Writing
Do you write a lot? Do you prefer writing by hand or typing? Did you like writing things when you were a child? What do you like to write? Why? Do you think the things you write would change?
Vocabulary
  • Extended (adj.) - long or longer than usual.
  • To file (verb) - to store information in a careful and particular way.
  • Handwritten (adj.) - written using your hand rather than printed by a machine.
  • To type sth up (phrasal verb) - to use a keyboard to make a printed copy of something that was written by hand.
  • To loathe (verb) - to hate someone or something.
  • To jot sth down (phrasal verb) - to write something quickly on a piece of paper so that you remember it.
  • Entry (noun) - a single written item in a list or collection of records.
  • Journal (noun) - a written record of what you have done each day, sometimes including your private thoughts and feelings
  • To unburden yourself - to free yourself of something that is worrying you, by talking about it to someone.
  • Tedious (adj.) - boring.
Get exclusive episodes on IELTS Speaking parts 1, 2, and 3
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Questions and answers
M: Do you write a lot?

R: Well, if you mean extended writing, then not a lot these days, I keep a diary, and, oh, I make notes for lessons. And occasionally I file reports. What else? Oh, well, I don't do it now, but I'd like to do more creative writing in the future as well.

M: Do you prefer writing by hand or typing?

R: Well, it depends what has to be written, I suppose. So simple notes for lessons can be handwritten, for example. But a report probably needs a more professional typed-up approach where you're sitting at your computer typing away and putting everything in a logical order and making it presentable.

M: Did you like writing things when you were a child?

R: Well, ironically, for someone who loves writing now, I absolutely loathed it when I was a child, actually. Unless it was creative writing. I used to love making up all the crazy plots and interesting characters and like sort of weird and wonderful settings. That was good fun. But if it was like writing for spelling practice, then I wasn't such a big fan.

M: What do you like to write?

R: Well, I really like writing lesson plans for myself if I can do it by hand. I like watching everything come together while I'm sort of jotting down the main stages and making small notes as I think about the students that I'm going to be teaching and adding in things that they like. I also like making entries in my journal as well. It's great to unburden yourself through writing, or at least I find it quite useful.

M: Do you think the things you write will change?

R: Well, I hope so. It would be a bit tedious if I wrote the same things all the time, wouldn't it? And of course, you have to go back and edit the things that you've written, especially if it's for an audience. The first draft is rarely the last one.
Discussion
M: Thank you, Rory, for your writing answers! And do you know what? Our Rory is an author. Rory writes books. Like real books, like Rory with his "Rory" hands, he actually writes, well, types books.

R: I have them behind me, should I get them out?

M: So it's Rory's topic. Finally, you know. Sitting is not his topic. Like cooking definitely not his topic. Eggs in the oven, remember?

R: No.

M: Shoes? No. But writing...

R: But writing is, so there you go. There's the whole collection of books that I've written.

M: Show the red one, the red one.

R: The red one? The red one is the first one that I wrote.

M: Aw, the blue, the blue one, the blue one.

R: The blue one is the sort of sequel to the red one.

M: Oh, the yellow, the yellow, yellow.

R: There's not... Oh, yeah, there is a yellow one. The yellow one is actually one that I wrote while we were working together in the place where we used to work. Because I went around and interviewed a whole bunch of teachers. Yeah. So that's the thickest one.

M: No, but can you imagine that our Rory actually wrote how many books? Five?

R: Well, 4 proper ones at least.

M: Oh... Oh, Rory, we love you. So obviously, Rory writes a lot or used to write a lot. A lot of books. Yeah, just four, you know. I just wrote four books.

R: Well, I did just write them for myself. But I thought if anyone else was interested, then they could certainly have a look. But who knows? Maybe, maybe it's just me that's the audience for that kind of thing.

M: Such a selfish thing to say. I wrote them for myself. I don't care about you, dear reader, just buzz off. These four books are for me. Okay? Amazing. Right, you said that, something like extended writing. What is extended writing? Like a book?
R: lt can be a book, but it could be something like an essay as well, for example, or just even a report would be classed as extended writing. So that's just when you write something that's longer than notes. It's like paragraphs.

M: And also you can say I keep a diary, or I don't write a lot. I don't keep a diary. A diary? This special book, like Bridget Jones's diary. So yeah, keep a diary, right? Or you can just say, I often make notes. So it's take notes or make notes. So I make notes for lessons, for my life. What about these to-do lists? What do you do with them? You do to-do lists, or you make to-do lists?

R: Or you could check off to-do lists as well after you've made them. Although it just occurred to me, there must be a difference between to make notes and to take notes. Surely making notes is when you're doing it for yourself and taking notes is when you're listening to somebody and writing down parts of what they say.

M: Right. If it's more formal, you can say I file reports. So at work, you write a report, and then you send it to somebody. So you say you file a report, yeah?

R: Yes. Well, that's when you, that's when you hand the report over or make it available for other people to read.

M: But if I write texts, if I write messages, does it count as writing?

R: Well, I think it does. Because you have to create some kind of text out of letters. Does that not count as writing?

M: Hmm, yeah. But it's kind of like typing, right? So we have like writing and typing. Is typing -writing?

R: Let's be generous and say it's a form of writing.

M: Yeah, typing is a form of writing. We can write by hand. So when you use a pencil or a pen to actually write, you say you write by hand, or you type. And Rory, you've used a nice passive voice structure. You said, like, it depends what has to be written. Or it depends what needs to be written by somebody. By me, right? So it's nice to use this passive, or it can be handwritten, it can be typed, or it can be handwritten. So I hand write it, or I write it by hand.

