IELTS Speaking topic – Art (Movies)

IELTS Speaking topic - arts 2

This is a sample response for IELTS Speaking Part 2 and 3. In addition to the model answer there are highlighted words and phrases. Teal is for vocabulary relating to this topic, yellow is for generally useful words and phrases.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Talk about a movie or a cartoon popular in your country
You should say:

  • what it is called
  • how long is it
  • what happens in it

and say why you think it is popular

Model answer

Viewers in my country are in love with action-packed flicks, however there is one particular type of these that has a special place in their hearts – war films. Perhaps the most recognized one is the award-winning ‘The Boat’, depicting harrowing reality of war.

In this four-and-a-half hour movie we are taken on a mission with the crew of a German U-boat during World War II. The director explores an array of different themes – camaraderie during hardship, the importance of duty, the dark parts of human psyche and many others. The plot might seem uneventful to an average viewer, some might even get bored as the majority of the story happens on the same set – inside the boat.

I think the movie owes its popularity to the gruesome and gritty portrayal of life in war times. It creates stark contrast with the seemingly slow and bleak, but fairly safe working life in peace time that people might not seem to appreciate enough. It serves as a reminder to be grateful for what we have now and how it can be taken away from us at a moment’s notice.

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Movies

Why people choose to go to cinemas instead of watching movies at home?
Watching a movie, or any show for that matter, is a collective experience. They say that when you watch something live with millions of others all over the planet you can somewhat feel other people’s emotions of it. Going to the cinema rather than watching something on your own has to be similar. Another reason to go to the movies is a social one. It’s a great excuse to take your nearest and dearest with you, catch up on the latest news and gossip. Finally, picture and sounds quality at the movie theater are unmatched, this is especially important for action-packed titles.

Some people like feature films while others prefer documentaries. Why is that?
It all comes down to entertainment and education – and how big a part each plays in every person’s life. We can draw parallels with books, for instance there are people who outright refuse to read non-fiction as they deem it a huge waste of time. Others claim that real life is much more interesting than any author’s figment of imagination, so there is no need for made-up stories. Hence, documentaries are as interesting for them while also giving them important information on history or any other subject.

Do you think that movies with fighting and shooting can make people more violent?
I don’t believe that is the case, no. Normally the trope of shooting and other overt aggression is a pretext for the struggle between the abstract forces of good and evil. Rarely do we see fighting just for fighting’s sake – now that would be more likely to send the wrong message. Of course, nowadays we get all sorts of movies with most bizarre plots, so it is likely that some of them can give rise to the idea of meaningless violence.

Meaning of art

Is it better to try and understand art yourself or with the help of a guide?
If you have a person in the know who could break everything down for you – whether a guide or a well-informed friend – you are more likely to get to the bottom of author’s idea. Art connoisseurs will point out the importance of colour and composition of a picture, the intricate folds and creases of a sculpture, the interposition of objects in an art installation. Without a competent helping hand to guide you through the nooks and crannies of the mystic world of art most people are more than likely to get lost. To a lay person art rarely goes beyond looking pretty at best. This gets even more true when we talk about modern art, where form can be the opposite of the actual message the art might have.

Does meaning of an art object change as time passes?
It seems that while the original intention of the creator naturally remains the same, the context of current time might alter the way people perceive it. In order to understand the message intended by the author, we have to be aware of the historical and cultural environment of the period. Trying to interpret any symbolism without closely associating it with the period that spawned it is a surefire way to misunderstand it. Some artists like the infamous Banksy intentionally alter the meaning of art with time. The story when his latest creation after it had been sold on the auction practically self-destroyed sent a clear message – it was meant to inspire and to bring beauty into this world, not to be an investment instrument.

Art vocabulary

Flick (n) – an informal word for a movie
Plot (n) – the story of a film, book, play etc.
Set (n) – the place where a scene of a movie is shot, e.g. a house, a street, an airplane
Gritty (adj) – (here) with many unpleasant details that people might not want to see
Portrayal (v) – the act of showing something in a book, movie etc. ‘The movie had a very accurate portrayal of the way the Emperor dealt with his enemies’
Title (n) – (here) the name of a movie or series of movies
Figment of imagination – something that has been made up, not existing in reality
Trope (n) – an artistic attribute that is often used in a work of fiction. ‘A classic trope of love between two young people from different social stratas’
Break smth down (phr. v) – to explain something in detailed and easy to understand way
Connoisseur (n) – a person that likes and understand something. ‘Wine connoisseurs from all over the world came to the annual wine fair in Paris’
Perceive (n) – to see, understand or believe something in a particular way.

General vocabulary

Harrowing (adj) – arousing negative emotions because it is connected with pain and suffering
Array (n) – a number, a list or a selection of something. “The exhibition presented the viewers with an array of landscape paintings”
Hardship (n) – struggle or difficulty
Bleak (adj) – lacking colour or emotion
Nearest and dearest – your friends, family and other people you care about and are in close relationship with
Draw parallels – to compare
Deem (v) – to think, to believe or to consider. “The press deem her to be the favourite in this competition”
Overt (adj) – open, not hidden, easily seen
In the know – knowing, informed, knowledgeable. “People in the know say that another economic recession is inevitable”
Nooks and crannies – (used figuratively here) all the nuances and small details of something
Surefire (adj) – guaranteed to succeed

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IELTS Speaking topic – Studying #2

IELTS Speaking topic - studying 2

This is a sample response for IELTS Speaking Part 2 and 3. In addition to the model answer there are highlighted words and phrases. Teal is for vocabulary relating to this topic, yellow is for generally useful words and phrases.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Talk about a school subject or activity you didn’t enjoy
You should say:

  • what it was
  • the reason you didn’t enjoy it
  • how you felt about taking part in it

and say if you think you would have enjoyed it now

Model answer

Whenever I look back to my school years, my PE classes are one of the memories I can’t help but wince at. We would have those on Fridays, right after the lunch recess. I dreaded Fridays for that reason because PE meant doing the impossible tasks like chin-ups or relay races. Young me was really hopeless at that, but the PE teacher insisted on me trying over and over again without giving any feedback. I think he only succeeded in making me loathe each and every form of physical activity.

Needless to say, I never looked forward to attending these classes. The truth is, I would skip these classes with and without reason. I would often feign illness at the nurse’s office and she would let me go home. If that didn’t work, I’d outright play truant – wait the class out either in the library or the school yard.

