The Future and how English speakers see it.

Future tenses in English

When we think of the future we automatically think of will. But this is really only part of the story. In reality, will is just the first step in our thought process about our future plans.

Obviously we do not know the future. The recent past is clear in our memory like a series of short films playing in our heads. We replay those memories and remember those things which happened. The present is what we see now. What is currently happening all around us or what happens in our present routine. The future for us however is not events we see but rather plans we have for events to happen. We see them in different ways, and different shades of clarity, depending on the level of planning that we have already made.

The first step is will:

The lowest and first level of a future plan is will. Will is the big bang! When you say I will do something you have not thought about it before. It is the birth of an idea and is a decision you are making here and now at the time of saying it. It is unplanned and spontaneous. It is the first step in your decision-making process. For this reason, it is often preceded with I think or I reckon. It is not a firm decision. It is not arranged or planned. It is simply you deciding at that given moment that this action will play a part in your future life.

Will only expresses your desire and nothing more.

In English, your last testament is called your will. Your will is also what you wish to happen. It is his will – it is what he wants. It is a desire for the future, a desire for something to occur. When you say I will do something you are simply saying that this is your desire and nothing more. It is your first step in creating your future plan. But like the big bang, it is a fleeting moment. From the point of will it instantly changes from being a desire to something more focused.

The second step is going to. This describes your intention.

This more focused thought is expressed with going to. The desire you expressed when you said that you will do something is now transformed into an intention. From I will do something you are now going to do something. The image in your head for the future becomes clearer. You see yourself on the path to that action. Future actions will drive it towards your goal. You are consciously open to achieving it. Young single people can say that they are going to get married one day and they are going to have children. The words express the path they will now take towards that future goal although in this case the when and with who is not at all clear.

The third step is the present continuous I am doing. This is when arrangements have been made.

The final step in future planning is to make solid arrangements. For example I begin my plan with a desire such as I’ll meet my friends this weekend. The will signals that this is what I want to happen. From that moment it becomes I’m going to meet my friends this weekend. I see the path which is in this case to contact people and arrange where and when to meet. This done, I’m meeting my friends this weekend – the present continuous tense. When you use the present continuous, there is the idea now that it is set in stone. My image has now shifted into something much more solid. I can see the place and the people in my minds eye. I may have hopes or fears for the event but the image is solid in my mind. It is happening.

Long term future and short term future:

One thing to mention is that for the short-term future, this week for example, there is little difference between I’m going to go to the cinema and I’m going to the cinema. We do not differentiate the two (in the short term) and native speakers will not think twice about whether the action is arranged or not. However, when we talk about plans further into the future we are much more likely to use going to as the plan probably has not been arranged. For example Next week I’m going to America sounds correct because it is likely that I have bought my ticket, reserved my hotel and got my visa as the action will happen soon.

However, Next year I’m going to go to America sounds much more plausible as this is probably just in the intention phase where it’s what I intend to do but without arrangements having been made, because the time is next year.

The difference could suggest a bribe!

Another example to illustrate the difference between going to and the present continuous is I’m going to get an A in my exam and I’m getting an A in my exam. I’m going to get an A in my exam sounds correct. This is because I’m simply expressing an intention or perhaps it is based on the evidence that I have studied really hard (going to can also express an observation that something will happen based on evidence seen in the present.

If you see a dark sky you say It’s going to rain). To say I’m getting an A in my exam would imply that somehow it has been arranged. Perhaps I bribed the examiner? If not that, then it sounds arrogant at the least.

To sum up, there are three basic stages in how we think about the future.

We say we will do something at the outset. This is the moment the decision is made. From there it immediately goes to I’m going to do something which signals that my mind has been made up and I am going to follow my intentions towards making that action a reality. During this phase of the journey I make external arrangements and the moment they become confirmed now I’m doing it.

I’ll have lunch with Teresa on Saturday – my first initial thought

I’m going to have lunch with Teresa on Saturday – It is now my intention

I’m having lunch with Teresa on Saturday – I asked Teresa to have lunch and (perhaps) booked a table. The arrangement is made.

An interesting thing about the short term future is that we generally know what we are doing, particularly if we live a life of routine (which most of us do). Therefore thinking about the next week or so we use going to and the present continuous a lot more than we use will. Will is only the birth of a new idea. Learners of English generally have the idea that will signifies the future, and it does. But only at the first step.

¿Hay escuelas de inglés buenas pero baratas?

Escuela barata buena

Como saber si una academia de ingles barata es buena y ofrece calidad?

A veces, cuando queremos elegir una academia de ingles hay tanta variedad de escuelas que nos resulta difícil elegir la correcta.

