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 ?

T-ARA 'SUGAR FREE' Dance Mirror Fancam HD - YouTube
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.

13 Ways to Be a Better Co-Worker

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

AS Media J.Coe 2055: Film Noir Features

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.

Adult Speaking Class, Level 3: Holiday of a lifetime !

9th June 2020

Activity: Holiday advertisement language

Holiday adverts on tv | Toluna

Present a holiday using a mixture of advertising slogans and practical information. Remember:

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it

Make your voice sound excited, as if this were the best holiday ever !

Students can choose a destination of their choice. In the following blogs, I’ll include some examples from different cities.

Holiday terms:

transfers / half-board / inclusive / amenities / package tour / itinerary

Language:

breathtaking / stunning/ sensational / incredible / remarkable/ exclusive /

once in a lifetime experience/ never to be forgotten / unbeatable prices

book now to avoid disappointment/ best decision you’ll ever make

holidays to suit all budgets, from 7* luxury to backpacking

Structure:

To begin with / furthermore … additionally / the fact is … / therefore

Demonstration with an advert for London:

Best Summer Holiday Ideas for London - Picniq Blog

Now is the perfect time to visit London, England’s glorious capital. The weather is perfect for walking, so you can enjoy the lush parks, world-famous museums and incredible, unbelievable shops. There is something for everyone … and more ! Like sports ? Go to one of the many Premier League football games. Love shopping ? Everything is here – shop till you drop ! Adore culture – soak up hundreds of years of history.

Flights from TSN airport daily. Seven-day all-inclusive package tour starting from only 50m VND ! All transfers and transport included. Air-conditioned mini bus with Vietnamese-speaking guide.

Asian Tourist in London Taking Stock Footage Video (100% Royalty ...

Holiday advertising vocabulary:

Try to use as many of these adjectives and expressions as possible:

breathtaking / spectacular / unforgettable / magnificent / unique / exhilarating

once-in-a-lifetime / never-to-be-forgotten / unmissable / natural beauty 

Practical Information

visa / currency / package tour / independent traveller / full-board / excursions

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 ?

Adult Speaking Class, level 3: Let’s go to San Francisco … or Boston … or Chicago.

18th May 2020

In our last blog lesson, we focused on what we needed to do BEFORE travelling to the States, all the boring logistics and organising, booking and planning. Now … we are all set. All we have to do is select which city to visit.

Which of these destinations are most appealing to you and why ?

Boston

Amazon.com: Lantern Press Boston, Massachusetts - Acorn Street in ...

Boston is the capital of Massachusetts and gateway to New England. One of America’s oldest cities, it’s steeped in history – brimming with cobblestone streets and significant heritage sites – as well as gleaming skyscrapers.

Unlike many other US cities, it’s best explored on foot. One of the most popular tours is the Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile path that passes 16 important sites, including America’s first state school, the oldest church in Boston, and several markers that tell the story of the American Revolution.

The tour is greatly enhanced by the costumed guides, who’ll passionately transport you back to the 1700s during the 90-minute walk.

Chicago

4K+) Beautiful Chicago Skyline Skyscrapers Day to Night Aerial ...

Chicago, my kind of town! A unique city with a character all of its own, Chicago offers a wide variety of shopping, dining, museums, theatre, music and nightlife options.

Chicago is on Lake Michigan, boasts over 20 miles of beachfront and some of the most dynamic and visually stunning architecture in the world. The city is famous for its skyscrapers such as the Hancock Building and the Willis Tower, which features several glass-bottomed ledges at 1,300ft above the city streets, making it a fantastic photo opportunity for the brave!

North Michigan Avenue is also known as the “Magnificent Mile” as this is where most visitors and residents come to shop, with firm favourites lining the street such as Tiffany, Nike and Nordstrom.

San Francisco

San Francisco indulges the senses with the wonderful array of scenic beauty, arts, museums, bars, restaurants and nightlife. San Francisco is famously known as the “City on the Bay” and its stunning location and undulating surroundings have been taking visitor’s breath away for centuries.

Enjoy fresh seafood and spot playful sea lions at Fisherman’s Wharf, a fun and family-friendly district of the city; dine on authentic dim sum in the vast Chinatown or join the crowds of shoppers amidst the bustle and cable cars of Union Square.

No trip to San Francisco would be complete without a visit to the infamous prison at Alcatraz island. Rent a bicycle and ride across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito for a scenic day out and fantastic photo opportunities; brave Lombard Street, the “crookedest street in the world” or bring many movie favourites to life as you stroll the city streets.

San Francisco is the perfect destination for exploring and creating new memories in, with world-class sports, dining and adventure. 

Video

Before you watch this video, what do you know about San Francisco ?

Which of the sights mentioned in the guide do you see ?

What really struck you (impressed) about San Francisco ?

What was intriguing (interesting, fascinating) ?

What did you make of (think of) the architecture ?

Did you see any mouth-watering (delicious) food ?

What adjectives would you use to describe San Francisco ? 

GRAMMAR

Make your comments stronger, and increase your English, by adding adverbs. 

unbelievably // incredibly // extremely // undeniably // amazingly //

quite // rather // somewhat //

Example: The house was old – the house was extremely old.

San Francisco is …

The food in San francisco is …

Riding cable cars must be …

Remember, if you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair

J. B. Phillips Quotes | QuoteHD
YAROK Hair Care - . Be sure to wear some flowers in your... | Facebook

Adult Speaking Class, Level 2: collocation writing.

16th May 2020

Writing exercise 

At the end of the previous blog, there were some everyday collocations that moved away from the basic verb + phrase format (e.g. take a break / make sure / get away with murder).

To help them sink in (make you remember), here a chance for you to practise using them.

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Rewrite the following business email to your senior manager in France, using the following collocations for the bold sections:

Adequate supplies to meet demand 

Revised edition

Cause insurmountable difficulties 

Major turning point

Set realistic aims

Dear M Delarue

I have some good news from the HCM office which I think represents a change in the company and how we do things and what we can expect to do in the future.

We have stopped using the old business model because when we tried, it made many, many problems that we were unable to solve, no matter how hard we tried. Now we are seeing real and tangible progress.

Our main concern now is to make sure we have enough products to fill all the orders for all of our customers. We need to plan ahead; as Marketing Director, I am on the look out for new markets to break into.

Two areas spring to mind:China and India. It is our intention that we become market-leader in those territories but we must not wish for too much too soon as there are many factors that stand in our way, such as infrastructure and logistics.

Finally, could you please send us the newest, latest copy of the company handbook, as our one in five years old and is out of date and does not have the latest facts and figures.

Sincerely

Mr / Mrs / Ms / Dr …

Make a French man happy by your brilliant English

PsBattle: A happy Frenchman and a dismayed British woman ...

Adult Speaking Class, level 2: Conversation practice

15th May 2020

How to introduce yourself

How to Introduce Yourself to New Neighbors After Moving

Hello, my name is Peter. I am 31. My job is teacher.

Link sentences to make longer, more interesting sentences and use contractions

Hello, my name’s _______, I’m ___ and I work as a _________________ .

[Culture note – in English, we usually say our age only – don’t say ‘years old’ e.g. I’m 25, not I’m 25 years old]

I am = I’m // you are = you’re // he is = he’s // she is = she’s // they are = they’re // we are = we’re

Tell me about the other members of the group or class.

Example – Her name’s Ms Thanh, she’s 22 and works as a nurse.

Grammar note: In the third-person, he add an -s to the verb

1st person I work

2nd person you work

3rd person he / she / it / name works (Ms Thanh works)

Work Dialogue: two friends are at the office

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This is a natural conversation, with expressions, idioms and contractions.

New expressions:

same old, same old = doing the same thing all day, every day.

bear with me = wait for me a very short time

A: Hello, how’s it going ? How are you ?

B: Great, thanks. What have you been up to ? What have you been doing ?

A: Oh, same old, same old. Nothing new. Same as everyday. Are you busy ?

