IELTS: Hitting the ground running. An introduction to idioms for a new class.

17th March 2021

WGN TV - Happy St. Patrick's Day, Chicago. | Facebook

Happy St Patrick’s Day – St Patrick being the patron saint of Ireland, a country famous for enjoying a drink … and then some ! In Chicago, which is a bustling, vibrant city in USA’s mid-west, the river is coloured green. However, too much

Is locally brewed Guinness up to scratch? - Brews News

Guiness will give me a bad headache the following morning. I will definitely have a hangover. That means it’s time to stop drinking so much, I need to change my bad habits … which brings us to an idiom for my new class; it’s time to turn over a new leaf.

Luck Of The Irish Four Leaf Clover Custom Shape Metal Sign 16 x 19 Inches

In this case, a four leaf clover for good luck.

So, we have a new class and they need to start learning language that will help them ace the IELTS test.

Let’s hit the ground running and recap the basic idioms you’ll be using every week, as well as the new vocabulary from last night. Are you ready … ?

Event History – Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2021
Let’s go !

First off the bat, some basic 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

These are the basic idioms I introduce, as they can be employed in many situations.

A good introductory blog, with IELTS tips and advise may be accessed here:

https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/22/ielts-mindset-2-first-review/

Let’s hit the ground running and put it to the test – what idioms would you use ?

Taxis in Sai Gon are very expensive, they _______

I want to get a high score, I want to ______

We can’t go out in the rainy season because it’s always ____________

You need to stop going out every night and missing school. You need to _____________

The test was so easy, it was a __________

She works all day, then studies all night; she’s _________________

I must be more serious about learning Vietnamese. I have to _______

Ms Liêu simply adores Champagne however, because it _____________ , she only drinks it __________________________________.

Last night’s class also generated some additional idioms, expressions and vocabulary, to wit:

bear with me – please wait a very short time

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

Kick the bucket – UK idiom, very informal, means to die

My hands are tied – I am obliged to do something, I have no choice

An expression – to kill two birds with one stone – to achieve two different results by doing one action:

“Hey, let’s meet at the coffee shop. We can meet up and work on the project at the same time.”

Premium Photo | Two asian woman talking about business and using laptop in  coffee shop

I also introduced you to borrowed words – vocabulary from other languages. Our first example derived from Italian – lingua franca (a common language)

EXAMPLE:

I am studying English, which is incredibly important, because it is a lingua franca meaning it will enable me to communicate with people from all over the world.

Furthermore, we covered some adjectives to describe various neighbourhoods:

gritty / industrial

quite / safe / residential

boring / peaceful / suburban

bustling / vibrant / city centre

Extra advise – any time you hear a new word or expression:

Twin Peaks | Streams of Consciousness

Finally for Ms Dương, who expressed concerns over the amount of vocabulary one needs to learn, here’s the quote from the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu (C6thBC) :

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step | Lao Tzu

OK, onwards and upwards. Next lesson’s notes can be accessed here: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/06/ielts-be-industrious-hard-working-incredible-energetic-students/

See you next week

Say goodbye to Christianity in 2019
Lost in the Movies: La Dolce Vita
International Group Of Happy People Waving Hand Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty  Free Image. Image 71052411.
Google royalty free image

Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: Coffee, cooking and cuisine

1st February 2021

ALH 7.4 pp 68 – 69

Juan Ferrer on Twitter: "Iggy Pop and Tom Waits. Coffee and Cigarettes  (2003) Jim Jarmusch.… "
Miles Davis - Cookin' - LP | JazzMessengers
Plan, Shop, Save, & Cook | Pierce County | Washington State University

Welcome to the class – hey, what’s cooking ? (what’s happening ?)

Unfortunately, I’m not 100% today. I have a sore throat so have to reduce the amount of talking … which is good news for you !

Standard English:

I’m not feeling very well // I have a slight cold // I’m not at my best

Idioms:

I’m feeling under the weather // I’m not myself tonight

Vernacular:

I feel like hell // I just want to crawl back into bed

So, to warm up here are some dialogues you can practice. Look up any new words or phrases, then try to use them throughout tonight’s lesson.

Old Compass Cafe Saigon - Vietnamese cuisine, wine, cafe, events

Pat Well, I’m exhausted. I need a damn fine cup of coffee and a big piece of pie.

Sam There’s a Highlands over the road, or we can go to Coffee Bean or Milano.

Pat I’d prefer Tran Nguyen but it costs an arm and a leg. Highlands is also incredibly expensive.

