Improving Sentences: E-books and paper books

Improve your academic writing skills for IELTS writing task 2.

In recent years, more and more people are choosing to read e-books rather than paper books.

Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?

The statements below are taken from a student’s essay and contain some mistakes. Can you re-write these sentences so that they are not only correct but also higher band score?

  1. In my point of view, reading digital books have more advantages compared with printed books.
  2. First and foremost, E-book is been accessed, nowadays, easily by the people in a fraction of seconds through the advanced modern communication technologies.
  3. Secondly, buying an electronic version books are easier than the printed paper books.
  4. On the other hand, People health will affect when they spend more time to read books by using the modern gadgets such as laptop, mobile phones and tablets.
  5. In conclusion, in my view, electronic version books bring more pleasure and easily to access.

Try writing the sentences for yourself before you check the answers.Answers

  1. In my opinion, reading digital books has more advantages compared to printed books. (“reading digital books” is the subject and it is actually singular so the verb must be “has” not “have”)
  2. First and foremost, e-books can be easily accessed by people in only a fraction of a second through the use of advanced modern technology. ( The phrase “a fraction of a second” can’t be plural and must be written as it is. It’s a nice phrase to use and can be used for academic writing – just make sure you write it correctly)
  3. Secondly, buying electronic books online is easier for the consumer than purchasing printed paper books.
  4. On the other hand, spending too much time reading e-books on bright screens from gadgets such as laptops or tablets, can have an adverse effect on people’s health.
  5. In conclusion, I think that e-books are more accessible to both read and buy for the consumer than conventional paper books.

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IELTS Speaking Part 3: Technology Questions and Model Answer

Technology is a popular topic in speaking part 3. Below are some common questions with a model answer underneath.

  • What modern technological devices are most common in your country?
  • Do you think modern technology is useful?
  • Do you think people rely too much on technology?
  • Do you think men and women view technological devices differently?
  • Why do you think people spend so much money buying the latest devices?

Model Answer

  • Question: Do you think men and women view technological devices differently?
  • Answer: Yes, I do. For starters, men are usually more obsessed with gadgets. They are almost like children with the way they want to play with the latest gizmos and learn all their new functions. They are constantly fiddling around with their new toys. I also think that gadgets are a kind of ego for men. I mean they often compare their new toys with each other to see who has the best one. Women, on the other hand, are more down to earth and see devices more rationally as a means to communicate with others or to perform a particular function. Of course, this is pretty stereotyped but it seems to hold true for most men and women I know.

Useful Expressions

  • fiddling around with something = playing with something
  • down to earth = realistic, practical
  • stereotyped = putting people into a group or categorising them not based on fact

Note:  As you can see this model answer is from a woman’s perspective, if you would like to give a sample answer from a man’s perspective, please post it in the comments box. Feel free to post your answers to other questions as well.

Recommended

Technology Vocabulary for Speaking

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Technology Vocabulary for Speaking

So many students confuse academic language for writing task 2 and spoken, informal language. In this lesson, you will learn lots of language for your speaking test for the topic of technology.

Forms of the word:

  • technology (n)
  • technologies (pl n)
  • technological (adj)

The article below is about why men like modern technological devices. It’s written informally and with humour. I’ve underlined useful words for you to learn and practice using. The questions are at the bottom of the passage but I’ve also put a couple of links to them in the passage itself for easy access – check the Qs link.

Why Men Like Gadgets

Be it communication devices, play station, music systems, sports gear, cars and other electronic equipments, men share a special relationship with gadgets. It’s only when a woman understands her man’s fondness for these gizmos, are they able to balance their relationship with them. Here’s why men believe in romancing their gadgets:

Sense of freedom

For most men, the cell phone, or their wireless PDA and compact notebook are symbols of freedom. The mere fact that they own one such gadget makes a man feel unbound. Men can store huge piece of information in his tiny device and feel confident. Qs

Questions:

  1. Men are always after the latest ………….
  2. There’s nothing worse than sitting next to a ………… person
  3. I wouldn’t say he’s lacking in ……….. He’s so full of himself.
  4. If you can’t get to sleep, try to avoid drinking caffeinated drinks after 5pm or not using any ………. such as tablets that have a bright screen late at night. That should …………..

Sense of power

Gadgets like laser pointers provides a sense of power to men. Men love to feel powerful and gadgets enhance their supremacy, at least they feel so. The SUV cars and high-speed Internet connections are all demonstrations of power for men.

