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': vocabulary about cars (BrE/AmE) (exercise)


Today we'll have a look at the differences in the vocabulary about cars between BrE and AmE. Thus, for instance, 'capó' is bonnet in BrE., and hood, in AmE., and 'maletero' is boot in BrE, and trunk, in AmE. In some cases, like the word for 'camión', for example, though originally the British had lorry, and the Americans, truck, nowadays in the USA, truck is still the word generally used, and not lorry, but in the United Kingdom, both words are used with practically the same meaning: 'a large road vehicle used to carry goods, troops, etc.' 


The following words are generally used in BrE; provide the AmE counterpart:

1.- accelerator (acelerador)

2.- aerial (antena)

3.- bonnet (capó)

4.- boot (maletero)

5.- estate car (coche familiar, ranchera)

6.- filler cap/ petrol cap (tapón del depósito de gasolina)

7.- fog lamps (faros antiniebla)

8.- gear lever/gear stick (palanca de cambios)

9.- indicator  (intermitente)

10.- lorry (camión)

11.- number plate/registration plate (matrícula)

12.- patrol car (coche patrulla)

13.- people carrier (monovolumen)

14.- petrol tank (depósito de gasolina)

15.- roof-rack (baca)

16.- saloon (berlina)

17.- sidelights (luces de posición)

18.- spare tyre (rueda de repuesto)

19.- sparking plug (bujía)

20.- tyres (neumáticos)

21.- windscreen (parabrisas)

22.- windscreen wiper (limpiaparabrisas)

23.- wing (aleta)

24.- wing mirror  [espejo retrovisor (fuera del coche)]


1.- gas pedal; 2.- antenna; 3.- hood; 4.- trunk; 5.- station wagon; 6.- gas cap; 7.- fog lights; 8.- gear shift/stick shift; 9.- turn signal; 10.- truck; 11.- license plate; 12.- cruiser; 13.- minivan; 14.- gas tank; 15.- luggage rack; 16.- sedan; 17.- parking lights; 18.- spare tire; 19.- spark plug; 20.- tires; 21.- windshield; 22.- windshield wiper; 23.- fender; 24.- side-view mirror.


Preparing for the 'oposiciones': idioms with 'way'

Idioms with 'way'

all the way (por completo, hasta el final)
by the way (a propósito)
by way of (a.-pasando por; b- a modo de)
can you tell me the way to...? (¿me puede decir cómo se va a...?)
get out of the way! (¡quítate de en medio!)
I must be on my way (tengo que marcharme)
in a way (en cierto modo)
in the family way (embarazada)
no way! (¡ni hablar!, ¡de ninguna manera!)
on one’s way (de camino)
the other way round (al revés, todo lo contrario)
the wrong way round (al revés, lo de delante detrás)
there are no two ways about it (no tiene vuelta de hoja)
this way (por aquí)
to ask the way to (preguntar cómo se va a algún lugar )
to be born that way (haber nacido así, ser de nacimiento)
to be in the way (estorbar, estar en medio)
to be set in one’s ways (tener costumbres fijas)
to be under way (estar en marcha, haciéndose)
to cut both ways (ser un arma de doble filo, tener ventajas e inconvenientes)
to do sth one’s way (hacer algo a su manera)
to give way (a.- ceder, hundirse; b.- ceder ante alguien; c.- IBr ceder el paso)
to go a long way towards (contribuir en gran manera a)
to go out of one’s way to (desvivirse por)
to go the way of all flesh (morir, como todo el mundo)
to have a way with people (tener don de gentes)
to have one’s (own) way (salirse con la suya)
to look the other way (hacer la vista gorda)
to lose one’s way (perderse)
to make one’s way in the world (abrirse camino en la vida)
to pave the way to (preparar el terreno para)
to wait to see which way the wind is blowing (esperar a ver por donde van los tiros)
you can’t have it both ways (las dos cosas no pueden ser, no se puede repicar y andar en la procesión)


Match the letters with the numbers:

a.- She has already had two children.....
b.- It isn’t his fault if he’s so obstinate......
c.- My wife is very clever; she always has...........
d.- The new law will go........
e.- I didn’t know he was dead........
f.- Can I borrow your new car? ......
g.- The room was too crowded.......
h.- You either accept the transfer or you won’t be promoted.......
i.-  She gave me a kiss..........
j.-  She doesn’t mind engaging in heavy petting.........