Sam But great quality and superb cakes. Come on, I’m starving, I need coffee now !

Pat OK, hold your horses hahaha. After we can meet up with Thay Paul.

Sam Sounds good. Now … shall we have chocolate cake or fruit cake … ?

Inside the coffee shop

Quán cà phê “trong mơ” của những người Việt trẻ có gì? | Báo Dân trí
Highlands Coffee, a Vietnamese coffee chain

Sam Hi, I’ll have a large cappuccino, please. What do you fancy ?

Pat Tough decision. I’m going for the cheesecake and a slice of blueberry pie.

Sam Oh, me too. Big slice, no, only joking, I have to watch my weight.

Pat I think you look great. Lets also get some chocolate cake and we can share.

Sam Brilliant.

This is an extract from a previous blog, which may be accessed here: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/06/11/adult-speaking-class-level-2-coffee-shop-chat/:

Next week is Tet Holiday

As a guest in Vietnam, I am not sure of Vietnamese culture and customs. Work in teams and make a presentation to the class, explaining Tet holiday in terms of food, how it’s prepared, and who is invited to eat. Are there any strange or unusual traditions associated with Tet ?

Standard English:

Watch this video // Have a look at this short clip

UK London slang:

Have a butcher’s at this clip (butcher’s hook = look)

Vernacular:

Check out this vid

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
Nirvana Uploads Full Live and Loud Concert to YouTube: Watch | Consequence  of Sound
Nirvana
How a Horrific Bus Accident Changed Frida Kahlo's Life - Biography
Frida Kahlo
Films > Sergei Eisenstein
Day of the Dead, Mexico. Film by Sergei Eisenstein.
Asian Woman With Thumb Up Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty Free Image.  Image 42574102.
Good luck !

Love and Marriage: The best bits !

28th December 2020

Image result for wedding

A single lesson version of three previous blogs that can be found here:

Lesson 1: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/01/11/adult-speaking-class-theme-traffic/

Lesson 2: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/01/12/adult-speaking-class-theme-love-marriage-part-2/

Lesson 3: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/01/13/adult-speaking-class-theme-love-and-marriage-part-3/

Single and lovin’ it … really ?

FREE SPEAKING Ask your partner or team members:

What’s the best thing about being in a relationship? 

What’s the best thing about being single? 

What headings would you put these under ?

Life is more fun than being alone. Problems are easier to solve.

We have total, 100% freedom ! Do what we want, when we want.

We have less responsibility.

No lonliness

If you meet someone you like, you can ask them out on a date.

There’s a time to play and a time to settle down and raise a family.

No in-laws !

How do couples meet ?

How did you meet your: wife / husband / boyfriend / girlfriend / partner ? Or was it a blind date ?

Activity: Arrange a blind date for these three men. Which lady is the best choice … and why ?

How do you think the dates will be ? Will they keep meeting, maybe get married … or never see each other again ?

Peter
James
David

PETER. Age 46. Lawyer. Likes cooking, travelling, wine, driving, tennis. Divorced, 2 children. Looking for a quiet lady with no children, to look after the house and him.

JAMES. Age 26. IT worker. Likes music, dancing, going to clubs, beach holidays. Single. Looks for young lady who is loud and fun, likes to party.

DAVID. Age 22. Model. Likes fashion, clothes, cocktail bars, smoking cigars. Looking for a women who is a model so we can look great together. Must be very beautiful and wear expensive clothes.

And now … the ladies:

Jane
Lisa
Emily

JANE. Age 22. Likes fashion, clubbing, kittens, holidays in the sun. Looks for a man with a steady job and ‘down-to-earth’. Non-smoker only.

LISA. 28. Banker. Likes quiet restaurants, badminton, travelling. Looks for a mature man with good income for long term relationship. No boys, please !

EMILY. 20. Likes dancing, fashion, going out with my friends. Movies. Wants a young, cute boy-friend so we can go to parties together. No boring old men, please !

And … if all goes well, there could be wedding bells

Image result for cute asian bridesmaids

FREE SPEAKING: What is a traditional wedding in your country ?

In the UK and many western countries, the bridegroom waits in the church next to the Best Man, who has the rings. The church music starts and the Bride walks down the aisle next to her father, who will ‘give her away.’ Behind the Bride are her Bridesmaids. The Vicar will start the service. At the end, the Bride and Groom kiss.