B: A little. Bear with me a moment … there, finished. Wait a little, please.

A: Do you want a hand ? (Dya wanna hand ?) Do you need some help ?

B: That would be wonderful. Would you like a coffee ?

A: Absolutely ! Yes, very much !

The weirdest excuses office workers give for the tea round | Daily ...

Conversation practice:

Pretend you are just meeting. Introduce yourself to your partner. Remember to ask:

Name, job, company ? Do they like their job ? Where do they work ?

Are they married ? Children ?

Where do they live ? Do they live alone or with family ?

What do they like to do in their free time ? What are your hobbies ?

Queen’s English

Practice saying the following three sentences as if you were the Queen, or King, of the UK.

My Husband and I are delighted to meet you

The weather is frightfully hot for the time of year

Do give my best to your family

Now listen to the Queen speak:

IELTS, Mindset: Complex sentences

30th April 2020

The correct sequence of tenses for complex sentences

Today we’ll concentrate on building longer, more interesting sentences, altering sentence structure, and applying discourse markers and relative pronouns in order to be proficient in meeting the IELTS requirements.

Let’s kick off with some basic sentences, each containing one fact.

Park So Yeon ( 박소연) - MyDramaList

Park So-yeon is from South Korea. She performed under the name ‘Soyeon’. She was in the band T-ara from 2009 – 2017.

One possibility is to make a longer, main sentence (an independent clause) then break it up with some extra but not essential information (a dependent clause):

Park So-yeon, who performed under the stage name Soyeon, was a member of the South Korean group T-ara from 2009 until they broke up in 2017.

Here, I employed a relative pronoun (‘who’) to introduce the dependent clause, and altered the sentence slightly, adding some extra words.

Another, more advanced, option, which I recommend experimenting with as it will impress the examiner, is to start with a dependent clause. Allow me to demonstrate:

Performing under the name Soyeon, the South Korean singer Park So-yeon achieved fame as a member of the band T-ara, with whom she played from 2009 until 2017.

You will, no doubt, notice that the grammar may have to change, that is altering the verb form, by which I mean transforming the simple past into present continuous.

Now, you can guess what’s coming, it’s your turn to practise. I realise that not all of you are so enamoured of T-ara and South Korean women as I am, therefore, for that express purpose, I have selected three examples and you merely have to choose the person that most interests or appeals to you:

Daniel Craig thừa nhận sẽ thủ vai điệp viên 007 lần thứ năm - Phim ...

Daniel Craig is an actor. He is most famous for playing James Bond. His wife is Rachel Weisz. She is also an actor.

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Thandie Newton is an English actress. She has three children. She studied at Cambridge University. She was in Mission Impossible II with Tom Cruise.

Taiwan's Tsai Ing-wen to visit US, angering Beijing - Nikkei Asian ...

Tsai Ing-wen is president of Taiwan. The official name of the country is the Republic of China. She has been president since 20th May 2016. She was the first woman to be president of ROC Taiwan.

Next stage is to introduce some information and then offer up an alternate view, that is to say, a critical response which can be achieved by the use of appropriate discourse markers.

Let’s focus on the most recent Noble prize laureate ( Literature):

Handke in 2006

Peter Handke is an Austrian writer. His first novel was published in 1966. The English title is ‘The Hornets’. Handke was critical of the Noble Prize. In 2014, he called for the award to be abolished. Many people were critical of Hendke winning because he had supported the Serbia cause in the breakup of Yugoslavia.

There is a lot of information here, some purely factual (dates, nationality) some regarding the reaction to the award.

The Austrian writer Peter Hendke, whose first novel ‘The Hornets’ was published in 1966, was awarded the Noble laureate in 2019 despite his previous comments calling for the abolition of the award. Furthermore, there was a lot of criticism surrounded the announcement due to Hendke’s support of the Serbians during the Yugoslavian war.

Alternately:

Although there was a lot of negative critical reaction, Peter Hendke, an Austrian writer whose first book was published in 1966, received the Noble Prize for Literature in 2019 in spite of the fact that he had previously called for the award to be abolished. The writer, whose first book was titled ‘The Hornets’, had additionally expressed views supportive of Serbia which caused a backlash once the winner of the award was announced.

