British Food part 2: Sample answers for IELTS

29 September 2020.

Part 1: Have you ever tried western food ?

Well living in a big city, I have a wide choice of food, including American and European cuisine. Fast food restaurants are ubiquitous so I have eaten, for example, burgers, KFC and pizza, which is my favourite.

In my opinion, younger people like western food. I often hang out with my friends at a mall and then grab a bite. It can be quite quick and very tasty. The restaurants are fun because they are colourful, have music and many happy people.

Having said that, fast food, especially burgers and fried chicken, is very unhealthy. There isn’t much salad. My mother, who is a great cook, doesn’t want me eating this food but I feel that it is OK if I only eat it occasionally.

Another point is the price. As a student, I think pizza costs an arm and a leg. It is so expensive compared to local street food. When I eat at, say, Pizza Hut, I usually order the sea food because it’s, I guess, better for me that the four-meat special !

Naturally there is a lot of western food that is mouth-watering and nutritious. Unfortunately, I haven’t tried much although I did go to an Italian restaurant once, when my uncle, who lives in Ha Noi, came to visit. I had spaghetti and meat balls, with a beautiful fresh salad and … allow me to add … a small glass of red wine. I would love to eat more western food, especially in a nice restaurant but that only happens once in blue moon.

More sample answers in the next blog. Happy eating

IELTS: It’s all relative – relative clause practice

1st July 2020

As I continuously tell my students, being able to form complex sentences, and then say them fluently, is key to passing IELTS.

One way to make longer sentences, as well as introducing subordinate clauses, is to become a master of …

Relative Pronouns

Academic Calendar & Bulletin - AUW | AUW

This lady, who wants to work in Australia, is studying hard for her IELTS.

who For people: This is the man who sold me the fake Rolex ! 

which For things: We tried fish and chips which is delicious.

where For places: Let’s go to the shop where we saw the great bargains.

Whose Possessive: That’s the singer whose record we heard last night.

The Italian car, whose driver was young, won the race.

Young Tasmanian racing driver Alex Peroni on track for European ...

Exercises

We arrived at a nice beach ______ we could swim and lie in the sun.

A man ______ mobile phone was ringing did not know what to do.

The patient, ______ had a serious disease, was taken to hospital immediately.

Smithsfield is a small village ______ people live a quiet life.

The boy ____ sister is in my class was in the bank at that time.

I know a person ____ can speak seven languages.

We visited the church _____ is in the middle of the square.

It is a protected area of land _____ you can see a lot of interesting wildlife.

This dress is made of silk, _____ is a very expensive and delicate material.

A police officer, _____ car was parked at the next corner, stopped and arrested them.

Silent Era : Progressive Silent Film List

Go that extra mile – extra practice

IELTS, which can be very challenging, tends to be rather formulaic by which I mean it follows a pattern. Students can pretty much predict, with a fair degree of certainty, the type of subjects they will be expected to encounter.

With that in mind, try making complex sentences about these people:

Is this what the west is really like?' How it felt to leave China ...

Name: Ms Chen // Age: 19 // From: China // Lives: London // Studies: Business.

Ms Chen, who is studying Business in London, is 19 and originally from China.

Originally from China, Ms Chen, who is 19, is currently living in London, studying Business.

NOW … YOUR TURN

Meet The 42 Most Popular Men On JSwipe – The Forward

Name: Adam // Age: 24 // From: Israel // Lives: New York // Job: Writer for a magazine and blogger

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor t-ara boram kpop wiki

Name: Boran // Age: 34 // From: South Korea // Likes: drawing manga // Job: singer, rapper and dancer

Close Up Cool Young Black Guy Listening To Music With Headphones ...

Name: David // Age: 28 // From: Leicester, UK // Passion: Music // Plans: To live in LA and record a CD

IELTS Review: The basics you should know before your test.

25th June 2020

Want to migrate or move to the UK for work? | IDP IELTS

IELTS

Useful words and expressions

All IELTS students should have these words and expressions in their vocabulary, and be able to use them confidently and correctly.

