Auld Lang Syne

The Scottish tradition of standing in a circle, crossing your arms, holding each other’s hands and singing Auld Lang Syne, just before midnight on New Year’s Eve, is now popular all over the world.

This nostalgic song is attributed to Scottish poet Robert Burns, who sent it to the Scots Musical Museum in 1788. However, Burns acknowledged at the time, that it was really an ancient song he had heard and was the first to write down.

In English, Auld Lang Syne more or less translates as for old times’ sake (“por los buenos tiempos”) and is about friendship and looking back over the years.


Merry Christmas!


We’re thinking of you at Christmas time,

Sending this cordial Christmas rhyme,

With our very best wishes and heartfelt good cheer;

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

(Joanna Fuchs)

Everyone in the TE! team would like to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas!


A winter poem

Winter is the king of showmen,

Turning tree stumps into snow men,

And houses into birthday cakes,

And spreading sugar over lakes.

Smooth and clean and frosty white,

The world looks good enough to bite.

That’s the season to be young

Catching snowflakes on your tongue.

Snow is snowy when it’s snowing

I’m sorry it’s slushy when it’s going.

Ogden Nash

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Today is Thanksgiving Day and most Americans will get together to eat a traditional dinner which consists of:

roast turkey (pavo asado)

mashed potatoes (puré de patatas)

green beans (judías verdes)

corn (maíz)

cranberry sauce (salsa de arándanos)

and pumpkin pie (pastel de calabaza)

And here are some jokes inspired by this menu.

Which side of a turkey has the most feathers? The outside.

What’s the best thing to put in a pumpkin pieYour teeth.

What did the cranberry say to the turkey?

Nothing. Cranberries can’t talk.

What do you get when you cross a potato with an elephant?

Mashed potatoes.


Small vs little

Small and little both refer to the size of something but small is more common and neutral.

I have a small/little flat in the town centre.

Little (not small) also expresses sympathy or a liking:

We spent our holiday in a lovely, little cottage by the sea that I would love to go back to next year.

When talking about children, little refers to age (= young) while small refers to height (= short):

He plays the piano very well considering he is so little (young).

He was too small (short) to ride his brother’s bicycle.

In comparative and superlative sentences, small is used rather than little:

Even though our car is smaller than theirs, it uses more fuel.

It is the smallest camera I have ever seen – it looks like a toy.

However, little can be used to talk about quantity but small cannot be used in this way:

Could I have a little bit of mayonnaise, please?

He couldn’t resist having a little ice-cream after his meal.


Big vs large

Big and large both refer to something/someone that is of a more than average size, extent or capacity.

They live in a big/large house which has 10 bedrooms and five bathrooms.

My husband comes from a big/large family. He has four brothers and two sisters.

However, big also means important:

My company organises a big event for its customers every year.

Don’t worry about arriving late. It’s no big deal. (No tiene importancia).

Big also means ‘older’:

My big brother is five years older than me.

Big and large are also used in the following expressions:

to be a big mouth = a person who is indiscreet or boastful.

to be too big for one’s boots = to be arrogant

to be larger-than-life = impressive, amazing

Think big = be ambitious



A November poem

«November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.

With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.

The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring.»

Elizabeth Coatsworth

Happy Halloween!

For Hallloween we would like to share a few jokes:

What do you call a witch’s garage? A broom closet.

What’s the problem with twin witches?  You never know which witch is which.

What do skeletons say before they begin dining? Bone appetit!

What does a skeleton order at a restaurant? Spare ribs.

What kind of streets do zombies like the best? Dead ends.

And essential Halloween vocabulary:

witch – bruja

broomstick – escoba

pumpkin – calabaza

spider web – telaraña

bat – murciélago

ghost – fantasma

spooky / scary – que da miedo

haunted house – casa embrujada


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That’s English! es un Programa Oficial de Educación de Inglés a distancia del Ministerio de Educación y Formación Profesional y de las Conserjerías de Educación de las Comunidades Autónomas.