Thursday, 24 December 2009

New feature: The Best of the Web

Over the next weeks and months, you'll see the Best of the Web Collection grow to include a large variety of great talks on technology, entertainment, design and all the other topics you can find on

Tuesday, 22 December 2009


Credits: An acknowledgment of work done, as in the production of a motion picture or publication. Often used in the plural:
e.g. At the end of the film we stayed to watch the credits.

Secret Santa

Secret Santa is a Western Christmas tradition in which members of a group are randomly assigned other members to whom they anonymously give a gift. Often practised in workplaces, or amongst large families, participation in it is usually voluntary. It offers a way for many people to give and receive a gift at low cost to those involved

Monday, 21 December 2009

Ready for CAE p 69. Essays. Useful Language

Ready for CAE Ss p 69. Essay. Useful Language

Ready for CAE p 69. It is Better to Live Alone Than in the Parental Home. Essay

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Ready for CAE p 67. Listening. Vocabulary

Immaterial (to sb/sth): not important or relevant in a particular situation. Irrelevant: E.g. The cost is immaterial. It is immaterial to me whether he stays or goes.
Hold back on sth: stop from moving forwards. To withhold something; to give or take only a limited amount.E.g. Hold back on the gravy. I'm on a diet. That's enough. Hold back. Save some for the others. Frenar
Stunts: escenas peligrosas
Rally: a car race on public roads or land.
Peak performance: best performance.
Roll: to turn over and over or round and round. Dar vueltas, rodar.
Noun: a long channel dug at the side of a field or road, to hold or take away water. Cuneta, acequia
Verb: to get rid of sth/sb because you no longer want or need it/them: E.g. The new road building programme has been ditched. He ditched his girlfriend.
Step in: to help sb in a disagreement or difficult situation: E.g. A local businessman stepped in with a large donation for the school. Intervenir.
Underrate: to not recognize how good, important, etc. sb/sth really is: E.g. He’s seriously underrated as a writer. An underrated movie. Subestimar

Ready for CAE p 65. Relationships. Extra speaking

Ready for CAE Ss p 65. Relationships. Extra Speaking

Description of the picture on the left:

The picture portrays a tiny desert island with a palm tree in the centre. Perhaps this island is located in a tropical part of the world. I would say that because palm trees normally grow in tropical countries.
Anyway, underneath the palm tree, and sitting at either side of its trunk, we can clearly see a couple, who, judging by their posture and what they are saying to each other, seem to have quite a rocky relationship. They don’t face each other but, quite the opposite, they are sitting back to back, leaning against the tree trunk.
Both of them are wearing scruffy clothes and are barefoot. They look as though they are two castaways. They must have been shipwrecked and may have had to swim to this desert island.
We can’t say that they are getting on like a house on fire. On the one hand, she has folded her arms tightly across her chests. This comes to show us that she might be feeling uncomfortable or nervous. Studies have shown that when a person folds his arms not only has he negative thoughts about the other person, but he is also paying less attention to what is being said. On the other hand he appears to be completely unaware of how bored and confused she seems to be. I would say that the relationship must have turned sour some time ago.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Ready for CAE p 65. Malcolm X at Oxford, 1964. Extra Listening

I enjoy replaying this vintage gem every now and then -- Malcolm X debating at Oxford University in 1964. In this classic video, you get a good feel for Malcolm X’s presence and message, not to mention the social issues that were alive during the day. You’ll hear X’s trademark claim that liberty can be attained by “whatever means necessary,” including force, if the government won’t guarantee it, and that “intelligently directed extremism” will achieve liberty far more effectively than pacifist strategies. (He’s clearly alluding to Martin Luther King.) You can listen to the speech in its entirety here (Real Audio), something that is well worth doing. But I’d also encourage you to watch the dramatic closing minutes and pay some attention to the nice rhetorical slide, where X takes lines from Shakespeare’s Hamlet and uses them to justify his “by whatever means necessary” position. You’d probably never expect to see Hamlet getting invoked that way, let alone Malcolm X speaking at Oxford. A wonderful set of contrasts.

