Keys
Do you always bring many keys with you? What are the different types of keys you have and how do they differ? Have you ever copied a key? Have you ever used a keyless entry system? How do you keep your keys secure? What's the oldest key you have in your possession? Have you ever lost a key and had to replace it? Is it a good idea to leave your key with a neighbour? How can you avoid losing your keys? Do you always take your keys when you go out?
Vocabulary
  • Keepsake (noun) - a small present, usually not expensive, that is given to you by someone so that you will remember that person.
  • Padlock (noun) - a small metal lock with a U-shaped bar.
  • Locksmith (noun) - a person who repairs and/or makes locks and supplies keys.
  • Keypad (noun) - a small set of keys with numbers on them used to operate a television, phone, calculator, etc., or the keys with numbers on them usually found on the right side of a computer keyboard.
  • Keychain (noun) - a chain with keys.
  • To dig something out (phrasal verb) - to find something that you have not seen or used for a long time.
  • To lock someone out (phrasal verb) - to prevent someone from entering a building or room by locking the door.
  • Landlady (noun) - a woman who is paid rent by people for the use of a room, building, or piece of land that she owns.
  • Trustworthy (adj.) - able to be trusted.
  • To nip (verb) - to go somewhere quickly or be somewhere for only a short time.
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Questions and answers
M: Do you always bring many keys with you?

R: Well, to be honest, the only keys I carry are my front door key and my garage key, since those are the only things in my home that have locks on them. So that's all I need.

M: What are the different types of keys you have? And how do they differ?

R: Like I said, I've got a front door key and a garage key. Although why I have two different keys for those, I don't know, because they're located right next to each other. So that's a bit weird. And they're also roughly the same size as well. I used to have the key to my old apartment in Timor as a keepsake. And that was much smaller because it was a padlock key, but I was afraid I would lose it. So I had it tattooed on me. And I think that's about it in terms of the keys that I have now anyway.

M: Have you ever copied a key?

R: I can't remember the last time I was in a locksmith, to be honest with you. I think I had keys cut from my work about 10 years ago. But that's it. Sorry.

M: Have you ever used a keyless entry system?

R: Well, we used to have a keypad on the door of my old apartment in Moscow. Although, you needed this fob thing. And that's sort of like a key, isn't it? So sort of yes and no.

M: How do you keep your keys secure?

R: Well, if I told you that they wouldn't be very secure now, would they? To be honest, I just keep them in... Well, I keep them on a loop in my back pocket. I don't even have a keychain, to be honest. That's not very secure, is it?

M: What's the oldest key you have in your possession?

R: I think it will be the one that I mentioned before, which I kept from Timor. It's about 10 years old, actually. It's a padlock key as well. I think I mentioned that. And I think I still have the padlock, now that I think about it. I'll need to dig it out sometime and show people.

M: Have you ever lost a key and had to replace it?

R: I think I dropped my keys when I was in high school. But it was only the one time and that's all I can think about, to be honest. And after that I was locked out of my house. I actually think we had to get the locks changed after that, to be honest. Oops.

M: Is it a good idea to leave your key with a neighbour?

R: Well, in my case, it might be and it might not be because my neighbour is my landlady. So this property actually belongs to her. And I think she would have the keys already, to be honest. But even if she doesn't, then she's very trustworthy. So it would not be a bad idea for sure.

M: How can you avoid losing your keys?

R: Well, I used to keep mine on a keychain. But I don't really do that anymore, because I actually ironically lost my keychain. But I always keep them in the same place. They're always in my back pocket or sitting on my desk and they can only be in those two places. That's all really. I have a friend who keeps his keys in the bowl, but he's got hundreds of them. So that doesn't really apply to me.

M: Do you always take your keys when you go out?

R: I'm going to regret saying this. But no, I don't. I have a shop next door to me. So if I'm just going to the shop very quickly, I don't take my keys with me and I just leave the door open. So I probably just invited a whole load of people to come and rob my house there. But if I'm just nipping to the shops quickly then there's no point, is there?
Discussion
M: Dear listener, if you know where Rory lives in Scotland, you also know that he leaves his door open.

R: Yeah, well, only when I'm at the shop. It takes five minutes. I'm not going to like be gone for a very long time and be like oo-hoo, let's leave the door open and have a free for all.

M: Dear listener, you have five minutes to access Rory's house.

R: Also I would like to point out, I have nothing worth stealing. So there you go. Every valuable thing I own is tattooed on me. So good luck trying to get hold of that. But why would anybody break into my house? I own nothing. I own a computer that's a million years old and is missing its battery, which anybody who follows me on Instagram will know the story about.

M: Aw... Our humble Rory. Aw... So sweet.

