Monthly Archives: January 2011

C2.2 – CPE Exam Practice (Use of English – Part 3) (1)

Here is the first in a series of posts to practise the one word fits three sentences activity in the CPE.

I’ll put more than three examples so you can see how the featured word(s) are used in more contexts.  Remember, in the exam, there are only three sentences.

I’ll add some language notes later when I have more time.

For the sentences below think of one word only which can be used appropriately in all three sentences.

  1. Latest information gathered from the Hubble telescope has ……………. new light on the beginnings of the solar system.
  2. Guest economists on tonight’s edition of The Money Show will ……………. a critical eye over the latest announcement from the International Monetary Fund about the Eurozone.
  3. The fishermen ……………. their nets but the storm meant they had to return to the harbour with only a small haul.
  4. As they walked through the forest just before sunset they …………… long shadows on the leafy floor.
  5. “……………….. your mind back to the night of the crime,” said lieutenant Colombo, “do you remember anything suspicious about your husband’s behaviour?”
  6. Many considered it an unusual move to ……………… the young actor in the role of an aging politician but to my surprise he gave a convincing performance.
  7. The people will go to the polls on Thursday to …………… their votes in the General Election.
  8. The latest revelations in the athletics doping scandal have …………… serious doubts on a number of Olympic medal-winning performances.
Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under C2.2 - Vocabulary

B2.2 Vocabulary – ‘bear’ / ‘bearable’ – vocabulary note from lesson 24/1/11

Today the adjective bearable appeared in the text we read in class.  This useful word is used to talk about something which can be accepted, dealt with and tolerated.

I had a quick look on the internet and found some examples which illustrate the word in context.

The first is from a forum for travellers in which people ask for advice.  One person, thinking of travelling to and working in Spain, asked the following question: 

Would it be possible to find a small apartment and eat in Spain on €700 per month?  How about anywhere in Spain?  Would the living conditions be bearable?

What do you think?  Could someone afford to live in Madrid on this budget in living conditions that would be tolerable?

Here are some more examples of words in the same family as bearable.  Classify the examples according to the word type (verb/adjective/adv) or expressions containing the word:

  1. Spanish property debt is unbearable  The president of AHE (Spain’s Mortgage Association), Santos Gonzalez, has warned that the banks do not have the financial capacity to assume the debt of property developers, which amounts to around 325,000 million Euros, thus gravely endangering the viability of the Spanish property sector as well as Spain’s financial industry.  (Spanish News, 25/1/10)
  2. Weather in Spain:  “In July and August, temperatures can get unpleasant, even unbearable, anywhere inland of Spain, unless you are high enough in the mountains.”  (Welcome to Spain)
  3. How much TV do you watch?   I love watching films, but I can’t stand them on TV as I can’t bear commercial breaks or I don’t have a routine that allows me to sit and watch at the time they are on the air. (Notes from Spain)
  4. Eating out in Spain:  In Spain the siesta period means that lunch is normally served between 2pm to 3pm and thus dinner is normally served as late as 10pm. Restaurants therefore adapt to this and generally open around these hours. In order not to miss out on the best Madrid restaurants have to offer, travelers should bear in mind that the cafes, restaurants and tapas bars generally open from 1:00 to 3:00pm for lunchtimes, and serve dinner from 8:30 to 11pm. the more desirable the cuisine and the atmosphere you are looking for, the more likely you will have to wait later to enjoy it.   (Best Madrid Restaurants)
  5. Chillida’s controversial plan to hollow out mountain is reborn:  (text talks about opposition to the scheme and continues…)  “…But the Canarian government is now relaunching the project, assuring doubters that construction firms will bear the cost in exchange for the rights to run the monument. It calculates the expenditure would be financed by the sale of tickets to the public. However, critics say it is implausible to assume an influx of visitors big enough to pay back the ¤75 million budgeted for its creation – especially as the Chillida-Leku Museum has had to close its doors precisely because of a lack of visitors.”  (El Pais in English, 20/1/11)
  6. The weather in Madrid (again!):  “Early summer is quite pleasant, but late summer in July and August is often unbearably hot. Autumn is a little wetter but more pleasant than summer.”  (City data)

Similar words:  Match words and expressions above to the following similar words:

I can’t stand…  /  take into consideration / intolerable  /  remember / assume the cost / difficult to put up with / I can’t take it anymore!  / it gets on my nerves

Spanglish!  To conclude, here’s a game with a text I wrote in Spanglish about living in Madrid.  Can you change the Spanglish into English using words from this page?

Okay, from my point of view, all things considered, life in Madrid is pretty fantastic but you know, now and then you come across things that are difficult to soportar.  For instance, the metro.  There are lots of good things about the metro in Madrid.  Generally speaking it’s a lot cleaner, quicker and more pleasant to use than the tube in London and this almost makes it easier to aguantar the latest price increases.  However, there are a few things that me pone nerviosa.  Firstly, the rush to get on.  The train gets into the station, it stops, the door opens.  If you haven’t managed to leave the train in the first 3 seconds, there’s trouble.  You have to tener en cuenta that you now face a crowd of people who are treating getting on the train like a military operation and you are about to be pushed back in the one direction you don’t want to go.  Relax everyone!  There’s enough time for everyone to get off and everyone to get on.  Another thing that me fastidia is the red light racers at the traffic lights.  The pedestrians wait for the little green man.  The traffic lights go amber.  The drivers speed up.  The light goes red.  The car jumps the lights.  Arrrggghhh!  No puedo mas and me da miedo solo de pensar en the possible consequences.

1 Comment

Filed under B2.2 - Vocabulary recycling

B2.2 – Vocabulary – Notes from lesson 19/1/2010

In class yesterday we did an FCE collaborative speaking task.  You had to choose how you best wanted to spend a weekend from the following options.

  • a camping trip in a local forest
  • working on a conservation project
  • playing golf
  • going to a grand prix
  • going to a music festival
  • going to a spa and health club
  • going horse riding in the mountains

After your discussion we looked at some expressions that could be used for this type of decision making discussion and to talk about these activities.

(1)  Here are some slightly adapted sentences.  Which sentences can be used to talk about which activities?

  1. It’s a nice, leisurely sport in which you can spend some time outside in the fresh air.
  2. Although it’d be good to help the environment, I’m afraid I’d be bored to tears.
  3. To be honest, even though I love animals, it looks a bit dull.
  4. I must admit that getting close to nature doesn’t exactly turn me on.
  5. I can’t think of anything better than seeing some bands play live.
  6. Personally, I’d jump at the chance of seeing the mountains from the saddle.
  7. Getting a bit of exercise and having a bit of beauty treatment would be a great way to unwind from the stress of work.
  8. It’d be a chance to give something back to the planet.
  9. To be honest, the noise and crowds mean I’d rule out that option.
  10. I’m sorry but I just wouldn’t be able to put up with all the insects.
  11. What a great idea!  Sleeping in a tent in the middle of nowhere – there’s no better way of switching off!

Answers:

  1. Golf – An outdoor sport in the fresh air
  2.  

  3. Conservation project – helping the environment
  4. Horse riding – animals
  5. Camping trip or conservation project – getting close to nature
  6. Music festival – see bands playing live
  7. Horse riding – a saddle is the ‘seat’ you sit in on a horse
  8. Spa and health club – exercise and beauty treatment
  9. Conservation project – give something back to the planet
  10. Grand Prix – noise and crowds
  11. Camping, conservation project, horseriding – insects
  12. Camping – sleeping in a tent

(2)  Focus on words and expressions to talk about preferences for and against something.

For the following sentences decide if the expression in bold text is expressing a positive or negative reaction to the idea.

  1. Although a conservation project would be a good way to help the environment, I’m afraid I’d be bored to tears.
  2. To be honest, even though I love animals, the horseriding  option looks a bit dull.
  3. I must admit that going camping and getting close to nature doesn’t exactly turn me on.
  4. I can’t think of anything better than seeing some bands play live.
  5. Personally, I’d jump at the chance of seeing going horseriding.
  6. To be honest, the noise and crowds at a grand prix mean I’d rule out that option.
  7. I’m sorry but if we went camping, I just wouldn’t be able to put up with all the insects.

Answers:  Positive:  4 and 5

(3)  In sentences 1-7 (above) match the words in bold with these alternatives.

a)  boring, uninteresting   b)  does not sound very exciting  c)  eliminate  d)  I’d immediately accept  e)  very, very bored  f)  tolerate  g)  nothing would please me more

Answers: 

  1. e
  2. a
  3. b
  4. g
  5. d
  6. c
  7. f

(4)  What do the words in bold have in common?

