Adult Speaking Class, level 3: Married Life; phrasal verbs & new expressions

19th September 2020

A varied lesson plan. Firstly, we’ll (we will) start with a talk about married life. After, we’ll focus on phrasal verbs and finally we’ll conclude with some new expressions.

Naturally there will be many opportunities for you to practise, and I’ll (I will) include the answers at the end of the blog.

Married life

Conversation Practice

Shu Qi & HK-star Stephen Fung are getting married!! Congratulations 👏👏 |  Wedding, Pre wedding photos, Wedding shoot
Getting Married in Denmark, No 1 for international couples

What advise would you give to someone getting married ?

How does life change after marriage ?

What is the normal marriage age in your country ?

Are married people expected to have children ?

How many children are expected ?

Is there pressure from family to have children ?

Is marriage ‘give and take’ ? Is it a continual compromise ?

How important are families in your country ?

Do you live in a nuclear or extended family ?

(nuclear = parents & children / extended= parents, children & grandparents, maybe aunts, uncles, nieces etc)

Britain should learn from India's family values
An extended family

Phrasal verbs

Learn more here: http://learnenglishteens.britishcouncil.org/vocabulary/advanced-vocabulary/family

Phrasal verbs: coming out // look after // hang up // turn down // give up // hang out // look up to // take after // turn up

What phrasal verb means:

take care of // spend time with friends // to be like someone // stop doing something // make music louder // make music softer (quieter) // to respect someone // turn off a phone conversation // plan to go outside

Want to Be a Better Husband? Hang Out With Good Friends - Focus on the  Family
Hang out with friends

Look after your young sister
(Treeless Mountain, South Korea, 2008)

Now … your turn

Which phrasal verb would you use?

Many people 1) ………. Nelson Mandela.

In ‘Treeless Mountain’, a young girl has to 2) ……… of her young sister.

She looks just like her mother, she really 3) ………. her.

Learning Mandarin is too hard, I 4) ………..

Are you 5) …… tomorrow night ?

New expressions / vocabulary

unique = one of a kind, there is only one of them, very special

numerous = many

typical = normal, usual

straightaway = immediately, right now

clue = evidence (the police look for a clue.) 

I haven’t got a clue = I’ve no idea !

First impressions count = the first thing you see is very important

blows your (my) mind = something so amazing, you almost can’t believe it.

Can’t judge a book by its cover = you can not tell what something or someone is like just by how it or they look.

We form a first impression within one tenth of a second of meeting someone  - Bias Beware
Making a very good first impression

Now … your turn

What words or expressions would you use ?

1. Can you please send me that email …….. (now).

2. He looks so quiet and nice, but he plays very loud guitar. That proves you …………………………………….

Welcome to the anyonecanplayguitar.co.uk YouTube channel - YouTube
He looks a very nice, quiet young man, but …

3. Don’t worry, there are ……. coffee shops on the main road.

4. Wow ! He knows so much, it totally ……………. (really surprises me)

5. You can’t replace that broken vase, it was …….. (only one of a kind).

Broken Antique Clay Pot On A White Background Stock Photo, Picture And  Royalty Free Image. Image 7542747.

6. What is 1 693 093 divided by 37 ? I …………………………. (no idea at all)

You Just BLEW MY MIND Quickmemecom You Just Blew My Mind Memes | Quickmeme  | Meme on ME.ME
How do tell them I haven't got a clue.... - Giggs Manager | Meme Generator

Answers:

take care of // look after

spend time with friends // hang out

to be like someone // take after

stop doing something // give up

make music louder // turn up

make music softer (quieter) //turn down

to respect someone // look up to

turn off a phone conversation // hang up

plan to go outside // coming out

  1. look up to 2. take care of 3. takes after 4. give up 5. coming out

New expressions

1. straightaway or immediately 2. can’t judge a book by its cover 3. numerous 4. blows my mind 5. unique 6. haven’t got a clue !

Remember … practice, practice and practice

8-Year-Old Japanese Girl Stuns Robert Plant By Nailing Led Zeppelin Drum  Part | HuffPost

IELTS Speaking: intonation and stress

31st August 2020

Asian University Life Concept. Group Arkivvideomateriale (100 %  royaltyfritt) 32097208 | Shutterstock

I cannot overstate how important it is how IELTS students present their answers. Look the examiner in the eye (but do not stare !), use body language … watch interviews to see how native-speakers use their face, hands and body in everyday conversation.

Try saying the following sentences with the appropriate intonation and stress.

Intonation is how we raise or lower the pitch of our voices to express meaning for example with positive adjectives, our voices become higher, while becoming slower and deeper with negative adjectives.

Stress is how we make some words louder to show they are the important words in the sentence.

Now … practice

Example: Turn off the music – I hate that song !

Listening to 'extreme' music makes you calmer, not angrier, according to  study | Music | The Guardian

Turn off the music – I hate that song !

TIPS: decide if the sentence is positive, neutral or negative.

I love this film. I could watch it a hundred times.

My sister is such a prima donna, always taking selfies !

How much did you pay for that shirt ? Are you crazy ?

