El Blog de las academias Innova English School

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.

Bizarre is confused

For those of you who are not so well versed in the comic world…

There is a villain known as Bizarre (since the original is in English).

Say hi, Bizarre!


However, here comes the problem. He received this extravagant name because he’s supposed to be the bizarre opposite of Superman and dictionaries agree, as we can see: markedly  unusual   in   appearance,   style,   or   general   character   and   often  involving   incongruous   or   unexpected   elements;   outrageously   or  whimsically   strange;   odd.
Even in French, Bizarre is more or less happy with his name, since he is still weird and odd (not as much as in English, though).
And then, we have Bizarro in Spanish, where he suddenly becomes brave and splendid, and consequently, confused…
Bizarro has become one of those words, like eventualmente, that ends up being mistranslated into Spanish. It’s not so weird to hear these sorts of things:
¡Qué película tan bizarra! Qué situación más bizarra!
 And of course, Bizarre gets confused…
According to the RAE bizarro has the following entry:

(De it. bizzarro, iracundo).


1. adj. valiente (‖ esforzado).

2. adj. Generoso, lucido, espléndido.

So, imagine how bizarre it is for a situation or a movie to suddenly become brave :)


Be careful. Next time you misuse it, Bizarre will come back for you! (either bravely or weirdly)

Comparative marketing on smartphones

Before we start discussing ‘battery lives’ or ‘which brand’s phones last longer’, watch this video and have a good laugh. It is a video/advertisement made by Samsung that makes fun of Apple users being glued to power sockets in the airports.



Well, in general, smartphones with low battery lives aren’t newsflash anymore. You could solve this problem in many ways too, like using a portable charger or having a spare etc. But here are some ‘cost-free’ ways (suggested by our young English student Alvaro Garcia) to make your phone last longer:
1.Use your Smartphone until it has almost no battery (0/1%)
IMPORTANT!!: Never charge it when it still has 20% or more.
2.Charge your smartphone until it reaches 100%
IMPORTANT!!: If you stop in the middle of the charge.
Don’t re-charge it again right away. Wait till it is at 0% again.
 Keep the brightness to the minimum
 Close the apps that you are not using
 Charges faster on airplane mode

The Do’s, the Don’t’s and the Oh God Please Don’t’s of Eating Sushi

Many people love sushi; but, are we eating it the same way as the Japanese? Should I eat the ginger with sushi and mix the wasabi with soya sauce? How about ketchup, can I use ketchup?


Well the purpose of the pink ginger is actually for ‘washing’ your mouth between different kinds of sushi so you can taste the different flavour of fish!


This website has a simple guide (with pictures) to show you the Do’s, the Don’t’s and the Oh God Please Don’t’s of Eating Sushi. Here’s the Link.




Ni chicha ni limoná – It’s not chicha, not lemonade – Neither/nor

Maybe you had the chance to enjoy this ad when watching TV (in case you weren’t so lucky don’t worry, youtube is your friend)
Idiom aside, the structure you should be trying to use is neither/nor instead of the literal not/not
“Neither” combines two different negative ideas and separates them using the preposition ” nor“. For example:
  • Neither Henry nor Chris want to go to the beach. (Ni Henry ni Chris quieren ir a la playa.)
  • Neither the school nor the parents want to take responsibility for the problem. (Ni la escuela ni los padres quieren asumir la responsibilidad del problema.)
Therefore, it’s neither chicha nor lemonade. However, in case you are curious about it, the correct idiom would be “It’s neither fish nor fowl (nor good red herring)”.
Have a nice day!


Today’s quote

“From now on, ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.”

Winston Churchill



The Difference between Fun and Funny

FUN or FUNNY? Little Girl Doing Handstand --- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisThis is a typical mistake!

If someone or something is FUN, you have a good time when you are with them or when you do that particular activity.

If someone or something is FUNNY, they make you laugh. FUNNY is the same as “comical”.


Jennifer is really fun…she’s so interesting and adventurous.

Jennifer is really funny…she makes me laugh my butt off with her stupid jokes.

Last Saturday was so fun- we stayed out all night!

The film I saw last Saturday was so funny – my stomach hurt from laughing!

It’s Tuesday! Have FUN today!

La importancia de reírse por no saber idiomas

Desconocer el idioma de tu interlocutor es un marco perfecto para las bromas, chistes o malentendidos graciosos.  De ahí la importancia de tomarse con sentido del humor su aprendizaje, al menos en parte, porque de esta manera alivias la práctica diaria y te atreves a lanzarte un poco más con el speaking, espantando la aparición de la “vergüenza ajena” tan española.

Quien mejor que tú para reírse de ti :-)

Uno de los grupos emblemáticos contemporáneo del humor inteligente, les Luthier, hace una divertida parodia con los idiomas como fondo, entrevistando a un grupo británico.

¡Espero que lo disfrutéis!*

*y ya sé que esto nunca os pasaría a vosotros …  ;-)


Ya no hay excusas

Muchas veces, cuando le pregunto a alguien por qué no se anima a aprender inglés escucho cosas como “es que a mi edad… de mayores ya no aprendemos igual” o  “¡Los idiomas se me dan fatal!”.

El vídeo a continuación tira por tierra todas estas teorías y debería animarte animarte a intentarlo ¡sólo hacen falta ganas! Nosotros ponemos el resto.

Además, ahora que viene el otoño y tenemos que cumplir los propósitos que nos hicimos en  verano… ¿cuál es tu excusa? ;)

*Aprovechamos esta entrada para recomendaros TED, a global community dedicada a la difusión de ideas. En su web encontrarás infinidad de talks sobre todos los temas que puedas imaginar (tecnología, entretenimiento, psicología…). Nosotros de vez en cuando publicaremos los mejores.



10 Adivinanzas para aprender inglés jugando

Las adivinanzas o riddles permiten pasar muy buenos momentos con los niños, quienes al esforzarse por hallar las respuestas estimulan su inteligencia y creatividad. Además, constituyen una divertida manera de aprender inglés jugando. Si queréis que los niños/as practiquen la pronunciación, incorporen vocabulario en inglés y se lo pasen genial  os facilitamos 10 adivinanzas en inglés. Disfrutarlas!


Adivinanza del fuego (fire)

You feed it, it lives,

you give it something to drink,

it dies.

Adivinanza del padre (father)

I am you uncle´s brother,

but I am not your uncle.

Adivinanza del pelo (hair)

It is on your head

and under your hat.

What is it?

Adivinanza del sol (sun)

It is round and yellow,

it is like a ball of fire,

it rises in the east,

it sets in the west.

What is it?

Adivinanza del huevo (egg)

A box without hinges, key or lid.

Yet golden treasure inside is hid.

Adivinanza del reloj (clock)

My hands are black,

My face is pale.

My head is hanging on a nail.

What am I?

Adivinanza del tiempo (time)

I can fly but I haven’t got wings.
What am I?

Adivinanza de la lluvia (rain)

I always come down,
But never go up.
What am I?

Adivinanza del dedo (finger)

Tall and thin,
Red within,
Nail on top,
And there it stops.
What is it?

Adivinanza de la conjunción y (and)

I am between mountain and valley.


Mas adivinanzas en nuestro board de Pinterest: