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: Beginning to speak with IELTS language.

12th November 2020

Mindset 2, Unit 1 speaking

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

First off the bat, a review of recent vocabulary.

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

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

Prices at Bitexco Sky bar are ______________ .

In Sai Gon, coffee shops are ______________ .

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

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

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

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

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

Answers:

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

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

Introductions

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

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

Today, we’ll concentrate on introductions.

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

First rule of introductions is NEVER answer the question immediately:

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

That sucks - Chris Traeger The real one | Meme Generator

Second rule of introductions is NEVER answer the question immediately.

Practice Makes Perfect GIFs | Tenor

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

Your hometown / Tell me about your hometown

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

Travel / Where would you like to visit ?

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

Some standard opening lines:

That’s a very interesting question

Well, that’s a great question

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

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

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

Now … your turn.

Think of a good introduction to each of the four questions

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

Idioms

it’s raining cats and dogs

it costs an arm and a leg

piece of cake

I’m burning the candle at both ends

once in a blue moon

pass with flying colours

Turn over a new leaf

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

Something that doesn’t happen very often

Something that is very easy, no problem

Very bad weather heavy rain

Working or partying all day and night

Deciding to change your behaviour and be a better person

Something very expensive

To do extremely well in a test

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

Subject Index: IELTS – themes, language, exercises.

27th October 2020

An index of various IELTS classes and topics useful to IELTS students

Subject // Lesson // Date

How to pass IELTS (with flying colours) // IELTS // 26th July 2020 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/07/26/ielts-how-to-pass-with-flying-colours/

How to attain 8.5 // IELTS: Chasing 8 1/2 // 12th October 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/12/ielts-8-1-2-chasing-8-1-2/

Advanced idioms (chasing 8 1/2) // Get your motor running // 15th October 2020

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

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

Complaints // IELTS: Making complaints // 24th July 2020

Electronic devises // IELTS speaking exercise // 4th March 2019

Food // British Food // IELTS // 28th September 2020

General // IELTS // 19th February 2019

General // IELTS: Final Review // 5th March 2019

Holidays from Hell // IELTS // 10th February 2019

Hometown & neighbourhood // IELTS // My Hometown // 28th October 2020

IELTS introduction (survey) // IELTS // 31st December 2018

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

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

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

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

IELTS: Mindset first day warm up // IELTS: Mindset // 23rd June 2020

Neighbourhoods // new vocab and idioms // There are places // 6th October 2020

Plan a day: What my friends can so in Sai Gon // IELTS 5-6.5 // 21st August 2019

Schools in UK // IELTS: UK school system // IELTS // 17th September 2020

Shopping // IELTS-level exercises //IELTS, theme: shopping // 5th August 2020

Technology & conversation topics // Good Technology // 19th October 2020

Tet Holiday // IELTS // 28th January 2019

Travel

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

Travel in two minutes // IELTS // 19th February 2019

Travel // IELTS 5-6.5 // 14th August 2019

Travel: my stay in Bangkok in pictures // IELTS // 10th February 2019

Travel: one day in Sai Gon // IELTS 5-6.5 // 14th August 2019 //

Travel: recommend a holiday // IELTS // 4th March 2019

What’s the story (lazy student) // IELTS // 7th January 2019

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

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

Pre-IELTS challenge: creative writing, plan a day, pronunciation // Adult Class Level 3 // 30th May 2020

IELTS Games:

IELTS: warm up games // https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/02/25/ielts-warm-up-games/

Call My Bluff // IELTS 5-6.5 // 28th August 2019

Chinese Whispers // IELTS 5-6.5 // 4th September 2019

Role-play: shopping// IELTS 5-6.5 // 28th August 2019

What’s the Story ? (Chinese film) // IELTS 5-6.5 // 11th September 2019

Films

Chungking Express (film) // IELTS // 16th April 2019 /// IELTS // 4th March 2019

Ing …(film) // IELTS 5-6.5 // 4th September 2019

Lost in Translation // IELTS // What do you like this film ? // 6th April 2020

Not One Less (video clip) // IELTS 5-6.5 // 25th September 2019

The Owl and the Sparrow (Vietnam) // IELTS // 16th April 2019

Social Network // IELTS 5-6.5 // 4th September 2019 //

Star Wars The Last Jedi // IELTS // 14th January 2019

Take Care of my Cat (South Korea) // IELTS // 16th April 2019

Tokyo Story (Japan) // IELTS // 16th April 2019

Grammar

Adverb exercise // IELTS: use adverbs frequently // 3rd July 2020

Discourse Markers // IELTS 5-6.5 // 25th September 2019 /// IELTS // 7th January 2019 //// IELTS 5 – 6.5. Writing example // 15th March 2020

IELTS ‘ness’ or ‘ment’ ? // // 28th January 2019

Relative pronouns quiz // IELTS Review // vocabulary, discourse, sentence building // 25th June 2020

Relative pronouns // IELTS // 1st July 2020

Idioms

Expressions and phrases // IELTS // 19th February 2019

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

Idioms // Adult Speaking Class / IELTS: Right up your street // 26th August 2020

IELTS // idioms and vocab games // Preparing for speaking test // 15th May 2020

Idioms (sweets) // IELTS // 19th February 2019

New idioms for Semester 2 // Fluency, intonation & stress // 15th October 2020

Sentence building & Vocabulary

Database of idioms, L-FWs & expressions // 22nd October 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/22/ielts-language-bank-idioms-and-l-fws-you-need-to-have-at-your-beck-and-call/

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

Cities, areas, descriptions // IELTS // 31st December 2018

Expressions and phrases // IELTS // 19th February 2019

IELTS: vocabulary building // IELTS: Vocabulary activities // 24th April 2020

What difference (definitions) // IELTS 5-6.5 // 25th September 2019

IELTS sentence building // IELTS //22nd July 2019 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/07/22/ielts-sentence-building/

IELTS // Sentence building; a piece of cake // IELTS // 16th August 2020

IELTS basic sentence building // IELTS // 28th January 2019 // // IELTS // 14th January 2019

IELTS complex sentences // Introduction // 23rd November 2020 // https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/23/ielts-introduction-to-complex-sentences/

IELTS complex sentences // IELTS, Mindset: Complex sentences // 30th April 2020

IELTS complex sentences // It’s not that complicated // 24th May 2020

IELTS complex sentences // Sentence building:piece of cake // 16th August 2020

IELTS describe a film // IELTS // What do you like this film ? // 6th April 2020

IELTS describe a gadget // IELTS 5 – 6.5. Writing example // 15th March 2020

IELTS // Quick-fire talking // Part 2 questions // 12th May 2020

IELTS // Replace standard English with IELTS language // 19th August 2020

IELTS // Review // vocabulary, discourse markers, sentence building // 25th June 2020

IELTS vocabulary & expressions review // IELTS: The story so far // 7th July 2020

Speaking exercises

IELTS: How to pass with flying colours // 26th July 2020 (using idioms and low-frequency words and expressions in your speaking test) https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/07/26/ielts-how-to-pass-with-flying-colours/

British Food // Sample answers // IELTS // 27th, 29th September, 1st October 2020

Complaining // IELTS making complaints // 24th July 2020

Electronic devises // IELTS speaking exercise // 4th March 2019

Everyday expressions // IELTS / Adult Speaking 3 // Everyday expressions // 28th August 2020

Everyday expressions database // IELTS / Adult Speaking 3 // 25th August 2020

Fluency, intonation & stress // Get Your Motor Runnin’ // 15th October 2020

IELTS // intonation and stress // speaking exercises // 31st August 2020

IELTS // Speaking practice // IELTS language // IELTS // 10th August 2020

Speaking Test preparation // Last Chance Saloon // IELTS // 8th September 2020

Pre-Speaking Test review // idioms, L-FW, pronunciation // 30th September 2020

Pronunciation, intonation & stress // IELTS, intonation Volume 1 // 16th November 2020 https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/16/ielts-intonation-stress-let-me-feel-the-emotion-volume-1/

Speaking Test Part 3 // IELTS: How to nail it // IELTS // 12th September 2020

Speaking Test Part 3 // IELTS: theme – education // IELTS // 24th September 2020

Like or dislike // IELTS // 16th April 2019

Music // IELTS // 16th April 2019

Music // IELTS 5-6.5 // 11th September 2019

Music // IELTS 5-6.5 // 25th September 2019

One of those days // IELTS // 14th January 2019

Phrases // IELTS // 21st January 2019

IELTS // Quick-fire talking // Part 2 questions // 12th May 2020

Small talk // IELTS 5-6.5 // 28th August 2019

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

IELTS // Preparing for speaking test // 14th May 2020

Video Clips

Australian hero – Aussie slang // IELTS 5-6.5 // 21st August 2019

Complaints // IELTS: Making complaints // 24th July 2020

Corona Virus Government video // IELTS 4 – 5 // Implementing precautions // 25th March 2020

Damn fine coffee // IELTS 5-6.5 // 4th September 2019

London street trader // IELTS 5-6.5 // 28th August 2019

Not One Less // IELTS 5-6.5 // 25th September 2019

Social Network // IELTS 5-6.5 // 4th September 2019

Vietnam – country in transition // IELTS // 30th July 2019

Vietnamese beer review (Sai Gon Red) // IELTS // 21st January 2019

Vietnam (unexpected things vlog) // IELTS 5-6.5 // 14th August 2019

Mark Wiens Kolkata, India // IELTS: Hello, India // 24th January 2020

Writing Examples

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

IELTS // Writing exercises // re-arrange poor writing // 12th May 2020

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

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

IELTS: Language bank. Idioms and L-FWs you need to have at your beck and call.

22nd October 2020

A database of idioms that my physical classes covered previously as well as new idioms plus a reminder of some low-frequency words that are guaranteed to impress the examiner. Let’s kick off with some vocabulary building:

computer literacy (noun) computer literate (adjective)

flexible / flexibility / flexi-hours

to adapt / adaptability /

prospects

standard of living

networking

future skills

essential workplace skills

prosaic [cf with ‘run of the mill’]

cf is Latin for ‘compare’ // e.g. is Latin meaning ‘for example’ // i.e. is Latin for ‘that is’.

Now …

18 Relatable Tiger Mom Memes | SayingImages.com

Complete the sentences:

If you learn English you will increase your job ____________

Nowadays, most young people are _____________ _________________ . They are able to use programs such as Word, ___________ & ________

When selecting a university, you may have to be ______________ in case you don’t get into your first choice.

Getting a great, well-paying job is essential if you want a high ________________________ .

One student moved to Boston where the temperature can drop to below freezing. He’s really having ________ to the new culture.

My actor friend is busy 24/7, attending parties, setting up meeting, pitching ideas and Tweeting. That guy is constantly ______________ .

Class Game

Split class into two teams. One team selects a word or phrase and the other team has to use it, correctly of course, in a sentence. Bonus points for throwing in any appropriate idioms.

Rickenbacker 330 Left-Handed, Jetglo at Gear4music

I would love this guitar which is a left-handed Rickenbacker, a famous American company with a very distinctive look and sound, yet, to my dismay, it costs ______________________

Idioms from Semester 2

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

Idioms from Semester 1

Which you should all know by heart and be able to reel off at the drop of a hat.

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

EXTRA! EXTRA! Read all about it! | Chynna Pope: The Beacon Hellion

Extra expressions for Top Cats:

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

Tongue in cheek // not being serious about something

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.

Remember these old chestnuts ?

without further ado // tricks up your sleeve  // ace the test

pass with flying colours  // do yourself proud // 

you are in the driver seat (or you are in the driving seat)  // 

occur // inevitably // pertinent

This taxi has put me in the driver's seat of my life': Female taxi driver  shares inspiring story - it s viral - Hindustan Times
Guess who’s in the driver’s seat ?

