Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.

by Bruce Lee

lunes, 20 de noviembre de 2017

The magic is in Madrid

When we hear the magic is in Madrid, we may think of Isco, the football player in Real Madrid, or we may be talking about a new show concerning the figure of Harry Potter. What can you tell me of this character, the book or its writer? What's the connection with Edinburgh? and with Wales?

Related articles you can read:

Try to make a glossary of the issue.

Learn 7 Ways to Improve English Writing Skills with Lucy

Revision for SELECTIVITY & 2º Bachillerato.
59. Read the following text and then answer the comprehension questions.

The  new  song  was a love song. It  has  probably  been forgotten  now;  but I knew it and I liked it. And I  liked the way Ted sang it.

           When other lips and other hearts
           Their  thoughts  of   love  shall  tell 

The  audience  enjoyed  it,  too. I  wondered  whether  any secrets  showed  on my face. I knew a lot about other  lips and  other  hearts which told their thoughts of love. The song  was a sad one, but it was also beautiful. The  sounds of  the words were like poetry. For Marian and Ted  Burgess the  poetry had a power which I could not understand it, I believed  in  it. I did not know then that love might  ever cause  unhappiness. It was a good subject, I thought, for a  song  or for a poem. It was particulary good when the music was  played on a piano. It was certainly not connected with spooning.  At  the  end of Ted's song there were  tears  of happiness in my eyes.
The  audience applauded Marian and Ted loudly. She bowed slightly,  but he did not do anything. Everyone laughed and Lord  Trimingham  said:  "He isn't very polite to  her,  is he?"  The  man who was sitting beside me said: "What's  the matter  with Ted? He usually treats the ladies better  than that.  It's  because she is from the Hall, of course."  But at  last  he bowed to Marian and thanked her. My  companion said,  "That's  better.  She's a lady,I know, and  Ted's  a  farmer. But they look well together, don't they?"
When  Ted  came  back to his seat,  he  seemed  annoyed. Everyone  noticed this and enjoyed it. It added some fun to the  party. Ted at a concert was just as popular as Ted  on the  cricket  field.  The crowd laughed at him as  much  as they had cheered him before.

 (a) Who sang the love song ?
 (b) What was the song like ?
 (c) Did the narrator enjoy the song? How do you know?

60. Write questions to the following answers (pay attention to what is bold printed) :

 (a) ____________ ?   The audience applauded Marian and Ted.
 (b) ____________ ?   The sounds of the words were like poetry.
 (c) ____________ ?   Ted is a farmer.    

61. Define the following words : AUDIENCE , POLITE & FARMER
62. Put the following sentences into the ACTIVE VOICE :

(a) Food won't be needed next year.
(b) The men were taken to Manila by the submarine. 
(c) The message had not been delivered. 

63. Write the following sentences in INDIRECT SPEECH:

(a) "What are these nasty boys doing here?", the Savage said.
(b) "Nobody believes it's going to happen. Everybody thinks it will pass away", he said.  
(c) "Don't think about it any more", he said.

Note that the text is an extract from the novel The Go-between by L.P. Hartley (here's a link to the book in pdf) Do you know what a 'go-between' is? Can you tell me what the story is about?


  • Episode 171115 / 15 November 2017    >>>  Protecting Sudan's 'forgotten' pyramids   -  Language related to 'Ancient history'.  Need-to-know language: tombs, civilisations, anciente wonders, treasure, centuries-old heritage.

sábado, 18 de noviembre de 2017

Reasons to go into a café

To begin with, here's a French word English-speaking people use to refer to a coffee shop/bar: 'café' (note that they have even kept the accent like in French).

Anyway, why do you go into a café? You may go just because you really need a hot beverage, as Sheldon Cooper would say in Big Bang Theory. Here's an example:

And here are two other links to hillarious situations in this sitcom: 12.

Going back to our question and no matter if you go into a coffee bar to have a coffee, a cup of tea or a coke, there are other reasons. Not long ago, people used to pop in just because they had the need to go to the toilet, so they would ask for a hot beverage and then they would go to the Houses of Parliament, a colloquial way to refer to the toilet used by some Britons. Other reasons: it's cold outside, it's raining, I want to read the newspapers they provide, I want to read my own newspaper or book in a comfortable warm place. Anyway, the reasons could be countless, but one of the latest is because they provide a free-wifi. On our trips that's what we used to do to send our WhatsApp messages or to check our emails. Do you think that this reason really still encourages people to go into a café and buy a hot chocolate or whatever?


