Your city
What do you like most about your town/city? Is there anything you don’t like about your town/city? Has your city changed much in recent years? Do you expect to continue living in this town/city for a long time? What can be improved in the area where you live?
  • Link (noun) - a way of travelling or communicating between two places or systems.
  • Venue (noun) - the place where a public event or meeting happens.
  • A stone's throw (away) (idiom) - a short distance.
  • The be-all and end-all - the most important thing.
  • Council (noun) - the group of people elected to govern a particular area, town, or city, and organize services for it.
  • To maintain (verb) - to keep a road, machine, building, etc. in good condition.
  • Waterfront (noun) - a part of a town that is next to an area of water such as a river or the sea.
  • Influx (noun) - the fact of a large number of people or things arriving at the same time.
  • Diverse (adj.) - including many different types of people or things.
  • Deprived (adj.) - not having the things that are necessary for a pleasant life, such as enough money, food, or good living conditions.
  • Hassle (noun) - (a situation causing) difficulty or trouble.
  • Tenement (noun) - a large building divided into apartments, usually in a poor area of a city.
  • Bathtub (noun) - a long plastic, metal, or ceramic container that is filled with water so that you can sit or lie in it to wash your whole body.
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Questions and Answers
M: What do you like most about your city?

R: Oh, I mean, what's not to like, really. The cost of living is quite reasonable. We have good transport links to all the major cities in my country, and a variety of entertainment and sports venues for pretty much all tastes. All of it is within a stone's throw of the city centre, actually. So that's pretty good too.

M: Is there anything you don't like about your town or city?

R: Sometimes people here can be a bit much in terms of their attitude, like Dundee is the be-all and end-all of places, which is most certainly is not. We have our issues, and it would help if we focused on fixing them, rather than all the pomp that goes on sometimes. Also, it would be great if the local council would maintain the roads.

M: Has your city changed much in recent years?

R: Well, the waterfront area has just been through a major redevelopment, which is nice to see finished at last. And there's been a huge influx of foreign people in the universities, so the population is more diverse than ever. Aside from that, though, especially in the more deprived areas, not much has changed sadly.

M: Do you expect to continue living in this town for a long time?

R: I think so. I mean, I just bought a house here, and that was a hassle that I wouldn't like to repeat anytime soon. I might move to a bigger city in the future, but that's a long way off.

M: What can be improved in the area where you live?

R: Well, I wish people would keep the front gardens of the tenement blocks in better condition. Right now they're a bit overgrown and, well, one of them even has a bathtub in it, which is a bit unsightly when you compare it to these glorious old Victorian tenement buildings. And then you see this bathtub sitting there lonely in someone's garden. It's funny, but it should be removed, I think.
M: It's just like people are too free in Scotland, dear listener. You see? That's why they have issues. They have structure. They need structure and discipline.

R: I absolutely do not. We need roads that work properly.

M: You see, dear listener? Like, Rory's answers are amazing. Like, what should be improved in the area where you live? Just remove this guy's bathtub from the garden. It's just, you know, beautiful little Scotland.

R: Well, it's one bathtub, I should say, but it still stands out a little bit in our neighbourhood. I'm just like, why is it still here?

M: There are no traffic problems. Migration doesn't exist, you know, like air is fresh. Everybody's happy. It's just like the bathtub.

R: Well, we have a migrant population, the parking could definitely be improved, but I don't drive, so I wouldn't talk about this.

M: So here, the examiner will ask questions about your city or hometown. So, dear listener, where do you live? Do you live in a city or a town? So a city is bigger than a town. Rory was talking about a city because he lives in Dundee, which is what, the fourth largest city...

R: It's the fourth largest city in Scotland.

M: Okay. So it's a city.

R: It's also the best.

M: No, no, it's not, Rory, it's not.

R: It's the best city in Scotland. How would you know?

M: Well, I know. I know. I've never been to Dundee. But I know. I've been to Glasgow, to Edinburgh. I think Dundee is pretty much, well, similar.

R: No, no, it's not.

M: It's a horrible thing to say. Okay. Anyway, I'm sure it's lovely.

R: Thank you.

M: So here you can say that the cost of living is pretty reasonable. So the prices are reasonable. They are not high, not low. They are okay. You can also say I like good transport links to all major cities, okay? So this is what I like about my place. So a good transportation system, or good transport links, like connections to all major cities, also a variety of entertainment venues. Venues means places. So a variety of fun venues. And sports venues, like gyms, swimming pools, for all tastes, okay? So for everybody. And then Rory uses an idiom. Within a stone's throw of the center. Rory, what does it mean?

R: So if it's within a stone's throw, it's just very close.

M: Could you give us another example with this about your city?

R: Yes, there's a shop that's within a stone's throw of my house. There are several, actually.

M: So within a stone's throw of the centre. Very close to the centre. And we say it rather fast. Rory, say it again. Like... Like this.

R: Within a stone's or within a stone's throw of the city centre.
M: Yeah. So careful with a stone's throw. A stone's throw, yeah. Repeat it 50 times, dear listener. Within a stone's throw of the city centre. What we don't like. You can say I dislike, I can't stand it. I hate it. I can't stand? Like I really dislike. For example, people can be a bit much in terms of their attitude. Rory, what do you mean? So people in your city have...

R: If something is a bit much, then it's overwhelming.

M: But what is overwhelming? The attitude is like, negative, positive?

R: Yeah, the way that people, well, either way, I'm talking about it right now, it's a negative thing because people get very, very passionate about my town and its place in Scotland, even though it's a very small town compared to the others, and it is a great place to live, but it's not like the best place in the world to live, and we shouldn't treat it like it's so amazing that nothing needs to be fixed. We should be thinking critically.

M: So people get passionate. They say like, Dundee is the best. Everything's ideal and perfect. Yeah?

R: Yes, that's about the gist of it.

M: So you can say like, we have our issues, okay? But we should fix them. And also, the local council or the local administration could maintain the roads. So could take care of the roads. So kind of like gentle advice, or kind of like a suggestion, or like you could improve the roads, but we maintain the roads, like maintain your car, maintain your house, take care of your house or your car, or the roads. You can use the present perfect about your city, dear listener. My city has changed in recent years, or hasn't changed, or they have been changing lots of things. And Rory here talked about what?

R: I talked about our waterfront, which is the part of the town that's next to the sea or next to the river. And I did use the present perfect, but I said has just been through, which is also mixing it with a phrasal verb, to go through something, to be through something.

M: Go through a major redevelopment. So, for example, the city centre has just been through a major redevelopment. So they've changed it. They've improved it. Or you can say, like our waterfront or our embankment. Embankment is this place next to the river where you can walk, cycle, sunbathe. So like, the embankment has just been through some redevelopment, or some areas, some old areas have been through redevelopments.

R: But if we want to talk about it in negative terms, we could say some parts of the town have degenerated or deteriorated. And of course, it's not just the waterfront. You also have a city centre, and we have the suburbs as well.

M: Yeah, deteriorated like have become worse. And what was another one?

R: Degenerated.

M: What is an influx of foreign people in universities?

R: Oh, that just means that there's lots of people from abroad coming to universities. In my hometown, there are two universities. Most cities have one. And of course, just across the water, or across the river, a different county, there's another university, a world-famous university, called St Andrews, and lots of people go there as well. So we're getting lots and lots of people from all over the world coming even more than before.

M: Can I use this word about migrants?

R: Well, you might. Although, you probably want to talk about students in terms of the universities. If you have migrant workers coming, then that's to do with jobs.

M: But can I say like there has been a huge influx of migrants in my city?
R: Yes, you could.

M: So lots of like people from different countries move to my city.

R: Although it's important to point out the pronunciation, it's not migrants, it's migrants.

M: Or immigrants, right? Immigrants, migrants.

R: Yeah, I used to know the difference between immigrants and migrants, and I'm not really sure what it is anymore.

M: You can also say the population is more diverse. So people are from all over the world, for example. Deprived areas are poor areas. So you can say, like deprived areas have changed or haven't changed. The town has become more touristy, or what, hasn't become, has become less touristy. More buildings have been constructed. You can say that I've been living here for a long time, or I've just moved into this town, or I've been living here all my life. For example, I bought a house, and it was a hassle. So if it was a hassle, kind of, oh.

R: I had some difficulties.

M: Yeah, you had some difficulties. Well, imagine buying a house. Yeah? I might move to a bigger city in the future, so I might or you can use the second conditional, if I had more money, I'd move to London, or I might move to the sea, but that's a long way off, it means it's a long time from now, sometime in the future, I don't know when. It's a long way off, or maybe next year I'm moving, if you've planned it already. And my favourite Rory's answer is like, what can be improved in your area? And he just talks about gardens and bathtubs. A bathtub is something we have in a bathroom, dear listener, yeah? We have a bus in a bathtub.

R: But there is some specific grammar for this about what you would like to have improved, like I wish. I wish plus would. I wish people would and then whatever you would like to happen. And of course, the bathtub is a unique thing to me, but to describe something that you don't like in your area, you can say it's unsightly. It does not look very nice.

M: What could be *unsightly*.

R: The bathtub in your garden. Or just a building that's got damage that hasn't been repaired, or maybe there's too much litter on the streets or too much trash.

M: And it looks unsigned.

R: Yes.

M: And also this structure, I wish people would. It means that Rory is annoyed by it. He doesn't like it, and he's pretty annoyed. He's like... Like this. So I wish people would stop smoking in public areas, because you breathe in all this smoke, right? So you're kind of like, you are annoyed. You really don't like it. So it's connected to Rory's emotions, negative emotions, yeah? It's not neutral. Or I wish you would stop crying. You just cry all the time like a small baby, right? So it kind of annoys me. Yeah, you can say, like, I wish people would stop littering, like dropping litter in the streets, dropping all the McDonald's bags. Oh, I need a McDonald's now. Burger and french fries.

R: No free advertising for McDonald's, unless they're paying.

M: Okay, okay. Or I wish... What else can we say? I wish the city council would maintain the roads.

R: Yes, that's what I wish for sure.

M: Yeah, I wish... But people, something about like, what other people could do. Right, dear listener, what about your town or city? Is it okay? Not okay? Are you positive, negative, please do use the vocabulary. Okay? Some grammar structures. And if you don't know what to say, please google information about your place.

R: Thank you very much for listening, and we'll see you next time!

M: Bye!

R: Bye!
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