R: So lots of hands and lots of forms to do with hands and writing.
M: What did you mean when you say type away?

R: That's just when you're absorbed in the process of typing, and you're just sort of like, just keep going with the typing until you're finished. Typing away.

M: Rory, you said this word again. Loathed it.

R: Yes. But then I loathed lots of things at school because I didn't like school at all. So loathed? Really, really hated something.

M: Yeah, I used to hate it, or I used to loathe it. When you make up something, you imagine something, right? And when you were a child, maybe you used to make up crazy plots. Plots, like stories. Or you used to write, what? Compositions? You used to write short stories. I don't know. What else do we do when we're children at school? What do we write?

R: Well, when you're at school, there's all kinds of writing you could do. You could do creative writing, or narrative writing for stories. And then there's different kinds of functional writing. For example, you could write a procedural piece, but that's just another way of saying instructions. So like a recipe, for example, or instructions for a game is a procedural piece.

M: Procedural piece. I used to write procedural pieces at school.

R: Really? Like for instructions?

M: No, no, no, I'm just, yeah, it's just a nice phrase.

R: Oh, okay.

M: I used to write procedural, procedural pieces.

R: We do it now in primary. Yeah. And then oh, there are things like recounts. There's, there's recounts, there's personal recounts and impersonal recounts, but that's, again, just saying what happened during a period of time. And it's connected to reports as well. So there's lots of different kinds of writing that you could talk about. And now you know what they are.
M: You can say that I can do it by hand, again. Yeah? By hand. Or I usually type it. Yeah? Or I never write anything by hand. And we write with a pen or by a pen?

R: Definitely with a pen. For sure. It's written by you, but you are writing with the pen.

M: With a pen, or with a pencil. Yeah? And, again, you might say that I usually, I enjoy making notes, I enjoy making small notes. Right? And I enjoy making entries in my diary. So to keep a diary or make entries in my diary. So our Rory has his special, like, diary, and all his life is, you know, written down there. 10 years ahead.

R: I'm really worried because everybody knows about this diary. And now everyone is probably thinking in their head, oh, I'll get Rory a new diary for Christmas. And I'm sitting here thinking, the last thing I want is to have 25 Diaries for the year 2022 to 2023. Or, sorry, 2023 even, I should say. But I know that's going to happen. I always get at least like two or three diaries every year from people. Who mean well, but like think about it, you know, clearly, I will have planned out what kind of diary I want in advance.

M: Aw... And a diary doesn't mean that you kind of write about like your thoughts there? Rory does planning, right? He writes like to-do lists. Or you write your thoughts? Like, oh, today, I felt surprised because Maria's hair was some strange colour and I told her. Do you write like this?

R: Well, something like that, but that's not the content.

M: Ah, yeah. The content, you write like the things to do, right?

R: Well, no further for that diary that I just showed there, yes. But if we talk about, for the journal that I keep, that's about my private thoughts and feelings about things.

M: Oh, okay, you have 2.

R: Well, 3. I have a teaching one. And then I have a life one and I have the private diary.

M: And it's nice to unburden yourself through writing, because they say that if you have something inside you, then sit down, take a pen and write it down, like everything, like the flow of your thoughts, write it down, and it helps you to unburden.

R: Unburden.
M: Unburden yourself. So now unburden yourself, right? Do this exercise, and yeah, it's actually quite helpful. And then what they say, you should kind of tear it apart this piece of paper, or burn it or tear it apart, and just throw in into the ocean. Because it needs to disappear. You see, it's kind of, you kind of put it on paper, and then it's... it vanishes.

R: Well, I'm not setting my laptop on fire. I mean, it's falling to pieces as it is.

M: Another good synonym for write something down is jot down. So while you are listening to this episode, you should jot down some words.

R: Just words. Any words. That will be fine. No.

M: Phrases.

R: Phrases. Like by hand, handwritten, handwriting.

M: Tedious, what a nice word. So instead of saying boring, it would be really boring or dull, say tedious. It would be really tedious, if nothing changed, for example.

R: And we have an episode about boredom coming up actually.

M: And when you talk about writing, surely you should talk about the first draft or the second draft. So we, we make drafts?

R: Yeah, you make drafts or you can draft a document. Draft can be a verb and a noun.

M: Yeah, sometimes I have to draft a document. Right? So you make some drafts. And we edit, also we edit documents, right? So you write something and then you edit it. Or you can say I dislike editing, or sometimes I have to edit things at work. And then our favourite question tag. It would be tedious, wouldn't it?

R: Well, it would be tedious. And because I knew that it was tedious I did... What was it? It's the downward ending for when it's closed, isn't it? Am I right?

M: Yes, you are.

R: Yes, it would be tedious, wouldn't it?

M: So now your turn as a follow-up for this episode, you can write your comments. Okay? What do you usually write? Maybe every day, every week? Please write, let us know and what kind of pens do you enjoy using. Do you have a diary? Do you keep a diary?

R: Do you keep a diary? Do you make entries in your diary? How often do you make the entries in your diary?

M: And feel free to ask our Rory "The author" about his books if you wish. And say like, oh, wow, Rory, you have written four books. Wow. Yeah. Thank you very much for listening!

R: I think it's time we write the ending of this episode. Bye-bye!

M: Bye!
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