English – B2 – Online resources

Websites:

Wordreference: http://www.wordreference.com

 

Speaking

 

Usual topics for B2:

  • Las nuevas tecnologías: internet, móviles, redes sociales
  • El medio ambiente ( formas de ahorrar energía / cuidar del medio ambiente)
  • La televisión y los medios de comunicación
  • Formas de aprendizaje ¿cómo aprendes idiomas? ¿qué métodos te parecen más interesantes? ¿online, presencial, viajando,etc?
  • El trabajo (qué es más importante: salario, condiciones laborales, buen ambiente en el trabajo, horario, etc)
  • Hablar sobre una película o libro
  • El dinero y su importancia ¿da la felicidad?
  • Ventajas y desventajas de vivir en un pueblo o en una ciudad
  • El EBook versus el libro tradicional ¿cuál prefieres?
  • Las vacaciones y los viajes
  • Los estereotipos, la fama, la educación, los recuerdos, la forma de vida cuando eras pequeño y ahora, la música, el estrés, los hobbies, el deporte, los hábitos de vida saludable, las compras online, los animales, el arte, etc.

 

More usual topics:

  1. Technologies
  2. Computers and the Internet
  3. Consumerism (online shopping, men v. women, the crisis, shopping habits, television commercials, shopping addiction, etc)
  4. Crimes, law, politicians, corruption, public safety.
  5. Inventions (past, present and predictions for the future, cloning, playing with DNA, Robotics, etc)
  6. Medicine (traditional v. alternative, NHS = National Health System, lifestyle and health, etc)
  7. Modern nature (cloning human beings, technological advances, genetic engineering, etc)
  8. Communication and relationships (networks, online dating, etc).
  9. Education
  10. Money (the crisis, politicians, banks, goverments, economic situation, 40-year mortgages,celebrities, sportspeople, etc)
  11. Environment/ climate change/ global warming  (carbon footprint – make sure you know what it is)
  12. Job market (men v. women, unemployment, civil servants, etc )
  13. Travelling/ living abroad
  14. Food and healthy lifestyle (eating disorders, stress, eating habits, etc.)
  15. The media (the news, newspapers, the radio, TV and children, reality shows, advertising, etc)
  16. Charity (animal rigths, famous people, governments, ways of raising money, etc.)
  17. Appearance (cosmetic surgery, beautiful models and perfect bodies, television, etc.)
  18. Work (parents and child raising, civil servants, men v. women, unskilled workers, immigrants, etc)
  19. Family and relationships (present and past, changes, the elderly, marriage, etc)
  20. Success (young age, celebrities, success and private life, work, stress, corruption, etc.)
  21. To what extent is the use of animals in scientific research acceptable?
  22. Zoos are sometimes seen as necessary but not poor alternatives to a natural environment. Discuss some of the arguments for and/or against keeping animals in zoos.
  23. Education is the single most important factor in the development of a country. Do you agree?
  24. Children should never be educated at home by their parents. Do you agree or disagree?
  25. In Britain, when someone gets old, they often go to live in a home with other old people where there are nurses to look after them. Sometimes the government has to pay for this care. Who should be responsible for our old people? Give reasons.
  26. In some countries the average worker is obliged to retire at the age of 50, while in others people can work until they are 65 or 70. Until what age do you think people should be encouraged to remain in paid employment? Give reasons for your answer.
  27. To what extent has the traditional male role changed in the last 20 years?
  28. TV: could you be without it? Discuss.
  29. Tourism is becoming increasingly important as a source of revenue to many countries but its disadvantages should not be overlooked. What are some of the problems of tourism?
  30. Should children be taught sex education in schools?
  31. Most high level jobs are done by men. Should the government encourage a certain percentage of these jobs to be reserved for women?
  32. Are famous people treated unfairly by the media? Should they be given more privacy, or is the price of their fame an invasion into their private lives?
  33. Will modern technology, such as the internet ever replace the book or the written word as the main source of information?
  34. Should criminals be punished with lengthy jail terms or re-educated and rehabituated, using community service programs for instance, before being reintroduced to society?
  35. Recycling Is Necessary. Do you agree or disagree?

 

Resources for: Speaking English:

http://www.english-at-home.com/speaking/

http://www.english-at-home.com/speaking/start-conversation-in-english/

 

Cómo estructurar un monólogo

1) DIVIDIR TU MONÓLOGO

  • I’ve divided my presentation/speech/monologue/ into three/four main parts.
  • In my presentation/speech/monologue I’ll focus on three/four major issues.

2) TO GRAB THE ATTENTION OF THE AUDIENCE, YOU MAY EMPLOY

  • Rhetorical questions

Example: Are children and teenagers watching too much TV these days?

Remember that when you ask a rhetorical question you don’t have to answer it, it’s just used to make the audience think and make your topic more interesting.

  • Interesting facts

Examples: according to an article I read recently, … / Did you know that…? / I would like to share an amazing fact/figure with you.

  • Stories

Examples: Let me tell you what happened to me…/ Suppose…/ Imagine…/ Say… (=imagine)

  • Problems to think about

Examples: Suppose you wanted to…/ Imagine you had to… / What would be your first step?

