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This site is for all students of English as a Foreign Language at the Piedralaves E.O.I.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


The pronunciation of can and can't is probably the best 
example of the difficulties of English pronunciation for Spanish people. The pronunciation of this (modal-auxiliary) verb presents these features:

- Pronunciation of  difficult individual sounds / æ / and /ə/ in can, /ɑ:/ in can't.

- Variations in the way the verbs are pronounced, depending on their position in the sentence: We only pronounce can as / kæn / in short answers, or at the end of a sentence or before a pause, or for emphasis:

A: Can you swim? B: Yes, I can. / kæn / (short answer)
A: Can you have it for Friday? B: I think I can, but I need ... / kæn / (before a pause)
A: Sue can't swim, she's too young. B: Of course she can swim. / kæn / (emphasis)
Can you come at six? /kən/
can run faster than you. /kən/

- Ellision of sounds: the "t" in can't is very often not pronounced; the "a" in can is very often not pronounced when it is pronounced /ə/ .

- Stress: can't is always stressed, so speakers know if a sentence is affirmative or negative because of the stress on can't, not because they hear "t": I can't go (both "can't" and "go" take the stress)
When can is pronounced /kən/ is always unstressed, and the stress falls on the main verb: I can go. (only "go" takes the stress).

For Spanish speakers it is very difficult not to give stress to any words in a sentence, as our language gives the same stress to all the words. Consequently, when we use can in conversation it is sometimes very difficult for listeners to know if the sentence is affirmative (can) or negative (can't).

There are two tricks we can use to pronounce can in an unstressed position:

1) Omit the vowel sound and pronounce can quickly: I can go to the cinema  / ai kn 'gəu /
2) Make can part of the subject, as if they were the same word: I can go to the cinema / aikn 'gəu /

To complete the study of this difficult pronunciation point, you can watch these two videos from Accentworkshop.com. The first one is about the pronunciation of can, and the second about the pronunciation of can't.

Saturday, January 28, 2012


Hello guys? How are you doing? I hope you´re having a terrific weekend!

Please click on this link:

to do some more exercises on the present tense. It's good review for your upcoming exam! You can do all of them, except for the last section

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Easy conversations for beginners offers elementary students (Básico 1 and Básico 2) the possibility of listening to dozens of short dialogues on everyday topics. 

The topics include daily life, school life, transportation, entertainment, dating, at the restaurant, sports, safety, travel, jobs, food, shopping, housing, vote and health.


I would like to suggest this way of studying:
  • Choose a dialogue.
  • Listen to it.
  • Look up any words or expressions you don't know.
  • Listen to it, paying careful attention to pronunciation, and replaying words and sentences as often as necessary.
  • Shadow-read: Try and read at the same pace as the recorded voices.
  • Read the dialogue yourself.