Personal and personality adjectives:

patient / firm / authoritative / determined / brave / energetic / level-headed / down-to-earth / strong / fit / healthy / imposing / honest / loyal / civic-minded / caring / hard-working /

Finally, some adverbs you must have in your arsenal:

very / extremely / amazingly / unbelievably / quite / rather / undeniably / remarkably / totally / absolutely /

Phew!. The last time I wrote it was so long… | by Vaibhav Sinha | How I  Learnt Piano | Medium
Phew ! Thay Paul is a Tiger Teacher

For those who really want to expand their horizons, an extensive collection of idioms, expressions and collocations can be found on this blog: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/08/25/adult-speaking-class-level-3-ielts-english-expressions/

IELTS – Get your motor runnin’: fluency, stress and intonation

15th October 2020

Get Your Motor Runnin' Head Out on the Highway | Donald Trump Meme on ME.ME

Our plan for the next semester is to develop speaking skills – presentation and delivery – as well as, naturally, increasing vocabulary, colocations, phrases, idioms … in short, the whole nine yards.

New idioms

I don’t want to overburden the class with too many idioms, so these are what we’ll be using over this semester. That means using them repeatedly until they become second nature and the students, of whom I am very fond, will have another string to their bow … oh, heck – ANOTHER idiom !

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

NOW … your turn … what idioms fits ?

Lunatics Paradise: Australia's Renewables Fiasco Like Living in a Madhouse  – STOP THESE THINGS

At breaktimes, all the younglings come pouring out of their classes, screaming their little heads off …

it’s ___________________________________

Students protest against tuition fees - BBC News

Students are unhappy about tuition fees

They are _____________

You still can!': Music teacher champions adult students learning violin

She can speak five languages, do karate and is now learning violin

She has added __________________________

Yawning Girl Reading A Boring Book Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty Free  Image. Image 19559231.

She thought the novel would be extremely exciting.

Unfortunately, for her, it’s just a ___________________ story.

Street Photography in Austin - Assignment Chicago

Some areas of downtown are no-go areas.

You really _________________________________________ if you go after dark and alone.

buster-keaton-396846_640

Poor Buster is so funny, yet he always looks _______________________

Oh, dear …

This beautiful young lady seems to be upset about something.

Possibly something the man said is a ______________________ with her ?

Excited Motivated Multiracial Business Team Stock Footage Video (100%  Royalty-free) 1037298239 | Shutterstock

We’re going to have a tremendous success with our new product which we shall be launching in Europe, the US and parts of Asia.

We’re really going to ________________________________

Marcello Mastroianni

Excuse me, I have to take this call _______________________

Part two:

How would you describe these neighbourhoods ? I want full sentences, as complex as you can make them, bursting with idioms, expressions and Low-Frequency Words. Give your opinions – would you like to go there, or even live there ? Explain your rationale.

Old Manchester pubs and cinemas from the '60s to '90s
Manchester, north-west England
Inmueble en venta - Earls Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, TN4 | Knight Frank
Tunbridge Wells, south of London
Birmingham UK Industrial scene | Birmingham uk, Birmingham, Industrial
Birmingham in the British Midlands

Rural Retreats | Wales Cottages
Rural Wales
The Edinburgh festival is cancelled: long live the festival | Scotland |  The Times
Edinburgh, capital of Scotland, during the festival

Part three:

Practice making complex sentences, with two clauses at least, from these simple sentences.

Example:

Cinema Paradiso getting Ultra HD 4K Blu-ray release in UK – Film Stories

Johnny always went to the cinema when he was a child.

As a child, Johnny always went to the cinema.

GRAMMAR NOTE – the first word after the supporting clause has to be the subject.

We always played games when we had Mr Tony as our teacher.

He speaks English well although his written work is rather poor.

The Who | Discography | Discogs

The Who were formed in west London in the early 1960s. They are a very famous, influential bands despite never having a Number 1 hit single.

Asian Woman Selfie stock photos and royalty-free images, vectors and  illustrations | Adobe Stock

My neighbour only works in a convenience store. She thinks she is a big star. She is constantly taking selfies.