I think I would have liked to have these classes nowadays. I’m in better shape now, running and chin-ups wouldn’t be much of a problem today.

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Studying and career

Is is better to spend your twenties studying or working?
According to widely-available data, people with college degrees have a staggering 70% higher salaries than those who only have high-school education. This data is fairly consistent across most employment spheres. Moreover, highly-qualified graduates report higher job satisfaction levels, which in turn lead to lower stress and psychological fatigue at the workplace. Therefore, unless your circumstances require you to start earning as soon as you can, dedicating several years to ensure higher professional skills and employability is likely to be the better choice.

Many prestigious employment spheres like engineering and finance get more and more competitive nowadays. Is it a positive or a negative development?
On one hand, this situation seems to guarantee that only the best professionals find their way into the industry. However, before they even get there they naturally have to get the degree first. This is where the trouble begins.

As the ever-increasing number students apply for the select, highly-desirable degrees with limited admission numbers, the costs of getting said degrees rises accordingly. The results of this development can be witnessed already – sky-rocketing tuition costs for these sough-after degrees. This creates unfair advantage for the more financially comfortable families, effectively preventing possibly more talented individuals from enrolling if they lack the necessary funds. Such bias in the field is impossible to make right unless the government steps in with a scholarship-like programme that would allow high-scoring students to have their tuition costs paid by state.

Do you agree that studying while you are young is much more effective?
Well, yes and no. Experts in the field believe that while it is much easier for younger learners to take in and process new information, they tend to be more forgetful. It mostly comes down to the ability to focus on the matter at hand – learning, in this case. Youngers’ mind is more prone to wandering, they say. Conversely, while older students, say in their thirties are not as swift at remembering and mastering something new, they are much more intent and focused on it, and are less likely to forget things they set out to learn.

Teaching and studying

Some parents insist on their kids learning a foreign language from a very young age. Is this always a good idea?
It is common knowledge that learning a foreign language offers a plethora of benefits. Without mentioning the immediate practical advantages of being able to communicate in said language, there are many others. Learning a language develops your mind, broadens your horizons, it even offsets senile dementia. So one should start learning it as soon as possible, right? Not necessarily.

I believe there is such a thing as starting to learn a foreign language too soon. And before we get into this, I want to point out that it only applies to learning in the traditional meaning – attending classes with a teacher. Learning as a part of being in the natural environment is another story as it happens organically.

The main concern I would have when exposing a very young child to foreign language is that it might interfere with mastering their native language. If we talk about really young age, we probably mean a toddler that has only started speaking. This is why I have doubts about some parents’ fervent desire to expose their offspring to other languages as soon as possible.

Teaching is often seen as a female profession. Why?
I have to say that personally I disagree with this assumption – I believe this commonly held misconception has several underlying reasons. First of all, female teachers constitute a majority of academic force in primary and secondary schools. As a result of this overrepresentation people get the mentioned idea.

Secondly, a more constructive reason is that women in general are seen as more empathetic. In other words, they find it easier to put themselves in other people’s skin to understand their needs. This is an essential skill for anyone aiming to teach, instruct, impart knowledge or information in any other way.

Finally, women are traditionally seen as child minders, and indeed this has been the case in the past. Centuries of looking after kids and the resulting experience has certainly seeped into the teaching practices. Hence, women might find it easier to keep a large group of underage students disciplined.

Studying vocabulary

Recess (n) – chiefly an American English word, here it means a long lunch break at school
Chin-up (n) – a kind of exercise performed on a horizontal bar where you have to lift your chin over the bar using your hands
Relay races – a team running exercise where participants run a part of a course with a baton that they hand from one runner to the next one
Feedback (n) – a useful information that you get in response to your question or actions
Play truant – to skip classes on purpose
Admission numbers – the amount of student admitted (accepted) to a school, college or university
Enroll (v) – (here) to apply and get officially registered as a student at a school or university
Mind is more prone to wandering – if someone is prone to something, they are more likely to be affected by it. If your mind wanders it means that you are not focused on anything in particular
Overrepresentation (n) – when a certain group of people (of particular gender, nationality or background) makes up a much larger share than the rest in a business, a school or any other institution
Constructive (adj) – consisting of suggestions on how to make something different rather than criticizing
Empathetic (adj) – able to relate to other person’s feeling, to put yourself in their shoes
Child minder (n) – a person who looks after kids, especially other people’s kids

General vocabulary

Wince (v) – to twist your face or to grimace without meaning to do so, either out of pain or shock
Loathe (v) – pretty much the opposite of “to love”
Each and every – just a fancy replacement for “all”
Feign illness – if you feign something it means you pretend to do it or have it while in reality you don’t
Outright (adv) – completely, openly or instantly
Staggering (adj) – astonishing, impressive or shocking, often used with numbers
Fatigue (n) – accumulated tiredness, either mental or physical
Select (adj) – chosen carefully as the best
Sought-after (adj) – very desirable because of rarity, quality or other reasons
Step in (phr v) – take part in a difficult situation to help
Process (v) – to analyse in order to understand
Matter at hand – something that one needs to deal with right now rather than later
Plethora (n) – a range or a big number of
Senile dementia – a condition affecting the elderly that affect memory as well as mind function in general
Organically (adv) – naturally, fittingly
Interfere (v) – to get involved without being asked, often to a bad effect
Fervent (adj) – passionately involved in something
Misconception (n) – long-held misunderstanding of something
Seep into (phr v) – to find its way into other spheres. “Mark’s attention to detail really seeps into his work as an accountant – he will not let a single mistake in his documentation”

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IELTS Speaking topic – Job and career #2

IELTS Speaking topic - job and career 2

This is a sample response for IELTS Speaking Part 2 and 3. In addition to the model answer there are highlighted words and phrases. Teal is for vocabulary relating to this topic, yellow is for generally useful words and phrases.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Talk about a career opportunity you had
You should say:

  • what the opportunity was
  • how you felt about it
  • if you used the opportunity

and say if you are happy with your decision

Model answer

About a decade ago when I had just started working for a local air company as an accountant, upper management approached me with a rather lucrative offer. They were offering company-paid pilot training for people under 30 who had good command of English. The company would later guarantee employment with good career prospects.

I was very tempted to take the offer, but something clicked in me and I turned it down at the last second. First and foremost, a life of a pilot is very nomadic by nature – you are always on the move, you are everywhere – and nowhere. Secondly, it is a lot of responsibility – piloting a ship with over two hundred people onboard would be too much for me. Finally, I kind of enjoyed my accounting position at the time. Although it wasn’t the most glamorous of occupations, it paid well and I knew the trade like no one else.

Looking back at that day I kind of regret not going for it. I wonder how my life would have turned out if I had taken the offer. Would I make a good pilot? It is hard to tell now, as I have been doing finance consultancy for quite some time, maybe this is my real calling after all.

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Work today and tomorrow

What skills should a person have to have more chances of getting a job in the future?
It would be unwise to deny that our world is getting more automated. As we grow more reliant on machines, we will respectively make many jobs obsolete as they can be effectively performed by robots. This is likely to create a whole class of unemployable – people who failed to learn a skill a machine is unable to have. Cashiers, taxi drivers and many others might end up without any prospects of employment. Therefore, something that a human can do and a machine cannot is the skill to have in the future. 

What workplace of the future might look like?
I doubt that the workplace that exists now is going to be transformed much. It will probably be a computer with a folder or a stack of documents next to it. If we try really hard to be imaginative we can think of a holographic projector that the user controls by voice or hand gestures. It doesn’t sound too practical though. What might change is the definition of the workplace. By that I mean that employees might get relocated to their own flats to cut down on overheads. We have already seen that happening and it will probably happen again, this time staying for good.

Jobs and careers

Is it better to change your job frequently or work at the same place as long as possible?
Gurus of career advice believe that changing your place of employment every five years or so is the best practice. It looks good on your CV as it shows ambition and flexibility on one hand while being able to commit on the other. It also broadens your professional horizons and gives a better understanding of the industry you work in. But we all do have a mind of our own, and the decision doesn’t have to be made out of future employment prospects alone. If you like your job there is no reason not to keep it. Growing professionally and focusing on the matter at hand instead of flustering about trying to find the best job possible.

How can schools help young people choose their careers?
This is an aspect of education that state schools have been largely ignoring recently. Students get all kinds of abstract knowledge, most of which is largely inapplicable in working life. As a result, 18-year-olds leave schools with no idea of purpose or direction in life. Some go through the motions of higher educations, others choose an occupation which doesn’t require any special qualifications.

Schools should introduce a subject of professional orientation, where they would give students understanding of what it’s like to work full-time, what kind of positions they can realistically expect to get with and without degree or experience. This would drastically reduce the number of youngsters who feel lost in the modern ruthless job market.

Job and career vocabulary

Upper management – high-ranked employees in charge of making important decisions in the company
Lucrative (adj) – interesting or attractive financially
Trade (n) – a job that requires special training, used figuratively here. Normally it would mean a manual job such as a carpenter or an electrician
Calling (n) – one’s real purpose, something that they should really do. ‘She has always believed that teaching is her real calling’
Folder (n) – a thick cardboard or plastic book-like container that is used to store and catalogue documents
Relocate (v) – to move to another city or country, usually because of your work
Cut down on overheads – to try and reduce operational costs such as renting a place of work or office supplies
Commit (v) – to promise to do something, e.g. work at a company for a certain period of time
Go through the motions – to do something mechanically, without enthusiasm or emotional engagement

General vocabulary

Decade (n) – ten years
Good command of English – good knowledge and understanding of the language
Prospects (n) – possibility of something happening in the future
Click (v) – (here) – to suddenly become clear or obvious
Nomadic (adj) – characterised by constant movement, not staying at the same place for long
Glamorous (adj) – attractive, exciting and desirable
I wonder how … – more of a grammar note rather than vocab. It’s a good idea to introduce a conditional clause in your answer. This particular one is Third Conditional which shows unreal results of an unreal action.
Grow reliant on smth – to become more and more dependent on something
Obsolete (adj) – outdated, not modern
For good – forever
Fluster about – to move frantically, in a state of confusion, without accomplishing much. ‘When the doorbell rang she started flustering about the flat trying to get dressed’
Inapplicable (adj) – useless or impossible to be used

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IELTS Speaking topic – Hobbies and free time #2

IELTS Speaking topic - hobbies and free time 2

This is a sample response for IELTS Speaking Part 2 and 3. In addition to the model answer there are highlighted words and phrases. Teal is for vocabulary relating to this topic, yellow is for generally useful words and phrases.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Talk about a hobby a member of your family has
You should say:

  • who the family member is
  • what hobby they have
  • how they got interested in it

and say what other family members think of it

Model answer

My mother is really into embroidering. It is basically taking a piece of cloth, a needle and some thread and then sewing a certain pattern or a picture on it. It is quite engaging but also time-consuming. I guess the latter is fine for my mother since she does seem to have plenty of free time on her hands as she has been retired for some years now. Sometimes she takes orders and creates beautiful pieces for her friends and acquaintances.

She got into embroidering after watching a Youtube video she had in her recommended feed. It didn’t take her long to take it up, buy all the necessary kits and start sewing away. My father sometimes jokes about her hobby being more important than her grandchildren, but he is only joking I’m sure.

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Hobbies and free time

What hobbies are popular in your country?
Fishing is quite big where I live. Favoured by mostly older male population, this activity is all year round – even with our snowy winters! People mostly do it as a social thing rather than to procure food. Some even go on fishing trips with their friend that go for several days.

Youngster mostly spend time on their phones and I’m pretty sure we are no different to any other country in this respect. I think calling it a hobby is a bit of a stretch, but that’s what they do with most of their free time, so it has to be brought up.

Is having too much free time a good or a bad thing?
It entirely depends on your situation in life. If you are financially comfortable enough to pay your bills and yet don’t have to spend much time working then you are probably doing something right. I mean the free time you end up with is well-deserved, so it has to be a positive situation. Naturally, you could try and fill these free hours with some undertaking like volunteering or doing something else that is meaningful.

On the contrary, if you find yourself idling your life away without contributing to society or even unable to afford basic necessities, then your situation ought to be improved. Surely any job is better in such a situation, at least to put the food on the table. Therefore, ultimately the meaning of free time and financial situation are closely intertwined.

Work-life balance

Is it morally wrong not to work if you can afford it?
I believe nowadays having a job and working is first and foremost associated with earning money rather than being a part of a bigger picture. If we look at work as means to be paid at the end of the month, then not working does not bear any ethical or moral ramifications. It probably means that the person’s needs are covered out of somebody else’s pocket, they have a sort of passive income or they burn through their savings.

However, one should understand that working is often a contribution to a greater cause – helping people, manufacturing, researching and developing – the list goes on. From this angle, choosing not to work indicates certain aloofness and even disdain for the common good of society. If this is the case, then the answer is a resounding “yes”.

Which is more important – job satisfaction or salary?
This is a simple one – job satisfaction should take precedence unless the person is in dire need of money in the short-term. If one is not content with their job then it will steadily begin to take an emotional toll on them, and no amount of money will fix that.

Is it a good idea to work from home?
This is decided by whether the person is self-organised or not. The problem is we associate our homes with rest rather than activity. Other than household chores, we rarely take it upon ourselves to do something productive there. Such associations can stand in the way of fruitful working process at home. A focused, well-organised person will on the other hand will not heavily depend on their surroundings to motivate them and put them in the working mood.

Hobbies and free time vocabulary

Embroidering (n) – as explained in the answer it is an activity of sewing a pattern, a picture or a text on a piece of cloth canvas
Engaging (adj) – interesting and exciting, making you want to do more of it
To get into smth (phr v) – to start doing some activity such as a hobby or a business.
To take something up (phr v) – very similar to the previous phrasal verb, it means that you have become interested or engaged in a certain activity
Big (adj) – if something is big somewhere (or with someone) it means it is popular or has influence there
Idle your life away – to spend your life without meaning or purpose, to do nothing with your life
Content (adj) – happy or satisfied. Second syllable is stressed: content.
Take a toll on somebody – to cause harm to somebody, usually in a gradual way

General vocabulary

To have something on one’s hands – to have something available or in possession. We have about two months on our hands before the project will be shown to upper management.
Recommended feed – a section on a website where the algorithm suggests news, tracks or videos similar to ones you have already watched.
Procure (v) – to get something from somewhere by buying or other means
In this respect – in this way, relating to this. Sarah is a physicist and in this respect she is one of the best employees
Bring something up (phr v) – to mention a topic or a point.
Undertaking (n) – an activity, an action that aims to achieve something
Intertwined (adj) – closely and mutually connected to one another. The state and religion are usually intertwined.
Ramifications (n) – strong negative consequences of an action
To burn through savings – to use the money you have in your bank account to cover financial deficit
Aloofness (n) – deliberately showing uninvolvement and lack of interest in something
Disdain (n) – showing that you believe that others do not deserve your respect, time or attention
Resounding (adj) – assured and emphatic
Take precedence – to be more important and to require foremost attention
Take it upon yourself to do something – to do something, even if nobody expected or asked you to do it
Fruitful (adj) – bringing result, successful

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IELTS Speaking topic – Home and hometown #2

This is a sample response for IELTS Speaking Part 2 and 3. In addition to the model answer there are highlighted words and phrases. Teal is for vocabulary relating to this topic, yellow is for generally useful words and phrases.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Talk about a place in your town or city you often visit
You should say:

  • what the place is
  • where it is located
  • why you visit it

and say whether it is popular with other people.

Model answer

A place I’m really fond of and which I frequent is the historical centre of our town. The sidewalk is cobbled, the streets are lined with upmarket shops and the area is mostly car-free as parking is prohibited there. There is plenty of vegetation so it feels cool even on hotter days. Because the traffic is very low there it is rather quiet despite many outdoor cafes.

As I have just said it is more or less in the centre. The main reason I go there is neither to shop nor to eat, but simply to take in the atmosphere of the older days. Meticulously restored historical buildings of merchants and other well-off citizens create a unique sensation of being the past. It is an experience worth having, and I don’t seem to be alone in this opinion. The place is quite a hit with tourists despite there not being any actual museums or galleries.

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Home and hometown

What is the best age for young people to start living away from their parents?
This will vary wildly, there is no one-size-fits-all solution I believe. People mature at their own pace – some will have formed will in character in their teens, others might take much, much longer, so called late bloomers. Culturally there are evidences of wildly different ages seen as normal to live with one’s parents. It is not unusual for Italian men in their thirties to live with their mom and dad. Personally I think once you have landed a job that you can pay the bills with it’s time to move out.

How can people make their neighbourhoods a better place to live?
One should not litter, be friendly to their neighbours, respect others’ personal space and their right to peace and quiet – these all sound quite ordinary. A less obvious thing is to do your best to cultivate a sense of community. People who know and trust one another organically create a space where everyone feels welcomed and comfortable.

What factors do people take into account when choosing a town or a city to live in?
First of all the matter of employment prospects is considered because if you can’t find a well-compensated position you simply won’t be able to pay the bills. Secondly, developed infrastructure is a big factor – the variety and quality of shops, whether there are any decent schools, kindergartens, gyms and hospitals. Finally, the place has to have a developed public transport system as relying on your car alone can be selfish and myopic.

Cities now and then

How has life in the city changed over the past decade?
I am pleased to say that the changes have been mostly positive. Public transport has been slowly getting more attention with funds funneled into this vital part of urban life to innovate and improve. The programme of short-term bike renting is picking up steam – one can now use a rental bike to cover small distances either for commuting or recreation, all at a very low price. Many cities are experiencing an increase in green spaces with the current trend moving away from long stretches of tarmac and pavement in favour of more natural materials.

Is it a good or a bad thing that nowadays people leave smaller towns to live in bigger cities?
It all started with industrialisation some hundred years ago and has been so since then. All businesses and industries are normally located in major metropolitan centres with most lucrative employment opportunities there. It might not be a very positive development, but it is a natural one. So even though centralisation of talent is not very desirable, it shouldn’t be too concerning either.

Home and hometown vocabulary

Cobbled (adj) – if a road or sidewalk is cobbled, big rounded stones are used to surface it
Lined with upmarket shops – full of high-end, expensive shops
Mature (v) – to become more adult either physically or mentally
Litter (v) – to throw trash on the street rather than to designated bins
Cultivate a sense of community – to create and support the feeling of belonging to a group

General vocabulary

Frequent (v) – to go somewhere often. Note that last syllable should be stressed – frequent
Take in the atmosphere – to open yourself psychologically and emotionally to understand what a place feels like
Meticulously (adv) – in a very careful manner with great attention to detail
To be a hit with somebody – to be very popular with a particular group of people
One-size-fits-all – an approach that aims to apply the same rule to everybody despite people not being the same, i.e. people like different things and have different experiences.
Late bloomer – a person who achieves success later in their life
Land a job (informal) – to get a job, to be taken on by a company
Employment prospects – one’s chances to get/land a job. Larger cities naturally have better employment prospects that smaller towns
Well-compensated – another way of saying “well-paid” when talking about salary
Myopic (adj) – used figuratively here, it means “short-sighted” – not seeing future consequences of their actions
Funnel (v) – to direct something such as money or resources to one place or cause
Pick up steam – to increase in speed, usually used figuratively to talk about some process such as business
Some (adj) – here used in the meaning “one” or “about”
Lucrative (adj) – financially attractive or advantageous

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IELTS Speaking topic – Transport #2

IELTS Speaking topic - transport 2

This is a sample response for IELTS Speaking Part 2 and 3. In addition to the model answer there are highlighted words and phrases. Teal is for vocabulary relating to this topic, yellow is for generally useful words and phrases.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Talk about a memorable car journey
You should say:

  • when it took place
  • if you were alone or with other people
  • what was memorable about it

and say if you enjoyed the journey.

Model answer

Back in 2004 my father and I decided to traverse the Carpathian Mountains in his old and trusty car. We had no particular reason to go there other than to enjoy the great scenery. It was a beautiful summer so we set off as soon as the car passed an inspection at a shop

Other than my father and myself there was nobody in the car. Our mother intended to join us, but she is a known backseat driver so in the end we decided not to take her with us. A couple of my schools friends felt like coming too, but their parents simply wouldn’t let them. It was too dangerous, they said. So it was just the two of us at the end.

Apart from the great sights of mountain peaks what really made the trip stick in my mind was the breakdowns. We had two flat tyres that we had to patch up on the side of the road. Then the engine started to sputter and eventually died. As it turned out, the fuel pump had gone bad so we had to fit one from a different model. But at the end of the day I really enjoyed the experience!

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Transportation

What type of public transport is best for modern cities?
We have to consider the size of the city before we choose the best mode of public transportation. Small to medium cities will best benefit from conventional buses. Minibuses are great too for shorter routes I guess. If we talk about a big metropolis, things get more complicated. To offset carbon emission trams and trolleybuses can be used, both operating off the city power grid. To increase overall passenger capacity large cities build an extensive underground network. This helps reduce traffic congestion as well as lower exhaust fumes levels. Therefore, no such thing as the perfect public transport exists – they all serve a purpose and fill a niche.

Is it a good idea to reduce the amount of privately owned cars? Why/why not?
This is a great proposition from the practical and environmental points of view. Clearly, private vehicles are one of the biggest carbon monoxide contributors in the modern world. Moreover, elimination or drastic reduction of their numbers would lead to a more stress-free society. It is no secret that driving is a great source of distress for most traffic participants.

However, ethically it is unfair to take away the right to have and drive cars. People have grown too accustomed to having the freedom of going anywhere without relying on public transport. Perhaps a smoother transition from car ownership could give people time to get used to new conditions. A gradual shift spanning five to ten years would probably be ideal in this situation.

How can people’s commute times be reduced?
People commute because they have to be present somewhere physically – it sounds self-explanatory, but it is crucial to to understand this point. If we take out the necessity to be at work or place of study in person, then the idea of commuting simply wouldn’t exist. Therefore, moving to working or studying from home is the cheapest and extremely effective way to do so. Thankfully, modern technologies are more than developed enough to facilitate this.

Transport in different times

Was it easier or more difficult to go somewhere in the past?
I believe people had different experience of travelling depending on the time period. Hundreds years ago very few places had paved roads. Rain and snow would normally turn them into muddy messes that were almost impossible to travel through. While such modern issue like traffic congestion was unknown, I would say that travelling was a much more challenging venture. If we go back half a century ago, when the road network had already been quite extensive while the number of cars remained relatively low, the situation was quite different. Wide but mostly empty roads lent themselves to a relaxed and very enjoyable experience of going somewhere.

What transport regulations can we expect to see in the future?
A likely law that will get imposed in the foreseeable future is introduction of riding licenses for bike users. As popularity of bikes seems to be on the rise thanks to unparalleled mobility and practicality the governing bodies will feel the need to control this situation. We might witness creation of technical inspection similar to that of cars. Moreover, license plates for bikes would not be out of the question either.

Transport vocabulary

Traverse (v) – to go through or to cross something
Set off (phr v) – to start a journey or to start moving
Backseat driver – a person who loves giving tips and comments on how the driver controls the car. Used negatively or humorously.
Breakdown (n) – a failure of some component in a machine, a piece of electronics and so on
Patch up (phr v) – to fix something quickly and temporarily
Sputter (v) – (here) if an engine sputters it struggles to work and sounds like it is about to shut down
Carbon emissions – harmful gases produced as a result of burning fuel by an engine
Carbon monoxide – see above, this time the particular harmful chemical is mentioned
Paved road – a road which surface is covered with tarmac, concrete or other material

General vocabulary

Trusty (adj) – trustworthy and reliable
Stick in smb’s mind – to be memorable, to remain in one’s memory
Offset (v) – to make something bad slightly better, to compensate for the harm or damage caused
Power grid – the power system of a town, a city or a building
Fill a niche – to find usage and popularity in a particular sphere
Proposition (n) – an official offer or suggestion
Contributor (n) – either a person or a body that adds to something, either positive or negative
Drastic (adj) – very serious, introducing considerable changes
Distress (n) – a stressful condition characterised by high levels of anxiety
To grow accustomed to something – to get used to
Transition (n) – changing or moving from one state to another
Spanning (adj) – covering or including, e.g. ‘A book spanning five thousand years of human history’
Crucial (adj) – vitally important, integral
Lend oneself to something – to be suitable or fitting for a particular role or application: ‘Plastic paper doesn’t lend itself to making origami’
Impose (v) – to force some law, rule or regulation on/upon somebody
Be on the rise – to be increasing
Unparalleled (adj) – the best (or the worst), the only one in existence. Can also be used about historical high or low levels of something: ‘Unparalleled levels of crime’
Governing bodies – state organisations that rule (govern).

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IELTS Speaking topic – Money and shopping #1

IELTS Speaking topic - money and shopping 1

This is a sample response for IELTS Speaking Part 2 and 3. In addition to the model answer there are highlighted words and phrases. Teal is for vocabulary relating to this topic, yellow is for generally useful words and phrases.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Talk about a purchase you were unhappy with
You should say:

  • what you bought
  • where you bought it
  • why you were unhappy with the purchase

and say what you did with the thing you bought.