Free Wi-Fi with that coffee? Why cafes are embracing an age of connectivity (The Guardian)

Is the party over for free wi-fi in cafes? (BBC)


Here's a listening exercise to do: How do you like your coffee? (6 Minute English, BBC Learning English)

By the way, you can also have a look at this old post: Coffee, please!, where you will learn about many interesting things such as coffee addiction, a suspended coffee or how to make an Irish coffee.

Let's learn now 9 English Idioms >>>> English with Lucy

Solutions to the exercises in the previous post:

page 24  False friends
1. pay attention    2. poor        3. attend     4. assist

page 25   Vocabulary

1. to; for      2. for; in       3. for        4. at; for     5. with

page 26  Grammar

1. unless you work harder.      2. unless it is sunny.         3. unless they want to help themselves.

page 28   Vocabulary

1. This coffee is too hot for me to drink.     2. Paul is too young to watch that film.       3. That team isn’t good enough to win the match.      4. Sam doesn’t work hard enough to pass his exams.     5. That book was too boring for me to read.     6. He didn’t run fast enough to catch the bus.

New primate discovered in Angola -- and it's already in danger (CNN)


  • Episode 171108 / 08 November 2017    >>> 
    New ape species discovered   -  Language related to 'Animal discovery'.  Need-to-know language: species, DNA, genetic comparisons, evolutionary history, breakthrough.

viernes, 10 de noviembre de 2017

Cities are no longer cars' territory and our biological clock

Cities used to be invaded by cars, buses, lorries.... there used to be traffic jams everywhere. This is no longer happening in cities like Bordeaux in France, Seville in Spain, Freiburg in Germany or Norwich in Britain. Now city centres are pedestrians' territory and it is really a delight not only because you can walk freely everywhere, but also because of the reduction of pollution and noise.



Here's a listening exercise to do: Pedestrianisation - is it good for cities and towns? (6 Minute English, BBC Learning English)

And now let's watch a video about the transformation of the city of Bordeaux (Bordeaux avant après), some bits of which are in French:


And here are some articles to read about the issue:


Not long ago we saw the Question Tags! in English. Here's an interesting video to watch

Some extra activities for my students in 2º Bachillerato to do (UNIT  2. Society)

False friends . Complete the sentences with the correct form of the words in the list :

attend   -   assist   -   poor    -   pay attention

1. If you don’t … in class, you won’t learn anything.
2. When I was young, my family was quite … – we never had much money.
3. I’m learning to speak French – I … classes on Tuesday evenings.
4. If you need help, our staff will be happy to … you.

Vocabulary . Complete the sentences with the correct prepositions, then check their answers in the text.

1. Most of us can turn … family and friends … help.
2. Charities provide real support … young people … this situation.
3. He donated his final payment to fund projects … young people.
4. Sonya struggled … school and was arrested … shoplifting.
5. She visited children … serious illnesses.

Grammar . Rewrite these sentences using UNLESS.

1. You will fail your exams if you don’t work harder.
2. We won’t have a barbecue if it isn’t sunny.
3. You can’t help people if they don’t want to help themselves.

Vocabulary . Combine each pair into one sentence using too / (not) … enough.

1. This coffee is very hot. I can’t drink it.
2. Paul is very young. He can’t watch that film.
3. That team isn’t very good. It won’t win the match.
4. Sam doesn’t work very hard. He won’t pass his exams.
5. That book was really boring! I couldn’t read it.
6. He didn’t run very fast. He didn’t catch the bus.

Solutions to the USE OF ENGLISH exercise in the previous exercise. 

(1) thanks    (2) out      (3) looks    (4) fact/reality     (5) than      (6) addition   (7) bigger    (8) whether    (9) far    (10) means     (11) tell    (12) dishonest    (13) home    (14) away    (15) before     (16) available (17) yours/one     (18) last      (19) wait/delay     (20) without


Episode 171101 / 01 November 2017    >>>  Heart surgery and your body clock   -  Language related to 'health'.  Need-to-know language: biological clock, open-heart surgery, complications, high-risk patients, medicine.

viernes, 3 de noviembre de 2017

What's the best thing about you?

In your opinion, what is the best thing about you? You must have some good qualities, among which there is one which is the best. This is most paramount if you want to develop as a person and when choosing the kind of job you want to do.


Students are probably the best thing for most good teachers as they see what comes out of all the efforts they make and all the plans they have in mind. That is why teachers tend to get really angry when the students don't pay attention to the recommendations they give them.

A question for my students in 2º ESO: What are your best qualities? What are you best at?


By the way, today I learnt a great piece of news: Mª José García (2º Bach A) has just passed her B2 Cambridge exams, too. CONGRATULATIONS!!!

