Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Idioms with 'see'

As far as I can see = according to my understanding
As I see it = in my opinion
Do you see what I mean? = do you understand?
To have seen better days = to be less attractive than before
I’ll see = I might
I see what you mean = I understand
Let me see = I’m trying to remember
Seeing is believing = proof is needed
Seeing things = having a hallucination
See someone off = to go with someone to where they will begin a journey
See someone out = to go with someone to an exit
See something through = to do something until the end
See the last of = to see for the last time
See through someone = realise that someone is trying to deceive
See to something = to deal with
See to it that = make sure that
See you later = goodbye
So I see = that is obvious
When you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all = they are all alike
You see = I told you so
Glad to see the back of someone = to be happy when someone leaves
Wouldn’t be seen dead with = too embarrassed to do something
See eye to eye = to agree
See red = to become very angry
See the writing on the wall = a sign that something bad may happen
See which way the wind blows = to postpone a decision until one has more information
Wait and see = to wait for a result

Monday, 25 June 2012

Idioms with 'take'

Can take it = to be able to tolerate pain or trouble
I take it = I assume
It takes one to know one = you are the same as the person you describe
Take after someone = look like someone
Take it from me = believe me
Take it from there = carry on without supervision
Take it or leave it = accept or refuse something
Take it out on someone = direct one’s anger at someone else
Take off = suddenly succeed
Take one back = to remember the past
Take on the appearance of = to look like
Take someone for someone else = mistake one person for another
Take someone in = allow someone in one’s home
Take someone up on something = to accept an offer
Take something back = to withdraw a statement
Take something in = to understand
Take something over = to take control
Take something upon oneself = accept responsibility
Take something up with someone = to discuss a topic
Take to something = to come to like it
To be taken aback = surprised
Take cover = look for protection
Take effect = to happen
Take it easy = relax
Take off one’s hat = admire
Take one’s medicine = accept unpleasantness of one’s own making
Take sides = support one party in a dispute
Take someone for a ride = cheat someone
Take someone to one side = talk to someone privately
Take someone’s mind off something = to distract someone
Take someone’s place = to replace someone
Take steps = take action
Take the place of something = act as a substitute
Take the floor = stand up to speak or dance
Take up arms = to become involved in a conflict

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Idioms with 'talk'

Do the talking = be spokesperson
Idle talk = gossip or useless conversation
Know what one is talking about = an expert
Now you’re talking! = what you are saying is relevant
Small talk = polite conversation
Talk back to somebody = to be rude
Talk down to someone = speak to someone as if they were less important
Talk of the town = everyone is discussing it
Talk someone into something = to persuade
Talk something over = to discuss for a long time
You can talk = you are not in a position to criticize
Money talks = having money is an advantage
Talk shop = talk about one’s job
Talk through one’s hat = talk nonsense

Idioms with 'throw'

Throw a party = organise and pay for a party
Throw oneself at somebody = try to gain someone’s love by showing it openly
Throw one’s weight about = to use one’s authority or power
Throw something in = add something as an afterthought
Throw something together = make something hurriedly
Throw up = to vomit
Throw someone in at the deep end = to face a new situation in its most difficult aspect
Throw a spanner in the works = to disrupt
Throw caution to the winds = behave with extreme thoughtlessness
Throw good money after bad = waste money in an attempt to recover previous losses
Throw in the towel = surrender
Throw money at = continue to finance a loss-making venture
Throw money away = waste money
Throw out the baby with the bath water = lose something useful when getting rid of something apparently useless
Throw something in someone’s face = keep reminding someone of something they would rather forget

Friday, 22 June 2012

Academic Writing - Task 2 (Model answer)

A person’s worth nowadays seems to be judged according to social status and material possessions. Old-fashioned values, such as honour, kindness and trust, no longer seem important. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?

Today value systems seem to have shifted from one extreme to another. Whereas in the past personal qualities were important, today people are valued according to their assets such as flashy cars and luxury houses as well as the position they hold in society.

As society has become competitive and people struggle to survive in a world with limited resources, values that bound communities together in the past when life was simple are disappearing. In a drive to make a profit and gain an attractive salary, ambitious, career-oriented individuals have no time for solid old-fashioned values. Having a kind or honourable personality is often regarded as a weakness in today’s power driven society and assertive or aggressive people often push for what they want rather than maintaining loyalty to a single person or an organisation.

This is not however true of all societies. In some developing countries such as India and in some religions like Buddhism human qualities such as compassion and honesty are promoted. These types of internal characteristics exist even today despite the fact that these people live in poverty and are regarded as a measure of a true human being.

How a person has been brought up and what values are given priority varies among individuals. The influence of advertising and consumerism adds pressure to people’s value system while competitiveness challenges a person’s sensitivity in favour of materialism and a false sense of superiority due to the acquisition of wealth. Although material wealth is a sign of a person’s financial success it does not necessarily reflect their human nature.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Idioms with 'time'

Ahead of one’s time = an idea or invention that is advanced
All in good time = as soon as it is appropriate
Any time = it is not necessary to say 'thank you'
At one time = at some time in the past
Do time = serve a prison sentence
For the time being = meanwhile
From time to time = occasionally
Have no time for somebody/something = to have a strong dislike
In good time = with time to spare
In one’s own time = at whatever rate suits one
In one’s time = at some time in one’s past
Long time no see = if you haven’t seen someone in a while
Make good time = travel more quickly than expected
One at a time = singly
Take one’s time = do something slower
Time after time = repeatedly
Time flies = time passes quickly
A stich in time saves nine = correcting a small fault prevents a bigger one later on
At the same time = simultaneously
Behind the times = old-fashioned
Fall on bad times = become poor
Have the time of one’s life = enjoy oneself
High time = it’s about time
In the nick of time = just in time
Kill time = do something while waiting
There’s no time like the present = it is better to do something now

Idioms with 'touch'

Finishing touches = the final details
Get in touch with = to contact
Keep in touch with = to maintain contact
Lose touch with = unable to communicate with
Lose one’s touch = lose the ability to do something
Out of touch with = not in communication with
Touch down = to land
Touch somebody = to create an emotional response in somebody
Touch something up = to make small improvements in the appearance of something
Touch upon something = to mention something briefly
Midas touch = to be able to financially succeed in whatever one does
Touch bottom = to reach the lowest point
Touch wood = with luck something will happen/not happen
Wouldn’t touch something/someone with a bargepole = to avoid completely

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Artwork by Pino (student)

Artwork by Pino (student)

Idioms with 'way'

By the way = incidentally
By way of = via
Go a long way to = be very helpful
Go one’s own way = act independently
Go out of one’s way = take trouble to
Have one’s own way = do whatever one wants
Have it both ways = have the advantage of two mutually exclusive options
In a way = in one respect
In somebody’s way = obstructing someone
Lead the way = go first
Lose one’s way = become lost
Make way for = move aside and leave room for
There are no two ways about it = there is no doubt
In a bad way = a critically ill person or a poor state of a thing
In a big way = enthusiastically
Look the other way = ignore on purpose
Meet somebody half way = agree to a compromise
Mend one’s ways = change one’s bad behaviour
Out of harm’s way = in safety
Pave the way for something = make something easier or possible

Monday, 18 June 2012

Idioms with 'work'

Go to work on something/set to work = begin working
Have one’s work cut out = have a difficult time overcoming something
Out of work = unemployed
All worked up = excited/anxious
Work of art = anything that requires craftsmanship
Work off = get rid of by exercising
Work out = come to a successful conclusion
Work-out = physical exercise
Work something out = solve a problem
All in a day’s work = within one’s duties
Dirty work = criminal activity or unpleasant work
Donkey work = routine tasks/unskilled work
Nasty piece of work = very unpleasant person
Throw a spanner in the works = sabotage
Work like a dog = work very hard with little reward
Work something to death = force something to work too much

Idioms with 'word'

Keep one’s word = keep a promise
Break one’s word = fail to keep a promise
Famous last words = so you say!
Have a word with somebody = talk briefly to somebody
Have the last word = make the final comment in an argument
In a word = in conclusion
In other words = putting it another way
Somebody of few words = somebody who says little
My word! = exclamation of surprise
Not in so many words = not exactly
Operative word = significant word
Put in a good word = recommend someone
Take the words out of somebody’s mouth = guess what somebody else is about to say
Take somebody’s word for it = believe someone without question
Word for word = exactly as spoken/written
Words fail me = unable to find words to express a feeling
Actions speak louder than words = deeds are more effective than talk
Word of mouth = using the spoken word
Eat one’s words = regret what one has said
Exchange words = argue/quarrel
From the word go = from the start
Man of his word = someone trustworthy
Not get a word in edgeways = unable to interrupt someone who is talking continuously
Just say the word = say what you need

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Thursday, 14 June 2012

City life (vocabulary)

Academic Writing - Task 2 (Model answer)

The threat of nuclear weapons maintains world peace. Nuclear power provides cheap and clean energy.

