Ring! Ring! Ring! After three months of going through the classified ads of his local Sunday paper, Alex finally got the call he was expecting for so long.  He had been selected for a job interview. Why did it take him so long? Well, he hadn’t been able to apply to a lot of institutions because he did not fulfill all the requirements of their different positions. First, Alex was in his thirties and most of the jobs were for people in their early twenties. Second, most of the positions required Alex to have two or four years of experience. He had finished college two years ago and had just presented his thesis, and therefore, he did not have such experience.  However, Alex’s perseverance paid off and he was awarded with an opportunity to demonstrate the world that he had all the skills and personal traits to succeed in anything he set his mind to.

The day before his interview Alex checked if he had everything ready. His shoes were as brilliant as a mirror and he had picked up his nicest suit from the laundry. He had also bought a new tie that matched the light blue shirt his grandma got him for Christmas. Then, he stood in front of the mirror rehearsing different handshakes and ways to introduce himself. He also went over the possible questions he might encounter at the interview and pretended to answer them as if he were practicing for an audition.

The expected day finally arrived. Alex woke up very early, took a shower, got dressed and went out without having breakfast. He was just too nervous to eat. He arrived at the building where the interview was going to take place thirty minutes early. Watching other people waiting to be interviewed for the same job made him more nervous and anxious.  “Alex Costa, you go next.” said the receptionist.  With a very timid “thank you” Alex headed to the office of the General Manager of the company he dreamt of working for.

The General Manager asked Alex about his educational background, why he wanted to work there, what his strengths and weaknesses were, what other interests he had and what his salary expectations were. Alex answered some of those questions in a very confident way. However, when talking about his strengths and weaknesses, Alex was afraid he might appear too vain or inappropriate for the job if he was too sincere. Also, when discussing his salary expectations, Alex didn’t want to sound too cheap, but he didn’t want to sound too unrealistic, either. All in all, the interview went well and Alex was sent to Human Resources where he had to take a little test.

What was the test about? He was given a booklet with different exercises. First, Alex had to draw several pictures. He remembered his friends telling him about these drawings and he followed his friends’ advice even though he didn’t see the purpose of drawing a line under a man since he was asked to draw just a man, not a man standing on the floor. Likewise, he didn’t understand why he had to draw a boat with the sea underneath it since the task was to draw just a boat, not a boat sailing on the sea. Then, he had to answer some questions about some hypothetical situations. For example, he was asked what he would bring to a desert island if he could only bring three objects. Trying to leave a great impression he answered all the questions without seeing the point of what they had to do with the position he was applying for. He didn’t believe that drawing a man or imagining he were on a dessert island made him a better or worse financial analyst.  So, after handing the booklet with all his drawings and answers, Alex was told that they were going to call him within the next three days to let him know if he was the new asset of that institution.

Finally, after such a long morning, Alex went home a little more relaxed, prepared himself a nice late breakfast and the wait for the second magical “ring, ring, ring” had started.


1. fulfill (v) : to do or have what is required or necessary  Ex: Students must fulfill the requirements stated in the bulletin board in order to apply for the scholarship.

2. in his thirties/ (twenties) (exp) :  between the ages of 30 and 39 / (between the ages of 20 and 29)  Ex: I think she must be in her twenties because she’s about to finish college.

3. pay off  (v) : to turn out to be profitable, effective, successful  Ex: His efforts finally paid off and he got promoted.

4. trait (n) : a characteristic, quality  Ex: Being punctual is one of his best traits.

5. rehearse (v) :  to practice a play, a piece of music, etc. in order to prepare it for public performance / to prepare in your mind or practice privately what you are going to do or say to somebody   Ex: On her way to his interview Alex rehearsed what he was going to say.

6. head (v) : to move in a particular direction  Ex: We were heading to the beach when the accident happened.

7. background (n) : the details of a person’s family, education, experience, etc  Ex: His background was in advertisement.

8. strength (n) : a good characteristic or quality   Ex: Patience is one of her strengths.

