Aiton English

Learning Languages for Life

Category: Speaking

Speaking Grammar: Show you have experience

Being a teacher of English, I can say that I know a lot about grammar. And, having taught English for 15 years, I know 100% for sure that different people can use different structures when giving presentations. As someone who has seen hundreds of presentations, I’m convinced that this is connected with the fact that some people, when giving a presentation, need to use grammar structures to prove they have experience / have knoweldge. Other people do not.

For example, I used three in this text:

Being a teacher of English, I can say that….

Having taught English for 15 years, I know 100% for sure that

As someone who has seen hundreds of presentations, I’m convinced that

I used these expressions to show you, the reader, that you should listen to me because I have experience  / knowledge about this. If you do not know me, you may not think my opinion about a topic is important. So I use the above structures.

However, if you know about me, then I may not need to use these structures to show you should trust me. You already know and trust me.

 

For example, if Bill Gates gives a speech about the computer industry

 

 

does he need to say:

“Being the founder of Microsoft, I know that it takes a lot of time to create an international company.”

The answer is .. not really. He might say it, but most people know who Bill Gates is, and what he has done, so he can just say…

“I know that it takes a lot of time to create an international company.”

and we will accept this.

 

However, if you do not know the experience level of the person, then using the structures like “Being a …., ” / “Having …… ” / “As a…” can help. For example;

“Being a mother of 6 children, I know that it can be difficult to raise a child.”  = greater expert than just “I know that it can be difficult to raise a child.”

To improve your ability to use these structures when speaking:

Step 1

Click on the link here to read more examples

Step 2

 

Fill in the last column of the table yourself and send it to your teacher for correction

Step 3

Make a video / recording in which you ask yourself some questions, and then answer the questions using the structures.

Some example questions are:

What advice would you give to someone who… (wants to get a better job, wants to choose a university, has difficulty eating well, wants their children to play the computer less…)

How important …(are subjects like history, are universities when it comes to getting a good job, are zoos for educating children about animals, is it for the government to improve public transport)

What are the advantages and disadvantages of  .. (traveling overseas on holiday, playing team sports, living in a cold climate, having brothers and sisters, working in a small company)

 

 

 

 

Exam Speaking: Talking about the future

In the IELTS /  Cambridge exams there is a 100% chance you will be asked a question about the future, most likely more than one. In the TOEFL it’s also reasonable to believe that you will be asked a question about the future.

A lot of canditates when talking about the future use “maybe” and “probably”, but it is a good chance to improve your range of both vocabulary and grammar.

First, watch an example of a student activating a range of structures. What structures can you hear?

 

 

Second, below are a series of questions about the future. Use the attached sheet here to improve your range of grammar and vocab when answering the questions.

If you want, make a link to a video you have done and post the link in the comments, I will have a look and give you feedback.

 

 

Personal Questions (IELTS part 1, CAE / CPE part 1)

Ask and answer the following questions……………

What will you be doing in 3/5/10 / 25 years’ time?

Where will you be living in 3/5/10 / 25 years’ time?

How many children / grandchildren will you have in 3/5/10 / 25 years’ time?

Will you do / be the following more or less in the future?……………………………………

e.g. “Will you read more or less in the future?” / “Will you be happier in the future?”

read / do dangerous things / dance / draw / donate money / write / trust people / watch movies / use technology / make presents by hand / look in the mirror / use public transport / drive a car / fly / use a phone / exercise / eat / go to concerts / travel / work / visit zoos / spend time with friends/ go to restaurants / visit libraries / sleep / go shopping / use electricity / go to cafes / study English / use English / read or watch the news / use paper / make speeches or presentations / go to parks / do gardening / use a computer / write sms’s / wake up early / play with children / lie on the beach / help elderly people / spend time in crowded places / sit in traffic jams / be happier / energetic / take photos / be late

 

General Questions (IELTS part 1, CAE / CPE part 1)

To make the questions suitable for Part 3 of the IELTS / CPE / CAE, just use  “Do you think people will …. more or less in the future?”

e.g. “Do you think people will read more or less in the future?”

“Do you think people will dance more or less in the future?

 

Active Grammar: Criticising yourself and others (past actions)

If you’re not happy about something that happened in the past and want to criticise yourself or another person, you can use…

 

subject + should + have + III

First, watch the video:

 

 

 

 

Now, read through written examples and watch the student video:

 

 

 

Note, ALL OF THE SENTENCES BELOW ARE ABOUT SITUATIONS THAT HAPPENED IN THE….

PAST

 

not about situations happening now or that might happen in the future

 

e.g. You can criticise yourself or your friends

I should have started learning English earlier. =Real situtaion: I didn‘t start English earlier and now I’m not happy about the fact and I want to criticize myself for this.

You should have told me earlier. =Real situtaion:you didn’t tell me earlier, I’m not happy about the fact that and now I’m criticizing you for this.

 

If you’re not happy with what your government / president did / did not do IN THE PAST, you can use this to critcize them…

The president shouldn’t have wasted so much money on useless roads last year. = I’m not happy that the president wasted money on the roads last year and I want to criticise him / her for this.

The government should have invested more money into education over the last ten years. =  I’m not happy that the government did NOT invest more money into education over the past ten years  and I want to criticiseit for this.

 

You can also criticise your parents for what they did  / didn’t do for you when you were younger:

My parents should have helped me more when I was younger.  = My parents did not help me enough and I want to criticise them

 

LINGUISTIC CHOICE:

You can improve your linguistic choice in this situation by making the criticism stronger or weaker.  In exams like IELTS  / TOEFL this will help improve your pronunciation and range scores

I really should have studied more for the exam. = strong criticism that I didn’t

I should have studied for the exam. = standard criticism

I probably should have studied for the exam.=  soft criticism

 

Analysize another student:

Listen to the student criticise herself for things she did  / didn’t do in the past using “really should have” and “possibly should have”. Does she

sound MORE critical when she uses “really should have” than when she uses “probably should have”

pronounce “have” as “ev” and fully join it to “should” or “shouldn’t” to produce “SHOULDev” or “SHOULDN’tev” (or is “ev” pronounced separately?)

 

 

 

 

GRAMMAR +

After criticising yourself or someone else about the past, you can imagine the alternative situation. This helps emphasise your point to the listener  /reader of HOW BAD THIS SITUATION WAS / IS!!! The structure for imagining about the past = if + subject + had(n’t) + III, subject + would (n’t) + have + III

e.g. Compare the three situations below. All are fine, but which shows the worst / saddest result…

  1. I really should have studied for the exam! I had studied more intensively, I would not have failed my exam.
  2. I really should have studied for the exam! I had studied more intensively, I would not have failed my exam.and my parents wouldn’t have taken away my car.
  3. I really should have studied for the exam! I had studied more intensively, I would not have failed my exam and I would not have lost my wife and house and wouldn’t be living on the streets now.

 

It’s probably 3.

EXAM TIP

in exams, some students use 3rd conditional mechanically. If you want to sound more natural…..

 

a –  avoid repeating the same thing

e.g.:

I should have studied more for the exam. If I had studied more for the exam…. =  repeating / saying the same thing= mechanical

I should have studied more for the exam. If I had been more studious …………. = not repeating = more natural

you can use “If I had(n’t) done so, ……”  if you can’t think of how to say the same thing a different way

e.g.

I should have studied more for the exam. If I had done so, I would have passed and I ……

 

b – use the “really” or “probably” with good intonation to show feeling, and make “have” “ev” and join to “should”

“I REEEEAAAALLLY should-ev studied” with annoyed intonation

“I proooooobably” should-ev studied” with “maybe” intonation

 

c – if the result of the imagined situation is now, then use the “would” half of the conditional in the 2nd conditional form.

e.g.

I would not have failed my exam (before) and I would still be able to drive  my car (now).

 

 

FINALLY, MAKE A VIDEO YOURSELF! If you want, put a link to your video in the comments and I’ll ive you feedback

 

Government UBI money for everyone!

What is Universal Basic Income? (UBI)

Universal Basic Income = is a form of social security[3] in which all citizens or residents of a country receive a regular, unconditional sum of money, either from a government or some other public institution, independent of any other income.[4

i.e. you get this money even if you have a job!

What is the difference between UBI and traditional unemployment benefits / welfare?

With traditional unemployment / welfare benefits you receive money if you do not have a job, but if you get a job you lose the benefits.

 

Does UBI sound crazy? Think again…

 

Reading 1

Pre-reading ideas / language activation:

  1. Guess the author’s linguistic choice (LC) for this sentence: Robot-to-worker  ratios are rising gradually / constantly / rapidly.
  2. Which country has the highest robot-worker ratio?
  3. Author’s Linguistic Choice (LC) :The cost of robot implementation is shrinking / decreasing / plummeting.
  4. True / False: When it comes to jobs at risk, the developing world is not much better-off that the developed world.
  5. True / False: Some believe UBI could be given as a lump sum when people turn 18
  6. Author’s LC: You could make exclusions for households / people / families earning $100,000  a year or more
  7. LC: The greatest / most substantial / key benefit of UBI would be the elimination of people living below the povery line
  8. True / False: Trial projects are currently being undertaken in Kenya and Switzerland

 

Now read the infogaph here

Post -reading discussion:

  1. What do you think about the arguments for and against?
  2. Of the two case studies, Namibia and  Alaska, which is more interesting for you?
  3. Why do you think that those countries mentioned are undertaking experiments but others like Australia are not?
  4. Which proponent quote did you
  • like the most
  • find the strangest
  • disagree with

Reading 2

Pre-reading ideas / language activation:

Author’s linguistic choice (LC): Finland’s pilot UBI scheme is radical / groundbreaking / unprecedented

True / False: The scheme sees people receiving 500 Euros a month

Author’s LC: The scheme is addressing / combating / tackling poverty

True / False: Under the current social welfare, claimants are afraid of losing out if they find a job.

