The UK and the poppy

Hello everyone!

Have you seen people wearing poppies on their clothes lately? Even though we’re in November it has nothing to do with Thanksgiving but with World War I.

Our teacher Stephen Murphy has written an article so that you can know more about the origin of this tradition. Read on! Continue reading “The UK and the poppy”

The Passive Voice (Part 2)

Hello everyone!

Last January we wrote a post about the passive voice (you can check it out here) but we told you that it was part 1! So today we are going to take a look at 2 other types of passives (usually for Intermediate students and above) which can be quite tricky to master.

Let’s take a look at the following active sentence: Continue reading “The Passive Voice (Part 2)”

Question tags (Part I)

Hi there everyone!

I can see that our last post (Internet slang) really caught your attention, didn´t it? I wanna say a big thank you for all the visits, pings and trackbacks we’ve been getting for the last couple of weeks. It’s just been amazing!

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But I reckon you really want the answers for the Internet Slang challenge, don’t you? Well, here they are:  Continue reading “Question tags (Part I)”

Internet slang

Hello eveybody!

HRU? What do you think our renewed website and blog? Judging by your hits on the site it must be pretty cool, eh?

Well, FYI, pretty cool new things are going on at Euroschool! Everybody is B2W and I promise you will soon know about them but, meanwhile, let’s take a look at some internet abbreviations, shall we? 🙂 Continue reading “Internet slang”

Improving your Listening skills

Hi there!

As the summer holidays come closer some students frequently ask us how they can improve their listening results. Well, the answer seems straightforward: come to class in summer! The truth is that three months is a really long time and if students stop coming to class, their listening and speaking is affected.

So here is my first tip, whether you choose a summer camp, some weeks in the UK or coming to classes, do not interrupt your learning process for more than four weeks.

Having said this, there are a few things students can do at home to refresh and/or improve their receptive skills (reading and listening):

  1. Speak up magazines:I always advise my students, especially the ones who struggle with Listening, to take them home.They are great practice for both Reading and Listening as the magazine includes articles categorised by level that you can either read and listen to before answering some questions.
  2. Watch series and videos:Nowadays, the Internet provides a huge number of choices. If you like travelling, we suggest you check out the “BBC Coast” videos, on YouTube’s BBC 1 channel. It’s good practice and great fun!
  3. Read the news:But in English, of course. Again, the Internet is our best friend here. Follow newpapers from the UK and the US on Twitter (for example) and you will get your daily practice while being informed. Remember that if you are more traditional and prefer paper format, El País issues a daily international newspaper called “Herald Tribune” (if you live in A Coruña, you can buy it in the kiosk in “Plaza de Mina”)
  4. Skype lessons:Last but not least, remember that, even if you don’t feel like coming to the school in summer, or if you don’t live in A Coruña, you can have Skype lessons with us (All levels, all areas covered) so there’s actually no excuse! 😉

So! Have you already chosen? Contact us for more info or more ideas! Happy San Juán and happy summer solstice to all you guys! 😀

Present Perfect vs Past Simple

Hello everyone!

Today we are going to talk about a grammar point that is usually quite a pickle for students up to Upper-Intermediate level: Present Perfect vs Past Simple.

Let’s start thinking about TIME, not about tenses, but about time. There are only 3 times: PAST – PRESENT – FUTURE

In this way, we hardly ever doubt when we need to use Past Simple. We simply use it to talk about an action that started in the past and finished in the past.

E.g: “What did you do last weekend?”

We use the Past Simple because the weekend started and finished in the past time.

So, when do we use the Present Perfect tense?

The present perfect is a tense that connects past time and present time.

E.g: When we ask ‘Have you been to Paris?’ what we mean is ‘Have you been to Paris at any time from the moment you were born until now?’

In this way, we can learn a lot about the time we are talking about if the person we are talking to uses the correct tense. We can use Past Simple or Present Perfect in the same sentence, depending on when we are saying it.

Let’s take a look at these sentences as an example:

a)      ‘Did you see Mary this morning?’


As we can see, part of today is in the past time, so when I say ‘Did you see Mary this morning?’, I am doing it because it’s either the afternoon, evening or night of the same day, so the morning already belongs to the past time. You can see it better in the following timeline:

This is today:

Let’s imagine that it’s 5 o’clock in the afternoon and you will see how part of the day belongs to the past, other part to the future and how the present is just 17’00h:

b)        ‘Have you seen Mary this morning?’

If I use the Present Perfect tense in this sentence is because the morning is not over, so it started in the past but continues in the present.

We could use this sentence if, for example, it was 11.30 in the morning:

To review all past tenses, we recommend you check the following podcast: ‘The mystery story’, it’s great practice and great fun!!!

I hope this post has helped you to clarify the use of these tenses and remember: everything’s about time! 😉

Have a great week! 😀

T                             O                            D                            A                            Y

Now, this is today:

Deconstructing sentence transformation

Hello everyone!!!!

Today we have a very special post prepared by our Director of Studies about sentence transformation but, before that, you need the answers for the passives exercises, don’t you?  How do you think you did? Let’s take a look! 😉

Exercise 1:

1.- The game has been won by Manchester United

2.- The last piece of cake was had/taken by Mark and Kevin

3.- An umbrella is being carried by Jane

4.- My book has been stolen (we omit the agent)

5.- The police are being phoned by my neighbours.

Exercise 2:

1.- A message will be sent…

2.- … ball was kicked over the…

3.- … had clearly been broken…

4.- … have been met by…

5.- … being repaired by the technician…

And now… Welcome to the world of sentence transformations!!! Enjoy!!! 🙂

Deconstructing Transformations

Transformations can be found in various different Cambridge examinations and, for many students and candidates, they represent one of the greatest challenges in Use of English. One reason for this is that many transformations test not only a particular grammar point, but also vocabulary. Although the word limit differs, the same basic technique can be applied to FCE, CAE, CPE and to some extent, PET.

Technique: Deconstructing a transformation

Steps:

1. Read the instructions. Across the levels, the instructions are the same; complete the second sentence so that it has a similar meaning to the first, using the word given (except PET, where no word is given). What changes is the word limit:

PET 1 – 3 words

FCE 2 – 5 words

CAE 3 – 6 words

CPE 3 – 8 words

Remember, a contraction (e.g don’t / he’s) counts as 2 words.

2. Read the original sentence in this example.

What is the time reference (past / present /future)?

Example: They are building a new supermarket in the town centre

(FCE) BEING (word given)

A ………………………………………………………….. in the town centre.

Answer: present.

3. Compare the 2 sentences. Underline the words which appear in both.

They are building a new supermarket in the town centre

BEING (word given)

A ………………………………………………………….. in the town centre.

By doing this, you focus on what exactly needs to be changed, ‘..are building a new supermarket..’

4. Compare the order of the words in both sentences. If the order differs, why do you think this is? In the example, the transformation does not begin with the subject pronoun ‘They’, but with the article ‘A’. This would suggest a passive form.

5. Look carefully at the word given. What kind of word is it?

BEING (_ing form of the verb ‘be’)

Could this be the first word you need to write? ‘A BEING……..’

No. This would not make sense in the context of this transformation, but why not?

The article ‘A’… means a countable noun is probably required. Is there a countable noun in the original sentence?

Yes: ‘…a new supermarket..?

Is the adjective ‘new’ necessary?

In any transformation, if you are not sure whether to include the adjective or not, check the word limit. If it can be used without exceeding the word limit, use it. Remember step one: the second sentence must as similar as possible as the first sentence.

A new supermarket …………………………………. In the town centre

6. Look again at the word given: BEING. Can this word be used next? No, but why not?

Which auxiliary verb is needed to form a continuous tense?

Answer: is/are was/were

Remember step 2: time reference (in this case, present) = is/are

Is there a singular or plural reference? (in this case singular; ‘A new supermarket…) = is

A NEW SUPERMARKET IS BEING………………..in the town centre

By this point, 4 words have been used. If you have managed to get this far, you will know that this is a passive sentence so what is missing is a past participle. The original sentence uses the verb in its continuous form ‘building’. Is the verb ‘build’ a regular or an irregular verb?

Answer: irregular = BUILT

A NEW SUPERMARKET IS BEING BUILT in the town centre

This answer would receive 2 marks.