Your Turn:

Either write about somebody famous, somebody you admire or write something about yourself, making sure to include something positive and negative.

Next time, we can work on introductions, how to respond to IELTS questions by leading into the answer as opposed to simply answering directly.

T-ARA Comeback Cancelled! - Soyeon And Boram Leave The Group But ...

Business English: Time management

29th April 2020

These Business English blogs are aimed at upper-intermediate level students, and will include everyday phrases, expressions and idioms relating to various aspects of conducting business and workplace conversations.

Note down any phrasal verbs or expressions that you don’t know. A great way to improve your English is to add such language elements to your everyday speech, rather than just using text-book, standard English.

Business meetings

Checklist for an Effective Sales Meeting | SCORE

One view about how to plan a meeting:

Are all meetings cost-effective ? As the seconds tick away, you’ll start to appreciate what a terrible waste of time – and money– most meetings are. 

So what can you do? 

Firstly, make sure everyone arrives on time. No excuses. If five people at a meeting are sitting around waiting for a sixth person to turn up, just think how much money you are throwing away.

Secondly, get most of the work done before the meeting: send round detailed agendas, telling them what they need to do to prepare for the meeting. That means the meeting itself can focus on problem-solving and decision-making rather than wasting time explaining.

Thirdly, stick to the agenda. Don’t let anyone hijack the meeting by chatting about something irrelevant. Don’t let them take over yours. 

Fourthly, set a time limit and stick to it. There’s nothing worse than a meeting that goes round and round in circles with no decisions ever being finalised. A time limit can be a great way to focus everyone’s minds on the purpose of the meeting and the need to achieve something concrete … and then to go back to work and start implementing the decisions. 

Of course small talk has its place, but that place is not a meeting. 

This is one point of view – do you agree with it ? 

To what extent does small talk have a place in meetings ? 

Talk about your experiences. Does it vary from person to person and culture to culture ?

Boardroom Meeting Successful Asian Chinese Business People - Stock ...

This is a contrary (opposite) opinion; how do you evaluate this viewpoint ?

If you’re serious about making your meetings more effective, you need to give the participants plenty of time to ask questions, take the conversation in new directions, say things which may or may not be relevant, and above all, get to know each other. Of course, you need to make sure things don’t get out of control, but that means finding a sensible balance between small talk and getting down to business. 

A company which does not tolerate small talk may get things done more quickly, but that doesn’t mean it’ll do things the best way, making full use of the skills and ideas of its employees … and it may well find that it loses its best employees and its customers just as quickly. 

Which view do you agree with, and can you explain your reasons. Alternately, you may wish to select elements from both examples and make your own plan.

Asking about current projects: 

Complete using present continuous (verb + ing)

  1. What ___ you ___ ( work) on at the moment ?  // What are you working on at the moment ?
  2. How ___ it ___ (go) with your new assistant ? 
  3. ___ you ___ (make) any progress with your big project ? 

Asking about recent events: (use past tense)

  1. How ___ your presentation ___ (go) last week? 
  2. How ___ (be) your business trip ? When ___ you ___ (get) back? 

Asking about news: (uses past perfect)

  1. ___ you ___ (hear) back from that potential big customer yet? 
  2. What ___ you ___ (be) up to in your department? 

Asking about plans and predictions : future tense

  1. When do you think they ___ finally ___ (sign) the contract? 
  2. ___ you ___ (go) to the conference this weekend? 

Now match the questions with some answers from below. Try to practise with a friend or colleague

a) A little, but it’s very slow. We’re still tied up with the financing side of things, so it doesn’t feel like we’re getting anywhere. 

b) Absolutely! I’m giving a presentation! I’m really nervous about it, actually.

c) Ah, nothing, really. Nothing ever changes! Busy as usual. 

d) It was useful, but really exhausting. I just got back on Tuesday, so I’m still trying to get back on top of my inbox. But I’m glad I went. I made a few potentially useful contacts. 

