Friday, 29 June 2012


The simple past expresses an action in the past taking place once, never, several times. It can also be used for actions taking place one after another or in the middle of another action.


Form of Simple Past


Affirmative sentences:

Always use the same form of the verb no matter what the subject is.

regular verbs irregular verbs
I played football. I went to the supermarket.


Negative sentences:

Always use the auxiliary DID no matter what the subject is.

regular verbs irregular verbs
I did not play football. I did not go to the supermarket.

NOTE: Short forms in negative sentences in the Simple Past are used quite often.

regular verbs irregular verbs
I didn't play football. I didn't go to the supermarket.



Always use the auxiliary DID no matter what the subject is.

regular verbs irregular verbs
Did you play football? Did I go to the supermarket?


Questions without question words in the Simple Past


Auxiliary Subject Verb Rest Yes/No Subject Auxiliary (+ n't)
Max play football? Yes, he
No, he
you watch the film yesterday? Yes, I
No, I
To be Subject
Rest Yes/No Subject Auxiliary (+ n't)
in Leipzig last week? Yes, I
No, I

In the simple past for irregular verbs we use the past form (list of irregular verbs, 2nd column). For regular verbs, just add -ed.

Exceptions in Spelling when Adding ed


Exceptions in spelling when adding edExample
after a final e only add d love – loved
final consonant after a short, stressed vowel
or l as final consonant after a vowel is doubled
admit – admitted
travel – travelled
final y after a consonant becomes i hurry – hurried


Use of Simple Past

  • action in the past taking place once, never or several times
    Example: He visited his parents every weekend.
  • actions in the past taking place one after the other
    Example: He came in, took off his coat and sat down.
  • action in the past taking place in the middle of another action
    Example: When I was having breakfast, the phone suddenly rang.


Signal Words of Simple Past

  • yesterday, before, ago, in 1990, the other day, on their holiday, last night, last Friday, last weekend, last year, etc. 


And... if explanation has not been enough and you need more, watch these slides


Tuesday, 26 June 2012



An irregular verb is a verb that does not follow the usual rules for verb forms. It is also known as a strong verb.

Verbs in English are irregular if they don't have a conventional -ed form (like asked or ended). Contrast with Regular Verb.

Many times students ask for the list of irregular verbs. Click HERE and you will find a list of irregular verbs, their Spanish translation, and examples to clarify some meanings.

And now... as one of my teachers used to tell me...

So, let's practise! Click on the activities below to exercise irregular verbs.

Sunday, 24 June 2012


During last term 6º B took part in the project ePals, a safe social learning network which enabled students to communicate with peers from other part of the world using e-mails.

ePals made it possible to connect my students with teenagers from Floodwood School in Minnesota in the United States of America. 

All my learners involved in this project showed a real interest in the exchange. They were deeply engaged in the process of learning English since they wrote in English but they became techers of their peers in Minnesota who are learning Spanish as a foreign language. Interacting and working together, all students learn about each other and their cultures. In addition, students learn how to use social media tools for education purposes which greatly enhanced their self-confidence. 

I wanted this project to end in a different way but sometimes communication was not as fluent as we expected. Although our students got actively involved in the work, they did not always receive the same response. 

That's why I wish to send you my hearty congratulations on your genuine commitment to this work. You made me proud of you due to your sincere determination to this collaborative project.

Don't be disappointed if things did not work as expected. Some students are dreamers... others are talented... You, my babies, are both. Keep aiming higher! Sky is the only limit. 

Finally, I hope you will share life with others, enriching with others. Life is worth living!

Let your indomitable spirit never fade away! See you soon! And...

Wednesday, 20 June 2012



[had + past participle]

  • You had studied English before you moved to New York.
  • Had you studied English before you moved to New York?
  • You had not studied English before you moved to New York. 

You can check the complete list of Past Perfect forms clicking HERE




USE 1 Completed Action Before Something in the Past


The Past Perfect expresses the idea that something occurred before another action in the past. It can also show that something happened before a specific time in the past.

  • I had never seen such a beautiful beach before I went to Kauai.
  • I did not have any money because I had lost my wallet.
  • Tony knew Istanbul so well because he had visited the city several times.
  • Had Susan ever studied Thai before she moved to Thailand?
  • She only understood the movie because she had read the book.
  • Kristine had never been to an opera before last night.
  • We were not able to get a hotel room because we had not booked in advance.
  • A: Had you ever visited the U.S. before your trip in 2006?
    B: Yes, I had been to the U.S. once before.


USE 2 Duration Before Something in the Past (Non-Continuous Verbs)


With Non-Continuous Verbs and some non-continuous uses of Mixed Verbs, we use the Past Perfect to show that something started in the past and continued up until another action in the past.

  • We had had that car for ten years before it broke down.
  • By the time Alex finished his studies, he had been in London for over eight years.
  • They felt bad about selling the house because they had owned it for more than forty years.
Although the above use of Past Perfect is normally limited to Non-Continuous Verbs and non-continuous uses of Mixed Verbs, the words live, work, teach, and study are sometimes used in this way even though they are NOT Non-Continuous Verbs.


IMPORTANT Specific Times with the Past Perfect


Unlike with the Present Perfect, it is possible to use specific time words or phrases with the Past Perfect. Although this is possible, it is usually not necessary.

  • She had visited her Japanese relatives once in 1993 before she moved in with them in 1996.



If the Past Perfect action occured at a specific time, the Simple Past can be used instead of the Past Perfect when before or after is used in the sentence. The words before and after actually tell you what happens first, so the Past Perfect is optional. For this reason, both sentences below are correct.

  • She had visited her Japanese relatives once in 1993 before she moved in with them in 1996.
  • She visited her Japanese relatives once in 1993 before she moved in with them in 1996.




If the Past Perfect is not referring to an action at a specific time, Past Perfect is not optional. Compare the examples below. Here Past Perfect is referring to a lack of experience rather than an action at a specific time. For this reason, Simple Past cannot be used.

  • She never saw a bear before she moved to Alaska. Not Correct
  • She had never seen a bear before she moved to Alaska. Correct



The examples below show the placement for grammar adverbs such as: always, only, never, ever, still, just, etc.
  • You had previously studied English before you moved to New York.
  • Had you previously studied English before you moved to New York?


                                    Resultado de imagen para it's your turn images

EXERCISE 9 - Work in pairs. Print the activity. Write your names on the sheet of paper and hand it in to your teacher!


THE JOKE - 24 Hours to Live

A man receives a phone call from his doctor.

Doctor: “I have some good news and some bad news.”
Man: “OK, give me the good news first.”
Doctor: “The good news is, you have 24 hours to live.”
Man: “Oh no! If that’s the good news, then what’s the bad news?”
Doctor: “The bad news is, I forgot to call you yesterday.”


Why is it funny?
Because the doctor has given the man some ‘good’ news – that he will live for 24 hours – but then gives him some bad news – that he forgot to call him yesterday, which is 24 hours ago. The man is going to die any second!

What is any good news you have received lately?  

Retrieved from Woodward English


Sunday, 17 June 2012


When we describe people we can speak or write about their appearance or personality. 

Human physical appearance refers to the outward observable characteristics or look of human beings. There are indefinite variations of looks. 

Personality is the particular combination of emotional, attitudinal, and behavioral response pattersn of an individual. 

Look a the list below that show the most prominent characteristics to be used when describing people.

Describing Appearance

Height Build Age
tall, tallish, short, shortish, medium height frail, stocky, slim, thin, plump, fat, skinny, well-built young, elderly, middle-aged, teenager, in 20s, 30s, 40s
Face Eyes Hair Clothes
round, oval, square, with scares, wrinkles, freckles, sun-tanned, pale big round blue eyes, large, small, bright, narrow bald, straight, curly, spiky, wavy casual, scruffy, shabby, smart, tidy, messy

Describing Character

careful, hard-working, worried, cheerful, broadminded, active, curious, secretive aggressive, tough, careless, practical, sensible, independent, strong-minded, stupid dull, boring, imaginative, ambitious, crafty, sensitive, gentle, naive generous, loyal, self-controlled, moody, trusting, modest, tolerant, friendly energetic, confident, selfish, shy, stubborn, reliable, clumsy, intelligent

 Click on the links below to practise how to describe people's appearance and personality.


