off the cuff Episode 11

A learning English podcast: off the cuff

In this month’s episode of #offthecuff we talk about experiences from #Vitoria #Madrid #Mexico where we thought people should have spoken up about what they saw instead of just being a #bystander. This July 2021 episode is full of vocabulary so check it with subtitles.

Vocabulary and Phrases from the first 3 minutes

  • Cat fight – an intense argument or physical fight usually between two women.
    • Yesterday two young girls for into a cat fight right in front of my house and I tried to stop them.
  • Shame on you – used to tell someone that they should be ashamed (embarrassed) of their behavior.
    • Shame on you for not helping that older woman with her groceries when her bad broke.
  • Two steps forward one leap back – used to express that we are evolving by moving forward in society but then we go backward and seem to lose some things that we have learned.
    • I feel like I took two giant steps forward with my English but then COVID hit and not I have taken a leap back.
  • Build up – a gradual increase of something
    • I haven’t told her how I feel yet, so my anger seems to just be building up and I am worried I may explode.
  • Excuse – A reason you give to explain why you have done something wrong.
    • They decided to fire him because he kept giving them one excuse after another and were fed up.
  • Peer pressure – a strong influence of a group of people who are similar to you in age or social circle, who want everyone to act as they do.
    • There is too much peer pressure on young girls to have the same hair style, clothes and body that many of them end up having some real problems with self-esteem.
  • Bullying – the behavior of a person who hurts or frightens someone smaller or less powerful, often making them do something they do not want to do.
    • Bullying has always been a problem but today kids also have to deal with online bullying which adds even more pressure.
  • Bully – the person who does the bullying
    • In many cases, the kids who are the bullies often come from unstable situations at home.

Vocabulary and phrases from the minute 3 – 5

  • To stand up to someone – to deal with someone in an effective manner.
    • They are trying to teach young kids to stand up to bullies.
  • Lynching – the act of killing someone without a legal trial, usually by hanging them. In the context of the podcast. Clare was using this expression to say that people publicly attack people for no reason.
    • They gave him a real lynching even though they weren’t sure he was the one who committed the crime.
  • Clip on the ear – a quick hit on the side of one’s head.
    • In the past, it was quite normal for a parent to give their children a clip on the ear. Today it is not so common.
  • Instilling values –to put a value or principle gradually into someone’s mind, so that it has a strong influence on the way that person thinks or behaves.
    • We try to instill values such as community and bonds between people in our children instead of technology.
  • Name and shame – a phrase used to say that someone should be called out for what they are doing and shamed for their bad behavior.
    • I saw someone stealing a wallet so I said in a loud voice, ‘That man is stealing your wallet’ . That way we could name and shame for doing it.

Vocabulary and phrases from minute 5 – the end

  • Bystanders/Onlookers – someone who is standing by watching something take place but does not take part in it.
    • As the police began to hit the man on the ground the bystanders just watched or took videos.
    • There were many onlookers for the street performers, but in the end no one gave them any money.
  • Calling someone out – when someone says out loud that someone is doing something wrong.
    • Janet and her boyfriend were fighting and she called him out about every lie he ever told her.
  • One bad apple spoils the bunch – people use this to refer to a situation where they believe one person’s negative demeanor or bad behavior can affect a whole group of people, influencing them to have a similar negative attitude or to engage in the same bad behavior.
    • Everything was fine until Jimmy came and then everyone was running around screaming. Well, you know what they say, one bad apple spoils the bunch.  
  • Down with …! – something you say, write or shout to show your opposition to someone or something.
    • Jenny always used to say ‘Down with love!’ but now she’s about to be married and is as happy as ever.
  • Feeble – weak, without energy, strength or power
    • I think the opposition party needs a stronger response to the new amendment than the feeble one they gave last night. 


vocab rehab - interior del coche

Vocabulario interior del coche

En el post anterior te explicamos todos las partes del exterior del coche, pero el vocabulario del interior del coche tambien puede resultar necesario. Alquilar un coche para viajar este verano no puede ser más fácil.

Conduciendo en un pais que no es el tuyo

Recuerdo  la primera clase de conducir que tomé en España. Había vivido ya más de 10 años en países de habla hispana, pero no sabía ni cómo llamar al volante. ¿Cómo puede explicarse que no sabía los nombres de las diferentes partes en el interior del coche? Tenía una licencia de conducir desde los 16 años pero en este tema mi español estaba en blanco.

Muchas veces no aprendemos el vocabulario necesario hasta que lo tenemos que utilizar. Y ese fue mi caso. Así que hice un esfuerzo para explicarle al profesor de la auto-escuela la función de cada cosa dentro del coche para mostrarle que si hablaba Castellano, solo que no sabía los nombres de esas cosas.

