IELTS: Please allow me to introduce myself …

28th January 2021

I Can't Get No....Oops! - Imgflip
Please allow me to introduce Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones

You never get a second chance to make a first impression

A killer, jaw-droppingly brilliant introduction will really impress your examiner as well as boosting your confidence during what, to be honest, is a nerve-racking experience, namely, the IELTS speaking test.

With that in mind, here’s some tips, advise, guidance, what you will, on how to set up your response.

Let’s take a real-life example. Last week I asked my class a simple question:

I am exhausted and need a holiday. Where should I go to in Vietnam ?

Most answers were pretty run of the mill albeit with the occasional L-FW and an idiom relating to cost (it does or doesn’t cost an arm and a leg). However, I had a former student sitting in, my Princess (you may read about her here, if you so wish: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/09/04/6420/

My Princess began her recommendation thus:

Mr Paul is looking quite exhausted because he has been working extremely hard, burning the candle at both ends, so he really needs a holiday to relax. Vietnam has visually-stunning scenery and beautiful beaches. Allow me to tell you about some of these places …

The class responded thus:

The Jaw Dropping, Head Nodding Truth About Authority - Lies Young Women  BelieveLies Young Women Believe

Their jaws all dropped ! However, take heart, a great introduction is, with a little practice, a piece of cake. What follows is a compendium of opening lines, introductions, and templates for you to use and adapt as you see fit.

As with all skills, start slowly then you can build up to more elaborate introductions.

Introductions:

Confident young indian muslim business woman wear hijab speak look at  camera, islamic arabic lady talk to webcam make video conference call job  interview record webinar online presentation in office Stock Video

That’s a very interesting question

Allow me to tell you about …

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 …

Well, that question is a bit of a sore point with me because …

More Advanced introductions, especially for Part 3:

Well, that’s a very complicated question …

Well, that’s a very complicated question but I will endeavor to answer

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 …

I’m not sure I know how to answer that because I don’t have enough information, however I can think of one example …

in my experience

allow me to tell you what I do

I can’t speak about other people, but I …

Family

Allow me to introduce my family to you. Firstly there is …

Food

I like many drinks however coffee is my favourite because …

Sai Gon has so many coffee shops, some are cheap while others can be quite expensive although they have a wide range of delicious coffee. Personally, I like going to …

As you may know, I’m a vegetarian. However, all my friends love fast food especially burgers and fries.

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.

Well, that’s a great question as I detest cooking. Having said that, I’m extremely lucky because in my neighbourhood, restaurants are ubiquitousfrom expensive sea food to affordable street food.

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.

Free time / hobbies / shopping

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 …

After a hard day of (working, studying, shopping) there’s nothing I like better than watching a great movie and I tend to enjoy action, horror and Marvel films the most.

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.

I have to confess that one of my passions is shopping, be it at a mall, a street market or online. As a young person, I adore buying clothes, though I have to restrain myself as many items cost an arm and a leg.

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 endsHaving 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.

Future plans

I’m not absolutely sure yet, but I plan to meet up with some friends and just hang out. We have all been so busy, we haven’t seen each other for ages. (for a long time).

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.

Well, I’m currently in my last year of high school, so this is a very pertinent question for me. Naturally, I can’t foresee the future however, I could offer some predictions though, of course, this is just my opinion.

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

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. 

Travel

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

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.

Activities

Make introductions for these questions:

Where would you like to visit ?

Who do you live with ?

Do you like your neighbourhood ?

What are you going to do this weekend?

Check out these movies with Black actors you will enjoy.

Tell me about your favourite film. A whole blog on this may be accessed here: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/04/06/ielts-mindset-why-do-you-like-the-film/

IELTS: Vocabulary boosting & fixed expression … there’s nothing I like more !

27th January 2021

IELTS Archives - Page 2 of 10 - IELTS Academic

No preamble, let’s just dive in; how to boost your lexical resources.

Firstly, replace all your basic verbs with ‘better’ ones, L-FWs as IELTS refer to them. Thus, fifteen of the most common English verbs:

  1. be
  2. have
  3. do
  4. say
  5. get
  6. make
  7. go
  8. know
  9. take
  10. see
  11. come
  12. think
  13. look
  14. want
  15. give

Activity 1: Assign three verbs to students (individually or in small groups). They must write a sentence (the more complex the better) utilising the substituted verb. Students can use a thesaurus for assistance.

Example: ‘give

I always donate my old clothes to charity.

Activity 2: Convert a simple sentence into a jaw-droppingly magnificent IELTS sentence, employing the whole spectrum of resources, by which I mean phrasal verbs, adverbs, LFWs, idioms etc.

30 signs you have WAY too many clothes

Example:

I always donate my old clothes to charity.

