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”

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! 😀

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)

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! 😉