Posted in Conversation Classes, Exam Preparation Class, Vocabulary Classes

CAE Expressions Sheet

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a phrase sheet for my CAE students to help them with some nice informal expressions for the speaking assessment. The expressions are collected from various other worksheets but they idea was to have them all in one place for ease of studying. Download the sheet below.

CAE Expression Sheet

 

Family

1.       I definitely take after my Mum.

2.       My sister and I get on like a house on fire.

3.       My Dad is the breadwinner in our family.

4.       My brother and I are like two peas in a pod.

5.       My cousin and I are like chalk and cheese.

6.       Curly hair runs in my family

7.       They say that blood is thicker than water.

8.       I want to follow in my parents’ footsteps and become a doctor.

9.       I’m always falling out with my sister, she’s so annoying.

10.   My uncle is the black sheep of the family.

11.   My little brother is the spitting image of my Dad.

12.   I’m named after my great-grandfather.

 

Friendship

1.       Me and my best friend have been through thick and thin together.

2.       My best friend is such a good laugh.

3.       Me and my best friend are like brothers/sisters from another mother.

4.       I can always turn to my friend for advice or help.

5.       My best friend always stands up for me in an argument or fight.

6.       I know that my best friend has got my back if there’s any trouble.

7.       If I tell my friend a secret, I know that their lips are sealed. They would never spill the beans.

8.       My best friend is definitely not a fair-weather friend.

9.       Me and my best friend are lifelong friends.

10.   Me and my best friend from primary school have drifted apart.

11.   Me and my best friend are joined at the hip.

12.   I often crash at my friend’s house at the weekend.

 

 

 

Travelling

1.       Get itchy feet

2.       Get the travel bug

3.       Culture vulture

4.       Catch some rays

5.       Sit and watch the world go by

6.       Pack a lot in/Have a full plate

7.       See how the mood takes me

8.       Travel on a shoe string

9.       Live it up

10.   A culture shock

11.   Feel right at home

12.   Watch your back

13.   Travel light

14.   At the crack of dawn

 

The Future

With any luck, I will probably…

I have a burning ambition to…

I’ve always dreamed of… so I expect I will…

I haven’t made up my mind yet but I’m leaning towards studying…

I’m torn between studying… and ….

In all likelihood I’ll study…/work in…

I see myself working in the field of…

If everything goes to plan in 5 years, I’ll be…

I’ve got it all mapped out first I’m going to… then…

I have absolutely no clue what I’m going to do tomorrow let alone in 5 years.

I have always had aspirations to go into the field of…

I expect I’ll follow in my Mum/Dad’s footsteps.

 

Likes/Dislikes

·         I’m keen on / fond of……………

·         I’m a keen / avid + noun

·         I’m a keen swimmer.

·         I’m an avid guitarist.

·         I’m an avid traveller.

·         I’m a (bit of a) bookworm.

·         I’m an avid reader

·         I’m a (bit of a) film / music / history / art buff.

·         I’m a (bit of a) computer geek.

·         I’m a (bit of a) shopaholic.

·         I’m a (bit of a) workaholic.

·         I’m a bit of a risk taker / adrenalin junky / daredevil.

·         I like to recharge my batteries at the weekend.

·         I like to get away from the hustle and bustle of my job / school / the city.

·         The word is on the tip of my tongue

·         The word escapes me at the moment but….

·         I’m hooked on (Game of Thrones)

·         I’m a (bit of a) girly girl.

·         (Boys) I like sport, beer, and women.

·         I’m a (bit of a) man’s man.

·         I’m in tip top condition.

English/Education

·         I am / was a teacher’s pet / top of my class at school.

·         English is a requirement of my course / job.

·         If you want to get ahead in life you need English.

·         I’ve been studying English for ages.

·         I’ve been studying English for as long as I can remember.

·         English is an essential / key part of my everyday life.