I have to confess that one of my passions is shopping, be it at a mall, a street market or online. As a young person, I adore buying clothes, though I have to restrain myself as many items cost an arm and a leg. Naturally, I accrue a vast wardrobe. From time to time I have a good sort out, sometimes being quite brutal. If I haven’t worn something for, say, two years, then I get rid of it. However, instead of simply throwing them away, or giving to siblings or cousins, I choose to donate to various charities such as UNICEF, Save The Children or Cancer Research. That way, I can contribute to improving the world.

Study the above example. Can you pick out the elements that differentiate this from a basic English class response ?

Write down new vocabulary and make a point of using new words.

Observe how points are introduced, and answers expanded.

How many phrasal verbs are you familiar with ? How about fixed expressions (here I added ‘From time to time‘) which brings us nicely to our next section …

Fixed expressions  

As far as I’m concerned // I can’t wait to … //

If there’s one thing that I (love, hate, detest) it’s … // I’m looking forward to … //

It may surprise you to learn that I … // It’s no surprise that … //

The first thing I’d going to do when I … // There’s nothing I like better than … //

Activity 3: Practice using these expressions

Example: After a hard day of teaching, there’s nothing I like better than watching a great movie. Only last night, I saw a fantastic film, ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’ by Aaron Sorkin who is a highly respected American writer.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 - Wikipedia
The Trial of the Chicago 7 movie review (2020) | Roger Ebert

IELTS: Getting across the line: how to boost your vocabulary, plus class games.

5th January 2021

A-levels: Dip in top grades as thousands get results - BBC News

Obviously, teachers don’t want to overwhelm the students with an unmanageable amount of new language. Far better to serve up bite-size pieces, then practice, practice and practice. When the language has become second nature to the students, move onwards and upwards.

The first step is to elevate your language; replace basic common or garden verbs with ‘better‘ ( that is, low-frequency) words.

For example, the verb ‘try’. Instead, we can have:

endeavour

To keep trying, not giving up, we can use:

persevere or persist

Let’s take these new words out for a spin:

This year, I shall endeavour to learn Vietnamese. I’ve tried before but gave up as it was simply too hard. However, this time I’m going to persevere.

Can you think of an idiom that could be used to show someone planning to work much harder ?

Noses Back To The Grindstone: What Will The New Academic Year Bring For Law  Students And Trainees? - Legal Cheek
This is the only clue I’m giving you !

Onwards and upwards:

buy:

purchase

get a qualification or certificate by hard work and study:

attain // achieve

to get something without the need for work or study:

obtain (you can obtain the application form in room 7A)

say / said:

exclaim // express // remark (add -ed to form past tense)

use:

utilise (utilize USA) / apply

to eat, consume or do a lot of something:

devour (He devoured the whole pizza by himself // She loves reading, she absolutely devours books)

Transform this simple sentence into something more IELTS-like:

Sarah said that if she gets an ‘A’, her father will buy her a new iPhone.

Tony says he wants to get a visa which he can buy at the UK Embassy, so he can use his English skills in London.

Mary really wants to buy the ‘Fargo’ box set. She said it was the best TV show in years and she plans to watch all the episodes in one day !

Free Photo | Happy young asian woman showing display of phone holding gift.
Fargo Season 3 DVD For Sale, Cheap Fargo Season 3 DVD Box Set
Fargo' Season 4 Trailer [Watch]: Chris Rock Has a Hat | IndieWire

Similarly, boost your lexical resources with regards to adjectives.

basic:

fundamental // elementary

hard:

difficult // challenging

tasty:

delicious // mouth-watering // scrumptious

experience:

broaden my horizons // real-life knowledge // culture shock

20 Latina Travellers That You'll Love To Follow On Instagram!
From South America to Europe

Signpost language: (To help the listener or reader follow you)

Firstly / To begin with / I’d like to start by …

Secondly / additionally / another factor is …

What’s more / furthermore / not forgetting

Obviously / clearly / it is evident that …

Moving on / I’d like to change the topic / Let’s turn to …

Finally / all in all / all things considered

IELTS Online Study Material - Sample test, Practice books, Masterclass -  Check here! | IDP Nepal

Class Games:

Put students into small teams. One teams challenges the other(s) to form a sentence using as many new L-FWs as they can. Award bonus points for the appropriate use of idioms or fixed expressions.

Students challenge each other to find a L-FW for a basic, prosaic verb or adjective. Teams are allowed a fixed time, say one minute, and are allowed to use a thesaurus such as here:

https://www.thesaurus.com/

Then the group has to use the new word in an IELTS-style sentence by which I mean, an introduction, a signpost word or phrase and, obviously, a suitable idiom (examples – ‘put’, ‘big’, ‘interesting’, ‘watch’, ‘boring’, ‘eat’)

Teams are given a mix of L-FWs, idioms & signpost language. After a short preparation time, they have to construct an inspiring, fascinating and jaw-droppingly brilliant sentence. Piece of cake, n’est ce-pas ?

