or capital, represents the amount of money a homeowner has put into a property. This value is built up over time as the owner pays off the mortgage and the market value of the property appreciates.
Surveyor: in the context of property, they are a qualified expert who specialises in examining and highlighting any potential issues or benefits within a property, that may affect its price or need fixing in future.
Building survey: a report into the physical state of the property, this is also sometimes referred to as a full structural survey.
Covenant: a covenant is a provision or promise that has been written into a deed which may affect or limit the use of the property or land. There are two different types of covenant, positive and restrictive. A positive covenant is an obligation which requires some form of action (such as maintain a fence or wall), whereas a restrictive covenant limits or prevents the use of land in a specified way.
Easement: an easement is the right of one landowner to make use of another nearby piece of land for the benefit of their own land, for example, a private right of way.
Chain: a chain is formed when several property sales and purchases are inter-dependent. A chain can be complicated but a good estate agent will be able to help keep it moving.
EPC: an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) shows the efficiency of a property and gives an indication of how much the energy bills will cost. It is displayed as two graphs – the energy efficiency, and the environmental impact of the property. Each is graded from A (the best) to G (the worst).
Under offer: if a property is under offer it means that the seller has accepted an offer from the buyer but the contracts have not yet been exchanged.
Gazumping: when a higher offer is made by another party and is accepted, sometimes even after the offer with the first buyer has been accepted.
Gazundering: when a buyer lowers their offer price, usually at the last minute, so the seller has to accept the lower price or reject and risk having to find another buyer.
Exchange of contracts: the point where both parties are committed to the transaction; both the buyer and seller can walk away at any point before the contracts have been exchanged.
Conveyancer: a solicitor specialising in the transfer of home ownership. They are required if you are using a mortgage and will cover every legal aspect of the home purchasing process.
Solicitor: someone who deals professionally with legal matters, also known as a lawyer, and holds a recognised qualification or degree in law.
Title: the legal right of owning a property or land.
Deeds: Documents that show who owns the title of a property or land, along with any burdens (obligations/responsibilities) on the property e.g. what you can/cannot alter on the property, any access and rights of way on the property. Usually held by the mortgage lender until you pay off your property, where it can then be held by you or your solicitor.
Land Registry: the Government’s database of who owns what property and land. Be aware that there are separate registries for Scotland, Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.
New Build: usually this refers to a property that hasn’t been purchased or lived in yet and has recently been built. However different banks and lenders have different definitions, which can vary from whether the property has been lived in, but not bought, whether it has been converted or refurbished, or whether it has been finished within a certain amount of years.
Completion date: when the transaction is complete and ownership of the property passes from the seller to the buyer. Normally, the vendor’s solicitor will ask the estate agent to release the keys to the buyer at this time.
Snagging: snagging is where the developer of new build properties touches up paintwork, adjusts appliances and fixes any other faults within the property. A snagging survey is usually completed prior to the buyer moving in, in order to spot minor cosmetic issues and check the quality of workmanship.
Standard Security: in Scotland, this is the form that confirms to your mortgage lender that they can repossess your home if you don’t keep up with your payments.
Stamp Duty: a lump-sum tax that anyone buying a property or land over a certain price in England, Northern Ireland and Wales must pay. The current threshold for residential properties is £125,000 and £150,000 for non-residential land and properties, however, the rate you pay will vary depending on the overall purchase price.
Land Transaction Tax: land tax replaced Stamp Duty in Wales from April 2018. Buyers looking to purchase in Wales will be charged land transaction tax on any residential purchase above £180,000 and above £150,000 for non-residential purchases, however, the price you pay varies depending on the overall cost of the property.
Land & Building Transaction Tax: the tax you pay when purchasing land or property in Scotland. The current threshold is £145,000 for residential properties and £150,000 for non-residential land and properties, however the rate payable is subject to the total purchase cost. 
Base rate: the interest rate which is set by the Bank of England for lending to other banks. It is generally used as a benchmark for the interest rates banks charge when lending money to customers.
Fixed-rate mortgage: with a fixed-rate mortgage, you pay a set rate of interest on your mortgage for a fixed period, so you know exactly what you’ll be paying each month.
Tracker mortgage: this is a mortgage with an interest rate linked to the Bank of England rate or another base rate. The interest rate will go up and down depending on this rate, irrespective of the mortgage lender.
Variable-rate mortgage: with a variable rate mortgage, the interest rate can change at any time. They are partly influenced by the Bank of England base rate but other factors come into play as well. The interest rate you pay on a variable rate mortgage can change even without base rate moving and similarly base rate might come down but your mortgage rate stays the same

Frases fijas y transformando el inglés informal al formal

Fixed phrases in English are very important, especially in writing but they are often formal or semi formal and can’t be used in all writing tasks. Do not confuse fixed phrases with phrasal verbs, many websites state that they are the same – they are not. Phrasal verbs are usually informal and are totally different to a fixed phrase.