  • It’s a nice, leisurely sport in which you can spend some time outside in the fresh air.
  • Getting a bit of exercise and having a bit of beauty treatment would be a great way to unwind from the stress of work.
  • What a great idea!  Sleeping in a tent in the middle of nowhere – there’s no better way of switching off!
  •  

    Answer:  They all communicate a sense of relaxation.

    (5)  Complete the following extracts of texts with words from this page.

    1. Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola won’t ________ a move to the Premier league – I won’t be at Camp Nou forever says Spaniard.  (www.goal.com 19th Dec 2010)
    2. Staying at a hotel with an outdoor pool where you can relax and ________ in the summer season is a great option when you’re visiting Madrid.  (Madrid tourism – esmadrid)
    3. Madrid says ‘adios’ to smoky bars, cafes eateries – “…Smoker Angel Pena, lighting up a cigarette over a cup of coffee at a Madrid bar, said Spain is playing catchup to the rest of the world and will become more modern with the new law.  “We have to start being civilized,” said Pena, 53.  “No one should have to __________ second-hand smoke.”  (USA Today, 22/12/10)
    4. If you’re new in town there’s never a ________ moment in Madrid.  Between flamenco performances, laid-back terrazas, world-class shopping, sprawling parks, a wild nightlife and a cultural scene most cities can only dream of, Madrid is packed with things to do, see and experience.  (Enforex in Madrid – Spanish language school)
    5. If you’re tempted to become a pilgrim and travel the Way of Saint James, once you learn more about the gastronomic delights awaiting you along your route you’ll ___________ to make the trip. You’ll discover what “pintxos” are, how to serve cider in the traditional Asturian manner… and you’ll be able enjoy some Rioja wine before tucking into such typical dishes as roast milk-fed lamb. (Gastronomic delights – Camino de Santiago, Spain.info)
    6. Originally a private hunting ground for royalty, Retiro Park now attracts all kinds of visitors. Take a ________ stroll down the tree-lined paths, rent a row boat on the lake or visit the charming Glass Palace.  (Retiro Park – Madrid sights (letandgo.com))  (stroll – we saw this word in Monday’s class:  a stroll (also a verb) is a relaxing, slow walk)
    7. If your passions include museums and art, Madrid will be a fabulous city for you (to visit).  If art doesn´t really __________, move on.  (Europe in a month, Lonely Planet forum)

    Answers:

    1. rule out
    2. unwind (or switch off)
    3. put up with
    4. dull
    5. jump at the chance
    6. leisurely
    7. turn you on

     

    Leave a comment

    Filed under B2.2 - Vocabulary recycling

    B2.2 – Grammar – uses of ‘as’

    The following extracts (a-l) are taken from texts written for visitors to Spain.  I have removed the word as from each extract.  In which position should the word be reinserted?  Sometimes there is more than one ‘as’ to reinsert.

    Answers can be found below.

    Text 1 – Madrid Travel Guide, Yahoo.com: Introduction, Entertainment, History, Bars and Restaurants, Where to stay

    a)  Although Madrid may not have many historical sites Paris, Rome or even Barcelona, you’ll still find plenty of intellectual stimulation at some of the best museums in Europe like the Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen Bornemizsa.

    b)  You follow the Gran Via all the way from Calle Alcalá to Plaza España, take note of the grand old-fashioned movie houses, some of the last of their kind, which continue hiring artists to paint original movie posters.

    c)  The three most important art collections in Spain are all within walking distance of each other in what’s known Madrid’s “Golden Triangle.”

    d)  The Centro de Arte Reina Sofia specializes in contemporary Spanish art, such Picasso’s Guernica and works by Miró and Dalí.

    e)  For music, jazz aficionados can choose from a number of clubs in the Huertas district, including local favourite Populart.

    f)  Some historians claim that Madrid stands on the site of a Roman town, Mantua Carpetana.  Although there’s no proof to support this theory, archaelogical remains do confirm that there has been continuous human settlement in this area for long any other part of Europe.

    g)  The Plaza de la Cebada has lots of good tapas bars, well, such El Almendro.

    h)  If you’ve got money to burn, book a room at the nearby Hotel Wellington, whose interior is beautiful its regal exterior.

