Linking words

January 30, 2017 at 12:00 am | Posted in Connectors, Linking words | Leave a comment

Linking words, connectors & discourse markerslinking-words

Linking words, discourse markers and connectors may not be exactly the same in grammatical terms, for some are conjunctions  while others are adverbs or even prepositions.  Yet, they have something in common: they all are transition words or phrases that help us organise our oral speech or written texts. They bind the sentences and the ideas logically, making the text clearer to the listener or reader.

A text without them may seem illogical or uncohesive. However, we should not overuse them, either. Otherwise, the text will seem to pretentious. As you can see, in this first lines, we can already find quite a few.

Can you identify some in this chart below?


Take a look at the following guide:  linking_words_guide

Then, try these exercises here. thinking

Exercise 1

Exercise 2

Exercise 3

Exercise 4

Exercise 5

Exercise 6



Future tenses

January 21, 2017 at 9:50 pm | Posted in Future tenses, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: ,


Predicting the future has never been easy, especially if you want to be fairly accurate.

To make it more challenging  you have several ways of expressing  future actions depending on the point of view or the perspective you take.

Future verb tenses and modalities also match this complexity.

Trying to recall what we learned last year:



Four different ways of expressing future actions:

  • will /shall future
  • going to future
  • present continuous or progressive
  • simple present


How are they used? Look at the following diagram.



Take these  exercises to find out if you still remember this.

Exercise 1

Exercise 2

For more exercises refer to Future modalities link in the categories list on the right.



Now we are going to focus on will / shall future.

As all the other English tenses, there are four different ones:

  • Future Simple english-grammar-types-of-tenses
  • Future Continuous
  • Future Perfect
  • Future Perfect Continuous

Which one should we use?

Analyse the following grid:




Which meanings do these cartoon illustrate?


























Let’ s see ifyou can work out these exercises successfully:


Exercise 1

Exercise 2

Exercise 3

Exercise 4


If you’re still ful of doubts, check the PPT presentation you saw in the class.

Click here.future_continuous-perfect_amc11o_st

Our world

January 21, 2017 at 4:27 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

world-back-colour-medium_1Our world

Scientists think that the Earth is 4.54 billion years old, which means that the planet has gone through a lot of transformations to become the world we know today.

Humankind is much younger (some say just 200,000 years old) yet we are leaving a huge footprint. Population growth, progress  and consumerism are having strong impact on our home, planet Earth, and problably changing its living conditions forever.

Our world is being affected in several ways. Look at the picture below↓:


Can you identify the problems above↑ (clockwise)?


  1. F_ _D     SH_ RT_ G
  2. GL _B _L    W _ RM_ N G
  3. G R_ _ NH _US _     _ F F_ C T
  4. _Z_ N_   L _Y_ R    D _PL_ T_ _N
  5. W_ T_ R    S H_ R T_ G_
  6. S _ _L     C_N T_ M_ N_ T_ _N
  7. _ X T_ N C T_ _ N
  8. W_S T _  D_ S P_ S _ L


To train your listening skills and simultaneously revise vocabulary, try this link and do the exercises proposed there.

Listening and vocabulary review exercise  Click on listen-optionalthe audio file and complete the text.



How about possible solutions? Have you thought of any?

Watch the video and list down some of the tips they offer.

  • At home:
  • While shopping:
  • While travelling:


Try this exercise with some of the vocabulary you’ve just listened to.

Click here. go_green_stamps


Why not call your Mayor’s attention to local problems?


  • Say who you are;
  • What the problem is and why that disturbs you;
  • Don’t forget to suggest a few measures to be taken by the town council;
  • Offer your help if appropriate.thinlglobalactlocal


Start like this:                                    Dear Mayor,

Close the letter saying:                     Sincerely

NB – Don’t forget to sign in legible way!


Read the following letter and find out why you wouldn’t like to write it.



Listen to him. Great way of summing up everything.


November 27, 2016 at 11:29 pm | Posted in Complaining, Letter of complaint, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Letters of complaint

パソコン 怒る

When we buy goods, we expect things to work properly, but sometimes they don’t. When it is not possible to resolve the problem personally, then we should complain in writing. Usually it is a lot more effective.

In that case there are procedures to respect if we want to do things right.

As this is a formal letter, the layout has also  rigid norms to comply with.

The two most common formats are these two below. You can either start all the paragraphs on the left or put the sender’s address and the date on the right.

layoutformat formal-letter-layout-letter_layout












As for the content, your letter you should include the following:

  • describe what you purchased, as well as where and when,
  • explain why you are not happy with the purchase,
  • tell them what you would like them to do about the situation,
  • indicate a deadline for the resolution of the problem.



Look at this model:


Nowwriting2, try to write one yourself.  Imagine you have recently ordered an item through the Internet, but are not happy with the purchase. Write to the company.


When you finish, refer to the following link to compare the original with your letter.

Letter example


To brighten up things, watch the following videos and use them as an example of seriously funny way to make a complaint!