I’m not going out in this weather ! It’s raining cats and dogs.

Why are you so tired ?

I’ve been up all night studying for IELTS.

Oh, you’ve been burning the candle at both ends.

What the hell do you call this ?

Lessons Learned from a Bad Grade | Fastweb
An ‘F’ … what the hell do you call this ?

I’m going to work much harder to pass IELTS, I’m going to put my nose to the grindstone.

Wait a minute, wait a minute … hmmmm, this is a damn fine cup of coffee !

How often does my husband clean the house ? Once in a blue moon.

Now … practice stress

How old are you ? (say this as a general question)

How old are you ? (someone is acting childish)

I don’t believe it (you see someone after a long time – happy)

I don’t believe it (something bad happens – angry)

Watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTgT1eENbIs

You’ve been gone so long. Where were you ? (sad and worried)

You’ve been gone so long. Where were you ? (angry)

OK, you can play with your phones, but if the manager sees you … (friendly warning)

OK, you can play with your phones, but if the manager sees you … (angry warning)

The film ? Not really my cup of tea but it was OK (quite good)

The film ? Not really my cup of tea but it was OK (just so-so)

Bored People Watching Film in : video stock a tema (100% royalty free)  1014817775 | Shutterstock
The film was OK

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:

Facebook offers sincere apology to the Thai people over auto-translate  error – Thai PBS World
Public ignore stiff fines for littering - Society - Vietnam News |  Politics, Business, Economy, Society, Life, Sports - VietNam News
TWICE is the most hardworking K-Pop girl group, how about BLACKPINK? –  KBIZOOM
K pop
10 Easy Summer Cocktails To Make At Home - YouTube
Test English - Prepare for your English exam
Mozart - Composers - Classic FM
Mozart
CHANEL Dresses | Semi Sheer Knit Dress | Poshmark
fashion
Did you know? The term karaoke means "empty orchestra" in Japanese. |  Karaoke, Japan travel, Kobe japan
Beautiful vintage shop fronts London | CN Traveller
English tea shop

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3 / IELTS. Using idioms should be right up your street.

26th August 2020

Yesterday I blogged a database of idioms, collocations and negotiation language. That is just the tip of the iceberg. If you have looked at English-language study books, you will, no doubt, have seen several dictionaries solely devoted to idioms; we use them so often, and there are so many.

For my IELTS students, I have repeatedly taught half a dozen (six) in order for the students to incorporate them into their natural speech … without idiomatic language, you will not break past the 5 score (taken along with grammar, vocabulary and intonation, naturally).

Therefore, for Top Cat students, or anyone looking to learn some more, this blog is for you.

cats top cat | Cartoon cartoon, Desenhos animados antigos ...

Expressions or idioms

Ring any bells ? // do you remember //

More or less // not exactly but approximately

Get the gist // do you understand the main point ?

Right up your street // this is something you will really like

Rabbit, Rabbiting on // UK slang, especially in London … talking too much

Piece of cake // no problem, very easy, sure

Tongue in cheek // not being serious about something

Now … how you use them:

Student A: Hello, we met last year at Julie’s party.

Student B: Sorry, that doesn’t ring any bells (I don’t remember).

DO I KNOW YOU? NOPE. DOESN'T RING ANY BELLS - no memory gandalf ...

Student A: Are you ready to go ?

Student B: Go where ?

Student C: Cake, food, drink, singing, dancing … ring any bells ?

Student D: Oh, Tony’s birthday party. Sorry, I forgot.

Student A: Are you ready for the test ?

Student B: Yes, more or less.

Student C: I’ll wait for you.

Student D: I won’t be long, I’m more or less finished.

Student A: Do you have to read all the document ?

Student B: No, just to get the gist.

Summarizing and Note Taking

Student A: You should listen to this CD, it’s right up your street.

Alice Sara Ott - Nightfall - Amazon.com Music
Alice Sara Ott | News | Reizvolle Schattenspiele - Auf dem Album ...

Student B: Oh, French piano music, I love it. That’s right up my street.

Student A: What did your girlfriend want ?

Student B: She was rabbiting on about something to do with her clothes, I wasn’t really listening.

Teacher A: Hey ! Miss Mary … stop talking. You’re a little rabbit !

Why People Say Rabbit Rabbit on the First Day of the Month

Student A: Can you drive me home ?

Student B: Sure, piece of cake.

Pink Beer Print Hawaiian Shirt – Hawaiian Shirts Online
John’s new business shirt

Student A: Have you seen John’s new shirt ? It’s so elegant.

Student B: Are you serious ? It’s terrible.

Student A: I know ! I was being tongue in cheek.

Tongue In Cheek: "Tongue In Cheek" Meaning With Useful Examples ...

Now … your turn.

Add the correct idiom [answers at end of blog]

1) Shall we see the new action film ? It sounds ______________

2) Are you still talking ? You are such a __________

3) She said I was the best student but I think she was being ___

4) You said you would bring something … cheese, tomato, garlic bread ____________ ?

5) The IELTS speaking test was a ________ after reading Thay Paul’s blogs (I hope).

6) Student A: Did you understand the project ? Did you ________ of the idea ?

