Relative clauses

by H. Adiei. English & French Teacher at AIT Language School.

Las oraciones de relativo en inglés son unas de las fórmulas más utilizadas y en este artículo te descubrimos todo lo que te ofrecen.

The relative clauses bring up many questions and a lot problems to high school students. So, I am going to explain as brief and simple as possible and answer the following questions: «What are the relative clauses?”, “When do we use them?» and «What kind of relative clauses are there?».

What are relative clauses?

Relative clauses are sentences that describe a noun. They do the same “job” adjectives do. E.g.:

relative clauses

When do we use the relative clauses?

We use the relative clauses when we want to give additional information about something without having to start a new sentence. The «relative clause» connects the information.

We always put a relative clause immediately after the noun it describes. Also, we use relative pronouns at the beginning of a relative clause. The relative pronouns are when, where, who, which, why, whose, whose and that.

  • When is used for a time.

e.g. ‘Half past two is when the lesson finishes’.

e.g. ‘2008 is when mike wrote his first book’.

  • Where is used for places.

e.g.’Barcelona is where my best friend was born.’

e.g. ‘This is where I sleep’

  • Who is used for people. Sometimes write «who’s», which is the contraction of «who is» or «who has».

e.g. ‘Angel, who’s got the longest hair in my class, is a model. (who has)

e.g. ‘ The guy who’s standing next to the window is a famous actor. (who is)

  • Which is used for things.

 e.g.’The car which you bought is cool.’

 e.g. ‘ The path which I take to as been blocked temporarily’.

  • Why is used for a reason.

 e.g. ‘Heavy traffic is the reason why I am late.’

e.g.’ You are too loud that is why I don’t sit next to you anymore’.

  • Whose is used to express possession.

e.g.  ‘The woman whose dog bit me has moved to another town.’

e.g. ‘The boy whose brother appeared on the game show goes to my school.’

  • Whom is similar to «who» but it’s formal.

e.g.’I saw the man whom you saw at the party.’

e.g. ‘Romeo is whom my heart belongs to’

  • That Can be used informally instead of ‘who’ and ‘which’ (except in ‘non-defining’ relative clauses, see below).

e.g. ‘The man who I work with collects snakes.’

‘The man that I work with collects snakes.’

e.g. ‘The shop (which) she likes has closed down.’

‘The shop that she likes has closed down.’

What kind of relative clauses are there?

There are two kinds of relative clauses: «the defining relative clauses» and «the non-defining relative clauses».

  • The defining relative clauses are the ones that specify important information. Without that additional information the sentence would not make sense.

e.g. Samsung mobile phones which are made in South Korea are very expensive.

  • The non-defining relative clauses are the ones that provide additional information that is not necessary. This information goes between commas. The sentence still makes sense if we eliminate the information between commas.

e.g. Samsung mobile phones, which are made in South Korea, are very expensive.

Phrasal verbs with ‘Get’

En este artículo hablaremos sobre unos phrasal verbs que aparecen continuamente en cualquier conversación o texto en inglés que se precie: Los phrasal verbs con GET.

What is a phrasal verb?

A phrasal verb is a verb that consists of a basic verb and another word or word. But remember that may not have the same meaning a the original verb, and they behave differently grammatically.

E.g.  The verb «get» means to have or to obtain. Whereas  the phasal verb «get up» means to wake or to stand on your feet.

You should treat each phrasal verb as a separate verb, and learn it like any other verb. So, to learn at an easy pace, let’s focus on phrasal verbs with «get».

  • Get up means to awake or to stand on your feet.

e.g. Katie gets up at 7 o’clock ever day. (Awakes)

e.g. All the student got up when the headmisstress came into the room. (Stood up)

  • Get across means to cause to be undersood.

e.g. You don’t have to shout to get the message across! I can hear you.

  • Get along means to have a friendly relationship.

e.g. Pete and I get along really well, except for when he steals my food.

  • Get away means to go on holiday or to escape.

e.g. I need to to get away eacause work has become too stressful.

  • Get by means manage to survive in spite of difficulties.

e.g. It hasn’t been an easy month for Jane. She lost her job and her car was stolen today but she is getting by.

  • Get down to means to descend or to get serious about a topic.

e.g. Let’s get down to the main problem.

e.g. «Excuse me, where is the cantine?» «Get down three floors and you will find it on you right hand-side».

  • Get in we use for when you go in a car or when you arrive at a place.

e.g. » Kids, get in the car! We’re going to be late for school again!»

  • Get off we use for when you leave a bus, a train, a plane or a place.

e.g. I forgot get off the train at the stop you told me to.

  • Get on means to start doing or continue doing an activity. We also use it when we go in a bus, a train, a plane or we talk to someone on the phone.

e.g. «Jaime, get on the phone, it’s you grandma».

  • Get out means to become know or to leave a place and go to another.

e.g. If this secret gets out, we’ll all be in trouble.

e.g. I got out of the office at half past seven.

  • Get over means to overcome a problem or to recover from an illness.

e.g. It took me three weeks to get over the flu.

e.g. Charlie has gotten over the break-up. She’s dating Mark now.

  • Get through means succeed in finishing a task.

e.g. I got through the whole bootcamp routines without taking a break.

When do we use the auxiliary verbs «Have» and «Do»?

H. Adjei. English/French teacher at AIT Language School

Los verbos auxiliaries, que en inglés se conocen como auxiliary verbs, se utilizan en combinación con verbos principales de la oración para formar oraciones negativas e interrogativas, para formar tiempos compuestos o continuos y, también para formar la voz pasiva.

Aunque como auxiliares no tienen significado propio, pueden funcionar como verbos principales si van solos.

Estos verbos auxiliares son be, do, have y will.

Hoy hablaremos sobre cuándo y cómo usar have y do.

Verb «have»

The verb “have” means “tener” but as an auxiliary verb it has no meaning.

We use the auxiliary verb “have” in perfect tenses. For example:

  • I have eaten a sandwich.
  • We have done a lot so far.
  • I have been following you for a mile.
  • She had been queen of the town.

Verb «do»

The verb “do” means “hacer”, but as an auxiliary verb it means nothing.

We use “do” in present simple and past simple. For example:

  • Do you live in Barcelona?
  • Did Jenny and Kim work together?
  • My parents don’t speak Japanese well.

Remember that “do and don’t” becomes “does» and «doesn’t” for the third persons (she, he, it).

  • Does she live in Barcelona?
  • Does your dog like bones?
  • My uncle doesn’t drive so, he takes the bus to work every day.

Aprende la diferencia entre “fun” y “funny”

Saber diferenciar entre estos dos adjetivos es muy sencillo con una buena explicación

Los adjetivos fun y funny a menudo se confunden porque se parecen. Sin embargo, tienen significados diferentes.

La palabra “fun” significa divertido. Se usa en inglés para describir lo bien que pasaste haciendo una actividad.

Pero la palabra “funny” significa gracioso. Lo usamos para referirnos a cualquier persona, objeto o situación que nos hace reír.


  • Playing football can be fun.

          Jugar a fútbol puede ser divertido

  • I went to Port Aventura, and it was fun.

          Fui a Port Aventura y era divertido

  •  Comedies are very funny.

          Las comedias son muy graciosas.

  • The clown did things that were funny.

          El payaso hizo cosas que eran graciosas.

Un error común

¿Cuál es la frase correcta: “Simón is fun” o “Simón is funny”?

Todo depende del contexto.

Por ejemplo, si lo que quieres decir es que lo pasas bien con Simón, lo correcto sería:

  • Simon is fun”.

            ¿Por qué? Porque das a extender que Simón no es una persona aburrida. Las personas disfrutan de su compañía.

Pero si Simón cuenta chistes o hace cosas que te hacen reír, entonces la frase correcta sería:

  • Simón is funny”.

            ¿Por qué? Porque Simón hace o dice cosas graciosas que producen la risa.

AT, IN & ON to express location

Hoy publicamos la continuación del post de la semana pasada sobre las preposiciones AT, IN y ON para expresiones de tiempo. En la publicación de este lunes, veremos cómo se usan para expresar una ubicación.

Este tema es un poco más complejo que el anterior pero ten paciencia, ¡todo se aprende!

Tabla resumen del uso de preposiciones de ubicación en inglés

Aquí tienes otra tabla-resumen. A veces, la diferencia de uso entre algunas de las preposiciones no es muy clara. La mejor manera, pues, de aprenderla es practicar tanto como sea posible.

