IELTS: Complex sentences, Practice #2

18th January 2021

Knowing Your Lines | Pastor Bill Online

The previous blog demonstrated how to form complex sentences whereas this one will give you a chance to actually incorporate them into your everyday speech or, more importantly, your IELTS test which you will want to pass with flying colours.

Let’s dive in !

A typical IELTS question will be about your family. Time to show off your knowledge of adjectives and phrases.

Start with mother. Some positives:

My mother has a heart of gold // She is so kind and caring // She always puts others first.

On the other hand:

I’m afraid my mother is a ‘tiger mum’ // She expects too much of me // She is never satisfied with my work.

As for father:

My father is industrious and so hard-working // My father always has his nose to the grindstone, providing for his family // People say I take after my father // He is firm but fair.

On the other hand:

My father never lets me stay out // He drinks like a fish on holidays // He is a very strict disciplinarian.

Older brother:

He is my role model // I always look up to him // He looks out for me and takes me under his wing.

On the other hand:

My brother is a total slacker // My brother gets aggressive when he’s been drinking // My brother lacks ambition and drive.

Don’t forget sister:

My sister is a little angel // She has the sweetest soul // She has a kind word for everybody.

On the other hand:

My sister is such a prima donna // She only thinks of herself // She won’t lift a finger around the house // She spends all her money on herself.

Let’s extend the family: uncle, aunt, cousin etc. Remember, always be thinking of how you can use IELTS language such as idioms and expressions.

EXAMPLE:

Your uncle lives in a different city (how often do you see him ?) He has a great job, a lot of influence (an expression ?)

Tell me about the people you live with

Allow me to introduce my family to you. Firstly, there is my mother, who has a heart of gold, I can tell her anything. She’s always working, cooking or cleaning. I would say she is the biggest influence in my life. My father is very industrious by which I mean he gets up early, every day, works long hours at his office which is very far away. However, he likes to relax at holiday time. His brother, my uncle, who is a mover and a shaker, occasionally pays a visit at Tet (Christmas, Hanukkah etc) and the two of them drink like fish ! That’s because my uncle, who lives in (a far-away city), only comes to (your city) once in a blue moon.

Piece of cake, right ?

First, decide what idioms are appropriate.

Second, select some impressive L-FWs or phrases.

Finally … it doesn’t have to be true ! We are here to check your command of English, we are not going to check if your uncle really is a mover and a shaker !

Let's go to work.

Class work:

Ask each other the following questions. Check how many IELTS features the speaker uses, and give encouraging feedback.

Which member of your family are you closest to ?

Which member of your family do you take after ?

How often do you see your cousins, or grandparents ?

Is family important in your country ? Why ?

Do you want to live in a nuclear (small) or extended family ?

What qualities do you admire in your family ?

Now … think on your feet.

Tell me about your brother, who is an actor.

Tell me about your aunt, who teaches music.

Tell me about your cousin, who wants to study at Oxford.

Tell me about your mother, who demands that you get A++ for every exam.

The Yemeni teacher who's setting up a national orchestra, despite war

IELTS: Complex sentences practice

15th January 2021

Two young Asian woman studying on the desk — Stock Photo © hans3513  #17626271

Being able to use complex sentences, effortlessly, is vital in attaining a respectable IELTS score. With that in mind, this blog is to help students practise.

Quite simply, give more information about your subject.

Extra exercises and vocabulary may be found on a previous blog: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/23/ielts-introduction-to-complex-sentences/

Without further ado, let’s dive right in !

Tips To Ace All Bands In Your IELTS Test - Skoolmates

To form a complex sentence, we simply need to combine two pieces of information in one sentence, linked by a relative pronoun.

As with all grammar exercises, it makes far more sense to show than tell:

10 Awesome Facts About Rabindranath Tagore Which Show His Prominence

This is Rabindranath Tagore. He was a poet. He was born in Kolkata, India. He won the Noble Prize for literature in 1913.

So, we have several pieces of information. Let’s start by making a long but simple sentence:

Rabindranath Tagore won the Noble Prize for literature in 1913.

As you see, we start with the subject (Rabindranath Tagore) therefore we don’t need the pronoun ‘he’ in this new sentence.

To make this sentence complex, we just add a further piece of information about the subject, by using a relative pronoun:

who = for a person // which for a thing // where = for a place // whose = possession

The name is clearly not English, so let’s talk about his background:

Rabindranath Tagore, who was born in Kolkata, won the Noble Prize for literature in 1913.

Rabindranath Tagore won the Noble Prize for literature in 1913 is our main clause (clause being part of a sentence containing a subject and a verb).

who was born in Kolkata gives extra information but it makes no sense on its own. Therefore, it needs the main sentence to give it meaning. In grammar, this is known as a subordinate clause.

Now – we could develop this further:

Rabindranath Tagore, who was born in Kolkata which is in India, won the Noble Prize for literature in 1913.

The first subject was Rabindranath Tagore, so we used ‘who’ to give more information.

The second subject was the city, Kolkata ‘which’ is in India.

Confusion by New Order - Songfacts

Yes, confusion ! Kolkata is a place so why use ‘which’ and not ‘where’ ?

Good question; it depends on the clause:

Kolkata which is in India

India is not a person, therefore we treat it as a thing and use ‘which’. Again, show don’t tell:

London, where I was born, is the capital of the UK. [object is ‘I’, a person, so we use ‘where‘.]

London, which is the capital of the UK, is where I was born. [object is ‘capital’, not a person, so we use ‘which‘]

Let’s get back to our Indian poet. The third subject is the Noble Prize … you could add more information here (awarded every year in Sweden).

Naturally, one could write endlessly, constantly adding more information about subjects but, for this exercise, just focus on a main clause and a subordinate clause.

NOW … Your turn

Subject (comma) + relative pronoun + (comma) main clause starting with a verb:

Rabindranath Tagore, who was born in Kolkata, won the Noble Prize for literature in 1913.

Make complex sentences:

Stockholm. Capital city of Sweden. Is very expensive. Is very cold in winter.

Louise Glück. Born in 1943. Born in New York, USA. Won Noble Prize for Literature in 2020. She is a poet.

Starbucks is a coffee chain. Company founded in 1971. Company started in Seattle in north-west USA. Starbucks is the world’s largest coffeehouse chain (information from Wikipedia).

Seattle is in USA. Seattle is famous for Grunge music. Many bands such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden came from Seattle.

Mozart. A famous composer. Born in Austria. Died in 1791. Buried in a common grave.

Vincom Centre. In District 1 by Hotel Continental. Largest shopping mall in Sai Gon. Has many international brands such as Hugo Boss and Ralph Lauren.

Frida Kahlo was an artist. She was born in Mexico. She was born in 1907. She painted many portraits and self-portraits.

Sergei Eisenstein is a famous film director. He was born in Latvia (then part of Russia). In 1930 he began a film in Mexico. It is about the Day of the Dead festival. This festival is every year at the beginning of November.

Louise Glück wins Nobel Prize in Literature 2020
Louise Glück – Noble Prize winner 2020
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Nirvana
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Frida Kahlo
Films > Sergei Eisenstein
Day of the Dead, Mexico. Film by Sergei Eisenstein.
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Good luck !

To my IELTS students: An open blog.

14th January 2021

International Students Should Switch Off Phone During Classroom -  FreeEducator.com

I met an old class on Tuesday for a speaking test, and one of the students asked me why I stopped taking that class. I thought the reasons were pretty obvious, however if you really need me to explain, how about these:

I was absolutely sick of one of the students sitting directly in front of me, ignoring everything I said because she (yes, you all know who she is) was too busy on her phone, even bringing in a power-bank to make sure she had enough battery for three hours.

‘Student’ Care have mentioned this to her, and once even sent a representative to the class to tell her to stop. It had NO EFFECT; she continued using the phone each and every lesson.

I stopped calling on her to answer in class, as I only ever saw the top of her head. No doubt someone had posted a picture of a coffee or a cat to which she absolutely had to react, immediately, or risk losing a ‘friend’ that she probably hasn’t even met.

During the test I asked her to explain the centre rules, which she totally agreed with … in theory. I followed this with asking why she broke the rules. She replied that she, “Was bored.” She claimed that she was unaware that such behaviour was disrespectful.

Furthermore, I realised that with one exception, nobody was learning anything more; the class seemed happy at their level, and were not making any effort to expand their knowledge. Every lesson I stressed the importance of pronunciation features. I didn’t detect even 1% improvement, nor even the desire to improve.

Well, how did that work out for you in the speaking test ? Not so great, hey ?

Finally, I set a ‘test’ in my last two classes with you. Remember ? I gave you speaking practice then, instead of walking up and down monitoring your activity, I treated you like responsible adults. Instead of working, out came the mobile phones and English was replaced by the less than euphonic sound of the Vietnamese language.

Previously, I had given students one-to-one help. Instead of being thanked for this individual guidance, I was greeted with, “Me, again ? I spoke to you last week.”

I hope that answers your question.

Moving onwards or downwards, my Wednesday class. Talk about laid-back, I need to check if they still have a pulse.

Bored Of Education: Students' Feelings Towards High School Mostly Negative,  Study Finds

I’ve dispensed with social pleasantries such as, “How are you ?” as I was receiving answers such as, “I’m tired,” or “I’m exhausted.” Just what a teacher wants to hear before a three-hour class.

DRINK SOME GODDAMN COFFEE

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I made it perfectly clear, in the first lesson, that I am NOT here to entertain you. YOU are here to pass IELTS, which is a hard subject and requires active participation on your part. This means SPEAKING.

If your teacher asks you a question, damn well answer

Answer loudly and clearly, not just mumble begrudgingly. I told you last night, I am here to help you, I am not the enemy. If you refuse to speak or practice you are only hurting your own prospects.

At least last night, one of the ‘students’ admitted that she lacked energy or enthusiasm but, the punchline … she wants to be an English teacher.

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Now we come to tonight’s class, which contains three young men.

Your behaviour over the last weeks has been unacceptable. This is a Cambridge IELTS class, not a Beer Club, certainly not a Kid’s class.

So, here are the rules:

NO SHOUTING IN THE CLASSROOM

SPEAK ENGLISH

NO CALLING OUT STUPID ANSWERS

LEARN THE NEW VOCABULARY – YOU WILL NEED IT TO PASS

NO FIGHTING IN THE CLASS – YES, I ACTUALLY HAVE TO WRITE THIS

Not too much to ask or to expect.

If you do not comply, I will stop the lesson and refuse to teach your sorry asses

I will not let you schmucks ruin an otherwise lovely class

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“My way or the highway.”

IELTS: Getting across the line: how to boost your vocabulary, plus class games.

5th January 2021

A-levels: Dip in top grades as thousands get results - BBC News

Obviously, teachers don’t want to overwhelm the students with an unmanageable amount of new language. Far better to serve up bite-size pieces, then practice, practice and practice. When the language has become second nature to the students, move onwards and upwards.

