El Blog de las academias Innova English School

Famous British Inventions

Britain is a nation of inventors, from the worlwide web to the electric vacuum cleaner. Here is a rundown of the most influential innovations:

Light bulb was invented in 1880

LIGHT BULB (invented by Joseph Swan in 1880)

Cheap and reliable electric lighting was a holy grail for 19th-century inventors. But didn’t Thomas Edison get there first? No! He was beaten by to it by Britain’s very own Joseph Swan. Swan got his patent – and started manufacturing and selling his bulbs – in 1880. The first bulbs lasted little more than 12 hours but, unlike gas lamps, there was no flame or dirty smoke and they soon caught on.

CHOCOLATE BAR (invented by JS Fry & Sons in 1847)

The first chocolate bar was created by JS Fry & Sons of Bristol in 1847. It was sold to the public as chocolate delicieux a manger – delicious to eat – because, until this point, chocolate had been exclusively consumed as a drink. Fry’s mixed cocoa powder with sugar and cocoa butter, making a product which stays solid at room temperature but melts in the mouth… yum!

WORLDWIDE WEB (invented by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989)

Not to be confused with the internet, which is a system of linked computer networks, the worldwide web was invented by British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee. He created the first server in late 1990 and, on 6 August 1991, the web went live, with the first page explaining how to search and how to set up a site. Berners-Lee gave his invention to the world for free.

Tim Berners-Lee

SODA WATER (invented by Joseph Priestley in 1772)

18th century clergyman and scientist Priestley invented carbonated water when he suspended a bowl of water above a beer vat at a brewery near his home in Leeds. In 1772 he published a description of how to make carbonated water and just a few years later Johann Schweppe set up Schweppes and began manufacturing fizzy drinks using Priestley’s method.

TELEPHONE (invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876)

Alexander Graham Bell patented his telephone model just hours before a rival inventor. The telephone came about thanks to a discovery that a thin metal sheet vibrating in an electromagnetic field produces an electrical waveform that corresponds to the vibration. The invention was first publically demonstrated in 1876 at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia.

Graham Bell

Graham Bell

TELEVISION (invented by John Logie Baird by 1925)

  It’s hard to credit just one person with the invention of television, but it’s indisputable that John     Logie Baird was the first to transmit moving pictures in October 1925. But his mechanical system ultimately failed – with a rival being developed at the same time able to produce a visibly superior picture. Baird, it was said at the time, was “doomed to be the man who sows the seed but does not reap the harvest”.



TOOTHBRUSH (invented by William Addis by 1770)

William Addis was a rag trader who was sent to prison in 1770. While there, he decided that the way people were brushing their teeth (rubbing soot and salt over them with a rag), could be improved. He saved a small animal bone from a meal, made a hole and tied some bristles through it. After his release, Addis set up a business to mass-produce toothbrushes. His company, Wisdom Toothbrushes, still exists.

CEMENT (invented by Joseph Aspdin by 1824)

In 1824, Leeds bricklayer Joseph Aspdin invented and patented a method of making what he called Portland Cement – the type that’s most widely used today. The process involved burning limestone, mixing it with clay and burning it again; the burning produced a much stronger cement than just mixing limestone and clay. Aspdin called it “Portland” as he claimed the set mortar resembled the best limestone quarried from Portland in Dorset.

PHOTOGRAPHY (invented by William Henry Fox Talbot in 1835)

It’s hard to say who was the inventor of photography – the first fixed image was made by Joseph Niépce in 1826 but took eight hours to expose. In 1835, Fox Talbot (right) made another breakthrough by using silver iodide on paper and found a way to produce a translucent negative that could be used to make any number of positives by contact printing – a system used until the advent of digital cameras.

ATM (invented by John Sheperd-Barron in 1967)

John Shepherd-Barron first hit on the idea of a cash dispenser in the bath and secured a meeting with Barclays who signed up, installing the first ATM outside their Enfield branch in 1967. It gave out a maximum of £10 after customers inserted special cheques that the machine could recognise alongside a four-digit PIN number that’s still in use today.

John Sheperd-Barron invented it in 1967

ELECTRIC VACUUM CLEANER (invented by Hubert Cecil Booth in 1901)

Hubert Cecil Booth was watching a railway carriage being cleaned by a machine that blew the dust away when he had the idea for a machine that sucked the dust up instead. To test his theory, he placed a handkerchief on a chair and sucked through it, finding that dust collected on either side. He set up a cleaning service using hoses from vans on the street going through the windows of buildings. 

