Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Idioms - Thanks


God bless you
I’m much obliged to you
Many thanks
Thank goodness
You shouldn’t have
Thanks for having me

Acknowledging thanks

You’re welcome!
It’s a pleasure!
Any time!
Don’t mention it!
Forget it!
It was nothing
It’s all right!
Not at all!
That’s all right!
Think nothing of it!
It’s what we are here for!
It’s all part of the service.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Informal letters - General Training IELTS

When writing an informal letter:

Use informal vocabulary
Use short forms (I’m, He’s, She isn’t etc)


Opening: Dear (name) Closing: All the best,/Love,/Best wishes,

Starting your letter
Thank you for your letter. It was great hearing from you.
Sorry I haven’t written for so long.
I’m writing to tell you about…

Ending your letter
Give my love to your parents/family.
I can’t wait to see you.
Write back and tell me all your news.
That’s all my news for now.

Making suggestions
Why don’t you/we…?
I think…
How about…? / Let’s…

Asking for information
I’d like some more information about…
I’d love it if…
I’d appreciate it if…

Giving advice
I’m sure you could…
You should…
Why don’t you…?

Formal letters - General Training IELTS

When writing a formal letter:

Use formal vocabulary
Use long forms (I am, He is, She is not, They are not etc)

Dear Mr/Mrs/Ms (name) Closing: Yours sincerely,

Opening: Dear Sir/Madam, Closing: Yours faithfully,

Starting your letter
I am writing in connection with/regarding…
I am interested in…

Ending your letter
I hope you will be able to…
I would appreciate/be grateful if you could…
I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Making suggestions
In my opinion…
I think…
You/We should…

Asking for information
I would like further information about…
I would also like to ask if/whether…
Could you please inform me…
I would appreciate it/be grateful if…
Is it possible for you…

Giving advice
If I were you, I would…
You should…
It would be a good idea to…
I am certain that you could…

Saturday, 28 May 2011

General Training Model Answer – IELTS (Task 2)

Many people say that cooking and eating at home is better for the individual and the family than eating out in restaurants or canteens.

Do you agree or disagree?

Following our change in lifestyle, people are faced with many choices when it comes to eating. Some prefer to eat home-cooked meals while others who are pushed for time might eat out in restaurants, canteens or fast food outlets.

Eating at home has many benefits for a person and their family. Firstly, the food is freshly prepared with ingredients that are known to the person who is cooking thus providing a healthy alternative to eating out. Secondly, in terms of cost, it is much cheaper to purchase products from the market and prepare meals at home. Most importantly, eating is a social function. It gives a family a chance to spend time together in comfortable surroundings and catch up on what is happening in each member’s life. An individual is also able to relax from their busy schedule and enjoy their meal.

It is not always practical to cook at home or sometimes a family might choose to go out for a meal as a form of entertainment. Restaurants and canteens are a good alternative in this case. A family gets to relax as they do not have to waste time preparing a meal, setting the table and cleaning up afterwards. They also have an opportunity to socialize with others in a public area and see new faces. There are many eateries that provide healthy food opinions, so eating out doesn’t necessarily mean an unhealthy choice.

If cooking and eating a meal is a creative activity that involves all members of a family and is a time for relaxation and bonding, I believe it is a good idea to spend time in the kitchen. On the other hand, eating at a restaurant or canteen with the family is just as beneficial.

Question from Official IELTS Practice Materials p.51

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Common spelling errors in Ielts (Writing)

accommodation, advertisement, always, benefit, beginning, business, commercial, country, different, environment, government, necessary, nowadays, occurred, passenger, restaurant, teacher, their (belonging to them), thought, too (as well), which

Friday, 20 May 2011

"to conclude" (synomyms)

to come to an end, to complete, to draw to a close, to finish, to round off, to wind up, to infer, to sum up, to determine, to settle, to work out.

An outdoor fruit and vegetable market

Model Answer - IELTS (Task 1)

The charts below show the number of Japanese tourists travelling abroad between 1985 and 1995 and Australia's share of the Japanese tourist market.

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

The bar chart shows how many Japanese visitors travelled abroad in a ten year period (between 1985 until 1995) while the line graph illustrates how many of these tourists visited Australia.

Between 1985 and 1990 the number of Japanese tourists going abroad increased from about 5 million to 11 million. This figure continued to rise until 1995 where it stood at 15 million except for 1991 which noted a slight drop to just above 10 million.

Generally there was an upward trend in Japanese tourists visiting Australia from 2% in 1985 to triple this amount ten years later. The peak travel years were 1989 at around 5% and 1994 at just above 6%.

To sum up, the Japanese demonstrated a preference for travelling aboard in the mid 80’s and early 90’s as shown by the rising figures. In addition, Australia was a favourite destination with the percentage of visits on the increase.

Question from Official IELTS Practice Materials p.29


Phrasal Verbs “make”

Make something up = to say or write something that isn’t true. e.g. He made up a story that his dog ate his homework.
Make up something = to form the whole of something. e.g. A large percentage of our body is made up of water.
Make up = to forgive someone and become friendly again. e.g. We made up after our huge argument.
Make-up = something you put on your face. e.g. She wears make-up to work every day.
Make up for something = to replace something that has been lost. e.g. We are making up for lost time by spending our weekends together.
Make it up to somebody = do something good for somebody. e.g. I’m taking her out to dinner to make up for my bad behavior.
Make away with something = to steal something. e.g. The bank robbers made away with $50.000.
Make for something = go in a particular direction. e.g. When the fire broke out, the staff made for the emergency exit.
Make of something/somebody = to express an opinion. e.g. What do you make of Craig?
Make out something/somebody = to have a hard time seeing/hearing something/somebody. e.g. I couldn’t make out what they were saying from where I was standing.
Make out something = to falsely claim something. e.g. They made out that they didn’t have any money but they moved into an expensive flat.
Make-over = when an expert changes someone's appearance. e.g. I didn’t recognize him after his make-over.

Street Food - China

Chinese cuisine