Adjectives

absent-minded / eye-catching / mouth-watering / second-hand

ubiquitous / sky-high / visually stunning / spectacular / 

10 Best Korean Restaurants in Singapore: BBQ, Bibimbap & Fried ...
How would you describe this Korean food ?
THE BEST Tiong Bahru (Singapore) Hotels with Free Parking of 2019 ...
The prices at this Singapore hotel are …
19 Best Coffee Shops in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City - Back Of The ...
Coffee shops in Sai Gon are …

Adverbs

quite / rather / somewhat

considerably / significantly / remarkably / undeniably

 

Asia's Most Visited Countries
The number of tourists visiting China is … more than those visiting Vietnam

Discourse Markers 

Additionally / as well as / furthermore / moreover

Therefore / consequently

On the other hand / having said that / although / despite 

Top 10 Most Beautiful Korean Girls In The World
Describe this Korean lady using at least two discourse markers.

Expressions / chunking phrases

At the end of the day / Am I pronouncing that correctly ?

Turn a blind ear / it fell on deaf ears

Friends and family / According to …

Same thing, day in, day out / You get what you pay for / a waste of money

Bored Office Worker, Annoyed Businessman At Workplace Stock Photo ...
How does this man feel about his job ?

Like / Dislike

Like:

I absolutely love … / I’m crazy about … / I (really) like / I’m into / I haven’t heard (seen/read) this before, but I think it’s great / I’m a big fan of … / I’m quite keen on /

No strong opinion:

I don’t mind / I have mixed feelings about …/ It’s OK / I don’t really have any strong views / feelings either way

Dislike:

I hate / I can’t stand / I don’t really like / I think it’s awful / I detest / I’m not a big fan of … / I’m not that keen on …

What do you think of:

T-ara - K-POP
T-ara from South Korea
India Capable Of Winning All ICC tournaments, Says Brian Lara ...
The sport cricket
Everyday items, Street litter 3D Models 2nd_World
Litter, trash, rubbish on the streets

To buy time

Photo of thinking young asian beautiful woman posing isolated over ...
Remember … never leave silence; use these time-fillers:

That’s a good / interesting question

Let me think …

Well, I would say …

How can I put it … ?

Sentence building

Use adjectives to describe nouns

adverbs to describe adjectives and verbs – give more information

opinion phrases

linking words to connect positive to positive or positive to negative

reasons why an action is being done

I like coffee

Winston the Wolf enjoys Jimmie's coffee as Jules and Vincent look ...

I like coffee so much because it tastes great and makes me wake up although too much will stop me from sleeping at night but, in my opinion, the benefits far out weigh the disadvantages.

Using Relative Clauses

who For people: This is the man who sold me the fake Rolex ! 

which For things: We tried fish and chips which is delicious.

where For places: Let’s go to the shop where we saw the great bargains.

Whose Possessive: That’s the singer whose record we heard last night.

The car, whose driver was young, won the race.

Exercises

We arrived at a nice beach ______ we could swim and lie in the sun.

A man ______ mobile phone was ringing did not know what to do.

The patient, ______ had a serious disease, was taken to hospital immediately.

Smithsfield is a small village ______ people live a quiet life.

A boy ____ sister is in my class was in the bank at that time.

I know a person ____ can speak seven languages.

We visited the church _____ is in the middle of the square.

It is a protected area of land _____ you can see a lot of interesting wildlife.

This dress is made of silk, _____ is a very expensive and delicate material.

A police officer _____ car was parked at the next corner stopped and arrested them.

Listening Websites: A list with links can be found on this page:

https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/01/23/listening-skills-tips-and-links/

IELTS Mindset: Preparing for the speaking test.

14th May 2020

As usual, I use bold font to highlight words, expressions and idioms that students can learn and then use in their everyday speech. Remember, some expressions are only used in some situations, but an IELTS instructor will always notice an attempt to use a wider variety of English.

Những lầm tưởng về IELTS Speaking - AMERICAN STUDY

Next week, one of my IELTS classes has their speaking test therefore this blog will help, I sincerely hope, to prepare them, and enable them to achieve a commendable result.

With that in mind, tonight’s class will just be practice, practice and … more practice.

