Functional Translation: Narrating past events / Your own story-telling – Review of unit 2 (Avanzado 2)

January 20, 2013

burglarHere is a story about a past experience. (But I made it up, I swear!) Notice MY TENSES AND OTHER: I’m going to use the past simple, the past continuous (“when, before, after, while- clauses may come in handy!) and the past perfect (for a past happening before the leading past (simple). Then I’ll try to add modals in the past (“used to” and its synonym, “would”-for-repeated-past-actions, or past-habits). I’ll organize/organise my narrative chronologically, but I’ll resort to the present simple for dramatic effect in one or two of the scenes.

  • If you are in Avanzado 2: Can you include more modals to make the range richer? What about more time clauses or some conditional sentence? … If you improve this story by adding language items (and your own imagination), please, read it in class, or post it here!
  • If you are in Intermedio 2: You can adjust the narration to your own level, if you like. And you can also add stuff, at your level.

Now, translate this example. My translation is posted below as a comment. (“Enter” the post by clicking on its title!)

Unit 2: past narrative tenses, used to, would to

Underline the verbs in tenses and think about time in narratives.

twowimminfriendsOs voy a contar una cosa/anécdota que me pasó en un viaje. Fue en 1993, cuando tenía 24 años. Había ido a Londres, para hacer un curso de inglés. Como no tenía dinero, me fui a vivir a una okupa con mucha gente de todos los lados. Muy interesante. Organizábamos todo tipo de talleres gratis y venía mucha gente. En uno de los talleres conocí a una mujer de Alemania y nos hicimos amigas. Al final me invitó a que me quedara en su casa. Fue una época maravillosa. La casa era pequeña pero acogedora, y ella era genial. Hacíamos todo tipo de cosas juntas. Por ejemplo, los domingos nos íbamos al rastro de Candem Town y nos pasábamos allí la mañana, hablando con la gente. Era muy divertido.

Bueno, pues, un día estábamos escuchando música en el salón cuando de pronto vemos a un tío colgándose por la ventana! Era un ladrón! que escapaba con lo que había robado!! Estaba tan estresado el pobre que ni nos vio. Entonces bajamos corriendo y le esperamos. Como habíamos estado en un taller de defense personal, ¡pudimos inmovilizarle! Jajaja, sí! Y después de convencerle de que nos diera lo que había robado (éramos amigas de la vecina a la que le había robado las cosas), nos fuimos a tomar algo a un café donde solíamos ir! Él estaba muerto de hambre, y bueno, ¡le invitamos a comer algo! Al final, le pedimos que diera un taller sobre cómo entrar en las casas. Así mejoraríamos la técnica! (frase hipotética, pal range!)


  1. Unit 2: past narrative tenses, used to, would to

    Underline the verbs in tenses and think about time in narratives. Also, think about my language range. Can you improve it, make it richer?

    I’m going to (future of intention) tell you about a travel experience of mine. / I’m going to tell you about something that happened to me in a trip I made. It was in 1993, when I was 24. I had travelled (past before the past I’m telling you about) to London for an English course / to take an English course. Because (informal, very common) / Since I had no money, I decided to stay in a squat, with a lot of people from everywhere! It was interesting. We organized free entry workshops on all sort of things, and a lot of people came. In one of those events, I met a woman from Germany and we got to know one another better and became friends. Eventually, she invited me to stay in her house. It was a wonderful time for me! The house was small but welcoming, and she was great fun. We used to do all kinds of things together. For instance, we would (= used to) go to Candem Town Street Market every weekend and just hang out there all morning, talking to people. It was fun!

    Anyway, well, one day we were listening to music in her sitting-room when all of a sudden / out of the blue / suddenly we see (saw) this guy hanging outside the window! It was a burglar!! And he was getting away with the stuff he had taken/burgled! The poor guy was so stressed out that he didn’t even see us. So we rush downstairs and wait for him! Hahaha… As one of the workshops we attended was on self-defense/self-defence we managed to reduce him! Hahaha… Yes! And after talking him into giving us the stuff he’d taken (we were friends with the woman he’d taken the things from), we went for a drink to a little café we used to go to! He was really hungry / starving, so we bought him a meal! (buy = invitar).
    In the end, we asked him to give a workshop on how to break into houses! We wanted to get better at that! — in this way, we’d improve (hypotethical “would”) our technique.

  2. […] Your Own Story-telling. Avanzado & Intermedio […]

  3. […] on this? Last year I posted on this for my students. Check this out and comment in class, if you […]

  4. […] on patriarchy for a recording for your Speaking File, and then you can send it to me for feedback): https://projects4englishlearners.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/functional-translation-unit-2-avanzado-2/ (Avanzado 2 in Madrid is 6th year and we learned/learnt at the C1 level, though they just certified […]

  5. I’ll tell you something that happened to me on a trip. It was in 1993, when I was 24 years old. I had gone to London, to do an English course. Since I had no money, I went to live with a person with all sides. Very interesting.
    We organized all kinds of workshops for free and many people came. In one of the workshops I met a woman from Germany and we became friends. In the end he invited me to stay at his house. It was a wonderful time. The house was small but cozy, and she was great. We did all kinds of things together.
    For example, on Sundays we went to the trail of Candem Town and spent the morning there, talking to people. It was very funny.
    Well, one day we were listening to music in the living room when suddenly we see an uncle hanging out the window! Was a theef! who escaped with what he had stolen!
    The poor man was so stressed that he did not even see us. Then we run down and wait for him. Since we had been in a personal defense workshop, we were able to immobilize him! Ha, ha, yes! And after convincing him to give us what he had stolen (we were friends of the neighbor to whom he had stolen things), we went to have a drink at a cafe where we used to go! He was starving, and well, we invite him to eat something! In the end, we asked him to give a course on how to enter the houses. That way we would improve the technique!

    • Oh my gosh! 🤸🏽‍♀️🧚‍♀️💃🏽😍😚

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