Thursday, March 26, 2009


Here's a neat little online quiz to sort them out:


Generally speaking, I think it would be more common to hear "lost" used as an adjective than "missed" (but that doesn't mean that "missed" isn't also used as an adjective). For now, here are some of the various meanings --- "miss" as a verb and "lost" as an adjective (for the above reason):


verb tr.
1. To fail to hit, reach, catch, meet, or otherwise make contact with.
2. To fail to perceive, understand, or experience: completely missed the point of the film.
3. To fail to accomplish, achieve, or attain (a goal).
4. To fail to attend or perform: never missed a day of work.
- a. To leave out; omit.
- b. To let go by; let slip: miss a chance.
6. To escape or avoid: narrowly missed crashing into the tree.
7. To feel the lack or loss of: Do you miss your family?

1. To fail to hit or otherwise make contact with something: fired the final shot and missed again.
- a. To be unsuccessful; fail.
- b. To misfire, as an internal-combustion engine.

The word lost also has a number of usages:

1. Unable to find one's way: a lost child.
- a. No longer in the possession, care, or control of someone or something: a lost pen.
- b. No longer in existence; vanished or spent: lost youth.
- c. No longer known or practiced: a lost art.
- d. Beyond reach, communication, or influence: The expedition was lost to the world for two months.
3. Not used to one's benefit or advantage: a lost opportunity.
4. Having not been or unlikely to be won; unsuccessful: a lost battle; a lost cause.
5. Beyond recovery or redemption; fallen or destroyed: a lost soul.
- a. Completely involved or absorbed; rapt: lost in thought.
- b. Bewildered or confused: I'm lost—can you start over?

I think you could say both "a lost opportunity" as well as "a missed opportunity" and the meanings would be basically the same. Unfortunately missed and lost are often not interchangeable at all.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Prepositional Verbs

Just a little note on prepositional verbs. I've noticed lately a lot of Spaniards saying "Listen me" when what you mean is: "Listen TO me".

There are plenty of others like this, for example;
  • want to
  • have to
  • like to
You should keep a note of these in your vocab journal as you find them.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Con mis alumnos...

IN vs ON

SO my students had some questions about this in class last night, so I thought to add a link... Check out this great explanation for
IN, AT & ON: (Opens in a new window)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Word of the Month ~ Autodidactic

This month's word is: Auto-didactic. It means self taught. I taught myself this word today.

autodidact |ˌôtōˈdīˌdakt|
a self-taught person.
autodidactic |-ˌdīˈdaktik| adjective
ORIGIN mid 18th cent.: from Greek autodidaktos ‘self-taught,’ from autos ‘self’ + didaskein ‘teach.’

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Reading Strategies ~ FCE & CAE

  1. If you don't know why you chose that answer, you're probably wrong.
  2. Read the Tip Strip and use these tips for all exercises that you do of this type.
  1. Read the text carefully - don't worry if you don't understand every word.
  2. Underline KEYWORDS in the Question then find the part of the text where the Answer is and underline to words there.
  3. You need to look for the MEANING. The words in the Question and Answer won't be the same, you'll need to find the SYNONYMS; similar words or phrases / expressions with similar meanings.
  4. Underline the reason for your answers - you should put the number of the Question beside the words which you underlined.
  1. Try to answer the Question (or complete the sentence) before you look at the options.
  2. What type of word is missing? What part of grammar? Adjective, noun, number, etc.
  3. Is it a verb tense? Is there an article, auxiliary verb or participle missing?
  4. Conjunctions: and, or, but, if, though, etc.
  5. Relative pronouns: that, which, who, where, when, etc.
  6. Prepositions of place: under, over, up, down, on, in, etc.
  7. Phrasal verbs: the verb part or the prepositional part?
  8. Prepositional verbs: listen to, want to, love to, have to, and so on....
  9. Pronouns: this, that, these, those, what can all be considered pronouns or determiners (such, also) "a" , "the".
  10. Comparatives: (not) as big as, as tall as, smaller than,
  11. Linkers!
  12. The answer must fit grammatically. SEE NOTETAKING TIPS.
  1. Topic and Language links come before and after each sentence.
  2. eg a pronoun must take the place of a noun that was mentioned before, or rather it links back.
  3. If "the" is used, it normally links back to some specific word, eg: "I bought A car. THE car is red." Definite article links back to indefinite article.
  4. Firstly, secondly, finally, etc are all words that indicate sequence.
  5. Then, so, because of this, all indicate sequence.
  6. However, Despite, In spite of, But all indicate CONTRAST and SEQUENCE.
  7. Look for the linking words.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Notetaking Tips

Have 5 sections in your vocab notebook for the following:

1. Prepositional verbs
  • want to
  • listen to
  • love to
  • have to
2. Phrasal Verbs
  • get up
  • get off
  • get on
  • get out
3. Set Phrases & Idioms
An English idiom is a phrase that doesn't "add up to" the sum of its parts. As in She can't work amicably with family members, "much less" strangers. [Both "add up to" and "much less" are idioms. Would you like to learn more about idioms?]