And … to end, let’s start copying some classic movie scenes:

https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn%3AANd9GcQBhjzqbLv-Fe17vj4O7Ep4GZ4je0erYx6AXA&usqp=CAU

The lines to copy are from 0:14 – 0.37

Here’s the first of the day, fellas … to old D.H. Lawrence … yyahhhhhhHHHHHHH … NIC, NIC, NIC, ffff, fffff … cccahhhh, indians !

IELTS: 8 1/2 … Chasing 8 1/2

12th October 2020

8½ (1963) | The Criterion Collection

Let’s hit the ground running … my recent tests highlighted key areas on which all students, without exception, need to work, namely:

fluency

complex sentences

pronunciation including intonation and stress

Not forgetting, to constantly increase and expand their vocabulary. A reminder of some recent language:

gritty / industrial

quite / safe / residential

boring / peaceful / suburban

bustling / vibrant / city centre

apparently – something you believe to be true

conversely – the opposite, on the other hand, however

actually – saying something that is surprising or is the truth

New idioms

bear with me – please wait a very short time

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

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

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

Top Five Tips for Crossing the Street in Vietnam

Exercise 1: Using the new vocabulary. Fill in the blanks:

I live near some factories in a ___________ , ________________ area.

The traffic is my neighbourhood is a nightmare, I __________________ every time I go out or try to cross the road.

I was rather disappointed in the latest Bond film it was merely a ____________________ spy movie.

This is a library ? With all this noise ! It’s _______________________ here.

Let me check my files, __________________ a moment.

Don’t ask him about his test score, it’s a bit of a ____________ . He only got 65% although he was expecting to ace the test.

China is the biggest country in the world, oh, no, sorry ________________ it’s Russia.

The lockdown has affected many urban areas. What used to be a _________________ , ____________ city centre is now a ghost town.

Exercise 2: what is a ghost town ? Can you understand these lyrics ? The Specials with ‘Ghost Town’:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ2oXzrnti4

Ghost Town

The Specials

This town (town) is coming like a ghost town
All the clubs have been closed down
This place (town) is coming like a ghost town
Bands won’t play no more
Too much fighting on the dance floor

Do you remember the good old days before the ghost town?
We danced and sang, and the music played in a de boomtown

This town (town) is coming like a ghost town
Why must the youth fight against themselves?
Government leaving the youth on the shelf
This place (town) is coming like a ghost town
No job to be found in this country
Can’t go on no more
The people getting angry

This town is coming like a ghost town
This town is coming like a ghost town
This town is coming like a ghost town
This town is coming like a ghost town

Songwriters: Jerry Dammers

Exercise 3: What do you know about The Specials. Here’s some facts. Arrange them in the form of an IELTS-standard paragraph.

The Specials were formed in Coventry, in the British Midlands.

Formed in 1977. They had two main singers, Terry Hall and Neville Staple.

Their music is a mix of punk and reggae.

They had a number 1 song in 1980.

‘Ghost Town’ was also a number 1. It was released in 1981. This song is about the recession in the UK. Many people had no work, no money and no hope.

The Specials broke up (disbanded) in 1984 but later reformed. They still perform together.

Next blog will focus on pronunciation. To my classroom students, be prepared for a lot more speaking and practising so, yes ! You DO have to say it again … and again …

Bruce Lee quote: Practice makes perfect. After a long time of practicing,  our...

Attaining 8 1/2 … a piece of cake.

8 1/2 – Brisbane International Film Festival

IELTS, Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Warm up conversation starters

9th October 2020

Sometimes students arrive at class after a long day, bereft of energy and motivation. In such situations, it’s best to hit the ground running, get them talking and ready for a lesson. This needs to be done before they pull out their mobiles and start concentrating on their cyberlife … after which time, they are lost to reality.

adults-casual-cellphone-1413653 - Study Finds

Therefore, before they can hit that ‘Post’ button, pair them up and make them ask each other various questions, demanding that the answers be as complex as possible, incorporating big words (‘Low-Frequency Words’), discourse markers and relative pronouns, along with appropriate expressions.

Example: Where would you most like to visit ?

Bad answer: Nowhere. Bad answer: New York.

Better answer:

Introduce your answer THEN state the location THEN explain why.

