Monday, April 16, 2012

Passive voice

The passive voice in English is formed in this way:
TO BE (tense)   +   PAST PARTICIPLE (meaning)
We've seen in class that this form is much more frequent in English than in Spanish because it's used instead of impersonal sentences in Spanish. Take into account it's not possible to have a verb without its subject in English so when this subject is not important, not known or not said we should use passive voice. Have a look at these examples:
  • Most people say...   =   It is said ...     (Se dice que....)
  • We can speak English here   =   English is spoken here   (Aquí se habla inglés)
  • They opened a new exhibition yesterday  =  A new exhibition was opened yesterday (Ayer se abrió una nueva exposición)
  • Someone sent an email yesterday   =   An email was sent yesterday   (Se envió un email ayer)
  • Someone has sent a letter to Susan   =   Susan has been sent a letter  (A Susan le han enviado una carta)
Some other typical expressions or examples of passive voice are:
  • This book was published in the UK 
  • The conversations are being held in secret (Las conversaciones se están llevando en secreto)
  • America was discovered in 1492 (América fue descubierta / se descubrió en 1492)
  • The film is directed and starred by G. Clooney 
  • I've been told you're getting married next Monday (Me han dicho que te casas el lunes que viene)
  • John was given the job after the interview (A John le dieron el trabajo después de la entrevista)
Here you have a very easy page which explains the use of passive. If you want to have a look go to this link:

To finish with here you are some exercises to practise:

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Infinitive or Gerund? (NI1 y NI2)

The use of gerund or infinitive is rather hard for Spanish speakers although we have a similar construction. Pay attention to the difference in meaning between these two sentences:

Vi a tu hermano jugar al futbol           ------            Vi a tu hermano jugando al futbol

The problem is that after certain verbs we use infinitive (with or without TO) or gerund. And there are some which can be followed by both, with or without change of meaning. 

It’s difficult to explain the rules for using one or the other but in general you might say that infinitive has a certain idea of future, potential action while gerund is usually referred to present or past ; e. g.: Remember to buy some bread but I remember buying some bread at the baker’s when I was a child.

Here you have a link which is quite useful to understand how to use these two no personal verbal forms: and then you should see this; but if you want to have a larger explanation you can go to 

Apart from the links above, there are many lists of verbs you can find on grammar books or on the internet. This page is another example :

It’s hard and difficult to learn ths list by heart so you’d better do some exercises with a context to practice with this. Some possible exercises are about filling in the gaps or multiple choice. There are quite a lot if you use the internet like these ones:

If you want to do something different to learn this prompt of grammar, go to : you have two videos about the use of infinitive or gerund.

Someone like you

One of my students asked me about this song and I must say it's one of my favourite ones so here you have an exercise to practise:
"There's nothing quite like the ___________________ when you listen to the song ___________ by someone you don't know, you've never met but ______________ she's managed to _______________ exactly how you've felt in a _______________ moment in your ____________ -
This next artist has __________ able to do this ___________ after ___________. And it's for that ______________ she's carrying number one in astonishingly ________ counties. If you've ________ had a broken heart, ..... (sorry, but I don't understand the last sentence)
I hope you'll have a good time with this exercise.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Exams of Comunidad de Madrid

This is the last therm and we should take into account how short time we've got left before the exams so let's practise with them. Here you have the link to the official sample for the exams. You can take the exams on your own and remember the key is within the document so you can correct almost everything by yourself. The link is:;jsessionid=694AA4E350AC057E102A0B86D440B147
Nevertheless I'd like you to do the first task of writing ( the short one) on the official sheet you can find on this link. Please print it and give it to me as a class exercise of writing. I'll mark it as if I were in the exam so do it in the recommended time and pay attention to what you're asked to do.
Bring it to class for the following week, please. See you!