Angela's English classes

Exercises, resources, tips, ideas and a dose of fun

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Advanced 5 – unit 11: speaking

Compare/Contrast Vocabulary

Language of comparison and contrast

Comparisons with Nouns


CAE tips


Featured imaged:

Trillium erectum comparing red and white color varieties.jpg

wikimedia commons

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CAE Writing samples

Made with Angela Sato

Made with

No matter how you feel about your writing skills, reading samples will help you have a clearer understanding of how to fulfill the expectations of the task. Even though we proofread, we tend to  overlook mistakes or we are unable to recognize that the language we have used is does not suit the purpose. Consequently, comparing your drafts with the following examples will result in obtaining better writing skills.

“Get advice from exam writing expert Fiona Joseph with her weekly CAE writing task. See corrected answers submitted by students in our ‘Makeover’ page. Plus: vocabulary and grammar exercises to help you develop your writing skills!”
Flo-Joe CAE Writing Class

Writing Tasks from the CAE Handbook – Cambridge ESOL Russia


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Levels of formality in writing -AD4

What is formality?

Formality is is a strict following of established rules or customs.

Despite the arrival of the Internet and its repercussions, letter writing is still a significant tool in written commmunication.


BBC’s Bitesize: Formal and informal writing revision

Oxford University Press Resources:

levels of formality

Esspresso English – Levels of formality

Unilearning – Checklist of language to avoid in academic writing

Target Training – Writing Emails: 20 phrases for closing an email

Avoiding clichés


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Writing: Express an opinion on animal treatment – Intermediate 7

The pre-writing task was done in class. In order to convince or persuade people it’s essential to include facts, evidence and expert’s opinions. Do some research when you have made up your mind about the issue you will deal with.

Writing Strategies:

Using Evidence to Strengthen Your Arguments (from Prof. Allison Pease’s Writing Center workshop)

Extra Writing Skills Practice


Reuters: zoos

National Geographic: interview – San Diego zoo

Arguments for and against zoos

Zoos and conservation

A mother’s view on zoos and an alternatives


BBC: using animals in entertainment

 PETA animals in entertainment factsheets

ASPCA animals in entertainmente

Pros and cons of animals in circuses

Animal conservation organizations in Peru:

These organizations provide alternatives to get in touch with wild animals

Fundación Ballena Azul – Peru

ORCA – Peru

Mundo Azul

Amazon Shelter

 Next remember to follow these steps when writing:

  1.  Think about the introduction. State what the situation is in an impersonal way.
  2. Think of at two or three reasons to support your opinion.
  3. Reflect on the possible arguments against them.
  4. Work on your conclusion. You final statement expresses your personal opinion.
  5. Write a draft. Use the ideas you wrote in your plan. Make sure you include the grammar and vocabulary from the unit.
  6. Use a formal style: no contractions or colloquial expressions. Formal style – Yale University
  7. Check for grammar, punctuation or spelling mistakes.

Featured image:

“Animal Rights Memorial – Sherborn, Massachusetts – DSC02932 (cropped 2)” by Daderot – Daderot. Licensed under CC0 via Wikimedia Commons –,_Massachusetts_-_DSC02932_(cropped_2).jpg#/media/File:Animal_Rights_Memorial_-_Sherborn,_Massachusetts_-_DSC02932_(cropped_2).jpg

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Basic 3 – writing Unit 9

Some of you were absent. Here is the information again:

My Plans for next Week

Plan + Writing, please!

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VOA Learning English

USA VOA sticker

Tweeting around I came across VOA. They started following me or viceversa. Then, after some of their tweets I realized it’s a helpful resource for learners and teachers. VOA has more than one site and they have resource in different languages. The site provides lessons divided into two levels, 1 and 2. They  have news and their scripts with highlighted words that are explained on the bottom of the script. People can also make comments on the news and await for feedback.  It’s awesome to have the chance to practice and be assessed for free! I’ve read some responses that have been written  one or two days after being posted. In addition, they have videos.

Perhaps you are thinking that news are boring. VOA has divided their news into topics: World,America,Health,Entertainment,Business & Economics,Science & Technology. There will be something that suits your interests. Another interesting feature I found was ‘Words and Their Stories’ which explains American English expressions (audio and script,too.)

VOA’s website

VOA pronunciation guide

Talk2us Skype call-in show

Talk2us schedule

Confessions of an English learner A place for you to practice your writing. They post a weekly prompt, to give  a chance to practice your writing and to comment on others’ writing. I haven’t read any comments, though. I’ll try writing something myself to see what people respond.