e) Next week, hopefully, but they’re still not happy with our service charges, so it might still all fall through. 

f) Not bad, actually. He’s on a steep learning curve, but he’s trying hard, and he’s got a lot of potential. 

g) Really well. We had a good turn-out, and some people said nice things about it. Whether anyone actually buys the product as a result is another question!

h) We’re about to start working on the new marketing plan. It’s not due to be launched for another two months, but it takes a really long time to get ready.

i) We’ve been really busy preparing for next week’s quality inspection. We’re nearly ready, but there are still a few big jobs to finish. 

j) Yes, they emailed us this morning with an order for 500 units, so it looks like it’s all going ahead. Very exciting. 

Lastly, the final point on our agenda – what do you think of this list ?

It indicates what British people say and what they REALLY mean.

British business language translation - Tom McCallum - Medium

Adult Class, Level 3: Generally speaking …

28th APRIL 2020

This is a review blog, a chance to take stock of recently acquired language, and to practise using it. First, a shout out to some of my students … I have a young lady who looks remarkably like the magnificent French actress, and a personal favourite, Ms Julie Delpy:

Julie Delpy - From Baby to 47 Year Old - YouTube

My lovely student is very interested in learning British culture, notably the art of drinking tea:

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As opposed to the rather uncouth, uncultivated drinking habits of Vietnamese men:

Ugly Delicious' Season 2 Review: David Chang Grows Up and Gets ...

Is this true of ALL Vietnamese men … of course not, hell no !

I also have another lovely young lady, but sometimes she can look a little scary, like the ghost from the Japanese film, ‘The Ring’:

The Murdered Japanese Girl That Inspired "The Ring," One Of The ...

This is a very strange film so all Japanese films are weird. Is that a fair statement ? No way, you don’t know what you’re talking about.

Ahhhh, so unfair, my student is so lovely, in fact, ALL Vietnamese women are sweet, gentle, caring and so demure: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WS41_-Xjclk

OK, so maybe not ALL Vietnamese women are little princesses !

Our last lesson was based on stereotypes – and a link to a previous blog can be found here:https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/08/16/adult-class-level-3-class-1-stereotypes/

From the book, we came across:

Generally speaking // in general // tend to // usually

Adverbs of probability:

definitely // probably // possibly // unlikely // definitely not !

Adverbs of time:

always // frequently // usually // sometimes // occasionally // rarely // never

From the blog, we studied agreeing:

To what extent do you agree ?

I agree / I agree 100% / I agree to an extent / There may be some truth there /

I disagree / I totally disagree / That is very unfair / That is offensive /

That’s just a stereotype / I know for a fact that isn’t true !

Now combine to form some stunning, well-constructed responses.

Example: Apple computers never break

Generally speaking, I would tend to agree as I have had a Mac Book for several years without any serious problems, whereas with my Windows laptop, I frequently have issues such as waiting for updates or very slow downloads.

Exercise – How do you react to these contentions:

Men should earn more money than women for the same job.

Everything from Korea is top quality.

All tourists from USA are obese and unhealthy.

All British people are exceptionally polite, helpful and utterly charming.

You will ONLY get a good job IF you speak English.

All Vietnamese students are lazy, disrespectful and only want to sleep.

JokyLand.com | SLEEPING STUDENTS
A typical Vietnamese student … to what extent do you agree ?

And finally, Thay Paul is always friendly, kind and helpful with Vietnamese students.

IELTS: Writing practice. Yoga, health & well-being

25th April 2020

Asian girl does yoga on gym carpet. lotus pose. | Premium Photo

I know that yoga and exercise are popular activities among my students, so let’s use this topic for some sentence building.

IELTS candidates will be expected to speak for two minutes on a given subject, then engage in a dialogue with the examiner.

The candidate will feel more confident with an arsenal of phrases, expressions, idioms, discourse markers, and an impressive array of ‘low-frequency vocabulary‘ (big words).

The candidate, additionally, has to employ complex sentences and well-structured responses in order to boost their score.

As with music, practice is the key:

High Quality Stock Photos of "monk tai chi"

I set a test for one of my IELTS students, Ms Nguyen. As a warm up, I asked her to tell me about a place she wanted to visit, so this was similar to an IELTS speaking test, Part 1. Following that, I asked her to prepare a Part 2-style answer about a hobby which prompted her to relate her experiences regarding yoga.

To start, we went over some phrases and sentence structure. Ms Nguyen was recovering from a slight injury: how could she phrase this …

I’m not in any pain, but I’m only about 70% recovered.

I’m not in any pain, although I’m only about 70% recovered.

Although I’m not in any pain, I’m only about 70% recovered.

Although I’m only about 70% recovered, I’m not in any pain.

Here, we replaced ‘but’ with ‘although’, and then altered the word order.

Which sentence do you prefer ?

Exercise: Rearrange this basic sentence (sample answers at end of blog)

I’ve been to South Korea but I haven’t been to Japan

Part 1 exercise: tell me about a place you’d like to visit.

{Low-frequency words & expressions: extraordinary, outstanding nature, notwithstanding}

Japan:

16 Japan experiences every traveler should enjoy | CNN Travel

I like the culture, by which I mean sophisticated cuisine, outstanding nature and kind-hearted people. Good points notwithstanding, I am not so enamoured on the working culture which seems to be highly stressful especially compared to the norm in Vietnam.

Although I really like Japan, I am currently undecided as to whether to study there or not. On the plus side, the subject, sustainability, fits in with their life ethos. Additionally, the fee is lower for international students and, furthermore we will be supported by extra classes. Despite these benefits, I have some serious concerns over issues such as sexism as well as the constant pressure which leads to a high rate of suicide.

POINTS TO CONSIDER:

Do you see how Ms Nguyen gave three examples in her opening sentence, and used the adjective + noun structure (‘outstanding nature’ etc).

Use of adverbs (‘highly’, ‘currently’).

Low-frequency words (‘enamoured of’, ‘sophisticated’, ‘notwithstanding’).

Discourse markers (‘despite’, ‘although’, ‘additionally’).

Moreover, see how Ms Nguyen utilises complex sentences. Keep these in mind as you read her second exercise:

Part 2 exercise: tell me about a hobby or activity you enjoy.

{I gave Ms Nguyen some time to prepare, and allowed her to use a thesaurus to look up better words. Having said that, there are still some little grammar mistakes; can you spot any ? Don’t worry, a few mistakes are to be expected.}

Yoga

Sống tích cực mùa Covid- 19: Sao Việt tập gym, yoga, chăm sóc da ...

Every yoga student has individual needs and abilities therefore the instructor will suggest a method suitable to our needs and requirements. This including advise to prevent us from harming ourselves or pushing our bodies too far.

To be specific, on Tuesday we shall concentrate on stretching our shoulders, neck and spine . We shall do this by adopting positions designed to facilitate this objective. Initially, I felt some soreness because it was an unnatural position. However, there are various levels and when one has mastered the first, they can progress, move on to the next.

If I have a great, productive class, I feel relaxed, calm and refreshed. Some people may overemphasis the benefits of yoga but for me, it isn’t that complicated. I find it a pleasing way to release stress from work and to keep myself active.

Otherwise, I tend to just stay at home socialising with my family, then watching my favourite documentary shows.

Yoga, despite being seen as a very restful and gentle past time, can actually be very dangerous including concussions, injuries and broken bones. Having said that, I know my limits and keep within those parameters.

In conclusion, yoga is my favourite activity as it not only helps my body to reduce stress and keep healthy, but also it is a fun way to occupy my free time and bond socially with my colleagues.

SAMPLE ANSWERS:

Although I’ve been to South Korea, I’ve yet to visit Japan.

I, so far, haven’t been to Japan, although I once travelled to South Korea.

I visited South Korea although I haven’t been to Japan.

Ms Nguyen’s mistake: in the first paragraph, she uses include in the continuous form, not the present simple (“This including advise,” instead of ‘this includes advise.’)