Expressions with Bear, Lion and Monkey

A BEAR OF A  (difficult, unpleasant) problem, dilemma, winter

  • He travelled and left me with a bear of a difficult problem, to pay all his bills.


(a dirty and loud place)

  • It used to be a nice public square, but it became a bear garden.


(a strong and warm hug)

  • He was so glad to see me after so many years that he gave me a bear hug.


(when the stock prices are on the low side)

  • He profited a lot when he bought shares at the bear market.


    (famished, very hungry)

    • He is an athlete and always as hungry as a bear.


    (to be in a bad humour, grumpy)

    • Don’t go to see the boss now, he is like a bear with a sore head.


     (The best part)

    • They were five heirs, but John got the lion’s share.


    (to be quite courageous)

    • He is lion-hearted and volunteered to go to war.


    (an imaginary danger or difficulty)

    • Mary sees a lion in the way, because she is a very pessimistic person.


      (to expose oneself to danger in a reckless manner)

      • Hiding the thief you are putting your head in the lion’s mouth.


       (to leave someone in a vulnerable situation)

      • John knew of the danger, but threw his friend to the lions.


      (to badmouth the UK)

      • Never twist the lion’s tail if you want to be her friend.

        (dodgy or dishonest business)

        • He is not a reliable person, he is always involved in some monkey business.

        (to play pranks on someone)

        School children like to play monkey tricks on their teachers

        MONKEY NUT

        • Don’t forget to buy monkey nuts for the cocktail party.

        (to get angry)

        • He got my monkey up with his silly behavior.

        (to be dependent on illicit drugs)

        • Her youngest son has a monkey on his back.

        (to mock someone)

        • She mimicked his gait and made a monkey of him.

        (to be idle, to horse around, to do nothing, to loiter)

        • He is so lazy, all he does is to monkey around.

El japonés no da tanto miedo / Japanese is not that scary

¡Hola a todos!
Ha pasado bastante tiempo desde la última vez que posteé algo aquí, así que aprovecharé la ocasión para hacer la primera entrada para presentaros al japonés (japonés, ¡di hola!).
Lo primero es la escritura.
Lo que la mayoría de la gente piensa es que la escritura es como la del chino, un montón de complicados dibujitos. Y parcialmente tienen razón. Esto son algunos de los kanji (que son esteticamente como los chinos porque vienen de China)
Bonitos, ¿no? Y como podéis ver no son todos tan complicados…
Lo que no todos saben es que en realidad también tienen dos preciosos silabarios, que son como nuestro alfabeto, pero con sílabas.
Uno es el hiragana, que se utiliza para escribir las palabras japonesas
hiragana (1)
Y el otro es el katakana, que se utiliza para las palabras extranjeras como aisukuriimu (ice cream) o hamubaagaa (hamburguer). Veréis que si las leéis rápido se parecen vagamente al inglés.
Así pues, como podéis ver, uno de los grandes miedos del japonés tampoco es para tanto.
¡Que el japonés sea con vosotros!

Professions and Suffixes: -or, -er, ist, -anic, -ie, – ess

Professions or occupations in English may be written with distinct suffixes. There are some of them which present no suffixes at all. Let’s take a look:


Actor, Orator,Administrator, Advisor, Conductor, Translator, Legislator, Sculptor, Pastor, Author, Doctor, Senator, Governor


Adviser, Carpenter, Retailer, Teacher, Photographer, Gardener, Landscaper, Drummer, Lawyer, Writer, Banker, Baker, Engineer, Financier, Dancer, Choreographer, Lecturer, Butler, Stenographer, Singer, Composer‎


Typist, Florist, Horticulturist, Linguist, Manicurist, Archeologist, Artist, Pianist‎, Biologist, Chemist, Cyclist, Dentist, Journalist, Machinist, Nutritionist, Pharmacist, Therapist, Scientist, Specialist


Librarian, Theologian, Technician‎, Politician, Mortician, Magician, Electrician, Mathematician, Musician






Actress, Stewardess, Hostess, Waitress

No suffix at all:

Nurse, Guide, Attorney, Agent, Cook, Chef, Priest, Nun, Athlete ‎

Mother’s Day is not on the same date in all countries



Last Sunday was Mother’s Day in Spain. While all my Spanish friends were paying their respect to their wives, mothers and grandmothers, I did absolutely nothing for or with my mother. It wasn’t because I was rude or disrespectful, but because my Mother’s Day isn’t until next Sunday the 10th!