Ego-boosters
Funkiest cars, tiniest video camera, expensive function-laden watch, and the fastest computer – all these work as ego-boosters for men. In fact, men use gadgets to impress each other. Arm wrestling, bike racing or drinking competitions are no more the ways to prove masculinity; it’s these gadgets that do the trick now. They are the new way to show off wealth, taste, advancement and knowledge. Qs

Questions:

  1. Men are always after the latest ………….
  2. There’s nothing worse than sitting next to a ………… person
  3. I wouldn’t say he’s lacking in ……….. He’s so full of himself.
  4. If you can’t get to sleep, try to avoid drinking caffeinated drinks after 5pm or not using any ………. such as tablets that have a bright screen late at night. That should …………..

Gadgets lure women
A classy car, latest cell phone, expensive watches and other gadgets, men think, help impress women.

Need to fidget
Men often have a tendency to get restless easily and gadgets contribute to the cause. Television remote control, mobile phones, laptops are few perfect examples of “fidgeting gadgets” men tend to use.

Stress buster
Men prefer to avoid talking about the subject that’s giving them stress and gadgets often work as a stress buster in such situations. Engaging themselves in gadgets is the way men choose to de-stress themselves.

Vocabulary Practice

Complete the sentence using a word or words taken from the article above. This is not an IELTS reading exercise, it is just an exercise to practice using the language in the passage. You may need to change the form of the word.

  1. Men are always after the latest ………….
  2. There’s nothing worse than sitting next to a ………… person
  3. I wouldn’t say he’s lacking in ……….. He’s so full of himself.
  4. If you can’t get to sleep, try to avoid drinking caffeinated drinks after 5pm or not using any ………. such as tablets that have a bright screen late at night. That should …………..
Vocabulary

Here is a list of useful vocabulary. See below for the audio to listen to the pronunciation.

  • gadget = tool, device , implement (informal)
  • gizmos = gadget, device (informal)
  • unbound = liberated
  • ego = self-image, self-esteem
  • ego-booster = something that enhances a person’s self-image (informal)
  • funky = cool, trendy, happening (informal)
  • do the trick = do exactly what is needed (informal)
  • function-laden = full of functions (informal)
  • fidget – move nervously and continuously (informal)
  • stress buster = something which reduces stress (informal)
  • to be after something = to want something (informal)
  • to be full of oneself = to be over-confident and have a lot of self-esteem

 Answers
  1. gadgets or gizmos (could also be singular)
  2. fidgety
  3. ego
  4. gadgets or gizmos / do the trick

Passage from Time of India

 

Example of an IELTS speaking question with model answer:

  • Question: Do you like modern technology?
  • Answer: Yes, I do. I’m pretty gadget mad actually. Whenever they release an up-grade, I’m the first in line to see what new functions they’ve incorporated into the new model and how it works. My friends are always saying that I spend too much money on the latest gizmos.

Recommended

IELTS Speaking Part 3 Questions for Technology Topic

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Introduction Paragraph Feedback

The introduction paragraph below was sent to me by a student in response to the following essay question.

Essay Question

With an increasing population communicating via the internet and text messaging, face to face communication will become a thing of the past. To what extent do you agree?

Student Introduction

Face to face communication is become less important than the past, since increase and populate communication by the internet and text messaging. In my opinion, I agree that face to face communication will suffer as some small, develop new technologies but it is fishy that it is cause the death of traditional communicate.

Feedback

The ideas and technique in this introduction are fine. However, the grammar and vocaulary make it difficult for the reader. Let’s go through each mistake before seeing the model.

      1.  “Face to face communication is become less important than the past ….” There are two mistakes in this sentence. One mistake is with the grammar tense and one mistake is a missing preposition. Can you correct the errors? Answer
        Face to face communication has become less important than in the past.
      2. since increase and populate communication by the internet and text messaging. There is a problem with both vocabulary and grammar. Can you correct it? Answer
        …since the popular increase in communication by internet and text messaging.
      3. face to face communication will suffer as some small, develop new technologies Can you correct the problems? Answer
        …face to face communication will suffer due to the development of technology.. 
      4. …but it is fishy that it is cause the death of traditional communicateThere are a lot of errors with this part of the sentence due to the choice of vocabulary. How would you write it? Answer
        but it is unlikely that it will result in the disappearance of direct, face to face communication .

Comments

  1. “It is fishy that …” this is an idiom which means it is suspicious. Firstly, the meaning is not right for the above sentence. Secondly, it is not academic. Many idioms are not academic and therefore many shouldn’t be used in IELTS writing task 2. Don’t confuse idioms with idiomatic language. The student should use “it is unlikely to …” or “it is doubtful that …”.
  2. “..cause the death of …” this is also an idiom which can be used in academic writing but the meaning is not appropriate for this essay.
  3. “traditional communication” the writer is trying to paraphrase the words “face to face communication”. Unfortunately, it can’t be paraphrased. Not all words can be paraphrased in English.
  4. Many students try to paraphrase all words because they think they will get a high score. Unfortunately, the result is a lot of errors. If you have frequent errors, you will get band score 5  or 5.5 in vocabulary. You must be very sure of your paraphrasing or you will end up with more and more mistakes which will reduce your band score.

Model Introduction

As a growing number of people are choosing to communicate through the use of modern technology, such as the internet and text messaging, some people think that face to face communication will eventually die out. In my opinion, although I agree that face to face communication will become increasingly less popular, it is unlikely to disappear completely and will still be favoured in certain situations.

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True False Not Given: IELTS Reading Practice Lesson

Practice reading for IELTS True False Not Given questions. IELTS reading TFNG questions come in both the Academic reading test and the General Training reading test.

Below are 4 practice lessons for TFNG questions. They are not IELTS tests. They are practice lessons for IELTS students. If you would like IELTS TFNG Tips, see my TFNG Video & TIPS page.

TFNG Reading: Exercise 1

Passage: The Thames Tunnel

When it opened in 1843 the Thames Tunnel was described as the Eighth Wonder of the World. People came from far and wide to see the first tunnel under a river. On the first day, fifty thousand people descended the staircase and paid a penny to walk through the tunnel. By the end of the first three months there were a million people, or half the population of London. This was the most successful visitor attraction in the world. In the age of sail and horse-drawn coaches, people came long distances and bought souvenirs and listened to the entertainment in the cross-tunnel arches. The idea, of course, was not entertainment but to move cargo and turn a profit.

Notice: This passage is from brunel-museum.org.uk. You can read the full article here: The Thames Tunnel

Questions 1-5

Are the following statements true, false or not given according to the information in the passage?

  • True = the statement matches the information in the passage
  • False = the statement contradicts the information in the passage
  • Not Given = the information is not found in the passage
  1. People were drawn from all over to see the Thames Tunnel.
  2. There were 1.5 million people living in London at the time.
  3. People were able to travel by sea or land in those days.
  4. Statues of the tunnel could be purchased as souvenirs.
  5. The aim of building the tunnel was make money as a tourist attraction.

Answers

Click below to reveal the answers.

Answers
  1. T
  2. F (the passage says that 1 million is the equivalent to half the population of London, which makes the population of London 2 million)
  3. T
  4. NG (no information is given about the types of souvenirs sold)
  5. F (the aim was to make money through moving cargo)

 

TFNG Reading: Exercise 2

Passage: Pyramid Building

The pyramid blocks were hewn from quarries using stone and copper tools. The blocks were transported to the pyramid site from remote quarries using barges, and from local quarries using wooden sleds. The Egyptians did not use the wheel during the Pyramid Age, an invention that would have been of limited use on softer ground under heavy loads. The sleds were dragged manually, sometimes with the help of beasts of burden, over smoothed roads. Some of the existing pathways were equipped with transverse wooden beams to lend support to the sled. A lubricant may have been poured upon the road to reduce friction.

Egyptians successfully completed the most massive building projects in all of history. There is nothing magical or supernatural in the means by which they achieved their goals, as is commonly thought. By all indications, they retained their knowledge of construction throughout their history, but they were limited after the Fourth Dynasty not by the lack of technology but rather by the lack of the abundant resources that were previously available. More than two thousand years later, the Romans would move huge stones, some weighing nearly 1,000 tons, using similar techniques at Baalbek.

Notice: The above passage is from: catchpenny.org. You can view the full article here: How the pyramids were built

Questions 1-7

Decide if the statements below are True, False or Not Given according to the information in the passage.

  1. The wheel was invented during the Pyramid Age, even thought it was not used.
  2. Sleds were dragged by animals not humans.
  3. It is possible that Ancient Egyptians could have lubricated their roads to aid transportation.
  4. The building work of the Ancient Egyptians is unrivalled.
  5. Some people think magic may have been used by the Ancient Egyptians.
  6. Limited technology limited the construction of the Ancient Egyptians in the Fourth Dynasty.
  7. The Romans learned the techniques of moving huge stones from the Ancient Egyptians.

Answers

Click below to reveal the answers:

Answers
  1. NG
  2. F
  3. T
  4. T
  5. T
  6. F
  7. NG
Vocabulary

Here is a list of useful vocabulary and below that is an audio so you can listen to the pronunciation of the words.