When we think of a place as a point (including at home; at school; at work; at university) – We have to get off the bus at the next stop. – Turn left at the traffic Lights – Who is that man standing at the door? – Let’s meet at Jenna’s house – I’ll be at work until 5.30  When we think of a place as an area – When we were in Italy we spent a few days in Venice – There were some people swimming in the pool  To talk about a position in contact with an area – I sat on the beach – You’ll find details of TV programmes on page seven – Have you seen the notice on the notice board?
To talk about an event with a number of people – We went to a concert at the National Concert Hall – The meeting took place at the company’s head office in Frankfurt For cars and taxis – Laura arrived in a taxi – Come on; get in the car! With means of transport (apart from cars and taxis) – The bus was very full. There were too many people on it.
For addresses – The party is at 367 Wood Avenue Normally with class; hospital; prison; court (in class; in hospital…) – Anna’s mother is in hospital With coast; road to; the outskirts of; the edge of; border; the way to/from; etc. – We stopped to buy some things in a shop on the way home – The town where you live? Is it on the coast or inland?
At the top (of) I at the bottom (of) I at the end (of) – Write your name at the top of the page – Jane’s house is at the other end of the street With people or things that form lines (in a line; in a row; in a queue) – When I go to the cinema; I like to sit in the front row For technology – He’s been on the phone for hours – I found out about it on Facebook
For the world; the sky; the country; the countryside – There isn’t a cloud in the sky With left/right – In Britain we drive on the left / on the left-hand side
For enclosed spaces – There’s no-one in the room – What have you got in your hand? – All the rooms in the hotel have air Conditioning – There is a TV in the corner of the room (* but we say at/on the corner of a street) With premises; farm; floor; island – The hotel is on a small island in the middle of a lake – She lives and works on a farm – Our office is on the first floor
In a book / in a paper (= newspaper) / in a magazine / in a letter – Have you seen this picture in today’s paper? On a menu / on a map / on a list – Here’s a shopping list. Don’t buy anything that’s not on the list!
At the front / at the back of a building / theatre / group of people… – The garden is at the back of the house – Let’s sit at the front (of the cinema) In the front / in the back of a car – I was sitting in the back of the car when we crashed On the front / on the back of a letter / piece of paper… – I wrote the date on the back of the photo

Y ahora, toca practicar.

Ahora, es momento de practicar con estos ejercicios (las soluciones están a continuación).

  1. Look at those people swimming … the river
  2. There’s something wrong with the car. We’d better stop … the next petrol station.
  3. There’s nobody living … that island.
  4. There was an accident … the crossroads this morning.
  5. I like that picture hanging … the wall … the kitchen.
  6. We went to the theatre last We had seats … the front row.
  7. I don’t have your address. Could you write it … the back of this card?
  8. San Francisco is … the west coast of the United States.
  9. What is the tallest Building … the world?
  10. I couldn’t hear the She spoke quietly and I was sitting … the back of the class.
  11. … the end of the street, there is a path leading to the river.
  12. I don’t like cities. I’d much prefer to live … the country.
  13. We walked to the restaurant, but we went home … a taxi.
  14. The exhibition … the Museum of Modern Art finishes on
  15. My parents live … a small village about 50 miles from


Here are the answers

  1. In
  2. At
  3. On
  4. At
  5. On/in
  6. In
  7. On
  8. On
  9. In
  10. At
  11. At
  12. In
  13. In
  14. At
  15. In

Exercises from R. Murphy (2012): English Grammar in Use, 4th Ed, Cambridge University Press

AT, IN & ON in time expressions

Nuestros alumnos de las academias de inglés l’Ametlla del Vallès y La Garriga suelen tener dudas a la hora de utilizar las preposiciones AT, IN y ON, conocidas como «time expressions».

Por eso el post de hoy lo dedicamos a este tema: veremos el uso de estas preposiciones en inglés.

Tabla resumen del uso de preposiciones en inglés

Primero, echa un vistazo a esta tabla-resumen. Aquí encontrarás los usos de las preposiciones ilustrados con ejemplos.

With points of time – The class starts at 9 o’clock – The exam will be at the end of the lesson – I woke up at midnight With periods of time – My parents got married in 1983 – Her birthday is in April – America was discovered in the 15th century With particular dates – He was born on July 14th – Christmas Day is on the 25th of December
With mealtimes – Why don’t we meet at lunchtime? With parts of the day – Children go to school in the morning With days and the word “weekday(s)” – The shop is closed on Tuesdays – If you want to avoid the crowds; it’s best to come on a weekday
With the word “night” (but not a particular night) – My sister prefers to study at night because it’s quieter To say the period of time before something happens – Arnold will be in Argentina in 6 days’ time – I’ll be there in a moment With parts of days – They always have a meeting on Monday morning – Why don’t we go to the cinema on Saturday night?
With the words “weekend(s)”; “Christmas” (as a period of time) & “Easter” – My wife works at the weekends – Children in my country don’t go to school at Christmas – They usually have a walking holiday at Easter To say how long something takes – She did the exercises in just three minutes! With types of days – My parents got married on a sunny day in 1983
With the expressions “at the moment/at present” & “at the same time” – I’m sorry but Mr Jones is busy at the moment – Our telephones rang at the same time!

Y ahora, toca practicar.

Aquí tienes unas cuantas frases que debes completar con la preposición correcta. Al final del ejercicio encontrarás las soluciones para que puedas corregirlas.

  1. Mozart was born in Salzburg … 1756.
  2. I’ve been invited to a wedding … 14 February.
  3. Electricity prices are going up … October.
  4. … weekends, we often go for long walks in the country.
  5. I haven’t seen Kate for a few days. I last saw her … Tuesday.
  6. Jonathan is 63. He’ll be retiring from his job … two years’ time.
  7. There are usually a lot of parties … New Year’s Eve.
  8. I don’t like driving … night.
  9. My car is being repaired at the garage. It will be ready … two hours.
  10. My phone and the doorbell rang … the same time.
  11. My brother is an engineer, but he doesn’t have a job … the moment.
  12. Mary and David always go out for dinner … their wedding anniversary.
  13. It was a short book and easy to read. I read it … a day.
  14. … Saturday night I went to bed … midnight.
  15. We travelled overnight and arrived … 5 o’clock … the morning.
  16. The course begins … 7 January and ends sometime … April.
  17. I might not be at home … Tuesday morning, but I’ll be there … the afternoon.


Here are the answers

  1. in
  2. on
  3. in
  4. at
  5. on
  6. in
  7. on
  8. at
  9. in
  10. at
  11. at
  12. on
  13. in
  14. on/at
  15. at/in
  16. on/in
  17. on/in

Exercises from R. Murphy (2012): English Grammar in Use, 4th Ed, Cambridge University

¡No temas a los Phrasal Verbs!

En esta viñeta de Peanuts encontramos uno de los phrasal verbs más conocidos, "cheer up", que significa "animar" (a alguien) o "alegrarse".

En esta viñeta de Peanuts encontramos uno de los phrasal verbs más conocidos, «cheer up», que significa «animar» (a alguien) o «alegrarse».

Who is afraid of phrasal verbs?

¡Pues casi todos los estudiantes de inglés! Pero no hay razón para temerlos. Veamos primero su «anatomía»:

Los llamados phrasal verbs son combinaciones de

  1. verbo + preposición (live with, vivir con)
  2. verbo + adverbio (turn out, resultar)

Estas combinaciones son realmente numerosas. Además, pueden ser polisémicas, es decir, que pueden tener más de un significado.

Phrasal verbs «fáciles» y «difíciles»

Los phrasal verbs no sólo se dividen en preposicionales o adverbiales. Dentro de estas dos categorías existen otras diferencias que los hacen más o menos fáciles de aprender. Vamos a resumirlas a continuación, utilizando como referencia la clasificación de Lou Hevly.

A) Cuando traducimos una combinación de verbo + preposición se pueden dar los casos siguientes:

  1. Se mantiene el sentido del verbo y existe una correspondencia entre la preposición inglesa y la de nuestro idioma: I live with my uncle > Vivo con mi tío
  2. Se mantiene el sentido del verbo pero las preposiciones no se corresponden: It depends on her > Depende de ella
  3. No se mantiene el sentido del verbo pero las preposiciones sí se corresponden: They’ll have to do without him > Tendrán que apañárselas sin él.
  4. Ni el verbo ni la preposición se corresponden: Could you run over my essay? > ¿Podrías echarle un vistazo a mi trabajo?

B) Las combinaciones de verbo + adverbio son más complicadas, ya que suelen traducirse por verbos simples o locuciones (grupos de palabras que forman una unidad, como «caer en la cuenta»). Qué podemos encontrar:

  1. Se pueden traducir según el sentido del adverbio: Do come in, please > Entre, por favor
  2. Se pueden traducir según el sentido del verbo: She fell down > Se cayó
  3. Puede que al traducir no se mantengan ni el sentido del verbo ni el del adverbio: Come on, let’s make up! > Vamos, ¡hagamos las paces!

