DESCRIBE AN AUCTION

This is a two minute talk for IELTS or TOEFL to talk about an Auction.

The keywords of the talk are highlighted in bold.

An auction is a great place to go and hunt for a bargain.

You can buy anything and everything at an auction and often at a very cheap price.

Unlike a shop, there is no fixed price and things are sold by a bidding process.

The Auction is conducted by an auctioneer.

Every item for sale has a Lot Number and Lots can be previewed beforehand.

To bid for something you want to buy, you should either raise your hand or use a paddle with a specific number given to you prior to the auction starting.

An auction is competitive and many other people will be bidding for the Lot just like you.

Quite often, there is a reserve price on the item being sold, so if that reserved price is notr reached, the item will be withdrawn from the sale.

The price usually goes higher and the item is sold to the highest bidder when the auctioneer says ‘final offer’ and ‘going going gone’.

Paintings, old furniture, televisions, mobile household ornaments, bric-a-brac, books, records and even a love letter collection from a famous person can be sold at an auction.

I once bought a 1927 nokia cellphone for next to nothing.  Can you believe that?

The rule of thumb is that something is considered antique if it is more than one hundred years old but these days, anything from yesteryear might be considered antique.

There are also auctions for vintage cars, second hand cars, houses and land.

Don’t forget to raise your hand if you want to bid for something and don’t raise your hand (or paddle) if you don’t intend to bid for something.

Otherwise, the auctioneer might accept your bid and it will be ‘going going gone’

Keep an eye out for things which are valuable and collectable but be careful not to buy something which might not be the genuine article and is completely worthless.

You do not want to waste your money!

Good luck!

MICHELLE SELLS SEASHELLS

This is an adapted and revised version of a famous English Tongue Twister.

Practice it slow, medium an fast to improve your English speaking fluency.

 

Michelle sells seashells by the seashore,

The shells Michelle sells are the cells of the seas

Surely only Michelle sees

So if Michelle sells shells

She sees by the seashore

I’m sure Michelle sells seashore shells

 

It is important to understand the following word spelling and pronunciation

Sea                  See

Sure                 Shore               Saw

Sell                  Shell

Sell                  Cell

Shell                Michelle

 

A good English speaker knows how to ‘chunk’ his word and phrases.

Practice ‘chunking’ the tongue twister.

Like this.  There will be a short pause between each word or phrase

 

Michelle sells seashells

(pause) By the seashore

(pause) The shells

(pause) Michelle sells

(pause) are the cells of the seas

(pause) surely

(pause) only Michelle sees

(pause) So

(pause) if Michelle sells shells

(pause) she sees by the seashore

(pause) I’m sure

(pause) Michelle sells

(pause) seashore shells

 

Some further comments about the tongue twister.

The word ‘saw’ does not appear but the tongue twister could be rewritten again to include the line:

‘I’m sure I saw Michelle on the seashore’

The phrase ‘sea-saw’ is common in nursery rhyme English but has nothing to do with shells on the seashore.

The tongue twister could be adapted even more.

Hyphenation.

Most people would put a hyphen between sea and saw to make ‘sea-saw’.  ‘Sea-Saw;, when spoken, could easily be mistaken for ‘sea-shore’

So is it seashore without a hyphen or sea-shore with a hyphen?

Look it up and you decide!

Finally, I have used the phrase ‘cells of the seas’ in the tongue twister.

‘cell’ has the same sound as ‘sell’ and can mean a jail or what is in our body as a science form or in our mobile phones.

In this context, ‘cell’ is taken to mean the life form (the shells) which exists in the oceans of the world Michelle finds on the shores of the seas.

I hope you understand.

 

Enjoy the Tongue Twister and good luck with improving your English speaking fluency.

PORTRAIT PAINTING OR INSTANT PHOTO

This is an essay which takes a reflective look at the transition to digital photography from portrait painting.

We must first pose the question – has the instant photo replaced the portrait painting forever?

The keywords of the lesson are highlighted.

The modern trend of taking a selfie brings into sharp focus how much we all enjoy taking photos and capturing memories to share with others.

The digital camera is part of all our lives in the modern world and instant photos are taken at the press of a button.

They are then immediately transmitted to friends and family by social media, smartphone apps, stored in digital photo albums or in remote clouds.

Very few are printed and displayed around our home.  We try to be selective of the best ones taken.

Long before photography was ever invented, people had to be content with portrait paintings comissioned from professional artists.

The subject of the portrait would be expected to sit for long periods of time while the artist made sketches or painted directly onto canvass.  This all took time.

The invention of the first camera prototype by Frenchman Louis Daguerre in 1837 was the first step in the eventual transition away from portrait painting to photography.

Significantly, not only was the concept available to the public masses but it was affordable.

We would all come, in time, to know how to use the zoom lens, shutter, flash and tripod with relative ease.

Our grattitude is extended in American George Eastman who founded his Kodak company and heralded a new era in photography.

We must also be thankful to Englishman Edward Muybridge who conducted a galloping horse experiment with pictures that captured the simple stride of a horse in twelve sequential moments.

The world was about to embrace moving pictures as a concept or movies as we call them today and my dear Mum (my Grandmother too in fact) would talk of a night out at the Picture House.

Remarkably perhaps, this modern era of the instant photo has not killed the portrait painting stone-dead but rather given us the opportunity to reproduce imagery with new skills developed in photo-editing software with a sense of surrealism and novelty.

Not only that but we have come to respect and value the capture of an image by an artist of a subject either in cartoon lampooning or in caricature.

Hands up who has not contemplated or had a sketch done by a street artist or looked for the personal touch of a ‘togetherness’ picture for your wedding day to be hung in the hallway for guests to see?

The old saying that a picture paints a thousand words is never more true than today.

The ultimate irony is that we are using the technology of today to create the memories of yesteryear and also of the future.

Photography moves with the times.

As we move with the times, there is a place for the commissioned portrait painting to exist alongside the instant digital photo in the capture of a memory.

INTRODUCTION TO PHRASAL VERBS

This is an English Language lesson which provides an introduction to Phrasal Verbs.

To understand phrasal verbs, it is important to be able to recognize words which are nouns, verbs, adverbs and prepositions.

A phrasal verb is an expression combining a verb with an adverb and/or a preposition.

It is also referred to as a Preposition Verb.

Think of a phrasal verb as an expression where the preposition or adverb are capable of being separated.

Phrasal verbs are flexible in that the position of the object noun can go either between the verb and the adverb or after the adverb

The taxi driver picked up the passenger

The taxi driver picked the passenger up

When the object is a pronoun, it can only go between the verb and the adverb or preposiiton in a phrasal verb expression.

The taxi driver picked him up

The taxi driver picked up him (this is incorrect)

In the case of a preposition verb, the verb-preposition combination cannot be separated and the object must come after the preposition.

The babysitter looked after the children

The babysitter looked the children after (this is incorrect0

It is therefore important for the student to fully understand the following

Subject and Object

Noun and Pronoun

Transitive and Intransitive

Separable and Inseparable

The subject and the object will always be either a noun or a pronoun.

Ball, Man, Game, Accident, School, Masterplan,  are all nouns.

A noun can be more than one word (e.g. United States of America)

Not all sentences require a subject and an object but they will require one or the other.

(e.g. Close the door – no subject.    He cried – no object)

An object can be direct or indirect

The boy gave a present to his friend

In that sentence, ‘boy’ is the subject, ‘present’ is the direct object and ‘friend’ indirect object.

A noun can be replaced by a pronoun.

(He, She, It, Him, Us, Something, Everybody, Mine, Ours are all examples of pronouns)

A Transitive Verb requires an object.  In other words, it requires a qualifying noun to make sense of the sentence.

The man gave up smoking (smoking is the object)

She cut the cake (cake is the object)

The cake is cut (cake is the object.  there is no subject)

An Intransitive Verb does not require an object but can be appended by a preposition phrase, noun phrase and/or adverb.

He died (of cancer)

It rained (yesterday)

Nobody knows (the truth)

I laughed (at the joke)

Continue, move, start, change, close, open, run, wash and write are examples of verbs which can be both Transitive and Intransitive.

We will continue the lesson after lunch (continue is a transitive verb, lesson – object)

The meeting continued after lunch (continue is intransitive appended by after lunch)

Many phrasal verbs and prepositional verbs become nouns when they are either compounded (e.g. countdown) or hyphenated (e.g. count-down) and have a different meaning.

In conclusion, let us take a look at the expression ‘check out’ and ‘check out of’

The couple checked out of the hotel

They have already checked out

The couple checked the hotel out before making a booking

The couple checked it out before making a booking

The couple made the payment at the check-out

Sentence 1 – ‘check out of’ is a preposition verb because the words cannot be separated from each other.

Sentence 2 – ‘check out’ is a phrasal verb and is capable of being separated

Sentence 3 – ‘check out’ is a phrasal verb which is separated by a noun phrase (the hotel)

Sentence 4 – ‘check out’ is a phrasal verb which is separated by a pronoun (it)

Sentence 5 –  ‘check-out’ is a noun and not a phrasal verb or preposition verb

 

This lesson is no more than an outline of the key points about using phrasal verbs.in the English language.

There is a lot more to be learnt by interaction through reading and listening to English in a variety of different ways.

Good luck to all students in their application to learn English and continue to visit the blogsite of http://www.thenativeenglishteacher.wordpress.com.

 

RHETORIC STATEMENTS AND QUESTIONS

This is an English language lesson to practice the use of Rhetoric in conversation.

There are many technical terms to describe Rhetoric but the most common one is Figure of Speech.

In the examples I am going to give in this lesson, they are a mix of Rhetoric Statement and Question.

Not all rhetoric offers contradiction.  In some of my examples, you will see it confirms and accords with the first statement.

I would encourage the student to practice both reading andf speaking the sentences to get a feel of how rhetoric is used in the English language.

None of the sentences are intended to be sarcastic, condascending or offensive to anyone.

Here goes.

  • It was a beautiful film. It looked a beautiful film.

 

  • The film was terrific, wasn’t it/ Are you kidding me?  It was terrible.

 

  • The movie was fabulous. Indeed it was.  Absolutely superb!

 

  • What was that? It sounded like an explosion.

 

  • I saw a ghost last night. You thought you saw a ghost.

 

  • I arrived to work on time. Actually, you arrived several minutes

 

  • I must go now. Of course, you must!

 

  • How are you today? I’m fine.  Can’t you see?

 

  • Are you okay. What do you think

 

  • Can you smell something? Yes dear, it’s my

 

  • How did it go on your date? It didn’t.

 

  • One day I’ll be an astronaut. In your dreams, sonny boy.

 

  • Will you marry me? I thought you would never ask.

 

  • Will you go out with me? Not even if you are the last person left on earth!

 

  • It’s not about what your country can do for you. It’s about what you can do for your  country  (famous words from J.F. Kennedy)

 

  • You are a lovely person. But I don’t love you.

 

  • He was a very brave warrior. Never a truer word has been spoken.

 

  • One small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.  (Neil Armstrong)

 

  • I like the new dress you are wearing. To tell you the truth, it’s quite old.

 

  • Are you hungry? I’m so hungry, I could eat a horse.

 

DESCRIBE A KITCHEN

This is a two minute talk for IELTS or TOEFL to talk about your kitchen at home.

So here goes!

I am going to talk to you about the kitchen at my home.

I think there is a kitchen in every home and every kitchen is different in terms of style and appearance.

The kitchen is the place where food is stored, prepared and cooked.

More often than not, it’s located next to or near the Dining Room where guests can be easily served.

Every kitchen needs a cook.  I’ve heard it said that if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

It has also been said that too many cooks spoil the broth.

The basics of a domestic kitchen are cupboards to store food and crockery, a cooker to cook the food using either gas or electric, a work surface to work from and a sink to wash up the dirty stuff afterwards.

Then there is likely to be an oven or grill, perhaps even integrated with the cooker, a cutlery drawer, a refrigerator, a microwave and wall hooks to hang things like pots and pans, mugs and other utensils.

The refrigerator doubles up as a fridge in one section for general daily foodstuffs to be kept cool while the freezer compartment keeps foodstuffs for a longer period of time.

The cook will need an assortment of knives and a ventilation outlet.

You will also find in the kitchen a garbage bin for waste disposal, a memo board on the wall to write reminders and the daily food menu as well as a calendar.

Look out for the bread bin and a cookie jar.

You might be lucky to have space for a breakfast bar.

That’s all I have got to say about the kitchen at home.

A DIALOGUE ABOUT A BOOK

This is a short dialogue between two students discussing a Sci-Fi book,

The keyword vocabulary of the dialogue are highlighted.

MATT             Hey Lucy, what are you doing?

LUCY             I’m reading a book

MATT             Really?  What’s it called?

LUCY             It’s called Moon Walker

MATT             Is it a true story?

LUCY             No it’s not.  It’s Science Fiction.

MATT             Sci-Fi. Oh I see.  What’s it about then?

LUCY             It’s about an astronaut who lives on the moon

MATT             Sounds cool.  Is it good?

LUCY             Yes it is  but I only read fifty pages so far.

MATT:            Is it scarey?

LUCY             Not really but there are aliens and robots in the story.

MATT             Did you buy it at the bookstore?

LUCY             No I didn’t.  I just borrowed the book from the school library yesterday

MATT             Who’s it by?

LUCY             It’s by Colin Black

MATT             Can you lend it to me after you finish it?

LUCY             Why not! Of course.

MATT             Ok, that would be great.  Thanks a lot Lucy.

LUCY             No problem Matt.  See you soon.