The following answers were given by one of my intermediate-level students today during a practice IELTS speaking test.
Can you correct the errors in both answers?
Question: What is the weather like in your country?
Answer: In my country, during the winter is quite cold, and during the summer is quite hot.
Question: Would you prefer to live in a hot place or a cold place?
Answer: I think would be great to live in a hot place because I really love to go swimming.
If you can’t find the errors, read on…
[emember_protected do_not_show_restricted_msg=”1″] To correct the answers, it is important to understand that English tends to require a subject.
When we need to add a missing subject (or object), we often use the word ‘it’.
Here are some examples:
1. Time and weather expressions
– What time is it?
– It‘s 6am.
– It‘s still early morning.
– It‘s going to be hot and sunny today.
Notice that the ‘it’ in those sentences does not replace another noun, but is simply used as subjects of each sentence (or an object in the first example).
We sometimes refer to this type of ‘it’ as dummy it (meaning “fake” it).
This is in contrast to the pronoun ‘it’ which does replace another noun in the following sentence:
“I love Christmas because it‘s in summer where I live, and I can spend much of the Christmas holidays at the beach”
(Here ‘it’ means ‘Christmas’).
Here are some other situations where we use dummy it:
2. Cleft sentences using ‘it’ (also called it-clauses)
– Scoring well in the IELTS exam is difficult without any practice –> It is difficult to score well in the IELTS without any practice
– Driving under the influence of alcohol is illegal in my country –> It is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol in my country
– They are unlikely to win –> It is unlikely (that) they will win
– You showing me some gratitude would make me feel happy –> It would be nice if you showed me some gratitude
3. Other idiomatic expressions
– That’s it! = There is no more; We’ve/I’ve finished; That’s correct!; I’ve had enough; etc (depending on the situation)
– call it a day = finish work for today
– take it easy = relax; calm down
Can you correct the student’s answers now?
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