martedì 20 giugno 2017

B2 Mock Writing Paper

Thursday, 25th May 2017
(Monolingua B2)


What follows is how I carried out the tasks during a simulation of Cambridge English: First (FCE) test, to be precise the writing paper.

Part 1: Essay

Well, Part 1 is compulsory. Candidates are given input in the form of an essay title to respond to. (In my case, as you can realise, I went off at a tangent, because the question regards national and international news).
A significant number of people complain about the fact that there are so few international and national events, especially in small towns. I believe that this opinion is not totally true and depends on the fact that local news is not detailed enough. Here, I will discuss my point of view taking as an example my town, Arezzo.
The major events, such as the medieval joust Saracino or the choral Polifonico, are massively promoted by media. Instead we do not find a line about Mengo festival, which is a series of  concerts with relevant underground bands and singers. Currently, newspapers columns are occupied by gossip about VIPs in whom nobody is  interested.
Moreover neither local nor national policy seems to be particularly keen on the artistic and cultural interests of citizens, and it should change its approach to the matter.
Finally, I believe that there is also a problem in people's perception: we generally have enough events, but we are unaware of these.
All things considered, since it is important follow this kind of events, we should read carefully the news because: something special might happen outside your door without knowing it.

PART 2: Informal Letter

In Part 2 candidates choose one from a choice of three questions. They are expected to be able to write text types such as an article, a formal or informal letter/email, a review or a report. Personally, I chose the informal letter. (In hindsight, it was not a good idea, because this type of text requires a naturally easygoing register, whereas my English, as a learnt foreign language, sounds sometimes muddled).

Dear Lou,
I'm over the moon that you are coming here! When I got your e-mail, I was so happy that I really can't put it into words. Don't worry about the accomodation, 'cause my girlfriend and I will be happy to put you up.
To answer your question, well, honestly my towns has not changed really much: I mean, some shops close and some new one opened (sure, there are more sushi-bars than in the past), but nothing has deeply varied its aspect. The life-style too has remained relaxing and – trust me – you'll chill out too during your vacation here!
Anyway, as promised, I'll take you for a tour around the historical centre, where a lots of impressive buildings medieval, worthy of being photographed, are located.  Of course, I'll explain to you everything you want.

Keep in touch,

giovedì 4 maggio 2017

English B2: Appendix 1

English Idiomatic Expressions

Risultati immagini per lettera a
A feather in your cap: it refers to an achievement to be proud of.
It's a real feather in your cap to be playing in the state championship.
A leopard can’t change its spots: it means that a person can't change above all when he/she has a bad personality.
As the crow flies: "in linea d'aria".
It’s only eighty miles from here to the campus as the crow flies, but it takes me more than an hour to go by train.
At the drop of a hat: without needing any advance notice.
My Grandma will babysit for anyone at the drop of a hat.

Risultati immagini per lettera b
Be as drunk as a skunk: It means to be very drunk.
The man was as drunk as a skunk when he walked into the restaurant.
Burn a hole in one's pocket: money that one is tempted to spend.
Butterflies in one's stomach: the nervous feeling before something important or stressful.
Whenever I have to speak in public, I get butterflies in my stomach.

Risultati immagini per lettera c
Card up one's sleeve: a secret or reserve plan.
Cat nap: a short sleep.
I'm going to have a cat nap while you're cooking dinner.
Cat's got one's tongue: said about someone who doesn't speak (usually due to shyness).
Caught with one's pants down: caught unprepared.
Copy cat: a person who does the same thing as someone else.
My sister is such a copy cat. First she bought the same car as me, and now she's applying to my school.
Crocodile tears: to shed false tears or show insincere grief.
The woman cried crocodile tears when the policeman tried to give her a ticket for driving too quickly.

Risultati immagini per lettera e
Eager beaver: a person who is excited about doing certain work.
Ever since he got his new drill set my husband has been an eager beaver around the house.

Risultati immagini per lettera f
Fine-tooth: comb in great detail, extremely carefully.
The police looked for fingerprints with a fine-tooth comb.
Fishy: odd, suspicious.
I knew something fishy was going on when I saw all of my friends' cars in my dad's driveway.
Fit like a glove: to fit perfectly fly by the seat of one's pants:
Fly by the seat of my pants: Doing by instinct, not by plan.
I had never taught art to kids before. I had to fly by the seat of my pants.

Risultati immagini per lettera g
Get the boot: to be fired from a job, to be told to leave a place.
I got the boot from my first job in high school.
Get the boot: to get fired.
Get the lion's share: to get the greatest percentage.
My aunt got the lion's share of the inheritance.

Risultati immagini per lettera h
Hand in glove: to work with a partner in a perfect way.
I used to work hand in glove with my old boss.
Handle with kid gloves: to treat delicately.
Please handle my grandmother's tea set with kid gloves.
Have a cow: to get extremely upset.
My teacher had a cow when she realised nobody had done the homework.
Have a tiger by the tail: to have become associated with something powerful and potentially dangerous; to have a very difficult problem to solve.
Hold your horses: to wait and be patient.
Hold your horses! I'll be done in the washroom in a minute.
Holy Cow: idiom used in order to express suprise.
Horse around: to play in a loud and rough way.
Adam broke is arm from horsing around with his brother.
Hot under the collar: to be very angry.

Risultati immagini per lettera i
If the cap fits, wear it: said to someone who is guilty of something bad, that they should accept criticism.

Risultati immagini per lettera k
Keep one's shirt on: to try to stay calm keep the wolf from the door: to maintain at a minimal level, to keep from starving, freezing.
I don't make a lot of money, just enough to keep the wolf from the door!
Knock your socks off: Expression to describe something that will drive you crazy, that will surprise us.
This news just knocked my socks off!

Risultati immagini per lettera l
Let the cat out of the bag: to reveal a secret.
Who let the cat out of the bag about the surprise party?

Risultati immagini per lettera m
Monkey business: A silly or dishonest behaviour.
Our teacher warned us not to try any monkey business while she was out of the room.
Monkey see, monkey do: It means that silly and/or unintelligent people tend to copy each other's actions.

Off the cuff: Said without planning.
I didn't have a speech prepared. Everything I said was off the cuff!

Risultati immagini per lettera p
Pig out: to eat a lot of something.
I pigged out on pancakes so I don't have room for lunch.
Put oneself in someone else's shoes: to imagine what it would be like to be in someone else's situation.
Put yourself in Amber's shoes. She doesn't even have a car to drive.
Pull one's socks: to try harder.
We're going to have to pull our socks up if we want to pass Mono1.
Pull up a sock in it: to stop talking.
Put a sock in it! I'm trying to tell a story.

Risultati immagini per lettera r
Rain cats and dogs: to rain heavily, to pour.
I'm so sad! It's Friday and it's raining cats and dogs!
Roll up your sleeves: to prepare to work hard.
We'll get the job finished if we all roll up our sleeves.

Risultati immagini per lettera s
Something below the belt: something that is unfair.
Going out with my ex-boyfriend was a move below the belt.
Stubborn as a mule: to be extremely obstinate.

Risultati immagini per lettera t

Take one's hat off to someone: Recognise or honour someone for something.
Take the bull by the horns: to confront a problem or a challenge in a direct and determined way.
I took the bull by the horns and I talked with my boss.
The elephant in the room: It's an idiom for a problem or controversial issue that is too big to ignore, but that everyone tries to avoid talking about because it is embarrassing or will cause conflict.

Risultati immagini per lettera u
Until the cows come home: it means for a very long time.

Risultati immagini per lettera w
wear the trousers: to be in charge, make the rules.
By the looks of things, the kids wear the trousers in this household.

Risultati immagini per lettera y
You can't teach an old dog new tricks: It is difficult to make someone change the way they do something when they have been doing it the same way for a long time.

mercoledì 3 maggio 2017

Conditional: Tenses and Use

Thursday, 23rd March 2017
Lingua e traduzione inglese I

0 Conditional

PATTERN: [If + present simple or continuous] + [present]
EXPLANATION: We use 0 conditional, when something is always or generally true: a (scientific) fact.
If you boil water, it evaporates.
My son doesn’t go out, if he doesn’t study.
NB: You can substitute if with whether.

1st Conditional

PATTERN: [If + present simple] + [will/might]
EXPLANATION: We use 1st conditional for likely or probable situations.
If tomorrow is a sunny day, I will take a walk in the park.
NB: When you use a conditional of any kind, you can move the order of the clauses, BUT not the tense.
I will take a walk in the park, if tomorrow is a sunny day. OK!
If tomorrow will be a sunny day, I take a walk in the park. NO!

2nd Conditional

PATTERN: [If + past simple or continuous] + [would/might + base form]
EXPLANATION: We use the 2nd conditional for unreal and unlikely situations in present.
If I received a sudden windfall, I would quick working and travel around the world.
NB: In the if-clause of 2nd conditional, you can use both the past simple form of to be, that is to say both was and were.
If I were you, I’d look for a new place to live. (UK)
If I was you, I’d look for a new place to live. (US)
However the former is more preferable and ‘sophisticated’ than the latter.

3rd Conditional

PATTERN: [if + past perfect] + [would have + past participle]
EXPLANATION: We use the 3rd conditional for past situations (including regrets):
If you had come to the party, you would have had a great time.

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lunedì 1 maggio 2017

Processi interminabili su Linux

A volte, utilizzando i sistemi operativi Linux, possiamo imbatterci nella possibilità che da terminale si avvii qualche processo... interminabile! Come una sottospecie di loop. Personalmente, mi è capitato alcuni anni fa utilizzando Compiz su Ubuntu 11.04. In questi casi consiglio, per esperienza, la seguente operazione:
  • terminare il processo chiudendo il terminale,
  • riaprirlo e digitare nell'ordine i seguenti due comandi:
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade
  • infine riavviare il sistema operativo; da terminale il comando è il seguente:
sudo reboot
Beh, forse è una soluzione un po' banale, ma nel mio caso ha funzionato.

domenica 30 aprile 2017

Phrasal Verbs (and Expressions) with GET

Tuesday, 21st March 2017
Lingua e traduzione inglese I

Phrasal Verbs and Locutions with get


  • to get back into [sth] = to go back to where you stopped and start again
  • to get by [sth] = to manage to do [sth]
  • to get down to [sth] = to start doing [sth] seriously
  • to get off = to leave (work, school, a meeting etc.)
  • to get off on the wrong leg = to start a relationship badly
  • to get off to a good/bad start = to start well/badly
  • to get on well/badly = to make progress (or not)
  • to get over [sth] = to recover from [sth] (bad news, an illness, a break-up etc.)
  • to get round [sb] = to persuade [sb] to do what you want
  • to get together = to meet
  • to get up to [sth] = to do [sth] mischievous: “combinare (una marachella)”

Unlikely Constructions

The adjective unlikely has two different constructions:
  • It is unlikely + that-clause
It is unlikely that it will rain.
  • Subject + to be + unlikely to
It is unlikely to rain tomorrow.


Fandoms and Addictions

Risultati immagini per Comic Book Guy
  • bloke n. (UK, slang) = guy, man n.
  • peace and quiet (loc.) = solitude n.
  • to be fanatic about/fan of [sth/sb]
  • to be hooked on [sth] =to be addicted to [sth]
  • to thread [sth] = to fear the idea of doing [sth]
  • to put up with [sth/sb]: "sopportare"  to put [sb] up =to let [sb] stay as a guest in your home
← Previous Lession
bloke n. (UK slang) = guy, man