YES’N’YOU – Running in the Sun (C1 and above)

Hi everyone,

Too hotThere is no getting around it – it is too hot in Barcelona. It’s too hot to walk, too hot to move, too hot to think. It is also hot in other parts of the Northern hemisphere; my family in England have reported record temperatures over the last week. In the UK we have a fondness for the expression “since records began”, and it has been well-used in the past few days.

However, as hot as it might be, and as lunatic as it might strike those of us who do not participate in such activities, lists 124 marathons being run worldwide during the month of July. The people who run these races are deranged, dangerous maniacs who must be stopped at all costs. And what is more, I used to be one of them.

So, in honour of all those who will lay themselves down on the alter of personal ambition this month here is an excerpt from my diary from 2008, when I ran the Barcelona marathon. I hope you enjoy reading it more than I enjoyed running it!


This is the big one. A marathon I mean. Forty-two kilometres of winding, tortuous up-and-downing through some of Barcelona’s most salubrious and wretched avenues culminating in a final scuttle along the beach. Pheidippides, the Greek gopher who famously popularized the event by running a similar distance to deliver the news of victory over the Persians in 490BC, equally famously died of exhaustion straight afterwards. I am willing to bet that he was considerably fitter than I am.

PheidippidesFor five months now I have been trotting around the city streets, gradually increasing the duration and intensity of my endeavors. I am no longer worried about the muscles, but the bones. One cannot train one’s bones. Estimating that I can execute a two metre stride with some regularity, I make that some twenty-one thousand individual impacts, or the equivalent of being hit on the sole of each foot with an eighty kilo lump-hammer more than ten thousand times. In an afternoon.


I finished the marathon in a shade over five hours, which is probably too flippant a way to describe what happened. I ran forty-two thousand one-hundred and ninety metres (I am writing the numbers in full for effect), which took forty-six thousand six-hundred and thirty-four paces; I consumed over five litres of water, washed down seven gel-pack glucose supplements, guzzled two litres of Powerade, rinsed my flesh with five sponges of cold water and yelled “Patatas Bravas” as I crossed the line.

5 hour clock

And now the recuperation must begin. I feel as if my legs have been smashed with hammers. The pain at the time was considerable, but I think that there was so much of it that the brain was unable to differentiate between one pain and another, and so a general numbness came over me, and it all seemed like some terrible dream. Since finishing, however, each area has allotted itself a particular moment during the day in which to announce its full displeasure at what I have done. I have, for instance, rubbed a six-inch square patch of flesh off my lower back where the bum-bag containing my gel-packs was. It was uncomfortable while running, raw and bleeding as it was, but compared to the savage pain in my feet and legs it was as nothing. Now picture the scene: I have very slowly and agonizingly removed my running wear and am about to step into the shower – sweet blessed relief in the form of a gentle stream of lukewarm water (to prevent my blood-vessels exploding, as I have read on the internet is possible). I am literally to be washed clean of my pain. Or so I think. The truth of it is that five hours of running and sweating have left me covered head to foot in a thin scree of salt. When water is applied to my back, therefore, a sluice of salt rushes down my spine and into the glistening wound at its base.


I am not ashamed to tell you that I screamed like a cheerleader. Like a 50s schlock-horror heroine. Banshees gathered to take notes on my performance.

Add to that the humiliation of having my nipple-protectors slip halfway through the race so that my nipples have been rubbed clean off my body and we’re getting somewhere near the excruciation I currently endure.

nip guards

But I did it. And have the medal to prove it. And raised over 800 quid for the old folks, which was a nice bonus.

the end

So that was my one and only experience of running a marathon. I haven’t run anywhere since 2008. I now believe that one should only run when chased.

But that’s just my opinion. If you’re a runner, I salute you, you maniac.

That’s all for this week.

