Deep Down…

 

With emotional situations that allow you to feel the meaning. Remember… some phrases will only be remembered one they’re felt.

 

20 phrases that will transform your English… or 20 reasons why your English is shit… or 20 reasons why you won’t understand a word of english when you go to England.

 

1.Resulta que…

 

“It turns out” is one of the most important phrases in english because most human stories end with ‘It turned out that.” Despite this importance, however, I can honestly I’d say that I’ve never heard a Spanish speaker use this phrase in my life.

 

EXERCISE: write about a situation where something or someone wasn’t what they were supposed to be. For example… “I was always amazed by how big my ex-girlfriend’s hands were and a curious lump she had in her throat. Well…guess what…it turned out that she was transgender.” Or…a more realistic example: six weeks after my ex-girlfriend and I broke up, she told me that she had met someone and was going out with him. It turns out, however, that they had met while we were still together and he was the reason she broke up with me.

 

2.Shit…

The most common use of ‘shit’ in English is as an adjective…unless you are literally talking about a literal poo. Therefore, if you want to say that ‘esta peli es una mierda’ you don’t say that ‘this film is a shit’… you say that ‘this film is shit.’

 

As a noun, ‘shit’ can be used for other things apart from literal poo – but it often doesn’t mean something is bad. For example…

 

“Take your shit and get out of here.” i.e. cosas.

“This weed is some good shit.”

 

EXERCISE: write a sentence about the last film, play, party, meeting, experience etc. that you had that was shit.

 

  1. Tengo muchas ganas de…

 

“I’m looking forward to” is important both for expressing the fundamental human emotion of really being excited about something… and expressing polite anticipation: “I’m really looking forward to your visit.” However, despite this…I rarely hear students use this phrase…perhaps it’s because none of them ever look forward to seeing me.

 

EXERCISE: write a sentence about something that you are really really looking forward to. In my case, I’m really looking forward to the 2020 elections. This period with Trump has been an embarrassment, a calamity, and a permanent stain on America’s reputation. Remember…you need to feel the emotion of the phrase so please choose something real and exciting.

 

  1. ¿Como es tu nuevo novia?…¿Como es Paris?

 

Even the most advanced students fail to use this phrase correctly; this is a very big…and very basic error. As I’m sure you’ll agree, one of the most important goals of language is to describe the physical appearance of places and people, however all of my students end up asking about the health of people and places instead of their appearance: “How is your new girlfriend?” means “¿Como esta tu nueva novia? And not “Como es tu nueva novia? Even worse…some of them think that the use of ‘like’ is about whether you like it or not.

 

EXERCISE: ask the question: what is X person like? Then write a brief description.

 

  1. Deja de hacer eso, joder!…

Please translate: 1. ‘dejar de cantar…joder.” 2. No quiero hacer los putos deberes. 3.  ¿Que coño estas haciendo?

 

The main difference between ‘fucking’ in English and other languages is that it can be used with verbs to emphasize how you feel. Therefore, if you start singing and it sounds like a cat being slowly castrated, I can say…

 

  1. “Stop fucking singing.”
  2. In other languages – the equivalent of ‘fucking’ is always used with a noun – “no quiero hacer los putos deberes.” When students try to use this form they often use ‘fuck’ when it should also be ‘fucking:’ “I don’t want to do my fucking homework.”
  3. “The fuck” is used when translating phrases like ‘¿que coño estas haciendo?’ – ‘what the fuck are you doing?’

 

EXERCISE: Think about three things, people or places that really annoy you. Use one of the above forms for each thing and express your anger.

 

  1. No tengo ganas…

Human beings are lazy. Extremely lazy. And that’s why you need the most common English phrase for describing why you didn’t do what you were supposed to do: I can’t be bothered / I couldn’t be bothered. While many students know that ‘bothered’ can mean ‘molestar’ they don’t know it’s relationship with the spanish word “ganas’’. (Be aware, however, that it’s quite rude to use as an excuse if someone wanted you to do something for them. Also, please note the relationship between ‘tener ganas’ y ‘no tener ganas’ and realize that ‘ganas’ is one of the hardest words to translate into English.

 

EXERCISE: write a sentence and tell us about something you were supposed to do but didn’t because you couldn’t be bothered. Structure it…” i was supposed to… but I couldn’t be bothered.” Bonus: how could you include ‘f-ing’ for emphasis.

