Monday, 14 July 2014

How are shoplifters treated in your country? Do you think that this is what they deserve?

I maintain that shoplifting in Greece is considered a petty crime, that's why shoplifters are detained for a short time. However, I firmly believe that most of those people's actions are a result of a kind of illness or addiction, thus they shouldn't be treated as criminals.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Vegetarianism

Over the past 10 years or so, it has become more common for adults to prefer greens in their nutrition, a movement widely known as vegetarianism, while the majority still insists on being meat eaters. However, it is (significantly) necessary to mention that both preferences have their own advantages and drawbacks that we need to bear in mind, so as to achieve healthy living.

Nowadays, it is widely believed that vegetarianism is as beneficial as meat consumption, since it includes all the vital materials that human beings need, like proteins, fats and vitamins. According to experts, vegetarians are extremely unlikely to suffer from protein deficiency,since they consume all the types of pulses, such as beans and lentils. Additionally, individuals who prefer greens include many kinds of cereals in their nutrition,which is valuable as they are fortified with vitamins. As a result, vegetarians are not in need of vitamin s supplements, which are not the proper remedy for deficiencies and can sometimes harm the whole organism. As far as animals’ rights are concerned,it can be argued that in some way being a vegetarian will contribute to the rescue of our fauna, as the number of animals which are slaughtered is increasing every day. Vegetarians are really sensitive with this matter because they maintain that animals are an essential part of our life cycle and they do not need to suffer.

On the other hand, one of the drawbacks of being a vegetarian is that green snacks can be hard to find in some places; thus, vegetarians sometimes give the impression that they are unnecessarily fussy and difficult at social events where they refuse to eat the same dishes as everyone else. Another disadvantage* is the missing pleasure, when vegetarians have to avoid all the delicious dishes which contain meat. Furthermore,vegetarians and vegans, which is an extreme form of vegetarianism, must not bring up their children on a vegan diet, (comma) since they need daily produce and eggs, otherwise they will be malnourished. Last but not least, we need to keep in mind that most of the vegetarians and vegans especially are likely to suffer from iron deficiency and from lack of vitamin B12, which plays an extremely vital role in the normal functioning of the brain and nervous system.

Taking everything into account, I am inclined to believe that the drawbacks of vegetarianism outweigh the advantages. (Full stop) However, a vegan or a vegetarian ism nutrition is like a double edged sword,as individuals can reap the benefits from an environmental perspective, but can simultaneously cause bodily malfunctions if their diet does not include all types of food in moderation.

*cons-> used in the plural only to refer to the negative side of an issue

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Benefits and drawbacks of being a vegetarian

More and more people are deciding to turn to a vegetarian diet; this means that they consume no meat at all, and they substitute protein and vitamins with the appropriate amount of greens. Recent estimates provide that this alternative nutrition is particularly popular among the younger generations. Although there are some benefits in being a vegetarian, none would deny that there are also some serious drawbacks.

First of all, it is fiendishly healthy to consume greens in a daily diet, since blood pressure is maintained in normal levels because of the low quantity of cholesterol that is produced. That is why the majority of vegetarians do not suffer form heart diseases; more specifically, it is observed that those who avoid meat are 40% less likely to develop heart attacks and cancer as well. From an environmental viewpoint, animal rights are protected by this alternative nutrition, since the animals slaughtered are being reduced. Therefore, other living beings are respected if more people opt to consume more vegetables.

On the other hand, it is very inconvenient to be a vegetarian, owing to the fact that these kind of food , like lentils, salads and so on is extremely difficult to be cooked or found outside. Most of the times vegetarians can give the impression that they are unnecessarily fussy in social events where they refuse to eat the same dishes as everyone else. However, because there are very few vegetarian convenience foods, vegetarians spend more time cooking for themselves, and with a busy schedule that is not always possible. Another drawback of this alternative nutrition is that children cannot be brought up with a vegan diet, which is an extreme form of vegetarianism. At the very least, they need dairy produce and eggs, otherwise they will be malnourished and in the long run they might suffer from iron deficiency. 