9. weakness (n) :  a personal defect   Ex: His greatest weakness is his lack of self – confidence.

10. Human Resources (n) : the department in a company in charge of employing and training people   Ex: To apply for this position, send your resume to Human Resources.

11. booklet (n) : a small book usually having a paper cover   Ex: The CD comes with a colourful booklet that contains photos of the band.

12. within (prep) : inside or not further than an area or period of time   Ex: I will send the letter within the week (= before the end of this week).

13. asset (n) : a person or thing that is valuable to somebody/something  Ex: Linda will be a great asset to our team.

Have you ever had any funny experiences at a job interview? What do you think about psychological tests? How do you prepare yourself for a job interview?

Send us your comments, opinions and any kind of feedback to You can either write us an email or send us a voice message.


¨Ring! Ring! Ring! After three months of going through the classified ads of his local Sunday paper, Alex finally got the call he was expecting for so long.¨

By reading the first line, we can infer that the word ring refers to the telephone. This is what we call onomatopoeias, that is, words that denote sounds of objects or animals.

Let’s go through some examples:

Zip: It is an example of onomatopoeia because it is the sound the zipper makes when you move the zipper 

Boom: The classic sound when a bomb explodes. It denotes the sound.

Hiss: You’ll hear that sound when you are next to a snake.

Knock: Can you see who is at the door? I’m hearing the knocks coming from it.

Meow: Meow, meow said the cat waiting for milk.

Can you guess what objects or animals produce these sounds?






Times of changes: give yourself a chance

Have you ever wondered if you are in the right place doing what you are supposed to be doing? Sometimes we get those “what ifs” like what if I changed my job or what if I moved to another city, but we remain doing nothing about it. But why? The main reason is that we are afraid of taking risks since we don’t know what the outcomes may be. We fear the unknown.  So, we tend to keep our ten-year job because we feel safe doing it. We know our duties, we are familiar with all the procedures, with the staff, and even with the problems and annoyances that arise from working there.

There is nothing wrong in keeping a job for 10, 15 or even 20 years if we really love what we do, if we are truly happy in that environment we call work.  However, if we feel frustrated, dissatisfied, bored, and we really wish things were different, it is time to step out of our comfort zone and take a chance for ourselves.

I’m almost positive that deep down we all know what we would like to be doing or at least what other things we would like to try. We all more or less have an idea of what we are passionate about, but we don’t dare to unbury our passions and inner desires because we are too scared of failing and losing everything.  In order to overcome our fears, it is essential that we have faith in ourselves. We have to believe that we have the potential, the skills and whatever it takes to succeed in what is going to become our next new adventure. It doesn’t matter if everyone around us keeps telling us “Hey, you can do it” or “You would be so good at this” if we don’t believe that ourselves.  Are we that inept or incompetent that we can’t get anything better? Is the place where we are now the highest mountain we could ever climb? Of course not. There are higher mountains to be climbed and we have the tools to conquer them.

Another important aspect of changes is that is not enough to wish for  something new to happen, but we also need to be looking for opportunities and be ready when they knock at our doors.  Sitting on a couch won’t lead us anywhere.  We should keep ourselves up to date getting all the necessary and latest information about the new field we want to explore, and we’d better brush up on our German if we are planning on becoming the new Marketing Designer at BMW.

It’s not easy to embrace change and start over but we need to remember that we are not alone. There are people around us ready to give us a hand in case we start trembling or think we may fall. And even if we don’t succeed at the first attempt, we should not give up, ever.  Steve Jobs once said, “If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.” And, indeed, we shall never settle.


1. outcome (n): the result or effect of an action, situation, etc   Ex: It’s difficult to predict the outcome of the meeting.

2. annoyance (n): something that makes you slightly angry  Ex: Traffic was one of the greatest annoyances that I found in the city.

3.arise (out of/from) (v): to happen as a result of a particular situation  Ex: Health problems can arise from bad eating habits.

4. comfort zone (n): a situation or position in which a person feels secure, comfortable, or in control  Ex: Staying in our comfort zone can be very limiting.

5.deep down (ex): if you know something deep down, you know your true feelings about it, although you may not admit them to yourself Ex: Deep down she was still in love with Jack.

6. dare (v): to be brave enough to do something difficult or dangerous   Ex: Do you dare to  tell him the news?

7. unbury (v): remove from the ground. (Fig) uncover, reveal   Ex: This is not a good time to unbury the past. Let’s move on.

8. overcome (v): to defeat or succeed in controlling or dealing with something    Ex: She finally managed to overcome her shyness and went to the graduation party.

9.lead (v): take somebody somewhere     Ex: The waiter led us to our table.

10. brush up on sth(v): to quickly improve a skill, especially when you have not used it for a time.    Ex: I need to brush up on my Italian before going to Rome.

11. embrace (v): to accept something enthusiastically   Ex: He rapidly embraced the idea of hiring two more assistants.

12. tremble (v): to shake in a way that you cannot control, usually because you are very nervous, excited, scared, cold, etc. To feel fear or anxiety.  Ex: I trembled at the thought of having to make a speech.

13. settle (v): to become quiet and calm    Ex: You need to improve yourself, do better, never settle.

Do you love what you do? What are your dreams? What’s the most life changing experience you’ve ever had?

Send us your comments, opinions and any kind of feedback to You can either write us an email or send us a voice message.


Working with gerunds can be a bit confusing since many people think that gerunds are present continuous, both use the present participle (also known as the –ing form of the verb) but  the truth  is that while the present continuous is used to talk about actions in progress, the gerunds are used in many ways. If you remember these tips, you won’t have any problems.

*As a subject

Working as a teacher is a rewarding experience.

Exercising helps to release stress.

*After some verbs (enjoy, mind, dislike, hate, etc.) 

I like playing the guitar.

I hate eating pasta.

*After the verb to be (to indicate activities)

The main activity in the company is making toys.

The only thing he likes to do is sleeping.

*After prepositions (for, with, of, on, in, about, from, etc.)

I’m really interested in learning English

He is thinking about moving out. 

*After adjectives

Chronic snoring is detected in overweight people.

Brazilian dancing has become very popular.


It looks like an ordinary day at work – people at their stations minding their own business – when suddenly you just feel as if you were on a Seinfeld’s or Friend’s episode. Haven’t you ever felt as if you happened to be on a TV show surrounded by some weird, unique, though funny characters?

Sometimes I think that we are wasting the opportunity to become rich and famous. Actually, we should be having cameras recording 24/7 what happens within the walls of our offices, factories or wherever we happen to work. Beyond doubt, it would become a huge TV success, an Emmy-worthy show.

Regardless of where you work or what you do for a living, I’m quite positive you’ll find some of these characters near you:

a) Mr. Joker: He’s always making fun of everybody, calling people names and playing jokes. A piece of advice: don’t let him know his jokes bother you because then he won’t leave you alone.

b) Miss Princess: She walks with her head a little high pretending to be on a red carpet. If you get a “good morning” from her, you are on your lucky day. Since she lives in a fantasy world, don’t expect smart answers from her. Instead, be prepared to receive the most airheaded, frivolous comments.

c) Mr. Lazy Messy: You can find everything in his station. From a three-week old tuna sandwich to a client’s report stained with coffee. Don’t ask him anything because he’s always busy. Yes, busy reading the sports section, commenting on a friend’s picture on Facebook or sending his hourly tweet.

d) Miss Candy Sweet: Nothing seems to upset her. At all times she’ll talk to you with a beaming smile and her sparkling eyes. But be careful, deep inside she may be cursing you.

e) Miss Snacker: If you hear someone munching, that’s definitely her. She can barely speak to you as she is with the mouth full at all times. So, if you feel like eating that energy bar you brought from home, you’d better hide it and go somewhere away from her like the roof or the men’s room.

