Temas concretos de Gramática: verbos frasales, modales, voz pasiva, etc...


Campos léxicos, sinónimos, antónimos, homónimos, falsos amigos, lenguaje tabú y un largo etcétera

Historias y humor

Pequeño cajón desastre para mis historias, anécdotas en mis clases, recuerdos...

Mis libros

Aquí podéis ver un pequeño resumen de mis libros más importantes

Charlas y conferencias

Las más significativas a lo largo de mi vida académica. Y las próximas


Preparing for the 'oposiciones': grammar transformation exercises

Re-write the sentences using the word given in brackets, so that the second sentence has the same meaning as the first:

Exercise 1

1.- I don't have enough money to buy that iPad. (too)
1.- That buy.

2.- I walked quietly because I didn't want to wake the baby. (so)
2.- I walked quietly................................ to wake the baby.

3.- I graduated from college a year ago today. (time)
3.- I graduated from college ...................year.

4.- I am sure it will snow tomorrow. (bound)
4.- ........................tomorrow.

5.- It wasn't obligatory to go to work today. I thought it was. (gone)
5.- work today.


1.- is too expensive for me
2.- so as not
3.- this time last
4.- It's bound to snow
5.- I needn't have gone.

Exercise 2 (from Flo-Joe CPE Practice Tests)

1,. The mistakes in the accounts was not noticed until the figures were re-checked (light)
1.- The mistake in the accounts only ..................the figures were re-checked.

2,. I had no problems at all during my trip to France (plan)
2.- Everything ................. during my trip to France

3.- The heavy downpour brought their picnic to an abrupt end (cut)
3.- They had to ..............because of the heavy downpour.

4.- The reforms will not succeed unless they are carefully planned (crucial)
4.- Careful ................of the  reforms

5.- They think that Helen's brother stole the money (suspected)
5.- Helen's brother ..................the money

6.- I feel completely exhausted when I've listened to Marion for half-an-hour (leaves)
6.- Half-an-hour ..............completely exhausted 


1.-came to light when/after/once; 2.- went according to plan; 3.- cut short their picnic/cut their picnic short; 4.- planning is crucial to/for the success/plans are crucial to/for the success; 5.- is suspected of stealing/having stolen; 6.- (of) listening to Marion leaves me (feeling)


Vocabulary of the day: hairstyle


Afro (peinado afro)
bald (calvo)
balding (con poco pelo, quedándose calvo)
bob (estilo paje, a lo chico)
bun/chignon (moño)
bunches (coletas)
crew cut (al cero, rapado)
cropped (muy corto)
curly/frizzy (rizado)
dreadlocks (rizos estilo rasta)
flat-top (al cepillo)
French plait (trenza en espiga)
fringe (IBr)/bangs (IAm) (flequillo)
layered (cortado a capas)
lock (mechón)
long (largo, melena)
Mohican (BrE)/Mohawk(AmE) (con cresta a lo mohicano)
permed (con la permanente)
pigtails [colas (trenzadas), trenzas]
plait (BrE)/braid (AmE) (trenza)
ponytail (cola de caballo)
receding (con entradas)
short (corto)
spiky (de punta)
straight (liso)
wavy (con ondas)


Match the letters with the numbers

a.- bob
b.- bun
c- curly
d.- dreadlocks
e.- pigtails
f.- ponytail
g.- straight
h.- layered
i.- bunches
j.- spiky
k.- wavy
l.- French plait

1.- cola de caballo
2.- trenzas
3.- coletas
4.- trenza de espiga
5.- cortado a capa
6.- ondulado
7.- liso
8.- en punta
9.- moño
10.- rizado
11.- estilo paje
12.- rizos estilo rasta


a-11; b-9; c-10; d-12; e-2: f-1; g-7; h-5; i-3; j-8; k-6; l-4.


Preparing for the 'oposiciones': Idioms (exercise)

Tomando como base las frases del primer bloque de ejemplos, coloca los nombres de pila que faltan en el segundo bloque:

1. Doris is dead to the world.
2. Jenny is a smasher.
3. Alice is at the crossroads.
4. Andrea is in a fix.
5. Palmira is out of sorts.
6. Gloria is under a cloud.
7. Tamara is knackered.
8. Paloma is hot stuff.
9. Adela is a bit touchy.
10. Marion is on edge.

a. feeling a little ill.
b........................ is very sexy.
c........................ is easily offended.
d. fast asleep.
e........................ is in trouble.
f. ....................... is in disgrace.
g. ...................... is undecided.
h. ...................... is very tired.
i. ....................... is expecting somehing bad to happen.
j. ....................... is very pretty.


a-Palmira; b-Paloma; c-Adela; d-Doris; e-Andrea; f-Gloria; g-Alice; h-Tamara; i- Marion; j- Jenny


Preparing for the 'oposiciones': participle clauses as adverbial subordinates

Participle clauses can have the value of an adverbial subordinate of time, reason, result, etc, especially in formal style:

Feeling tired, she went to bed early (= as she was feeling tired, she went to bed early,or she went to bed early because she was feeling tired)

Being imported, those cars are more expensive (=as they are imported..... or those cars are more expensive because...)
Opening her eyes, the baby began to cry (= when she opened her eyes.....)
Having lost the last bus, I had to walk home (= as I lost.......or I lost the last bus, so I had to walk home)
Not wanting to wake her, he tiptoed into the bedroom (= as he didn't want to..... or he tiptoed into the bedroom because he didn't......)
Used economically, one tin can last for two weeks (=if it is used economically, one tin....)

As you can see, the subject of the participle clause is usually the same as the subject of the main clause: 

Knowing his tastes, I bought him a science-fiction novel (I is the subject of both knowing and bought)

If the subject is not the same, we have a 'misrelated participle' (also called 'dangling participle'), which is generally considered to be incorrect:

* Leaving the office, my head was in a swirl (the subject of leaving is I, the subject of was being my head)

However, 'misrelated participles' are acceptable in the following cases:

- when the verb in the participle clause has its own subject expressed:

Nobody having any more to say, the meeting was closed.

The last train having gone, we had to stay in London for the night.

- when the main clause has it or there as 'anticipatory subject':

Being English, it is surprising that she doesn't like tea.

Having so little time, there isn't much we can do.

- in some fixed expressions referring to the speaker's attitude:

Generally speaking, women are better students than men.

Taking everything into consideration, he should be given another chance.


Rewrite the sentences beginning with a participle clause:

1.- Sandra left work early because she didn't feel too well.

2.- When he had finished his work, he went home.
3.- The inscription was written in an unknown language, so it couldn't be deciphered.
4.- As I didn't want to offend him, I said nothing about his paintings.
5.- The manager extended Anne's contract because he was impressed by her work.


Match the sentence halves getting new ones beginning with an       -ing participle clause:

1.- He was a doctor

2.- Clara had been a teacher for 15 years
3.- David had been unemployed for 9 months
4.- He didn't speak Italian
5.- I didn't expect anyone to be in the house

a.- He found life in Milan difficult

b.- He knew what side effects the medicine could have
c.- I walked straight in
d.- He accepted the first job he was offered
e.- She knew how to motivate children



1.- Not feeling too well, Sandra left work early.

2.- Having finished his work, he went home.
3.- (Being) written in an unknown language, the inscription couldn't be deciphered.
4.- Not wanting to offend him, I said nothing about his paintings.
5.- (Being) impressed by Anne's work, the manager extender her contract.


(1-b) Being a doctor, he knew what side effects the medicine could have.

(2-e) Having been a teacher for 15 years, Clara knew how to motivate children.
(3-d) Having been unemployed for 9 months, David accepted the first job he was offered
(4-a) Not speaking Italian, he found life in Milan difficult.
(5-c) Not expecting anyone to be in the house, he walked straight in.