Model answer

Back in school I had a part-time job at a local fast-food joint. I remember getting my first paycheck and going on a shopping spree right after. Among other useless things I had bought one was especially silly. It was a really expensive mobile phone that I purchased at the brand’s retail outlet.

I’m unsure why exactly I felt dissatisfied with buying it. It was probably the fact that I spent a lion’s share of my money on it. Or maybe because it had become obsolete a year later, just like most tech pieces at the time did. Anyway, the feeling of novelty wore off after a couple of days and I was left with an overpriced gadget.

I think I ended up using the phone for a year when one day it slipped out my palm and I dropped it. The screen cracked and I was quoted such a high price for replacing it that it was simply not worth it.

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Money in society

Is money necessary to be happy?
As far as I know there has been an extensive research done in this field and the findings were quite surprising. Basically, once you have enough money to cover your basic needs such as food, housing and other necessities, further increase in monetary well-being does almost nothing to the level of happiness. Once this point of diminishing returns is reached, the happiness-to-money ratio tapers off. It really makes you think whether excessive wealth contributes very little to your outlook on life. So as long as you have enough money not to worry about where to sleep and put food on the table, you are as happy as the rich guy next door, if not more!

Should schools pay more attention to teaching about money and spending it?
At school they teach us many things – how to read and how to count, historical dates and factual data, how the world works. However, there seems to be a deficit of real-life-oriented subjects. We graduate with our heads filled with mostly abstract information that has little application to the problems we face daily. Knowing what money is, how to make, spend and handle it is one of such vital skills most people lack. Classes of economics are yet another strictly academical discipline and do not tackle the problem at hand. Financial literacy is as important as ever nowadays, therefore overlooking it is simply unacceptable.

Shopping and spending habits

Some people do buy things at shopping centres while others prefer markets. Why?
Two things come to mind here. First of all, shopping centre is an expensive place to rent and run your shop, so the overheads have to be factored in the price. Naturally, the buyer is the one ending up paying for that. Markets on the other hand are simple outdoor venues with stalls that you can use for very little money, sometimes free of charge. The other possible reason is the experience of haggling. I know some people who are keen on trying to drive the price down when on a hunt for a bargain. I know a guy who bought a chestnut dining table with a set of chairs to match it for a song. At the end of the day people who don’t mind paying a little extra purchase things at shopping centres.

Is it better to buy new things or pre-owned ones?
I’m afraid there is no definitive answer to this as it all comes down to your preferences, budget and attitude to conscious consumption. The advantages of buying new are evident – the joy of being the first and only owner is a serious source of dopamine for people.

Reasons to buy used are on the surface as well. First and foremost, it’s the price. You would normally expect to pay considerably less for a slightly used item just because it is not new. You also get to meet the person who is likely to have similar interests as your since you both enjoy the item in question. Finally, purchasing a pre-owned thing is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint since you will effectively be ‘recycling’, or using something again. I strongly believe that choosing to get a used article is a much more reasonable choice for the reasons above.

Money and shopping vocabulary

Paycheck (n) – informally, it means the amount of money you get for your job
Shopping spree – a behaviour when you do a lot of shopping, usually buying many unnecessary things in the process
Retail outlet – a shop aimed at retail customers (not companies or businesses)
A lion’s share – bigger part of something
Quote (v) – (here) to give an estimated price for some goods or services
Basic needs – things you can’t live without like food, clothing and shelter
Monetary well-being – situation when you have more than enough money
Point of diminishing returns – in statistics, a point when increase in one factor no longer provides the same increase in the other corresponding factor
Overheads (n) – business expenses associated with renting a venue, paying your staff etc.
Haggle (v) – to try and convince the other person to give you a better price when buying or selling something
Bargain (n) – something bought at a much lower price
For a song – if you buy something for a song, you get it for a very low price

General vocabulary

Fast-food joint – another name for a fast-food restaurant
Feeling of novelty wears off – when you no longer feel the joy from owning something that you have bought recently
Palm (n) – the inner part of your hand i.e. where the fingerprints are
Finding (n) – (here) something that has been discovered through a survey or an experiment
Taper off – to stop increasing, usually used in statistics i.e. when describing a line graph
Contribute (v) – (here) to affect something, to take part in changing it in some way
Problem at hand – a current problem that demands attention
Literacy (n) – how well you know and understand something: computer literacy is knowing how to use computer well
Venue (n) – a place where something happens
On a hunt for – looking for something
Definitive answer – a solution to something that everybody is happy with
Carbon footprint – the amount of harmful gases that someone or something produces as a result of existing

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IELTS Speaking topic – Health and well-being #1

IELTS Speaking topic - health and well-being 1

This is a sample response for IELTS Speaking Part 2 and 3. In addition to the model answer there are highlighted words and phrases. Teal is for vocabulary relating to this topic, yellow is for generally useful words and phrases.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Describe an exercise or a sports routine that you do to stay fit
You should say:

  • what it involves
  • how long you have been doing it
  • what health benefits it provides

and say how you feel about doing it.

Model answer

My way of staying fit is rather unorthodox – to some it may even seem a bit extreme. I do my own improvised triathlons twice a week, that is I run, swim and cycle one straight after another at a rather brisk pace. Normally a competitive discipline, I decided to turn it into a regular sporty activity for myself and a good friend of mine, who initially suggested attending a triathlon some years ago. 

So far I have been practicing like that for six months and it has made a world of change to the way I feel. It works every single major muscle group in your body and it is also a great cardio workout. Swimming is an activity that I am especially fond of – not only does it make use of your body, it also strengthens your resolve as you have to dive right into a somewhat cold water right after having run for some miles.

Needless to say, I am excited to have had the consistency to carry on with it. Initially I thought that I would give up after the first couple of trainings, but I ended up keeping that as a habit.

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Staying healthy

Many people have unhealthy lifestyles. How can they be encouraged to lead healthier lives?
To start with, unhealthy way of living can be roughly divided into two categories: lack of exercising and substance abuse. The first one is the plague of our time as most jobs are sedentary by nature – that is, people spend most of their day sitting at the desk. This could be partially mitigated by mandating compulsory breaks. People could have three minutes or so each hour to get the blood in their bodies flowing again. To address the situation in a more effective way, sports could be popularised by celebrities through movies and other media. As for substance abuse such as smoking and drinking, the producers could simply make the price higher to make their product prohibitively expensive for most. It would naturally be bad for business, but we would end up with much healthier population!