R: The only thing you could steal is my heart.

M: Aw... Cute.

R: Anyway, back to lock and key.

M: We bring keys or we carry keys with us. So Rory told us about the keys he carries with him. So I carry a lot of keys.

R: How many keys do you have? I'm looking between the camera and here.

M: Okay, I have 1, 2, 3, 4. Yeah, only 4.

R: What are they for? Why do you have 4 keys? What do you need that for?

M: Yeah, my house, my house and the entrance door to my house. So two houses.

R: Wait, what? Okay, so you've got two keys for two houses? That makes sense.

M: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And one key for the entrance.

R: Oh, hold up the black thing you've got. That's a what I would call a fob. Which is like a kind of, at least I call it a fob. I don't know what other people would call it. It's like a, it's a, I don't know, an electronic key, I guess?

M: It's a magnetic key.

R: Hey, there we go. Yeah.

M: Yeah, it's a magnetic key. So you just go like... And it opens up, you know? Right. And, dear listener, you can talk about different kinds of keys. So I use a card key or a key card. Yeah, we usually say a key card, like a card. And then like a key for my front door, like a key for something. You can also have a key ring. And you can say I carry a bunch of keys with me. So a bunch of keys, like some keys for different locks. Also, we have keys for locks, like locks, you know, this thing that we lock. And you can impress the examiner by talking about different types of keys, magnetic keys, smart car keys. If you drive a car, you might have a smart car key. And also, Rory, do you know what a double-sided key is?
R: Is it one of those keys that's like it's long and then there's one lock on one side and one lock on the other? Is that right?

M: Yeah.

R: Well, one... What do you call them? What are the names for different parts of keys? Diagram of a key. So if you have any key aficionados, the long part of a key is called the blade and then the part underneath with the different markings on it is called the biting. So when you talk about a double-sided key, you mean, it's got the biting on both sides of it.

M: Yeah, you might have a double-sided key. So you can say, oh, yes, I have a magnetic key. A smart, what do you call it? Smart car key and also a double-sided key. Wow. Oh, Rory, Rory, and do you know what a skeleton key is?

R: Is that not a key that can open most locks of a certain kind?

M: No, no, no, it's a skeleton key. You can google it. A skeleton like a skeleton, you know, Halloween. Like it's a classic type of a key. And it's usually, you know, like in horror films or in mystery stories. In medieval films, they have these images of skeleton keys. Well, they're usually pretty old.

R: I do not have my impressed face on right now. Because while Maria is correct, it is something you see in horror films because it's made of bones. I am also correct. A skeleton key is a kind of master key that's used to open different kinds of, well, yeah, look here from Wikipedia. It's a type of master key in which the serrated edge has been removed in such a way that it can open numerous locks. Hah!

M: And, Rory, are you ready for a joke?

R: No. Is this my punishment for correcting you about skeleton key?

M: Yes, it is. So...

R: Oh, sugar...

M: What type of a key opens a banana? A monkey. A monkey. Okay, what type of key opens a banana? A monkey. Monkey like an animal, but a monkey.

R: Do you remember what we said about dissecting a frog and dissecting a joke?

M: No, I have to explain it. I just have to explain.

R: Why do you have to... No.

M: Yeah. So you can say like, I have a front door key. And also, how did you pronounce this? Garage? Garage?
R: Yes. If you're... I was being annoyed because I kept saying garage. But it's not. If you're British or if you prefer British English, then it's garage key. But if your focus is on American English, then it's garage key. Although both of these words mean only one thing. So you get to choose. Do you say garage or garage?

M: Garage. Yeah, a garage key.

R: Hooray! It's the same word in Russian, right?

M: "Гараж". Yeah.

R: Yeah.

M: "Гараж". And you said that I used to have the key to my old room. So a key for a room or a key to a room?

R: Oh, it makes no difference. A key to something or a key for something. There'll be a difference. But really, it's pretty much the same thing if we're talking... Especially we're talking about IELTS for like a band 8 score. If you're talking about band nine, maybe. But who has the time to do that.

M: And you said that I have my keys on a chain.

R: A keychain is like, well, it can be a circle. Like I've got mine on a loop here for people who are interested in my keys. The only two I have in my possession.

M: And, dear listener, we know that these little thingies Rory doesn't want to lose them. So what does he do? What's his strategy? He gets them tattooed on his body.

R: Yes. It's the only way to keep them safe.

M: How many keys do you have tattooed on your body? Like keys?

R: Is it just one? I'm pretty sure I've only got one so far.

M: So I had it tattooed. To have something done. I had my nails cut, I had a key tattooed.

R: And used to. Used to have.