4. New Vocabulary. You should note:
  • the translation into your own language
  • the part of speech, ie: noun, verb
  • the word-family, or different formations as you find them, for example: to excite (v), excitement (n), exciting (adj), excitedly (adv)
  • a sample sentence in English
5. Miscellaneous
Use this section for things that don't belong elsewhere.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Reading Tips

Make Predictions
Predictions encourage active reading and keep students interested, whether or not the predictions are correct. Incorrect predictions can signal a misunderstanding that needs to be revisited. You should:
  • Look at the pictures, table of contents, chapter headings, maps, diagrams, and features. What subjects are in the book?
  • Write down predictions about the text. During reading, look for words or phrases from those predictions.
  • While reading, revise the predictions or make new ones.

Many students think visually, using shapes, spatial relationships, movement, and colors, and can benefit greatly from this strategy. You should:

  • Imagine a fiction story taking place as if it were a movie. Imagine the characters' features. Picture the plot in time and space.
  • Imagine processes and explanations happening visually. Use nouns, verbs, and adjectives to create pictures, diagrams, or other mental images.
  • Use graphic organizers to lay out information. Make sketches or diagrams on scrap paper.

Ask and Answer Questions
Having students form their own questions helps them recognize confusion and encourages active learning. You should:

  • Before reading, think about the subject based on the title, chapter heads, and visual information. Make note of anything you are curious about.
  • While reading, pause and write down any questions. Be sure to ask questions if there is confusion.
  • Look for the answers while reading. Pause and write down the answers.
  • Were all the questions answered? Could the answers come from other sources?

Retell and Summarize
Relating the text in students' own words clears up language issues. Retelling challenges them to aim for complete retention. Summarizing allows students to discriminate between main ideas and minor details. You should:

  • During reading, note the main ideas or events. Put a check mark in the book or write a note to point out a main idea.
  • At the ends of chapters or sections, review the information or story. Note main ideas or events and the details that support them.
  • After reading, retell or summarize the text. Focus on the important points, and support them with relevant details.
  • Refer to the book to check the retelling or summarizing.

Connect the Text to Life Experiences, Other Texts, or Prior Knowledge
Connecting a text to students' experiences and knowledge helps students personalize the information. It also helps students remember information when they link it to their lives. You should:

  • Is the subject familiar? Do the characters resemble familiar people? Have you learned about the concept from school, home, or other experiences?
  • Is the style or genre familiar? Does it resemble other texts? Television shows, movies, and games can be considered "texts."
  • Write down similarities between the current text and experiences, knowledge, or other texts.

Word-Attack Strategies
Word-attack strategies help students decode, pronounce, and understand unfamiliar words. They help students attack words piece by piece or from a different angle. You should:

Use Picture Clues

  • Look at the picture.
  • Are there people, objects, or actions in the picture that might make sense in the sentence?

Sound Out the Word

  • Start with the first letter, and say each letter-sound out loud.
  • Blend the sounds together and try to say the word. Does the word make sense in the sentence?

Look for Chunks in the Word

  • Look for familiar letter chunks. They may be sound/symbols, prefixes, suffixes, endings, whole words, or base words.
  • Read each chunk by itself. Then blend the chunks together and sound out the word. Does that word make sense in the sentence?

Connect to a Word You Know

  • Think of a word that looks like the unfamiliar word.
  • Compare the familiar word to the unfamiliar word. Decide if the familiar word is a chunk or form of the unfamiliar word.
  • Use the known word in the sentence to see if it makes sense. If so, the meanings of the two words are close enough for understanding.

Reread the Sentence

  • Read the sentence more than once.
  • Think about what word might make sense in the sentence. Try the word and see if the sentence makes sense.

Keep Reading

  • Read past the unfamiliar word and look for clues.
  • If the word is repeated, compare the second sentence to the first. What word might make sense in both?

Use Prior Knowledge

  • Think about what you know about the subject of the book, paragraph, or sentence.
  • Do you know anything that might make sense in the sentence? Read the sentence with the word to see if it makes sense.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Listening Strategies FCE & CAE

Read through the Questions and underline the KEYWORDS. Try to think of the SYNONYMS for these words, or some phrases & expressions with a similar meaning. Listen for these.