    Text 2 – Spain’s Great Cities:  Barcelona, Madrid and Seville – Fordors.com

    i)  This itinerary takes you to three of Spain’s greatest destinations:  Barcelona, Madrid and Seville.  Each city has its own charm and attractions.  You’ll take in art museums and architecture, well superb cuisine – with plenty of time for breaks in parks or beaches.

    j)  Have a Gaudí day and try to take in many of his masterpieces you can.  (Barcelona guide)

    Text 3 – Lonely Planet – Spain October 2010 Itinerary

    k)  Any suggestions on how many days/nights to spend in each city to see much possible without missing something important?  Thanks.

    l)  You will be missing something important, but that doesn’t matter long you don’t miss what you want to see most.

    Answers

    Text 1 – Madrid Travel Guide, Yahoo.com: Introduction, Entertainment, History, Bars and Restaurants, Where to stay

    a)  Although Madrid may not have as many historical sites as Paris, Rome or even Barcelona, you’ll still find plenty of intellectual stimulation at some of the best museums in Europe like the Prado, Reina Sofia and Thyssen Bornemizsa.

    b)  As you follow the Gran Via all the way from Calle Alcalá to Plaza España, take note of the grand old-fashioned movie houses, some of the last of their kind, which continue hiring artists to paint original movie posters.

    c)  The three most important art collections in Spain are all within walking distance of each other in what’s known as Madrid’s “Golden Triangle.”

    d)  The Centro de Arte Reina Sofia specializes in contemporary Spanish art, such as Picasso’s Guernica and works by Miró and Dalí.

    e)  As for music, jazz aficionados can choose from a number of clubs in the Huertas district, including local favourite Populart.

    f)  Some historians claim that Madrid stands on the site of a Roman town, Mantua Carpetana.  Although there’s no proof to support this theory, archaelogical remains do confirm that there has been continuous human settlement in this area for as long as any other part of Europe.

    g)  The Plaza de la Cebada has lots of good tapas bars, as well, such as El Almendro.

    h)  If you’ve got money to burn, book a room at the nearby Hotel Wellington, whose interior is as beautiful as its regal exterior.

    Text 2 – Spain’s Great Cities:  Barcelona, Madrid and Seville – Fordors.com

    i)  This itinerary takes you to three of Spain’s greatest destinations:  Barcelona, Madrid and Seville.  Each city has its own charm and attractions.  You’ll take in art museums and architecture, as well as superb cuisine – with plenty of time for breaks in parks or beaches.

    j)  Have a Gaudí day and try to take in as many of his masterpieces as you can.  (Barcelona guide)

    Text 3 – Lonely Planet – Spain October 2010 Itinerary

    k)  Any suggestions on how many days/nights to spend in each city to see as much as possible without missing something important?  Thanks.

    l)  You will be missing something important, but that doesn’t matter as long as you don’t miss what you want to see most.

    Leave a comment

    Filed under B2.2 - Grammar

    Topic: Film B2.2 – C2.2: Reading, writing and vocabulary – The top films of 2010

    The top films of 2010

    i)  What were your favourite films of 2010?  The Social NetworkToy Story III?, A Prophet?  Compare your ideas to the editorial team at Total Film by clicking this link:  The top films of 2010 – totalfilm.com

    ii)  How many of the films have you seen?  Which of the top 10 lists did you agree with most?  Are there any descriptions of the films that make you want to see any of them?

    iii)  Vocabulary and writing:

    Here are some questions about some vocabulary in the texts about the writers’ favourite films of 2010:

    a)  On the first page A Social Network is described as ‘a timeless tale.’  What do you think the writer means?  a)  the story is not set in a specific period of time?  b)  the story will always be relevant?  c)  the film is very long?

    b)   On the second page the writer describes Somewhere as ‘evocative,this means that the film transports you to another time and place.  Can you think of a particular film you know well which you’d describe as evocative?  Write a short text of no more than 50 words explaining why you chose the film you did.  Example text: 

    I have chosen two films that take me back to my childhood when I watch them.  I never had experiences as exciting as the ones the characters in The Goonies and Son of Rambow have but for me, both movies capture the freedom of the summer holidays when I was growing up.  They evoke memories of getting together with friends, jumping on bikes and going of on an adventure where we were free from school and parents and could let our imaginations run wild.