Student B: Well, ______________ but not every single detail.

7 Interesting things you probably didn't know about Shu Qi of A ...
This film, starring Shu Qi looks right up my street.
  1. Right up your street 2. rabbit 3. tongue in cheek 4. ring any bells 5. piece of cake 6. get the gist / more or less.

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3 / IELTS: English expressions

25th August 2020

A database of common UK & USA expressions, phrases and idioms for students who want to learn more, in order to increase their command of and respect for the English language. I have provided my IELTS students with half a dozen (a dozen = 12, therefore half a dozen = 6. Having said that, a ‘baker’s dozen’ = 13 … welcome to English !) idioms, but this blog is aimed at students who are willing to go above the barest minimum.

We kick off (start) with expressions and idioms, as they are tremendous fun, then move on to collocations. How words fit together is a powerful tool in learning English … huge chunks of texts suddenly group themselves into small word blocks, enabling you to predict what will be said (especially useful in listening exercises).

Finally, we wrap up with some negotiation phrases. In the next blog, I’ll give you a chance to use these in sentences, but for now, familiarise yourself with a handful of new expressions … it could be right up your street.

Alice Sara Ott - It was a very emotional and intimate... | Facebook
Alice Sara Ott – German-Japanese pianist. I recommended her to a musician friend and he said it was right up his street.

Expressions / idioms

Ring any bells ? // do you remember //

More or less // not exactly but approximately

Get the gist // do you understand the main point ?

Right up your street // this is something you will really like

Rabbiting on // UK slang, especially in London … talking too much

Piece of cake // no problem, very easy, sure

Tongue in cheek // not being serious about something

Tongue in Cheek: Idiom Meaning - English Expression Videos - YouTube
“I think Donald Trump is the greatest US President …” Do you think President Obama would say this and be serious ?

Keep your hand in // to practise something so you don’t forget how it’s done

Bucket down / raining cats and dogs // raining very heavily

Have a go / give it a bash / give it a shot // to try something

Call it a day // to stop work and go home early

Go ahead // sure, do it

Under one roof // everything in one place

Through thick and thin // together in good times and bad times.

Through Thick and Thin (2015)

To spill the beans // to tell a secret, or to share some private information

I should cocoa // UK slang, old-fashioned = I really don’t believe it or you

kick-off // A sports expression from football – means to start

tied up / snowed under / rushed off our feet / flat out / up to my eyes // very busy

daylight robbery // much too expensive, very over-priced.

on your bike // go away !

Norman Tebbit's dad getting on his bike, looking for work until he ...

to throw a wobbly // to become angry and shout and curse

Bang up to date // totally modern and new or completed all your work on schedule

otherwise engaged // busy – a polite way of saying ‘go away’

I know where you’re coming from // I understand what you are saying and how you think

to get hold of someone // try to make contact with someone by phone, in person, email etc

speak of the Devil // to talk about something and then they appear

to be into something // to really enjoy or like something or someone

to put something over someone / to pull the pull over someone’s eyes // try to trick or cheat someone

There’ll be Hell to pay // you will be in BIG trouble !

Hell breaks loose // people will be very angry and upset

I’ll give you a bell / a shout // I will call you on the phone

Knock off / to finish work

knock it off // stop doing that !

That’s proper loud // UK slang ‘proper’ meaning very – that’s very loud

Well chuffed // extremely happy

come again ? / You what ? // UK slang for say it again, please

What do you reckon ? // What do you think of something ?

Collocations

To run a business

To conduct / carry out a survey

Can I have a word with you / a quick word

Do you have minute ?

Voting with their feet

Can I put you on hold ? / to be put on hold / Hold the line

A victory for common sense

I’m none the wiser

On the button / on the money

get the hang of it

scraping the barrel

Scraping The Barrel Cartoons and Comics - funny pictures from ...

Negotiation Language

Negotiation Table Stock Photos And Images - 123RF

I fail to see the relevance

I don’t see how that applies

That’s as maybe

I don’t get/see your point / I think you are missing the point

I don’t see where you’re going with this

I beg to differ

I appreciate that

You raise an interesting point

Having said that

Interesting that you say that

I think / feel that

In my opinion

I take issue with that

I don’t know about that

IELTS / Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: Going for a song !

21st August 2020

Some lessons can be rather hard-going, too much IELTS listening or speaking practice so, to mix things up, I use some little diversions to cleanse the palate.

[Today, I will not explain every new phrase – look them up yourselves, write them down and USE them and USE them and USE them !]

Therefore, here’s a little activity I used last week. It’s a hit song from the early 1980s, in fact, it was massive ! The song is an example of Synth pop which is pop music played, or predominantly played, on keyboards or synthesisers. Synth pop, which dominated the charts during my teen years, was not really my cup of tea, I was more into jangly guitar bands such as The Beatles, The Byrds and, in the 1980s, we had The Smiths.

Having said that, I really liked this hit by the band Human League who came from Sheffield which is in the north of England. The single was tremendously successful, staying at number 1 for five weeks in the UK as well as reaching the top of the US charts although for just three weeks which is still an amazing achievement.

