IELTS: Speaking Practice

10th August 2020

To pass IELTS with flying colours you need to use low-frequency words, idiomatic language, discourse markers AND speak with natural intonation, stress and rhythm.

This means PRACTICE, PRACTICE & PRACTICE

TwoSet Violin Perfects Their Practice

So, without further ado, complete these idioms:

Once in _______________

Put (my, your etc) _______________     to the ______________

Burn (ing) __________________   at ______________

It’s raining _____________________

It costs ___________________________

Piece ________________

Now use them in a sentence:

A 4star hotel in Singapore _______________________ (very expensive)

Wear boots and a coat; it’s been ____________________ (very bad weather)

He parties all day and night! He can’t ________________ forever. (doing something for too many hours)

She is not academic, she’ll read a book ______________ (hardly ever).

If you are serious about IELTS, you’ll need to _____________________ (start working much harder).

Now – give me an adverb and a low-frequency word

EXAMPLE:

Teaching unmotivated students is terribly tedious.

Lazy Student Quotes, Quotations & Sayings 2020

Thai food is ______________ _______________

(very tasty)

After failing her test, she was _________ _________

(very sad)

Marvel films are _____________ _______________

(very popular)

My poor old grandma is getting ___________ _______

(very forgetful)

Practice saying these for correct intonation

Swami Vivekananda quote: Everything is easy when you are busy. But ...

Speaking Practice – use discourse markers to extend your speaking and to link ideas.

Try to use: although / consequently / therefore

Describe something you own which is very important to you. 

You should say: 

where you got it from

how long you have had it

what you use it for

explain why it is important to you. 

  • You will have to talk about the topic for 1 to 2 minutes. 
  • You have one minute to think about what you’re going to say. 
  • You can make some notes to help you if you wish. 

Rounding off questions 

  • Is it valuable in terms of money? 
  • Would it be easy to replace? 

This could be a physical object, a memento with sentimental value, or an abstract noun such as health, happiness etc.

Small talk …. Try to talk for as long as possible – then change subjects:

your home town / your favourite holiday / family / favourite hobby / a great place to visit in your city / some terrible things about your city /

Adult Speaking Class, Level 1 / Young learners level 5: Around the world (in 80 minutes)

26th July 2020

Working in pairs or small groups, gather information about these countries, then make a presentation. Add something about yourself ;would you like to visit these countries ? Why ? What would you do there ? What would you eat and buy ?

Flag of Brazil image and meaning Brazilian flag - country flags
Flag of South Korea image and meaning South Korean flag - country ...
Canadian Flag | Canadian Tire
Egypt Flag, Egyptian Flag

Capital cities

Brasilia (Brasil) Seoul (South Korea)

Ottawa (Canada) Egypt (Cairo)

South Korea launches new meetings package PLUS SEOUL - CMW
Seoul, South Korea

Population

Brasil 183 888 841 // South Korea 51 047 000

Canada 37 000 000 // Egypt 97 055 000

Brasília travel | Brazil - Lonely Planet
Brasilia

Language

Brasil – Portuguese // South Korea – Korean

Canada – English & French // Egypt – Arabic (Egyptian Arabic)

Ottawa was the coldest national capital in the world over the ...
Ottawa, Canada

Famous for

Brasil – Amazon River & football

South Korea – K-pop, films and Samsung

Canada – Most educated country. Friendly

Egypt – Pyramids and Nile River

Cairo Egypt The Historic City - travel connection tours
Cairo, Egypt

Weather

Brasil – hot and dry, humid

Canada – very cold winter, cool summer

South Korea – 4 seasons, cold winters

Egypt – very hot summer, very cold winter

7 Restaurants In Luxor You Must Visit For Trying Egyptian Food
10 Foods “Born And Made In Canada” | Chopsticks + Forks
Vegan Brazilian Bowl - The Wanderlust Kitchen
10 Korean Food Facts! – SnackFever

IELTS: How to pass with flying colours

26th July 2020

Ramones hey ho let's go youtube

Hey ! Ho ! Let’s Go ! Let’s kick out the jams with some new vocabulary from the last lesson:

disappointed (adj) // dread (verb) // spare a few minutes (phrase) // a drive (noun) // big time ! (US expression, popular culture // popular fiction or literature // prima donna

Take a few minutes to read them … THEN …

Our school is having ________ to use less plastic, as well as encouraging people to recycle.

My sister spends so much time in the bathroom, she is such a _________

If we don’t pass IELTS with at least 7.0, Thay Paul is going to be angry at us _______

Miss Julie didn’t get the job at Apple; she was terribly ______________

I don’t understand this app, can you ________ to help me ?

I was terrified of the speaking test, I was _______ it.

The Harry Potter books, although tremendously successful, are considered ‘popular fiction’. Charles Dickens or Jane Austin, on the other hand, are classified as _____________ .

My student told me about a famous Hemingway story called ‘The Old Man and the Fish’ … I think she got the title wrong … _______________ !

Never Yet Melted » Ernest Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961)
“What do you mean, ‘The Old Man and the FISH ?’ I won the Noble Prize for that book.”

And now, time to put our noses to the grindstone How to get a killer IELTS speaking score … There are four areas to focus on … they are … ?

Marathon Man(1976) starring Dustin Hoffman, Laurence Olivier and ...
“You’ve forgotten ?”

