I am a doctor. My first sister is a doctor. My second sister is a doctor. And my third sister is a doctor. My father wanted us to become a doctor.
For a second, this is what your reader imagines:
- I am a doctor. My first sister is a doctor. My second sister is a doctor. And my third sister is a doctor. My father wanted us to become doctors.
In Bahasa Indonesia words are pronounced the way they are spelled. This often leads to some humorous mispronunciations when Indonesians apply the same rule to English.
It’s a good idea to try and overcome this problem, especially in words and phrases commonly used in IELTS Speaking. One such word is ‘because‘.
If we say ‘because‘ as it is spelled, then it sounds like:
However, when a native speaker says ‘because‘, it sounds very much like:
So, next time you want to say ‘because‘, say ‘big horse‘.
In the first place is over-grazing, which caused 35% of land degradation.
Not a terrible error – we know what you mean! But still, it’s important to understand the distinction between ‘in first place’ and ‘in the first place’.
In IELTS Task 1 writing we often find ourselves ranking items as follows:
- In first place is over-grazing, which caused 35% of land degradation. Meanwhile in second place, 20% of land degradation was caused by deforestation.
But what if you’re listing rather than ranking? Let’s say, for example, that you’re listing supports for an argument. In this case you need ‘in the first place’, ‘in the second place’, etc.:
- Mr Jones cannot be the one who stole your car. In the first place he was in a different city when the car was stolen, and secondly he is blind!
In this case ‘in the first place‘ means ‘as the first consideration‘. It’s often used to introduce reasons that should be obvious but may need to be emphasised, as in the above example. Notice that it is unusual to continue ‘in the second place‘, ‘in the third place‘, etc. Better to switch to ‘secondly‘, ‘thirdly‘, and so on.
To sum up..
- ‘In first place..’ is useful in Task 1 writing (for ranking)
- ‘In the first place..’ is useful in Task 2 writing (for emphasising reasons)
TIP! If you’re doing this in IELTS Speaking, it can sometimes help you to structure an argument if you count off items using your fingers, perhaps under the table!
PS. See also my earlier post dealing with ‘in second place’ instead of ‘second winner’ (which does NOT mean ‘in second place’!).
The widespread of this crime can be reduced by imposing stricter penalties.
‘Widespread’ is an adjective, not a noun. Nouns used in this context might include ‘incidence’, or indeed ‘spread’. These we might classify as ‘statistics nouns’, which are particularly useful in IELTS Task 1 writing.
‘Widespread’ as complement:
- This crime is widespread. However, its spread can be reduced by imposing stricter penalties.
‘Widespread’ as noun modifier:
- Widespread criminality can be reduced by imposing stricter penalties.
And if you’re interested in ‘spreading‘ and need a laugh, check out ‘manspreading‘!
In Australia I will need a lot of money to pay my basic needs.
This is obviously a translation problem.
- If I pay the shopkeeper, I give money to the shopkeeper.
- If I pay for the bananas, I give money to the shopkeeper.
- If I pay the shopkeeper for the bananas, I give money to the shopkeeper.
- If I pay the bananas, I give money to the bananas!
Indonesian has different word forms to communicate different meanings – bayar, bayar kepada, bayari, and bayarkan. English, on the other hand, only has ‘pay’ and ‘pay for’:
- Pay the man. ( bayar kepada)
- Pay for the bananas. ( bayar)
- Pay for my coffee, would you? ( bayari)
- When you’re in town could you pay my electricity bill for me? Here’s the money. ( bayarkan)
In the first picture (below), a man is paying a woman for some vegetables:
In the next illustration, a man is paying some fruit and vegetables. He’s giving money to the fruit and vegetables: