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Friday the 16th of October, 2009
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VERBOS MODALES-4

LISTEN TO THE DAILY VITAMIN HERE:

Good morning.

La semana pasada estudiamos los verbos modales May y Might (=posibilidad) y hoy veremos Must y Have to, dos verbos modales que añaden Obligation al verbo principal.

Example 1 (statement without obligation):
I go to work every morning.
(Voy al trabajo cada mañana.)

Example 2 (obligation):
I have to go to work every morning.
(Tengo que ir al trabajo cada mañana.)

Example 3 (obligation):
I must go to work every morning.
(Tengo que ir al trabajo cada mañana.)

Muchos libros de texto marcan una distinción clara entre estos dos modal verbs. Dicen que have to indica obligación externa, mientras que must indica obligación interna (de ti mismo).

Example 4 (external obligation):
I have to work every morning. (Estoy obligado por mi jefe, la sociedad, etc.)
(Tengo que trabajar cada mañana.)

Example 5 (internal obligation):
I must call Anne. (Hace tiempo que no hablo con ella y debo llamar para saber cómo está.)

Sin embargo, los nativos no siempre siguen esta tendencia, y por eso normalmente digo a mis alumnos que no se preocupen demasiado por esta diferencia.

Hay algunas cosas más que recordar:

1) Must NUNCA debe incluir la partícula adverbial to. Es un error muy común entre los alumnos de inglés;

2) El negativo de must es must not o mustn't. Sin embargo, el negativo de have to es don't have to. No se puede decir **haven't to**. Éste también es un error muy común.

3) El pasado de have to es had to, o didn't have to en el negativo. No hay equivalente para el pasado de must, por tanto el pasado de must también es had to, o didn't have to en el negativo.

Example 6 (present):
I must call Anne.
(Tengo que llamar a Anne.)

Example 7 (past):
I had to call Anne.
(Tuve que llamar a Anne.)

NOTA: El negativo de have to (don't have to) indica falta de obligación.

Example 8:
I don't have to call Anne.
(No tengo que llamar a Anne.

No tengo la obligación de llamar a Anne. Si quiero llamarle puedo, pero no es necesario.

El negativo de must (mustn't) indica obligación negativa.

Example 9:
I mustn't call Anne.
(No debo llamar a Anne.)

La frase del Example 9 significa que tengo la obligación de NO llamarla. En el Example 7 tenía la opción, pero aquí no.

Si tienes alguna pregunta sobre el contenido de la Essential Weekly Vitamin de hoy, por favor haz un comentario en la sección de la Daily Vitamin en nuestra página Web.

I hope you have a great day and an excellent weekend!



Thursday the 15th of October, 2009
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SMALL TALK (Revision)

LISTEN TO THE DAILY VITAMIN HERE:

Good morning!

Today's expression is: small talk

It means: polite conversation about unimportant things (for example, the weather, sports, music).

Example 1:
If you have to do business in English, one of the first things you should learn is how to use small talk.

Example 2:
Mike's Boss: Whatever you do, don't talk about politics or religion at the meeting.
Mike: Don't worry, I'm an expert in small talk. I'll avoid all of those controversial topics and concentrate on Barça and the weather.

If you have any questions about today's Daily Vitamin, please post your comments by clicking on the "Add a Comment" button in the Daily Vitamin section on our website (www.ziggurat.es).

Remember that tomorrow we will send the Essential Weekly Vitamin for Spanish-speaking students of English.

Enjoy the rest of your day!



Wednesday the 14th of October, 2009
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SUCCESS LISTENING ACTIVITY-1

LISTEN TO THE DAILY VITAMIN HERE:

Good morning.

Last week I suggested a short video on www.ted.com as a way of practicing your listening skills. Today I want to suggest another one.

http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/joachim_de_posada_says_don_t_eat_the_marshmallow_yet.html

This time it is done by a Spanish speaker (with a good level of English), so those of you who are native Spanish speakers, I think, will find it easy to understand. (There is even some Spanish spoken in a video shown during the presentation.) Another important point is that the video will probably make you laugh.