Ah, that’s an interesting question because I really need a holiday. However travelling now is not a good idea because of the COVID 19 which is an extremely serious pandemic. So, I have to think about after, when it is safe to go on holiday.

I have always wanted to visit Singapore, because it looks so clean and modern and, not forgetting, so many shopping malls. I love shopping, it is my passion. I would buy so many things such as clothes, makeup and presents for my family.

IELTS students should be able to add a number of idiomatic language to really spice up their presentation. I would expect to hear:

cost(s) an arm and a leg / prices (can be \ are) sky high / mouth-watering / world famous / ubiquitous / pristine / that’s a bit of a sore point (because we CAN’T travel) / such a wide array / shop till (I \ you) drop / overwhelming / spoilt for choice / retail therapy

Cheap Shopping Place in Singapore - Buy Souvenirs in the Bugis Street Area
Remember … there are some affordable shopping areas in Singapore although they tend to be away from the city centre but well worth a visit.

NOW … your turn

Questionnaire / Discussion

What kind of music do you like ? (do you play or listen ?)

Can you name any plays by Shakespeare ? (if not what writer do you like ?)

What time do you usually get up ? (weekdays and weekends)

How do you relax ? (do you have time or do you study, have family, work overtime ?)

Can you play a musical instrument ? (would you like to ? Why ?)

What skill(s) would you like to acquire ? (be creative here – what stops you learning ?)

What is the best thing about Sai Gon ? (or YOUR city)

However, this is not a one-way street. The person asking is expected to make small talk, to elicit – to encourage – the speaker to open up and expand on their answers.

Use small talk phrases such as:

Really ? That’s interesting // Tell me more // Why do you say that ? // Oh, me too // What do (did) you like best // Where is that (exactly) ? // I’ve heard about that // I haven’t heard about that, can you explain // Why do you say that ? // Oh, I get it // I’m not sure I follow.

And if your partner is stonewalling you (not talking), here’s a great idiom:

IDIOM OF THE WEEK: Cat Got Your Tongue... - Cairns Language Centre |  Facebook

British Food: IELTS sample answers continued

1st October 2020

Index of /wp-content/uploads/2019/01/

Today we’ll turn our attention to Part 2: uninterrupted speaking for up to two minutes.

Remember, you have a minute to write notes. Use the method which works best for you, but I suggest you write a keyword that will help you recall L-FWs or an idiom.

Look at the previous blogs to see some useful words: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/09/28/british-food-various-exercises-various-levels/

mouth-watering / nutritious / filling / spicy / bland / traditional /

prices can be sky-high / cost an arm and a leg / astronomical / not my cup of tea

And: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/09/29/british-food-part-2-sample-answers-for-ielts/

Indian Street Food in London Compilation - including some Restaurant Food  (Part 3). - YouTube
Indian street food in London

Part 2: What problems would you have with the food if you lived in the UK ?

You should say:

what UK food you know,

if you have ever tried it

if you have ever seen it

if you think you would enjoy it … and why (or why not).

Try to speak for the full 2 minutes. By now, you should know the formula: great introduction, some positive points, some negative, an anecdote, then a conclusion.

Well, that’s a very pertinent question because recently, I have been thinking about where I would like to study, and the UK is certainly top of my list. I am sure there would be some culture shock, especially when it comes to the food.

In class, we have seen some photos of traditional food such as toad in the hole, the full English breakfast and of course, the traditional Sunday roast. I think that British people have special food at Christmas time with … let me remember … turkey and vegetables then a special pudding which they set alight. I guess they use strong alcohol to make it burn. It looks tremendous fun.

I come from a small town, so I only had local food, but now I live in a big city, I can experience more western cuisine although we mostly eat fast food. So, no, I haven’t tried British food. Not yet, but the Christmas food looks mouth-watering.

Sometimes I watch a movie and I look out for what people eat. It looks very different from my country. Oh, of course, we use chopsticks here, as well as spoons, but they use a knife and fork in the UK. I tried once. My friend Jenny, who went to London on holiday, came back with a present for me. It was a knife and fork. I tried, I really tried but I couldn’t get the hang of it.

