Idioms – the coolest English refreshment

easy peasyWhere could you use idioms in exams and why?

*Speaking: FCE/CAE/CPE/IELTS

*Writing: FCE/CAE/CPE, in the case of informal letters (they rock!!!), in reviews and in some articles and essays ,depending on the topic and level of informality of the idiom. Because some idioms seem more neutral than others. And other idioms may sound really offensive and superficial if used in academic writing.

Here’s a list of idioms you could practise using on a daily basis, until you learn them and are able to fit them almost everywhere (provided they match the content and register, of course):

  1. SECOND TO NONE=better than anyone/anything else
  2. WET BLANKET=pessimist
  3. BURN THE CANDLE AT BOTH ENDS=exhaust yourself by doing too much
  4. SILVER SURFER=an elderly person who uses the internet
  5. TO COME UP SMELLING OF ROSES=emerge from a situation with your reputation undamaged
  6. EASY PEASY LEMON SQUEEZY=very easy indeed
  7. BRAIN DRAIN=loss of talented people by a country that does not offer many opportunities
  8. CAUGHT BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA=in a dilemma
  9. HAVE A SPUTNIK MOMENT=realize that you are challenged and have to redouble efforts
  10. WHEN THE GOING GETS TOUGH, THE TOUGH GET GOING=when faced with a difficulty/danger, strong people take action.

Example of a neutral idiom that could be used in may types of contexts:

A THORNY ISSUE (meaning a difficult/unpleasant situation)

Example of  very informal idioms that look extremely offensive and unsuitable in a formal context:

BEGGARS CAN’T BE CHOOSERS (you should not reject an offer if it’s the only one you’ve got)

DEAD MAN WALKING (somebody who will inevitably be in great trouble/lose their job/position)

VERTICALLY CHALLENGED (a very short person)

 

TOUGH-COOKIE

So, if you’re A TOUGH COOKIE, learn as many idioms as you can and insert them in your discourse, you will STAND HEAD AND SHOULDERS ABOVE the other candidates.

For a useful list of idioms, contact me and I will send it via email. Using idioms will become EASY PEASY LEMON SQUEEZY.

 

 

 

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Phrasal verbs magic box

MAGIC BOX OF PHRASALS

Where can you use it?

1.FCE/CAE/CPE Use of English open cloze/rephrasing exercises

2.University Admission English grammar exercises

So, you need a phrasal verb, you have the verb, it’s, for example – turn, but the particle is missing. You know it must be a common one, you know you know it and it’s so annoying, what is it? OK, write the 6 most common particles that occur within phrasals, that is, 2 adverbs-UP and DOWN and 4 prepositions-IN, OUT, ON and OFF. (As you see they’re all spatial so the box helps you a lot to remember them). Try to match each of them and the right combination will simply pop up, you’ll see!!!

Sometimes it can be more difficult to select, let’s say, in the case of a CPE exam, where the phrasal verb will be a less common one. In this case choose what sounds most familiar, after you try to work out its meaning in context, of course.

To see that it works, try a simple exercise. Here are some verbs: make, get, put, take. Match them with the 6 particles and you’ll see you know all their meanings. This strategy always works.

Good luck!

UNIVERSITY OF BUCHAREST, FOREIGN LANGUAGES ADMISSION

Types of GRAMMAR EXERCISES met in the admission exam:

1. Put the verbs in brackets in the correct form:
1. Last month, a cousin of mine (return) to his flat after a trip to find it (break into).
2. None of her friends understood how she (succeed) in (pass) the test.
3. A week ago, I (write) to the company asking why the product (not arrive) yet. They never
replied.

2. Rewrite the sentences in the passive.
1. I need someone to show me what to do next.
2. In primary school, they gave Jim a lot of nicknames.
3. They want someone to provide them food.

3. Fill in the gaps by using the appropriate combinations of words, necessarily including a
modal verb:
1. You ……smoking or you’ll soon have breathing problems.
2. Was that absolutely necessary? You ….. to tell mom after all.
3. How did the cat escape? Someone ……. opened the back door!

These examples are adaptations from past UNIVBUC admission exams exercises.

For answers, explanations and further practice materials please contact me here:

mondiru_monica@yahoo.com

IELTS SYNONYMS FOR WRITING 1

pinterest funny IELTS question

As you already know, REPHRASING the task is a must for writing a suitable report INTRODUCTION in the IELTS exam.
That should be easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy, piece of cake, no rocket science…
Oh, never use idioms in an academic exam written task, by the way! Unless you can make them look academic…

So, here’s an example of a task taken from here:
http://www.ieltsbuddy.com/ielts-writing-task-1.html

You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

The line graph below shows changes in the amount and type of fast food consumed by Australian teenagers from 1975 to 2000.

Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features and make comparisons where relevant.

Write at least 150 words.

You need to rephrase this: The line graph below shows changes in the amount and type of fast food consumed by Australian teenagers from 1975 to 2000.

Tip: use as many synonyms as you can. Where this is not easy, omit unnecessary words or change word order, if possible.

Example of rephrasing the above sentence:

The (line) graph (below) (shows) illustrates changes in the (amount) quantity and type of fast food (consumed)eaten by Australian (teenagers)youngsters (from) between 1975 (to) and 2000.

What you see in the brackets should obviously be out. Youngsters is not a perfect synonym for teenagers, but the aim of the exercise was to show you that there are many changes you can make to the sentence. Of course there are more and better academic ways of rephrasing the sentence than this example.

Now try this:

The table shows the Proportions of Pupils Attending Four Secondary School Types Between Between 2000 and 2009. You can find the task here:

http://www.ieltsbuddy.com/task-1-table.html

EXAMPLES OF USEFUL SYNONYMS FOR IELTS WRITING TASK 1:

1. BETWEEN…AND…=FROM…TO…
2. QUANTITY=AMOUNT, VOLUME (in some cases)
3. AROUND=ABOUT, APPROXIMATELY
4. SHOW = ILLUSTRATE, DEPICT, DESCRIBE, PRESENT
5. INFORMATION=DATA
6. A CONSIDERABLE CHANGE=A DRAMATIC/SIGNIFICANT CHANGE
7. PER CENT= PERCENTAGE, PROPORTION, RATIO, QUOTA

For a longer list of useful synonyms and any questions you might have contact me here: mondiru_monica@yahoo.com

Good luck!