Get the pronunciation of English words with Forvo


You probably have wondered more than once how to pronounce a word in English. The truth is that pronunciation is one of the most complicated aspects of English because there are no clear rules and many variations.

We’d like to bring to your attention today a free resource known as Forvo, which may be defined as All the words in the World. Pronounced.

It’s actually a definition not far from the truth as it contains over 86,000 words and their English pronunciation. Words can be found very easily as they are grouped in different categories (adjectives, nouns, verbs, sports, animals ...) or you can search for them directly on the Forvo searcher.

Another advantage of Forvo is that many words have been pronounced by more than one person so that you’ll be able to get your ear used to different accents hence improving your comprehension skills. For every word, a map of the World is also displayed so that you can see where the person that pronounced the word actually lives.

Forvo example

Visit Forvo to answer any question about English pronunciation that you might have.
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GrammaTube - learn everything about the modal verbs in English

GrammaTube - learn everything about the modal verbs in English

Do you know how to use the modal verbs in English? Would you be able to use can, could, should, must or have to properly?

If you’re not sure, in this new post we introduce several videos chosen from YouTube that will allow you to understand and properly use modal verbs in English. These videos are full of explanations, examples and exercises to help you understand their use.

Grammar can be one of the most difficult skills to develop in English but it is without doubt the key to progress throughout your learning. A good grammar base will help you to write properly and speak in English, hence improving communication with other people.

List and brief explanation about modal verbs in English

Link to the video on YouTube

Good introductory video to modal verbs along with exercises to practice

Link to the video on YouTube

Explanation about modal verbs “can” and “could”

Link to the video on YouTube

Lesson about modal verbs “must” and “have to”

Link to the video on YouTube

Explanation about modal verb “should”

Link to the video on YouTube

Learn the difference in meaning between “should” and “must”

Link to the video on YouTube

Learn the difference in meaning between “must” and “have to”

Link to the video on YouTube

Modal verbs of obligation, with lots of interactive exercises

Link to the video on YouTube

Using the modal verbs to express past possibilities

Link to the video on YouTube

Good compilation of songs to learn about the modal verbs in English

Link to the video on YouTube
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Model Answer - IELTS (Task 1)

There are four main ingredients in a fish pie (fish, sauce, peas and potatoes) and before being sold in a microwaveable container, the mixture passes through a production line where each food is added separately.

To begin with, potatoes and fresh salmon are delivered to the factory and these products are placed on parallel, simultaneously moving conveyor belts. Prior to boiling the potatoes, they are cleaned, peeled and sliced. They are then frozen and stored until they are ready to be added to the fish pie.

Meanwhile lemon juice and salt is added to the fresh salmon which needs to be prepared within 12 hours or less of delivery. Workers remove the skin and bones of the steamed salmon and further inspection is required. Ready peas, sauce and potatoes are added to the mixture. As the pie is now at its final stage, it is wrapped and frozen. It remains in storage until it is ready to be dispatched to suppliers and end consumers.

To conclude, processed fish pies are produced in a factory where prepared potatoes, peas and ready sauce is added to fresh, steamed, boneless and skinless salmon. Human intervention is required to check the fish and once the container is ready it needs to be frozen to preserve it before consumption.
Question taken from Cambridge IELTS Trainer p. 151
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Model Answer - IELTS (Task 2)

In some countries it is thought advisable that children begin formal education at four years old, while in others they do not have to start school until they are seven or eight. How far do you agree with either of these views?

Although there are laws in each country that dictate the number of years a child needs to spend in formal education, the starting age is a decision taken by parents mainly with the child’s best interests in mind.

When a child is four it has just begun to learn how to become independent and carry out basic functions on its own such as eating, speaking in sentences and going to the toilet. Even though parents might believe that this is an ideal age to begin schooling, children this young might not be ready to face the challenge. Parents might want their children to get an early start but their children may find it difficult to learn literacy skills so young. In addition at four, children would like to be at home with their family.

On the other hand the age of 7 is what is usually appropriate for children. They are ready to be part of a group, mature enough to make friends and are full of energy and bright ideas. They are also able to grasp pencils better and acquire basic skills. Having spent enough time in their home environment, school will be an ideal alternative for them.

In my opinion, starting formal education at a later age is better than doing so when you are not ready for it. Although a child will get a head start they will be mature for their age and miss out on having fun at home and spending time with their family.

Question taken from Cambridge IELTS Trainer p. 152
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Model Answer - IELTS (Task 2)

Some people choose to eat no meat or fish. They believe that this is not only better for their own health but also benefits the world as a whole.
Discuss this view and give your own opinion.

People often choose their diet according to their preferences, religion (e.g. Buddhists opt for vegetarianism) or moral beliefs (e.g. supporters of animal rights refrain from eating animals).

