Archive | December 2011

Bug in the Coffee, Trouble Brewing

Coffee Pun: Don't Bug Me Until I've Had My Coffee

Been awhile since you read english? Are you rusty? Probably not as rusty as the coffee crop in Colombia!  The folks at WSJ covered an interesting situation developing in Colombia.  We’ll break down some of the language in our next post.  The article has some puns or the humerous use of a word that has different meanings because of the context.  The article’s title is a good example: Trouble Brews for Coffee (because you can brew coffee too!)

How many puns can you count??

Hace rato que no lees en inglés? Necesitas ayuda? Sin duda no necesitas tanta ayuda como la cosecha de granos de café en Colombia.  La gente de WSJ informa sobre una situación que se viene desarrollando en Colombia.  Discutimos el articulo y unas frases o palabras importantes en la próxima entrada.  El articulo tiene muchos juegos de palabras o “puns” en ingles. Por ejemplo:  Se hace mal el café (porque hacemos café también!). 

Cuantos juegos de palabra puede contar?

From the Wall Street Journal, writer Leslie Joseph:

On the steep and verdant slopes here, an orange-colored fungus is laying waste to hundreds of thousands of acres of coffee.

Rust Leaf

Bloomberg News. A farmer holds a leaf from a Colombian coffee plant that is infected with the rust fungus.

The infestation, and efforts to eradicate it, raises the specter of higher coffee futures—and more expensive cups of espresso—for months to come.

The fungus is known as roya, the Spanish word for “coffee rust.” It grows on the leaves of a coffee plant and chokes off nutrients to the beans. Encouraged by years of torrential rains, roya has spread throughout Colombia, forcing farmers to pull out their plants and replace them with fungus-resistant seedlings.

Juan María Cañar, a 64-year-old farmer in the Nariño region in southwest Colombia, said he was forced to replant much of his acreage. He usually produces 1,500 kilograms (3,300 pounds) of coffee beans. “This season, I’ll have about half that,” he said.

The fungus has ruined what was supposed to be a good year for Colombia, the world’s second-largest producer of high-quality arabica coffee, the mild-flavored, hand-picked beans for which coffee traders usually pay a premium.

As much as 10% of the country’s coffee-growing region, or about 300,000 acres, were replanted this year in a bid to get rid of the scourge. New plants typically take as long as three years before they produce their beans. This is likely to restrict supplies, sending prices higher.

Investors have been paying scant attention to the potential crisis. Futures for arabica coffee, the variety most commonly brewed in the world, have been falling along with other commodities, amid gloomy headlines out of Europe.

However, the declines are smaller than those for other exotic agricultural commodities. Coffee prices have fallen 7.4% this year, while cotton has dropped 40%, and cocoa is down 28%. On Tuesday, coffee for March delivery settled 1.5% higher, at $2.2280 per pound.

“It’s not selling off quite like the others are,” said Kona Haque, a commodities analyst atMacquarie Bank. “Coffee is holding its ground.”

Analysts say the warning signs flashing in the coffee market will soon become more visible through the uncertainty caused by Europe’s debt crisis. “The fundamental picture is taking a back seat because everyone is worried about Europe,” said Marcio Bernardo, an analyst at brokerage Newedge.

The problems in Colombia come as global coffee supplies already are strained. The last crop out of Brazil, the supplier of more than one-third of the world’s coffee, was a relatively small one. Additionally, Central America was hit by heavy rains at the start of its harvest in October, which are expected to clip production in El Salvador and Guatemala.

World output of arabica coffee will shrink 4.3% to 79.6 million bags in the current crop year, which began in October, according to the London-based International Coffee Organization.

The National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, or Fedecafe, isn’t giving a firm forecast for next year’s crop, saying estimates are hard to make given the large amount of rain that came down this winter.

For the past three seasons, the quasigovernmental organization set lofty production goals but came up short. The fact that they are demurring this year is telling, says Jack Scoville, a broker at Price Futures Group.