Vocabulary of the day': footwear


ballet shoes (zapatillas de ballet)
boots (botas)
brogues (zapatos gruesos de cuero)
clogs/pattens (zuecos)
court shoes (BrE)/pumps (AmE) (zapatos de salón)
dancing shoes (zapatillas de baile)
espadrilles (alpargatas)
flats/flat shoes (zapatos planos, sin tacones)
flip flops (BrE)/thongs (AmE) (chanclas/chancletas)
galoshes (chanclos)
gym shoes (zapatillas de gimnasia/de deporte)
high-heeled/low-heeled shoes (zapatos de tacón alto/bajo)
lace-ups/lace-up shoes (zapatos con cordones)
loafers/moccasins (mocasines)
mules (babuchas)
patent leather shoes (zapatos de charol)
platform shoes (zapatos de plataforma)
plimsolls (BrE)/sneakers (AmE) (zapatillas de deporte de suela de goma, playeras)
pumps (BrE)/flats (AmE) (zapatos ligeros sin tacones)
sandals (sandalias)
shoes (zapatos)
slip-ons (zapatos sin cordones)
slippers (zapatillas)
stiletto heel (tacón de aguja)
stilettos (zapatos de tacón de aguja)
tennis shoes (zapatillas de tenis)
thick-soled shoes (zapatos de suela gruesa)
trainers (BrE)/sneakers(AmE) (zapatillas de deporte)
walking boots (botas para caminar)
wedges (zapatos de cuña)
wellingtons/wellington boots (botas de agua)


Match the letters with the numbers:

a.- zapatos planos, sin tacones
b.- zapatos de tacón alto
c.- zapatos de tacón de aguja
d.- zapatillas de deporte
e.- mocasines
f.- playeras

1.- stilettos
2.- plimsolls
3.- loafers
4.- flats
5.- trainers
6.- high-heeled shoes


a-4; b-6; c-1; d-5; e-3; f-2


Preparing for the 'oposiciones': modismos con nombres propios.

Completa las frases con los siguientes nombres propios: Thames, Spain, China, Tom, McCoy, Thomas, Parker, Riley, Adam, Joneses

1. It’s a Harley Davidson – the real ..............
2. I don’t know him from ..............
3. Now that the neighbours have bought a Mercedes, my wife wants me to buy one too. To keep up with the ...................- that’s all she cares about.
4. Stop complaining. You’re living the life of ............
5. Our new neighbour is a nosy ...............
6. I wouldn’t sell it for all the tea in ...........
7. Stop building castles in .............
8. It isn’t a bad show, but it won’t set the .............on fire.
9. He’s always been a doubting ..................
10. I don’t like him. He’s a peeping ............


1-McCoy; 2-Adam; 3-Joneses; 4-Riley; 5-Parker; 6-China; 7-Spain; 8-Thames; 9-Thomas; 10-Tom


Pincelada de humor: chiste de Sir Francis

Una madre le dice a su hijita que si se muerde las uñas se le pondrá una barriga así de grande (señalando a una mujer embarazada en el autobús). La pequeña se queda mirando a la mujer fijamente y cuando ésta le pregunta por qué la mira así, le dice: «Because I know what you’ve been doing» (Porque sé lo que has estado haciendo).

Preparing for the 'oposiciones': todos los significados y colocaciones del verbo to drop

Como complemento de mi post del viernes 23, os dejo la entrada del verbo to drop en el Diccionario Pedagógico Bilingüe, que tuve el honor de dirigir, para que conozcáis todos sus significados y colocaciones:

drop /drQpv (pto y pp dropped(a) tr/intr (dejar) caer, caérsele a alguien algo: he dropped his pencil dejó caer su lápiz/se le cayó el lápiz; don’t drop the plate que no se te caiga el plato; the key dropped from his hand se le cayó la llave de la mano. (b) intr drop to/into/onto dejarse caer, desplomarse: she dropped onto the sofa se dejó caer en el sofá. (c) tr bajar (el precio de algo): he refused to drop the price se negó a bajar el precio; the government decided to drop the price of petrol el gobierno decidió bajar el precio de la gasolina. (d) intr descender, bajar (temperatura, nivel, precios): milk has dropped in price la leche ha bajado de precio; the temperature dropped bajó la temperatura. (e) intr amainar (viento): thank goodness the wind has dropped menos mal que el viento ha amainado. (f) tr derribar, tumbar: the boxer dropped his opponent with one punch el boxeador derribó a su adversario de un puñetazo. (g) tr abandonar, renunciar a: the board dropped the idea of closing down the factory la junta directiva abandonó la idea de cerrar la fábrica. (h) tr dejar un tema: drop that subject deja ya ese tema. (i) tr drop sb dejar (de ver) a alguien: he’s dropped all his friends ha dejado (de ver) a todos sus amigos. (j) tr suprimir algo (de un texto): my article will be dropped from the magazine mi artículo será suprimido de la revista. (k) tr (usado gen en pasiva) dejar fuera, caerse (del equipo): he was dropped from the team fue dejado fuera/se cayó del equipo. (l) tr acercar/llevar (en coche): can you drop me at the office? ¿me puedes acercar a la oficina? (m) tr drop sth off/in/at dejar algo en algún sitio, soltar: the lorry driver dropped the goods at the warehouse el camionero dejó la mercancía en el almacén. (n) tr (col) perder dinero (esp jugando a las cartas). (ñ) tr (dep) perder (puntos/partido): our team dropped two points at home last Saturday nuestro equipo perdió dos puntos en casa el sábado pasado. (o) tr comerse (letra al hablar): don't drop your aitches no te comas las haches. (p) tr parir (animal, esp yegua, vaca u oveja). (q) (sl) tomar drogas (esp ácido/LSD): he dropped acid in the eighties tomaba ácido/LSD en los '80. || drop a brick/clanger (IBr) meter la pata; drop a hint/suggestion/remark dejar caer/escapar una pista/sugerencia/un comentario; drop a stitch (cos) escaparse/irse un punto; drop anchor echar anclas, anclar; drop dead caerse muerto, morir de repente; drop dead! ¡muérete!, ¡vete al cuerno!; drop-dead gorgeous (col) guapísima; drop everything dejarlo todo: she dropped everything to marry him lo dejó todo para casarse con él; drop game (sl) timo de la estampita; drop history/maths/English, etc dejar la asignatura (dejar de asistir a clase); drop names mencionar nombres de gente importante (para presumir/darse importancia); drop one’s eyes/gaze bajar los ojos/la mirada; drop one’s guard bajar la guardia; drop one’s voice - let one’s voice drop bajar la voz; drop sb a line/note escribirle a alguien unas líneas/una nota; drop sharply caer en picado (lit y fig): the road drops sharply at that point en ese lugar, la carretera baja en picado; profits have dropped sharply los beneficios han bajado en picado; drop/dump sth in sb’s lap (col) cargar (responsabilidad, etc) a alguien: stop dropping everything in my lap deja de cargarme a mí con todolet the matter drop dejar el tema tranquilo, no ahondar en un tema.

drop away · disminuir, bajar (volumen, ventas, cifras, actividad, negocios, producción).
drop back · (a) (tamb drop behind) quedarse atrás, rezagarse. (b) (tamb drop) bajar, disminuir.
drop by/over/round, drop in (on sb) · pasarse (por casa de alguien), entrar un momento (a visitar a alguien): why don't you drop in for a drink this evening? ¿por qué no te pasas por casa esta tarde-noche para tomar una copa?
drop off · (a) decaer, disminuir: I regret to tell you that sales have dropped off sharply in the last few months lamento decirles que las ventas han caído en picado en los últimos meses. (b) caerse (botón, etc). (c) quedarse adormilado,-a, dar una cabezada: she dropped off while she was watching TV se quedó adormilada mientras veía la tele. (d) (euf) morir. (e) drop sb off apearse/bajarse o dejar que alguien se apee/baje (de vehículo): please drop me off at the traffic lights por favor déjame en el semáforo.

drop out · (a) drop out (of sth) dejar de asistir, abandonar (clases) antes de final de curso. (b) drop out (of sth) dejar, abandonar (gobierno/equipo/estudios/carrera/concurso). (c) marginarse (de la sociedad). (d) desaparecer (una expresión/palabra de una lengua). 

Preparing for the 'oposiciones': collocations of to seize(to to grab/to snatch and related verbs.

Taking hold of

There are several verbs in English with the meaning of 'coger, agarrar' in Spanish, but they have distinctive semantic features. Here are the main ones:

to grab [ + suddenly, hastily; eagerly; with a bad/selfish purpose] (agarrar, coger, apresuradamente o con malas intenciones)
to clutch (at) [ + tightly, desperately, eager to keep or retain] [agarrar(se), sujetar(se) fuertemente, desesperadamente, aferrarse a]
 to cling (on) to [ + tightly, because you do not feel safe] [agarrar(se), sujetar(se) fuertemente, sin soltar, aferrarse a]
to seize [ + suddenly/hastily; violently, eagerly; forcibly; legally] (agarrar, asir; apoderarse de; embargar)
to snatch [ + suddenly/hastily, eagerly, rudely, roughly, violently; unexpectedly, without permission, as opportunity allows] [arrebatar, coger de un tirón, arrancar; aprovechar (oportunidad)]
to snatch at sth [ + try to take hold of sth; to take (an oportunity) eagerly] [tratar de agarrar algo; aprovechar (oportunidad)]
to grip [ + firmly, tightly] [agarrar(se) firmemente, con fuerza, asir, coger(se), agarrarse (un coche) a la carretera]
to grasp [ + eagerly, firmly, greedily; to understand] [agarrar, asir; empuñar (arma); apretar (mano); entender]
to clasp [ + firmly, tightly, closely, encircling] (tener cogido, apretar, estrechar)
to snap up [ + quickly, eagerly, avidly; accept (offer, bargain) quickly or eagerly]           [ agarrar, coger, comprar con avidez, aprovechar (buena oferta), llevarse (ganga)]

Consequently, they also have different lexical collocations:

to seize: to seize sth/sb (agarrar algo/a alguien); to seize sb by the arm/the throat (agarrar a alguien por el brazo/la garganta);  the opportunity (aprovechar la oportunidad); the throne/a country/territory (apoderarse del trono/de un país/de un territorio); smuggled things (incautarse de, decomisar, embargar artículos robados, de contrabando, etc.): the police have seized ten thousand pounds worth of stolen goods (la policía se ha incautado de objetos robados por un valor de diez mil libras); to be seized by panic/emotion (ser presa del pánico/embargar la emoción)
to grab: to grab sth suddenly (agarrar/coger algo apresuradamente), to grab at sth/sb (tratar de agarrar algo/a alguien), to grab sb by the arm/the hair/the coat (agarrar/coger a alguien del brazo/de los pelos/de la chaqueta), to grab a seat (coger sitio), a sandwich (coger un sandwich), to grab a couple of hours’ sleep (conseguir dormir un par de horas)
to grasp: to grasp sth (agarrar, asir algo), tightly/firmly/ (fuerte/firmemente), to grasp sb tightly by the wrist/the collar (agarrar fuertemente de la muñeca/del cuello), to grasp at straws (agarrarse a un clavo ardiendo), to grasp at sb’s shirt (agarrar a alguien de la camisa), to grasp (at) an opportunity (aprovechar una oportunidad), grasp all, lose all (quien mucho abarca, poco aprieta)
to grip: to grip firmly/ hard/ tightly [agarrar(se), asir(se), coger(se) firmemente/fuerte/con fuerza]: he gripped hard at the arms of his chair (se agarró con fuerza a los brazos de la silla); to be gripped by fear/panic (ser presa del miedo/del pánico); the car didn’t grip the road very well (el coche no se agarraba/adhería bien a la carretera)
to clutch: to clutch at sth (agarrarse/sujetarse a algo), firmly/tightly/desperately (firmemente/fuerte/desesperadamente), to clutch sth/sb  to one’s chest (apretar algo/a alguien contra el pecho), to clutch sth in one’s hand (tener cogido algo en la mano), to clutch at straws (agarrarse a un clavo ardiendo); to clutch at one’s beliefs/ideas (aferrarse a sus creencias/ideas)
to cling: to cling (on) to (agarrarse a algo/alguien, sin soltar): she clung (on) to his arm (se agarró a su brazo); the survivors clung to the floating wreckage (los supervivientes se agarraron a los restos flotantes del naufragio); she clung on to her baby (se agarraba a su bebé sin soltarlo); they clung together shivering with cold (se agarraron unos a otros temblando de frío); (aferrarse a ideas/creencias/costumbres/esperanza/la vida): they clung to the hope that they might see their son again one day (se agarraban a la esperanza de volver a ver a su hijo algún día); he clings to his old habits (se aferra a sus viejos hábitos); (pegarse la ropa al cuerpo): the wet shirt clung to his chest (la camisa húmeda se le pegaba al pecho); (quedarse pegado un olor): the smell of smoke still clung to his clothes (el olor a humo seguía pegado a su ropa)
to snatch: to snatch sth from sb’s hand (arrebatar algo a alguien), he snatched her bag (le quitó el bolso de un tirón), to snatch at sth (tratar de agarrar algo)
to clasp: to clasp sb’s hand (apretar firmemente la mano de alguien), to clasp hands (cogerse de las manos), to clasp sth tightly (agarrar/sujetar con fuerza), to clasp sb to one’s chest (abrazar/estrechar a alguien contra el pecho)
As you can see, in some cases there is a certain overlapping. Thus, for example, you can seize/grab/snatch/grasp an opportunity; manage to snatch/grab an hour's sleep on the train; clutch/grip/grasp  a bottle of champagne, etc.


