Monday, March 26, 2012


Who said revising grammar was boring? If you think so, that's because you haven't tried Grammar Gremlins yet, an online game released by Cambridge English Online. You only have to choose the level you want to try, read fast and click the correct answer. Hurry up or you'll miss your rocket back to Earth!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Enjoy the concert

It is a truth universally acknowledge that Oldfield's musical virtuosity is beyond doubt. I have chosen this part because the end is astonishing. Turn it up!!!!

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Make a break and turn it up!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Reading training

I've been having a look at some handouts I thought I had lost long time ago. They deal with training fast reading, getting information between the lines and improving your summarizing skills. Are you interested? If so, why don't you try these easy tasks? They will only take you some minutes. Ready?
For further information, look up CAE Reading Skills. C.U.P.

The aim of this unit is to focus on:
- understanding a text as a whole and identifying the aim of the text;
- skimming a text for the main ideas without reading in detail. Steady?

1-Look quickly at the text and decide which of the following you are likely to find it in:
a) a newspaper; b) a tourist brochure; c) a safety leaflet; d) a science magazine; e) a guide book.

2-Which of the following does the text aim to do?
a) present research results on hypothermia.
b) warn people of the dangers of boating.
c) instruct people on what they should do if they fall into cold water.
d) describe a boating accident.

3-Look quickly through the text and decide which sections are about the points below. Some of the sections may be used more than once, while others may not be used at all. (Time limit: 5 minutes).
  1. children's survival time
  2. how a lifejacket influences heat loss
  3. the importance of shivering
  4. how movement influences body heat loss
  5. how body position can influence survival time
  6. what to do with someone who has been immersed in cold water
  7. how body size influences heat loss
  8. the cause of death                                                  GO!
Cold Water Survival (Extract taken from CAE mentioned above).
Hypothermia is the lowering of deep body temperature that places the body in a general state of shock, which in turn depresses normal body functions.
In cold water, the skin cools very rapidly. However, it takes 10-15 minutes before the temperature of the heart, brain and other internal organs begins to drop. Intense shivering occurs in an attempt to increase the body's heat production and counteract the large heat loss.
Once cooling begins, the body temperature falls steadily and unconsciousness can occur. Cardiac arrest is the usual cause of death when the temperature cools to below 30ºC.
The experimental average predicted survival times of average men and women holding still in ocean water and wearing a standard lifejacket and light clothing is about 2 1/3-3 hours in water of 10ºC (50ºF). Predicted survival time is increased by extra body fat and decreased by small body size. (Woe is me! LOL). Although women generally possess slightly more fat than men they cool slightly faster due to their usually small body size.
Children are particularly vulnerable to cold water, because they are smaller and have less fat than adults. In the event of a family being immersed, it is important for the parents to either get children partially or completely out of the water or on some form of flotation (e.g. an overturned boat). A little boy should be pulled out of the water first because he loses heat faster than his twin sister. If no flotation is available the adults should sandwich the child between them to help equalise the cooling rates of all involved.
Flotation lifejackets provide significant thermal protection and increase predicted survival time by more than 75%.
No! Although the body produces almost three times as much heat when swimming slowly and steadily in cold water compared to holding still, this extra heat is lost to the cold water due to more blood circulation to the arms, legs and skin. Results show that the person swimming in a lifejacket cools 35% faster than when holding still.
On occasion, the shore may be close enough to reach despite a faster cooling rate with this activity. Tests conducted on people swimming in ocean water of 10ºC (50ºF) and wearing standard lifejackets and light clothing showed that the average person could cover only a short distance before being incapacitated by hypothermia. This distance will obviously be affected by one's swimming ability, amount of insulation and water conditions. It is not easy to judge distance and the shore may appear to be closer than it actually is.
In cold water, an individual is likely to be able to swim a distance of no more than 1/10th of what he or she could easily swim in warm water.
In most instances, the best advice is to stay with the boat!
In this unfortunate situation, one is forced to adopt the "anti-drowning" technique of treading water.
Treading water involves continuous movement of the arms and legs in various patterns in order to keep the head out of the water. Test results show an average cooling rate of persons treading water that was 34% faster than while holding still in a lifejacket.
The head and neck are the most critical heat loss areas. Infra-red pictures show that the sides of the chest and the groin are also major routes for heat loss. If an effort is made to conserve body heat, these regions deserve special attention.
Based on the heat loss information in section F, two techniques were tested that attempted to reduce heat loss from critical areas.
-HELP (Heat Escape Lessening Position) and
-Huddle (Sides of the chest of different individuals are held close together).

The keys will be provided to those submitted answers. I'll be delighted to help you solve your doubts! If you are fond of this sort of activity, please let me know.


 So she came down from the tree by Marc Chagall.
Present Simple vs Continuous
Present Perfect vs Past Simple
Passive voice
Test 1  2 (General review).
1st Conditional
Will & Going to 1  2.

Monday, March 5, 2012


Subject/Object Questions. Click on the previous link to try your knowledge on these types of questions.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Linking devices

Hi, there! Some of you have asked about connectors in English. I'm afraid there are plenty of them to make the final list, but we may get an overall idea about their usage if we pay attention to these clarifying examples. I hope they'll come in handy.

To express TIME we use the following linkers (Conjunctions):
When I saw the time, I realized I was late.
After I had a shower, I got dressed. (Tras/después de...). That's different from Later, Then, Afterwards, which are adverbs. They are mostly separated from the rest of the sentence by a comma .
As/While I was having a shower, I thought about my interview.
Before I went to work, I read the mail.
Once I'd seen the bills to pay, I left the house.

To express REASON:
I went to live in London because I wanted to learn English.
As it was getting late, we decided it was time to leave.
Since he had very little money, James decided he should look for work.
We had to stop playing because of the bad weather.
Due to the economic situation, fewer people are taking holidays this year.

To express CONTRAST:
Although there was a general strike, most people managed to get to work.
There was a general strike, but most people managed to get to work.
Our task became more and more demanding. However/Nevertheless, we carried on.
We enjoyed our picnic despite/in spite of the rain.
Despite/in spite of being raining, we enjoyed our picnic./ Despite/in spite of the fact that it was raining, we enjoyed our picnic.

To express RESULT:
It was raining, so we went home.
The play was so boring that I fell asleep.
He worked hard all his life. As a result, he amassed a fortune.
I was ill. Therefore/Consequently, I stayed in bed. (More formal).

To express PURPOSE:
I went to Italy to/ in order to/ so as to learn Italian.
Sheila left for work early so that she could avoid the rush hour.
Source: New Headway. OUP.