“They’re trying to be very cautious as to what they say,” Mr. Scoville said.

Analysts say that in the best-case scenario, Colombia’s output in 2012 could be comparable to this year’s, which Fedecafe expects to total around eight million bags, each weighing 60 kilograms. In a good year, Colombia produces about 11 million bags.

Meanwhile, demand for coffee is growing. Consumption has risen 2.5% every year on average over the past decade, the ICO said, citing the growth of niche markets and new consumers in emerging markets.

Problems in the euro zone could pinch global demand as the European Union has the highest coffee consumption per capita in the world.

Another factor that could mitigate Colombia’s production problems is Brazil, which is forecast to harvest a big crop next year.

Last week, Brazil’s National Coffee Council said the country will produce as much as 52 million bags, a 18% increase over last year. The council’s forecast is conservative compared with private estimates that are closer to 60 million bags.

However, Brazil’s harvest doesn’t begin until May. Until then, the market must grapple with another possible shortfall from Colombia.

How many puns did you count? Cuántos juegos de palabra notaste?

Don’t let your English get rusty!  Bogota Business English will polish your vocabulary and grammar skills while helping you shine at work and at home!


(Present) Perfect Holidays

In the US the holidays are a great example of when to use present perfect in a normal conversation. For folks in Bogota, you can have a similar conversation with foreigners you may see during the holidays. Forgot present perfect? There’s a tutorial for that.

Clark Griswold Christmas Dinner

Clark Griswold Knows About Present Perfect at Xmas

Have you ever celebrated Christmas? (Has celebrado la navidad antes?)

Yes, I have. (Si, la he celebrado)

Have you been with family during Christmas? (Has estado con familia durante la navidad?)

Yes, I have. (Si, he estado con la familia)

Has your family ever made you go crazy during the holidays? (Te ha enloquecido la familia durante la navidad?)

….yes, my family has. (Si, me ha enloquecido) uh oh!

We just used present perfect and it sounded really natural! It is very normal to use present perfect for questions.  More example conversation:

Ya hemos usado el presente perfecto en inglés.  Es muy normal usar presente perfecto para preguntas.  Más ejemplos de perfecto presente en preguntas 

Pepe, have you studied English?  (la estructura de la pregunta: Have/has + SUBJETO + VERBO EN PARTICIPIO PASADO  + OBJETO)

No, I haven’t. (la estructura de la respuesta en negativa:  Si o No, SUBJECT + have/has o haven’t/hasn’t)

Ah, then have you met my English teacher from Bogota Business English Bob?

No, I haven’t.

Has he given you his card?

Bored by Conversation

Don't Bore Your Listeners!

No, he hasn’t. (ojo: 3 ‘no’s en seguida o respuestas cortas puede ser un señal desesperado para terminar la conversación 😉 )Pay attention to your listener, don’t bore them!

He should.  Have you eaten at the new restaurant, Crepes and Waffles?

Yes, I have.  (ojo: un ‘yes’ puede ser una buena oportunidad para continuar la conversación, aprovechala.. no tal como la oración siguiente..)

Yeah, I have eaten there too. Delicious! OK, good talking with you. I will go talk with your cousin Pepa.

Whew! Have you had this situation? Have you been the questioner or the responder? We’re reviewing the rules and the structure but it’s up to you to modify your questions to get the most out of conversations!

Uf! Has vivido esta situación? Has sido el interrogador o el interrogado? Repasamos las reglas y estructura del inglés pero siempre te toca modificar tus preguntas  para sacarles el jugo a las conversaciones.

Revisa  las reglas de presente perfecto, preparate con clases también y empezar a practicar en conversación.

Grinch Stole your Vocabulary

The Grinch

This guy steals...

In our last post we listened to the Grinch Stole Christmas song “You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch”.  Why don’t you listen to it again?

We’ll tell you what words are real and give you the definitions.

En nuestra ultima entrada, escuchamos la cancion de navidad de la pelicula How the Grinch Stole Christmas titulada ‘You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch.” Te sugerimos que la escuches de nuevo.

Te contamos cuales palabras son verdaderas y cuales son de mentiras.

Grinch, FAKE AND REAL. Noun, a bad tempered person similar to the main character of the Dr. Seuss story How the Grinch Stole Christmas. (una persona de malas pulgas)

Heel, REAL. Noun, old slang for a dishonorable or irresponsible person or rotter. (una persona rastrera o canalla)

An Eel

Eels are not cuddly! But they are foul and nasty.

Cuddly, REAL. Adjective, suitable for cuddling or snuggling. (adorable o mimoso)

EelREAL. Noun, a long, snake-like fish. (anguila)

Monster, REAL. Noun, any animal or human grotesquely deviating from the normalshape, behavior, or character. (monstruo)FoulREAL. Adjective, gross, filthy or offensive. (asqueroso)

Seasick, REAL. Adjective, suffering from nausea and dizziness caused by the motion of aship at sea. (mareado)

Nasty, REAL. Adjective, bad, filthy, offensive or ugly.  (asqueroso o feo)

Wasty, FAKE.

Gunk, REAL. Noun, sticky or greasy residue or accumulation. (mugre o suciedad grasosa)

Rotter, REAL. Noun, British slang for an unpleasant or despicable person. (persona rastrera o canalla)

Sot, REAL. Noun, drunkard. (borracho)

Splot, FAKE

Nauseous, REAL. Adjective, causing nausea or sickness or being revolting or nasty. (nauseabundo o repugnante)


Super-naus, FAKE

Sauerkraut, REAL. Noun, finely shredded and pickled cabbage. (chucrut)

Toadstool, REAL. Noun, a poisonous mushroom.  (seta venenosa)

Do classrooms make you nauseaous?  Does the idea of a standardized way of learning sound nasty? We felt so.  Bogota Business English offers personalized learning programs that remove the classroom, and make learning possible at home or at the office.

Don’t be a Grinch!

It’s that classic film, the How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  It is a difficult film for non native speakers because Dr. Seuss the writer liked to make up or create words and use real words that no one used.  Here are the lyrics, guess what words are real!

Es una pelicula clasica, How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  Puede ser una peli retosa para estudiantes de inglés porque el escritor Dr. Seuss tenía una tendencia de crear palabras mentiras o usar palabras muy antiguas.  Abajo se encuentra la letra.  Adivina las palabras verdaderas!

You’re a Mean One, Mr Grinch (lyrics by Dr Seuss)

You’re a mean one, Mr.Grinch.
You really are a heel.
You’re as cuddly as a cactus,
You’re as charming as an eel.

You’re a bad banana
With a greasy black peel.You’re a monster, Mr.Grinch.
Your heart’s an empty hole.
Your brain is full of spiders,
You’ve got garlic in your soul.

I wouldn’t touch you, with a
thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole.

You’re a vile one, Mr.Grinch.
You have termites in your smile.
You have all the tender sweetness
Of a seasick crocodile.

Given the choice between the two of you
I’d take the seasick crocodile.

You’re a foul one, Mr.Grinch.
You’re a nasty, wasty skunk.
Your heart is full of unwashed socks
Your soul is full of gunk.

The three words that best describe you,
are, and I quote: “Stink. Stank. Stunk.”

You’re a rotter, Mr. Grinch.
You’re the king of sinful sots.
Your heart’s a dead tomato splot
With moldy purple spots,
Mr. Grinch.

Your soul is an apalling dump heap
overflowing with the most disgraceful assortment
of deplorable rubbish imaginable,
Mangled up in tangled up knots.

You nauseate me, Mr. Grinch.
With a nauseous super-naus.
You’re a crooked jerky jockey
And you drive a crooked horse.
Mr. Grinch.