One student from each group starts answering an IELTS question (travel, food, study, neighbourhood). At a given point, the teacher stops the student and another group has to continue, and so on. Monitor the correct utilisation of signpost language as well as fluency, not forgetting the all-important pronunciation features.

Quick Fire / Rapid Fire Round

Rapid Fire Round GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

What is the correct word:

To get a certificate after study ?

Delicious food is …

London is brass monkeys in January so _______ bring warm clothes.

A L-FW for ‘use’

Strange behaviour – he is acting _______

Istanbul is famous for its covered market, known as a __________

Nose, jaw, mouth … use these features in phrases

Moving from Europe to Asia will undoubtedly result in a degree of ________ _____.

The unspeakably greedy child ______ all the doughnuts !

Actor Mark Hamill basically disagreed with everything in the film script.

Two words that mean to keep trying

To watch someone or something very closely

Two words for difficult

Signpost language to be used as a conclusion

Mark Hamill: I Fundamentally Disagree... - Star Wars - Tapestry | TeePublic
I have a bad feeling about this - Album on Imgur

IELTS: Planning a day out

16th December 2020

17 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Beijing | PlanetWare
The Imperial Palace and the Forbidden City, Beijing, China

A compilation of exercises for students to plan a day out for visitors to their city.

Firstly, an example demonstrating an IELTS-style structure:

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

I show them a plan:

Introduction / First good point / second good point / something negative / conclusion

I choose Hoi An

Hoi An: Vietnam's most charming city - Exoticca Blog

Introduction: DON’T answer immediately but introduce the answer by rephrasing (paraphrasing) the question:

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

First Good Point:

Firstly, Hoi An is a historical city with a wonderful Japanese bridge and lovely old shops. At night, the shops use romantic lanterns.

Second Good Point:

Hoi An is close to Da Nang, so I can fly there easily and quickly. There are many things to see and do in the local area.

Now, something negative

HoweverHoi An is very small and can be extremely crowded in summer. Maybe it will be difficult to find a hotel or a table at a good restaurant.

Conclusion

In my opinion, Hoi An is a very special place to visit because it is a town of Vietnamese culture.

How to build sentences:

Use adjectives to describe nouns (beautiful, historic, romantic)

adverbs to describe adjectives and verbs – give more information (very, easily)

opinion phrases (in my opinion)

linking words to connect positive to positive or positive to negative – discourse markers (however, furthermore, consequently, therefore)

reasons and examples why an action is being done (because) or such as

For IELTS students, ALWAYS think how you can use an idiom e.g.

I have been burning the candle at both ends, so I really need a break

I only take a holiday once in a blue moon

Travelling can be extremely expensive, but a bus ticket to Da Nang, although time-consuming, doesn’t cost and arm and a leg.

Now – your turn:

Where do you want to visit ? Where would you most like to visit ? This can be in Vietnam or anywhere … think BIG.

Women wearing Vietnamese ao dai granted an imperial favor
Hue
Getting Around Hanoi [2019] Guide to Get Around Hanoi for ...
Ha Noi
The History of the Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal, India
Where to Celebrate Day of the Dead in Mexico
Day of the Dead, Mexico

Activity:

Present a holiday using a mixture of advertising slogans and practical information. Remember:

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it

Make your voice sound excited, as if this were the best holiday ever ! You have to use intonation and stress.

Holiday terms:

transfers / half-board / all -inclusive / amenities / package tour / itinerary /

Language:

breathtaking / visually – stunning / sensational / incredible / remarkable / exclusive /

once in a lifetime experience / never to be forgotten / unbeatable prices / book now to avoid disappointment / best decision you’ll ever make

holidays to suit all budgets , from 7* luxury to backpacking

Structure:

To begin with / furthermore … additionally / the fact is … / therefore

Demonstration with an advert for London:

Let's visit London - презентация онлайн

Now is the perfect time to visit London, England’s glorious capital.

To begin with, the weather is perfect for walking, so you can enjoy the lush parks, world-famous museums and incredible, unbelievable shops such as Harrods, Selfridges and so many more. 

Furthermore, there is something for everyone … and more ! Like sports ? Go to one of the many Premier League football games. Love shopping ?

The fact is, everything is here – shop till you drop !

Additionally, if you adore culture – soak up hundreds of years of history.

Flights from TSN airport daily. Seven-day all-inclusive package tour starting from only 50m VND ! All transfers and transport included. Air-conditioned mini bus with Vietnamese-speaking guide.

Therefore, don’t delay … book TODAY !

Sell a holiday

Advertising vocabulary and intonation

Prepare a presentation to market / sell a holiday.

