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September 30, 2014

Welcome to this new course!

Dear all,

I'd like to welcome you to the 2014-2015 course. This year we are going to learn English at the B1.1 level. I hope we can create a wonderfully rich learning community with the experiences of every student in class.

Our coursebook will be: New English File Intermediate (Third Edition) from Oxford University Press.
There is also the Workbook with the key that will give you extra practice. The book's web page brings plenty of activities for you to explore.

This blog is intended to help you keep learning English outside the classroom. There are frequent posts for you to develop different skills, but mainly the listening and reading ones. Feel free to comment on anything in the blog and try to formulate a personal opinion in English about the various topics on it. The links on the right side will let you keep learning English and are there for you to explore and often visit. There is also some important school information such as the calendar and school guidelines on the first block.

Finally I'd like to tell you that I'm afraid I won't be able to attend the 1st day of class on Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd because my mum is going to be operated.
I'll be with you in class on Monday 6th and Tuesday 7th though. I apologize for the inconvenience.

Have an awesome new school year full of inspiring learning experiences!
Ms Bermejo

September 29, 2014

Happiness quotes


How about 21 happiness quotes? Do you agree with them?
  • Which one is your favourite?
  • Which one you don't agree with? why?

September 25, 2014


This week’s language tip helps with the verb avoid: 

Avoid is never used with an infinitive. It is followed by a verb in the -ing form:

Avoid to use long quotations unless really necessary.
Avoid using long quotations unless really necessary.
✗ A survey has found that most smokers would avoid to eat out if smoking were banned.
✓ A survey has found that most smokers would avoid eating out if smoking were banned.

Macmillan language tips

September 20, 2014

Would you have founded this ugly sweater company?

Another Shark Tank program about Tipsy Elves, an entrepreneur duo reinventing the Christmas sweater. Would you have backed Tipsy Elves? 


September 17, 2014


This week’s language tip helps with using the patterns that follow the noun risk. The noun risk is not normally followed by an infinitive. Use the pattern the/a risk of doing something:
✗ Smokers themselves have a high risk to get cancer.
✓ Smokers themselves have a high risk of getting cancer.
✗ If you eat too much you run the risk to have serious health problems.
✓ If you eat too much you run the risk of having serious health problems.
Risk can also be followed by a simple prepositional phrase:
  • The risk of a major nuclear accident must be taken seriously.
  • The President runs the risk of assassination with every public appearance.
In certain circumstances, risk can be followed by an infinitive:
  • You may have to be self supporting for quite a while, which is a big risk to take.
  • Hoping that everything will go right is quite a risk to take with your oral health.
Source: Macmillan Language Tips

September 14, 2014

The deep web

the deep web also the dark web (noun)

A part of the Internet that cannot be accessed with conventional browsers or search tools, often used for illegal activity.

'The underbelly of the Internet, known as the deep web, is 500 times the size of what we call the surface web – that which can be searched and indexed by the likes of Google, Yahoo! and Bing.'  
SC Magazine UK 18th July 2014 
'A senior RAF airman who served in Afghanistan has been jailed for making … weapons and then selling them on the dark web.'  
The Telegraph UK 2nd July 2014
It seems that the Internet is a bit like the sea – there's the frothy bit on the surface that everyone sees and routinely uses in daily life, but below it lies a gigantic chasm with hidden depths, only explored and utilized by a handful of specialists. It's this virtual underworld which is now sometimes described as the deep web or the dark web, and it often has rather sinister associations.

The exact proportions of the deep web haven't been established, but it's likely to be many hundreds of times bigger than the surface web, and contain a massive repository of data that can't be located by a simple Google search.

As more and more people across the world access the Internet, they're in fact finding less and less of the data that's actually stored online. The web as we know it can be viewed with standard web browsers and search engines, but in the same way that just the tip of an iceberg can be seen by observers, these tools only allow us access to a mere fraction of the web in its entirety. Buried below the web we know and love, which is often correspondingly characterized as the surface web, lies the deep (or dark) web, also known as the hidden/invisible web, or the undernet.
Source: Macmillan Buzz word

September 11, 2014

Barabara Corcoran's Shark Tank

Shark Tank is a very popular tv show that came to Spanish television not long ago. Have a listen to their business proposal, and try to answer these questons:
- what's the name of their company?
- how much are they asking?
- how much have they made so far?
- would that business idea be successful in Spain?

