20 marzo 2017



must have: conclusión lógica
-Anna failed the exam. She must not have been paying attention in class. (Anna suspendió el examen. No debió haber estado atenta en la clase.)

may have/might have: posibilidad, incertidumbre
-They might have won if their star player hadn’t been injured. (Ellos podrían haber ganado si su mejor jugador no se hubiera lesionado.)

should have: algo no ocurrió pero hubiera sido mejor si hubiera ocurrido
-I told you, you should have studied more! (Te lo dije, deberías haber estudiado más.)

could have: posibilidad en el pasado/algo era posible en el pasado pero no pasó.
-She could have run faster, but she wanted to save her energy. (Ella podría haber corrido más rápido, pero quería ahorrar energía.)

couldn't have/can't have: es bastante seguro que algo no ocurrió en el pasado.
-They had a lot of work to do and little time. They couldn’t have finished everything. (Tenían mucho trabajo que hacer y poco tiempo. No podrían haber terminado todo.)

exercises to practise

- Mireia

09 marzo 2017

Very common errors Spanish speakers make in English

Very common errors Spanish speakers make in English

English is the international language in our planet. For the first time in human history there are so many people that can communicate and connect without interpreters or dictionaries!

 More than 2 billion people from all around the world are currently learning English. The mistakes we are making while learning a new language are not only inevitable but actually from a really necessary  part in the learning process. The mistakes are the indicators of progress not only in language learning but in all kinds of learning. One of the most repetitive kinds of mistakes in language learning are the mistakes that are based in our mother tongue. 

 The Spanish language is spoken in 21 countries by more than 500 million people many of whom are trying to learn English. Scientists have found out that the majority of the Spanish speaking learners of English very often make the same mistakes no matter of their country of origin or socio-cultural background. These mistakes are often based on the differences between the structure of the two languages.

Here are some of the most common types of mistakes that Spanish speakers make in English.

Adjective-Noun order

Adjective placement is a common source of mistakes for beginning Spanish speakers.
In English, adjectives come before the noun: big car, blue shirt, Greek yogurt. In Spanish, however, adjectives often come after the noun: coche grande, camiseta azul, yogur griego.

There are certain instances where the adjective does come before the noun in Spanish, but in the majority of the cases, it comes after.  Here are a few more examples to see the difference between Spanish and English.

un hijo inteligente  (a smart son)
la noche tranquila  (the calm night)
el vaso vacío  (the empty glass)

So that is the general rule

However, typical descriptive adjectives almost always go before the nouns they modify, unless they are intended to convey a more subjective or poetic quality.
Adjectives that come before the noun

1. Non-descriptive adjectives; many of these are grammatically adjectives, though they are sometimes referred to as "determiners," "possessive pronouns," etc.
Muchas casas [many houses]
Tu abuela [your grandmother]
Siete mesas [seven tables]

2. Meaning-changing adjectives; these adjectives can be used both before or after the noun, When used before the noun, they convey a meaning that is more subjective.
mi vieja amiga[my old (long-time) friend] is based on the speaker's perception of their relationship
 mi amiga vieja [my old (elderly) friend] 
is based on the fact of the friend's age un gran hombre [a great man] 
is based on someone's evaluation of the man's character un hombre grande [a big man]
 is based on the man's objective size

3. Adjectives of appreciation; this is a special case where you can show an increased emphasis by placing an adjective before the noun they modify.
Es un profesor bueno [he's a good teacher] 
Es un buen professor [he's an extremely good teacher]

4. Adjectives reinforcing the meaning of the noun; often these convey an increased drama, emotionality, or poeticism. 
La Hermosa vista [the beautiful view]
La blanca nieve [the white snow]
La interminable tortura [the unending torture]

04 junio 2016

Useful Phrases for Waiters and Waitresses in English

Here are some useful phrases to use if you work in a restaurant and are serving English speaking clients:

Getting customers seated - first you will need to check if customers have a reservation or not

Good morning/afternoon/evening, welcome to *name of restaurant*

Do you have a reservation?