Review: New vocabulary

sensational / once in a lifetime / luxury / all-inclusive / unforgettable experience / mysterious / majestic / breathtaking / visually-stunning

book now to avoid disappointment / exhilarating / world-famous

local food / new cultures / visit our website / worth every penny

fun for all the family/ the perfect getaway /

Plan a tour of your city for my friend

Ethan Hawke Sticks Up For Texas, Reps Beto and Turns a Dead ...
My friend Ethan is coming to visit your hometown

It is his first time in your hometown. He likes history, traditional food, and he wants to buy souvenirs.

Think about:

What time to start

What to do first 

Logistics – how Ethan can get around the city (subway, bus, taxi, Grab or Uber)

Food – where to eat and what to choose. Remember, he only speaks English

Where to go (remember the heat OR the rain could be an issue / a problem).

Explain your choices

Try to incorporate (use) these adjectives:

interesting // historical // fascinating // authentic

typical // bustling // lively // thought-provoking

Mind map – Travel

I start by writing the word ‘travel’ on the board, and see how many avenues spread out from it. Start with the grammar; what type of word is it (noun) but it can be made into a verb (to travel, travelling) and the students should remember how to apply it to a person (traveller).

Then we have expressions such as ‘travel broadens the mind.’

We have this quote which introduces metaphor – the world as a book:

Then more pedestrian aspects of travel; how do we travel (transportation), preparation (booking tickets, hotels, visas etc), what do we bring with us (different clothes, sun cream, currency, sun glasses etc). How about culture shock ?

Next, what are the positive aspects of travelling (new cultures, fun, adventure, relaxation) and conversely, the negatives (delays, waiting in soulless airports, getting ripped off, tourist traps, bad hotels etc)

Pair work: students have to write a short passage using ‘although‘ and ‘despite‘ to encapsulate their travel experiences or wishes.

EXAMPLES: Although I absolutely love travelling, there are many drawbacks. Firstly, there is the cost; it can be incredibly expensive what with plane tickets and hotels not to mention having to eat out in restaurants. Despite these issues, travelling can be so relaxing or exciting, seeing new places and doing new things or simply as a break from our normal lives.

Vietnam has many beautiful towns and places of interest although I have only been to a few of them despite travel being relatively cheap in this country. We can fly everywhere within one or two hours, at very reasonable prices although some cheap airlines, such as Vietjet, are notorious for delays.

I have always wanted to visit Beijing in China which is not excessively far from Sai Gon. Despite that, I haven’t been because I am not sure about the visa and how expensive it would be to visit. Additionally, I hear some negative things such as terrible pollution and many tourist scams. Despite the drawbacks, I really want to see the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace and all the temples. Although Vietnam and China have a complicated relationship, most Vietnamese would agree that Chinese food is delicious.

These exercises help to increase vocabulary and confidence. Furthermore, the repetition helps to make the target language part of the students’ lexical resources.

As a break from the book work, I’ll show the class a vlog from YouTube, two tourists who come to Sai Gon and what they think of the city:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iw_K-1AmVk

How do the tourists feel about the city ? As residents, do you agree with the review ?

Students can discuss the video using the following language:

I agree totally // I agree to an extent // I disagree // I’m not entirely sure // No way ! They don’t know what they are talking about !

optimistic // uninformed // delusional // open-minded // enthusiastic

Group work: Prepare a guide to Sai Gon for tourists.

Allow students access to the class computer for Google images if required.

Include

What to see and do // where and what to eat // what to buy //

What they can do for entertainment

Travel tips

Safety and scams

Cultural differences – what should people do or NOT do in Vietnam ?

Use of interesting adjectives to describe the city centre.

Groups can then present to the class, with all students taking turns speaking. I shall be listening for relevance, pronunciation and use of expressions and discourse markers. Furthermore, I may learn some interesting tips.

 My friend Andy is coming to Sai Gon

Using ‘should’ to give advice or information, make suggestions for Andy.

He loves history … what should he visit or see ?

He loves traditional food … what should he eat ?

He can’t ride a motorbike … how should he travel ?

He likes a beer a night (!) … where should he go ?

My Thai friend is coming to Vietnam:

Image result for two thai ladies

Ms Namsum is young and energetic. She’s into (really enjoy) clubs, sightseeing and shopping.

I suggest she starts the day with a traditional bowl of pho then goes to Sai Gon centre. She can walk there from her hotel in District 1 or take a taxi (Vinasun or Malin ONLY). She will be out of the heat and has a lot of shopping choices and places to eat or grab a coffee. She could rest at her hotel in the afternoon, then go to Nguyen Hue walking street when it gets cooler in the evening. She has many restaurants in this area. Furthermore, there are many English-language menus. Finally, she can go to Bui Vien street where there are many clubs and bars, as well as many tourists speaking English.

What do they students think ? Is that a good plan ? Have I missed something important ?

Language to use:

I see your point

That’s a good idea but …

If I may make a suggestion …

I’m not sure that’s such a good idea.

For example – That’s a good idea but you haven’t thought about sightseeing.

Or

Bui Vien can be very noisy so I’m not sure that’s such a good idea for a young lady on her own.

Two of my friends, Tom and David who are both actors, are coming to Sai Gon. The students, in groups, have to arrange a fun day including sightseeing, shopping, eating and transportation. Then they have to compare their itineraries and exchange views and opinions. The students learn how to politely disagree with each and put forward their ideas and support their choices.

Image result for two english men
Tom and David

PLAN A DAY FOR TOM & DAVID

Where can they eat ?

What could they see or visit ?

How can they travel around ?

What can they buy as souvenirs ?

Where could they go at night ?

What safety advice would you give ?

What you need to know:

Both are 45-years old. They have good jobs and a good income. They like history and culture. They really enjoy good food and wine. Neither speaks any Vietnamese. They are too old for very loud clubs but they don’t mind having a few beers and maybe seeing some live music.

The students can make a presentation, and use the computer for images or maps to illustrate their plan. Then the other team can explain what they have organised, and the reasons why. I will decide which team has made the best choice.

Activity: Plan a day out for my friends.

Thay Paul with Tina and Michael.

I have two friends arriving in Sai Gon (or your city). They want a typical, authentic experience. Plan a day for them. It must include:

  • Breakfast
  • A museum
  • Somewhere for a snack
  • An interesting building or location
  • Lunch
  • Souvenir shopping
  • Something to do in the evening

Give tips and advice. 

How do they travel around ? 

What are their options and estimate the prices.

Try to use as much new vocabulary as possible, words and expressions.

Directions to Pham Ngo Lao Street District 1 // Directions to a city centre street.

Ask for help. Other must offer as much help – how to get there, the best way, the price, the dangers. Body language – distance, expression, intonation, eye contact etc

Is Sai Gon safe ?

Can you understand Vietnamese people speaking English ?

Do you agree with their points ?

Are there any words you didn’t understand ?

Do you have any bad experiences ? Tell the class your anecdote.

Hotels

Image result for hotel london

Word bomb– what do you think of when I say ‘hotel’ ?

Image result for hotel vocabulary

Checking in to a hotel

Vocabulary:

reception / lift or elevator / single or double room / king size bed or twins /

first floor / complimentary breakfast / key deposit / luggage storage / safe / mini bar

What would the conversation be ?

Reception: How may I help you / May I ask your name ? / Can I see your reservation code ? / That’s fine. You stay for three nights ? / May I have your passport, please ? / You’re in room 237. That’s on the second floor / Thank you. Sign here, please / Yes, the lift is just over there. / Naturally, as well as a hair dryer, coffee machine and mini bar. / Enjoy your stay.

Guest: Hello, we have a reservation / We booked a room online / My name’s ….. / Certainly, it’s on my phone. / Yes, that’s right. / Absolutely. / Correct. / Just a second; here you are./ Is there a lift ? / The second floor ? / Is there a safe in the room ? / Perfect. Thanks very much

Make a conversation. One student will be the reception, the other(s) a guest or guests.

Write your own conversation

You are in a hotel bar and you meet another guest. Start a polite conversation, but you have to use your English.

Image result for two people in a hotel bar

Greet each other

Why are you in this city ? (holiday or on business)

Offer to buy a drink (accept or decline – maybe you don’t drink alcohol)

How long are they staying ? What do they think of the hotel ? What can they do in the area around the hotel ?

Small group work

You are two married couples who meet on a tour and are staying at the same hotel OR you are on a business trip and meet some other business people.

Use the following sentences, as well as your own, to make a conversation. try to keep speaking for as long as possible by using small talk techniques (oh, really / that’s interesting / tell me more / what do you do exactly ? / where is that ? / Sounds interesting)

Image result for young people meeting in a hotel
Image result for people meeting in a hotel

My wife and I are delighted to meet you

Shall we go to the bar or cafe ?

Can offer name first (I’m Simon, what’s your name ?)

Would you fancy a drink … ?

Is there anywhere special to do here ?

Sorry, I have to get my head down, it’s been a long flight (I need to sleep).

My colleague and I were going out to eat.

I fancy a beer or something alcoholic 

Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t ask where you are from.

Reasonable (cheaper)

Would you like to join us ?

Peckish (little hungry)

What do you think of these hotel rooms ?

What do you think of the design ?

Would you like to stay in any of these ? Why, or why not ?

How much do you think they cost per night ?

Bangkok

Image result for cheap  hotel Bangkok

Korea

Image result for love hotel seoul

Ice hotel, Sweden

Image result for ice hotel sweden china

Backpacker hostel, Indonesia

Image result for overcrowded hostel

Subject Index: IELTS – themes, language, exercises

4th December 2020

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

Subject // Lesson // Date

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

IELTS classroom rules // What I expect from you // 7th August 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/08/07/ielts-what-i-expect-from-you/

IELTS classroom behaviour // An open blog // 14th January 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/01/14/to-my-ielts-students-an-open-blog/

IELTS: Final Review // 5th March 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/03/05/ielts-final-review/

IELTS: Mindset first day warm up // IELTS: Mindset // 23rd June 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/06/23/ielts-mindset-introduction-lesson/

IELTS Mindset 2: First Review // idioms, complex sentences, introductions, L-FWs) // 22nd December 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/22/ielts-mindset-2-first-review/

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/

Speaking Test Part 3 // IELTS: How to nail it // IELTS // 12th September 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/09/15/ielts-speaking-test-part-3-how-to-nail-it/

IELTS 5 – 6.5 // all lesson plans // 13th August 2019 – 15th March 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/category/ielts-5-6-5/

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

Australia // IELTS 5-6.5 // 21st August 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/08/15/ielts-5-6-5-i-come-from-a-land-down-under/

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

Electronic devises (Part 2 sample answer) // IELTS speaking exercise // 4th March 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/03/04/ielts-chunking-express-final-lesson/

Famous Vietnamese // (Ngô Thanh Vân, Vo Thi Sao) // IELTS Lesson 3 – May The Force Be With You // 14th January 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/01/14/ielts-lesson-3-may-the-force-be-with-you/

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, cities, neighbourhoods // IELTS 5 // 31st December 2018: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/01/03/ielts-5-reading-listening/

Hometown & neighbourhood // IELTS // My Hometown // 28th October 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/28/ielts-my-hometown/

Hometowns & neighbourhoods // new vocab and idioms // There are places // 6th 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

Mindset first day warm up // IELTS: Mindset // 23rd June 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/06/23/ielts-mindset-introduction-lesson/

Plan a day compilation activities // hotels, itineraries, travel vocabulary // IELTS // 16th December 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/16/ielts-planning-a-day-out/

Plan a day: What my friends can so in Sai Gon // IELTS 5-6.5 // 21st August 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/category/ielts-5-6-5/

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

Shopping // IELTS Speaking 4.5 // types of shopping // 7th January 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/01/06/ielts-4-5-speaking-class/

Shopping // IELTS-level exercises //IELTS, theme: shopping // 5th August 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/08/05/ielts-theme-shopping/

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

Tet Holiday // IELTS // 28th January 2019

Travel

Travel: airport to city centre // IELTS // 10th February 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/02/10/ielts-have-love-will-travel/

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: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/02/10/ielts-have-love-will-travel/

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 Games:

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

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

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

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

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

Friends (men) // Personality adjectives & occupations // 28th December 2018: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2018/12/28/friends-men-teaching-sheet/

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

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

Word Bomb // IELTS, Love it, hate it, not my cup of tea // 21st January 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/01/21/ielts-i-love-it-i-hate-it-its-not-my-cup-of-tea-its-ok/

Word Games // Getting across the line // 5th January 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/01/05/ielts-getting-across-the-line-how-to-boost-your-vocabulary-plus-class-games/

Films

Chungking Express (film) // IELTS // 16th April 2019 /// IELTS // 4th March 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/03/04/ielts-chunking-express-final-lesson/

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

Lost in Translation // IELTS // What do you like this film ? // 6th April 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/04/06/ielts-mindset-why-do-you-like-the-film/

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

Advanced idioms (chasing 8 1/2) // Get your motor running // 15th October 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/12/ielts-8-1-2-chasing-8-1-2/

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pronunciation & Listening Practice

Listening Practice // Listening skills: Tips & links: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/01/23/listening-skills-tips-and-links/

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 Practice: Read all about it (Obama, Trump, Biden, Abbot, Barcow) // 2nd November 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/02/speaking-practice-read-all-about-it/

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/

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

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

IELTS vocabulary boosting & fixed expressions // 27th January 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/01/27/ielts-vocabulary-boosting-fixed-expression-theres-nothing-i-like-more/

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

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

IELTS // Sentence building; a piece of cake (Mr Bean, Converse, Apple) // IELTS // 16th August 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/08/16/ielts-sentence-building-a-piece-of-cake/

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 (T-ara, 007, Tsai Ing-wen) // 30th April 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/04/30/ielets-mindset-complex-sentences/

IELTS complex sentences // It’s not that complicated // 24th May 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/05/24/ielts-complex-sentences-its-not-that-complicated/

IELTS complex sentences practice // 15th January 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/01/15/ielts-complex-sentences-practice/

IELTS complex sentences practice #2 // 18th January 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/01/18/ielts-complex-sentences-practice-2/

Bad Day – create a narrative // IELTS: Lesson 3 // 19th January 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/01/14/ielts-lesson-3-may-the-force-be-with-you/

Bad Student – create a narrative // IELTS Speaking Class 4.5 // 7th January 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/01/06/ielts-4-5-speaking-class/

Bangkok – create a narrative // 10th February 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/02/10/ielts-have-love-will-travel/

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

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

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

IELTS How to introduce your answer // 28th January 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/01/28/ielts-please-allow-me-to-introduce-myself/

IELTS // Quick-fire talking // Part 2 questions // 12th May 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/05/12/ielts-quick-fire-talking/

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

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

Match the phrase to the meaning // IELTS, Love it, hate it, not my cup of tea // 21st January 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/01/21/ielts-i-love-it-i-hate-it-its-not-my-cup-of-tea-its-ok/

Tet Holiday – create a narrative // IELTS: The limits of my language … // 28th January 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/01/28/ielts-the-limits-of-my-language-are-the-limits-of-my-world/

Vocabulary building // using L-FWs & signpost language // 5th January 2021: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2021/01/05/ielts-getting-across-the-line-how-to-boost-your-vocabulary-plus-class-games/

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

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: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/12/ielts-8-1-2-chasing-8-1-2/

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

Part 2 sample answer // Chungking Express // 4th March 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/03/04/ielts-chunking-express-final-lesson/

Phrases // IELTS // 21st January 2019

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

IELTS // Quick-fire talking // Part 2 questions // 12th May 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/05/12/ielts-quick-fire-talking/

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

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

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

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

Speaking Test Part 3 // IELTS: How to nail it // IELTS // 12th September 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/09/15/ielts-speaking-test-part-3-how-to-nail-it/

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

IELTS // Speaking exercises // small talk & making excuses // 12th May 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/05/12/ielts-speaking-exercises/

Video Clips

Vietnam on video Part 1 (3 clips: beer / weird culture / superstitions // Part 1 // 23rd October 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/23/vietnam-on-video-part-1/

Vietnam on Video Part 2 (Ha Noi & SG, Top Gear driving school, Floyd on pho) // 26th October 2020: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/26/vietnam-on-video-part-2/

Australian hero – Aussie slang // IELTS 5-6.5 // 21st August 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/08/15/ielts-5-6-5-i-come-from-a-land-down-under/

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: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/01/21/ielts-i-love-it-i-hate-it-its-not-my-cup-of-tea-its-ok/

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

Subject Index: English Vocabulary: Vocabulary building & exercises.

4th December 2020

Vocabulary building

Adjectives // Beginners’ English

Adult class (various) // Adult Class // 17- 19 December 2019

Business meetings // Business English: What’s on the agenda ? // 5th May 2020

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

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

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

Coffee shops // Adult Speaking Class, level 2

Colour association Signs // Young Learners, Level 4 // 1st June 2019

Come or go // Beginners’ English Part 4

Computer phrasal verbs // Young Learners 5 // 17th November 2019

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

Cultural differences (Ha Noi) // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3 // 24th April 2020

Drama films // Adult C, L 3 // 12th November 2019

Driving expressions // Beginners’ English

Emotions // Young Learners, Level 2 // 6th July 2019

Emotions //Beginners’ English: How do you feel ? // 17th March 2020

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

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

Expressions // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2

Film vocabulary // Beginners’ English /// Adult Speaking Class, level 2

Food // Adult Speaking Class, Level 1

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

Friends and occupations (photos) // Adult C, L 3 // 5th September 2019

General // Young Teens // 29th November 2018

I live in a … // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 4

IELTS // Film for IELTS // What do you like this film ? // 6th April 2020

IELTS // General // 19th February 2019

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

IELTS // Preparing for speaking test // 14th May 20202

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

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

IELTS // Music // 16th April 2019

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

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

IELTS // Phrases // 21st January 2019

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

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

Jobs // Asking about jobs // Young Teens // 21st February 2019

Low-frequency words // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3, Part 2

Low-frequency words // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3, Part 3

Low-frequency words // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3, Part 4 // 27th January 2020

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

Money expressions // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: luxury day // 12th March 2020

Opinion phrases // Young Learners 4 // 26th October 2019

Opinion phrases // Adult Speaking Class, level 3: Art // 13th April 2020

Shopping // Adult Speaking Class, level 2

To what extent … ? // Adult C, L 3 // 19th August 2019

Tourism language // Teenagers // 20th January 2019

Travel advert language // Adult Speaking Class, level 3: Holiday of a lifetime // 9th June 2020

Travel with new expressions // Adult Class, Level 1 // 26th February 2019

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

Vocabulary review // Adult Speaking Class, level 2

Vocabulary exercises:

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

Small talk, idioms, dialogue practice // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2 // 8th July 2020

Tourism presentation // Teenagers // 20th January 2019

Compilation of exercises:

https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/12/09/vocabulary-building-exercises/

This compilation includes:

Match new vocabulary with definitions then practice.

Personality adjectives

Relative pronouns

Small talk responses

Travel with new expressions

Travel – hotel guide

Travel – life in Sai Gon

What Difference Does It Make – definitions of similar words

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

IELTS: Be “industrious, hard-working, incredibly energetic” students

6th November 2020

IELTS Mindset 2 Unit 1:Listening

How to start turning standard English into IELTS-style answers

Tips:

Introduce your answer

Paraphrase the question

Use low-frequency words (LFW)

Think what idiom or expression is appropriate

Use intonation and stress

Speak fluently and pace yourself

For a database of idioms and IELTS – language you will need to know, click here:

https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/10/22/ielts-language-bank-idioms-and-l-fws-you-need-to-have-at-your-beck-and-call/

Example:

Last week we used these words:

city centre / industrial / residential / suburban

quite / safe / vibrant / boring / peaceful

bustling / gritty

Which adjectives could describe the four types of area ?

NEXT UP:

Speaking exercise – imagine you live in the first picture. Describe the neighbourhood and your life. However, when you get a high-paying job, you want to take out a mortgage and move to the second picture. Describe that neighbourhood.

New Barlinnie super-prison to be moved next to iconic Provan gasworks -  Glasgow Live
The Impact Of Covid-19 On Residential Living - London Belgravia Real Estate

NEXT UP:

Introducing and expanding your answer

Coffee Shop (Jin and Ru) | Cute korean girl, Ulzzang korean girl, Ulzzang  girl
Starbucks in Seoul: How the Seattle Chain Flooded South Korea

Do you like coffee ?

I like many drinks however coffee is my favourite 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.

NB (Latin – nota bene = note well, please read, important information)

  1. I didn’t answer immediately but introduced the question.
  2. Use of discourse markers to extend the answer
  3. Saying something positive and negative about the subject
  4. This was all one sentence – a complex sentence which you will need to start using in order to pass IELTS with flying colours

Try these:

  • Living in HCM
  • Free time
  • Working and studying.

New vocabulary

ubiquitous everywhere, very common

naïve innocent, inexperienced

stroll a gentle walk, for exercise (collocation: take a stroll)

a bazaar (noun) a permanent, covered market 

bizarre (adjective) very strange, unusual

absent-minded extremely forgetful

sky-high, astronomical very expensive, maybe too expensive

predictable it is possible to guess the answer, people doing the same thing

hawkers

Street _______ are common in Vietnam, and they are _________ in District 1. It is nearly impossible for a westerner to take a ________ without being approached. Some claim to sell Ray Bans or designer sunglasses, but you would have to be extremely ________ to believe they are genuine ! They are all fake, probably made in China. Many people try to _____(collocation) money by selling to tourists especially around Ben Thanh Market, a kind of _______, though this is strictly for tourists as the prices are ____________ !

Pronunciation Practice

First time in Viet Nam – First impressions of Viet Nam

A vlog by Divert Living, posted just over two years ago and which has already received more than a million hits:

[American English accent]

Try 04:44 – 04:53

” … and I asked them, ‘How much is aqua (water) ?’ Aqua’s fifteen thousand, beer’s twenty thousand … of course I’m gonna get the beer, now … it’s just as expensive as the water.”

09:00 – 0913

“Fun fact, Vietnamese cuisine is considered one of the healthiest cuisines in the world … and, to go with the food, the size of the dining tables and chairs are super small.”

IELTS: My hometown

28th October 2020 Mindset 2 Unit 1: Speaking

My Little Town - Wikipedia

A new class, new students, so let’s hit the ground running, get the students mixing, talking to each other and up from their seats. I prepared a questionnaire. They have to interview different classmates and learn a little about them

Gather information about your classmates

QuestionNameResponse
Why are you studying IELTS ?
Where would you most like to visit and why ?
Would you like to live abroad ?
What is the hardest thing about learning English ?
How do you solve this ?
How often do you use English ?

Do you read, write or speak at school or at work ?
What do you most like about western culture or
countries ?
What idioms do you know ? 

This lead into the idiom it’s raining cats and dogs which most students had heard (it means raining heavily).

Today’s lesson is based on types of housing and areas; some extra terms:

gritty / industrial

quite / safe / residential

boring / peaceful / suburban

bustling / vibrant / city centre

Which would you apply to these:

underthepier,southwold/alternative arcades

All photos are from the UK

Ask each other about your hometown or your neighbourhood.

What do you like about your neighbourhood ?

What don’t you like ?

Explain why you don’t like something.