Tom (to be) born in Sydney and (arrive) in Viet Nam in 2015. He (work) as an engineer in District 1 but (want) to work near his home in Go Vap. Last week, his wife (have) a party. Firstly, she (buy) a fancy new dress and shoes then (cut) her hair. She (dance) all night and we (hear) her singing. In the morning, she (catch) a plane and (fly) to Australia.
Notice the reflexive verbs:
You may find yourself / you may ask yourself
What are they doing ?
He is shaving … /// She is looking at …
Past time expressions
Not for a long time / not recently / oh, I can’t recall it was so long ago
quite recently / fairly recently / about a month or so ago
last week / last month / last year / yesterday / just this morning
the day before yesterday / a fortnight ago / ages ago / I’ve never done that
What words are being said ?
Cheese or cheers / Ship or sheep / close (the door) or close (near)
work or walk / heard or hurt / house or ours / open or a pen
Sentence Building &Speaking Subjects
laptops / holidays / engineering / travelling
motorbikes / family / living in your hometown / modern life / traditions
anecdote (personal story)
Laptops are an incredibly useful piece of technology. They can be used for work, hobbies, music, and to stay in touch with friends.
I use my laptop every day. I plan lessons and use the internet to search for lesson notes, English language games and interesting video clips to show my students.
Because I live so far from my home country, I find the internet essential. I can maintain contact with friends and family by using: Skype, Facebook, Viber, Instagram … well, there are so many social media sites.
I like Apple; I know there are very expensive, but they seem to work so well. I rarely have a problem with my computer which is great because I know nothing about IT.
There was one issue I had in Vietnam. My plug snapped and I had to buy a new cable. I eventually found a store in Quan 3. I had to wait 30 minutes but finally a man came with an ‘Apple’ plug … and it was less than half the UK price.
To conclude, laptops are part of my life. I use them every day for work, relaxing and chatting with friends.
Tips: If you need time to think before answering, use one of the following phrases:
Let me think (about it)
How can I put it … ?
What’s the word … ?
What is happening ?
Make long sentences: what are the people doing, what are they wearing, what do they look like ? Then, why are they doing it ? What is the story ?
Holiday in Canada
Ron and Sid are on holiday in Canada. They are hungry but it’s cold outside.
Ron Come on, there’s a KFC franchise nearby. I’m starving !
Sid Sounds good, let me get my coat … and hat and gloves and scarf.
Ron Yeah, it’s freezing outside. This is worse than Sapa.
Sid Tell me about it ! It takes me 10 minutes to put all these clothes on.
Ron They have shovelled the snow so the path is safe. Are you ready ?
Sid Ready ! I love staying here although it’s so cold.
Ron According to the news, this is the worst winter for 16 years.
Sid Let’s go. I need some hot chicken.
Ron And some damn fine coffee.
Note the expressions ‘this is worse than …’ & ‘according to’
It is cold in Sapa BUT it is much colder in Canada: This is worse than Sapa.
John said Peter was leaving: According to John, Peter was leaving.
Try these sentences:
It is noisy in New York but much nosier in Sai Gon: This is worse than New York !
Karaoke was loud on Friday but louder on Sunday:
The test was hard on Monday but much harder on Tuesday:
Nick and Fred are discussing (talking about) their new boss
Nick Have you seen the new boss ? She looks very professional and a little scary.
Fred No, I have spoken to her. She’s quite friendly although a bit serious.
Nick I like her business suit. Is it a designer label ? It looks expensive.
Fred Maybe it’s French or Italian. I think she will be dependable.
Nick She can’t be worse than the old boss. He had a screw loose !
Fred He was a little arrogant and very bossy. And hard as nails.
Nick He was crazy. According to Jerry, he didn’t want to pay any bonuses.
Fred That’s why he got such a negative backlash. I’m glad he’s gone.
Nick Jerry and I are also very glad.
Sam Allow me to introduce myself. My name’s Sam and I’m Australian. Good day !
Pat Hi, Sam, nice to meet you. How did you get here ? By Uber or taxi ?
Sam No, mate, I drove myself. My wife and I always drive ourselves.
Pat Yeah, taxis are a luxury. Sorry, I’m Pat. Please help yourself to beer.
Sam I like the sound of that. Are you the one that wrote me the email ?
Pat Yeah. Sorry if my English is not perfect; I’m teaching myself.
Sam No problems, you speak well. Those people are really enjoying themselves.
Pat Of course, Vietnamese love free beer but we behave ourselves.
Sam Not me ! Last time I had too much, I fell down and hurt myself.
Pat Where’s your wife ? I think I saw her earlier ? She has blonde hair, right ?
Sam Nah, she’s a brunette. She’s out buying herself a new dress. And new shoes !
Pat I get it ! I do the working, my wife does the spending.
Sid It’s so cold in Germany. Have you ever experienced snow or minus temperatures ?
Lyn No, never, I hate the cold. Hang on a minute … yes, I was in Sapa once.
Sid I’m going there once the schools break up. Are you going to the staff party ?
Lyn Possibly. What time do the festivities kick off ?
Sid Around seven I guess. What are those pictures ? Is it for a project ?
Lyn Yeah, exactly. I have to make a presentation about countries so I’m using symbols.
Sid OK, let’s see … I know three lions means England and the eagle represents USA
Lyn The hammer and sickle, of course, is Russia. Do you know the towers ?
Sid Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur. I was there on business once. Amazing food.
Lyn How about the other two ? The first one is a mythical creature.
Sid From Egypt, near the pyramids. Remind me of the name.
Lyn The Sphinx. She has a woman’s face, a lion’s body and an eagle’s tail.
Sid The last one ? That’s Jesus … hang on a minute … I know, in Brazil, right ?
Listening practice: IELTS listening to phone numbers (0.55 – 3.06)
Listen out for:
You can get hold of me / you can reach me at (phone number) = my number is ….
Hello, you’ve reached the marketing department. How can I help?
Yes can I speak to Rosalind Wilson, please?
Who’s calling please?
It’s Richard Davies here
Certainly. Please hold and I’ll put you through.
Hello, marketing.How can I help?
Could I speak to Jason Roberts please?
Certainly. Who shall I say is calling?
My name’s Richard Davies .
Just a second – I’ll see if he’s in. Hang on a moment, I’m just putting you through.