You’re a three decker saurkraut and toadstool sandwich
With arsenic sauce.

Real or Fake? Verdadera o de Mentiras?



The Grinch, a Wasty Fellow















Did you guess which words were real and which were fake? We will make a list, check it twice. In our next we’ll tell you the fake ones and describe the vocabulary.

A Confused Grinch

Maybe you feel this way after the song!

Adivinaste cuales palabras son verdaderas y cuales son de mentiras? Hacemos una lista, chequeamos dos veces, y en la proxima entrada te contamos las de mentiras y compartimos los significados de los reales.

Do you know someone who is a Grinch? Maybe it’s because they don’t know English like you do.  Tell them about Bogota Business English.

Christmas time is here

Lyrics from a christmas time classic.. Charlie Brown.  We’ll learn some vocabulary with this holiday clip.

La letra de una pelicula de navidad muy conocida… Charlie Brown. Vamos a aprender unas palabras nuevas con el clip de navidad.

Christmas time is here
Happiness and cheer
Fun for all that children call
Their favorite time of the year

Snowflakes in the air
Carols everywhere
Olden times and ancient rhymes
Of love and dreams to share

Sleigh bells in the air
Beauty everywhere
Yuletide by the fireside
And joyful memories there

Christmas time is here
We’ll be drawing near
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year…

Carol, noun, a Christmas song or a song of joy. (villancico)

Snowflake, noun, ice crystals that fall as snow. (copo de nieve)

Sleigh, noun,  a sled or a light vehicle on runners. (trineo)

Bell, noun, an instrument of metal with an opening at one end. (campanilla, cascabel)

Sleigh Bells, noun, bells used on sleighs. (cascabeles de trineo)

Yuletide, noun, christmas time or christmas season. (la navidad)

A merry yuletide from Bogota Business English!

What a Wonderful World

It’s Friday.  What a Wonderful World! Some great music to enjoy your Friday with vocabulary explanations.

Original Louis Armstrong version / version original de Louis Armstrong

BBC Version, spoken word style. / version de BBC, estilo recitado


I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They’re really saying I love you.

I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more than I’ll never know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world.

Wonderful, adjective, excellent, great  or marvelous. [maravilloso]

Its a Wonderful Life Movie Poster  The play was wonderful.

  Your Christmas decorations are really wonderful.

It’s a Wonderful Life is a great movie about Christmas.

We are enjoying some wonderful weather.

Bloom, verb,  to create blossoms (flowers). Not related to Orlando Bloom[florecer, no tiene relación a Orlando Bloom]

The sunflowers bloomed in the spring.A Wet Rose Blooming

The trees bloom in March.      

Blessed, adjective, consecrated or worthy of worship, or very fortunate. [bendito o bendecido]

The holy water is blessed.

We are blessed to have great friends and family.

Sacred, adjective,  holy or consecrated, or regarded with awe or revereance. [sagrado]

The cross is a sacred symbol.

Cali’s salsa festival is sacred to salsa lovers.

Bogota Business English hopes you have a wonderful weekend!

Prounounced, NOT Pronounc-ed!! … Simple Past Pronunciation

…Pronunciación del Pasado Simple

Ya se encuentra el articulo entre los recursos de Bogota Business English.

En nuestra serie ‘errores comunes en Bogota’, notamos unos errores de pronunciación o malentendimiento de la parte de Colombianos.  ¿Cometes uno de los errores comunes?

Talk Ed! Talk Ed Harris!

You've been living a lie Truman! I mean, don't pronounce the 'Ed'!

There is one common mistake I have heard alot of Rolos, alot of Colombians
make that shows they are still at an intermediate level
and it sounds weird. They add an unnecessary “ed” sound to verbs in past tense. Talk-ed? Talk Ed? You want Ed to talk?

It is pronounced…. not prounc-ed.  Hold on, I left out an important fact.  Sometimes we do say the ‘ed’…

Submitted for your approval… the rules for pronouncing ‘-ed’ endings!