Take care of yourselves,



fondess = afición
deranged = desquiciado
salubrious = saludable
wretched = miserable
scuttle = barrenar
gopher = ardilla de tierra
trot = trotar
endeavors = esfuerzos
stride = zancada
I make that… = lo calculo
lump-hammer = nudo-martillo
a shade over = un poco mas que
guzzle = engullir
rinse = enjuagar
smashed = destrozado
numbness = atontamiento
allotted = asignado
bum-bag = riñonera
raw and bleeding = En carne viva
agonizingly = agónicamente
lukewarm = tibio
scree = pedregal
sluice = compuerta
cheerleader = animadora
schlock-horror = el horror schlock
banshee = banshee es una ada mala que pronostica la muerte
slip = resbalarse
rub = frotar
quid = libra

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YES’N’YOU – Tell me something about yourself… (B1 Unit 1 Module 1 Compatible)

Hello everyone,

So here we are in level B1. It’s nice here, isn’t it? If you’ve been with us at YES’N’YOU since the beginning, by now you will have learnt a lot of interesting things. Here’s a brief reminder of some, but certainly not all, of those things:

English arrow badgeadverbs of frequency, present simple and continuous tenses, prepositions of place, comparatives and superlatives, open and closed questions, Wh- question words, adverbs of degree, recognising and using irregular verbs in the past tense, using conjunctions to link clauses, modal verbs (‘can’, ‘could’ and ‘would’), future tense differentiation, reported speech, the definite article, the present perfect and even a couple of conditionals!

That’s a lot of different stuff! And it’s been a great journey to get here, I know.

A situation that you might find yourself in where you would want to use some, if not all, of the skills that you have learnt is an interview. When we talk about our work experience, interests and skills we need to use the past, present and future tenses as well as some key phrases that afford us the opportunity to be more expressive in our responses. That way our interviewer can learn the maximum amount about us in the shortest period of time.

So, in the spirit of continual learning, I sent some interview questions to one of our telephone trainers. See if you can guess which one…

The questions I sent were these:Interview questions

And this is how our trainer responded:


Can you tell us about yourself?

I was born in Hong Kong. My mother was Spanish/Portuguese/German and my father was Irish. Quite a mix! I’m very familiar with people from all walks of life. I left Hong Kong when I was 28 years old and lived in London for a while before settling down in Spain in 1991. Eons ago!

Have you got any hobbies?

My hobbies are going for long walks and swimming. I’m also interested in reading, everything related to films and music.

Have you ever had any work experience?

I’ve been teaching since 1986. At first I taught children, then teenagers, and adults. So I have experience in teaching all ages. I have also been responsible for designing language courses.

What are your long range/term goals?

My long term goals are to retire early and to travel in my retirement.

What are your short term objectives?

I only have one short term objective – to exercise more! I’m good at running, and I enjoy being outdoors.

What are your main strengths and weaknesses?

Main strengths – patience, determination, optimism. Weaknesses – I’m a bit stubborn!

How could you contribute to our company?

By being helpful and trying to do the best in my job.

Thumbs up

What key phrases did our trainer use to express a particular interest or ability in something?

The expressions were: to be interested in, to be good at, to have experience in, to be familiar with and to be responsible for.

Can you find them in the interview? What tenses did our trainer use to talk about their work history, hobbies and abilities?

How would you answer the questions?

And finally, can you guess who the trainer is?


It’s Carolyn! Here she is with her husband at her daughter-in-law’s wedding in India. She has asked me to tell you that this is not how she normally dresses!

Well, that’s it for this week. Have a lovely weekend and we’ll be back next week with another blog post. You can post your answers to the interview questions either here, or write on our facebook wall (YES ‘N’ You Spain), or send us a message on twitter (@YESNYOU_es).

Take care in the meantime,


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YES’N’YOU – How to sleep in the Spanish heat

The summer has now officially begun and whilst for most of us it signals the start of the holiday season, it also means putting up with long, hot, sleepless nights.

The English edition of El País has come up with some tips on staying cool during the night and we here at YES’N’YOU were wondering, apart from switching on the air-conditioning, what you do to get to sleep at night during the summer?

A few simple tricks for surviving those sweaty summer nights – no air con required

CAROLINA GARCÍA writing in El País

sleepCiudad Real, central Spain, 11pm: outside it’s 32.8ºC, according to the AEMET Spanish state meteorological agency. At that temperature the bed sheets cling, pajamas are too heavy, and cool air is notable by its absence. It’s impossible to sleep. Your first reaction is to turn on the air con, if you have it. But often it’s not worth the cost to have it running the whole night, so you decide to turn it off again.

