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April 30, 2014

Translation table explaining the truth behind British politeness

Translation table explaining the truth behind British politeness becomes internet hit

The British trait of being too polite to speak one's mind has led to a table translating numerous hollow English phrases becoming an internet hit.

The table sheds light on just how difficult it can be for a foreigner to understand what the British really mean when they're speaking – especially for those take every word at face value.
Phrases that prove the trickiest to decipher include 'you must come for dinner', which foreigners tend to take as a direct invitation, but is actually said out of politeness by many Britons and often does not result in an invite.
The table also reveals that when a person from Britain begins a sentence "with the greatest respect ...', they actually mean 'I think you are an idiot'.
I hear what you say I disagree and do not want to discuss it further He accepts my point of view
With the greatest respect You are an idiot He is listening to me
That's not bad That's good That's poor
That is a very brave proposal You are insane He thinks I have courage
Quite good A bit disappointing Quite good
I would suggest Do it or be prepared to justify yourself Think about the idea, but do what you like
Oh, incidentally/ by the way The primary purpose of our discussion is That is not very important
I was a bit disappointed that I am annoyed that It doesn't really matter
Very interesting That is clearly nonsense They are impressed
I'll bear it in mind I've forgotten it already They will probably do it
I'm sure it's my fault It's your fault Why do they think it was their fault?
You must come for dinner It's not an invitation, I'm just being polite I will get an invitation soon
I almost agree I don't agree at all He's not far from agreement
I only have a few minor comments Please rewrite completely He has found a few typos
Could we consider some other options I don't like your idea They have not yet decided
The table points out that when Britons say 'I'm sure it's my fault', it actually means 'it's your fault'.

Source: The Telegraph

April 29, 2014

Wednesday 30


I'd like to tell Mon & Wedn  group that we are going to talk about The #1 Ladies Detective Agency in class on Wednesday. It doesn't matter if you haven't read it, we will be doing different activities to practice the four skills.

Matadero or Slaughterhouse

This is Alicia's wonderful proposal for our school video contest. Even though she didn't win the prize, it is still grrreat and worth the great effort she's put on it.

April 24, 2014

Mind the gap, BBC

Would you like to see the video Ángel showed in class yesterday?
Nice story, isn't it?

Woman protects her house

16-04-2014 15:00                
These images show the horrific moment a woman was repeatedly punched in the face by burglars who broke into her home.

The 56 year-old woman tackled the burglars in her dressing gown, as they were leaving her house in Kettering.

The pair tried to steal two of her family’s cars after failing to force open a side door of the house. They then went to the rear of the home and entered through the back door. It was at this point that the woman confronted the two.

One of the men punched her in the face six times before running away without the car keys.

Difficult words: horrific (extremely bad), burglar (person who steals), tackle (to start fighting somebody), dressing gown (piece of long clothing), rear (back).

Source: News in Levels,

April 23, 2014

Awesome school video

This video was recorded by a group of devoted students from Tuesday & Thursday group to participate in our school video contest. Don't they deserve the 1st prize? 
Well done!
The password is "Embajadores"

A SATURDAY MORNING from pepe caraballo on Vimeo.

April 22, 2014

Time travelling


Remember to follow this model to present your speeches about time-travelling in class:

Rank the periods that, If you could time travel, you would visit first, second, or never. Justify your answer.

1. Prehistoric Age
2. Jesus Christ era
3. 1800's
4. A few years ago
5. The 60's
6. 20 years in the future
7. 100 years in the future
8. 500 years in the future

Choose a time period. Prepare a speech to share with the rest of the class. Follow the model below. Make sure you use the 2nd conditional.

If I could time travel across , first I ______________________________ because ____________. Second, I _____________________ beacause ____________, and finally I _____________________ because _____________. However, I _____________ (never) because_______________.

April 23rd

For those of you who can attend this event, it would be great to see you at the Opera Plaza from 12 to 14h. It's a nice way of showing your support for the Official Schools.

April 21, 2014

New York

This is Teresa's presentation from Tuesday and Thursday group about New York. Awesome city and wonderful photographs, don't you think?


Make up your mind

Do you know what this expression means? Watch and listen to it!
For more programs on Idioms in a minute, visit this page Source: VOA English in a Minute

April 20, 2014



Casualty is a widely used word in the news. Learn about its meaning in this VOA English video.

Funny product labels

How is your vacation going on? I'm dropping this nice vocabulary sheet for you to check and listen to.
Source: HotEnglish magazine

April 13, 2014

Listening Practice

Cristina, my colleague at the English Department, has published a nice listening activity on Crime in Spain in her blog.

cristischool: More listening practice

Have a great Spring Break!

April 11, 2014

Dream Idioms

Will you dare to make your dreams come true? Listen to it as well.

Source: HotEnglish Magazine

April 09, 2014

A Personal Statement

You are required to write down a personal statement for Spring Break. We will be following pages 128 and 129 from your coursebook (Exercise A from Practice). 
What is then a personal statement? 
If you are applying for nationally competitive scholarships, for graduate school, or for a number of post-graduate service or employment opportunities, you have seen the vaguely phrased request; in one form or another, it comes down to “tell us something about yourself.”

