Category: IELTS Speaking

Make me ______!

šŸ˜¦ Routine activities make our hearts are happy.

flag-of-indonesiaĀ I’m not sure why Indonesian students run into problems withĀ make, especially whenĀ make is tied to an adjective – Ā as it is in this example. The Indonesian structure is exactly the same as the English:

verb noun adjective
šŸ‡®šŸ‡© membuat orang senang
šŸ‡¬šŸ‡§ make someone happy

Buat orang senang = Make someone happy = Make + nounĀ + adjective

šŸ™‚ Routine activities make our hearts happy.

Of courseĀ make can also be tied to a verb:

šŸ™‚ She made me do it!

In this case you need the structure:

subjectĀ + make + objectĀ + V1

So,Ā makeĀ is actually easier to use than you might think:

  • She makes me happy (adj).
  • She makes meĀ laugh (v).


Photos that never forget

šŸ˜¦ I keep my photos because they can memorise the moment.

But in order to memorise anything they would needĀ consciousness, which is of course impossible. A photograph does not have a brain:


Only humans can memorise things, so perhaps you mean:

šŸ™‚ I keep my photos because they help me to remember the moment.

Be careful with ‘memorise‘. We don’t usually memorise ‘moments’. We generally memoriseĀ information, and this oftenĀ requires continued and intensive concentration. For example if you want to remember somebody’s phone number, you must first of all memorise it. The memory of the number then stays in your head ready for the next time you need it. With a photograph, the memory might not stay in your head. Rather, you remember the momentĀ whenever you look at the photograph. In this sense the photo acts as ‘a reminder‘.

flag-of-indonesiaĀ Indonesians would do well to read through the previous paragraph and consider the translations of ingat and its forms, and also hafal and its forms.



My yard is wide

šŸ˜¦ Of course I love my house. It has a yard. Actually it’s not a very wide yard.

flag-of-indonesiaĀ Here an Indonesian candidate is translating ‘luas’ (lit. ‘wide’).

In English, ‘wide’ is one of several dimensions (including ‘long’, ‘deep’, etc.), and doesn’t really communicate the idea of overall size. Ā If you tell me your yard is wide, I immediately want to knowĀ whether it is long. Then I might be able to decide whether it is big or small.Ā For example, aĀ yard might be 10m ‘wide’, but only 10cmĀ ‘long’.

To communicate the idea of overall sizeĀ – when speaking about the land next to or between buildingsĀ – it would be better to say:

šŸ™‚ Of course I love my house. It has a yard. Actually it’s not a very bigĀ yard.

More academic synonyms for ‘big’ might include ‘spacious’, ‘expansive’.


When ‘existence’ should not exist

šŸ˜¦ Some people believe that the existence of machines helps to generateĀ more profit than loss.

flag-of-indonesiaĀ This is a common translation problem for Indonesians. Keberadaan!

In English it is automatically assumed that things and people exist, unless otherwise stated.

šŸ™‚ Some people believe thatĀ machinesĀ help to generateĀ more profit than loss.

šŸ™‚ Some people believe that the absence of machines can result in losses.

Incidentally, can anyone guessĀ the names of the couple in the cover photo for this post, and why were they chosen? Comments below! šŸ™‚


Humans are usually redundant

šŸ˜¦ In conclusion, long working hours areĀ necessary for human beings.

flag-of-indonesiaĀ I’m guessing this may beĀ a cultural issue.

Let’s try aĀ quickĀ test.Ā Which of the following sentences is NOT about working hours and humans?

  1. Long working hours are necessary for human beings.
  2. Long working hours are necessary.
  3. Long working hours are necessary for ants.

Hopefully you chose number 3. In any discussion of working hours, and indeed of many other topics, we’re usually talking about human beings, unless otherwise specified.

The only time we really need to mention humans is when we’re contrasting them with non-humans!



šŸ˜¦ Different ethnics will have different languages to communicate.

flag-of-indonesia This is one of those situations where the English word has been borrowed and its use altered. In this case what was in English an adjective has been turned into a noun.

English offers two word forms – ethnic (adjective), ethnicity (noun):

šŸ™‚ Different ethnic groups will have different languages to communicate.

šŸ™‚ People with different ethnicity will have different languages to communicate.

And by the way, how exactly do you describe your own ethnicity? Comments below!


Are the benefits beneficial?

šŸ˜¦ Constructing impressive buildings benefits more forĀ visitors than local people.

flag-of-indonesiaĀ This is another word that gets partly lost in translation. Let’s look at some possible improvements.

Benefit –Ā verb

Constructing impressive buildings benefitsĀ visitors more than local people.

The verb ‘benefit’ is transitive, no preposition. Notice the position of ‘more’ in the comparison!

Beneficial – adjective

Constructing impressive buildings is more beneficial forĀ visitors than for local people.

The adjective ‘beneficial’ may be followed by a preposition phrase – usually ‘beneficial + for’ (except “When attempting to lose weight it is more beneficial to exercise than to diet.”).

Without a comparative you might also write:

Constructing impressive buildings is beneficial.

Benefit – noun

The benefits to visitors of constructing impressive buildings are greater than the benefits to local people.

The noun ‘benefit’ – when applied to people (visitors) – is followed by ‘to‘.
When applied to things (constructing impressive buildings) it is followed by ‘of‘.