IELTS: Complex sentences – Practice and more practice

4th March 2021

Beautiful Asian Woman Playing Piano Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty Free  Image. Image 68225263.

The ability to use complex sentences, fluently and naturally, will greatly improve your IELTS score (in both speaking and writing). Therefore here’s a little exercise I used in last night’s class. Test your ability to speak in IELTS-style sentences.

Quite simply, take a basic subject and see how complex you can make it by adding information to every noun.

Show Don't Tell' -Providing the Power to Improve Student Writing

Good idea. Here is my friend Tony:

English Guy Stock Illustrations – 512 English Guy Stock Illustrations,  Vectors & Clipart - Dreamstime

Tony is from Liverpool. He is 32. He is a reporter. He works on ‘The Daily Talk’. This is shown on ICB network.

Remember, relative pronouns who / which / where / whose

Tony, who is 32, is from Liverpool, which is famous for football as well as The Beatles. He occupation (or profession) is reporter, working for ‘The Daily News’ which is a show broadcast on the ICB network, which is located in London, where Tony now lives.

You wouldn’t usually include so many clauses, but it is an exercise, similar to a musician practising scales. Ideally, in the speaking test, you will be able to use complex sentences at the drop of a hat.

NOW … YOUR TURN

Make a complex sentence about your hometown.

Sai Gon / Tp HCM

Travel to Ho Chi Minh City

Sai Gon: in southern Viet Nam / largest city in VN / population over nine million / many museums (such as History, War Remnants, Independence Palace) / traditional food (such as Phố) – what is Phố ? What is it served with ?

The Best Phở in Saigon - Vietnam Coracle - Independent Travel Guides to  Vietnam
Traditional Phố for my friend Silk Cords

Next, tell me about someone in your family.

Asian families dominate multi-holiday trend, survey says: Travel Weekly Asia

Who is that person ? What relation to you ? Where do they live, what is their profession ? Describe their physical appearance and personality and try to add an anecdote, to make your presentation more personal.

Finally, in last night’s listening practice, there was mention of the Hearst Castle in California:

Hearst Castle | San Simeon, CA 93452
William Randolph Hearst - Children, Quotes & Joseph Pulitzer - Biography


William Randolph Hearst, who was a very famous newspaper tycoon, lived in this castle, which is in California. Hearst was immortalised in the film ‘Citizen Kane’, a classic movie from 1941 by Orson Welles, who directed and starred in the film which is often cited as being the best film ever made.

New vocabulary and expressions:

Last night’s class produced these:

The weather is Sai Gon is sweltering and terribly humid

monotonous (mono = one) = very tedious

I don’t give a monkey’s = I really don’t care

occupation (better word for job) / profession = need to be qualified such as doctor, nurse, lawyer, pilot, chef etc

most notably = Orson Welles made many films, most notably ‘Citizen Kane’.

Vietnamese food: lunch in the hood

11th February 2021

Quán Lúa: Address: 537/3 Đường Nguyễn Duy Trinh, Phường Bình Trưng Tây, Quận 2, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh

I visited this restaurant back in December just before Christmas and, along with my trusty sidekick, sampled some of the fish dishes:

Prawns with onions and peanuts; the best dish.

Canh Chua Cá (Sour Fish Soup). I’m not such a fan of this Viet dish. It was average, nothing special.

Baked fish with sticky rice.

Gettin’ ready to tuck in …

The service was very friendly and, as you see, they didn’t object to my sidekick in the outside area. Cost was reasonable while I would rank the food thus: the prawns were delicious, the baked fish satisfactory and the rice well-flavoured. The soup looks colourful, it’s just not my cup of tea. To be fair, as I went early some of my first choices were not available. I really went as a break from home-cooking, and to support a local restaurant. I’ll leave the last word to my trusty sidekick:

IELTS: Mindset 2 first review

22nd December 2020

IELTS information for Ghana students – Achilinks Consult
Ready to pass with flying colours

After three or four lessons, I expect my students to know several common idioms (their meaning and how to use them appropriately), a number of low-frequency words (L-FWs), how to introduce an answer, how to form a complex sentence and to demonstrate varieties of intonation and stress.

Without these features, you ain’t gonna get above a ‘5’, no way. Therefore, time for a quick review, see how you’re measuring up to the standard, whether you need to turn over a new leaf and put your nose to the grindstone.

Therefore, let’s recap

Idioms:

it’s raining cats and dogs

it costs an arm and a leg

piece of cake

I’m burning the candle at both ends

once in a blue moon

pass with flying colours

turn over a new leaf

put your nose to the grindstone

5 Best IELTS Practice Tests for International Students | ApplyBoard
Students putting their noses to the grindstone

Part 1: What do the aforementioned idioms mean ?

Part 2: Give each student an idiom. They have to use it, correctly, in a sentence.

L-FWs:

gritty / industrial / quite / safe / residential / boring / peaceful / suburban / bustling / vibrant / city centre.

ubiquitous // naïve // stroll // a bazaar // bizarre // predictable

absent-minded // sky-high, astronomical // an entrepreneur //

hawkers or peddlers // a mover and a shaker // consider //

Part 3: Students have to describe their neighbourhood, using as many L-FWs, and idioms, as they are able.

Encouraging IELTS students to read beyond the course book | Collins ELT
Students burning the candle at both ends

Introductions:

That’s a very interesting question

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 …

Part 4: Students have to demonstrate they know how to introduce their answer.

What do you want to do in the future ?

Give them one minute to prepare a very short reply.

Student Visa For Australia Without Ielts 12th Pass Students in Jalandhar,  VISA Solution Services | ID: 8848189962
It’s funny you asked me that question because recently, I have been considering moving to Australia …

Complex Sentences:

Part 5: Moving on, students have to form complex sentences out of the following information, using intonation to reflect excitement or a positive point and, conversely, a negative factor. Discourse markers to be employed in order to link ideas, naturally. Furthermore, I shall be listening for adverbs and adjectives.

First, choose the correct relative pronoun (who, which, whose or where)

London //

capital of UK // many shops and museums // expensive and cold

Teacher John //

from New Zealand // smiles and plays guitar // talks too fast

Ironman //

real name Tony Starke // very rich and intelligent // is fictional

Thailand //

90 minutes flight from HCMC // friendly people, great food // many western tourists and crowded

ABC English Centre //

located in city centre, District 1 // use laptops and tablets in classes // lessons are four hours long, with extra homework.

Team work

Part 6: Class split into two teams. They have to plan a day in their city (here, of course, it’s Sai Gon) for my friend Ethan.

The exercise can be found on this blog: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/12/16/ielts-planning-a-day-out/

Just look for this picture:

Ethan Hawke Sticks Up For Texas, Reps Beto and Turns a Dead ...

Finally: review negotiation language. Watch this video and discuss your views on the tourists opinion of Sai Gon:

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 about that // No way ! // They don’t know what they are talking about !

optimistic // uninformed // delusional // open-minded // enthusiastic

IELTS: Beginning to speak with IELTS language.

12th November 2020

Mindset 2, Unit 1 speaking

Today we’ll focus on two important aspects of IELTS, namely how to introduce an answer, and then beginning to use idiomatic language.

First off the bat, a review of recent vocabulary.

Arrange class into two teams. Ask the missing word(s) for a point [see if the students can use them in other sentences for an extra two points].

EON Heli Bar at Bitexco Financial Tower - Amazing views from Saigon's  highest lounge bar

Prices at Bitexco Sky bar are ______________ .

In Sai Gon, coffee shops are ______________ .

A ________ tried to sell me a Rolex watch, but I knew it was fake. I am not that ___________ to believe it was genuine.

The student was dancing and shouting things. His behaviour was very ________ but it is __________ that a class of teenagers will be a problem.

Tony agreed to meet Mary to go for a _______ but he forgot. He’s so ________________________ .

Ben Thanh Market, Saigon - Guide to Day & Night Market (Hours, Map)

Ben Tanh Market, which is like a _______ is a main tourist sight although for western people, the prices are _________________ .

Answers:

Western asian Stock Photos, Royalty Free Western asian Images |  Depositphotos®

astronomical or sky high // ubiquitous // hawker // naive // bizarre // predictable // stroll // absent-minded // bazaar // astronomical or sky high

Introductions

Last week, a top cat student responded to the question, “How do you spend your free time ?” by stating, and I quote:

“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 …

Today, we’ll concentrate on introductions.

The First Rule of Fight Club is... | Ability Ministry

First rule of introductions is NEVER answer the question immediately:

e.g. “How do you spend your free time ?” “I play video game and sleep.”

That sucks - Chris Traeger The real one | Meme Generator

Second rule of introductions is NEVER answer the question immediately.

Practice Makes Perfect GIFs | Tenor

So, here’s some typical IELTS topics and some sample introductions:

Your hometown / Tell me about your hometown

Food in your country / What is traditional food in your country ?

