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Sunday, August 7, 2022

Some collocations with the word 'heatwave'

 Hiya!

How's your summer going? How are you coping with this sultry weather and sweltering heat? It seems that the world is seeing an uncommon heatwave that is lasting longer than usual, for example, the temperatures in London have soared to 40ºC, which makes it one of the hottest summers ever!

I'm pretty sure you all have noticed that this summer is hotter than usual... This situation has encouraged me to write this post in which I'll be dealing with some words that collocate with 'heatwave'.

I'll start with a definition of 'heatwave'. Merriam Webster defines it as "a period of unusually hot weather".  This current heatwave is flooding the media and journals, radios and TVs are all reporting this unexpected surge in temperatures. After reading some of  this news, here you have some of the most common collocations with the word 'heatwave', I have gathered:

From: https://www.facebook.com/EyeOnTheSky/videos/the-heat-wave-is-over-heres-a-summary-from-several-cities-and-towns-around-the-r/1891167690940293/

ADJECTIVE + HEATWAVE

There are some adjectives that describe the big temperatures linked to the heatwave:

- Stifling heatwave: 'Stifling' is something that kills by deprivation of oxygen. "Stifling heatwave grips central United States" (Reuters, 15 June 2022)

- Scorching heatwave: 'Scorching' can be defined as something that causes intense heat. "Brits brace for another scorching heatwave next week"  (Express,  6 August 2022)

- Suffocating heatwave: If something is suffocating, it means you die by being unable to breathe. "Is Spain's suffocating heatwave finally ending?" (The Local, 27 July 2022)

- Torrid heatwave: If something is torrid, it gives off intense heat, especially from the sun. "Torrid heatwave sends mercury soaring" (Times Now, 26 April 2022)

- Searing heatwave: The adjective 'searing' refers to something very hot. "Searing heatwave to spark huge lightning blasts across Britain." (Express, 28 July 2022)

- Gruelling / grueling heatwave: If something is 'gruelling', it is exhausting. "Gruelling heatwave sears Pacific north-west." (The Guardian, 27 July)

There are some adjectives that describe the intensity of the heatwave:

Ferocious / fierce / intense/ deadly / severe / extreme / powerful / brutal are all adjectives that collocate with the word 'heatwave'. 

Other adjectives depict the duration of a heatwave: 

Long / prolonged/ extended / unprecedented heatwave


HEATWAVE + VERB

A heatwave can 'hit' or 'strike' a country / 'sweep' or 'spread' across a country / 'grip' or 'hammer' a country. A heatwave can also 'bake' or 'cook' a country.

"UK set for record temperatures as heat wave hits Europe" (The Washington Post, 18 July 2022)

"Record temperatures in Shanghai as heatwave strikes China" (Uca News, 14 July 2022)

"Extreme heat wave sweeps across many European countries" (USA Today, 18 July 2022)

"Europe swelters as heatwave spreads" (BBC News, 13 July 2022)

"Heatwave grips Europe, temperatures set to soar past 40ºC" (Outlook, 7 August 2022)

"Heatwaves hammer megacities in China's Yangtze River basin" (Reuters, 14 July 2022)

"Unprecedented heatwave cooks western Europe" (Euronews, 20 June 2022)

"Record-breaking heatwave bakes Americans" (Inquirer News, 21 July)


VERB + HEATWAVE

Combat / endure / face / prevent / survive / survive / cope with  a heatwave


Now that there are said to be more and more heatwaves every year, I hope you can use these collocations to talk about heatwaves more accurately! 

You can also see other entries related to this: summer vocabulary; holidays vocabulary; holidays collocations; hot weather; frolicking in the water.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Practise your listening: women inventors to celebrate International Women's Day!

Hiya!
Today it's Match, 8th, which means it's International Women's Day.
It is crystal clear that we have a long way to go to achieve total equality. Nowadays women still earn less than men;they are worse regarded when it comes to their children's upbringing; they can't roam the streets alone at night without being afraid of what might happen to them; they are somehow forced to tuck their careers away when they become pregnant; and they are -still in the twenty-first century-  battered and killed to death by their jealous, abusive partners, not to mention the hard situations that women in western countries have to endure... What is clear is that women today have to fight harder to gain the exact sale recognition than men; they have to struggle in order to get their place in history.

And here you have a very good example of five outstanding women inventors that need to.be remembered and recognised...

Here you have the exercise I used in the past with my students of B2.



Match women 1-5 to the correct sentence A-. There are some sentences you won't need.

