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IELTS Preparation Series 3, Episode 22: Talking About Holidays and Leisure Time


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Hello, and welcome to Study English, IELTS Preparation. I'm Margot Politis.

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To prepare for IELTS it is useful to consider the topic of holidays and what people do in

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their leisure time.

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To start us off, let's listen to someone talking about his holidays:

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It's always been a dream of mine to travel around the world and see as many countries

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as possible. I suppose everyone dreams of this, although some people are content to

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stay close to home. I get about 4 weeks annual leave and I try and take it in summer when

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I can link it to the public holidays that fall around then - Christmas, Boxing Day New

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Year's Eve, and turn it into a 3 or 4 week vacation. I try to get out of the country

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and go on a trip somewhere. Somewhere like Bali, somewhere close. We get about 7 public

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holidays in Australia - Christmas, Easter, and Australia Day just to name a few.

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He talked about holidays and vacations. What's the difference?

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A holiday can be one day or several days, whereas a vacation is usually understood to

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be a long time - a week or more. Vacation is a word used more in the United States and

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is not very common in Australia. In Australia we say "summer holidays" instead of "summer

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vacation".

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Listen to our speaker again:

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I get about 4 weeks annual leave and I try and take it in summer when I can link it to

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the public holidays that fall around then - Christmas, Boxing Day New Year's Eve, and

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turn it into a 3 or 4 week vacation.

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He said annual leave. We call the time when we don't go to work "leave".

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"Sick leave" is when we don't go to work because of illness.

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"Annual leave" means the amount of holiday time workers have in a year.

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He also mentioned "public holidays". These are days when most people in the country get a day off work but are still paid. They

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are days considered important to everyone.

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For the Speaking Test, you should be prepared to have something to say about these holidays

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in your country - what they are for, when they are held and what people do, like this:

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We get about 7 public holidays in Australia - Christmas, Easter, and Australia Day just

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to name a few. Australia Day is on the 26th of January, and it celebrates the day the

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first Europeans arrived in Australia. People celebrate by having barbeques and playing cricket in the park and on the beaches and

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in Sydney there is always a massive fireworks display.

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It's a good idea to brainstorm the topic of holidays and try to guess what you might be

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asked. It could be something like:

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Why are holidays important?

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Or

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How much should we work and how much should we rest?

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Or

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Why do we need holidays?

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Spend some time to think of questions like these and how you might answer them. Practise

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saying your answers - this will help you in the Speaking Test.

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In Part 1 of the Speaking Test, the questions can be quite simple, like: What do you do

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on the weekends?

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How does our speaker reply to that?

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On the weekend, I catch up on sleep; I do the housework, the shopping, the washing - all

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those household chores.

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He says 'do the housework'. In reply to the question 'What do you do on the weekend?'

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it's best to reply with the same verb in the same tense - I do the gardening, I do the

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shopping.

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On the weekend, I catch up on sleep; I do the housework, the shopping, the washing - all

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those household chores.

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Now listen to our speaker reply to this question. What did you do on the weekend?

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Oh. I washed my clothes, I went shopping and I went out on Saturday night and saw a movie.

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But mostly I sat around and watched TV.

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Because he was asked in the past tense - what did you do, he replies with the past tense

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and uses the past tense verbs washed, went and sat instead of wash, go and sit.

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Listen again: What did you do on the weekend?

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Oh. I washed my clothes, I went shopping and I went out on Saturday night and saw a movie.

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But mostly I sat around and watched TV.

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A related topic that you can expect to be asked about is leisure time and what you do.

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Let's listen to our speaker again:

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I have a few interests but music is most important to me. I have a few friends and we meet up

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a few times a month and play together. As a child I used to have a few hobbies - flying

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pigeons, collecting stamps and football cards.

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He calls what he does in his leisure time interests and hobbies. When he was a child

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he used to have hobbies. The verb 'used' is followed by 'to have'.

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As a child I used to have a few hobbies - flying pigeons, collecting stamps and football cards.

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There are many verbs in English which are themselves followed by verbs, but in the infinitive

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form like 'to have' without ¬-ing or -ed. Listen for them in this clip.

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I need to do a lot of things before I go. I need to pack. I need to organise someone

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to look after my cat. And I also want to read about Bali before I go - I don't want to be

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just a tourist.

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Need to do, need to pack, need to organise, want to read, want to be.

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Listen again:

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I need to do a lot of things before I go. I need to pack. I need to organise someone

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to look after my cat. And I also want to read about Bali before I go - I don't want to be

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just a tourist.

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Now listen out for one more example of a verb followed by the infinitive:

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I try to get out of the country and go on a trip somewhere. Somewhere like Bali, somewhere

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close.

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verb infinitive Try to get.

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However, some verbs are followed by the -ing form, or present participle

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Listen to our speaker again:

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I enjoy travelling. I like flying, especially taking off and I even like eating the food

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they give you.

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Enjoy travelling, like flying, like eating.

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Listen again:

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I enjoy travelling. I like flying, especially taking off and I even like eating the food

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they give you.

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Some verbs, such as enjoy are only followed by the -ing form: enjoy travelling, enjoy

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reading.

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But the verb 'like' can be followed by the -ing form or the infinitive.

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Listen:

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I enjoy travelling. I like to fly, especially taking off and I even like to eat the food

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they give you.

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You need to learn which verbs are used with only the infinitive or only with the -ing

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form. And you need to know which ones are used with both.

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Infinitives also follow some adjectives. Listen out for these in the next clip:

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I won't be sad to leave work behind and I'll be more than ready to enjoy myself after a

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hard year. I'll be happy to spend the last few days doing not much at all.

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Sad to leave, ready to enjoy, happy to spend. Listen again:

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I won't be sad to leave work behind and I'll be more than ready to enjoy myself after a

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hard year. I'll be happy to spend the last few days doing not much at all.

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The -ing form isn't always used as a verb. Listen to our speaker talking about his hobbies

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again:

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I have a few interests but music is most important to me. I have a few friends and we meet up

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a few times a month and play together. As a child I used to have a few hobbies - flying

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pigeons, collecting stamps and football cards.

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"Flying pigeons and collecting stamps". Here the words flying and collecting act like verbs

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and nouns at the same time. These are called gerunds.

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Listen out for the gerunds in the next clip:

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On the weekend, I catch up on sleep; I do the housework, the shopping, the washing - all

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those household chores.

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Here, "the shopping" and "the washing" are also noun/verbs or gerunds.

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Listen one more time:

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On the weekend, I catch up on sleep; I do the housework, the shopping, the washing - all

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those household chores.

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That's all for now.

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To find more information about gerunds and infinitives, visit our Study English website.

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You'll find all of the Study English episodes there and plenty of activities.

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Good luck with your studies. Bye

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