Solo en la zona metropolitana de Dublin hay mas de 100 academias de inglés. Cada una ofreciendo una gran variedad de precios y muy variadas con respecto a la calidad que ofrecen relacionada con su precio.

Sabemos exactamente lo que nos podemos gastar (lo que hace excluir a las más caras), pero ¿cómo sabemos si la escuela que elegimos es buena?

Leer las opiniones

Aprovecha la experiencia de otros estudiantes para hacerte una idea de la escuela que están considerando.

La gente tiende a colgar sus opiniones cuando están muy satisfechos con la escuela, así que es importante leer las opiniones de otros estudiantes. Normalmente cuando hay opiniones negativas sobre el mismo tópico y de forma repetida tiende a ser verdad.

Busca los comentarios sobre los profesores y sobre cómo se trata a los estudiantes por la administración de la escuela.

Si la administración de la escuela no trata bien a los estudiantes lo mejor es no elegir esta escuela barata.

Por el contrario, las opiniones positivas de la escuela y sus profesores te ayudaran a reducir el mínimo de escuelas que son ideales para ti.

Busca el “idioma”

Escuelas de inglés, son exactamente eso, escuelas que se dedican a la enseñanza de idioma.

Busca pistas en las que se vea que en esa escuela están apasionados por la lengua y no sea solo negocios de hacer dinero.

Mira sus paginas web. ¿Tienen escritos material original sobre la lengua? Mira sus paginas en redes sociales y observa si tienen contenido sobre cuestiones como el idioma o sus paginas tienen solamente un objetivo para anunciarse para venderse a un gran número de estudiantes.

Hay escuelas que les importa de verdad ensenar Ingles. Encuéntralas y decide.

Mira el tamaño de la escuela

Las escuelas de ingles normalmente se fundan con las mejores intenciones. Al principio de su creación les importa cada uno de sus estudiantes, pero cuando triunfan, los estudiantes en vez de personas se convierten en números

Los profesores que al principio trabajaban en una organización la cual velaba por sus intereses y podían innovadoras dentro de la enseñanza al cambiar la escuela de tamaño solo pasan a ser piñones en un gran engranaje y al final son los estudiantes que pagan las consecuencias de este crecimiento. No quiero decir que todas las escuelas grandes o que crezcan sean malas, pero algunas sí. Encuentra una escuela que te apoye individualmente y que su estructura sea de tu agrado.

 

Reconocimiento.

En Irlanda hay marcas de calidad que garantizan niveles mínimos de calidad en las escuelas.

Al ser parte de este sistema las escuelas son frecuentemente visitadas por inspectores independientes que investigan si las escuelas ofrecen a sus estudiantes lo que anuncian ofrecer, en su aspecto académico y administrativo

Busca escuelas reconocidas y dentro del marco ACELS o MEI. Puedes encontrarlas aquí pinchando aquí.

Profesores

El profesorado es lo más importante a la hora de elegir tu escuela ya que durante tu curso es la persona principal que tendrá contacto diario.

Un buen profesor te guiara a través de la lengua y un gran profesor te inspirara el resto de tu vida.

Cuando contactes con una escuela, pregunta tanto como quieras. ¿Con respecto a los profesores hay dos preguntas esenciales, Son tus profesores nativos?

¿Cuál es la experiencia combinada de tus profesores? La forma en que te respondan te dará una idea de cómo aprenderán y te trataran si decides elegir esa escuela barata.

Contra mas sepas de los profesores mejor será.

¡Los profesores bien pagados como su profesión corresponden que serán más felices y sus clases serán las mejores!

Lo que cada estudiante le gusta es una escuela bien ubicada, una escuela profesional y de trato amable, la cual te ensenara ingles adaptándose a tus necesidades. En la búsqueda de la escuela barata perfecta, considera los puntos anteriores y te deseamos buena suerte.

Si necesitas más información, no dudes en contactar conmigo john@englishour.ie

Out – towards the darkness or towards the light! – Phrasal verbs in English.

Bright English Language School Dublin

Understanding phrasal verbs with ‘out’

‘Out’ means ‘outside’. There is a journey from inside to outside, a journey which takes you into the light, or into the darkness.

Let’s say you have a problem, like a maths problem. The solution is hidden deep in the problem. Your job is to work it out. Here, the image is slowly removing the answer from a dark hidden place into the light. When you’ve worked it out, the solution is there, in the light. You can see it!

Jim and Mary are trying to work out their marriage problems. By talking through their problems they begin to see solutions.

Likewise, you can also figure something out. Again, figuring out a problem means thinking about it until the solution can be seen.

I couldn’t figure out how to open the door.

It took me ages to figure out the complicated bus timetable.