Está claro qué phrasal verbs son los fáciles, ¿verdad? Aquellos cuyo significado se parece más (o es exactamente igual) a nuestras propias combinaciones de verbo + preposición/adverbio.

¿Per cómo me aprendo los «difíciles»?

En primer lugar, debemos fijarnos en el contexto, en cómo y en qué sentido se utiliza el phrasal verb. Una vez lo tengamos claro, una buena forma de no olvidarlo es… ¡utilizarlo! Hacer una lista interminable de phrasal verbs e intentar memorizarla no es muy aconsejable. ¡Lo mejor que se puede hacer para aprender un idioma es usarlo!

Por otro lado, también es importante tener paciencia. Aprender vocabulario nuevo es complicado y debemos hacerlo paso a paso, sin prisa.

¿Por qué aprender phrasal verbs?

Pues porque son idiomáticos. Es decir, que los hablantes nativos los utilizan con frecuencia. No es que utilizar una palabra alternativa, más parecida a nuestro idioma, esté mal. Por ejemplo, en lugar de decir make up a story (inventar una historia), podríamos decir invent a story. Pero si usáis un phrasal verb vuestro inglés sonará más idiomático, más «natural».

Y para terminar…

Aquí os dejamos un par de diccionarios de phrasal verbs:

Diccionari de phrasal verbs anglès-català ( en colaboración con DACCO)

Diccionario de phrasal verbs inglés-español (


Both, either, neither… ¡Basta de líos!

Cita del autor de ciencia-ficción Arthur C. Clarke. Es un buen ejemplo del uso de 'either' y 'both'.

Cita del autor de ciencia ficción británico Arthur C. Clarke. En ella podemos ver un ejemplo del uso de ‘either’ y ‘both’.

Existen dos posibilidades: o estamos solos en el universo o no lo estamos. Ambas son igual de aterradoras.

En esta contundente frase de Arthur C. Clarke, conocido escritor de ciencia ficción británico, podemos ver el uso de ‘either’ y ‘both’. Junto con ‘neither’, estas palabras suelen confundirnos debido a su parecido, aunque tienen significados muy distintos. Veamos algunos ejemplos:

-Both restaurants are very good > Ambos restaurantes son muy buenos
-Neither restaurant is expensive > Ninguno es caro
-We can go to either restaurant > Podemos ir a cualquiera de los dos

No siempre es necesario utilizar both/neither/either + noun, pueden ir solos:

-‘Which t-shirt do you like?’
‘I like both!’
-‘Is Sam at home or at work?’
‘Neither. She’s away on holiday’
-‘Do you want tea or coffee?’
‘Either. I don’t mind’

Por otro lado, pueden ir seguidos de OF (both of/neither of/either of + the/these/my/Jim’s, etc.):

-Both of the restaurants were expensive > Ambos/los dos restaurantes eran caros
-I asked two people, but neither of them helped me > Pregunté a dos personas pero ninguna me ayudó
-Can either of you speak Spanish? > Alguno de los dos habla español?

Y, finalmente, también pueden ser conjunciones:

Both…and… > I was both tired and hungry when I got home last night.
Neither…nor… > Helen neither watches TV nor listens to the radio.
Either…or… > Either you apologise, or I’ll never speak to you again.

¡Ahora es vuestro turno! Aquí os dejamos un pdf de con ejercicios para practicar.

Good luck! 😉

Indirect Questions… so tricky!


Existen dos formas básicas de preguntas: las directas y las indirectas. Las preguntas directas son las que todos conocemos:
-Where has Tom gone?

Las preguntas indirectas, por otro lado, son preguntas con una estructura más compleja:
-Can you tell me where Tom has gone?

Como podéis ver, cuando una pregunta directa forma parte de otra oración, «deshace» la inversión que la caracteriza…

has Tom gone? > Tom has gone

…y se convierte en una oración afirmativa «normal», por así decirlo. Aquí tenéis algunos ejemplos más:

-What do you mean? > Please explain what you mean.
-Did anybody see you? > Do you know if anybody saw you?

¿Qué otros cambios podemos observar? Pues que no sólo «deshacemos» la inversión, sino que, además, al convertir la pregunta directa en una oración afirmativa normal, debemos alterar también el verbo: le quitamos el auxiliar y lo ponemos en el tiempo correcto:

Did anybody see you? > Do you know if anybody saw you?

Sí, parece muy complicado, ¡pero con prática y paciencia todo es posible! 😀

Ponte en contacto con nosotros