IELTS Speaking Vocabulary – Friends and Family

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In this lesson, we discuss IELTS Speaking vocabulary to answer cue cards about friends and family.

We look at exam-style questions for IELTS speaking parts 1, 2 and 3 along with model sample answers and a vocabulary list with collocations highlighted.

Vocabulary to talk about friendship and contacting old friends

  1. bad at keeping in touch with:  not good at maintaining contact with someone 
  2. get back in touch: contact someone again
  3. have in common: share the same interests
  4. be into something: enthusiastic about something 
  5. hit it off right from the word go: become friends from the very beginning
  6. tell (you) straight to (your) face: express feelings and opinions directly to someone 
  7. in keeping with: according to the typical stereotype 
  8. go our separate ways:  take a different path in life
  9. far and few between: less and less frequent 
  10. be largely down to (me): mainly my fault or responsibility 
  11. come across by chance: find unintentionally
  12. it was she who tracked down his email: she investigated and found his email
  13. start out where (we) left off: continuing again from the last time we met 
  14. our friendship was as strong as ever: we were still as good friends as before 
  15. catch up and fill in the gaps: share details about what’s been happening in your life

Vocabulary to speak about family and friends

  1. A lifelong friend – A friend that you have had for most of your life
  2. A relationship of trust – a connection with another in which you have faith and confidence
  3. Arrange a dinner date – Plan to share an evening meal
  4. A shoulder to cry on – Someone to sympathize with you
  5. Close-knit family – A close family with common interests
  6. Dear to my heart – Someone that I care about
  7. Distant cousins – People who share a common ancestor but are not closely related
  8. Extend the hand of friendship – Reach out to someone in a friendly manner
  9. Extended family – Uncles, aunts and cousins form part of the extended family
  10. Face to face – In person
  11. Get to know one another – Learning different aspects of each other
  12. Get together – Meet up
  13. Immediate family – Spouse, parents, children, grandparents
  14. Long lost friend – A friend that you have lost contact with
  15. Long-term relationships – A committed relationship between partners
  16. Nurture our friendships – Looking after our relationships with friends
  17. Professional relationships – The relationships that we have in the workplace
  18. Relationship problems – Difficulties with people with whom we interact regularly
  19. Share a common background – The share a similar heritage or culture
  20. Share the same ideas – To have similar opinions and views
  21. Stand the test of time – To last a long time
  22. Struck up a friendship – To make friends
  23. To enjoy someone’s company – To enjoy spending time with someone
  24. To have a good working relationship – To work together well
  25. To have a lot in common – To have shared interests
  26. To hit it off – To like each other straight away
  27. To keep in touch with – To keep in contact
  28. To lose touch with – To lose contact

Vocabulary to talk about Toys

  1. go back a bit:  make you think of a time in the past 
  2. soft toys:   toys which look like animals made of cloth and filled with soft material 
  3. stand out in the memory: something important from your past you will always remember
  4. wrap (something) up: cover something like a gift in soft paper
  5. the look on (my) face: the expression on my face (of happiness or any other emotion)
  6. give (something away): show how you feel by your expression or behaviour
  7. lash out on (something): spend a lot of money on something 
  8. spoil (someone):  to be too indulgent to a child 
  9. set up: organise, put something together
  10. a learning tool: an object (a game, a platform) that can help you learn something
  11. educational toys: toys designed for learning
  12. stretch (your) imagination: make you think about things in a new way
  13. spend quality time: a very enjoyable time with someone, especially parents with children 
  14. let someone win: allow the other player to wine 
  15. hand something down: pass on things from one generation of the family to the next

IELTS speaking part 1 - sample questions and answers

Examiner: Do you come from a large family?

Answer: My immediate family is not very big. I have a large extended family that includes many uncles, aunts, and cousins. We are a close-knit family, and we like to keep in touch with one another, so birthdays, and other celebrations, are noisy crowded affairs.

Examiner: When was the last time you had a family function?

Answer: Our extended family got together last year to celebrate my grandfather’s eightieth birthday. He is very dear to my heart. He has kept up healthy relationships with the whole family, so it was a happy occasion that we all enjoyed.

Examiner: Would you take a friend on a family holiday?

Answer: I have. My family and my best friend got to know each other quite well, as she visited me quite frequently at my home. My family believes that we should nurture our friendships, so they encouraged me to bring my friend along when we took a seaside holiday last year.

IELTS speaking part 2 - sample question and answer

Tell me about your best friend

To answer this question in full,

  • discuss who the person is,
  • the circumstances of your meeting,
  • and what it is that you like about them.

Answer: My best friend and I got to know each other when we were still very young. We lived in neighbouring houses. We had a lot in common, so we soon hit it off.

As we have grown older, we have moved apart. Because of this, we have to some degree lost touch, but anyone who has had a lifelong friend would understand that she will always be dear to my heart.

When we do find ourselves in the same city, we arrange a dinner date, so that we can enjoy each other’s company. We share the same ideas, and we share a common background.

We enjoy reminiscing about our past exploits. When we struck up a friendship, as children, we were inseparable. In those early days, we built up a relationship of trust that time and distance cannot break.

Describe an old friend you got in contact with again

You should say:

  • Who he or she is?
  • What he or she is like?
  • How you got in contact?
  • And explain how you felt about it. Read and listen to the sample answer here

Describe a toy you liked in your childhood

You should say: 

  • what kind of toy it was
  • when you received it
  • how you played with it
  • explain how you felt about it

Read and listen to the sample answer here

IELTS speaking part 3 - sample questions and answers

Examiner: Do you think that after-hour friendships between working colleagues are appropriate?

Answer: I think that it is important to have a good working relationship. Colleagues should extend the hand of friendship to newcomers in the workplace. I don’t believe, however, that professional relationships should extend into the domestic domain as this may affect office politics.

Examiner: Do you think that social media is changing the way that we relate to our friends and family?

Answer: In some ways yes. Social media allows us to build up relationships with distant cousins, even with those that live on foreign soil. It also helps us to make connections with long lost friends, who we may never have spoken to or seen again. On the other hand, we often spend far too much time on our digital devices instead of socializing face to face.

Examiner: Do you think that people who enter into a long-term relationship, should continue with their friendships from their single days?

Answer: I think that it is important to nurture our friendships whether or not we are in a long-term relationship. Not all relationships stand the test of time, and if you have relationship problems you may one day need a shoulder to cry on. In my view, too many people abandon their friends when they become involved in relationships.

More IELTS Speaking Resources

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