Thursday, 30 August 2012

Phrasal verbs with 'give'

Give something away = to give something to someone for free e.g. I gave my old jeans away as they were too small for me.

Give something away = to tell someone a secret by mistake e.g. She gave the surprise party away by parking her car in front of the house.

Give someone away = to take a bride to her husband at church e.g. Her uncle gave her away as her father had died.

Give something back = to return it e.g. She gave me back the DVD that I lent her.

Give someone something back = to return a lost quality/ability e.g. The operation gave him his eyesight back.

Give in = to finally agree to what someone wants e.g. After he had been nagging me all night to go to the office party, I finally gave in.

Give in = to accept defeat e.g. There was no point in competing any longer so he gave in.

Give something in = to hand in written work e.g. The lecturer told us to give our assignment in by Friday.

Give in to something = to accept an emotion/desire e.g. I wanted to eat something sweet all day and I gave in to that bar of chocolate.

Give off something = to produce gas, heat, light, smell e.g. That stove gives off a bad smell.

Give of yourself = to give time/money without expecting anything back e.g. She gives so much of her free time to helping out at the shelter.

Give something out = to provide something to many people e.g. When is the company going to give out those samples?

Give out something = to make a sound e.g. He gave out a loud sigh and went back to work.

Give up something = to stop an unhealthy habit e.g. He gave up smoking and feels much better.

Give up doing something = to stop completing something as it is difficult e.g. She gave up studying to be a doctor and studied art instead.

Give up = to stop looking for an answer to a joke/question e.g. I give up! I don’t know the population of China.

Give yourself up = to allow the police to catch you e.g. The bank robbers gave themselves up after a long chase.

Give someone up = to leave a baby in someone else’s care e.g. They couldn’t look after the baby so they gave it up.

Give up on someone/something = to stop hoping that someone will do what you want them to do e.g. I don’t think he will ever go to university. I’ve given up on him.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Phrasal verbs with 'fall'

Fall apart = to experience emotional problems e.g. He fell apart when his girlfriend left him.

Fall back on = to use something when there is no other choice e.g. If we don’t save we won’t have anything to fall back on when there is a financial crisis.

Fall behind someone = to stay behind e.g. The others were running too fast and she fell behind.

Fall behind something = to not meet a deadline e.g. Building the stadium has fallen behind schedule.

Fall down / fall over = to fall to the ground e.g. The athlete tripped on the hurdle and fell down.

Fall over = to fall onto its side e.g. I bumped into the tray and it fell over spilling all the drinks on the floor.

Fall for = to be attracted to someone e.g. I think I’m falling for him.

Fall for something = to be tricked into believing something untrue e.g. I can’t believe they fell for it and had all their money stolen.

Fall into = to belong to a category e.g. Animals fall into many different categories.

Fall under = to be included in a particular group e.g. That piece falls under the subheading of Art.

Fall on something = to happen on a certain day/date e.g. New Year falls on a Monday this year.

Fall on someone = to be responsible for something e.g. The job of collecting the trash falls on the local municipality.

Fall out = to argue e.g. I left the flat after falling out with my flatmates.

Fall out = to lose hair/teeth e.g. My son’s first tooth fell out last week.

Fall through = fails to happen e.g. Our plan to get married in spring fell through.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Phrasal Verbs with 'cut'

Cut across/through something = to move from one side of an area to another in order to get somewhere quickly e.g. We cut across the woods to get to our car faster.

Cut back something = to reduce the amount of money being spent on something e.g. To recover from the recession many European Union countries have to cut back on their spending.

Cut something down = to make it fall to the ground e.g. They’ve cut down that old olive tree.

Cut something down = to reduce the amount, size or length of something e.g. You need to cut down your dissertation as it’s too long.

Cut down = to eat or drink less of something unhealthy e.g. My children need to cut down on the amount of sweets they eat daily.

Cut in = to suddenly drive in front of someone e.g. A car cut in front of us and we almost had an accident.