If you’ve got friends from outside Spain, you may see them post wishes on their twitter, Facebook or Instagram now. In fact, here is a list of countries that celebrate it on the second Sunday of every May:


Anguilla, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Bermuda, Bonaire, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Curaçao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Honduras, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Latvia, Malta, Malaysia, Myanmar, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, St. Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Switzerland, Taiwan, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe.


Not all the countries are listed above, some celebrate it in other months of the year, if you want to find out more, you may visit Wikipedia:


Needless to say, regardless of when Mother’s Day falls on, you should love and treasure your family everyday!


Here’s a beautiful poem for all the mothers in the world.

poems for mom






Curious Expressions in English

The English language is full of interesting expressions and words. Take a look at the following  examples:

Dressed to the nines

Some think this refers to the 99th Regiment of Foot, whose uniforms were notably splendid, but the expression predates the British army. In Old English, the plural of “eye” was “eyne” and it is believed that “dressed to the nines” was once actually “dressed to the eyne” – in other words, making oneself look as pleasing as possible to the beholder.


It used to be believed that to hear private conversations going on inside a house, you should press yourself against the wall, just under the eaves of the roof. If anyone saw you, you could pretend you were just “dropping in” to visit.


In US cities in the late 19th century, it became customary to refer to out-of-towners as “jays”, after the bird of the same name that was commonly seen in rural areas. When motor vehicles first appeared, city dwellers soon learned caution when crossing the street. Their country cousins were less circumspect, so “jaywalking” came to mean wandering carelessly – and in the USA illegally – through traffic.


This comes from the old word eke, which meant “also”. If a person had an additional name, it was called an “eke name”. Over time, this gradually became a “neke name” and then eventually a nickname.


For many years it was believed that “posh” was an abbreviation for “port out, starboard home” – the preference of wealthy passengers on the voyage to India, as it meant a cooler cabin. This explanation is now discredited in favour of an older word poosh, sometimes spelled “push”, which meant smart and dandified. PG Wodehouse uses it in an early story from Tales of St Austin’s (1903) when a character describes a bright waistcoat as “quite the most push thing at Cambridge”.

Red carpet

Between New York and Chicago, there used to run a luxury train known as the 20th Century Limited. It was first-class only and from 1938, its wealthy passengers could walk the entire length of their departure platform on crimson carpeting. VIPs everywhere soon grew to expect the same treatment.

‘Give the benefit of the doubt’


There are a lot of idioms in English originated from different English speaking countries all over the world and there seems to be an infinite list. No honestly! Even native speakers are constantly learning new ones all the time. Just because you have never heard of it or use it, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.


Idioms make a language more interesting and melodic. It turns simple words into a story and delivers a new message. Take ‘give the benefit of the doubt’ for example, at pre-intermediate level, these vocabularies shouldn’t be difficult and most students would understand what each word means. But when they are put together, it means: to believe something good about someone, rather than something bad, when you have the possibility of doing either (by The Free Dictionary, see citation below)


See the idiom in an example: People tell me I shouldn’t trust him, but I’m willing to give Simon the benefit of the doubt and wait and see what he actually offers.

(Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms)


Here’s a rough translation to Spanish: concederle a alguien el beneficio de la duda

The best way to learn idioms is to watch movies and series because while you might not know the exact meaning behind the phrase, the story often gives it away and you can guess what it means! Keep a list of new vocabularies with you and after the film, google it or ask a teacher.


Who said having a movie marathon or watching an entire season of The Walking Dead was a waste of time?



give the benefit of the doubt. (n.d.) Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms. (2006).

FATHER’S DAY – AT/ON/IN Prepositions of time.


This photo from:

On March 19th it’s going to be Father’s Day in Spain (Portugal, Andorra, Belgium, Mozambique, Bolivia, Honduras, Croatia, Italy and Liechtenstein). But this date is not the same around the world!

Apparently in India and Denmark (among others) it’s celebrated in June, in Russia it’s in February, in Australia in September and so on…

Anyhow, no matter at what time of the year it’s celebrated: HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all those dads in the planet who love their sons, daughters and families!

Here’s some history:

And here’s a graphic for the use of prepositions AT-ON-IN: