Speaking About Change:
Lesson 3 

Questions that will involve you speaking about change are common in part 3 of the IELTS test.

Therefore you need to make sure that you are the grammar and phrases to be able to do this.

Often you are asked to compare a situation now with the same situation in the past

Common time periods include; 20 years, 30 years, when your parents were young and when your grandparents were young.

This lesson will provide you with some useful grammar for speaking about change in the IELTS test, and how to spot these types of question.

Examples:

  • How are the eating habits now in your country different from eating habits in the past?
  • Are the types of leisure activities that are popular today the same as those that were popular when your parents were young?
  • How have shopping habits changed over recent years?
  • Have the types of transport people use changed much over the last few decades?

 

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Used to

One way of describing how things have changed is to use “used to”.  We use it to refer to facts or situations that were true in the past but are not true now.  When the change occurred is not important.

Example:

“Vietnam used to be a colony of France, (but now it is independent)”

“Jimmy Carter used to be the President of the United States, (but now he isn’t.)”

This can, of course be used to give personal information.

“I used to smoke, (but I gave up 2 years ago.)”

“Mike used to be a detective in the CID, (but now he’s a teacher)”

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Comparatives

In these types of questions the function being tested is “compare”, so using comparatives is obviously a good way of answering the question and speaking about change.

Example:

"Thirty years ago, the streets were much quieter than now.”

“I think that reading was much more popular in the past.”

When talking about how things are different now, the present perfect is often used as well as the present simple.

“The streets have become much noisier.” (Notice, a time is not needed)

“Reading is much less popular than it was in the past.”

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Speculation

Particularly for some of the longer periods, you may not be sure of exactly how things have changed and it is all right to speculate.

Would” can be used for strong speculation.

Example:

“It would have been harder for my grand father to find out about international news, because there was no radio or T.V in his village.”

“In the past, people would have traveled less often.”

When you are not so sure you can use other words. (perhaps, possibly, might, may, etc.)

I’m not sure but, perhaps, they might have studied less science thirty years ago”

Possibly, in my father’s day, people could have played more sport.”

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Question types

Questions about changes tend to be phrased in ways like these:

“How do you think … is different from thirty years ago?”

“In what ways has … changed from when your parents were young?

“How is … different from twenty years ago?”

Of course, the examiner may choose to word the question in other ways.



 

› Describing Changes

 

 

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Other Speaking Lessons

Lesson 1:
IELTS Speaking Part 2 - Extending Your Answer

Lesson 2:
IELTS Speaking Part 1 - Improving your Responses

Lesson 3:
IELTS Speaking Part 3 - Describing Changes

Lesson 4:
IELTS Speaking Part 3 - Talking about the Future

Lesson 5:
IELTS Speaking Part 2 - Mind Map: Structuring your talk

Lesson 6:
IELTS Parts 1-3 - Formality & Getting the tone right

Lesson 7:
IELTS Speaking Part 2 - A hypothetical situation

Lesson 8:
IELTS Speaking Part 3 - Giving & Justifying Opinions

Lesson 9:
IELTS Speaking Part 1 - Types of Speaking Questions for IELTS

Lesson 10:
IELTS Speaking - Useful IELTS Interview Expressions

Lesson 11:
IELTS Speaking Part 3 - Using Personal Experiences


 




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