But is it possible to sleep coolly in the Spanish summer without air conditioning? Tradition says yes. Ancient Egyptians used to moisten their bedclothes to sleep better and combat heat waves, which pose a serious risk to public health. According to the results of a scientific study carried out by the Spanish National Research Council, mortality rates for those aged over 75 increase 20.1 percent for each degree that the maximum daily temperature rises above 36ºC.


Fans: The bigger, the better

Our ancestors have passed down to us a long legacy of tricks for staying cool. You can sleep under cotton sheets, for example, which aid perspiration. At the same time you can also put your sheets in the fridge or freezer inside a plastic bag for a few minutes before sleeping – they won’t stay cool the whole night, but it will be long enough for you to fall asleep – or fill a hot water bottle with cold water to cool down your bed. Here are a few more suggestions.

1. Be creative. Come up with methods to stop hot air from entering the room. For instance, point a fan toward the windows, or place a bowl full of ice or very cold water in front of the fan to cool the air further. A damp sheet placed over the window also helps.

2. Wear light pajamas. That’s the advice from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), though you can also sleep naked if you like. It’s a question of preference. According to a study by the Association of American Cotton Producers Cotton USA carried out in the UK, 57 percent of people who sleep naked are happier in their relationship with their partner.

3. Apply compresses dipped in lukewarm water on parts of the body most sensitive to heat, such as the neck, elbows, ankles and the backs of the knees. The contact with cool water has a refrigerating effect that triggers a narrowing of the blood vessels, heating up the skin. In turn, the heat cools you down as a result of the difference in the surrounding temperature, explains the CDC.

4. Sleep alone. It’s the best thing to stay cool. Sleeping alongside someone else increases your body temperature and makes the bedclothes cling, explains, a website devoted to sleep problems. What’s more, doing so at floor level will make you even cooler as hot air tends to rise.

 5. Shower in warm water to reduce your body temperature. This is a good tip for feeling fresh and clean. Many people say that, even though the shock of a cold shower produces an instant feeling of coolness, it reactivates your body and energy consumption, which makes you feel the heat more quickly afterwards than if you had showed in warm water, explains the Biological Health Institute. Also, be sure to keep your feet cool as heat enters the body here. Washing them before you turn in for the night or sleeping with them outside the bed are two good tips.

Gazpacho6. Eat salad for dinner. Avoid big meals and hot dishes such as stews, soups and roast chicken. These force the body to produce more heat in order to digest them. A yoghurt, salad or that Spanish summer favorite, cold gazpacho, are perfect for summer nights. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water, the WHO says: the body uses it to get rid of heat.

7. Turn off all lights and electronic gadgets completely. Putting them on standby is not enough: they go on using energy and giving off heat, according to the International Energy Agency – between five and 10 percent of what they would use when switched on. Also: replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent ones, which produce the same amount of light but use a fifth of the energy and give off less heat, according to the emergencies center in Arlington, Virginia.

Lastly, if you are able to sleep out in the open air, do so. Set up a camp on the roof or head out into the country to sleep close to a place next to water (the moisture in the air has a cooling effect), turning a night of stifling heat into one of adventure.sharma-obesity-sleeping-snoopy1

So, there you have it, let us at YES’N’YOU know how you get to sleep during the summer months and if any of you are interested in reading more news articles in English simply go to El País.

Why don’t you comment here on the blog, or write on our facebook wall (YES ‘N’ You Spain), or send us a message on twitter (@YESNYOU_es).

Good night and sleep well



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YES’N’YOU – What’s your preference? (A2 Unit 6 Module 2 Compatible)

Hello everyone!

We are all different. People, I mean. We all like different things; that is what makes us very interesting (and, at times, very annoying) to each other. Sometimes these likes are black and white – we either like something or we don’t; love it, or hate it. A classic example of this is the semi-popular yeast-extract spread, Marmite.


I have mentioned Marmite in this blog once before. I think I called it liquid salt, which I think is very fair. I love it, but I also understand that I need to treat it with respect. New hearts are not cheap. Here are some tourists trying Marmite for the first time:

As you can see, their reactions are quite strong!

However, in a lot of cases we need to be able to say why we prefer something. There are three simple ways to do it:

star  We can use comparatives.