As long as a person has a balanced diet, being a vegetarian is beneficial for their health. Many diseases are linked to eating meat and it also takes a longer time to digest. Fruit and vegetables, particularly in their raw form are rich in fibers and vitamins. They also have a high water content which benefits the skin. A diet consisting of vegetables makes a person better equipped to fend off viruses and provides them with natural energy throughout the day.

On a global scale the consumption of meat by humans often affects the eco-system of the animal kingdom. In Japan for example where the population favours eating whale meat, these magnificent animals are becoming extinct. Similarly sharks suit the Chinese market and seals are eaten in Alaska. Plenty of meat is now mass-produced in factories which angers animal rights activists who see this as inhumane.

On the other hand we should not dismiss the value of eating meat. Meat provides our body with proteins and fish has its own nutritional value. Our teeth are designed to rip meat apart and our digestive system is able to digest meat. Let us not forget that mankind has been eating meat for millions of years.

In my opinion if someone is a vegetarian their lifestyle is healthy due to the vitamins, energy and positive contribution it makes to health. Eating no meat or fish means that animals will not be bred or killed for food. However everyone should be able to choose what they eat and not forget that our body is designed for meat consumption.

Question taken from Cambridge IELTS Trainer p. 171
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iPhone Apps that help you refine your English

While there are countless apps out there that claim to teach people the basic mechanics of the English language, there are far fewer apps available that help people refine those skills once they learn the fundamentals. After you learn the bare necessities of English—phonics, basic nouns, verbs, and adjectives, the structure of a simple sentence, and so forth—you have to learn what to do with all the new information in order to keep it fresh and growing in your mind.

With that in mind, here are three free apps for your iPhone that can help you get to the intermediate level of English language competency. Try them out and good luck!

Grammar App
Grammar App

The simply titled Grammar App is a free app for the iPhone that teaches a variety of English grammar lessons to users. Grammar App utilizes a diversity of lesson plans to tackle components of English grammar, including verb tenses, prepositions, interjections, punctuation, and adverbs.

The app allows you to select an area of grammar where you need a lesson, and then presents you with several exercises, usually in the form of a sentence that needs a grammatical tune up. For example, there might be an adverb lesson that shows sentences with incorrect usage, and your job is to point out the misused adverbs. After you complete a lesson, Grammar App tabulates your overall “score” so that you can keep track of your progress.

Download Grammar App

Sentence Maker
Sentence Maker

If you’re having trouble with the basics of sentence syntax, then you’d better check out Sentence Maker. This app presents you with vibrant photos of various situations and asks you to construct a sentence to describe the scene. There’s a wheel of options to choose from below the picture, typically divided up into sections based on subject, verb, and object.

A picture of a Martian landscape might read “The green aliens are in front of the red rocks.” Sentence Maker offers sentences of varying complexity, so you can change it up depending on your English competency. This is an app primarily meant for children, but it can work just as well for someone new to the English language.

Download Sentence Maker

Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Merriam-Webster Dictionary

The classic dictionary works just as well on the iPhone as it does in book format. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary app contains millions of words in the English language, each with descriptive and understandable definitions to help you understand them better.

This is an essential tool for someone working on the English language because so many words have multiple meanings that you’ll be lost on their proper use without context. The easy to use interface makes the dictionary much less intimidating than the real thing, which is probably the biggest book you’ll ever see. It’s also a free app, so there’s really no reason not to download it.

Download Merriam-Webster Dictionary

This guest post is contributed by Katheryn Rivas, who writes on the topics of online universities advice. She welcomes your comments at her email Id:
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Model Answer - IELTS (Task 2)

Some people argue that it is more important to have an enjoyable job than to earn a lot of money. Others disagree and think that a good salary leads to a better life.
Discuss both these views and give your own opinion

The workforce is motivated by a number of factors. For some an attractive salary is the prime reason for working whilst others take into consideration other factors such as a good working environment, perks, flexible working hours, co-operative colleagues and job satisfaction. Undoubtedly a high salary results in a better standard of living but considering that workers spend most of their hours at work, often this is not enough to keep them satisfied.

In many cases, students study a subject that interests them with the logic that they will end up working in a profession that suits their character and ambitions. Being creative at work as opposed to carrying out monotonous tasks means that a person will be more productive and happy which in turn might be profitable for the company. On the other hand, workers who are miserable at work irrespective of their high salary are likely to transfer these negative feelings home.

Naturally, the first benefit that is negotiated when seeking employment is a good salary. Everybody needs to survive and prosper financially especially during periods of economic crises. Most workers are willing to put up with being unsatisfied in the workplace when they earn a good package.

Ideally, the best situation would be job satisfaction accompanied by a high salary, but unfortunately this is not always the case. What a person chooses depends on their ideals and what they view as important. People who put money above all else will only be interested in a high salary while those who value enjoyment more place pleasure at the forefront. Personally, I believe job satisfaction is equally important.

