Type 2: Liking [IELTS speaking test – Part 1]

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Question Type 2: Liking

A very common type of questions in IELTS speaking test Part One is the “liking” questions. For example: “Do you like animals?”

A common response might be something like:

“Yes. I like animals. I like cats and dogs because they are very lovely.”

If you have read and understood what has been written so far in this book, you should be starting no see the problems with this answer. This answer lacks all the features common in native-speaker style English. The answer focuses I00% on content.

Expressing likes and dislikes is actually quite a large area of the English language and as a result there is a wide range of language available to express these functions. When the examiner asks, “Do you like animals?” your answer should display some ability to express these functions using a range of appropriate language.

“I like” and “I don’t like” do NOT display any ability to skillfully or flexibly express these functions. In most cases, the examiner probably used “like” or “don’t like” in the question, so candidates who use these words are simply recycling the question words in the form of a statement.

For these questions, the first step is to find some alternative language for “liking”. The following expressions can be used for all general topics:

  • I’m fairly / pretty keen on…
  • I’m quite / pretty fond of
  • I’m really into…
  • I’m totally mad about
  • I’m quite a big fan of…
  • I’m quite partial to
  • I simply adore…
  • I’m quite passionate about
  • I’m quite enthusiastic about…
  • I generally prefer… (use only when comparing)

Most of the adverbs are interchangeable in this list.

One advantage of the IELTS vocabulary marking system is that if you use an uncommon word incorrectly or in the wrong context, you will still get some credit for trying to use the word.

For example, if a candidate said: “I’m quite enthusiastic about Korean food.” Compare it with: “I like Korean food.”
Native-speakers wouldn‘t normally use the word “enthusiastic” to describe food, but the first sentence is better than the second because it attempts to use an uncommon vocabulary item (quite enthusiastic).

So don’t be afraid to use any of the words from the list – they are all worth more to your score than “I like” or “I enjoy”.

We return to the question: “Do you like animals?” The aim of our answer is to use about 3 or 4 “liking” expressions.

Look at the following answer:

“Well to be quite honest, in general I would say that I am actually quite keen on animals, but in particular I would probably have to say that I’m really into domestic pets like dogs. I guess the reason why I’m a fan of dogs is because I adore their loyalty and companionship. In addition to dogs I suppose that I am also pretty passionate about endangered species, especially dolphins and things like that and this is due to the fact I feel some degree of responsibility towards wildlife protection.”

Activity

How many “liking” expressions can you find in the answer? How many linking phrases can you find? How much redundant language is there? Find examples of uncommon or topic-specific vocabulary. (Note “things like that” – the meaning of “like” is not the same as the meaning in the question.)

Possible starting phrases for “liking” questions include:

  • Well in general I would say that”,
  • Actually, I suppose that for the most part I’d probably say that…
  • Well, to be honest I should really say that…
  • Of course I think I’d have to say that…
  • Certainly I would definitely say that…
  • Well, I guess that generally speaking I would certainly say that …

Then select the first “liking” expression and add the topic word or a general category of the topic.

Example: “Well in general I would say that I’m quite passionate about Italian food: …”

Now you need to add a linking word or phrase to introduce a specific type of the topic or category (eg. pizza).

  • …but in particular…
  •  …to be more precise…
  • …particularly…
  • …to be more specific…
  • …especially…
  • …to be more exact…
  • …specifically…
  • …to be more accurate…

Now add your second “liking” expression with the specific type.

Example: “Well in general I would say that I’m quite passionate about Italian food, to be more specific, I would probably say that I’m really into pizza and pasta.”

Now add a linking phrase to introduce the first reason:

  • And I guess this is probably because…
  • This could be because…
  • This might be because…
  • This is due to the fact that…
  • I suppose the reason has something to do with the fact that…

“Well in general I would say that quite passionate about Italian food; to be more specific I would probably say that I’m really into pizza and pasta. This is mainly because my girlfriend is Italian so she always cooks Italian cuisine at home.”

Now use a linking phrase to introduce your second point.

  • As well as this…
  • To add to this…
  • In addition to this…

Use another “liking” expression: “As well as this, I’m quite partial to vegetarian food.”

Now be more specific:

“As well as this, I’m quite partial to vegetarian food especially things like bean curd. This could be because… I’m quite conscious of healthy eating and bean curd is a fat-free food and it’s high in nutritional value.”

The complete structure looks like this:

“Well to be quite honest, in general I would say that I’m actually quite keen on…. but in particular I would probably have to say that I’m really into…you know, things like… I guess the reason why I am a fan of…is because I adore…In addition to this I suppose also pretty passionate about…. especially…and things like that, and this is due to the fact that…”

Use the structure above to answer the following questions:

  • What food do you like?
  • Do you like listening to music?
  • Do you like reading?
  • Do you like shopping?
  • What do you like about your hometown?
  • What do you like about your studies / job?

Now answer the questions using your own structure.