Vocabulary booster

Match words with meaning

Honeymoon // a secret relationship

Romantic // promise to do something/ be loyal to someone.

Divorce // when people decide they will get married

Affair // after you legally separate

Engaged // a holiday after getting married 

The dress … Which one do you prefer ?

Listening Practice:

5 Weird Things Vietnamese People Do

weird = unusual / strange

Listening practise: Vietnamese culture (0.23 – end) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBAi_b__l_c

Do you agree with the video ? To what extent ?

BONUS: can you spot any English mistakes ?

Vocabulary to show agreement or disagreement:

I agree totally / I agree to an extent / I disagree / I disagree strongly /

She couldn’t be more wrong if she tried !

She makes a good point /

She is spot on / She is way off 

In my experience … /

No, that is certainly not my experience

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

Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: How was your weekend ?

21st December 2020

Lan Kwai Fong: Hong Kong's party district | CNN Travel

My story: I flew, by private jet, to Hong Kong, and had the time of my life, so many parties, so many interesting people, non-stop fun !

Boring Night In. Don't judge me. I usually work very… | by Róisín McLiam |  Medium

The reality, the truth: I went to work in the morning, then was so exhausted, I just sat and watched YouTube videos.

Warm – up: Students ask each other about each other’s weekend. Students must tell two stories, one true, one false. Students have to guess which is true.

Naturally, saying I have a private jet is not very believable so the story has to be feasible.

Examples:

HD wallpaper: food, eating, pizza, dark hair, Asian, women, model |  Wallpaper Flare

On Saturday, after working in the morning, I met my friend Ms My. I had promised her that I would take her to try western food. Therefore, I invited her to eat pizza. It was her first time and she really liked it but wasn’t sure how to eat it – knife and fork or use hands !

On Sunday, I was too lazy to cook and, because my dog needed a walk, I went to a local restaurant and tried some Vietnamese sea food. The prawns were delicious, but the soup was just OK, nothing special. My dog liked everything and was over the Moon (very happy).

Which one is true ? Did I eat pizza with a beautiful young lady OR did I take my dog to eat seafood ?

Vocabulary

How was your weekend ?

Did you do anything special last weekend ?

What did you get up to over the weekend ?

Thanks for asking, I …

Well, I had a great time. First I …

Oh, nothing special, I just …

Today’s lesson is about people exaggerating about their weekends, in order to seem more interesting. So, a talking activity:

What would you do ?

Your young niece plays piano. It is terrible !

3,127 Kid Playing Piano Photos - Free & Royalty-Free Stock Photos from  Dreamstime

Do you …

a) Say that was really good, well done

b) Say hmmm, that is very hard to play, you just need to practice.

c) Say troi oi (omg, oi vey !) that was awful – stop, stop, STOP !

Why did you say that ?

Your partner makes dinner for you. It is terrible ! (partner can mean husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend).

Woman Surprised, Man Cooked Dinner for Woman at Home by vla9 | VideoHive

a) Say, “That was delicious, darling,” and eat it all.

b) Say, “It looks wonderful, but I’ve already eaten. I’ll have it later,” then throw it out.

c) Say, “This tastes like dog food ! Never, ever cook again. Order me pizza !”

Your friend or girlfriend comes to your house to visit and meet your parents. Your parents are traditional and old-fashioned.

streetfashiontrends | Kawaii fashion, Harajuku fashion, Japanese street  fashion

a) Say that your house is being decorated, so you have to meet in town.

b) Say that you want to meet her parents and will visit her instead.

c) Say, “No way ! My parents will scream ! Put some normal clothes on and wear a hat.”

New vocabulary

Do you know these words?

survey // impress // in fact // psychologist // paperwork // illusion

actually, really // something that looks real but is false //

to show someone that you are very good at something // a report about what people think // writing forms or reports //

// a person who studies how people behave and why.

Most Beautiful South Indian Actresses In Sarees || Tollywood Actress -  YouTube

You made those saris yourself ? I’m so ________________

Free Photo | Young african couple doing paperwork together, sitting at  kitchen table with lots of papers

We spent our weekend doing ________________

San Antonio Activist's Petition Asks the Tobin Center to Cancel Jordan  Peterson Lecture | The Daily

Dr Jordan Peterson is a world-famous ____________

File:A community health worker conducting a survey in the Korail slum,  Bangladesh (8630810827).jpg - Wikimedia Commons

This health worker is conducting a _____________ to get information.