Describe yourself. Write about your physical appearance and personality. You can use some descriptions in exercise 7 (Family Traits) as a guide. Write about 100-150 words or 10-15 lines. Prepare it in a separate sheet of paper to hand in. 



Here we have the second challenge. Remember the best caption gets a 10! Good luck and let your imagination run wild!

Resultado de imagen para car and elephant images

 If you let me touch YOUR TRUNK, I'll let you touch MINE.

Saturday, 16 June 2012


When athletes come together from around the world to compete in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, they are fulfilling their dreams and competing at the highest level. Billions of people across the globe join in; watching, listening to and reading about the greatest global celebration of sport. Let's celebrate them knowing more about their history and sports.

The Olympic History


► Match the names with the phrases below
  1. The Ancient Olympics
  2. The Modern Olympics
  3. The Summer Olympics
  4. The Winter Olympics
  5. The Paralympics

   A. This competition is for athletes with disabilities.
    B. They were a series of competitions in Greece around 2000 years ago.
    C. This involves athletes who ski and skate, for example.
    D. The symbol for this competition has five rings.
    E. This includes sports such as boxing, athletics and cycling.


► Complete the sentences with the words below

  1. The official Olympic _______________ is five coloured rings.
  2. Each city chooses an original Olympic _______________.
  3.  The Olympic _______________ is another important symbol of the games.
  4. The ________________ city for the 2012 Olympics is London.
  5. An Olympic _______________ is a figure that represents the culture of the host country.


► Complete the sentences with the verbs below
  1. The Olympic Games _______________ about sport, culture and education.
  2.  The Olympic symbol ________________ the unity of the five continents.
  3.   The Olympic Games _______________ every four years.
  4.  A different city ________________ each Olympic Games.
  5.   Sports men and women _______________ in twenty-eight different sports.
  6.   The Olympic Games _______________ more than two weeks.
  7.   Before the games begin, athletes and local people _______________ the Olympic torch from Olympus in Greece to the host city.
  8. At the opening ceremony, the host country _______________ music, theatre, and dance that represents their culture. 

ACTIVITY 4 - Olympic Webquest

► Quiz Questions. Click on the links to find the answers

1. How many Olympic sports are there? Click HERE 
a) 26 b) 30 c) 35

2. Why did Ben Johnson lose his 100 metre sprint gold medal in 1988? Click HERE
a) He pushed another runner b) He was in the wrong race
c) He tested positive for drugs

 3. Where were the first official Paralympic Games held? Click HERE
a) Paris b) Berlin c) Rome

 4. Who broke the 100 metre sprint world record in Beijing 2008? Click HERE
a) Asafa Powell b) Usain Bolt c) Tyson Gay

5. Which country won the most gold medals in Beijing 2008? Click HERE
a) USA with 46 b) Australia with 39 c) China with 51

6. When did Naoko Takahashi break the women’s Olympic record for the marathon? Click HERE
a) 2000 in Sydney b) 2004 in Greece c) 1996 in Atlanta

8. Which British athlete won a gold medal at five different Olympic Games for rowing? Click HERE
a) Steven Redgrave b) Linford Christie c) Daley Thompson

9. Which track and field athlete won four gold medals at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics? Click HERE
a) Michael Johnson b) Carl Lewis c) Jackie Joyner-Kersee

10. Which 10,000 metre runner won gold medals in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics? Click HERE
a) Mo Farah b) Paula Radcliffe c) Haile Gebrselassie

11. Which sprinter won gold medals in the 100, 200 and 400m at the 2008 Paralympics? Click HERE
a) Oscar Pistorius b) David Weir C) Brian Frasure

12. Which of these three countryies won its first ever Olympic gold medal in Sydney 2000? Click HERE
a) Argentina b) Colombia c) Russia


Thursday, 14 June 2012


HEROES AND VILLAINS - Williams Carlos Williams by David Widgery

Read the following article retrieved from a quality newspaper

The first thing any practicing doctor who also writes gets asked is, ‘How do you find the time?’ A combined career ought, in theory, to be perfectly possible: writers and doctors are both only trained observers. And there is a distinguished list of literary medics. But almost all end up doing one or the other. And if they are any good as writers, the stethoscope takes second place. There never seems to be time to do both properly.