Así que, no quiero que te pase lo mismo. Aquí tienes todo el vocabulario necesario para hablar con cualquiera sobre las partes del interior del coche.

Vocabulario para interior del coche con traducciones y ejemplos

  • Steering Wheel – volante  
    • Don’t grab the steering wheel while I’m driving! That’s very dangerous.
  • Claxon (UK) / Horn (US) – bocina
    • I really don’t like when people use their claxon for everything. Sometimes it is not necessary.
  • Storage compartment (UK) / Glove compartment (US) – guantera
    • I usually leave my wallet in the glove compartment when I go hiking because I don’t think I’ll need it.
  • Door handle – manilla
    • Careful with the door handle. I think one of the screws are loose and it may come off.
  • Stick shift – palanca de cambios
  • Gas pedal – acelerador   
    • There’s an expression that goes ‘put the pedal to the medal’. It means that you should step on the gas pedal so hard that it hits the metal of the car and you go as fast as you can.
  • Brake pedal – pedal de freno
    • In the beginning I found it difficult to use my right foot for the brake pedal since I was always used to using my left.
  • Clutch – embrague
    • I found that the hardest part about learning to drive was using the clutch to start the car.
  • Air bag – airbag
    • Most cars today have air bags for both the driver and the passenger as well as for the back seat passengers.
  • Vent – conducto
    • We had the air conditioning on high but nothing was coming out. It was because we had the vents closed!
  • Indicator (UK) / Turn signal (US) – indicador
    • In the US we always put our turn signal on before looking to see if I can get over, but in Spain you need to make sure you can get over and then put your turn signal on. This can causes a lot of confusion and angry drivers.

¡Buen viaje!

vocab exterior coche

Vocabulario: partes de un coche en inglés

Tal vez hablas con fluidez en ingles pero llega al momento de alquilar un coche y de repente hay mucho vocabulario: partes de un coche en inglés que no sabes o nunca has utilizado. Aquí te enseñamos las partes del exterior del coche para que tu próxima adventura sea más emocionante.

Vocabulario para el exterior del coche

Translations and examples – Parts of a car

  • Tyre (UK) / Tire (US) – neumático / llanta  
    • I was late to work today because I got a flat tyre.
  • Wheel – rueda
    • A song that we sing to our children is called ‘The wheels on the bus go round and round’.
  • Mirror – espejo  
    • I always use my mirrors before changing lanes so I know there is no one next to me.
  • Indicator (UK) / Turn signal (US) –  indicador 
    • I really can’t stand it when people do not use their indicators in a roundabout.
  • Headlight – las luces cortas 
    • I think most cars today have automatic headlights that come on when it is dark outside.
  • Number plate (UK) / License plate (US) – matricula  
    • When I was young we would play a game to see who could find a license plate from each state.
  • Bumper – parachoques
    • I scratched the bumper a little on my way out the garage. I hope my insurance will cover it.
  • Bonnet (UK) / Hood (US) – capó
    • Pop the hood so we can check the oil.
  • Windscreen (UK) / Windshield (US) – paraprisas 
    • We had a crack in the windshield so we had to get it replaced.
  • Windscreen wipers (UK) / Windshield wipers (US) – limpiaparaprisas
    • We have automatic windscreen wipers on our car, so the speed adjusts to the amount of rain falling.
  • Aerial (UK) / Antenna (US) – antena 
    • A few years ago, people were stealing all the antennas from the cars. It was really annoying.
  • Hood (UK) / Trunk (US) – maletero / baúl 
    • The reason why we decided to buy this car instead of the blue one is because this one has a bigger trunk.  

Aprender más vocabulario

Vocab Rehab

Ya que conoces el vocabulario partes de un coche, aprendes más vocabulario con nuestros posts anteriores de Vocab Rehab

Expressions Sessions - Opinions

Mejorar tu Speaking en el examen

¿Siempre dices lo mismo para dar tu opinión en inglés? Para mejorar tu puntuación en el examen, deja de usar ‘I think’ y empieza a usar estas frases.

Mejorar tu puntuación en el Speaking

Lo difícil de los exámenes de inglés es que tienes muy poco tiempo para mostrar tu nivel. En el Oxford Test of English por ejemplo, tienes entre 20 y 30 segundos para dar tu opinión y tienes que contestar varias preguntas. Así que no puedes utilizar ‘I think…‘ una y otra vez porque no te van a otorgar un B2 si repites siempre lo mismo.

Tampoco es recomendable memorizar lo que vas a decir ya que no sabes exactamente lo que te van a preguntar, pero lo que si puedes hacer es empezar a utilizar con naturalidad las frases que te mostramos a continuación para decir tu opinión. Estas frases te pueden ayudar tanto en el Speaking como en el Writing.

