Sustainable articles

There was confusion in class recently about the meaning of ‘sustainability’, so let’s take a few minutes out to get our heads around this extremely important social issue. Below is the opening of the Wikipedia entry on sustainability. Find out what sustainablity actually is and at the same time practice using articles!

A related practice activity focusing on the effects of plastic on the environment can be found here. And if you need ideas about how to choose articles to go with nouns, read this.

As usual, if you think an article isn’t needed, just leave the drop-down menu blank! Continue reading

Robot Carers – IELTS Listening Section 4

IELTS Listening Section 4 is arguably the most difficult part of the listening test. A single speaker delivers a talk or a lecture, and all ten questions have to be answered without a break.

Listen to a talk on robots as carers for the elderly and answer the questions.
Fill in the gaps with one word or a number!

Continue reading

IELTS Listening – credit card numbers

(For more IELTS Listening Section 1 spelling practice, try these names and postcodes!)

Credit card numbers come in a predictable format – four groups of four digits, for example:

4567 5678 6789 7890

Zero‘ can also be read ‘oh‘, and sequences of the same digit can be read as ‘double‘, ‘triple‘, etc.

See if you can ‘spell’ these credit card numbers: Continue reading

IELTS Listening – spelling postcodes

(For more IELTS Listening Section 1 spelling practice, try these names and credit cards!)

Postcodes can be problematic in IELTS Listening Section 1. However, if you are aware of the predictable formats of postcodes then recognising them becomes easier. UK postcodes all fit the following pattern:

So that’s: one or two letters + a number + another number + one or two letters

And remember that the number ‘zero’ can also be read ‘oh’!

See if you can ‘spell’ these postcodes: Continue reading

Not Tuesday! Thursday!!

Customer: Hi. I’ve come to collect one of the free iPhones.
Shopkeeper: Sorry, we told you to come on Tuesday. Today is Thursday. The phones are all taken!

flag-of-indonesia Indonesians (and maybe you, too?) find it difficult to hear the difference between ‘Tuesday’ and ‘Thursday’ as spoken by native speakers. That’s because Indonesians do not say these words very well, and if you cannot say it clearly then you cannot hear it clearly.

‘Tuesday’ is easy

‘Choose’ + ‘Day’ = Chooseday = Tuesday

‘Thursday’ is more challenging

Try saying ‘Sir’, but change the ‘s’ sound by pressing your tongue against the back of your upper teeth. Keep your tongue pressed against your teeth and just try to blow air between your tongue and your teeth. Keep your tongue in position so that it almost – but not quite – stops the air from getting out.

As you blow air past your teeth, try not to make any sound in your throat, like when the doctor asks you to say ‘Aaaaaaaaa’. Don’t do that – just blow!

‘Th…………………’

You should be able to blow out for several seconds, and so you should be able to make a ‘th’ sound for several seconds.

‘Th…………………………..’

Now add ‘Th’ to ‘Sir’, substituting ‘Th’ for ‘S’ (= ‘Thir!’). And then, as you say ‘ir’, you can add sound in your throat:

‘Th…….’ (lots of breath, no throat sound)… + ‘ir’ (less breath, added throat sound )…

Finally you can complete the word with ‘..sday’:

‘Th……….’ + ‘ir…..’ + ‘sday’

Now listen to two students and a teacher pronouncing the words Tuesday and Thursday!

@guruEAP

Use ‘it’ with care

People who live in remote areas sometimes have limited access to the things they want to buy. Since it cannot be provided by retail shops, online shopping may be the solution.

To make your writing ‘flow’ so that pieces of information connect together well, use ‘itonly when ‘it‘ refers back to the subject of the previous sentence.

When you use ‘it’ then the subject will be either singular countable or uncountable:

  • My watch was expensive. It is a gold watch. I love it.
  • Beer is delicious. It is also expensive. I love it.

In the opening example the reader searches for but cannot find a subject to match ‘it‘. For a start, all of the nouns are plural!

After re-reading the text two or three times we see you are using ‘it‘ to refer to ‘the things people want to buy‘, which is rather confusing since ‘the things people want to buy‘ is not the subject of the previous sentence and it is neither singular countable nor uncountable.

This kind of mismatch interrupts the flow of information in the text and brings down your score for coherence and cohesion in IELTS writing, as well as your score for fluency in IELTS speaking.

In order to maintain ‘flow’ in the online shopping example, you need to do this:

  • People who live in remote areas sometimes have limited access to the things they want to buy. Since the things that people who live in remote areas want to buy cannot be provided by retail shops, online shopping may be the solution.

And for even better flow you can remind your reader about the context of those retail shops. After all, you’re not talking about retail shops in the middle of a large city, are you?

  • People who live in remote areas sometimes have limited access to the things they want to buy. Since the things that people who live in remote areas want to buy cannot be provided by retail shops in those areas, online shopping may be the solution.

Students often complain, “..but now there’s a lot of repetition!”

Perhaps, but your first priority is to communicate effectively. If the only way to achieve this is by repeating a few words, then you MUST repeat them.

And remember – ‘it‘ refers back to the subject of the previous sentence. Do not make the following mistake:

BnHL-6yCMAEHD7w

 

@guruEAP

 

The moon is not made of cheese

The following 10 statements about our moon all contain factual errors.

Listen to David Rothery talking about our moon and correct the statements. (print statements here)

  1. Our moon is the only moon that doesn’t have a particular colour.
  2. It’s not just the moon that causes bubbles in the Earth’s oceans.
  3. Pieces of the moon sometimes move around.
  4. As everybody knows, the moon has a dark side.
  5. It was the discovery of the moons of Jupiter that first demonstrated that not all motion in the universe goes around the Sun.
  6. Only planets can have moons.
  7. Most moons orbit in the same direction that their planet is orbiting.
  8. Saturn’s moon Io is the most volcanically active body in the solar system.
  9. Some moons are so cold that the ice on the surface behaves just like ice from the fridge.
  10. Moons such as Jupiter’s Europa are some of the more likely places where water could be found.

Key – Corrected moon facts!

  1. Our moon is the only moon that doesn’t have its own name.
  2. It’s not just the moon that causes tides in the Earth’s oceans.
  3. Pieces of the moon sometimes fall to earth.
  4. Contrary to belief, there is no dark side of the moon.
  5. It was the discovery of the moons of Jupiter that first demonstrated that not all motion in the universe goes around the Earth.
  6. It’s not just planets that can have moons.
  7. Most moons orbit in the same direction that their planet is spinning.
  8. Jupiter’s moon Io is the most volcanically active body in the solar system.
  9. Some moons are so cold; the ice on the surface behaves just like rock.
  10. Moons such as Jupiter’s Europa are some of the more likely places where alien life could be found.