But William Carlos Williams, the great Modernist poet, succeeded. Williams, who was born in 1883 and died in 1963 after a series of strokes, was not only a prolific poet, critic, novelist and dramatist, but also a lifelong, full-time general practitioner in Rutherford, New Jersey. Although he could have easily set up in private practice in Manhattan, he chose instead to work in a working class industrial township with many recent immigrants from Italy and Eastern Europe, who spoke little English.

His ‘Doctor Stories’ deal with crises understood by any contemporary inner-city GP: still birth, autopsy, patients who refuse examination or cannot understand reassurance, never-ending evening surgeries, externded family consultartions in broken Englisuh, the particular test of night-visiting. My visits are made to the concrete tower-blocks of Tower Hamlets in London’s East End, and the new immigrants are from Vietnam and Bangladesh. There is no other writer who deals so well with how to listen, how to care, how to be there at the moment of physical need. He must have jotted these feelings down on prescription pad or notebook, then transcribed them o his laboratory typewriter, when hammering often awoke his children. ‘By the time we assembled for breakfast, he had probably already done an hour’s stint,’ recalls his physician son William.

As much as his industry, I like his laconic tone. His tenderness is hard-edged, his humanism slightly cynical; best of all, he is never sentimental about the oppressed. And there is the sheer quality of his literary work.

Williams, whose mother was Puerto Rican, was only a second-generation English speaker, so he struggled to develop a truly American voice. His innovations were a simile-free- metaphor-stripped diction arranged with a syntax and prosody based on lug breaths. It produced a wonderful, still woefully underrated body of work, ranging from the long love-poem ‘Asphodel’, to the haiku-like lilts in ‘Pictures form Breugel’.

Williams is heroic because he was a prophet in his own land, because he reclaimed poetry from European-imitating academics and because he stayed a working doctor – and enjoyed it. ‘I never felt’, he wrote, ‘that medicine interfered with me but rather that it was my food and drink, the very thing that made it possible to write.’ So whenever I become disgruntled about the workload, I mutter a phrase of Williams’ about one of his patients, which sums up my own mixed feelings about practicing in the East End: ‘her smile, with a shrug, always won me.’

(David Widgery, The Independent)

Choose the most suitable answer for each question

  1. How is William Carlos Williams unlike other literary doctores, according to David Widgery?
    1.   He enjoyed working as a doctor.
    2.   His work as a doctor was a source of ideas for his writing.
    3.   He managed to continue both careers for all his life.
    4.   His powers of observation developed with his writing.
  2. The problems that Williams encountered among his patients...
    1.   ...were typical of the time.
    2.   ...exist in similar settings today.
    3.   ...have disappeared with advances in medicine.
    4.   ...were specific to the region where he worked.
  3. In which area is there a similarity between William Carlos Williams and David Widgery?
    1.   Literary tastes
    2.   Temperament
    3.   Family origins
    4.   Working environment 
  4. When did William Carlos Williams do his literary work?
    1.   At night
    2.   After evening surgery
    3.   During the afternoon
    4.   In the early morning. 
  5. According to David Widgery, the reputation of William Carlos Williams...
    1. now higher than it has ever been.
    2. not as high as it deserves to be.
    3.   ...has declined since his death.
    4.   ...has been overshadowed by that of his contemporaries.
  6. Regarding his own medical work, David Widgery...
    1.   ...fails to find it challenging.
    2.   ...sometimes wishes he had less to do.
    3.   ...continues practising for the sake of his patients.
    4.   ...finds it interferes with his aims as a writer.