Examples of fixed phrases include:

look forward to hearing from
– in summary/conclusion
– in my opinion
– to whom it may concern etc

But be careful… Consider the following sentences…

Fixed phrase – It is the aim of this report

1. Typical student usage
It is the aim of this report to see problems with computers in our school for students.

This sentence has a small error (incorrect verb – see) and the rest of the sentence after the fixed phrase is too informal (personal pronoun – our). In other words the register is not consistent.

2. Correct usage
It is the aim of this report to examine current IT issues, and challenges, at school.

The register is now consistent, semi formal. Also, look at how simple it is. There are only 2 prepositions, and 1 conjunction. It is redundant to put for students – who else goes to school?

The student’s example is spoken, informal and unsuitable because the fixed phrase is semi formal but the remainder of the sentence is not..

Look at this sentence, a typical informal example from a student
We will look at problems teachers experience.

Let’s make it formal…
1. Make passive.
Problems experienced by teachers will be looked at by us.

Make impersonal.
Problems experienced by teachers will be looked at.

3. Change vocabulary.
Issues, experienced by teaching staff, will be examined.


Now do that with every sentence in your formal report, essay, article or proposal.

Cómo escribir una crítica en inglés

como escribo una revista en inglés

Review Subject : Favourite TV show.
Audience : general public
Register : relaxed semi formal
Vocabulary : television, humour, horror etc., feelings, adjectives, nouns, fixed phrases.
Key Points: this changes depending on the Review Subject. For example there is no point talking about the score (music) in my example using The Simpsons.

Paragraph 1 – Grab the reader’s attention and introduce the Subject. Use a rhetorical question to engage your audience.

Have you ever sat at work counting the minutes until you can go home to watch your favourite TV show? This is my Tuesday and Thursday ritual, a quick goodbye to work colleagues followed by a mad dash home and thirty minutes of top notch entertainment and escapism. So what is it that has me flouting (Google it) the speeding laws? Quite possibly the funniest programme on TV right now – the Simpsons.

Paragraph 2
A review always contains some factual information or background. It shows you know your subject.

Created by Matt Groenig the Simpsons offers up a feast of slapstick comedy as it portrays the ups and downs of a typical dysfunctional American family. What makes this zany American sitcom different is the fact that it’s an animation – yes, a cartoon.

paragraph 3 – give more detail about one or two characters and highlight the script or acting etc.

The superbly crafted script is packed with one liners and and squeezes every single last drop of comedy gold from each word. The matriarch Marge steals the show….

paragraph 4 – Opinion
Say you like it and why others should see it.

I can’t praise this show highly enough – it truly is a “must see” for anyone who enjoys superb comedy.

• Vocabulary is your best friend.
• Use nouns and fixed phrases, also compound nouns/adjectives, example : overnight success, page-turner.
•Use simple structures but make them complex using vocabulary, adverbs, adjectives etc.

It takes time to write well in another language. Some people find it hard to write well in their native language.

Cómo escribir informalmente en inglés

How to write a great informal email or message.

We often talk about semi formal and formal writing but seldom informal. So here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when writing an informal email, message or text

Do use idiomatic language, example raining cats and dogs
Do use colloquial vocabulary for objects, places, feelings.
Do use everyday adverbs, linkers etc, example but, also
Do use present tenses to keep your writing direct.
Do use past simple and past perfect to sequence a timeline of actions.
Do use paragraphs.
Do use contractions.
Do begin with Hi, and end with Bye!

Don’t use slang words, example innit, gunna. Though words like yeh, hi, nah are fine.
Don’t write overly long sentences with lots of commas.

Cómo escribir una propuesta en inglés

Vive la diferencia

The difference between a report and a proposal is in function rather than presentation. This is often referred to with a single sentence in class books, but it is very important and deserves more space.



The function of a report is to evaluate a current situation, including its pros and cons, and to formulate a recommendation or summary.

Imagine this as step 1 of a project.

A typical example.
The staff cafeteria in your company has become unpopular. Produce a report outlining any current issues and recommending relevant solutions.

Click here for more help with a report.


A proposal’s function is evaluate a future project, with reference to a current or previous situation.

Imagine this as step 2 in a project.

You recently compiled a report on current problems with your staff cafeteria and made certain recommendations. Produce a detailed proposal for how these recommendations can be put into practice.