OK, take it easy, to recap, we listen for

  1. Fluency – use of discourse markers. WITHOUT A WIDE RANGE OF DISCOURSE MARKERS YOU WILL NOT GET HIGHER THAN A ‘5’.
  2. Lexical resources – big words. Know synonyms and multi-syllable words to impress the examiner. Not to mention, a sprinkling of idioms, phrases, phrasal verbs, the whole nine yards.
  3. Grammar – it’s OK to make a few mistakes, grammatically, but what we want to hear are complex structures – basically, altering the structure of a sentence or including several pieces of by using information in one sentence by using relative pronouns.
  4. Stress and intonation – listen to native speakers and COPY how we speak, when we stress words, when we ‘swallow’ letters, our body language.

We need to hear examples of ALL the above or YOU WILL NOT GET HIGHER THAN A ‘5’. I will be furious if that happens, big time !

Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control from Mercury to Apollo ...

Now, look at these 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 //

And these words:

Boring: tedious // forgetful: absent-minded // expensive: sky high // what will happen: predict // everywhere: ubiquitous.

How to use these in your responses:

IELTS question: What do you do in your free time ?

Staying at home is boring so I go swimming. I meet friends for coffee. If it’s raining, I like to play video games.

IELTS – style:

For me, staying at home is terribly tedious, so I frequently go swimming. It’s fun, healthy and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Sometimes it’s raining cats and dogs so I enjoy playing video games, big time !

IELTS question: Who do you live with ? Notice how we start we a supportive clause

Because I’m still a student, I live at home with my family, that’s my mother, father, younger brother and older sister. My sister is such a prima donna, always in the bathroom, always buying new clothes. Furthermore, she dreads doing housework because she may hurt her nail varnish. She’ll wash up once in a blue moon.

IELTS question: Do you often eat out ?

Well, that’s a great question as I detest cooking. Having said that, I’m extremely lucky because in my neighbourhood, restaurants are ubiquitous, from expensive sea food to affordable street food. I eat crab or lobster once in a blue moon as the prices are sky-high, moreover, I actually prefer simple, mouth-watering street food.

IELTS question: What are your plans for the future ?

Make your own answers, using at least TWO discourse markers, TWO adverbs, TWO low-frequency words AND the idiom given.

TEAM 1: Well, there is so much to say about that subject, where shall I start ? (use ‘nose to the grindstone’).

TEAM 2: It’s funny you put that question to me because earlier today I was just thinking about … (use ‘burn the candle at both ends’).

TEAM 3: As I young Vietnamese, I … (use ‘pass with flying colours’).

happy asian students graduating | Luu Tutoring
Students who passed with flying colours

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: Street crime.

23rd July 2020

Have you witnessed any crimes ? Have you been a victim of crime ?

What crimes are there in your city ?

What can you do to protect yourself ?

Listening exercise:

Listen to non-native speakers talk about crime-prevention in a big city.

listen for: 

snatch and grab // petty theft // tip // during // dynamic // pay attention

What should you do with your bag ?

What shouldn’t you do with your phone ?

Vocabulary:

procedure // happened // suddenly // officially  // relatively // contents // grabbed

I was walking with a friend along Pham Ngu Lao, around 4 in the morning. The street was ………….quiet, just some tourists and a little traffic. 

I was wearing a small bag, strung across my shoulder. A security guard was behind me, talking to a person in a car. …….., a motorbike came towards me on the pavement. He stopped, …………..my bag strap, then drove away.

Naturally, I shouted but it was too late; he was gone. My friend was worried but I told her it was OK, nobody was hurt. The ………of the bag were really worthless: pens, some medicine, a book, but also my designer glasses.

The security guard was comical in his incompetence. He shook his head, mouth open wide, and said, “It all ………. so quickly, there was nothing I could do.” 

I should, …….. , have reported it to the police, that was the ……….. but people told me the thief would never be found. What I learnt from this unfortunate experience was to be very careful and never walk around with valuables.

Could you be a good witness ?

Tell me about the first criminal – height, weight, hair, features …

What was the second man wearing ?

Who stole the motorbike ?

Three English poems and some Shakespeare

19th July 2020

W.H. Auden

1907 – 1973

Reading the Maps: Yesterday the struggle: EP Thompson, Auden, and ...

Are you there ?

Each lover has some theory of his own
About the difference between the ache
Of being with his love, and being alone:

Why what, when dreaming, is dear flesh and bone
That really stirs the senses, when awake,
Appears a simulacrum of his own.

Narcissus disbelieves in the unknown;
He cannot join his image in the lake
So long as he assumes he is alone.

The child, the waterfall, the fire, the stone,
Are always up to mischief, though, and take
The universe for granted as their own.

The elderly, like Proust, are always prone
To think of love as a subjective fake;
The more they love, the more they feel alone.

Whatever view we hold, it must be shown
Why every lover has a wish to make
Some kind of otherness his own:
Perhaps, in fact, we never are alone.

John Betjemin

1906 – 1984

John Betjeman was a mediocre poet – but he wrote one brilliant poem

This poem is about a small industrial town, outside of London. The poet criticises the place for its lack of culture and atmosphere, and the people for being mediocre. The place is pronounced ‘sl – owl’ to rhyme with ‘cow’ and ‘now’.

Slough

Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!
It isn’t fit for humans now,
There isn’t grass to graze a cow.
Swarm over, Death!

Come, bombs and blow to smithereens
Those air -conditioned, bright canteens,
Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans,
Tinned minds, tinned breath.

Mess up the mess they call a town-
A house for ninety-seven down
And once a week a half a crown
For twenty years.

And get that man with double chin
Who’ll always cheat and always win,
Who washes his repulsive skin
In women’s tears:

And smash his desk of polished oak
And smash his hands so used to stroke
And stop his boring dirty joke
And make him yell.

