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Learning Languages for Life

Category: TOEFL

TEOFL Speaking 1 / 2: Give advice

TOEFL Advice question:

Listen to the video and pay attention to structures that give advice:

Read below the basic structure and the actual phrases used in the video

step one: use an advice structure

the first thing I would recommend my friend do in order to shed some kilos  would be to___

step two: support with an  imaginary situation

were he or she to start walking on a regular basis

step 3: “prove” with the positive / negative result

they would be able to become trimmer.

step 4: give second piece of advice

The second piece of advice I would give would be to (implement a balanced diet and stick to it)

Step 5: support second piece of advice by… giving details (more advice)

They would need to (cut down on carbs, sugar and fatty foods

 

Step 6: summarize

A combination of these two would most likely be successful

 

Here is an example on how to use the above structures with your own ideas:  First think of 2 key points:

My 2 key points on losing weight:

a have a balanced diet – if yes = you lose weight quickly and feel great

b – do exercise anywhere

Put the ideas into the structures from above:

 

1 –  the first thing I would recommend my friend do in order to shed some kilos  would be to have a balanced diet

2 – Were he or she to eat well,

3 –  they would be able to  lose weight quickly and feel great

4 – The second piece of advice I would give would be to do exercise anywhere

5 – DIFFERENT: When people exercise, they complete their healthy lifestyle, thereby making it easy to lose weight. –

6 – A combination of these two would most likely be successful

 

Let’s use the structures for a different topic

My 2 ideas on how to study well.

my two points:

a – read books:  if read  = gain more knowledge and good theory

b – practice more: when people do more practice = they grasp what they do

1 –  the first thing I would recommend my friend do in order to  study well.would be to read books

2 – Were he or she to hit the books,

3 –  they would be able to gain more knowledge and good theory

4 – The second piece of advice I would give would be to practice more

5 -when people do more practice they grasp what they do , thereby achieving better results.

6 – A combination of these two would most likely be successful

 

Alternative structures for other topics

Giving advice

the first thing I would recommend my friend do in order to  __ would be to

The second piece of advice I would give would be to

I would, without hesitation, advise my friend to

If I were them, I would (probably, definitely) …

The first thing he or she should do is…

 

Supporting structures

a – imagining or giving  a situation + result

Were he or she to…. they would (probably, most likely, inevitably, likely)

If he or she + II  … they would (probably, most likely, inevitably, likely)

If he or she  + 1 …. they will

Should he or she + BV…. they will

When people …. ., they typically / inevitably / almost always….

b – Giving an example

for example

for instance

one example that illustrates this is…

A case in point is

c – giving a reason

The main reason for this is

This is mainly because

This can be put down to the fact that

This can be attributed to the fact that

d – clarifying

What I mean by this is

What I am saying is that

What I would like to say here is that

 

***  show how  (after something else:

, thereby + ing

, in such a way + ing

 

 

TOEFL Speaking Exam: Structure / Advice

THere are 6 parts in the TOEFL speaking. Read the notes / table below, then watch the official videos:

  • Parts 1 / 2 are personal questions. = You need to practice talking about yourself, your likes, experience, preferences, etc.
  • Parts 3 /4 /5 /6 require note-taking ability = so you need to practice taking notes.
  • Parts 3 /4 /5 /6 require reporting what someone says = you need to practice reporting what other people say
  • Parts 3 / 5 are listening to a dialogue about a “problem / issue” at a university. =  You need to practice listening to dialogues of people discussing an issue  / problem
  • Parts 4 / 6 are listening to a lecturer = you need to practice listening to lecturers
  • Parts 3 /4 have a text you need to read = you need to practice skim reading and reacting to texts

Part

Example

Time frame – seconds

Language skill

1

«Talk about a teacher at school you liked”
  • 15 to prepare
  • 45 to speak

Talking about yourself, likes, plans, describing

2

«Do you prefer to study by yourself or with others?”

As part 1

Talking about your preferences

3

«Read the announcement of a university decision”

listen to two students speak”

What doe sthe boy (or girl) think of the announcement?”

  • 45 to read the text
  • listen to a dialogue
  • 30 to prepare
  • 60 to speak

Reading a text

listening and taking notes

reporting someone else’s speech

5

«Listen to two people talking about a problem and giving advice”

What is the situation, what advice should the person choose?”

  • listen to a dialogue
  • 30 to prepare
  • 60 to speak

listening and taking notes

reporting someone else’s speech, giving advice

4

«read the text about ____” “Now listen to a lecturer speak about _____”

The lecturer gives examples of _____. What examples does he / she give?”

  • 45 seconds to read a text
  • listen to a lecture
  • 30 to prepare
  • 60 to speak

listening and taking notes

reporting someone else’s speech

6

Listen to a lecturer speak about _____”

The lecturer gives examples of _____. What examples does he / she give?”

  • listen to a lecture
  • 30 to prepare
  • 60 to speak

listening and taking notes

reporting someone else’s speech

Official video for part 1 /2

 

Official Video for parts 3 / 5

 

Offical video for parts 4 / 6

 

 

 

 

Speaking Grammar: Show you’re sad about your life with “wish”

Follow the steps on this page to learn how to improve:

  • grammar range by using the grammar structure “wish + II” to show you’re sad about your life now
  • grammar range even more by using II conditional after it
  • vocab range by using “really” and “kind of”
  • pronunciation by pronouncing the structure well to reflect the meaning.

Step 1

watch the video

 

 

 

Step 2

if you need more examples, scroll down for further explanations in the “notes” section, if not, click on the link here, fill in the table, and send it to your teacher.

 

Step 3

when your teacher has checked that your sentences are correct, make a video of yourself practicing them and send the video to your teacher. When you make the video, focus on pronunciation. “really” should be stressed,  “kind of” should be said to show that it’s not that important.

 

and that’s it. Keep reading for further practice

 

 

Step 4

watch the video, and practice reporting. Note “she wishES

 

 

 

 

Step 5 (if you have anki)

Download the anki deck for more practice from here

 

Notes:

 

the following sentences are from my life at the moment. They are real situations….

1 – I don’t have time to practice the guitar

2 – I sometimes smoke cigarettes

3 – I am tired

4 – I don’t know Chinese 100%

5 – I have to travel a lot

6 – I spend too much time reading the newspaper

If I’m talking with another person, and I want to tell them that

a – I have this situation

b – I am sad / unhappy about it

I can say….

I don’t have time to practice the guitar, and I’m unhappy about it.

OR

I wish I had time to practice the guitar.

If I say… “I wish I didn’t smoke cigarettes” this is the same as saying “I smoke cigarettes and I’m sad / unhappy about it.”

So, the function of “I wish I…” = to tell the other person that you are sad / unhappy about a situation at the moment. You do this by ‘imagining’ a better ‘unreal’ situation. You want to go away from your ‘sad’ / ‘unhappy’ real situation into an ‘unreal one’. Please note, because you’re imagining an unreal situation, use the II (2nd) form of the verb (go = I, went = II , gone = III)

e.g.

I am tired and I’m sad about this = I wish I wasn’t tired

am – wasn’t (we use ‘not’ because we are imagining the opposite situation)

I don’t know Chinese 100% and I’m unhappy about this = I wish I knew Chinese 100%

don’t know – knew (we don’t use ‘don’t’ because we are imagining the opposite ‘unreal’ situation. The real situation that makes me unhappy is ‘I don’t know Chinese’, so the imaginary / unreal ‘happier’ situation is ‘I knew’)

Note – The II (2nd) form here does not talk about the past!!! I wish I knew Chinese 100% NOW.

We can use the II form like “went, did, played, knew” for different functions.

One function is to talk about the past “When I was young I knew mathematics well.” Students learn this function first, so they often think automatically that ‘knew’ is past simple or past indefininite, but…..

Another function is to imagine an unreal present / future “If I knew mathematics now, I could help my child with her homework / I wish I knew mathematics now so I could help my child now.”

– there are more functions of II but I will not

So, the last two

“I wish I didn’t have to travel a lot” = “I have to travel a lot and I’m sad”

“I wish I didn’t spend too much time reading the newspaper” = “I spend a lot of time reading the newspaper and I’m sad about that.”