f) Mr. Always Right:  It doesn’t matter if the sun is shining. If he says “it’s night-time”, it is night-time. If he says something happened or did not happen, take his word for it because he is never wrong. God made him that way and we can’t fight that.

g) Mr. Loony: Sometimes you may find him talking to himself and even laughing with no one around him. He’s constantly watching all your movements with his creepy eyes. He rarely speaks to you but when he does, we highly recommend you listen to him and play along with whatever thing he says. You really wouldn’t like to upset him, would you?

h) Mr. Buddy: He’s everybody’s boss. This is the most pathetic character because while he wants to be everybody’s friend, nobody wants to be his friend. To make matters worse, he doesn’t give up and he’s always making every effort to make people like him by telling jokes or showing concern when someone has problems. He’s always trying to find out when the next party is, so he can show up even though he’s never invited.

i) Mrs. Grumpy: Never expect a smile from her. She’s always complaining about everybody’s mistakes and flaws. Even the clients and the company itself are not safe from her harsh comments. So, if you need to send her a report, make sure you’ve proofread it a thousand times.

j) Mrs. Mummy: If you don’t feel well or something worries you, you can always count on her. She’ll listen to you and even cry with you. She’d better not find out that you’ve had a fight with one of your office siblings because she won’t leave the office until you guys make up and finish the day with a hug.

And we can go on and on. I have to admit that I’d be Mrs. Grumpy. Don’t blame me for wanting everything to work the way they are supposed to work, and yes, it bothers me greatly when they don’t. Is it too hard to do the things we are required to do? So, being able to find these characters in the real world makes me think that there must be an eccentric Cosmo Kramer, a goofy Ross Geller or a socially inept Sheldon Cooper somewhere on this planet….who knows maybe next to you.


1. station (n): an area where a person is assigned to work.

2. Emmy-worthy (adj): having the merit and qualities to deserve an Emmy Award.

3. call someone names (exp): to use unpleasant words to describe someone in order to insult them.

4. airheaded (adj): lacking seriousness, stupid.

5. beaming (adj): cheerful and bright

6. curse (v): to say or think bad things about someone or something because they have made you angry.

7. take someone’s word for it (exp): to believe that something is true because someone tells you it is.

8. munch (v): to eat something noisily.

9. loony (n): a crazy or strange person.

10. harsh (adj): severe, cruel.

11. proofread (v): to read and correct a piece of written or printed work.

12. make up (with sb) (v): to become friends with somebody after an argument.

13. socially inept (exp): having no social skills and therefore unable to judge and improvise interactions with other people in an acceptable or ‘normal’ way.


Have you ever worked with people with similar personality traits (characteristics)? Are there any other peculiar characters where you work? Which of these characters would you be and why?

Send us your comments, opinions and any kind of feedback to You can either write us an email or send us a voice message.


To use verbs as adjectives, we have to work with their participles, that is, the present and the past participles.

Present participles

We can use the present participle of the verb, also known as the -ing form, as an adjective when we want to describe the characteristics or qualities of a person or an object. For example:

    • My dog frightens all my neighbors. It’s a frightening dog.
    • That movie shocked all the audience. It was a shocking movie.
    • The new teacher bores the students. He is a boring teacher.

Some other participles used as adjectives: exciting, interesting, disappointing, etc.

Past participles

We use the past participle of the verbs as adjectives when we talk about people’s feelings or reactions.

    • There is a dog that has bitten all the people in my neighborhood. I am frightened of that dog.
    • My cousin saw a movie with lots of violence yesterday. She felt really shocked.
    • My new teacher only talks and talks. He never says anything new. I am bored.

We can also use the past participle when we want to refer to a characteristic of an object. This characteristic is the result of a previous action. For example:

  • Someone broke the window. My window was broken. It is a broken window.

Here we are talking about the characteristic of the window as a result of an action.

Another example:

  • Someone stole my sister’s car. The car was stolen. It was a stolen car.

Some other participles used as adjectives: bitten, drunk, confused, interested, etc.