B1 · B2 · C1 · Grammar · Grammar activity

The causative: Have/get something done

Causative structures are another form of passive structures where the focus is on something that is done rather than who does it. Here’s a video I made with bitable that will give you some tips on some of the different structures.

After, you can do a grammar activity to practise the structure.

Click for video

Click for activity

 

B1 · B2 · phonetics · songs

Learning English pronunciation with songs: I’ll Keep you Safe

A great way to learn English is watching a film, but the thing is, how many of us have the time to watch films these days? I mean, I can hardly remember the last time I was able to relax on my settee with this intention, let alone watching one in a foreign language!

Definitely, present-day duties just don’t seem to understand our needs, do they? So, unless we can plug vocabulary, stress patterns and pronunciation into our brains just like those guys did in The Matrix, we’ll need a backup plan.

Why not try listening to music? It’s easy and fun. You can do this, working, cooking, driving, walking the dog, writing or whatever (as long as it doesn’t make you get up and start dancing). Music can also teach us structures that we need to get our tongues around, and a great number of songs have really catchy tunes that we’ll enjoy trying to understand and even learn.

Here I’ve exploited the soundtrack from the movie Up by Disney. The song is I’ll Keep you Safe by Sleeping at last. It´s a wonderful song along with a beautiful video (watch out! It could make you quite emotional! ) and although the title is great for dealing with ‘will’ used for promises, here  I’ve exploited it to practise some of the English sounds and to help students become more familiar with phonetic symbols. If you haven’t  seen anything about phonetics yet, you may want to brush up a bit on them before doing the activity (you’ll find plenty of introductory activities if you click on the menu Phonetics and English sounds).

Anyway, hope you enjoy the lesson.

PS If you don’t see me around much lately, it’s just that I’m SO STRESSSSSSSSSSSSSEDDDD OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUT!!!!!!!!!!!

Click for the activity

B1 · B2 · B2 word formation · Grammar · vocabulary activity

Word formation related to personality and behaviour

How would you describe your best friend? Would you say he or she is kind? Does this person always treat people with great kindness? Does your friend always behave kindly in all the majority of situations? And have you ever seen this person be unkind? Here we’ve used the word kind, which is an adjective in different ways, as a noun, as an adverb and even with a negative prefix. To achieve a good level of English, you’ll have to be pretty good at noticing how a word is used or the type of word you will need to complete a sentence. You’ll also need to have a good knowledge on the use of prefixes and suffixes in order to change words from one class to another or even give them a negative meaning. The bad news is that there are quite a few rules and also quite a few exceptions to these rules, but the good news is that through practice, you’ll eventually achieve a reasonable degree of skill for this type of activity.

Every now and then, I’ll try to place some activities on the blog to cover this part of learning English. Please don’t leave this type of content until the day before your exams, as it is only through practice that word formation samples ‘will stick’.

Here’s an activity related to words that we could use to describe people’s characters and they way in which they behave.

Click here for grammar slide

Click here for word formation activity

A2 · B1 · B2 · Vocabulary · vocabulary activity

Confusing words: dish/meal/recipe

Many students get these word wrong and since I’ve uploaded some vocabulary for ingredients, it may be a good idea to go over them or learn them.

Dish

The word dish when used as a noun and not a verb, has two meanings. One is the type of recipient we use for putting food on. A dish is usually shallow or almost flat, so for a soup we would rather use a bowl.

  • Nothing like a nice dish of pasta!
  • Who broke the glass dish?
  • He was awarded a silver dish for his fortieth anniversary in the company .

The second way of using the word ‘dish’ is when we are talking about a special recipe and way to prepare it. Usually these dishes have a special name that might or might not give us any information about the ingredients. Some examples are: paella, roast beef, lasagne, Welsh rarebit, haggis, etc.

  • What’s your favourite dish?
  • Paella isn’t the only Spanish dish you can have in Spain. This country has a wide variety of traditional dishes from all over the country.
  • I can recommend the chef’s dish of the day.
  • What shall we have for main dish?

There is another use for the word dish, but nobody seems to like using it after having a meal. Saying ‘doing the dishes’ or ‘ the dishes’ has a funny effect on people and it must be magical because people just seem to disappear. 🙂 Notice that here we use this word in the plural form.

  • Who’s going to help me do the dishes?
  • It’s not fair. I did the dishes yesterday!