But spare the bald young clerks who add
The profits of the stinking cad;
It’s not their fault that they are mad,
They’ve tasted Hell.

It’s not their fault they do not know
The birdsong from the radio,
It’s not their fault they often go
To Maidenhead

And talk of sport and makes of cars
In various bogus-Tudor bars
And daren’t look up and see the stars
But belch instead.

In labour-saving homes, with care
Their wives frizz out peroxide hair
And dry it in synthetic air
And paint their nails.

Come, friendly bombs and fall on Slough
To get it ready for the plough.
The cabbages are coming now;
The earth exhales.

Slough Trading Estate bosses at SEGRO launch £10million fund ...
Mars bars, Ford GT40s and David Brent: The Slough Trading Estate ...

Slough

Philip Larkin

1922 – 1985

Philip Larkin and Me: A Friendship with Holes in It | The New Yorker

Toads 

Why should I let the toad work
Squat on my life?
Can’t I use my wit as a pitchfork
And drive the brute off ?

Six days of the week it soils
With its sickening poison –
Just for paying a few bills!
That’s out of proportion.

Lots of folk live on their wits:
Lecturers, lispers,
Losels, loblolly-men, louts-
They don’t end as paupers;

Lots of folk live up lanes
With fires in a bucket,
Eat windfalls and tinned sardines-
they seem to like it.

Their nippers have got bare feet,
Their unspeakable wives
Are skinny as whippets – and yet
No one actually starves.

Ah, were I courageous enough
To shout Stuff your pension!
But I know, all too well, that’s the stuff
That dreams are made on:

For something sufficiently toad-like
Squats in me, too;
Its hunkers are heavy as hard luck,
And cold as snow,

And will never allow me to blarney
My way of getting
The fame and the girl and the money
All at one sitting.

I don’t say, one bodies the other
One’s spiritual truth;
But I do say it’s hard to lose either,
When you have both.

William Shakespeare

1564 – 1616

How to read Shakespeare for pleasure

Hamlet, Act II, Scene II

 Ham.  I will tell you why; so shall my anticipation prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the king and queen moult no feather. I have of late,—but wherefore I know not,—lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o’erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me but a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! in form, in moving, how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not me; no, nor woman neither, though, by your smiling, you seem to say so.

William Shakespeare quote: What a piece of work is a man, how noble...
133 Best Withnail And I images | Withnail and i, Paul mcgann, Film
From ‘Withnail & I’

Third conditional

A compilation of exercises and examples

18th July 2020

Third conditional We talk about something that happened to us in the past and how we would have changed it IF we had known some information.

A basic example: A visit a friend and it is her birthday, but I didn’t know.

If I had known it was her birthday, I would have bought her a present.

To illustrate: my friend Richard …

Related image

… is married to Ms Linh. Yesterday was their wedding anniversary … but he forgot. Ms Linh was …

Image result for angry asain lady

She was absolutely livid (extremely angry, disappointed and heartbroken)

If he had remembered it was his anniversary, he would have bought her a present, some flowers and taken her out to a romantic restaurant.

However, it is too late NOW ! He’s in the doghouse (in trouble).

Notice all the past tense verbs. Furthermore, would is commonly used in conditional sentences.

If + Subject + had + past participle (verb 3) …… subject + would (or wouldn’t) have.

Now – your turn.

Make a story about my friend Tom, who came to Sai Gon on holiday:

My friend Tom, from London

Tom came to Sai Gon, and wanted to go to a nice bar. He heard about the Skybar in Bitexco. The bar is quite luxurious.

Panoramic views over the Sai Gon skyline.

Image result for friendly viet bar girls

Tom began to make friends, and invited them for cocktails. However, when the bill came …

And …

What do you think happened ?

Write a sentence, in the third conditional to explain Tom’s situation.

Project work

These people also came to Sai Gon. Write third conditional sentences to encapsulate their situation

Try to use some of these words or phrases:

typical / typically / obvious / obviously / insist / suggest / essential 

Why didn’t she (he, they) … have a good time ?

If (he/ she / they) had known it was so (expensive, noisy, boring …)

Emma, 19 Backpacker. Likes shopping, dancing, eating street food. She didn’t book ahead and was too tired and hot to walk around looking for a cheap hotel so she had to stay in a four-star hotel and spend nearly all of her money.

Japanese family. Like family activities, souvenirs and quiet nights. They stayed in the noisy backpacker area, with shouting and screaming and drunken karaoke all night.

Young men wanting a ‘Stag Night’ party, here to have a last hurrah ! They chose a quiet town in the Mekong Delta, but there was only one bar and it closed at 8.00 pm.

(a stag night is a wild party for a man before he gets married. There is normally a lot of drinking … and other activities)

Jewish students. They do not eat pork, or shell-fish. Want to see history and temples. Their guide keeps taking them to eat sea-food and pork restaurants because the guide only speaks Vietnamese and Chinese, and the students only speak Hebrew and English.

If these visitors came to your city or town, could you recommend places for them to visit ?

What are your suggestions?

Remember, Emma wants somewhere fun but cheap, the family want someone quiet but close to family attractions, the young men want lots of bars and clubs, while the Jewish students have strict dietary rules.

Now … some more exercises:

I was very hungry but too lazy to cook, so I went out to grab a bite to eat.

I thought I’d try the new restaurant. 

I, obviously, ordered pho, (traditional Vietnamese food).

However, after I had eaten 

I saw the chef !

If I had known the chef was so filthy, I wouldn’t have eaten there !