The first step is to elevate your language; replace basic common or garden verbs with ‘better‘ ( that is, low-frequency) words.

For example, the verb ‘try’. Instead, we can have:

endeavour

To keep trying, not giving up, we can use:

persevere or persist

Let’s take these new words out for a spin:

This year, I shall endeavour to learn Vietnamese. I’ve tried before but gave up as it was simply too hard. However, this time I’m going to persevere.

Can you think of an idiom that could be used to show someone planning to work much harder ?

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This is the only clue I’m giving you !

Onwards and upwards:

buy:

purchase

get a qualification or certificate by hard work and study:

attain // achieve

to get something without the need for work or study:

obtain (you can obtain the application form in room 7A)

say / said:

exclaim // express // remark (add -ed to form past tense)

use:

utilise (utilize USA) / apply

to eat, consume or do a lot of something:

devour (He devoured the whole pizza by himself // She loves reading, she absolutely devours books)

Transform this simple sentence into something more IELTS-like:

Sarah said that if she gets an ‘A’, her father will buy her a new iPhone.

Tony says he wants to get a visa which he can buy at the UK Embassy, so he can use his English skills in London.

Mary really wants to buy the ‘Fargo’ box set. She said it was the best TV show in years and she plans to watch all the episodes in one day !

Free Photo | Happy young asian woman showing display of phone holding gift.
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Similarly, boost your lexical resources with regards to adjectives.

basic:

fundamental // elementary

hard:

difficult // challenging

tasty:

delicious // mouth-watering // scrumptious

experience:

broaden my horizons // real-life knowledge // culture shock

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From South America to Europe

Signpost language: (To help the listener or reader follow you)

Firstly / To begin with / I’d like to start by …

Secondly / additionally / another factor is …

What’s more / furthermore / not forgetting

Obviously / clearly / it is evident that …

Moving on / I’d like to change the topic / Let’s turn to …

Finally / all in all / all things considered

IELTS Online Study Material - Sample test, Practice books, Masterclass -  Check here! | IDP Nepal

Class Games:

Put students into small teams. One teams challenges the other(s) to form a sentence using as many new L-FWs as they can. Award bonus points for the appropriate use of idioms or fixed expressions.

Students challenge each other to find a L-FW for a basic, prosaic verb or adjective. Teams are allowed a fixed time, say one minute, and are allowed to use a thesaurus such as here:

https://www.thesaurus.com/

Then the group has to use the new word in an IELTS-style sentence by which I mean, an introduction, a signpost word or phrase and, obviously, a suitable idiom (examples – ‘put’, ‘big’, ‘interesting’, ‘watch’, ‘boring’, ‘eat’)

Teams are given a mix of L-FWs, idioms & signpost language. After a short preparation time, they have to construct an inspiring, fascinating and jaw-droppingly brilliant sentence. Piece of cake, n’est ce-pas ?

One student from each group starts answering an IELTS question (travel, food, study, neighbourhood). At a given point, the teacher stops the student and another group has to continue, and so on. Monitor the correct utilisation of signpost language as well as fluency, not forgetting the all-important pronunciation features.

Quick Fire / Rapid Fire Round

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What is the correct word:

To get a certificate after study ?

Delicious food is …

London is brass monkeys in January so _______ bring warm clothes.

A L-FW for ‘use’

Strange behaviour – he is acting _______

Istanbul is famous for its covered market, known as a __________

Nose, jaw, mouth … use these features in phrases

Moving from Europe to Asia will undoubtedly result in a degree of ________ _____.

The unspeakably greedy child ______ all the doughnuts !

Actor Mark Hamill basically disagreed with everything in the film script.

Two words that mean to keep trying

To watch someone or something very closely

Two words for difficult

Signpost language to be used as a conclusion

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IELTS: Mindset 2 first review

22nd December 2020

IELTS information for Ghana students – Achilinks Consult
Ready to pass with flying colours

After three or four lessons, I expect my students to know several common idioms (their meaning and how to use them appropriately), a number of low-frequency words (L-FWs), how to introduce an answer, how to form a complex sentence and to demonstrate varieties of intonation and stress.

Without these features, you ain’t gonna get above a ‘5’, no way. Therefore, time for a quick review, see how you’re measuring up to the standard, whether you need to turn over a new leaf and put your nose to the grindstone.

Therefore, let’s recap

Idioms:

it’s raining cats and dogs

it costs an arm and a leg

piece of cake

I’m burning the candle at both ends

once in a blue moon

pass with flying colours

turn over a new leaf

put your nose to the grindstone

5 Best IELTS Practice Tests for International Students | ApplyBoard
Students putting their noses to the grindstone

Part 1: What do the aforementioned idioms mean ?

Part 2: Give each student an idiom. They have to use it, correctly, in a sentence.

L-FWs:

gritty / industrial / quite / safe / residential / boring / peaceful / suburban / bustling / vibrant / city centre.

ubiquitous // naïve // stroll // a bazaar // bizarre // predictable

absent-minded // sky-high, astronomical // an entrepreneur //

hawkers or peddlers // a mover and a shaker // consider //

Part 3: Students have to describe their neighbourhood, using as many L-FWs, and idioms, as they are able.

Encouraging IELTS students to read beyond the course book | Collins ELT
Students burning the candle at both ends

Introductions:

That’s a very interesting question

Well, that’s a great question

Well, there is so much to say about that subject, where shall I start ?