The obvious conclusion to be drawn is that every coin has two sides, so insisting on vegetables would be as harmful as consuming exclusively meat. For this reason, I am inclined to believe that we should eat everything in moderation in order to have a healthy nutrition and achieve well-being.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

CPE Sentence Transformation

PHRASAL VERBS

1 Diseases such as smallpox have still to be eradicated.
stamped
Diseases such as smallpox ................ yet.


2 John was nominated for the post of treasurer by two committee members.
forward
John has ................ the post of treasurer by two committee members.


3 If you receive any mail for me after I’ve gone would you be kind enough to forward it to me.
send
Please could you ................ that arrives for me after I’ve gone.


4 The colour of that dress showed off her complexion.
enhanced
Her complexion ................ the colour of that dress.


5 As part of his new year’s resolution he has renounced cigarettes and bad food.
up
He decided ................ cigarettes and bad food in the new year.


6 They are building a new car park next to the shopping centre.
put
A new car park ................ next to the shopping centre.


7 You should erase any mistakes on the exam script.
out
Any mistakes on the exam script may ................ a soft eraser.


8 The government suppressed all the details of the financial scandal.
up
Details of the financial scandal ................ the government.


9. Give me a call only if you have to buy gas for the car.
run
Unless ............................................................. gas, don't call me.


10. You are not a bad lawyer Martin, but I don't think it is a very suitable job for you.
cut
I just don't think you ............................................................  a lawyer.


11. Everyone is criticising the government for its poor unemployment record
come
The government ..............................................................over its unemployment record.


12. She still hasn't really recovered from losing her job in August.
being
She still really hasn't got ……………………………………………………………… in August.


13. I'm afraid I believed his fake story completely!
taken
I regret to say that I ……………………………………………………………………. his fake story.


14. This washing machine will give you years of service if you care for it properly.
after
Properly ………………………………………………………………………. will give you years of service.


15. The news that the President had quit came as a great surprise to everyone.
aback
Everyone ………………………………………………………………………………………President quitting.


16. I offered Fred the position but he refused it.
turned
Fred was …………………………………………………………………………………………. it down.


17. Karen had just started her new teaching job when she got flu.
came
Karen ……………………………………………………………..just after starting her new teaching job.


18. Kids and seniors are much more prone to infection than others.
pick
Kids and seniors …………………………………………………………………..easily than others.


19. The author said that he'd invented the whole plot himself.
thought
The scriptwriter said that he'd ………………………………………………………………………… any help.
  1. have not been stamped out
  2. been put forward for
  3. send on any mail
  4. was enhanced by
  5. to give up
  6. is being put up
  7. be rubbed out by
  8. were covered up by
  9. you run out of
  10. are cut out for , are cut out to be
  11. has come in for criticism
  12. over being sacked/made-redundant
  13. was taken in by
  14. looked after, this washing machine
  15. was taken aback by
  16. offered the position but turned
  17. came down with flu
  18. pick up infections more
  19. thought up the plot without


COMPARATIVES


1 Until she passes her medical exams, she is as qualified to be a doctor as I am.
more
Until she passes her medical exams, she ................ qualified to be a doctor than I am.

2
It has warmed up considerably compared to yesterday.
nearly
It is ................ yesterday.

3
Mandy and her mother are as beautiful as each other.
bit
Mandy is ................ her mother.

4
I don’t like either candidate but Michael Jones is not quite as bad.
lesser
I don’t like either candidate but Michael Jones is the .................

5
Not as many people attend the gym now as when it first opened.
lot
There are a ................ the gym now as when it first opened.

6
Her son thinks he’s really clever but he isn’t.
half
Her son isn’t ................ he thinks he is.

7. Electricity is getting very expensive these days.
cost
The …………………………………. higher and higher these days.

8. Harry plays tennis much better than I do.
nearly
I am not  ...................................................... tennis player as Harry is.

9. Both candidates for the job are strong. They are both equally good.
hardly
There is .................................................... the two job candidates.

10. That child is twice as tall as he was two years ago.
doubled
That child's ...............................................in the last two years.
  1. is no more
  2. not nearly as cold as (it was)
  3. every bit as beautiful as
  4. lesser of the evils
  5. lot fewer people attending
  6. half as clever as
  7. cost of electricity is getting
  8. nearly as good a
  9. hardly any difference between
  10. height has doubled


EXPRESSIONS

1 “Why don’t you listen when I talk to you?” said my wife.
paying
My wife accused me of ................ when she was talking.


