B1, Blog

My older friends

People often hang out with people their same age, that makes sense since people your generation tend to have similar interests, but since I can remember I’ve always had friends who are older than me.

When I was in my 20’s I befriended a lovely lady, who was first friends with my parents. Sol was in her 50’s and somehow we hit it off and became friends. One day I was using the title “usted” (in English “you”), which we use in Spanish to address people who are older than you to show respect and the next day I was using “tu” (also “you”), which we use with friends and people our age. She used to sell make-up and I became her client, then somewhere along the way we started texting and we even went shopping for clothes together once when we lived in Lima. She moved to New Jersey and we lost touch for a few years but reconnected recently and I’m so happy we did.

This year I befriended two adorable guys who are at least 30 years older than me. Bertran and Gaytan were my neighbors in Playa del Carmen, where I was staying for a couple of months earlier this year. I would see them on the rooftop sunbathing or having what I thought were healthy smoothies (I found out later they were smoothies with rum haha). Once we got talking at the pool and I found them to be very sweet and easy-going and after I realized that we had a lot in common—like our desire to travel the world, living like nomads and not making plans for the following day—it only felt right to have them home for dinner. I’m not a great cook but did my best to cook ají de gallina (a Peruvian typical dish) for them. They brought wine and had a nice chat, we got to know them better and they also offered to cook dinner for us! Our relationship is not like the kind of small-talk interaction you have with a regular neighbor you bump into at the supermarket, it’s rather a let’s-get-together-in-Portugal-to-celebrate-our-anniversary kind of friendship. My two lovely brand-new friends and I got along so well that they invited my husband and I to meet in a different country, Portugal, where they were going to be celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. It’s a pity we won’t be able to go but I’m sure we’ll find the way to meet again.

Well today I just wanted to share that with you. Have you tried befriending people older than you? If not, you might me missing out!

In this blog you’ll find both, stories and learning materials. You have just read a story and can check out similar ones below.

B1, B2, writing

How to write a good body paragraph

When we write essays we need:

  1. An introductory paragraph
  2. One or two body paragraphs
  3. A concluding paragraph

Body paragraphs are like the meat in a sandwich. The introductory paragraph is the top bun of a sandwich, it provides direction for the paragraph. The body paragraphs support statements, provide details and mirror the meat and ingredients within the sandwich. A concluding paragraph summarizes or ties up the content within the paragraph in the same way the bottom bun holds the sandwich together.

Main idea

Each body paragraph should focus on a single main idea or controlling idea. Each main idea is a subtopic of your thesis, which means they should be mentioned in your introductory paragraph.

Components of a body paragraph

Transitions

How do we make a smooth transition? Well, one of my favorite ways of making transitions is by highlighting a point that I previously made in my writing. Doing this helps the reader make connections between already known knowledge to new information.

Example:

Even though the advantages of being a digital nomad outnumber the disadvantages, there are also a number of disadvantages you might want to consider before decided to travel the world while working remotely.

In this example, I am telling the reader that the information that follows is about the disadvantages of being a digital nomad. I use the connector even though in the sentence “Even though the advantages of being a digital nomad outnumber the disadvantages,…” to make a smooth transition between my previous paragraph (about the pros) and the new paragraph (about the cons of being a digital nomad).

Topic sentences

Your topic sentence identifies the main point of each paragraph. A topic sentence is usually a declarative sentence. Ask yourself this question before you write it: What point am I trying to make in this paragraph? For instance, Am I going to talk about the advantages or disadvantages of something? I am going to compare or contrast information? Your answer is your topic sentence.

Remember this: Sometimes we assume that the topic sentence is the first sentence in a paragraph, but that’s not necessarily the case, our topic sentence may come after a transitional sentence. Just remember that each topic sentence is always connected to your main thesis, so if you can successfully identify the thesis statement (which is in the introductory paragraph), you won’t have any problems finding the topic sentence.

Watch this video where our WeSpeak students identify the topic sentence in two different paragraphs.

Evidence

How can you back up your claim? Easy, with evidence. That is facts, testimonials, statistics, quotations, or real-life examples to prove your point to your reader.

Even though the advantages of being a digital nomad outnumber the disadvantages, there are also a number of disadvantages you might want to consider before decided to traveling the world while working remotely. Sometimes moving from one city to another constantly can prevent you from building friendships. In 2019 I spent four months island hopping in Thailand and never stayed longer than 20 days on a single island. I found it incredibly hard to connect with people and make friends and that’s coming from a highly sociable individual! It was impossible to make plans far ahead because by the time my potential new friend and I agreed on what to do, I was already making plans to move to my next destination.

In the previous paragraph I mentioned a real-life example to prove my point to my reader. You might be associating evidence with statistics, since they usually show more objectivity. However, it is also be objective to write about your life. In my paragraph I explained how even with my effective social skills, it was impossible to build friendships due to the fact that I was always on the move. The fact that I am a social butterfly makes this information believable.

I hope this blog post was useful to help you improve your writing by identifying and using the different components of a body paragraph.

Final tip: Always remember make smooth transitions, the list of transitional phrases below can help you achieve this!

A2, B1, pronunciation, Recorded class

Pronunciation of irregular verbs

It’s easy to learn the simple past and past participle form of regular verbs in English. Learning irregular verbs, however, is no easy task!

But why? Well, irregular verbs are not formed with -ed endings, the simple past and past participle forms usually have different endings. Some examples are the verbs: break-broke-broken or begin-began-begun.

In this video you will learn how to pronounce them all!

Step 1: Watch the video

Listen and repeat after me, write down the verbs that are difficult for you to pronounce.

Step 2: Do the exercises

B1, B2, grammar, Recorded class

Comparisons with as…as

If you’re a basic English learner, you must already know how to make comparisons using -er or more, sentences like “Brazil is bigger than Peru” or “Accommodation in Mexico city is more expensive than in Playa del Carmen”. That’s a basic way of expressing comparisons. In this video, however, I’ll teach you a different way, using as…as.

Step 1: Watch the video

Step 2: Do the exercises

B1, B2, vocabulary

Science verbs

How many science verbs do you know in English? Learn new science vocabulary by following two simple steps.

Step 1: Watch the video

While you watch listen and repeat after me. I recommend taking notes of each new word to practice spelling. In this video you will learn 19 science verbs in English.

Step 2: Do the exercises

Now is time to test your knowledge. Do this 10-question quiz and see how much you’ve learned. How many did you get right?

Try going back to this quiz in a week or so to see how many words you remember. When I was an English student I would go back to the content I’d learned in the past and test myself again and that’s how I memorized vocabulary. It worked for me, try it and see if it works for you too!

B1, vocabulary

Money

How much money vocabulary do you know?

Learn 10 new words related to money management and then test your knowledge!

B1, B2, Podcast

Condiments around the world – Condimentos alrededor del mundo

Hi English/Spanish Learners! Ayleen here, your teacher from wespeakidiomas.com

In today’s episode Chris and I talk about condiments around the world. Not only will this episode help you improve your listening skills, but it will also help you learn a few new words since we’ll be using different words to describe condiments and sauces in English and Spanish.

Episode 4: Condiments around the world – Condimentos alrededor del mundo

We discussed different types of sauces:

  • Brown sauce
  • Apple sauce
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Mint sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Chilli sauce
  • Sweet and sour sauce

In this podcast Chris used different adjectives to describes sauces:

Word in English Definition in English Spanish translation
thick almost solid, and therefore flowing very slowly, or not flowing at all espeso
mild not very strong or hot-tasting suave
smooth a liquid mixture that is smooth has no big pieces in it OPP lumpy sin grumos
spicy food that is spicy has a pleasantly strong taste, and gives you a pleasant burning feeling in your mouth SYN hot picante

 

I used a couple of words that might be new for you:

Word in Spanish Definition in Spanish English translation
empalagoso demasiado dulce (no en un buen sentido) overly sweet
paladar gusto con que se percibe el sabor de los alimentos palate
arándano rojo arbusto de la familia de las ericáceas que mide entre 10 y 40 cm de altura, con hojas alternas, aovadas y aserradas, flores solitarias de color blanco verdoso o rosado y frutos en bayas negruzcas o azuladas cranberry
arándano azul blueberry
icónico representativo de la cultura iconic

These are the condiments in Thailand I mentioned in the podcast.