Listen (and watch) to the song You're the best thing about me by U2. I hope you will like it and you understand the lyrics (here's the link to the official video).

English with Lucy:


Pay attention to her words: "Nothing can beat face-to-face education" What does she mean to say?

HIGHWAY TO B2.....and success in the Selectivity exam

USE OF ENGLISH. Fill in the gaps with suitable words. Here are ten of the missing words:   dishonest  -  far   -   before  -  last  - out  -  than   -   means   -   wait/delay   -   yours/one   -   addition

LIEBUSTER - A miracle of modern electronics

At last, (1) ...................... to modern technology, there is a way to find (2) ................... if people are telling the truth. The Liebuster (3) ....................... just like an ordinary watch, but in (4) ............................. it's far more (5) ...................... that! In (6) .................. to telling the time, it buzzes when it detects a lie. The (7) ......................... the lie, the bigger the buzz. You will find it invaluable (8) ....................... you're at home or at work. It is by (9) ...................... the smallest, most accurate, lie detector ever made. It measures the stress in people's voices by (10) ....................... of high-tech microchips. In business negotiations, it will (11) ........................... you if people are being (12) ....................... with you. At (13) ...................... it can warn you if your girlfriend or boyfriend is lying when they tell you what they did that weekend when you were (14) ........................... on business.
Never (15) ............................. has such an electronic miracle been (16) ................................ at such a low price. So get (17) ............................ now while stocks (18) .......................... Hurry! Don't (19) ..................! 

Nobody can do (20) ......................... the Liebuster, the miracle of modern high-tech electronics!

martes, 31 de octubre de 2017

What a scary situation!!! Living on your own, with your parents, sharing...????

In less than a year's time, you will be living away from home and you will be so eager to become independent. You imagine it will be an ideal situation for you to live: wonderful experiences, no parents around to tell you what to do, no curfews, no limits... However, it is not all gold that glitters! No one to buy the bread for you, no one to do the cooking, washing or any of the household activities a house requires, no one to wake you up and tell you to go to class.... And finally, the money matters!!! Actually, this paradise you are dreaming about can become a hell.

Anyway, there is no need to exaggerate. There must be a balance and you must always be practical choosing the best option life offers. Let's see some awkward situations and the solutions found.

And now let's analyse the situation from a comic point of view.

Living On Your Own: Expectations Vs Reality (BuzzFeed)

Before we go on with our next topic in this post, here's a video about some common mistakes in English:

And now let's talk about Halloween. Here's the history of Halloween to begin with:

And some other interesting videos to watch:


Finally, here's Thriller by Michael Jackson  >>>

SELECTIVITY. Solutions to the exercises in the previous post:

55.  Here's a link to check your definitions.

56.  1. won't do    2.   know   3. see    4. will be    5. will happen    6. get   7. will look after   8. will reserve   9. finish   10. go

57.  1. She asked Carol not to go the next week.    2. She asked us if we liked English cheese.   3. Peter said he didn't know what to do that night and Jane suggested having dinner at a Chinese restaurant.     4. The teacher asked me when I had last seen my parents.     5. You said you ate something the previous day that didn't agree with you.

58.  1. The elderly man that lives opposite the petrol station has just retired.   2. She is so beautiful that she can marry whoever she wants.    3. It is said that... / He is said to be working in Germany, but he is also believed to be living in Spain.   4. Did you ever take part in a demonstration when you were a teenager? Yes, but I haven't done that since I was 19.    5. How long have you been waiting for me? I have been waiting for you for an hour.   6. Phone your girlfriend and ask her to marry you today.    7. My hair is too long, I will have to have my hair cut.    8. She has just seen the girl I used to go out with.   9. If I were you, I would buy  a new book.    10. 50 littres of beer were drunk on my birthday.

domingo, 29 de octubre de 2017

All your work cut out for you

As usual, I've got all your work cut out for you (check the meaning and origin of this phrase at BBC Learning English) these two days, so be ready.


Jo Rowsell: ‘I’ve got my work cut out to keep my place in the team’ (The Guardian)


Do you know what a 'tailor' is? But what is the meaning of 'tailor' as a verb 'to tailor', as in this example: "The school tailors the course to each student's needs." ?