Magician Dynamo adds an extra Birmingham date to his first live tour -  Birmingham Live

The magician Dynamo, who is from the UK, is walking on the River Thames … but it is just an _________________.

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 / Adult Speaking Class: Everyday Expressions for Conversation.

28th August 2020

Conversational routines & fixed expressions

If you are using these in class, the teacher will help you with pronunciation.

Remember: your IELTS score will also depend on how clearly you speak, your rhythm and correct use of intonation and stress. Therefore listen to native-speakers, copy and practice.

EXPLORING WONG CHUK HANG | Hong Kong Travel Video | ANYDOKO
Enjoy your drink … this one’s on me

This one’s on me // Let me think about it // It doesn’t matter // Thanks for coming

I don’t believe a word of it //  I’ll be with you in a minute // I see what you mean

It was lovely to see you // I don’t get the point  // As I was saying 

You look great today // I’ll be making a move then // Just looking, thanks 

Chubby Hubby - Sawadee ka! Rules of etiquette When travelling in Thailand
I’ll be making a move then … bye

Match the phrase(s) with the situation

[answers at end of exercise]

Saying goodbye after meeting an old friend

Compliment someone 

You are asked a question but need time to consider

Someone tells you a story – you think it is false. 

Friends drinking in a pub / bar

You go into a shop but not necessarily to buy anything

A customer arrives but you are busy for that moment.

You don’t understand what someone is trying to prove

You understand what someone thinks (but not necessarily agree with)

There is a small problem / Someone upsets you but you want to make it OK

To continue with a conversation that was interrupted. 

10 Things You Didn't Know about Shu Qi
Ms Shu Qi – you look great today !
  1. It was lovely to see you 2. You look great today 3. Let me think about it 4. I don’t believe a word of it 5. This one’s on me [I will pay for this drink] 6. Just looking, thanks 7. I’ll be with you in a minute 8. I don’t get the point 9. I see what you mean 10. It doesn’t matter 11. As I was saying 

Expressing likes and dislikes

Like:

I absolutely love … I’m crazy about … 

I (really) like I’m into // I’m a big fan of … 

I’m quite keen on

I haven’t heard (seen/read) this before, but I think it’s great

No strong opinion: 

I have mixed feelings about ….

I don’t really have any strong views / feelings either way

I don’t mind

It’s OK 

Dislike:

I hate

I detest

I can’t stand

I don’t really like

I think it’s awful 

I’m not a big fan of …

I’m not that keen on …

Now … your turn

What do you feel about:

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Past tense, past continuous: Various exercises

12th July 2020

Various exercises for you to practise grammar, both past simple and past continuous. Answer follow the photos.

Past Tense exercises

Past simple: most common way of talking about the past. 

Regular verbs just add –ed e.g. walk = walked / look = looked / play = played

Past continuous: was / were + verbing e.g. I was playing / We were looking

Irregular verbs not used in past continuous e.g. we were seeing a film OR we saw a film NOT we were sawing a film.

Present perfect– talk about an action that happened in the past

subj + have/has + verb3 (past participle).

Past perfect – talking about two actions, both in the past, one before the other

e.g. I had listened to the CD before I saw the band play live.

Subj + had + verb3

The verb ‘to be’

I am / I was // you are / you were // he, she, it is / was // they, we are / were

Past tense / Shakespeare exercise

Change these lines into the past:

1 In Act One, Romeo ….. (is) in love with _________

2 Benvolio ……… (try – past continuous) to stop the fight.

3 The Prince ………. (demand – past perfect) to see Capulet before seeing Montague.

4 Romeo, Mercutio & Benvolio ……. (are) in the street talking.

5 The two families …… …. (be, present continuous) been fighting for years.

6 Romeo ….. (ask) the Nurse who Juliet is.

7 Mercutio & Benvolio …… (do, not) know Romeo was in love with Juliet.

8 The famous ‘balcony’ scene … (take) place in Act 2.

9 The Friar ……. ……. (go, past perfect) out collecting flowers.

10 At the end of Act 2, Romeo and Juliet …… (are) married. 

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ANSWERS

1) was (Rosaline) 2) was trying 3) had demanded 4) were 5) have been 6) asked 7) did not (didn’t) 8) took 9) had gone 10) were

Past tense exercise

Change the verb form – can be:

past simple (think about regular & irregular verbs)

past continuous (verb + ing)

present perfect (subject + have/has + verb3)

past perfect (subject + had + verb3)

It is …. a hot, Sai Gon night. The wind blow …….. up from the river, but the humidity drive ….. me crazy. Sweat pour ……… down my back. 