At FCE / CAE / CPE, each transformation is worth up to 2 marks. This means that if you have part of the transformation correct, you can still receive 1 mark. You do not lose marks for writing an incorrect answer, so always write something, using the word given, after all, 1 mark is better than 0!

Good Luck.

Andy (DOS)

Tune in, turn on or drop out!

Hello everyone!

It’s phrasal verb’s fun day!!! These multi-word verbs are usually feared by many students but, as I told you in the previous post, today we are going to have some fun with them!

There is a little poem by our Director Terence J. Paul (aka Terry) that I’m sure you’ll find challenging as well as extremely enjoyable! 😀

Students of English, please listen to my tale

of the birth of that child who makes you wail.

Her name was Hazel, his name was Herb

the fruit of their union – a Phrasal Verb.

No one could get it, none could stand

a child so tricky, so underhand.

They studied his meanings, so deep and obscure

but for a child so tricky there was no cure.

His meanings were multiple and arbitrary at that

his particle could change at the drop of a hat.

She’d say “make out” and mean “see a distance”

he’d say “make out” – “ligar” in this instance.

He’ll say “go through” and mean “check” or “assess”

nothing to do wirh “ir” and less with “a través”.

So, what can be done with such a troublesome child

to stop him from driving all students wild?

There has to be a system, a strategy, a plan

to help you to study as best as you can.

Now such a plan I’ll give you to make a new start.

To ease all your nightmares and put hope in your heart.

So do as I say and read what I write

and all the phrasal problems will vanish overnight.

Written by Terence James Paul (all rights reserved)

So, let’s take a look at those problems!

The most common problems:

  • The amount of phrasal verbs there are
  • They usually have more than one meaning (figurative vs literal)

Solutions:

  • Don’t let just a number overwhelm you. 🙂  Remember that you have started learning them most likely at the same time you started studying English. If you think about it, aren’t “get up” or “wake up” phrasal verbs?
  • Just look at them as words, just one more part of your vocabulary list, and how do you gain vocabulary? Read! Read every single article or piece of writing you run into. Having said this, it is true that figurative meaning phrasal verbs are hardly ever found in writings or books because they are considered too informal so, how can you become familiar with them? Well, how about films and series? I can assure you that we teachers can definitely tell when a student watches TV in English (even with English subtitles) due to his/her range of vocabulary, listening skills and pronounciation.

So, what are you waiting for? Turn your TV on or surf the Internet to watch a film or an episode of your favourite series in English! And remember that at Euroschool we are opening a Cinema Club you can also join!  I promise you’ll realise it makes a big difference! 🙂

Now clic the link below for some phrasal verb’s fun!

Macmillan Games

Until the next post folks! Go hard on those verbs! 😉

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! 😉



Welcome Everybody!

Welcome everybody! In Euroschool we had been thinking for a while how we could share with you our passion for English language. Some weeks ago we came up with the idea of having a blog-like area on our website where you could get to know English culture better, find out curious facts and idioms and, of course, improve your English skills!

Red Lobster is a piece of Euroschool’s heart getting to you on a weekly basis. The posts will be divided in the following categories:

  • Miscellanea: Videos, funny comics, jokes, games and much more!
  • The teacher’s corner: A space where we will help you to resolve all your doubts!

Confusing grammar: Sometimes grammar can be tricky but in this area we will clarify it through pictures, examples, diagrams…. Everything will be much easier!

Writing folder: That moment when a blank page terrifies you… What is the layout? What are content points? How do I write an essay? Well, Euroschool to the rescue!

Kiddies: And last but not least in the teacher’s corner, our kiddies! We couldn’t forget about them! Songs, tales, numbers, colouring pages, they’ll love it!

  • English culture: Thanksgiving, Boxing Day…. And what’s all that “Saint Patrick” thing about? Wait and see my friends…. 😀
  • It happened in Euroschool: And, of course, the breaking news area! Mock exams, results, birthdays, funny/interesting anecdotes…

In a week our first post will be here and the first category is……

English culture!

You’ll read me again soon but, in the meantime, have you ever seen London in winter? Click below and find out! 😉

London in Winter