1. MELITTA BENZ
2. BETTY NESMITH GRAHAM
3. MARJORIE JOYNER
4. MARY ANDERSON
5. MARY BEATRICE KENNER

A) THIS WOMAN IMPROVED WOMEN'S SANITARY CONDITIONS
B) THIS WOMAN EXPERIMENTED DIFFERENT COOKING METHODS
C) THIS WOMAN APPLIED KITCHEN STUFF TO ANOTHER FIELD OF EXPERTISE
D) THANKS TO HER, A DRINK WAS IMPROVED
E) THIS WOMAN HID THE INVENTION FROM HER BOSSES
F)  THIS WOMAN GREW INCREDIBLY RICH
G) THIS WOMAN PAID THE TOLL OF TARDINESS
H) THIS WOMAN INVENTED TOILET PAPER



Answers: 1D 2E 3C 4G 5A



To finish this entry, here you have another video about women inventors that will make you reflect a little bit.

See you around!

Tuesday, March 1, 2022

PRACTISE YOUR LISTENING: RIO DE JANEIRO'S CARNIVAL

 Hiya!

How's your Carnival going? Did you enjoy the Carnival parade? Did you dress up for a Carnival party? Did you make your own costume for Carnival? Last week I wrote an entry on Carnival vocabulary. Today I'm proposing a listening activity related to one of the most famous Carnivals across the world, no other than Rio de Janeiro's Carnival.

The video is a bit old and I used it some time ago in my classes. However, I really like it now, as it makes me become green with envy of the things we could do in the past when Covid 19 hadn't hit us hard...I'm looking forward to living an experience like the ones you can see on the video: binge alcohol, festive mood,...

Anyway, here you have the exercise and I'll post the answers at the end of this entry. I hope you like. 

Have a look at the video https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-latin-america-21421812/rio-rev and fill in the gaps with a maximum  of 5 words. Item 0 is an example:

0. Rio’s Carnival is in full _swing_.

1. The first girl reckons that Rio’s Carnival is everybody’s favourite holiday for the people in _____________.

2. The city is trying to prevent people from ______________________ on the streets.

3. According to the driver, drugs and alcohol make people do  _____________________.

4. _____________ people are in the sambadrome to see the samba schools compete.

5. This year there’s a wide variety of themes including South Korea, the Amazon and ______________________.

6. Hundreds of ________________ have been deployed for the event.



Answers: 1 the bus  2 urinating 3 abnormal things 4 70,000 5 Brazil's soap operas 6 extra police

Here you have yet another exercise to revise the Carnival vocabulary seen in my previous entry:

DOWNLOAD THE EXERCISE HERE

I really hope you have practised your English and enjoyed Carnival.

See you around.

Friday, February 25, 2022

It's Carnival! It's about time to dress up and...revise your English vocabulary!

 Hiya!

You're walking down the street in your neighbourhood and you see a lot of children going to or coming back from school in their costumes... You're not getting crazy, it's just Carnival! Carnival is a tradition celebrated in Spain and in many other parts in the world (such as Rio de Janeiro, Venice...).

It's not an outstanding tradition in the English-speaking world (if you travel to the UK or the US they probably won't know much about this tradition). However, Carnival is a great opportunity to improve your English vocab, so why not dedicate an entry to this wonderful tradition?

ACTIONS YOU DO AT CARNIVAL

  • DRESS UP / WEAR A COSTUME / DISGUISE YOURSELF AS A (MONKEY)
  • MAKE YOUR OWN COSTUME
  • WEAR MAKE-UP / USE MAKE-UP / MAKE UP (verb)
  • ENJOY THE CARNIVAL PARADE 
  • ENJOY THE FIREWORK DISPLAY
  • BE IN A FESTIVE MOOD
  • TAKE PART IN BULLRUNS (IN CIUDAD RODRIGO)
  • PAINT YOUR FACE 
  • DANCE TO THE FESTIVE MUSIC
  • GO PARTYING
CARNIVAL ACCESSORIES, OUTFITS AND OBJECTS

                 FANGS                                         MASKS
 
                  CONFETTI                                 FEATHERS
             WIG                                            TINSEL
            VEST AND HAT                               CAPE


BOW, SWORD, ARROWS                     BALLOONS
    FAKE GLASSES, NOSE                   GUN
        AND MOUSTACHE

CARNIVAL COSTUMES
These are examples of some Carnival costumes:
  • Sponge Bob Square Pants
  • Pirate
  • Cowboy / cowgirl
  • Clown
  • Vampire
  • Soldier
  • Doctor
  • Superhero
  • Archer
  • Magician
  • Police officer
  • Fairy
  • Vampire
  • Witch
  • Werewolf
  • Indian
  • Ghost
  • Princess
  • Skeleton
  • Knight
  • Viking
Here you have some ideas for some Carnival costumes, if you are into handcrafts, he he. 

Here you have the link and presentation to an old entry on fairy tale characters


And to conclude, here you have an English video which reuses some of the Carnival vocabulary we're seen in this entry:



I'll soon be sharing with you some exercises related to Carnival. In the meantime, enjoy Carnival if you can and dress up!