It’s funny you put that question to me because earlier today I was just thinking about …

As a young Vietnamese (add your own nationality), I …

Part 4: Students have to demonstrate they know how to introduce their answer.

What do you want to do in the future ?

Give them one minute to prepare a very short reply.

Student Visa For Australia Without Ielts 12th Pass Students in Jalandhar,  VISA Solution Services | ID: 8848189962
It’s funny you asked me that question because recently, I have been considering moving to Australia …

Complex Sentences:

Part 5: Moving on, students have to form complex sentences out of the following information, using intonation to reflect excitement or a positive point and, conversely, a negative factor. Discourse markers to be employed in order to link ideas, naturally. Furthermore, I shall be listening for adverbs and adjectives.

First, choose the correct relative pronoun (who, which, whose or where)

London //

capital of UK // many shops and museums // expensive and cold

Teacher John //

from New Zealand // smiles and plays guitar // talks too fast

Ironman //

real name Tony Starke // very rich and intelligent // is fictional

Thailand //

90 minutes flight from HCMC // friendly people, great food // many western tourists and crowded

ABC English Centre //

located in city centre, District 1 // use laptops and tablets in classes // lessons are four hours long, with extra homework.

Team work

Part 6: Class split into two teams. They have to plan a day in their city (here, of course, it’s Sai Gon) for my friend Ethan.

The exercise can be found on this blog: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/16/ielts-planning-a-day-out/

Just look for this picture:

Ethan Hawke Sticks Up For Texas, Reps Beto and Turns a Dead ...

Finally: review negotiation language. Watch this video and discuss your views on the tourists opinion of Sai Gon:

How do the tourists feel about the city ?

As residents, do you agree with the review ?

Students can discuss the video using the following language:

I agree totally // I agree to an extent // I disagree // I’m not entirely sure about that // No way ! // They don’t know what they are talking about !

optimistic // uninformed // delusional // open-minded // enthusiastic

IELTS: Planning a day out

16th December 2020

17 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Beijing | PlanetWare
The Imperial Palace and the Forbidden City, Beijing, China

A compilation of exercises for students to plan a day out for visitors to their city.

Firstly, an example demonstrating an IELTS-style structure:

Where would you like to visit in Viet Nam (or your own country) and why ?

I show them a plan:

Introduction / First good point / second good point / something negative / conclusion

I choose Hoi An

Hoi An: Vietnam's most charming city - Exoticca Blog

Introduction: DON’T answer immediately but introduce the answer by rephrasing (paraphrasing) 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

HoweverHoi 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.

Conclusion

In my opinion, Hoi An is a very special place to visit because 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, furthermore, consequently, therefore)

reasons and examples why an action is being done (because) or such as

For IELTS students, ALWAYS think how you can use an idiom e.g.

I have been burning the candle at both ends, so I really need a break

I only take a holiday once in a blue moon

Travelling can be extremely expensive, but a bus ticket to Da Nang, although time-consuming, doesn’t cost and arm and a leg.

Now – your turn:

Where do you want to visit ? Where would you most like to visit ? This can be in Vietnam or anywhere … think BIG.

Women wearing Vietnamese ao dai granted an imperial favor
Hue
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Ha Noi
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Taj Mahal, India
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Day of the Dead, Mexico

Activity:

Present a holiday using a mixture of advertising slogans and practical information. Remember:

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it

Make your voice sound excited, as if this were the best holiday ever ! You have to use intonation and stress.

Holiday terms:

transfers / half-board / all -inclusive / amenities / package tour / itinerary /

Language:

breathtaking / visually – stunning / sensational / incredible / remarkable / exclusive /

once in a lifetime experience / never to be forgotten / unbeatable prices / book now to avoid disappointment / best decision you’ll ever make

holidays to suit all budgets , from 7* luxury to backpacking

Structure:

To begin with / furthermore … additionally / the fact is … / therefore

Demonstration with an advert for London:

Let's visit London - презентация онлайн

Now is the perfect time to visit London, England’s glorious capital.

To begin with, the weather is perfect for walking, so you can enjoy the lush parks, world-famous museums and incredible, unbelievable shops such as Harrods, Selfridges and so many more. 

Furthermore, there is something for everyone … and more ! Like sports ? Go to one of the many Premier League football games. Love shopping ?

The fact is, everything is here – shop till you drop !

Additionally, if you adore culture – soak up hundreds of years of history.

Flights from TSN airport daily. Seven-day all-inclusive package tour starting from only 50m VND ! All transfers and transport included. Air-conditioned mini bus with Vietnamese-speaking guide.

Therefore, don’t delay … book TODAY !

Sell a holiday

Advertising vocabulary and intonation

Prepare a presentation to market / sell a holiday.

Review: New vocabulary

sensational / once in a lifetime / luxury / all-inclusive / unforgettable experience / mysterious / majestic / breathtaking / visually-stunning

book now to avoid disappointment / exhilarating / world-famous

local food / new cultures / visit our website / worth every penny

fun for all the family/ the perfect getaway /

Plan a tour of your city for my friend

Ethan Hawke Sticks Up For Texas, Reps Beto and Turns a Dead ...
My friend Ethan is coming to visit your hometown

It is his first time in your hometown. He likes history, traditional food, and he wants to buy souvenirs.

Think about:

What time to start

What to do first 

Logistics – how Ethan can get around the city (subway, bus, taxi, Grab or Uber)

Food – where to eat and what to choose. Remember, he only speaks English

Where to go (remember the heat OR the rain could be an issue / a problem).