However when I see people eat in restaurants, I am a little nervous. They look so expensive. It must cost an arm and a leg to eat there.

Would I enjoy it ? I am not sure but I think so. My favourite food is chicken and sea food so I am sure I can get those easily. Maybe the food would possibly be bland compared to Asian food because we use lots of fresh vegetables and spices. On the other hand, new food is part of the new culture. Now I start to feel hungry !

What is 'mukbang'? Inside the viral Korean food YouTube trend

IELTS: Pre-speaking Test Review.

30th September 2020

Kill Bill: Volume 1 Review. “Revenge is a dish best served cold.”… | by  Dillon McCarty | incluvie | Medium
revenge is a dish best served cold- -The Godfather-Don vito Corleone |  Godfather quotes, Revenge quotes, Gangster quotes

Indeed … next week is the speaking test, so I get to interview the students, one-to-one, to see how much they have listened to me and retained the information.

For some students, the biggest test will be NOT using their phones for ten minutes. Be that as it may … No time for learning anything new, tonight will just be as many activities as reasonable, and then practice.

I shall offer my help to those that request it.

So, let’s kick off with the first game:

Two teams … on the board, single words. Teams have to complete the idiom and give the definition.

mouth // candle // cats // piece // arm // grindstone // sky // blue //.

Next, one team selects a word, then asks one member of the other team to use it in a sentence.

Moving on up: Complex sentences. I shall give the names of some famous companies and the teams have to compose a complex sentence using relative pronouns and discourse markers.

For example:

I have my heart set on buying a pair of Converse, which is an American company with a star logo, who make very fashionable, not to mention very cool, footwear.

The teams have to choose from:

The rare vintage Rolls-Royce that once carried the Lord Mayor of Manchester  and royalty - Manchester Evening News
Rolls Royce
McDonald's joins the plant revolution - New Food Magazine
McDonalds
Oppo mobile A9 2020 (Space Purple, 4GB RAM, 128GB Storage): Amazon.in:  Electronics
Oppo Chinese phone company
Ikea sells on external platform for the first time | RetailDetail
Ikea Swedish furniture

Keep the ball rolling with a pronunciation game. I’ll play two clips of native speakers. The teams, one by one, have to copy using correct intonation and stress.

First write down what they say. Then … say it.

For the young gentlemen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KxwcQ1dapw8

For the young ladies: (from 6:24 – 6:34) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oq7Sx4VOJa0&t=407s

Keeping things truckin’ next activity is:

‘Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Word ?’

The following is a list of words and expression I’ve used, and blogged, over the course of this course. How many do the teams know … I want definition and an example in a sentence:

without further ado // tricks up your sleeve //inevitably // ace the test // pass with flying colours // pertinent // do yourself proud // you are in the driver seat // occur

Think on your feet

The dog ate my homework - Family and Fertility Law

A classic excuse for British schoolchildren, when they haven’t done their homework, is to tell the teacher that their dog ate their homework.

I will give the teams some scenarios and they have to come up with a creative response:

You are late to class … why ?

You have been using your mobile phone the whole lesson, despite knowing the centre rules … why ?

You have been riding a motorbike with three people on it … why ?

You only got a 3.5 in your IELTS test … why ?

And now, it just remains to wish the teams all the luck they deserve.

See you next week … revenge is a dish best served cold

BBC Two - Mastermind - The history of Mastermind

IELTS: Speaking Test, Part 3: How to nail it.

12th September 2020

Ten don'ts for the IELTS speaking test | British Council
Having to think on your feet.

My classes at campus have practised (and practised; I make those guys put their noses to the grindstone) Parts I and II of the speaking test. To recap:

Part I: 4 – 5 minutes, warm up questions. Answer with two, three or four sentences, throwing in a few L-FW (big words), idioms as appropriate, and demonstrate you know how to form a complex sentence.

Part II: 1 minute to make notes, 2 minutes solo speaking. This is your chance to shine, show all you’ve learnt, and score points for vocabulary (including idiomatic language, low-frequency words, adverbs and adjectives), grammar including, as you know, complex sentences which will earn you a higher score as well as being much more interesting to listen to as opposed to short simple sentences. Fluency, so make use of those multi-purpose sentences such as, “Well, that’s an interesting question,” “It’s funny you ask me that question because I have just been thinking about …” etc. Lastly, and not to be underrated, pronunciation, intonation and stress.

