Archive for the ‘Textual Structure’ Category


C1 Resource Pack!!

January 10, 2017

I just published / I’ve just published my notes to help advanced students learn to learn to become independent and resourcesful lifelong learners!

Check it all out on!

Direct link


Beginning of the learning year – some tips for learning English

September 3, 2013

A two-page document I’ve written for my students



Writing Tests

June 8, 2013

In Writing Tests, like the ones that are given at Spanish EOI’s (standardized in Europe — A2, B1 and B2 CEFR certificates), you are required to respect the TOPIC you are given and the KIND of text (e.g. a letter or email, an article, etc.) and the WORD LIMIT (non-complying pieces cannot be checked by examiners). About the three points you need to mention, whenever required to do so, if you don’t mention one, for instance, that lowers your mark, but examiners can proceed to check your work. In any case, ALWAYS mention the three points, even if you don’t know how to develop one properly.

All EFL textbooks from Britain have wonderful explanations and exercises on how to write each kind of text, and with Useful Language for formal and semiformal letters, for instance. So browse through your textbooks, just to consolidate a few ideas about what you are expected to write for each kind.

Here are some of the notes I give my students, especially at the Upper Intermediate (B2) and Advanced levels (C1).


Speaking Tests (B2): Brainstorming on Topics and Language Functions

June 8, 2013

When you have to speak about a topic, it is generally expected you fulfill certain communicative aims and you perform certain language functions, too. Have a look at this and see what I mean:

You will find more ideas for working on your Speaking here:

But remember: listening to English is key. When you listen to English, you learn to speak, you consequently learn “grammar”, and you get used to understanding people, while developing comprehension strategies unconsciously too!


Timed Scanning Reading Activity – London Digs & Transport

April 29, 2013

At EOI Certificate Exams there is a 10-15 minute scanning activity similar to this one, but just with 6 questions. You should read the instructions and the questions carefully, but then just kind of skip to find the answers to the questions.

I designed it really fast, so if you find mistakes or if you have any feedback, please feel free to post or send me an email (with “feedback” on the subject line). I’m very much interested in knowing how long it took you, so time yourself!

Reading Test Practice – Timed Scanning (4 pages) – Lodging and Transport in London


A 5-min monolog on Mainstream Medicine & Alternative Treatments

April 2, 2013

for learners taking tests at the B2 and C1 levels – Upper Intermediate and Advanced. With final comments on how to work on your speaking tasks at home.


Useful Language & Textual Structure for…

January 24, 2013




Language items for Descriptions (book / movie reviews)

January 20, 2013

her-fearful-symmetryangelcartersbookoffairytalesWhen you are asked [I’m making YOU the protagonist of the sentence, so I need to use the passive here] to write a REVIEW, you are being asked to write a DESCRIPTIVE text.

In terms of language range, this means we expect you will use all kinds of modifiers, for instance,

  • modifiers used BEFORE the noun they modify: the middle-aged woman, the 14-year-old boy, the angry young man, the beautiful small ring, the frightening event, this dangerous action; which includes, yes!, -ed/-ing adjectives: The acting performances are outstanding. The story is gripping
  • modifiers used AFTER the noun they modify: the man in a dark green coat, the children with pony tails, the woman in red. PLUS: relative (adjectival) clauses. With “who”, “which” or “that”, e.g., The farm, which lies in a valley, …; He gives it to the woman he met on the train; and also omitting this relative pronoun, e.g. The gas station the main character works in.
  • Other pronouns in relative clauses (where-, when-, why-, whereby; whoever, whatever, whichever), e.g. The gas station where he works…, The reason why she is calling on him that afternoon is because…; The period of time when they lived together…; possessive: The main actor, whose acting is outstanding, is R. L… … there is a village, whose name I don’t recall, where
  • Participle clauses: past participles (-ed, or 3rd column), present participles (-ing) and (passive) “being -ed”, e.g. Hearing a loud crash outside, the little girl runs out of the house and into the street…; The man wearing a blue overcoat is my brother; Feeling very tired Leaving behind all of her possessions, the young woman closes the door behind her; Putting on a serious face, he walks to his father and…; Book reviews published last week were encouraging; Set in the 19th century, the story portrays the lives of different middle-class people who…; Being chosen as the best feature film, “Whatever whatever” tells the story of… Yes, as you can see, we can replace some of these with a relative clause. More: with “have” (perfect): Having completed the journey, the family…; Having been invited to the party (AWESOME!: perfect, and passive!), the family…
  • smokesignals_bookAll kinds of comparatives (including superlatives):
    1. the same as the other; hotter than, more intelligent than, funnier, warmer, less handsome than, the most perfect, the least boring, the least intoxicating. Exclamations such as: They were SO angry!, They felt SUCH anger!
    2. SO/SUCH clauses: It was SO funny that I wet my pants! It was SUCH A funny movie that I wet my pants! There were SO MANY people that we couldn’t move. The place was SO crowded that we couldn’t even move.
    3. The more they try, the harder it gets, so they decide to… The harder they try, the less oxygen they have…
  • Degree adverbs: very/really, too, extremely, quite, not enough…, very much (She likes WHATEVER very much – V + O + “very much”)
  • Connectors like: In contrast, the first part was more exciting. About the screenplay, … In the end (an ending to the story), they found the treasure. At the end of the trip/movie, we… However, … Surprisingly, … Instead (of doing that), they decide to…, All in all (assessment)… Personally, I enjoyed… Unbelievably, in the end they marry.
  • Time clauses are handy to narrate the plot: After they marry, they return to England. Before they married, they were living in Canada. Once they marry, they return to England.
  • Conditional sentence for stating who would like the book or movie you are recommending (but this is not compulsory, you can recommend by using other wording): If you enjoy this kind of action, this novel is a must. / If you enjoyed Titanic, you will certainly enjoy this romantic story (yes, this mixture of tenses is not what comes in the textbook).

Oh my! Long, right? Also for me!!! Time flies! Gotta have din-din!!! 😀 😀 I was just brainstorming, so please, feel free to add some more, or tell me about possible mistakes. Nightie night!

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