The benefits of nuclear technology far outweigh the disadvantages. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Many countries use nuclear power to provide electricity as this pollutes the atmosphere less and is inexpensive when compared to the burning of fossil fuels which are non-renewable or coal which has a huge environmental cost. In terms of military power, some countries that have developed nuclear weapons such as North Korea ensure that neighbouring countries are balanced due to the fear of destruction these weapons will cause.

There are several drawbacks to using nuclear power and there are disastrous real life examples. The two nuclear bombs dropped on Japan led to a great loss of lives. The tragedy continues today with diseases like cancer as it is not easy to clear an area of radiation. Other examples include Chernobyl and more recently the leak in the power station in Fukushima. There is fear of contaminated water, soil and a spread of radiation by wind. Furthermore, disposing hazardous materials is difficult and even sealed containers dumped into oceans are dangerous.

In terms of politics, countries with nuclear weapons often bully and threaten other neighbouring countries or enemies. A single country has the power to destroy the planet merely because of a disagreement. For these reasons there are many agreements between countries to reduce the amount of nuclear weapons they have.

In my opinion, governments should invest in other types of energy like hydro-electric power, wind power, or solar energy which are also environmentally friendly. Nuclear technology has disastrous effects on human life and infrastructure. Accidents and leaks spread and the negative effects caused by contamination are evident years after the event occurs. The short term benefits are not worth the long term costs.

Question taken from Cambridge IELTS Sample Task 2B

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Academic Writing - Task 2 (Model answer)

Advanced medical technology can extend the life of the sick and aged to well beyond the age of 70. Discuss the possible effects of increasing the natural lifespan.

People today are living longer because of the health care facilities available to them and due to medical advances whereas the expected lifespan of a person in the past was much lower as people died of diseases that are curable nowadays more often.

Many people dream of an eternal life and living beyond 70 might make them feel happy. They will be able to work longer, enjoy their grandchildren, leisure time, travel and relax after having spent their youth working hard. However if someone in not physically fit or has problems moving around they might view their life as troublesome and find they cannot enjoy it as much as they would have liked to.

Financially speaking, an ageing population does not benefit an economy. A country has to support the elderly with pensions which puts a strain on government funds. Other social benefits have to be provided to them such as old age homes, catering services, mobile libraries, discounted prices etc. What is more, senior citizens are not productive and so a country relies on its young workers.

To sum up, quality of life is important rather than how long a person lives. If someone has nothing to look forward to in their old age, they are likely to feel depressed whereas if someone regards life as a precious gift then they will appreciate it more and seek a long life. An increase in the lifespan does not benefit a country which has to stretch its resources to provide benefits to those who live a long life.

Question taken from 202 Useful Exercises for IELTS

Academic Writing - Task 2 (Model Answer)

The world is experiencing a dramatic increase in population. This is causing problems not only for poor, underdeveloped countries, but also for industrialised and developing nations. Describe some of the problems that overpopulation causes and suggest some solutions.

If we consider that China alone has a population of 1.3 billion this figure should worry the world. Many other Asian countries like India and Bangladesh also have high population figures. A population explosion is of concern not only for an overpopulated country but for the rest of the world too.

Firstly, resources are limited and cannot be shared equally amongst people. Poverty increases due to this unequal distribution and we can see many people starving in poorer nations. These people have no hope or future and are often taken advantage of by richer nations who are looking to gain from their disadvantaged position, for example in the form of cheap labour. Aid is expected which burdens economies that are doing well. Other social problems are also caused by a population boom such as mass migration, increase in levels of crime, unsanitary living conditions, lack of social services etc.

Unfortunately some of the solutions available are extreme. In China for example the authorities have imposed a one-child policy for each family to restrict population growth. Having more children means a family must pay high taxes for this. Other less dramatic measures could be to promote birth control and educate families on the dangers of having too many children.

To conclude, everyone is affected by overpopulation and limited resources, food shortages being the main danger. It is not always easy to deal with this problem which already exists as mega cities are overcrowded and cannot cater for all residents. Prevention is better than cure and methods to restrict further growth should be examined.

Question taken from 101 Helpful Hints for IELTS p.126

Speaking IELTS - Part 2 & 3 (Model notes)

Question taken from 101 Helpful Hints for IELTS p.106