"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, AND that has made all the difference" The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

DREAMING IN ENGLISH. Are you dreaming in English yet?

WELCOME!!! This is a bit of a challenge for me!!! This blog is intended for all audiences. I hope you enjoy and get the most of it!!!

Here you might find resources to help you navigate the muddy waters of English. The humble aim of this blog is just to keep you in touch with different types of English and different aspects of the English culture , to increase your curiosity about English through many different fields.

Licencia Creative Commons
Are you dreaming in English yet? por BE se encuentra bajo una Licencia Creative Commons Atribución-NoComercial-SinDerivadas 3.0 Unported.

lunes, 6 de marzo de 2017

"We should all be feminists"

Watch the following video.

"The world has changed but the numbers remained stucked against us." Do you agree with this statement and with and the figures and statistics presented inthe video? Are we really equal?

The video below was part of a campaign to celebrate the International Women´s Day. Here you can learn about different important inventions made by women. Did you know anything about them?

In the video they also mention a group of pioneer women who began a worldvide movement to achieve equal rights. They were called the Suffragettes. Did you know anything about them?

As you can see this video presents a more positive image in the progress of  women´s rights. What do think ? Do you agree with the data and information presented? How would you compare it with the first video? 
Discuss and debate about the different ideas presented in both videos.

Resultado de imagen de celebrating women's rights 2017

Yes. It´s true. Many  things have changed since then! Many things have improved but everything is not as positive. Much has remained the same and so much still needs to be done. Despite many successes in empowering women, numerous issues are still a problem. For example, women are often paid less than men; gender discrimination affects girls and women throughout their lifetime; and sometimes they are the ones who suffer the most poverty. At the top of industry and government, the faces remain male.  So how can we justify that?

The Civil Right´s movement for women started long ago. In the English-speaking world it is said that it started with MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT´S A Vindiction of the Rights of Women ( 1792).  Then, in the 19th century some women became increasingly active in the quest for their own suffrage.
Resultado de imagen de emmeline pankhurst y sus hijas
 It was not until 1893 when women in New Zealand achieved the power to vote. Australia followed the next year and in Britain and America they didn´t achieve the national suffrage until the end of the WWI.

These group of women developed different strategies to be heard: they marched in demostrations, attended mass meetings, taught in schools, wrote critiques about how society was organized, they went on hunger strikes, etc.

They sent petitions to the Parliament to persuade the MPs to change the law to enable them to vote. In 1897 they came toghether to form the NUWSS (The National Union of Women´s Suffrage Societies).
Resultado de imagen de emmeline pankhurst
The results about their petitions were not very positive in the beginning. The members of the Bristish Parliament deliberately talked out bills presented and they didn´t want women to vote. As a consequence the Suffragist´s actions became more violent. Emmeline Panhurst said in a speech in 1912:
 "We have tried every way, but we have had contempt poured upon us. Violence is the only way that we haave to  get the power that every citizen should have"
Posters ridiculing the Suffragettes were made as well. Have a look at some of them. What do you think? 

A conservative leader made the following speech in 1912 about women´s right to vote:
" Women don´t have the experience to be able to vote. But there are other problems as well. The way women have been educated, their lack of strength, and the duties they have. If women did gain the vote, it would mean that most voters would then be women. What would be the effect of this on the government? I agree that there are some issues upon which the votes of women might be helpful. But these  ases do not cover the whole political life. What is the good of talking about equality of the sexes? The first whiz of the bullet, the first boom of the cannon and where is the equality of the sexes then?"
Finally in 1918 women over 30 were allowed to vote. It too another decade to abolish the age qualification.

Taking all this into account, Do you think it is necessary to celebrate March 8th? Is everything done? The United Nations have established since 2012 the celebration in October 11th of the International Day of the Girl Child. They focus on increasing awareness of gender inequality faced by girls worldwide. This inequality includes areas such as access to education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, gender violence, unfree child marriage. So it seems there´s still lots of things to do.

The novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie makes a new definition of feminism based on inclusion and awareness. Watch her conference in TED talks and answer the following questions.
1. Accoding to what we have read and seen in this post, in what areas do you think the world needs feminism, taking into account her ideas?
2. On the other hand, we have made important progress. Find examples in our society that have brought men and women closer to an equal position.
3. Chimamanda makes the point that the concept of gender tells us how we should behave in society and tells women how they should behave and follow certain stereotypes. Do you agree with her?
4. She says "culture does not make people, people make culture". How can this be important to change some aspects about the gender issue?
5. Make reference to some ideas or situations you have felt identified with or that you agree / disagree with in the conference.