1.- You can’t have it both ways
2.- Yes, he’s gone the way of all flesh
3.- He was born that way
4.- but she never goes all the way
5.- and she’s in the family way again
6.- by way of payment
7.- her (own) way in the end
8.- No way!
9.- and eventually the floor gave way
10.- a long way towards solving the problem


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


Preparing for the 'oposiciones: 'Different ways of walking.

The basic verb used in English with the meaning of 'andar' in Spanish is to walk. However, there are other related verbs which also mean 'andar', but in a specific way. These verbs, like to shuffle, to stagger or to strut, for example, each has a distinctive semantic feature ('rasgo semántico diferencial') which allows it to be used to express 'walking' in a different way. All these verbs are usually constructed with an adverb or a preposition: to shuffle/stagger/strut, etc. along/across/into/on, etc. Here are the main ones:

to limp/hobble  - to walk lamely (cojear, andar cojeando)
to march - to walk in a military manner, with regular steps (marchar)
to pace - to walk up and down, backwards and forwards, repeatedly or methodically, with slow, regular steps, esp. because you are feeling nervous or restless (caminar de un lado a otro, esp. por sentirse nervioso o inquieto)
to pad - to walk with quiet steps, noiselessly (caminar sin hacer ruido)
to shuffle - to walk dragging one’s feet (andar arrastrando los pies)
to stagger - to walk unsteadily, because you are drunk or ill [andar tambaleándose, haciendo eses (borracho, enfermo, etc.)]
to stalk - to walk stiff, arrogantly or in an angry way (andar tieso, con arrogancia o mostrando enfado)
to stride - to walk with long steps (andar a grandes zancadas, alargar el paso)
to strut - to walk majestically, self-importantly, proudly (andar majestuosamente, orgullosamente, dándose importancia)
to swagger - to walk  arrogantly, self-importantly, swinging one’s shoulders (andar con arrogancia, dándose importancia, pavonearse, contonearse)
to tiptoe  - to walk quietly, noiselessly, on one’s toes (andar de puntillas)
to toddle - a small child learning to walk (dar los primeros pasos, un niño pequeño aprendiendo a andar)
to tramp - to walk heavily and firmly (andar pesadamente, patear, pisotear ensuciando algo, etc.)
to trample on - to step heavily on sb/sth crushing or harming them with one’s feet  (pisotear aplastando o dañando algo)
to trudge/plod - to walk slowly, with difficulty or because you are tired (caminar despacio, con dificultad o porque se está cansado)
to hop - to walk jumping on one’s foot or making quick short jumps, like a bird (andar dando pequeños saltos, andar a la pata coja)
to waddle - to walk like a duck (andar como los patos)


Fill in the blanks with the appropriate walking-verb:

a.- He .......... into the bedroom, hoping not to wake his wife
b.- The injured Arsenal forward .......... off the field
c.- We had to .......... for miles across the snow to reach help
d.- The tramp .......... along in shoes that were too big for him
e.- The dying man .......... into the police station and                      collapsed
f.- She .......... down the corridor in her slippers
g.- A fat lady .......... up to the counter
h.- The little girl was .......... over the cracks in the pavement
i.- The prisoner .......... the floor of his cell
j.- She .......... past as if she were a top model
k.- The two-year-old came .......... into the room
l.- Be careful, don’t .......... on those pretty daisies
m.- Stop .......all over the floor in those muddy shoes


a.- tiptoed; b.- limped/hobbled; c.- plod/trudge; d.- shuffled;         e.- staggered; f.- padded; g.- waddled; h.- hopping; i.- paced; j.- strutted/stalked/swaggered; k.- toddling; l.- trample; m.- tramping.


Preparing for the 'oposiciones': because/as/since/for

As, since, for and because are the conjunctions most often used to introduce adverbial clauses of reason (subordinadas causales):

I'm late because I missed the bus (Llego tarde porque perdí el autobús)
As it was raining, I stayed at home the whole day (Como estaba lloviendo, me quedé en casa todo el día)
Since you insist, I'll tell you the truth (Puesto que insistes, te diré la verdad)
He decided to stop, for he was a bit tired (Decidió parar, pues estaba un poco cansado)

Because is the most frequent, and the only one used to answer why-questions directly:

"Why didn't you come yesterday?" "Because I wasn't feeling well" ("¿Por qué no viniste ayer?" "Porque no me encontraba bien")

and for, more formal in style, is the least used of the four. 

