Posted in B1.2

Addicted to technology

So we have dealt with nomophobia and technology addiction. It’s an interesting topic, as we all can easily relate to it. Remember that speaking from personal experience when it comes to the exam, makes the task easier for you, but don’t forget to include rich and meaningful vocabulary to the level. You aren’t dependent on your phone or gadgets? Well, look around you to get inspired. For sure you know someone who is, or dependence on gadgets is an attitude that you can see everyday while having a beer outdoors or walking on the street.

And what can you do at home to expand on this topic so you can get more ideas and vocabulary? First of all, read this article What is nomophobia and how to break free from it,  and have a look at the following videos too. They can be helpful not only for the course, but also for personal life.

Posted in B1.2

Speaking tips and useful language

Well, the time has come when we’re approaching the exam dates and anxiety is starting to show. But don’t panic! Remember that having a relaxed attitude is very important when it comes to taking any type of exam. And also having strategies to get over almost any type of problematic situation. That’s why I bring you back (because I already gave this material to you) some tips and helpful phrases and expressions that will work perfectly in the test. Here we go!

Tips

General:

  • Breathe and relax. You have now the chance to shine! Speak as naturally as possible, as at any other day in class.
  • Always try to give full, relevant answers. Do not restrict yourself to short statements.
  • Try to use vocabulary related to the topic, if possible using synonyms and antonyms.
  • Remember the instructions and focus on the task set.
  • Speculate on the content of the visual material. You don’t have to describe the pictures, but they might help you to conduct your speech.
  • Use techniques to make your contributions powerful, for example by using short, personal anecdotes to help you.

don’ts

  • Don’t panic if you cannot remember, or do not know, a particular word. Just keep going and paraphrase instead.
  • Don’t merely describe the pictures.
  • Don’t waste your opportunities to show the examiners what you can do.
  • Don’t speak too quietly. Remember, the examiners need to hear what you are saying.

 

When you don’t know an exact word

If you don’t know or can’t remember an exact word – don’t worry! There are lots of things you can do to communicate without saying the exact word. These are very useful strategies that even native speakers use.

General words

If you can’t remember the word ‘surgeon’, you could say a more general word like ‘doctor’.

Examples

If you don’t know the word ‘cutlery’, you could give examples such as ‘knife, fork and spoon’.

Relative clauses to give a description

(It’s a person who … / thing that … / place where …)

If you don’t know the word ‘briefcase’, you could say ‘It’s a thing that people use to carry papers to work’.

Describe the purpose or function (It’s used to + infinitive / for + -ing)

If you don’t know the word ‘scissors’, you could say ‘They are used to cut paper’ or ‘They are used for cutting paper’.

This strategy works well with objects that have a clear use or function.

Synonyms (words that mean the same)

If you don’t know the word ‘tiny’, you could say ‘very small’.

This strategy works well with nouns and adjectives.

Antonyms (opposite words)

If you don’t know the word ‘weak’, you could say ‘not strong’.

This strategy works well with adjectives.

Approximations (It’s a kind of … / It’s a sort of …)

If you don’t know the word ‘bungalow’, you could say ‘It’s a kind of house’ or ‘It’s a sort of house’

 

Useful language

Stating an opinion

I think… / I don’t think …
I believe… / I don’t believe …
In my opinion,
For me,
Personally, I think …

Asking for someone’s opinion

Do you agree?
What do you think?
What do you think about … (this)?
Do you think that’s right?
What’s your view?
Are you OK with that?

Agreeing

That’s right!
Absolutely!
Exactly!
Me too!
Yes, I agree!
I totally agree!
I couldn’t agree more!
I see exactly what you mean!

You’re right. That’s a good point.

Disagreeing

I don’t agree!
I totally disagree!
Absolutely not!
That’s not right!
I’m not sure about that.

Partly agreeing

I agree up to a point, but …
I see your point, but …
That’s partly true, but …
I’m not so sure about that.

It is always a good idea to justify your opinions. Don’t just say ‘I agree’, but say ‘I agree because I think that … (explain your reason).’

Showing interest

It is very important to show that you are interested in what your partner is saying. Use these expressions to show you are interested. Remember! When we are very interested or surprised our voice is higher and louder.

Normal response

Uh-huh.
That’s interesting.
Oh, I see.
Right.

Stronger response

Really?
Wow! That’s amazing!
That’s incredible!
No way!
You’re joking!

Do you understand?

When you are speaking to someone it is important that you understand each other. If you don’t understand something, ask your partner to explain what they mean. If they don’t understand you, explain what you mean. Use these expressions to help you.

When you don’t understand

I don’t understand.
Could you repeat that?
Could you say that again?
What do you mean, exactly?
I’m not sure what you mean.
Can you explain that?

