Keep Calm and Carry On

You can see this phrase on t-shirts, posters, coffee mugs, bags and more. But do you know the message this phrase was meant to convey? Watch this 3-minute video to discover the fascinating story behind the slogan!…

Mini Lesson: Present Perfect vs. Past Simple

There are many rules and examples to explain when it is correct to use the Present Perfect, and when to use Past Simple.

Perhaps the simplest way to remember the main difference is to think in terms of an ‘open’ period of time and a ‘closed’ period of time.

Generally we use the Present Perfect if we are talking about an action taking place in an open period of time. This means a period of time that is not finished, includes the present and possibly the future.

“I have lived in this house all my life.”

From this sentence we understand the person’s life as an open period of time (the person is still living). So, they have lived in that house until now and may continue living there in the future. (Or not).





However, if the sentence refers to a closed period of time, in other words, a specific period in the past that is finished, we would use the Past Simple.

“I lived in this house all my childhood.”

If the person speaking is an adult, then the period of time (their childhood) is closed since he or she is not a child anymore. This is why we use the Past Simple.






Some course books and teachers talk about actions that are completed or not completed. This can be confusing in sentences like these:

“I have written ten text messages this morning.”

“I wrote ten text messages this morning.”

The difference between the two is not related to the action being completed or not. (In both cases the action of writing ten messages is completed.) The difference is that in the first sentence we understand that the period of time (this morning) is still open. In other words, it is still morning, and it is possible for that person to write more messages in that period.

In the second sentence, we understand that the period of time is closed. (Now, it is afternoon.)


This grammar tip can help you remember and/or understand other rules of Present Perfect vs. Past Simple such as:

Present Perfect is used for actions that continue in the present.

In the sentence, “I have worked here for fifteen years.” the 15 years is referring to an open period which is not finished and could go on to become 16 years, 17 years, etc.

However, in the sentence “I worked here for fifteen years.” the 15 years is referring to a closed period. So, it is clear that the person speaking does not work there now.


What would you like our next Mini Lesson to be about? Let us know!


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Curso de Inmersión… ¡sin salir de Madrid!

¿Necesitas mejorar tu inglés rápidamente sin gastar demasiado tiempo y dinero en viajar al extranjero, o quedar en hoteles y casas rurales?

¡Te traemos la solución a la puerta de tu casa!






Así es como funciona:

  • Primero, analizamos tus necesidades especificas y tus intereses generales.
  • Segundo, diseñamos un programa personalizado basado en tus necesidades e intereses.
  • Tercero, te enviamos un tutor personal a tu casa o lugar de trabajo para poner en forma tu inglés, dándote los mejores resultados por tu tiempo y dinero invertido.

Nuestros profesores se desplazarán (dentro de Madrid) y estarán contigo todo el día para ofrecerte un entrenamiento personalizado e intensivo.

También te damos la posibilidad de formar grupos con familiares, compañeros de trabajo y/o amigos.

Estos Cursos de Inmersión son de lunes a viernes (medio día o día completo).

También hay cursos para fines de semana.

Nuestros programas incluyen actividades, excursiones, ejercicios y muchas horas de conversación.

Para consultar precios y disponibilidad, envía un mensaje a

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Nice buildings but, who’s gonna pay?

“In the boom years, Spain raised some of the most spectacular new architecture in the world. Now that the economy is bust, who is going to pay for them?”

Read the full article published in TIME magazine.

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Fifty People, One Question

“Where would you wish to wake up tomorrow?”
“Before the end of today, what would you wish to happen?”
These are some of the questions asked to people all over the world, in a project that aims to explore our inner side… wherever and whoever we are.
Enjoy the videos of this interesting initiative here.

English Mania!

In this 6-minute video, Jay Walker explains why two billion people around the world are trying to learn English. He also shows us the curious method being used by the Chinese to become fluent in “the world’s second language”.
(This video can be viewed with subtitles in English and Spanish, among others.)

House Exchange

In times of crisis, you have to make the best of what you have and try to save up as much as you can. 
Here is a way to travel by cutting down on the costs of accommodation and at the same time optimizing the payments of your house loan…

Too good to be true?
See for yourself!: Intervac


Did your cat knock your computer onto the floor?
Is your bicycle too old to keep going?
Your home is missing a bookcase… and you don’t have the money to buy one?
You may be surprised to find that all these situations have a common solution: you can often transform something unusable into whatever you need.
Find some fantastic ideas right here.

The “They” Debate

Is ‘they’ acceptable as a singular pronoun? He/she or they?

Here you’ll find some arguments in favor of ‘they’ instead of his/her. What do you think?

Read article here.

The Phone Stack

How long can you go through a dinner out with friends without picking up or checking your mobile phone?

This new trend will be putting people to the test, and hopefully reminding us of the rules of etiquette regarding mobile phones that seem to have got lost over the years.

Read the article here.