Clauses introduced by because, as or since can be placed before or after the main clause, though those introduced by because are usually placed after the main clause, and those with as or since, before:
I won't tell Charles, because I don't trust him (No se lo diré a Charles, porque no me fío de él)
As it is snowing, I prefer to stay at home (Como está nevando, prefiero quedarme en casa)
Since we live near the sea, we often go sailing (Como vivimos cerca del mar, hacemos vela a menudo.

However, those introduced by for always go after the main clause: 

I can't go out with you today, for I have to study for my English exam next week (No puedo salir hoy contigo, pues tengo que estudiar para mi examen de inglés de la semana que viene)

Finally, it should be borne in mind that because is the only one of these four conjunctions which can be preceded by and:

No, I won't go with you to the cinema, because I'm very tired and because I hate horror films (No, no iré al cine contigo, porque estoy muy cansada y porque odio las películas de terror).


Join the following clauses by means of the conjunction given in brackets. Then translate into Spanish:

1.- I can't buy that dress. I have no money left (because)
2.- You can buy it now. The circumstances have changed (as)
3.- The money hasn't been paid into my account yet. I can't pay you (for)
4.- I didn't dare to contradict him. He's the boss (since)
5.His mobile wasn't working. He couldn't call his wife  (because)
6.- Everybody wanted to dance with her. She was the prettiest girl in the party (as)
7.- We'd better change the subject. You're not going to convince me (since)
8.- He got caught in a traffic jam. He missed his flight (because)
9.- The information was top secret. The Minister could not divulge the Cabinet's deliberations (for)
10.- The computer programme crashed. She lost all her data (because).


1.- I can't buy that dress because I have no money left (No puedo comprar ese vestido porque no me queda dinero).

2.- As the circumstances have changed, you can buy it now (Como las circunstancias han cambiado, puedes comprarlo ahora).
3.- I can't pay you, for the money hasn't been paid into my account yet (No puedo pagarte, pues no me han ingresado el dinero todavía).
4.- Since he's the boss, I didn't dare to contradict him (Como es el jefe, no me atreví a contradecirle).
5.- He couldn't speak with his wife because her mobile was out of service (No pudo hablar con su mujer porque el móvil de ella no estaba operativo).
6.- As she was the prettiest girl in the party, everybody wanted to dance with her (Como era la chica más guapa de la fiesta, todos querían bailar con ella).
7.- Since you're not going to convince me, we'd better change the subject (Puesto que no me vas a convencer, mejor será que cambiemos de tema).
8.- He missed his flight because he got caught in a traffic jam (Perdió su vuelo, porque se vio cogido en un atasco).
9.- The Minister could not divulge the Cabinet's deliberations, for the information was top secret (El Ministro no pudo divulgar las deliberaciones del Consejo, pues la información era alto secreto).
10.- She lost all her data because the computer programme crashed (Perdió todos sus datos porque el programa del ordenador se bloqueó).

For other conjunctions used to introduce adverbial clauses of reason, see my Gramática Inglesa, 9ª ed., p. 526, and for that, used as an adverbial subordinator of reason, p. 604, note 3.


Little Johnny Jones Joke

Little Johnny Jones is in England more or less what Jaimito in Spain. There are lots of jokes about him. Here's one:

At school

One day the mistress says: "Listen, children, from now on when you need to go to the bathroom, you're going to use numbers: number one, if you need to have a pee, and number two, if you need to do a poo".
Everything goes well for a while:
Charlie: "Mistress, number one."
Bob: "Mistress, number two."
Lizzie: "Mistress, number one."
But one day Little Johnny Jones puts his hand up and shouts: "Mistress, quick give me a number, I have to fart."


the mistress - la seño
to have a pee - hacer pis
to do a poo - hacer caca
to fart - tirarse un pedo