I recommend watching the movie Suffragette. It´s a good opportunity to learn something really important about our history and about how women´s fight for thier own rights started.

domingo, 5 de febrero de 2017

Writing an opinion ESSAY

An Essay is a formal text that should answer the questions given and provide a new content point showing your own opinion or view on a particular topic.

 When you are asked to write an essay you have to read very carefully the questions and prompts to understand what you are expected to do and to focus on the topic and get to the point. You have to bear in mind that if you miss any of the given prompts you may be penalised .
 You should support your ideas with examples, give evidence and explain your choices or opinions. That´s why the use of appropriate linking words and the use of cohesive devices is very important in essays.
The introduction and the conclusion should be effective and strong. Compare and contrast the information given and do not give your personal opinion until the final paragraph. Remember to structure your arguments and  include a new idea in each paragraph.

Have a look at this video with some useful information to write a good essay.

Science is very important in the 21st century. How do you think it could be made more appealing to young people?
Write about:
1. television programmes
2. interactive museums
3. ________ (your own idea)
Write your essay in 140-190 words in an appropriate style.
Although young people love gadgets and technology, some see science as uninteresting and 'uncool'. Over time, the number of young people, particularly girls, pursuing science and technology studies and careers has dropped.
One way in which science could be made more attractive would be to have lively television programmes presented by celebrities, with subjects which were relevant to the experience of the young. We live in a celebrity culture and children identify with well-known young people.
Another idea would be to set up interactive science museums in every town, where parents could take their children. It is much better to teach children the principles of science through hands-on experiments than to lecture them in a classroom.
Of course, there would be more incentives if the average scientit were better paid and young people were made aware of the range of jobs available. A lot of people are put off a scientific career because they think it means working in a badly paid job in a boring laboratory.
Whichever way we choose, it is vital that more young people are attracted to science, since society's prosperity depends largely on continuous scientific progress

Some useful expressions you can use are:
  1. SEQUENCINGFirstly, First of all, In the first place, To begin/start with, Secondly, Thirdly, Finally
  2. ADVANTAGES: One/Another/A further/An additional (major) advantage of… is … The main/greatest/first advantage of… is …
  3. DISADVANTAGES:One/Another/ A further/An additional (major) disadvantage/drawback of. The main/greatest/most serious/first disadvantage /drawback of… Another negative aspect of…
  4. INTRODUCE ARGUMENTS:One point/argument in favour of… / against, A further common criticism of… / It could be argued that…..often claimed/suggested / It is widely argued/ maintained that…   Some/many/most people/experts/scientist claim/suggest/argue/feel that…/support the view that…oppose the view that…are in favour of/against…are of the opinion that/convinced that…are opposed to…
  5. ADDING INFORMATION: in addition (to this), furthermore, moreover, besides, apart from, what is more, as well as, not to mention (the fact) that, also, not only … but also/as well, both
  6. CONTRAST: on the other hand, however, still, yet, but, nonetheless, nevertheless, even so,it may be said/argued/claimed that            although, though, even though, while, , whereas, despite/in spite of (the fact that), regardless of the fact that,   
  7.  CONCLUSION: In conclusion,On balance, All things considered, Taking everything into account/consideration, To conclude, To sum up, All in all, Finally/Lastly...     it can be said/claimed that..................     it seems/appears that...........   it is likely/unlikely/possible/foreseeable that ……………   it is clear/obvious that……...   there is no/little doubt that.........   it is true to say that ………   although it must be said that …… it may be concluded/said that …

Writing an ARTICLE

When you are asked to write an ARTICLE the main purpose is to inform about a topic that is usually written for a magazine, newsletter, etc. Therefore, you will have to inform, entertain and show some kind of interest to involve the readers that may share your opinion or not. That´s why, articles should include some personal opinion or comment.

In the Article...
- you will have to include a title. Sometimes it is given in the question and you may add it or create one of your own which is relevant to the topic.
- We have to introduce the topic and address the target audience directly. We can include rhethorical questions to involve them.
- Depending on the input and the ideas we want to comment we will need different paragraphs. Develop your ideas in the different paragraphs and use a personal style, not too formal, not too informal.
- Finally conclude by making a summary of the previous ideas and include some personal comment.