I were walk …………. by the Old Town, lanterns were light ……. and sway ….. in the breeze. I … visit …….. an old friend before I decide ………. to take this long, steamy walk. I …. live ……….. here over two years, but everyday, I am almost 

kill ……. by crazy motorbikes. I need …. .. a coffee and see …… a cafe over the road. As I were cross ……………….. the street, a motorbike race …….. towards me. If I ……. jump ……… aside, he wouldpresent perfect…. hit …. me. But that were …… his idea.

He turn ….. around and pull …… out a gun, aim …… and fire ……… . I ……. ……….(be) present perfect shot at more times than I care to remember, I know …….. the score; duck and run. I run …… .I ………did, (negative) have time to think. I can … think later – if I am still alive. I make …. it into the coffee shop, and were look ……. out the window across the street.

The shooter were dress …… all in black and keep …… his helmet on. He were walk …………. this way. Quickly, I look ……. around. Were there another exit ? Can …. I escape by a back door ? Yes ! I ……. be (past perfect) ……here…before. I remember ………. a fire exit on the first floor. I leap …… for the stairs, just as the shooter were about to open the door.

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Answers: was / blew / drove / poured // was walking / lit / swayed / visitid / decided / lived // killed / needed / saw / was crossing / raced / jumped / have hit / was // turned / pulled / aimed / fired / I have been shot at / knew / ran / didn’t / could / was / made / looked // was dressed / kept / was walking / looked / was / Could / had been / remembered / lept

Here are 7 verbs in the PRESENT. Choose the correct verb AND use it in the correct tense.

teach / live / go / see / drink / am / have 

Harry (1) …….. drinking tea yesterday, when he (2) ……. an idea. I haven’t (3) …….. my neighbours how to drink tea. I am sure they will be happy. They have not (4) …… to the UK yet. I have (5) …. in many cities in England. Now I am in Viet Nam. I have (6) …. many wonderful sights, but I have never (7) …… a cup of good, English tea.

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Answers: 1) was 2) had 3) taught 4) been 5) lived 6) seen 7) drunk

Put the present tense verbs into past continuous

EXAMPLE Linh drinks tea – Linh was drinking tea

1 Tina watches TV

2 Sam shouts, ‘Oh, no!’

3 My father plays football

4 Bella designs a beautiful dress

5 The cat sings karaoke all night long ! 

6 Paul listens to The Beatles

7 Anna buys an Apple.

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Answers: 1) was watching 2) was shouting 3) was playing 4) was designing 5) was singing 6) was listening 7) was buying

75 % of verbs are REGULAR – just add -ed to form past tense

visit visited // watch watched // talk talked // walk walked

BUT

Others are IRREGULAR – you just have to learn them !

Go – went // see – saw // is – was // sleep – slept // spend – spent

Put the verbs into the simple past:

  1. Last year I (go) …………to England on holiday.
  2. It (be) ……..fantastic.
  3. I (visit)…… lots of interesting places. I (be) ….. with two friends of mine .
  4. In the mornings we (walk)…… in the streets of London.
  5. In the evenings we (go) ….. to pubs.
  6. The weather (be) …… remarkably pleasant. (nice)
  7. We (watch) …… a great Korean film.
  8. But we (see) …… some beautiful rainbows.
  9. Where (spend / you) ……. your last holiday?
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Answers: 1) went 2) was 3) visited & went 4) walked 5) went 6) was 7) watched 8) saw 9) did you spend ?

Grammar exercise simple past tense form of the verb.

1. I …………………………. him yesterday.

a) saw b) was seeing c) had seen

2. I ………………………. his letter yesterday.

a) received b) was receiving c) had received

3. She ……………………….. school last year.

a) will leave b) leave c) left

4. Last night I …………………………….. sleep well.

a) don’t b) didn’t c) hadn’t

5. He ……………………………. asleep while he was driving.

a) fell b) falls c) was falling

6. I ………………………… a new bicycle last week.

a) bought b) had bought c) have bought

7. We ………………………….. our breakfast half an hour ago.

a) finished b) have finished c) had finished

8. When I was in the US, I …………………………….. Chicago, Boston and California.

a) visited b) was visiting c) would visit

9. I …………………………….. an old classmate of mine at the library.

a) had seen b) was seeing c) saw

10. She ………………yesterday that she would not go.

a) says b) said c) had said

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Answers: 1) a 2) a 3) c 4) b 5) a 6) a 7) a 8) a 9) c 10) b

Put into simple past

Last year I (go)  went to England on holiday. 