A report and a proposal look very similar, typically 4-5 paragraphs, with headings and sub headings. They can also both use bullet points, though I would not use a numbered list in a proposal,

Examples of headings..
It is the aim of this report to investigate… Report
It is the purpose of this proposal to examine… Proposal
Current situation… Report
Background… Proposal

Style and language

Usually semi formal or formal. Language, grammar and vocabulary, should be appropriate. Click here for help.

cómo transformar oraciones en B1 PET y B2 FCE

Transforming sentences in English, for the Cambridge English exams, is very difficult, but a simple strategy really helps.

Certain word types are very important in B1 sentence transformations, such as adverbs and phrasal verbs, whilst in FCE dependent prepositions, verb patterns and high level grammatical structures are tested. Click here to access our free FCE Use of English Practice tests (students only).

With transformations you need to follow some simple steps to make sure the sentences mean the same.

Step 1

Deconstruct and understand the meaning of the first sentence. You cannot get a correct answer unless you understand the first sentence.

To understand the sentence is like running a short computer programme in your brain. You just need to use it and get used to it.

1. What is the time?
This is the most important thing you should be sure of. Only in reported speech will you need to change time in the second sentence. Your verb times must be exactly the same.

example (FCE)
David found it hard to concentrate. Time – past simple
David finds it hard to pay attention. Time – present simple NO
David found it hard to pay attention. Time – past simple YES

2. What is the grammar, vocabulary?
There are clues in the second sentence, in B1 PET is there a verb in the second sentence? If no then most likely you are being tested for grammar. If there is a verb then maybe you need vocabulary, a phrasal verb for example.

There are two lions at the zoo.
The zoo has two lions.

In B2 FCE look at the word given, if it’s a preposition then most likely you need a phrasal verb. If it’s a verb then a verb pattern or grammar point is being tested.

My dad collected me from the airport.
My dad picked me up from the airport.

3. What is the subject/object?
This is often not important, except if being tested for reported speech or the passive.

4. What is duplicated?
You must do this as it will tell you only the words you need to transform, see the example below to understand what to do.

5. Is your answer logical?
Does your answer follow the typical structures in English? Is there a missing preposition? Do not try to translate it into Spanish – think only in English and remember the basics!

If the answer to 5 is No then go back to question 1 and do it all again.

If the answer is yes then you probably have it correct.

So here’s a simple B2 FCE transformation.

I don’t spend much money on clothes.
I ____________________ money on clothes.

1. Time = present simple
2. Grammar = active Vocabulary = adverb usage (any)
3. Subject/Object = irrelevant/same
4. Duplication = words to transform = don’t spend much (aux + negation + verb + adverb)

Now you know what is being tested (adverbs) check to see if there is a grammar/vocabulary connection to the first sentence.

In the first sentence much = adverb and in the second sentence you need to use the same type of adverb, any.

Both of these adverbs are neutral, they can be affirmative, or negative if used with not, as in the example.

Think about how to use the grammar. Simplify it.
You cannot only change the adverb as below :

I don’t spend much money on clothes = I spend some money
I don’t spend any money on clothes. = I spend no money NO

Think again! It is impossible to use not in the second sentence because not + any = nothing, nada!

So is there another type of adverb that is negative and can replace not but still = some?Yes – hardly, and a particular adverbial phrase hardly any .

Now test your theory.
spend + hardly + any = some
I (subject) + spend (verb, present simple) + hardly any (adverbial phrase) + money on clothes.

That’s it – the meaning is exactly the same.

I don’t spend much money on clothes.
I spend hardly any money on clothes.

This is something you can do for all grammar. However if you haven’t studied the grammar, asked about doubts in class then you won’t get it right!

Vocabulario inglés – PET Speaking Part 3

​Here’s some advice about vocabulary for the photos in the individual turn, Part 3.
Remember the aim is to talk about the photo and not describe it and for this you need a good level of vocabulary.

Below is a short list of example themes that might be the subject of the photo, as well as a list of vocabulary for one of the themes, in this case Holidays.

You need to create a list of words for all themes, but in reality should memorise about 10 words, phrases from each list rather than try to remember them all!

To find vocabulary go to Google search, enter vocabulary shopping, for example.

Shopping (supermarkets, street markets, clothes, food)
Holidays (beach/city/countryside)
Family activity (eating, watching TV, cooking etc.)

Example vocabulary

All inclusive
Package holiday
Camping holiday
Cycling holiday
Weekend break
City break
Tropical paradise
Busy streets
Tourist attractions
Go for a get away
Go on holiday
Go on a cruise
Go sightseeing
Go hiking

Go camping

Sun drenched
Palm fringed

You travel (verb) by train, plane, bus, coach, bike.
You go on or take a trip, excursion, voyage, holiday, weekend break, city break.
You go sightseeing (to see monuments, galleries etc.).
You can buy souvenirs, keepsakes.
At the beach you can sunbathe (verb), go for a swim, a paddle, a dip.
At the beach you need suncream, sunglasses, a parasol, a deckchair, a towel, a bucket and spade.
To fly you need to have your tickets, boarding pass.
At the airport you need to check in your luggage, suitcases and go shopping in duty free.

