IELTS: There are places I’ll remember …

6th October 2020

IELTS Mindset 1.Speaking lesson U2 – Places and buildings

English language, British culture – let’s kick off with two iconic parts of Liverpool, immortalised by The Beatles:

Penny Lane Tattoo - Trang chủ | Facebook
Forever Strawberry Field | The Salvation Army - YouTube

In case you are unaware of these classic songs, here’s ‘Penny Lane’, a song from 1967 which, amazingly, only reached Number 2 in the pop charts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-rB0pHI9fU

How much can you understand ?

A typical, run of the mill IELTS question will be about your hometown or about your neighbourhood.

First, some new vocabulary. I will expect you to learn these:

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

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

run of the mill – ordinary, typical, unusual, boring

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

NOW … your turn

Tell me about your neighbourhood

Remember, give me a great introduction, have a positive point, a negative point and a short conclusion.

Use some of the new vocabulary

Real estate news: Outstanding Housing Projects Of Kien A Investors
An apartment block in the Cat Lai area of Sai Gon. Artist’s impression.
HCM city aims to reduce seaport traffic jams
The reality of living in Cat Lai, one of the busiest ports in south east Asia

Well, that question is a bit of a sore point with me because I live in a terribly noisy gritty industrial area. My apartment is near the Cat Lai port which is one of the busiest in Vietnam. Consequently, we have containers driving past, day and night which, as you can imagine, creates so much pollution.

However, allow me to talk about the good points. Firstly, it is significantly cheaper than, say, District 1 or 3, as it is quite far to the centre. The shops, also, tend to be on the cheap side. Additionally we have some street markets where I can pick up some very cheap food and fresh fish. We are well-served with several convenience stores although, in my opinion, Family Mart charges an arm and a leg.

Conversely, my friends avoid visiting me because it is so dangerous to ride a motorbike here, we really take our lives in our hands every time we go out. Furthermore, I love fresh air so I open my windows, yet I have to dust and clean every day because so much dirt comes in. Finally, we have open-air karaoke nearly every night and street wedding parties most weekends which means loud and terrible singing. It’s like a madhouse, I really detest this horrible noise.

I am lucky with my neighbours, and the apartment is really spacious. Having said that, the area is so bad that as soon as possible, I will leave and find somewhere cleaner and safer.

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.

Vinyl revival continues as Tesco stocks classic LPs from The ...
Meet Stan Panenka, owner of the 'ultimate' Beatles collection ...

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 ?
Close up of Beautiful Japanese Stock Footage Video (100% Royalty ...

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 1: Review – adjectives, contractions and sentence building.

25th October 2019

I want my students to know present and past tense of common verbs, a range of adjectives (both positive and negative) and a good selection of nouns. Additionally, I’d like them to be able to put them together in long sentences, and start to use English contractions.

And so, to kick off (to start), a past tense exercise.

Ask your neighbour, “What did you do today ?”

I will give present tense verbs – students must use the past tense.

Example:

This morning, I go out and drink coffee: This morning I went out and drank coffee.

Later, I meet an old friend and we have lunch together and talk and laugh.

In the afternoon, I sit in the park, play guitar and sing songs.

Adverbs – these make your English more interesting and give more information.

Sai Gon is hot. Sai Gon is so // very // extremely // incredibly hot.

Sai Gon has delicious food – Sai Gon has extremely delicious food and it’s so cheap.

NOW – sentence building:

I love Sai Gon because it’s so hot. Additionally, the food is incredibly delicious and very cheap. However, it can be extremely noisy, dirty and polluted.

Tell me about Nha Trang: Speak about hotels / food / how to get there / things to do

Image result for nha trang

Tell me about these clothes and the people:

Language to use:

beautiful / stunning / eye-catching

cotton / silk / leather / straw / denim (jeans)

short hair / medium-length hair / shoulder-length hair / long hair

straight hair / curly hair / wavy hair

interesting / boring / delicious / bland / healthy / polluted / huge

teenager / young / in his 20s / middle-aged / elderly / old

Image result for check shirt for girls
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Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling

Contractions: when we speak quickly, we contract (shorten words) to make a new sound.

Example: I am = I’m / you are = you’re / he is = he’s / she is = she’s

I am happy =

You are sad

He is angry

She is very eye-catching

I will = I’ll (sounds like ‘eye – all’)

Tomorrow, I will go to work = Tomorrow, I’ll go to work

I’ll send you an email tonight

Call me after 5pm, I’ll be free then.

