Monday, 30 September 2013

Homework 2012-2013

In this blog you will find extra material to improve your English.

Here you will find all the entries related to Objective Proficiency unit 1
Here you will find all the entries related to Objective Proficiency unit 2
Here you will find all the entries related to Objective Proficiency unit 3 
Here you will find all the entries related to Objective Proficiency unit 4
Here you will find all the entries related to Objective Proficiency unit 5
Here you will find all the entries related to Objective Proficiency unit 6
Here you will find all the entries related to Objective Proficiency unit 7
Here you will find all the entries related to Objective Proficiency unit 8 
Here you will find all the entries related to Objective Proficiency unit 9
Here you will find all the entries related to Objective Proficiency unit 10 
Here you will find all the entries related to Objective Proficiency unit 11
Here you will find all the entries related to Objective Proficiency unit 12 
Here you will find all the entries related to Objective Proficiency unit 13
Here you will find all the entries related to Objective Proficiency unit 14
Here you will find all the entries related to Objective Proficiency unit 15
Here you will find all the entries related to Objective Proficiency unit 16
Here you will find all the entries related to Objective Proficiency unit 17
Here you will find all the entries related to Objective Proficiency unit 18
Here you will find all the entries related to Objective Proficiency unit 19
Here you will find all the entries related to Objective Proficiency unit 20

1. Write a report. You work for a company that needs to adapt to the current market needs and trends. Your manager has asked you to write a report about how the Millennial generation is fundamentally changing our culture of consumption and what the company can do to meet their needs and be highly profitable. (deadline 17 Oct). You can get some ideas here.

2. Write an essay. Write a balanced discussion ( essay ) on the following theme: "Do people always live up to our expectations? What is the right thing to do? And is it what is right always fair?" You can get more information on writing essays on pages 56 & 57. You can also get some ideas on this topic here. (Deadline 7 Nov)

3. Write a letter. You have read an article that appeared on the NPR website entitled "Will We 'Fix' The Weather? Yes. Should We Fix The Weather? Hmmm". You decide to write a letter to the writer of the article, , commenting on the views expressed and giving your own opinions. You can get more information on writing letters on pages 22 & 23. You will also find a letter writing guide here and here . Finally, you can get some ideas for your response in the comments readers have left below the article. (Deadline: 28 Nov)

4. Write a proposal. Find the details here. (Deadline 19 Dec) 

5. Write an article. Find the details here. (Deadline 9 Jan) 

6. Write a review. Write a review about a musical, opera, concert or music event you have recently been to. You can get information on writing reviews on pages 38 & 39. You can find some useful vocabulary about the topic of music here. Finally, you can find useful language for writing here. (Deadline 13 Feb)

7. Write a report. You work for the tourist office in your area. Your manager has asked you to write a report in English on the places that are popular with tourists who are interested in art. You should briefly describe the most popular places. Your report should also recommend two or three improvements that would enhance the tourists' experience and explain why these would attract even more visitors. You can find useful vocabulary to talk about art here. You can get information on writing reports on pages 108 & 109. Finally, you can find useful language for writing a report here and here. (Deadline 6 March)

8. Write a proposal. Your local English radio has started a campaign to try to improve your town. It has invited listeners to send in formal proposals on ways of improving it; these will be considered in a panel discussion on air, voted on by listeners, and the best one sent to the council.
Write your proposal identifying the main problems in your town and making formal recommendations for improving it, with reasons. You can find useful vocabulary to talk about cities here.
You can get more information on writing proposals on pages 72 & 73. Here you can see examples of how to write proposals. 
Finally, you can find useful language for writing here. (Deadline 27 March) 

9. Write an article. An English-language newspaper is inviting readers to contribute to a series of articles about clothing. You decide to write an article about wearing the right clothes for the right occasion. You can find useful vocabulary to talk about clothing here. You can get some ideas on how to write articles on pages 90 &91. Finally, you can find useful language for writing here. 
(Deadline 22 April)  
 Readers (deadlines: 31 Oct and Feb)

