USEFUL LANGUAGE

USEFUL LANGUAGE

SPEAKING

PART 1
I’m speaking English for my own satisfaction / my job / in order to improve my employment prospects.
If you want to go ahead these days, you need to have a good command of English
I always loved (the sea).
I’d love to visit places untouched by man.
However, there’s no place like home.
That’s a big question!
I want to be a useful member of society.
I’m keen on …
I’m an avid (traveler, zapalony) …
I haven’t given it much thought until now.

PART 2
What strikes me about the first picture is the fact that…
This picture reminds me of…
Judging from the photograph, the children…
The man appears to be…
From what we can see here, he must…
There are many similarities…
Both picture depict…
Both picture are quite similar in that they show…
When you give it a closer look it reveals…

The first picture … whereas the other picture …
Another important difference is…
Picture … doesn’t show … as clearly as …
Picture … attempts to … but I think picture … does this more effectively…
All pictures are interesting, but … gives a stronger idea of…

It’s difficult to tell from a photograph but this picture could have been taken in …
I might be wrong, but I’d say that this picture …
I would imagine/guess that this picture comes from …

Picture … is by far the best to show because …
To me, picture … is essential for this kind of publication.

I’m surprised there is no picture showing…
A picture of … would get the message across more effectively.
The cover would be so much better if we had a picture of …
So let’s look at the alternatives …

The name for this escapes me at present, but it’s for/it’s like …
The name for it is on the tip of my tongue …

PART 3
Up to the problem in question …
The main problem centres around …

It’s my belief …
For my part …
As I see it …
As I was saying …
I forgot to mention …
I’m of the opinion that …
To my mind …
To my way of thinking …
I am convinced that …
I am inclined to believe that …

Don’t get me wrong but shouldn’t we … ?
Judging by … they must be …
… is a separate issue.
Moving on to …
Taking everything into account …

I couldn’t agree more.
I agree up to a point.
I think I see what you mean, but …
I’m in two minds about it. / I’m ambivalent about …
I don’t see eye to eye with you here …
That’s true in a way, I suppose, but …
I don’t feel convinced …
That’s one way of looking at it. On the other hand …

Can you take a clear stand on that matter?
It brings to the question / idea / problem of …

Perhaps we should put … first? What do you think?
A strong point in favour of … is that …
What do you think should go next?
Are you happy with this order then?
Do you go along with that?

PART 4
Just following from what X was saying, I also feel …
While generally agreeing with X, I must say that …
Adding to what X has just said, I think …
I can sympathise with what X said but …
One thing X didn’t mention is …
Surprising, as it may seem, I don’t support X’s view on …
Perhaps it should be also emphasized that … / it should be pointed out that …

Writing for FCE/CAE/CPE

Useful language

FORMAL LETTERS

Letters objecting to someone’s plans

I am writing to express my concern /disappointment / alarm at hearing …

I was extremely alarmed/sorry/distressed to hear about your plans to …

As I think you know, …

May I point out that …

I feel I really must object to …

I am extremely concerned at the thought that …

It must be very clear that …

If these proposals go ahead, … will happen.

Another threat to … , if these proposals go ahead, would come from …

I dread to imagine what damage this will cause.

May I respectfully suggest that you …

I was wondering if you had considered this alternative?

Would it not be possible to … ?

Letters of complaint

I am writing to complain about …

I am writing to tell you how disappointed/annoyed I feel about …

I was amazed/distressed/horrified to find that …

As you must realise, …

I am sure you know that …

I am sure you can imagine …

I am sure you will appreciate that …

It goes without saying that …

At the very least, I look forward to receiving …

Unless you … , I am afraid that I will have to take this matter further.

Letters of recommendation

I am writing to you on behalf of …

I have known X for … years.

She / He has shown herself/himself to be extremely …

X would seem to fit the requirements of this job perfectly.

I have no hesitation in recommending X as a …

Letters to the editor

I am writing about the article on … , which appeared (in last night’s paper).

I am writing with reference to the article you published (in last month’s issue).

I have just read your article on … and I feel I must …

You raised some issues which I feel strongly about.

At the start of your article, you appear to claim that …

I am afraid I totally disagree.

I am completely in agreement.

I am sure readers will agree with me when I say that …

ARTICLES

Sequencing

At first / To start with/In the beginning, …

Then/Next/After that, …

The next thing that happened was …

The next thing I knew was …

Seconds/Minutes later,

Late on/Some time later,

It wasn’t until much later that …

After some time/After what seemed like years, …

Finally/In the end, …

At last, …

Simultaneous events

Meanwhile/In the meantime,

While all this was going on,

In the middle of all this, …

During all this time, …

Sudden or unexpected events

Suddenly/All of a sudden, …

All at once, …

Out of the blue, …

Without any warning, …

Just when I was least expecting it, …

The next thing I knew was …

Rapid events

As quick as a flash, …

In the wink of an eye, …

In a matter of seconds/minutes, …

In no time at all, …

Looking back

In retrospect, …

When I think back to what happened then, …

REPORTS

Introductory comments

I recently visited (the new Leisure Centre) and have prepared the following report for your consideration.