They also offer a free Wordbook with some explanations about parts of speech and  informative images.It’s a simple and comprehensible dictionary with 1500 Words used by Voice of America’s Special English Announcers. It has a Special Words & Information section including  basic business and computer terms, thus it contains maps and some diagrams.

Another  resourceful site to add to the list  is American English,  a website for ESL teachers and learners  managed by The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, U.S. Department of State. If you browse VOA websites you can find nice surprises.

You can’t get enough from VOA. Try  VOA Interactive Learning: Wordbooks. So many learning opportunities!

Other sites they have :

VOA youtube channel captioned videos! daily news reports with subtitles. English in minute: idioms explained in a minute

The use of the images and logos on this post is intended for noncommercial and educational purposes. The images were taken from

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Which words should I use? – Collocations

Student: Teacher, how do I know which are the correct word combinations? I always use prepositions at random or according to what I think sounds better.

Teacher: It’s a matter of practice. You have to read more and you will remember little by little.

Do you feel identified? Learners often use the language without knowing the rules or the right collocations (group of two or more words that usually go together). More than grammar, using them pertinently is key to express yourself more naturally.




(My first Wordle wordcloud!)

Why should we learn collocations? If you do so, your language will be richer. In other words, you will avoid constant repetition of words, your ideas will flow easily and you will get the listeners  more interested in your ideas. Moreover, you will be easily understood. In addition, learning the language in chunks or blocks of language is easier, faster and more entertaining.

Oxford Online Collocation Dictionary is an advantageous resource you can use when unsure about some expressions and especially when writing. The search results show an explanation of the term and the collocations of the word with nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and prepositions as well as common phrases. The layout is not the most eye-catching but it is simple and straightforward.

Try a collocations quiz if to test your knowledge


Do or Make



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Why should I write a summary?

A: Hi, How are you? Yesterday you told me you had finished reading a page-turner. What is it about? I’m going to the bookstore and I might buy it if you recommend it.

B: Sure, I’ll tell you about it. “Gillian was sitting under a cherry blossom tree, when suddenly a hissing sound drew her attention to the …….blah, blah, blah.”

A: Hey,listen!  Could you summarize it for me, please? I just want to know what it is about not the whole story….I don’t have time. What’s more I already got lost. What happened after …?(…)





Summarizing is a skill that we can develop through practice.  The aim of summarizing is to capture the essence of a piece of work in order to make the main ideas available and understandable for someone who doesn’t have ready access to the original book, article, movie, etc. Writing a summary also demonstrates your understanding and capacity of synthesis.


Some points to consider when summarizing a reading:

1. Skimgive a quick and superficial reading. Ask yourself what have I understood? Answer the following questions with the information from the original piece of work:

Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?

2. Read again carefully. Look at words or phrases in bold letters, headings, subheadings, diagrams other any other visually attractive clue.Ask yourself, do I understand it better? Which information is clearer? Underline or circle the key information.

3.Read again to make sure you interpret the author’s conclusion. Why did he/she write the text?

4. Write  your summary. Start with a clear introduction stating the type of work(e.g: article), title, and main point in the present tense – The article (written by Hans Rome, a Maths professor at PUCP) is about …..

5.Read your summary as many times as necessary and compare it with the original. Remember to avoid COPY & PASTE, specific details, personal opinions or personal interpretations.

6. Ask someone else to read it. Anyone who hasn’t read the original text must be able to understand it.


More information on writing a summary:

Practice and examples:


Ways to Say “Say”







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INTERMEDIATE 4 – Pros and cons of a controversial issue, writing

Being authentic is important. Giving your own opinion it, too. However, in order to support your views first you need to have information, experience and knowledge of other views. This will let us take part in richer debates. For this reason I have looked for online material you can use for inspiration.


Parole is the provisional release of a prisoner who agrees to certain conditions
Restitution: the act of returning something that was lost or stolen to its owner


I found an interesting and visual PPT on the following blog. Google thiis:
Ms. Arndt’s Learning Blog     Censorship in TV Programs and Films

All images used in this post are CC0


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INTERMEDIATE 4 – inventions and their historical impact

Look around and pay attention to the simple everyday inventions that improve our lives and let’s face it, often make us lazier.

Someone in class mentioned toilet paper, who could deny it?

Now, for inspiration and reflection

examples of inventions

simple but popular

ideas are out there, what you need is to write them down in your own words and practice the language from the unit.

impact of ….
the automoblie
the internet
the television