Without further ado, the activity: What is happening in this video. Secondly, what is the story – can you understand what the man says and then, can you understand the woman’s reply ?

Try answering these questions:

What job did the woman have ?

How long did it take for the women to become a big star ?

Is the man leaving the woman ?

Does the woman still love the man ?

What does the woman want to do ?

And now, the full lyrics:

You were workin’ as a waitress in a cocktail bar
When I met you
I picked you out, I shook you up and turned you around
Turned you into someone new
Now five years later on, you’ve got the world at your feet
Success has been so easy for you
But don’t forget, it’s me who put you where you are now
And I can put you back down too

Don’t, don’t you want me?
You know I can’t believe it when I hear that you won’t see me
Don’t, don’t you want me?
You know I don’t believe you when you say that you don’t need me
It’s much too late to find
You think you’ve changed your mind
You’d better change it back or we will both be sorry

Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh
Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh

I was working as a waitress in a cocktail bar
That much is true
But even then, I knew I’d find a much better place
Either with or without you
The five years we have had have been such good times
I still love you
But now, I think it’s time I live my life on my own
I guess it’s just what I must do

Don’t, don’t you want me?
You know I can’t believe it when I hear that you won’t see me
Don’t, don’t you want me?
You know I don’t believe you when you say that you don’t need me
It’s much too late to find
You think you’ve changed your mind
You’d better change it back or we will both be sorry

Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh
Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh

Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh
Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh
Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh
Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh
Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh
Don’t you want me, baby?
Don’t you want me? Oh
Don’t you want me, baby?

Songwriters: John William Callis / Philip Oakey / Adrian Philip Wright The Sound of the Crowd lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Domino Publishing Company

DISCLAIMER: THIS IS FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. THIS BLOG ISN’T MONETISED IN ANY WAY. THE VIDEO AND LYRICS ARE TAKEN FROM THE INTERNET. NO COPYRIGHT VIOLATION IS INTENDED, AND I WILL REMOVE THE BLOG UPON REQUEST WITHOUT PREJUDICE.

THANK YOU TO THE SONGWRITERS, THE BAND AND THE PUBLISHERS

IELTS: writing & speaking practice

19th August 2020

Replace the standard English words with idioms, expressions and low-frequency words

How English testing is failing Chinese students by driving numbers ...
Hello to my Chinese students

Speaking topic:

What do you do in your free time ?

[Suggested answers after photos]

I study at school many days. I study in morning and I study at night. When I have free time I like to meet friends and have coffee. I go to see movie but not very much.

Sometimes me and my friends go swimming. It is cheap. And I very like to read manga comics because I feel funny. Nothing more.

Foreign Education, Visas, Immigration & IELTS Coaching - Rao ...
Hello to my Indian students

Well, That’s an interesting question because I actually spend most of my time at school or studying. Most days I’m burning the candle at both ends. Having said that, when I do get free time, which is once in a blue moon, I love to just hang out with my friends, maybe go to coffee shops which are ubiquitous in my city. Although I enjoy movies, I rarely go nowadays.

Occasionally my friends and I go swimming because we don’t need much equipment and it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Additionally, I really enjoy reading Manga comics, which are from Japan and are extremely popular, I believe, all over the world.

Canadians anticipate rise in demand from Mexico - Languages Canada
Hola to my Mexican students

Speaking topic:

What food is popular in your country ?

In my country are many foods, yes, we have pho, banh mi and Banh xeo. Yes. If you come to my country, you should have pho. Yes. Pho is noodles and soup and beef and vegetables. Yes. Also in my country we have banh mi. Do you know banh mi ? Banh mi is, banh mi is bread, yes, with many delicious things. It is cheap. Banh mi is sold on the street. And banh xeo I very like.

Vietnam's toughest exam - Chao Hanoi
IELTS students studying to go to New Zealand

Thank you for the question, because I can introduce you to some mouth-watering dishes from Vietnam. Allow me to mention just two which, in my opinion, are the most popular.

Firstly, we have pho, our national dish. Pho is noodle soup with different types of meat, with the addition of fresh herbs and vegetables. Don’t worry, you can find pho everywhere, it is ubiquitous.

Secondly, and great for a quick snack or food on the move, is banh mi which is … what’s the word ? Sandwich ? Yes, it is like a sandwich, filled with grilled meat, herbs and vegetables. The best thing is the price, which is really affordable. Again, you can pick these up anywhere in Sai Gon and it won’t cost an arm and a leg.

Speaking topic:

What country would you like to visit ?

Mô hình thi IELTS dành cho du học sinh New Zealand

The country I would like to visit is USA. I want to study in a big city in USA. I have family in USA. I will to stay with family. But I need the good mark in IELTS. I must work more harder. My family live in a big city. They say it is very cold and it is raining many days. In USA I will eat many fast food and I want to be in movies.