Look at the following sentences. In which ones do you know 100% how I feel about the situation? Put ‘not sure’ if it’s not clear if I’m unhappy / sad or maybe happy. Put if it is clear that I am sad / unhappy about the situation.

e.g.

a – I can’t speak French. = not sure (how I feel)

This is a fact, but you can’t say if I am unhappy or not. E.g. I can say “I can’t speak French, and this is not a problem because I don’t like it.”

b – I wish I could speak French. =

This tells you that my real situation is “I can’t speak French, and I am unhappy about it.”

1 – I don’t go to the gym much.

2 – I have a class today.

3 – I wish I didn’t have class today.

4 – I wish I knew English better.

5 – I don’t know English well enough and I’m sad about it.

6 – I play the computer 5 hours a day.

1 = ? 2 = ? 3 = 4 = 5 = 6 = ?

Look at the following pictures. The people use ‘I wish I…..’ to tell you about a situation in their life that they are sad / unhappy about. What are the situations?

1 –

The situation = I don’t know and I’m sad / unhappy about this = I wish I knew

2 –

The situation = I don’t work there and I’m unhappy / sad = I wish I worked there

3 –

the sad / unhappy situation = ?

4 –

sad / unhappy situation =

5 –

sad / unhappy situation =

6 –

sad / unhappy situation =

3 = I’m not with Michelle / 4 = I can’t kill my parents / 5 = I can’t forget you / 6 = I can’t hate you / 7 = I can’t give you a hug.

Notes on the notes:

1 – As you can see, it’s typical for us to use this function with ‘I can’t – I wish I could’. This is because “I can’t….” is often something that is sad for us

2 – if the real situation is connected with ‘not much’ / ‘not well’ / too we often use ‘more’ / ‘better’ / so with the ‘I wish…’

e.g. I don’t see you much and I’m sad about this = I wish I saw you more (‘a lot’ is also possible)

I don’t speak well = I wish I spoke better. (‘well’ is also possible)

I smoke too much = I wish I didn’t smoke so much

3 – I wish I IS NOT “I want”. If you want a cup of coffee, say “I want / would like to have a cup of coffee.”If you say “I wish I had a cup of coffee.” it is like saying “I am sad / unhappy that I don’t have a cup of coffee

4 – don’t use it to talk about a future situation ‘will’. For example

“Tomorrow I’ll work a lot and I’m unhappy about this.” We can’t say “I wish I won’t / wouldn’t work tomorrow”.

If you are talking about the future but using a present verb and NOT ‘will’, e.g. ‘am’, you can use ‘wish’

e.g. “I am working tomorrow and I’m sad about this.” = “I wish I wasn’t working tomorrow.” (note that ‘working’ doesn’t change)

“I am going to a boring party tonight, it’s annoying.” = “I wish I wasn’t going to a boring party tonight.”

5 – we can use a structure “I wish to do”, but it has a different function. “I wish to go” = “I want to go”. It doesn’t say that you’re sad / talk about your feelings, it just says that you ‘want’. This structure for ‘wan’t’ is formal, so use it in business letters, not when having a conversation. You can see more examples here .

6 – don’t forget the second ‘I’. A typical mistake is…. “I wish wasn’t tired”

7 – don’t use ‘would’ with “I wish I…”. A typical mistake is “I wish I wouldn’t be tired”

 

Further Practice:

Practice using the function ‘I wish I..’ to tell someone about a sad / unhappy situation at the moment in the following sentences

I can’t be with you and I’m sad about this = I wish I …..

I wish I could be with you

I don’t help you more and I’m sad about this = I wish..

I wish I helped you more

I don’t have a good relationship with my boss = I wish….

I wish I had a good …..

I play the computer 5 hours a day, it’s bad. = I wish I

I wish I didn’t play the computer 5 hours a day

I have to go to work tomorrow. Grrrrrr. = I wish..

I wish I didn’t have to go to work tomorrow.

I’m tired = I wish …

I wish I wasn’t tired

I have class today, and I don’t want to go. = I wish …

I wish I didn’t have class today

I’m going to the doctor today, I’m unhappy about this = I wish ..

I wish I wasn’t going to the doctor today

I drink too much alcohol. It’s very sad. = I wish I…

I wish I didn’t drink alcohol so much (or – I wish I didn’t drink alcohol)

I can’t cook well, it’s a problem. = I wish…

I wish I could cook well

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