infamous criminalsThe range of crimes committed across the globe is almost incomprehensible. Some crimes are bizarre, some are horrific and unimaginable, and some are just ridiculous. If you are interested in reading more about the criminal mind and the darker side of life then check out this website which documents the stories of serial killers, murderers, rapists, cannibals, sadists and celebrity defendants.  A cannibal, OMG – eating human flesh. Now, if you want to do that, you’ve got serious, serious, SERIOUS ISSUES!

So, it’s time to confess, despite the fact that I AM a law-abiding citizen, I have been arrested twice. Can you guess which crimes I have committed?

  1. Doing a runner at a restaurant
  2. Defrauding the Japanese transport system
  3. Civil disobedience
  4. Violating army property
  5. Shoplifting

Thankfully, for both crimes I was let off with a verbal warning.

READING CHALLENGE: Crimes in Málaga: Property Development Crimes

Mayor accusedNow, I’m not sure about this case.  Am I correct in thinking that criminal property development is more heinous than violent crimes and sex offences?  So, a rapist could get a prison sentence of 6 months and someone who financially profits from an illegal transaction might get 15 years imprisonment.  If this is the case, then we have a judicial system which places the value of money and profiteering above the value of humans and human life.   Yes, I can hear you all groaning – that’s been obvious since time immemorial!

Committing a Crime and being Arrested


If you are like me, the answers to these questions are: YES, YES, and much to the disgust of my mother, YES.

crime warningCrime, it’s such a decadent and appealing word! Who hasn’t, at least at one point in their life, wanted to do something illegal!? Who hasn’t wanted to dress up in a leather all-in-one, put on a mask and go out and do bad deeds!? Of course, no one! Everyone has been tempted!

However, don’t get me wrong, illegal activities, in general, are bad and listen up kids: CRIME IS BAD, SAY NO TO DRUGS, SAY NO TO SHOPLIFTING, SAY NO TO VANDALISM, SAY NO TO HOOLIGANISM, AND REPEAT AFTER ME: PRISON IS NEITHER A HOTEL NOR A PART-TIME JOB!

Having said that, without criminals we definitely wouldn’t have the civil liberties or modern ideologies that we take for granted nowadays, for example: democracy, freedom of speech, innocent until proven guilty, and gender equality. Indeed, arguably, without those law-breaking middle class women, the suffragettes, women wouldn’t even be able to vote. So, this begs the question: Is all crime bad? Obviously to me, the answer is NO.

VOCABULARY CHALLENGE: Types of Punishments

crime-and-punishmentCriminal punishments might include the following:

  1. A fine
  2. Term of imprisonment (time in prison)
  3. Probation (Probation is the suspension of jail time. If you are convicted of a crime, you may be sentenced to probation and allowed to remain living in the community under the supervision of a probation officer)
  4. Parole (Parole is the conditional release of a prisoner before the prison sentence has expired.)
  5. Restitution (repayment) to victims
  6. Capital Punishment (The death penalty)
  7. Community service

Although my mother never really punished me, she wouldn’t give me any pocket money so when I was 16 I had two part-time jobs. I worked in a sweet shop on a Saturday, which for obvious reasons, I was really keen on, and on a Thursday and Friday night I worked at the checkout in a local supermarket which I couldn’t bear. I had to wear a royal blue, polyester overcoat which was so static every time I touched something I got an electric shock.

shop tannoyIn addition, because they thought I had a really posh voice, they always asked me to use the shop tannoy system and say: ’’Good evening shoppers, are you having a lovely time? We have lots of bargains on offer tonight, blah, blah. blah.’’ No, I’m not joking, and, I was only paid minimum wage! Now, that’s a crime against my childhood memories!

VOCABULARY CHALLENGE: Idioms: The law and crime

crime vocabularyThe law, crime, punishment, criminal activity; how many words?!

Yes, it’s bonkers ( crazy/mental) how much vocabulary we have connected to this topic. So, how many of the words in the word cloud do you know?

Expressions and idioms:
And, there are lots of idioms and expression, oh yes! The following idioms all have their origin in criminal activity but they also have many uses in regular conversations to describe innocent situations.

It's a steal1: A steal
Definition: If something is a steal, it costs much less than it is really worth.
Example: I’ve just bought a flight to London. And, despite the fact that I’m not keen on being 35,000ft up in the sky in a tin can, it was a steal at €30.

2: Daylight robbery
Definition: This idiom is used to say that something is ridiculously expensive, especially when you have no choice but to pay.
Example: From my point of view the cost of electricity in Spain is daylight robbery.

3: To get away with murder
Definition: When you get away with murder, you are not punished for doing something bad.
action man kenExample: When I was a kid, I couldn’t stand dolls and I used to rip apart my dolls and then hunt out my sister’s dolls and rip their head off. Obviously, I had done something very, very bad and my sister was red with rage. However, my mother never punished me; so yes, I used to get away with murder.

Curiously, the only doll I kept was action man Ken. Yep, I wasn’t a girlie girl then and I’m not a girlie girl now.

Do you want to learn some more idioms? No problem, check out this video.


Remembering word patterns is very important if you want to improve your spoken and written accuracy. Personally speaking, the most effective way to do this is to read. However, to get you started here are a few word patterns to help you think like a police officer or a criminal.crime word patterns
crime word patterns 2
BurglaryFor example: on Saturday night, the local police arrested three youths for burglary. They were accused of breaking into a house and stealing a laptop, a digital radio, a mobile phone and a flat screen TV and  a cuddly toy. The three suspects claimed that they were not guilty of committing this crime. However, the police officer in charge said that although they might deny burglarising the house because they were caught on camera leaving the house with the stolen goods by a neighbour, they are bound to be found guilty of the crime in a court of law and will be charged with theft.


The English language has a plethora of words to describe different crimes. In addition, we have different words to describe the criminal as well as the action. So, if you need to brush up on your crime vocabulary, here’s a little exercise to help you. Good luck! If you want more vocabulary connected to crime and law enforcement then check out the Downloads section.

Crimes and criminals
Crimes and criminals a

What does it mean to be British?

National identity is always a topic of debate and conversation. In conversation, when we meet people for the first time we often ask the question: Where are you from? In other words: Where were you born?

We are British

Well legally, I am British and I’m also English as I was born in Yorkshire, which is the largest county in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. My mother is British but my father is Irish, so what does this mean? Well, according to many stereotypes this means that I’m a little cold, probably emotionally reserved and very polite.

In addition, it also means I come from a country where it rains all the time, a country where the national diet is considered to be, by far, one of the worst in the world and that despite a long history of playing football we are completely and utterly rubbish. And, perhaps, as all stereotypes, there is an element of truth to these.

welocome to yorkshireHowever, for me, being British means having a commitment to: Inclusion, Equality and Diversity. And, for me, being a Yorkshire woman means:I speak my mind, I’m down-to-earth and I can’t stand Manchester United.

So, what does it mean to be Spanish? Moreover, what does it mean to be Malagueñan?