IELTS: Complex sentences, Practice #2

18th January 2021

Knowing Your Lines | Pastor Bill Online

The previous blog demonstrated how to form complex sentences whereas this one will give you a chance to actually incorporate them into your everyday speech or, more importantly, your IELTS test which you will want to pass with flying colours.

Let’s dive in !

A typical IELTS question will be about your family. Time to show off your knowledge of adjectives and phrases.

Start with mother. Some positives:

My mother has a heart of gold // She is so kind and caring // She always puts others first.

On the other hand:

I’m afraid my mother is a ‘tiger mum’ // She expects too much of me // She is never satisfied with my work.

As for father:

My father is industrious and so hard-working // My father always has his nose to the grindstone, providing for his family // People say I take after my father // He is firm but fair.

On the other hand:

My father never lets me stay out // He drinks like a fish on holidays // He is a very strict disciplinarian.

Older brother:

He is my role model // I always look up to him // He looks out for me and takes me under his wing.

On the other hand:

My brother is a total slacker // My brother gets aggressive when he’s been drinking // My brother lacks ambition and drive.

Don’t forget sister:

My sister is a little angel // She has the sweetest soul // She has a kind word for everybody.

On the other hand:

My sister is such a prima donna // She only thinks of herself // She won’t lift a finger around the house // She spends all her money on herself.

Let’s extend the family: uncle, aunt, cousin etc. Remember, always be thinking of how you can use IELTS language such as idioms and expressions.

EXAMPLE:

Your uncle lives in a different city (how often do you see him ?) He has a great job, a lot of influence (an expression ?)

Tell me about the people you live with

Allow me to introduce my family to you. Firstly, there is my mother, who has a heart of gold, I can tell her anything. She’s always working, cooking or cleaning. I would say she is the biggest influence in my life. My father is very industrious by which I mean he gets up early, every day, works long hours at his office which is very far away. However, he likes to relax at holiday time. His brother, my uncle, who is a mover and a shaker, occasionally pays a visit at Tet (Christmas, Hanukkah etc) and the two of them drink like fish ! That’s because my uncle, who lives in (a far-away city), only comes to (your city) once in a blue moon.

Piece of cake, right ?

First, decide what idioms are appropriate.

Second, select some impressive L-FWs or phrases.

Finally … it doesn’t have to be true ! We are here to check your command of English, we are not going to check if your uncle really is a mover and a shaker !

Let's go to work.

Class work:

Ask each other the following questions. Check how many IELTS features the speaker uses, and give encouraging feedback.

Which member of your family are you closest to ?

Which member of your family do you take after ?

How often do you see your cousins, or grandparents ?

Is family important in your country ? Why ?

Do you want to live in a nuclear (small) or extended family ?

What qualities do you admire in your family ?

Now … think on your feet.

Tell me about your brother, who is an actor.

Tell me about your aunt, who teaches music.

Tell me about your cousin, who wants to study at Oxford.

Tell me about your mother, who demands that you get A++ for every exam.

The Yemeni teacher who's setting up a national orchestra, despite war

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 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 // 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

IELTS, Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Warm up conversation starters

9th October 2020

Sometimes students arrive at class after a long day, bereft of energy and motivation. In such situations, it’s best to hit the ground running, get them talking and ready for a lesson. This needs to be done before they pull out their mobiles and start concentrating on their cyberlife … after which time, they are lost to reality.

adults-casual-cellphone-1413653 - Study Finds

Therefore, before they can hit that ‘Post’ button, pair them up and make them ask each other various questions, demanding that the answers be as complex as possible, incorporating big words (‘Low-Frequency Words’), discourse markers and relative pronouns, along with appropriate expressions.

Example: Where would you most like to visit ?

Bad answer: Nowhere. Bad answer: New York.

Better answer:

Introduce your answer THEN state the location THEN explain why.

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.

I have always wanted to visit Singapore, because it looks so clean and modern and, not forgetting, so many shopping malls. I love shopping, it is my passion. I would buy so many things such as clothes, makeup and presents for my family.

IELTS students should be able to add a number of idiomatic language to really spice up their presentation. I would expect to hear:

cost(s) an arm and a leg / prices (can be \ are) sky high / mouth-watering / world famous / ubiquitous / pristine / that’s a bit of a sore point (because we CAN’T travel) / such a wide array / shop till (I \ you) drop / overwhelming / spoilt for choice / retail therapy

Cheap Shopping Place in Singapore - Buy Souvenirs in the Bugis Street Area
Remember … there are some affordable shopping areas in Singapore although they tend to be away from the city centre but well worth a visit.