Fill in the blanks with the right form of one of the following: to grab, to seize, to grasp, to clutch, to clasp, to grip, to snatch

a.- He............the edge of the seat as the plane took off.
b.- The judge ordered his properties to be ............
c.- That man handbag at the High Street.
d.- I don’t think you just serious the situation is.
e.- He managed to .....a ham sandwich from the plate.
f.- He .....his hat to stop the wind blowing it away.
g.- Agatha Christie's novels ......... you from start to finish.
h.- She stood with her hands ........ tightly together around her             knees.


a.- gripped; b- seized; c- snatched; d- grasp; e- grab; f-                  clutched; g.- grip; h.- clasped


Preparing for the 'oposiciones': polysemous terms

We say that a term is polysemous when it has two or more meanings, plane, for example,  can have the following meanings: 'avión', 'cepillo de carpintero', 'árbol del plátano' and  'plano, nivel', spring can mean 'primavera', 'muelle' (de colchon, de asiento, de vehículo), 'resorte', 'ballesta', brío', 'energía', 'brinco', 'salto', 'manantial', 'fuente' and to spring, 'saltar', sharp, 'afilado', 'puntiagudo', 'punzante', cortante', 'cerrada' (curva), 'repentino' (cambio, caída, subida)), 'mordaz' (crítica), 'severa' (reprimenda) and 'en punto' (hora).


To which of the polysemous terms in the box below correspond the meanings given?

shark, thrush, fawn, pike, kite, skate, seal, swift, mole, rook

1.- ----------------------
a) cervatillo
b) color café claro

2.- -----------------------
a) cometa (juguete)
b) milano real

3.- ------------------------
a) lunar (en el cuerpo)
b) topo

4.- ------------------------
a) lucio (pez)
b) pica

5.- ......................
a) torre (en ajedrez)
b) grajo

6.- ----------------
a) foca
b) sello (lacrado)

7.- -----------------
a) tiburón
b) estafador

8.- -----------------
a) patín
b) raya (pez)

9.- -----------------
a) vencejo
b) rápido, veloz

10.- ----------------
a) tordo

b) afta (pequeña úlcera)


1.- fawn; 2,- kite; 3.- mole; 4.- pike; 5.- rook; 6.-- seal; 7.- shark; 8.- skate; 9.- swift; 10.- thrush. 


Preparing for the oposiciones: collocations of to drop (exercise)

Collocations of the verb to drop (exercise)

Match the letters with the numbers:

     a.- He was exhausted, so....
     b.- The boxer dropped...
     c.- The board...
     d.- can you...
     e.- He was...
     f.- The ship...
     g.- He dropped Russian...
     h.- He refused...
     i.- The road...
     j.- We’d better...

     1.- has dropped anchor
     2.- drops sharply at that point
     3.- he dropped onto the sofa
     4.- to drop the price
     5.- dropped the idea of closing down the factory
     6.- let the matter drop
     7.- his opponent with one punch
     8.- because he found it too difficult
     9.- dropped from the team at the last minute

     10.- drop me at the office?


a-3; b-7; c-5; d-10; e-9; f-1; g-8; h-4; i-2; j-6


Preparing for the 'oposiciones': Idioms (exercise)

Fill in the gaps with the appropriate word below:

1   Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched
This means: Don’t be over-_____.
2   He is like a bull in a china shop
This means: He is very _____.
3   His bark is worse than his bite
This means: He is _____ than he looks.
4   Every cloud has a silver lining
This means: There is some _____ in every bad event
5   Hold your horses
This means: _____ a moment.
6   She is down in the dumps
This means: She is _____.
7   He couldn’t keep a straight face
This means: He couldn’t keep his face _____.