  • hewn = cut / chopped
  • granite = a type of stone
  • to be of limited use = not very useful
  • dragged = pulled
  • manually = by hand
  • friction = resistance
  • ramp = slope / inclines
  • configuration = formation
  • conjecture = guesswork / estimation / surmise
  • retained = kept
  • abundant = plentiful / rich / ample

 

TFNG Reading: Exercise 3

Composer Ludwig van Beethoven was born on or near December 16, 1770, in Bonn, Germany. He is widely considered the greatest composer of all time. Sometime between the births of his two younger brothers, Beethoven’s father began teaching him music with an extraordinary rigour and brutality that affected him for the rest of his life. On a near daily basis, Beethoven was flogged, locked in the cellar and deprived of sleep for extra hours of practice. He studied the violin and clavier with his father as well as taking additional lessons from organists around town. Beethoven was a prodigiously talented musician from his earliest days and displayed flashes of the creative imagination that would eventually reach farther than any composer’s before or since.

In 1804, only weeks after Napoleon proclaimed himself Emperor, Beethoven debuted his Symphony No. 3 in Napoleon’s honor. It was his grandest and most original work to date — so unlike anything heard before that through weeks of rehearsal, the musicians could not figure out how to play it. At the same time as he was composing these great and immortal works, Beethoven was struggling to come to terms with a shocking and terrible fact, one that he tried desperately to conceal. He was going deaf. By the turn of the century, Beethoven struggled to make out the words spoken to him in conversation.

Despite his extraordinary output of beautiful music, Beethoven was frequently miserable throughout his adult life. Beethoven died on March 26, 1827, at the age of 56.

Notice: The passage above is from biography.com. You can read the full article on this page: Ludwig Van Beethoven. There is also a great video to watch about this composer.

Questions 1 – 8

Are the following statements True, False or Not Given according to the information in the passage.

  1. It is not known exactly when Beethoven was born.
  2. Beethoven suffered cruelty at the hands of his father.
  3. Beethoven’s father was also a talented musician.
  4. It is possible that Beethoven’s early sufferings lead to his creative genius.
  5. Beethoven’s  Symphony No. 3 was inspired by a famous man.
  6. Contemporary musicians struggled to perform the Symphony No.3 on the opening night.
  7. In the early 1800’s Beethoven struggled to follow a conversation.

Answers

Click below to reveal the answers.

Answers
  1. True
  2. True
  3. Not Given
  4. Not Given
  5. Not Given
  6. False
  7. True

 

TFNG Reading Exercise 4

Passage: Spam Messaging 

SPAM, as every user of mobile phones in China is aware to their intense annoyance, is a roaring trade in China. Its delivery-men drive through residential neighbourhoods in “text-messaging cars”, with illegal but easy-to-buy gadgetry they use to hijack links between mobile-phone users and nearby communications masts. They then target the numbers they harvest, blasting them with spam text messages before driving away. Mobile-phone users usually see only the wearisome results: another sprinkling of spam messages offering deals on flats, investment advice and dodgy receipts for tax purposes.

Chinese mobile-users get more spam text messages than their counterparts anywhere else in the world. They received more than 300 billion of them in 2013, or close to one a day for each person using a mobile phone. Users in bigger markets like Beijing and Shanghai receive two a day, or more than 700 annually, accounting for perhaps one-fifth to one-third of all texts. Americans, by comparison, received an estimated 4.5 billion junk messages in 2011, or fewer than 20 per mobile-user for the year—out of a total of more than two trillion text messages sent.

(Notice: Passage from The economist, November 2014)

Questions 1-7

Decide if the following questions are true, false or not given.

  1. In China, SPAM text messaging is a successful business.
  2. People’s phone numbers are collected through the use of technology which cannot be readily bought.
  3. In no other country do people receive more Spam texts than in China.
  4. SPAM messaging is an international problem.
  5. In 2013, the number of SPAM texts increased considerably to reach 300 billion.
  6. The majority of all texts received in Shanghai and Beijing are SPAM.
  7. In 2011, Americans sent more texts than anywhere else in the world.

Answers

Click below to reveal the answers.

Answers
  1. True (roaring trade)
  2. False (the gadgetry = technology / easy to buy = readily bought ). This is false because the passage shows it is easy to buy which contradicts the statement.
  3. True
  4. Not Given
  5. Not Given (there is no information if the number given had increased or decreased before hitting 300 billion)
  6. False (only one third are SPAM at the most)
  7. Not Given
Vocabulary
  • intense = strong / extreme
  • roaring business = successful business / booming business
  • residential = suburban
  • gadget = device
  • harvest information = collect / gather
  • sprinkling = smattering
  • counterparts = equals / colleagues
  • spam messages = junk messages
  • digits = numbers / numerals

 

IELTS Reading Practice & Tips

A free video lesson and list of tips for IELTS Reading TFNG: IELTS Reading TFNG Tips

All Reading Lessons and Tips: IELTS Reading main page on ieltsliz.com

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