You can do the exercises in Units 1-20

Tuesday, 24 September 2013


C 2


Objective Proficiency 2013 Student's book with answers Cambridge
Objective Proficiency 2013 Workbook with Answers Cambridge

Recommended Grammar books:

Destinations C1&C2 Grammar and Vocabulary. Macmillan.
Cambridge Grammar for CAE and Proficiency. Cambridge
Macmillan English Grammar in Context. Macmillan.
Advanced Language Practice. Macmillan.
Oxford Practice Grammar. Advanced. Oxford.
Advanced Grammar in Use. Cambridge.
Practical English Usage. Oxford

Recommended dictionaries:

Oxford Study. Oxford

Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary, Seventh Edition


Give a 10 minute presentation on one of the curriculum topics
30 Oct tell your teacher the topic
Feb give the presentation 

Sunday, 10 February 2013

A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS. Pablo's Contribution

by Khaled Hosseini

            This is the story of two Afghan women and what their lives have been like for the last thirty years in their country: Afghanistan.
            One of them is Mariam, an illegitimate daughter of an affluent entrepreneur, born in the Farsi western area of the country. She lives with her mother in a humble shack in the outskirts of the city of Herat. They are maintained by her father but kept away from his legitimate family. In fact this illegitimacy, named harami in Farsi, is a word that has scarred her for life.
            The only treats she obtains from life, besides fishing in a nearby little stream,  are the occasional visits from her father and from her spiritual mentor, whom she is very fond of.
            When she is fifteen her mother dies and her father’s family force her to marry a forty-five year old widower shoemaker from Kabul so, the day after this announcement she has to leave with a complete stranger and even without being allowed for a farewell with her mentor Mullah Faizullah.
            Her husband, Rasheed, turned out to be a narrow-minded, wicked person who, as Mariam could not give him a baby, is going to cruelly embitter her life. Leaving aside legal family matters, we can perfectly say that it is Rasheed who is a real bastard.
            The other woman in this story is Laila, a Pashtun young girl from the neighbourhood of Mariam and Rasheed in Kabul. She came from a middle class family with a certain cultural level. In fact, her father is a teacher who encourages her to continue her studies. She is a very lively, clever girl who has many friends and specially a boy, Tariq, with whom she secretly daydreams about marrying him at some point in the future.
            The whole story is set against the background of the recent Afghan history, with all its wars and changes. It begins just before the Soviet invasion, when life elapsed like it used to be for long before. However, there were significant differences between the rural and the urban areas where society was much more open-minded and tolerant.
The Soviet period meant a radical change at least for women. From then on they were allowed and even encouraged to study, to teach, to be owners of their lives and to chose what they wanted of life.
But then came the tribal warlords who led the country to destruction. This is a long period of starvation and struggle to survive the unrelenting shelling and the impunity of the Mujhaideen.
            Eventually the Taliban overcome the warlords and this is a change for the worse. They enforce an ultra-religious regime which makes of women something similar to animals, without any right or fairness. They lose all right and all sense of justice, they even do not have what would be called a medical attention.
            Throughout all this period lots of people die and many more are rendered homeless or refugees or become widows. It is due to this scenario that Laila reluctantly ends up marrying Rasheed and living with him and Mariam.


I will not continue revelling the plot of his story because most of you may probably want to read this novel and, if you do so, I hope you enjoy it.
To be honest I must say that, from this book, I had expected the type of throwaway literature that can be found in a typical bestseller.  They are usually written to entertain readers with some well-known formulae but they fail in showing true characters and deep feelings and emotions. Once you know the plot you can perfectly think there is nothing beyond it.
But I was totally wrong because what I have found is a deeply moving story, without cheap stereotypes and it is beautifully written in a lyrical, almost poetic language that makes you get involved in the lives of the characters.
It is obvious that the author, Khaled Hosseini, has a complete awareness of his country’s reality and recent history and shows them to us with much more richness and complexity than a western mind could imagine. He has as well a deep knowledge of the Afghan culture that goes really beyond the religious matters that permanently shake the country.
But this scenario is only a background where we can observe how many characters play their roles and how they behave depending on the circumstances they live.
Generosity, tolerance, abuse, impunity, cruelty, selfishness define many ways of how people could react when the environment is absolutely hostile and this is the crux of the story: how people are and how they react when everything around is not precisely fair.
            Finally, I can tell you that I strongly recommend this novel for all the reasons before mentioned and I am certain that you will not be indifferent to what happen with the characters in this epic story of friendship and personal improvement.


