Part 2 of the IELTS Speaking component can be quite challenging if candidates are not sure of what to say for about 2 minutes. Two minutes can feel like two hours if you are not fully prepared for it and you can end up sounding like a broken record: repeating the same words and the same ideas over and over again. Unfortunately, what’s worse is that there is no choice in the kind of topic to discuss, so they will have to make the best use of the situation by preparing and practicing for common topics as much as possible.
During the IELTS Speaking and/or Writing exam candidates may be asked to talk about someone’s personality or character. Therefore, it is important to know how to describe relationships. You could use these phrases to talk about your friends and family.
- One of his/her best qualities is that …
- I think I’ve inherited certain traits from …
- S/he’s the sort of person you …
- I’m … though having said that, I …
- I’m quite happy to …
- S/he is a lifelong friend.
- S/he was a shoulder to cry on.
It would also help you to know vocabulary related to describing people and to practice it.
Describing Friends and Family vocabulary with definitions
- A lifelong friend – A friend that you have had for most of your life
- A relationship of trust – a connection with another in which you have faith and confidence
- Arrange a dinner date – Plan to share an evening meal
- A shoulder to cry on – Someone to sympathize with you
- Close knit family – A close family with common interests
- Dear to my heart – Someone that I care about
- Distant cousins – People who share a common ancestor but are not closely related
- Extend the hand of friendship – Reach out to someone in a friendly manner
- Extended family – Uncles, aunts, and cousins form part of the extended family
- Face to face – In person
- Get to know one another – Learning different aspects of each other
- Get together – Meet up
- Immediate family – Spouse, parents, children, grandparents
- Long lost friend – A friend that you have lost contact with
- Long-term relationships – A committed relationship between partners
- Nurture our friendships – Looking after our relationships with friends
- Professional relationships – The relationships that we have in the workplace
- Relationship problems – Difficulties with people with whom we interact regularly
- Share a common background – The share a similar heritage or culture
- Share the same ideas – To have similar opinions and views
- Stand the test of time – To last a long time
- Struck up a friendship – To make friends
- To enjoy someone’s company – To enjoy spending time with someone
- To have a good working relationship – To work together well
- To have a lot in common – To have shared interests
- To hit it off – To like each other straight away
- To keep in touch with – To keep in contact
- To lose touch with – To lose contact
Let’s practice abovementioned vocabulary in IELTS Speaking model questions and answers.
Part 1 Questions and Answers
Q: Do you come from a large family?
A: My immediate family is not very big. I have a large extended family that includes many uncles, aunts, and cousins. We are a close-knit family, and we like to keep in touch with one another, so birthdays, and other celebrations, are noisy crowded affairs.
Q: When was the last time you had a family function?
A: Our extended family got together last year to celebrate my grandfather’s eightieth birthday. He is very dear to my heart. He has kept up healthy relationships with the whole family, so it was a happy occasion that we all enjoyed.
Q: Would you take a friend on a family holiday?
A: I have. My family and my best friend got to know each other quite well, as she visited me quite frequently at my home. My family believes that we should nurture our friendships, so they encouraged me to bring my friend along when we took a seaside holiday last year.
Part 2 Questions and Answers
Describe your best friend. You should say
- who is he/she
- how long you two are friends
- what you do together
And explain why s/he is your best friend.
A: My best friend and I got to know each other when we were still very young. We lived in neighbouring houses. We had a lot in common, so we soon hit it off. As we have grown older, we have moved apart. Because of this, we have to some degree lost touch, but anyone who has had a lifelong friend would understand that she will always be dear to my heart. When we do find ourselves in the same city, we arrange a dinner date, so that we can enjoy each other’s company. We share the same ideas, and we share a common background. We enjoy reminiscing about our past exploits. When we struck up a friendship, as children, we were inseparable. In those early days, we built up a relationship of trust that time and distance cannot break.
Part 3 Questions and Answers
Q: Do you think that after-hour friendships between working colleagues are appropriate?
A: I think that it is important to have a good working relationship. Colleagues should extend the hand of friendship to newcomers in the workplace. I don’t believe, however, that professional relationships should extend into the domestic domain as this may affect office politics.
Q: Do you think that social media is changing the way that we relate to our friends and family?
A: In some ways yes. Social media allows us to build up relationships with distant cousins, even with those that live on foreign soil. It also helps us to make connections with long lost friends, who we may never have spoken to or seen again. On the other hand, we often spend far too much time on our digital devices instead of socializing face to face.
Q: Do you think that people who enter into a long-term relationship, should continue with their friendships from their single days?
A: I think that it is important to nurture our friendships whether or not we are in a long-term relationship. Not all relationships stand the test of time, and if you have relationship problems you may one day need a shoulder to cry on. In my view, too many people abandon their friends when they become involved in relationships.