When you figure it out, you can see the light!

 

Another case is to  find things out. This involves bringing information into the light.

Sometimes you can find out accidentally:

I just found out that Mary is going to have a baby!.

I went on the internet and found out that the company doesn’t exist!

 For working out, figuring out and finding out, a solution sees the light.

 

To come out can simply mean ‘come outside’.

Are you coming out tonight? Possibly to the pub, or the cinema etc.

Come out also means to reveal that you are gay. The idea here is that it is a secret. When someone is secretly gay, they are ‘in the closet’. Then one day, they tell their friends or family or the world that they are in fact gay. This is when he/she comes out.

Elton John came out years ago.

Again, the secret reaches the light.

 

To make something out means to be able to see or hear something under difficult circumstances. It is often used with ‘can’. For example, if something is far away and you can see it or read it:

I can’t make it out. A car registration for example or a bus number.

I can’t make out the signature. Here, it’s not far away, the quality is bad.

You can also use it for things you can/can’t hear, usually because of the clarity of the sound.

I find heavy metal lyrics difficult to make out.

I couldn’t make out what he was saying because of the noise.

When you can make something out, there is the lightbulb moment of throwing light onto the unknown.

 

Sometimes friendships can fall into darkness:

People can fall out. It means that they are no longer friends. They usually fall out over something:

Myself and Peter fell out over the money he owes me

They fell out over a stupid argument

 

Here are some more verbs which mean ‘go into the darkness, away from the light’:

 

The first is literal. To blow out a candle or a flame.

He made a wish and blew out his birthday candles.                     

 

What do you do with a finished cigarette? You put it out. (extinguish it)

 

Or when the room is too hot, or your blood pressure is very low? What can happen? You can faint. Lose consciousness and fall onto the floor. You can pass out.

When you pass out, what do you see? Darkness!

 

As well as flammable material, people can burn out. This is due to excessive stress, usually in work:

He was a stock broker, but burnt out after five years.

When you burn out, you’re finished!

 

We often hear of governments trying to stamp out crime. (destroy it)

 

Sometimes, they will phase something out.

At the moment they are phasing out free medical care. (little by little it will be gone)

When you close the curtains, you block out the light. You can also block out sounds.

Some people try to block out bad memories.

 

Out can be also associated with negative experiences:

If you decide to stick it out, you decide to remain in a bad situation:

I hate my new job, but my friends have advised me to stick it out, at least for another month.

 

Sometimes, you can stop a negative experience:

We talked him out of doing it. We persuaded him not to do something we viewed as being bad.

He was going to sell the company, but we talked him out of it.

 

The purpose here is to show that there is a logic and a clear line of thought running through seemingly unrelated phrasal verbs. This logic is, I believe, contained in the preposition. If you can unlock the meaning of the prepositions, you can understand better the idiomatic side of the English language.

Good luck!

Quiz Corner

Group Study

Englishour fun quiz

July 2018:

Questions:

1.What is the only US state with one syllable?

2. How did Shakespeare’s character Romeo die?

3. In which county in Ireland are the Cliffs of Moher?

4. What is the only muscle in the human body that is only attached at one end?

5. When did Ireland join the European Economic Union? 1973, 1983 or 1993?

6. How many dots are there on five dice?

7. What is ornithology the study of?

8. What is the national airline of the Netherlands?

9. By landmass, what is the biggest country in Africa?

10. The spire in Dublin is in the Guinness book of world records. Why?

11. How many pubs in Dublin?

12. What is the Italian sauce with tomato, leek and minced meat?

13. In which year was John Lennon murdered?

14. Now that Pluto is no longer included, how many planets are there in the Solar System?

15. What animal does the word “pooch” refer to?

16. Who wrote the Sherlock Holmes novels?

17. What is the name of the king who was beheaded during the French Revolution?

18. Denver is the capital of which US state?

19. How many stars are there on the North Korean Flag?

20. What is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea?

21. Where does the Irish President live?

22. Was Trinity College founded in 1592, 1692 or 1792?

23. Which is the only American state to begin with the letter ‘P’?

24. Which planet is closest to the sun?

25. Which screenwriter has received the most Oscar nominations?

26. Charlie Chaplin insured which part of his body?

27. In the American TV series “Breaking Bad” what subject did the lead male teach?

28. What are the three primary colours?

29. What type of pie is typically left out for Santa on Christmas Eve?

30. Which colour belt comes after white in karate?

31. What is the main export out of Cuba?

32. Who was the president of the United States in 2000?

33. The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. What is special about this sentence?

34. What was the first James Bond book?

35. What do a saxophone, a sandwich, a jacuzzi and a biro have in common?

That’s it! Good luck!