 

 

Typical Speaking Part 1 Questions

  • What are you particular likes and dislikes?
  • What do you look for in a friend?
  • Describe your best friend.
  • What type of holidays do you enjoy?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
  • How important will English be in your future?
  • Tell me about your family.
  • What type of family do you have?
Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Vocabulary Classes

CAE Word Formation Practice

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

Here’s a worksheet for CAE students to help them prepare for part 3 of the use of English paper. Download the worksheet and key below, I found the exercises on quizlet so full credit to evatrn for making the set. Use the quizlet set below to revise.

Word Formation Practice

Word Formation Key

Quizlet Word Formation set

Worksheet

  1. Remember to _______ patients twice daily at 8.00am and 8.00pm. WEIGHT
  2. Why do you always want to go with those ignorant ___ people? WORTH
  3. This is the most interesting ___ I’ve ever seen. PERFORM
  4. Are you ___ of sailing in the prevailing conditions? ABLE
  5. Such an act would have been deceitful and ___ . RESPONSIBILITY
  6. There is already enough ___ without that, you know. PRESS
  7. You’d ___ too many people off with that speech. FRIGHT
  8. We must experience ___, pain, and death because we are alive. ANXIOUS
  9. I feel ___ about including the last sentence. HESITATE
  10. Now surely our ___ government must go. CREDIT
  11. The handshake is a basic gesture of ___ .FRIEND
  12. They fell into a ___ sleep which lasted until they were rediscovered in 1878. MIRACLE
  13. I’ve had a very sheltered ___, so this has really been an eye-opener. BRING
  14. The music was ___ loud, you couldn’t hear yourself think. BELIEVE
  15. Silk is always wonderful too, even if it’s totally ___ . PRACTICE
  16. People are being ________ into parting with their money. LEAD
  17. The government stopped funding ______ industries. PROFIT
  18. It’s normal for there to be _______ between brothers and sisters. COMPETE
  19. Walking the dog is ideal exercise for anyone and the fresh air will be ___ too. BENEFIT
  20. Her face was blotched and ___ with crying. SWELL
  21. There is a growing ______ that she will resign. BELIEVE
  22. It should come as no surprise that cycling builds leg ___ . STRONG
  23. He helped his underage son _______ his birth date to illegally obtain a driver’s license. FALSE
  24. All ___ must be over 18. APPLY
  25. It’s an ___ and dangerous policy. LOGIC
  26. As he was watching them, his eyes began to ___ in astonishment. WIDE
  27. Doctors have developed a new, modern ___ technique involving ultra-sound. PAIN
  28. There is a feeling of isolation and professional ___ in schools. SECURE
  29. Many candidates showed little ___ of the problems from the headhunter’s point of view. APPRECIATE
  30. Do these goods comply with our safety _________? REQUIRE
  31. We were unable to establish_______ of her innocence. PROVE
  32. An attempt is also being made to ___ textures and symbols where possible. STANDARD
  33. He took to it like the ___ fish to water. PROVERB
  34. In all ___________ the vase was made in the seventeenth century.LIKELY
  35. He’s definitely someone very nervy, very jumpy and basically___ . SECURITY
  36. ‘I regret, I cannot offer any ___, Madame’ he said with a smile. REFRESH
  37. He’s like a politician who wants to convince you of his _____. SINCERE
  38. There’s no damage done, there’s no ___ . THIEF
  39. But the level of social welfare was so high that poverty was ___ . THINK
  40. The first thing he discovered was that Newley had not died ___ . ACCIDENT
  41. The whole method is a form of ___ . SIMPLE
  42. But are we allowing ourselves to be carried away by false ___? VAIN
  43. Moments before there was a ___ with a car. COLLIDE
  44. It was not, he admits, the wisest ___ for a beginner. CHOOSE
  45. You can hold the snake: it’s _____. HARM
  46. The government is noted for its ___________ drugs policy. COMPROMISE
  47. He admired the ___ of relationships he saw around him. WARM
  48. We have caused enough harm by our ___, irresponsible, selfish behaviour. THINK
  49. But not all ___ are valid in reference to pedagogy. IMPLY
  50. And he accepts that he set out on the lonely road to ___ too early in life. STAR
  51. Critics say he has been weak and _______ . DECIDE
  52. He tried to look ___, but it didn’t work. APOLOGY
  53. The country will _______ currency controls to encourage spending abroad. LOOSE
  54. For some _______ reason, she chose that moment to break the news. EXPLAIN
  55. We spend $5 million a year on _________. ADVERTISEMENT
  56. Which women do you ___ about? FANTASY
  57. Every time the pictorial elements were similar, if not almost ___ . IDENTITY
  58. All this she heard, even understood, but still she was ___ . SPEAK
  59. The jury found the doctor criminally _______. NEGLECT
  60. She’s made an official ___ .COMPLAIN
  61. The economies of Western Europe and Japan experienced ___ growth. PRECEDE
  62. The system is liable to suffer from ___ of the type discussed above. ACCURATE
  63. It was a ___ room with a deep bay window overlooking the river. SPACE
  64. In that case, young lady, you would have my undying ___ . GRATEFUL
  65. It was very __________ of you. Thank you. CONSIDER
  66. It would be much more ___ for you to marry a woman with money. SENSE
  67. The tension in the room seemed ___ . ENDURE
  68. Winners will be _______as soon as possible. NOTE
  69. The evidence from ___ times can seldom be interpreted with any certainty. HISTORY
  70. ‘Play’ and ‘game’ are used ____- it does not matter which. CHANGE

Key

  1. weigh Remember to _______ patients twice daily at 8.00am and 8.00pm. WEIGHT
  2. worthless Why do you always want to go with those ignorant ___ people? WORTH
  3. performance This is the most interesting ___ I’ve ever seen. PERFORM
  4. capable Are you ___ of sailing in the prevailing conditions? ABLE
  5. irresponsible Such an act would have been deceitful and ___ . RESPONSIBILITY
  6. pressure There is already enough ___ without that, you know. PRESS
  7. frighten You’d ___ too many people off with that speech. FRIGHT
  8. anxiety We must experience ___, pain, and death because we are alive. ANXIOUS
  9. hesitant I feel ___ about including the last sentence. HESITATE
  10. discredited Now surely our ___ government must go. CREDIT
  11. friendship The handshake is a basic gesture of ___ .FRIEND
  12. miraculous They fell into a ___ sleep which lasted until they were rediscovered in 1878. MIRACLE
  13. upbringing I’ve had a very sheltered ___, so this has really been an eye-opener. BRING
  14. unbelievably The music was ___ loud, you couldn’t hear yourself think. BELIEVE
  15. impractical Silk is always wonderful too, even if it’s totally ___ . PRACTICE
  16. misled People are being ________ into parting with their money. LEAD
  17. unprofitable The government stopped funding ______ industries. PROFIT
  18. competition It’s normal for there to be _______ between brothers and sisters. COMPETE
  19. beneficial Walking the dog is ideal exercise for anyone and the fresh air will be ___ too. BENEFIT
  20. swollen Her face was blotched and ___ with crying. SWELL
  21. belief There is a growing ______ that she will resign. BELIEVE
  22. strength It should come as no surprise that cycling builds leg ___ . STRONG
  23. falsify He helped his underage son _______ his birth date to illegally obtain a driver’s license.FALSE
  24. applicants All ___ must be over 18. APPLY
  25. illogical It’s an ___ and dangerous policy. LOGIC
  26. widen As he was watching them, his eyes began to ___ in astonishment. WIDE
  27. painless Doctors have developed a new, modern ___ technique involving ultra-sound. PAIN
  28. insecurity There is a feeling of isolation and professional ___ in schools. SECURE
  29. appreciation Many candidates showed little ___ of the problems from the headhunter’s point of view. APPRECIATE
  30. requirement Do these goods comply with our safety _________? REQUIRE
  31. proof We were unable to establish_______ of her innocence. PROVE
  32. standardise An attempt is also being made to ___ textures and symbols where possible. STANDARD
  33. proverbial He took to it like the ___ fish to water. PROVERB
  34. likelihood In all ___________ the vase was made in the seventeenth century.LIKELY
  35. insecure He’s definitely someone very nervy, very jumpy and basically___ . SECURITY
  36. refreshment ‘I regret, I cannot offer any ___, Madame’ he said with a smile. REFRESH
  37. sincerity He’s like a politician who wants to convince you of his _____. SINCERE
  38. theft There’s no damage done, there’s no ___ . THIEF
  39. unthinkable But the level of social welfare was so high that poverty was ___ . THINK
  40. accidentally The first thing he discovered was that Newley had not died ___ . ACCIDENT
  41. simplification The whole method is a form of ___ . SIMPLE
  42. vanity But are we allowing ourselves to be carried away by false ___? VAIN
  43. collision Moments before there was a ___ with a car. COLLIDE
  44. CHOICE It was not, he admits, the wisest ___ for a beginner. CHOOSE
  45. harmless You can hold the snake: it’s harmless. HARM
  46. uncompromising The government is noted for its ___________ drugs policy.. COMPROMISE