This is the 3rd conditional. 

Something that happened in the past BUT you can’t change it now.

If I had known the film was so bad, I never would have gone !

If he had bought his wife flowers, she wouldn’t have been angry at him

If they had studied English, they would have passed the test.

Finally …

… a true story that my history teacher told me back in London.

My teacher was a somewhat dishevelled gentleman in his mid-30s. Let’s call him Mr Bowditch:

Mr Bowditch, history teacher at an east London school

Mr Bowditch lived in a bedsit, which is basically renting one room in a large house and sharing the kitchen and bathroom with other tenants. His room was not particularly comfortable:

One night, Mr Bowditch was in his room and began to feel a little hungry. He wanted some chocolate so decided to go to the off-license and buy some sweets (an off-licence is a shop that sells basic food and sweets but also alcohol and cigarettes. It used to be open until 11.00pm when most shops would close around 6.00 pm). He decided to buy, among other items, some ‘Fry’s Turkish Delight’ a sort of jelly covered in chocolate:

OK, so far so good. However, Mr Bowditch lived in a rather bad part of London, it wasn’t always safe to walk alone at night. Unfortunately, on the way home, Mr Bowditch meet the following young men:

They called out to Mr Bowditch and stopped him walking. They demanded:

Mr Bowditch had none, as he had just spent his money on sweets (candy). They didn’t believe him and began to search him. He showed them:

That was all he had … a few pounds, about 100 000 VND. The men became very angry and aggressive. Suddenly, they heard a police car siren. The men tried to drag Mr Bowditch into the tunnel, away from the road but he is very tall and stopped them. As the police car got closer, the men ran away. Mr Bowditch has never eaten ‘Fry’s Turkish Delight’ again.

There are several instances of the third conditional in the above story.

If Mr Bowditch had bought sweets on his way home, he wouldn’t have gone out later and been mugged (mugged means being robbed, often with violence or the threat of violence).

If Mr Bowditch had gone to a different shop, he wouldn’t have meet the muggers.

If the police car hadn’t been passing, Mr Bowditch might have been seriously hurt.

If Mr Bowditch hadn’t been so tall, he would have been dragged into the tunnel and maybe beaten or worse.

The structure: the first clause starts with ‘If’ then using a comma before completing the sentence. The first verb can be positive or negative (in the examples, I use ‘had’ and ‘hadn’t’).

We use this to talk about things that DIDN’T happen. 

Subject Index: Themes, features and topics.

Subject Index: An index of various subjects, taught to various levels and age groups.

Subject // Lesson // Date

Ancient Egypt // Teenagers: Architecture & Mythology // 13th March 2020

Ancient Greece // Teenagers: Architecture & Mythology // 13th March 2020

Apple iPhones // Adult Class, Level 3 // 14th November 2019

Apple workers in China // IELTS // 30th July 2019

April 30th Vietnam // Adult Speaking Class, level 3: April 30th // 5th April 2020

Arabian Nights // Adult Speaking Class, level 2, Part 6 24th January 2020

Area 51 // Adult Class, Level 3 // 12th November 2019

ART & ARCHITECTURE

Architecture // Adult professionals // architecture

Architecture: Burj Khalife & Willis Tower // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020

Architecture: giving opinions // Adult Speaking Class, level 2 // 9th April 2020

Art // Adult Class, Level 1 // 12 & 19 December 2018

Art: giving opinion // Adult Speaking Class, level 3: Art // 13th April 2020

Art: DaDa & Surrealism // Adult Speaking Class, level 3: Dali, Dada & Surrealism // 23rd April 2020

Australia // IELTS 5-6.5 // 21st August 2019

Bad Day – create narrative // IELTS, Lesson 3 // 19th January 2019

Banks // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2 Part 2

Bonfire, Guy Fawkes // Adult Class, Level 3 // 5th November 2019

Bonfire Night // Young Learners 4 // 9th November 2019

Boys’ Night Out // Adult Class, Level 3 // 3rd December 2019

Bristol, UK // Young Teens // 21st February 2019

Cars // Adult pros // Adult mechanics: What can go wrong ?

Castles in Europe // Adult Class, Level 1 // 2 January 2019

Character building // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: Character development // 18th June 2020

Christmas food in UK // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: food // 19th April 2020

Cinema choice // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: Cinema // 9th May 2020

Cities (UK) and areas // IELTS // 31st December 2018

Clothes // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: Describing clothes // 19th March 2020

Coffee in Viet Nam // Adult Speaking Class, level 2

Coffee in Viet Nam // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 4

Complaining // Adult C, L 3 // 18th March 2019

Computers // Adult C, L 1 // 20th February 2019

Concorde // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020

Corona Virus in Vietnam // IELTS 4 – 5 // Implementing precautions // 25th March 2020

Corona Virus: news from UK // Listening Exercises, Corona Special // 6th April 2020

Countries

Australia // IELTS 5-6.5 // 21st August 2019

Germany // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Germany // 26th February 2020

Greece: land and myths // Young Learners 5 // 6th October 2019

India // IELTS: Hello, India // 24th January 2020

Japan // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 6, 25th January 2020

Poland salt mine // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2

Russia // Adult Class, Level 3 // 4th December 2019

Sweden // Young Learners 2 // 18th May 2019

Switzerland // Adult Speaking Class, level 3. Theme:Travel // 11th February 2020

Taiwan // Taiwan: Listening Extra // 12th April 2020

Taiwan (four videos – WHO dodge, Tsai Ing-wen) // Taiwan: Listening Extra 12th April 2020