Explain your choices

Try to incorporate (use) these adjectives:

interesting // historical // fascinating // authentic

typical // bustling // lively // thought-provoking

Mind map – Travel

I start by writing the word ‘travel’ on the board, and see how many avenues spread out from it. Start with the grammar; what type of word is it (noun) but it can be made into a verb (to travel, travelling) and the students should remember how to apply it to a person (traveller).

Then we have expressions such as ‘travel broadens the mind.’

We have this quote which introduces metaphor – the world as a book:

Then more pedestrian aspects of travel; how do we travel (transportation), preparation (booking tickets, hotels, visas etc), what do we bring with us (different clothes, sun cream, currency, sun glasses etc). How about culture shock ?

Next, what are the positive aspects of travelling (new cultures, fun, adventure, relaxation) and conversely, the negatives (delays, waiting in soulless airports, getting ripped off, tourist traps, bad hotels etc)

Pair work: students have to write a short passage using ‘although‘ and ‘despite‘ to encapsulate their travel experiences or wishes.

EXAMPLES: Although I absolutely love travelling, there are many drawbacks. Firstly, there is the cost; it can be incredibly expensive what with plane tickets and hotels not to mention having to eat out in restaurants. Despite these issues, travelling can be so relaxing or exciting, seeing new places and doing new things or simply as a break from our normal lives.

Vietnam has many beautiful towns and places of interest although I have only been to a few of them despite travel being relatively cheap in this country. We can fly everywhere within one or two hours, at very reasonable prices although some cheap airlines, such as Vietjet, are notorious for delays.

I have always wanted to visit Beijing in China which is not excessively far from Sai Gon. Despite that, I haven’t been because I am not sure about the visa and how expensive it would be to visit. Additionally, I hear some negative things such as terrible pollution and many tourist scams. Despite the drawbacks, I really want to see the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace and all the temples. Although Vietnam and China have a complicated relationship, most Vietnamese would agree that Chinese food is delicious.

These exercises help to increase vocabulary and confidence. Furthermore, the repetition helps to make the target language part of the students’ lexical resources.

As a break from the book work, I’ll show the class a vlog from YouTube, two tourists who come to Sai Gon and what they think of the city:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iw_K-1AmVk

How do the tourists feel about the city ? As residents, do you agree with the review ?

Students can discuss the video using the following language:

I agree totally // I agree to an extent // I disagree // I’m not entirely sure // No way ! They don’t know what they are talking about !

optimistic // uninformed // delusional // open-minded // enthusiastic

Group work: Prepare a guide to Sai Gon for tourists.

Allow students access to the class computer for Google images if required.

Include

What to see and do // where and what to eat // what to buy //

What they can do for entertainment

Travel tips

Safety and scams

Cultural differences – what should people do or NOT do in Vietnam ?

Use of interesting adjectives to describe the city centre.

Groups can then present to the class, with all students taking turns speaking. I shall be listening for relevance, pronunciation and use of expressions and discourse markers. Furthermore, I may learn some interesting tips.

 My friend Andy is coming to Sai Gon

Using ‘should’ to give advice or information, make suggestions for Andy.

He loves history … what should he visit or see ?

He loves traditional food … what should he eat ?

He can’t ride a motorbike … how should he travel ?

He likes a beer a night (!) … where should he go ?

My Thai friend is coming to Vietnam:

Image result for two thai ladies

Ms Namsum is young and energetic. She’s into (really enjoy) clubs, sightseeing and shopping.

I suggest she starts the day with a traditional bowl of pho then goes to Sai Gon centre. She can walk there from her hotel in District 1 or take a taxi (Vinasun or Malin ONLY). She will be out of the heat and has a lot of shopping choices and places to eat or grab a coffee. She could rest at her hotel in the afternoon, then go to Nguyen Hue walking street when it gets cooler in the evening. She has many restaurants in this area. Furthermore, there are many English-language menus. Finally, she can go to Bui Vien street where there are many clubs and bars, as well as many tourists speaking English.

What do they students think ? Is that a good plan ? Have I missed something important ?

Language to use:

I see your point

That’s a good idea but …

If I may make a suggestion …

I’m not sure that’s such a good idea.

For example – That’s a good idea but you haven’t thought about sightseeing.

Or

Bui Vien can be very noisy so I’m not sure that’s such a good idea for a young lady on her own.

Two of my friends, Tom and David who are both actors, are coming to Sai Gon. The students, in groups, have to arrange a fun day including sightseeing, shopping, eating and transportation. Then they have to compare their itineraries and exchange views and opinions. The students learn how to politely disagree with each and put forward their ideas and support their choices.

Image result for two english men
Tom and David

PLAN A DAY FOR TOM & DAVID

Where can they eat ?

What could they see or visit ?

How can they travel around ?

What can they buy as souvenirs ?

Where could they go at night ?

What safety advice would you give ?

What you need to know:

Both are 45-years old. They have good jobs and a good income. They like history and culture. They really enjoy good food and wine. Neither speaks any Vietnamese. They are too old for very loud clubs but they don’t mind having a few beers and maybe seeing some live music.

The students can make a presentation, and use the computer for images or maps to illustrate their plan. Then the other team can explain what they have organised, and the reasons why. I will decide which team has made the best choice.

Activity: Plan a day out for my friends.

Thay Paul with Tina and Michael.

