Time is too slow for those who wait,

too swift for those who fear,

too long for those who grieve,

too short for those who rejoice,

but for those who love, time is eternity.

                                                Henry van Dyke

Essential voting vocabulary

2020 is an election year in the U.S. so here is some essential voting vocabulary that you might find useful:

ballot box = urna

election campaign = campana electoral

(US) Congress / Parliament (UK)  = Parlamento

(US )House of Representatives / (UK) House of Commons = Congreso de los Diputados

(US) Senate  (UK) House of Lords = Senado

(US) congressional district / (UK) constituency = circunscripción

poll (to collect opinion ) = sondear

opinion poll = encuesta de opinión

polling station = colegio/mesa electoral

go to the polls  = ir a votar


Happy Leap Day!

29th February is Leap Day and usually occurs every four years to compensate for the difference between the solar year, which is the time it takes the Earth to go around the Sun, and the calendar year.

So, a leap year (also known as a bissextile year) has 366 days.

Leap is a synonym of jump and is used in other expressions:

Take a leap of faith = hacer un acto de fe

Look before you leap – ser precavido

Leap/jump to conclusions = sacar conclusiones apresuradas

Leap frog = correcalles (juego infantil)

We hope you enjoy your extra day!


Cat idioms

As today is International Cat Day, it’s an excellent occasion to look at some English expressions related to our feline friends!

Some are the same in English and Spanish:

Curiosity killed the cat = la curiosidad mató al gato

Has the cat got your tongue? = ¿Te ha comido la lengua el gato?

While others are quite different:

Let the cat out of the bag = irse de la lengua

There’s no room to swing a cat = no cabe un alfiler

To look like the cat that got the cream = estar más ancho que largo

A fat cat = pez gordo

A cat nap = una cabezadita


As vs like

As and like are two words that are often confused. Both can be prepositions or conjunctions.

As a preposition, like means similar to, especially when we compare appearance or behaviour:

Who do you look like? Your mother or your father?

I look like my mum because I have blond hair and blue eyes. However, I’m not like her because we have very different personalities – she is very calm and I am very nervous.

Like also means in the same way as:

Like my sister, I am studying medicine because I want to become a paediatrician.

As means in the role/capacity of and is often used to talk about jobs:

When he finished his degree in architecture he worked as a waiter for three years before he managed to find a job as a project manager in a construction company.

When used as a conjunction as and like have the same meaning when used to make a comparison. Like is more informal:

My husband loves sushi, as/like I do.

My brother has his That’s English! class on Monday, as/like I do.


Lose your mind

If you lose your mind, it means that you go crazy (volverse loco).

Other expressions with mind include:

To give someone a piece of one’s mind = regañar

The teacher gave the students a piece of his mind for arriving late for the exam.

The last thing on one’s mind = Lo que menos preocupa

I was so busy before Christmas that the last thing on my mind was buying presents.

Cross one’s mind = pasársele por la cabeza

It never crossed his mind that he had upset the boss when he told the joke.

Slip one’s mind = olvidarse

It completely slipped her mind that she had a dental appointment.

Have a one-track mind = ir a piñón fijo

He has a one-track mind, he’s only interested in body-building and spends every evening at the gym.

Be open-minded = tener la mente abierta

When I was a teenager, I nearly always did what I wanted as my parents were very open-minded.


Burns Supper


A Burns Supper is a Scottish celebration held on the evening of 25th January to celebrate the life of Robert Burns, regarded as Scotland’s national poet.

A traditional Burns Supper consists of:

First course:

Scotch broth = beef stock with pearl barley and vegetables (caldo de carne con granos de cebada y verduras).

Main course:

Haggis = heart, liver and lungs of a sheep or calf boiled in the animal’s stomach with onions and suet (el corazón, el hígado y los pulmones de una oveja o una ternera, cocinado en el estómago del animal con cebolla y sebo).

The haggis is accompanied by neeps = mashed potato (puré de patata) and tatties = swede (nabo sueco)


Cranachan = a traditional dessert made with raspberries, oatmeal, honey, whipped cream and whiskey (un postre hecho de frambuesas, avena, miel, nata montada y whiskey).

At the end of the meal different toasts (brindis) will be made with whiskey, and traditional songs will be played on the bagpipes (la gaita).


Two left feet

To have two left feet means to be a bad dancer.

My husband has two left feet and always treads on mine when we dance together.

Here are some more expressions with the number 2:

two heads are better than one means that it is better to have the advice or opinion of a second person than to do something on one’s own.

I like working with my colleague. Two heads are always better than one.

two of a kind – to be very similar

The sisters are two of a kind. They wear the same sort of clothes and like the same things.

in two shakes – very quickly

I’ll get back to you in two shakes.


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!