Archive | December 2012

WEP 201212

(click on the image to download this week’s Weekly English Practice from English Coaching Projects)

This week we have review questions about the last 11 weeks’ issues.

Cover 131212

Answer the questions and give the answers to your ECP coach before January 11th to have a chance to win some great prizes!


  • In Scotland, what do they want to use to make fuel for cars?
  • What are ‘by-products’?
  • Who said: “Fortunately, inpsiration strikes me at exactly nine o’clock every morning when I sit down to write”?
  • How old is Psy?
  • What is ‘K-pop’?
  • What was the Beatles first single?
  • What are ‘commuters’?
  • How tall is the London Eye?
  • How many people does Facebook employ?


  • What would we contribute to if we didn’t eat meat one day per week?
  • Who wants to tax meat and dairy products?
  • How many graves have been found at Vitoria’s Old Cathedral?
  • When was the original settlement of Gasteiz built?Whose statue is outside Santa Maria Cathedral?
  • What software did Microsoft demonstrate in November?
  • Which British city has had problems with its automated phone system?
  • What is the problem with the service?
  • Why is English ‘hard to learn’?
  • Why do we often watch TV for longer than we originally intented?
  • What did Groucho Marx say about television?
  • What do these words mean: to flush, a herd, weak?
  • How many hours a day do cats sleep and how many teeth do they have?
  • How do people install new software into their brains?


  • Why is learning English like making bread?
  • How much VAT do carrots have in Spain? (What is VAT?)
  • Why did some spectators eat their entrance tickets in a theatre in Catalonia?
  • Does the planet Eris exist?
  • How old is the Earth?
  • What do the Earth and sun align with every December?
  • And finally…. Which is your favourite warning sign on page 4 of WEP 13/12/12?

WEP 131212

Click on the image to download this week’s Weekly English Practice from English Coaching Projects.
Cover 131212

Is it the end of the world?

This article has been adapted from –

Look at the vocabulary before you start!

threat: a possibility of damage or injury, a possibility of hostile action

claims: an assertion that something is true

to head: to go in the direction of

doomsday: the last day of the world

to link: to connect to something

to align: a place or arrange in a line

The Milky Way: the name of the galaxy that our planet is in

to approach: to get closer, to come nearer

hoax: a humourous or malicious deception

the naked eye: vision without the help of a telescope or microscope

dwarf: smaller than the normal size

to carry out: to do a task or planned operation

According to Hollywood and many internet sites, December 21st, 2012, will be the end of the world. However, according to NASA, December 21st won’t be the end of the world as we know it, it will just be another winter solstice. NASA scientists answer questions about what will happen next week.

Question (Q): Are there any threats to the Earth in 2012? Many websites say the world will end in December 2012.

Answer (A): The world will not end in 2012. Our planet has been doing fine for more than 4 billion years, and credible scientists worldwide know of no threat associated with 2012.

Q: What is the origin of the prediction that the world will end in 2012?

A: The story started with claims that Nibiru, a supposed planet discovered by the Sumerians, is headed toward Earth. This catastrophe was initially predicted for May 2003, but when nothing happened the doomsday date was moved to December 2012 and linked to the end of one of the cycles in the ancient Mayan calendar – the winter solstice in 2012.

Q: Does the Mayan calendar end in December 2012?

A: Just as the calendar you have on your kitchen wall does not end after December 31st, the Mayan calendar does not end on December 21st, 2012. This date is the end of the Mayan long-count period but then – just as your calendar begins again on January 1st – another long-count period begins for the Mayan calendar.

Q: Could planets align in a way that impacts Earth?

A: There are no planetary alignments in the next few decades and when alignments occur, their effects on the Earth are negligible. One major alignment occurred in 1962 and two others happened during 1982 and 2000. Each December the Earth and sun align with the approximate center of the Milky Way Galaxy but that is an annual event of no consequence.

Q: Is there a planet called Nibiru or Planet X or Eris that is approaching the Earth and threatening our planet with destruction?