Countries (Brazil, Canada, Sth Korea, Egypt) // Young Learners 2 // 1st June 2019

Countries (VN, UK, Mexico, Russia) // Young Learners 3 // 7th September 2019

Countries // Young Learners 5 // 27th October 2019

Gather information (countries) // Young Learners 5 // 29th August 2019

Guess the countries (pictures) Signs // Young Learners 4 // 22nd June 2019

Guess the music (countries) // Young Learners 5 // 27th October 2019

Cracking codes // Young Learners 5 // 17th November 2019

Creative writing // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: Storytelling // 29th March 2020

Creative writing // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: Storytelling part 2 // 30th March 2020

Crime and punishment // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Crime & Punishment

Culture shock // Adult Class, Level 3 // 15th January 2019

Easter // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2 // 1st January 2020

Emotions // Young Learners 3 // 6th July 2019

English for engineers

English for engineers, mechanics, science: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/category/adult-professionals/

Top Gear // Adult professionals // Adult mechanics: What can go wrong ?

Nikola Tesla (video) // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020

Turbulence // Adult Professionals / Mechanics Part 2 // 23rd January 2020

Enigma machine // Young Learners 5 // 17th November 2019

Entropy // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020

Environment // Adult professionals // Adult mechanics: What can go wrong ?

Explorers // Young Learners 5 // 10th November 2019

Family // Adult Class, Level 3 // 6th November 2019

Flea markets // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: Gift of the gab // 10th May 2020

Food

Food (Korea, Germany, UK Christmas, Vietnam traditional) // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Theme: food https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/01/22/adult-speaking-class-level-3-theme-food/

Food (healthy or snack) // Young Learners 3 // 13th July 2019

Food (Sweden) // Young Learners 2 // 18th May 2019

Food (4 countries) // Young Learners 3 // 6th July 2019

Food (Vietnamese food) // Young Teens // 27th February 2019

Fortune telling // Adult Class, Level 1 // 30th January 2019

Fortune telling // Young Teens // 31st January 2019

Friction // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020

Germany // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Germany // 26th February 2020

Greece – land and myths // Young Learners 5 // 6th October 2019

Hair styles // Adult Class, Level 1 // 19th October 2019

Hang Soon Dong cave // Young Teens // 27th February 2019

Health // Young Learners 3 // 17th August 2019

Health // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Health // 27th January 2020

Hotels // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Hotels // 8th February 2020

How was your day // Adult Speaking Class, level 1: How was your day ? // 5th April 2020

Idioms

Idioms & expressions // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 4

Idioms: food // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: food // 19th April 2020

Idioms: a piece of cake // Teaching Notes // 1st June 2020

Idioms: are you pulling my leg ? // Teaching Notes // 2nd June 2020

Idioms: everyday idioms, everyday // Teaching Notes // 3rd June 2020

Idioms: part 3 extended idioms use // Teaching Notes // 4th June 2020

IELTS: Mindset Introduction // IELTS // 23rd June 2020

India // IELTS: Hello, India // 24th January 2020

Insults and disrespect // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Causing offence // 3rd Feb 2020

Internet // Adult Class, Level 1 // 20th February 2019

Internet use by area and gender // Adult Class, Level 1 // 20th February 2019

Information from poster // Adult Speaking Class, Level 1: information // 16th April 2020

Japan // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 6, 25th January 2020

Jazz music // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 4

Job interviews // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Job interviews // 12th Feb 2020

Kindle // IELTS 5 – 6.5. Writing example // 15th March 2020

Landmark 81 // Adult Professionals / Mechanics Part 2 // 23rd January 2020

Letter ‘t’ // KG 1 // 5th May 2019

Loch Ness Monster // Adult Class, Level 3 // 12 November 2019

London

London // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: London 3rd March 2020

London // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: London Part 2 5th March 2020

London directions and Leytonstone // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: London // 29th June 2020

London history and architecture // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: London // 18th April 2020

London street market // Adult C, L 3 // 14 November 2019

London tourism // Adult C, L 3 // 21st November 2019

London: what to see // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: London // 22nd May 2020

Love and dating // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Love & marriage

Love and marriage // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Love & marriage Part 2

Love, marriage, children // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Love & marriage Part 3

May Day – history, myth and politics //Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: May Day // 5th May 2020

Making excuses IELTS // Speaking exercises // small talk & making excuses // 12th May 2020

Manufacturing in Vietnam // IELTS // 30th July 2019

McDonalds // Adult Speaking Class, level 2

Mobile phones // Adult Class, Level 3 // 8th January 2019

Money // Adult Class, Level 3 // 14 November 2019

Money // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 3

Murder mysteries // Adult Class, Level 3 // 12th November 2019

Olympics (London, Beijing) // Adult Professionals // 10th February 2019

Orion constellation // Teenagers: Architecture & Mythology // 13th March 2020

Personality adjectives // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3, Personality adjectives // 7th June 2020

Photography and photos // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, Part 4

Photography and photos descriptions (advanced) // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2, // 25th April 2020

The Plague // Adult C, L 1 // 12 & 19 December 2018

Poland salt mine // Adult Speaking Class, Level 2

Politics // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3

Presentation skills // Teenagers // 20th January 2019

Pyramids // Teenagers: Architecture & Mythology // 13th March 2020

Reading practice // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Crime & Punishment

Robots in industry // Adult professionals // Adult mechanics: What can go wrong ?