Nowadays people live longer than they did in the past. Will this trend continue and how can this affect their lives?
It is true that life expectancy is at a historical all-time high. It is not uncommon to see people living to be a hundred years old thanks to all the advances in healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. I believe this trend is likely to continue provided the progress in abovementioned fields does not taper off. The implications of this demographic shift is hard to predict. If the older part of population stays healthy enough to contribute to society either through work or in any other way, everybody is going to benefit. However, as people grow old they usually become frail both physically and mentally, often unable to work. This situation would exponentially increase the share of work the young have to do to support the old which in turn might lead to serious economic consequences.

Sports and exercising

Has attitude to staying fit and exercising changed over the years?
It may seem so, at least on the surface. If we look at popular social media sites, especially on the Instagram, we can see hundreds of athletes with millions of followers. Their sculpted bodies and meticulously planned workout routines mesmerise and inspire people to perfect themselves physically. While most of these so-called sports influencers do this just to promote and monetize a certain product, the result is popularisation of sports and fitness. So at the end of the day we end up with more people doing sports, for one reason or another, so everybody wins!

Many believe that professional athletes are paid too much. What is your opinion on that?
In order to understand why they are so well-compensated financially we have to keep in mind that professional sports is ultimately a form of entertainment. Just like late night talk shows, sports competitions attract huge audiences. It does not really matter what a celebrity, a talk show host or a footballer brings to the table as long as it is popular with the viewers. On the brighter side, these athletes can become role models and promote exercising. So in a way they deserve the exorbitant amounts of money they make even more than singers and other celebrities.

When young, is it better to focus on sports or the more academic subjects?
Balancing the two approaches is likely to be better than focusing on just the one while disregarding the other completely. Sports alone is unlikely to get you anywhere in life unless you do it for a living as an athlete. You can forget about this if you don’t have genetic predisposition that gives you edge over others. Concentrating entirely on your academic pursuit, while a better idea overall, is not wise. Sports is the cheapest and most effective at making and keeping you healthy so it’s just too good to ignore.

Health and well-being vocabulary

Brisk pace – if something happens at a brisk pace, it does so quickly. Usually used to describe an activity
Cardio workout – a physical exercise focused on developing your heart and lungs capacity
Strengthen (v) – to make something stronger
Resolve (n) – a quality of determination, keeping what you do or want to do despite difficulties
Substance abuse – taking too much of something that is harmful, especially in large doses
Sedentary (adj) – characterised by lack of movement or activity
Life expectancy – predicted length of somebody’s life
Frail (adj) – fragile or easily breakable, either physically or emotionally
Predisposition (n) – likely to be affected by something

General vocabulary

Unorthodox (adj) – unusual or not widely accepted/recognized
That is – use this phrase to explain or clarify
A world of change – a great or even complete change
Consistency (n) – the quality of staying the same or sticking to the same routine
Mandate (v) – to order something as mandatory (compulsory)
Prohibitively expensive – too expensive to reasonably afford
All-time high – (statistics) a record high number or level of something
Taper off – (statistics) to reduce in growth or volume after initial rapid rise
Meticulously (adv) – carefully and with great attention to detail
Mesmerise (v) – to capture somebody’s attention or imagination
Audience (n) – the people who listen a talk, listen to music or a concert etc.
Bring to the table – to contribute or to take active part in something
Exorbitant (adj) – unreasonably high, usually used to talk about price or statistical data
Disregard (v) – to ignore or pay too little attention to something

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IELTS Speaking topic – Technology and progress #1

IELTS Speaking topic - technology and progress 1

This is a sample response for IELTS Speaking Part 2 and 3. In addition to the model answer there are highlighted words and phrases. Teal is for vocabulary relating to this topic, yellow is for generally useful words and phrases.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Talk about a gadget or a piece of technology that you heavily rely on
You should say:

  • what it is
  • what do you use it for
  • how long you have been using it

and say how you would feel without it.

Model answer

I am not going to be original about the gadget and like most people I use my phone daily. My generation has been relying on this type of technology since childhood. It’s a thing that does it all, really – it teaches and entertains you, provides information, allows to keep in touch with your nearest and dearest. In addition to that, I often use it to track my jogging routine – it is able to measure my speed as well as the time I spend exercising.

I have had this particular phone for more than three years now. Normally I try to get a newer model only after my phone’s battery is no longer able to keep reasonable amount of charge. Another case when I switch to another one is when it gets heavily damaged, like the screen cracks or there is a firmware malfunction. But if we talk about how long I have been using mobile phones in general then the answer is well more than a decade! I can’t say for sure.

If I were to do without my phone I would feel miserable, isolated, stranded, even helpless! I guess it really makes one think how much reliant we have become to the conveniences of modern technology. After a while though I’m sure I would get over it and find ways to live without one.

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Technology and people

What technological advances have improved people’s lives the most?
The answer really depends on how far back we are willing to move. If we think of the ancient times, then the invention of the wheel was probably the most groundbreaking one as it made transportation of heavy objects possible. This practically kickstarted further technological advances. The creating of the printing press by Gutenberg made, for the first time in human history, books and manuscripts that could be bought for reasonable amount of money by anyone willing and able to read. Finally, the discovery and further adoption of electricity allowed people to use the endless array of electronics available today that otherwise wouldn’t have existed.

Are there any technological discoveries people would be better not making?
Honestly, I believe that the invention of the Internet has done more harm than good. First of all, the World Wide Web has become a platform to parade people’s vanity, ignorance and their contrarian views. Secondly, since the Web is largely uncontrolled and unmoderated it is possible to disseminate all kind of information, including one that is factually wrong and even harmful – such as fake news, for instance. Finally, this invention has made everyone more similar as we all read the same jokes and stories on the same websites. The Internet effectively reduced diversity of thought and ideas in that way.

Progress today and tomorrow

Talking about progress, how much different people’s lives are going to be in twenty years’ time?
It is very likely that thanks to availability of Internet access, people will be moving towards working from home. Another noticeable shift will be phones becoming the most popular form of entertainment, overtaking both personal computers and gaming consoles. As they advance technologically, we will witness the appearance of features such as holographic projections that complement the already existing augmented reality.

Would you say that people were happier in the past than they are now?
If you ask the old-timers how life was back when they were young, you are likely to hear that it indeed had been better. There was the thrill of bumping into a friend instead of messaging him in advance. People wrote actual letter and put them in envelopes. And I see no reason not to believe their experience. Nobody is going to argue that life used to be much simpler – and maybe easier to be happy with. Whether this was down to technological progress alone or due to other factors is another big question.

