IELTS: Please allow me to introduce myself …

28th January 2021

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

You never get a second chance to make a first impression

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

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

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

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

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

My Princess began her recommendation thus:

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

The class responded thus:

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

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

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

Introductions:

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

That’s a very interesting question

Allow me to tell you about …

Well, that’s a great question

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

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

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

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

More Advanced introductions, especially for Part 3:

Well, that’s a very complicated question …

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

What a hard question, I may have to think about this …

I’m not sure I know how to answer that because I don’t have enough information, however …

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

in my experience

allow me to tell you what I do

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

Family

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

Food

I like many drinks however coffee is my favourite because …

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

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

Well living in a big city, I have a wide choice of food, including American and European cuisine. Fast food restaurants are ubiquitous so I have eaten, for example, burgers, KFC and pizza, which is my favourite.

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

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

Free time / hobbies / shopping

Well, I’m a student at university, so I don’t really have much free time. However, when I’m not studying I like to …

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

Watching films and going to the cinema is one of my passions, so choosing just one film is going to be terribly difficult, not to say impossible. However, if I have to select one film, it would be ‘Lost in Translation’, with Scarlett Johannsson.

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

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

Future plans

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

Well, that’s a very pertinent question because recently, I have been thinking about where I would like to study, and the UK is certainly top of my list. I am sure there would be some culture shock, especially when it comes to the food.

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

It’s funny you put that question to me because just today I was thinking about where I want to study. I have my heart set on studying in the USA as I have some family in Seattle, which is a large city in Washington state. However, to follow my dream, I need a high score in IELTS, so I need to put my nose to the grindstone

Hometown

Thank you for letting me introduce to you my hometown which is Da Nang, one of the biggest cities in Vietnam, although it is much smaller than Ha Noi or Sai Gon. 

Travel

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

Ah, that’s an interesting question because I really need a holiday. However travelling now is not a good idea because of the COVID 19 which is an extremely serious pandemic. So, I have to think about after, when it is safe to go on holiday.

Activities

Make introductions for these questions:

Where would you like to visit ?

Who do you live with ?

Do you like your neighbourhood ?

What are you going to do this weekend?

Check out these movies with Black actors you will enjoy.

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

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: Describing people

27th May 2020

Adjectives to describe people

Bob Dylan Announces New Album Rough and Rowdy Ways, Shares New ...

What are your first impressions of the man above, Mr Bob Dylan. What do you think of first – his appearance or his personality ? Probably the way he looks.

First impressions count

Today we’re having an advanced class using new words and expressions to describe both the physical and personality attributes of famous musicians.

So, as a warm up, how would you describe Mr Bob Dylan ?

Start with his looks, which are more factual, though subjective (i.e. to some young people, he will look ancient, while to older people, he may look distinguished and wise).

Then, tell me what you think he is like. You probably don’t know Mr Dylan, personally, so you can’t say, “He is incredibly friendly,” or, “He is extremely stand-offish.”

Therefore, you must employ opinion phrases:

He seems to be …

In my opinion …

I don’t know him personally, but I would say he is …

However, would it surprise you to know that Mr Dylan won the Noble Prize for Literature in 2016, and that his music has been unbelievably influential all over the world ?

The many lives of Bob Dylan | Culture| Arts, music and lifestyle ...
Mr Bob Dylan receiving an award from President Obama

Your Turn:

I will show you some photos of rock stars, and you will practice sentence building. tell me what they look like, and what you think they are like as people. Can you explain why ? Finally, to practice complex sentence, I will give you basic information, and you have to incorporate these facts into long sentences using discourse markers and relative pronouns.

New Vocabulary: Look up any words you don’t know

Negative

unreliable // aggressive // arrogant // dishonest // talkative // stingy // selfish // rude // nasty // lazy // over-rated

Very positive

inspirational // role-modal // intellectual // philosophical //down to earth // influential // under-rated

Adjectives to describe appearance

tall // giant // diminutive // medium height // average height //

fat // overweight // chubby // slim // thin // skinny // bony // anorexic-looking

blonde hair = fair // brown hair = brunette // red hair = redhead

hair – straight // curly // wavy // crew-cut (army, very short) // bald //

freckles // wrinkles // crow’s feet // scars // spots 

normal-looking // weird- looking // looks more dead than alive // bags under eyes

How would you describe these rock stars ?

David Bowie 1947 – 2016
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Keith Richards of The Rolling Stones born 1943
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Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead 1942 – 1995
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Dolly Parton born 1946
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Johnny Rotten (John Lydon) born 1956

Johnny Rotten, Real name John Lydon. Born 1956. Was in the Sex Pistols from 1975 – 1978. Formed band PIL. Changed name back to Lydon. Married Nora Forster in 1979. He was going to be on the Pan Am flight that crashed in Lockerbie, Scotland. He wrote a book, published in 2008.

John Lydon, who performed under the name Johnny Rotten while he was in the Sex Pistols from 1975 – 1978, is married to Nora Forster, and has been married since 1979. After leaving the Sex Pitols, he formed a new band, PIL, and had a book published in 2008. He escaped certain death by missing his flight on the doomed Pan Am flight that exploded over Lockerbie in Scotland.

Look at how much information I pack into the first, complex sentence:

Name – John Lydon

Stage name – Johnny Rotten

Band name – Sex Pistols

Time of band – 1975 – 1979

Marital status – married

Wife’s name – Nora Forster

How long married – since 1979

Now – how does he look ? Friendly ? Sweet and quiet ? What do you think ?

Make complex sentences:

David Bowie born 1947 and died 2016. Born in Brixton, south London. First big record was ‘Space Oddity’ in 1969. Record was in the Top 5. ‘Ziggy Stardust’ was released in 1972. It was incredibly influential. Many musicians say it is one of their favourite records. In 1976 he was in a film called ‘The Man Who Fell To Earth.’ In 1977 he moved to Berlin, Germany and made two important records, ‘Low’ and ‘Heroes.’ He was married to the super model Iman. She is Somali-American. Bowie made records up until his death in 2016. He died of Cancer.

Choose a musician; what do you think they are like ?

Which one would you like to meet, and why ?

Which one makes music you would like to hear ?

If these musicians are too old for you, tell the class about your favourite modern musician. Is it …

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CD9 from Mexico
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SANAM from India

Now, a last word from Neil Young:

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