Now, we come to Part III

psycho scream

Yes, I know, it can be a nightmare ! The questions are so complex, how could you possibly answer even in your native language ? Well, you can’t … no one can, especially not in a minute or so and under the pressure of a test.

Take a look at this example:

Does the media have a positive or negative effect on the music people in your country buy ?

What a question ! You may be tempted to say, “I haven’t the foggiest idea,” “I haven’t a clue,” or “I have absolutely no idea, next question, please.”

i have no idea what you are talking about - LDS S.M.I.L.E.

The secret is to take power back – make yourself comfortable with the question … and here’s how:

Firstly, we need a great introduction. Some examples are:

Well, that’s a very complicated question …

What a hard question, I may have to think about this …

I’m not sure I know how to answer that because I don’t have enough information, however …

The secret is to take this general question and make it personal, so you can speak about what YOU know, as well as using IELTS language.

Show that you understand the question by defining ‘media’.

I usually get my information from the internet, although I know some people use TV, radio or newspapers.

For me, the internet is great for learning about new singers or groups with sites such as YouTube or Spotify as opposed to newspapers where I can only read about music.

The media is tremendously important for musicians. They are able to upload videos to YouTube, have a Facebook page or a Twitter account. Fans can know when they have a new song or go on tour.

This time, instead of using expressions such as in my opinion, you can use:

in my experience

allow me to tell you what I do

I can’t speak about other people, but I

EXAMPLE:

Well, that’s a very complicated question but I will endeavor to answer. I usually get my information from the internet, although I know some people use TV, radio or newspapers. Usually, I join a Facebook page of a band I like, or follow them on Instagram. Naturally, I look at YouTube which is great because it suggests other music I may like. Therefore, I am able to hear new artists. I’m not sure how much this affects how other people buy music. In my experience, I will buy music if I really like it, for example, downloading a song on iTunes. I can just buy the songs I like, so it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

This time we can use examples:

I’m not sure I know how to answer that because I don’t have enough information, however I can think of one example. I remember when Taylor Swift won an award for best video but Kanye West stopped her speech. This made a lot of people think very badly about him, so maybe they stopped buying his music.

Why Taylor Swift and Kanye West hate each other

I’m not sure I know how to answer that, but let me try. The media is tremendously important for musicians. They are able to upload videos to YouTube, have a Facebook page or a Twitter account. Fans can know when they have a new song or go on tour. I can’t speak about other people, but I rarely buy music anyway, just once in a blue moon.

Hyomin (T-ara) bất ngờ có mặt tại Nha Trang | Văn hóa | Thanh Niên

What a hard question, I may have to think about this … oh, I know, fans can follow their favourite singers on social media, such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. I usually get my information from the internet. I would be over the moon if a music star replied to my comment. On the other hand, if they don’t answer, some people may stop liking them.

The Shins - Simple Song (Live On Letterman) - YouTube

Well, that’s certainly a hard question. I really don’t know what other people in Vietnam do, but allow me to tell you what I do. I like to listen to English songs, to help me improve my language skills. My friends and I tell each other about English or American bands and we look up the words … the lyrics … to help us. I can give you an example. My teacher played a song in class by a band called The Shins, who are from USA. I quite liked the song although most of the words are very difficult to understand. I know one of my friends bought the last CD because he liked it so much.

US singer Kacey Musgraves slammed for sexualising Vietnamese ao dai by  wearing only top half of outfit | South China Morning Post

That’s a very complicated question. However, I can think of one singer who upset many people in Vietnam and Vietnamese people in USA. Do you know Kacey Musgraves ? She sings country music, which is not really my cup of tea, but that is not why she is famous. She wore an ao dai on stage, but only the top part … she didn’t wear the trousers. Many people thought this was so disrespectful. For me, I don’t think I would buy her records after this, even if I did like them.