Travel / Where would you like to visit ?

Work or Study / What job would you like to do ?

Some standard opening lines:

That’s a very interesting question

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 …

Now … your turn.

Think of a good introduction to each of the four questions

Photos of indians talking to each other Stock Photos - Page 1 : Masterfile

Idioms

it’s raining cats and dogs

it costs an arm and a leg

piece of cake

I’m burning the candle at both ends

once in a blue moon

pass with flying colours

Turn over a new leaf

You categorically have to learn these idioms and be able to use them, appropriately, at the drop of a hat. Which idioms fits:

Something that doesn’t happen very often

Something that is very easy, no problem

Very bad weather heavy rain

Working or partying all day and night

Deciding to change your behaviour and be a better person

Something very expensive

To do extremely well in a test

Jewish students celebrate record A-Level success! | Jewish News
Happy students, just received their grades

Vietnam on Video: Part 2

26th October 2020

A collection of clips predominantly featuring western people and their views on Vietnam. I have also added some suggested sequences for pronunciation practice … and so, without further ado …

First time in Viet Nam – First impressions of Viet Nam

A vlog by Divert Living, posted just over two years ago and which has already received more than a million hits:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHnQKvU8OiA&t=547s

Pronunciation Practice:

[American English accent]

Try 04:44 – 04:53

” … and I asked them, ‘How much is aqua (water) ?’ Aqua’s fifteen thousand, beer’s twenty thousand … of course I’m gonna get the beer, now … it’s just as expensive as the water.”

09:00 – 0913

“Fun fact, Vietnamese cuisine is considered one of the healthiest cuisines in the world … and, to go with the food, the size of the dining tables and chairs are super small.”

This vlog was shot in Ha Noi, so let’s get their take (their opinion, view, experience) on Sai Gon:

What to expect – Saigon or HCMC

Now they travel to my neck of the woods (the area I live in or was brought up in), and they encounter, among many other delights, coconut coffee:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iw_K-1AmVk&t=661s

Pronunciation Practice:

09:50 – 10.00

“Wow … that’s so strong, but it’s got a ball of coconut ice-cream in the middle … whoah !”

And the young lady who I believe is Korean adds:

“I wanna try … This is the coffee king … ahhhhhhhh !”

Talking Point:

The young travellers give their views on the environment and cleanliness of District 1 which is the city centre [UK] or downtown area [USA].

To what extent do you agree with them ?

What do Vietnamese students think of the Vlogger’s appraisal of Sai Gon ?

Let’s move on and talk about traffic which is quite a serious issue in Vietnam. Firstly, attending driving school … what can go wrong ? A clip from the world-famous motoring show from the BBC, ‘Top Gear.’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1xNTBLgq4c

[UK English accent]

Right from the get go (from the very start) we have some great lines:

“Cheer up … this is gonna be a doodle … [Vietnamese] … it wasn’t !”

01.23 – 01:45

“How the hell … what did you just do ?”

“It was eighteen. Eighteen years old.”

“How did you know ?”

“Did you not bother learning Vietnamese before we came here ?”

“Well, no.”

“You’re screwed, then.”

Time for some food and the ubiqitous Phở My favourite TV chef, Mr Keith Floyd, who sadly passed away in 2009. He came to Asia, and visited Vietnam and now he’s going to tell you about Phở:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fO6cSQ8Vly8&list=PL4JTuMl25i9kPkTq5rGPVRNyhU0GPK1PT

[UK English accent]

02:32 – 02:38 and continuing up to 03:05

“Vietnamese are industrious, hard-working, incredibly energetic people …”

“So, the most essential thing here in Vietnam is a great breakfast, a thing called a pho.”

What goes in a pho, Keith ?

“You might put chicken, you might put meat, you might put fish but as long as you’ve got noodles and a rich stock, you can’t go wrong.”

How English people dress …

Top 5 Coolest Celebrity Chefs Ever! « Appliances Online Blog
Cheers
Far Flung Floyd | DVD | Buy Now | at Mighty Ape NZ
Top Gear Vietnam Special - Tour Vietnam With Quality Motorbike Rentals
Three Englishmen in Sai Gon

How English people really dress. Thanks for visiting my blog. All the best.

Past Tense: Various exercises

21st October 2020

An omnibus of past tense exercises

Most common verbs infinite / past / past participle

Exercises

Pronunciation guide

TOP 25 REMEMBERING THE PAST QUOTES (of 78) | A-Z Quotes
because practice makes perfect

15 most common verbs:

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

1to bewas werebeen
2to havehadhad
3to dodiddone
4to saysaidsaid
5to gowentgone
6to getgotgot/gotten
7to makemademade
8to knowknewknown
9to thinkthoughtthought
10to taketooktaken
11to seesawseen
12to comecamecome
13to wantwantedwanted
14to useusedused
15to findfoundfound

Regular verbs: just add -‘ed’. However, as you see, in this list only one common verb, ‘want’, is regular.

NOTE: ‘to be’ is different:

I am hungry / You are hungry / She is hungry / We are hungry

Now, practice: In groups of three or four, ask each other questions in order to feel more natural using the past tense. Let’s start simply:

What did you do today ? 

Each student takes turns describing their day. Use these photos to help you.

Related image
Related image
Image result for go to school
Image result for easy rider bike
Related image

Extra practice:

buy / drink / surf the internet / help parents / cook / do homework

Present tense ——– Past tense

act —— acted

go —- went

learn —— learned OR learnt

play — played

read —– read (pronounced ‘red)

ride —— rode

sleep —– slept

watch —- watched (pronounced ‘watch -t‘)

win —- won

What is the past tense ?

I act in a film. Last week I ______ in a film.

I go to London. Last year I _______________ to London.

I ride an elephant. Last month I ___________ an elephant.

I learn English.

Last Saturday, we ___________ English with Mr Paul.

Piano playing monkey | Playing piano, See monkeys, Gershwin

The monkey plays piano.

Last night, the monkey _________ piano.

ally gong asian girl cute mug reading book inspiration milan kundera  ignorance - Ally Gong

She reads a book. Last Sunday she _____ a book.

He sleeps all day. Yesterday he _______ all day.

Sleep may trigger rhythmic power washing in the brain | Science News

I watch the amazing Spiderman.

Last week I ______ the amazing Spiderman.

Sam Raimi's original Spider-Man is a great New York movie

Put these verbs into the past tense, then complete the sentences:

want ———

take ———

decide ———

see ——–

buy ——–

think ——–

learn ——–

I —— to stay in bed this morning

She —– great photos with her new iPhoneX

We have —— to go to Thailand for Tet 

Last night I —- a great film !

He —- food for Christmas from Harrods.

Tuesday ! I —— today was Wednesday

We —– about past simple in our lesson.

Pronunciation guide

In English, verb can be regular or irregular.

Regular verbs add -ed or -d in the past tense.

EXAMPLE:

I walk to work // I WALKED to work

I play guitar // I PLAYED guitar

She smiles on TV / She SMILED on TV

They dance in T-ara // They DANCED in T-ara

Want to learn T-ara's Roly Poly dance? Shinsadong talks about how he  created it on Strong Heart! | T ara eunjung, Pop t, Retro fashion

-ed past tense verbs pronunciation

Words have 3 end sounds:

‘t’

‘d

‘id’

If the word ends with: 

ch / f / k / p / s / sh / thi – The sound is ‘t’ look = ‘lookt’

t /or / d/ – The sound is ‘id’ visit – ‘visitid’

Other sounds are ‘d’ bang = ‘bangd’

What is the correct pronunciation for these regular verbs ?

Look = Looked // laugh = laughed // end = 

beg = / visit = / kiss = 

brush = / breath = / love =

Read these sentences:

He cleared up the mess / He rolled up the newspaper / I have visited India

No Homework ! That sounded good / Teacher shouted, ‘No way !’

We all worked hard today / Tom talked so much / 

The students played many games and laughed.

Top 10 Places to visit in India for First Time Traveler
They have visited India
8-year-old girl stuns playing 'complicated' Led Zeppelin song on drums -  National | Globalnews.ca
She has banged the drum !

IELTS: 8 1/2 … Chasing 8 1/2

12th October 2020

8½ (1963) | The Criterion Collection

Let’s hit the ground running … my recent tests highlighted key areas on which all students, without exception, need to work, namely:

fluency

complex sentences

pronunciation including intonation and stress

Not forgetting, to constantly increase and expand their vocabulary. A reminder of some recent language:

gritty / industrial

quite / safe / residential

boring / peaceful / suburban

bustling / vibrant / city centre

apparently – something you believe to be true

conversely – the opposite, on the other hand, however

actually – saying something that is surprising or is the truth

New idioms

bear with me – please wait a very short time

bit of a sore point – something that makes you sad or angry

hit the ground running – to start something immediately and with all your energy.

like a madhouse – a place or area that is crazy, too noisy, too busy etc

run of the mill – ordinary, typical, normal, usual, boring

you take your life in your hands – doing something that is extremely dangerous

Top Five Tips for Crossing the Street in Vietnam

Exercise 1: Using the new vocabulary. Fill in the blanks:

I live near some factories in a ___________ , ________________ area.

The traffic is my neighbourhood is a nightmare, I __________________ every time I go out or try to cross the road.

I was rather disappointed in the latest Bond film it was merely a ____________________ spy movie.

This is a library ? With all this noise ! It’s _______________________ here.

Let me check my files, __________________ a moment.

Don’t ask him about his test score, it’s a bit of a ____________ . He only got 65% although he was expecting to ace the test.

China is the biggest country in the world, oh, no, sorry ________________ it’s Russia.

The lockdown has affected many urban areas. What used to be a _________________ , ____________ city centre is now a ghost town.

Exercise 2: what is a ghost town ? Can you understand these lyrics ? The Specials with ‘Ghost Town’:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RZ2oXzrnti4

Ghost Town

The Specials

This town (town) is coming like a ghost town
All the clubs have been closed down
This place (town) is coming like a ghost town
Bands won’t play no more
Too much fighting on the dance floor

Do you remember the good old days before the ghost town?
We danced and sang, and the music played in a de boomtown

This town (town) is coming like a ghost town
Why must the youth fight against themselves?
Government leaving the youth on the shelf
This place (town) is coming like a ghost town
No job to be found in this country
Can’t go on no more
The people getting angry

This town is coming like a ghost town
This town is coming like a ghost town
This town is coming like a ghost town
This town is coming like a ghost town

Songwriters: Jerry Dammers

Exercise 3: What do you know about The Specials. Here’s some facts. Arrange them in the form of an IELTS-standard paragraph.

The Specials were formed in Coventry, in the British Midlands.

Formed in 1977. They had two main singers, Terry Hall and Neville Staple.

Their music is a mix of punk and reggae.

They had a number 1 song in 1980.

‘Ghost Town’ was also a number 1. It was released in 1981. This song is about the recession in the UK. Many people had no work, no money and no hope.

The Specials broke up (disbanded) in 1984 but later reformed. They still perform together.

Next blog will focus on pronunciation. To my classroom students, be prepared for a lot more speaking and practising so, yes ! You DO have to say it again … and again …

Bruce Lee quote: Practice makes perfect. After a long time of practicing,  our...

Attaining 8 1/2 … a piece of cake.

8 1/2 – Brisbane International Film Festival

Sai Gon General Notes: Street Food Summer 2020

22nd September 2020

A mouth-watering selection of local delicacies from street food to bakeries, small restaurants to city centre lunch bars … and a small trip to the beach for good measure.

I’m focusing mainly on food in my local area, Nguyen Duy Trinh Street in Quan (District 2):

Ho Chi Minh City Districts Overview | i Tour Vietnam Blogs

Map of Sai Gon (Ho Chi Minh City). As you can see, District 2 is south-east. It is separated from the central District 1 by the Sai Gon river. The area is undergoing a lot of construction, with many new apartment blocks springing up, new restaurants and bars, as well as keeping the traditional shophouses and street food stalls. For a closer view of my area, here is a zoom – in of Nguyen Duy Trinh, the axis of our food tour.

Chung cư cao ốc Thịnh Vượng Quận 2 giá dưới 2 tỷ | MuaBanNhaDat

Let’s kick off with a Mi Quang restaurant at 300 Nguyen Duy Trinh. The signature dish is a traditional Vietnamese noodle soup, from central Vietnam. The small amount of soup differentiates it from the ubiquitous pho. Mi Quang comes with shrimp or meat, quail eggs and the usual side dishes of herbs, chilis and lime. Prices range from 35 000 to 45 000 VND (1.18UKP to 1.50 UKP / $1.51 to $1.94.

A review can be found here:https://www.foody.vn/ho-chi-minh/mi-quang-3-anh-em-nguyen-duy-trinh/album-anh

With or without meat. Accompanied by fresh vegetables and herbs, and crispy sesame rice crackers. Notice how thick the noodles are, while the broth is far less than one gets with pho.

And the obligatory condiments blend of fish sauce, dried chilis and chili sauce:

Now for a new bubble tea shop: Royal Tea at 242 Nguyen Duy Trinh. I loved this shop; I went after work, after teaching a great but energy-consuming young learners’ class. It was a typical, humid tropical day, but inside, quiet and peaceful. Soft background music, gentle and friendly staff. Drinks around 50 000 VND ( 1.68 UKP /$2.15). Again, Foody.VN have a review (you may need to hit the ‘translate’ button):

Review:https://www.foody.vn/ho-chi-minh/royaltea-nguyen-duy-trinh

How about this for interior decor ?

This will certainly be one of my haunts (a place I like to hang out). Now, If you’ve followed my blogs, you know I am a fan of the US TV series ‘Twin Peaks’. The police officers really appreciate damn fine coffee and doughnuts (UK) donuts (USA). So, next stop, moving east on Nguyen Duy Trinh, we come to a new bakery. Great for my donuts fix, terrible for my calorie intake … but just look:

And only 18 000 VND each (60p or 77c). They sell ready-made cakes and individual slices, but the doughnuts were excellent … and dangerous ! Here’s the store front:

Don’t worry – I have a gym and swimming pool in my apartment, so I can burn off the calories and balance will be restored. Directly opposite is a street food stall, run by a Korean gentleman and his Vietnamese wife. They offer quite an eclectic mix of food:

I was able to use my extensive knowledge of Hangul (Korean) to say ‘Hello,’ and ‘Thank you.’

A little side note; you see how pavements in Sai Gon are really not designed for pedestrians. It can make walking quite arduous, not to say dangerous, certainly not a pleasure.

For sure, it’s heavy on the fast food, deep fried menu, but healthy options are available. I’ll go back for some Korean non-meat items and report later.

Recently, I had to go into District 1 on business so, as it was lunchtime, I thought I’d hang out with the office workers and go to a ‘point-and-eat’ joint: a ‘point-joint,’ (to coin a new phrase) Here, the food is displayed at the front, so for non-Vietnamese speakers you just, yeah, you guessed it, point … and eat. Service is very quick, though food does tend to be on the cold side. This was one of many in the Ton Duc Thang area of District 1. The centre of the road has been completely torn up, as they plan to construct a new bridge. The restaurant was in a side street:

See, just point and eat.

Various meat, fish and tofu dishes.

I had fried fish (a lot of de-boning required) and tofu in tomato sauce, served with rice, pickled vegetables and vegetable soup. Word of warning, the soup is often meat broth or contains small pieces of meat, so vegetarians be careful.

Fish soup, probably a mackerel or similar oily fish.

Finally, after lockdown restriction were lifted, Vietnamese were allowed to travel outside of their hometown. I was invited to a 5-star hotel in Vung Tau, less than two hours drive from Sai Gon.

Opposite the hotel was a Russian restaurant, mainly sea food, naturally, as this is a beach resort, but I was able to forego the rice or noodles, and have some western black bread … and it was delicious.

Thank you to everyone for taking the time to read my blog. I hope you found it vaguely interesting. If you have any questions about life in Viet Nam, I’d be happy to (try to) answer them, as best I can.

Furthermore, should you have any questions about English, feel free to ask.

Street Food Culture & Food Districts in Saigon
Ho Chi Minh City Escort +84328877706 Saigon Vietnam VIP Massage For Men -  Home | Facebook

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 !

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 ?

Căn hộ Homyland Riverside | Gia Phát Investment
Apartment block in District 2, Sai Gon
Two-up two-down - Wikipedia
Two-up, two-down houses in UK
Happiness Full Hanok Guesthouse, Jeonju, South Korea - Booking.com
Traditional house in Jeonju, South Korea
South Side Chicago Neighborhoods | South Side Chicago Projects ...
The Projects, South Side, Chicago
Istanbul Buildings - Turkish Building Design - e-architect
Apartment in Istanbul, Turkey
Lagos shanty megastructures
Lagos, Nigeria … a plan for the future ?

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.

What Happened To County Kilburn? | Londonist
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

Things you wanted do know when visiting an Indian home for dinner ...
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.

Bangkok by Bus: A cheap way to see the top sights,or simply get ...
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 !

Asia business woman success celebration keeping arms raised at ...

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 !

Spice Souk, Old DUBAI - UNITED ARAB EMIRATES | Visit dubai, Dubai ...
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.

English Classes - International Linguistic Program - Destination ...
An international English class in Canada

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.

Ho Chi Minh City: where bikes rule the roads | Mascaras and Backpacks

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.

Beautiful Chinese Graduate Stock Photos - FreeImages.com
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 ?