lunes, 22 de enero de 2018

Aussie Slang

Some of the most common words australians use:

  • Arvo – Afternoon
  • Bail – to cancel plans
  • Barbie – Barbecue
  • Bathers – Swimsuit
  • Beauty! – Great!
  • Billy – Teapot (In the Outback on the fire)
  • Brekky – Breakfast
  • Brolly – Umbrella
  • Cactus – Dead, Broken
  • Choc A Bloc – Full
  • Choccy Biccy – Chocolate Biscuit
  • Chrissie – Christmas
  • Cobber – Very good friend
  • Coppers – Policemen
  • Crook – Being ill or angry; ‘Don’t go crook on me for getting crook’
  • Deadset – True
  • Devo – Devastated
  • Dunny – Toilet
  • Fair dinkum – Honestly?
  • Frothy – Beer
  • G’day – Hello
  • Going off – busy, lots of people
  • Good On Ya – Good work
  • Hard yakka – Hard work
  • Heaps – loads, lots, many
  • Lollies – Sweets
  • Maccas – McDonalds
  • No Worries – it’s Ok
  • Pash – to kiss
  • Piece of Piss – easy
  • Reckon – for sure
  • Rooted, knackered – Tired
  • Runners – Trainers, Sneakers
  • Servo – Service Station
  • Snag – Sausage
  • Stoked – Happy, Pleased
  • Straya – Australia
  • Stubbie – a big Beer
  • Tea – Dinner
  • Thongs – Flip Flops.
  • Tucker – Food
  • Ya – You

    Other sources:

miércoles, 17 de enero de 2018

Women in the 21st century

JK Rowling
Joanne Rowling (born July 31, 1965), who goes by the pen name J.K. Rowling, is a British author and screenwriter best known for her seven-book Harry Potter children's book series. J.K. Rowling was living in Edinburgh, Scotland, and struggling to get by as a single mom before her first book, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, was published. The children's fantasy novel became an international hit and Rowling became an international literary sensation in 1999 when the first three installments of Harry Potter took over the top three slots of The New York Times best-seller list after achieving similar success in her native United Kingdom. The series has sold more than 450 million copies and was adapted into a blockbuster film franchise. Rowling published the novel The Casual Vacancy in 2012, followed by the crime novel Cuckoo Calling under the pen name Robert Galbraith in 2013. In 2016, she released a play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and a movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

1) The boy wizard Harry Potter and author JK Rowling share the same birthday: 31st July.

2) Rowling went from being unemployed and living on state benefits to becoming a multi-millionaire in five years. However, as a teenager she lived in a Grade II listed cottage in Gloucestershire, which she states was "not a particularly happy time in my life", due to her mother being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and a strained relationship with her father.

3) After the position of Head Girl at Wyedean School and College, she graduated from the University of Exeter with a BA in French and Classics, and then worked as a researcher for Amnesty International.-

4) Rowling was diagnosed with clinical depression which she claims gave her inspiration to create the Dementors in the Potter series. She also suffers from insomnia which she puts down to working too late and reading things on which she has a strong opinion.

5) On a delayed train from Manchester to London in 1990, Rowling wrote her initial Potter ideas on a napkin. She typed her first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone on a typewriter, often choosing to write in Edinburgh cafés, accompanied by baby daughter Jessica, now 19, named after Jessica Mitford, a heroine of Rowling's youth.

6) Rowling worked as an English teacher in Portugal during her brief marriage to television journalist Jorge Arantes, with whom she had Jessica. Despite her current fortune, she has no desire to stop working as she believes it sets a good example to her children - she now has another son and daughter with second husband, anaesthetist Neil Murray.

7) According to a recent interview, JK Rowling admits to buying her wedding dress for her second marriage to Neil Murray in disguise, to avoid being recognised - such was the price of fame.

8) Rowling's ambiguous pen name using the initials 'JK' was a publishing suggestion to make her identity anonymous, for fear that a wizarding story penned by a woman might be unpopular. 'K' is the initial of her grandmother's name 'Kathleen', since Rowling had no middle names of her own. As a result, a girl called Francesca Gray wrote Rowling her first fan letter addressing her as: 'Dear Sir...'

9) Twelve publishing houses rejected her original Harry Potter manuscripts, but eventually small publisher Bloomsbury gave her a chance with a small advance. Little did anyone know it would become the bestselling book series in history. Her seventh and final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows broke sales records as the fastest-selling book ever.

