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.
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
Match the phrase(s) with the situation
[answers at end of exercise]
Saying goodbye after meeting an old friend
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 busyfor 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.
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
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
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.
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 would …present perfect…. hit …. me. But that were …… his idea.
He turn ….. around and pull …… out a gun, aim …… and fire ……… . I ……. ……….(be) present perfectshot 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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
I don’t know.
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 !
Yes. I eat with my family. I eat with my friends at school. I eat after school. I eat at night with my family
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
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.
Yesterday, I went to visit my friend. We played badminton then walked in the park.
After, we ate lunch and drank beer. Later, I bought coffee and wrote some emails.
Corrections: Write in the past tense
I (am) born in London and (arrive) in Viet Nam in 2015. I (work) as teacher in District 1 and 3 but I (want) to work near my home. Last week, my friend (have) a party. She (dance) all night and I (hear) her singing. In the morning, she (catch) a plane and (go) to Thailand.
As I continuously tell my students, being able to form complex sentences, and then say them fluently, is key to passing IELTS.
One way to make longer sentences, as well as introducing subordinate clauses, is to become a master of …
This lady, who wants to work in Australia, is studying hard for her IELTS.
who For people: This is the man who sold me the fake Rolex !
which For things: We tried fish and chips which is delicious.
where For places: Let’s go to the shop where we saw the great bargains.
Whose Possessive: That’s the singer whose record we heard last night.
The Italian car, whose driver was young, won the race.
We arrived at a nice beach ______ we could swim and lie in the sun.
A man ______ mobile phone was ringing did not know what to do.
The patient, ______ had a serious disease, was taken to hospital immediately.
Smithsfield is a small village ______ people live a quiet life.
The boy ____ sister is in my class was in the bank at that time.
I know a person ____ can speak seven languages.
We visited the church _____ is in the middle of the square.
It is a protected area of land _____ you can see a lot of interesting wildlife.
This dress is made of silk, _____ is a very expensive and delicate material.
A police officer, _____ car was parked at the next corner, stopped and arrested them.
Go that extra mile – extra practice
IELTS, which can be very challenging, tends to be rather formulaicby which I mean it follows a pattern. Students can pretty much predict, with a fair degree of certainty, the type of subjects they will be expected to encounter.
With that in mind, try making complex sentences about these people:
Name: Ms Chen // Age: 19 // From: China // Lives: London // Studies: Business.
Ms Chen, who is studying Business in London, is 19 and originally from China.
Originally from China, Ms Chen, who is 19, is currently living in London, studying Business.
NOW … YOUR TURN
Name: Adam // Age: 24 // From: Israel // Lives: New York // Job: Writer for a magazine and blogger
Name: Boran // Age: 34 // From: South Korea // Likes: drawing manga // Job: singer, rapper and dancer
Name: David // Age: 28 // From: Leicester, UK // Passion: Music // Plans: To live in LA and record a CD
once in a blue moon / not as much as I use to / not as much as I’d like to / from time to time / now and then / occasionally / only in my dreams !
How often do you:
Watch foreign films ?
See your boss smile ?
Play badminton ?
Hang out with friends ?
Go to the movies ?
Get a pay rise ?
and / as well as / and also / along with
These link positives or negatives:
I like tea as well as coffee He plays football and also badminton
Big C is quite cheap and also has a great choice
but / however / having said that / on the other hand
These link positives to negatives / negatives to positives:
Jet Mart is convenient. Having said that, it is (it’s) extremely expensive.
Czech beer is not easy to find in Sai Gon, however it’s fantastic quality.
‘therefore’ is a conclusion word:
King BBQ is outstanding and has a magnificent salad bar. Mr Park is reasonable (so-so) quality, but more expensive. Therefore, we will eat at King BBQ in future.
Theme: coffee in Sai Gon
There are so many choices in Sai Gon. Tran Nguyen has the best quality but is very expensive. On the other hand, Milano is incredibly cheap and very convenient however, many people smoke there. Highlands is really popular. Having said that, it is not cheap. Street coffee is extremely cheap but terrible quality !
Last Friday, I went out for dinner with Claire and Helen. Helen’s got a new job so we went out to celebrate. Claire booked a table for 7.30pm at her favourite Italian restaurant in town. When we arrived, the waiter showed us to our table, gave us some menus and took our drinks order. We were really hungry so we decided to have a starter and a main. We placed our order and chatted for a while. Our garlic bread soon arrived. We were hungry, so it disappeared very quickly! Next, the waiter brought our mains. He said, “Buon Appetito!”, which is Italian for ‘Enjoy your meal!’. Claire and Helen chose pasta and I had pizza. The food was delicious, but I couldn’t manage a dessert! Claire and Helen had some ice cream, but I just had a coffee. I can’t wait to go again!
Today, I was very successful at work because I got my salary as well as a bonus (extra money).
When do you get your salary ? When do you get paid ?
Salary = career, professional job – usually once a month
Paid – for a job, can be daily, weekly, monthly – low-income job
Building longer sentences:
I teach at public school which can be extremely tiring because there are many students who, I feel, do not want to learn. Having said that, there are also many wonderfully gifted students who make me feel happy.
Relative pronouns– who (person), which (thing), where (place).
Adverbs– add information – extremely, wonderfully
Opinions– I feel, I believe, in my opinion, from my point of view.
Turn and link – although, despite, however …
gifted – talented, skilled- natural talent
You have a gift for …. music, laughter (laugh – larf), accounting, singing
Noun there was laughter NOT there was laugh
For example – we had karaoke – there were many people singing; some were extraordinarily gifted while others were … not so talented ! There was a laugh of smiling and laughter.
Extraordinarily – very special
Now … Your Turn
Tell your neighbour or the class about your job
Where you work
The good things
How do you feel
I went to the office where I work and I had a very busy day. However I think it’s good because I can finish my task. I was really excited and happy because today is the last day of the month so I got my salary and holiday bonus. I want to spend my salary for traveling or on clothes.
I can finish subject + modal verb (can, could, might) + main verb
I got my salary I was paid so we use past tense ‘got’.
I want to spent subject + helping verb (want, like, need) + infinite (to + verb)
Today, I went to my company where I met everyone in the office. After, I worked with my customer, who is very pleasant, and we spoke about payment. Later, I went to the bank where I withdrew a little money from the company account. It was an ordinary day but interesting because today is payday !