Adult Speaking Class, Level 3 / IELTS: English expressions

25th August 2020

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

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

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

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

Expressions / idioms

Ring any bells ? // do you remember //

More or less // not exactly but approximately

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

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

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

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

Tongue in cheek // not being serious about something

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

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

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

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

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

Go ahead // sure, do it

Under one roof // everything in one place

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

Through Thick and Thin (2015)

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

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

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

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

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

on your bike // go away !

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Knock off / to finish work

knock it off // stop doing that !

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

Well chuffed // extremely happy

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

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

Collocations

To run a business

To conduct / carry out a survey

Can I have a word with you / a quick word

Do you have minute ?

Voting with their feet

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

A victory for common sense

I’m none the wiser

On the button / on the money

get the hang of it

scraping the barrel

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

Negotiation Language

Negotiation Table Stock Photos And Images - 123RF

I fail to see the relevance

I don’t see how that applies

That’s as maybe

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

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

I beg to differ

I appreciate that

You raise an interesting point

Having said that

Interesting that you say that

I think / feel that

In my opinion

I take issue with that

I don’t know about that

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

21st August 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Try answering these questions:

What job did the woman have ?

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

Is the man leaving the woman ?

Does the woman still love the man ?

What does the woman want to do ?

And now, the full lyrics:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THANK YOU TO THE SONGWRITERS, THE BAND AND THE PUBLISHERS

IELTS: writing & speaking practice

19th August 2020

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

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

Speaking topic:

What do you do in your free time ?

[Suggested answers after photos]

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

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

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

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

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

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

Speaking topic:

What food is popular in your country ?

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

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

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

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

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

Speaking topic:

What country would you like to visit ?

Mô hình thi IELTS dành cho du học sinh New Zealand

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

IELTS in the USA

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

IELTS: Sentence building – a piece of cake !

16th August 2020

Idiom - A piece of cake - Funky English

I have written another blog about complex sentences which you can access here:

https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/05/24/ielts-complex-sentences-its-not-that-complicated/

Complex sentences, which you will need to get a respectable IELTS score, are actually quite simple to form as they merely require two or more pieces of information in one sentence.

Ms Jane is from Seattle which is the biggest city in Washington state, USA.

We know where Jane is from as well as something about the city of Seattle

Mr Bean, who is played by the actor Rowan Atkinson, is extremely popular and tremendously successful, being shown all over the world, not forgetting his appearance at the London Olympics in 2012.

This example has been extended by adding more adverbs and adjectives. We know the actor’s name, how popular he is, as well as learning that he was part of the UK Olympics and when that was.

Mr. Bean Live Performance at the London 2012 Olympic Games - YouTube

Let me give you an example, then set you on your way to practice which, as you know, makes perfect.

A typical IELTS question is:

Tell me about something you want to buy.

I’ve drilled it into my students, some of whom, but by no means all, actually listen to me, to always introduce your answer; never answer directly

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

That’s a very interesting question

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

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

Last week, someone mentioned wanting to buy a pair of Converse trainers so let’s start there:

Converse Chuck Taylor® All Star® Leather Hi | Zappos.com

It’s funny you put that question to me because earlier today I was just thinking about what I would buy if I had the money.

I have my heart set on buying a pair of Converse, which is an American company with a star logo, who make very fashionable footwear.

To make the sentence more interesting, as well as complex, I simply stated the country, the logo and what they produce … piece of cake, hey ?

OK, your turn … write a complex sentence about these products. Additionally, practice writing different types of introductions.

Best of British (good luck !):

Apple rumored to announce 'iPhone 12' in October, Apple Watch and ...
Apple 12 … What can you tell me about Apple ?
Ralph Lauren grey Big Pony Logo Polo Shirt | Harrods UK
Ralph Lauren shirt. Where is the company from, what is their logo. Are they cheap ?
Line up: the Ferrari official car range
Ferrari sports car
Organ Yamaha PSR-S670 – Hữu Phước Music
Yamaha keyboard.

If Thay Paul had the money …

Rickenbacker 330 Left-Handed, Jetglo at Gear4music
“… such stuff as dreams are made on.”
Steampunk Cavalier | Shakespeare quotes, Shakespeare quotes life ...

