Yesterday in my IELTS intensive course in Manchester we were talking about topic language – good language for topics that occur in IELTS writing and speaking questions.
I think that topic ideas is probably a better way of thinking about it – and then the language is used to express those ideas.
This is connected to my general view that content (here ideas) is way to a good mark!
You do not need to learn technical language about particular topics.
What does this mean for you?
- It means you should think about ideas – this is why in the topic language section I always express ideas – you can agree or disagree.
- You should learn collocations – patterns of words – to express your ideas – notice the language in the topic sections!
- You should notice how you can use the same collocations with different topics.
Look at this example:
In the passage about English as an international language (see Topic Language below) I said:
- I think it is a great advantage to have one language that is widely used as a second language.
- the first phrase can be used in many contexts
- think of a topic and try it:
- Studying in England:
- I think it is a great advantage to be able to speak English outside the classroom.
- Going to university:
- I think it is a great advantage to have three or four years extra for studying.
- Being married:
- I think it is a great advantage to have someone to talk to when you get home.
- This is not just learning phrases:
- it is using language to think of ideas
- you can then use these ideas – and make sentences with NO mistakes – when you are writing or speaking.
Look at this phrase from the same passage:
- It seems to me that the main reason why people (sometimes) believe this is because it is difficult to commmunicate if people cannot speak a common. language.
- Note: this phrase is used to introduce an idea which I do NOT agree with.
- So it is useful when I am explaining two sides of an issue / debate / discussion
- It seems to me that the main reason why people believe that it is a good idea to learn English in England is because they think it is a great advantage to be able to speak English outside the classroom. I completely disagree with this for three main reasons. Firstly, in my experience many students who live in England do not speak English very much outside the classroom because they spend a lot of time with people from their own countries. Secondly, it also costs a lot of money to live and study in England – and that money could be spent on having personal lessons in their own country. Finally, the UK visa system means people spend too many hours in the classroom, often get bored, and waste a lot of time. (134 words)
- The phrase is used as a way to express my ideas.
- It helps me to think of ideas.
- My ideas are simple and clear.
- My paragraph is very well organised.
- 134 words is easily long enough for one of the 2 main paragraphs in a task 2 writing.
- Use the same topic or:
- “Advertising is very powerful” / “Sports stars earn too much money”