Wednesday, 27 April 2011

IELTS Task 1 - Describing a process

The diagram below shows the process of using water to produce electricity.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

The illustration demonstrates how sea water is transformed into hydro-electric power to supply our energy needs.

Initially the sun’s rays heat the surface of the sea causing the water to evaporate into clouds which then results in rain. A man-made dam stores this rainwater in a reservoir. With the aid of a valve, the reservoir water completes a cycle as it is channeled through a turbine and pump. In this way, water is re-cycled and the pressure from its circulation produces energy.

The turbine is connected to high voltage cables and once the water energizes the turbine this goes to a transformer station. The station is responsible for distributing the electric power to hospitals, schools, factories and houses via underground cables. This forms the final stage of the process.

To conclude, natural resources (water, sun, rain) in combination with man-made aids (turbine, cables, power station etc) supply us with clean energy using a relatively simple procedure.

Question taken from Official IELTS Practice Materials (2009) p.32

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Idioms with "word"

Could I have a word? = May I speak to you in private? e.g. Could I have a word? It’s about Peter.

In other words = clarify something that has just been said. e.g. There are conference, meeting and banqueting rooms, in other words, the hotel has many facilities.

Mark my words = take note of what I’m saying. e.g. Mark my words, he’ll come back for revenge. He doesn't give up that easily.

My word! = an expression showing surprise, annoyance. e.g. My word! What a mess!

Not a word = Don’t say anything. e.g. I can hear them coming. Not a word or you will ruin the surprise.

Words fail me = to show surprise, shock, happiness, anger e.g. I won the lottery. I can’t believe it. Words fail me.

One more word out of you = punishment will follow if there isn’t silence e.g. One more word out of you and you’ll be sent to your room.

You can take my word for it = believe me e.g. Take my word for it, she’s an excellent teacher.

Synomyms (modern)

Contemporary, current, latest, new, novel, present day, state-of-the-art, up-to-date

Phrasal Verbs with "write"

Write something down = to write something so that you don’t forget it. e.g. Please write down your email address.

Write in = to write a letter to an organization. e.g. The students wrote in with their questions.

Write something or somebody in = to add a scene or character to a book, play or film. e.g. They wrote in that part just to hire the superstar.

Write something off = to accept that money will never be re-paid. e.g. Our government is writing off the debt.

Write something off = when a damaged vehicle can’t be repaired. e.g. Following the accident the Honda has been written off.

Write out = to write information on a document such as a cheque or prescription. e.g. He wrote out a cheque for the money he owed us.

Write up = to complete something usually using notes. e.g. Finally she wrote up that report.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

The passive voice

The passive voice is used to show what happens to something.

We use the passive: When what is being done is more important than who does it or we don’t know who is doing the action.
To describe a process.
In formal writing .

Form: Verb be + past participle

Present simple →The lemons are picked by workers.
Present continuous →The lemons are being picked by workers.
Past simple → The lemons were picked by workers.
Past continuous →The lemons were being picked by workers.
Present perfect →The lemons have been picked by workers.
Past perfect →The lemons had been picked by workers.
Going to →The lemons are going to be picked by workers.

Infinitive →The lemons are to be picked by workers.
-ing form →The lemons are being picked by workers.
Used to →The lemons used to be picked by workers.
Modals →The lemons should be picked by workers.
Need to / have to →The lemons need to / have to be picked by workers.
Need +ing →The lemons need picking by workers.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Model Answer – IELTS (Task 2)

Many old buildings are protected by law because they are part of a nation’s history. However, some people think old buildings should be knocked down to make way for new ones because people need houses and offices.

How important is it to maintain old buildings? Should history stand in the way of progress?

Many modern cities such as Prague, Venice and Budapest are memorable because of their historical architecture. Contemporary buildings are often placed amongst ancient ones to accommodate the increasing populations in cities. It is difficult to imagine a visit to a city, for example New York, which does not include a tour to the Flat Iron or Empire State building.

There is no doubt that old buildings add to the character, culture and history of a country and as such should be maintained. Old buildings have a life of their own and an interesting story to tell. Any architect will tell you that old buildings indicate the style of architecture of a certain period and provide information of how people used to live in the past. In order to add to a nation’s cultural heritage, these landmarks need to be maintained with the appropriate funding and restoration work in order to ensure they are safe.

Those who wish to replace these historical buildings with high rises for business and accommodation purposes promote progress and practicality. They do not appreciate history, art and architecture. I believe there are other creative solutions that do not involve demolishing historical buildings in favour of impersonal skyscrapers. Business parks and accommodation villages could be build in suburbs for example.

Well preserved old buildings are the pride and joy of a nation. They become an instant tourist attraction and appear on postcards thus promoting the cultural heritage of a country. Even though there is a great demand for housing and office blocks, alternative solutions need to be found.
Question taken from Official IELTS Practice Materials (2009) p.33

Model Answer – IELTS (Task 2)

Television is dangerous because it destroys family life and any sense of community; instead of visiting people or talking with our family we just watch television.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?

Due to the fact that television is no longer considered a luxury it has become part of our daily life and can be found in almost all households. Despite the many advantages it provides in the form of endless hours of entertainment, a vast variety of programme choices and the educational possibilities it offers, I strongly agree that television is destructive to family and community life.

Television has changed the way people communicate with each other. Before the invention of television, a family would spend more time together discussing the events of the day and attempting to solve any problems that existed. Family meals were also enriched by conversation whereas today, TV encourages a solitary existence. It is a passive use of time and does not encourage individuals to talk to each other as all their attention is focused on the screen. In some cases, if someone is disturbed when they are watching their favourite show, they tend to get irritable leading to an argument.

Television has also had an impact on community life. People no longer visit others as frequently as they used to. In the past individuals spent their time with their friends and relatives playing interactive games and activities such as playing cards, singing and storytelling. Life in front of a box is lonely and discourages any form of community life. People are trapped in their homes and their inner lives, glued to the television.

In conclusion, the danger of television lies in its ability to fool people into believing they are not required to make an effort to socialise. Communicating, interacting and visiting others is part of being social and as human beings are social animals, this aspect of our personality is becoming extinct by watching television.
Question taken from Official IELTS Practice Materials (2009) p.36

Traditional Maltese Figolla for Easter