Cómo escribir un artículo en inglés

How to write a fantastic article in English

In B2, C1 and C2 you may be given the option of writing an article, typically between 280-380 words depending on level. It can be aimed at a general audience, as well as young people or academic readers and often from your own experience. So how can you be sure your article merits a pass grade in the exam? By following some simple rules.


Before planning your article think about the following questions, and answers.

1. Who is the target reader and what is the appropriate register?
Young readers – relaxed semi-formal.
General public – semi formal.
Institutions – formal

2. What do you need to include in the article?
This will depend on the topic and task but should include specific vocabulary related to the topic.

Typical Topics include…
Environmental issues – volunteering as a conservationist, for example.
Lifestyle choices – living on the road, etc.
The economy – spending trends, etc.
Arts and entertainment – the cult of film noir, etc.
Society – working with homeless people, etc.

3. How will you make it interesting?
Be sure to use the following to a greater or lesser degree depending on the register –
– precise descriptive vocabulary, the sounds an animal might make for example.
– interesting verb phrases – cross my mind, get involved in, etc.
– neutral phrasal verbs – hand out, come across, etc.
– collocations – member of the public, on loan, dog tired etc.
– advanced adjectives and adverbs – sluggishly, haggard, misty etc.

As well as…
a. non defining relative clauses to add extra information
b. passive structures
c. simple and continuous tenses for relaxed semi formal/semi formal
d. perfect tenses, impersonal passives and inversions for formal

4. What style of language will you use?
This will depend on the task but is generally either,
– anecdotal – your own experience
– objective – a more factual account

Example texts

Look at the two texts below which are part of an answer to the following task.

You recently spent two weeks working as a volunteer on an organic farm as part of a project to familiarise young people from the city with country life. You have been asked to write an article for an environmental newsletter describing your duties and experience.

Text A
As I staggered outside sleepily at 6 a.m the sun was already up and the grass was sparkling with early morning dew. The cows were munching the grass and the sheep were roaming peacefully over a distant hillside. Other than that there was just peace and quiet. No traffic, no horns blaring, no people rushing to work. Yes my job was about to start but for now I had 5 minutes to enjoy the sounds and smells of the natural surroundings.

The target reader is young people and this type of highly descriptive, narrative style captures the imagination and should encourage them to read further. It also contrasts the difference between the lives they know in the city with the countryside and so offers an immediate connection in the first lines of the article. It uses very simple structures, no complex grammar, but uses a rich array of specific and non specific vocabulary.

Text B
I had decided to take part in a volunteer scheme for young people from the city to live and work on a farm for two weeks in the summer. Farm life had always attracted me and I also belonged to an environmental organisation so I had an interest in the growing of organic vegetables and in keeping livestock. So it was with lots of enthusiasm that we set off for the farm one day early in July. Little did I know what delights awaited me!

This is much more formal with past perfect and complex structures which together with its use of higher level nouns (livestock, for example) immediately puts it into semi formal territory. The use of semi formal structures and vocabulary limits the flow of the text, and other than factual information the reader is left with no idea of what an early morning in the countryside might be like.

My opinion
Text A is a fantastic example of a writer communicating well with their audience, young adults who have never experienced the countryside or life without the noise and din of the city. It’s narrative style suits the audience and the newsletter format perfectly.

Text B is dry, not as easy to read, factual and not as appealing or easy to read as Text A.

But of course this is only applicable to this specific task. A newsletter about carbon depletion for an academic journal would be totally different and text A would be completely unsuitable.


1. Understand your reader.
2. Check specific vocabulary.
3. Write a vocabulary list before your plan.
4. Write a short plan – 4/5 paragraphs.
5. Use your imagination.
6. Create a snappy or appropriate title
7. Enjoy it!

Vocabulario Inglés – dinero

When you have money


You can…
Live the high life
Have a high standard of living
Lead a jetset lifestyle
Be a jetsetter
Be a self-made millionaire/billionaire
Be a self-made man/woman

You can also be …
Rolling in money
Have money to burn
Be a cash magnet

Adjectives for people with a lot of money

You can be…
Well off
Comfortably off/well off
Filthy rich
Stinking rich
Rolling in it

Adjectives for people with little or no money

You ca be…
Hard up
Poverty stricken

Idioms for people with little or no money

You can be…
On the bones of your arse
On a tight budget
On the breadline
Living on a shoestring
Find it hard to live within your means
Be a little short
Find it hard to make ends meet

Shopping and spending idioms

You can…
Spend money like water
Fritter money away
Be a spendaholic
Be a shopaholic
Indulge in retail therapy
Shop till you drop
Go window shoppingGo on a shopping trip/excursion/spree

You can…
Pay in cash
Pay by credit card
Put it on the plastic
Buy on the never never
Take out Hire Purchase
Pay in instalments
Take out a loan

Personal characteristics

You can be…

Tight fisted

Nouns for money

Greenbacks (USA)

Specific amounts in English
1 GBP – a quid
5 GBP – a fiver
10 GBP – a tenner
100 GBP – a ton
1000 GBP – a grand

Vocabulario inglés – stupidity

Fool word family

fool concrete noun / verb
foolishness noun
foolish adjective
foolishly adverb

Fool idioms and compounds

Tom foolery
Play the fool
Fool around ( + with – sexual in meaning)
Fools rush in where angles fear to tread

Idiocy word family

Idiot concrete noun
idiocy noun
idiotic adjective
Idiotically adverb

Idiocy idioms and compounds

Village idiot

Retard word family

retard concrete noun / verb
retardation noun
retarded adjective

Other nouns and idioms

Twit concrete noun
Imbecile concrete noun
Daft as a brush
Soft in the head
A penny short
Not the brightest button in the box
Dumb (adj.)
Thick (adj.)
Thick as two short planks
Thick as pigshit
Brainless (adj.)
Gormless (adj.)
Bit of a Boris
Bit of a Trump

Cómo hablar bien en inglés

Speaking well in English

Self correction

Speaking English as a second language is never easy as it involves many skills.

Typically, when you begin learning it’s difficult to remember everything , the vocabulary, the grammar, the pronunciation. Usually new students also translate what they want to say from Spanish into English and then back into Spanish to see if it was correct. This means that students speak too slowly – but with practice and time, as students’ confidence improves, they translate less and less.

One thing you should always do is listen to yourself, to what you say and any mistakes you make. If you do this you can then self-correct any errors. This is very important when you do the speaking in the exam as when you self-correct a mistake that mistake is erased and doesn’t affect your grade.

So, try not to translate but do listen to yourself.

One of the easiest ways to sound more fluent when speaking is to use phrasal verbs and expressions (hot topic, come across, for example). This comes with practise.

The collaborative task is a conversation, you need to speak, listen and respond. You also need to try to be yourself and not sound like a robot. Having a genuine conversion in English with some mistakes is much better than a perfect but robotic and unnatural conversation.

The topic under discussion is usually a hypothetical situation, for example the affects of different technology on our lives. It requires good vocabulary, particularly abstract nouns – for example, teaching, education, learning.

You also need to use non specific vocabulary, for example linkers… However, despite, although, nevertheless etc.

Expressing your opinion in English

Here’s some specific ways of expressing your opinion in the collaborative speaking…. Particularly when it’s a current hot topic such as global warming/the environment, but also education etc.

“the topic….”
…. concerns/worries me a lot
…. concerns/worries me greatly
…. strikes me as the most important issue of our time

I’ve struggled with this issue
I’ve thought about this often
I’ve thought about this a lot
I’ve often considered this
It’s a complex issue
There are many opinions on this
I find it difficult to express my opinion on this
What worries/concerns me is..

Disagreeing in English

I couldn’t disagree more
I can’t agree with/accept that

I don’t quite see your point
That’s not how I see it
That hasn’t been my experience

I think you’re mistaken

Agreeing in English

You’re absolutely right
I couldn’t agree more
That’s how I see it

Asking for clarification in English

I’m sorry I didn’t quite understand that
I’m not sure I understand you correctly

So what you’re saying is….
Are you saying that….
Could you explain that….
In what way is….

Watch out!

Spanish speakers often use the verb to be with agree, example I’m agree. This is absolutely not correct in English. I agree is the correct way of expressing yourself.

Cambridge PET 2020 nuevo formato

What is the new PET exam Format?

The Cambridge PET will be different from January 2020 and both students and teachers need to be aware of the changes.

So, what is different about the new style Cambridge PET exam?
The first question a student asks is whether the exam more or less difficult than before. Here’s my opinion.

Main Changes

Reading and Writing are now separate Parts. Students have 45 minutes to complete each part.

Writing is the same as the old style exam.

Reading now has 6 parts with a new Part where students need to put missing sentences into a piece of text. This is similar to the B2 exam and is quite challenging for students. We will look at the strategy for this part, in detail, in another post.

In my opinion, 45 minutes to complete the Reading with its 6 parts is going to be very difficult for some students. Keyword recognition will be critical if the Reading is to be done within the time.

Listening stays the same but is much shorter in duration, 30 minutes compared to 40 minutes. This has probably been achieved by cutting down on instructions, preparation time for each part, and perhaps the speed of the speakers in the listening. The fact that it is ten minutes shorter suggests that it will be more difficult than before when it was 40 minutes.