IELTS in the USA

It’s funny you put that question to me because just today I was thinking about where I want to study. I have my heart set on studying in the USA as I have some family in Seattle, which is a large city in Washington state. However, to follow my dream, I need a high score in IELTS, so I need to put my nose to the grindstone. May I tell you about Seattle, where I plan to stay ? Unlike Sai Gon, it can be very cold, and it frequently rains cats and dogs, although we also have a rainy season here in Vietnam. Once in the States, I will eat fast food which is mouth-watering. Having said that, I know it is unhealthy, but still delicious. Maybe I will be a movie star ? In USA, anything is possible.

IELTS: How to pass with flying colours

26th July 2020

Ramones hey ho let's go youtube

Hey ! Ho ! Let’s Go ! Let’s kick out the jams with some new vocabulary from the last lesson:

disappointed (adj) // dread (verb) // spare a few minutes (phrase) // a drive (noun) // big time ! (US expression, popular culture // popular fiction or literature // prima donna

Take a few minutes to read them … THEN …

Our school is having ________ to use less plastic, as well as encouraging people to recycle.

My sister spends so much time in the bathroom, she is such a _________

If we don’t pass IELTS with at least 7.0, Thay Paul is going to be angry at us _______

Miss Julie didn’t get the job at Apple; she was terribly ______________

I don’t understand this app, can you ________ to help me ?

I was terrified of the speaking test, I was _______ it.

The Harry Potter books, although tremendously successful, are considered ‘popular fiction’. Charles Dickens or Jane Austin, on the other hand, are classified as _____________ .

My student told me about a famous Hemingway story called ‘The Old Man and the Fish’ … I think she got the title wrong … _______________ !

Never Yet Melted » Ernest Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961)
“What do you mean, ‘The Old Man and the FISH ?’ I won the Noble Prize for that book.”

And now, time to put our noses to the grindstone How to get a killer IELTS speaking score … There are four areas to focus on … they are … ?

Marathon Man(1976) starring Dustin Hoffman, Laurence Olivier and ...
“You’ve forgotten ?”

OK, take it easy, to recap, we listen for

  1. Fluency – use of discourse markers. WITHOUT A WIDE RANGE OF DISCOURSE MARKERS YOU WILL NOT GET HIGHER THAN A ‘5’.
  2. Lexical resources – big words. Know synonyms and multi-syllable words to impress the examiner. Not to mention, a sprinkling of idioms, phrases, phrasal verbs, the whole nine yards.
  3. Grammar – it’s OK to make a few mistakes, grammatically, but what we want to hear are complex structures – basically, altering the structure of a sentence or including several pieces of by using information in one sentence by using relative pronouns.
  4. Stress and intonation – listen to native speakers and COPY how we speak, when we stress words, when we ‘swallow’ letters, our body language.

We need to hear examples of ALL the above or YOU WILL NOT GET HIGHER THAN A ‘5’. I will be furious if that happens, big time !

Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo ...

Now, look at these 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 //

And these words:

Boring: tedious // forgetful: absent-minded // expensive: sky high // what will happen: predict // everywhere: ubiquitous.

How to use these in your responses:

IELTS question: What do you do in your free time ?

Staying at home is boring so I go swimming. I meet friends for coffee. If it’s raining, I like to play video games.

IELTS – style:

For me, staying at home is terribly tedious, so I frequently go swimming. It’s fun, healthy and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Sometimes it’s raining cats and dogs so I enjoy playing video games, big time !

IELTS question: Who do you live with ? Notice how we start we a supportive clause

Because I’m still a student, I live at home with my family, that’s my mother, father, younger brother and older sister. My sister is such a prima donna, always in the bathroom, always buying new clothes. Furthermore, she dreads doing housework because she may hurt her nail varnish. She’ll wash up once in a blue moon.

IELTS question: Do you often eat out ?

Well, that’s a great question as I detest cooking. Having said that, I’m extremely lucky because in my neighbourhood, restaurants are ubiquitous, from expensive sea food to affordable street food. I eat crab or lobster once in a blue moon as the prices are sky-high, moreover, I actually prefer simple, mouth-watering street food.

IELTS question: What are your plans for the future ?

Make your own answers, using at least TWO discourse markers, TWO adverbs, TWO low-frequency words AND the idiom given.

TEAM 1: Well, there is so much to say about that subject, where shall I start ? (use ‘nose to the grindstone’).

TEAM 2: It’s funny you put that question to me because earlier today I was just thinking about … (use ‘burn the candle at both ends’).

TEAM 3: As I young Vietnamese, I … (use ‘pass with flying colours’).

happy asian students graduating | Luu Tutoring
Students who passed with flying colours

IELTS: Introduce your answers, and speaking review.

21st July 2020

I Think I'll Go Home and Mull This Over Before I Cram It Down My ...

A good introduction is not just beneficial but imperative for an impressive IELTS response. Therefore, this blog will mainly, although not exclusively, focus on a strong opening gambit, an attention-grabbing prologue.

Useful expressions

If you need some time to think, employ one of these ‘time-buying’ expressions:

That’s a very interesting 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 …

Let me think …

How can I put it …

Well, I would say …

Quick warm up: What do you do in your free time ?

I meet my friends for coffee

One of my favourite things to do, if I have some spare time, is to hang out with my closest friends

Which answer do you think would impress the examiner ?

