Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

In the past, buildings often reflected the culture of a society but today all modern buildings look alike and cities throughout the world are becoming more and more similar. What do you think is the reason for this, and is it a good or bad thing?

No other building in the world is quite like the Taj Mahal in India, the Forbidden City in China or Sagrada Familia in Spain. However, travelling to any mega city around the world today, one has a feeling of having visited it before because of similar buildings.

In order to cut costs, buildings are constructed in a similar way as companies buy materials in bulk. With the onset of globalization multi-national companies want all their buildings to look the same to ensure uniformity. Once again this saves costs as all materials from door handles to door mats are purchased in large quantities and used on several buildings. A company also benefits when it is trying to get brand recognition from its customers if their buildings are recognised instantly.

On the other hand, in terms of creativity, originality and architectural design, buildings that are similar lack these qualities. One of the reasons people travel is to see something different to what exists in their home country. Barcelona, for example, would not be so popular if it were not for Gaudi’s designs that still exist today. Very few people are interested in giant glass and steel structures only.

In my opinion it is important for each city to keep its own individual character and this can be done with buildings that stand out and cannot be found in other areas around the world. Travelers should not feel as if they have not left home just because companies want to preserve an image and save money.

Question taken from Step Up to IELTS Self-Study Student’s Book p.90
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Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

In many major cities of the world you will find large public buildings, both new and old. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of such buildings.

How important is it for a country to construct impressive public buildings when houses are what is really required?

Cities around the world are recognised by a host of buildings, for example, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Oriental Pearl Building in Shanghai and the Petronas towers in Malaysia. These public buildings tell the history of the city and are a tribute to the architects who designed them.

Public buildings draw in tourists and revenue for a country and are used to advertise a city by being placed on posters, postcards, souvenirs etc. Another benefit of public buildings is that it gives architects a forum to express themselves and the buildings say something about the culture of a country, building style or materials used.

On the other hand, many of these public buildings serve no useful purpose for the general public, apart from acting as an attraction. They take up a lot of valuable space, often in city centres, cost millions to build, maintain and renovate. This prime real estate could be used to accommodate people and build apartment blocks. Although this is not aesthetically pleasing, it would solve the housing shortage.

Undoubtedly major attractions like the Taj Mahal that have been around for hundreds of years should remain as they are. However, housing a city's population would be a better option than to spend taxpayers money on the construction of new public buildings.
Question taken from Step Up to IELTS Self-Study Student’s Book p.91
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General Training Model Answer - Writing (Task 2)

Some people warn that the era of the silver screen is coming to an end and that people will eventually lose interest in going to the cinema. Do you agree or disagree with this view?

Once a block-buster film hits the big screen it can be downloaded in a matter of hours onto computers around the world. With the availability of downloading software and on-line options for watching films, viewers have found a free and easy way to watch their favourite films.

Many people still flock to the cinema to watch the latest releases as this is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon or evening with family and friends.  Going to the movies is also a social experience where people can switch off for a couple of hours.Some types of movies especially the 3D variety and those that have special effects should always be watched on the big screen. Bollywood movies cause a sensation in the movie theatres of India due to their song and dance routine and action sequences. This experience will lose its magic if viewed at home.
On the other hand, technology has transformed the home into a theatre with the use of home-cinema and a person can have a private viewing of a film in the comfort of their home with all the extras found in a traditional movie theatre. As mentioned above, downloading or watching a film online is the choice of many.

Like other forms of entertainment, watching movies goes in and out of fashion but never fully disappears. The movie industry is worth millions particularly in Hollywood, Bollywood and Hong Kong. Film festivals like the Oscars and Cannes also make movies popular and encourage people to go to the cinema.

Question taken from Step Up to IELTS Self-Study Student’s Book p.73
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Learning English through Children’s Picture Books

Like the name implies, children’s picture book are specifically designed to teach well, children, the fundamentals of the English language. Children’s picture books provide images to help support the text as well as help children use context clues to figure out the meanings of unfamiliar words.

While ideally used to train early learners, children picture books can also help adults wanting to learn the English language too. That’s because these books provide information in the simplest form possible so that beginning English-learners can grasp the words and concepts quite easily.