What name is the reservation under?

How many people would you like a table for?

Your table isn't ready yet, would you like to have a seat at the bar and have a drink?

It's going to be a 15 minute wait for a table, is that ok?

*Name of the customer* your table is ready, please follow me.

Please follow me to your table.

Can I take your jackets/coats please?

Once customers are seated

Here is a menu.

Would you like to see the wine list?

Would you like to see the cocktail menu?

Tonights specials are...

What can I get you to drink?


Are you ready to order?

Do you need more time to decide?

What can I get you?

Would you like me to recommend something to suit your taste?

*Name of dish* is particularly good, I would recommend it. 


Would you like to see a dessert menu?

Can I get you a coffee or aperitif?

The Bill

Is there anything else I can get you?

Would you like the bill?

Are you paying by cash or card?

One moment I will just get the card machine.

Are you paying together or separately?

For more information please enquire about our English course that has been created specifically for waiters by contacting us at:


- Amy

30 mayo 2016

Useful Phrases when Writing an Informal Letter/Email

Here is a list of useful phrases to use when writing an informal letter or email:


Dear (first name),
Hello (first name),
Hi (first name),
Hey (first name)

How are you?
How’re things?
How’s it going?
Hope you’re well!

Previous Contact

Thanks for your letter / email / card / text….

Sorry I haven’t written for a while, I’ve been really busy…
Sorry for the late reply…
I haven’t heard from you in a while, I hope you’re ok.

Referring to Good News

I was so happy to hear about…
Glad to hear that...

Referring to Bad News

Sorry to hear about…
My thoughts are with you at this difficult time


I’m writing to say sorry for…
Sorry I couldn’t make it to your party/wedding/christening, as…
I’m writing to apologise for…
Thank you for the invite, but I can’t make it to ____________ , because…

Giving Good News

I’m writing to tell you that….
I have some good news…
You will never guess, but…
I have something to tell you....
Just to let you know that…

Giving Bad News

Unfortunately, I have bad news…
I have something important to tell you…
I’m writing to let you know that…
Something terrible has happened…


(For a letter)

I have enclosed…
Here is the… you wanted.
I thought you would like to see a picture of ______, so I have sent one with this letter.

(For an email)

Please find attached
To this email I have attached a photo of ______ for you to see.


Would you like to…
I have been thinking it would be lovely if we could…
Are you free this weekend/next week/next Monday/this month…
I was thinking it would be nice if we planned to do something together soon. Are you free on…
Do you have any free weekends coming up where we can see each other?
Do you want to come to the cinema with me on Friday?
I’ve just moved house, do you want to come and stay with me soon?
I’m having a party on ________, can you make it?
Are you free on Saturday?
I was wondering if you wanted to go for a meal soon/at the weekend/next week?

Saying Thank You

Thank you so much for the thoughtful present, I love it!
I’m writing to say thank you for inviting me to your party.
Thank you for letting me stay with you for a few days.
Thank you for making my stay at your house an enjoyable and comfortable one.
Thank you for the card, it was really thoughtful of you.

Good Luck

Sending you lots of good luck for your driving test/exam/your interview/your new job
Wishing you the best of luck for…
Good luck for _________, I know you will do brilliantly!


Congratulations on passing your driving test / passing your exam / getting the job / the arrival of your baby boy/girl
I am so proud of you for ___________, congratulations!
Congrats on…
Well done for…

Asking for Advice/Help

I was wondering if you could help me with something, I need…
Could you help me with…
I really need your help / advice with something…
Can you do me a favour please? I need…
I would be so grateful if you could help me…

Giving Advice

If I were you, I would…
You should really…
Make sure you…
I really think you should...

Making a Recommendation

I went to an amazing restaurant / bar / city / place … You would love it there.
When I went on holiday to ________ , I really enjoyed ________. You should go there too!
Make sure you visit _________
I think you would really like __________
I saw a really good film at the weekend and I thought you would enjoy it, it’s called _________

Ending the Letter

Hope to hear from you soon!
Write soon!
Give my love to…
Say hello to your mum for me!
Pass my love on to your family from me.
Take care.
Look after yourself.
Thanks again for...