NOW … your turn

Questionnaire / Discussion

What kind of music do you like ? (do you play or listen ?)

Can you name any plays by Shakespeare ? (if not what writer do you like ?)

What time do you usually get up ? (weekdays and weekends)

How do you relax ? (do you have time or do you study, have family, work overtime ?)

Can you play a musical instrument ? (would you like to ? Why ?)

What skill(s) would you like to acquire ? (be creative here – what stops you learning ?)

What is the best thing about Sai Gon ? (or YOUR city)

However, this is not a one-way street. The person asking is expected to make small talk, to elicit – to encourage – the speaker to open up and expand on their answers.

Use small talk phrases such as:

Really ? That’s interesting // Tell me more // Why do you say that ? // Oh, me too // What do (did) you like best // Where is that (exactly) ? // I’ve heard about that // I haven’t heard about that, can you explain // Why do you say that ? // Oh, I get it // I’m not sure I follow.

And if your partner is stonewalling you (not talking), here’s a great idiom:

IDIOM OF THE WEEK: Cat Got Your Tongue... - Cairns Language Centre |  Facebook

IELTS: The UK school system

17th September 2020

Farewell, Baxendale and his Bash St Kids - spiked
The Bash Street Kids … from ‘The Beano’ which is a famous comic from the UK, first issued in 1938.

Tonight we have a listening lesson which, although tremendously important, not to say imperative, can be somewhat tedious for the students.

One factor is the vocabulary. If students don’t know some of the words, they will not be able to answer some of the questions; that stands to reason.

that stands to reason = it is obvious, it is common sense, it can be understood. I live in Vietnam but only speak a little Vietnamese. It stands to reason that if I spoke Vietnamese, I would be more independent.

Therefore, allow me to explain a little about the UK educational system while, at the same time, pre-teaching some new vocabulary.

First up, we have Kindergarten or nursery:

How to Help Children Achieve Kindergarten Success - Education and Career  News

As you can see, the age for Kindergarten is 3 – 5. It can be free, or parents can choose to send their children to a private Kindergarten or nursery.

Maybe the word Kindergarten looks a little strange in an English lesson – quite right, it is, in fact, a borrowed word from German. If you have seen my other IELTS posts, you may have come across ‘prima donna‘, which is a borrowed word from Italian. If you can use borrowed words in your IELTS tests, it will surely impress the examiner.

Next, we have primary school for children of 5 to 11. When I was at school, it was broken down into Infants and Juniors. Infants school was two years, then we moved up into a new building, attending four years of Junior school. This was a mixed school by which I mean boys and girls were in the same class.

Woodside Primary Academy © Julian Osley cc-by-sa/2.0 :: Geograph Britain  and Ireland
Woodside Primary school in north-east London

Following on from Primary school we have, quite logically, Secondary school:

A typical class photo from the late 1970s. As you can clearly see, this is a single-sex school. Furthermore, the pupils had to wear school uniform of trousers, blazer and school tie.

Pupils spent three years here, from ages 11 – 14 at Junior High, after which they progressed to Senior High:

Walthamstow Memories - George Monoux Grammar School

Pupils have to attend school until they are 16; it is compulsory.

You must then do one of the following until you’re 18:

  • stay in full-time education, for example at a college
  • start an apprenticeship or traineeship
  • spend 20 hours or more a week working or volunteering, while in part-time education or training

Read more on: https://www.gov.uk/know-when-you-can-leave-school

What options are open to you after 16 ?

Pupils can either stay at school and enter the VI (Sixth) Form, or go to a Further Education College which differ in that they offer a much wider selection of options such as vocational courses which are more practical and can help students train for a specific job. VI Forms, on the other hand, are academic (theory), preparing students for university.

The VI Form is usually in the same building as the Senior High, so pupils are familiar with the teachers and students. Going to a new college, meeting new staff and students means that time is needed to settle in or settle down.

Qualifications are imperative these days, so many students want to go to University.

149 PhD, Research and Academic Positions at the University of Cambridge, UK  - Scholar Idea

Finally, we have Adult Education which, as the name implies, is for adults who wish to further their job prospects, or simply learn for their own pleasure. As many people are working, these type of education often takes place in the evening or at weekends.

New Vocabulary:

term – part of the teaching year for example First Term is from September to December

it’s a pity – it is sad or it is unfortunate

Fresher’s Week – a week for new students (Freshmen in USA) to get to know what their college has to offer, such as clubs and events.

GCSE exams – tremendously important exams taken at age 15 or 16. Good results mean the student can to VI Form or have to re-sit the exam.

tertiary – means the third – after Primary (first) & Secondary (second), tertiary refers to Higher Education, taken after the age of 18.

NVQ National Vocational Qualification – this is more practical as opposed to academic, designed to teach skills needed for a particular job:

Construction Industry NVQ Assessments Provider | Up Level Ltd
An NVQ card stating that the holder has passed exams to work in the construction industry

BA or BSc – (Bachelor of Art or Science) degrees in the arts or science. Usually attained after a three-year course. The next step is a MA (Master’s Degree) and then a PhD.

internship – gaining real-life experience by working for a company, often for low or even no pay.

Graduate Fair – a chance for students to think about what career to follow, or what company to join. They can speak to people who represent organisations:

A trip to the fair... Okay a graduate recruitment fair. - NAO trainee blog
Fairs - The University of Nottingham

IELTS: Speaking Test, Part 3: How to nail it.

12th September 2020

Ten don'ts for the IELTS speaking test | British Council
Having to think on your feet.

My classes at campus have practised (and practised; I make those guys put their noses to the grindstone) Parts I and II of the speaking test. To recap:

Part I: 4 – 5 minutes, warm up questions. Answer with two, three or four sentences, throwing in a few L-FW (big words), idioms as appropriate, and demonstrate you know how to form a complex sentence.

Part II: 1 minute to make notes, 2 minutes solo speaking. This is your chance to shine, show all you’ve learnt, and score points for vocabulary (including idiomatic language, low-frequency words, adverbs and adjectives), grammar including, as you know, complex sentences which will earn you a higher score as well as being much more interesting to listen to as opposed to short simple sentences. Fluency, so make use of those multi-purpose sentences such as, “Well, that’s an interesting question,” “It’s funny you ask me that question because I have just been thinking about …” etc. Lastly, and not to be underrated, pronunciation, intonation and stress.

Now, we come to Part III

psycho scream

Yes, I know, it can be a nightmare ! The questions are so complex, how could you possibly answer even in your native language ? Well, you can’t … no one can, especially not in a minute or so and under the pressure of a test.

Take a look at this example:

Does the media have a positive or negative effect on the music people in your country buy ?

What a question ! You may be tempted to say, “I haven’t the foggiest idea,” “I haven’t a clue,” or “I have absolutely no idea, next question, please.”

i have no idea what you are talking about - LDS S.M.I.L.E.

The secret is to take power back – make yourself comfortable with the question … and here’s how:

Firstly, we need a great introduction. Some examples are:

Well, that’s a very complicated question …

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 …

The secret is to take this general question and make it personal, so you can speak about what YOU know, as well as using IELTS language.

Show that you understand the question by defining ‘media’.

I usually get my information from the internet, although I know some people use TV, radio or newspapers.

For me, the internet is great for learning about new singers or groups with sites such as YouTube or Spotify as opposed to newspapers where I can only read about music.

The media is tremendously important for musicians. They are able to upload videos to YouTube, have a Facebook page or a Twitter account. Fans can know when they have a new song or go on tour.

This time, instead of using expressions such as in my opinion, you can use:

in my experience

allow me to tell you what I do

I can’t speak about other people, but I

EXAMPLE:

Well, that’s a very complicated question but I will endeavor to answer. I usually get my information from the internet, although I know some people use TV, radio or newspapers. Usually, I join a Facebook page of a band I like, or follow them on Instagram. Naturally, I look at YouTube which is great because it suggests other music I may like. Therefore, I am able to hear new artists. I’m not sure how much this affects how other people buy music. In my experience, I will buy music if I really like it, for example, downloading a song on iTunes. I can just buy the songs I like, so it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

This time we can use examples:

I’m not sure I know how to answer that because I don’t have enough information, however I can think of one example. I remember when Taylor Swift won an award for best video but Kanye West stopped her speech. This made a lot of people think very badly about him, so maybe they stopped buying his music.

Why Taylor Swift and Kanye West hate each other

I’m not sure I know how to answer that, but let me try. The media is tremendously important for musicians. They are able to upload videos to YouTube, have a Facebook page or a Twitter account. Fans can know when they have a new song or go on tour. I can’t speak about other people, but I rarely buy music anyway, just once in a blue moon.

Hyomin (T-ara) bất ngờ có mặt tại Nha Trang | Văn hóa | Thanh Niên

What a hard question, I may have to think about this … oh, I know, fans can follow their favourite singers on social media, such as Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. I usually get my information from the internet. I would be over the moon if a music star replied to my comment. On the other hand, if they don’t answer, some people may stop liking them.

The Shins - Simple Song (Live On Letterman) - YouTube

Well, that’s certainly a hard question. I really don’t know what other people in Vietnam do, but allow me to tell you what I do. I like to listen to English songs, to help me improve my language skills. My friends and I tell each other about English or American bands and we look up the words … the lyrics … to help us. I can give you an example. My teacher played a song in class by a band called The Shins, who are from USA. I quite liked the song although most of the words are very difficult to understand. I know one of my friends bought the last CD because he liked it so much.

US singer Kacey Musgraves slammed for sexualising Vietnamese ao dai by  wearing only top half of outfit | South China Morning Post

That’s a very complicated question. However, I can think of one singer who upset many people in Vietnam and Vietnamese people in USA. Do you know Kacey Musgraves ? She sings country music, which is not really my cup of tea, but that is not why she is famous. She wore an ao dai on stage, but only the top part … she didn’t wear the trousers. Many people thought this was so disrespectful. For me, I don’t think I would buy her records after this, even if I did like them.

IELTS: Last chance saloon

8th September 2020

Scotties Last chance saloon" - Trang chủ | Facebook

One of my classes have their speaking test next week therefore, this is their last chance to practise, to demonstrate they know what they need to do to pass with flying colours.

Some tips to assist

An introduction:

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 …

Well, that’s a great question

As a young Vietnamese (add your own nationality), I …

Opinion questions:

If you have a question with the following wording:

“What do you think ?”

You can use opinion phrases. We do not want facts, but want to hear if you are able to understand what is required by the question, and if you are able to articulate your thoughts.

In my opinion // From my perspective //personally // In my view / For me // From my point of view

Finally, there will probably be a chance to demonstrate your knowledge of adjectives and adverbs.

You may encounter a question such as:

What qualities are needed to be a good police officer ?

Pin on IU

You could start with listing adjectives:

patient / firm / authoritative / determined / brave / energetic / level-headed / down-to-earth / strong / fit / healthy / imposing / honest / loyal / civic-minded / caring / hard-working /

Next step, add an adverb:

very / extremely / amazingly / unbelievably / quite / rather / undeniably / remarkably / totally / absolutely /

Combine into a complex sentence with discourse markers and relative pronouns and clauses. If possible, paraphrase key words (here I substitute ‘attributes’ for ‘qualities’).

EXAMPLE

A police officer, in my opinion, needs to have many attributes such as being extremely brave and caring although they will also need to be totally healthy as well as being strong and undeniably energetic. Working for the police, which can be a very dangerous job, is not my cup of tea. Having said that, I really admire the honesty and loyalty of these amazing people.

Now … your turn

What qualities are needed to be a … ?

Sports person / Film star / Doctor / Musician / Mother

park, captain of manutd!! | Manchester united, Manchester united players, Manchester  united football club
Crouching Tiger star to wed after drone proposal in China - BBC News
African Doctor Looking to the Camera with Team of Cowoker by sergii_kozii  on Envato Elements
Faces of Classical Music: Ludwig van Beethoven: Piano Concerto No.3 in C  minor – Alice Sara Ott, L'Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Mikko  Franck (HD 1080p)
ᐈ Mothers pic stock images, Royalty Free indian mother photos | download on  Depositphotos®

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 !

Unusual London Buildings. What do you think they are ?

6th September 2020

A lesson for all ages and all levels, just adapt to suit your students’ ability. First, show the photos and try to elicit what the buildings are for, or their original function.

For Speaking Level 3 or IELTS-standard students, they can explain their reasons and use target language, adjectives, adverbs and LFW (low-frequency words). Furthermore, it shows students a different aspect of London (it’s not just Big Ben, London Eye and Tower Bridge).

Now, without further ado, the photos:

 

Tate Modern

Was built 1947 – 1963 to be used as a power station (designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott who also designed Battersea Power Station and the iconic red phone boxes).

Gallery opened in 2000 by the Queen

Shows British and international art

One of the largest museums in the world

in 2018, there were 5.8 million visitors

Globe Theatre

Was built 1599, burnt down 1613.

Rebuilt and opened in 1997

Has plays by Shakespeare, as well as modern plays.

Has 857 seats and 700 standing spaces. People who stand are known as ‘groundlings.’

“To be or not to be,” is from Hamlet.

Police Station

Was built in the 1920s

Only big enough for two people

Has a telephone inside

Made from an old lamppost

Now used for storing brooms

Lloyd’s Building

Completed in 1986

Architect was Richard Rogers

Lloyds are a world famous insurance company.

The lifts are on the outside to make more space inside.

It is 95.1 m tall or 312 ft.

New Zealand House

The building was opened by the Queen in 1963

It is the only tall building in the area.

The House has 18 floors.

However … there is something very special for Vietnamese … can you see the blue circle ?

There used to be the Carlton Hotel here, but is was destroyed in World War II

Ho Chi Minh worked in the kitchen at the hotel

Carlton Hotel, London - Wikipedia
The old Carlton Hotel where Ho Chi Minh once worked

Activities

Young Learners

Stick fact sheets around the classroom. Students, in groups, have to collect information about basic facts such as when the building was opened, and an interesting fact, then present to the class.

Adult Speaking Classes

Elicit uses of bulidings, then ask them if there are any similar buildings in their city. What interesting buildings would they show tourists ? A student has to describe one of the buildings and the other have to guess which one.

IELTS

Students are assigned a building and they have to make a presentation of up to two-minutes in length (to practise for the speaking test). They may be allowed to use the internet for additional information but they are NOT allowed to merely read verbatim from Wikipedia !

As this is an IELTS exercise, we are looking for;

Good, strong introduction

Creative use of adverbs + adjectives

Low-frequency words

Opinion phrases

Idiomatic language

Anecdote or a personal review, giving reasons for their thoughts

Target Language:

Quite unusual / eye-catching / remarkable / innovative / quintessentially British / controversial / brilliant /

It’s not to my particular taste / / I have my heart set on visiting / a unique experience (now add an adverb) / a truly unique experience / a magnet for tourists /

17 Signs That You Probably Need A Break From London - Secret London

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3 / IELTS. Using idioms should be right up your street.

26th August 2020

Yesterday I blogged a database of idioms, collocations and negotiation language. That is just the tip of the iceberg. If you have looked at English-language study books, you will, no doubt, have seen several dictionaries solely devoted to idioms; we use them so often, and there are so many.

For my IELTS students, I have repeatedly taught half a dozen (six) in order for the students to incorporate them into their natural speech … without idiomatic language, you will not break past the 5 score (taken along with grammar, vocabulary and intonation, naturally).

Therefore, for Top Cat students, or anyone looking to learn some more, this blog is for you.

cats top cat | Cartoon cartoon, Desenhos animados antigos ...

Expressions or 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

Rabbit, 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

Now … how you use them:

Student A: Hello, we met last year at Julie’s party.

Student B: Sorry, that doesn’t ring any bells (I don’t remember).

DO I KNOW YOU? NOPE. DOESN'T RING ANY BELLS - no memory gandalf ...

Student A: Are you ready to go ?

Student B: Go where ?

Student C: Cake, food, drink, singing, dancing … ring any bells ?

Student D: Oh, Tony’s birthday party. Sorry, I forgot.

Student A: Are you ready for the test ?

Student B: Yes, more or less.

Student C: I’ll wait for you.

Student D: I won’t be long, I’m more or less finished.

Student A: Do you have to read all the document ?

Student B: No, just to get the gist.

Summarizing and Note Taking

Student A: You should listen to this CD, it’s right up your street.

Alice Sara Ott - Nightfall - Amazon.com Music
Alice Sara Ott | News | Reizvolle Schattenspiele - Auf dem Album ...

Student B: Oh, French piano music, I love it. That’s right up my street.

Student A: What did your girlfriend want ?

Student B: She was rabbiting on about something to do with her clothes, I wasn’t really listening.

Teacher A: Hey ! Miss Mary … stop talking. You’re a little rabbit !

Why People Say Rabbit Rabbit on the First Day of the Month

Student A: Can you drive me home ?

Student B: Sure, piece of cake.

Pink Beer Print Hawaiian Shirt – Hawaiian Shirts Online
John’s new business shirt

Student A: Have you seen John’s new shirt ? It’s so elegant.

Student B: Are you serious ? It’s terrible.

Student A: I know ! I was being tongue in cheek.

Tongue In Cheek: "Tongue In Cheek" Meaning With Useful Examples ...

Now … your turn.

Add the correct idiom [answers at end of blog]

1) Shall we see the new action film ? It sounds ______________

2) Are you still talking ? You are such a __________

3) She said I was the best student but I think she was being ___

4) You said you would bring something … cheese, tomato, garlic bread ____________ ?

5) The IELTS speaking test was a ________ after reading Thay Paul’s blogs (I hope).

6) Student A: Did you understand the project ? Did you ________ of the idea ?

Student B: Well, ______________ but not every single detail.

7 Interesting things you probably didn't know about Shu Qi of A ...
This film, starring Shu Qi looks right up my street.
  1. Right up your street 2. rabbit 3. tongue in cheek 4. ring any bells 5. piece of cake 6. get the gist / more or less.