I have two friends arriving in Sai Gon (or your city). They want a typical, authentic experience. Plan a day for them. It must include:

  • Breakfast
  • A museum
  • Somewhere for a snack
  • An interesting building or location
  • Lunch
  • Souvenir shopping
  • Something to do in the evening

Give tips and advice. 

How do they travel around ? 

What are their options and estimate the prices.

Try to use as much new vocabulary as possible, words and expressions.

Directions to Pham Ngo Lao Street District 1 // Directions to a city centre street.

Ask for help. Other must offer as much help – how to get there, the best way, the price, the dangers. Body language – distance, expression, intonation, eye contact etc

Is Sai Gon safe ?

Can you understand Vietnamese people speaking English ?

Do you agree with their points ?

Are there any words you didn’t understand ?

Do you have any bad experiences ? Tell the class your anecdote.

Hotels

Image result for hotel london

Word bomb– what do you think of when I say ‘hotel’ ?

Image result for hotel vocabulary

Checking in to a hotel

Vocabulary:

reception / lift or elevator / single or double room / king size bed or twins /

first floor / complimentary breakfast / key deposit / luggage storage / safe / mini bar

What would the conversation be ?

Reception: How may I help you / May I ask your name ? / Can I see your reservation code ? / That’s fine. You stay for three nights ? / May I have your passport, please ? / You’re in room 237. That’s on the second floor / Thank you. Sign here, please / Yes, the lift is just over there. / Naturally, as well as a hair dryer, coffee machine and mini bar. / Enjoy your stay.

Guest: Hello, we have a reservation / We booked a room online / My name’s ….. / Certainly, it’s on my phone. / Yes, that’s right. / Absolutely. / Correct. / Just a second; here you are./ Is there a lift ? / The second floor ? / Is there a safe in the room ? / Perfect. Thanks very much

Make a conversation. One student will be the reception, the other(s) a guest or guests.

Write your own conversation

You are in a hotel bar and you meet another guest. Start a polite conversation, but you have to use your English.

Image result for two people in a hotel bar

Greet each other

Why are you in this city ? (holiday or on business)

Offer to buy a drink (accept or decline – maybe you don’t drink alcohol)

How long are they staying ? What do they think of the hotel ? What can they do in the area around the hotel ?

Small group work

You are two married couples who meet on a tour and are staying at the same hotel OR you are on a business trip and meet some other business people.

Use the following sentences, as well as your own, to make a conversation. try to keep speaking for as long as possible by using small talk techniques (oh, really / that’s interesting / tell me more / what do you do exactly ? / where is that ? / Sounds interesting)

Image result for young people meeting in a hotel
Image result for people meeting in a hotel

My wife and I are delighted to meet you

Shall we go to the bar or cafe ?

Can offer name first (I’m Simon, what’s your name ?)

Would you fancy a drink … ?

Is there anywhere special to do here ?

Sorry, I have to get my head down, it’s been a long flight (I need to sleep).

My colleague and I were going out to eat.

I fancy a beer or something alcoholic 

Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t ask where you are from.

Reasonable (cheaper)

Would you like to join us ?

Peckish (little hungry)

What do you think of these hotel rooms ?

What do you think of the design ?

Would you like to stay in any of these ? Why, or why not ?

How much do you think they cost per night ?

Bangkok

Image result for cheap  hotel Bangkok

Korea

Image result for love hotel seoul

Ice hotel, Sweden

Image result for ice hotel sweden china

Backpacker hostel, Indonesia

Image result for overcrowded hostel

IELTS: Introduction to complex sentences

23rd November 2020

Let’s kick off with an old friend: Peter from England.

Peter

Age 24 // MA in Business Studies Born in Surrey, close to London Unemployed // Single //

Enjoys pubs, tennis and movies Wants to run his own company

From that information, build a complex sentence – basically combine two, three or more facts and connect them with relative pronouns and discourse markers:

Peter, who has a MA in Business studies, wants to run his own company.

Peter, who is from Surrey, enjoys pubs, tennis and movies.

From this point, the sky is the limit.

Despite being unemployed, Peter, who has a Master’s Degree in Business Studies, has entrepreneurial dreams of owning his own company.

Although he has an MA and is actively seeking employment Peter, who is from Surrey which is close to London, still finds time to indulge his passion for tennis, even becoming a member of an exclusive sporting clubs, whose membership fees are sky-high.

NOW …YOUR TURN

Write and then present a complex sentence about your partner. Gather some basic information, such as:

Age (if they are willing to say) // where they are from

Job or Study // Where they work or study //

What they like doing // What they dislike // Plans for the future

For Speaking Class level 2, I expect at least one relative pronoun (who, where, which, whose).

For IELTS, try for two relative pronouns, two L-FWs and at least one expression or idiom.

Vocabulary Review

You should be familiar and able to use these words at the drop of a hat:

aggressive / arrogant / calm / funny (haha) / funny (crazy) / generous / honest / humorous / kind / mean / modest / polite / prima donna / quiet / reliable / rude / selfish / serious / thoughtful / thoughtless / trustworthy /

Practice complex sentences with personality adjectives

Premium Photo | Close-up portrait of supportive cute asian positive girl  show thumbs-up and smiling amused, express excitement and satisfaction,  like and approve great choice, say good job,

My Korean friend, Ms Kim

Ms Kim, who lives in Ha Noi, is kind, sweet and very thoughtful.

My great friend Ms Kim, who is so funny, by which I mean funny, haha, is very polite and modest.

