Black Friday

Black Friday!!

Today is BLACK FRIDAY. What’s that? Something scary? Something dreadful? The end of the world?
Noooo! It’s the first big shopping day (NO! EVENT!) at the beginning of the Christmas shopping season in the USA and Canada. It is sooo big!
So why BLACK? Because it’s the day the shops make profits! They are not IN THE RED (debt). They are IN THE BLACK (profit)!!
Notice today’s expressions …
  • To be in the red
  • To be in the black
  • Profits (not benefits!)


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Where does Thanksgiving come from?

mazorca de maíz para celebrar el día de acción de gracias
In the last post we talked about what Americans do on Thansgiving Day. Thanksgiving Day in the USA
But where does Thanksgiving come from? Disney Factory? Hollywood? No!
The modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition comes from a celebration in 1621 in Plymouth Massachusettes.
We celebrate the feast between the Pilgrims, religious separatists from England, and the Wampanoag Indians who had taught them how to grow corn (like in the picture). The feast and thanksgiving was to celebrate their harvest good enough to guarantee survival through the winter to come.
Not all historians think this version is true, but it’s good enough for most people. Except many native Americans, of course, some of whom understandably protest at Plymouth Rock every year.
School children dress up as Pilgrims and Indians, paint pictures of the first Thanksgiving Day, and put on a show for the parents.
And the President pardons the life of one lucky turkey. No joke!
And here’s the video of the Macy’s missing in the last post. Oops! Macy’s Parade

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What do people do on Thanksgiving Day?

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the US. Because it’s the 28th of November? No! because it’s the fourth Thursday in November. The date changes every year.
What do Americans do on Thanksgiving day?

Watch the Macy’s parade. On TV. If you are or have kids. This traditional parade on Thanksgiving Day, in New York, is sponsored by the big department store Macy’s. Huge inflated balloons. Described as “an unbelievable experience”.

Cook. A lot. Not only turkey, but pie, cake, vegetables, sweet potatoes and a very large turkey. Thanksgiving = Turkey. Also pumpkin.

For some people this is fun. For other people it is maximum stress. Newspapers and magazines will have already devoted pages on recipes and tips on how to survive in the kitchen.

Eat turkey. A lot. In the middle of the day, which is strange for us. Usually with your whole family, wherever they normally live. Planes, freeways and buses all busy carrying people from East to West and West to East. Also North and South. Many people start the meal with a prayer. Many people in the US do that every day any way. Other people don’t.

Watch football on TV.

Eat more. And drink.

Get ready for tomorrow, Black Friday.

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Countries with Better English Have Better Economies

If this is true, WHY is it true? A question of cause and effect or just a coincidence?
According to Christopher McCormick’s post in the Harvard Business Review, good English is a critical tool for people in any country, now that global business is here to stay. How true that is!

According to his survey, “the largest ranking of English skills by country, we found that in almost every one of the 60 countries and territories surveyed, a rise in English proficiency was connected with a rise in per capita income. And on an individual level, recruiters and HR managers around the world report that job seekers with exceptional English compared to their country’s level earned 30-50% percent higher salaries.”

No doubt improved English skills will allow you to apply for better jobs, improve your standard of living and have a better quality of life.
On a wider level, language is a tool which can open up a huge pool of knowledge and allow people to draw on that knowledge and add to it, innovate, and create new ideas. Being that so much information and knowledge is in English makes it obvious that learning to communicate in English has become as fundamental a part of our educational experience as learning math.
All this is not to say that English should exclude everything else. Multilingualism is the way to go. Thinking in more than one language allows you not only to communicate with more extensive community, but more importantly, to open up your mind to other ways of viewing “truth” and “reality” and to break through mental barriers.
So what are you going to do about it? Notice he talked about exceptional English!


If you need to improve your English, get certification, communicate at work or on the road, sign up for LinguaSuite…
English & You, English & Work English & Certification or English & Travel & Fun.
…From one month to nine months. Check it out here.
coincidence = careful! not casualty!
rise = increase
per capita income = how much money each person earns
recruiters = people who offer jobs in companies
HR = human resources
job seekers = people who are looking for a job.
standard of living = not level of life!
quality of life = how well you live
apply for a job = ask for a job
draw on knowledge = take important information
the way to go = the best option
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Doris Lessing- A universal writer passes away

Doris Lessing
photo from The Guardian

The Captain laid himself down on some boards and went to sleep. When he woke, Michele was surrounded by pots of paint he had used on the outside of the village. Just in front of the Captain was a picture of a black girl. She was young and plump. She wore a patterned dress and her shoulders came soft and bare out of it. On her back was a baby slung in a band of red stuff. Her face was turned towards the Captain and she was smiling.