Rolex // Adult Class, Level 3 // 14th November 2019

Russia // Adult Class, Level 3 // 4th December 2019

Sai Gon for kids //Young Learners 4 // 23rd November 2019

Shinkanshen (Bullet Train) // Adult professionals. Mechanics, Part 3 // 7th Feb 2020

Shopping

Shops and shopping // Young Learners 3 // 17th August 2019

Shop work (role-play) // Young Learners 3 // 3rd August 2019

Shopping // Adult Speaking Class, level 2

Shopping // Adult Speaking Class Level 2: Deciding what to buy // 11th May 2020

Shopping, haggling, role – play // Adult Speaking Class Level 2: Going shopping // 7th April 2020

Shopping (role-play) // Young Learners 3 // 17th August 2019

Shopping // Adult Class, Level 3 // 14th November 2019

Signs, symbols, icons // 21st August 2019: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/08/21/signs-symbols-and-icons-information-and-worksheet/

Small talk // Adult C, L 3 // 26th November 2019

Smoking and No Tobacco Day // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Health // 27th Jan. 2020

Solar system & space // Young Learners 4 // 16th November 2019

Street crime // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: Street crime // 23rd July 2020

Stereotypes // Adult C, L 3 // 19th August 2019

Stereotypes // Adult Class, Level 3: Generally speaking // 28th April 2020

Stories in basic English // Adult Speaking Class, level 2, Part 6 // 24th January 2020

Sweden // Young Learners 2 // 18th May 2019

Switzerland // Adult Speaking Class, level 3. Theme:Travel // 11th February 2020

Taiwan // Taiwan: Listening Extra // 12th April 2020

Tallest, longest, biggest // Young Learners 5 // 10th November 2019

Technology (old) // Young Learners 5 // 17th November 2019

Tet Holiday // Adult C, L 1 // 30th January 2019

Tet Holiday // IELTS // 28th January 2019

Travel

Holiday plans (Buenos Aires, Nairobi, Copenhagen, Moscow) // A. S. C. Level 2 // 20th May 2020

Holiday projects : Bangkok, Munich, Ha Noi, Egypt, London // A.S.C. Level 3 // 9th June 20202

IELTS Project // Holiday language, prepare an advert, plan a day // IELTS // 16th June 2020

Tourism (Thailand, VN & project) // Teenagers // 20th January 2019

Traffic and travel // Adult Speaking Class. Theme: Traffic

Traffic in Vietnam // Adult C, L 3 // 25th December 2018

Travel: airport to city centre (HCM) // IELTS // 10th February 2019

Travel USA: planning // Adult Speaking Class, level 3: USA sun, surf, sand // 18th May 2020

Travel USA: 3 cities // Adult Speaking Class, level 3: San Fran, Boston, Chicago // 18th May 2020

Tuareg people // Adult Speaking Class, level 3. Theme:Travel // 11th February 2020

Turbulence // Adult Professionals / Mechanics Part 2 // 23rd January 2020

UNESCO // Young Teens // 31st January 2019

UNESCO // Young Teens // 27th February 2019

Van Heusen shirts // Adult C, L 3 // 14th November 2019

Vietnam

Vietnamese cities // Adult Class, Level 3 // 21st November 2019

Vietnamese places // Young Learners 5 // 27th October 2019

Vietnamese food // Young Teens // 27th February 2019

Vietnamese law and police // Adult Class, Level 1 // 5th March 2019

War Museum, Sai Gon // Adult Class // 17- 19th December 2019

War Remnants Museums, Sai Gon // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: War Museum

Weather: snow and floods // Beginners’ English, Part 2

Workplace: issues & problems // Adult Speaking Class, Level 3. Theme: Work-place problems // 5th February 2020

Yoga & exercise // IELTS writing practice // 25th April 2020

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: New Slang (when you notice the stripes). Idioms & expressions

15th July 2020

I recreated the shirt from the New Slang music video : TheShins
The US band The Shins with their song ‘New Slang’

Notes, new idioms & slang

Why the long face ? Someone looks miserable or unhappy.

She can talk the hind legs off a donkey ! Talking non-stop !

The tip of the iceberg.

The Unusual Meaning and Origin of the Idiom 'Tip of the Iceberg ...

Piece of cake No problem, easy, no trouble

Same thing, day in, day out everyday is exactly the same, very boring.

On the lookout looking for something

Cooking the books cheating with the company accounts. Writing false information.

Insurance Company Broker Caught Cooking the Books - Workers ...
Pros and Cons of Utlizing a Traditional Grading Scale

A bright spark someone who is very clever

You’re pulling my leg ! joking but pretending to be serious.

The boot’s on the other foot the situation has changed.

You can’t miss it you will certainly recognise it when you see it, when you are there.

Big time ! (US modern popular culture) Absolutely, totally, very, very much

Brass monkeys it’s extremely, painfully cold

Once in a blue moon something that happens extremely rarely

Bob’s your uncle there you are ! No problem, all fixed ! (UK slang)

Now … your turn

Practice using these saying in everyday conversations … answers, as per usual, at the end of the blog.

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1) I love the beach. but I rarely go, just ……………………………….

2) If you’re late for class again, the teacher will be furious …….

3) You look so sad ……………………… ?

4) I’m freezing ! It’s ……………………. in here

5) Seriously ? You can marry three wives in UK ? No, you’re ……..

6) Oh, my job is so tedious, …………………………

7) She wouldn’t shut up ! She ….

8) It’s no problem; I’ll clean your laptop, remove the virsus and Trojans and ………

9) I used to earn more than my wife but she got a big promotion, so now …………. She earns more than me !

10) I need a new pair of shoes. I’m ………………… for some high quality Italian leather.