Cute Mexican Girl Taking Selfie Stock Footage Video (100% Royalty-free)  12177473 | Shutterstock

My Mexican friend, Ms Anna

Ms Anna, who is from Mexico, is so thoughtful and generous. However, she is a prima donna, always taking selfies.

Four best hairstyles for Kenyan women [Photos]

My Kenyan friend, Ms Ellie

Those Russian Grannies | Human, Beautiful smile, Interesting faces

My Russian friend, Mrs Gala

What do you think about these two friends ?

Expressions:

In my opinion // I feel that … // She seems … // I get the impression that she …

For IELTS students –

Tell me about your hometown

Tell me about a famous holiday destination in your country.

Visiting Halong Bay: tips to plan your cruise - Lonely Planet
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Myanmar: Scratch Everything You Read in the Guidebook - Fathom

Temples in Myanmar (Burma)

Use as many L-FWs and idioms as you can.

astronomical or sky high // ubiquitous // hawker // naive // bizarre // predictable // stroll // absent-minded // bazaar // mouth-watering // breathe-taking // spectacular // unique // visually stunning // quite // safe // vibrant // boring // peaceful // bustling // gritty

Idioms

it’s raining cats and dogs

it costs an arm and a leg

piece of cake

I’m burning the candle at both ends

once in a blue moon

pass with flying colours

turn over a new leaf

Extra idioms for Top Cats

Another string to (your) bow – a new skill or learning experience

bear with me – please wait a very short time (usually spoken as opposed to written)

bit of a sore point – something that makes you sad or angry

down in the dumps – depressed, unhappy, feeling gloomy

hit the ground running – to start something immediately and with all your energy

like a madhouse – a place or area that is crazy, too noisy, too busy etc

run of the mill – ordinary, typical, normal, usual, boring

up in arms – to be very angry about something, to protest strongly

you take your life in your hands – doing something that is extremely dangerous

IELTS: Intonation, stress, let me feel the emotion (Volume 1)

16th November 2020

One of the biggest stumbling blocks for my Asian students is copying the speech patterns of English, how our voices rise and fall, how we pause for effect then stress key words, augmented by body language and facial expressions.

Best way to improve is to copy so, without further ado, some classic film lines.

Let’s dive in !

First up, ‘The Italian Job’, a British film from 1969 starring Michael Caine, who is still working today, an actor from south London: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8g_GeQR8fJo

“You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off !”

Now, let’s cross the pond (the Atlantic Ocean) and go Stateside, with Tom Cruise being yelled at (shouted at) by Jack Nicholson who you may remember from a previous video. The clip is from ‘A Few Good Men,’ a 1992 drama: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5j2F4VcBmeo

This can be for two students or teams: Start at 0:13 – 0:19

“You want answers,”

“I want the truth,”

“You can’t handle the truth !”

Movin’ on, most of most students are teenagers … this one’s for them. Emely Martinez and some informal, vernacular: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7nyqZJG1WU&list=PLcFdqEA1TNzMEObFQ-XYy4u6dYnrkUSEa&index=13

Watch from the beginning

“Oh my gosh, I think I’ve just come up with the best theory … teenage life sucks !”

Now for a personal favourite, the inimitable Peter O’Toole an actor I had the pleasure of seeing, and briefly meeting, back in my London days. Here, Peter is on a talk show, explaining about a long, arduous flight from Japan to the USA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuhHThAaymQ

I heartily recommend watching the whole clip, however our section starts at 2:21

“Coming from Japan, one indeed stops at lots of places … Hawaii and all over … and it coincided, our stopping, with the cocktail hour … everywhere we went, it was cocktail hour … and one doesn’t want to be discourteous …”

Finally, my favourite TV chef (after Keith Floyd, obviously) is the beautiful Ching-He Huang

My Day on a Plate: Ching He-Huang

Here’s an assortment of phrases and lines from one of her numerous YouTube clips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVmAMQYTtHk

The whole clip is under two minutes. Here are some selections, in order of appearance.

“From street food to fine dining, Hong Kong is the place that has some of the best food on the planet. Every time I come my absolute favourite thing to do is eat.”

“So this is the pineapple bun, this is the moment I’ve been waiting for, it’s flakey and it’s sweet … it’s really good.”

“It’s small and punchy … just like you !”

“The sweetness of the prawns … eeerrrrrrrr !”

“This is some serious woking !”

The last phrase shows how we can play with English; a wok is a traditional Chinese frying pan. Here, Ching uses the noun (wok) to form a verb (woking), which is non-standard, in fact, it isn’t in any of the online dictionaries I searched. Having said that, most native-English speakers watching the show will know what she means.

If you are unsure, Ching is saying that the restaurant is extremely busy, there is a lot of high-energy cooking going on (woks are associated with high-temperature, very quick dishes).

Ching-He Huang recipes - BBC Food

IELTS: Beginning to speak with IELTS language.

12th November 2020

Mindset 2, Unit 1 speaking

Today we’ll focus on two important aspects of IELTS, namely how to introduce an answer, and then beginning to use idiomatic language.

First off the bat, a review of recent vocabulary.

Arrange class into two teams. Ask the missing word(s) for a point [see if the students can use them in other sentences for an extra two points].

EON Heli Bar at Bitexco Financial Tower - Amazing views from Saigon's  highest lounge bar

Prices at Bitexco Sky bar are ______________ .

In Sai Gon, coffee shops are ______________ .

A ________ tried to sell me a Rolex watch, but I knew it was fake. I am not that ___________ to believe it was genuine.

The student was dancing and shouting things. His behaviour was very ________ but it is __________ that a class of teenagers will be a problem.

