Writing a formal email: enquiring about a course

As September arrives, we bring you some writing tips for enquiring about a course. You can see the useful expressions in bold (en negrita).


  • Remember to use a formal register

  • Do not use contractions and informal expressions

  • If you don’t know the name of the person you are writing to, begin with Dear Sir/Madam, or To whom it may concern, and end with Yours faithfully,

  • Use expressions such as I would like…, I would be grateful if…



To whom it may concern,

I am writing to enquire about the course Photography for Beginners at Brighton College. I have read the course information and it looks like an enjoyable course. I would, therefore, like to ask for further information.

 It says on your website that the course takes place three evenings a week, however it does not specify which days. I would be grateful if you could confirm the exact days so that I can check my availability.

It also says that enrolment takes place in September at the college. Is it necessary to pay the fees in full in September? I would appreciate some more information on what I would need to bring to enrol on the course and how the payment should be made.

Yours faithfully,

Lucy Simons


Enrolment= matrícula

Fees = tasas





Golden Sun

By Lenore Hetrick

Great, glorious golden sun,

Shine down on me today.

You are the life of all this earth,

You and your magic ray.

You are the life of bird and plant,

All must depend on you.

Shine down, great sun, the whole day long!






Zebra crossings, Pelican crossings and the lollipop lady

The 17th August is World Pedestrian Day. The first ever pedestrian fatality was Mrs Bridget Driscoll when she was run over on the 17th August 1896 by a car driving at 4 miles per hour – that’s 6.4 kilometres per hour!

At that time there were only around 20 petrol engine cars in existence in the UK and no driving licence was required to be able to drive a car!

Nowadays cars are a part of our daily lives and pedestrians and drivers must be aware of road safety!

Let’s look at some types of pedestrian crossing:

Zebra crossings

A zebra crossing is a path across a road marked with black and white stripes where pedestrians should cross. They have no traffic lights although they do have yellow beacons.

Drivers must stop at zebra crossings to let pedestrians cross the road.

Pelican crossings

A pelican crossing is a pedestrian crossing which is controlled by traffic lights. The pedestrian presses a button if they want to cross the street and must wait for the green man to light up to cross safely. You will see LOOK LEFT or LOOK RIGHT on the road in front of you to indicate which way you should check for cars before crossing.

The lollipop lady

The lollipop lady is, traditionally, a woman (although there are also lollipop men) who helps children to cross the road near a school by standing in the middle of the road with a special sign which is circular on a stick (hence the name lollipop) indicating for cars to stop so that the children can cross safely.

Remember to always look left and right when crossing the street!



World Pedestrian Day = Día mundial del peatón

fatality = muerte

run over = atropellar

driving licence = carnet de conducir

road safety = seguridad vial

pedestrian crossing = cruce de peatones

zebra crossing = paso de cebra

traffic lights = semáforos

beacons = luces al lado de pasos de cebra (también significa faro)

pelican crossing = paso peatonal

the lollipop lady = una señora que ayuda a los niños a cruzar la calle en zonas de colegios











Superstitions around the world

Friday the 13th is an unlucky day in many countries around the world, as is Tuesday the 13th in Spain and Friday the 17th in Italy.

Let’s have a look at some interesting superstitions from around the world…

  • Norway

In Norway it is believed that whistling at the sun will make it rain!

It is also said that if you see a black cat, you should spit on the ground three times to avoid bad luck and if you are in a romantic relationship you should not knit a sweater for your partner as it will bring bad luck to the relationship and the superstition says your partner will leave you!

  • Germany

In Germany, the superstition goes that if you toast someone with water, you are wishing death upon them!

  • Turkey

In Turkey, it is bad luck to start a journey on Friday the 13th. It is also bad luck to chew gum at night – it is said that if you chew gum after dark it becomes the flesh of dead bodies!

  • Russia

In Russia it is bad luck to wish someone “Happy Birthday” before their birthday and giving yellow flowers is a terrible gift – it means that you are cursing your friend with infidelity!

  • Japan

The number 4 is considered very unlucky in Japan so much so that hospitals don’t usually have a fourth floor and this is the case in hotels too!

  • The UK

In the UK, putting new shoes on the table is believed to bring bad luck as is opening an umbrella indoors!

What superstitions exist in your country? Do you believe in them?


Whistle = silbar

Spit on the ground = escupir al suelo

Knit = tejer

Toast = brindar

Wish death upon (someone) = desear la muerte de (alguien)

Chew gum= masticar chicle

Flesh = carne

Curse = maldecir/maldición

Infidelity = infidelidad

Fourth floor = 4ª planta

Open an umbrella = abrir un paraguas







Don’t forget your toothbrush!

According to a survey done in the US the toothbrush is the most forgotten item when people go on holiday!

Some of the other items travellers often forget are:

  • Toothpaste

  • Toiletries

  • Chargers

  • Razors

  • Medication

  • Swimwear

  • Flip flops

 Of course you can buy these things in your destination in a local shop but they tend to be more expensive. Some hotels provide toothbrushes, razors and extra toiletries if you ask for them at reception.

Have you ever forgotten anything important when travelling? Do you pack ahead of your holidays or do you do it last-minute and in a rush?



Toothbrush = cepillo de dientes

Toothpaste = pasta de dientes

Toiletries = artículos de aseo

Chargers = cargadores

Razors = cuchillas de afeitar

Medication = medicamentos

Swimwear = bañadores

Flip flops = chanclas

Pack = hacer la maleta

In a rush = de prisa