11) The accountant was sacked. He was ……… but that was not all ! That’s just the …………………… He was also stealing computers and selling them.

12) This lesson was a ………………… for me because I’m such a ……………….

13) I didn’t use ‘you can’t miss it.’ Write your own sentence.

Top 6 Most Difficult Courses To Study in Nigeria

Answers

1) once in a blue moon

2) big time

3) why the long face ?

4) brass monkeys

5) pulling my leg

6) Same thing, day in, day out

7) can/could talk the hind legs off a donkey.

8) Bob’s your uncle

9) the boot’s on the other foot.

10) on the lookout

11) cooking the books / tip of the iceberg

12) piece of cake / bright spark

Well, if you’re such a bright spark, write you own sentences and test your partner.

BONUS: what expressions can you hear in this song ?

NOTE TO TEACHERS; IF POSSIBLE, TURN OFF THE OVERHEAD SO STUDENTS CAN’T SEE THE SONG TITLE.

Ms Nanci Griffith: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmvyBTXuRQw

Past tense, past continuous: Various exercises

12th July 2020

Various exercises for you to practise grammar, both past simple and past continuous. Answer follow the photos.

Past Tense exercises

Past simple: most common way of talking about the past. 

Regular verbs just add –ed e.g. walk = walked / look = looked / play = played

Past continuous: was / were + verbing e.g. I was playing / We were looking

Irregular verbs not used in past continuous e.g. we were seeing a film OR we saw a film NOT we were sawing a film.

Present perfect– talk about an action that happened in the past

subj + have/has + verb3 (past participle).

Past perfect – talking about two actions, both in the past, one before the other

e.g. I had listened to the CD before I saw the band play live.

Subj + had + verb3

The verb ‘to be’

I am / I was // you are / you were // he, she, it is / was // they, we are / were

Past tense / Shakespeare exercise

Change these lines into the past:

1 In Act One, Romeo ….. (is) in love with _________

2 Benvolio ……… (try – past continuous) to stop the fight.

3 The Prince ………. (demand – past perfect) to see Capulet before seeing Montague.

4 Romeo, Mercutio & Benvolio ……. (are) in the street talking.

5 The two families …… …. (be, present continuous) been fighting for years.

6 Romeo ….. (ask) the Nurse who Juliet is.

7 Mercutio & Benvolio …… (do, not) know Romeo was in love with Juliet.

8 The famous ‘balcony’ scene … (take) place in Act 2.

9 The Friar ……. ……. (go, past perfect) out collecting flowers.

10 At the end of Act 2, Romeo and Juliet …… (are) married. 

Which is the best screen version of Romeo and Juliet? Don't look ...

ANSWERS

1) was (Rosaline) 2) was trying 3) had demanded 4) were 5) have been 6) asked 7) did not (didn’t) 8) took 9) had gone 10) were

Past tense exercise

Change the verb form – can be:

past simple (think about regular & irregular verbs)

past continuous (verb + ing)

present perfect (subject + have/has + verb3)

past perfect (subject + had + verb3)

It is …. a hot, Sai Gon night. The wind blow …….. up from the river, but the humidity drive ….. me crazy. Sweat pour ……… down my back. 

I were walk …………. by the Old Town, lanterns were light ……. and sway ….. in the breeze. I … visit …….. an old friend before I decide ………. to take this long, steamy walk. I …. live ……….. here over two years, but everyday, I am almost 

kill ……. by crazy motorbikes. I need …. .. a coffee and see …… a cafe over the road. As I were cross ……………….. the street, a motorbike race …….. towards me. If I ……. jump ……… aside, he wouldpresent perfect…. hit …. me. But that were …… his idea.

He turn ….. around and pull …… out a gun, aim …… and fire ……… . I ……. ……….(be) present perfect shot at more times than I care to remember, I know …….. the score; duck and run. I run …… .I ………did, (negative) have time to think. I can … think later – if I am still alive. I make …. it into the coffee shop, and were look ……. out the window across the street.

The shooter were dress …… all in black and keep …… his helmet on. He were walk …………. this way. Quickly, I look ……. around. Were there another exit ? Can …. I escape by a back door ? Yes ! I ……. be (past perfect) ……here…before. I remember ………. a fire exit on the first floor. I leap …… for the stairs, just as the shooter were about to open the door.

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Answers: was / blew / drove / poured // was walking / lit / swayed / visitid / decided / lived // killed / needed / saw / was crossing / raced / jumped / have hit / was // turned / pulled / aimed / fired / I have been shot at / knew / ran / didn’t / could / was / made / looked // was dressed / kept / was walking / looked / was / Could / had been / remembered / lept

Here are 7 verbs in the PRESENT. Choose the correct verb AND use it in the correct tense.

teach / live / go / see / drink / am / have 

Harry (1) …….. drinking tea yesterday, when he (2) ……. an idea. I haven’t (3) …….. my neighbours how to drink tea. I am sure they will be happy. They have not (4) …… to the UK yet. I have (5) …. in many cities in England. Now I am in Viet Nam. I have (6) …. many wonderful sights, but I have never (7) …… a cup of good, English tea.

Beautiful Young Woman Drinking Hot Tea With Nature Green ...

Answers: 1) was 2) had 3) taught 4) been 5) lived 6) seen 7) drunk

Put the present tense verbs into past continuous

EXAMPLE Linh drinks tea – Linh was drinking tea

1 Tina watches TV

2 Sam shouts, ‘Oh, no!’

3 My father plays football

4 Bella designs a beautiful dress

5 The cat sings karaoke all night long ! 

6 Paul listens to The Beatles

7 Anna buys an Apple.

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Answers: 1) was watching 2) was shouting 3) was playing 4) was designing 5) was singing 6) was listening 7) was buying

75 % of verbs are REGULAR – just add -ed to form past tense

visit visited // watch watched // talk talked // walk walked

BUT

Others are IRREGULAR – you just have to learn them !

