B1 · B2 · Idioms · songs

Katy Perry’s Roar

This song’s real fun! Makes you feel good and strong and ready for almost any of the daily battles we come across.

This song by Katy Perry is about overcoming a bad situation in life, may that be at work, in a romantic relationship or a challenge we had set ourselves and somehow failed to achieve. It is about a person who used to accept a situation, even though she was not happy about it, but one day,  felt tired of feeling this way and decided to face her problems and sort them out. I think it’s definitely a very motivational and inspiring song.

The video is quite funny and has used the cliché of Tarzan (King of the Jungle), but in a humerous way, representing the typical things Tarzan did ( like killing crocodiles or any other animal in sight), however, adapting them to the female role represented in the video.

Here I’ve used the video for the purpose of learning some expressions and idioms related to problems and relationships. I hope you enjoy it.

A2 · B1 · B2 · phonetics

Silent letters in English words

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When you have a phonetic language like Spanish, for instance, it is quite easy to say the words you have learned from a book or  a dictionary because if you know the sounds of each letter you can do quite well when speaking the language and everybody will understand you. But this is not the case with English which for a lot of people seems like a `crazy´language with its own rules. I already mentioned this feature of English in a post on phonetics and here I’m going to mention another feature of English that will also look pretty strange to many language learners, that is, letters that appear in words but should not be pronounced. I have created a slide with some of these letters and a practical activity that you can do if you click on the button below.

B1 · B2 · Grammar activity

Art or reality?

Migul Riopa via Getty images
British contemporary artist Anish Kapoor stands next his artwork “Descent into limbo” during the opening of his exhibition entitled “Works, thoughts, experiments” at the Serralves Foundation in Porto, on July 6, 2018.  Photo by Miguel Riopa Getty Images.

Can you imagine visiting an art gallery or a museum, seeing something very interesting and then, surprise! What you took for one thing was something quiet unexpected.

Let’s say for example that you visit the Natural History Museum in London. You’re in the creepy-crawly section taking selfies of yourself in front of what you believe is a huge, gigantic, enormous fibreglass model of a scorpion and suddenly it starts to move its pincers and tail. Eeeeks! It’s alive!!!! What a fright that would be wouldn’t it?

Anyway, don’t fret because this post isn’t about gigantic creatures coming to life, but another bit of news  about a man who fell into a hole at a Portuguese museum because he ‘d walked over it thinking it was a dot.
The news is from Huffpost and you will have to fill in the gaps with one of the words on the left-hand side of the activity. I made the activity with a free online application from the website ‘clickschool ‘ just to see how it goes and try out some new learning tools.

Click for open cloze

B1 · B2 · Vocabulary

Confusing words: advise – advice

advise/advice

Advise /əd’vaɪz /  (verb) Notice that these two words have a different pronunciation

Meaning to tell somebody what you think they should or shouldn’t do in a particular situation. Here are some patterns for this verb.

  • Advise somebody: His brother couldn’t advise him because he was far too busy.
  • Advise something: The government has advised extreme caution.
  • Advise somebody to do something: I would advise you to check this essay before handing it in.
  • advise that: They advised that a bottle of water should always be carried with visitors.
  • advise doing something: I’d advise booking your table in advance.

Advice / əd’vais / (uncountable noun)

Meaning  the  information  that is given on a particular issue.

  • Advice on health care.
  • Ask your teacher for advice/ask your teacher’s advice.
  • Take my advice. Let me give you a piece of advice/some advice.

Activity

B1 · B2 · Vocabulary

Confusing words: after- later- afterwards

after/later/afterwards

After (Prep) meaning later than something, or following another event in time. This form is used in front of a noun phrase.

  • We’ll leave after they call.
  • They lost contact after their grandmother’s death.

Later (Adv) Meaning after the time of speaking

  • See you later!

Later (Adj) Meaning after something else or in the future or an advance period of something.

  • The taxi arrived an hour later than expected.
  • The concert has been postponed to a later date.
  • She wrote her most interesting poems in her later life.

Afterwards ( is used when referring to an action followed by another one.

  • We went out to dinner and afterwards we went to the theatre.

Activity

B1 · B2 · Vocabulary

Confusing words: ache-hurt-pain

Ache/hurt/pain

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 (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.

  • Stop! You’re hurting me!
  • Yesterday I fell over. Now my leg hurts/I hurt my leg.

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.

Activity

B1 · B2 · Listening · songs

Five Finger Death Punch – Wrong Side Of Heaven

Those that know me well, know how much I hate unfair situations, war, greed, etc. For this ‘learning English with songs’ activity I have chosen this powerful song by Five Finger Death Punch (those that  know me also know how much I love all types of rock music!). This song is about how veterans of war feel when returning home, with deep feelings of guilt and needing psychological treatment (at the least!), only to encounter a country that has turned its back on them. Thus, this song denounces one of the many destructive effects that war has on people’s lives.