Days off
How often do you have days off? What do you usually do on your days off? Do you usually spend your days off with your parents or friends? When was the last time you had a couple of days off? What would you like to do if you had a day off tomorrow?
  • Perpetual (adj.) - continuing for ever in the same way.
  • Downtime (noun) - time when you relax and do not do very much.
  • To disengage (verb) - to stop being involved in something, or to stop someone being involved in something.
  • Out and about (idiom) - active; doing the things you usually do.
  • Time off (noun) - a period of time when you do not work because of illness or holidays, or because your employer has given you permission to do something else.
  • To wander (verb) - to walk around slowly in a relaxed way or without any clear purpose or direction.
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Questions and answers
M: How often do you have days off?

R: Well, probably not nearly often enough, frankly. No, I'm just kidding actually. My weekends are when I take my days off. I never work them. And to be honest with you, I really like my job. So my life is almost like a perpetual holiday or time off.

M: What do you usually do on your days off?

R: Well, on my proper ones I like to read and relax and play video games. I'm trying to think of anything else really. But to be honest with you, it's quite important that I chill on my downtime. So I try not to do much. It's really important to have this time to disengage.

M: Do you usually spend your days off with your parents or with friends?

R: Well, both at the moment. Most of my friends now live in the same town as me. So, and I live quite close to my parents. So it's easy to see them when I'm out and about.

M: When was the last time you had a couple of days off?

R: Well, other than the weekends? I think that's about it. Oh, no. I think the last time I had like sort of an extended period of time off was when I went to see my friends Mike and Lana in New York. We spent a lot of time wandering around museums and galleries and talking about art.

M: What would you like to do if you had a day off tomorrow?

R: It depends on the weather. If it were warm out, then I would probably go for a walk in the countryside. But if it were a cold one, then I'd probably, well, do the things I described before. I'd just spend the day reading and playing video games. It's not very imaginative but it is what I would like to do.

M: Thank you Rory for your imaginative, creative, really interesting answers!

R: Is that sarcasm?

M: Yes.
M: Days off. It's a day when you do not work. Okay?

R: The best kind of day.

M: And Rory says like I don't work weekends. So that's a nice expression. I don't work weekends. So when you don't work on the weekends.

R: Well, I say I don't work on the weekends. But the number of people that contact me at the weekend to ask me questions. I end up working anyway.

M: How did you describe a holiday? You said something...

R: Oh, a perpetual holiday. Yeah. If something is perpetual, it just means that it goes on and on forever. And that is what my life is like now, because I have a job that I love and I get to do what I like and I'm very relaxed about it most of the time.

M: You can say it's a never-ending holiday.

R: It is the never-ending holiday. It's great.

M: Personal days off help us to recharge, to kind of relax and be more productive at work later. So we have a day off and then we are more productive at work. Rory chills on his downtime.

R: Which makes me sound like I'm from California, like, chill on my downtime, man. I do chill on my downtime. It just means I relax when I have free time. To be honest, I relax when I'm working anyway.

M: I try to read and play video games. So you see? So really interesting. What do you do? Just read, play video games. Okay, okay.

R: I'm sorry, but those are my go-to activities.

M: That's fine. Yeah, my go-to activities. You see? So, okay, I usually, I go for a walk and I play video games. Those are my go-to activities. These are the things I do. Yeah?

R: Yes, it's almost automatic. It's like, oh, I have 30 minutes. I can play games.

M: I've been reading about three main categories for day off activities. Okay, Rory? Relaxation, productivity and pleasure. Dear listener, I'm going to give you a list, write in the comments what activities do you prefer. Okay? Rory, also, you can choose. So take a bath. Declutter your closet. Declutter is kind of when you declutter, you throw away unnecessary things, old things. So you declutter. You kind of empty it, you create more space, and by throwing out different things you don't need. Do laundry, you wash your clothes, do laundry. Very productive.

R: None of these things sound very relaxing to me

M: No, this is like productivity. Take a bath, about relaxation, productivity. Declutter your closet, do laundry, rearrange your bookshelves. Rearrange the books. Mend your clothes. If your clothes have holes, so you kind of you mend it. Mend. Right? Oh, about emails, you can say that, oh, on my days off, I prefer to get to zero inbox. What does it mean to go to inbox zero? Or get to inbox zero?

R: Can you clear out your inbox as well?
M: Clear out. Yeah.

R: Is that a phrasal verb?

M: Clear out. Yes, it's a phrasal verb.

R: Oh my. I wonder if there's a place or something that has lots of phrasal verbs in it. I wonder. This is great. Because I'm sitting here organizing my diary and I can rattle this off with no problem at all.