Is progress always a good thing?
If we once again take a look at human history, almost all of the inventions were aimed at improving general quality of human life. However, some of the discoveries ended up harming some individuals and society on the whole. Namely, some breakthroughs in the pharmaceutical domain made it possible to synthesize substances that are lethal to living things. Such substances can cause a great deal of pain and suffering if they end up in the wrong hands. Another example of progress gone wrong is drugs and I believe any further explanation here would be redundant.

Technology and progress vocabulary

Gadget (n) – a portable, high-tech piece of equipment such as a mobile phone or an mp3 player
Firmware (n) – similar to software (piece of code), but used to control the most essential parts of a device and usually difficult to change
Malfunction (n) – a breakdown in a mechanism or other complex manmade object
Groundbreaking (adj) – very important, influencing other things in its field
Adoption (n) – (here) wider acceptance and usage of something like a device or an idea
Augmented reality – a type of visual effect where you can see real life on the screen together with virtual objects such as player models, monster and so on
Breakthrough (n) – similarly to ‘groundbreaking’ it means an important achievement or a milestone

General vocabulary

Nearest and dearest – usually used to refer to your immediate and extended family as well as your loved ones
Stranded (adj) – lost or stuck somewhere without a chance of escaping, getting out or finding your way back
Kickstart (v) – to set something in motion, to begin something with energy and enthusiasm
Array (n) – a range, a list or a number of something
Parade (v) – to show something in a very easy to see way, conspicuously. Used negatively
Vanity (n) – false feeling of self-importance
Contrarian (adj) – a contrarian view is opposite to that of the common view just for the sake of being opposite
Disseminate (v) – to spread or to share information or knowledge
Complement (v) – if one thing complements another then it matches or goes well with it. Not to be confused with ‘compliment’
Bump into – (here) to meet with someone you know accidentally, without meaning to
Redundant (adj) – unneeded or unnecessary

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IELTS Speaking topic – Animals and pets #1

IELTS Speaking topic - animals and pets 1

This is a sample response for IELTS Speaking Part 2 and 3. In addition to the model answer there are highlighted words and phrases. Teal is for vocabulary relating to this topic, yellow is for generally useful words and phrases.

IELTS Speaking Part 2

Describe a situation when you met a wild animal
You should say:

  • how old you were
  • what the animal was
  • how it reacted to you

and say how you felt about meeting the animal.

Model answer

When I was in primary school, one day our teacher announced that we were going on a field trip. I got pretty excited about the prospects of spending the whole day in the woods. I was six or seven then and we lived in the city, so I wouldn’t see much of the trees and the nature, let alone animals in their natural habitat.

When the day came we set off. The summer sun makes everything better and our trip was no exception. It took us about two hours to drive to our camping spot. As we were unpacking, I noticed a hare sitting in tall grass, watching us. I took a piece of fruit and slowly approached it. I guess it really wanted to dash away, but the smell of the treat was too much to resist. It approached me cautiously, but wouldn’t get closer than five feet. I ended up just leaving the fruit for it to nibble on.

Seeing the hare made me really think about the relationship between humans and animals. I guess it was used to seeing people around, that is why it showed curiosity and was brave enough to approach us. I wonder if I would be lucky enough to see any wild animals there nowadays.

IELTS Speaking Part 3

Pets

What can you tell about a person by from the pet they have?
I believe you can infer quite a lot about the owners judging by their pet. To start with, pets usually act like their owners and vice versa. Let’s say somebody has a German Shepherd – this would probably mean that they are outgoing, focused and disciplined. They take their canine pet for a walk, meet other dog-owners, strike up conversations. Similarly, owners of cats are more likely to be homebodies who find comfort in staying in rather than going out. I guess simply the fact that a person has a pet also speaks volumes about them. Animals throughout human history have been known to be great companions to lonely people. So, if one has a dog or a cat – even a bird – could mean that they are single.

Should people be allowed to keep larger pets such as dogs in flats?
This is a point of contention. The main issue here is that dogs and other large animals can be quite noisy – and this noise can be very disturbing, especially during night time. Needless to say, the carefree owners of such pets have very little control over their behaviour. You simply can’t stop an unruly dog from barking at night or running around the flat in a sporadic fit of joy. Another point to consider is the detrimental effects that can be a result of living in confined spaces. Without proper exercising, pets like dogs can get ill. Not all owners are aware of this, so through negligence they can harm their pet, even if they love them.

Animals in captivity

Is it morally right to keep animals in places such as zoos and circuses?
Of course it is not. Humanity is in no position to hold animals unwillingly, either for entertainment or education. Unfortunately, the area of animal rights is largely undeveloped and even ignored by modern legislators. Commodifying animals is a very common practice – as it has been since the dawn of times. However, in the old days animals could be used to facilitate hauling goods or helping with farming. Therefore, it could be at least partially justified. Nowadays though it is completely inexcusable.

Do we need a law that punishes the owner for not treating their pets right?
I’m pretty such laws exist in the more developed countries. And if it’s not then it’s high time they have come up with one. Then we wouldn’t need animal shelters that get daily new arrivals of abandoned cats and dogs. There could be a preventive law that would not allow people to have pets to begin with unless they go through a certain procedure that confirms their good intentions and financial well-being. Just like in most cases with bans and penalties, a hefty fine would be the most effective deterrent for negligence towards pets and animals in general. All we need now is a good precedential base.

Pets and animals vocabulary

Natural habitat – a place where particular animal or plant lives naturally
Treat (n) – something tasty
Nibble (v) – to eat something in small bites
Canine (adj) – relating to dogs
Unruly (adj) – difficult to control, refusing to follow rules or commands
Confined spaces – small, closed, tight spaces such as small rooms

General vocabulary

Infer (v) – to guess by using the information given or available
Homebody (n) – a person who prefers to stay home rather than spend time outside
Detrimental (adj) – negative, harmful or damaging
Fit (n) – (here) an unusual period of experiencing a certain emotion or state, i.e. a fit of joy is a short period when one feels especially joyful
Negligence (n) – state of not paying enough attention to something or someone
Commodify (v) – to turn something into a commodity (a ware, a product), not used literally
Haul (v) – to transport something, usually something heavy
Hefty fine – a large payment one has to pay because they have broken the law or a regulation
Deterrent (n) – (here) something that prevents a certain undesirable action or behaviour

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