Now … your turn

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

DON’T answer immediately; introduce the answer by repeating or rephrasing the question:

Vietnam has many beautiful places but my choice would be Hoi An.

Vietnam is famous for it’s beautiful beaches, vibrant cities and amazing nature but for me, Hoi An is the one place I would love to explore.

1 Tell me about your hometown

Thank you for letting me introduce to you my hometown which is Da Nang, one of the biggest cities in Vietnam, although it is much smaller than Ha Noi or Sai Gon. 

2 Talk about a film you like

Talk about cinema or films in general DON’T immediately talk about your favourite film.

Watching films and going to the cinema is one of my passions, so choosing just one film is going to be terribly difficult, not to say impossible. However, if I have to select one film, it would be ‘Lost in Translation’, with Scarlett Johannsson.

3 Do you use computers at work or school ?

Laptops are an incredibly useful piece of technology. They can be used for work, hobbies, music and to stay in touch with friends.

Practice: try forming introductions for these questions

Home

  • Do you live alone or with friends / family ?
  • How long have you lived there ?
  • Is there anything you don’t like about living there ?
  • What sort of accommodation would you like to like in ?

Shopping

  • Do you like going shopping for clothes
  • Is fashion important to you ?
  • Do you have to wear a uniform at school or work ?
  • Where do you normally buy your food and why there ?

Free Time

  • Do you do any sporting activities ?
  • What do you like to do at weekends ?
  • What would you change about your daily routine ?
Nanci Griffith - Once In A Very Blue Moon (1986, CD) | Discogs
Once in a VERY blue moon by Nanci Griffith

Review … from my recent classes, make sure you have learnt these words and expressions:

Keep your nose to the grindstone' - meaning and origin.
Put your nose to the grindstone

endeavour (to try) // outcome (the result) // ubiquitous (everywhere) // tedious (boring) // fascinating (very interesting) // sky-high (expensive)

once in a blue moon (very rare) // put my nose to the grindstone (work especially hard) // achieve on merit (to get something by working for it) // burn the candle at both ends (work day and night) // give or take (about, approximately) // big time ! (absolutely, totally, very much) // I’ll mull it over (I’ll think about it) //

although // additionally // therefore // moreover // having said that // on the other hand

Rewrite the following using IELTS-language:

English grammar is (adverb) boring and I spend about two hours a day studying grammar. I work all day, and go to evening class and then study. I study all day and night.

I almost never have any free time. If I have free time, I go to drink coffee. Coffee shops are everywhere but in some the prices are not cheap.

My friend Tom never studies. His uncle will give him a job, but I want to deserve my job. Tom is (adverb) lazy. I tell him to try to study grammar, to work very hard / but / he never listens. He thinks video games are very interesting. He (adverb) says he’ll think about it but nothing changes

so the result will be a ‘FAIL’

AE 456 - Expression: Burn the Candle at Both Ends - Aussie English
Unique coffee spot La Viet in Da lat, Central Vietnam | Coffee ...

Coffee shops in Sai Gon are ubiquitous although in some, the prices are sky-high.

Finally, if you did well :

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino, July 26, 2019 ...

Subject Index: Themes, features and topics.

Subject Index: An index of various subjects, taught to various levels and age groups.

Subject // Lesson // Date

Ancient Egypt // Teenagers: Architecture & Mythology // 13th March 2020

Ancient Greece // Teenagers: Architecture & Mythology // 13th March 2020

Apple iPhones // Adult Class, Level 3 // 14th November 2019

Apple workers in China // IELTS // 30th July 2019

April 30th Vietnam // Adult Speaking Class, level 3: April 30th // 5th April 2020

Arabian Nights // Adult Speaking Class, level 2, Part 6 24th January 2020

Area 51 // Adult Class, Level 3 // 12th November 2019

ART & ARCHITECTURE

Architecture // Adult professionals // architecture

Architecture: Burj Khalife & Willis Tower // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020

Architecture: giving opinions // Adult Speaking Class, level 2 // 9th April 2020

Art // Adult Class, Level 1 // 12 & 19 December 2018

Art: giving opinion // Adult Speaking Class, level 3: Art // 13th April 2020

Art: DaDa & Surrealism // Adult Speaking Class, level 3: Dali, Dada & Surrealism // 23rd April 2020

Australia // IELTS 5-6.5 // 21st August 2019

Bad Day – create narrative // IELTS, Lesson 3 // 19th January 2019

Banks // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2 Part 2

Bonfire, Guy Fawkes // Adult Class, Level 3 // 5th November 2019

Bonfire Night // Young Learners 4 // 9th November 2019

Boys’ Night Out // Adult Class, Level 3 // 3rd December 2019

Bristol, UK // Young Teens // 21st February 2019

Cars // Adult pros // Adult mechanics: What can go wrong ?