2. Seeing as you broke the window you shouldn’t have said someone else was responsible.
blame
It was wrong of you to ................ someone else after you broke the window.


3. I used to try winning arguments against Jonathan but I eventually decided there was no point.
conclusion
I have ................ that it is pointless trying to win an argument against Jonathan.


4 Doctors believe that people who smoke regularly are more likely to die prematurely.
link
Doctors believe that a strong ................ smoking and premature death


5 When I forgot to do the washing up my mother became really angry with me.
lost
My mother ................ me because I forgot to do the washing up.


6 The conflict between the two political parties will carry on for a long time.
means
The conflict between the two political parties is ................ over.


7 I didn’t expect to enjoy the concert performance as much as I did.
surpassed
The concert performance .................


8 That the company is losing money is something that must be accepted.
face
The company must ................ it is losing money.


9. Don't get involved in this John, it has nothing to do with you.
keep
This has nothing to do with you so…………………………………………………..


10. You can't just suddenly decide to go on a safari. You need to plan things very carefully.
spur
Going on safari isn't a decision you can make……………………………….……………moment. You need to plan things very carefully.


11. If they ever discover your role in the incident, you will go to prison.
light
If your role in the incident …………………………………………., you'll go to prison.


12. She wants nothing less than to get that job. It would be a dream come true.
set
She has .......................................................... getting that job.


13. There were very few people who understood what the professor said in the meeting.
virtually
There  ..................................................who understood what the professor said in the meeting.


14. The bank robbers had disappeared completely by the time the police arrived.
sign
There ...................................................... robbers when the police arrived.


15. Watch the new secretary carefully this week to make sure she doesn't make any big mistakes.
eye
Keep ....................................................... secretary this week to make sure she doesn't make any big mistakes.


16. You shouldn't be surprised at Kevin winning that tournament.
come
It ……………………………………………………………. that Kevin won that tournament.


17. There is no doubt at all that the government will win the election.
conclusion
It is .......................................................  that the government will win the election.


18. I presume you are coming to the party Miriam.
read
Can I ....................................................................that you are coming to the party Miriam?

19. I don't have the foggiest idea whether he will be coming or not.
whatsoever
I have ...................................................... whether he will be coming or not.


20. He failed the exam as he didn't work as fast as the rest of the class.
pace
His failure was blamed on his inability ...............................................................  rest of the class.


21. He was always going to leave that house after the divorce was finalised.
bound
He …………………………………………………………….. the house after the divorce.


22. I don't find it at all surprising that nobody came to the party.
wonder
It's …………………………………………………………….. that nobody came to the party.


23. Don't tell anyone else what I told you about Elizabeth.
keep
………………………………………………………. yourself what I told you about Elizabeth.


24. Our boss is absolutely determined not to give us that pay rise.
intent
Our boss ……………………………………………………………………..the pay rise.


25. You don't have to come and see the new house if you don't wish.
obligation
You are ………………………………………………….. and see the new house if you don't wish.


26. Police arrested Johnson because they think he was involved in the robbery.
suspicion
Johnson was detained ……………………………………………………………… in the robbery.


27. You don't need to concern yourself with the new tax laws till October.
effect
The new tax laws …………………………………………………………………………………… .


28. The judges gave Joseph the impression that he would win the competition.
believe
Joseph ………………………………………………….. he would win the competition.


29. Sharon really has no idea of the difficulty of finding a parking spot.
how
Little does Sharon ………………………………………………………………. to find a parking spot.


30. Ken said absolutely nothing because he was afraid of offending the women.
fear
Ken remained absolutely silent ……………………………………………………… offence to the women.


31. Barbara's total dedication to her job has always been exemplary.
herself
Barbara ……………………………………………………………………. in the most exemplary way.


32. He doesn't mind at all if Kim records his speech.
objection
He has ………………………………………………………………………. his speech.


33. They thought that the music was too loud.
far
As ………………………………………………… , the music was too loud.


34. In spite of all my efforts, I didn't manage to persuade them to come to the concert.
hard
No matter ……………………………………… , I didn't manage to persuade them to come to the concert.


35. The police were forced to release the suspect because new evidence was produced.
light
The police were forced to release ……………………………………………… the suspect  evidence produced.


