InglesCoruña.com

El Blog de las academias Innova English School

Curious Expressions in English

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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.

Eavesdropping

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.

Jaywalking

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.

Nickname

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.

Posh

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.


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‘Give the benefit of the doubt’

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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?

 

Citation:

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


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

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best_dad

This photo from: scrapbooking.com/cgi-bin/Phase_2/layout.pl?serial=7989

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:

http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/fathers-day

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

WebspirationPRO-ATONIN-PYRAMIDE


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Pablo in Rome

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St. Peter's cathedral at night, Rome

 

Last week, two students from 1º Bach went to Rome. Pablo wanted to share his experience with us.

Pablo – Last week I travelled to Rome. The first day, I woke up at 4:30am and went t0 the airport. We flew to Madrid and then on to Rome. We arrived at 11:30am. That day, we visited the typical sights like the Colosseum. It is a fantastic Roman monument which is very beautiful. A Spanish guide guided our visit and explained everything.

On the second day, we continued to visit the sights of Rome. There are many monuments and places to visit.

On the third day,we went to Florence, a fantastic little city and the capital of Tuscany. 5% of the world’s artists are in Florence. It is an incredible city.

The following day, we went to the Vatican City to an audience with the Pope.It was a great experience.

On the final day, we went back to the airport. We arrived in Coruña at 8:20pm. The trip was a great experience and I would repeat it a thousand times.

 


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“John and I” or “John and me”?

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John and ‘I’ or John and ‘me’?

 

Should I use ‘I’ or ‘me’? This is a question many people ask when they have to include themselves into a sentence. Well here’s a trick:

According to Oxford Dictionaries, you should use ‘I’ when the pronoun is the subject of a verb:

 

‘John, Mary and I are going to have a coffee.’ (NOT: John, Mary and me are going to the cinema)

 

But use ‘me’ when the pronoun is the object of a verb:

 

‘After the cinema, Mary followed John and me home.’ (NOT: Mary followed John and I home.)

 

In other words, generally speaking, use I when it is BEFORE a verb and me when it is AFTER a verb.

 

To see more sentence examples with other pronouns or try some exercises, visit http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/words/i-or-me


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Bizarre is confused

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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!

Bizarro

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)


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St. Patrick’s shamrock

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It’s going to be St Patrick’s Day on March 17th…and I think (unless you’re Irish) here’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves sometime: What the heck is the difference between a CLOVER and a SHAMROCK? Well, even botanists have struggled to agree on what defines a shamrock and one thing is clear: while all shamrocks are clovers, not all clovers are shamrocks.

Check this out:

http://www.instructables.com/id/St-Patricks-Shamrock-aint-a-clover/?lang=es


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Comparative marketing on smartphones

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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:
TIPS FOR A LONG
BATTERY LIFE
FOR ALL KINDS OF SMARTPHONES
THE KEYS TO CHARGING
YOUR SMARTPHONE ARE:
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.
OTHER USEFUL TIPS:
 Keep the brightness to the minimum
 Close the apps that you are not using
 Charges faster on airplane mode

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