Cultural Insights to Australia 7: Mining

Insight 7: The Mining Industry Australia is sometimes called ‘the lucky country’. One reason for this is that it has great mineral wealth beneath its soils, and, historically, this has benefited Australia’s economy very much. Mining is still one of the primary industries, but the famous ‘gold rushes’ are long past, and many old ‘mining’ towns are now… Read More »

Cultural Insight to Australia 5: The Suburbs

Insight 5: The Suburbs The urban design of Australia is very different to Taiwan – very different indeed. For a start, Australia’s cities have ‘zoning’, where our houses are groups together, shops are grouped together, factories are group together, and so on. This creates ‘suburbs’ – large areas with houses and gardens, and the suburbs go on, and on,… Read More »

Cultural Insight to Australia 3: Farmland

Insight 3: Farmland Australia is certainly a big country, and has lots of fertile land. This means that it is an agricultural country. Agriculture – that is, growing crops or raising animals – has, historically, always been one of the major industries. Last year I drove from Brisbane to Melbourne – a huge distance – and I was… Read More »

Idiomatic Vocabulary 6: ‘~olic’

The Noun Phrase   [Word stem]-olic Its Definition Indicating that you are addicted or highly dependent on something Discussion This phrase is useful because it can describe many more extremes of behaviour, and has a fun and upbeat feel. It all comes from the formal word, ‘alcoholic’, with the ‘-holic’ suffix now being attached to many words to… Read More »

Idiomatic Vocabulary 5: ‘nerds and geeks’

The Phrase    To be a nerd / geek  Its Definition  These terms refer to people absorbed in technology or books to the extent that they are socially awkward in the way they speak and act.   Discussion These terms are useful because technology is becoming such a part of our lives that many people are becoming (overly) absorbed… Read More »

Idiomatic Vocabulary 4: ‘Mr Right’

The Phrases Mr Right Prince Charming Its Definition     A perfect partner.   Discussion This phrase is useful (for female candidates) because it can describe a perfectly compatible partner, and most IELTS candidates are single, and may well need to refer to such a person when talking about the future, ambitions, problems in life – in other… Read More »

Idiomatic Vocabulary 3: ‘fingers crossed’

The Phrases Fingers crossed Knock on wood   Their Definition Something you say when you hope for something to happen.   Discussion This phrase is useful because we often wish for things to happen, and in the IELTS Speaking Test, we talk about our lives, our wishes, and our future hopes. These phrases are interchangeable, but can not really… Read More »

Idiomatic Vocabulary 2: ‘a real eye-opener’

The Phrase To be a real eye-opener  Its Definition  An event or experience that is surprising, and shows you sth. that you did not already know Discussion This phrase is useful because it can describe any very surprising thing or event or experience which you have encountered. Admittedly, many people lead quite conventional lives, without encountering really interesting… Read More »

Idiomatic Vocabulary 1: “not my cup of tea”

The Phrase   Not [somebody’s] cup of tea Its Definition An adjectival phrase meaning “I don’t like it”. Discussion This phrase is useful because in the IELTS test you are often asked about your likes and dislikes, and even if not asked, we often give these feelings anyway. Examiner:          Do people in your culture like outdoor sport? Speaker:… Read More »