Monday, 31 August 2009


Close-to-home vacations now have a name — staycations.

Sunday, 30 August 2009


Saturday, 29 August 2009

Quiz: Pronouns and Possessives

Article: JetBlue

David Neeleman thinks Brazil is just as good a place to do business as America.

Read the article here, please.

Tipping in tight times


Qualified students 'wasted talent'

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

TOEFL Speaking question 6 part 1 (4 samples)

Here are 4 samples of the TOEFL ibt Speaking question 6. In this question, you are asked to summarize a lecture on an academic topic.

TOEFL speaking question 2 sample answers

Complete speaking TOEFL final test 01

WARNING: There is a mistake in question number 5. The question reads "What is the Woman's problem?" But she is not the one with the problem, the MAN is. So the question should be as follows:

Question 5:
"The students discuss two possible solutions to the Man’s problem..."

Here are the reading passages

Question 3:
University announcement.

This is a notice for students.
Based on the result of our recent survey, we are opening a Thai restaurant on the school campus.
Students will be able to enjoy delicious meals at the brand new Thai restaurant starting from the new semester.
We will always use the best ingredients in our healthy and tasty food.

Breakfast: 6:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. (Except Sunday) - $7 for visitors and $5.50 for students

American Breakfast: 8:00a.m. (Monday-Wednesday and Friday only)- $6 for visitors and $4.50 for students

Lunch: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Except Saturday) - $12 for visitors and $9.50 for students

Dinner: 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. -$13 for visitors and $ for students.

Question 4

Meaning of Dreams.

Everyone dreams every night. Those who claim they don’t dream simply don’t remember their dreams.
Some people easily remember their dreams; however, many of us lose our ability to recall our dreams as we grow older due to stress from our everyday lives.
Getting enough sleep at night is essential to improve your ability to recall your dreams.
If you’re well rested, you’ll find it easier to recall your dreams.

Tips on Writing.

This site has useful ideas for getting started on writing and fine tuning your writing style. It can be very challenging to choose a topic that inspires you to write!

So look over this section of the site and try some of the suggestions to improve your writing.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Internet addiction rehab.

An online detox program opens in Washington State.

Sunday, 23 August 2009


Face2Face Elementary - Unit 9
Making business telephone calls.

A link between wealth and breeding

It was once a rule of demography that people have fewer children as their countries get richer. That rule no longer holds true.

Read the article here, please.

Saturday, 22 August 2009


Retraining the Work Force

Retraining the Work Force:

Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, is part of an unheralded force of community colleges that are enabling laid-off workers to re-enter the work force.

Watch the video here, please.


Enjoying the ritualistic cup of tea can be relaxing, both mentally and physically.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Japan's shrinking population.

Japan struggles with low birth rate and shrinking population.
CNN's Morgan Neill reports.

Quiz: Exceptions and Curiosities of the language.

Common errors in English.


All the sentences below contain common errors.
Rewrite the sentences in good English.