I try to relax my students by telling them that passing IELTS is easy (that normally gets their attention). I have to elaborate; IELTS is easy because they

TELL YOU WHAT THEY WANT TO HEAR

Namely, vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation and para linguistics (body language, eye contact, stress, intonation, rhythm) and fluency (the ability to speak without overlong pauses) as well as answering the question relevantly.

Let’s break that down:

Vocabulary: low-frequency words // idioms // expressions //

Structure: complex sentences employing discourse markers and clauses

Let’s kick off with complex sentences. Here’s a link to a previous blog regarding just that subject; there are a number of exercises for students to practise:

https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/04/30/ielets-mindset-complex-sentences/

Now some tips on using various expressions and phrases to introduce and close your speech. Again, this is from a previous blog (IELTS 12th May 2020):

https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/05/12/ielts-quick-fire-talking/

The above blog gives an example of answering a question about laptops, then allows students to compose their own response on subjects of their choice.

Finally, here are some expressions that can be used to ‘spice up’ a student’s talk as they are all everyday phrases though some will be UK-specific as they are part of the common culture:

Not my cup of tea = a polite way of saying you don’t like something.

I can take it or leave it = have no strong feelings about something.

I’m really into it = like or love something very much.

It does what it says on the tin = something that does the job, no more, no less (this is from a UK TV commercial).

Does exactly what it says on the tin - Story behind the logo

Vocabulary game:

To pracise using low-frequency words, put students in teams, giving each team a set of IELTS words (or phrases, idioms). They have a set time, maybe a minute, to use as many as they can, speaking about any subject they choose.

Some students may prefer to be given a set topic, so choose typical general subjects such as shopping, food, their city or country, free time etc.

Words and expressions are:

ubiquitous // somewhat // not my cup of tea // significant or significantly // I can take it or leave it // exhausting // challenging // miserable // having said that // I’m keen on // all in all // consequently // allow me to explain // eventually // thrilling // put up with

Vocabulary booster

Find low-frequency words for these adjectives:

boring // repetitive // tiring // interesting // relaxing

Break A Leg: What Does "Break A Leg" Mean? | Useful Example ...

IELTS (Mindset): Why do you like the film ?

6th April 2020

A typical IELTS question could be:

Talk about a film you like. Why do you like it, and what is the story ?

The 15 Most Moving Film Endings in Cinema History | Taste Of ...
Cinema Paradiso 1988 Italy

This blog will serve as a model to IELTS students to help with their speaking and writing skills.

IELTS has lots of ‘open’ questions, to enable the student to speak freely on subjects about which they feel comfortable.

In my last online lesson, I mentioned a film that I though a student would like, as she had chosen to speak about Scarlett Johannsson.

Loạt vai diễn làm nên tên tuổi Scarlett Johansson - VnExpress Giải Trí

The film in question is ‘Lost In Translation‘. Here is a little piece about the film.

Lost in Translation (2003)
An iconic shot from the opening of the film

NOTE:

Short introduction – do not answer the question immediately

Organised structure – one point per paragraph

A change of attitude – a critical view

Short conclusion

LOOK OUR FOR

Low-frequency words

Complex sentences – combining two or more bits of information in the same sentence.

Discourse markers – words to link ideas together

Adverbs and less common adjectives

So, without further ado, the question:

Talk about a film you like. Why do you like it, and what is the story ?

Lost In Translation - Tiếng thở dài của những tâm hồn lạc lối

INTRODUCTION – 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.

First paragraph. Information about the film and the main charcters.

The film, directed by Sophia Coppola, daughter of Francis Ford Coppola, was made in 2003, and takes place in Tokyo. A young, newly-married girl, named Charlotte, is alone in her hotel because her husband is constantly out working. Staying at the same hotel is a middle-aged, world-weary American actor, Bob Harris, in Japan to make a commercial for Japanese whiskey.

Second paragraph. The plot – what happens … and why.

Both characters appear to be suffering from culture shock and seem afraid to leave the security of the hotel. For example, despite seeming to be impressed by all the neon and energy of the city, Bob spends his night in the hotel bar with other tourists, while Charlotte reads and listens to music in her room.

Third paragraph. Develop the plot.

