COMMON ERROR FROM OUR SKYPE ENGLISH CLASSES: PREPOSITION OF TIME ‘ON’ USED WITH INDIVUDUAL DAYS SUCH AS HALLOWEEN:

In our Skype English classes, many students say ‘in Halloween’ but we must use the preposition of time ‘on’ for single days such as Halloween, all saints day, Easter Monday, New Year’s Eve or individual days such as the 13th of March or Friday. So for instance we could say ‘many children knock on my door on Halloween’ or ‘on Friday I will go to a fireworks display’. Remember, ‘on’ is for single or individual days. Please do not use ‘in’ for individual days. As a time preposition ‘in’ is used with months (e.g. March), seasons (winter…) and years (1978…). Please feel free to ask about this if you have any doubts. Thanks!

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ARE YOU DOING YOUR BEST TO INCREASE YOUR ENGLISH LEVEL?

Learning a language such as English to your desired level doesn’t have to be as hard as you may think. Like most significant goals discipline, patience and determination is required. What also assists enormously, what makes it a whole lot easier… is ‘having fun’. If you are enjoying the learning experience then it becomes far easier to maintain the upward process. Have fun learning by going to language exchanges, watching your favourite films or documentaries in English, playing video games in English, reading articles of your interest in English, taking Skype classes etc. When I started studying Spanish whilst unemployed in the south of France, I bought the same 400 page book in Spanish that I had already read several times in French. I was fluent in French at the time. The subject of this book was one of my passions. So with my low level of Spanish at that time (A2), it didn’t matter if it took me 20 minutes to read each page initially. I stayed motivated because I was having fun. So making progress was really quite easy despite my low level at that time.

Also, remember before it was much more difficult to learn a language compared to nowadays. You know, a generation ago people learning languages did not have all these technological resources at their fingertips like you do! I’m talking about resources online. There are so many options and free options to make learning English such an enjoyable past time online… So come on! Make learning English as fun as it possibly can be and the inevitable significant advance will happen!

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United Kingdom language. Abstract human tongue.

COMMON ERROR FROM OUR SKYPE ENGLISH CLASSES: ‘UN POLITICO’ IS NOT ‘A POLITIC’

Many students in our skype English classes translate ‘un politico’ wrong. The correct word would be ‘a politician’. For example, ‘the politician was forced to resign due to the corruption scandal’. Remember, ‘politics’ is the subject, a noun. The adjective is ‘political’. Hope this helps.

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COMMON MISTAKE FROM OUR SKYPE ENGLISH CLASSES: TRANSLATING ‘HACER LA PRUEBA DE ALCOHOLEMIA’

For this we use a verb ‘to breathalyse’. This is a transitive verb. So we can say ‘the police breathalysed me’ or ‘at the police checkpoint, I was breathalysed’. I hope this helps.

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COMMON MISTAKE FROM OUR SKYPE ENGLISH CLASSES: DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ‘TO HEAR OF’ AND ‘TO HEAR ABOUT’.

Generally, in English, when you ‘hear about’ something you find out the details or the situation (what is/was/will be happening). When you hear of something or someone you learn that it or the person exists.

Examples:

‘Have you heard about Sarah and Ben?’
‘I knew they got together into a relationship. However, tell me all about it.’

But:

‘Have you heard of the film ‘Titanic’?’
‘No, I’ve never heard of it.’

‘Have you heard of Vladimir Putin?’
‘Yes, he is the Russian leader’.

Jim: ‘I come from a small city called Oxford. It’s

located in England. Have you ever heard of it?’

Pete: ‘Yep. I have heard of it ( = recognise the name). And I have heard about it too as it has a famous university there. I have heard that many students around the world aspire to study in Oxford!’

Hoping that helps. Remember we do personalised English classes on Skype. Just follow the link for more details!

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COMMON ERROR – DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SHADE AND SHADOW:

Many of our students in our English Skype classes have issues with these. Shadow is used to describe specific areas of darkness that are produced when objects or people are blocking any source of light. If you lift your hand up towards the light you create a shadow. It can be indoors or outdoors. A shadow can be cast by any light source such as a candle, a flashlight, an overhead light, a spotlight or the sun.

Shade, commonly used in a more general sense, is the darkness created by only the sun. Unlike shadow, it is an uncountable noun. The darkness underneath a tree or a parasol on a sunny day would be the shade. Shade is what one typically seeks on a hot sunny day in order to avoid too much sun exposure.

COMMON ENGLISH MISTAKE: ‘PROBABLY’ CONFUSED WITH ‘PROBABLE’

This is often confused with our Spanish EFL students. Many students wrongly say ‘it’s probably that they will score’ (‘es probable que van a marcar’) when it should be ‘it’s probable that they will score’. Remember, ‘probable’ in Spanish should be ‘probable’ in English, not ‘probably’ which is ‘probablemente’ or ‘seguramente’. It should be noted that in the UK ‘likely’ is more used than ‘probable’. Indeed, ‘likely’ is very rarely utilised among Spanish EFL students (students normally find it easier to use ‘probable’ rather than ‘likely’) but it is used a lot more in common conversation among native speakers.

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COMMON MISTAKE IN ENGLISH: TRANSLATING ‘TENER GANAS’

‘Tener ganas’ is complicated to translate for our Spanish speaking students in our Skype English classes. The important thing is to use phrases or words that demonstrate enthusiasm. For example, ‘I want to go on holiday’ or ‘I wish to see you’ or ‘he can’t wait to finish these exams’ or ‘We feel like eating chocolate’ or ‘She is looking forward to the meal’ or ‘they fancy eating fish and chips’. In summary, the key is to use a phrase portraying enthusiasm. Hope that helps.

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COMMON MISTAKE: MISUSING THE WORD ‘ACHE’

In our skype English classes our students often have issues with the word ‘ache’. We use ‘ache’ (meaning un dolor/doler in Spanish) as a noun with only the following parts of body: ‘tooth’, ‘back’, ‘head’ and ‘stomach/tummy’ and possibly ‘ear’. So we can say ‘I have toothache’ (for some reason ‘toothache’ doesn’t have the indefinite article ‘a’) or ‘she has a stomach ache’. For other parts of the body, you cannot employ the noun ‘ache’. Rather, ‘ache’ is used as a verb. Indeed, you can use ‘ache’ for pretty much all parts of your body. For example: ‘my wrist aches’ or ‘my backside aches’ or ‘my tummy aches’. Remember, ‘an ache’ is a light feeling. ‘A pain’ or employing the verb ‘to hurt’ (which also mean dolor/doler) means can be light or severe. This grammar point is strange. To master it you just need to learn it. Have a great day.

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COMMON ERROR: TRANSLATING ‘IR/ESTAR A LA CALLE’:

In our Skype English classes many Spanish students make a mistake translating the following sentence: ‘voy a la calle’. As you may realise, this phrase means that you will be outside of your house whether you will be in a park, in a bar, in a plaza, by the side of the road etc. Thus, to say ‘I’m going out to the street’ is incorrect unless you are only going to be actually ‘in the street’. What we would say in most cases to cover everything would be: ‘I’m going outside/out/outdoors’ which covers all situations that are not actually when you are in a building (indoors). Similarly, if we say ‘estoy en la calle’, it would be incorrect to say ‘I am in the street’ unless you are really specifically in a street. We would need to say ‘I am outside or outdoors’ or something similar.

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