Preparing for the 'oposiciones': Pronunciación de las grafías ou/our

Como es típico de la lengua inglesa, no hay reglas fijas, y las grafías ou y our pueden pronunciarse de varias maneras. Veamos los distintos casos de manera más detallada:

Pronunciación de ou:


blouse – blusa
cloud – nube
to count – contar
doubt – duda
found – pdo y participio de to find – encontrar
house – casa
loud – alto
mouse – ratón
out - fuera
wound - pdo de to wind – dar cuerda


country – país; campo
couple – pareja
cousin – primo,-a
double – doble
southern – sur
to touch – tocar
trouble – problema; apuro
young – joven


you – usted; tú
group – grupo
route - ruta
soup – sopa
wound – herida
youth - juventud


could – pdo de can
should – deber
would – pdo. de will


poultry – aves de corral
shoulder – hombro
soul - alma


conscious – consciente
famous - famoso
generous – generoso
marvellous - maravilloso
moustache - bigote
previous – previo

Ver también pronunciación de ough/oughtpronunciación-de-la-grafía-ough

Pronunciación de our


course – curso
court – corte; audiencia; pista (de tenis, baloncesto, etc.)
four – cuatro
mourning – luto
to pour – verter
resource – recurso
source – fuente
your  - su (de usted) (también /U@/)


to devour – devorar
flour – harina
hour – hora
to scour – fregar
sour - agrio


courage – valor
to flourish – florecer
to nourish - nutrir


bourgeois – burgués
tour  - tour
tourist - turista


courtesy – cortesía
journal – periódico; revista
journalist – periodista
journey – viaje


colour – color
flavour - sabor
honour – honor
humour – humor
neighbour - vecino
odour - olor
rumour – rumor
vigour – vigor


Clasifica las siguientes palabras según se pronuncien las grafías ou/our:

to mourn – llorar la muerte de alguien
cloudy – nublado
touchstone – piedra de toque
neighbourhood – vecindario
bigamous – bígamo
mountain – montaña
tourism – turismo
souvenir -  recuerdo
nourishment – nutrición
journalism – periodismo
boulder - canto rodado
bouquet – aroma de vino
contour – contorno
mould – molde
hourly – cada hora
to bounce – rebotar
wounded – herido
county – condado
countryman – campesino
counter – mostrador
scourge – azote; plaga
rouge – colorete
camouflage – camuflaje
our - nuestro
parlour – salón
gourd – calabaza
foursome – grupo de cuatro personas
sourly – agriamente
pouring – torrencial (lluvia)
touchy – quisquilloso,-a
soulless – desangelado
boundary – límite
glorious – glorioso
courgette - calabacín
jealous - celoso, -a


/aU/      cloudy, mountain, to bounce, county, counter, boundary

/V/        touchstone, nourishment, countryman, touchy

/u:/       souvenir, wounded, rouge

/U/        bouquet, camouflage

/@U/      boulder, mould, soulless

/@/        neighbourhood, bigamous, parlour, glorious, jealous

/O:/       to mourn, foursome, pouring

/aU@/    hourly, sourly, our

/U@/      tourism, contour, gourd

/3:/       journalism, scourge, courgette

Para un estudio completo de la pronunciación de las distintas grafías, ver mi libro Manual de Pronunciación Inglesa Comparada con la Española, 5ª ed., Comares, Granada, pp. 213-241.


Preparing for the 'oposiciones': el sufijo -aholic.

Todos conoceréis la palabra 'alcoholic', que significa alcohólico, adicto al alcohol. Sin embargo, puede que algunos no sepáis que la terminación de esta palabra ha dado lugar a la creación de un nuevo sufijo: - aholic, que puede usarse en otras combinaciones para referirse a personas con adicción a otras cosas. Sirvan como ejemplo los siguientes neologismos, es decir palabras de reciente creación:

workaholic - adicto al trabajo, o sea, persona que trabaja en exceso y disfruta haciéndolo
shopaholic - persona adicta a ir de compras, adquiriendo la mayoría de las veces, cosas que en realidad no necesita
chocaholic/chocoholic - persona adicta al chocolate

Es más que probable que haya otros palabras con esta terminación o que vayan surgiendo en el futuro, por lo que podemos decir que 
 -aholic  se ha convertido en un sufijo relativamente productivo.