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Capitonyms II: learn the meaning of your name or surname

Hiya!

I've been quite busy lately, but I have a tiny little excuse, my second son Markus was born two weeks ago! I'm super happy! Now that I have found some me time, I can continue writing this entry, which I started before the birth of my child. 

In my previous entry, I wrote about capitonyms, that is, words whose meaning changes if the first letter is capitalized. Today's post will continue to delve into this English quirk, and, what is more, this post will be even funnier as it will explore capitonyms that are proper nouns or surnames, in other words, you'll get to learn the real meaning behind some English names and surnames...Keep in mind that there are tons of examples, but I just chose the ones that I find more reporesentative. Let's start:

  • Colours: Colours in capital letters refer to surnames: White, Blue, Black and Green are well-known surnames. 
  • Daisy vs daisy:
The lower-case 'daisy' depicts a flower. The capital Daisy is a proper noun, Donald's partner. 'Daisy doesn't really like daisies'.




  • Herb vs herb
Herb might be a man's proper noun in English yet not so common in Spanish (Gervasio). The meaning is linked to medicinal plants. We can produce a sentence saying: "Herb likes herbs."
From: https://www.canstockphoto.com/big-set-of-realistic-culinary-herbs-49398659.html

  • Bill bs bill
Do you remember Bill Clinton, one of the most controversial US presidents? His name in lower case letters: 'bill' may refer to the total amount of money you pay in a restaurant, or even the proposal of a future law. Let's imagine a sentence like: "Bill asked for the bill."

  • Cat vs cat
The lower-case cat is the dog's archenemy.  The capital Cat is a hypochorism of the noun Catherine. I guess you could say: 'Cat has a very big cat'.


  • Mike vs mike
This is probable my favourite, as it refers to my name and my son's name. 'Mike' is the hypochorism for 'Michael', whereas 'mike' is another abbreviation of the word 'microphone' in informal English. Here you can see both words: 'Mike grabbed the mike and answered the question.'







  • Sue vs sue
'Sue' is Susan's hypochorism. The word 'sue' with a small 's' means turning to legal action. 'Sue decided to sue the man that attacked her.'


  • Will vs will
'Will' is the hypochorism for 'William', whereas 'will' is the well-known modal verb to express future in English, e.g. 'Will Smith will be appearing on TV next Thursday."














  • Dick vs dick; Willy vs willy; Peter vs peter
OK, it's time to get a bit sexual now... The words 'dick', 'willy' and 'peter' refer to the male body parts... Why would anyone choose these names for a child? Hehehe.

We could say that baby Willy is touching his willy all the time.

The word 'peter' is also a verb (normally followed by the adverb 'out), which means 'to diminish gradually', for example, 'my creativity petered out'.

(I'll spare the photos on this one hehehe).
  • Eve vs eve
Who doesn't know Eve? The first woman in the whole damn world? Well, apart from being a proper noun, lower-case 'eve' depicts the evening before a special day, as seen in Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve.

'Eve didn't buy the apple on Christmas eve.'

















  • Jack vs jack
The name 'Jack' is famous all across the world. I'll just give the examples of the superb actor Jack Nicholson, or the wide-known Londoner serial killer Jack, the ripper.

Aside from this, the word 'jack' is jargon used in the electricity world: "a female fitting in an electric circuit used with a plug to make a connection with another circuit."

'Jack had to buy a jack to solve the electricity connection problem.'





















  • Mark vs mark
One of my favourite pairs, as it is the name of my second son. Apart from my son, I imagine you happen to have heard of Facebook's creator Mark Zuckerberg. In the literature field, does Mark Twain ring a bell?

The word 'mark' has tons of other meaning. In plural, it refers to the grades you get when you study, as in the expressions: get good / bad marks. The word 'mark' has other meanings, such as 'sign': 'a mark of intelligence'.

'I really hope my son Mark gets good marks in the future.'





















  • Other names: The list of examples goes on and on and on. 'Pat', 'Snoopy', 'Hulk,' and 'John', to name a few have lower-case counterparts.
I hope you find this entry interesting. You can post some other examples of funny capitonyms if you like. I'll soon write another and final entry on this issue.

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Let's learn another English quirk: capitonyms I (related to geography)

 Hiya everyone!

I know I have tucked away my blog a little bit, but I've been super busy. Worry not, for the first post in 2022 is really interesting, or, at least, I find it fascinating. It's an English quirk, but it's not English exclusive, as it happens in many other languages. I'm talking about capitonyms.

And what are capitonyms? They are words whose meaning changes if the first letter is capitalised. This post will consist of three parts: capitonyms related to geography; capitonyms related to people's names and other capitonyms.

Capitonyms related to geography: cities, countries, towns, nationalities...