In the following video you have some tips to write a perfect article

SAMPLE.  Articles wanted
Lucky winners
What would you do if you won a large sume of money. How would your life change?
Write us an article answering these questions. Give reasons.
We will publish the best articles next month.
Write your article in 140-190 words in an appropriate style
Don't throw it all away!

Have you ever dreamt of becoming rich unexpectedly? Just imagine what your life would be like! However, some people who get rich quickly are very careless with their money and end up being poorer than they were before.

That's why I'd be very careful. I wouldn't want a completely different kind of life, so I'd start by putting some of it away, in case everything went wrong - set up a kind of "emergency fund". Then I would buy my hard-working parents a new home. They deserve it because they have always provided me with everything I've always wanted, even if it meant they had to go without. I would also give some money away to needy people who are struggling in the world and have no food. It would not be right to just spend the money on myself. Then I think I would take a year off from studying and travel round the world in great comfort. I've spent most of my live travelling on a limited budget and sleeping in hostels.

After that, who knows? I'll see, but I certainly won't be buying any luxury cars!

- to involve the reader 
- make your article interesting, lively,
- develop your points, your ideas, compare, contrast 
- focus on a strong opening and conclusion

You can use phrases such as:

  •  Have you ever....?
  • Are you one of those who...?
  • What would you think if...?
  • Just imagine....
  • How would you feel if....?
  • I was absolutely .......  when I saw, realised...
  • It was the most amazing experience I have ever had...
  • More importantly, it was something that / I
  • Not surprisingly, it was / I was.....
  • To my mind....
  • It seems to me that....
  • One advantage of that is that....
  • On top of that.....
  • Let´s start with...

sábado, 4 de febrero de 2017


Resultado de imagen de writing tips
Writing well is a difficult task. Basically, there are three main components to bear in mind:
- communicating clearly
- organising ideas and information
- accuracy with sentence structures and spelling

In order to communicate clearly we need to take into account the purpose of the text, the format, the genre ,the audience, etc. We have to use our language for effect , choosing the appropriate vocabulary and linguistic techniques.

Our writings should be cohesive and paragraphs should be clearly organised and developed. It makes reading easier and it is going to make our text more effective and it will have this sense of wholeness. The use of discourse markers and linking words will help us get this.

We should use varied and accurate structures, paying attention to punctuation and spelling.

To improve your writing READ, read a lot!! and take notes of structures, expressions, idioms, vocabulary you find interesting.  You may try to use them later in your own writings and make them more interesting.

The writing process from cristinaca

In your  FCE Writing paper you will have to do 2 different tasks:

- Task 1 is compulsory: ESSAY. You will have to focus on agreeing and disagreeing with a statement, give your reasons, compare and contrast your opinions.

-  InTask 2 you will have to write one of the following: an article, an informal email or letter, a formal letter or mail, a report, a review, a story.

Have a look at this prezi to read some tips about the different types of texts you have to write

miércoles, 25 de enero de 2017

Reporting: Who is the guilty one?

Watch the following video. 

1. What is the dad asking the  boys?
2. What's the reaction of the boys? Summarize the words of the older and younger brothers
3. What is the older brother trying to do?
4. Can you write down a summary of the whole scene using reported speech and appropriate reporting verbs.

jueves, 19 de enero de 2017

Utopia or Dystopia? The Giver

Utopia or Dystopia, Where do we live in? 
Watch the video and share your opinions.  What are your predictions for the future?

Utopia was an essay written by Thomas Moor describing and ideal, imaginary island community. This term has been applied since the to concepts such as an ideal and perfect state or community.

According to this, what a utopian society would it be like? Include as many details as possible.

In a DYSTOPIA we have a futuristic, imagined universe, in which we have the illusion of a perfect society.  With dystopias,  writers show their concern about humanity and society. They make criticism about social norms, politics, or some trends. They are like warnings that things can go from bad to worse without anyone realizing.

How would it be a dystopian society like ?  You can consider the following: 
- CCTV and surveillance
- Technology
- Robots, machines
- Communities, refugee camps, etc
- Protests and riots
- Prison, punishments

Can you think of stories (books or films) where we have this type of dystopian society?

Now watch this prezi presentation and check if you were right in your guessings and ideas.

Resultado de imagen de george orwellHave a look at the following extract. It is from the novel 1984 by George Orwell.
What's going on? How do you feel about it?Do you see any dystopian element? Think of the characteristics mentioned above and look for some in this excerpt. 
WHAT DO YOU THINK IT MAY HAPPEN NEXT?         Continue the story with your own words.(180 words approx.)