Preparing for the 'oposiciones': indirect/reported speech

Indirect/reported speech

Si al contar lo que alguien dijo usamos las mismas palabras dichas por la persona en cuestión estamos empleando el estilo directo:

Derek told me: «You're very pretty» Derek me dijo: «Estás muy guapa»

Pero si  contamos lo que la otra persona dijo con nuestras propias palabras entonces estamos empleando el estilo indirecto:

Derek told me that I was very pretty Derek me dijo que estaba muy guapa

Para practicar, os propongo pasar a estilo indirecto las frases en los siguientes ejercicios: 

EXERCISE 1: Declarative sentences (aseveraciones)

1.- Mother to her son: "I think that sport is not safe."
2.- John to Elizabeth: "We're going to be late again."
3.- Elizabeth to John: "I´m nearly ready."
4.- Helen to Jane: "I bought this dress yesterday."
5.- Wife to mother: "John is being buried next week."
6.- In-laws comment to Charles: "We think that our daughter has made a mistake marrying you."

EXERCISE 2: Questions (preguntas)

7.- "What are you reading?", he asked her.
8.- "Was your train late?", she asked him.
9.- "Is your boyfriend English or American?", he wanted to know.
10.- "Can you lend me twenty pounds'", I asked Alfred
11.- "Where shall we meet tomorrow?", he asked her.
12.- "May I use your telephone?", she asked him.

EXERCISE 3: Commands and requests (órdenes y peticiones)

13.- Wife to husband: "Don´t forget to ring my mother's doctor".
14.- "Stand to attention when I'm talking to you", the sergeant ordered the soldier.
15.- "Turn right at the next set of traffic lights and stop at the end of the street", the passenger told the taxi driver.
16.- "Don't smoke in my car", Sue begged Tony.
17.- "Wait for me here", Doris told her daughter.
18.- "Buy me a magazine on your way back", she told her husband.

EXERCISE 4: Exclamations and special difficulties (exclamaciones y dificultades especiales)

19.- "Help!", the drowning man said.
20.- "The school is on fire!", our teacher said.
21.- "Let's invite our friends to a barbecue tonight", he said
22.- "How expensive Spain has become!, the tourist said.
23.- "I'm innocent", the defendant said.
24.- "Damn! The light has gone out!, he said.



1.- The mother told her son (that) she thought that sport was not/wasn't safe.
2.- John told Elizabeth (that) they were going to be late again.
3.- Elizabeth told John (that) she was nearly ready.
4.- Helen told Jane (that) she had bought the/that dress the day before.
5.- The wife told her mother that John was being buried the following week/the next week.
6.- Charles´s in-laws commented to him that they thought their daughter had made a mistake marrying him.


7.- He asked her what she was reading.
8.- She asked him if his train had been late.
9.- He wanted to know whether/if her boyfriend was English or American.
10.- I asked Alfred if he could lend me twenty pounds.
11.- He asked her where they should meet the following day/the next day.
12.- She asked him if she might use his telephone.


13.- The wife told her husband not to forget to ring her mother's doctor.
14.-- The sergeant ordered the soldier to stand to attention when he was talking to him.
15.- The passenger told the taxi driver to turn right at the next set of traffic lights and to stop at the end of the street.
16.- Sue begged Tony not to smoke in her car.
17.- Doris told her daughter to wait for her there.
18.- She told her husband to buy her a magazine on his way back.


19.- The drowning man yelled for help.
20.- Our teacher shouted/cried (out) that the school was on fire.
21.- He suggested inviting their friends to a barbecue that night/evening.
22.- The tourist exclaimed that Spain had become very expensive.
23.- The defendant shouted/cried that he was innocent.
24.- He cursed aloud when the light went out.


Si alguno de los ejercicios, especialmente el nº 4, os dado algún problema, os recomiendo consultar mi Gramática Inglesa, 9ª ed., pp. 608-617.


Origen del modismo 'a feather in one's cap'

The idiom a feather in one's cap is used to mean a personal achievement or honour to be proud of ('apuntarse un tanto' in Spanish). 
This idiom, according to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, comes from the custom, general in Asia and among the Native Americans, of adding a feather to the headgear for every enemy killed. The ancient Lycians and many others had a similar custom, just as the sportsman who kills the first woodcock puts a feather in his cap. At one time in Hungary the only person who could wear a feather was the one who had killed a Turk.