Castles in Europe // Adult Class, Level 1 // 2 January 2019

Character building // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: Character development // 18th June 2020

Christmas food in UK // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: food // 19th April 2020

Cinema choice // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: Cinema // 9th May 2020

Cities (UK) and areas // IELTS // 31st December 2018

Clothes // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: Describing clothes // 19th March 2020

Coffee in Viet Nam // Adult Speaking Class, level 2

Coffee in Viet Nam // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 4

Complaining // Adult C, L 3 // 18th March 2019

Computers // Adult C, L 1 // 20th February 2019

Concorde // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020

Corona Virus in Vietnam // IELTS 4 – 5 // Implementing precautions // 25th March 2020

Corona Virus: news from UK // Listening Exercises, Corona Special // 6th April 2020

Countries

Australia // IELTS 5-6.5 // 21st August 2019

Germany // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Germany // 26th February 2020

Greece: land and myths // Young Learners 5 // 6th October 2019

India // IELTS: Hello, India // 24th January 2020

Japan // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 6, 25th January 2020

Poland salt mine // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2

Russia // Adult Class, Level 3 // 4th December 2019

Sweden // Young Learners 2 // 18th May 2019

Switzerland // Adult Speaking Class, level 3. Theme:Travel // 11th February 2020

Taiwan // Taiwan: Listening Extra // 12th April 2020

Taiwan (four videos – WHO dodge, Tsai Ing-wen) // Taiwan: Listening Extra 12th April 2020

Countries (Brazil, Canada, Sth Korea, Egypt) // Young Learners 2 // 1st June 2019

Countries (VN, UK, Mexico, Russia) // Young Learners 3 // 7th September 2019

Countries // Young Learners 5 // 27th October 2019

Gather information (countries) // Young Learners 5 // 29th August 2019

Guess the countries (pictures) Signs // Young Learners 4 // 22nd June 2019

Guess the music (countries) // Young Learners 5 // 27th October 2019

Cracking codes // Young Learners 5 // 17th November 2019

Creative writing // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: Storytelling // 29th March 2020

Creative writing // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: Storytelling part 2 // 30th March 2020

Crime and punishment // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Crime & Punishment

Culture shock // Adult Class, Level 3 // 15th January 2019

Easter // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2 // 1st January 2020

Emotions // Young Learners 3 // 6th July 2019

English for engineers

English for engineers, mechanics, science: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/category/adult-professionals/

Top Gear // Adult professionals // Adult mechanics: What can go wrong ?

Nikola Tesla (video) // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020

Turbulence // Adult Professionals / Mechanics Part 2 // 23rd January 2020

Enigma machine // Young Learners 5 // 17th November 2019

Entropy // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020

Environment // Adult professionals // Adult mechanics: What can go wrong ?

Explorers // Young Learners 5 // 10th November 2019

Family // Adult Class, Level 3 // 6th November 2019

Flea markets // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: Gift of the gab // 10th May 2020

Food

Food (Korea, Germany, UK Christmas, Vietnam traditional) // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Theme: food https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/01/22/adult-speaking-class-level-3-theme-food/

Food (healthy or snack) // Young Learners 3 // 13th July 2019

Food (Sweden) // Young Learners 2 // 18th May 2019

Food (4 countries) // Young Learners 3 // 6th July 2019

Food (Vietnamese food) // Young Teens // 27th February 2019

Fortune telling // Adult Class, Level 1 // 30th January 2019

Fortune telling // Young Teens // 31st January 2019

Friction // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020

Germany // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Germany // 26th February 2020

Greece – land and myths // Young Learners 5 // 6th October 2019

Hair styles // Adult Class, Level 1 // 19th October 2019

Hang Soon Dong cave // Young Teens // 27th February 2019

Health // Young Learners 3 // 17th August 2019

Health // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Health // 27th January 2020

Hotels // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Hotels // 8th February 2020

How was your day // Adult Speaking Class, level 1: How was your day ? // 5th April 2020

Idioms

Idioms & expressions // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 4

Idioms: food // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: food // 19th April 2020

Idioms: a piece of cake // Teaching Notes // 1st June 2020

Idioms: are you pulling my leg ? // Teaching Notes // 2nd June 2020

Idioms: everyday idioms, everyday // Teaching Notes // 3rd June 2020

Idioms: part 3 extended idioms use // Teaching Notes // 4th June 2020

IELTS: Mindset Introduction // IELTS // 23rd June 2020

India // IELTS: Hello, India // 24th January 2020

Insults and disrespect // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Causing offence // 3rd Feb 2020

Internet // Adult Class, Level 1 // 20th February 2019

Internet use by area and gender // Adult Class, Level 1 // 20th February 2019

Information from poster // Adult Speaking Class, Level 1: information // 16th April 2020

Japan // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 6, 25th January 2020

Jazz music // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 4

Job interviews // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Job interviews // 12th Feb 2020

Kindle // IELTS 5 – 6.5. Writing example // 15th March 2020

Landmark 81 // Adult Professionals / Mechanics Part 2 // 23rd January 2020

Letter ‘t’ // KG 1 // 5th May 2019

Loch Ness Monster // Adult Class, Level 3 // 12 November 2019

London

London // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: London 3rd March 2020

London // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: London Part 2 5th March 2020

London directions and Leytonstone // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: London // 29th June 2020

London history and architecture // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: London // 18th April 2020

London street market // Adult C, L 3 // 14 November 2019

London tourism // Adult C, L 3 // 21st November 2019

London: what to see // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: London // 22nd May 2020

London: unusual buildings // IELTS / Adult Speaking Class, Level 2 // 6th September 2020

Love and dating // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Love & marriage

Love and marriage // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Love & marriage Part 2

Love, marriage, children // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Love & marriage Part 3

May Day – history, myth and politics //Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: May Day // 5th May 2020

Making excuses IELTS // Speaking exercises // small talk & making excuses // 12th May 2020

Manufacturing in Vietnam // IELTS // 30th July 2019

McDonalds // Adult Speaking Class, level 2

Mobile phones // Adult Class, Level 3 // 8th January 2019

Money // Adult Class, Level 3 // 14 November 2019

Money // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 3

Murder mysteries // Adult Class, Level 3 // 12th November 2019

Olympics (London, Beijing) // Adult Professionals // 10th February 2019

Orion constellation // Teenagers: Architecture & Mythology // 13th March 2020

Personality adjectives // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3, Personality adjectives // 7th June 2020

Photography and photos // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 4

Photography and photos descriptions (advanced) // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, // 25th April 2020

The Plague // Adult C, L 1 // 12 & 19 December 2018

Poland salt mine // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2

Politics // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3

Presentation skills // Teenagers // 20th January 2019

Pyramids // Teenagers: Architecture & Mythology // 13th March 2020

Reading practice // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Crime & Punishment

Robots in industry // Adult professionals // Adult mechanics: What can go wrong ?

Rolex // Adult Class, Level 3 // 14th November 2019

Russia // Adult Class, Level 3 // 4th December 2019

Sai Gon for kids //Young Learners 4 // 23rd November 2019

Shinkanshen (Bullet Train) // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020

Shopping

Shops and shopping // Young Learners 3 // 17th August 2019

Shop work (role-play) // Young Learners 3 // 3rd August 2019

Shopping // Adult Speaking Class, level 2

Shopping // Adult Speaking Class Level 2: Deciding what to buy // 11th May 2020

Shopping, haggling, role – play // Adult Speaking Class Level 2: Going shopping // 7th April 2020

Shopping (role-play) // Young Learners 3 // 17th August 2019

Shopping // Adult Class, Level 3 // 14th November 2019

Signs, symbols, icons // 21st August 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/08/21/signs-symbols-and-icons-information-and-worksheet/

Small talk // Adult C, L 3 // 26th November 2019

Smoking and No Tobacco Day // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Health // 27th Jan. 2020

Solar system & space // Young Learners 4 // 16th November 2019

Street crime // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: Street crime // 23rd July 2020

Stereotypes // Adult C, L 3 // 19th August 2019

Stereotypes // Adult Class, Level 3: Generally speaking // 28th April 2020

Stories in basic English // Adult Speaking Class, level 2, Part 6 // 24th January 2020

Sweden // Young Learners 2 // 18th May 2019

Switzerland // Adult Speaking Class, level 3. Theme:Travel // 11th February 2020

Taiwan // Taiwan: Listening Extra // 12th April 2020

Tallest, longest, biggest // Young Learners 5 // 10th November 2019

Technology (old) // Young Learners 5 // 17th November 2019

Tet Holiday // Adult C, L 1 // 30th January 2019

Tet Holiday // IELTS // 28th January 2019

Travel

Holiday plans (Buenos Aires, Nairobi, Copenhagen, Moscow) // A. S. C. Level 2 // 20th May 2020

Holiday projects : Bangkok, Munich, Ha Noi, Egypt, London // A.S.C. Level 3 // 9th June 20202

IELTS Project // Holiday language, prepare an advert, plan a day // IELTS // 16th June 2020

Tourism (Thailand, VN & project) // Teenagers // 20th January 2019

Traffic and travel // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Traffic

Traffic in Vietnam // Adult C, L 3 // 25th December 2018

Travel: airport to city centre (HCM) // IELTS // 10th February 2019

Travel USA: planning // Adult Speaking Class, level 3: USA sun, surf, sand // 18th May 2020

Travel USA: 3 cities // Adult Speaking Class, level 3: San Fran, Boston, Chicago // 18th May 2020

Tuareg people // Adult Speaking Class, level 3. Theme:Travel // 11th February 2020

Turbulence // Adult Professionals / Mechanics Part 2 // 23rd January 2020

UNESCO // Young Teens // 31st January 2019

UNESCO // Young Teens // 27th February 2019

Van Heusen shirts // Adult C, L 3 // 14th November 2019

Vietnam

Vietnamese cities // Adult Class, Level 3 // 21st November 2019

Vietnamese places // Young Learners 5 // 27th October 2019

Vietnamese food // Young Teens // 27th February 2019

Vietnamese law and police // Adult Class, Level 1 // 5th March 2019

War Museum, Sai Gon // Adult Class // 17- 19th December 2019

War Remnants Museums, Sai Gon // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: War Museum

Weather: snow and floods // Beginners’ English, Part 2

Workplace: issues & problems // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Work-place problems // 5th February 2020

Yoga & exercise // IELTS writing practice // 25th April 2020