Go – went // see – saw // is – was // sleep – slept // spend – spent

Put the verbs into the simple past:

  1. Last year I (go) …………to England on holiday.
  2. It (be) ……..fantastic.
  3. I (visit)…… lots of interesting places. I (be) ….. with two friends of mine .
  4. In the mornings we (walk)…… in the streets of London.
  5. In the evenings we (go) ….. to pubs.
  6. The weather (be) …… remarkably pleasant. (nice)
  7. We (watch) …… a great Korean film.
  8. But we (see) …… some beautiful rainbows.
  9. Where (spend / you) ……. your last holiday?
Take Care of My Cat

Answers: 1) went 2) was 3) visited & went 4) walked 5) went 6) was 7) watched 8) saw 9) did you spend ?

Grammar exercise simple past tense form of the verb.

1. I …………………………. him yesterday.

a) saw b) was seeing c) had seen

2. I ………………………. his letter yesterday.

a) received b) was receiving c) had received

3. She ……………………….. school last year.

a) will leave b) leave c) left

4. Last night I …………………………….. sleep well.

a) don’t b) didn’t c) hadn’t

5. He ……………………………. asleep while he was driving.

a) fell b) falls c) was falling

6. I ………………………… a new bicycle last week.

a) bought b) had bought c) have bought

7. We ………………………….. our breakfast half an hour ago.

a) finished b) have finished c) had finished

8. When I was in the US, I …………………………….. Chicago, Boston and California.

a) visited b) was visiting c) would visit

9. I …………………………….. an old classmate of mine at the library.

a) had seen b) was seeing c) saw

10. She ………………yesterday that she would not go.

a) says b) said c) had said

Lesbian Travel Guide to San Francisco, California - Lez See the World

Answers: 1) a 2) a 3) c 4) b 5) a 6) a 7) a 8) a 9) c 10) b

Put into simple past

Last year I (go)  went to England on holiday. 

  1. It (be)   fantastic.
  2. I (visit)   lots of interesting places. I (be)   with two friends of mine . 
  3. In the mornings we (walk)   in the streets of London. 
  4. In the evenings we (go)   to pubs. 
  5. They (hear)   strange music. 
  6. It (not / rain)   a lot. 
  7. But we (buy)   some beautiful clothes. 
  8. How much money (spend / you)  in the shops ?
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Answers: 1) was 2) visited & was 3) walked 4) went 5) heard 6) did not [didn’t] 7) bought 8) did you spend

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The verb changes form in the PAST tense. Regular verbs add -ed, but many verbs are irregular e.g.

walk = walked / jump = jumped push = pushed (regular verbs)

begin began // bring brought // find found // come came // do did //

drink drank // eat ate // get got // make made // speak spoke

A good list is here:

http://www.gingersoftware.com/content/grammar-rules/verbs/list-of-irregular-verbs/

Adult Speaking Class, level 2: Really, that’s interesting, tell me more – small talk practice

8th July 2020

Small Talk

Remember to keep the conversation going by responding with enthusiasm and interest. You could say:

Really ? // That’s interesting // Me too ! // No way ! // Tell me more // Why is that ? // Where is that exactly ? // Are you ? // Do you really think so ?

EXAMPLES:

I work in King Street // Oh, where is that exactly ?

I love listening to K-pop // Really ! Me too. Who are your favourites ?

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I love listening to K-pop. T-ara are my favourites

I’m studying English // No way ! I’m also studying. Where do you study ?

I want to start my own business // That’s interesting, tell me more.

Starting a Business 101 - How to Start a Business

A chance to review and use recent vocabulary, phrases and idioms.

Make sentences using these words or expressions:

Raining cats and dogs (raining very heavy)

chockablock (traffic jam, no space to move)

Could talk the hind legs off a donkey (talks very, very much)

ubiquitous everywhere

such as to give examples

Budge over move over, make some space

you’ll pick it up you’ll soon understand it or be able to so it

in next to no time very soon, very quickly

Could you repeat that, please ?

How do you spell that ?

Once more, please

How about you ?

For me,

I’m keen on

I’m not so keen on

Dialogue

175 Questions To Ask Your Friends (BFF Deep Personal Questions)

What were you doing last night ? I tried to call.

I was watching TV. Was it important ?

We were having a party. I wanted you to come.

Your parties are such fun ! What did you do ?

We were all looking online for bargains. Anna bought some great shoes.

She was always talking about buying shoes.

I was looking at the clothes from London. So stylish.

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Did you see the email from the Manager ?

Oh, that old windbag! He doesn’t know when to stop talking. He could talk the hind legs off a donkey.

Yes, even his emails go on forever hahahah. I’m not so keen on him, I wish the old manager hadn’t left.

Left ? He was given the boot, he was sacked ! Anyway, they were thinking about calling off the meeting.

What a relief, those meeting drag on endlessly

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Did you bring your raincoat ? It’s been raining all night.

I know, it’s raining cats and dogs. Better leave soon if we’re going.

Yes, maybe the traffic will be chockablock.

Oh, just a minute … do you know how to use this program ?

Yes, it’s very easy. It’s a piece of cake! Budge over, I’ll show you, you’ll pick it up in next to no time.