“That’s Nadya”, said the Captain. “Nadya…”

From The Black Madonna, by Doris Lessing
The Golden Notebook and The Grass is Singing. Have you ever read either of these books? Ever heard of them?
They were written by Doris Lessing who has passed away at the age of 94.
Doris Lessing wrote a stack of books, essays, plays, poetry, short stories, non-fiction, even a comic, in all genres, starting as a teenager. And she did it so well she won a huge big list of awards, including the Nobel Prize. Not bad, considering she left school at the age of 14!
She wrote about Africa, England, the contradictions of being human. As militant leftist and feminist, she wrote about human conditions that go beyond nationalities, race, gender or politics.
People who have lived as long as Doris Lessing have seen a lot of changes in the world. She was born in Iran when it was still Persia, lived in Zimbabue when it was still Rhodesia, and later lived in England.
The next time you are looking for a book to read, try one by Doris Lessing, in English if you can.

Words for today:
  • pass away = a nicer way to say to die
  • at the age of 94 = Notice we don’t say with 94. That’s incorrect.
  • a stack of books = an informal way to say a lot of books
  • a huge big list = an informal way to say a long list
  • go beyond = here, it means not limited to a race, nationality or gender
  • still = Remember, still gives an idea of continuity. Iran was still Persia.


Resumen en castellano
Fallece una escritora universal
¿Conoces las novelas El cuaderno dorado o Canta la hierba? Las has leído? Son de la escritora Doris Lessing que ha fallecido a la edad de 94 años.
Ella escribió sobre África, Inglaterra, y las contradicciones del ser humano. Como militante de izquierda y feminista, escribió sobre la condición humana, transcendiendo nacionalidades, raza, género o ideología.
Ella nació en Irán, cuando todavía era Peña, vivió en Zimbabue, cuando todavía era Rhodesia, y más tarde vivió en Inglaterra.


La próxima vez que estás buscando un libro para leer, pruebe uno de Doris Lessing, ¡en inglés si puedes!
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Barbie look requires you to have something done


Today let’s have a look at some English grammar that many Spanish speakers have difficulty remembering.

Have something done” is the structure we use to say that another person does the work for us. Most people have their hair cut, or their teeth straightened, but in advertising, they take it to an extreme!
Women especially, but men too, are under more and more pressure to conform to certain standards of “beauty”. The Barbie look is pushed at us from TV shows, shampoo ads, shoe ads, reality shows, you name it!
Don’t you think it’s time we said “STOP!”?
Watch this video and see just how much the Barbie look requires you to have something done!
Here are some phrases using the grammatical structure to have something done.
She has her face made up.
She has her hair done.
She has her eyes enlarged.
She has the shape of her face changed.
She has her legs lengthened.
She has the color of her skin changed.
She has her neck stretched.
She has her hair dyed.
She has her identity obliterated!
What do you think about the Barbie look?


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¿Cuánto tiempo hace falta para aprender inglés?

Cómo aprender inglés

Internet está plagado de anuncios como “Aprenda inglés en un mes” o “Aprende inglés con 1000 palabras”. Estas campañas, que son similares a las que dicen “pierda peso sin esfuerzo en 2 días”, simplemente no son verdad. No te ayudan a saber cómo aprender inglés.

chico con dolor de cabeza de estudiar inglés
Estamos cansados de ver métodos que no funcionan y que son una pérdida de tiempo, esfuerzo y dinero para todos aquellos que tienen ilusión y ganas de aprender inglés. Este tipo de métodos se basan en la idea de que “todo” se puede hacer fácil y rápido, sin hacer el esfuerzo necesario.
La realidad es que hace falta tiempo para aprender un idioma. De hecho, aprender una lengua nativa es probablemente la actividad intelectual más compleja que hacemos en toda nuestra vida.Y la respuesta a “¿Cuánto tiempo hace falta?” es: depende de lo que necesitas saber hacer:


  • ¿Quieres comunicarte en un nivel avanzado? Probablemente necesitarás 5 años de una dedicación de un mínimo de 5 horas semanales de estudio y prácticas.
  • ¿Necesitas saber pedir cosas básicas cuando estas de viaje? Entonces con estudiar entre 70 y 100 horas será suficiente.


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Implant a chip in your head to learn English?