10) Rowling was awarded the Order of the British Empire in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2000 and as an eminent philanthropist has contributed money and support to notable charities such as Comic Relief, One Parent Families, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain and Lumos, amongst others.

Malala Yousafzai

At 17 years old, Malala is is the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize since its inception in 1901.
In 2009, Malala started blogging about living under Taliban rule for the BBC. She later became a national figure in her country, appearing on television as a spokesperson for girls’ education.
Malala was aboard a bus in 2012, campaigning for education of girls in Pakistan, when the Taliban reportedly hijacked the bus and singled her out, shooting her in the head and the neck.
Malala spoke of “the right of education of every child” on July 12th, 2013.
In August 2014, “I Am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World” was published in the United States and is a #1 seller on Amazon.
She has been living in England since being treated for her gunshot wounds.
Since her increased visibility, Malala has changed her career focus to politics.
Ziauddin Yousafzai ran one of the last schools to defy the Taliban’s orders to not educate girls. He has reportedly encouraged his daughter to be outspoken from a young age.
Malala will be splitting the prize money, $1.1 million, with her 60-year-old co-recipient, Kailash Satyarthi, a human rights advocate from India.
Malala was shot on October 9th, 2012. She was reported to be in critical condition and not expected to survive.

1. She’s a minor.

2. She’s been advocating for girls’ education since she was 11.

3. She was only 15 years old when she was shot by the Taliban.

4. She addressed the United Nations on her 16th birthday.

5. She has already published a memoir.

6. She was pulled out of class in Birmingham, England to be informed of her award.

7. She originally wanted to be a doctor.

8. Her father used to be a schoolmaster.

9. She was just awarded over half a million dollars.

10. She’s winning the Nobel Peace Prize nearly two years to the day that she was shot.

Margarita Salas 

She has done a lot for science in Spain. In fact, apart from spending many years doing research in the United States, she decided to come back to her country of origin (1967) considering that in Spain there was still a lot to do in science. Together with Eladio Viñuela, husband and tireless co-worker, they launched a research race that has finally ended up with the production of a school. This school has made her to be recognized globally: she has become a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2007), an honour not many can enjoy. Also, she is the first Spanish woman being part of the cited Academy.

Margarita Salas's curriculum is really broad, difficult to summarize in only a few paragraphs, as her professional career, very linked to the personal, has been truly large.  With a degree in chemical sciences from the Universitat Complutense de Madrid, she subsequently carried out a doctoral thesis in biochemistry under the order of  Alberto Sols (1961), to later venture to New York to work on a postdoctoral project. The proposal to leave came from Severo Ochoa directly.

Her stay at the department of Alberto Sols changed her life, as she met again with Eladio Viñuela, whom she eventually married. From this moment on, the professional and personal life of Margarita Salas would be linked to  Eladio Viñuela's. After her Ph.D., both packed their suitcases and went to do research at the department Severo Ochoa in New York where they stayed for three years. 

In 1967 the couple decided to try their luck in Spain. Thanks to the financing of the United States they started a new researching stage at the Biological Research Centre of the CSIC. And they were lucky. Soon the state subsidies for scientific research started to come and the difficult task they launched started to give results. They had students, they could do research and most important, they found things. Salas considers that the great contribution they made was the finding of the DNA polymerase.

Salas and Viñuela began to be important. And with this prestige, a new stage of administrative scientific posts started. Margarita Salas agreed to chair many societies and centres. The first was the presidency of the Spanish Society of Biochemistry (1988). Then, a number of more appointments. Amongst them, the management of the Molecular Biology Centre Severo Ochoa (1992), as well as being part of several academies and societies:  member of the Governing Board of the CSIC and, since 1997, of its Governing Council, of the Royal Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences, of the Spanish Royal Academy of Language, of the European Academy of Arts and Sciences, of the American Academy of Microbiology, of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and president of theFoundation Severo Ochoa.

Throughout her life, Salas has had two fights. On the one hand, the fight to turn Spain into a country where science is one of its bases for its development. On the other hand, and more linked to her career, the fact of being a woman, which has brought more than just one important personal conflict. However, Margarita Salas has achieved what many women of her time would have wished for: a relevant role in a world considered for men. Luckily, things have currently changed.  

viernes, 5 de enero de 2018

Silent letters in English

  • Silent A - Artistically, logically, musically, stoically
  • Silent E - When added to the end of a word, it changes the pronunciation of the word, but is in itself, silent.
  • Silent F - halfpenny
  • Silent I- business
  • Silent P- corps, coup, pneumonia, pseudo, psychology, ptomaine, receipt
  • Silent R - butter, finger, garden, here
  • Silent S - aisle, apropos, bourgeois, debris, fracas, island, isle, viscount

Thanks to:

sábado, 16 de diciembre de 2017

Future forms

Future continuous (will be + ‘ing’ form)

We use the future continuous to talk about something that will be in progress at or around a time in the future.