Cut in = to interrupt a couple dancing to dance with one of them e.g. May I cut in?

Cut in = to interrupt a conversation e.g. He suddenly cut in to say a policeman was giving us a ticket.

Cut something off = to stop providing it e.g. The electricity supply was cut off in certain areas to save energy.

Cut someone off = to prevent people from reaching or leaving an area e.g. Due to the snow storm we were cut off.

Cut someone off = to stop talking to someone e.g. She cut herself off completely after her divorce.

Cut someone off = when a telephone conversation breaks e.g. I couldn’t finish what I was saying as I got cut off.

Cut something out = to cut a shape into paper or cloth e.g. Can you cut out that picture of Lady Gaga?

Cut something out = to remove part of a piece of writing e.g. You need to cut out that part where you are providing a personal opinion.

Cut someone out = to not let someone share something e.g. If you cut the middleman out, you will make a higher profit.

Cut it out! = stop doing something annoying e.g. Cut it out! I want to watch this show.

Cut out for something = to have the right qualities e.g. You’re brilliant with children, you are cut out to be a teacher.

Cut through something = to deal with a problem fast e.g. Once we had cut through all the bureaucracy we were able to get our passport in a matter of days.

Cut something up = to cut it into small pieces e.g. The teacher cut up the note and threw it away.

Cut up = to be very upset about something e.g. He was pretty cut up when his girlfriend left him.

General Training - Model Answer (Task 1)

Write a letter to a friend about a museum that you have visited. You should say: 
  • where you went
  • what you saw there
  • how you felt about it
 Dear Parveen,
I hope all is well with you and your family. I’m still on holiday in China and I wanted to tell you about the wonderful museum I visited yesterday in Shanghai.
The Shanghai Museum is in the city centre and the building looks like a cooking pot. It has four floors and each one has a different exhibition. Even though it was so crowded I still managed to see all the exhibits using an English audio guide. The collection included bronze sculptures, ceramics, calligraphy, seals, coins and artefacts of ethnic Chinese minorities.
I found the museum extremely interesting especially the display on ceramics and how they were made and the clothes worn by the minorities which were shown on the fourth floor. I even bought a book for you at the souvenir shop on Chinese art and culture which I will give you when we meet.
See you soon.
Question taken from Step Up to IELTS p.47

Monday, 27 August 2012

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

In some countries today, there is an attitude that ‘anyone can do it’ in the arts – music, literature, acting, art, etc. As a result, people with no talent become rich and famous and genuine talent is not valued or appreciated. Do you agree or disagree?

Reality television programs are extremely fashionable today and they promote the idea that an average person can succeed in the world of entertainment. Every year we witness thousands of contestants auditioning for shows like the X-factor, The Voice and other talent shows that make winners stars overnight but usually this fame is short lived until the next season of the show.

Everyone has a unique way of expressing themselves just as everyone appreciates different types of art. It is for this reason that the market has been accepting a variety of talents. Occasionally, these talent shows do discover genuine talent that would go undiscovered if an opportunity was not provided to them.

On the other hand, the media is dominated by stars that have no real talent, for example, Paris Hilton is well-known merely because of her money and the Kardashians have limited acting skills. As these personalities dominate the limelight there is little room for genuine talent. Often genuine talent is not appreciated even though artists who are dedicated to their work usually last longer than those whose fame relies on factors other than talent.

I believe everyone should be involved in the arts as this is good for the human soul. Consumers ultimately decide what is successful art and this can be seen in their voting preferences with respect to TV shows or their purchasing decisions. Genuine talent is always appreciated and those who have it stay longer in the market place than those who do not.

Question taken from Exam Essentials IELTS Practice Tests p.109

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Over the past fifty years, international sports events such as the Olympic Games and world cup competitions have played an increasingly important role in our society. However, many people think such events are an enormous waste of money, time and effort. Do you agree?

Sports events are a good way to bring nations together, make spectators feel a sense of pride for their country, promote a sense of health and fitness and entertain viewers. It is, however, expensive to arrange such large scale events, manpower is needed and these sports events are time consuming to organise.

When wining the bid to host major events like the Olympic Games or World Cup competitions, countries have to invest in infrastructure such as stadiums, transport links, accommodation etc. It takes years to build these and plan opening ceremonies. Sometimes these stadiums and buildings remain empty once the games are over.

On the other hand, we should not forget that hosting games brings income into a country. Many thousands of people watch these games live or on television so sponsors are eager to advertise. Building large projects also means growth for a country and employment for thousands of workers.

We should also remember that people enjoy taking part in sports and there is a huge audience for this. Sportsmen are proud to represent their country and work hard to perform their best in such competitions. These events provide an opportunity to overcome cultural differences and racism in favour of fair play and healthy competition.

I believe sports events have a lot to offer to athletes and the general public in terms of raising moral and uniting nations. Of course organising and hosting events requires money and effort but in the end this investment is worth it.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Compared to our parent’s generation, life has become much more stressful. As a result, stress-related illnesses are on the increase around the world.

Why is stress such a problem in the modern world and what do you think can be done to overcome the problems caused by stress?

In the past people lived simpler lives with fewer choices but today many suffer from stress-related illnesses such as heart disease, insomnia, obesity and high blood pressure due to the fast pace of modern life and the effort to keep up.

There is a lot of tension and pressure in people’s life due to the fact that there is competition in all walks of life and there is a constant need to have a high level of performance. To stay ahead, people have to work longer hours and bear a heavy workload. Apart from the professional aspect of life, people are under stress socially to conform to society’s ideal lifestyle and keep up with the material wealth of others even if this is not what they want. Stress is unhealthy as it has many negative symptoms that exhaust a person’s body.

To maintain a healthier lifestyle it is important to eat healthy food and exercise regularly. Similarly, people need to get enough rest and sleep and avoid bad habits such as smoking or drinking too much. Maintaining a sense of humour and a positive outlook to life is also helpful. Finally, workers should avoid taking on too much responsibility and setting unrealistic deadlines.

Unfortunately, stress is part of our everyday life and is here to stay. In order to avoid the health-related issues associated with it people should try to be as healthy as possible by being fit, eating healthily and sleeping enough.

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

In some countries, it can be difficult for people over the age of 50 to get good jobs, despite their experience. What do you think are the causes of this problem, and what measures could be taken to solve it?

Older workers have a wealth of useful knowledge and skills acquired over their working lives, however, this is often not taken into account when searching for a job as employees prefer to hire young, inexperienced workers mainly due to the fact that they will not demand a high salary.

This preference for younger workers may be due to the attitude that employers have of people over 50. Perhaps they think that these workers will lack ambition and will not work as hard as their careers are coming to an end or they may believe that they are too set in their ways and do not have the flexibility to be open to new ideas. As mentioned earlier, employers are not willing to pay a high starting salary to an older worker who will justify this in terms of their experience, training and skills acquired in their job. Finally, some employers might want to give younger workers a chance of starting their career and like the image of a young workforce.

The government might solve this problem by encouraging companies to hire workers over 50. They may for example agree to pay for half of the worker’s wage or allow a business to pay less tax if they do so. In addition, the retirement age can be changed so workers are forced to work until a much later stage in their lives.

Because of the greater ageing population in many countries workers are forced to continue working until a later age to support the economy and their small pension. Hiring workers over 50 benefits a company and the government should try to encourage this policy.

Question taken from Exam Essentials IELTS Practice Tests p.129

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

In many countries these days, the number of people continuing their education after school has increased, and the range of courses available at universities and colleges has also increased. Do you think this is a positive or negative development?

Due to the highly competitive nature of the marketplace it is no longer possible to find a good job with a high school education only. Most students continue studying and having a PhD has become common now. Students also have a lot more subject choices which cater for changing market needs, for example, environmental studies and IT related fields are currently popular.

This is a positive development as education is always valued and can improve a person’s standard of living and their understanding of the world around them. Education is often encouraged in developing countries for this reason. What is more, it is a good idea for universities to keep up with job trends and offer a variety of courses to their students.

On the other hand, many great entrepreneurs did not have any further education. After leaving high school they went straight into the workplace and gained valuable experience that placed them several years ahead of those who chose to continue their education. In addition, some countries suffer from over-education where most people are highly educated and they find it difficult to get a job because they are over-qualified and they do not differ from other candidates.

To conclude, education benefits an individual greatly and it is a basic human right. Businesses and countries also develop through educated staff members. Having plenty of options for an individual to choose from is an added advantage. That is not to say that people who decide not to pursue further studies cannot be successful individuals.

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Some people regard work as the most important thing in life and have little interest in anything else. Other people are more enthusiastic about their hobbies and leisure interests than their jobs. Discuss both these attitudes and give your own opinion.

People need to work in order to survive financially and cover their living expenses. Hobbies are also necessary as without these an individual’s life would be monotonous and boring. Some people take their work very seriously and are ambitious trying to stay ahead while others are more interested in enjoying themselves.

Work occupies a large part of a person’s life and it is important that they enjoy what they do so that they do not feel miserable when they get up in the morning. For many people, work is their life and they do not appear to be interested in anything else. Workaholics are the first to arrive at the office and the last to leave, often working at weekends and during holidays as well. This may be due to the fact that they hold a position of responsibility in the company or they might be self-employed. I do not think it is a good idea to be defined by your work only. It is important to have interests outside your working environment.

Having personal time to do what you enjoy most means that a person has time to relax and unwind and release some of the tension from work. People who value their hobbies more might mean that they do not regard their work highly and might not be the best or reliable employees to have.

All in all, there should be a balance between work and pleasure. Working too hard results in burn out and health issues whilst only focusing on leisure activities may mean that an individual will not gain a promotion or greater financial security, in fact they may even lose their job due to fierce competition in the job market.

Question taken from Exam Essentials IELTS Practice Tests p.169

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

The world is consuming natural resources faster than they can be renewed. Therefore, it is important that products are made to last. Governments should discourage people from constantly buying up-to-date or fashionable products. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Environmental problems are a priority for many governments today. Human activity and waste are largely responsible for the environment’s poor state. With the rise of consumerism, consumers are quick to throw away old models in favour of updated products adding to waste.

In the interests of marketing and making a profit, large companies often delay putting new products onto the market. They wait until the old product has reached its greatest selling point and then they introduce new features. This is especially true for electronic products. Even though people neglect their old products, making products that last longer means that innovation, development and technology is not encourages and this may prevent growth for a country.

In the past, products were valued more and a family often purchased an item to last for a lifetime, for example, a television or a radio. If a product broke it was repaired rather than thrown again. This is because people did not have so much money to spend and they did not have the choices that are available today. In addition, manufacturers produced strong models without trying to save on costs like they do today.

It is very difficult for the government to change people’s spending habits and their desire to have the latest products even though this would be an environmental benefit. What it can do however is encourage consumers to recycle their used items and provide incentives to manufacturers to use parts from old products rather than waste resources to build items from scratch.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The diagram illustrates how parts of a pencil are put together to produce the finished product. The pencil leads and the surrounding cases are made separately and then assembled together.

Ground graphite, clay and water are made into dough which is then placed into a forming press to produce a graphite rod. The pieces of lead are left to dry and heated in an oven at a high temperature. They are then added to the production process of the case.

Wood is first prepared by cutting it into strips. Shapes are cut into the wooden slat to enable the lead pieces to be placed in the grooves. They are fastened to the slat with the help of glue. Next a cover is placed on top of this layer to enclose it. A shaping machine then creates a smooth finish and the pencil is ready for use.

To sum up, two parallel procedures are required to make a pencil. Once the lead has been prepared it is inserted into a wooden case and covered to create a pencil.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The diagram shows how bricks are produced for construction from digging up the clay until the final product.