Explain what you mean

What I mean is …
In other words ..
.

Suggestions

In some speaking activities you have to make suggestions and/or respond to suggestions. Use these expressions to help you.

Making suggestions

Why don’t we … (+ verb without ‘to’)? Why don’t we go to the cinema tonight?
Shall we … (+ verb without ‘to’)?
Shall we prepare a party for our mum’s birthday?
Would you like to … (+ verb)?
Would you like to go out tonight?
Let’s … (+ verb without ‘to’)
Let’s buy him a nice present!
What about … (+ -ing)?
What about eating pizza?
How about … (+ -ing)?
How about going on an excursion?

Responding to suggestions

Yes, OK.
That’s a good idea.
That sounds great!
No, I don’t think so.
I’m not sure about that.
I’d prefer to … (+ verb).

 

If you want to print this list of recommendations I’m attaching it together with other useful resources:

Posted in B1.2

If I had known how to use third conditional

Finally we’ve arrived at the end of our study of conditional sentences this year! Congratulations for arriving here, as the path gets more complicated as we approach our destination.

A quick revision then: how do we choose the correct conditional? Easy!

  • assess if the situation we want to talk about is real / possible or unreal / imaginary.
  • assess when the situation we talk about takes place in the present, future or the past time.

So for the first time dealing with conditionals we can talk about past situations and our imagination tries to figure out a different scenario with (obviously) different consequences.

 

Posted in B1.2

If I were… Second conditional

If you were omnipotent for a day, what would you do? What a question, right? I would probably do the same as Chandler and be omnipotent forever!

So now we’ve had a look at the second conditional, and you can see it in action on the Friends clip. Remember the basic rules to choose the correct conditional:

  • assess if the situation we want to talk about is real / possible or unreal / imaginary.
  • assess when the situation we talk about takes place in the present, future or the past time.

This time then, we clearly have a hypothetic situation. Could you study then the second conditional? Go on!

If I were a boy

Even just for a day

I’d roll outta bed in the morning

And throw on what I wanted and go

Drink beer with the guys

And chase after girls

I’d kick it with who I wanted

And I’d never get confronted for it.

‘Cause they’d stick up for me.

If I were a boy I think I could understand

How it feels to love a girl

I swear I’d be a better man.

I’d listen to her

‘Cause I know how it hurts

When you lose the one you wanted

‘Cause he’s taken you for granted

And everything you had got destroyed

 

Music always helps study. So why not trying google “second conditional songs” so you can see more examples in practice? Come on, give it a try.

Posted in B1.2

Education

As one of the topics that may appear on your B1 exam, it’s highly recommandable for you to expand on it. So on this post I bring you some articles and videos to acquire more lexis, learn better the educational systems and get ideas for your exam.

TIP: Subtitles for the TED Ed videos can be added.

Posted in B1.2

Amazing houses

What kind of home would you like to have? Imagine you won the lottery (wow!) and you can make one of the dream in your life come true. Would you prefer a flat in the centre of a bustling city? Or maybe you would rather have a peaceful house or cabin in the country, away from the crowds and noises? I definitely know what kind I would like.

If you have Netflix account and you like interior design or are interested about amazing houses, there’s a new series about that topic: The World’s Most Extraordinary Homes. It’s a BBC programme, so their accents can’t be easier to understand! Make sure you watch it in English and with subtitles on.

Also, have a look at these videos and get amazed!

Posted in B1.2

Speculation in the present

Might this be the correct post to talk about speculation and deduction?

Yes, it is!

Is it possible this is the correct post to talk about speculation and deduction?

No, it isn’t!

You know from now on that, to express speculation, deduction, and make guesses, you have to use modal verbs, and forget about the commonly used (but not so good) expression It’s possible… So have a second look at my slides to revise this grammar point.

Is it OK to judge by appearances? Maybe we shouldn’t, but it’s something all of us do. Do you think that a first impression can be correct? Watch this video in which children speculate about pictures that are shown to them.

Posted in B1.2

First conditional and future time clauses

As soon as I finish uploading this, I’ll have a rest!

We remember conditionals, at least zero, first and second ones, right? The basics to choose what conditional we need to use is:

  • assess if the situation we want to talk about is real / possible or unreal / imaginary.
  • assess when the situation we talk about takes place in the present, future or the past time.

Having this into account, we’ll be able to use the correct conditional.

Posted in B1.2

Past tenses

I had done a bit of housework before I posted this! What about you?

It’s time to revise the past tenses, and to do this, as always, you can have a second look at the slides. And remember to complete the practice with the grammar exercises on your book and the extra worksheets provided on this blog.