Talking about Buildings

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The topic of buildings is one that sometimes comes up in the IELTS Speaking Test. Sometimes it may appear in Part One, or it might also pop up in Part Two on the cue card. Obviously, there will be different styles of questions.

Part One

In the first part of the Speaking Test, questions about buildings will be shorter and simpler, and you won’t be expected to say too much in reply. These questions include:

  1. Do you live in a house or an apartment?
  2. Is there anything you’d like to change about where you live?

We could answer them in a number of ways:

  1. Do you live in a house or an apartment?
    1. I live in a house because that’s where my parents stay, and as I can’t yet afford my own place, I still live with them. It’s a single-storey building with south-facing windows and a small garden out front.
    2. I live in an apartment with some friends. We met in first year of university and moved in together at the start of second year. We get along pretty well, but we can never agree who should do the dishes so our place is always really messy!
    3. I live in student dorms. In my dorm room there are six girls and we all get along pretty well. The room is very basic but we decorate it to suit out personalities, so it has become quite a comfortable and familiar place for us.
  2. Is there anything you’d like to change about where you live?
    1. Of course, there are several things I’d like to change. Although I like my apartment, I feel that no place is perfect, and there are always improvements to be made. I wish the living room got more sun, and I wish I had a bigger desk and more wardrobe space.
    2. Yeah, sure. I’d love to have some more space in my room for studying, and I really wish we had a better kitchen because I like to cook, yet our kitchen is just too cramped.
    3. Actually, I’m pretty satisfied with the house I live in. It’s got everything I need. Of course, if I was really rich then maybe there are some thing I’d do differently, but that’s an extreme case. At the moment I’m satisfied.

Part Two

In this part, you’ll probably be expected to give a longer answer about a particular building, and then some specific details. Here’s an example:

  • Describe an interesting historical building
    • You should say:
      • Where it is
      • What it’s significance is
      • Why we should preserve it
    • And how you feel about the building.

The building I want to talk about is Edinburgh Castle, in the capital city of Scotland. I went there on holiday about five years ago and I really enjoyed my visit. I can’t remember the specific details, but it was many hundreds of years old, which really impressed me. In fact, it might have been almost a thousand years old! If you go to Edinburgh, you can see the castle from all around the city because it sits on top of a hill with really steep sides, so it stands out. It is important in Scottish history because that’s where the kings and queens of Scotland lived, and so it’s been at the center of the country’s past, as well as its skirmishes with England.

Edinburgh Castle is still important today both as an historical landmark, and also as a military base. That’s right! The castle is still being used by the Scottish military after all these years! I feel that there is no question that the government will continue to support its maintenance and that the castle will play an important role for years to come. I really enjoyed my visit to Edinburgh Castle and I would recommend it to anyone visiting the U.K. Edinburgh is a great city and the castle can hold your attention for hours. Not only is it fun, but you’ll learn lots of interesting stuff, too.

 

 

*note: We often say “an historical” rather than “a historic,” although some people have different preferences. Here, the “h” sound is considered a vowel sound.

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Author: David S. Wills

David S. Wills is the author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult' and the founder/editor of Beatdom literary journal. He lives and works in rural China, and loves to travel.

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