Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Describe An Open Air Market (Speaking Part 2)

You speaking score is judged on four distinct criteria. The first is fluency and coherence (your ability to speak continuously and at a natural pace), grammatical range and accuracy (using grammar well and using complex sentences), pronunciation (your ability to say words and sentences with appropriate pronunciation and stress), and lexical resource (your use of vocabulary.)

One way that you can improve your vocabulary for Speaking Part 2 is to improve your use of adjectives. Since many Part 2 questions will ask you to describe something, you need to use sophisticated and accurate words to speak about whatever it happens to be.

PLEASE try to avoid repeating the following words:

Good     Bad     Happy     Sad     Nice    Special    Important 

They will cause your examiner to fall asleep!

Instead of these simple words, try to use participial adjectives. Participial adjectives are -ed or -ing forms of common verbs, but they are used as adjectives. For example:

The excited children jump up and down when they see the ice cream truck.

The history text was highly engaging and so she read it well into the night.

In the first sentence "excited" is a participial adjective describing the emotion of the children. In the second sentence "engaging" is a participial adjective to describe the feelings CAUSED by the book.

There's a wide range of participial adjectives that you can use:

                  -ED            -ING

                bored             boring
                excited           exciting
                interested        interesting
                amazed            amazing
                engaged           engaging
                fascinated        fascinating
                surprised         surprising
                involved          involving
                thrilled          thrilling
                frightened        frightening
                bustled           bustling
                overwhelmed       overwhelming

The MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember about participial adjectives is when to use "-ed" and when to use "-ing." 

Remember: The "-ed" form refers to FEELINGS and should therefore only be used to describe people or very emotional animals!

The "-ing" form is active and means that the subject is CAUSING a feeling.

Look at the following sentences:

Maria is bored.            Maria is boring.

One of them is a very rude thing to say! Do you know which one? It's the second sentence, since it states that "Maria causes boredom." Don't invite her to your party!

Listen to the Speaking Part 2 Response to the following question:

Describe an open-air market which you enjoyed visiting. You should say:
  • where the market is located
  • what the market sells
  • how big the market is

And explain why you enjoyed going there.

Listen and read the text below. Pay attention to the use of participial adjectives.


Right. Well, when I lived in Korea, it was sometimes difficult for me to find the things that I needed in normal shops, so a friend recommended that I check out a market called Namdaemun. I know I’m not pronouncing that correctly, sorry! Anyway, we took two or three buses to get there, and when we arrived, it was absolutely staggering. I had never seen such a bustling market in my life! The stalls were packed into all the streets and alleyways, stretching for several blocks as far as we could see. Vendors were selling just about every product you can imagine. They had shoes, socks, jewelry, electronics, household items, toys,…just…everything, right? To be honest, I was a little overwhelmed. There were just too many choices and I ended up going home with just a headache and a pair of socks. On the plus side, the Namdaemun market had excellent street food, for instance, fried rice with kimchi and tokpoki. Those are some of my favourite Korean snacks. So in the end I really enjoyed eating food and exploring with my friends, but I don’t think I’d go back there. It was just too hectic.


Here are two more excellent sample answers to this question. The first is by a native English speaker, and the second is spoken by a Chinese student. This response would likely receive an 8 or 8.5. Pay attention to the variety of adjectives used. Also, listen for sentence stress and pronunciation.




OK. I’ll talk about a market that I visited in Prague, the Christmas market. These’re common in lots of European cities. At first I wasn’t that excited about going, but my girlfriend kind of dragged me along because she said it would be romantic, and I ended up having a pretty good time. Anyway, Prague is a gorgeous old city, and the Old Town Square has some buildings that date back to the 12th century. This is where they hold the Christmas market. There are hundreds of stalls selling arts and crafts and food as well as Christmas decorations. Musicians play classical music and sing carols while you walk around, and all the stalls are decorated with lights and wreaths and those kinds of things. It’s very nice, and ok, I’ll admit it’s pretty romantic. Unlike most outdoor markets, this one takes place in the dead of winter, and uh, it’s freezing. But the best thing about the Christmas market is drinking hot mead to keep warm. Mead is an alcoholic drink, that’s brewed from honey. At the markets they serve it warm and spiced with cinnamon and… maybe cloves. Anyway, it’s just the thing on a cold day and keeps you going while you shop for gifts. If you ever visit Prague, I highly recommend seeing the Christmas markets.




One market I really enjoyed visiting was a farmer’s market here in Auckland. It takes place every Sunday near the harbor, and it’s one of the largest farmer’s markets in New Zealand. I think there are about… 30 stalls. … It’s nice because you can do your shopping with a nice view of the sea. Like most farmer’s markets, it mainly sells fruits and vegetables. You can choose from a variety of fresh produce, from ordinary things like apples and bananas to exotic fruits like feijoas. …Buying fruits and vegetables from a farmer’s market is a good idea because they usually cost less than at the supermarket. There’s also a wide range of specialty goods that you can’t find elsewhere. For instance, you can buy handmade jam and honey which isn’t available at the supermarket. These items are a little pricey, but it’s usually worth it! … I enjoy outdoor markets because they’re good places to get together with friends when the weather is nice. This market is a little different from the open air markets in China, but it’s still an enjoyable place to go.




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