1. I have twenty years old.

2. This is Fred. He is my older brother.

3. William and me enjoy playing tennis.

4. Let’s go to a Chinese restaurant, let us not?

5. What did your grandfather die from?

6. There is a supermarket in front of my house.

7. Where can I take passport photos?

8. Have you ever been in Turkey?

9. Kevin is married with Helen.

10. I prefer tea than coffee.

11. In the end of the concert, there was a standing ovation.

12. To swim is healthy.

13. Could you make me a favour?

14. I wish I was taller!

15. I am overweight, am I not?

16. Paris is two times more expensive than New York.

17. Could you borrow me your car for a day or two?

18. In the years 20, women could not vote in England.

19. Have you seen Brad Pitt’s last movie?

20. Robert is older than I.

21. Everyone are excited about the trip.

22. Greg is a friend of my wife.

23. I have got a 4 doors car.

24. My dead uncle used to ride balloons.

25. The thief stole the bank.

26. I’ll keep this secret between you and I.

27. She remembers me of an old friend.

28. It’s three years that I saw you.

29. It was expensive but I finally painted my house.

30. I wish I have a car!

31. I’ve never been to Iceland. How is it?

32. Sorry to make you waiting.

33. Is this pen your?

34. She pretends to visit Spain next year.

35. It was kind of yours to help me.

36. Don’t arrive late, do you?

37. She told me don’t arrive late anymore.

38. I borrowed money to Peter but he hasn’t paid me back yet.

39. William is living in a flat with two bedrooms now.

40. She goes to the movies at least three times in a month.

41. The news were depressing.

42. Rome is worth to visit at any time.

43. Do you want that I give you a hand with those heavy packages?

44. Help me! I’ve been stolen!

45. They say she married her husband for interest.

46. Neither Robert nor Peter are American. Both of them are English.

47. Was it not for the blizzard, my flight would have taken off on time.

48. Thanks, this is the exact book I had in mind!

49. I’d rather you don’t smoke here, please.

50. He likes driving fastly!

51. Robert robbed his sister’s pocket money.

52. This is the second time I watch this movie.

Click here for the answer key, please.

Monday, 17 August 2009



Sunday, 16 August 2009

Chinese Christmas exporters hit by global recession


Various people share the qualities of a good leader.

Listen here, please.

Renting or owning a house?

Various people consider renting or owning a home.

Listen here, please.

Saturday, 15 August 2009


You have 3 minutes!

Entrepreneur Ricardo Bellino on how he turned a hostile greeting from Donald Trump into a lucrative business relationship.

Social Intelligence.

Daniel Goleman, the best-selling author of 'Emotional Intelligence' talks about new research on how social interaction affects the brain, and the perils of the electronic age.

Rethinking Outsourcing.

NCR CEO William Nuti on why his firm stopped outsourcing production of automated teller machines and can bring innovative new products to market faster by building them itself in the U.S.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Linking Words - Full List.



For me, working at home is preferable for many reasons. First and foremost, I can do my work in my own time and quietly. Besides, it offers me flexible time to do other things as well, such as listening to music or taking a break for coffee or a quick nap. However, many people prefer to work far from regular offices because they are shy. Moreover, it seems to me that some people cannot bear the pressure of their peers or the competitive environment of a workspace. Therefore, working at home sounds perfect. On the other hand, it is common knowledge that not having a boss or superiors around you may leave you too slow to meet a deadline or even be productive. As for me, it is the other way round. First of all, I do feel more productive, taking my time and being responsible enough to do my duties and thus, accomplish the same excellence of any office worker. Yet, a person who decides to work at home must bear in mind that distractions may happen and disturb your work, having kids around or visitors, for instance. In short, I have found the perfect way of achieving a good level of excellence in my work on my own.


In my opinion, summer is the best season of the year. To begin with, it is the time when we can go out more often and meet friends for a drink outdoors and therefore, be more social and friendly. Besides, it is hot enough to enjoy going to the beach or swimming pools. It is clear how cheerful and happier all of us get in summertime. As a matter of fact, there are studies showing that the light of summer can actually make people happier. Thus, it is probably everyone’s favorite season. No wonder foreigners run away from the winter in their countries to enjoy the heat in countries like Brazil. Despite fears of skin cancer or tropical diseases, sun and beach in summer still seem to be what encourages tourists. Besides, wearing fewer clothes and getting a suntan also seduce everyone. Above all in a hot country such as mine where it is summertime mostly all year round. To sum up, the pleasures and well-being that summer can offer make it mine and everyone else their favorite season of the year.


As far as I’m concerned, reading a paper book is far better than e-books. First of all, it seems that some people can concentrate more and thus understand better the stories. In addition, the convenience of being able to carry it around wherever you go makes paper books more seductive. Some readers even claim that the smell of a paper book is part of the pleasure of reading it. On the other hand, it is perfectly understandable that e-books are successful today, due to its practical use and affordability. As for me, reading on the screen of a computer not only loses its charm but it also discourages me as my eyes get tired and teary. However, as long as people are still reading, it doesn’t matter the format. Though I still and stubbornly prefer paper books rather than e-books. Nevertheless, thanks to the speed and real-time availability found on the internet, I actually prefer to read the news on the computer. Yet, when it comes to a book, I do enjoy reading in the old fashion way.