  1. It (be)   fantastic.
  2. I (visit)   lots of interesting places. I (be)   with two friends of mine . 
  3. In the mornings we (walk)   in the streets of London. 
  4. In the evenings we (go)   to pubs. 
  5. They (hear)   strange music. 
  6. It (not / rain)   a lot. 
  7. But we (buy)   some beautiful clothes. 
  8. How much money (spend / you)  in the shops ?
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Answers: 1) was 2) visited & was 3) walked 4) went 5) heard 6) did not [didn’t] 7) bought 8) did you spend

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The verb changes form in the PAST tense. Regular verbs add -ed, but many verbs are irregular e.g.

walk = walked / jump = jumped push = pushed (regular verbs)

begin began // bring brought // find found // come came // do did //

drink drank // eat ate // get got // make made // speak spoke

A good list is here:

http://www.gingersoftware.com/content/grammar-rules/verbs/list-of-irregular-verbs/

IELTS: The story so far. Vocabulary review and speaking tips

7th July 2020

LUYỆN THI IELTS TẠI HẢI PHÒNG - huyenielts

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, time to take stock and make sure the students have absorbed the information and are au fait (French for well informed, know the point) with the vocabulary so far. With that in mind, here’s a quick warm up. Replace the high frequency words with low-frequency ones, then use your newly-acquired discourse markers to construct longer sentences.

Let’s kick off with some common or garden IELTS subjects:

What do you do in your free time ?

I drink coffee with my friends. There are many coffee shops in my hometown

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School keeps me very busy, but if I can find some time for myself, I enjoy hanging out with my friends in coffee shops, which are ubiquitous in Sai Gon.

TIP: The question here is about free time, so don’t just talk about coffee shops – mention at least two other different activities – even if you DON’T do them, just talk about them !

Example, playing music, watching films, listening to music, sports, shopping, helping family, reading – thing you enjoy NOT to do with studying or work

Now … Your Turn: [tips at the end]

Remember, you should be able to speak in complex sentences with a low-frequency word or two, some idiomatic language, contractions and discourse markers, all spiced up with a liberal sprinkling of adverbs and adjectives. Furthermore, try to introduce the answer, rather than stating it outright.

I don’t like English grammar. I am boring with it.

A lot more people go to China than Viet Nam.

She forgets everything.

Thai food is good.

I think Barcelona will beat Real Madrid on Sunday

I like to go to cinema and go to shopping and go my friend house and sleep.

I don’t go out now. It rains all day.

The examiner asks you a question but you didn’t understand

What ?

I didn’t hear you.

Errrrrr, I don’t know

OK, yes I like it

The examiner asks you a question but you need time to think of an answer.

UUuhhhmmmmmm.

Hahhahahahaha

I don’t know.

Yes.

Tell me about your city

It very dirty.

I was born here. I love it.

We can do many things here.

Has many traffic jam. Yes. people nice.

Do you like to eat ?

Of course !

No

Yes. I eat with my family. I eat with my friends at school. I eat after school. I eat at night with my family

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Words and expression to use, tips, phrases and idiomatic language.

Low – frequency words

Boring: tedious // forgetful: absent-minded //

expensive: sky high // what will happen: predict // everywhere: ubiquitous.

Could you repeat that, please // I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that // Would you mind rephrasing the question

In my opinion // From my perspective // For me //

Let me think // How can I put it // Well, that’s an interesting question

Allow me to explain // By which I mean //

As well as // furthermore // additionally // on the other hand // having said that // however // although // despite that

It’s raining cats and dogs // It costs an arm and a leg // piece of cake // I’m burning the candle at both ends

Relative pronouns – who / which / where / whose

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One of my favourite things to do, if I have some spare time, is to hang out with my closest friends and just catch up on our news, maybe hit a mall because they are air-conditioned and have a wide array of amenities such as shops, cafes and, if I may say, bathroom facilities, as well as services like ATM machines and free wifi. My closest friends are Sheila, who is from India and studies here in Sai Gon, and Kerry, who is a gorgeous Thai lady. As we all come from different countries, there can be issues; allow me to explain. We have to communicate in English, however Kerry is just starting her studies, so we have to use Google translate frequently. Having said that, it’s such tremendous fun to be with my best friends. It helps me forget about the pressure and stress of work.

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Keep studying !