1. For the majority of regular verbs in past tense, we run the sounds together or combine the consonant sounds so that we end the verb with a ‘t’ or ‘d’ sound depending on the word or your accent.

2. For regular verbs in past tense that already have a ‘t’ or ‘d’ finishing sound in present,  we pronounce the present tense form and add an ‘ed’ sound.

Donald Trump

Pronounce well and one day you'll be as rich as Donald Trump.* *=may not be true

3.  For all those irregular verbs, this rule doesn’t apply.  Check out a list of 50 irregular verbs.

Present … Past …. Pronunciation (escrito según sonidos españoles)

Talk … Talked …. Talkt

Pass … Passed …. Past

Submit … Submitted …. Submitid
Save … Saved …. Sevd

Look … Looked …. Lukt

Paste … Pasted …. Pestid

Play … Played …. Pleyd

Shine … Shined …. Shaind
There’s another word that starts with Shi and should be pronounced with ‘id’ but I shouldn’twrite it.  Do you know how it should be pronounced?
Want to improve your pronunciation? BBE wrote a great article on pronunciation here.

…Pronunciación del Pasado Simple

Hay un error común cual he escuchado de Rolos, de Colombianos que manejan un nivel intermedio de inglés, se suena raro;  adjuntan un sonido ‘id’ para la terminación del pasado de los verbos. ¿Cómo? Talk-id? Talk Ed? Quieres que Ed habla? 

No se dice ‘pronounsid’; digamos ‘pronounsd’.  ¡Espera! Dejé un hecho importante.  A veces decimos el ‘id’….

Sometido para aprobación: las reglas de pronunciar las terminaciones con ‘-ed’

1. Para la mayoria de verbos regulares conjugados al pasado, combinamos el sonido del ultimo consonante con ‘t’ o ‘d’ depende de la palabra o su accento.

2. Para los verbos regulares con un sonido de terminación de ‘t’ o ‘d’ en la conjugación presente, pronunciamos la terminación de  ‘-ed’ igual al sonido ‘id’.

3.  Para los verbos irregulares, no se aplica la regla. Se puede ver una lista acá.

Presente … Pasado …. Pronunciacíon (escrito según sonidos españoles)

Talk … Talked …. Talkt

Pass … Passed …. Past

Submit … Submitted …. Submitid
Save … Saved …. Sevd

Look … Looked …. Lukt

Paste … Pasted …. Pestid

Play … Played …. Pleyd

Shine … Shined …. Shaind
Pues, hay otra palabra que empieza con ‘shi…’, pero ¡no voy a escribirla! ¿Cómo se pronunciaría? 😉

Step by Step, Paso a Paso

Step lively, its time to review step phrasal verbs! We reviewed step as a verb and noun last time.

Preparase, ya revisamos los verbos frasales y otros frases con step. Hemos revisado la palabra step tal como un verbo y un sustantivo.

Step by step, phrase, little by little something is accomplished [paso a paso, poco a poco]

Step forward, verb phrase,  (literal use) to move forward by a step or (figurative use) to offer oneself [uso literal: dar un paso adelante, uso figurativo: ofrecerse]

Step back, verb phrase.  (literal use) to move back by a step or (figurative use) to distance oneself [uso literal: dar un paso atrás, uso figurativo: alejarse]

Step aside, verb phrase, (literal use)  to move to one side or to resign from duties [uso literal: hacerse a un lado, uso figurativo: renunciar]

Watch your step, phrase, command usually indicating the listener should be careful [ten cuidado]

Step lively, verb phrase, (literal use)  to move  quickly or (figurative use) to be prepared to make sudden actions [uso literal: darse prisa, uso figurativo: prepararse]

Step up, verb phrase, (literal use)  to move  upward or (figurative use) to intensify one’s actions or increase one’s efforts [uso literal: dar un paso arriba, uso figurativo: intensificar o aumentar la frecuencia de algo]