For example:

Fish or cheese


We can use ‘enough’.

For example:

Fish with cheese

“This fish isn’t cheesy enough.”



star  We can use ‘too’.

For example:

Fish cheese

“This cheese is too fishy.”

Look at this example dialogue and spot the methods we’ve talked about:

A: Shall we go for local food, or Chinese food?

B: I prefer Chinese food.

A: Why?

B: Because Chinese food is better than local food. Local food is too oily.

A: Really? I’m from Spain, so I don’t think that the local food is oily enough. And anyway, Chinese food is also oily. Shall we go for English food?

B: Yes, please! English food is the best!

 What kind of things do you like? Why do you like them? Why don’t you comment here on the blog, or write on our facebook wall (YES ‘N’ You Spain), or send us a message on twitter (@YESNYOU_es).

I really look forward to hearing from you!

Until next time,


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YES’N’YOU – Why On Earth? (A2 Unit 6 Module 1 Compatible)

Hi everyone,

Today I want to talk to you about a structure that I think is very useful. In classes it is often necessary to ask why and to give reasons for our answers. Also, sometimes I need to add emphasis to the questions I ask when I’m teaching. Additonally, there are times when my learners need to ask me what on earth I’m doing!

But, why on earth do I say that?

star  We can make questions that ask ‘why’ stronger by adding ‘on earth’ to them.


Sumo ski jumpLook at this example:

A: Why are you in hospital?

B: Because I did a ski jump.

A: Why on earth did you do that? You’re a sumo wrestler!

B: I know.


star  Another way to ask ‘why’ is with ‘What…for?’


Egg holderFor example:

A: What did you win that medal for?

B: Because I can hold 10 eggs in one hand!




You can also combine these two methods.



A very happy man

Check this out:

A: What on earth did you buy that for?

B: Because it’s the biggest burger in the world!

A: Why on earth do you want to eat that?

B: Because it’s the biggest burger in the world!



star  Did you notice how B normally responded in the dialogues above? We can give reasons for our actions by using ‘because’. Here’s what B said:

Because I did a ski jump.”

Because I can hold 10 eggs in one hand!”

Because it’s the biggest burger in the world!”


Do you remember what A asked B?


star  We can also use ‘due to the fact that’ before a clause:

Due to the fact that I did a ski jump.”


star  Or ‘due to’ or ‘because of’ before a noun.

“I cannot sleep in this country in the summer due to the extreme temperatures at night.”Too hot to sleep

“It’s also because of the humidity. The insufferable humidity.”

Well, that’s all for this week. If you have any questions at all for me or anyone here at YES’N’YOU, please write a message at the bottom of this blog, write on our facebook wall (YES ‘N’ You Spain) or send us a tweet (@YESNYOU_es).

Until next time,



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YES’N’YOU – An English structure I hope you don’t have to use very often

Well, hello there,

How have you been?

WOW! It’s been quite a while since you learned along with YES’N’YOU, hasn’t it?

Today’s song is a favourite of one of our telephone teachers. Let’s see if you can guess whose?

I must confess that it is a sad song and I after such a long time, I could have chosen something different. :-/

Yet, it is such a beautiful and emotional song that I decided to go ahead and write about it. As the teacher who chose it says, “The song’s lyrics say it all; speak and be heard, listen as well as you hear”.

However, this song has made me cry and maybe I should have chosen another one but I felt like telling you all to say it loud, to say it clear, so that you do not have to, someday, say, “I wish I could have told him in his living years”:

1. Read and understand ‘The Living Years’ lyrics

The Living Years – Lyrics – English only

The Living Years – Lyrics – With Spanish translation

2. Watch the video, listen to the song and Learn along with this beautiful song

It’s so right, isn’t it?

The worst words are those that were never spoken; the worst things are those you could have done but didn’t…

And this is my least favorite English structure:

modal verb + have + verb in the past participle form

We use it to describe a past ability, possibility, probability or obligation that no longer exists, in other words regrets :- (

Let me give you another example

We have missed the train; we should have left the house earlier.

But it is too late now; the train is gone…

tip  and a few tips about this structure:

1. Always use “have”, even if the subject of the sentence is it, he or she.

She should have left the house ealier.

2. To form questions you put the modal verb before the subject of the sentence:

Should we have left the house earlier?