That said, the books we’ve hand-selected can help expand your English vocabulary as well as help you learn at your own pace. Some of the books we’ve listed below are even equipped with audio narration so that you can learn how specific words are meant to be pronounced. The best part? All of the children’s pictures books are available online for free.

Arthur Writes a Story
Arthur Writes a Story

Arthur may be a popular PBS children’s television show now, but it first originated as a book series. AOL was gracious enough to put several picture books online for Arthur fans for free. While all of the selections can help improve someone’s English, Arthur Writes a Story is really great at introducing some new vocabulary words to describe the creative process of creating a story/essay.

Read “Arther Writes a Story” in English

The Lady With the Alligator Purse
The Lady With the Alligator Purse

This classic nursery rhyme narrated story, also provided by AOL Kids, is a fun and quirky way to introduce early English learners to rhyming and simple medical terms such as doctor, nurse and penicillin. It’s fairly short, so if someone needs to watch/read the words several times before they really understand, that’s ok.

Read “The Lady With the Alligator Purse” in English

The Sleeping Beauty
The Sleeping Beauty

This short adaptation of the Brother’s Grimm fairytale can be read in just a few minutes, but it’s a great way to learn a new language since it somewhat familiar for most people -The Sleeping Beauty is retold in many different cultures and languages, so it’s easier to figure what is being said. For those that want audio support, there is a “play” button located at the top of the story. You also have the option of downloading the story as a PDF so you can print it out and read it whenever you want offline.

Read “The Sleeping Beauty” in English

The Tale of Peter Rabbit
The Tale of Peter Rabbit

Last but not least is the Tale of Peter Rabbit -the classic story of a mischievous bunny rabbit that disobeys his mother and finds himself in a very unfortunate predicament trying to steal food from the neighbour’s garden. The illustrations are beautiful and can definitely help you understand what the story is about.

Read “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” in English

Of course these are only a few selections, but they can definitely help give you a jump-start. Whenever you’re at the bookstore, make sure to take a quick look-through the children’s picture book isle to study new material.

This is a guest post written by Aniya Wells. Aniya is a freelance blogger and writer for over ten years. She now regularly contributes to the blog. She is passionate about giving potential students advice as they embark on an online or traditional degree program. Aniya is very excited about the latest advances in technology that have made a comprehensive education more accessible to all! Please direct questions or comments to
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Academic Writing - Model Answer (Task 2)

Formal education methods, where the teacher instructs the whole class and the students work alone, are more reliable and produce better results than informal methods.

Do you agree or disagree?

Teaching methods have changed in recent years. Although traditional methods were limited to a teacher, exercise books, a whiteboard and homework, the modern classroom is more sophisticated. Group discussions are encouraged, technology has been introduced into the classroom and interactive screens are quickly becoming the norm.

As a passive teaching approach has been around for many years, perhaps that is why it is considered reliable. It may also seem to produce positive results as students are working within a framework with a fixed syllabus and regular tests to evaluate progress. This method however might only benefit those who are good listeners. Students who learn in other ways, for example, those who are visual learners might not find this method rewarding.

Informal ways are a better way of teaching and learning, in my opinion. Teachers do not feel pressured to cover set materials and can think outside the box while students who enjoy this approach are likely to remember what they have learnt. Students who go on school trips, have guest speakers, visit factories, watch videos, do group work, and play interactive games use their imagination more and have fun learning.

To sum up, each student learns in a different way and a teacher has a challenging task of catering to the needs of a class. Although creative teaching practices require more input from the teacher, I think they will produce enthusiastic students who are eager to learn and in turn likely to have better results.

Question taken from Step Up to IELTS Self-Study Student’s Book p.48
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General Training - Model Answer (Task 1)

You have recently stayed in a hotel in a large city. The weather was very unusual for the time of year and the heating/cooling system in the hotel was quite inadequate. Write a letter to the manager of the hotel. In your letter:

  • give details of what was wrong
  • explain what you had to do to overcome the problem at the time
  • say what action you would like the manager to take
Dear Sir /Madam,

I recently stayed at your hotel (27th December until 4th January) in Moscow and I am writing to inform you that the heating facilities provided in room 202 were insufficient. As you may recall outside temperatures were below zero and is such extreme weather, heating is compulsory particularly in a well-known hotel famed for its service.

I noticed that the central heating unit was faulty as the room temperature seemed to be the same as the temperature I had experienced outside despite the fact that the unit was switched on. As all the rooms were fully booked I could not be moved to a new one so I asked housekeeping to bring me extra quilts. As you can imagine I could still feel the cold and I barely slept for the duration of my stay.

Repairing the unit in this room should be your priority so as to ensure other guests are not inconvenienced. I would also like to request a complimentary stay at your branch in Indonesia for the duration of a week.

I look forward to receiving your coupons.


Fernando Del Bosque
Question taken from Step Up to IELTS Self-Study Student’s Book p.39
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General Training - Model Answer (Task 1)

You have recently heard that a friend of yours has had some problems as a result of some unusual weather. Write a letter to your friend. In your letter:
  • express concern (i.e. say you are sorry to hear what has happened)
  • tell them about a similar experience that you once had
  • give some advice or offer help

 Dear Jung Chang,

I heard about the recent heavy rain and flooding in Beijing on the news and I really felt awful especially since I know that you live in the centre of the city on the ground floor of an apartment building. I’m almost certain you have been affected by the bad weather.

You might remember me telling you about my experience of flooding in Mozambique when I was working there in 2000. The place I was staying at was completely covered in water and I lost all my possessions. I had no way of contacting anyone, no money or identification documents. The hours leading up to my rescue were also difficult.

It helped that I didn’t panic when I was waiting for help to arrive. The water will eventually dry up but you might need to destroy items that have been exposed to too much water. You are more than welcome to come and stay with me in Hohhot until you sort everything out as the weather here has not been extreme.

Take care,

Ha Jin
Question taken from Step Up to IELTS Self-Study Student’s Book p.38
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Phrasal verbs with ‘get’

