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Friday the 29th of July, 2005
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LEARNING TIPS: SOMOS FATALES CON LOS IDIOMAS

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Good morning.

Spain has one of the worst English levels in the European community. Many people have given me the following explanation:

Somos fatales con los idiomas

This statement insinuates that Spaniards have some sort of English-learning genetic defect! That's absurd.

Some of the best English speakers that I have met are from the state of Spain. However, these people didn't get their excellent level by sitting passively in an English academy as they were pushed through levels without learning much. They took charge of their learning, were motivated, and incorporated English into their daily routine.

Unfortunately, summer is a popular time to forget about English; to "take a break." But remember, one of the most difficult things about learning English is maintaining what you've already learned. If you stay in contact with English this summer, just a little, you will notice a big difference next autumn. Instead of beginning again, you will be able to continue where you left off.

I'm not talking about "studying" in the summer; I'm talking about staying in contact by doing things that you enjoy (for example, reading), but in English. To give you some ideas of how to keep your English alive this summer, I've attached a PDF document that we gave to our students, to remind them of the importance of doing something with English during the summer holidays. The document, written in Spanish, gives ideas for simple things that you can do to practice English.

I hope that you will read the document and take it seriously. I promise that if you find time to do a little something with English this summer, you will notice a big difference when you begin your classes next autumn.

I'll "speak" to you again on Monday, September 5th, the day of the first Daily Vitamin after the summer holidays. Please contact me if you have any questions or comments about today's content.

Have a great summer!



Thursday the 28th of July, 2005
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VITAMIN PREVIEW

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Good morning. Our year of Daily Vitamins has nearly come to an end (finished). There will be no Daily Vitamins in August, but we'll be back in September with lots of new Vitamins to keep your English level in healthy form! Here is a preview of some of the Vitamin topics we will be covering in the 2005-2006 academic year: -->READER REQUESTS. We will continue answering readers' requests. Some that we will answer next year are: giving directions, SO, SHALL, the subjunctive form in English, writing e-mails in English and much more! -->CONNECTOR WORDS: although, however, not only, etc. -->FILLER PHRASES ("muletillas" para llenar espacios en una conversación) -->PHRASES FOR EXPRESSING OPINIONS and other conversational tips. -->MORE FALSE FRIENDS -->WEBPAGE RECOMMENDATIONS AND MANY OTHER INTERESTING TOPICS!! We are also working on The Daily Vitamin Plus!, a special service which will include access to all the Daily Vitamins sent since 2004, daily listenings, monthly activities and more. And, we are beginning to develop The Essential Daily Vitamin for beginners. The Essential Daily Vitamin will be in Spanish, and we hope to have it ready by Christmas 2005. Remember that the best way to learn English is to make it a daily habit. "Taking" your Daily English Vitamin can help by giving you a little English every day. We hope you have learned and/or reviewed some English with us this year, and we certainly hope you will continue to receive the Daily Vitamin next year. If there are any topics that you would like us to cover, please don't hesitate to contact us. Tomorrow we will send our last Vitamin before the holidays. In tomorrow's Vitamin we will give you some useful tips (consejos) for staying in contact with English during the summer holidays. Have a great day!



Wednesday the 27th of July, 2005
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POSTCARDS (3)

