International Workers’ Day – 1st May

May Day or International Workers’ Day commemorates the struggles and gains made by workers over the years and is a public holiday (bank holiday) in over 80 countries. Some of the rights workers have fought for include: an 8-hour working day, paid holidays, paid sick leave, the minimum wage and occupational health and safety.


What do you think about working conditions nowadays? How have they improved and how could they be improved further?


Struggles = luchas


The daily struggles of miners included health problems, dangers such as explosions or falls and exhaustion.


Gains = ganancias


One of the most important gains of the trade unions was to end child labour.


A public holiday/ a bank holiday = un día festivo


1st May is a public holiday in the UK.


Paid sick leave = días renumeradas por enfermedad


Paid sick leave was introduced in the 1980s.


Minimum wage = salario mínimo


Many companies still pay minimum wage to their employees.


Occupational health and safety = salud y seguridad laboral


Occupational health and safety is very important in manual labour jobs.

 

 

 

 

The Queen’s Birthday

Happy 95th Birthday to Queen Elizabeth II! She is 95 years old today.


Why does the Queen have two birthdays?


The Queen’s real birthday is on the 21st April and the second – the official celebration – is on the second Saturday in June. This tradition started in 1748 with King George II – he wanted to be able to have a big public celebration but his birthday was in November when the weather is bad so he started the tradition of having a second birthday in June. As April is famous for its April Showers the Queen has continued this tradition with an official, public, outdoor birthday celebration in June.


What is Trooping the Colour?


The Trooping the Colour parade* marks the Queen’s official birthday celebration in June (although last year it was cancelled). This parade involves over 1400 soldiers wearing the iconic red tunics and bearskins, around 200 horses and 400 musicians. One of the main attractions is the RAF Red Arrows flying over Buckingham Palace.


*El desfile anual que celebra el cumpleaños oficial de la reina.


How does the Queen celebrate her real birthday?


Usually, there is a 41-gun salute in Hyde Park, a 21-gun salute in Windsor Park and a 62-gun salute at the Tower of London on 21st April to mark the Queen’s birthday. The Queen celebrates her real birthday in private with her family.


Vocabulario


Red tunics and bearskins = el uniforme típico de los soldados de Buckingham Palace – la túnica roja y el sombrero negro llamado bearskin porque está hecho con piel de oso canadiense.


RAF Red Arrows = son el grupo oficial de aviones acrobáticos y usan estelas de humo de colores, pertenecen al Royal Air Force (la fuerza aérea royal).


Gun salute = un saludo que se realiza disparando cañones como un honor militar. Se usa para varios acontecimientos reales.

 

 

 

April showers

In the month of April there are frequent, short periods of rain which we call April showers – they are usually unexpected so you need a raincoat or an umbrella! An April shower can be a drizzle or a downpour so your spring plans, especially picnics, can get rained off… but as they say “April showers bring May flowers”.


Can you think of any more expressions to talk about the rain?


April showers = en abril, aguas mil (lluvias cortas pero frecuentes)


Remember to take a jacket – you don’t want to get caught out by April showers.


Drizzle = llovizna


Let’s drive to the supermarket – it’s drizzling.


Downpour = aguacero


I got caught in the downpour – I’m soaking*


*soaking = empapado


I am soaked to the skin – mojado hasta los huesos


 Rained off = cancelado por lluvia


Lily’s birthday picnic was rained off.

 

 

 

A Spring Poem

And Now It’s Spring

The grass is green across the hill,
But yellow blooms the daffodil*.
It’s sunshine on a little stalk,
A friendly flower, I bet they talk…


Of little kids, too long inside
They burst outdoors to play and hide.
Tracking mud and bringing bugs.
Look, there’s footprints on the rug!


Tiny whirlwinds, these little tykes,
They skin their knees while riding bikes.
They rip and roar, they’re running wild!
What fun it is to be a child.


It grows warmer every day.
Shoo the children out to play!
Pick the flowers, play in mud.
Too much rain, here comes a flood!


My snowy, winter days are gone.
I mourn them, but I hear a song
Of birds in trees; wind chimes ring.
I guess it might as well be spring!

By L.H.Theaker


*daffodil = narciso (es una flor muy típica de primavera en reino unido)


Vocabulario:

bloom (v) = florecer

stalk (n) = tallo (de una flor)

tykes (n) = chiquillos (informal)

skin (their knees) (v) = depellejarse

rip and roar (v) = montar un escándolo

mourn (v) = estar de luto/lamentar

wind chimes (n) = carillón

(v) = verb, (n) = noun

 

 

 

Easter Holidays

In the UK Easter is celebrated from Maundy Thursday to Easter Monday. Good Friday and Easter Monday are bank holidays (días festivos).


 Maundy Thursday* = Jueves Santo


I have to work on Maundy Thursday – it’s not a bank holiday.


Good Friday = Viernes Santo


Do you eat fish on Good Friday?