The one on the left corner is known as chilli flakes. Next to it, you can see the white sugar. At the front, fish sauce and chili and vinegar and chili.

condiments

Oh! and of course, the peanuts!

padthai peanuts

Then I asked Chris a question he didn’t understand:

  • ¿A qué crees que se deba eso? ó ¿cuál crees que sea el motivo por el que…? The translation to English is very simple, Why do you think…?

Now you know different words in English and Spanish to describe your favorite sauce!

By the way, what’s your favorite sauce?

B1, B2, Podcast

Back to Thailand – De regreso en Tailandia

Hi English/Spanish Learners! Ayleen here, your teacher from wespeakidiomas.com

Today I want to share my happiness with you. I’m back in Thailand! Yayy!

In this episode Chris and I talk about what we missed the most from this beautiful country. Tune in to practice your listening skills and learn some new vocabulary related to foods and the grammar point of the day-using “although” and “even though”.

Episode 3: Back to Thailand – De regreso en Tailandia

You can learn more about the new vocabulary used in this conversation below:

  • Consecutivos, seguidos: in a row
  • Row: fila
  • Readily available: a tu disposición
  • Watermelon: sandía
  • Mango: mango
  • Guava: guava o guayaba
  • Papaya: papaya
  • Dragon fruit: pitaya
  • Lime: limón o lima

*La traducción depende de tu proveniencia. Si eres de Perú, se va a traducir como limón, lime significa limón. Si eres de Argentina, se va a traducir como lima, lima significa lima. Recuerden la descripción de la fruta, lime hace referencia a la fruta verde, pequeña y más agria. Si esa fruta verde pequeña y agria en tu país se llama lima, entonces lime significa lima. Si a un peruano le dices la palabra lima, va a imaginar una fruta totalmente diferente. Nosotros le llamamos limón, uno de los ingredientes para preparar ceviche es jugo de limón.

  • Aunque: although, even though
  • Servilletas de papel: paper napkins
  • Rubbish: (AmE) Garbage, basura
  • Turquesa: turquoise
  • Dañar: hurt
  • Pebbles: piedritas
B1, B2, Podcast

Episode 2: Interesting facts on Gili Air – Cosas curiosas en Gili Air

Hi English/Spanish Learners! Ayleen here, your teacher from wespeakidiomas.com

Today Chris and I come to you from Gili Air, and we’ll talk about the interesting facts we found on this Indonesian island.

This conversation features lots new vocabulary for intermediate students, and is a good example of a spontaneous, authentic English-Spanish conversation between two travelers.

Episode 2: Interesting facts in Gili Air – Cosas curiosas en Gili Air

You can learn more about the new vocabulary used in this conversation below:

  • mosque: a building in which Muslims worship / In Spanish: mezquita
  • acera: orilla de la vía pública por donde caminan los peatones /  In English: sidewalk
  • agonizar: be near death. I said Pensé que alguien estaba agonizando…
  • straw: a thin tube of paper or plastic for sucking up liquid from a bottle or a cup / In spanish: cañita, popote, pajilla.
  • malcriar: ceder a los caprichos de alguien. I said Asia nos está malcriando. / In English: Asia is spoiling us.
  • chant: to sing or say a religious song or prayer in a way that involves using only one note or tone / In Spanish: cántico
B1, B2, Podcast, story

Episode 1: Shopping in Indonesia – Compras en Indonesia

This podcast presents everyday conversations in English and Spanish and is hosted by myself, Ayleen, and Chris, from London. What is different about this podcast is that you will listen to a conversation in both languages, I will be speaking Spanish and Chris, English.

Our content will help you improve your listening skills in the language you are currently studying. This podcast is for you if:
a) You are an English speaker learning Spanish
b) You are a Spanish speaker learning English
c) You have a different native language but are studying English and Spanish.

In this episode Chris and I talk about our impressions on shopping in Indonesia. Tune in to learn about the tactics Indonesian people use when trying to sell an item and how we feel about it.

Episode 1: Shopping in Indonesia – Compras en Indonesia.