Signing Off

Lots of love,
All my love,
Love from,
Best wishes,
All the best,
Bye for now,
Speak soon,

Now just don’t forget to sign your name!

- Amy

23 mayo 2016

Writing emails in English

In today's global business world most of communication is done via email. This can be tricky*, as we rely only on words to convey meaning. How to make sure the email is still polite and will have a positive effect on our reader?

Follow these five steps to make sure your emails sound polite and professional.

1.       Start with a greeting
2.       Thank the recipient
3.       Explain the purpose of the email
4.       Add your closing remarks
5.       End with a closing

1. Start with a greeting
Choosing a greeting depends on the relationship you have with the recipient. If you know them (well), you can start with 'Dear Peter' or 'Hi Martha'. If the relationship is more formal use their family name, eg. 'Dear Mr./Mrs./Ms. Fernandez'. If you don't know the name of the recipient write 'Dear Sir, Madam' or 'To who this may concern'.

2. Thank the recipient
To start your email politely and to refer back to previous email contact you might have had, thank the recipient by saying 'Thanks for your email' or, more formally, 'Thank you for sending/replying/etc'. 

3. Explain the purpose of the email
To make sure you won't lose the reader's attention, state the purpose of your email early on. You could use 'I am writing to enquire** about..' or 'I am writing with reference to..'. More informal would be 'I'm writing about/regarding..' Remember that most people receive a lot of emails every day and therefore want to find out quickly why they have received it and what the sender wants them to do.

4. Add your closing remarks
It's polite in English to close your email with a nice remark. You could say ' Thank you for your consideration/coorperation'. Or 'In case you have any questions/concerns, please don't hesitate to contact me'. Another one is ' I look forward to hearing from you/receiving your reply'.

5. End with a closing
Closing the email depends on how you have opened it. In case you know the recipient and your relationship is informal, you could say 'Best (regards)', 'Thanks' or 'Cheers'. If your relationship is more formal use 'Yours sincerely' when you know the recipient's name and 'Yours faithfully' when you don't.

Finally, before you hit send, make sure there are no spelling mistakes in your email and have attached any files you want to send. 

*tricky - difficult /ˈtrɪk.i/ 
** enquire - ask about /ɪnˈkwaɪər/


11 noviembre 2015



Se forma con el have o has + past participle ( -ed de verbos regulares o 3ª columna de verbos irregulares)

Para mí y para muchos el tiempo verbal más complicado de todos.
¿por qué? Pues porque lo usamos de diferente manera en inglés que en castellano. 
Vemos una frase. Si decimos:

I’ve lived in L’Hospitalet for 5 years. 

¿seguimos viviendo en L’Hospitalet o no?  Si lo traducimos de forma literal  “He vivido en L’Hospitalet durante 5 años”  indica que ya no vivo allí.  En inglés no es así. Esta frase significa que  llevo 5 años viviendo en L’hospitales y todavía vivo allí.

Los diferentes usos de Present Perfect en inglés nos dan una pista. algunos son como en castellano pero otros no.

Uso 1
Usamos el Present Perfect para hablar de que hemos hecho una acción pero no decimos cuanto.
I’ve eaten snake.

Si dijera cuando hice la acción no podría usar el present perfect y debería usar el past simple ya que digo una marca de pasado. Osea, cuando pasó la acción es un tiempo acabado.
I ate snake in my last travel to china last year.

Uso 2 
con palabras como just para decir que has hecho algo recientemente.
I don’t want to eat anything I’ve just had a sandwich.

Uso 3
relacionados el pasado con el presente. Esto lo hacemos dando a entender que empezamos ha hacer una acción que todavía sigue de alguna manera ahora.

I’ve written three books since I worked as a writer.
He escrito tres libros hasta el momento de ahora.  El tiempo no se ha acabado: desde que empecé hasta ahora. Si podemos añadir esto a un tiempo verbal casi seguro que será un present perfect.

Veamos por ejemplo si es un escritor que ha muerto. El escritor escribió libros hasta que murió por lo tanto la acción de escribir no llega hasta el momento de ahora sino que sólo hasta que murió.

Shakespeare wrote twenty novels.  no podríamos decir   Shakespeare has written twenty novels.

Éste es el uso que es más diferente al castellano. Hay que ver si el tiempo se ha acabado y por tanto usaremos un past simple. Si no se ha acabado,  usaremos entonces un Present Perfect.

Hay palabras que van casi siempre con Present Perfect aunque no siempre. Digamos que se asocian con un  95% de probabilidad.
Estas palabras son: already, yet, for, since, just.
La posición en las frases es distinta

I’ve already eaten in the new fashion restaurant. (delante del verbo principal eaten. Traducción: ya)

I haven’t eaten in the new fashion restaurant yet. (en frases negativas al final. Traducción:todavía)

Have you eaten in the new fashion restaurant yet? (en frases interrogativas al final. Traducción: ya)

I’ve eaten in the new fashion restaurant for five weeks (para indicar el periodo de tiempo que hemos hecho algo, casi siempre se pueden contar, menos frases hechas como “for along time”, etc.. Traducción: durante)

I’ve eaten in the new fashion restaurant since last week. (para indicar el punto en el pasado desde el que se ha hecho la acción hasta ahora. Traducción: desde)

La palabra “ago” se usa sólo para Past Simple. Nunca en Present Perfect.

08 noviembre 2015


Para empezar diré que cuando vemos una forma verbal con -ing nuestra mente va directamente a la traducción de un gerundio. Esto no es siempre así. Sólo cuando ese verbo con -ing esté con el verbo to be para hacer un tiempo verbal que sea continuo será gerundio, sino no. 

veamos. El verbo eat puede tener tres formas distintas en infinitivo:

eat——- lo que llamamos en inglés   bear infinitive  que significa infinitivo sin nada más
to eat———-  el infinitivo con to
eating———— el infinitivo con ing

Por tanto las tres formas se pueden traducir como “comer” en castellano.

El los libros de gramática o los resúmenes de gramática de la gran mayoría de libros de texto siguen llamando a la forma verbal con -ing  gerundio y a las otras infinitivos ( con to o sin to). Pero no debemos perder de vista lo que hemos dicho. A lo que se le llama gerund en castellano puede ser gerundio unas veces y otras infinitivo. Creo que esto tiene que quedar muy claro sino luego hay confusión de conceptos.

Veamos los casos en los que podemos tener gerundios y los casos en los que tenemos los infinitivos:

Cuando está de sujeto , objeto o complemento de una frase para expresar propósito y se traduce como “para” después de los verbos modales
después de una preposición después de muchos adjetivos  después de : help, let, make, would rather, had better
después de ciertos verbos después de ciertos verbos

Veamos los casos  rápidamente uno a uno con un ejemplo.


1- Cuando funciona como sujeto.

Eating junk food is not good for your health—-> Comer comida basura no es bueno para tu salud.

2- Después de una preposición. 
I’m very good at playing tennis——-> Soy muy bueno jugando al tenis
La preposición at obliga a poner la forma con -ing del verbo que tengamos.

3- Después de ciertos verbos.

Lo mejor es hacerse una lista de verbos y intentar recordarlos. Si estos verbos aparecen y tiene otro detrás, el de detrás estará con la forma -ing.

I like reading books,   I finished cleaning my room,  I will consider running the marathon.

la estructura siempre es la misma:

primer verbo en cualquier tiempo + segundo verbo siempre con -ing

cuadro de verbos que tienen el segundo verbo con -ing

primer verbo (que puede estar en cualquier tiempo verbal) segundo verbo con -ING
adore, detest,, dislike, enjoy, don’t mind, can’t stand, like, love, admit, avoid, can’t help, consider, delay, deny, feel like, forgive, give up, imagine, involve, keep, mind, miss, postpone, put off, practice, prevent, regret, resist, risk, suggest cualquier verbo pero con -ING

Por ejemplo : I adore buying gifts at Christmas
We enjoy playing tennis at the weekend
They can’t help dancing when they are at the disco.