Shack: a very simple and small building made from pieces of wood, metal or other materials, (choza, casucha)
Scar v: to have or leave a scar. Scarred for life: had a serious mental effect on her for the rest of her life (marcado de por vida)
Farewell: when someone says goodbye (despedida)
Elapse v: If time elapses, it goes past (transcurrir, discurrir)
Shell: to fire shell at something (bombardear)
Plot: the story of a book, film, play, etc
Throwaway: made to be destroyed after use (de usar y tirar)

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Mock Exam. Use of English. Vocabulary

Use of English
Part I. Multiple Choice Cloze
TV Talk Shows
Heart (of something): the most important part of something. E.g. the heart of the matter/ problem. The committee's report went to the heart of the government's dilemma. The distinction between right and wrong lies at the heart of all questions of morality.
Expectant: /ɪkˈspektənt/ hoping for something, especially something good and exciting. E.g. children with expectant faces waiting for the fireworks to begin. A sudden roar came from the expectant crowd.
Expectant mother/father/parent used to describe somebody who is going to have a baby soon or become a father. E.g. Smoking by expectant mothers may increase the chances of brain damage in their babies. 
Outrageous: /aʊtˈreɪdʒəs/ very shocking and unacceptable. E.g. outrageous behaviour. ‘That's outrageous!’ he protested.
Utmost: /ˈʌtməʊst/ greatest; most extreme. E.g. This is a matter of the utmost importance. You should study this document with the utmost care.
Ultimate: /ˈʌltɪmət/ happening at the end of a long process. Final. The last in a series can be described as the ultimate. A cheeky kid, when asked what she wants to be when she grows up, might say, "I want to be an actress, a singer, and a veterinarian, but my ultimate goal is to be President of the United States."
Blend: a pleasant or useful combination of different things. E.g. a blend of youth and experience.
Ratings: a set of figures that show how many people watch or listen to a particular television or radio programme, used to show how popular a programme is. Sp. índice de audiencia. E.g. The show has gone up in the ratings. The BBC is currently ahead in the ratings war. 
Air (something): to broadcast a programme on the radio or on television; to be broadcast. E.g. The show will be aired next Tuesday night. The programme aired last week.
Antagonise somebody: /ænˈtæɡənaɪz/ to do something to make somebody angry with you. E.g. Not wishing to antagonize her further, he said no more.
Allow somebody to do something: e.g. His parents won't allow him to stay out late.
Allow something: We do not allow smoking in the hall. 
Assist in something: e.g. their presence would assist in keeping the peace 
Assist somebody in doing something: e.g. We will assist you in finding somewhere to live. 
Assist somebody to do something: e.g.  a course to assist adults to return to the labour market.
Help (to) do something: e.g. She helped (to) organize the party.
Credit (for something) praise or approval because you are responsible for something good that has happened. E.g. I can't take all the credit for the show's success—it was a team effort.
Recognition (for something) public praise and reward for somebody's work or actions. E.g. She gained only minimal recognition for her work. His work was slow to gain recognition. He received the award in recognition of his success over the past year.
Praise words that show approval of or admiration for somebody/something. E.g. His latest movie has won high praise from the critics.
Work through: to resolve (a problem, esp an emotional one), by thinking about it repeatedly. E.g. He may also be working through his own emotions after a job loss or career change.
Sweep something under the carpet: (US also sweep something under the rug) to try to stop people from finding out about something wrong, illegal, embarrassing, etc. that has happened or that you have done. E.g. An earlier report, implicating the government, had been conveniently swept under the carpet.
Poke something + adverb/preposition: to push something somewhere or move it in a particular direction with a small quick movement. Sp. empujar. He poked his head around the corner to check that nobody was coming. Someone had poked a message under the door.
Regard: to think about somebody/something in a particular way. E.g. regard somebody/something/yourself as something Capital punishment was regarded as inhuman and immoral. He regards himself as a patriot. She is widely regarded as the current leader's natural successor. 
The epitome of something (formal) /ɪˈpɪtəmi/ a perfect example of something. Embodiment. Sp. personificación, paradigma. E.g. He is the epitome of a modern young man. Clothes that are the epitome of good taste.
Judgement: /ˈdʒʌdʒmənt/

