The Passive Voice (Part 1)

Hi  guys!!!

How’s 2016 treating you?

Today we are going to take a look at “The Passive Voice” as most students at Intermediate level struggle with them and, without a good base, even upper intermediate and First Certificcate students find it confusing when it comes to sentence transformations.

What is the passive voice?

When we form a sentence we tend to do it in active voice (Subject + verb + direct object), focusing the reader’s attention on the person performing that action. E.g.: “Steve eats an apple”

On the contrary, the passive voice focuses on the receiver of the action (in this case “an apple”). E.g.: “An apple is eaten by Steve”

Notice that both sentences have the same meaning despite having a different structure.

How is the passive formed?

Take a look at how the structure changes:

1.- The subject in active voice is now after the verb, we call it “Agent”

2.- The direct object (an apple) is now at the beginning of the sentence (it has become the subject)

3.- The verb stays in the same place but…. Why are there two words now? ❓

Passive tenses:

In the active voice sentence (“Steve eats an apple”) the verb is in present simple and, believe it or not, so it is in the passive voice one (“An apple is eaten by Steve”).But, why have we got two words now?

Notice how the verb carrying the tense is now the verb “to be” and how the main verb (carrying meaning) is now in Past Participle.

Knowing this, we can now form passives in any tense we want.

E.g.:

PRESENT CONTINUOUS: “Steve is eating an apple” vs “An apple is being eaten by Steve”

PAST SIMPLE: “Steve ate an apple” vs “An apple was eaten by Steve”

PAST CONTINUOUS: “Steve was eating an apple” vs “An apple was being eaten by Steve”

PRESENT PERFECT SIMPLE: “Steve has eaten an apple” vs “An apple has been eaten by Steve”

Notice how, independently from the tense, in the passive the main verb is always in past participle.

So, would you like to give it a go? Here it is an exercise for you to practise the passive voice and, to avoid temptation, we will post the correct anwers in the next post! 😉

EXERCISE 1:

Turn these active voice sentences into the passive voice:

1.- Manchester United have won the game

2.- Mark and Kevin had the last piece of cake

3.- Jane is carrying an umbrella

4.- Someone has stolen my book

5.- My neighbours are calling the police

EXERCISE 2:

Complete the second sentence, with a minimum of 2 words and a maximum of 5, so that it has a similar meaning (the closer the better) to the first one  using the word given:

1.-My secretary will send you a message next week.

SENT

_____________________ to you by my secretary next week.

2.- John kicked the ball over the fence

WAS

The ______________________ fence by John

3.- Someone had obviously broken the glass on the floor

CLEARLY

The glass ______________________ on the floor

4.- The class have met many famous people on the school trip

BY

Many celebrities ______________________ the class on the school trip.

5.- The technician is fixing the computer now

REPAIRED

The computer is _______________ now.

Steve eats an apple

An apple is eaten by Steve

Are you going to London? (Odd English laws)

Hello everyone!!!

Merry Christmas!!!!! I hope you are having a great time and a good rest this holiday.

Today we are going to talk about London. Many of our students go to the capital to check their English skills and absorb some of the amazing, and sometimes quite surprising, British Culture and we think it is an awesome idea, specially this time of the year as it is so beutiful. However, did you know that Spanish and British laws are sometimes different? That’s right! And sometimes you have to be very careful not to break them.

Don’t worry though, no need to panic! We are going to detail three situations in which you may be breaking the law without even realizing. Take a look!

  1. Gambling in the library: Yeah, yeah, I know what you are thinking. There’s nothing more appealing than going to the British Museum Library and take a break from walking while playing a good game of “mus”, not in England though.. Sorry about that! 😀
  2. Having a whale as a pet: I know, I know… Truly sorry about that you will have to find a Spanish one if you want a pet whale as all of those in England are property of the Queen. 😮
  3. Being drunk… in a pub!: Now, you can get drunk in a pub but you have to leave your drink and go outside the moment you’re drunk! So remember that if you are spending New Year’s Eve in one!

Well, I hope you liked our post/warning about going to the UK! And remember, if you have any doubt whether something is legal, better ask a bobby!!!! 😉

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year 2016!!! 🙂

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There's always something to be thankful for, happy Thanksgiving!

…and happy Black Friday, of course!!!

I am sure most of you are familiar with the Thanksgiving celebration; celebrated mainly in the USA, every November we can see movies and even our favourite series celebrating this festivity. But where does it come from, and more importantly, how is it related to Black Friday?

Well, in 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians celebrated autumn harvest by getting together and sharing the food every family had obtained during the summer-autum season. However, it wasn’t until 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November. The celebration as we know it today started when Abraham Lincoln finally called all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation” as the Civil War came to an end.

He scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November, and it was celebrated on that day every year until 1939, when Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression.


So we could say that, in a way, Roosevelt started what we know today as “Black Friday” but it wasn’t until the 1960s when the term stuck to mark of the kickoff to the Christmas shopping season.

What I´ve always wondered is, why Black Friday? After all, the colour black isn’t something people associate with good things, is it? Well, as usual, we found an explanation for it. Apparently, at the time shops, and specially retail shops, had a colour code on their accounting records that went from red (to indicate loss) to black (to indicate profit). And so Black Friday was expected to become the date when the shops made most of their profit for the month, the name couldn’t have been more appropiate and it seems to have worked out really well because ever since the start of the modern Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924, the Friday after Thanksgiving has been known as the unofficial start to a bustling holiday shopping season which, although not an official holiday, is a day off for most employees except, of course, for those working in retail.

Black Friday is becoming more and more popular in Spain, up to the point that some shops have already announced that the discounts will last 10 days this year.

There you have it, now: got some money to burn? Then go for it and start your Christmas shopping next Friday! Oh, and by the way: if you shop from the UK online you may get an even bigger discount! 😉

Happy Halloween!

Hello everyone!

Are you ready for the spookiest night of all year? Nowadays we’re all familiar with Halloween and all its traditions such as trick-or-treating, bonfires, costume parties, visiting “haunted houses” and carving jack-o-lanterns. But, where do these festivities come from?

The Origins…

The word Halloween is a shortening of All Hallows’ Evening also known as Hallowe’en or All Hallows’ Eve and it has its origins in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced “sah-win” in English and “Samaín” in Galician).

The festival of Samhain is a celebration of the end of the harvest season in Gaelic culture. It was a time used by the ancient pagans to take stock of supplies and prepare for winter. The ancient Gaels believed that on October 31, the boundaries between the worlds of the living and the dead overlapped and the deceased would come back to life and cause havoc such as sickness or damaged crops.

The festival would frequently involve bonfires as it was believed that the fires attracted insects to the area which attracted bats. These are additional attributes of the history of Halloween.

Masks and costumes were worn in an attempt to mimic the evil spirits or appease them but, actually, the practice of dressing up in costumes and begging door to door for treats on holidays goes back to the Middle Ages. Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of “souling,” when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls Day (November 2).

But then, how come the USA is now the country which celebrates it the most?

Well, Irish and Scottish immigrants carried versions of the tradition to North America in the nineteenth century and it stuck. Halloween is now popular in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, and due to increased American cultural influence in recent years, imported through exposure to US television and other media, trick-or-treating has started to occur among children in many parts of Europe, and in the Saudi Aramco camps of Dhahran, Akaria compounds and Ras Tanura in Saudi Arabia.

The most significant growth and resistance is in the United Kingdom, where the police have threatened to prosecute parents who allow their children to carry out the “trick” element.


As you can see, Galician, Irish and Scottish people share a very profound bond: The Celtic culture. We share cultural background and traditions which shouldn’t be overlooked! So go ahead and enjoy Halloween or Samhain, because, at the end of the day, the name is the least important thing!

Happy and spooky Halloween and Samhain folks! Watch out for ghosts!!!

Special thank you to our teacher Eoin for contributing to this post. Cheers Eoin!

We're back!!!!!

Hi people!!!

How is the summer going? It is September already!

In Euroschool we’re already preparing the new school year and today we would like to show you a little bit more about us. So let’s get started with a few words from our Director!

`April is the cruelest month……….´or at least that´s what the esteemed poet Thomas Stearns Eliot believed. I´m not sure if schoolchildren around the world  who are now returning to their desks or adults who are returning to their respective jobs would agree. September….they may argue, seems a much crueler deal. After a month or more of enjoying the long, lazy “glorious” days of summer, it is once more unto the breach and no more onto the beach (to paraphrase good ol´Henry V).

Fortunately, here at Euroschool we face no such dilemma. Now that the school is open all year round each day seems like a good day and while each term brings its own challenges we take great pride in being able to offer our services to  those who need them….when they need them.

Speaking of which, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the teachers and students who worked tirelessly throughout the summer and offer my Congratulations to those students who were successful in their exams and my commiserations to those who fell short. Indeed, we are all immensely proud of the June Exam Results in which we managed to maintain our overall pass rate of 85%.

Congrats and thanks must also go to all our teachers and students who took part in our off – site summer courses : England, Southsea; Manzaneda, Galicia and The Big, Fat, Fun Urban Camp, Los Castros. The feedback has been incredibly positive and for that we are eternally grateful.

And so to THE FUTURE. I´m sure you´re all anxious to know what we have planned next. Well, more of the same for one thing and MORE of the new for another. Plans are afoot to relaunch our cinema club, open a conversation club and put into practice any of the ideas you may come up with. So put your thinking caps on and get ready for another GREAT YEAR at EUROSCOOL.

Remember: What we achieve tomorrow depends on what we do today.

Excelsior.

Terence James Paul.

Now, do you want to take a look at our school? Well, you know you just have to ask!


This is us!

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Euroschool of English, because “What we achieve tomorrow, depends on what we do today”

So go ahead and contact us via the comments section on this very page, web (www.euroschoolofenglish.com), Facebook, phone (981140024) or just come and visit (Fernando Macías Nº13), we’ll be more than happy to help and welcome you aboard!

I’m sure we’ll see each other very soon! 😉



The most exciting thing happened in Euroschool!

What a great way to start a new category!!! Don’t know what I’m talking about? Well, no one better than our director and owner of Euroschool of English Terence J. Paul (aka Terry)  to tell you the great news!

Dear Red Lobster Reader,

I hope you are well and truly immersed in this new aspect of Euroschool. As you should know, we at ES are always trying to develop new ways of improving the service we provide. The Red Lobster blog is just one of the many innovations we hope to introduce over the next few terms. Keep your eyes peeled!

Indeed, we are very proud to announce that Euroschool has recently been selected as a premium preparation centre for Cambridge Examinations and presented with a 2015 Achievement Award by Cambridge English. The award is given to those centres which have excelled in the preparation of candidates for Cambridge English Examinations.

Euroschool was awarded not simply for the exceedingly high number of candidates it prepares but mainly for the extremely elevated pass rate (successful candidates) that it has achieved over the years.

For this we thank our administration staff, our teachers and most importantly, our students. It is your commitment and success that keeps Euroschool at the top of its game.

Here’s to more success and the next award!

Excelsior

Not much more to add guys! Just to remind you to keep an eye on the Red Lobster because our next post will be…. how can I say it? Well, it’s just gonna blow your mind! 😉