Further to my visit to … , I have prepared the following report.

The following report relates to my recent visit to …

General comments

On the whole, I found that …

Although … , I should point out that …

It is a fact that …

Concluding comments

All things considered, I believe that …

Taking all these points into consideration, I would recommend …

I recommend that we look into the possibility of …

Comparing places or facilities

One of the main differences between X and Y is that …

X is completely/entirely/totally different from Y in that …

Unlike X, Y is …

While/Whereas/Although X is … , Y is …

X is a little/slightly/somewhat/a great deal (bigger/more elegant than Y.

X is not quite/nearly as (comfortable/expensive/ convenient) as Y because …

X is virtually/exactly the same as Y when it comes to …

PROPOSALS

As requested, I am submitting the following proposal on …

I recommend that we …

I propose that we …

We should also …

I believe that …

We could …

It is a fact that , which means that …

If we were to , it would …

I suggest we… .We would then be able to …

I feel strongly that we should …

I trust you will give my proposal your full consideration.

REVIEWS

x has much to recommend it.

X is, at heart, a(n) love/spy/adventure story.

It is based on a book by …

It is set in the countryside/the future.

The film has a quality cast.

The film was directed by …

The film score is enchanting/evocative/scary.

The film captures the spirit of …

The hero/heroine/villain is …

I felt/thought it was …

I was impressed by …

What struck me most was …

What I liked most/didn’t like was …

The plot was gripping.

The characters were very convincing/very well drawn.

On reflection, I think it was …

It struck me as being …

What I didn’t understand was how …

In spite of these few criticisms, I think …

I would have no hesitation in recommending …

Useful words and phrases

These words and phrases can be used in the following text types, depending on what are asked to write about:

• letters

• essays

• articles

• proposals

• reports

• reviews

Expressing and supporting opinions

These words and expressions are especially useful in letters, essays and articles.

I believe/do not believe that … (because) …

Personally I feel that … Let me explain why.

In my opinion, … Just consider …

As I see it, … The reason is …

It seems to me that… This is because …

I would argue that for the following reasons.

I feel very strongly that …

I am convinced that …

I am of the opinion that …

I am very much in favour of/against …

I am completely opposed to …

The reasons why I believe that … are as follows.

Opening phrases

These words and expressions are especially useful in letters, essays and articles.

People (sometimes) claim that … but I feel that …

It is often said/argued that … However, it seems to me that …

It is a fact that …

Over the past few months/years, it seems that …

Recently, we have all become concerned that …

Nowadays, we are all realising that …

In the past, people used to …, but now …

These days, it seems that ….

Making statements

These words and expressions are especially useful in letters, essays and articles.

It is clear that …

On the whole, it appears/seems that …

We must take into account the fact that ….

It goes without saying that …

It is important to remember that …

Explaining/Expanding ideas and giving examples

These words and expressions are especially useful in letters, essays and articles.

… This means that …

… This is largely due to …

…For example/For instance, …

…In other words, …

Take, for example, the situation in …

Listing arguments

These words and expressions are especially useful in letters, essays and articles.

Firstly/In the first place / To begin with, …

Secondly/A second area to consider is …

Another point to remember is …

Finally, …

In conclusion, ..

Last but not least, …

Evaluating ideas, Dismissing contrary arguments

These words and expressions are especially useful in letters, essays and articles.

I think it is true that …

I totally disagree/agree with the point that…

It is questionable whether …

I am sure/I doubt whether …

It is true that … On the other hand, …

While nobody can deny that … , I would like to point out that …

I agree that …However, …

Although it is true that , we must remember that …

It could be argued that … However, I would like to point out that …

Despite all the arguments, I still feel that …

Notwithstanding the claim that … , I would argue that…

It may be true that … , but all too often …

In no way can I agree that …

Surely it is completely unacceptable that …

Persuading

These words and expressions are especially useful in letters and proposals.

I would urge you to consider…

I am sure you will agree that…

Surely you must agree that…

I would urge you very strongly to …

When you hear the arguments, I am sure you will agree that …

Evaluating

These words and expressions are especially useful in reports, proposals and reviews.

I was extremely impressed by…

I was rather disappointed by…

While X has much to commend it, I feel that some aspects could be improved.

The problem could easily be solved if …

I would like to praise the …

Another area for complaint is …

My overall impression was that …

I am sure that visitors/readers/holidaymakers will thoroughly enjoy …

While some people will love … , others may feel less happy.

A major problem is that …

I was less happy with …

Making recommendations

These words and expressions are especially useful in proposals and reports.

I recommend that we …

I propose that we …

We should also …

I believe that we should …

We could …

If we were to… , we could …

I suggest we… We would then be able to …

Summarising

These words and expressions are especially useful in letters, essays,articles, reports, proposals and reviews.

All in all, I think that …

To sum up, I believe that …

In conclusion, the facts suggest that …

Describing

These words and expressions are especially useful in articles, reviews, and letters.

Character/Personality

He tends to be …

She can be …

He is inclined to be …

She appears/seems to be …

Hobbies and interests

He is crazy about … -ing.

She loves … -ing.

His greatest love is …

What she loves most in life is …

He spends all his time … -ing.

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