Try this Beatles song:

‘I’ll Be Back’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQw2psyjm5w

I want to = I wanna I want to hold your hand

I am going to = I’m gonna I am going to buy a new iPhone

I have go to = I gotta I can’t go to the cinema, I have got to go to work

Conversation Practice:

I want to speak to my sweet lovely student Ms Tram. However, she is at work.

Caller: Hello, may I speak with Ms Tram, please ?

Receiver: Certainly. Who’s calling, please ?

Caller: My name is ……….

Receiver: I’m sorry, could you repeat that ?

Caller: No problem. My name’s ……..

Receiver: Could you spell that, please ?

Caller: Surely (of course) . . . . . . . .

Receiver: Thank you. Hold the line, please. I’ll connect you.

Caller: Absolutely. I’ll hold.

Receiver: I’m afraid Ms Tram has just gone to lunch.

Caller: Again ? She’s always eating hahaha.

Receiver: I’ll transfer you to her office, then you can leave a message.

Caller: Great idea. Thanks a bunch !

Receiver: You’re welcome

Finally – where did Ms Tram go for lunch ? What did she order ? Did she like the food ?

Image result for British cafe food

Adjectives for food:

delicious / bland / spicy / filling / appetising / healthy / unhealthy / vegetarian / traditional

protein / carbohydrates / fat / fibre / vitamins /

fried / deep-fried / baked / boiled

Adult Class, Level 3 (mixed): You practice what I preach.

17th September for 23rd September. AEF 3 pp. 50 – 51

Last week, we covered past tense – simple, continuous and perfect. However, that is a lot to take in, especially for students who are not so confident. Looking at charts and learning the jargon can be daunting and far too theoretical.

This problem has long been identified and addressed; grammar, as theory, reduced to a minimal. Grammar, used in writing and more importantly speaking, maximised.

Therefore, my policy in this block of lessons (four per block) is to reduce book work, simplify the theory and try to allocate at least half the lesson to student-talking time.

Last night’s lesson seemed to work well; the Socratic approach which makes the students collect information and then collate it into a presentation. This was followed by students reading to each other in small groups, with some useful expressions to use … and repeat and repeat and …yeah, you get the idea.

Let’s go to work !

Image result for go to work

But first, back to basics. Some students are not fluent in the three forms of basic verbs:

Grammar – verb practice

Here’s the 15 most common:

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.

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

What did you do today ? PAST SIMPLE

Each student takes turns describing their day. Always give ideas, as some students spent too much time thinking of what to say, whereas the purpose is to speak.

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Image result for go to school
Image result for easy rider bike
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I will also board: buy / drink / surf the internet / help parents / cook / do homework

To make it more interactive, the students can ask follow-up questions, such as, “What did you eat for lunch ?”, “What time did you start school ?”, “How did you get to work or school ?” etc. Groups can monitor each other to make sure past tense is being used properly.

NEXT: Past Continuous. Subject was doing something in the past ….

Example: Last night I was listening to T-ara:

Image result for T-ar

However, we usually use past continuous to say we were doing something WHEN something new happened.

EXAMPLE: I was listening to T-ara when someone knocked on my door.

The structure is Subject + was or were + verbing, followed by past simple

Try this: dream // alarm clock ring

He was dreaming when the alarm clock rang.

Now – practice: Make a sentence from these pairs of photos:

Image result for reading
Image result for telephone ring
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Image result for rain
Image result for angry teacher
Image result for pulp fiction jules eating
Image result for pulp fiction honey bunny

Finally, the past perfect. Two things happened in the past, one before the other.

Image result for Kafka
Image result for Berlin 1920

The students ‘met’ Dr Kafka last week.

Dr Franz Kafka had lived all his life in Prague until he moved to Berlin in the 1920s.

Subject + has or had + verb 3 then use past simple.

Try these:

John Lennon – in The Beatles / goes solo in 1970

Image result for john lennon beatles
Image result for john lennon imagine

Dali – paint over 1 500 paintings / dies 1989

Image result for dali
Image result for dali tomb

Bringing it closer to home, Bac Ho (Uncle Ho Chi Minh) – work London / meet these young Germans.

Image result for uncle ho in Paris
Image result for uncle ho in russia

Finally, for presentation, the students can be arranged in four groups (draw playing cards so students work with new partners). I will give them ten minutes to work together and make a short presentation, with all members speaking, about the above four historical figures. Those who draw Ho Chi Minh should have an advantage, so I will be expecting more from them.

Presentations should include:

Date and place of birth.

Why there are famous

Give examples of their most famous works or activities

Where they lived

When and how they died.

ALSO – why we should remember them.

Then, I will turn to the books and hand-outs, before returning to some speaking practice before the end.