    c)  Find two nouns on page 4 that the writer uses to talk about how one elements of Toy Story 3 is sadness mixed with pleasure making the audience sympathetic towards the characters.

    d)  What does the reviewer of Buried in page 5 mean by the adjective ‘gripping’ and the expression ‘I was on the edge of my seat’?

    e)  In page 6 the writer describes The Road as a film which ‘stays…close to the novel.’  Films which take their story from novels are called literary adaptations.  Film critics often refer to how similar the film plot is to the novel using some of the expressions below.  Decide whether the sentences below mean that the film version is very similar or different to the novel.

    The film version…

    The movie…

    The screen adaptation…

    The movie plot…

    …is very faithful to… …the original novel.
    …strays away from…
    …bears little resemblance to…
    …stays close to…
    …is unrecognisable from…
    …is nothing like…
    …is only loosely based on…
    …takes liberties with the story of…

     If you are interested in the process of adapting a book for the cinema here are some articles you might be interested in:

    Screenwriter Deborah Moggach Don’t lose the plot (guardian.co.uk)

    25 best book to film adaptations – (telegraph.co.uk)

    Writing:  Write a short review (about 100 words) of a film which was based on a novel you have read.  Did you prefer the book or the film?

    f)  In page 7 the writer of the list chose Toy Story 3 as her favourite film because she loved the part when the character Buzz Lightyear became Spanish.  If you have seen the film, did you have any problem with the representation of this character as Spanish?  If you have any ideas on this, compare them to those of the writer of the blog on this link.

    Answers to vocabulary questions:

    a)  (b) is the best definition of a timeless tale.

    c)  pathos and nostalgia.

    d)  These expressions give us the idea that the film is full of tension.  The audience is very caught up in the action of the film because they become very involved in the story.

    e)  The book is similar to the novel:  is very faithful to / stays close to  The book is different to the novel:  strays away from / bears little resemblance to / is unrecognisable from / is nothing like / is only loosely based on / takes liberties with the story.

    Leave a comment

    Filed under Topic - Film

    B2.2 – Vocabulary Recycling – Three expressions with get

    The activity below reviews some vocabulary from term one related to expressions with get.

    Read the three definitions and examples for each expression/phrasal verb and decide which ones are true definitions.

    Answers at the bottom of the page.

    1)  to get over

    a)  this phrasal verb means to recover from something, usually an illness or something bad or traumatic that happens to you.  e.g.  I saw Diego yesterday and he told me some sad news, his wife Yolanda had left him and moved in with his best friend, he was so upset, I don’t know if he’ll ever get over it.

    b)  To get over something means that you avoid doing something you don’t want to do.  e.g. I had to do an exam but I got over it by pretending to be ill.

    c)  When you get over something it means that you achieve something very difficult.  e.g.  It has always been my ambition to learn to play the piano.  I hope I’ll get over it someday.

    2)  To get away

    a)  To get away means to be successful at something.  e.g.  Although I didn’t study very hard before it, I totally got away in the exam and scored 75 out of 90.

    b)  To get away is when you do not do what you are supposed to do.  e.g.  He was sacked from his job because he never got away the work he had to do.

    c)  To get away means to escape.  e.g. 1:  Living in a big city like Madrid can be very stressful, that’s why I like to get away from all the noise and pollution and go walking in the mountains at the weekend.  e.g. 2:  After stealing the gold, the police followed the robbers, who were driving Minis.  They chased them through the city but eventually the criminals got away.

    3)  To get through

    a)  When you get through it means you find what you are looking for.  e.g.  I spent ages looking for a blue and white scarf for my brother for Christmas and eventually I got through one in the market.

    b)  To get through something means you manage to do something you thought was going to be difficult.  e.g.  I wasn’t looking forward to giving a presentation to my colleagues in English but I prepared a lot and got through it without any problems at all.

    c)  To get through means to make contact or to establish communication.  e.g.  I’ve been trying to speak to call Beatriz in Seville all morning but I haven’t been able to get through to her.  She must be in a meeting.

     

    Answers:

    1)  To get over – definition a is correct.  2)  To get away – definition c is correct.  3)  To get through – definitions b and c are correct.

    Leave a comment

    Filed under B2.2 - Vocabulary recycling