LC: Finland has generous social security. As a result people refuse work because they feel better off with social benefits. This problem is growing / acute/ inevitable

Now read the article here

 

Post -reading discussion:

  • Do you agree that generous benefits can lead to an acute problem in terms of people turning down work?
  • The article references one person’s quote concerning “reduced stress”. What was the situation? How representative do you think it is?
  • How much do you agree with the listed benefits?

 

Video 1

Pre-reading ideas / language activation:

Elon Musk believes large-scale unemployment will happen. In the video he talks about UBI, and mentions a “much harder challenge” than how to deal with income for those without jobs. What do you think this challenge is?

Now watch..

http://aitonenglish.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=488&action=edit

 

Post -reading discussion:

To what extent do you agree that:

goods and services will be in abundance due to automation?

a lot of people derive their meaning from their employment?

finding a replacement for “meaning” will / would be much more difficult than implementing a UBI sloution

 

 

Video 2

Pre-reading ideas / language activation:

  1. In this talk,  Professor Peterson mentions the connection between computational (computer) power and concentration of wealth. What is the connection?
  2. When asked about the feasability of UBI,  he introduces sled dogs as a metaphor. Why do you think he does this?
  3. How do you think unemployment affects conscientious people as opposed to unconscientious people?

 

Post -video discussion:

  • To what extent are computational and cognitive skills important for making money in your country?
  • According to the speaker, people on the right believe that everyone can find a job, whereas those on the left believe everyone is equal. Do you agree with this?
  • Do you agree that people are pack animals?
  • To what extent does a person’s personality effect how the react to unemployment?
  • Do you also doubt that people with “enforced” leisure will / would figure out what to do with their lives?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exam speaking with LC Langauges: Daily routine:

The student you will hear is answering the question “Was your daily routine different before?”

Before listening, think about your own answer. Record yourself answering if possible, and make a note of the language you use.

 

Video Exercise One: Accuracy

A – Listen to a native speaker answer the question then do the gapped worksheet at the link here (question 2!!!)

B – Look at this list of correct lexical and grammar structures

  1. to go snowboarding
  2. to play computer games
  3. for hours on end
  4. I’m (always) flat out
  5. I don’t have much time
  6. to have a rest and unwind
  7. I wish I had been able to play dolls more than I did

Now watch the answer, the student makes mistakes with the above structures. Can you spot the mistakes she makes?

 

Check the answers at the end.

Video Exercise Two: Range of Lexical and Grammar Structures

A – These are less common or more complex lexical (vocab) / grammar structures from the LC Languages listening example answer (the link is in exercise one) . If it is a lexical structure, put L, if it is a grammar structure,put G.

  1. Completely different
  2. back when I was at school
  3. as late as possible
  4. to wolf down (some breakfast)
  5. to head off (for school / for work)
  6. I would hang out with friends / we would go over to someone’s place
  7. to go over
  8. (to do something) for hours on end
  9. I should have studied
  10. instead of
  11. If I had been…. I would have gotten
  12. be studious
  13. I (don’t) regret (spending / doing)

Check the answers at the end.

 

B – Can you remember which of the above expressions she uses? Try and remember and then watch the video above again. Whe you’ve finished check the answers at the end

 

Speaking Exercise One: Activation

  1. What would you do to unwind back when you were at school?
  2. What time did / do you head off for school? What about now (re-activate the expression)
  3. How often do you have people over? (=invite people to visit your place)
  4. Do you have them over for dinner, or drinks or to watch a movie?
  5. What’s something you do for hours on end?
  6. What’s something you should have done back when you were at school or when you were younger but you didn’t?
  7. If you had been more studious, would your life have changed a lot?
  8. Do you regret doing any of the things you have done in the last two or three years?

 

 

 

 

 

Video One: B:

Correct 🙂

Incorrect 🙁

to lay in the sun

on the sun (from Russian)

to go snowboarding

To ride snowboarding

to play computer games

To play in computer games (from Russian)

for hours on end

for hour on end

I’m (always) flat out

I’m a flat -out person (not wrong, but we usually say “I’m always flat out.” and finish

I don’t have much time to + verb

I don’t have many time for + verb

to have a rest and unwind

To get unwind*

I wish I had been able to play dolls more than I did

I wish I could… (I wish I could (II)= I’m sad I can’t do something now.)

* pronunciation is incorrect as well

Video 2 B:

 

completely different

back when I was at school

as late as possible

to wolf down (some breakfast)

to head off (for school / for work)

I would hang out with friends / we would go over to someone’s place

to go over (to someone’s place)

(to do something) for hours on end

I should have studied

instead of

If I had been…. I would have gotten

be studious

I (don’t) regret (spending / doing)

 

 

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