Relative clauses

November 25, 2016 at 5:52 pm | Posted in Relative Clauses, relatives | Leave a comment
Tags: , , ,


Relatives are a good way of connecting ideas and avoid repetitions. There are pronouns and adverbs and the clauses that carry them can be divided in two major groups: defining and non-defining, depending on their role.



Defining relative clauses

The young teacher, who graduated from the same university I did, gave a wonderful presentation.

Stratford-on-Avon, about which many people have written, is Shakespeare’s birthplace.

Doctors use a new testing kit for screening lung and stomach cancers, which account for 70% of cancers treated in the western world.

She’s studying to become a doctor, which is difficult.

Summing up the differences:



Relative clauses & prepositionsrelative-prep2

If the verb in the relative clause takes a preposition, we may put it at the end of the clause or at the beginning, but that can cause some changes in the sentence:


For example: talk to / work with / apply for / complain about / listen to

  •  The shop assistant (who or whom / that) he talked to on that day had been recently hired.
  • He couldn’t forget the music (that/which) he had listened to.
  • He got the job (that/which) he had applied for.
  • Stratford-on-Avon, which many people have written about, is Shakespeare’s birthplace.


  • The shop assistant to whom he talked on that they had been recently hired. (more formal)
  • Stratford-on-Avon, about which many people have written, is Shakespeare’s birthplace.

Note: In that case that can’t be used.

Shall we try some exercises now?

Exercise 1

Exercise 2

Exercise 3

Exercise 4

Exercise 5


Marketing & Advertising

November 23, 2016 at 10:57 pm | Posted in Advertising, Consumerism, Marketing, Uncategorized | Leave a comment


Advertising is almost as old as humankind. From the ancient Egyptian papyrus messages to the current neon lights advertising has changed a lot. Yet, the goals are basically the same: to make you aware of a certain product, to remind you of its existence and lead you to some sort of action.



Advertising has a lot of influence upon our lives. Owing to that, we all should know a little about its techniques and tricks.

Wherever you find them and whatever the medium used advertising tends to make us move towards a final action  using four basic steps  known as AIDA. This acronym stands for attention or awareness, interest, desire and action which usually means acquiring the product, joining the organisation, etc.




How does this model apply to the ads or adverts we see in print or online?

Look at this this  online page. Words and images lead us to the same goal: the call to action button.



Print ads usually display four main elements: the headline, the illustration, the copy and the signature.

The signature usually consists of a logo,  a slogan or tagline and a contact.




Now try to find  the same elements in the following advert:




Is any of these elements missing?

  • Headline?
  • Illustration?
  • Copy?
  • Logo?
  • Slogan?
  • What about the strategy used here? Find your answer below.


To make you buy, marketeers use all sorts of strategies. Take a look at this list and try to identify some ads they may apply to.


If you want to create your own ad in four quick steps, follow this link and you’ll see an instant commercial:











Perfect Tenses (Past and Present)

October 24, 2016 at 4:13 pm | Posted in Present Perfect Tenses, Songs and verb tenses, Uncategorized, Verb Tenses | Leave a comment

Perfect tenses made easy!!

Present perfect tenses

are subdivided into: 

  • Present Perfect Simple 

  • Present Perfect Continuous (or Progressive)

 Let’s look at the first one:

Present Perfect Simple is used to in different situations, for example:

  • to speak about an unspecified time in the past.







  • You can use it to speak about actions or events related to the present time.

  • You often give emphasis to the present result of those actions.

  • Actions that have been just completed.

  • You can use it with words like  yet, still, already, for, since, just…

  • Look at the examples below.


To help you revise Present Perfect, go through the Powerpoint you’ve  seen in class.

Computer Age_Present perfect


Now let’s take a look at

Present Perfect Continuous

It’s about an action that has been going on for some time and has some impact on the present.


It puts emphasis on the duration or course of that action (not the result).


Try to work out the difference by completing these exercises:

Present Perfect Simple vs Continuous 1

Present Perfect Simple vs Continuous 2

Present Perfect Simple vs Continuous 3


Now listen to another song that uses this perfect continuous tense.


Try to identify the mistakes in this first stanza. How many can you identify?

Early, I’ve been, I’ve been losing sleep
Thinking about the things that we could be
But baby, I’ve been, I’ve been crying hard,
Said, no more chasing dollars
We’ll be hunting stars, yeah we’ll be hunting stars

How many extra words are there?

I see in this life like a swinging vine
Swing my heart across the line fine
And my face now is flashing signs
Seek it out and you shall find me

Now what’s missing?

_________, but I’m not that _________
Young, but I’m not that _________
I don’t think the world is ______
I’m just doing what we’re _______
I feel something so right
Doing the ________ thing
I feel something so _________
Doing the right thing
I could lie, couldn’t I, could lie
Everything that kills me makes me feel alive

A little help:   Told      Bold      Wrong         Sold       Old
This exercise was based on material from

Past Perfect vs Past Perfect Continuous

Now let’s pay attention to the past perfect tenses. ppvsppct

Like the present, these are are subdivided into:

  • Past Perfect
  • Past Perfect Continuous (or Progressive)


Focusing on the Past Perfect

Formation:   had + past participle 



Use: This verb tense is often used to speak about an action that took place before another event in the past.