Wednesday, 12 August 2009

A formal letter/email - Unit 9

Face2Face Elementary - Unit 9.

Formal letter/email: do a gap-fill exercise here, please.

The New Google.

Read the article and do a quiz here, please.

Monday, 10 August 2009

GM Cars sale via eBay. - BBC News

eBay to start selling new GM cars

General Motors (GM) and eBay are launching a trial scheme in the US that will allow customers to buy new GM cars via the auction website.
More than 225 of GM's 250 Californian dealers have signed up to the scheme, which will allow consumers to either pay a fixed price or try to haggle.
The trial will run from 11 August to 8 September and is part of GM's continuing efforts to boost sales.
All four of GM's brands - Buick, Chevrolet, GMC and Pontiac - will be available through the eBay scheme.
Customers buying a car via the website would then have to pick it up from one of the participating GM dealerships.
Lorrie Norrington, president of eBay marketplaces, said that if the trial is successful, it could be extended across the whole of the US, and that similar schemes with other carmakers may also be launched.
Some GM dealerships in the US already sell second hand cars via eBay, but this is the first time new vehicles have been put on sale through the website.
"I think they should have done this a long time ago," said Inder Dosanjh, one Californian GM dealer.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2009/08/10 15:04:34 GMT© BBC MMIX

Sugar Price - BBC News

Sugar price reaches 28-year high

The price of raw sugar has increased to its highest level since 1981, as supply concerns grow.
Raw sugar futures added 3% on Monday, to finish the day at 22 cents a pound.
"The main problem is a deficit in sugar supplies," said Nick Penney, a trader with Sucden Financial, a firm that focuses on sugar trading.
Growing demand in Brazil for sugar to be turned into ethanol, coupled with a sharp fall in Indian production, have both prompted worries, he explained.
Sugar production in India for 2008-09 fell 45% year-on-year, according to a report by Sucden.
And a "drastic fall" is expected for the coming Indian crop, it said. India had less rain in the monsoon season and it was also uneven, damaging a number of agricultural crops.
There are concerns that the pending sugar crop, which will be ready around November, will be inadequate.
"This [sugar market] train is running express," said Alex Oliveira, senior sugar analyst for Newedge USA in New York.
"It's feeding on itself."

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2009/08/10 19:42:39 GMT

Signs in English.

Grammar Quiz - Advanced level - TOEFL

Do the quiz here, please.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Face2Face Elementary.

Review of Unit 1 to Unit 9.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

A day in London

Read the prompts below and make sentences using Present Simple or Continuous as the images appear on the video.

walk around London
go up the stairs
take pictures
look at London skyline
Paula / come / Italy
David / come / Bath
They / think / London is beautiful
buy newspapers
Paula / think / difficult
pay for the newspapers
give the change
go to the underground
look at the map of London
buy the tickets
tickets / expensive in London
wait for the train
take the train
get off the train
go down the stairs
Paula / make a mistake
David / correct Paula
David / like coffee
Paula / like cappuccino
David / prefer chicken sandwich
Paula / not like coffee
pay for the bill
buy tickets
wait for the river bus
take the river bus
look at the view
have a good time

Preliminary English Test (PET) Reading Practice

Do the Reading Practice here.

Cash for Clunkers

RARE is the policy innovation that catches on so fast. Indeed, “cash-for-clunkers” is the policy of offering a subsidy to car owners to trade in their old gas-guzzler for a new, less thirsty model. The American scheme started out with $1 billion to pay for rebates of $3,500 or $4,500, depending on the difference in fuel efficiency between the old car and the new. It has burned through this in its first month, so on July 31st the House of Representatives voted to give it a further $2 billion. Germany’s €5 billion ($7.2 billion) scrappage scheme has also proved highly popular: within two months of its start, in February, 1.2m motorists had applied, twice the expected number.

Ford reported its sales rose 2% in July. BusinessWeek Detroit correspondent David Kiley reports on which models are doing well and the impact of the incentive program on sales.

BusinessWeek Senior Writer John Carey on whether the cash-for-clunkers program will result in lower consumption of gas.

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