IELTS: complex sentences

7th September 2020

Last week, I asked a typical warm up question, “What did you do today ?”

Quarantine Memes - MemeZila.com

Remember, when we ask questions we are just giving you a chance to show off and practice your English, so be creative. However, even if you can’t think on your feet, you can make even the most prosaic day more interesting. Allow me to demonstrate:

Today I met my friend and we went to see a movie. After that we had coffee and had some street food.

Asian Girl Shows Emotions During Stock Footage Video (100% Royalty-free)  12386756 | Shutterstock

OK, we can easily make that more appropriate for IELTS.

Firstly, an introduction. Then … details, tell me about the film, about your friend, about the coffee shop and about the food … there is SO MUCH to talk about. Write a longer answer, I’ll give you three minutes.

EXAMPLE

I didn’t go to school (work) today so I had some free time

I met my friend Nancy who I have known for over five years

I had a date with my friend who is from USA

We were at the mall and decided to take in a movie

We were in the mood for a film

We had our heart set on seeing ‘Parasite’ which is Korean film that has won many awards

After, we needed some coffee so we headed for the nearest coffee shop, which was Highlands Coffee. The prices are sky-high however the coffee is delicious. Additionally, there is free Wi-fi.

Later on, we grabbed some coffee at one of the ubiquitous coffee shops. I had a large cappuccino which cost an arm and a leg, however it really woke me up.

It was late, so we felt quite hungry. There is a lot of affordable and delicious street food. I had some chicken and rice and my friend, who is vegetarian, had rice, eggs and salad.

After the movie, we were hungry but the food at the mall is not very exciting and the prices are sky-high, so we went for some street food which is ubiquitous in this city.

Now … you turn

What will you do on your next free day ?

Remember … this is future tense and you can express the uncertainty in your answer.

Target language:

I’d love to … / I’m planning to / I have my heart set on … /

I’m not absolutely sure yet, but I plan to … / I wish that I could …

I’ll probably … / I keep telling myself that I will finally …

Use at least one of the above expressions.

Use relative pronouns to give more information.

See if you can add an idiom (or two).

EXAMPLE

Vietnamese fast food

I really need a free day because I’ve been burning the candle at both ends this week.

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).

As you may know, I’m a vegetarian. However, all my friends love fast food especially burgers and fries. We often go to Lotteria which, I believe, started in Japan, and now they are ubiquitous in Sai Gon and easily seen with their bright red stores and big white ‘L’ logo. Despite not eating meat, I can order a fish burger but, in my opinion, the food is not exactly mouth-watering and the service can be rather slow.

Afterwards, I’ll probably go home as I have my heart set on playing a new computer game that my friend, Tony, lent me. Tony, who is actually from Ha Noi, is a real computer geek, he loves gaming, maybe too much. As for me, I get a little bored after an hour so then it’s time to put my nose to the grindstone and hit the books (study) again. “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.” That quote, from the Greek philosopher Aristotle, inspires me to work harder, even if sometimes the work is quite tedious.

53 Three Happy Chinese Students Having Fun Hong Kong China Stock Photos,  Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock
Enjoy your free day

For my students with a speaking test soon … Best of British !

Business English: Role-playing activities part 3

8th May 2020

The final activity sheet is devised for a totally different type of client. This firm uses urban, street lingo (language), trying to attract a young, modern and dynamic workforce. They attempt to stand out from other companies by their use of non-standard vernacular and images.

There are some notes at the end of the blog to help explain some of the vocabulary.

TEACHERS’ NOTE: When I make physical copies, I use an appropriate font, looking like a hand-written flyer, so play around with the style and alignment.

GOTAJOB INNIT

Fun work for fun peeps

Here at Gotajob Innit, we try to sort you out with cool work, so you can get some cash to party and buy some wicked stuff. Work don’t have to bring you down, man 🙂 it can be a laugh …… INNIT !!!

Why do this ?

When you could do this ?

Fun work for fun peeps

Yo – check out these little beauties

1 Junior web designer. Travel company

Young, energetic company seek candidate to join their lively and fast-moving team. Some experience preferable. Basic programming skills essential. Qualifications not necessary, talent and potential more important.

Candidate must be fun, energetic and able to work to a deadline. Candidate will be required to submit an example of own work.

Salary starts at £17K per annum plus bonus.

2 PR – party planner

We love this job – we wanna do it. Young and amazing person needed to promote events and organise parties. Take something boring and make it F U N

Got to be able to work and drink, and organise and drink, and shout at people.

No experience, no qualifications … can you drink ? This could be your perfect job. Salary – lots of fun and drink and also some money.

3 Lotteria shift manager

Join this fun, lively, bright red hangout and get experience in the food and retail industry. We know you ain’t going to stay long, but tell your friends and give them a discount ! You’ll be in charge of a small team so you can be boss, a little, and tell people to clean the floor hahaha ! The money is rubbish, but you can eat all the junk your stomach can digest. Great way to meet other cool cats. You can wear the cool uniform and the uber-cool hat – WOW !

PowerPoint 프레젠테이션

Good luck, peeps !

Notes:

Wicked means very bad or evil in standard English, but in urban talk, it means very good, amazing and fantastic.

Gotajob (got a job ?) is taken from a British TV show from the 1980s, when unemployment was high. One of the characters walks from job site to job site, asking, aggressively, “Gotajob ?”

Innit is urban vernacular for the tag question ‘isn’t it ?’ as in, “Hot today, isn’t it ?” or “Hot today, innit ?”

Peeps is taken from a British TV comedian, and is short for ‘people’, but was later used to mean someone’s close friends, ‘my peeps.’

Rubbish is what the British use for the US English trash or garbage. Also used to express contempt for something that is not good e.g. “The film was rubbish !”

Lotteria is a Japanese fast-food chain popular throughout east Asia. You could substitute it for a similar franchise in your country.

Beginners’ English Part 4

20th January 2020

Contents

Grammar / 15 common verbs / have to or must ? / past tense / phrasal verbs and collocations

Listening practice

Sentence building / linking words / photo descriptions

Vocabulary / come & go / kitchen items /

Grammar – verbs

GRAMMAR – regular verbs in the past tense

Regular verbs add -ed to form the past tense 

walk / walked // jump / jumped // look / looked // want / wanted // ask  / asked

Irregular verbs are all different. A lot of common verbs are irregular:

have /had // do / did // say / said // be / was/were// go / went // get / got // make / made // take / took

Here are 7 verbs in the PRESENT. 

Choose the correct verb AND use it in the correct tense.

teach / live / go / see / drink / am / have 

Ms Ha (1) …….. drinking tea yesterday 

when she (2) ……. an idea. 

I haven’t (3) …….. my neighbours how to drink tea. I am sure they will be happy. 

They have not (4) …… to the UK yet.

I have (5) …. in many cities in England. 

Now I am in Viet Nam. I have (6) …. many wonderful sights, 

but I have never (7) …… a cup of good, English tea.

Image result for asian girl drinking tea

Grammar – verb practice

Here’s the 15 most common:

infinite / present / past /past participle (verb 3)

1 to be / / am // was /been

you are / / were / been

2 to have / / have / had / had

3 to do // do / did /done

4 to say // say / said / said

5 to go //go / went / gone

6 to get // get / got / gotten

7 to make //make / made / made

8 to know // know / knew /known

9 to think // think / thought / thought

10 to take // take / took / taken

11 to see // see / saw / seen

12 to come // come / came / come

13 to want // want / wanted /wanted

14 to use // use / used / used

15 to find // find / found / found

Grammar: must or have to ? mustn’t or don’t have to

must or have to ? don’t have to or mustn’t

have to = other people tell you // must = your decision

don’t have to = not necessary // mustn’t = is forbidden

You have to have a degree in order to be an engineer

I must stop eating at Lotteria (an Asian fast-food chain like McDonalds) !

You don’t have to bring any beer to the party.

You mustn’t run a red light or use your mobile phone on your motorbike.

The new James Bond film may be sold out.We ______ buy tickets NOW !

I hate parties ! Do I _____ go ?

You _______ eat too much popcorn; it’s bad for you.

You ________ be over 18 to see this film

You don’t ____ bring your passport to get intoa cinema in Viet Nam.

Image result for mustn't

Answers: must / have to / mustn’t / have to / have to

Grammar: Phrasal verbs

Phrasal Verbs and collocations

Put

up with / the fire out / up / on a happy face

it in your own words / up or shut up !/ it away / it another way

Get

well soon / over it ! / on with it / away with murder / on the bus

back to work ! / with the program (US) / some fresh air

Complete the sentences:

She looks so sweet but she never does her job ! She gets …….. at work, 

Come on, cheer up ! Put ……. and smile.

If you are so good, you do it ! Put ………..

We are all going to work on the new project together, so get …….. or get a new job !

She is not the thinnest lady in the world. OK, let me put ………. she’s fat !

Stop playing and do your homework. Get ……….

His Thai girlfriend left him. He needs to get ……….

Answers:

she gets away with murder (is allowed to do bad things) // put on a happy face // put up or shut up (don’t just talk about it – do it OR stop talking) // get with the program (do what everyone wants to do) // put it another way (to say something differently) // get back to work // get over it (stop being sad, and forget the past).

Sentence building 

Linking words: and / as well as / and also / along with

These link positives sentences:

I like tea as well as coffee He plays football and also badminton.

How are they dressed ? How do they look (emotions) ?

Example

Tesco Lotus is quite cheap and also has a great choice.

but / however / having said that / on the other hand

These link positives to negatives / negatives to positives:

Jet Mart is convenient. Having said that, it is (it’s) extremely expensive.

Czech beer is fantastic quality, however it’s not easy to find in Sai Gon.

‘therefore’ is a conclusion word:

The Spanish supplier is reasonable (so-so) quality, but more expensive. Therefore, we will use the German supplier in future.

Photo descriptions

These can be a great way to encourage students to speak and build longer sentences and therefore become more confident in speaking and using English.

Describe what you see in this photo. Use as many adjectives as you can.

Subject first – Do not use a pronoun (he / she / they) Say what you see.

Where are they ? What are they doing ? What do they look like ?

How are they dressed ? How do they look (emotions) ?

What do you think they are talking about ?

Example

 I see two young ladies … now try to add more adjectives:

I see two beautiful young Asian ladies. One has very long, straight brown hair. Her friend has medium brown hair, a little wavy.

The lady on the left has a white dress with flowers. The lady on the right wears a blue cotton dress.

Now what are they doing – use continuous verbs – verb + ing

They are talking, laughing and drinking coffee. They are in a nice coffee shop. I see some bags, one yellow, one orange, so I think they like shopping.

Now – your turn. Describe these photos:

I see a very angry lady. She is …
The lady likes to talk. She is …
I see two young girls … maybe they are sisters …
What do you see ? What are they doing ? Are they both happy ?
What do you think about this ? How does it look ?

Listening:

I would normally read this aloud and then ask the students the questions. You can alter the speed, the natural chunking sounds, etc, to suit the ability of your class.

I usually go shopping once a week. I sometimes go to Big C but I like shopping at Mega Market. CitiMart is good but it’s a long way from my house. Mega Market is quite near my house so it’s easy to get there. It’s a big supermarket and it has everything I need, which is great. The best thing is that it’s not expensive so I can save money.

How often do I go shopping ? Where do I like shopping ? Why ?

What is the best thing about Mega Market ? Why don’t I go to Citimart ?

Image result for big c supermarket

Vocabulary

Come/Go

Come is where you are NOW: Come here ! Go is for somewhere else: Go away !

I am in Vietnam so – I will goto Thailand, then comeback to Sai Gon.

Always ‘go to’ EXCEPT go home / go shopping / go swimming / go fishing

Kitchen items: What is it for ?

Look how native-speakers link words together:

What is a knife for ? What’s aknife for ? / Sounds like, ‘Whatsa kinffor ?’

A knife is for cutting meat and fish and also vegetables as well as fruit and, not forgetting, bread.

What is a spoon for ? Whatsa spoon for ?

A spoon’s for eating as well as stirring drinks and not forgetting cooking.

What are they for ? They are / they’re scissors (sis zerss) a pair of scissors

multi = many / multi-purpose = many uses

corkscrew / bottle opener / sharp / blunt

scissors
Bottle openers, corkscrews and key-chains
Potato peeler