A: Nibiru and other stories about strange planets are an Internet hoax. There is no factual basis for these claims. If Nibiru or Planet X were real and headed for an encounter with the Earth in 2012, astronomers would have been tracking it for at least the past decade, and it would be visible to the naked eye. Obviously, it does not exist. Eris is real, but it is a dwarf planet similar to Pluto that is about 4 billion miles away from Earth.

Q: Is the Earth in danger of being hit by a meteor in 2012?

A: The Earth has always received impacts from comets and asteroids, although big hits are very rare. The last big impact was 65 million years ago, and that led to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Today NASA astronomers are carrying out a survey called the Spaceguard Survey to find any large near-Earth asteroids long before they hit. We have already determined that there are no threatening asteroids as large as the one that killed the dinosaurs.

Q: Is there a danger from giant solar storms predicted for 2012?

A: Solar activity has a regular cycle, with peaks approximately every 11 years. Near these activity peaks, solar flares can cause some interruption of satellite communications. But there is no special risk associated with 2012. The next solar maximum will occur in the 2012-2014 time frame and is predicted to be an average solar cycle, no different than previous cycles.

Tell me about these ruins!

Look at these pictures of the old Roman town of Pompeii. Can you describe what you see? What kind of people lived there and what were their lives like? What happened to Pompeii?

First make some notes, then speak about your ideas, and finally write it all in an email to your ECP coach. Why not record your explanations and use the recording with your ECP coach to improve your pronunciation and intonation?

(click on the image to download it)
Tell me about these ruins

Learning Strategies – using Google searches to find funny things to talk about

Why not use Google to search for funny things to talk about in class with your coach and colleagues?

We put in “funny warning signs” and got some of the following images.

Talk about what these signs are for. Are they true or a joke? Are they funny, serious, disrespectful or just stupid?

(click on the image to download it)
Learning strategies WEP 131212

WEP 061212

Click on the image to download this week’s WEEKLY ENGLISH PRACTICE from English Coaching Projects.

WEP 061212

WEP 061212

Buy a carrot and go to the theatre (simple and original versions)

Look at the vocabulary before you start!

Simple Version

carrot: a long, orange vegetable

instead of: as an alternative or substitute to something

rise: an increase

VAT: ‘Value Added Tax’  (GB) a sales tax, the amount added on to the price of a product that the Government receives.

lettuces: a plant with green leaves that is usually eaten in salads

damage: to cause harm to something, reduce its value or normal function

to earn: to obtain money, normally by working or selling something

  1. A theatre in Catalonia now sells carrots instead of tickets. This is a protest against a 13 per cent rise in VAT on cultural activities in Spain. Tickets for cultural events had 8% VAT before September but now it is 21%. Carrots only have 4% VAT.
  2. For one night, spectators at the municipal theatre in Bescanó in north-east Catalonia received a carrot instead of a ticket when they attended a black comedy called Suicides. Quim Marcé, the theatre director, said: “I thought about lettuces, but it wasn’t practical. I also thought about tomatoes, but I didn’t want people to throw them at the actors.”
  3. The theatre was full and many spectators ate their carrots. They applauded Mr Marcé and the two actresses when they spoke about the damage caused by increase in VAT.
  4. Spectator numbers are already decreasing dramatically because of the recession. In Barcelona, theatres are earning 30% less money than before the VAT increase and it is predicted that 20% of all cinemas will close before next summer.

Original Version

Read the vocabulary first!

in lieu of: instead of

staple food: food that is basic e.g. bread, rice, vegetables etc

charge: to demand payment e.g. the shop charged me 1€ for the bread

rather than: instead of, in preference to

lugging (to lug): to carry (especially something heavy)

performance: a presentation of a play, concert or other entertainment

packed-out: very crowded, a lot of people, to sell out of tickets

stalls: the seats on the ground floor in a theatre

munching (to munch): to eat continuously and audibly

thunderous: very loud, high volume (like thunder)

shrinking (to shrink): to get smaller and smaller

takings: the amount of money earned when selling something

Read the original article here.

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Your weekly English practice from English Coaching Projects