M: If you're afraid of losing a key, you can have it copied. So like, okay, I have one key and then I just go to a locksmith. To a locksmith. A locksmith is a person who deals with the keys.

R: And you get them cut at the locksmith so you can talk about getting keys copied or you could talk about getting them cut.

M: So cut, kind of they make all these little thingies, yeah?
R: The biting. Come on, if you're aiming for a band nine score then you need to know these things. So the ridged part of the key is the biting and the part along the back that's usually smooth is the blade.

M: So I had my keys cut in a locksmith. Okay? A locksmith is a place and also a person who does all this work. These days, we have a keyless entrance system. So without any keys. So maybe you have a door and then you push in some kind of a code or some numbers and the door just... And it just opens up. So keyless entry system. And Rory, what did you mean when you say this fob thing?

R: You remember before, when I showed you my card for the shop, you can also get smaller ones that you put on your keychain, and that's called a key fob as well. So it's possible I'm getting these things confused. But really what it means is something that's smaller than a key, and it's not a key on your keychain with your keys. I said key too many times.

M: To have a keypad on the door. So a keypad is this kind of what? This thing with numbers?

R: Numbers and I guess the hash key and the asterisk key, I guess that's what you would call it. I don't know.

M: We should keep our keys secure. So how to do this? Well, we can keep them on a loop in our pockets. So this is like a loop, right? A loop, or on a keychain, right? To have a keychain or maybe a key safe. You know, lots of people now have their key safe. This little box and where they keep their keys. What's a padlock? You told us you have a padlock key.

R: A padlock is this. But if you are listening to us, then you will not know what it is. So go to our YouTube channel. No, a padlock is... How best to describe? It's like a lock that's not embedded in the door. You can carry it with you and take it off and you can lock it on different kinds of locks, or different kinds of loops. If you're listening just google it, would you? Because it's difficult to describe a padlock, I've just discovered. Or you could watch it on our video. In fact, now is a good time to advertise our YouTube channel. Just go to YouTube and type in Success with IELTS.

M: You can get your keys copied. So if you take your keys to somebody, I get it copied, or you can get your keys replaced. A good phrase is to lock yourself out. So I locked myself out. Right? So you kind of, you leave the key at home. And then you go out and the door closes and the keys are at home and you're outside. You lock yourself out of your house.
R: Is that a phrasal verb?

M: To lock yourself out? Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's a specific phrasal verb to use about keys. I've left my keys at home, I've left my keys inside my house, I locked myself out. You can leave your keys with your neighbour, your landlady. So the lady who owns the place for example, but they should be trustworthy. Trustworthy, a person you can trust. You can rely on, right? But not everybody has reliable neighbours.

R: Or reliable landladies or landlords. But I do, I'm very lucky. Hi, Ruth, if you're watching.

M: So, Rory, you told us that your keys sit on your desk? They kind of like sit?

R: Yeah, I wish I could show you but I'm worried I'll mess up the camera but basically, I'm under my desk and my keys are sitting next to me. I would have them in my back pocket but since we are going to be recording for a solid two hours that would get very uncomfortable.

M: You can keep your keys in your pocket or you can keep your keys in a safe box or in a bag. And Rory did use a very nice verb. To nip to the shop. Nip. Nip to the shop. When I nip to the shop, I don't close my door, I don't lock my door. So nip to the shop? Just like go to the shop really quickly.

R: I'm really going to regret saying that now, aren't I? But like it's not so far. I'll be okay. Right?

M: Right. And Rory, what type of key makes it difficult to open your front door? Whiskey.

R: God, a joke made all the more profound by the fact that I live in the part of Scotland where most of the whiskey is made.

M: Did you get this, dear listener? What type of key makes it difficult to open your front door? Whiskey. Whiskey is like... But whiskey, whiskey. Cringe. I know it's horrible. I know. I know it's dreadful. It's dreadful. But these are our key jokes.

R: But I think it's time that we locked up this episode, don't you think?

M: Thank you for listening! Please let us know how many keys do you carry with you. Like, do you have a key ring? What do you have? Like where do you keep your keys? Let us know in the comments. And you can also ask us questions about keys. And why doesn't Rory lock his door? I don't know, Scotland is the safest place or maybe Rory's house is the safest place on Earth. Just why do I bother?

R: Well, to be honest, only 1000 people live where I do. So... And it's not a crime-ridden area. So I am quite confident that I will be okay leaving my door unlocked for five minutes. Maybe.

M: Thank you very much for listening! Bye!

R: Bye!
Access our exclusive episodes on IELTS Speaking parts 2 and 3!
Access our exclusive episodes on IELTS Speaking parts 2 and 3!
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