- achievement - logro
- headgear - cualquier tocado para la cabeza (sombrero, gorra, gorro, etc.)
- ancient - antiguo,-a
- Lycians - habitantes de Lycia, antigua región en la costa sudoeste de Asia Menor.
- woodcock becada
- Hungary - Hungría
- Turk - turco

Preparing for the 'oposiciones': Modismos con prendas de vestir

Comparto hoy con vosotros una serie de modismos con prendas de vestir y unos cuantos ejercicios para practicar.

Modismos ingleses y sus equivalentes en español

- to hit below the belt - dar un golpe bajo
- to tighten one's belt - apretarse el cinturón
- to be a wet blanket - ser un aguafiestas
- the boot/shoe is on the other foot - se han cambiado las tornas/las cosas han cambiado
- cap in hand - humildemente, respetuosamente
- a feather in one's cap - apuntarse un tanto
- if the cap fits, wear it - quien se pica, ajos come
- to fit like a glove - sentar a alguien como un guante
- to handle someone with kid gloves - tratar a alguien con guantes de seda
- at the drop of a hat - enseguida, a las primeras de cambio
- to talk through one's hat - decir tonterías sobre algo que no se conoce, haber oído campanas y no saber dónde
- to keep something under one's hat - no decir ni pío de algo a alguien, mantener en secreto
- to wash one's dirty linen in public - lavar los trapos sucios en público
- to be in someone's shoes - estar en el pellejo de alguien.
- to put oneself in someone else's shoes - ponerse en el lugar de alguien
- on a shoestring - con escasos medios/presupuesto
- to have an ace up one's sleeve - guardar un as en la manga
- to wear one's heart on one's sleeve - no ocultar los sentimientos, ser transparente
- to pull one's socks up - esforzarse, esmerarse
- to be a stuffed shirt - ser una persona estirada/engreída
- to wear the trousers (IBr)/the pants (IAm) - llevar los pantalones
- to throw in the towel - tirar la toalla

Modismos españoles con sus equivalentes en inglés

- tener a alguien en el bolsillo - to have somebody in one's pocket
- morir con las botas puestas - to die with one's boots on
- cambiarse de camisa/de chaqueta/ser un chaquetero - to turn one's coat/to be a turncoat
- meterse en camisa de once varas - (a) (meterse en problemas) to get into deep water; (b) (meterse donde no lo llaman a uno) to meddle in other people's business
- andar de capa caída - (mal de salud) to be out of sorts; (mal de dinero) to be in a bad way/to have seen better days
- hacer de su capa un sayo - to do as one jolly well pleases
- echar a alguien un capote - to give/lend somebody a hand
- estar pegado a las faldas de la madre - to be tied to one's mother's apron strings
- liarse la manta a la cabeza - to go the whole hog/to throw caution to the wind(s)
- el mundo es un pañuelo - it's a small world
- nadar y guardar la ropa - to hedge one's bets
- pegársele a alguien las sábanas - to oversleep


En cada una de las frases hay un modismo incompleto. Intenta completarlo:

1.- Inspector Caulder has tracked the criminal down. That's a feather ..........
2.- In the end, he came to me cap........., asking me to help him.
3.- He's in a tight spot. I wouldn't like to be in .........
4.- The Prime Minister has said that we'll have to tighten ......... if we want to get out of the present economic crisis.
5.- She's so touchy. She needs to be handled with ..........
6.- Who wears the your house, your father or your mother?
7.- Everybody's having fun - don't be a wet ........or they'll never invite you again.
8.- When I said somebody here is stingy, I wasn't referring to you, but if the ...... fits wear it.
9.- Don't worry about Jason - I'm sure he's still got an ace ..........
10.- Never wash your dirty public.


