Paraty-featured image
A2, B1, grammar

Practice making English questions about “Paraty”

Paraty is one of my favorite cities in Brazil. It’s an old, colonial city that makes you feel you are traveling back in time.

Today we’ll do both, practice making questions in English at the same time we learn a little about this picturesque town.

Read the questions and answers below and notice the verb tense and kind of question. Is it a yes/no question? a wh-question? is it in the present, past tense? is it in the active or passive voice?

How long were you in Paraty? (simple past with “be”)

I spent a whole week there.

Where did you stay? (simple past)

I stayed in a Posada run by Doña Martha, an Argentinean lady who fell in love with the city and decided to move there and start a business. Her breakfasts are delicious!

Having breakfast at the posada

Had you been to Paraty before? (past perfect)

No, I hand’t. It was my first time in that city.

Why are all the houses painted white? (simple present with “be”)

Because there was a law that said all the houses had to be painted white.

What happened to the people who didn’t follow the law? (simple past, subject question, that’s why there are no auxiliary verbs like “do” or “does”)

They were fined.

Is this law enforced in the present? (simple present, passive voice)

The historic center was named UNESCO heritage, which means home owners can’t change the structure or color of the construction.

What are those symbols? (simple present with “be”)

They are masonry symbols.

Why do the houses have many doors? (simple present)

For easy access.

Can the doors be changed into windows? (simple present with modals, passive voice)

Yes, they can. Some people wanted to convert the doors into windows, so the government allowed them to make the change provided that they show the new window used to be a door. As you can see in the picture below (on the right), those two yellow lines that go down to the floor signal that that window used to be a door.

Who lives here? (simple present, subject question, that’s why there are no auxiliary verbs like “do” or “does”)

Prince John does.

Whose house is that? (simple present, question using a possessive pronoun)

Prince John’s.

What’s this church called? (simple present, passive voice)

It’s called Santa Rita, it’s the oldest church in Paraty. You can find a museum of the catholic church inside.

What activities can I do in Paraty? (simple present with modal verb)

You can go Kayaking, take a walking tour downtown, go on a boat tour, go shopping (there are very nice clothes, especially for women), go to bars, restaurants, go on a cachaça tour and much more!

Why are there so many pink boats? (simple present with “be”)

According to my tour guide, the first gay elected mayor in Paraty painted his boat pink, then everybody started doing it.

What’s Paraty’s signature drink? (simple present with “be”)

Paraty’s signature drink is called Gabriela, which unlike the regular cachaça, contains clove and cinnamon. Gabriela is what is used to prepare Jorge Amado, a Brazilian caipirinha with passion fruit and lime juice, my favorite!

(question I asked my tour guide) How long have you been doing the cachaça tour? (present perfect continuous)

“I’ve been doing it for a year, it’s a new project. I noticed nobody was doing it and thought, would people be interested in a cachaça tour led by a local”? This town is known for producing the best cachaça in Brazil, so a cachaça tour made a lot of sense.

When did Paraty become known? (simple past)

Paraty became known when the locals started growing sugar cane in the region. Later on, after the discovery of the world’s richest gold mines in 1696 in the mountains of Minas Gerais, Paraty became an export port for gold to Rio de Janeiro and from there on to Portugal.

A2, vocabulary

Kitchen verbs

How many kitchen verbs do you know? Go over this presentation and test your knowledge!

Step 1: Study with the flashcards

Read the definitions aloud and look at the pictures.

Step 2: Download the flashcards

Click on the download button to download the flashcards in PDF format. Go over them again next week and test how many you can remember.

Kitchen verbs

A1, A2, vocabulary

Board games

How many words related to Board games do you know?

Step 1: Watch the video

While you watch listen and repeat after me. I recommend taking notes of each new word to practice spelling.

Happy learning!

Step 2: Do the exercises

A2, Recorded class

The Present Perfect

The Present Perfect could be a confusing verb tense for English learners since it has multiple uses. One of those uses is to talk about “past experiences” or things that have happened to us in the past. For example, when we tell a friend I’ve been to Thailand, I’ve had Indonesian food or My brother has surfed in Hawaii, we are using the present perfect to talk about experiences. Watch this video to understand how to form sentences with this verb tense and how to use it in conversation.

Step 1: Watch the video

Step 2: Do the exercises

A2, grammar

Superlatives in New Orleans

I wasn’t planning to go anywhere in August but was gladly surprised by my boyfriend’s birthday present, a trip to New Orleans! One of America’s most culturally and historically-rich destinations, New Orleans is a city of superlatives. There I found the best food, drinks and parties 😉

IMG-20180806-WA0085

So I thought, why don’t I use the photos and videos I took during my trip and make a lesson? This month I am teaching an upper basic class and one of the class objectives is to use superlatives to describe our travel experiences. So here is a mix of my most recent travel experience in a linguistic context. Learn about New Orleans using superlatives!

A2, B1, grammar

Uses of the word “Just”

“Just” is one of the top 30 words in the English language! Yes, you will hear it all the time in songs, movies, conversations in the streets, etc. Did you know this word could make our sentences sound softer and at the same time it can be used to make our sentences stronger? Crazy! This word has opposite functions.

Using Just

You can use just to make what you say stronger. It can mean “very” or “really”:

  • I often have nightmares, just horrible dreams.
  • He interrupted me and didn’t let me say a word. He’s just rude!

You can also use just to make what you say softer. It can mean “only”:

  • It’s just a little strange.
  • It’s just a little odd.
  • I just wanted to talk to you for a second.
  • She’s not upset, she’s just tired, that’s all.

Just also means “exactly”:

  • They just need the downpayment to get that house.
  • I just need a strong cup of coffee to get started in the mornings.
  • Many people tell me I look just like my father.

How many times have you heard the word just this week? In what contexts? Let me know!