Interesting video to watch. Pay attention to the pronunciation of certain words:


55. Define the following words:     to break down  /  spoon  /  holiday  / marchers

56. Put in the correct verb form :

1. We __________ anything until we hear from you.(NOT DO)
2. I'll tell you as soon as I __________ (KNOW)
3. If I __________ George,I'll tell him to come and see you.(SEE)
4. I __________ happy when this job is finished. (BE)
5. What __________ if the police find out? (HAPPEN)
6. It'll be nice when we __________ back home again. (GET)
7. I __________ your luggage until you come back. (LOOK AFTER)
8. As soon as you know when you want to leave,phone us and we __________ a flight for you.(RESERVE)
9. I'm going to take a short holiday when I __________ this job.         (FINISH)
10. Don't forget to put the lights out when you __________ to bed. (GO)

57. Put the following sentences into INDIRECT SPEECH :

1. Elizabeth to Carol:"Don't come next week,please!"
2. "Do you like English cheese?",she asked us.
3. Peter said,"I don't know what to do tonight".
        Jane said,"what about having dinner at a Chinese restaurant".
4. The teacher asked me: "When did you last see your parents?".
5. "I ate something yesterday that didn't agree with me",you said.

58. Translate the following sentences into English:

1. El viejo que vive en frente de la gasolinera acaba de jubilarse.
2. Es tan guapa que puede casarse con quien quiera.
3. Dicen que está trabajando en Alemania,  pero también se cree que está viviendo en España.
4. ¿Tomaste alguna vez parte en una manifestación cuando eras un adolescente? Sí, pero no he hecho eso desde que tenía 19 años.
5. ¿Cuánto tiempo llevas esperándome? Llevo esperándote una hora.
6. Telefonea a tu novia y pídele que se case contigo hoy.
7. Tengo el pelo demasiado largo, tendré que ir a pelarme.
8. Ella acaba de ver a la chica con la que yo solía salir.
9. Yo que tú le compraría un libro nuevo.
10. Se bebieron 50 litros de cerveza en mi cumpleaños.

SELECTIVITY. Solutions to the exercises in the previous post:

52.  1. Julius Caesar, who was a Roman general, came...    2. a prayer, which nobody understood and which he must composed himself.    3. the book I left on the table where there's a nice vase / which there's a very nice on ?   4. several houses, most of which were quite unsuitable.    5. his car, which broke down, for the first time.

53. 1. if she had been to the party.   2. why did you get lost if..    3. you study more    4. if you want to have a great time
5.  , I would ask her to dance.

54. 1. That car is no longer made in Britain.    2. Dinner is being cooked by my mother.    3. That can't be done.     
4. People believed that his cabinet did not totally accept the Prime Minister's policy.    
5. People say that Albert is going to buy a new car.    6. Nobody should kill anybody for any cause.

However, as I know that "All work and no play makes Jack/Jill a dull boy/girl", here's an old British sitcom to watch. Have some fun with the playlist. I hope you will enjoy it. By the way, do you know what a 'robin' is?

viernes, 27 de octubre de 2017

Have you got a sweet tooth?

Do you usually have the need to eat something sweet? If so, be careful. You may have a serious problem.


Listening exercise to do: Too much sugar (6 Minute English, BBC Learning English)

Interesting video to keep you fit:

This Happens to Your Stomach Fat When You Plank - 6 Good Reasons Why You Should Do Plank Daily


And for my students in 2nd of ESO, can you tell me things that made you a better person? But first, watch the next video, where Lucy tells you about the issue.



English with Lucy   >>>  10 things that made me a better person  




52. RELATIVE CLAUSES.Combine the following sentences by means of a relative clause :

1. Julius Caesar came to Britain in 55BC.He was a Roman General.
2. He began a prayer. Nobody understood his prayer. He must have composed it himself.
3. Will you give me the book? I left it on the table. There's a very nice vase on it.
4. I saw several houses.Most of them were quite unsuitable.
5. He was driving his car for the first time.It broke down.

53. CONDITIONALS.Write proper endings for these sentences:

1. I wouldn't have met her if _______________________________
2. You got lost,but why __________________________ if you knew the way?
3. You won't pass the exam unless ______________________________
4. Come to the party _____________________________
5. If she were my girlfriend ________________________________

54. Put the first three sentences into the PASSIVE VOICE and the last three sentences into the ACTIVE VOICE:
1. They no longer make that car in Britain.
2. My mother is cooking dinner.
3. Nobody can do that.
4. It was believed that the Prime Minister's policy was not totally accepted by his cabinet.
5. It is said that Albert is going to buy a new car.
6. Nobody should be killed for any cause.

SELECTIVITY. Solutions to the exercises in the previous post:

1.  1. lavish hotel   2. wealthy family    3. controversial issue     4. instant success    5. marvellous time

2.  1. before   2. medicine   3. help   4. always   5. neighbours    6. dancer    7. small     8. in a few hours

3.  1. round (visited)    2. on (a way to encourage someone)    3. across (find by accident)   4. in (enter)