IELTS: Speaking Practice

10th August 2020

To pass IELTS with flying colours you need to use low-frequency words, idiomatic language, discourse markers AND speak with natural intonation, stress and rhythm.

This means PRACTICE, PRACTICE & PRACTICE

TwoSet Violin Perfects Their Practice

So, without further ado, complete these idioms:

Once in _______________

Put (my, your etc) _______________     to the ______________

Burn (ing) __________________   at ______________

It’s raining _____________________

It costs ___________________________

Piece ________________

Now use them in a sentence:

A 4star hotel in Singapore _______________________ (very expensive)

Wear boots and a coat; it’s been ____________________ (very bad weather)

He parties all day and night! He can’t ________________ forever. (doing something for too many hours)

She is not academic, she’ll read a book ______________ (hardly ever).

If you are serious about IELTS, you’ll need to _____________________ (start working much harder).

Now – give me an adverb and a low-frequency word

EXAMPLE:

Teaching unmotivated students is terribly tedious.

Lazy Student Quotes, Quotations & Sayings 2020

Thai food is ______________ _______________

(very tasty)

After failing her test, she was _________ _________

(very sad)

Marvel films are _____________ _______________

(very popular)

My poor old grandma is getting ___________ _______

(very forgetful)

Practice saying these for correct intonation

Swami Vivekananda quote: Everything is easy when you are busy. But ...

Speaking Practice – use discourse markers to extend your speaking and to link ideas.

Try to use: although / consequently / therefore

Describe something you own which is very important to you. 

You should say: 

where you got it from

how long you have had it

what you use it for

explain why it is important to you. 

  • You will have to talk about the topic for 1 to 2 minutes. 
  • You have one minute to think about what you’re going to say. 
  • You can make some notes to help you if you wish. 

Rounding off questions 

  • Is it valuable in terms of money? 
  • Would it be easy to replace? 

This could be a physical object, a memento with sentimental value, or an abstract noun such as health, happiness etc.

Small talk …. Try to talk for as long as possible – then change subjects:

your home town / your favourite holiday / family / favourite hobby / a great place to visit in your city / some terrible things about your city /

IELTS: What I expect from YOU

7th August 2020

bored Student" photos, royalty-free images, graphics, vectors ...
Mobile phones, yawning, sleeping, listening to music … to paraphrase Pink Floyd, “We don’t want no education.”

What is the standard of behaviour in your classroom ?

At my centre, in Sai Gon, Vietnam, we have to employ classroom management (normally reserved for ‘young learners’) to ‘adults’ and some unspeakable teenagers.

At one previous centre, I even had a student write in his book, “I haven’t done any work, I’m not going to do any work,” then laugh at me. Unfortunately, that is not an isolated incident.

Even though we have classroom rules they are mostly ignored, but that is indicative of the country as a whole [1].

To make sure my customers are in no doubt, here are some rules and reminders:

No mobile / cell-phones in the classroom UNLESS it has been sanctioned by the teacher for educational purposes. My lessons start on time – if you use your phones …

I HAVE THE RIGHT TO TAKE THEM AWAY

No eating, chewing gum, slurping drinks

YOU WILL BE SENT OUT OF THE CLASS AND HAVE TO EXPLAIN TO THE MANAGER WHY YOU ARE EATING

No chatting while the teacher is talking [2].

FURTHERMORE, IN MOST CULTURES, THIS IS UNBELIEVABLY RUDE AND UNACCEPTABLE.

The teacher is here to help YOU learn.

We are not here to entertain you.

You have a chosen a three-hour IELTS course, so deal with it.

Take notes, write down new words, practice using them. Week after week I give you sample answers, new phrases and personal help to enable you to improve your scores.

If I see you are not taking my advise, I will not waste time and energy on you.

Finally, I will not tolerate any sarcasm, rudeness, insults or disrespect.

In the event that I have been insulted or disrespected, I shall end the lesson and you can answer for your actions to the management

If you are serious, I will do all I can to help you. If you just want to joke around and stop me doing my job, there will be consequences.

Time to turn over a new leaf

You need to work MUCH harder, but don’t take my word for it:

I'm very moved to be here today, ... Our lives are now much better, but Vietnam remains a very poor country. We need to work much harder. - Ho Chi Minh

[1] motorbike riders don’t wear helmets, they overload their bike, use mobile phones, drive any way and any direction THEY want … public urination is endemic, recycling means throwing rubbish in the gutter and for many people, dogs are not pets, but lunch … and they joke about that to my face.

[2] good luck with this one … in nearly five years, I have never had a class that is able to just SHUT UP and listen. At first, I was shocked, adults speaking to each other, normal volume, continually while the teacher is teaching. As we say in the UK, empty vessels make the most noise, and there is a LOT of noise.

IELTS, Theme: Shopping

5th August 2020

A compilation of shopping activities to promote longer sentences, idiomatic language and fluency.

Exercise 1: compound nouns

Exercise 2: devil’s advocate

Exercise 3: role-play

Exercise 4: coffee in Saigon

Exercise 1: compound nouns to do with shopping

window shopping

binge shopping

bulk shopping

impulse shopping

dumpster diving

Match the compound noun with the photos:

Did the lady go out to buy this top or did she decide only when she was in the store ?

Vocabulary:

Prices are sky-high / It cost an arm and a leg /

marked down / on sale / discount / what a bargain !

I couldn’t resist it / I simply had to have it / retail therapy

Make sentences using some of the above language.

Talk about shops in your city:

Do people go dumpster diving ? Why or why not ?

Have you ever used retail therapy (buying something to make you feel happy) ?

Have you ever gone out to buy just one thing and come back with many items !

Does your husband/ wife / partner like shopping ?

Exercise 2: Devil’s advocate.

This is to develop argument skills, how to politely disagree with someone.

Example: one student wants to buy a beautiful, luxurious Rolex watch. It really is an outstanding timepiece:

Image result for Rolex

Without doubt, this is a luxury item. The pros

It is gorgeous and so elegant. I will feel so special wearing it. People will admire and look up to me. They will think I am wealthy and have a great career. I will attract many cute women (or handsome men). I may feel superior to other people who only have cheap watches or nasty fake knock-offs.

Now play Devil’s advocate. Say what are the cons of owning such an item.

Firstly, agree with the first student – it is without question a luxury item. Having said that …

It will attract attention … but maybe from thieves or pickpockets. It is a lot of money, maybe an obscene amount of money when so many people are poor. Can you justify owning such a materialistic item ? Will it make you arrogant ? Will you think you are better than other people BECAUSE of a thing ? Finally … what does it DO ? Fundamentally, it tells the time. My fake Rolex will tell the same time … but it cost $20 NOT $ 5 000 !

Now students’ turn. Similar concept but this time, the latest iPhone:

Image result for iphone 11

The iphone 11 (woooooowwwwwwww !)

One student wants to buy it, the other must give reasons why it is not such a good idea.

Useful phrases: 

a waste of money / not necessary // a fashion accessory // you can’t afford it //

How to Hire and Keep Quality Retail Staff - SBIA

Exercise 3 Role play game:

Three students will act out working in a department store, a shop with a sale on, and a street market. Other students have a set budget (say £100) and have to buy three items.

They can practice with the following language:

How much is this, please ? // Could you bring the price down for cash ? // Do you take plastic (credit cards) ? // If I smile, can you take off 10% ?

Wow, that’s a bargain ! // Sorry, that’s too much // Is that your best price ?

I’ll take it ! // Wrap it up ! // Let me think about it and come back // Sorry, that’s too much.

The items can be T-shirts, pens, bags, shoes, watches etc and the teacher can print out photos and hand them out.

Image result for van heusen shirts store
A department store selling expensive designer shirts
Image result for clothes on sale
Image result for london street market
London street market.

Exercise 4: Coffee in Sai Gon

Describe this picture; use adjectives and opinions.

Highlands Coffee has great coffee, air-con and free wifi. Having said that, the service is a little slow, there are no waiters and the cost is unbelievably expensive !

Vietnam is famous for coffee; coffee shops are ubiquitous. In fact, there are so many, it’s hard to see (difficult to understand) how they stay in business let alone turn a profit.

Be that as it may, let’s use this as a learning opportunity. To practice making longer sentences, and as a warm up exercise, the students can ask each other, “Where do you go for coffee ?”

Tips:

Don’t answer the question directly and immediately; Begin with a short introduction:

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 …

Then

Explain:

  1. How MUCH do you like it (adverbs) ?
  2. What kind of coffee (adjectives) ?
  3. What do you think about this ? (opinions)
  4. WHY do you like it (give reasons)
  5. Interesting words, phrases, idioms

Personally, I like Happy Coffee which is an independent shop where I live. I enjoy going there so much because the owner is very friendly and tries to speak English with me. There isn’t a lot of choice, so I order cappuccino with hot, fresh milk. In my opinion, it is good value and tastes delicious. What I like about the shop is the free wifi, the comfortable chairs and the atmosphere. Furthermore, it is usually very quiet and it therefore a good place to read. I love to put my feet up, kick back and sip my damn fine coffee.

IELTS: How to pass with flying colours

26th July 2020

Ramones hey ho let's go youtube

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

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

Take a few minutes to read them … THEN …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now, look at these idioms:

It’s raining cats and dogs // It costs an arm and a leg // piece of cake // I’m burning the candle at both ends // once in a blue moon // pass with flying colours //

And these words:

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

How to use these in your responses:

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

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

IELTS – style:

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

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

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

IELTS question: Do you often eat out ?

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

IELTS question: What are your plans for the future ?

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

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

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

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

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

IELTS Speaking Practice: Making complaints, writing blogs

24th July 2020

Making complaints

Drop Dead”: Why Harassment By Customers is Spiking in Japan | by ...

You buy a T-shirt from a shop, but when you get home, you see the quality is very bad.

How do you feel ? You feel terribly …

What would you do ?

When you return an item to the shop, what do you need in your country ?

Use this video for help. Listen out for new vocabulary or expressions as well as copying her accent.

Vocabulary

I am sorry to have to say this but …

I’m sorry to say this but I am really quite upset/angry/disappointed

Perhaps there was a misunderstanding but …

There appears to be a problem here …”

I’m sorry but I’d like to make a complaint about …”

Could you help me with …?

PRACTICE

One student is an shop assistant, the other an upset customer. 

You have bought a dress but it is very bad quality. 

How would you complain ? [Be polite, speak calmly and politely].

How to Deal with Difficult Customers: 11 Proven Tips for Retailers ...

How about in this situation: 

You go to a restaurant to celebrate a special event. When the bill arrives the amount is much, much more than you expected. It looks like you were charged for extra items you did not order.

What would you do ?

Angry Bagel Shop Customer To Fight Other Viral Video Star | Putnam ...

Speaking practice 

Try to speak in long sentences. Tell me about something you like – say why you like it, but also something negative. Remember to use good discourse markers.

EXAMPLE:

I love Highland Coffee because I need damn fine coffee every morning and Highlands has a good choice as well as great quality. I can choose all different types of coffee, some hot, some cold, some with added flavour, and they come in different sizes. In addition, the chairs are comfortable, not to mention the free wifi and no-smoking policy. Having said that, it is rather expensive, especially compared with Milano however I feel the extra cost is worth it.

Now … your turn

Subjects – to help you, talk about smartphone // video games // sport // your pet // shopping // cooking // your best friend

Comparatives and superlatives.

Big / bigger / biggest

interesting / more interesting / the most interesting

Blog writing:

Your apartment block is starting a chat-site for working parents. They invite anyone to join who has both a job and children. They ask you to send a photo and give some brief information.

OR

Your apartment block is starting a chat-site for people who want to practise English

Write a short introduction about yourself for a blogpage. 

What information do you need to add ? What is unimportant ?

What kind of photo would you add ?

Subject Index: IELTS – subjects and language

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/

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

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

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

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 vocabulary games // Preparing for speaking test // 15th May 2020

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

Sentence building & Vocabulary

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 // 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/

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

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

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