With the past perfect it is clear which action took place first…



… or the reason why something happened in the past.



Look at this timeline: Two actions took place in the past, but not at the same time. So you can show very clearly how things happened.



  • Sam had cooked dinner when Carol got home.

  • After Sam had cooked dinner, Carol got home.

  • By the time Carol got home, Sam  had already cooked dinner.


Time expressions like when, until before, after, by the time, by then are often used with the Past Perfect.


Past Perfect Continuous


This tense tells us what had been taking place before a certain action /event in the past.


Formation:   HAD  BEEN + GERUND









The same time expressions (when, until before, after, by the time, by then)  can be used with the Past Perfect Continuous.


  • He had been driving for 2 hours before his car broke down.
  • He had been driving for 2 hours when his car broke down.
  • By the time his car broke down he had been driving for 2 hours.


Check the presentation we used in class. I may help you.

past-perfect-tenses looking-back-704x302



Now see if you can use  these tenses accurately. Use the following links:














Contrast and concessive connectors

October 19, 2016 at 4:28 pm | Posted in Contrast connectors, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: ,

Expressing contrast and concession

Connectors are very important to make the texts we write more cohesive.

There are many different types, but today we are simply going to sonsider the ones used to express contrast or concession, that means when ideas seem to diverge.

Look at the list below:


They all introduce a note of  contrast and disagreement, but they have different ways of being used in the sentences. For example their placement may vary. Some are more often used at the beginning, some at the end and others in the middle.




Besides their position, they also require different types of completion. Note the differences in the explanation below:


Although / though / even though  (Port. embora) – need a full clause (subject + verb).

Despite /In spite of  (Port. apesar de) – take a Gerund (ing form) or noun

Despite the fact that… / In spite of the fact that …. – full clause (subject + verb)

Yet / Still /However / Nevertheless – (Port. porém, todavia, contudo, no entanto) –  need a comma (,) and come in the middle of two clauses.


Recalling last year’s presentation: 106_concessive_clauses_and_phrases


Shall we try a few exercises?

Exercise 1

Exercise 2

Exercise 3

Exercise 4



October 16, 2016 at 10:56 am | Posted in shopping, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: ,

Shop till you drop online-sales-478x311


With the new marketing strategies and advertising campaigns, shopping looks more like a modern pastime than simply an answer to our needs. More and more people do it for fun, not out of need. Nobody knows whether this is a good change or just a new form of allienation.

What’s your view?

Before you comment on this, take a look at the following video.



Publishing your views:



To fight against this great wave of consumerism, there’s also a campaign encouraging people to resist the appeal to consumption.

Would you take part in this kind of initiative?




Or would you be more radical?




October 3, 2016 at 5:41 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Tags: , ,

Money, money, moneymoney-300x261

A well-known song says that money makes the world go around and in fact our lives revolve much around getting and spending money.

No matter our age, nationality, social status or education, money matters. So let’s talk about money.

See if you can answer the questions below. Are they difficult?

  • How do you get your money?
  • How do you spend it?
  • How good are you at saving money?


If you can’t answer them fluently, we’d better revise vocabulary and listen to some examples. tightfisted-consumer

Money-related words:

afluent – broke – cheap –  generous – giving – hard up – mean 

penniless – prosperous – tight-fisted – wasteful – wealthy – well-off

Insert the adjectives above into the right categories below:

  • Having a lot of money:
  • Having very little money:
  • Willing to spend money:
  • Unwilling to spend money:


Solve this worksheet to expand your vocabulary on this topic area. vocabularymoney_apoio_oct2016

Try also these vocabulary quizzes here:         

money words1

money words2

listenListening activities







The links below will allow you to listen to some statements and  put yourself to test.


Reading activities

Now let’s try some reading comprehension on the subject. (easier) (more difficult)


To brighten up things, listen to an ‘oldie’ about the topic.


While you listen, try to figure out which word is missing. They all have to do with MONEY, of course.

I work all night, I work all day, to pay the ________ I have to pay
Ain’t it sad
And still there never seems to be a single ________ left for me
That’s too bad
In my dreams I have a plan
If I got me a __________ man
I wouldn’t have to work at all, I’d fool around and have a ball…
Money, money, money
Must be funny
In the __________ man’s world
Money, money, money
Always sunny
In the _________ man’s world
All the things I could do
If I had a little _________
It’s a rich man’s world
A man like that is hard to find but I can’t get him off my mind
Ain’t it sad
And if he happens to be free I bet he wouldn’t fancy me
That’s too bad
So I must leave, I’ll have to go
To Las Vegas or Monaco
And win a _________ in a game, my life will never be the same…
To check your answers: Money song lyrics
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