Une los modismos españoles con sus equivalentes en inglés:

1.- Estar pegado a las faldas de la madre.
2.- Andar de capa caída.
3.- Ser un chaquetero.
4.- El mundo es un pañuelo.
5.- Pegársele a alguien las sábanas.
6.- Ser una persona estirada.
7.- Meterse en camisa de once varas.
8.- Liarse la manta a la cabeza. 
9.- Tirar la toalla.
10.- Nadar y guardar la ropa.

a.- To oversleep
b.- To be out of sorts
c.- To hedge one's bets
d.- To be tied to one's mother's strings
e.- To be a stuffed shirt.
f.- To throw caution to the wind(s)
g.- It's a small world
h.- To throw in the towel
i.- To meddle in other people's business
j.- To be a turncoat


Ejercicio 1: 1.- in his cap; 2.- in hand; 3.- his shoes; 4.- our belts; 5.- kid gloves; 6.- trousers(IBr)/pants(IAm); 7.- blanket; 8.- cap; 9.- up his sleeve; 10.- linen

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


Preparing for the 'oposiciones': idioms with 'dog'

Próximas las oposiciones a profesores de inglés en secundaria en Andalucía y otras comunidades autónomas, como Aragón, inauguro hoy una nueva sección en mi blog, que me gustaría que tuviera una frecuencia diaria o casi diaria. La titulo preparing for the 'oposiciones', y en ella encontraréis fundamentalmente ejercicios de gramática, léxico, modismos, verbos frasales, etc., aunque naturalmente seguiré intercalando algo de entretenimiento y humor porque, como dice el refrán inglés, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy (todo no puede ser trabajar, es bueno divertirse/distraerse de vez en cuando). 
Debo advertir a mis seguidores y a cualquier persona que estime oportuno leer mis entradas, que esta nueva sección de mi blog no pretende sustituir a nadie ni a nada en la tarea de preparar para las oposiciones. Ya hay excelentes preparadores, academias de prestigio, mágnifícas webs (utilísima es, por ejemplo, Cuaderno Bilingüe de Javi, que he recomendado en varias ocasiones y, también sus posts en Facebook, titulados Oposiciones 2014: Practical). Mi objetivo es simplemente ofrecer una ayuda más en la difícil y ardua tarea de prepararse para estas oposiciones. Tampoco conviene olvidar que se trata de oposiciones extremadamente competitivas. Basta con tener en cuenta que con sólo 1000 candidatos que se presenten para cubrir 100 plazas, sólo uno de cada diez podrá obtener plaza y puede que se presenten algunos más.
Sin embargo, aprobar aunque sea sin plaza es siempre útil para poder aspirar a entrar en la lista de sustituciones, etc. y lograr puntos para otra oportunidad. Por último y como objetivo complementario, mis posts pueden ser útiles para refrescar los conocimientos de inglés.
Empiezo hoy esta nueva sección con idioms with 'dog'. Mi intención es dar una lista con los más frecuentes y también algunos menos usados pero muy curiosos, todos ellos con un equivalente en español. Los más usados van marcados con un asterisco.  Seguirá luego un ejercicio, el origen de uno de ellos y un 'tip' para la práctica de 'listening skill':


- * a dog's life - una vida de perros
- a hair of the dog (that bit you) - pequeña cantidad de alcohol que se toma  a la mañana siguiente de una borrachera supuestamente para quitar la resaca
- as sick as a dog - muy enfermo
- * to be a dog in the manger - ser (como) el perro del hortelano (que ni come ni deja comer)
- to be dressed up like a dog's dinner (IBr) - estar/ir todo,-a emperifollado,-a
- * to be the dog's bollocks - (vulg) ser algo cojonudo
- * every dog has its/his day - a todo el mundo, incluso al más insignificante,  le llega su momento de gloria
- give a dog a bad name (and hang him) (refrán) - calumnia que algo queda, si alguien es calumniado, le es luego muy difícil recuperar su buen nombre
- * to go to the dogs - venirse abajo, irse al traste
- dog eat dog - competencia feroz (dog-eat-dog como adj.)
- to help a lame dog over a stile - ayudar a alguien que está en apuros
- * let sleeping dogs lie - no despiertes al león dormido, mejor no meneallo
- like a dog with two tails - como niño con zapatos nuevos
- to make a dog's breakfast/dinner of sth (IBr) - hacer algo muy mal, hacer un desastre/desaguisado
* not have/stand a dog's chance - no tener ni la más mínima oportunidad
- to put on the dog - (IAm) - darse pisto/tono
* to rain cats and dogs - llover a cántaros, caer chuzos de punta
- a shaggy dog story - un chiste viejo, largo y malo.
- * the tail wagging the dog - el mundo al revés (la parte menos importante controla a la parte más importante)
- * there's life in the old dog yet - no está acabado todavía
- * to treat sb like a dog - tratar a alguien como a un perro
- you can't teach an old dog new tricks - (refrán) es difícil hacer cambiar de ideas, hábitos, etc. a las personas mayores