Step down, verb phrase, (literal use)  to move downward or to resign from a position [uso literal: bajarse por un paso, uso figurativo: renunciar]

Take a step, verb phrase, to move forward by a step (dar un paso)

Step in, verb phrase, (literal use)  to move inside of something or (figurative use) to intervene [uso literal: entrar, uso figurativo: invervenir]

Step out, verb phrase,  (literal use)  to move outside of something or (figurative use) to intervene [uso literal: salir, uso figurativo: dejar]

Step around, verb phrase,  (literal use)  to move around an object or person or (figurative use) to bypass someone or something [uso literal: pasar por el lado, uso figurativo: eludir algo]

Take a step towards learning English.  Step up your English with Bogota Business English.

Step It Up!

Step. Step it up. Step by step.  Step forward. Step backward.  Step aside. Watch your step!

OJO! Step no es el apodo de ‘Stephen’ or ‘Stephanie.’  Es una palabra muy comun y se usó por metaforas impactantes.  Se dice “The first step is always the hardest.” Sabes a que me refiero?

Step es una palabra inglés que puede ser sustantivo (noun) o verbo (verb) depende del contexto.

Step, noun, a movement made by lifting the foot and setting it downagain in a new position, accompanied by a shifting of the weight of the body in the direction of the new position, as inwalking, running, or dancing. (un paso)

Step, verb, to take a step, to move, go, etc., by lifting the foot and setting it down again in a new position, or by using the feet alternately in this manner. (dar un paso)

                         Crees en este dicho?

Se dice que un viaje o un camino empieza con solo un paso.

O tal vez crees en este?                   

Se dice que no hay que ver la escalera completa antes de dar el primer paso.

Nuestro proximo post, es decir ‘our next step’ tratará los verbos frasales con step. No todos significan ‘dar un paso’!!!

Take your first steps in English with Bogota Business English.

Good Day Sunshine, Enjoy Your Weekend

Hopefully we have more of this beautiful weather over the weekend.  After weeks of grey weather, lets enjoy some sun ‘n’ fun.

OJO: cuando pronuncias ‘sun’ y ‘fun’ se deberían rimar

To celebrate, lets listen to this classic beatles tune and review the lyrics.

Good Day Sunshine, The Beatles

Good day sunshine
Good day sunshine
Good day sunshine

I need to laugh, and when the sun is out
I’ve got something I can laugh about
I feel good in a special way
I’m in love and it’s a sunny day

Good day sunshine
Good day sunshine
Good day sunshine

We take a walk (as) the sun is shining down
(It) Burns my feet as they touch the ground

Good day sunshine
Good day sunshine
Good day sunshine

Then we lie beneath a shady tree
I love her and she’s loving me
She feels good; she know she’s looking fine
I’m so proud to know that she is mine

Good day sunshine
Good day sunshine
Good day sunshine
Good day sunshine
Good day sunshine
Good day sunshine
Good day sunshine
Good day sunshine

Sunshine, noun, direct light from the sun or a source of happiness. (luz del sol o algo que alegra)

I like to sit in the sunshine.

I’m feeling glad, I got sunshine in a bag. (Bonus video!)

When the sun is out, phrase, when the sun is present or showing. (cuando haya sol)

When the sun is out, it feels warm.

It is cold in Antartica even when the sun is out.

Take a walk, phrasal verb, to go for a leisurely walk or to leave a situation abruptly. (dar una vuelta)

Work was frustrating so we took a walk to calm down.

I almost yelled at the client so my boss told me to take a walk.

Something touches the ground, phrase, after flying something connects with the ground. (llegar a la tierra)

Our airpline touched the ground in Bogota after flying from Atlanta.

After the soccer victory, we only started to touch the ground that night.

When the sun is out, you should be too.  Take some personalized classes with Bogota Business English.  Personalized classes that help you enjoy more of your time, more of that sunshine!