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IELTS Preparation Series 1, Episode 23: Octopuses


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

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Today we're going to talk about how to describe the appearance or character of animals and

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people.

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Here's the clip. Listen to some descriptions of a very strange octopus:

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You couldn't get an animal that's sort of more different or more alien to us.

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They've got such a weird shape. They've got eight arms coming off their mouth. When they

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walk around it's like they're running round on super lips. They've got a head in the middle

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of their body. They've got a doughnut shaped brain. They've got three hearts, blue blood

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and jet propulsion, and they've got a bag on the back that they stick all the body bits

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in.

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So octopuses have weird forms, and they have lots of really unusual behaviours as well,

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like high speeds and camouflaging. I think the reason that octopuses have ended up having

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such weird forms, and all these different sorts of behaviours is because they are a

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really good meal. They have no bones, no armour, no poisons and no spines. They're popular

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prey, so they have to be very fast and clever at squeezing through tiny holes, and really

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good at hiding from animals that want to eat them. So having to get away from their predators

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in the sea has made them evolve into amazing creatures.

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So they certainly are very strange creatures. Let's begin today by talking about how we

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order descriptions.

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When you write something down, you will have already thought about what you want to say.

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The next step is to decide how you want to structure your description.

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Today's description of an octopus starts with an interesting statement telling us how strange

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and unusual the octopus is compared to humans. This is to attract the attention of the reader

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or the listener.

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Let's listen:

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You couldn't get an animal that's sort of more different or more alien to us. They've

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got such a weird shape.

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Then the description focuses on the appearance of octopuses, the way they look.

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They have a weird shape.

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Which of the octopuses' characteristics is described next?

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So octopuses have weird forms, and they have lots of really unusual behaviours as well,

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like high speeds and camouflaging.

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He talks about the behaviours of the octopus.

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So he begins by talking about the way an octopus looks and then he talks about its behaviours

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- the way it acts.

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There are many other headings we could use to organise a description of something.

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For example, if you want to describe a person, you might think about their age, height, hair,

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