M: You can clear out your inbox, you have many emails and try to get to zero emails. Is it possible? I don't think it's possible.

R: Absolutely it is. I have zero emails in my inbox or I had until I booked tickets to a music festival.

M: So you can say that on my days off, I prefer to get some things done. All right? So I'm productive, or I prefer to relax. When you get out and about what happens?

R: Out and about is just an expression for going outside and meeting people or being outside of your home and meeting people. And out and about is a binomial expression, isn't it? Is it an idiomatic expression?

M: Ooh. If you're not sure, you can say that. I'd really have to think about it, to be honest with you. This is a very nice strategy. So the examiner asks you a question and you go... Rory, how do you say it naturally with nice intonation?

R: I'd have to think about it, to be honest with you. So notice the chunking. Oh, I'd, I'd have to think about it, to be honest with you. So there's a little pause between different parts of the sentence because you're in the process of thinking and putting together the sentence.

M: We spend time wandering around galleries. Rory goes to galleries now.

R: That was one of the best trips I've ever been on. Lana and Michael, if you're watching, which I doubt you are, your lives are infinitely more interesting than mine, then thank you. That was amazing. I loved New York so much. It was so good.

M: So I spend time walking in the countryside or I spend time visiting museums or wandering around museums, when you're... When you go all over the place like you'll wander around galleries and museums. In this question, we have the second conditional, right? So what would you do if you had? So we're imagining, oh, tomorrow is Monday, but if I had a day off on Monday, I'd do something. And Rory also used the second conditional. If it were. If I had a day off, I'd do something. So you said if it were warm?

R: Well, if it were warm out. It just means if the weather is hot.

M: If it were warm out.

R: Yes. Warm out.

M: If the weather was hot. But what's this? To be warm out?

R: No, no. If it were warm out is... It's two words, first of all. It just means if the weather's nice, and if it's warm, it's not cold, then I'll go out.
M: So if the weather was nice, was, again we're imagining, right? But maybe it will be nice, right? So if the weather was nice, or if the weather were nice, I'd go for a walk in the countryside. Yeah? Go for a walk. Or I'd wind up playing video games. Rory's favourite phrase.

R: Is it if it was or if it were?

M: Both.

R: Is there a rule? Or is it one of these high-level native speaker...

M: No, no, no, no, no. It used to be if it were only. We used to have only one option, but now if it was, if it were. No problem. So wind up doing something or end up doing something. So, if it were cold, or if the weather was bad, I'd wind up playing computer games. Yeah, Rory, but let's have something else, you know? Computer games, video games. Come on, like, don't you know other words?

R: I have a very boring life. Well, what do you want me to do? Like...

M: Okay, you have me, you have me to jazz it up. So three, three options. Number one, explore a new neighbourhood in your city. Well, in this case, in your village, in the middle of nowhere in Scotland.

R: There are some neighbourhoods in my hometown that I would not be caught dead in. So that is not happening. I'll say that right now.

M: Okay, dream up your next vacation. Dream up? Like plan out your next vacation.

R: Well, I've done that already.

M: Or the third one, people watch from your window. So you do some people watching, you like watch people. And you kind of like...

R: Well, this is pointless, because my one window looks out onto a bare patch of ground where no one goes. And the other window looks out onto the path where no one goes, I can see it now. So you've given me terrible options. That's not helpful.

M: Okay, maybe you can go to a cafe or to the centre of your village kinda town. And you can watch people there.

R: No.

M: Just for change.

R: I'll plan out my next vacation. And in fact, well, we could actually involve people in this because many people know now that I'm going to Turkey. Well, I will be in Turkey by the time this episode comes out, actually. However, after Turkey, I'm also going to Slovenia. I'm going to Turkey to study, that's not a holiday, I'm afraid. But I'm going to Slovenia for a holiday afterwards. So if there are any Slovenians watching, then if you have any recommendations about what I could do while I'm there, if there's anything you think I should see, then please mention it in the comments or get in touch on Instagram, and tell me what I should do in your country. Because, first of all, I have never been there before. So it would be nice to get some input from people who are actually from there.

M: So Turkish people in Istanbul, Rory is going to be in Istanbul. You know what to do?

R: I'm so excited for Istanbul. I'm excited for both, but for different reasons.

M: Thank you very much for listening, for watching! Check out our premium episodes, the links are in the description. So if you want to say thank you, go and invest in our premium part two and part three episodes together with our phrasal verb course.

R: And we'll see you next time!

M: Bye!

R: Bye!
Get exclusive episodes on IELTS Speaking parts 1, 2, and 3
Get exclusive episodes on IELTS Speaking parts 1, 2, and 3
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