3. And to form a negative sentence add the word not after the modal verb:

We shouldn’t (should not) have left the house so late.

So, now you know how you use this structure but I truly hope you do not have to use it very often…

And one more thing, whose favorite song is this? Make a comment to make your bet…

Take care and say it loud and clear…


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YES’N’YOU – I never know where to put my adverbs! (A2 Unit 5 Module 2 Compatible)

Hello again everyone,

AdverbsI always like to teach my learners about adverbs. Like adjectives, adverbs are difficult little animals. But, it is adverbs and adjectives that make a language exciting! That is why they are so important. Look at the difference between these two sentences:

“We stay at a hotel.”

“We always stay at a beautiful hotel!”

Which sentence says more about our holiday? About us? The second sentence, obviously.

So, what is an adverb? An adverb is a word that describes a verb. The clue is in the name! They can tell us how, how often, or when an action happened.

Different types of adverbs can appear in different positions in a sentence.

For example:

Adverbs of time are normally found at the beginning or the end of a sentence. They tell us when an action happened.

They include: yesterday, today, tonight, this week, tomorrow, next week and lots of others.

Today, my colleague David is dancing the tango.”

“I’m going to tango tomorrow.”

Let’s look at another group of adverbs.

Adverbs of frequency have a clearly defined set of rules. They tell us how often an action happened.

They include: always, often, usually, sometimes, occasionally, rarely, never and lots of others.

They are commonly found:

1) before the main verb

“David always eats pizza for breakfast. It’s disgusting.”

“Al never brushes his hair. It’s a style thing.”

2) after auxiliary verbs

“Al has usually got a newspaper in his bag. See if you can steal it.”

“David is always stealing Al’s newspaper.”

3) after the verb ‘to be’

“David is rarely angry.”

“Al is always confused.”


See if you can spot all the adverbs in this dialogue:

Adverb dialogue part 1Adverb dialogue part 2


That’s all for this week, if you have any comments or questions through the blog, on our facebook page (YES ‘N’ You Spain) or on twitter (@YESNYOU_es).

Until next time,



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YES’N’YOU – How to Elect the Correct Adjectives (A2 Unit 5 Module 1 Compatible)

Hi everyone,

This week I want to talk to you about adjectives. Adjectives can be difficult things because sometimes they appear in different forms. Let’s take a look at the two different types of participle adjectives.

Participle adjectives


Adjectives that end with -ed are the past participle.

These are used to describe how someone or something feels.


Adjectives that end with -ing are the present participle.

These are used to describe a characteristic of a thing.



Let me show you some examples, and just to make it fun, I’ll relate them all to elections!

election badge

Adjectives examples





When was the last time you were embarrassed?






Did you ever have a surprise party?







What animal do you think is terrifying?



Toilet paper habits


Do you have any annoying habits?




Please send me a message through the blog, on our facebook page (YES ‘N’ You Spain) or on twitter (@YESNYOU_es) and tell me your answers to these questions!

Take care until next time,


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YES’N’YOU – Where to go and what to do?

Hello everyone,

The summer is well and truly on its way and so around now many people start thinking about where to go for a holiday.

The Local” online newspaper has published its top ten UNESCO world heritage sites in Spain which might help you to decide.

According to The Local, “Spain is home to a staggering 44 UNESCO World Heritage sites, third in number only to Italy and China.”

So, below is the top ten list including a photo and a short description.

What do you think?

AlhambraAlhambra: The Alhambra fortress is the former residence of the Moorish emirs who ruled this part of Spain in the 13th and 14th centuries. A rich example of Moorish architecture, the Alhambra is Spain’s most visited tourist site, welcoming 2.4 million people in 2014.

Teide National Park


Teide National Park: “Situated on the island of Tenerife, Teide National Park features the Teide-Pico Viejo stratovolcano that, at 3,718 m, is the highest peak on Spanish soil. Rising 7,500 m above the ocean floor, it is regarded as the world’s third-tallest volcanic structure and stands in a spectacular environment,” says UNESCO.



Historic centre of Córdoba: UNESCO describes the city as “an historical ensemble of extraordinary value” and the city’s Grand Mosque (now the cathedral) as “the most emblematic monument of Islamic religious architecture”.

Altamira Caves


Altamira Caves, Cantabria: Represents the apogee of Paleolithic cave art that developed across Europe between 35,000 and 11,000 BC. “Because of their deep galleries, isolated from external climatic influences, these caves are particularly well preserved.”




Works of Gaudi, Barcelona: Seven properties built by the architect Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926) in the Catalan capital are recognized by UNESCO for their “eclectic, as well as a very personal, style which was given free reign in the design of gardens, sculpture and all decorative arts, as well as architecture.”

Tower of Hercules


Tower of Hercules, La Coruña A lighthouse and landmark has stood at the entrance of La Coruña harbour in north-western Spain since the late 1st century A.D. when the Romans built the Farum Brigantium. “It is the only lighthouse of Greco-Roman antiquity to have retained a measure of structural integrity and functional continuity.”

SevilleCathedral, Alcázar and Archivo de Indias in Seville : Together these three buildings form a remarkable monumental complex in the heart of Seville. The cathedral and the Alcázar, according to UNESCO, “are exceptional testimony to the civilization of the Almohads as well as that of Christian Andalusia”, while the Archivo de Indias “contains valuable documents from the archives of the colonies in the Americas”.



Ibiza – Biodiversity and culture: Unesco recognized the island because it “provides an excellent example of the interaction between the marine and coastal ecosystems…and preserves considerable evidence of its long history.”

CaminoCamino de Santiago: The 791km route from the French-Spanish border was – and still is – taken by pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela. “It remains a testimony to the power of the Christian faith among people of all social classes and from all over Europe.”



Historic centre of Toledo: “Toledo is the repository of more than 2,000 years of history. Its masterpieces are the product of heterogeneous civilizations in an environment where the existence of three major religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – was a major factor”.

Have you been to any of the places above?

What other places would you add to the list?

Please send us a message through the blog, on our facebook page (YES ‘N’ You Spain) or on twitter (@YESNYOU_es) and let us know where your favourite places are in Spain.

Until next time,


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YES’N’YOU – What’s for lunch?

Hello, are you feeling a little peckish (hungry)?

It’s now 2 o’clock in the afternoon and I definitely am, I’m going to get some lunch; I’m starving (very hungry)!

Now then, what shall I have for lunch today? Mmmn, I think that I’ll have lentil salad (ensalada de lentejas) followed by paella (paella; difficult translation!), maybe a glass of wine, dessert and an espresso coffee.

Of course, I live in Spain and this type of lunch has now become the norm for me; I love it. If I were still living in England, then my choice for lunch might go something like this:

Now then, what shall I have for lunch today? Mmmn, I think that I’ll have a cheese sandwich and a cup of tea.

Sounds good? I know which I prefer and it’s not the one with cheese!

Anyway, the Daily Telegraph newspaper has recently published the results of a survey which wanted to find out Britain’s most popular lunch, and the results are as follows:



Cheese sandwich

Ham sandwich

Chicken sandwich


Tomato soup


Vegetable soup


Microwave meal

Jacket potato and tuna

Prawn sandwich

Noodles / stir-fry

Beans on toast



Jacket potato and chilli


So, the most popular food for lunch in Great Britain is the simple cheese sandwich or cheese sarny as it is often called.

We thought that it might be an interesting idea to ask you what you usually eat for lunch, not at the weekends, but during the week when you’re at work. We want to find out what is the most popular lunch for YES’N’YOU students, please let us know.

If you want to read the original article, click here; go on, you might be surprised by how much you understand.

Now for a short grammar class:

In the article I twice asked the question “What shall I have for lunch”?

So, how do we use the word “shall”?

The most common uses of “shall” are for asking for suggestions: “Shall we go to the cinema this weekend?”, “Which film shall we see?”, “What shall I have for lunch?”.

And for making offers: “Shall I help you?”, “Shall I go to the supermarket?”, “Shall I make you a cup of tea?”.

Very important: “Shall” is only used in the first person singular and plural, with “I” and “We“. This means that you cannot say “Shall you make me lunch?” or “Shall they go to the cinema?” or “Shall she open the window?”.

But that’s enough grammar for one day and more important is my question:  what shall I have for lunch?

Bye for now,


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