IELTS: writing & speaking practice

19th August 2020

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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: 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

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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.

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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

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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 /

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: Home is where the heart is.

8th June 2020

Today, lots of new words to help you describe the area in which you live (the area you live in). For my classroom-students, I can listen to pronunciation and help them with natural rhythms but online students should use a dictionary with sound … then practice, practice, practice.

Vocabulary booster

Where do you live ? What’s the area like ?

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Apartment block in District 2, Sai Gon
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Remember to link words together – it’s called ‘chunking’ in IELTS language.

I live in a: 

quiet, residential street. Peaceful at night.

lively and busy commercial area, many shops

dirty and dusty industrial part of town. Very noisy.

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How would you describe living here ?

My home is a / an:

apartment and I live alone

rented room which I share with friends

house and I live with my family

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Their home is _____

advantages and disadvantages pros and cons 

adverbs of degree

(quite, rather, very, extremely, incredibly, remarkably, unbelievably) 

I travel to work by motorbike. It’s quite far and extremely stressful.

Using Grabbike. It’s very convenient albeit rather expensive.

On the bus. Although it’s incredibly cheap, it’s not very pleasant.

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does she get to work ?

Idioms and expressions

At work I:

find myself doing the same thing day in day out. It’s tedious.

am always busy, attending meetings or writing reports.

have a variety of different jobs, I don’t have time to get bored !

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Notice the collocations

In my free time I:

enjoy watching films and playing sports. I am competitive !

adore hanging out with my friends and family.

love shopping. I can spot a bargain and I hate being ripped off !

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What does she like doing … ?

Learning English is, for me:

easy, a piece of cake. It’s very important and fun.

vital for the future. In my opinion it’s imperative we learn.

a necessary task. It’s awkward and frustrating, but I need it.

highly enjoyable and relaxing. I love to improve my mind.

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The War Remnants Museum is

extremely popular with tourists, a major attraction in the city.

well laid-out and organised. The exhibits are fascinating.

very somber and thought-provoking. Well worth a visit.

educational and essential. We can discover much there.

not suitable for children, though I would recommend it to adults.

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Increase your word power

Match the basic words with others of similar meaning (synonyms)

For example boring = tedious

interesting / on time / forgetful / live (I live in) / happy / unhappy / get (a qualification) /

reside / punctual / fascinating /absent-minded / jovial / miserable / attain /

smart (clever) /place / tired / reliable / great ! / try /

brilliant / exhausted / intelligent / endeavor / environment / dependable /

honest / make / bad (evil) / small / unimportant / not often /

prepare / seldom / nasty / insignificant / trustworthy / minute

Now make sentences with the new words e.g. (for example)

After studying for three years, Jenny attained her BA Degree.

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Congratulations, Jenny !

Music vocabulary

What do these words means ?

rhythm / melody / lyrics / beat / solo / orchestration

Genres (types of music):

pop / rock / country and western / punk / classical / jazz / blues

Music time 

Listen to Paul McCartney’s ‘Another Day’. 

What do you think of it ? How does it make you feel ? Would you dance to it ?

Talk about the music and the lyrics (words); were they easy to understand ?

Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 6

24th January 2020

Contents

Dialogue: speaking practice with phrasal verbs.

Listening Practice: Vietnamese speaking English // Vietnamese urban legends

Vocabulary: agreeing to an extent

Writing exercise: condensing text (‘1001 Nights’)

Listening Practice

Vietnamese culture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBAi_b__l_c

Image result for weird vietnamese customs

Do you agree with the video ? To what extent ?

BONUS: can you spot any English mistakes ?

I agree totally / I agree to an extent // I disagree // I disagree strongly

She makes a good point // She misses the point

She is spot on // She is way off // In my experience …

wierd = unusual / strange

Now, your turn. Do you agree with these statements:

Learning English is so important if you want a good job.

People who drink and drive should go to prison.

An African football team will win the World Cup before 2040.

Nobody should have to work more than 25 hours a week.

Men and women should earn the same money for doing the same job.

New Vocabulary / expressions

looking up = getting better (things are looking up).

Since we got a new manager, things are looking up.

Match the basic words on the left with words on the right, then complete the sentences with the right-hand words:

interesting // intelligent

on time // fascinating

forgetful // miserable

tired // punctual

smart (clever) // exhausted

unhappy // absent-minded

John forgot his keys again; he’s so _________

The documentary about ocean life was __________

Tony has been very ____________ since his girlfriend left him.

It would be incredible if Vietnamese students could be __________

EXTRA:

ubiquitous = everywhere. In Viet Nam, coffee shops are ubiquitous.

incessant = never ending. The karaoke noise is incessant.

rewarding = doing something that makes you feel better about yourself. Nursing doesn’t pay much but it is tremendously rewarding.

Image result for asian nurse

Creating sentences

Use these new adjectives with some of these nouns:

coffee shops / motorbikes / Vietjet / construction work / German trains

charity work / AI (artificial intelligence) / swimming / British weather

Meaning, pronunciation, structure

What is happening here?

I am thinking about a holiday.

Meaning: Am I having a holiday ? Where will I go ? Is it certain ? Alone / with friends ?

Pronunciation: In speech, we would contract “I am” to I’m and link “abouta

Structure: What tense is being used … why ? Will it happen ?

Try these: Make as many questions / possibilities as possible

He’s having his car repaired

She having a dress made

He looked at a new apartment

My cousin will be applying for universities

I’m not sure about taking the new job.

Image result for car being repaired

Urban legends

stories that maybe aren’t true but people believe them

[urban = city // rural = countryside // haunted = a place with ghosts ]

Ten scary Vietnamese urban legends:

Project: Do you know any of these tales / legends ?

Do you know any other Vietnamese legends ?

Have you even been to the places in HCM City ?

Writing exercise

Image result for scheherazade

Painting by Ferdinand keller ‘Scheherazade und Sultan Schariar’ (1880).

1001 Nights

The main frame story concerns Shahryār ruling in “India and China”. He is shocked to learn that his brother’s wife is unfaithful; discovering that his own wife’s infidelity has been even more flagrant, he has her killed. 

In his bitterness and grief, he decides that all women are the same. Shahryār begins to marry a succession of virgins only to execute each one the next morning, before she has a chance to dishonour him. 

Eventually the vizier, whose duty it is to provide them, cannot find any more virgins. Scheherazade the vizier’s daughter, offers herself as the next bride and her father reluctantly agrees. 

On the night of their marriage, Scheherazade begins to tell the king a tale, but does not end it. The king, curious about how the story ends, is thus forced to postpone her execution in order to hear the conclusion. The next night, as soon as she finishes the tale, she begins (and only begins) a new one, and the king, eager to hear the conclusion of this tale, postpones her execution once again. This goes on for 1,001 nights.

This is quite a long introduction; how could you reduce it to three sentences ?

Some stories in English can be found here: http://www.storynory.com/category/fairy-tales/1001-nights/

Image result for arabian nights book
Image result for arabian nights book illustrations

Dialogue

Speaking practice:

Mark At last ! Can’t you be punctual just once in your life !

Craig I’m here now, aren’t I ? You look so miserable, why are you fed up ?

Mark I need some coffee. Where can we get some ?

Craig Anywhere, coffee shops are ubiquitious here. What the hell ?

Mark What’s up now ? Your complaining is incessant ! 

Craig My money got all soggy ! I have to put up with so much.

Mark Oh, get over it ! Some people have no money. Do you help charities ?

Craig It sounds rewarding but after work I’m too exhausted !

Mark You are just talk. Put up or shut up !

Image result for two men bickering