Meal

This is a general word for the food we eat during the day, when it isn’t a snack (for instance, a packet of crips isn’t a meal no matter what some people may claim). A meal could be breakfast, luch, dinner or supper ( by the way, I’ll post something about these names for meals a little later on). And the main meal of the day depends where you are from. Some people in England have their main meal in the evening while in Spain it is usually in the afternoon.

  • I try not to eat between meals.
  • Next Saturday we’re going out for a meal at that really posh restaurant they have just opened.

Recipe

Recipe refers to the way in which we choose to prepare a meal. A recipe usually is a set of instructions telling us how to cook something and what ingredients we need. For example, if I want to prepare a traditional dish like paella, because I want to serve this for lunch (a meal), I may need the recipe to make sure I do it properly.

  • Can I get the recipe for that delicious chocolate cake you made the other day?
  • I’ve lost the recipe book and I can’t remember the amount of flour I will need.
Click for the quiz
B2 · B2 Grammar · C1 · Grammar activity · vocabulary activity

The Computer says no

Carol Beer.gif
gif from Gfycat.com

Have you ever been to a hospital reception, a bank or any public place where you were treated rudely or even roughly? What did you feel like?

In the last book I read – by the way it was Andrea Levy’s ‘Every Light in the House Burnin’- the narrator fantasizes on picking up a doctor by the throat because she had referred to her dying father as ‘Old man Jacobs’ and shown a great deal of aloofness. The novel, in fact, devotes some chapters to humorously criticizing the English healthcare system. Fortunately, the novel is set in London during the 60s and many things have improved since then.

As an activity that can raise some subject of debate in an English class or serve as a warm-up activity as well as serving the purpose for practising Your listening skills you can click on the video.

After you can also do some use of English practice with a text from Wikipedia on the same subject which has been adapted as an open cloze for missing prepositions, adverbs, relative pronouns/adverbs or articles.

Click for listening

Click here for open cloze

Disclaimers

  • Video from Youtube channel Beferninand
  • Text for Open Cloze from Wikipedia

B1 · B2 · Vocabulary · vocabulary activity

Confusing words: ache/hurt/pain/damage

Ache

Ache (verb) meaning that a part of your body hurts in a continuous and dull way. Ache (noun) referring to a continuous dull pain. This word is usually used in combination with the part of body that is in pain.

  • Stomach ache, toothache, headache, or my stomach aches.

Hurt

Hurt (verb transitive and intransitive) to cause physical pain to yourself/somebody. This verb doesn’t give information on the type of pain/ache it only explains that somebody is in a certain degree of pain or that somebody/something is causing it.

Hurt (verb transitive and intransitive) to cause physical pain to yourself/somebody. This verb doesn’t give information on the type of pain/ache it only explains that somebody is in a certain degree of pain or that somebody/something is causing it.

We can also use hurt when it involves somebody’s feelings when we mean that somebody or a situation has made somebody unhappy or upset.

  • Stop! You’re hurting me!
  • Yesterday I fell over. Now my leg hurts/I hurt my leg.
  • This shoes are too tight and hurt my feet.
  • I’m sorry! I didn’t want to hurt his feelings when I criticized his work.

Pain

Pain (noun) Not usually used as a verb. Meaning referring to physical suffering in general, often more severe than ‘ache’, used with parts of the body. e.g. pain in my leg, arm, shoulder etc.

  • He was clearly in pain.
  • This should help relieve the pain.

Damage

Damage can be a verb. When we use this word we mean that something physical has been done (usually to an object or a quality) and that the object is now, ruined, less attractive or is not working properly.

  • The flood damaged her house.
  • Smoking damages people’s health.

We can also use damage as a noun. It refers to the physical harm caused by an external agent. We usually use this noun with objects, but it is also used when we are talking about health or physical conditions.

  • The car accident has caused sever brain damage.
  • Luckily, the storm didn’t cause much damage to the roof.
Quiz button
B2 · Listening

Santa Forgot

This beautiful and touching ad aims to raise charity towards Alzheimer’s disease research. It tells the story of Santa in an imaginative country suffering from dementia. The advertisement was banned from being shown on the telly before 19:30 to avoid upsetting children and some parents felt that it was too children targeted, although, as I see it, I believe the intentions are to put in perspective what the reality is for people who live with this illness.

Although it’s a Christmas advertisement, I thought it would be a good video to watch as it is related to the topics of Health and Social issues. You’ll see the text at the bottom of the video so there wasn’t much point in turning it to a listening activity.

One recommendation, don’t watch it with kids because it certainly is disturbing.

What do you think?