36. People know more about my novels than the plays I write.
better
I'm ………………………………………………………………… than as a playwright.


37. I've been informed that you've been late to the office every day this week.
brought
It has …………………………………………………….. that you've been late to the office every day this week.


38. I apologise but I totally forgot about our dinner appointment.
confess
I must ………………………………………………………………………………………… my mind.


39. They made him wait for two hours, then eventually let him in.
kept
He was eventually allowed in after having ……………………………………………………………. for two hours.


40. Dylan never pays much attention to what his father says.
notice
Dylan doesn't ever ……………………………………………………………………… what his father tells him.



41. I wish Julie would learn to drive.
high
It's  ……………………………………………………………….. drive.


42. Kim doesn't intend to visit her uncle again.
has
Kim ………………………………………………………………………………..her uncle again.


43. The third candidate impressed the panel immediately.
made
The third candidate ………………………………………………………………………………..the panelists.


44. It's highly unlikely that we'll promote Debbie this summer.
chance
There's very little ………………………………………………………  being promoted this summer.

45. It's very difficult for many people to express their feelings.
words
Putting …………………………………………………………………….. is very difficult for many people.

46. I'd never thought of asking the hotel manager for advice about tourist sites.
occurred
It had never ……………………………………………… the hotel manager for advice about tourist sites.


47. Please read the user manual with care before you use this machine.
making
Before ………………………………………………… this machine, please read the user manual with care.

48. Your brother must try to accept that he'll never be an author!
terms
Your brother must ………………………………………………… the fact that he'll never be an author.

49. I felt so relaxed at Tricia's apartment because her friends greeted me so warmly.
ease
Tricia's friends ……………………………………………………………………..with the warmth of their greeting.


50. The accountant called a meeting to discuss the company's perilous finances.
purpose
The accountant's …………………………………………………….. to discuss the company's perilous finances.


51. What's the point of all this extra furniture?
aid
What is ……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. of?


52. Martin was very happy to be selected for the hockey team.
delight
Much …………………………………………………………………………………. selected for the hockey team.
  1. not paying attention (to her)
  2. put the blame on
  3. reached the conclusion , come to the conclusion
  4. link exists between , link has been established between,  link has been made between
  5. lost her temper with
  6. by no means
  7. surpassed (all) my expectations
  8. face the fact that , face up to the fact that
  9. keep out of it.
  10. on the spur of
  11. ever comes to light.
  12.  set her mind on , set her heart on
  13. was virtually nobody , was virtually no-one
  14. was no sign of the
  15. an eye on the new
  16. should come as no surprise
  17. foregone conclusion
  18. take it as read
  19. no idea whatsoever
  20. to keep pace with the
  21. was bound to leave
  22. no wonder
  23. keep to/for
  24. is intent on not giving
  25. under no obligation to come
  26. on suspicion of invoment
  27. don’t take effect till October
  28. was made to believe (that)
  29. realize how hard it is
  30. for fear of causing
  31. dedicates herself to her job
  32. no objection to Kim recording
  33. far as they were concerned
  34. how hard I tried
  35. in the light of new
  36. better known as a novelist
  37. been brought to my attention
  38. confess our dinner appointment slipped
  39. been kept waiting
  40. take much notice of
  41. high time Julie learnt to
  42. has no intention of visiting
  43. made an immediate impression on
  44. chance of Debbie
  45. feelings into words
  46. occurred to me to ask
  47. making (any ????) use of
  48. come to terms with
  49. put me at my ease
  50. purpose for the meeting was
  51. all this furniture in aid
  52. to Martin’s delight, he was




CONDITIONALS AND FORMAL STRUCTURES

1 It was really unexpected when my football team achieved the result it did.
time
At ................ my football team to do as well as it did.

2 If there is an accident phone the emergency services.
of
Phone the emergency services ................. an accident.

3 I couldn’t have bought that motorbike unless my mother had agreed to pay the monthly repayments.
But
................ agreeing to pay the monthly repayments I could never have bought that motorbike.

4 I have a lot of respect for his writing style although I do not agree with the opinions he expresses.
much
................ his writing style, I do not agree with his opinions.


5 We would have missed our connecting train if we had not caught the earlier plane.
not
Had ................ the earlier plane, we would have missed our connecting train.