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Good morning. This week we have been analysing how to write a postcard in English. Yesterday we looked at the use of present and past tenses. Today we are going to focus on the future forms, and we will also look at some examples of descriptive adjectives. Once again, we will take our examples from the postcard in Monday's Vitamin. THE 'GOING TO' FUTURE When we refer to the future, we are usually talking about specific plans that we have. For this reason, we use the present continuous or the going to future forms is – am – are + GOING TO + VERB. Both the present continuous and the 'going to' future form are used to talk about future plans. Contrast the two sentences in the examples below. Both are correct and both refer to tomorrow's plan. Examples: Tomorrow we are going to visit the town together. Tomorrow we are visiting the town together. ADJECTIVES Postcards are descriptive. For this reason, we usually include lots of descriptive adjectives. Here are some adjectives with a positive meaning: wonderful, fantastic, beautiful, amazing, gorgeous, terrific. Here are some adjectives with a negative meaning: awful, terrible, boring, unpleasant, disgusting. Examples: The weather is fantastic. The food was awful. Now you have all the information that you need to write a postcard in English. This summer, if you are going out of town (or not), why not send someone a postcard in English? Or you can send one to us. We would love to hear about your holidays: Ziggurat English Services Nicaragua 48, 5-3 08029 Barcelona (Spain) If you have any questions about postcards in English, please don't hesitate to contact us. Enjoy the rest of your day!



Tuesday the 26th of July, 2005
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POSTCARDS (2)

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Good morning. Yesterday we saw an example of a postcard in English. We learned some common phrases to begin and end a postcard. Today we are going to look at some verb forms which are typically used in postcard writing. We will take our examples from yesterday's postcard. THE PRESENT CONTINUOUS When you write a postcard, it is typical to describe what is happening to you at that moment. For this reason, the most common present tense is the present continuous (is – am – are + VERB + ing). Examples: I'm having a wonderful time! I'm sitting under a palm tree, having a piña colada and relaxing. THE PRESENT PERFECT AND THE PAST SIMPLE We can also talk about our past experiences; if we specify when we did them, we must use the past simple (for example, did, went, saw etc.). If we do not state a specific time expression, we can use the present perfect (for example, have done, have been, have seen). Contrast these two examples: Examples: I went scuba diving yesterday. I have been scuba diving. SHORT FORMS TO SAVE SPACE It is also common to see short (abbreviated) forms of verb tenses. In these cases we don't specify the subject or use the auxiliary verb because this information is obvious from something we have previously written. Examples: Went scuba diving yesterday. Having a wonderful time! Tomorrow we will continue the topic of postcard writing. If you have any questions so far, please don't hesitate to contact us. Have a nice day!



Monday the 25th of July, 2005
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POSTCARDS (1)

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Good morning. I hope you had a great weekend. This is the last week of July, and also the last week of Daily Vitamins until September. Like many of you, we will be on holiday during the month of August; well...most of August. Many people take advantage of their holiday time to travel. If you are visiting a different place this summer, why not practice your English by writing a postcard in English? If you don't have anyone to write to in English, you can write to us: Ziggurat English Services c/ Nicaragua 48, 5-3 08029 Barcelona We would love to hear from you, so we are going to begin this week's Vitamins by looking at how to write a postcard in English. EXAMPLE POSTCARD: Dear Kyle, I'm having a fabulous time here in the Bahamas! The weather is fantastic and the beaches are amazing. Right now I'm sitting under a palm tree, having a piña colada and relaxing. Went scuba-diving yesterday. Saw some beautiful fish. Met a really nice Canadian girl too. Tomorrow we're going to visit the town together. See you when I get back, Jack The words in bold indicate some typical elements used in postcard writing. Today we will look at how to begin and end a postcard. BEGINNING A POSTCARD We usually begin a postcard with the words Dear + NAME, or the word Hi!; postcards tend to be more informal than regular letters. Next we state where we are: I'm (here) in + PLACE or I'm visiting + PLACE, I'm having a great time here in + PLACE. ENDING A POSTCARD Some typical phrases for ending a postcard include: See you when I get back, See you soon, Wish you were here, Hugs and Kisses or Bye for now!. Notice that we do not use all of these phrases in the same postcard. We choose the option that is most appropriate for the person we are writing to. For example, you might want to end your postcard with Hugs and kisses if you are writing to your mother. But perhaps you would prefer See you soon if you are writing to your workmates (compañeros de trabajo). Tomorrow we will explain some more elements of postcard writing. If you have any questions about today's Daily Vitamin, please don't hesitate to contact us. Have a great day!