IELTS, Theme: Shopping

5th August 2020

A compilation of shopping activities to promote longer sentences, idiomatic language and fluency.

Exercise 1: compound nouns

Exercise 2: devil’s advocate

Exercise 3: role-play

Exercise 4: coffee in Saigon

Exercise 1: compound nouns to do with shopping

window shopping

binge shopping

bulk shopping

impulse shopping

dumpster diving

Match the compound noun with the photos:

Did the lady go out to buy this top or did she decide only when she was in the store ?

Vocabulary:

Prices are sky-high / It cost an arm and a leg /

marked down / on sale / discount / what a bargain !

I couldn’t resist it / I simply had to have it / retail therapy

Make sentences using some of the above language.

Talk about shops in your city:

Do people go dumpster diving ? Why or why not ?

Have you ever used retail therapy (buying something to make you feel happy) ?

Have you ever gone out to buy just one thing and come back with many items !

Does your husband/ wife / partner like shopping ?

Exercise 2: Devil’s advocate.

This is to develop argument skills, how to politely disagree with someone.

Example: one student wants to buy a beautiful, luxurious Rolex watch. It really is an outstanding timepiece:

Image result for Rolex

Without doubt, this is a luxury item. The pros

It is gorgeous and so elegant. I will feel so special wearing it. People will admire and look up to me. They will think I am wealthy and have a great career. I will attract many cute women (or handsome men). I may feel superior to other people who only have cheap watches or nasty fake knock-offs.

Now play Devil’s advocate. Say what are the cons of owning such an item.

Firstly, agree with the first student – it is without question a luxury item. Having said that …

It will attract attention … but maybe from thieves or pickpockets. It is a lot of money, maybe an obscene amount of money when so many people are poor. Can you justify owning such a materialistic item ? Will it make you arrogant ? Will you think you are better than other people BECAUSE of a thing ? Finally … what does it DO ? Fundamentally, it tells the time. My fake Rolex will tell the same time … but it cost $20 NOT $ 5 000 !

Now students’ turn. Similar concept but this time, the latest iPhone:

Image result for iphone 11

The iphone 11 (woooooowwwwwwww !)

One student wants to buy it, the other must give reasons why it is not such a good idea.

Useful phrases: 

a waste of money / not necessary // a fashion accessory // you can’t afford it //

How to Hire and Keep Quality Retail Staff - SBIA

Exercise 3 Role play game:

Three students will act out working in a department store, a shop with a sale on, and a street market. Other students have a set budget (say £100) and have to buy three items.

They can practice with the following language:

How much is this, please ? // Could you bring the price down for cash ? // Do you take plastic (credit cards) ? // If I smile, can you take off 10% ?

Wow, that’s a bargain ! // Sorry, that’s too much // Is that your best price ?

I’ll take it ! // Wrap it up ! // Let me think about it and come back // Sorry, that’s too much.

The items can be T-shirts, pens, bags, shoes, watches etc and the teacher can print out photos and hand them out.

Image result for van heusen shirts store
A department store selling expensive designer shirts
Image result for clothes on sale
Image result for london street market
London street market.

Exercise 4: Coffee in Sai Gon

Describe this picture; use adjectives and opinions.

Highlands Coffee has great coffee, air-con and free wifi. Having said that, the service is a little slow, there are no waiters and the cost is unbelievably expensive !

Vietnam is famous for coffee; coffee shops are ubiquitous. In fact, there are so many, it’s hard to see (difficult to understand) how they stay in business let alone turn a profit.

Be that as it may, let’s use this as a learning opportunity. To practice making longer sentences, and as a warm up exercise, the students can ask each other, “Where do you go for coffee ?”

Tips:

Don’t answer the question directly and immediately; Begin with a short introduction:

Sai Gon has so many coffee shops, some are cheap while others can be quite expensive although they have a wide range of delicious coffee. Personally, I like going to …

Then

Explain:

  1. How MUCH do you like it (adverbs) ?
  2. What kind of coffee (adjectives) ?
  3. What do you think about this ? (opinions)
  4. WHY do you like it (give reasons)
  5. Interesting words, phrases, idioms

Personally, I like Happy Coffee which is an independent shop where I live. I enjoy going there so much because the owner is very friendly and tries to speak English with me. There isn’t a lot of choice, so I order cappuccino with hot, fresh milk. In my opinion, it is good value and tastes delicious. What I like about the shop is the free wifi, the comfortable chairs and the atmosphere. Furthermore, it is usually very quiet and it therefore a good place to read. I love to put my feet up, kick back and sip my damn fine coffee.

Adult Speaking Class, level 2: Modal verbs that you ought to know.

25th July 2020

Modal verbs and when to use them

These Are The Most Tubular Slang Words From 1940 to Today | Best Life
History of the OED | Oxford English Dictionary

can / could / have to / may / must

ought to / should / will

Modal verbs are used for:

Permission // Possibility // Obligation

Request // Speculation // Suggestion

Cab Calloway's Hepster's Dictionary: A Guide To The Language Of ...

Sounds confusing ? Don’t worry – English is meant to be USED, not just studied and so, without further ado, some examples:

Can I get a bus to Ben Thanh Market ?

Can I get a bus to Main Street from here ?

This means is it possible to get a bus from here ?

Your Comprehensive Walk-through of Ben Thanh Market | Cmego Travel ...
Sai Gon’s iconic Ben Thanh Market
London's 10 Best Bus Routes | Londonist
Can I get a bus to Big Ben from here ?

Can you hit the lights, please ?

A request to turn on / off the lights.

Turn Off Unneeded Lights – Air Conditioning Appreciation Days -

We use can to ask if something is possible and to request help.

Who’s that ? It could be Peter. Speculation, a guess

You have to get over 60% or you will fail. Obligation

Oh, you must see the new Quentin Tarantino film. Suggestion

Will you help me with my tieng Viet ? May I go to the party ? Request

You musn’t use your phone when riding a motorbike. Permission

You ought to stop drinking so much coffee. Suggestion

You should all read English books. Suggestion

Exercises:

can // could // have to // may // must

ought to // should //will

[answers at end of exercise]

First, decide which of the six classes is needed (permission, request etc). The first two are indicated, after that, you’re on your own.

… I use my mobile phone in class ? Request

You … answer all three questions. Obligation

It’s too heavy; … you help me lift it ?

Don’t wait too long, he … not come.

… I buy an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy ?

Apple and Samsung mediation to take place on May 21st and 22nd

May I use my mobile phone in class ?

You have to answer all three questions.

It’s too heavy; can you help me lift it ?

Don’t wait too long, he may not come.

Should I buy an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy ?

Do all Quentin Tarantino's movies actually take place in the same ...