Origen del modismo every dog has its/his day

Según Brewer en su Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, esta expresión viene del latín Hodie mihi, cras tibi ('today to me, tomorrow to thee'), que significa 'tú ahora estás triunfando, pero ya llegará mi momento'.


Completa las siguientes frases con un modismo que contenga la palabra dog:

1.- They are divorced now; another marriage ..................
2.- Don't bring up old family feuds - better ......................
3.- Since his father bought him the new mobile he's ..........
4.- He didn't hesitate to sacrifice his best friend to get to the top - another case of ............
5.- Oh, my God! he's going to tell us that ...............again.
6.- He's far from finished. He's had another book published - ........
7.- My children helped me recoderate my house, but they've ..............of it.
8.- He hasn't had any luck yet, but I'm sure he'll find the right job eventually - ...............
9.- I'm worried about him. His novel has received a lot of undeserved criticism, and you know the saying..............
10.- You shouldn't go out in this weather, ................


1.- gone to the dogs; 2.- let sleeping dogs lie; 3.- like a dog with two tails; 4.- dog eat dog; 5.- shaggy dog story; 6.- there's life in the old dog yet; 7.- made a dog's breakfast/dinner; 8.- every dog has its/his day; 9.- give a dog a bad name and hang him; 10.- it's raining cats and dogs.


Para practicar tu 'listening skill', busca en Google la página de la BBC Learning English, y allí en Words in the News, oye el vídeo every dog has its day.


Vocabulario ocupaciones y profesiones -2

Comparto hoy con vosotros una 2ª tanda de ocupaciones y profesiones. Como en la 1ª tanda, vuestra misión es encontrar los equivalentes en inglés y hacer el ejercicio extra que os propongo:

Nivel elemental

1.- ingeniero
2.- arquitecto
3.- carpintero
4.- electricista
5.- mecánico
6.- escritor
7.- profesor
8.- músico

Nivel intermedio

9.- modista
10.- periodista
11.- bibliotecario
12.- librero
13.- niñera
14.- bombero
15.- canguro
16.- juez

Nivel avanzado

17.- ebanista
18.- cajero,-a en supermercado
19.-director de orquesta
20.- asesor de imagen 
21.- aparejador
22.- cerrajero
23.- encofrador
24.- agente inmobiliario


Nivel elemental: 1.- engineer; 2.- architect; 3.- carpenter; 4.- electrician; 5.- mechanic; 6.- writer; 7.- teacher; 8.- musician

Nivel intermedio: 9.- dressmaker; 10.- journalist; 11.- librarian; 12.- bookseller; 13.- nanny; 14.- fireman/firefighter; 15.- babysitter; 16.- judge

Nivel avanzado: 17.- cabinet maker; 18.- checkout assistant; 19.- conductor; 20.- image consultant; 21.- quantity surveyor/assistant architect; 22.- locksmith; 23.- shutterer; 24.- (real) estate agent.

Ejercicio extra

¿A qué profesiones se refieren las siguientes definiciones?

1.- Someone who studies the laws  that control living organisms.
2.- Someone who studies the rocks and soil that make up the Earth.
3.- Someone who studies ancient societies by examining what remains  of their buildings, graves, tools, etc.
4.- Someone authorized to draw up or certify legal documents such as contracts, deeds, etc.
5.- Someone who studies the nature and properties of matter and energy.
6.- Someone who arranges funerals.
7.- Someone who studies wild plants.
8.- Someone who studies stars, planets and other celestial objects.


1.- biologist (biólogo); 2.- geologist (geólogo); 3.- archaelogist (arqueólogo); 4.- notary; 5.- physicist (físico); 6.- undertaker (director de pompas fúnebres).7.- botanist (botánico); 8.- astronomer (astrónomo).