Job hunting

Which is the best way to find a job? On our padlet board we can see some of the ideas that came up in class and some interesting articles where you’ll find the language in context.

Made with Padlet

We also listed some ideas to succeed at job interviews. Can you think of more?

You can follow the thread on #occeoic on Twitter.



Mind your spelling

On a former post I had written about how weird the English language was and this text by Richard Leverer proves it once again. But, among all this jungle of weirdness, probably one of the big challenges for most English learners is spelling and pronunciation. It is even a big issue for native speakers who may have difficulties spelling correctly.

Some words have different meanings, but are pronounced the same (homophones); others share the same sounds but are spelt differently, and there are silent letters (debt) and disappearing syllables (as in strawberry, because of word stress)….enough to make anyone go crazy!


There is a poem that illustrates this wonderfully. The title is ‘The Chaos’ (by the way, are you sure you know how “chaos” is pronounced?) and it was written by  Gerard Nolst Trenité in 1922. You can read the whole poem on this post . How do you feel about it? Do you agree with the Frenchman who said he’d rather spend six months of labour than reading six lines aloud ever again?

The Spelling Reform

Watch the following video and find out the speaker’s main argument.

There are many people who advocate a spelling reform, in fact many proposals have been put forward to bring English up to date, arguing that the current spelling system has a significant economic and social cost.

What do you think about this? Would you like English spelling to be easier? Do you think there is no point in changing it ?


  1. Keep your own pronunciation record. I always recommend dedicating a few pages on your notebooks to grouping words according to their pronunciation. This is particularly helpful with vowels and vocalic groups. When you learn a new word which has a “weird” pronunciation, write it down with other words that contain the same sound. It can be useful also when there is a word you always seem to be getting wrong.
  2. Learn the symbols of the IPA (international phonetic alphabet). The IPA is an essential tool for language learners. I wouldn’t say it’s necessary to learn to transcribe or even be familiar with every single sound, but you should be aware of some phonemes, as it will enable to pronounce any word at all by simply looking it up in the dictionary. The interactive phonetic chart below may be of some help to get started:

3. Learn to recognize word stress and sentence stress. Stress is the most important features of the English phonological system. Being aware that some syllables and words will not be heard because they are weak forms, while others will surely stand out because they are strong, will make it a little easier for you to start prediciting certain phrases because of their stress patterns. And you’ll finally get to understand the reason why “the English seem to eat up all the words”.

4. Be patient!

Learning Languages with Famous Quotes

Reading and listening to famous quotes is a fantastic way of learning languages. They are evocative and meaningful on their own. They don’t need a context, but still make perfect sense. That’s probably why they are so popular in social media: short bits of language, with clear messages and that we can easily relate to.

As we are approaching the Oscars, you are likely to come across many movie quotes like the ones in these images.

(You can click here for extra reading about the Oscars)

So, what can you learn in famous movie quotes?

  • Collocations
  • Verb patterns (like worth +ing / it’s supposed to be …)
  • Conditional sentences
  • Adjectives describing character.
  • Inversions for emphasis and other similar structures.
  • Comparisons
  • The different functions of modal verbs




These are just some examples. Don’t miss this opportunity to revise some English with famous quotes: language learning and some everyday inspiration.

Which are your favourite movie quotes? Would you like to share some of your own?


Nobody’s Perfect

We are reaching that time of the year when the lights go on, the seventh art gets all fancy dressed and we all rush to the cinema to see all the fabulous films that are being released.

The Oscars is definitely one of the biggest film events of the year, and there is no doubt that a film that gets Academy Awards will enter history and will have a place in our memories forever. To celebrate, here is a fun list of the 100 best movie quotes of all time. Which one is your favourite?

But some films get a lot of media attention for other reasons. What do all the films of the video below have in common?

The title of this post is Nobody’s Perfect, as I would like to focus on accuracy in films. On this website Reel History you will find some of the most popular movies these days and an explanation of the actual events they are based on.

How do you feel about this? Do you like getting this kind of information? How important do you think it is that historical films tell the facts correctly?

Can you remember other films where  the events portrayed were apparently inaccurate?

Microblogging #occeoic

Yu may reply to this post and share your comments, but you can also go Microblogging on Twitter. If you would like to start or continue the conversation, remember to use the hashtag #occeoic to help find your comment.


1. ADJECTIVES.  Practise the adjectives on this quizlet activity to describe how accurate or inaccurate the information is:

Quizlet: Collocations

Quizlet: collocations- part 2 (made by B2 students)

2. Linkers to express contrast on Using English




Our Book Reviews II

The last post Our Book Reviews seems to have sparked some interest, so I thought it would be a good idea to invite any other English learner to share their book reviews and experiences with the blogosphere!

If you would like to review a book you have read recently, all you have to do is reply and post it as a comment.

But, it would also be great to have a discussion about your reading habits and some quick book recommendations.  Do you feel like sharing some ideas? You may use these questions to help:

Which genre do you enjoy?

Have you ever read books after seeing the film? What was the experience like?

Have you ever felt disappointed or pleased when seeing a film after reading the book? Why?

What book would you recommend for going on holiday?


Our Book Reviews

I know that there are many language learners out there who share the passion of reading. I would like to offer you the chance to share your experiences and review the last book you read, or your favourite novel ever. You choose.


In the links below you will find useful tools to help you write a review.

Preparation for an Essay

Writing a book/film review

All you have to do is click on the reply icon and post your own review of a book. Also, feel free to post your recommendations.


Happy Reading!