Most Questions will be about people's ideas, feeling, attitudes and opinions.

Note down the Speakers MAIN IDEA, then mark the option closest to that idea.

On the second listening, check your answers (you my need to change some of them).

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Speaking Tips - Opinions, Disagreeing & Comparing

I think
I feel
I believe
I suppose
I reckon
I imagine
In my opinion
I get the impression
It seems to be that
She may have chosen that because

...don't you think? (and other QUESTION TAGS)
Would you agree with that?
What do you think of...?
Do you agree that...?

I agree with you because...

I am not sure I agree with that.
I disagree with that point.
I don't think that's correct/true/right.

Did you mean to say...?

Does anyone have another idea?
I would like to add...

These things are similar because...
To do either of these things...
Neither of these people...
The most obvious difference between these things is that...whereas...
I imagine that .......... might not be quite as essential as .........

Using Adverb Clauses with Time Expressions

Using Adverb Clauses with Time Expressions

These type of clauses are often called "time clauses" in English grammar books and follow specific patterns. Take a look at the chart below to study the various usage of different time expressions.


When an adverb clause begins the sentence use a comma to separate the two clauses. Example: As soon as he arrives, we will have some lunch.. When the adverb clause finishes the sentence there is no need for a comma. Example: He gave me a call when he arrived in town.

For more information about how to use these words click on the link for an explanation of the usage.

Adverb Clauses with Time

  • He was talking on the phone when I arrived.
  • When she called, he had already eaten lunch.
  • I washed the dishes when my daughter fell asleep.
  • We'll go to lunch when you come to visit.
'When' means 'at that moment, at that time, etc.'. Notice the different tenses used in relationship to the clause beginning with when. It is important to remember that 'when' takes either the simple past OR the present - the dependent clause changes tense in relation to the 'when' clause.
  • We will finish before he arrives.
  • She (had) left before I telephoned.
'Before' means 'before that moment'. It is important to remember that 'before' takes either the simple past OR the present.
  • We will finish after he comes.
  • She ate after I (had) left.
'After' means 'after that moment'. It is important to remember that 'after' takes the present for future events and the past OR past perfect for past events.
While, as
  • She began cooking while I was finishing my homework.
  • As I was finishing my homework, she began cooking.
'While' and 'as' mean 'during that time'. 'While' and 'as' are both usually used with the past continuous because the meaning of 'during that time' which indicates an action in progess.
By the time
  • By the time he finished, I had cooked dinner.
  • We will have finished our homework by the time they arrive.
'By the time' expresses the idea that one event has been completed before another. It is important to notice the use of the past perfect for past events and future perfect for future events in the main clause. This is because of the idea of something happening up to another point in time.
Until, till
  • We waited until he finished his homework.
  • I'll wait till you finish.
'Until' and 'till' express 'up to that time'. We use either the simple present or simple past with 'until' and 'till'. 'Till' is usually only used in spoken English.
  • I have played tennis since I was a young boy.
'Since' means 'from that time'. We use the present perfect (continuous) with 'since'. 'Since' can also be used with a specific point in time.
As soon as
  • He will let us know as soon as he decides (or as soon as he has decided).
'As soon as' means 'when something happens - immediately afterwards'. 'As soon as' is very similar to 'when' it emphasizes that the event will occur immediately after the other. We usually use the simple present for future events, although present perfect can also be used.
Whenever, every time
  • Whenever he comes, we go to have lunch at "Dick's".
  • We take a hike every time he visits.
'Whenever' and 'every time' mean 'each time something happens'. We use the simple present (or the simple past in the past) because 'whenever' and 'every time' express habitual action.
The first, second, third, fourth etc., next, last time
  • The first time I went to New York, I was intimidated by the city.
  • I saw Jack the last time I went to San Francisco.
  • The second time I played tennis, I began to have fun.
The first, second, third, fourth etc., next, last time means 'that specific time'. We can use these forms to be more specific about which time of a number of times something happened.

Future Time Clauses

Time Conjunctions (while, as, when, as soon as, until, before, after, by the time, once) go with the TIME CLAUSE.

They can be put either at the beginning of the sentence, or in between the two clauses (except for UNTIL, which always goes between).

The verb in the MAIN CLAUSE is in the FUTURE, whereas the verb in the TIME CLAUSE is in the present.

There is a comma after the TIME CLAUSE if it is put first. EG:

As soon as you come to my office, I will tell you the truth.

I will tell you the truth as soon as you come to my office.


Spanish - English Dictionary