6 Even though her C grade in the Proficiency wasn’t quite as high as she had expected, it was still a good result.
if
Her grade C in the Proficiency exam, ................, was still a good result.

7 Purchases may be refunded within seven days.
mind
Should ................ your purchase you have up to seven days to bring it back for a refund.

8 Providing that you make up the time later in the week you can take Monday off.
condition
You can have the day off on Monday ................ make up the time later in the week.

9. As soon as I arrived at the pub, a fight started.
sooner
No ................................................................ a fight broke out in the pub.


10. Whatever happens, don't let anyone into the building without proper identity.
circumstances
 ......................................................... should you let anyone into the building without proper identity.


11. If it wasn't for your arrogance, you would have gotten your promotion a long time ago.
but
 .................................................... arrogance, you would have gotten your promotion a long time ago.


12. I could only afford that house because of the loan you gave me.
lent
Had ……………………………………………………. money, I wouldn't have been able to afford the house.


13. She is already married and you knew! I wish you had told me.
might
You ………………………………………………………………… she was married!


14. I went in to work for an hour even though I knew it was a holiday.
not
I need …………………………………………………………………………… into work but I did anyway.


15. It would have been a total catastrophe for her to be made responsible.
put
If she ……………………………………………………… , there would have been very serious consequences.


16. I'd prefer to be given the opportunity to work with other colleagues.
allowed
I think it would be better …………………………………………………………………………… as a team.


17. Without the umbrella, we would have been soaked.
it
Had ………………………………………………………………………… the umbrella, we would have been soaked.


  1. no time did I expect
  2. in case of
  3. But for my mother
  4. Much as I respect , Much though I respect
  5. we not caught
  6. if a little lower than expected
  7. you change your mind about
  8. on condition (that) you
  9. sooner 
  10. Under no circumstances
  11. But for your
  12. you not lent me the
  13. might have told me (that)
  14. not have gone
  15. had been put in charge
  16. to be allowed to work
  17. it not be for

CPE book review

The Alchemist
Written by Paulo Coehlo only 26 years ago, it has been translated into more than 60 languages and read by tenths of millions around the world till now. There is such a widespread acceptance of the book (to sound more natural: the book is so widely accepted/ acknowledged/ renowned) that it is considered by many as a "classic" novel of the modern literature.
"The Alchemist" recounts the story of a poor but skilled shepherd named Santiago and it starts , the story starting to unfold in the Andalusian fields of south Spain. Although Santiago originally plans to live as a shepherd, (comma) two unexpected events make his life take an unexpected turn. After a dream of finding a great treasure near the Egyptian pyramids and a meeting with an old and strange king, Santiago sets out for a long journey in pursuit of his dream.
The book in not renowned for its glossy language nor for its complicated plot. Though the book moves at a relaxed pace , it is extremely absorbing without being dull or loose. Coehlo has a remarkable gift of story-telling that challenges your imagination using a series of unexpected turns in the flow of story line and making great use of symbolism in most of the events and hero's decisions. The reader will invariably find himself many times contemplating about his own life, dreams and choices (unnecessary: that he makes from time to time). And that is what lifts the book above others of its type. Moreover, there is a number of thought provoking scenes where the readers will stop reading and start wondering if the hero made the best decision and whether (unclear:he) the readers/ they would make the same decision under the same circumstances.
So, if you are the kind of reader that you like slow, relaxing and thought provoking reading with not much background information, (comma) this is the book for you. The end of the story (no comma) carries to the reader an air of lytrosis brings about a catharsis that will satisfy even the hardest heart. 

Comments: Great ideas and vocabulary once again, with a few more mistakes than usual. 3/5 :)

------------------------------------------------------------

To Kill A Mockingbird

One of the most classic novels that have been written in the last century, shelved/ selected 23 times as one of the 100-books-to-read-before-you-die (or better: ‘100 Books To Read Before You Die’). Written by Harper Lee and published in 1960, (comma) this book has been loved by millions of readers and has been widely used in education. 

The story of the book takes place in a small town of the state of Alabama U.S and the central characters of the story are two children, Scout and Jem who live with their father, Atticus. Atticus is an honest lawyer who tries to be just, which is not easy since he sometimes has to deal with the prejudice and hatred of some of his fellow citizens. His children, with their innocence and lack of experience, tend to categorize people as good and bad and they feel surprised or confused when some people do not react according to this categorization. Through many real life encounters and the guidance of their father, (comma) the children gradually understand that before you judge someone you have to put yourself in his shoes and walk a mile. 

