Category «IELTS blog»

How to start your letter (Task 1 general training)?

In IELTS (GT), when writing to someone you don’t know (such as when writing to a company), the question tells you to start your letter with: Dear Sir or Madam, Otherwise, when writing to a specific imaginary person (such as your neighbour, your boss, your colleague etc), the question tells you to start with: Dear …

英文串字 混淆 奇怪 How can we learn spelling?

In English, pronunciation alone does not always let you know how to spell a word. For example: two, too, to bye, buy, by Even worse, spelling alone may not always tell you how to pronounce a word: read (as present simple, sounds like “reed” — a long vowel sound) read (as past simple, sounds like “red” — …

Task 1 General Training or Academic – which is harder?

General Training Writing Task 1 (letter writing) can either be the easiest or the most difficult writing task for IELTS candidates depending on the question given and depending on the candidate’s background. Here’s why… General Training Task 1 requires an unpredictable message structure, content and language style This is because any type of writing situation found …

Bad or bat? Sad or sat? Bag or back?

Native speakers often don’t pronounce the final consonant sound such as the ‘d’ in bad and the ‘t’ in bat. Without their final consonant sounds, both words may look the same, but native speakers are still able to easily distinguish between the two. For bad, they will pronounce the ‘a’ vowel sound much longer than …

Common mistake – “There have a 7-11”

Very often, I hear HK Chinese IELTS candidates say “There have”.  For example: “There have a supermarket below my place”. The correct way is “There is a supermarket below my place”. In spoken English, this often shortened to “There’s a supermarket below my place”. I guess the reason for the error is that in Chinese, …

寫作貼士 Should I avoid phrasal verbs in academic writing?

I previously wrote that for IELTS essays, one-word verbs are preferred over their phrasal verb equivalents because phrasal verbs normally sound informal. As with many things about language, there is no hard rule for this. In fact, it often depends phrasal verb. The ones to avoid would be those marked as INF in dictionaries (INF …

“How to spell?” or “How do you spell it?”

Students often use the wrong grammar when asking direct “how” questions: WRONG RIGHT PRONUNCIATION Use the weak (schwa) sound Ə for “do you” and “it” How to pronounce? How do you pronounce it? HOW dƏ yƏ prƏNOUNCE Ət? click to listen How to say? How do you say it? HOW dƏ yƏ SAY Ət? click …

Do you apply the job or apply for the job?

Correct expression: Apply for the job The word ‘apply’ has the following two main meanings: “apply” + object = put on / use  …E.g. Apply sunscreen (to your skin) “apply for/to” + object = request  …E.g. Apply for job Note: “Apply sunscreen” sounds a little too formal for casual spoken situations.  It is more common to say “put …

Common mistake – Me too!

Do you know why Rita’s response below is incorrect? John:     I didn’t like that movie very much. Rita:      Me too. You can only use “Me too” as a response to positive statements (not negative ones). “I didn’t like …” is a negative statement. For this, you can respond with “Me neither”: I didn’t …

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