1- Para expresar propósito y se traduce como “para”.

I went to my parent’s house to have dinner.
they study to pass the exam.

2- Después de algunos adjetivos.
por ejemplo: delighted, disappointed, easy, happy, important, lucky, necessary, normal, possible, surprised.

Por ejemplo:   It isn’t very easy to read a book in English.
I’m very happy to know she is going to get married.

3- Después de algunos verbos.

Igual que pasaba con el gerundio. Si vemos alguno de estos verbos pondremos el siguiente con infinitivo con “to”. La complicación viene cuando tenemos también otras palabras que pueden aparecer como por ejemplo un objeto directo entre medio. Veamos las dos estructuras:

a- primer verbo+ segundo verbo con “to”
b- primer verbo+ objeto directo (me/you/him/her/them/us…)+ segundo verbo con “to”

cuadro de verbos con infinitivo con “to”

primer verbo segundo verbo con”to” primer verbo + objeto directo segundo verbo con “to”
promise, (can’t) afford, agree, appear, arrange, ask, attempt, choose, decide, deserve, expect, fail, hesitate, hope, learn, manage, offer, prepare, pretend, refuse, seem cualquier verbo advise, allow, enable, encourage, force, invite, order, persuade, recommend, remind, teach, tell, warn cualquier verbo

I promise to bring the music with me for the party
I promised to bring the music and I did.

I allowed you to tell my secret, but I now everybody knows about it
I invite Anne to come to my birthday party. She is a well-known singer.
Para complicarlo un poco más tenemos una tercera categoría que puede ir con GERUNDIO o con INFINITIVO CON TO. 

Algunos verbos podemos tenerlos con las dos cosas y pueden entonces significar lo mismo o por el contrario son diferentes según la forma que usemos:

Son indistintos:

A- love, like, hate and prefer  normalmente van con otro verbo con ing pero pueden ir también con un verbo con to sin diferencia de significado.

I love going to the cinema / I love to go to the cinema.

hate es común con infinitivos con to, por ejemplo:  I hate to interrupt, but….
Después de like podemos encontrarnos un infinitivo con to cuando significa tener el hábito de:  I like to have a shower when I arrive home.

B- Los verbos beguin, star, continue e intend pueden ir con gerundio o con infinitivo con to sin cambio de significado.
I started to cry /crying  when I hit my finger with the hammer.

C. Algunos verbos si tiene diferencia si ponemos otro verbo on ing o con infinitivo con to. Veamos los más comunes en esta tabla:

remember/forget+ gerund ( recordar algo del pasado lejano o cercano) remember/fotget+ inf with to ( no acordarse de hacer algo)
I remember going to the big lake when I was a child Don’t forget to take the coat with you it’s cold outside.
go on+ gerund  (continuar con la misma actividad) go on + inf with to (cambiar de actividad)
I go on studying for four hours Daniel stopped writing in the newspaper and went on to be a successful manager in a medical company.
mean+ gerund  ( significa)   mean+ inf with to  ( tener la intention de)
diets mean giving up sweet things like chocolate I meant to go to the meeting but I completely forgot.
need+, gerund (con significado de pasiva) need + inf with to  (con significado de activa)
My car needs repairing  (it needs to be repaired)  I need to get a new dress for the party
stop + gerund  (dejar de hacer algo, por ej. un hábito) stop + inf with to  (para hacer algo)
I stopped smoking three years ago I stop to smoke a cigarette because the journey was too long.
try + gerund (experimentar haciendo algo para ver que sucede) try + inf with to  ( intentar hacer algo pero no conseguirlo)
I tried resting but my uncle still hurts I tried to stop the dog, but he ran away.