Implant a chip in my head? Are you crazy or something?

cerebro con chips para aprender inglés

Wait a minute. Many of us have teeth implanted in our mouths, pumps implanted in our hearts, knees implanted in our legs… What wrong with a chip implanted in our heads?
It’s the same, right?
Or is it?
Scientists are working on projects to enablehandicapped people to move a leg or arm with the aid of a chip implanted in the brain. Other projects are aiming athelping Altzheimer victims regain areas of their brains
What about a tiny chip with artificial intelligence algorithm that would let you master a language with no effort?! What if you end up saying silly things because there is a mistake in the program? A step too far?
Personally, if I had the choice to try it out, I would! After all, if you end upspeaking nonsense, you could always have it taken out!
Meanwhile, the best way to learn a new language is by hard work and practice! Check out the English courses at

To make something or someone able to do something. The chip enables you to speak a language.
Note the grammar:
It enables YOU TO speak a language.
aim at
To have as a target or goal. They are aiming at helping Altzheimer victims.
Note the grammar:
To aim at DOING something
Very, very small. A tiny chip
end up
This phrasal verb gives us the idea that something happened as a result of something, or after a long time. He ended up marrying his high school girlfriend.
Don’t confuse this with “finish”.
You finish your work.
You end up with a broken arm after your car accident.
have it taken out
You don’t take out the chip yourself. Ouch! Too painful. You have it taken out by someone else.
We use this construction when other people do the work for us:
Have your hair cut.
Have your car cleaned.
Have a tooth taken out.


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Paper is dead! Or is it?

We certainly embrace new technologies for all the ways they make our lives easier.
Just think how hard it would be to go back to the days of looking for a pay phone on the corner or waiting for a reply to a letter sent a month ago! Life is fast!
But then again, there are still uses for paper. One thing does not necessarily mean we have to exclude the other. I love my e-book and my paper books, my old recipes handwritten on paper or torn out of newspapers…
And what about all those OTHER uses of paper? Newspaper for drying out your boots, all the way down to the toes. Paper towel in the kitchen for soaking up the oil from fried food. How many more can you think of?
Here’s one use, for fun!
Basic Vocabulary for today
go back to the days
This means to return to previous times
Notice GO BACK TO as a phrasal verb. An easy one!
Instructions you follow in when you cook something.
NOTE: don’t confuse recipe with prescription, a paper your doctor gives you so that you can buy medicine.
soak up
This work is similar to “absorb”.
You can sit on the beach and soak up the sun.


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The Glass Ceiling


Hoy vamos a mirar el vocabulario en inglés relacionado con nuestras experiencias en el trabajo, como mujeres y hombres.

Vocabulario en inglés
Business English: the glass ceiling

Know this expression? A ceiling is the top boundary of a room, opposite the floor. If it’s glass, you can’t see through it.

So the glass ceiling refers to invisible barriers that stop women or minorities from being promoted in the workplace.
Tell us about your experiences as women, or men, in your workplace!
  • Are women limited by the glass ceiling?
  • Do you think men have a more dificult experience in jobs traditionally held by women?
  • Is the gender debate a thing of the past?
1. ceiling
The part of the room opposite the floor.
“She painted the kitchen celing white.
2. the glass ceiling
Invisible cultural restrictions that prevent women from advancing.
She was never promoted because of the glass ceiling,
3. a thing of the past
Something that doesn’t exist in the present
Are paper books a thing of the past?
4. not even close
If you are very far from something, physically or in theory
We are not even close to achieving peace in the world.
5.the gender
This expression refers to the debate about men’s and women’s roles in our society.
Will the gender conversation ever be over?
6. juggling act
If you go to the circus, you will see a clown with 6 balls he can throw and catch at the same time.
Work and home is a juggling act for many people.
7. male
A man is male. A woman is female.
Male birds are more colorful than female birds.
8. introduce
When you meet someone for the first time, perhaps someone introduces you.
Don’t confuse “introduce” with “present”. You can present someone at an event, but you introduce people so that they will know each other.
9. bad manners
If you are not polite.
He has very bad manners; he never says please or thank you.
Don’t confuse manners with education. Education refers to what you learn from books, at school.
10. a lie
If you say something intentionally not true
The politician told a lie about his finances.


In a recent article in the New York Times, some contributors expressed the conviction that we are not even close to being done with the gender conversation.

Some of the women referred to the juggling act, that women have to perform to balance work-life responsibilities. Do you think it’s only women who experience this challenge?
Other people think that the glass ceiling experienced by women in the workplace is the same glass ceiling that men experience in the home. Do you agree? Do you think people value the role of fathers, or do they suffer a glass ceiling?
One woman talks about going to a meeting with a malecolleague. She describes how the colleague did not even introduce her propertly to the client. What’s your opinión, is this sexism or just bad manners?
Is it a lie that men are more “rational” and women more “emotional”?
How important are looks for men and women to succeed in their jobs?
If you want to read the article, go to

Send us your comments! Have you eperienced the gender divide in your work experience?

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