The story deals a lot with issues concerned with human morality like racism, prejudice, hatred and justice. The language is simple and though the book moves at a relaxing pace, it is extremely absorbing without being dull or loose. On the contrary, there are some extremely thought-provoking  scenes throughout the book. The writing style of Harper Lee is far from ordinary due to the fact that a child, Scout, is both the protagonist and the narrator of the story. However, that comes naturally since the story examines the perception and reaction of children to human behaviour and attitude. 

The intertemporal nature of the main theme and the easy-to-follow story-line which is presented from the point of view of a child explain much of the book's enduring popularity. As far as I know, the book remains a staple of high school and college reading lists and, in my opinion, the time spent to read this book is time well invested for sure.


Comments: The only thing that can be said is… wow! 4.5/5 

Writing tips





Phrasal verbs and idioms






Tuesday, 17 June 2014

CPE Writing, Part 1: Outdoor and electronic advertising


It cannot be denied that outdoor advertising has played an important role in the development of the economy since it is strongly (inter)related with the promotion of products and goods. However, not all people share common thoughts about its importance or are equally excited about (OR: approve of) the means being used.

During the last decade, outdoor advertising has been evolved from the well known static signs and
posters to the new digital screens that can display any kind of 'live' commercials. The use of technology has reduced the required costs and made advertising affordable to almost any company. Moreover, the employment of smarter, more amusing and more informative commercials has been made possible, while at the same time the old poster-like (billboards/ motorway hoardings) advertisements are still being supported.

Despite the excitement of the new possibilities opened in advertising through the use of digital media, there are many who find them at least annoying. They speak about visual pollution and the lack of protection of those target groups who cannot easily filter the information of a digital commercial, like children and elderly people. It is true (no comma here) that this new media has an increased capability of drawing the attention of people passing by and this can be even dangerous when/ as far as drivers are concerned. 'Distracted driving' has been identified as one of the most common reasons for car accidents and the contribution of digital advertising to this is indisputable.

In conclusion, it can be claimed that this new digital way of outdoor advertising is a debatable issue. The advances of technology is something that cannot be ignored or denied, (comma) but their use should not be made without taking into consideration their effects and people's social needs and rights.

Comments: Great writing once again, Alex! Apart from some minor spelling mistakes, the conclusions you drew based on the two texts and the way you summed them up were absolutely spot-on! I'd award you with at least 4/5! :-) 

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

CPE Film Review by Alex

"Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" is finally on the big screens. This is the first part of a trilogy based on the famous novel by the scholar J.R. Tolkien and directed by Peter Jackson.

 

The film recounts a story set on an imaginary world called Middle Earth where, besides humans, live elves, wizards, dwarves, dragons and a great deal of other strange, magical or creepy beings live. The whole trilogy is about a fellowship that tries to hide and destroy a powerful ring forged centuries ago by a dark lord named Shauron. Although (no comma here) there are many key characters in this movie, the leading role belongs to the ring bearer of the fellowship; a hobbit named Frodo. Frodo, as well as other key characters who they meet in their journey, are tempted and corrupted to an extent by the power of the ring and the cruelty and malice of Shauron that accompanies this power.

 

Though a science fiction film, the main themes of the story include friendship, courage, self-sacrifice, humility and love. The strength of the movie can be found in the way that these themes are combined with special effects and a group of cliffhangers, most of them breathtaking to the point of being slightly scary. Apart from that, the whole movie is a masterpiece, from the excellent actors' performance to the enchanting Celtic-like film score.

 

The most difficult bet for Peter Jackson was the adaptation of a very long novel in only 3 movies. There are far more characters and scenes in the book than you can see in the movie and a vast amount of background information that relates to the ring and the fellowship. Although/ Even though (do not repeat the same linking words) the movie version does not stray at all from the story line of the book, Jackson has won this bet by carefully selecting the parts that should be cut and cleverly using a number of flashbacks throughout the movie. Having some very positive feedback from both readers and of the book and first timers/ viewers, I think we should expect nothing less than a blockbuster.