Resultado de imagen de george orwell

 "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him. The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats. At one end of it a coloured poster, too large for indoor display, had been tacked to the wall. It depicted simply an enormous face, more than a metre wide: the face of a man of about forty-five, with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome features. Winston made for the stairs. It was no use trying the lift. Even at the best of times it was seldom working, and at present the electric current was cut off during daylight hours. It was part of the economy drive in preparation for Hate Week. The flat was seven flights up, and Winston, who was thirty-nine and had a varicose ulcer above his right ankle, went slowly, resting several times on the way. On each landing, opposite the lift-shaft, the poster with the enormous face gazed from the wall. It was one of those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath it ran. Inside the flat a fruity voice was reading out a list of figures which had something to do with the production of pig-iron. The voice came from an oblong metal plaque like a dulled mirror which formed part of the surface of the right-hand wall. Winston turned a switch and the voice sank somewhat, though the words were still distinguishable. The instrument (the telescreen, it was called) could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off completely. He moved over to the window: a smallish, frail figure, the meagreness of his body merely emphasized by the blue overalls which were the uniform of the party. His hair was very fair, his face naturally sanguine, hisskin roughened by coarse soap and blunt razor blades and the cold of the winter that had just ended. Outside, even through the shut window-pane, the world looked cold. Down in the street little eddies of wind were whirling dust and tornpaper into spirals, and though the sun was shining and the sky a harsh blue, there seemed to be no colour in anything, except the posters that were plastered everywhere. The blackmoustachio'dface gazed down from every commanding corner. There was one on the house-front immediately opposite. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption said, while the dark eyes looked deep into Winston's own. Down at streetlevelanother poster, torn at one corner, flapped fitfully in the wind, alternately covering and uncovering the single word INGSOC.In the far distance a helicopter skimmed down between the roofs, hovered for an instant like a bluebottle, and darted away again with a curving flight. It was the police patrol, snooping into people's windows. The patrols did not matter, however. Only the Thought Police mattered. Behind Winston's back the voice from the telescreen was still babbling away about pig-iron and the overfulfilmentof the Ninth Three-Year Plan. The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it, moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever theywanted to. You had to live --did live, from habit that became instinct --in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized. Winston kept his back turned to the telescreen. It was safer, though, as he well knew, even a back can be revealing. A kilometre awaythe Ministry of Truth, his place of work, towered vast and white above the grimy landscape. This, he thought with a sort of vague distaste --this was London, chief city of Airstrip One, itself the third most populous of the provinces of Oceania. He tried to squeeze out some childhood memory that should tell him whether London had always been quite like this. Werethere always these vistas of rotting nineteenth-century houses, their sides shored up with baulks of timber, their windows patched with cardboard and their roofs with corrugated iron, their crazy garden walls sagging in all directions? And the bombed sites where the plaster dust swirled in the air and the willow-herb straggled over the heaps of rubble; and the places where thebombs had cleared a larger patch and there had sprung up sordidcolonies of wooden dwellings like chicken-houses? But it was no use, he could not remember: nothing remained of his childhood except a series of bright-lit tableaux occurring against no background and mostly unintelligible. The Ministry of Truth --Minitrue, in Newspeak --was startlingly different from any other object in sight. It was an enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete, soaring up, terrace after terrace, 300 metres into the air. From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked outonits white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party: WAR IS PEACEFREEDOM IS SLAVERY,   IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH"

The Giver by Lois Lowry is a very popular book where you will see some of the aspects discussed before. We have a group of people living an ideal, utopic life. Little by little we learn that all that glitters is not gold...

In the 1-5 Chapters you have to study,  take into account the following:

Resultado de imagen de the giver book
  1. What is the value of having differences? What do you think of the concept of Sameness?
  2. Why would a community choose to eliminate differences?
  3. Talk about Jonas. How is he depicted in the opening chapters? Does he show any differences with the rest (friends, family, etc)?
  4. What do you think about the setting?
  5. Describe the community and how it works. Compare it with the world you live in. Who rules the Community? What 's an Olygarchy?
  6. Family relationships. What do we learn in the first chapters. Analyse the way they talk, how close they are, etc. What's your opinion about the mum and dad? and about Lily?
  7. Friends and social aspects. What do you think of Jonas friends? Has something called your attention?
  8. Does anyone show resilience in the book? or at least these first 5 chapters?
Resultado de imagen de the giver quotations