  47. warmth He admired the ___ of relationships he saw around him. WARM
  48. thoughtless We have caused enough harm by our ___, irresponsible, selfish behaviour. THINK
  49. implications But not all ___ are valid in reference to pedagogy. IMPLY
  50. stardom And he accepts that he set out on the lonely road to ___ too early in life. STAR
  51. indecisive Critics say he has been weak and _______ . DECIDE
  52. apologetic He tried to look ___, but it didn’t work. APOLOGY
  53. loosen The country will _______ currency controls to encourage spending abroad.  LOOSE
  54. inexplicable For some _______ reason, she chose that moment to break the news. EXPLAIN
  55. advertising We spend $5 million a year on _________. ADVERTISEMENT
  56. fantasize Which women do you ___ about?FANTASY
  57. identical Every time the pictorial elements were similar, if not almost ___ . IDENTITY
  58. speechless All this she heard, even understood, but still she was ___ . SPEAK
  59. negligent The jury found the doctor criminally _______. NEGLECT
  60. complaint She’s made an official ___ .COMPLAIN
  61. unprecedented The economies of Western Europe and Japan experienced ___ growth. PRECEDE
  62. inaccuracies The system is liable to suffer from ___ of the type discussed above. ACCURATE
  63. spacious It was a ___ room with a deep bay window overlooking the river. SPACE
  64. gratitude In that case, young lady, you would have my undying ___ . GRATEFUL
  65. considerate It was very __________ of you. Thank you. CONSIDER
  66. sensible It would be much more ___ for you to marry a woman with money. SENSE
  67. unendurable The tension in the room seemed ___ . ENDURE
  68. notified Winners will be _______as soon as possible. NOTE
  69. prehistoric The evidence from ___ times can seldom be interpreted with any certainty. HISTORY
  70. interchangeably ‘Play’ and ‘game’ are used ____- it does not matter which. CHANGE
Posted in Conversation Classes

Crime and Punishment: Conversation Topic

Image credit: www.theguardian.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a conversation topic for adults and teenagers on the subject of crime and punishment. Students discuss how safe they feel in their city, discuss the attraction of crime films and decide the correct punishment for some heinous (and not so heinous) crimes. Download everything below:

Crime and Punishment Lesson Plan

Crime and Punishment

crime film posters

Handout

Discussion

  1. Is your city a safe place to live? Why?
  2. Does your city have any dangerous areas? Where are they?
  3. Are you afraid to walk outside after dark? Why?
  4. Do you know anyone who has been robbed? If so, what happened?
  5. Have you ever been robbed? Have you ever had something stolen from you?
  6. Is it ever okay to break the law? If so, when?
  7. What are some things people can do to protect themselves from crime?
  8. What are some things that are legal but you personally think should be illegal?
  9. What are some things that are illegal but you personally think should be legal?
  10. What crimes have you heard about recently in the news?
  11. What do you think is the worst crime a person could commit? Why?
  12. What crimes do you think will increase in the future? Why?
  13. What crimes do you think will decrease in the future? Why?
  14. Does your country have the death penalty? If so, for what crimes can people receive the death penalty?
  15. Do you think the death penalty is a fair punishment? Why?
  16. Are there any reasonable alternatives to the death penalty? What?
  17. Why do people steal things?
  18. Have you ever had anything stolen from you?
  19. Have you ever stolen anything?

Brainstorm Crimes and punishments

https://www.englishclub.com/english-for-work/police-crime.htm

Glamourising Crime

Show pictures of crime films/books.

  • What happens in these films?
  • Why do we sympathise with the criminals?
  • What crimes are glamorous?
  • Can criminals be heroes?
  • What makes a villain a villain?

The punishment fits the crime

Students debate what punishments are appropriate for the crimes in the powerpoint.

Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Grammar Classes

Would Rather/Would Sooner

Image credit: www.foodnavigator-usa.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a grammar activity designed for C1 students. Students learn how to express preference using “would rather” and “would sooner” then put them to use in a roleplay. Download the powerpoint, handout and key below:

Would rather – powerpoint

Would Rather worksheet – handout and key

Procedure

Use the powerpoint to present the rules, it is designed in a test, teach, test structure. Make sure that students copy down the rules and several examples then have them complete the worksheet and finally put the structures to use in a fun role-play. Students will role play being a married couple having a very civilised argument. Once they have finished have them feedback in open class: “Can the marriage be saved? Or is it on the rocks?” My teenage CAE students found it absolutely hilarious and used the structures in very creative ways.

Handout

Complete the sentences with the correct form of the verb in brackets:

  1. I would rather ____________ a light salad than a steak for dinner. (have)
  2. I would rather he ________________his dirty cups all over the house. (not leave)
  3. Venice was nice but I’d sooner __________________ to Paris. (go)
  4. He’s quite antisocial he’d just as soon ____________ video games all weekend than go to a bar. (play)
  5. I wanted to give the present to granny! I’d rather you _______________ for me to arrive before you gave it to her. (wait)
  6. We had dinner outside but it was too cold. I’d much rather ______________ inside the restaurant. (eat)

Complete the key word transformations using 3-6 words.

  1. My brother is always stealing my chocolate out of the fridge.

RATHER

I’d _______________________________________ my chocolate out of the fridge.

  1. Why did you tell the boss I was leaving?

RATHER

I ____________________________________ the boss I was leaving.

  1. I prefer visiting museums to lying around on the beach all day.

JUST

I ____________________________ than lie around on the beach all day.

  1. The chocolates he gave me were ok but I wanted roses.

RATHER

I _____________________________  me roses instead of chocolates.

  1. The art gallery was sooo boring; I wanted to go to the casino.

RATHER

I _______________________________ to the casino instead of that boring art gallery.

  1. He would prefer to do anything instead of watching a football match.

SOONER

He ___________________________________ anything instead of watching a football match.

Role-play

Role-play the following scenario with your partner:

You are a married couple; you have been married for 23 years. You have just got back from a party at a friend’s house. At the party you both got drunk and did a lot of things to annoy your husband/wife. You are both also annoyed about some things that the other does or doesn’t do around the house. Have a civilised argument using as many “would rathers” and “would sooners” as you can.

Key

Sentence Completion

  1. Have
  2. Didn’t leave
  3. Have gone
  4. Play
  5. Had waited
  6. Have eaten

Key Word Transformations

  1. Rather my brother didn’t steal
  2. Would rather you hadn’t told
  3. Would just as soon visit museums
  4. Would rather he had given
  5. Would rather have gone
  6. Would soon do
Posted in Conversation Classes, Grammar Classes

Used to/Would: My First Job

Image credit: www.express.co.uk

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a lesson plan for intermediate adult students in which they learn how to use “used to” and “would” to talk about past habits then use them to talk about their first jobs. Download the handout and key below:

My First Job would used to

Handout

Reading

I got my first job when I was 12 years old. I worked as a paperboy delivering newspapers to people in my village every morning. I used to get up very early and deliver the papers to half of the village while my friend Ben would deliver to the other half. I used to love seeing the empty streets of the village before anyone got up but I used to hate the job on rainy days. I would sometimes ride my bike to get the job done faster. Ben was luckier than me, sometimes if he couldn’t be bothered to do his paper round, his Dad would drive him around his route in his car!

  1. What was his first job?
  2. He had to deliver papers to the whole village T/F
  3. What did he enjoy about his job?
  4. What didn’t he like about his job?
  5. He always did the job on foot T/F
  6. Sometimes someone helped him do his job T/F

Language Focus

Underline all the uses of “used to” and “would” in the text. Both can be used to describe habits in the past.

Complete the rules below with “would” or “used to”:

__________________ can be used to describe past habitual actions, likes/dislikes, states and opinions that are not true now.

__________________ can only be used to describe past habitual actions NOT states and opinions.

Look at the text again, in which cases can we use either “used to” or “would” and which ones can we only use “used to”?

Complete the sentences below with “used to” or “used to + would”

  1. I _____________ be really fat but I’ve lost a lot of weight.
  2. When I was a child I ___________________ play football in the park for hours.
  3. I _____________ hate olives but I love them now.
  4. When I worked in the city centre I ___________________take the metro to work every day.
  5. I ____________________ think that living alone was boring but I’ve changed my mind now.
  6. When I was at primary school we __________________ go swimming every Monday afternoon and on the way home we __________________ stop to buy sweets and Coca-Cola I ________________ love Monday afternoons!

Note: We normally start a story about a past habit with “used to” and then use “would” to describe actions:

I used to work in advertising; I would travel all over the world meeting different clients. On Fridays we would take the day off and go to a casino or a bar.

Practice

Step 1: Write a short text (2-3 lines) about your first job. Include your responsibilities and some things you liked and disliked about it.

 

 

 

Step 2: Read your text to your partner. Then let them ask you some questions about your job:

For example: What did you use to wear? Were you a good employee? Etc.

Step 3: Change partner and tell them about your old job but this time try to do it from memory DON’T READ FROM THE PAPER.

Reflect

  1. Who used to have the most different job to the one they do now?
  2. Whose first job sounds the best/worst?
  3. What are the most common first jobs in your country?
  4. What age do you think people should get their first job?
  5. How can we prepare young people for the stresses of the working world?

Key

Reading

  1. He was a paperboy
  2. False, his friend delivered to half the village
  3. Seeing the empty streets in the morning
  4. Doing the job on rainy days
  5. False, he sometimes rode his bike
  6. False, his friend Ben sometimes got his Dad to help him

 

Complete the rules below with “would” or “used to”:

Used to can be used to describe past habitual actions, likes/dislikes, states and opinions that are not true now.

Would can only be used to describe past habitual actions NOT states and opinions.

Sentences

  1. Used to
  2. Both
  3. Used to
  4. Both
  5. Used to
  6. Both, both, used to
Posted in Conversation Classes, Vocabulary Classes

Working 9 to 5

Image credit: the-daily.buzz

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is a vocabulary activity for adults intermediate students. Students will learn some vocabulary related to the world of work and put it to use in a discussion. Download the handout and teacher’s notes below:

Working 9 to 5

Handout

Question completion

  1. What is the minimum hourly ______ in your country? Do you think it is enough?
  2. What is the average ________ for a politician in your country? Do you think it is enough?
  3. How long is your normal working day? Do you get paid for ________ (working extra hours)?
  4. Do you get a Christmas or Summer _________ in your job? If so, how much do you get?
  5. How much __________ do you get at Christmas, Easter and in the summer?
  6. Have you ever worked a night ________? What was it like? Do you know anyone who does it often?
  7. What are the most common ___________ jobs for people with children in your country?
  8. If you have to travel for your job, does your company pay your _________? Or do you have to pay them yourself?
  9. When was the last time you got a _________ from a carpenter/plumber/builder etc.? How much was it?
  10. How much does a teacher _________ in your country? Is it enough? Who do you think doesn’t _______ enough? Who do you think ________ too much?
A.SHIFT  B.EXPENSES  C.WAGE    D.SALARY    E.BONUS   F.OVERTIME   G.QUOTE    H.EARN    I.PART-TIME   J.TIME OFF

 

Different Trades

What are the names of these jobs?

  1. How do people train for these jobs in your country?
  2. Do you have any skills in these areas?
  3. What are the advantages of these jobs compared to an office job?

 

Procedure

Give out the handout and have students complete the questions with one word from the box. Check their answers, students then ask and answer the questions in pairs or groups of three. Feed back in open class.

Students then try to name the different tradespeople then ask and answer the discussion questions.

Key

  1. Wage (normally refers to hourly or weekly pay from a job)
  2. Salary (often refers to annual amount)
  3. Overtime
  4. Bonus
  5. Time off
  6. Shift
  7. Part-time
  8. Expenses
  9. Quote
  10. Earn, earn, earns

Trades

  1. Plumber
  2. Electrician
  3. Builder
  4. Carpenter
  5. Painter and decorator
  6. Gardener
Posted in Exam Preparation Class, Writing Classes

CAE Informal Letter of Recommendation

Image credit:theodysseyonline.com

Follow me on twitter @RobbioDobbio

This is phrase sheet for CAE students to help them tackle informal letters of recommendation, which sometimes come up in part 2 of the writing paper. Download the handout below:

Informal Recommendation Letter

Handout

A possible letter task in the CAE is an informal letter to a friend recommending (or not) a course/activity/holiday you have been on. Below is an example:

You have recently been on a two week adventure holiday in a foreign country. A good friend writes to you because they are thinking about booking a holiday with the same company. You should describe the highlights of the holiday and any problems you encountered and state if you would recommend the experience to your friend.

Informal greetings

Hello mate! How’s it going?
What’re you up to nowadays? Lovely to hear from you.
It’s been ages since we last saw each other. I hope all’s well.

Mixing good with bad

In the task you have to tell your friend about both the positive and negative sides of the activity. What I don’t want you to do is write one paragraph of good points and one of bad because who writes a letter like that? I want you to mix the good with the bad.

Despite/In spite of + noun Despite/In spite of + the fact that + clause
In spite of the dreadful weather (bad), we had a wonderful time. (good) Despite the fact that it poured with rain all week (bad), we had a wonderful time. (good)
Although/Even though + clause Apart from + noun + relative clause
Even though the instructor didn’t speak English (bad), we still managed to pick up the basics. (good) Apart from the first day when it poured, we had clear blue skies every day.

 

Apart from the taxi driver who tried to rip us off, all the people were lovely.

2nd Conditionals

If you did decide to go, I could lend you…../I might come with you. If I were you, I’d………..
If I were in your shoes, I’d………………  

3rd Conditionals

It would have been better if there had been………… I would have been better if I had/hadn’t………………
If I had/hadn’t……………., we could have………….  

Not only

Not only did we ….(do 1 activity), but also …….(another activity) Not only did we learn how to ……….., but also ……………
Not only did we see lions and elephants, but also giraffes and monkeys.  

 

Phrasal verbs

To take up a hobby – to start doing a hobby

I have just taken up snowboarding.

To make up for – to compensate

The excellent food more than made up for the awful weather.

To pick up new skills – to acquire

I picked up some useful skills, such as……..

To get a lot out of something – to take benefit from something. (enjoyment, knowledge, etc.)

I got a lot out of the training sessions.

To catch up with someone – to share the latest news about your life with someone.

We should meet for a coffee and catch up.

To come across – to find unexpectedly (not people)

We were walking through the jungle when we came across some old ruined buildings.

To get on/along with someone – to like and be friendly with someone.

We got along with everyone in our group.

To keep/carry on doing something – to continue

We kept on walking all night.

Look/watch out for – be vigilant for

Look out for pickpockets on the metro system.

Sort out a problem – resolve a problem

The manager came and sorted out the problem.