The speaker, Joachim de Posada, speaks about "the most important factor for success". Do you think this factor is relevant when learning a language? I'd love to hear your opinions (in the Daily Vitamin section on our website).

Remember our suggestions for listening to these short videos (6 minutes):

1) Watch 1-3 times without subtitles to see what you can understand. (Watch difficult-to-understand segments more if you would like.)

2) Watch the video 1-3 times more, with English subtitles.

3) If there is something that you still don't understand, activate the Spanish subtitles, or the subtitles of another language that you understand better than English (French, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese...).

The rest of this week I will suggest other short videos that present ideas of what brings us success (however we may define that). Watching these videos will help you to improve your listening skills and, therefore, to be more successful with your English (I hope).

I hope to see your comments on the website. Have a nice day!



Tuesday the 13th of October, 2009
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THE STORY OF MY LIFE

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Good morning. I hope everyone had a nice long weekend.

Today I include one more Daily Vitamin to follow up last week's lesson about the difference between History and Story.

Today's expression is: that's the story of my life (informal/humorous)

Meaning: when you say that's the story of my life about an unfortunate experience you have had, you mean to say that you have had many similar experiences.

Example 1:
My uncle told me that he would pay me back as soon as possible. That's the story of my life.

Example 2:
After we split up, she told me that she would like to continue being friends. That's the story of my life.

In example one, I don't really think that my uncle is going to pay me back soon, since he never has in the past. And in example two I don't really believe that I will continue to be friends with my ex-girlfriend, because all of my previous ex-girlfriends have never become friends. This expression is used informally, and has a touch of sarcastic humour in it. ;-)

If you have any questions about today's Daily Vitamin, please post your comments by clicking on the "Add a Comment" button in the Daily Vitamin section on our website (www.ziggurat.es).

I hope you have a great day.



Friday the 09th of October, 2009
Rating (2 votes)

VERBOS MODALES-3

LISTEN TO THE DAILY VITAMIN HERE:

Good morning.

Continuando nuestro repaso de los Modal Verbs, hoy analizamos May y Might.

May y Might se utilizan para expresar probabilidad. Cuando usamos May y Might la probabilidad de que se realice la acción del verbo principal es, aproximadamente, de un 50 por cien. Para expresar probabilidad, puede utilizarse may y might indistintamente, ya que añaden la misma "actitud" de probabilidad al verbo principal.

Example 1 (100% Probability):
I am going to England this summer.
(Voy a Inglaterra este verano.)

Example 2 (50% Probability):
I may go to England this summer.
(Puede que vaya a Inglaterra este verano.)

Example 3 (50% Probability):
I might go to England this summer.
(Puede que vaya a Inglaterra este verano.)

En el primer ejemplo, la persona que habla tiene planes seguros de ir a Inglaterra en el verano; probablemente tiene los billetes de avión, reserva en un hotel, etc. En los ejemplos 3 y 4, no está claro si va a ir o no, y no tiene planes definitivos.

Con el tiempo verbal Present Perfect (HAVE + participio), se puede usar estos dos Modal Verbs para especular sobre cosas que podrían o no haber ocurrido en el pasado (may o may not have...).

Example 4 (50% Probability):
He may have gone to England yesterday.
(Puede que fuera a Inglaterra ayer.)

Example 5 (50% Probability):
He might have gone to England yesterday.
(Puede que fuera a Inglaterra ayer.)

Dices estas frases cuando no estás seguro si la persona en cuestión ha ido a Inglaterra o no.

Si estamos el 95% seguros de algo que podía haber ocurrido o no en el pasado, usamos el verbo modal must, puesto que sabemos que la especulación es cierta

Example 6 (95% Probability):
He must have gone to England; last week he told me that he was going to go and he hasn't come to work today.
(Habrá ido a Inglaterra; la semana pasada me dijo que iba a ir y no ha venido al trabajo hoy.)

Si tienes alguna pregunta sobre el contenido de la Essential Weekly Vitamin de hoy, por favor haz un comentario en la sección de la Daily Vitamin en nuestra página web.

I hope you have a great day and an excellent weekend!