Como prepararse para el examen

Hay 3 claves en las que debes centrarte:

  1. Fluidez
  2. Uso de gramática / vocabulario
  3. El tiempo

Así que cuando practiques,

  1. algunas veces debes intentar hablar con fluidez sin preocuparte por los fallos gramaticales.
  2. Otras veces, céntrate en hablar sin errores sin prestar demasiada atención a la fluidez. En ambas situaciones, te vendría muy bien grabarlo para luego escucharte.   
  3. Y por último, intenta hablar con fluidez, utilizando la gramática adecuada y un vocabulario variado dentro de los límites del tiempo exigidos por cada examen. Es importante acostumbrarte a estos tiempos para medir que y cuanto decir. Es muy probable que así también estés menos nervios@ a la hora del examen ya que habrás preparado todos estos aspectos.

Cada examen tiene su parte en la que tendrás que expresar tus opiniones:

  • Oxford Test of English/A2-B2: En el parte 1 (20 segundos x 6 preguntas) y en el parte 4 (30 segundos x 6 preguntas)
  • FCE/B2: En el parte 3, tendrás que hablar en pareja durante 4 minutos
  • CAE/C1: En el parte 3 (4 minutos) y el parte 4 (5 minutos).

Temas habituales en los exámenes

Hay muchos temas que con frecuencia aparecen en los diferentes exámenes. Es bueno pensar en lo que dirías sobre estos temas. Como dije anteriormente nunca vas a poder saber exactamente lo que te van a preguntar, pero tener unas ideas sobre estos temas puede ser de gran ayuda. Haz un listado de posibles preguntas sobre los siguientes temas:

  • Health/exercise
  • Leisure/Free time
  • Shopping/Fashion
  • Sports
  • Books
  • Buildings
  • Environment
  • Travel
  • Work/Education
  • Movies/TV

Ahora que has escrito algunas preguntas y sabes cuánto tiempo vas a tener para hablar sobre ellos, es una buena idea utilizar un reloj y practicar ajustándose al tiempo fijado.


How can exercise have an impact on someone’s quality of life?

In my opinion, exercise can only improve your quality of life since you will feel better and sleep better. It’s important that everyone does some exercise every day in order to stay fit and healthy. Otherwise, we may see an increase in health problems in the future, which will have a negative impact on one’s quality of life.

Do you believe you have more or less free time than your parent’s generation?

It seems to me that we have much more free time than when our parents were younger. We tend to go to the gym or do exercise outdoors and even go to the bar for a coffee whereas my parents never really had time or even thought about doing these types of things.

Do you think fashion is something that is always changing?

In my view, fashion trends always come back at some point. They may not be exactly the same, but some part of them return. For example, high-rise jeans were in fashion in the 80s and now we see girls wearing them again. They may not have the same hairstyles or the bright colors, but the jeans are the same.

Do you think sports players earn too much money?

As I see it, football players earn way too much money. I know that they get a lot of their money from advertisements, but I still don’t think justifies them making so much, especially when the country is not doing so well economically. Surely sports clubs can reinvest some of that money into their communities.

Will e-books eventually replace printed books?

I would say that although e-books are really popular, printed books will always be around. You made a good point about how printing less books is good for the environment but I just love the experience of opening up a good book and feeling the pages. I think most people would say the same.

Should copy-cat architecture be banned?

Personally, I don’t believe it should be illegal for people to make copy-cat architecture, but I don’t really like it. But all forms of art today are a mix of someone else’s ideas, so why should architecture be any different? What do you feel about it?

Should individuals or the government be responsible for lowering the effects of climate change?

As far as I’m concerned, we do not do enough as a country to take care of the environment. I know that every person needs to do what they can but without policies governing the big corporations, we will never lower the amount of pollution in the air.

What are more important to know when visiting another country, the language or the culture?

It seems to me that cultural differences are often more important to learn than the language when you are in a foreign country. It’s good to know the language to be able to communicate with the people but being respectful and knowing how to act can make a bigger difference. We all know the importance body language has on communication.

Is working from home common in your country? What do you prefer?

As I see it, in Spain people will work from home more often in the future. In many countries they have been doing it for years, and it really cuts down on costs for the company. Personally, I would prefer to work from home at least two days a week so I can get paperwork done without any distractions.

People are going less and less to the cinema these days. Why do you think that is?

Most people would agree that they prefer to watch movies and TV series at home instead of going to the theatre. For the price of four tickets to the cinema, you can get a yearly subscription to an on-demand streaming service. Having said that, I still enjoy seeing an action film on a big screen, but I only go maybe once a year because it’s cheaper and more comfortable watching it from home.