September 10, 2014

An online English course

I am posting a link for you to join a MOOC (Massive Online Open Courses) course, which is a free online course. This is for the B1 level of English by the British Council. You can even get a diploma. This is one example of the courses of the future.
Even though the course has already started, you can register online today and start doing all the  activities

Exploring English: Language and Culture

This course for learners of English looks at British culture and examines English in use to help you improve your language skills.

Publication of exam results


I'd like to tell you that your grades will be published on Monday 15th at 16h.
See you around!


Todasy's language tip helps with using the patterns that follow the noun decrease. Don’t use decrease of when you want to talk about what is decreasing. Use decrease in:
✗ The experiment has not led to the expected decrease of crime.
✓ The experiment has not led to the expected decrease in crime.
✗ There has been a decrease of the birth rate in the industrialized world.
✓ There has been a decrease in the birth rate in the industrialized world.

Use decrease of with a number or percentage, when you want to talk about the amount by which something decreases:
These emissions show a decrease of 21 percent over the past five years.
Source: Macmillan Language Tips

September 09, 2014

September exams

I'm publishing this post again as today some of you will start their oral exam.

Good luck!

These are the exam dates in September. As you can see, the oral exams will take place before the written one. 
Have a good day!


Today's language tip is about the spelling of useful and similar adjectives.
Although the adjective full ends with a double ‘l’, adjectives like useful have only one ‘l’:
✗ Find a more usefull spare time activity than driving around in a car.
✓ Find a more useful spare time activity than driving around in a car.
Other adjectives ending in -ful are also written with only one ‘l’, for example:
careful, faithful, harmful, helpful, meaningful, painful, powerful, skilful, successful
Note however that adverbs formed from these adjectives are written with double ‘l’, for example:
carefully, faithfully, helpfully, usefully etc.
Source: Macmillan language tips

September 08, 2014

E-Cigarettes are Gateway to Substance Abuse and Addiction

Nicotine, in any form, can prime the brain for harder drugs

The wife-husband research team Denise Kandel and Eric Kandel has been studying nicotine for years, and in their earlier work they found that nicotine dramatically enhanced the effects of cocaine by activating a reward-related gene and shutting off inhibition. When mice had nicotine before cocaine, they behaved differently too — they ran around more and spent more time in the space where they were fed, likely driven by a need to satisfy their craving for the drug.

Denise’s epidemiological data shows that similar effects might be occurring in people; most who start taking cocaine were smoking at the time, and her studies showed that nicotine can prime users to turn to harder drugs to keep the reward system satisfied. While e-cigarettes don’t contain the tar and other byproducts of regular tobacco-burning cigarettes, they still rely on nicotine, and the Kandels believe they would lead to similar use of other drugs. “E-cigarettes are basically nicotine-delivery devices,” she says, and Eric agrees. “This is a powerful facilitator for addiction to cocaine and perhaps other drugs as well,” he says. “If people knew that this is in fact the danger … they’d be much less enthusiastic about using nicotine.”

While some, including those in the health community, have supported e-cigs as a tool to help smokers quit, the backlash against them has been building. Last month, the American Heart Association released a policy statement calling for stricter laws, more industry oversight, and a ban on marketing and selling e-cigs to adolescents. Toronto just banned e-cigs from the workplace. And the World Health Organization recommended a host of new regulations around the growing e-cigarette market. At the same time, it’s not clear whether the devices actually help smokers to kick the habit; at least one study found that they don’t.
The Kandels argue that it’s time to consider nicotine’s effect not just on the lungs but on the brain as well. “The fact that this is a significant influence on encouraging or facilitating the use of other drugs is never discussed, and it’s just a major omission,” Eric says.

“We’ve worked very hard to reduce smoking in this country, and I think it’s been a fantastic success,” Denise says. With the introduction of e-cigs, “Now I think we’re on the verge of destroying all of the progress that we’ve [made].”
Source: Time magazine

September 07, 2014


Here is some advice about the patterns that follow the adjective capable:
 The adjective capable is never followed by an infinitive. Use the pattern capable of doing something:

✗ Both sexes are capable to do military service.
✓ Both sexes are capable of doing military service.
✗ A university graduate is expected to be capable to cope with such a situation.
✓ A university graduate is expected to be capable of coping with such a situation.

Note that the adjective incapable is used in exactly the same way:
The city’s road system is incapable of handling the current volume of traffic.

Source: Macmillan Language Tips

September 06, 2014

Are you a green traveller?

Try to take this quiz by listening to it first. Stop the audio to provide an answer and once you've got them, read the script below.


September 05, 2014


Today's language tip helps with the word actual.

Don’t confuse actual with current or present. Actual is not used for referring to things that are happening now or that exist now. Use current or present to express these ideas:

✗ The actual law obliges every young man to do military service.
✓ The current law obliges every young man to do military service.
✓ The present law obliges every young man to do military service.

✗ They have to work together to improve the actual situation.
✓ They have to work together to improve the current situation.
✓ They have to work together to improve the present situation.

Actual is used for referring to what is really true or exact:
The reports cites 554 AIDS cases, with 2600 persons infected with HIV. But officials concede that the actual number may be closer to 8000.

Source: Macmillan language tips

September 04, 2014

Recognition of EOI diplomas

A colleague passed me this petition on demanding the recognition of the diplomas issued by the Official School of Languages within the European Union.
I believe it's worth signing it! 


This is a new meaning for the Word "mosquito."
Mosquito (plural Mosquitoes or Mosquitos) noun [countable]        

An electronic device that produces a high-pitched sound which can only be heard by children and younger adults, used as a way of discouraging young people from loitering in particular locations:
'As many as 3,500 Mosquitoes are estimated to be in operation across the UK to disperse children and teenagers in public areas such as parks and shopping centres …'
The Edinburgh Journal 26th February 2008
The Mosquito is an electronic device which emits loud, high-frequency sounds, so-named because the sounds resemble those of a buzzing insect. Because the ability to hear high-frequency sounds deteriorates as people grow older (a phenomenon technically known as presbycusis), the ultra-sonic tones produced by the Mosquito are most likely to be heard by children, teenagers and younger adults, generally anyone under the age of 25. When the Mosquito is turned on, older adults will usually only hear a faint buzz, but younger people and children should hear a very annoying noise.
In an effort to combat the anti-social behaviour associated with groups of youths in public places, over the last couple of years many shopkeepers across the UK have chosen to install the Mosquito outside their premises. Gangs of teenagers congregating and hanging about in shop entrance ways and other public places can sometimes cause serious problems, from intimidation of staff and customers through to actual physical assault. Many retailers who have installed the Mosquito device are reporting a dramatic reduction in such problems as a result.

September 03, 2014


This vocabulary will help you to talk and write about jobs:
job: what you do regularly to earn money, especially what you do for a particular company or person.
  • A full-time job is a job that you do for at least the same number of hours a week as people usually work.
  • A part-time job is a job that you do for fewer hours a week than people usually work: My first job was helping in a pet shop. ♦ a full-time bookkeeper ♦ He works full-time for the council. ♦ a part-time bartender ♦ I teach part-time now.
work: something that you do to earn money, or the place where you go to do it: I’ve got a lot of work on at the moment. ♦ Dan’s at work.
career: the jobs someone does over a period of time that involve a particular type of work: a long career in the civil service ♦ a medical career
profession: a type of job that you need a lot of education or special training to do, or all the people who do a particular job like this: I’m a doctor by profession. ♦ the legal profession
occupation: (formal) your usual job: What is your current occupation and salary?
post: a particular job within a company or organization, especially a job with some responsibility: She applied for the post of Senior Marketing Manager at Cadbury Schweppes.
position: a particular job: used especially in advertisements for available jobs: a vacancy for the position of night watchman
getting a job
apply: to officially say, usually in a letter or on a special form, that you would like to be considered for a particular job
CV: a list of your qualifications and work experience that you send to someone who you are hoping to work for
job seeker: (formal) someone who is looking for a job
applicant: someone who applies for a particular job
candidate: someone who is competing with other people for a particular job
interview: a meeting with the people you are hoping to work for where they ask you questions and find out more about you
interviewee: an applicant who is asked to come for an interview

September 02, 2014

How do you know you are real?

It might be a trivial question, but Descartes already answered that question back in the 17th century.

1 René Descartes raised what significant philosophical question, outlined in this lesson?
a. How do you determine the difference between right and wrong behavior?
b. What is the purpose of human life?
c. How do we know that we exist?
d. Is the scientific method the best way to discover truth?