They meet in the hotel where age difference notwithstanding, they seem to get on extremely well, extremely quickly. Furthermore, they give each other energy and courage to venture outside. We learn that Bob is less than happy in his current life, while it becomes apparent that Charlotte is doubting her own marriage. At one point it look like they will get together. However, Bob decides to go back to the USA, leaving Charlotte, but not before they share an embrace on the street, in which Bob whispers something in her ear. We, that is the audience, do not get to hear what he said; we have to speculate.

Fourth paragraph: Something negative for balance.

Some people could be irritated that the final words are a mystery, other could be severely disappointed by this love story that never quite happens. The two protagonists return to their lives which will, possible, be unfulfilling. This negativity is like a black cloud on an otherwise bright, sunny day.

Conclusion: A short summary.

‘Lost in Translation’ is described as a romantic-comedy-drama. The characters are totally believable and likeable, while, technically, the cinematography is stunning. Furthermore, in my view, it is a charming, heart-warming, and life-affirming movie.

35mm Contest #22] Lost In Translation (2003) Cho Thời Gian Ngơi ...

IELTS 5 – 6.5. Writing example

15th March 2020

Image result for ielts

As I constantly inform my students, IELTS is not a typical English class … it is IELTS English by which I mean, students have to demonstrate a command of the language that includes a wide range of vocabulary, the confidence to speak fluently, the correct stress and intonation to keep your listener engaged, the ability to form complex sentences and link them with appropriate discourse markers. Additionally, a knowledge of how English is REALLY spoken, to wit, sounding like the student has been interacting with real native-speakers, not merely repeating verbatim from a text book, is a must.

Piece of cake, no ? (an English idiom – you will need to learn some basic expressions, phrases and idioms to make your spoken language more natural and interesting).

OK, let’s break it down. IELTS requires a lot of work, study and practice. Students that come to my class expecting to kick back and be entertained are in for a shock, and then some. As such, I will not be defining the idioms I employ in this blog, e.g. Piece of cake – YOU will have to look them up yourself.

Image result for ielts getting started

Don’t worry, young lady, I’m here to help you. Having said that, if you’ve been on a three-month course and you’ve left it to the last week to study … then you will probably fail, and deservedly so. Yes, life in the IELTS lane is tough, it’s dog eat dog (though ‘devour’ would be a more IELTS-friendly word than ‘eat’).

Where to start ?

OK, IELTS wants what they term ‘low-frequency’ words. Basically, look at your English; replace any basic adjective or verb or indeed noun, with a ‘better’ word, a word that would be used by the higher-educated native speaker. Your best tool here is a thesaurus of which there are many online, or downloadable for free.

Image result for thesaurus

It works thus: Let’s start with a very basic adverb ‘very’. This is too simplistic for IELTS, so type in the word and click enter.

A number of words will appear. As above, the darker-shaded words are what the computer’s algorithm indicate would be more suitable, while giving additional options in lighter shades.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating – so let’s try it: rewrite these sentences using low-frequency words:

I think Bangkok a better destination than Chiang Mai

She bought a cheap bag

The film was good

Stage Two

Linking ideas with discourse markers. I give all my students a print-out of common words and expressions that must be consulted and utilised. I hope that all my students take them home and study them religiously. Conversely they may use the paper to line the bottom of a bird cage. In all reality, the majority of students say, ‘Thank you,” have a glance, put said sheet in their bag and forget all about it. Consequently, several weeks later, the students are still resorting to ‘and’, ‘but’ with a possible ‘however’.

You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make the horse drink

Discourse Markers

Image result for discourse markers
I recommend my students learn at least two from each section.

Adverbs are incredibly powerful and so easily inserted into everyday text

I worked at another large and prestigious language centre, and had the pleasure of marking some essays by teenagers. From twelve pieces of ‘writing’, I found only ONE adverb.

Adverbs add information and interest to your language, but my students seem to avoid them like the plague. They may deign to insert a ‘very’ to please me … but it doesn’t ! I expect, nay, DEMAND more.

Without further ado

An example. IELTS will give students a very open-ended subject and then expect a well-constructed piece of writing, or fluent, coherent speech upon said subject, with no deviation, hesitation or repetition. It is a chance for the student to perform a solo, to demonstrate how much they have learnt and studied … or otherwise … generally it is ‘otherwise’.

Image result for reap what you sow

Time for an anecdote. I was teaching one class, and endeavouring to give them ample opportunity to speak and practice English. Nobody spoke. If I selected some students, they would make an appalling act of not having heard the question, or to answer in a single word. Some students even began laughing that teacher was asking the class but nobody was responding. Hilarious … but he who laughs last, laughs longest. I decided this class was a waste of my time (because it WAS a waste of my time) and left them to their fate … CUT TO some weeks later, it’s the day of their speaking test … suddenly, they are running up to me for help, “What should I say ?”, “I don’t know what to do”, “I’m going to fail.” Temptation was to tell them where to go ( that is an expression that does NOT imply direction !), but I gave them what help I could in the minute I could spare. Needless to say … most of the class were disappointed with their score, and no doubt, upon arrival at the family nest, were met were screams and derision. And no doubt they put the blame squarely where it belongs … on the foreign teacher !

The concluding line was an example of irony. I’m not going to tell you what irony is, look it up for yourself ! Do you want a fish or a fishing rod and knowledge of how to catch your own fish ?

Image result for give a man a fish

So now, a fairly run-of-the mill IELTS question:

Tell me about your favourite gadget

This piece is, as one would expect, quite lengthy and jam-packed with information and detail. I don’t expect you to write or speak at this level … but I expect you to TRY.

As you read, look out for:

Low-frequency words

adverbs

adjectives

discourse markers

complex sentences (sentences which coney more than one piece of information)

expressions, phrases and idioms

THEN – practice reading aloud. Not just once and, “Teacher, finished,” but again … and again … and again. Yes, this is not entertainment but it WILL help you get the score you want from IELTS

Image result for kindle fire

My Kindle

One of my favourite electronic devices is my Kindle, an ebook reader, which is small and light. I always take it with me when I travel; I’d be lost without it.

The Kindle is primarily a way to buy, store and read books in electronic format. At first, I wasn’t convinced; I liked reading real books. However, books take up a lot of space and, at least in the UK, are rather expensive. When I saw what a Kindle can do, and that so many books are free, I was hooked ! I had to get one. I bought my device in 2014 and I’m still using it today.

As mentioned, I use my Kindle for reading. Literature, including poetry, is one of my passions. Instead of going to a shop, I just browse the online store, click and wait for it to download. With reasonable wifi, this can just take a minute or so … then I can start reading. It is no surprise that ebooks are ubiquitous in the UK.

Although I read a lot, the Kindle is more than just an ebook. It has wifi so I can access the internet, can play music, write notes and play games.

The wifi is vital, especially when I travel. I can maintain contact with friends and family, watch YouTube if the hotel TV is less than enthralling, or read travel guides such as Trip Advisor. Naturally, I can also book tickets or make reservations and therefore pay significantly less.

I recently travelled to Thailand to meet some friends. I didn’t want to buy a new SIM card, and my friend only had an old phone, so there was a dilemma; how to stay in touch ? Thanks to my Kindle, I had email access, so we could plan when and where to meet. 

I can’t watch Vietnamese TV, due to the language barrier. Consequently, the Kindle plays an even bigger part of my life, as I need some way to relax after toiling away for hours at work.

The choice of books is amazing. In the stores, a single book can cost around £10, but recently I downloaded the entire output of the Russian write Tolstoy for less than £1.50 … incredible !

Kindles come in many shapes and sizes, so before you buy, you need to ascertain how you’ll be using it. For example, do you want a basic ebook reader, just for books, or the latest model with wifi ? This will, naturally, affect the cost. Then you have to decide upon the extras, for example how much storage space do you require, or a super-fast charger or protective case ? All of these bump the price up considerably.

If you’re interested in purchasing one, I have some information for you. I did a quick Google search and saw prices started at under 2 million VND, averaged around 5 million, but some were over 15 million. That, for me, is too extravagant.

In conclusion, my Kindle is very much a part of my life. It accompanies me everywhere. I simply don’t know what I would do without it.

Now … YOUR TURN

Write a piece about YOUR favourite gadget, using the above as a model

Best of British to you