Once clay has been extracted with a digger it is filtered using a metal grid on a conveyor belt. There are two options available when sand and water have been added to the clay. Blocks of bricks are formed by using a wire cutter or a mould. 1 to 2 days are needed for the bricks to dry in a drying oven. A kiln heats the bricks, initially at a moderate temperature and then at a high one. Cooling is necessary in a cooling chamber for 48 to 72 hours. Finally, the bricks are packed and delivered to the building site.

All in all, clay needs to be filtered, moulded or cut, dried, heated at varying temperatures and cooled before it is used as a building material. This process takes several days to complete.

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 1)

The diagrams show the transformation of a relatively small fishing village with a population of 12,000 into a popular holiday resort in 2004 that is able to cater for 50,000 tourists. Similarly, the local population has grown to 80,000 inhabitants.

In the first diagram there are two villages located in the hills and another one near the harbour. The natural environment consists of woodland and olive groves. Thirty years later the original fishing village has been incorporated into the resort. To the left and right of this there is a stretch of beaches with hotels. A golf course has been built on the hill behind the hotels. The olive groves have been replaced by farmland that is used to supply the hotels with fruit and vegetables. The locals live between the farmland and the original village while a road runs to the right of this up to the top of the hill. Tourist shops have been built in the village behind the farmland.

To conclude, the fishing village is now densely populated and construction has taken place to accommodate visitors. It is almost unrecognisable apart from the original village that has remained in place.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Some governments try to control the way a national language is used. For example, they may restrict the introduction of foreign words, or the use of dialects, or they may demand that a certain language be used in schools. What are the benefits and disadvantages of these policies? Do you think they can ever be effective?

Language control can be seen in many countries particularly large ones like China that have many ethnic groups and each region is likely to have its own dialect and unique way of communicating.

Having a single spoken and written language for a type of people makes communication easier and helps with business development. In China someone who speaks the Shanghainese local dialect only will be unable to understand someone from Qingdao even though they are both Chinese. For this reason the government in China is trying to impose Mandarin as the official spoken and written language for the whole of China.

Unfortunately doing this devalues another person’s culture, identity and language and also means that many minority languages and dialects around the world are beginning to disappear and will never be recovered. People who are forced to learn a dominant language at school might feel resentful towards the government as happened in South Africa when Black South Africans in the townships were forced to learn Afrikaans.

If the government is forceful enough and people do not protest than perhaps these policies can be somewhat effective. Language however changes daily and it is quite difficult to control what people say at home and what they pass onto their children. With globalisation foreign words find their way into other languages and it is difficult today to say that a language is pure.

Question taken from Step Up to IELTS Self-Study Student’s Book p.107

Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Learning a foreign language offers an insight into how people from other cultures think and see the world. The teaching of a foreign language should be compulsory at all primary schools. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this view?

Many youngsters today are bilingual as their parents teach them their mother tongue which might be different to the official language of a country or they begin learning a foreign language at a young age. The benefits of being fluent in a number of languages cannot be stressed enough. It is very difficult to get a good job or to communicate internationally if you only know one language.

Some key languages such as Mandarin, Spanish and English are widely spoken and it is a good idea to introduce these languages at a primary level. It is much easier for a child to learn vocabulary and grammar at a young age and by the time they become adults this language will be familiar to them. Children, unlike adults, are not shy to speak a foreign language and will have no barriers to learning it. Making language learning compulsory will save a lot of time, money and effort later on in life.

On the other hand it might be a struggle for children who have difficulties grasping their own language or those who have learning difficulties, for example dyslexia. Perhaps it is also hard for a child who has to learn to read and write comfortably in their own language first. However, I still believe that even weak students stand to learn something.

To sum up, someone who is monolingual has fewer opportunities than someone who is multilingual in today's world and this accounts for the popularity of language schools and the young age at which students begin learning a foreign language.

Question taken from Step Up to IELTS Self-Study Student’s Book p.108