Elephants and light bulbs - why we fear grammar and how to learn to love it

Leaping out at us from the pages of our textbooks, grammar is often feared and is often the 'elephant in the room'. But grammar isn't meant to be scary. In fact, it's something we're naturally good at. Grammar is part of our daily lives and is part of what makes us human.

Which Course or Workshop for my Level in the Summer Intensives?

¡Yupi! 2019 is the year of learning Spanish! (well, every year is ... but this year is THE year). And the Summer Intensives are an excellent way to get things started. If you're wondering whether to take a Conversation Course or a few Workshops or are thinking about completing the next level up in two weeks, here's where to find out which options are right for you.

Take your Spanish further with an 'Improve' Workshop

If your Spanish is an ice-cream, the Improve Workshops are the extra toppings that really take things to the next level. But instead of chocolate sprinkles, we've designed the Improve Workshops to tackle KEY LANGUAGE SKILLS. These key skills - such as Listening and Speaking - are those essential aspects of language that always need extra work. The Improve Workshops are the chance for you to do just that.

Discover the imperfect tense and the marvels of Tenochtitlán, city of the Mexicas (Aztecs) (A2-B2)

Tenochtitlán - a city of water and temples - lies buried under the immensity of modern day Mexico City. What was this incredible city like when the Spanish first set eyes on it in the 16th Century?

This article offers a glimpse of the wonders of this metropolis and is an excellent opportunity to brush up on your past tenses - particularly the imperfect (el imperfecto). So get your grammar-hat on and delve into a lost world!

The Surprising Benefits of Being a Beginner

What is it to be a beginner? Is it something we get to leave behind? And if not, then how might the attitude of being a beginner help us as we learn?

El adiós de Anisa (B2-C2)

Ana's latest story takes place during the final moments of Moorish Spain - in 1492 - a time when the world was changing fast. Written for students at advanced levels, it follows the exile of a young woman named Anisa, her hopes for her family of birth, but also the love she has found with her new kin.

Ana has crafted the story to reflect the time in which it is set, using words and expressions that trace the origins of Spanish we use today (if you look closely you'll see where of the terms ustedes and ojalá come from).

A beautiful story for anyone with an interest in the history of the Spanish language and in this pivotal point in the history of Spain.

Hay vs Está/Están (A1-B1)

Is there any …? Where is the …?

Do you get confused when asking trying to ask either of these questions? Differentiating is easy when you know why to use either Hay or Está/Están.

Learn Imperfecto and Indefinido using Poetry (A2/B1)

To help her students intuitively differentiate the Preterito Indefinido and Preterito Imperfecto tenses, Raquel designed a poetry exercise. The idea here was to use rhythm and rhyme to facilitate memorisation. Poetic form helped expand vocabulary while the task cemented the irregular conjugations of the two most confusing tenses.

What was the result?

Poems that are hilarious, abstract, entertaining yet still very grammatically useful!

Receta de escalivada (B1/B2)

Escalivada is a very traditional Spanish dish prepared along the Mediterranean coast of Murcia, Valencia, Catalonia, as well as in Aragón. It consists of roasted red peppers, eggplant, onion, tomato, zucchini, and any other veggie on hand. The name comes from the Catalan verb "escalivar" meaning to cook in ashes.

This recipe is not only healthy and delicious - it will also help you understand the tú form of the Imperative! Enjoy!

I Learn Spanish! … Julie Renton

Julie has made learning Spanish a lifelong dream, her drive and ambition have allowed her to remain consistent in her learning. Her persistence has paid off! Now in the midst of beginning level B1 (Upper Intermediate) she has come a long way since starting at El Patio in 2013! In this interview Julie shares her biggest secrets to successful learning.

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