Wednesday, December 7, 2016

If wishes were horses...

"If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

If turnips were watches, I'd wear one by my side.

If "if's" and "and's" were pots and pans,

There'd be no work for tinkers' hands."

(Traditional nursery rhyme)

We use the verb "wish" when we want something we can't have. At least for the moment. (here's a version of the nursery rhyme on Youtube )

Here's a good summary of all the ways you can use the word wish. As you can see, there are many. (Please check for the whole lesson)

Here you have a song where you can see the use of wish. 

Wish + past tense

The prologue to the musical "Into the Woods" also has a lot of examples of how to use "wish". You can try to write down what each character wishes for. You will probably recognize them, as they all come from traditional fairy tales.

And if you watch the whole musical, you'll realize that wishing sometimes you have to be careful what you wish for...

Monday, October 31, 2016

How to use phrasal verbs

Phrasal verbs in English are very, very common. The best advice is to calm down and pick them up just like any other verb, one at a time.
Also, a good idea is to pay attention to them when they turn up in songs. Lindsay Dow has a fantastic Youtube playlist with songs that use them. Check them out!


You can also revise this BBC Learning English unit:

And you may want to practice with this fantastic series from the BBC about phrasals, too:

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Future Perfect

By the time you finish this fantastic explanation you will have understood this structure perfectly.

Make sure you check out the rest of the unit here

Friday, September 23, 2016

Present perfect vs. Present perfect continuous

First of all, be sure to revise first the Present Perfect post here.

A few differences between Present Perfect Simple and Present Perfect Continuous:

Present perfect SIMPLE

Present perfect CONTINUOUS
  • something which happened in the past which is important now.
  • Recent actions
  • experiences
  • state verbs

  • when we focus on the action, the process or its duration.
  • when something is unfinished

Here you have a longer explanation with exercises: 

You can also check this other website: 

And remember, you can find plenty of exercises to practice this and other grammar points at

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The passive voice (update)

Passive from Elena (IES Cervantes)

Link to Agendaweb section for passive voice practice here
For more on passive reporting structures, go to

For more on using the passive voice with two objects check

You can see some practical examples of how the passive voice is used here:


There is a second part of the video you can watch here

This collection of songs that use causatives and passives is also worth checking out:

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Conditional sentences (repost)

Here are the three types of conditional sentences together.

Make sure you also visit British Council LearnEnglish Teens to check some extra explanations and exercises. You can also find plenty of exercises on all three conditionals at

[update]. Direct links to "wish" exercises

Friday, April 22, 2016

A brief history of the people on the $20 bill

We have recently learned that after 2020, the new face of the $20 bill will be Harriet Tubman.

As you will see in this video, the $20 bill has changed a lot since 1863, the year it was created. The first image represented in the bill was Lady Liberty, a representation of Freedom in the United States (which would also appear later as the Statue of Liberty in 1875). The second is Alexander Hamilton, who was an important politician at the beginning of the American revolution and the first Secretary of the Treasury. Then there were George Washington and Grover Cleveland, the 1st and 22nd Presidents of the US.

Andrew Jackson, who has been on the bill since 1928, was a controversial figure. As the 7th President of the US, he was responsible for the violent displacement of many Native Americans from their home under the Indian Removal Act  and, as a slave owner himself, was against the abolition of slavery. Many people felt very uncomfortable having him on the bill.

On the other hand, Tubman was born a slave in 1820 and was whipped, battered and mistreated since she was a young child. In 1849, she managed to escape and became part of the Underground Railroad, helping hundreds of others to do the same. She also participated in the American Civil War as a cook and a nurse, even as a spy. Later in her life she also became involved in the women's suffrage movement.

As you can see on this longer article on, this decision has also been controversial. What do you think? Is this a welcome change? Who would you like to see on your bills?

Friday, March 18, 2016

Your prehistoric body

Evolution by natural selection is a curious thing. There are lots of interesting vestiges from other species that can be found in our bodies. Even if they serve no function.
Watch the video below. What parts of the body does it NOT mention?

a) arms
b) eyes
c) ears
d) heart
e) skin

What other part of the body does it mention?

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Conditional sentences are important

Really important.

(click on the image to make it larger)

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Reported speech: repost

Here are the two presentations on reported speech:

Reported speech (1) from Elena (IES Cervantes)

Reported speech (2) from Elena (IES Cervantes)

You may also want to check out the  BBC Learning English unit on reported speech (see also the common mistakes section about say and tell)

As usual, there are dozens of exercises to practice at

Friday, February 5, 2016