Present perfect I have been to Ha Noi / I’ve been to Ha Noi
Idioms and expressions – bucket list
A: Hello, how’s it going ? Long time no see.
B: Yes, I’ve been in Ha Noi.
A: Amazing ! I want to go. I’ve never been there. It’s on my bucket list.
B: Really ? You must go, the food is great.
A: I’ve heard the people are not nice.
B: They are not the friendliest people in the world, but they are not so bad.
A: What were you doing there ?
B: Knocking on doors ! I had interviews for new companies.
This conversation is more complex and features more idioms and expressions
A: I’m sick of my job ! I need to change.
B: I’ve also been on the lookout for a new job. My job is so tedious !
A: Mine too. Same thing, day in, day out. But … it’s a job. Oh, Tom was fired.
B: No ! Why ? I’ve known him for a long time.
A: He was cooking the books.
B: You’re pulling my leg !
A: Yes ! Really, he went to Boston. He’s got a new job.
B: Good for him ! Now we should go to Boston.
cooking the books = writing false numbers in the accounts – a serious crime
You’re pulling my leg ! = joking with me
Now, a quick customer service dialogue:
Try acting this out in the classroom, encouraging body language and appropriate intonation.
Café worker: Next, please! What would you like? Andi: Can I have a burger, please? Café worker: A cheese burger or double cheese burger? Andi: Double cheese burger, please. Café worker: Anything else? Andi: Yeah, I’d like some banana cake. Café worker: Would you like a drink? Andi: Yes, can I have an apple juice, please? Café worker: OK, so that’s one double cheese burger, one banana cake and an apple juice. What’s your table number? Andi: Table 3. How much is that? Café worker: That’s £8.37, please. Andi: Here you are. Café worker: Thank you … that’s £10.00 … and £1.63 change. Next, please …
Last week, I showed my class how to speak, and think, in longer sentences. I chose a basic question as an example:
Where do you want to visit in Vietnam ?
I showed them a plan:
Introduction / First good point / second good point / something bad / conclusion.
I choose Hoi An
Introduction: DON’T answer immediately but introduce the answer by repeating or rephrasing the question:
Vietnam has many beautiful places but my choice would be Hoi An.
First Good Point:
Firstly, Hoi An is a historical city with a wonderful Japanese bridge and lovely old shops. At night, the shops use romantic lanterns.
Second Good Point:
Hoi An is close to Da Nang, so I can fly there easily and quickly. There are many things to see and do in the local area.
Now, something negative
However, Hoi An is very small and can be extremely crowded in summer. Maybe it will be difficult to find a hotel or a table at a good restaurant.
In my opinion, Hoi An is a very special place to visitbecause it is a town of Vietnamese culture.
How to build sentences:
Use adjectives to describe nouns (beautiful, historic, romantic)
adverbs to describe adjectives and verbs – give more information (very, easily)
opinion phrases (in my opinion)
linking words to connect positive to positive or positive to negative – discourse markers (however)
reasons why an action is being done (because)
Now – your turn: Where do you want to visit ? This can be in Vietnam or anywhere.
I like coffee
I like coffee so much because it tastes great and makes me wake up although too much will stop me from sleeping at night but, in my opinion, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages.
I teach a brother and sister; the sister is a bit of a handful always chatting or texting during class. In complete contrast, the brother is a really good student as well as being a young gentleman. I feel he is an ideal student.
Now – your turn. Try these:
Living in Sai Gon or in your city
Working and studying.
Sentence building – becoming fluent and coherent
EXAMPLE: I like coffee
how MUCH do you like it (adverbs) ?
What kind of coffee (adjectives) ?
What do you think about this ? (opinions)
WHY do you like it (give reasons)
interesting words, phrases, idioms
I really enjoy hot milky coffee because it helps bring people together as well as making our minds become quite active and somewhat excited. Coffee, in my point of view, is essentially useful if we use it in moderation. On the other hand coffee can be a dreadful waste of money as well as having a detrimental effect on our health. Despite the negative aspects, coffee makes me feel over the moon!
A sample of different speaking situations to help you practice:
Going to a bank
Talking about your children
Easter in UK
To kick off, two friends, Kim & Lyn are catching up, asking what they have done recently.
Kim Good evening, how are you ?
Lyn Very well, thank you. Long time no see.
Kim Yes, I’ve been out and about.
Lyn Really ? What did you do ?
Kim Well, I found agreat restaurant in District 1. I went there with Peter and Jenny. We tried food from England.
Lyn Yes, I heard about it. I got an email from Mary. What did you eat ?
Kim We ate roast beef and potatoes, and drank lots of hot, sweet tea.
Lyn Wonderful! Did you try the beer ?
Kim You know beer’s not my cup of tea !
Lyn How about Peter ?