Question taken from Cambridge IELTS Trainer p.114
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Model Answer - IELTS (Task 2)

It is generally believed that the Internet is an excellent means of communication but some people suggest that it may not be the best place to find information. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

As well as being a vital source of information, the Internet has other functions such as easing communication. Although life has become easier with the Internet and information may be accessed faster, some people do not believe that the information found on the web is reliable.

Applications such as MSN, Skype, Facebook etc. enable people to communicate with each other all over the world via computers and mobile phones. This is beneficial as communication is free and simultaneous. Webcams also enable you to see the person you are conversing with. Communication is possible with the use of emails too. This form of communication is useful for companies as well. Video conferencing can save valuable time and money and break down communication barriers.

In addition to being a great means of communication, the Internet provides a wealth of information. Many journals can be found online, books may be downloaded and libraries have begun uploading books on the web. Well-known newspapers and magazines have on-line versions of their printed material. Although there are other traditional places to search for information such as directories, libraries and state archives most people prefer the Internet. What concerns many academics is the reliability of the information posted on the web. As the Internet is open to the public and supports freedom of speech, people who may not have expert knowledge on a topic may present information there. In fact students are often warned not to extract information from certain sites.

To conclude, I believe the Internet is one of man’s greatest inventions. It allows us to be in touch with our family and friends from all corners of the world and at any hour of the day. Information can be found instantly and it is up to each individual to exercise their judgment on the usefulness of the information found there.

Question taken from Cambridge IELTS Trainer p.133
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General Training Model Answer - IELTS (Task 1)

You are planning a two-week vacation, and you need someone to take care of your house while you are away.
Write a letter to your neighbour. In your letter
Tell your neighbour that you are going away

ask your neighbour to take care of your house for you
explain what tasks you would like your neighbour to do

Dear Rob,

I hope you are well. The time has finally arrived for me to take my annual leave and I’m sure you’re tired of me going on about it continuously. Well, I’m going to Alaska for two weeks starting on the 1st of April. Everything has been booked and confirmed and I’m so excited.

You’ve already informed me that you’ll be at home next week so I was wondering whether you could do me a favour. I would really appreciate it if you could pop into my house from time to time to make sure everything is fine.

The plants in the living room need to be watered once a week only and placed near the window when it is sunny. In terms of taking care of the house that is all I require you to do. I also gave your telephone number to the TV repair company who will be returning my set on the 8th of April. Kindly open the house for them so they can install it for me.
Thank you for all your help and I’ll remember to bring back the souvenir you requested from Alaska.

Question taken from Barron’s IELTS Practice Exams p.387
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General Training Model Answer IELTS (Task 1)

You have decided to leave your current job and look for a new one. Write a letter to a friend. In your letter

explain why you want to leave your current job
what kind of job you are looking for
ask for some help or advice.

Dear Scarlet,

I hope you have been keeping well. It’s been a while since we last met. You might recall me complaining about my job when we went out for dinner about two months ago. Well, the situation has become worse and I’m thinking of handing in my resignation.

I currently work twelve hours a day which is exhausting and the company has not been paying me overtime for the extra effort I put in. As well as the pressure I’m under, there is no sign of appreciation for all the hard work I do.

I wish to continue in my line of work but I’m looking for better working conditions. Although I’m satisfied being a secretary it would be nice to work for a small organization where I can leave on time and be respected by my employers.
As you are well-connected in the business sector and have friends in high places I was wondering whether you could put in a good word for me. I would also appreciate it if you could help me update my CV to make it more attractive as well as provide me with some interview tips.

Question taken from Barron’s IELTS Practice Exams p.360

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General Training Model Answer - IELTS (Task 1)

Your next-door neighbour likes to listen to music late at night. Because of the loud music, you often lose sleep. Write a letter to your neighbour. In your letter

Describe the situation
Explain the problem it is causing you
Offer at least one solution

Dear Dan,

We’ve been neighbours for a number of years now and in order to maintain the good relationship we have and to avoid future misunderstanding, I wanted to let you know that the loud music you have been playing at night is affecting my sleep.

As you are aware I need to be up at 5am daily, so I should be in bed early too. As I’m kept up late due to your loud music I’m not getting enough sleep. My manager has commented that my performance at work is not up to scratch and my mood swings are not seen favourably by my colleagues. I have also begun to get addicted to caffeine to stay awake during the day.

I would appreciate it if you could listen to music using headphones. That way, you can enjoy your music while I rest. Alternatively you might lower the volume. I wouldn’t want to deprive you of your passion, so if you must listen to loud music, the weekend would be an ideal time to do so as I’m away then.

Question taken from Barron’s IELTS Practice Exams p.279

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Expressteach in Prishtina, Kosovo

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