“I read once, passingly, about a man named Shakespeare. I only read about him passingly, but I remember one thing he wrote that kind of moved me. He put it in the mouth of Hamlet, I think, it was, who said, ‘To be or not to be.’ He was in doubt about something—whether it was nobler in the mind of man to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune—moderation—or to take up arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them. And I go for that. If you take up arms, you’ll end it, but if you sit around and wait for the one who’s in power to make up his mind that he should end it, you’ll be waiting a long time. And in my opinion, the young generation of whites, blacks, browns, whatever else there is, you’re living at a time of extremism, a time of revolution, a time when there’s got to be a change. People in power have misused it, and now there has to be a change and a better world has to be built, and the only way it’s going to be built—is with extreme methods. And I, for one, will join in with anyone—I don’t care what color you are—as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this earth.”

Ready for CAE p 62. Motherhood's Best-kept Secret. Vocabulary


To drift off to sleep: to fall asleep.
To wander: to walk slowly around or to a place, often without any particular sense of purpose or direction.
Wreck: a person who is in a bad physical or mental condition.
Old self: the type of person you are, especially the way you normally behave, look or feel
To downsize: to reduce the number of people who work in a company, business, etc. in order to reduce costs.
Siege: a military operation in which an army tries to capture a town by surrounding it and stopping the supply of food, etc. to the people inside. Cercar.
Ambush: the act of hiding and waiting for sby and then making a surprise attack on them. Emboscada.
To prevail: to exist or be very common at a particular time or in a particular place.
At bay: to prevent an enemy from coming close or a problem from having a bad effect. Mantener a raya.
To drop sby off: to stop so that sby can get out of a car, etc.; to deliver sthg on the way to somewhere else.
To back up: to support sby/sthg; to say that what sby says, etc. is true.
Manageable: possible to deal with or control.
To stumble: to discover sthg/sby unexpectedly.
To rely on: to trust or have faith in sby/sthg.
To empathise: to understand another person’s feelings and experiences, especially because you have been in a similar situation.
Whereas: used to compare or contrast two facts.
Reluctant: hesitating before doing sthg because you do not want to do it or because you are not sure that it is the right thing to do.
To break away: to move away from a crowd or group. Separarse.
Cuddly: if a person is cuddly, they make you want to cuddle them. (Adorable) To cuddle: to hold sby/sthg close in your arms to show love or affection. Abrazar, achuchar.
Accepting: approving.
Frailty: weakness in a person’s character or moral standards. Debilidad, flaqueza.
Whilst: during the time that sthg is happening.
Bond: strong connection.
To edit: to prepare a piece of writing, a book, etc. to be published by correcting the mistakes, making improvements to it, etc.
To confide IN: to tell sby secrets and personal information because you feel you can trust them.
To put up: to build sthg or place sthg somewhere.
Rough: not gentle or careful; violent. Bruto, rudo.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Ready for CAE p 61. Listening. Vocabulary

Hasten: /ˈheɪsən/ to say or do sth without delay: E.g. He has been described as a ‘charmless bore’—not by me, I hasten to add. Apresurarse.
Turn down: to reject or refuse. Rechazar.
The whole works: everything available. The whole thing. The whole shebang /ʃɪˈbæŋ/.
Lavish: large in amount, or impressive, and usually costing a lot of money. Extravagant. E.g. lavish gifts / celebrations. They lived a very lavish lifestyle.
Statement: declaration
Allowance: an amount of money that is given to sb regularly or for a particular purpose.
Besotted:/biˈsɒtɪd/ besotted (by / with sb/sth) loving sb/sth so much that you do not behave in a sensible way: E.g. He is completely besotted with his new girlfriend. Locamente enamorado. Chiflado.
Strain: pressure, tension, worry, anxiety.
Prove to be: turn out: resultar.
Restricted: limited
Truthful: honest
Stick at sth:to continue to work in a serious and determined way to achieve sth:
If you want to play an instrument well, you’ve got to stick at it. Persevere /ˌpɜːsɪˈvɪə/. Perseverar.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Ready for CAE p 57. Vocabulary

  • Slapdash: done, or doing something, too quickly and carelessly. Chapucero E.g. She has a very slapdash approach to keeping accounts. A slapdash piece of writing.
  • Stubborn: determined not to change your opinion or attitude. Terco, testarudo, tozudo. E.g. He was too stubborn to admit that he was wrong. She can be as stubborn as a mule.
  • Reluctance: hesitation before doing something because you do not want to do it or because you are not sure that it is the right thing to do. E.g. With great reluctance (a regañadientes).
  • Domineering: trying to control other people without considering their opinions or feelings. Dominante. E.g. a cold and domineering father. A domineering manner.