Easter Sunday = Domingo de Pascua


We usually have an Easter egg hunt in the garden on Easter Sunday.


Easter Monday = Lunes de Pascua


My children eat a lot of chocolate on Easter Monday!


 *Maundy Thursday is the day which commemorates the Last Supper (la Última Cena) and the first Eucharist (la eucaristía).


Happy Easter from That’s English!

 

 

 

 

 

Easter traditions

Easter is a spring festival which was originally a pagan holiday to celebrate the coming of spring. It is celebrated on the first Sunday after the Paschal full moon.


Easter egg hunts

The egg was a symbol of new life and traditionally people gave brightly painted eggs to one another at Easter. The early Christians then adapted this by claiming that the egg was a symbol of resurrection.

Children enjoy taking a basket to look for hidden Easter eggs (nowadays these eggs are made of chocolate). This tradition came from Germany and was made popular in the UK by Queen Victoria whose mother was German.


basket = cesta


You can learn more about Easter egg traditions such as the White House Easter Egg Roll on our Facebook and Instagram pages!


Hot cross buns

A hot cross bun is a sweet bread with spices and raisins and a dough cross on the top – the cross represents the crucifix. There are many theories about the origin of this Easter treat. There is a famous nursery rhyme which goes:


“Hot cross buns! Hot cross buns!

One ha’penny, two ha’penny

Hot cross buns!

If you have no daughters,

Give them to your sons

One ha’penny,

Two ha’penny,

Hot Cross Buns!”


spices = especies, raisins = pasas, dough = masa, nursery rhyme = canción infantil


How do you celebrate Easter? Do you eat any special foods? Tell us at That’s English! on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

 

 

 

Father’s Day – 19th March

The 19th March is Father’s Day in Spain (San José) whereas Father’s Day in the UK, the USA and Canada is on the third Sunday in June. How would you describe your father? Take a look at some useful vocabulary to help you:


Like father, like son – de tal palo tal astilla


The way he speaks is just like his father! As they say, like father, like son!


Look up to – admirar


We’ve always looked up to our father – he’s a great role model.


A family man – hombre de familia


My dad is a family man – he loves spending his free time surrounded by family.


Take after – salir a /parecerse a


My son takes after his father – they have the same sense of humour.


A close-knit family – una familia muy unida


We are a close-knit family; we always help each other and I know I can rely on my family.


Like a father – como un padre


My grandad was like a father to me when I was growing up.


Godfather – padrino


My godfather has always given me good advice.


Father-in-law – suegro


My father-in-law is a very kind man.


Step-father – padrastro


Becoming a step-father can be quite challenging.


 Happy Father’s Day from That’s English!

 

 

 

 

International Women’s Day 8th March

Who was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize or the first woman in space? To celebrate International Women’s Day let’s look at some female trailblazers*…


Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic in 1932. She was the sixteenth woman in the USA  to get her pilot’s license at just 23 years old and she went on to break records for flying solo across the USA. She disappeared over the Pacific Ocean on an attempt to fly around the world in 1937.


Marie Curie

Marie Curie was the first woman to win two Nobel Prizes, in Physics, in 1903, alongside Pierre Curie and Henri Becquerel and the second Nobel Prize, in Chemistry, in 1911 for her work on radioactivity.


Valentina Tereshkova

Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman to go to space in 1963. She spent three days in space and later became a test pilot and instructor. She also received the United Nations Gold Medal of Peace for her work as spokesperson for the Soviet Union.


Charlotte Cooper

Charlotte Cooper was the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal. She won gold in the women’s tennis singles in Paris, in 1900. She also won 5 Ladies’ Singles Wimbledon championships and became the most veteran female Wimbledon champion in 1908 at 37 years old.


Rosa Montero

Rosa Montero was the first woman to be awarded the Manuel Del Arco Prize in 1978 for her interviews for El País newspaper. She has won many prestigious awards in journalism since then and has written numerous novels.


*A trailblazer is a person who is the first to do something; an innovator (pionera)


Follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to learn more about inspirational women!

 

 

 

Modifiers with non-gradable (extreme) adjectives

Non-gradable adjectives cannot have different degrees of intensity because they are extreme or already maximum intensity. For example boiling means very hot so we cannot say very boiling! However, we can use some modifiers for emphasis!


Examples of non-gradable (extreme adjectives) are freezing, furious, hilarious, awful, terrified, starving, tiny and exhausted.


I’m starving!                   →                  This means I’m very hungry so I can’t say I’m                                                                          very starving!


I’m absolutely starving! →                 This means I could eat a horse! It’s emphatic!


The modifiers we can use with non-gradable adjectives are:

absolutely

totally

completely

quite*

really

pretty

thoroughly

utterly


*When we use quite with extreme adjectives it means absolutely:

The film was quite terrifying.


You can review modifiers with non-gradable (extreme) adjectives in C1.1 Unit 1