Speaking time has also been reduced to 12 mins as opposed to the 15 minutes previously. Personally this is irrelevant as I have yet to know of a single speaking exam that conformed to the quoted time. The length of the speaking depends on the examination centre, how many candidates and examiners they have and how well organised they are. Do not believe you will get the stated time in the speaking – it never happens and may be much shorter or a little longer than the 12 minutes.

We will be looking at the new exam format in-depth shortly.

Download a PDF of what’s new

Here is the official PDF from Cambridge of the new exam format. You may download and print it.

Linkers en inglés B2 FCE/C1 CAE

Contrast linkers in English

In spite of / Despite 
Link two contrasting ideas. Followed by a noun phrase.
Despite leaving early we missed the train
We enjoyed the holiday in spite of the rain.

Although / (Even) though 
Link two contrasting ideas. Followed by a sentence. 
Even though many scientists believe in quantum theory, a small group disagree.

However / Nevertheless / Still /Yet / Even so / On the contrary / In contrast to
Introduce a new idea which marks a contrast with previously stated ideas. Introduced by a comma. 
In contrast to popular opinion, it seems likely that our extinction is close at hand.

On the one hand … On the other hand.
Links two contrasting ideas / paragraphs. 

Link two contrasting ideas. Not separated by commas. 
I like boys whereas Pedro likes girls.

Reason and Cause

Because / As / Since / Seeing that 
Introduce a concept, idea, rebuff.
Since it is well known that English is an important language, many people study it.

Because of / On account of / Owing to / Due to.
Introduce a noun phrase, consequence. 
Flights have been cancelled due to the weather.


In order to / So as to 
Introduce an infinitive of purpose/reason.
A questionnaire was created so as to gather opinions.


Consequently / As a consequence / As a result / Therefore / As a consequence of / As a result of – Followed by a noun phrase. 
As a consequence of recent weather all local trains have been cancelled.


Moreover / Furthermore / In addition / Besides / What’s more 
Used after a strong pause and separated from the sentences. They are introduced by a comma. 
Most people dislike politics, what’s more many actively disengage from it.

As well as / In addition to / Besides 
Used to add  one more piece of information. Followed by a noun phrase. 
As well as questioning students, teachers and other members of staff were approached.


For example / For instance 
Introduces an example referring to previously stated ideas. 

Such as 
Introduces an example referring to the last idea.
I like lots of types of music, such as rap.


Vocabulario inglés – discutiendo

Arguing in English -vocabulary

You can have…

An argument
A disagreement
A fall/falling out
A quarrel
A slanging match
A tiff
A Lover’s tiff
A row
A blow up
A barny

A Punch up – with violence
A set to – with violence

You can also…
Say your peace
Speak your mind

Then you can…

Make up
Make it up
Kiss and make up
Make peace

Settle your differences
Offer an Olive branch
Forgive and forget

Vocabulario para la muerte

Words connected with death

Get over + something (-), examples – a death, a shock, a tragedy, a divorce a cold, the flu

Expressions meaning to calm down when over emotional.
Get over yourself
Pull yourself together

Chill out

There are lots of vocabulary for death and bereavement.
Death (noun)
Deathly (adverb)
Dead (the) (noun)
Dead (adj.)
Deathless (adj.)
Die (verb)

Compound adj.  noun + verb
Death defying – to survive death
Compound adj. verb + adverb
Die hard – difficult to die

Come to terms with a death.’

Bereavement (noun)
Bereaved (c. noun)
Bereaved (adj.)
‘Get over a bereavement.’

Grief (noun)
Grieve (verb)
Grieving (adj.)
Grieved (adj.)
Aggrieved (adj.)

Be stricken with, struggle with, cope with, overcome grief.

Mourning (noun)
Mourner (noun)
Mourn (verb)
Be in/out of mourning.

We have many many expressions connected with death, as in most cultures.

Cómo aprender más palabras en inglés – todos niveles

Learning new English words is essential not only for the exam, but to help your speech sound more natural and fluent. The wrong word, or word form, dropped by mistake into a conversation can be at best confusing, and at worst embarrassing.

Reading books for pleasure and learning English
All English is here…

Secret to success!


Whether in the classroom or in everyday life the printed page is a treasure trove of vocabulary of all types. If your teacher sets a reading exercise for homework don’t simply answer the task questions, use the opportunity to look up any words that you don’t recognise and pay attention to other structures such as verb/noun patterns, collocations etc.

Vocabulary can be split into certain groups, and keeping a written record of these groups will really help when it comes to revision for an exam or any occasion when you need to communicate in English.

Word groups

Keep groups simple so it is easier to remember them, and group them as follows.

GeneralTopic based nouns/verbs/phrasal verbs – examples,
Topic – Technology, online forum, download, look up etc.

General – object nouns – examples, power tool, blusher, waistband etc.

General – phrasal verbs/idioms/collocations – examples, set out, talk of the town, bitter disappointment etc

Word Families – examples, memory (n), memorise (v), memorable (adj.) etc.

Verb Patterns – examples, depend on + ing., decide + inf., used to + ing., etc.

Noun Patterns – examples, difference between, contrast to, etc.

Connectors/Linkers – examples, in spite of + ing/noun, nevertheless + ing etc.

All of these types are found in all forms of written English, but to find as many new words as possible read different types of text, for example scientific articles, fashion magazine articles, narrative fiction, newspapers stories, technical instructions, etc. In the classroom most reading exercises are taken from a wide variety of sources, but you can help yourself and use the internet which has billions of texts, for free.

How to quickly check the meaning of a word, phrasal verb or idiom in English

Very easily, simply enter the word followed by definition into Google and you should be given not only the definition but also synonyms, antonyms etc.

For an even easier way to check the meaning of a general noun simply type the word into Google search followed by the word images.

gerund o infinitivo en inglés B1 y B2

Understanding verb patterns in English

First we need to understand the infinitive and what it is in English.

1. Bare infinitive
Example – play
2. Full infinitive
Example – to play

Some verbs in English always require the following verb to be either 1 or 2 but never both.

Example want, offer, decide to do something.

Verb + object + full/bare inf.
Example tell, ask someone to do something.

Other verbs require an ing verb.
Example – enjoy, detest swimming.

Prepositions also require it.
Example, in, at, on, by etc Crazy about swimming.

Time words such as before or after.

Other verbs can be used with full/bare infinitive or ing
Example – like, love to swim/swimming.

So how can we learn verb patterns?

Easy, Pay attention when doing readings! Write down any verb plus preposition or the form of the verb after the preceding verb, or noun.

Examples – want + to play, depend + on + learning, aware + of + poverty

What is the difference between ing and infinitive?

Again we first need to understand that infinitives represent 3 things in English – reason, purpose, intention. Infinitives do not describe an action in progress or a completed action, merely a fact about an event.

Ing forms represent actions in progress and completed actions.

Verbs like start, stop, begin, finish – words that describe the state of an action/verb can be confusing.

My mum started to dial his number but couldn’t remember it.
No action completed – only intention.

My mum started dialing his number but couldn’t remember it.
No action completed – only intention.

There is no real difference between the sentences.

Why? Because of the verb start. Start always refers forwards to an imminent/future action.


My mum stopped (an unknown action) to speak to her friend (purpose).

My mum stopped speaking (completed action) to her friend.

Totally different – why?

The verb stop tells us that an action finishes – and so usually refers backwards to a previous action, but it can also refer forwards to introduce a future action.

When a verb like stop is followed by the infinitive it tells us the reason/purpose/intention of the next action.

So I know there is a previous unknown, maybe unimportant, action which was interrupted, even if I don’t state it.

When stop is followed by a verb+ing it refers to an ongoing action.

The verb refers backwards or forwards depending on what the writer wants to emphasise or how important different events are.

Pay attention when reading, all patterns are there!

Ensayo de opinión en inglés – B2/C1

An opinion essay is often the first part of the writing in the B2/C1 Exam. Here’s some tips to help you.

How to structure your opinion essay

Para.1. Basic, simple background that reflects the title and that speaks directly to the reader using a question.

Para. 2. A few examples of current opinion and thinking about topic related issues.

Para. 3. Contrasting information to para.2.

Para. 4. Your opinion, either agreeing or disagreeing with points in paragraphs 2/3.

Para. 5. Closing sentence.

Example paragraphs from opinion essay on Global Warming

Para. 1
Glance at any newsstand, switch on the TV, or listen to the radio and it seems we are heading towards an environmental apocalypse. Stories of melting ice caps, extreme weather patterns, and even the extinction of the human species are, it seems, fodder for our politicians and the media. But how true are they?

Para. 2
Let us begin by looking at some specific examples, beginning with deforestation. It is widely reported that… 

Para. 3
A number of solutions have been tried to tackle the above problems. Furniture made from sustainable forests is commonplace within Europe, governments urge us to recycle our household waste, and cycling to work as well as car sharing is actively encouraged. But is this enough?

Para. 4
Having examined the above issues it is my opinion that….

Para. 5
With so many conflicting opinions and statistics it seems we must wait and see for ourselves if current measures will avert the impending environmental Armageddon promised by so many. But by then it might be too late for mankind.

Register and vocabulary for your essay

The above example uses a semi-formal/neutral register but as discussed in another post (here) the level of formality will depend on the intended reader of the essay. As a general rule in B2 use a semi-formal register but a more formal and impersonal style in C1.

Vocabulary plays a vital role in getting the register right and is not as simple as using as many long Latin based words as possible as this hinders the rhythm and flow of your writing and increases formality, which might not be your intention.

In general use a mixture of vocabulary if writing in a semi formal style, for example in the first sentence of the preceding paragraph I chose the word vital rather than important but then used the low level verb get in continuous as well as the verb hinder, another higher level word choice, in the same sentence. If I had used all high level words the formality would be too high, and if too many low levels words the formality would have been too low. Everything is about balance, especially in semi-formal.

Read this for more help.

Getting the grammar right in your essay

Again, this is discussed in detail here, but as a general rule (the same as with vocabulary) a balanced mix of high and low level structures will give you the best result for a semi-formal essay. If you need to write at a higher level of formality use complex structures such as inversions, impersonal passives and perfect tenses, as well as high level linkers and connectors. You can learn about these here.

If you are in doubt the internet is a wonderful source of example material, however be careful, there are many poorly written examples online so choose carefully from well known sources such as Cambridge or Pearson, or academic papers related to the subject of your essay. Don’t copy or emulate influencer’s blogs, they may be clever at marketing themselves to the public but their level of English might not be the best.

Gramática Inglés – inversiones

Inversions in English
In English, inversions are used in formal writing and are very easy to use.

Their most typical usage is to replace if in conditional structures.

The structure is very simple, and writing an inversion very easy.

Typical structure – subject + aux. + verb
Inversion aux. + subj. + verb

If I had known Ricardo was stupid I wouldn’t have married him.

Had I known Ricardo was stupid I wouldn’t have married him.

If she studied she would pass the exam.

Were she to study she would pass the exam.

We also use inversions with certain words such as seldom, rarely, never, hardly, scarcely, etc.

She had seldom seen such a handsome man.

Seldom had she seen such a handsome man.

Using inversions is so simple, there really is no excuse not to use them in a report, formal essay, etc. Try them.

Phrasal Verbs – relationships

​Two people who have a good relationship are often said to get on (well/great/badly) with: I get on really well with both of my brothers.

Meanwhile, people who stop being friends after an argument are frequently said to fall out: The brothers fell out over money.

Our relationships are very important to us so we talk about them a lot. Often, to describe the way we feel about a person, or something that has happened to a relationship, we use phrasal verbs.

Some are used for talking about romantic relationships and others relate to friends and family members. All are common.

Let’s start with the first time we meet another person. If we like them, we may say that we take to them and if, (as sometimes happens), we decide that we do not like them, we may say that we take against them: I hadn’t met Jamie’s girlfriend before but I really took to her – I thought she was lovely./Tom took against Rebecca because she said something bad about his friend.

If we very much like someone that we have just met and become friendly immediately, we sometimes use the informal phrasal verb hit it off: I introduced Jake to Ollie and they really hit it off. (Notice that ‘it’ is always part of this phrase. This is true for a small group of phrasal verbs.)

If one particular thing about a person you have just met makes you not like them, you may say that it puts you off them: Kate’s husband was very rude to our waiter and it put me off him a bit.

Looking now at phrasal verbs that relate to romance, if we suddenly have strong romantic feelings for someone, we may say that we fall for them: Dan was good-looking and charming and I just fell for him.

A common way to say that two people are having a romantic relationship is to say that they are going out (together): Ava and Isaac have been going out for over a year now.

Sadly, not all romantic relationships last. If a couple start arguing a lot, you might say they go through difficulties, (often in the phrase ‘go through a bad patch’): Charles and Sophie went through a bad patch a while back, but I think they’re over it now.

If, over time, a couple gradually become less close until the point when the relationship ends, you may say that they drift apart: There was no big argument – we just gradually drifted apart.

If a married couple or a couple who are going out split up or break up, they end their relationship.
Let’s remember that people who fall out can sometimes make up (= forgive each other and become friends or lovers again).

Bullet lists – inglés

How to create a bullet or numbered list in English.

There are some simple rules about bullet and numbered lists in English, and how to write them well.

You should not write a long or complex sentence after a bullet or numbered list, use between 1 – 5 words only. Brevity or is key.

The first word form following each bullet  in your list must be consistent, but depends on the preceding sentence and word form that introduces the list, and also depending on the verb pattern normally used.


Verb + object = articles
Students reported :
– a lack of space
– an inability to focus
– a clumsy login procedure

Verb + pattern (ing)
Students suggested:
– recycling more paper
– saving water
– reducing heating times

Verb + noun
Students considered the following as important:
– Freedom to experiment
– Enforcement of school policies
– Reciprocation of shared resources

Verb + pattern (infinitive)
Students expressed a desire to:
– Share resources
– Exchange information
– Practice more speaking