IELTS often requires us to talk about money and how we spend it, so here’s a song illustrating some common collocations. Lyrics are embedded in the video.
Bahasa Indonesia often features with after certain verbs where it would not be used in English. In English the opening example would simply read:
It could be argued that a patient who doubts with modern medicines will take longer to heal.
- It could be argued that a patient who doubts modern medicines will take longer to heal.
Other examples of the redundant with include:
- In addition, patients do not fully believe with the capability of the doctor.
- I like with dangdut music.
- Please promise with your mother that you will meet her after work.
So that’s four verbs – doubt, believe, like, promise – that are not followed by with in English, but are followed by with in at least one other language. I’ll add more examples when I think of them. Meanwhile, if you can think of any other examples, please add comments below.
I will tag this post with the Indonesian word dengan – please come back another time and see if the list has grown!
Here an Indonesian student has used if as a relative pronoun. This is allowed in Bahasa Indonesia, at least after the verb ‘believe’, but it is not allowed in English.
Old people believe if traditional medicines are more effective for long-standing health complaints than contemporary ones.
Instead you need:
- Old people believe that traditional medicines are more effective for long-standing health complaints than contemporary ones.
- The word ‘relative’ made me think of Einstein, and that’s why he appears on this post’s featured image.
- Since there is a cultural note for ‘relative’ then I suppose we ought to include one for ‘if’. How about this inspirational poem by Rudyard Kipling?
Most patients think hard about the best way to recover their health and to accelerate the healing process.
This verb noun collocation – recover health – is very weak. Let’s take a look at the two words separately.
Recover + noun
The strongest collocation for recover + noun seems to be associated with money:
- Apple invested heavily in the iPhone but soon recovered their research and development costs.
- Fraud victims find it difficult to recover their money.
- The state’s Consumer Protection Assistance Fund (CPAF) can help victims, who have filed complaints with our office, recover their losses.
Verb + health
Meanwhile, verb + health gives us:
- Most people make an effort to improve their health.
- regular exercise and a balanced diet can help to maintain good health.
- I’m quite concerned about my uncle’s health.
Recover (no object)
In the context of health, recover is usually intransitive:
- I hope your uncle recovers quickly.
- If you take this medicine you will recover in a few days.
- You had a bad fall. You need some time to recover.
Returning to our opening example, either of the following are possible:
- Most patients think hard about the best way to recover and to accelerate the healing process.
- Most patients think hard about the best way to improve their health and to accelerate the healing process.
Zoos are good places for animals conservation.
This is an example of a noun pre-modifying another noun.
Well, sometimes we have to consider how nouns function within a larger noun phrase.
Well, animal is a noun, and conservation is a noun, but together they form a noun phrase: animal conservation.
So what’s the problem then, Pak Guru?
Well, in this example, the ‘main’ noun is conservation.
What do you mean main noun?
Well, in this example, are you saying that zoos are good for animals or good for conservation?
Right, so conservation is the main noun.
I see, so what’s wrong with animals?
OK, well in the example animals is pre-modifying conservation. ‘Pre’ means ‘before’ – the word ‘animals’ comes before the word ‘conservation’, right?
Wait. Did you say ‘modifying’? What’s that?!
Well, the word animals changes (modifies) the word conservation – it tells us exactly what kind of conservation.
OK. But I still don’t see what is wrong with the original sentence.
The problem is.. If you use a countable noun to pre-modify another noun, then that modifying noun (in this case animal) must be singular.
I see. Like ‘Computer scientist?’
The featured image for this post is a photograph of the man who has done more than any other to conserve wildlife, the incredible David Attenborough – here conversing with orang utan.
Zoos have evolved to prioritise research that benefits for animals.
This error might happen because students have seen (1) the adjective phrase beneficial for, or (2) the noun benefits followed by the preposition for: Continue reading
Animals that are used to perform are easy to get tired.
If we reduce this to its most basic grammar, we get:
- Animals are easy.
Obviously that’s not what the writer intended. Maybe we should look at some examples!
- My answer was pretty easy to understand.
= My answer was easy.
- The daily instructions are very easy to follow.
= The daily instructions are easy.
- The game is really pretty easy to play.
= The game is easy.
Now contrast the previous examples with the following.
- Generally it is easier for men to handle horses.
= Handling horses is easy (NOT men are easy!)
- It is easy for smartphone users to use QR codes.
= Using QR codes is easy (NOT smartphone users are easy!)
- It is easy for people to misunderstand religious language and ritual.
= Misunderstanding is easy (NOT people are easy!)
It is easy for us to correct our opening example if we begin “It is easy for.!”
- It is easy for animals that are used to perform to get tired.
[it is easy/difficult for + noun + to + v1]
An alternative improvement would be to use an adverb:
- Animals that are used to perform get tired easily.
..and for a higher IELTS score, avoid ‘get’ by using the verb form of ‘tired’:
- Animals that are used to perform tire easily.
If you’re studying in Australia you should make an effort to see the amazing Circus OZ – an animal-free circus!
It could also be argued that removing individual animals from the wild are potentially threatening the population of wild species.
This kind of subject verb agreement problem is penalised in IELTS writing and speaking.
- It could also be argued that removing individual animals from the wild are potentially threatening the population of wild species.
In this sentence, the subject removing individual animals from the wild does not ‘agree’ with the verb are. This disagreement happens when the subject is singular and the verb is plural, or vice versa.
Discuss with a friend.. If animals are sentient beings (they can think and feel pretty much like humans can), how does this affect our attitude to:
- animals as food
- scientific experimentation involving animals (vivisection)
- animals in sport and entertainment
After your discussion, read the following text and select articles as appropriate. Continue reading
IELTS Speaking and IELTS Writing scores are decided by an examiner who refers to descriptions of people’s ability at ten levels, or bands, from 0 up to 9. Candidates are not allowed to see the official descriptors used by examiners, but IELTS do allow you to see a public version of the descriptors that is very similar.
I thought it would be fun to add some colour and clickability to the dreary old public band descriptors! Put on some disco music and click away! Continue reading