Kim Oh, my goodness, he drank so much. He nearly fell over. What he didn’t drink, Jenny finished off.
Lyn I didn’t know she drank.
Kim She drinks like a fish. I spoke to Mary as well. She went to Thailand and brought back some gifts. The children loved them.
Lyn She is very sweet. I began to write her an email but then Peter phoned me. Would you like some tea ?
Kim Oh, now you are like an Englishperson.
Lyn Certainly !
Idiom: bear with me = wait a little time / a few minutes / a moment
Describe what you see in this photo. Use as many adjectives as you can.
I notice a lack of adjectives and adverbs in my students’ speech; they are able to complete abstract exercises, but I want to hear them incorporate what they’ve learnt into everyday talk, a natural feature. Therefore, the best way is practice … and practice.
Tell me what you see in the above photo. Adjectives can apply to what YOU think of the ladies (beautiful, gorgeous, plain, ugly), their age, origin, size, hair, clothes. However, I want to hear sentences.
Example: The gorgeous young Asian lady with the long black hair, is wearing a cute floral dress
(floral = flower pattern)
Now, verbs … describe their actions
Subject first; do NOT start with ‘She,’ or ‘They.’
Where are they ? What are they doing ? What have they been doing ?
How are they dressed ? How do they look (emotions)
What do you think they are talking about ?
Conversation practice Bank
Two friends are in a coffee shop
Cath This is a great cup of coffee ! Ok, what shall we do next ?
Di I have to run to the bank. I need to deposit some money.
Cath Good idea, I want to use an ATM. I also need to buy some dollars.
Di You can check the exchange rate at my bank. It’s not far, we can walk.
Cath Oh, I love your earrings. They are so cute. Mine are so ordinary !
Di No, yours are sweet. Mine look valuable but they are fake.
Cath Really ? They look amazing. A very unique design.
Di So kind. OK, have you finished your coffee ?
Cath Bear with me … oh, no … it’s started raining cats and dogs !
How many adjectives can you see ?
Pam Your daughter is gorgeous. Like an angel. She looks like you.
Uma Yes, but she takes after her father. She is very grumpy when she’s tired or hungry.
Pam My son is usually very good, he sleeps like a log, but now he’s teething.
Uma Ahhh, poor little thing but it will pass. Does he still keep you up at night ?
Pam Well, a little but not too much. I give up reading or watching films.
Uma I get it ! We have a reading group. Sounds good ?
Pam Hmmm … let me think about it and get back to you. OK, I must run … bye.
Bea What a day ! It was non-stop. No time to think. I need some coffee
Lyn Here you are. Tell me all about it, from start to finish.
Bea Firstly, I overslept, so I had to jump in the shower and skip breakfast. I was grumpy.
Lyn You ? No, you are always so sweet. Nearly always haha.
Bea Then I nearly got into an accident with some stupid Grabbike man.
Lyn Oh, some are so nice but others are total idiots !
Bea Exactly. Afterwards, my computer crashed at work and my boss yelled at me
Lyn What a terrible day. Now you need some coffee and a big piece of pie.
Nina Have you seen this western tradition ? They give chocolate eggs at Easter.
Eva Are you serious ? I adore chocolate. Who gives them ?
Nina Well, parents give to children, husbands give to wives, boyfriends to girlfriends.
Eva I haven’t seen them. Can you tell me about them ?
Nina Sure, it’s a large piece of chocolate shaped like an egg.
Eva I like the sound of that. A giant chocolate egg, sounds like heaven.
Nina That’s only part of it. Inside the egg, there are more chocolates.
Eva Ok, next year I am going to England. I will eat like a pig. A chocolate pig !
At the end of the previous blog, there were some everyday collocations that moved away from the basic verb + phrase format (e.g. take a break / make sure / get away with murder).
To help them sink in (make you remember), here a chance for you to practise using them.
Rewrite the following business email to your senior manager in France, using the following collocations for the bold sections:
Adequate supplies to meet demand
Cause insurmountable difficulties
Major turning point
Set realistic aims
Dear M Delarue
I have some good news from the HCM office which I think represents a change in the company and how we do things and what we can expect to do in the future.
We have stopped using the old business model because when we tried, it made many, many problems that we were unable to solve, no matter how hard we tried. Now we are seeing real and tangible progress.
Our main concern now is to make sure we have enough products to fill all the orders for all of our customers. We need to plan ahead; as Marketing Director, I am on the look out for new markets to break into.
Two areas spring to mind:China and India. It is our intention that we become market-leader in those territories but we must not wish for too much too soon as there are many factors that stand in our way, such as infrastructure and logistics.
Finally, could you please send us the newest, latest copy of the company handbook, as our one in five years old and is out of date and does not have the latest facts and figures.