  • This time tomorrow we’ll be sitting on the beach. I am so excited!
  • Tomorrow at eight we will be flying home.

    The following sentences are not about the future but we can use the future continuous to talk about what we assume is happening at the moment:

  • Don’t phone her now, she’ll be having dinner.
  • The kids are very quiet. They’ll be doing something wrong, I know it!

Future Perfect (will have + past participle)

We use the future perfect to say that something will be finished by a particular time in the future.

  • Do you think you will have finished it by next Thursday?
  • In 5 years time I’ll have finished university and I’ll be able to earn some money at last.

We often use the future perfect with ‘by’ or ‘in
  • I think astronauts will have landed on Mars by the year 2020.
  • I’ll have finished in an hour and then you can use the computer.

By’ means ‘not later than a particular time’ and ‘in’ means 'within a period of time’. We don’t know exactly when something will finish.
  • I promise I’ll have done all the work by next Saturday.
We don’t know exactly when he will finish the work – maybe Thursday, maybe Friday – but definitely before Saturday.

Future Perfect Continuous (will have been + past participle) 

We use it to express the duration of a future situations and also to express certainty about the cause of some future situation. 


We use this tense to express situations that will last for a specified period of time at a definite moment in the future. It is important that we expect these situations to last longer.
  • Before they come, we will have been cleaning the house for 5 hours.
  • By the next year, Ben and his wife will have been living together for 50 years. 

English speakers also use this tense when they want to express certainty about the cause of some future situation.
  • By this time, he will have been working for 12 hours, so he will be very tired.
  • We will be making a rest stop in half an hour, because you will have been driving the car for 6 hours by then. 

Learn more at:


martes, 5 de diciembre de 2017

Most common prefixes in English

Many of today's English words contain prefixes from Greek or Latin. Understanding the meanings of the most common prefixes can help us deduce the meanings of new words that we run across in our reading.

Still, we do need to be careful: the same prefix may be spelled in more than one way (pre- and pro-, for instance), and some prefixes (such as in-) have more than one meaning (in this case, "not" and "into"). Even so, being able to recognize prefixes can help us build our vocabularies.

a-, an-without, lack of, not amoral, acellular, abyss, achromatic, anhydrous 
ante-before, earlier, in front of antecedent, antedate, antemeridian, anterior  
anti-against, opposite ofanticlimax. antiaircraft, antiseptic, antibody
auto-self, sameautopilot, autobiography, automobile, autofocus
circum-around, aboutcircumvent, circumnavigate, circumscribe
co-with, togethercopilot, coworker, coexist, coauthor
com-, con-together, withcompanion, commingle, contact, concentrate
contra-, contro-against, oppositecontradict, contrast, contrary, controversy 
de-down, off, away fromdevalue, deactivate, debug, degrade, deduce
dis-not, apart, awaydisappear, disagreeable, disbar, dissect
en-put into, cover withenclose, entangle, enslave, encase 
ex-out of, from, formerextract, exhale, excavate, ex-president 
extra-beyond, outside, more than extracurricular, extramarital, extravagant
hetero-different, otherheterosexual, heterodox, heterogeneous
homo-, homeo-same, alikehomonymhomophone, homeostasis, homosexual
hyper-over, more, beyondhyperactive, hypersensitive, hypercritical
il-, im-, in-, ir-not, withoutillegal, immoral, inconsiderate, irresponsible
in-in, intoinsert, inspection, infiltrate
inter-between, amongintersect, interstellar, intervene, interpenetrate
intra-, intro-within, insideintravenous, intragalactic, introvert  
macro-large, prominentmacroeconomics, macrostructure, macrocosm
micro-very smallmicroscope, microcosm, microbe
mono-one, single, alonemonocle, monologue, monogamy, monotony  
non-not, withoutnonentity, nonaggressive, nonessential,nonfiction
omni-all, everyomniscient, omnivorous, omniscient, omnidirectional 
post-after, behindpostmortem, posterior, postscript, postoperative
pre-, pro-before, forwardprecede, predict, project, prologue
sub-under, lowersubmarine, subsidiary, substandard
sym-, syn-same time, togethersymmetry, symposium, synchronize, synapse 
trans-across, beyond, throughtransmit, transaction, translation, transfer
tri-three, every thirdtricycle, trimester, triangle, triathlon
un-not, lacking, opposite ofunfinished, unskilled, ungraceful, unfriendly
uni-one, singleunicorn, unicellular, unicycle, unilateral