Part II. Open Cloze
Language and Thought
Straightforward: easy to do or to understand; not complicated. E.g. It's quite straightforward to get here.

Part III. Word Formation 
Ray Charles- The Gentle King of Soul Music
Fuse: /fjuːz/ when one thing fuses with another, or two things fuse or are fused, they are joined together to form a single thing. Sp. fusionar. E.g. Our different ideas fused into a plan. The two companies have been fused into a single organization.
Raw: powerful and natural; not controlled or trained. E.g. songs full of raw emotion. He started with nothing but raw talent and determination.   
Earthy: unadorned and simple in style. Sp. práctico, no pretencioso, sencillo. E.g. an earthy homemade stew.
Mar something: /mɑː(r)/ to damage or spoil something good. E.g. The game was marred by the behaviour of drunken fans.
Hardship: a situation that is difficult and unpleasant because you do not have enough money, food, clothes, etc. E.g. economic/ financial, etc. hardship.
Strike struck struck: to happen suddenly and have a harmful or damaging effect on somebody/ something. E.g. Two days later tragedy struck. The area was struck by an outbreak of cholera. Disaster soon struck.
Troublesome: causing trouble, pain, etc. over a long period of time. Sp. problemático. E.g. a troublesome cough/ child/ problem.
Troubled: having a lot of problems. Sp. lleno de problemas. E.g. a troubled marriage. We live in troubled times.
Succumb: /səˈkʌm/ to not be able to fight an attack, an illness, a temptation, etc. Sp. sucumbir. E.g. The town succumbed after a short siege. They were all offered bribes and some of them succumbed. Succumb to something His career was cut short when he succumbed to cancer. He finally succumbed to Lucy's charms and agreed to her request. She succumbed to the temptation of another drink.
Old-world: belonging to past times; not modern. E.g. an old-world hotel with character and charm. He was full of old-world courtesy.
Courtesy: /ˈkɜːtəsi/
Part IV. Gapped Sentences
Dough: /dəʊ/ a mixture of flour, water, etc. that is made into bread and pastry. E.g. Knead the dough on a floured surface.  
Bulk: the (large) size, shape or quantity of something. E.g. Despite its bulk and weight, the car is extremely fast. 
Late: no longer alive. E.g. her late husband. The late Paul Newman. 
Seclusion: /sɪˈkluːʒn/ the state of being private or of having little contact with other people. Sp. aislamiento, reclusión. E.g. the seclusion and peace of the island. He spends much of his time in seclusion in the mountains.  
Count: to consider somebody/something in a particular way; to be considered in a particular way. E.g. I count him among my closest friends. I count myself lucky to have known him. She counts herself one of the lucky ones.
Service: a bus, train, etc. that goes regularly to a particular place at a particular time. E.g. the cancellation of the 10.15 service to Glasgow.
Part V. Key-Word Transformation
Steady: not changing and not interrupted. Regular. His breathing was steady. A steady job/ income. a steady boyfriend/ girlfriend (= with whom you have a serious relationship or one that has lasted a long time)to have a steady relationship. 
Get somebody down: (informal) to make somebody feel sad or depressed. E.g. Don't let it get you down too much.
Indispensable: /ˌɪndɪˈspensəbl/ too important to be without. Essential. E.g. Cars have become an indispensable part of our lives. She made herself indispensable to the department. A good dictionary is indispensable for learning a foreign language.
Have/ keep (one's) wits about (one): to remain alert or calm, especially in a crisis. To be aware of what is happening around you and ready to think and act quickly. E.g. keep your wits about you or you’ll forget something important.