  • Quotations (citas, cosas que alguien conocido/ famoso ha dicho)7

Examples: as … once said, …/ To quote a well-known writer, … / To put it in the words of…

3) INTRODUCING A POINT

  • First of all, I would like to point out…
  • The main problem is…
  • The question of…
  • Speaking of…

4) ENUMERATION OF POINTS (if you provide several reasons, factors or arguments in a row)

  • First of all, I would like to say…
  • In addition to that…
  • Moreover, …
  • Furthermore, …
  • Another example of this is…
  • First, second, third…
  • Finally, …

5) MOVING TO THE NEXT POINT

  • This leads directly to my  next point.
  • This brings us to the next question.
  • Let’s now move on to…
  • After examining this point, let’s turn to…
  • Let’s now take a look at…

6) GOING BACK (para mencionar algo que se ha dicho anteriormente)

  • As I said/ mentioned earlier…
  • Let me come back to what I said before…
  • Let’s go back to what we were discussing earlier.
  • As I’ve already explained, …
  • As I pointed out in the first section, …

7) STATING SOMETHING AS A FACT

  • As everyone knows…
  • It is generally accepted that…
  • There can be no doubt that…
  • It is a fact that…
  • Nobody will deny that…
  • Everyone knows that…

8) GIVING YOUR OPINION NEUTRALLY

  • I think…
  • I feel that…
  • In my opinion, …
  • As far as I’m concerned…
  • As I see it…
  • In my view…
  • I tend to think that…
  • From my point of view…

9) GIVING A STRONG OPINION

  • I’m absolutely convinced that…
  • I’m sure that…
  • I strongly believe that…
  • I have no doubt that…
  • There is no doubt that…
  • I am absolutely certain that…

10) EXPRESSING UNCERTAINTY 

  • I definitely doubt if that…
  • I am not sure that…
  • I am not certain that…
  • As far as I know…

11) GIVING REASONS

  • The reasons for this is (that)…
  • I base my argument on…
  • I tell you all  this because…

12) REPHRASING OPINIONS (para volver a explicar algo, si pensamos que no ha quedado claro)

  • What I mean to say was… (lo que he querido decir es…)
  • Let me put this another way (voy a decirlo de otra forma)
  • Perhaps I’m not making myself clear…
  • The basic idea is…
  • One way of looking at it is…
  • Another way of looking at it is…
  • What I want to say is…

13) INDICATING THE END OF YOUR TALK

  • I’m now approaching the end of my presentation.
  • Well, this brings me to the end of my presentation.
  • As a final point, I would like to say…
  • Finally, I would like to highlight one key issue.

14) DRAWING CONCLUSIONS AND SUMMING UP

  • The obvious conclusion is…
  • Last but not least…
  • The only possible solution/conclusion is…
  • In conclusion we can say that…
  • To cut a long story short, …
  • Just to give you the main points again, … (en resumen, resumiendo)

 

Writing

Usual topics for writings:

1. How has education changed in your country over the last 50 years?

Write an article for an English website about this topic.

2. A description of a place

3. Advantages and disadvantages of city life.

Write a for and against essay.

4. A narrative text: describe a funny experience.

5. Describe an exciting family party you have been to (a wedding party, a Christmas lunch/dinner, a birthday, etc.)

6. You have a British friend who lives in England. She wants to move to Spain. Write an email to your friend to give her/him some advice. You can talk about:

– the best place to live in.

– what the food is like.

– costumes, festivals and celebrations.

– weather and necessary clothes.

– how to learn Spanish.

– etc.

7. Write a description of the school you go / went to. Include the following information:

  • a brief introduction: the kind of school, size, location, your age when you went there, number of pupils in each class
  • homework, uniform, discipline, teachers
  • subjects – best / worst
  • your general opinion of the school – good / bad? Why?

 

Letter/email of complaint

Letter/email of complaint, éste es uno de los writings que suele salir en exámenes de inglés por ejemplo de la Escuela Oficial de Idiomas. Éste es un ejemplo de writing formal, hay muchos ejemplos, hoy vemos la de complaint (queja).

Dear Sir/ Madam,

(INTRODUCTION)

I am writing to express my strong dissatisfaction at the disgraceful treatment I received at the Walford Branco of Stimpson’s Electronics yesterday afternoon.

(MAIN BODY)

Firstly, the product I was given was not the model I had asked for. The new X-401 calculator was demonstrated to me by the sales assistant, and I agreed to buy it. However, on unpacking my purchase, I saw that I had been given the smaller X-201 model instead.

Furthermore, this calculator was much cheaper than the model I requested and paid for. It did not have many of the features I needed and was much more basic than the one I was shown to begin with.

To make matters worse, I was deeply offended by the behaviour of the sales assistant when I went back to the shop to complain. He was not only impolite, but also unhelpful. He refused to contact the manager when I asked to speak to him about the incident.

(CONCLUSION)

As you can imagine, I am extremely upset, I must insist on a full refund, in addition to a written apology from the local manager, or else I shall be forced to take further action.

I expect to hear from you as soon as possible.

Yours faithfully,

Caroline Adams

Another possibility:

As you can imagine, I am extremely upset and I feel I am entitled to a partial refund in addition to a written apology from the local manager.

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