Sunday, 27 January 2013


International Holocaust Remembrance Day, 27 January, is an international memorial day for the victims of the Holocaust, the genocide that resulted in the extermination  of 6 million Jews, 2 million Gypsies (Roma and Sinti), 15,000 homosexual people and millions of others by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. It was designated by the United Nations General Assembly on 1 November 2005.  The resolution came after a special session was held earlier that year on 24 January 2005 during which the United Nations General Assembly marked the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi concentration camps and the end of the Holocaust.
27 January is the date, in 1945, when the largest Nazi death camp, Auschwitz-Birkenau, was liberated by Soviet troops.
The Holocaust Remembrance Day is also a national event in the United Kingdom and in Italy.       

"Our many Jewish friends and acquaintances are being taken away in droves. The Gestapo is treating them very roughly and transporting them in cattle cars to Westerbork, the big camp in Drenthe to which they're sending all the Jews....If it's that bad in Holland, what must it be like in those faraway and uncivilized places where the Germans are sending them? We assume that most of them are being murdered. The English radio says they're being gassed." 
 Anne Frank

Here are some useful Web sites for teaching and learning about the Holocaust:

Thursday, 24 January 2013


Immagine correlata

In order to change the active verb to its corresponding passive form, we need to do two things:
1. Put the verb to be in the same tense as the verb in the active sentence. In this example the verb is in the simple past, so we use the past tense of be.
2. Use the past participle of the verb in the active sentence.
The passive verb, therefore, has two parts. The verb to be indicates the tense, and the past participle indicates the action.
Only sentences containing direct objects can be made into passive sentences because the direct object of the active sentence becomes the subject of the passive sentence. If the sentence does not have a direct object, you cannot change it into a passive sentence.

The passive voice is generally used when the subject of the sentence is indefinite, general, or unimportant. 
Someone stole my bike yesterday!
My bike was stolen yesterday!
In the example above, the focus is on the fact that my bike was stolen. I do not know, however, who did it.

The passive voice is also used when what was done is more important than the doer of the action. Look at the following sentence:
America was discovered by Columbus.
Columbus discovered America. 

The passive voice is generally used when you want to emphasize the receiver rather than the doer. However, in the great majority of cases the active voice is more effective than the passive voice.

Here you can find a table which shows the active and passive forms of the various tenses. 
Now let's watch a video lesson which explains how to construct the passive form correctly as well as  when, why, and how  to use it effectively.

Here  you can download a passive voice worksheet. Click here to find some online exercises.

Monday, 21 January 2013


President Barack Obama has just finished speaking at his second inauguration in Washington. Here are his remarks as prepared and released by the White House.

Sunday, 20 January 2013


Sense and Sensibility”,  written in the late 1790s but much revised before publication in 1811,   is a novel by Jane Austen, her first published novel under the pseudonym, "A Lady."                                                                         
This is the story of Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, sisters who respectively represent the "sense" and "sensibility" of the title. With their mother, their sister Margaret, and their stepbrother John, they make up the Dashwood family. 
Henry Dashwood, their father, has just died. Norland Park, his estate, is inherited by John; on his deathbed, he urges John to provide for them and John promises that he will do so. He is already wealthy because he has a fortune from his mother and is also married to the rich Fanny Ferrars.  Immediately after Henry's burial, the insensitive Fanny moves into Norland Park and cleverly persuades John not to make any provision for his stepmother and stepsisters. Mrs. Dashwood, disliking Fanny, wants to leave Norland Park at once, but Elinor prudently restrains her until they can find a house within their means. Edward Ferrars, Fanny's brother, comes to stay and is attracted to Elinor. Mrs. Dashwood and Marianne expect an engagement, but Elinor is not so sure; she knows that Mrs. Ferrars and Fanny will object to Edward's interest in her. 
Mrs. Dashwood is so offended by Fanny’s rudeness that she is delighted to receive a letter from a distant relative, Sir John Middleton, offering at a reasonable rent a house called Barton Cottage on his estate in Devonshire. Mrs. Dashwood immediately accepts the offer.  
In the country,  Marianne, the more romantically inclined of the two sisters, meets the handsome but penniless and unscrupulous John Willoughby, with whom she falls desperately in love, and who seems to fully reciprocate her feelings. 

Sunday, 13 January 2013


John Keats was born in 1795 to a lower-middle-class family in London. When he was still young, he lost both his parents. His mother died of tuberculosis, the disease that eventually killed Keats himself. 
He was well educated at a private school in Enfield, where his schoolmaster encouraged him to read and write. In 1810, after leaving school, he was apprenticed to an apothecary-surgeon but he remained a passionate reader. 
In 1815 he left his apprenticeship and became a student at Guy's Hospital, London. However, in 1816  he abandoned the profession of medicine for poetry. Keats's first volume of poems was published in 1817 and was not entirely well  received.
In the summer of 1818, Keats toured the north of England and Scotland, returning home to nurse his brother Tom, who had fallen ill with tuberculosis.  After Tom’s death, in December,   he  moved into a friend’s house in Hampstead, London,  now  known as Keats House.