23 Jan 2015

Videos with useful phrases according to your level!

Hi there!

Today I wanted to share with you a very useful section within the Inside Out website. It contains videos with useful phrases categorised into different levels: pre-intermediate, intermediate and upper-intermediate.

Here you  have the first video of the series. Scroll down and continue watching more videos which correspond to your level. I'm sure you can all understand a lot!

I also take advantage of this entry to recommend you another incredibly useful website to do listening at home (audio this time, not video, I'm afraid). It is listed in the resources I recommend for listening (make sure you check that section! --> resources online > skills > listening).

The website is, and all the listenings are divided into different levels. You can choose the type of activity you want (open questions; multiple-choice questions or filling the gaps), and you have the transcription as well. Very useful!! :)

I hope you start using these websites!

20 Jan 2015

The present perfect and typically related words (ever, never; for, since; just, yet, already)

Hi everyone!

Today we're going to focus on the present perfect tense and, more specifically, several words that are typically associated with it -although in future years you will see that they can be used in other tenses as well!

First of all, let us very quickly revise when we use the present perfect, especially in contrast with the past simple:

To cut a long story short (en resumidas cuentas), use the present perfect:

  • For life experiences (they are finished, they happened in the past, but I don't know when)
It is in this context that we typically use ever and never:
Have you ever swum with dolphins?; Have you ever tried bungee-jumping? 
I've never eaten Viatnamese food.
If you want to practise a little bit, complete this information about Loch Ness.
  • For actions that started in the past and still continue now.
It is in this context that we typically use the words for and since.

If you would like to have more information about for and since, click for a detailed explanation with plenty of examples that you can also listen to. If what you need is practice, click below:

Finally, there are three other words that are normally used in the present perfect: just, already and yet. Read the information below to understand their meaning and their position in the sentence.
  • We use just for something that has very recently happened (acabar de). We place it in the middle of the sentence, between have and the participle:
I've just learnt how to use for and since.
I've just been to the supermarket.
  • We use already in affirmative sentences to mean 'sooner than expected'. We generally place it between have and the participle, but it can also appear at the end of the sentence:
I've already finished reading Dracula / I've finished reading Dracula already.
I've already been to London three times / I've been to London three times already.
  • We use yet in negative and interrogative sentences. We place it at the end of the sentence:
I haven't started Sherlock Holmes yet.
Have you been to England yet?
  • BUT remember: we can also use already in questions when we expect a positive answer
Have you already started revising for the exam?

And now comes the practice!

To finish today's entry, here you have two websites to practise some of the grammar we have seen already :)
Remember that revising is even more important than studying something for the first time! :)

7 Jan 2015

New Year Resolutions for your English learning - some ideas!

Hello everyone! And Happy New Year!

We're back after the Christmas break with renewed energy from these cosy and warm days with the family. I hope you come back as energetic and lively! :)

The first days of the New Year are always full of optimism, ambitions, new projects, resolutions, etc. Along with that philosophy, I wanted to post something uplifting and that gives you ideas to orientate your English studying in 2015.

Funny enough, I've just bumped into a very interesting blog post that I share with you below. It is written by an English student who passed the Advanced level without attending lessons. It is a clear example of perseverance, willingness to learn and organizational skills.

She also gives plenty of ideas, resources and tips to study autonomously at home. And, last but not least, I'm sure you'll feel identified with her because of the language she uses and also because she encountered the same obstacles and problems as many of you do.