lunes, 23 de octubre de 2017

Use, used to, be used to, get used to, would

Habitual Activity

BeGet used to
get accustomed to
+ noun / V gerund

The new employee of ours is getting used to using / is getting accustomed to using the new system.
(He / She is not fully ready but learning the new system)

The new employee of ours is used to using / is accustomed to using the new system.
(He / She already knows / has no problem with the new system)

Used To vs Would

"Used to" can be used with action and stative verbs but "would" can only be used with action verbs.

When I was young, I would go fishing every Sunday. (used to go / went)

When I was young I used to like milk. (would like, liked)

When my little sister was a kid, she used to be very annoying. (was)

When we were kids, my mother would wake us up every morning. (she was used to waking us up)

used to like Madonna. (would like)

Negative / Question form of "used to"

Did you use to go to there? 

No, I didn't use to go there.
I used to not go there.


  • Typical Behavior

  • It would start raining just whenever we went to picnic.
    He would smile every time I mentioned her name.
    We would have breakfast on the roof.

  • Past of "will"

  • Mary said that she would call me ASAP (as soon as possible).
    I don't know what happened, she said she would be here.
    I told you the bus would arrive on time.

  • Unreal Situations

  • You would look better with short hair.
    I would buy a lottery ticket if I were you.
    It would be great if we had money but unfortunately we don't.


    More explanations in Spanish:

    viernes, 6 de octubre de 2017

    The use of "THE"

    Articles are confusing because it’s not always necessary to use an article in English. Sometimes it’s easier to remember when NOT to use something instead of trying to memorize when to use something... so let´s start with those situations in which you don’t need to use "the":

    1. Things in general
    Cats are great pets!(You’re not talking about one specific cat or one specific pet. You’re talking about all cats and all pets in general.)
    I love reading books.
    Houses are expensive in that neighbourhood.
    Americans drive big cars.

    Use non-count nouns: I love listening to music. (You enjoy music in general, not any specific song or kind of music.)
    She’s afraid of heights, so we couldn’t go to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
    I love chocolate!
    Have you eaten lunch yet?
    She’s a vegetarian. She doesn’t eat meat.

    2. Names
    Names of holidays, countries, companies, languages, etc. are all proper nouns. 

    a. Holidays
    I got a beautiful new dress for Christmas.
    I got my mom a necklace for Mother’s Day.

    b. Geography
    I live in Canada.
    I’m going to Europe next month on vacation.

    c. Companies
    I use Twitter and Facebook every day.
    Bill Gates founded Microsoft.

    d. Universities
    Her son graduated from Harvard.
    She goes to Oxford.

    e. Languages
    I am studying Russian.
    I speak French.

    3. Places, locations, streets

    I left my book at home.
    I have to go to work early tomorrow.
    NOTE: You don’t need an article for subjects you study at school: Maths, Geography, History, Science.
    Places where you DO need to use an article:
    I need to go to the bank.
    Let’s go to the movies.
    My dad is in the hospital.
    She works at the post office.
    What time do you have to be at the airport?
    Please drop me off at the bus stop.
    She doesn’t like to go to the doctor or the dentist.

    4. Sports and other physical activities :

    I love to go skiing in the winter.
    I play football every day after school.

    5. Noun + number

    The train to Paris leaves from platform 2.
    My English class is in room 6 on the first floor.
    6. Acronyms
    An acronym is an abbreviation (a short form) of a name. It uses the first letter of each word to form a new word.
    a. If the acronym is pronounced as a word, don’t use the.
    NATO ambassadors met to discuss the situation..
    UNESCO is the acronym used for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. (UNESCO is pronounced as one word, /ju’nɛskoʊ/.)

    You need to use the before acronyms when the letters arepronounced individually, not as a word.
    The UN was created after the Second World War.

    Other acronyms that need the: The EU, The US, The CIA, The FBI

    b. The is not used before university acronyms:
    John Smith got his MBA at UCLA.
    She has a Ph.D. from MIT.