good   clumsy   kinder   optimistic   serious   depressed   wait


1- optimistic; 2- clumsy; 3- kinder; 4- good; 5- wait; 6- depressed; 7-serious


Preparing for the 'oposiciones': some common crimes.


a.- blackmail

b.- housebreaking

c.- bribery

d.- burglary

e.- corrupt practice

f.- drug trafficking

g.- embezzlement

h.- hijacking

i.- hold-up

j.- influence peddling

k.- kidnapping

l.- laundering

m.- ram-raiding

n.- swindle

o.- tax evasion

1.- blanqueo de dinero

2.- atraco

3.- tráfico de drogas

4.- evasión de impuestos

5.- robo en casas o tiendas

6.- estafa

7.- tráfico de influencias

8.- soborno; cohecho

9.- secuestro de avión

10.- rapto 

11.- malversación de fondos

12.- prevaricación

13.- chantaje

14.- alunizaje

15.- allanamiento de morada


a-13; b-15; c-8; d-5; e-12; f-3; g-11; h-9; i-2; j-7; k-10; l-1; m-14; n-6; o-4


Preparing for the 'oposiciones: phrasal verbs transformation exercises

Review phrasal verbs transformation exercises 2 verbos-frasales-transformation-exercises-2 and do the following new ones:


1.- When she discovered that she had to appear on TV, she fainted. (out)
1.- She ......... when she discovered that she had to appear on TV.

2.- Sheila cried her eyes out when she was told she'd failed her driving test. (down)
2.- When she was told that she'd failed her driving test, Sheila.......

3.- They discussed the situation, but nobody had a solution. (came)
3.- They discussed the situation, but nobody ............. a solution,

4.- My father continued to get up at 6.30 even after he retired. (carried)
4.- My father ............................ at 6.30 even after he retired.

5.- In the race for promotion, Bill was ignored. (passed)

5.- Bill ................... in the race for promotion.

6.- You must do exactly what he instructs you to do. (carry)
6.- You must ....................... exactly.


1.- He got her into the reception pretending she was his wife. (passing)
1.- He got her into the reception .............................his wife.

2.- I arrived late because I just missed the train. (turned)
2.- If I.................................................on time.

3.- The coach has the respect of the whole team. (looks)
3.- The whole team ...................... the coach.

4.- Carla's mother started the club that Carla now presides. (set)
4.- The club that Carla now presides ................ her mother.

5.- The world's oldest man died in his sleep last night. (away)
5.- The world's oldest man ................. in his sleep last night.

6.- Because of the recession, many firms have dismissed workers. (off)
6.- Many firms ................... because of the recession.



1.- passed out; 2.- broke down; 3.- came up with; 4.- carried on getting up; 5.- was passed over; 6.- carry out his instructions


1.- passing her off as; 2.- hadn't missed the train, I would have turned up; 3.- looks up to; 4.- was set up by; 5.- passed away; 6.- have laid off workers


Preparing for the oposiciones: phrasal nouns.

Phrasal Nouns

Sometimes nouns are derived from phrasal and prepositional verbs, and many are widely  used nowadays,  esp. in the language of journalism and other professions (photography, cinema, etc.); they are usually called phrasal nouns:

back-up - (inform.) copia de seguridad (de un programa o documento)
breakdown - avería; depresión nerviosa.

As you can see by the examples above, there's no fixed rule concerning their spelling. Contrary to the phrasal verbs they derive from, which are spelt in two words, phrasal nouns are spelt with a hyphen or in one word:

walkout (huelga) (as against to walk out - ponerse en huelga)
kick-off (saque inicial en un partido de fútbol o inauguración de un evento) (as against to kick off - hacer el saque inicial o inaugurar un evento)

and sometimes, both spellings are found: checkup/check-up (chequeo médico), though it can be said that the tendency nowadays is to spell them in one word, esp. when the verb in monosyllabic.


Complete the sense with a suitable phrasal noun. I give you the initial letter in each sentence:

1.- Recently a significant b.......... was announced in the search for a cure for cancer.
2.- There was a m........ over the time of the interview which resulted in his losing the job.
3.- The plan has suffered a s.......... Our sponsor has withdrawn his support.
4.- We're going to have a family Sunday to discuss that matter.
5.- Before the elections, I usually receive hundreds of h...........


1.- breakthrough; 2.- mix-up; 3.- setback; 4.- get-together; 5.- handouts.