Ready for CAE p 56. Personality. Extra Vocabulary

Ready for CAE p 56. Personality. Extra Speaking

Ready for CAE Ss p 56 Personality. Extra Speaking

Ready for CAE p 56. 01 Personal Identification and Experiences.

You can find posts on this topic here and here

You can find conversation questions on the subject here

Remember that you can find more conversation questions on the EOI Curriculum Topics at The Internet TESL Journal.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Ready for CAE Ss p 55. TIME. Extra Speaking

Ready for CAE Ss p 55. TIME. Extra Speaking

Ready for CAE p 55. Vocabulary. Listening. David Markham: Time Management. Time

Asset /ˈæset/: a person or thing that is valuable (bien).
To map sth out: to plan carefully
To be snowed under: to have more work than you feel you are able to deal with.
To be pressed for time: in a hurry; under time pressure.
To take on: to decide to do sth; to agree to be responsible for sth/sb (asumir/aceptar algo): e.g. I can’t take on any extra work. We’re not taking on any new clients at present.
Crease: an untidy line that is made in cloth or paper when it is pressed or crushed: e.g. She smoothed the creases out of her skirt.
Pursue /pəˈsjuː/: try to achieve sth
Pursuit /pəˈsjuːt/ of sth: the act of looking for or trying to find sth.
Slump: to sit or fall down heavily (dejarse caer, tirarse): e.g. The old man slumped down in his chair. He slumped in front of the television.

To set aside: to save or keep money or time for a particular purpose: e.g. She tries to set aside some money every month.

Harvest: the time of year when the crops are gathered in on a farm, etc.; the act of cutting and gathering crops: e.g. Harvest time. Farmers are extremely busy during the harvest.

Prime time (BrE also peak time, peak viewing time): the time when the greatest number of people are watching television or listening to the radio: e.g. prime-time television.

Record-breaker:a person or thing that achieves a better result or higher level than has ever been achieved before.
Record-breaking: adjective [only before noun]: a record-breaking jump

Injury time: (BrE) time added at the end of a game of football, hockey, etc. because the game has been interrupted by injured players needing treatment.

Qualifying time: he failed to achieve the qualifying time (Sport) → no consiguió el tiempo mínimo requerido para la clasificación

Sow/səʊ/: to plant or spread seeds
Sew/səʊ/: to use a needle and thread to make stitches in cloth.

Ready for CAE p 54. To Bear Someone a Grudge. Extra Vocabulary

Ready for CAE p 54. Extra Speaking

Ready for Cae Ss p 54. Extra Speaking

Ready for CAE p 54. Vocabulary

Grudges: a strong feeling of anger and dislike for a person who you feel has treated you badly, which often lasts for a long time To bear no grudges: No guardar rencor.

To rise through/from the ranks: to be moved up from a low level position in an organization to a higher one.

To bear a resemblance to someone or something: to have a degree of similarity to someone or something. E.g. This wallet bears a strong resemblance to the one I lost last month. Do you think that Wally bears any resemblance to his sister Mary?

Can't bear something: to be so upset about something that you feel unable to accept it or let it happen [= can't stand]: Please don't leave me. I couldn't bear it.
Can't bear the thought of (doing) something: I just can't bear the thought of having to start all over.(Se me hace difícil creer/ no puedo soportar la idea de ...)

Favour: behaviour that helps someone and gives them an advantage in an unfair way.
Show favour to someone: E.g. He was careful to show no favour to anyone. (favorecer a alguien)

Stun: to surprise or shock sb so much that they cannot think clearly or speak. Aturdir. I sat in stunned silence → me senté en silencio, anonadado