19th February 2019
Last night’s class threw up several new words, fixed expressions, idioms, cultural notes and even a reference to Thai ladyboys … you had to be there !
Being exposed to new vocabulary is one of the reasons to attend a class, but language is organic; it needs to be nurtured, developed, practised and used.
To wit, here is a list of words that arose last night:
accommodate – make space for.
alternate / alternative – one of two choices / a different way of doing something.
car share – people who work or live near each other can give each other a ride, so only one car is used.
congestion / congested – blocked up, unable to move e.g. traffic jam
commuter – a person who travels to and from work.
composite – made from different things.
dozen – a set of twelve (also from French, via Latin).
flexitime – from flexible & time. A method of working where staff can arrive at different times.
fuselage – the main body of an airplane. Word is of French origin. Notice how English borrows many words from other languages.
implement – to use, to plan and then do something.
independent – free, not under anyone’s control or rule.
institute – an organisation usually academic or scientific.
reiterate – to say again, to repeat (see how the ‘re’ often means again – repeat, re-sit, re-do, redesign, re-watch)
This show is about two co-workers who ride to and from work every day. It is set (the location) in the north-west of England, around Manchester so the accent may be harder to understand.
not my cup of tea – a polite way of saying that you don’t like something
piece of cake – if something is very easy, or if something is not a problem.
I checked at a previous IELTS centre about the use of idioms in the course. The verdict was that one or two are totally acceptable, as it shows a deeper knowledge of English. However, they should be used appropriately, and are more suited to speaking, as opposed to writing.
Fixed expressions / phrases
according to – when you give a fact or information that someone else says.
brand new – totally new, un-used, still in the box or wrapping.
for this / that reason – because of this / that
hard to reach – difficult to get to.
mouth-watering – food that is so delicious, it makes the mouth produce saliva by smelling it or even just talking about it.
off-peak – a quiet time, either for driving and commuting, or for holidays.
off-season – a quiet time for hotels, flights and holidays.
second hand – an item that has been previously used.
turn a blind eye – to see something wrong but pretend not to notice.
remarkably / significantly – strong adverbs of degree, showing a high change.
quite / somewhat – mild adverbs of degree
Use the new vocabulary in this conversation.
Peter: Sorry I’m late; the roads are so ——– (very busy). Sally: There was an accident ———-the radio (the radio said). You look ill. Peter: Well, I had —- (12) beers last night ! I’m glad we’re on ——- (not fixed time). Hey, is that a new phone ? It looks ———- (just bought). Sally: No, I got it ———– (previously used). I know an ———–(different) way to get to work. It’s on the back streets so ————– (because of) it’s empty. Peter: Less ———- (people going to work) ! ——————– (no problem !)
The student should be prepared to talk for up to two minutes. Having said that, there is one minute allowed for preparation.
The speaking can be planned in a similar way to writing; a short introduction; one idea or subject at a time; mention both something good, then bad; a short conclusion.
Avoid repetition, hesitating and speaking about something not directly related to the question. One way to ‘buy time’ to think is to use one of the following:
How can I put it ?
What’s the word ?
That’s an interesting question
Well, I hadn’t thought about that before
The examiner will also be looking for politeness and eye contact, as well as listening for intonation and pronunciation. Grammar is naturally important, but one or two minor mistakes are acceptable.
Last night we practised talking about holidays, so for practice, talk about a holiday you went on. Try to use some of the new vocabulary from above.
If you need some ideas, use these pictures for assistance:
Some extra revision can be found on this website: