Useful language for writing in English

9 Mar

Recientemente he encontrado en el blog (podéis encontrarlo aquí, en Recursos > Blogs) Practise English (Tuesday, March 10, 2009) una entrada que me parece muy útil y la cual recomiendo encarecidamente que le echeis un vistazo. Se trata de un extenso listado de expressiones para utilizar a la hora de realizar todo tipo de writings (desde letters y reports hasta reviews, articles, etc.). Ahí va:

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FORMAL LETTERS

Letters objecting to someone’s plans

I am writing to express my concern /disappointment / alarm at hearing …

I was extremely alarmed/sorry/distressed to hear about your plans to …

As I think you know, …

May I point out that …

I feel I really must object to …

I am extremely concerned at the thought that …

It must be very clear that …

If these proposals go ahead, … will happen.

Another threat to … , if these proposals go ahead, would come from …

I dread to imagine what damage this will cause.

May I respectfully suggest that you …

I was wondering if you had considered this alternative?

Would it not be possible to … ?

Letters of complaint

I am writing to complain about …

I am writing to tell you how disappointed/annoyed I feel about …

I was amazed/distressed/horrified to find that …

As you must realise, …

I am sure you know that …

I am sure you can imagine …

I am sure you will appreciate that …

It goes without saying that …

At the very least, I look forward to receiving …

Unless you … , I am afraid that I will have to take this matter further.

Letters of recommendation

I am writing to you on behalf of …

I have known X for … years.

She / He has shown herself/himself to be extremely …

X would seem to fit the requirements of this job perfectly.

I have no hesitation in recommending X as a …

Letters to the editor

I am writing about the article on … , which appeared (in last night’s paper).

I am writing with reference to the article you published (in last month’s issue).

I have just read your article on … and I feel I must …

You raised some issues which I feel strongly about.

At the start of your article, you appear to claim that …

I am afraid I totally disagree.

I am completely in agreement.

I am sure readers will agree with me when I say that …

ARTICLES

Sequencing

At first / To start with/In the beginning, …

Then/Next/After that, …

The next thing that happened was …

The next thing I knew was …

Seconds/Minutes later,

Late on/Some time later,

It wasn’t until much later that …

After some time/After what seemed like years, …

Finally/In the end, …

At last, …

Simultaneous events

Meanwhile/In the meantime,

While all this was going on,

In the middle of all this, …

During all this time, …

Sudden or unexpected events

Suddenly/All of a sudden, …

All at once, …

Out of the blue, …

Without any warning, …

Just when I was least expecting it, …

The next thing I knew was …

Rapid events

As quick as a flash, …

In the wink of an eye, …

In a matter of seconds/minutes, …

In no time at all, …

Looking back

In retrospect, …

When I think back to what happened then, …

REPORTS

Introductory comments

I recently visited (the new Leisure Centre) and have prepared the following report for your consideration.

Further to my visit to … , I have prepared the following report.

The following report relates to my recent visit to …

General comments

On the whole, I found that …

Although … , I should point out that …

It is a fact that …

Concluding comments

All things considered, I believe that …

Taking all these points into consideration, I would recommend …

I recommend that we look into the possibility of …

Comparing places or facilities

One of the main differences between X and Y is that …

X is completely/entirely/totally different from Y in that …

Unlike X, Y is …

While/Whereas/Although X is … , Y is …

X is a little/slightly/somewhat/a great deal (bigger/more elegant than Y.

X is not quite/nearly as (comfortable/expensive/ convenient) as Y because …

X is virtually/exactly the same as Y when it comes to …

PROPOSALS

As requested, I am submitting the following proposal on …

I recommend that we …

I propose that we …

We should also …

I believe that …

We could …

It is a fact that , which means that …

If we were to , it would …

I suggest we… .We would then be able to …

I feel strongly that we should …

I trust you will give my proposal your full consideration.

REVIEWS

X has much to recommend it.

X is, at heart, a(n) love/spy/adventure story.

It is based on a book by …

It is set in the countryside/the future.

The film has a quality cast.

The film was directed by …

The film score is enchanting/evocative/scary.

The film captures the spirit of …

The hero/heroine/villain is …

I felt/thought it was …

I was impressed by …

What struck me most was …

What I liked most/didn’t like was …

The plot was gripping.

The characters were very convincing/very well drawn.

On reflection, I think it was …

It struck me as being …

What I didn’t understand was how …

In spite of these few criticisms, I think …

I would have no hesitation in recommending …

Expressing and supporting opinions

I believe/do not believe that … (because) …

Personally I feel that … Let me explain why.

In my opinion, … Just consider …

As I see it, … The reason is …

It seems to me that… This is because …

I would argue that for the following reasons.

I feel very strongly that …

I am convinced that …

I am of the opinion that …

I am very much in favour of/against …

I am completely opposed to …

The reasons why I believe that … are as follows.

Opening phrases

People (sometimes) claim that … but I feel that …

It is often said/argued that … However, it seems to me that …

It is a fact that …

Over the past few months/years, it seems that …

Recently, we have all become concerned that …

Nowadays, we are all realising that …

In the past, people used to …, but now …

These days, it seems that ….

Making statements

It is clear that …

On the whole, it appears/seems that …

We must take into account the fact that ….

It goes without saying that …

It is important to remember that …

Explaining/Expanding ideas and giving examples

… This means that …

… This is largely due to …

…For example/For instance, …

…In other words, …

Take, for example, the situation in …

Listing arguments

Firstly/In the first place / To begin with, …

Secondly/A second area to consider is …

Another point to remember is …

Finally, …

In conclusion, ..

Last but not least, …

 Evaluating ideas, Dismissing contrary arguments

I think it is true that …

I totally disagree/agree with the point that…

It is questionable whether …

I am sure/I doubt whether …

It is true that … On the other hand, …

While nobody can deny that … , I would like to point out that …

I agree that …However, …

Although it is true that , we must remember that …

It could be argued that … However, I would like to point out that …

Despite all the arguments, I still feel that …

Notwithstanding the claim that … , I would argue that…

It may be true that … , but all too often …

In no way can I agree that …

Surely it is completely unacceptable that …

Persuading

I would urge you to consider…

I am sure you will agree that…

Surely you must agree that…

I would urge you very strongly to …

When you hear the arguments, I am sure you will agree that …

Evaluating

I was extremely impressed by…

I was rather disappointed by…

While X has much to commend it, I feel that some aspects could be improved.

The problem could easily be solved if …

I would like to praise the …

Another area for complaint is …

My overall impression was that …

I am sure that visitors/readers/holidaymakers will thoroughly enjoy …

While some people will love … , others may feel less happy.

A major problem is that …

I was less happy with …

Making recommendations

I recommend that we …

I propose that we …

We should also …

I believe that we should …

We could …

If we were to… , we could …

I suggest we… We would then be able to …

Summarising

All in all, I think that …

To sum up, I believe that …

In conclusion, the facts suggest that …

Describing

Character/Personality:

He tends to be …

She can be …

He is inclined to be …

She appears/seems to be …

Hobbies and interests

He is crazy about … -ing.

She loves … -ing.

His greatest love is …

What she loves most in life is …

He spends all his time … -ing.

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Enlace original: Pratise English Blog: Useful language for FCE/CAE/CPE writing

Algunas ideas para tus redacciones en alemán (Tema: „Mein Urlaub“)

9 Mar

A continuación, os presento una tabla muy útil para vuestras redacciones en alemán. El tema es “Mein Urlaub”, es decir, “Mis vacaciones”, tema que suele aparecer en numerosas ocasiones en las pruebas de certificación de la Escuela Oficial de Idiomas (EOI) o en cualquier otro tipo de examen de alemán. En este tipo de redacciones, es prácticamente inevitable que se nos pregunte cuándo estuvimos allí y qué cosas hicimos, entre otras cuestiones. Por ello, hace unas semanas nuestra profesora de la EOI (Valencia) nos pasó esta tabla que considero una gran ayuda porque, además de distinguir entre los verbos que van con “sein” o “haben” en Perfekt, nos da a elegir entre una amplia gama de actividades, de modo que así no sonemos tan repetitivos en nuestras redacciones y nombremos actividades que se salgan de las típicas. Estas son las preguntas más usuales en este tipo de textos: 

Wann?, Wo/Wohin? Wetter? Was hast du gemacht?

Ich habe…

Ich bin…

fotografiert an den Strand / in ein Konzert / ins Theater / in ein Museum gegangen
Bücher gelesen spät ins Bett gegangen
Souvenirs gekauft Rad gefahren
Musik gehört im Meer / im See geschwommen
viele Sachen gesehen / Sehenswürdigkeiten besichtigt in den Bergen gewandert
Postkarten geschrieben am Strand geliegen
in der Disko getanzt ausgegangen
viel geshlafen nach [Name des Landes] geflogen / gefahren
meine Freunde besucht Auto / Motorrad gefahren
ferngesehen auf einer Insel (z. B. Ibiza;  Mallorca; Rügen) / dem Land gewesen
Wein / Bier getrunken im Hotel / zu Hause geblieben
Spezialitäten probiert aus Meer / in die Berge gefahren
mit den Leuten gesprochen Ski gefahren
Stadturlaub / Strandurlaub / Wanderurlaub gemacht
viele Museen besucht
Sport gemacht
Stadtbummel gemacht
eine Radtour gemacht
oft in Restaurants gegessen
im Hotel / zu Hause ferngesehen

nette Leute kennen gelernt

“To be on cloud nine”

9 Mar
  • ¿Qué es? Se trata de una expresión idiomática.
  • ¿Qué significa? ‘Estar extremadamente feliz’. Veamos algunas definiciones:
  1. to be very happyFor a few days after I heard I’d got the job, I was on cloud nine. (The Free Dictionary)
  2. If you are on cloud nine, you are extremely happy. (‘cloud seven’ is a less common alternative) (Using English)
  3. In a state of blissful happiness. (www.phrases.org.uk)

  • ¿De dónde viene? Según el Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins, los orígenes de esta expresión se remontan a la terminología empleada por el Servicio Meteorológico de los Estados Unidos. Cada tipo de nube está numerada y la llamada “nube nueve” es la denominación dada al grupo de nubes de la clase “cumulonimbus”, las nubes más altas que se puedan hallar. Esto hace que su nombre pueda utilizarse como una metáfora perfecta para expresar que te encuentras en lo más alto, es decir, extremadamente feliz. (Explicación hallada aquí).

Some multi-word expressions

8 Mar

Multi-word expression

Example

once-in-a-lifetime

A young person who goes to another country to live and study in an exchange program will probably look back on the trip as a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

do-it-yourself

Installation of the lamps can be carried out quickly and easily by an experienced do-it-yourself enthusiast.

how-to

If you need some additional help setting up and using your new phone, see the basics section for helpful how-to information.

easy-to-grabready-to-eat

Choose healthy, quick, and easy-to-grab foods such as little bags or containers of ready-to-eat vegetables (i.e., celery sticks, cucumber wedges, and cherry tomatoes).

can-do

When children solve a problem together they start feeling competent and have a can-do attitude toward all problems.

do-or-die

We don’t want our candidates to be forced into a do-or-die situation, but doing a little work every day to finally do their best.

must-have

Separate what’s essential for you from what’s simply desirable, and eliminate any shopping carts from your list that don’t have those must-have features.

no-win situation

The employer may be in a no-win situation if the team refuses to accept such a candidate.

wake-up call

This is very far from the agreed target, and is a wake-up call for the urgency of providing good quality education for all.

peer-to-peer network

The structure of the peer-to-peer network is divided into two stratums: the P2P overlay stratum and the transportation stratum.

hands-on experience

They were also given hands-on experience with live projects in relevant areas and training in laboratory and field techniques through visits to sites of marine significance.

rule-based

We are convinced that only a rule-based system can guarantee that commitments are enforced and that all Member States are treated equally.

state-of-the-art

Participating countries will benefit from advanced training of engineers and technicians in state-of-the-art fields and techniques.

mom-to-be

This young mom-to-be needs advice in preparing for her baby.

mom-and-pop

All we have are mom-and-pop stores, where lean meats, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains usually cost more.

– take-out– take-home

– super-size

When dining out or ordering take-out food, ask for a take-home box or avoid super-size selections when you order.

stir-fry

Separately, stir-fry the onion (cut into rings) until soft, then add the cinnamon, saffron, raisins, sugar and a little water.

[X]-year-old

The 43-year-old actor was spotted taking the time to sign autographs for fans who had waited outside.

two-state

But with warnings that time is running out for a two-state solution, some still think he will try to lay the ground for some greater effort to restart talks, our correspondent says.

one-off tax Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades is meeting party leaders to hammer out a Plan B after a one-off tax on savings failed to get the support of any MPs.
crisis-stricken bank

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned Cyprus that its crisis-stricken banks might never be able to reopen if it rejected the bailout.

denial-of-service

South Korea’s Communications Commission suspected a cyber-attack. However, the BBC was later told that experts had concluded it was not a denial-of-service attack, of the kind South Korea has experienced in the past.

film-maker

Film-maker Danny Boyle picked up one of the two honorary judges’ awards.

oscar-winning

The Oscar-winning director was recognised for his opening ceremony to the London 2012 games.

out-of-hours care

In Sweden, it is up to local government regions (known as municipalities) to decide whether they want to offer publicly funded out-of-hours care.

stay-at-home mother

Wallin, who now runs a business with her husband, says she felt pushed into using childcare for her first children, because of a “social stigma” against stay-at-home mothers.

Examples of collocations with ‘effect’

8 Mar

Example

‘calming effect’ The release of stocks has improved the supply situation and had a calming effect on the market and on prices. (Source)
‘cumulative effect’ As more women become educated there is a cumulative effect on more households with respect to fertility. (Source)
‘energising effect’ While we often turn to herbal teas for relaxation, there are also various herbs which have a positive stimulating effect on the body. This energising effect is not as harsh as the one produced by coffee, it is a more natural boost. (Source)
‘detrimental effect’ Ineffective state aid has a detrimental effect on the internal market and economic competitiveness. (Source)
‘beneficial effect’ The sun has a beneficial effect on psoriasis, but lesions often spoil the summer for patients. (Source)
‘disproportionate effect’ Increases in energy prices have a disproportionate effect on low-income groups and increase the energy poverty of the disadvantaged. (Source)
‘adverse effect’ Excess drying, or excessively dry paper has an adverse effect and a negative impact on productivity and quality. (Source)
‘devastating effect’ These accidents often leave victims with catastrophic injuries that can have a devastating effect on their health, family and financial security. (Source)
‘immediate effect’ Delays in payments will render the agreement null and void with immediate effect. (Source)
‘far-reaching effect’ Diabetes, a disease where the body is unable to normally process glucose (sugar) to create energy, can have a far-reaching effect on overall health. (Source)
‘a snowball effect’ Most observers were expecting a sort of snowball effect: large firms would ask their subcontractors to switch to the euro, and they in turn would ask their suppliers to do so. (Source)
‘a ripple effect’ Women entrepreneurs can impact generations, creating a ripple effect by setting an example for young girls. (Source)
‘a domino effect’ Bulgaria and Romania are virtually bankrupt threatening a domino effect on Greek, Italian, and French banks. (Source)
‘a boomerang effect’ Supply and demand are often not independent of each other: interventions that increase supply can also increase demand, frequently resulting in little net improvement at best, and at worst in a counterproductive boomerang effect. (Source)
‘the butterfly effect’ I see leadership today as a question that changes the world, an action able to transform an organization, the butterfly effect. (Source)
‘the greenhouse effect’ The increase of carbon dioxide, and smaller quantities of other gases in the atmosphere, is contributing to the “greenhouse” effect that prevents heat escaping into space. (Source)
‘the placebo effect’ The balance between body and mind has a positive influence on our health, just like the placebo effects of some pills or strange therapies. (Source)
Some representative images for 'beneficial effect', 'calming effect', 'domino effect' and 'energising effect'.

Some representative images for ‘beneficial effect’, ‘calming effect’, ‘domino effect’ and ‘energising effect’.

Cita

«I’ll take what I want and leave what I don’t want»

7 Mar

Of course life frightens me sometimes. I don’t happen to give it 100 per cent and go as far as I can. I’ll take what I want and leave what I don’t want. That’s how I intend to live my life, and if things go bad, I’ll stop and reconsider at that point. If you think about it, an unfair society is a society that makes it possible for you to exploit your abilities to the limit. I’m not looking at the sky and waiting for the fruit to drop. In my own way, I’m working hard. I’m working ten times harder than you are.

Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami

Cita

«We always have a good idea of what is coming next»

7 Mar

We always have a good idea of what is coming next, so that we are seldom totally surprised. We may be partly surprised; but the surprise will always be within the framework of something that we knew was going to happen. And this is the most important phenomenon in human communication. We make predictions –not consciously, of course; in general, the process is below the level of awareness– about what the other person is going to say next; and that’s how we understand what he or she does say. […] How do we make these predictions? The first step towards an answer is: we make them from the context of situation. The situation in which linguistic interaction takes place gives the participants a great deal of information about the meanings that are being exchanged, and the meanings that are likely to be exchanged.

Michael A. K. Halliday y Ruqaiya Hasan, Language, Context and Text: Aspects of  Language in a Social-Semiotic Perspective, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1989, 2ª ed., pp. 9-10