  • China vs china
https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rep%C3%BAblica_Popular_Chinahttps://knowyourphrase.com/bull-in-a-china-shop

In capital letters, China refers to a country. However, lower-case china refers to a material. Do you know the expression 'to be like a bull in a china shop'?

  • Turkey vs turkey
https://www.ripleys.com/weird-news/turkeys-vs-turkey/ 







This is by far one of my favourites capitonyms ever! The word with capital letter refers to the country whose capital is Ankara, while the word with the small t depicts the widely-known animal that Americans slaughter in Nomverber...and December!

  • Chile vs chile












Let's continue with some capitonyms of food and countries. 'Chile' is a country in South-America, whereas 'chile' is a very spicy pepper.
  • Jersey vs jersey

The former may sound familiar to you as an island located between the UK and France, or a state (New Jersey) in the US. The latter, however, refers to a clothing item (often referred to as 'jumper').  
  • Sandwich vs sandwich

I suppose the first one that comes to your mind is the word in lower-case letters...Who has never eaten a sandwich, for God's sake? In fact, the world-famous sandwich is named after the count of Sandwich, a small town in England. The modern use of sandwich is an eponym coming from the count of Sandwich and is also a toponym deriving from the town with the same name. Interesting, isn't it?

  • States vs states












The word 'states' with the lower 's' refers to any country; or may be a synonym of 'fact'; or, as a verb 'to report' or 'rule'. However, the word with the big 's' refers to a specfic country, no other than the US and is normally preceeded by the article: 'last year I went to the States'


  • Polish vs polish


This is a very interesting pair of capitonyms, because they are also homographs, that is, written the same but pronounced differently according to their meaning.
The first one [‘pəʊlɪʃ] is the nationality and language of Poland, when the second one: [‘pɒlɪʃ] is to make something more smooth, that is, to burnish.

  • German vs german
The first word is obviously the nationality, but the second is not as common. It refers to family: people having the same parents or grandparents either on the maternal or paternal side. 
  • Dutch vs dutch




The first one is the nationality and language of the people coming from the Netherlands. The second one is the slang term for wife in Cockney English. The word 'dutch' also appears in the expression: 'go dutch', which means that on a date, for example, each person will cover for their own expenses. 

  • Scotch vs scotch

















The big Scotch refers to 'Scot', people coming from Scotland. The small scotch refers to the adhesive tape, but as a verb, it has other meanings, to hinder or thwart. 

Well, I suppose by now you will all have understood what capitonyms are. Next post will delve into capitonyms related to people's names. I hope you like it! 

Friday, April 23, 2021

World Book Day and book vocabulary

Hiya!
Today is World Book Day and to pay homage to this day and especially to the importance of reading, I'll share with you some vocabulary related to books and some structures to write book reviews. Let's begin:



Introducing the book you're reading
- The book/novel/ masterpiece / best-seller is written by ... // Its author is well-known, no other than ...
- The book is set in 19th century England.
- The book is addressed to teenagers // The book is written for a general audience.
- It is about a man who... / It tells the story of ...
- The story is narrated in first/third person / by an omniscient narrator / through the eyes of a young boy.

Book genres
- Fantasy
- Comedy
- Adventure
- Horror
- Drama
- Fiction // Non-fiction narrative
- Biography / autobiography
- Mystery
- Historical
- Romance
- Science fiction
- Dystopian literature (a pessimistic feature)
- Suspense / thriller
- Essays
- Books for children
- Self-help books (those books that give you practical advice on a given topic)
- Part drama, part comedy, this novel deals with...

Adjectives and expressions to describe a book

Thrilling/ surprising / fascinating / exciting / amazing ...

Humorous / funny / witty / amusing / entertaining / easy to read / haunting

Thought-provoking / heart-rending 

Its plot is gripping / riveting / slow / fast-paced / slow-paced / predictable / unpredictable

The author is ironic / cynical / satirical / nostalgic / critical ... towards

It immediately catches the reader's attention / it gets the reader involved / readers won't be able to put the book down / 


Recommendations

- I can't recommend it enough
- You can't miss it!
- You won't regret it.I'm sure you'll read down to the very last page.
- I would recommend it to anyone who wants to have a good time.
- It's a must-read book / It's highly recommended.
- This book is perfect for ...
- It will leave readers with a great deal to reflect.
- This masterpiece will surely keep the readers absorbed from the beginning to the end.



Before I finish this post, I'd like you to keep two idioms related to books:

- To be a book worm (first image): Someone who enjoys reading. I love the metaphor of this idiom. A worm that digs in every book is compared with an avid reader.

- Hit the books (second image): To study hard, especially in the period of the exams. I also like this "violent" metaphor.

I hope you have learnt some interesting expressions about books today. Have you read much this year? Please, post and comment with some recommendations, as I haven't had much time to read lately...I'll appreciate your suggestions. Here you have the link to access some book reviews written by my students some years ago. I hope you appreciate it. 
See you around