A personal statement is:
  • A picture. Your personal essay should produce a picture of you as a person, a student, a potential scholarship winner, and (looking into the future) a former scholarship recipient.
  • An invitation. The reader must be invited to get to know you, personally. Bridge the assumed distance of strangers. Make your reader welcome.
  • An indication of your priorities and judgement. What you choose to say in your statement tells the firm/committee what your priorities are. What you say, and how you say it, is crucial.
  • A story, or more precisely, your story. Everyone has a story to tell, but we are not all natural storytellers. If you are like most people, your life lacks inherent drama. This is when serious self-reflection, conversation with friends, family, and mentors, and permission to be creative come in handy
Most importantly, a personal statement is authentic. Don’t make the mistake of trying or guess what the firm or committee is looking for, and don’t write what you think they want to hear. They want to know you.
So, what must you include in the personal statement? An effective personal statement will answer the following questions: 
- Who am I?
- Who do I want to be?
- What kind of contribution do I want to make, and how?
- Why does it make sense for me to work or study at Oxford (or York, Cambridge,Sussex)?

Remember the goal: grab the readers’ interest, and make them want to meet you for an interview. Get a sense of the experiences and dreams you wish to share, then examine them for a helpful means of making sense of it all. You will find your story; and if you share it honestly, you will have written a personal statement. 
Examples of Statements, Purdue OWL University

Kid president's 20 things we should say more often

This is a pep talk Marisa showed in class. Good vibes!

April 08, 2014

The Expert (Short Comedy Sketch)


I hope you enjoy this fun video Paloma, from Monday & Wed group, sent:

April 07, 2014

Recycling vocabulary


After units 7 and 8 from our coursebook, it'd be good to work on related vocabulary:
Source: New English File

April 05, 2014

Third conditional

The third conditional is used to talk about things which did not happen in the past. It is often used to express criticism or regret:

If you had driven more carefully, you would not have had an accident.
Criticism: You had an accident because you didn't drive carefully enough.
If we had played a little better, we could have won the game. Regret: We didn't play well, so we lost the game.

Why not have a try at these links?

April 03, 2014


There are many specific terms in The #1 Ladies Detective Agency that you might not be familiar with, therefore I encourage you to use this glossary of specific terms by the autor:

Mma is the term used to address a woman, and may be placed before her name. It is pronounced "ma" (with a long a). 

Rra is the rough equivalent of "mister". It is pronounced "rar", but with a slight rolling of the second r. 

Mma Ramotswe is the daughter of the late Obed Ramotswe.
African English makes frequent use of the word late in this context. People say: "My father is late" rather than use more brutal expressions. At one point Mma Ramotswe refers to a "late dog" which had been run over by a steamroller. This shows great delicacy. 

Mr J.L.B. Matekoni always uses his initials. Why this formality? People in Botswana can be fairly formal with one another. In Mr J.L.B. Matekoni's case, that is what he has always been called and nobody has ever found out what the initials stand for. The L is, in fact, Livingstone. 

April 02, 2014


And now, can you place these cities in this  map of Botswana?
  1. Gaborone
  2. Mochudi
  3. Molepolole
  4. Mafikeng


I imagine that you've already started reading The #1 ladies Detective Agency, in any case it'll be useful to find this info that will help you understand the context:
  • Find information about the writer Alexander McCall Smith.
  • Find Botswana in this map of Africa
  • What are Botswana's official languages?
  • What is its currency?

Do The Africa Quiz online:

April 01, 2014

Ways of offering something

These are common expressions to offer something. Use them!
Would you like…? is the most usual way of offering something to someone, or inviting them to do something. 
Do you want…? is a more informal way of offering something to someone:
Would you like a magazine to read while you’re waiting?’ ‘Thanks very much, that would be great.’
Do you want another coffee?’ ‘No, thanks – I must be going.’
Would you care for…? is a very formal way of asking someone if they would like something:
Would you care for dessert, madam?’ ‘Thank you, I’ll have the apple pie.’

(Do you) fancy…? (British English) and How about…? are informal ways of asking someone if they would like something:
Fancy an ice cream?’ ‘No, thanks, I’m on a diet.’ ‘How about a cold drink then?’ ‘OK, I’ll have a diet cola.
Who wants…? is used when offering something to a group of people.
Can I get you…? is used especially when offering someone food or drink:
Who wants another glass of wine?’ ‘I’d love one.’
Can I get you anything?’ ‘I’m fine, thanks.’
What will you have? and What can I get you? are used when asking someone what they would like, especially in a restaurant, bar or café:
‘It’s my turn to get the drinks. What will you have?’ ‘An orange juice, please.’

I couldn’t and Not for me, thanks are both ways of politely refusing food or drink that someone has offered you. Not for me, thanks is more informal:
‘Would you like another piece of cake?’ ‘I couldn’t. It was delicious though.’
‘Do you want salad with your pizza?’ ‘Not for me, thanks.’