 

  1. ¿Como va?

One of the most depressing things about a trip to London isn’t just the weather (though, with global warming – that’s all changing). No, it’s the fact that you’ll get into a black cab and even though you have a good level you won’t understand the first thing your driver says in the resulting friendly conversation. This is because many exchanges in English don’t begin with “how are you?” but “how’s it going?”. Also, many polite questions include this form in sentences like: ‘how’s work going?’

 

EXERCISE: Look at the person next to you and ask them sincerely…”how’s it going?” When the person asks you the same question I want you to answer sincerely. Then ask… “How’s work/university going?”

 

  1. 3 Exclamations: ojala…Menos mal…Más te vale

 

It is said that Latin people are more expressive of their emotions than Anglo Saxons. That’s why you need to be able to translate 3 of the important phrases for feelings and emotions from Spanish into English. Time and time again, I see students who don’t know how to translate these phrases. They are…

 

  1. I wish  that…
  2. Thank God that…
  3. You’d better…

 

EXERCISE: Deliver a brief monologue, including all the above phrases.

 

  1. Sea lo que sea…

 

The subjunctive doesn’t exist in English which makes it problematic for Spanish speakers to translate a tense into English that doesn’t exist. Nowhere is this more evident than in constructions like ‘hagas lo que hagas’. In these types of sentences you use ‘whatever.’ For example: whatever you say, don’t say that you won’t come to the party. Also, ‘whatever’ is an important word in colloquial English for ‘lo que tu digas.’

 

EXERCISE: A friend is staying at your house and there is only one rule. Tell them what it is and use ‘whatever.’ For example: whatever you do, don’t leave the air conditioning on all night because it’ll cost a fortune.

 

  1. Vale… Pues… Quiero decir…

 

“Fair enough” is a common discourse marker which is seemingly unknown in this country. This type of discourse marker is a word which doesn’t really mean anything – in of itself – but marks a specific point in the conversation. Let’s look at the phrase in detail. Firstly, fair means ‘justo’ and ‘enough’ means ‘suficiente’… but if you put them together it means ‘Wow…I really agree with what you said…” … kinda like like ‘vale’ in Spanish. When you speak to natives you’ll hear it all the time.

 

EXERCISE: Listen to your partner’s brief story about a conflict they had and the final resolution. Interject various times and then say…. ‘Fair enough.’

 

  1. Me alegro de verte…

 

“Fair enough” is a common discourse marker which is seemingly unknown in this country. This type of discourse marker is a word which doesn’t really mean anything – in of itself – but marks a specific point in the conversation. Let’s look at the phrase in detail. Firstly, fair means ‘justo’ and ‘enough’ means ‘suficiente’… but if you put them together it means ‘Wow…I really agree with what you said…” … kinda like like ‘vale’ in Spanish. When you speak to natives you’ll hear it all the time.

 

EXERCISE: Listen to your partner’s brief story about a conflict they had and the final resolution. Interject various times and then say…. ‘Fair enough.’

 

  1. ¿A que te dedicas…?

 

While it’s true that most students know how to ask “what is your job?”, most of them remain willfully ignorant of the way english people ask this question in social and professional environments. In England, people say “what do you do?”

 

EXERCISE: Turn to your partner and ask them what they do and then repeat the question for their spouse, parents and siblings

 

  1. ¿Quieres un té…? Contractions 1

 

“Fair enough” is a common discourse marker which is seemingly unknown in this country. This type of discourse marker is a word which doesn’t really mean anything – in of itself – but marks a specific point in the conversation. Let’s look at the phrase in detail. Firstly, fair means ‘justo’ and ‘enough’ means ‘suficiente’… but if you put them together it means ‘Wow…I really agree with what you said…” … kinda like like ‘vale’ in Spanish. When you speak to natives you’ll hear it all the time.

 

EXERCISE: Listen to your partner’s brief story about a conflict they had and the final resolution. Interject various times and then say…. ‘Fair enough.’

 

  1. ¿No me quieres, BABY? Contractions 2
  2. Vamos a tomar algo…te invito una cerveza
  3. Good night…
  4. Dime algo…
  5. Age…
  6. Nos vemos…cuidate…

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