Tony agreed to meet Mary to go for a _______ but he forgot. He’s so ________________________ .

Ben Thanh Market, Saigon - Guide to Day & Night Market (Hours, Map)

Ben Tanh Market, which is like a _______ is a main tourist sight although for western people, the prices are _________________ .

Answers:

Western asian Stock Photos, Royalty Free Western asian Images |  Depositphotos®

astronomical or sky high // ubiquitous // hawker // naive // bizarre // predictable // stroll // absent-minded // bazaar // astronomical or sky high

Introductions

Last week, a top cat student responded to the question, “How do you spend your free time ?” by stating, and I quote:

“Well, I’m a student at university, so I don’t really have much free time. However, when I’m not studying I like to …

Today, we’ll concentrate on introductions.

The First Rule of Fight Club is... | Ability Ministry

First rule of introductions is NEVER answer the question immediately:

e.g. “How do you spend your free time ?” “I play video game and sleep.”

That sucks - Chris Traeger The real one | Meme Generator

Second rule of introductions is NEVER answer the question immediately.

Practice Makes Perfect GIFs | Tenor

So, here’s some typical IELTS topics and some sample introductions:

Your hometown / Tell me about your hometown

Food in your country / What is traditional food in your country ?

Travel / Where would you like to visit ?

Work or Study / What job would you like to do ?

Some standard opening lines:

That’s a very interesting question

Well, that’s a great question

Well, there is so much to say about that subject, where shall I start ?

It’s funny you put that question to me because earlier today I was just thinking about …

As a young Vietnamese (add your own nationality), I …

Now … your turn.

Think of a good introduction to each of the four questions

Photos of indians talking to each other Stock Photos - Page 1 : Masterfile

Idioms

it’s raining cats and dogs

it costs an arm and a leg

piece of cake

I’m burning the candle at both ends

once in a blue moon

pass with flying colours

Turn over a new leaf

You categorically have to learn these idioms and be able to use them, appropriately, at the drop of a hat. Which idioms fits:

Something that doesn’t happen very often

Something that is very easy, no problem

Very bad weather heavy rain

Working or partying all day and night

Deciding to change your behaviour and be a better person

Something very expensive

To do extremely well in a test

Jewish students celebrate record A-Level success! | Jewish News
Happy students, just received their grades

IELTS: Be “industrious, hard-working, incredibly energetic” students

6th November 2020

IELTS Mindset 2 Unit 1:Listening

How to start turning standard English into IELTS-style answers

Tips:

Introduce your answer

Paraphrase the question

Use low-frequency words (LFW)

Think what idiom or expression is appropriate

Use intonation and stress

Speak fluently and pace yourself

For a database of idioms and IELTS – language you will need to know, click here:

https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/22/ielts-language-bank-idioms-and-l-fws-you-need-to-have-at-your-beck-and-call/

Example:

Last week we used these words:

city centre / industrial / residential / suburban

quite / safe / vibrant / boring / peaceful

bustling / gritty

Which adjectives could describe the four types of area ?

NEXT UP:

Speaking exercise – imagine you live in the first picture. Describe the neighbourhood and your life. However, when you get a high-paying job, you want to take out a mortgage and move to the second picture. Describe that neighbourhood.

New Barlinnie super-prison to be moved next to iconic Provan gasworks -  Glasgow Live
The Impact Of Covid-19 On Residential Living - London Belgravia Real Estate

NEXT UP:

Introducing and expanding your answer

Coffee Shop (Jin and Ru) | Cute korean girl, Ulzzang korean girl, Ulzzang  girl
Starbucks in Seoul: How the Seattle Chain Flooded South Korea

Do you like coffee ?

I like many drinks however coffee is my favourite 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 out weigh the disadvantages.

NB (Latin – nota bene = note well, please read, important information)

  1. I didn’t answer immediately but introduced the question.
  2. Use of discourse markers to extend the answer
  3. Saying something positive and negative about the subject
  4. This was all one sentence – a complex sentence which you will need to start using in order to pass IELTS with flying colours

Try these:

  • Living in HCM
  • Free time
  • Working and studying.

New vocabulary

ubiquitous everywhere, very common

naïve innocent, inexperienced

stroll a gentle walk, for exercise (collocation: take a stroll)

a bazaar (noun) a permanent, covered market 

bizarre (adjective) very strange, unusual

absent-minded extremely forgetful

sky-high, astronomical very expensive, maybe too expensive

predictable it is possible to guess the answer, people doing the same thing

hawkers

Street _______ are common in Vietnam, and they are _________ in District 1. It is nearly impossible for a westerner to take a ________ without being approached. Some claim to sell Ray Bans or designer sunglasses, but you would have to be extremely ________ to believe they are genuine ! They are all fake, probably made in China. Many people try to _____(collocation) money by selling to tourists especially around Ben Thanh Market, a kind of _______, though this is strictly for tourists as the prices are ____________ !

Pronunciation Practice

First time in Viet Nam – First impressions of Viet Nam

A vlog by Divert Living, posted just over two years ago and which has already received more than a million hits:

[American English accent]

Try 04:44 – 04:53

” … and I asked them, ‘How much is aqua (water) ?’ Aqua’s fifteen thousand, beer’s twenty thousand … of course I’m gonna get the beer, now … it’s just as expensive as the water.”

09:00 – 0913

“Fun fact, Vietnamese cuisine is considered one of the healthiest cuisines in the world … and, to go with the food, the size of the dining tables and chairs are super small.”