Get about/around = to travel to many places e.g. He gets about. He’s been almost everywhere.
Get about/around = information is heard by many people e.g. News on the little girl’s disappearance got around quickly.
Get something across = to successfully communicate an idea e.g. Here’s what you need to get across.
Get ahead = to be successful at work e.g. She got ahead by working hard.
Get along / on = to be friendly e.g. Gina and Toby really got along.
Get along = to successfully deal with a situation e.g. How are you getting along with your Chinese lessons?
Get around = find a way to deal with/avoid a problem e.g. I’m sure they’ll find a way to get around the issue.
Get around = move from place to place easily e.g. It’s not easy to get around Nicosia in a wheelchair.
Get round/around to doing something = to finally do something e.g. I got round to sending those emails last weekend.
Getting at something = What do you mean? e.g. What are you getting at?
Get away = to leave e.g. What time did you manage to get away?
Get away = to escape e.g. The thief got away with 1 million dollars.
Get away = to have a holiday e.g. I need to get away and relax.
Get away from something = to do something in a different way e.g. You need to get away from learning material off by heart.
Get away from something = to start talking about a different topic e.g. I think we’re getting away from the global crisis issue here.
Get away with = to do something successfully although it isn’t the best way of doing it e.g. Do you think we can get away with not mentioning Hanoi in the marketing material?
Get back = return e.g. When did you get back from Azerbaijan?
Get someone back = to get revenge e.g. I’m going to get her back for throwing cake in my face!
Get back into something = to re-do something after not having done it for a period of time e.g. Next year I’m thinking of getting back into engineering.
Get back to someone = to return a call with more information e.g. I’ll get back to you as soon as my IELTS results come out.
Get behind = to have not done as much work / paid enough money as you should e.g. We’re behind on our bank loan.
Get by = to just have enough money e.g. The Mitchell’s are getting by with very little.
Get down to doing something = to begin doing something seriously e.g. I got down to doing my assignment as the deadline was approaching.
Get in = to arrive e.g. When does the next train get in?
Get someone in = bring someone to repair something e.g. We’ll have to get a plumber in to fix the toilet.
Get in on something = to become involved without an invitation e.g. Our competitors are trying to get in on the deal.
Get into something = to become interested in an activity/subject e.g. I’m really getting into Spanish.
Get into something = to begin a habit/behaviour e.g. I’ve got into the habit of eating steamed food.
Get into something = get a place at a school/university/organisation e.g. We’re so happy our daughter got into that school.
Get off / on = to leave /go on a bus, train, plane or boat.
Get off = leave work at the end of the day e.g. I get off in time to catch the last train home.
Get off something = stop using the phone e.g. You’ve been talking for hours, get off the phone.
Get on with = continue working e.g. Break is over, get on with it.
Be getting on = old e.g. His eyesight is weak as he’s getting on.
Get out = to go to different places to meet people e.g. You need to get out more.
Get out = to exit a vehicle e.g. Get out the car carefully.
Get out = when news becomes public e.g. News got out that she fell asleep while driving and crashed into a tree.
Get something out = to remove a stain/dirt e.g. I tried to get the wine stain out of my shirt.
Get out of something = to avoid doing something by providing an excuse e.g. I tried to get out of washing the car.
Get something out of someone = to persuade/force someone to tell/give you something e.g. Simone wouldn’t tell me where she bought the shoes and I tried to get it out of her.
Get something out of doing something = to enjoy something or to think it’s useful e.g. I got so much out of my Swahili lessons.
Get over something = to feel better e.g. It took me a long time to get over Jeff.
Get something over with = to complete a difficult / unpleasant task e.g. Let’s go visit your parents and get it over with.
Get through = to manage to talk to someone on the phone e.g. Were you able to get through to the manager?
Get around something = to find a way of dealing / avoiding a problem e.g. Surely there must be a way of getting around the middleman.
Get through = to use a lot of money/food/drink e.g. We get through 3 rolls of toilet paper in a day.
Get through = to finish something e.g. I can’t go out tonight as I need to get through this pile of invoices.
Get through to someone = to succeed in making someone understand something e.g. After hours of negotiations I finally managed to get through to the suppliers regarding pricing.
Get through to something = to succeed in reaching the next stage in a competition e.g. Many Chinese athletes made it through to the Olympic Games final.
Get to someone = to make someone feel upset or angry e.g. It gets to me that I have to work on weekends.
Get together = meet to spend time together e.g. When are you free so we can get together for some dinner?
Get together = to begin a romantic relationship e.g. Kumar and Manisha got together last month.
Get yourself together = behave more carefully e.g. Why are you screaming like that? Get yourself together.
Get up = to wake up and get out of bed e.g. I get up at 8am daily.
Get up = stand up e.g. Everyone got up and clapped when the play ended.
Get with it! = be more modern e.g. We don’t use video tapes anymore! Get with it!
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Learn English with Pocoyo (video list 10 to 15)

Pocoyo Videos

It’s important that children start learning English from an early age as it’s easier for them to assimilate all the new vocabulary and structures. To help you achieving this, we’ve written this new post containing episodes 10 to 15 of the Pocoyo series.

You can also watch episodes 1 to 5 of the first season of Pocoyo if you haven’t watch them already.

Swept Away

Link to the video on YouTube

Who's On The Phone

Link to the video on YouTube

Fetch Loula Fetch

Link to the video on YouTube

A Little Cloud

Link to the video on YouTube

Table For Fun

Link to the video on YouTube

Keep Going, Pocoyo

Link to the video on YouTube
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Idioms with 'run'

On the run = having escaped from custody
Run for it = to escape
Run across/into someone = to meet someone by accident
Run along now = go away
Run a mile = to run away quickly in a panic
Run wild = to behave in an undisciplined way
Run down = in a poor condition
Run something into the ground = use something until it doesn’t work anymore
Run-of-the-mill = ordinary
Run out = expire
Run out of = to have no more of something
Run short = to not have enough
Run out of steam = to use up all your energy
Run out on someone = to desert someone
Run something in = to run a new machine until it is working properly
Run someone / something over = to drive over with a road vehicle
Run the risk = to do something involving risk
Run the show = to be in control
Run a tight ship = to maintain strict control
Run something through = to go through something from the beginning again
Run up against = to face
Trial run = to test something new
In the long run = eventually
Run in one’s blood = is inherited
Run in the family = an inherited characteristic
Run with the hare and hunt with the hounds = to support both sides in an argument at the same time
Still waters run deep = someone can be more knowledgeable than they first appear
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Expressteach in Paris, France

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Expressteach in Paris, France

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Idioms with 'blood'

Sweat blood = to work very hard
Blood brother = very close friends
Blood is thicker than water = family comes before friends
Blood relation = family member
One’s own flesh and blood = one’s family
It runs in one’s blood = inherited
Blue blooded = of aristocratic origin
Blood sucker = a blackmailer
After one’s blood = looking for revenge
Cause bad blood between people = make people dislike each other
First blood = first success
Young blood = a new member of a group
To get blood out of a stone = to try to do something impossible
Make one’s blood boil = make one very angry
Red-blooded = manly
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10 Common English Idioms You Should Know

If you’ve been learning English for very long, then you have heard some idioms. You may understand the individual words, but you don’t understand how they work together. Idioms are strange like that. An idiom is an expression, word, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is only understood based on the common use of that expression, separate from the literal meaning of the words. There are estimated to be over 25,000 idioms in the English language.

Idioms can be very colorful, but they can also be extremely hard for non-native speakers to understand. Some idioms are widely understood. Idioms like, “This is a piece of cake”- meaning it is easy- have many variations in other languages as well. To help you out (assist you) here is a list of ten common English idioms, their meaning, and how they are used.

Table 1: 10 Common English Idioms You Should Know
IdiomMeaningExample of use
used toAccustomed to/ comfortable withI am not used to running so far. That is why I am tired.
take placeTo happen/ to occurThe party took place at Jim’s house.
stick with (something)To continue / to not quit (especially with difficulties)It was hard, but I stuck with my piano lessons. Now I can play well.
show upTo appear/ to arrive/ to be presentI did not think the teacher was going to show up today, but he was just late.
A dime a dozenCommon/ easy to getI thought that my baseball card was rare, but the man told me it was a dime a dozen.
A slap on the wristA mild punishmentWhen he broke the window he should have gotten thrown out of school. Instead, he just got a slap on the wrist. He has to go to a week of detention.
An arm and a legVery expensive/ a large amount of moneyA nice laptop computer will cost you an arm and a leg.
On the other handHowever/ in contrast/ looking at the opposite side of a matterI like your idea of skipping class today, but on the other hand I need to keep my grades up.
For sureWithout doubt/ certainly/ surelyI am going to meet you for sure this weekend.
For goodPermanentlyDid you hear? They are closing the store for good tomorrow!

This guest post is contributed by Debra Johnson, blogger and editor of full time nanny. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: - jdebra84 @
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GrammaTube - lesson about the past perfect simple and the past perfect continuous

GrammaTube - lesson about the past perfect simple and the past perfect continuous

Do you know when and how to use the past perfect simple and the past perfect continuous in English? If you’re not sure, we recommend you reading this post as it contains a selection of YouTube videos that explain in a clear way how to use the past perfect simple and the past perfect continuous.

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.

Good video about the past perfect simple in English

Link to the video on YouTube

When and how to use the past perfect in English

Link to the video on YouTube

When and how to use the past perfect continuous in English

Link to the video on YouTube

Structure and examples about the past perfect simple and continuous in English

Link to the video on YouTube

Past continuous vs Past perfect vs Past perfect continuous

Link to the video on YouTube
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Location for maps - Task 1 Academic Writing

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Phrasal verbs with ‘bring’

Bring about = to make something happen e.g. The committee is going to bring about some changes over the next few months.
Bring along = to take someone/something somewhere e.g. Is it alright if I bring Sarah along?
Bring someone around = to make someone conscious e.g. They poured water on his face to bring him around.
Bring someone around = to make someone agree with you e.g. Initially, she didn’t want to have the conference in Taiwan but I managed to bring her around to the idea.
Bring back something = to remember the past e.g. That trip to Vietnam really brought back memories.
Bring back something = to start to re-use something e.g. They brought that bus service back.
Bring someone before something/someone = to stand in front of a judge/official group e.g. Ahmed was brought before the court on charges of corruption.
Bring down something = to reduce e.g. The Zimbabwean government is trying to bring down inflation.
Bring forward = to make an event earlier e.g. They’ve brought the date for the Shanghai art project forward to 31st December.
Bring in something = to earn money e.g. It’s about time you brought in some money.
Bring in something = to make a law/rule exist e.g. The government will bring in legislation for drinking and driving.
Bring in someone = to attract e.g. I hope our new branch in Nanjing road will bring in customers.
Bring in someone/something = to include in a conversation e.g. I don’t want to bring culture into this discussion.
Bring something on = to make something unpleasant begin e.g. Unemployment has been brought on by the financial crisis.
Bring something upon someone = to cause trouble e.g. He brought this situation upon himself.
Bring out something = to produce and sell something e.g. The company has brought out their new mobile phone model.
Bring out something = to make a particular quality more noticeable e.g. Stress brings out the worst in me.
Bring out somebody = to become more confident e.g. Lee was so shy but university has brought him out of his shell.
Bring up someone = to look after a child until they become an adult e.g. She was brought up in Taipei.
Bring up = to vomit e.g. That croissant was too sweet and I brought it up.
Bring something up = to talk about it e.g. I’m going to bring inequality up in the next meeting.
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Idioms with 'short'

At short notice = with little warning
To cut a long story short = to summarise briefly
For short = in an abbreviated form
Short for = an abbreviation of
Go short = have too little of something
Run short = to not have enough
In short = stated briefly
Short and sweet = brief and to the point
The long and short of it = an abbreviated account
In short supply = not easily available
Little short of = almost the same as
Nothing short of = exactly the same as
In the short term = over a short space of time
Make short work of = to finish something quickly
Short-handed = not enough staff
Short of breath = breathless
Short-tempered = to get angry easily
Stop short of = to not go as far as
Cut short = to interrupt
Fall short = fail to meet a specified amount or standard
Short list = a list of fewer people or items chosen from a longer one
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Essay Writing Guidelines

Here I am going to explain some guideline for better Essay writing. The main steps in whole essay writing process are revising and proofreading. Revising is the process of editing and reworking the first rough draft. The revision process focuses on shaping and refining content and may require one draft or more. Proofreading is the final step of the revision process, focusing on correcting spelling and grammatical errors.

  • The following writing guidelines will help maximize your writing practice:
  • Schedule sufficient time for writing practice-a half hour to an hour, never less.
  • Commit to a weekly writing prompt practice session.
  • Free writing is an effective method of warming up and generating ideas, because you must write as rapidly as you can without stopping to edit or censor your writing. First, select a writing prompt that strikes your fancy. Then, set a minute timer for ten minutes. Start writing anything and everything that relates to the writing prompt’s main idea. Don’t stop or try to correct mistakes.Just keep free writing until the timer starts buzzing!
Essay Writing Guidelines

  • When you have finished free writing, read over your work. If you like particular phrases or passages that you've written, consider using them in your first formal draft.
  • After you have warmed up, write a formal response by focusing on the purpose of your essay. Ask yourself if you are being asked to define, persuade, compare and contrast, classify, illustrate, or narrate. Then brainstorm related ideas about your topic and decide which ideas will best help to support you in achieving your purpose.
  • As you respond to your writing prompts, keep your target audience firmly in mind. Who will be reading your work?

  • What works well when you are communicating with your friends on You-Tube does not work in the middle school or high school classroom. When you are writing a formal essay, as you will be doing during these writing practices, it’s advisable to leave your profanity, slang, and instant messaging lingo such as LOL (Internet shorthand for “laughing out loud”) or LAWL (slang for “laughing a whole lot”) at the door!
Essay writing tips

  • Important factors to reflect upon before writing are audience gender, ethnicity, educational level, and occupation, as well as the audience’s present knowledge of the subject.
  • Remember, the concluding paragraph is the place to reinforce all of the most important ideas that you have presented. It’s not the place to address a new subtopic. Repeat and then reinforce your main idea.
  • The final sentence is as important as the lead sentence, so spend time crafting a powerful final sentence condensing the most important thoughts on your subject.
  • Revise. Revise. Revise. Do not skip this important and necessary step!
  • Proofread to be sure that your spelling and grammar are immaculate. 
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4 Free Ways to Learn English in the U.S.

Whether you simply want to brush up on your pronunciation or you are just starting out learning English, it can be difficult to locate legitimate, high-quality English courses that don’t cost an arm and a leg. Fortunately, those of us who want to learn English but can’t afford the high costs of specialized courses can often begin learning for free. By doing a little digging, and seeking out help from government or community organizations, it is possible to start learning English in the U.S., free of charge. Here are four ways to get started.

1. Take Free Government Classes

One of the first things ESL students searching for free English courses can check out is USA Learns. The United States government Department of Education provides free online English courses on this site that are open to anyone. Lessons are divided into various levels, from beginner, to intermediate, to advance. Students will have access to online reading and writing text, audio and video. The program has a large focus on simple grammar and expansion of vocabulary.

2. Listen to Pod Casts

A great way to get in an English class or practice listening to and speaking the language is to listen to English classes available on podcasts. There are many popular podcast courses on ESL Pod, which hosts a collection of different English language lessons. Topics center on English practice for business, daily life, and dining. They also have an English Café, where students brush up on grammar and vocabulary.

3. Take Free Online Courses

There are tons of free online courses available for people in the US across the world. A popular site that hosts free courses is ESOL Courses, which provides a wide range of English coursework and activities. There are courses for students of all English levels, and students can also play games, do work sheets, and practice vocabulary and pronunciation.

4. Take Free Local Classes

Depending on where you live, there may by community organizations that offer English courses for free. For learners in metropolitan areas, the availability of options may be greater, but it’s worth a look for people in any area. The best places to search for free English courses are in Spanish language newsletters and publications, local classifieds, and online classifieds sites, such as There are often public centers, like libraries, universities, counseling centers and churches that provide courses, as well.

Maria Rainier is a devoted blogger who topics concerning higher education and technology. She has her finger on the pulse of the online education industry, and she delights in writing about the benefits of online bachelor's degrees in our digital society. Please share your comments with Maria below!
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Phrasal verbs with 'break'

Break away = to leave a group because you disagree with them e.g. We broke away from the Creative Writing Group because we wanted to take our writing seriously.
Break away = to be different e.g. Leslie’s novels break away from traditional narratives.
Break down = to stop working e.g. The coffee machine broke down.
Break down = to start crying e.g. Hardeep was so upset when he heard the news that he broke down and cried.
Break down = to become mentally/physically ill e.g. After his son’s death he had a break down.
Break down = to divide information into small pieces e.g. We can break down the information according to age and region.
Break in = to enter a building/car in order to seal something e.g. They broke into my flat last night and stole my computer.
Break something in = to wear some new to make it more comfortable e.g. I wore my new McQueen shoes to break them in.
Break into something = to become involved in an area that is difficult to enter e.g. The fast food chain broke into the Chinese market.
Break off = to stop talking suddenly e.g. The president broke off in mid-sentence.
Break something off = to end a relationship e.g. Chang broke off their friendship as she didn’t trust him anymore.
Break out = to escape from prison e.g. The inmates broke out by digging through a wall.
Break out = If a war, disease or fire suddenly starts e.g. The fire broke out in the hotel lobby.
Break out into = if sweat, spots or a rash suddenly appears on your skin e.g. When I got up to speak in front of all the university I broke out into a sweat.
Break through = an important discovery or success e.g. The university has made a major breakthrough in its research on dyslexia.
Break up = a marriage or romantic relationship that ends e.g. Manisha and Alok have broken up.
Break something up = to add a different colour to make something more interesting e.g. Loucas wore a blue jacket to break up the excessive black in his outfit.
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