For more phrasal nouns, see Appendix 9, pp. 726-730, in my Gramática Inglesa, 9ª ed., Pearson. 


Preparing for the 'oposiciones': grammar transformation exercise.

Re-write the sentences using the word given in brackets, so that the second sentence has the same meaning as the first:

1.- No matter how hard he tried, he never found the treasure. (much)
1.- ................................., he never found the treasure.

2.- I told her not to cross the park at night. (warned)
2.- I .............................. crossing the park at night.

3.- I didn't answer the phone, even though I knew it was my husband calling. (despite)
3.- I didn't answer the phone ............ it was my husband calling.

4.- "Remember to give Paul my present", Grandma told me. (reminded)
4.- Grandma ................................... present.

5.- I could never have passed that exam without your help. (you)
5.- I could never have passed that exam ..........................


1.- Much as he tried
2.- warned her against 
3.- despite knowing
4.- reminded me to give Paul her
5.- if you hadn't helped me.


Preparing for the 'oposiciones': below/under

Both prepositions mean «debajo de», but under is used to indicate direct vertical relationship or contiguity:
         under the table               debajo de la mesa
         under the sheets             debajo de las sábanas

or movement:
         He tried to crawl under the wire fence     Trató de arrastrarse por debajo de la alambrada

whereas below indicates a lower level:
         the valley below the hill         el valle debajo de la colina
         100 m below sea level            100 m bajo el nivel del mar

Other meanings of below

«por debajo de» (inferiority, lower rank):
         I’m afraid your work is below average    Me temo que tu trabajo está por debajo de la media
         A sergeant in the police force is below an inspector     Un sargento del cuerpo de policía  está por debajo de un inspector   

— «por debajo de, bajo, menos de» (less amount, age, temperature):
         below £ 5                            menos de £ 5
         below the age of fifteen       menos de 15 años de edad
         below zero                          por debajo de cero/bajo cero

Other meanings of under

- «menos de» (time):
         It’ll take you under an hour to finish it      Te llevará menos de una hora terminarlo

- «menos de» (amount, age, distance):
         an annual income of under £ 5000    unos ingresos anuales inferiores a £ 5000
         Nobody under 18 is allowed to buy alcohol       No se permite comprar alcohol a los menores de 18 años
         It’s under a mile from here to the British Museum    Hay menos de una milla de aquí al Museo Británico

- «bajo» (government, control, etc):
         under Charles II            bajo (el reinado de) Carlos II
         under new management  bajo nueva dirección
         She has more than 30 people under her  Ella tiene a más de 30 personas a su mando/cargo

-  «bajo, en» (heading):
         If it’s not under ‘wild flowers’, look under ‘tropical                        plants’     Si no está en ‘flores silvestres’, mira/busca en ‘plantas tropicales’

Other expressions
under (an) anaesthetic  bajo los efectos de la anestesia
under age     menor de edad (cf of age ‘mayor de edad’)
under arrest    bajo arresto
under lock and key    bajo llave
under oath                bajo juramento
under pressure          bajo presión
under repair              en reparación
under separate cover     por correo aparte
under suspicion             bajo sospecha
under the circumstances    dadas las circunstancias
under the name/pseudonym of   bajo/con el nombre/seudónimo de
under the weather          indispuesto
under way                      en curso, haciéndose


Insert the appropriate preposition in the gaps:

1.- The cat is .........the bed.
2.- The climbers stopped just one hundred meters ...... the top of the mountain.
3.- He was wearing a blue shirt ...... his sweater.
4.- Some parts of the city are ..... sea level.
5.- The whole village was ..... water
6.- Your son can't come into the bar because he is ...... age..
7.- You've got a stain ........ the pocket.
8.- There were ..... ten students in his class.
9.- Dad says that skirts must be ..... the knee.
10.- The army moved in ........ cover of darkness.
11.- In winter, temperatures dip to 20 degrees
12.- They camped a few hundred feet ..... the summit.
13.- I wish I'd met him ...... different circumstances.
14.- Tom's spelling is well ........ average.


1.- under; 2.- below; 3.- under; 4.- below; 5.- under; 6.- under; 7.- below; 8.- under; 9.- below; 10.- under; 11.- below; 12.- below; 13.- under; 14.- below.