How well can you talk about cities in IELTS Speaking? Read on if you want to expand your vocabulary and get some good ideas to answer common questions! In this IELTS Speaking lesson on the topic of Town and City, you will learn how to talk about your city and the problems of living in cities.
IELTS Speaking Vocabulary: Town and City
Describing Cities in IELTS Speaking
When describing cities in IELTS Speaking, you may want to talk about the following,
- Location / Size
- Interesting places
Here are some useful phrases to talk about some these different aspects.
If asked about the products that are produced in your city, or what kind of work people do there, you can talk about different kinds of industries, as below…
Primary industries (dealing with raw materials)
- Oil and Gas
The manufacturing industry
The service industry
- Food and beverage
The finance industry
The IT industry
The entertainment industry
My hometown relies mainly on tourism / the service industry
It’s famous for tourism/ the service industry
Its main source of revenue comes from tourism/ the service industry
The economy depends mainly on tourism/ the service industry
Collocations to Describe Cities
Here are some collocations to describe the city where I live, Santander, in Spain.
- Bustling center
- Urban living
- Reliable public transport
- Long opening hours (shops and restaurants)
- Upmarket shops
- Pricey /overpriced restaurants(expensive)
- Lively bars
- Fashionable clubs
- High-rise flats
Adjectives to Describe Cities
For good points of cities you could use the following adjectives:
The comfortable suburbs (the suburb is just outside the city center)
For the negative points of cities you could use the following adjectives:
- deserted( no one on the street at night) city
- packed (very crowded)
- filthy (very dirty)/
- run-down ( in a very bad condition)
- sprawling city
- a shanty town (=houses made of discarded materials, e.g.tin cardboard, plastic)
Bustling (=with lots of movement) can be positive or negative
Cities and Their Problems
Urban wasteland (in bad condition)
No-go areas (with the high crime)
Run-down buildings (falling apart)
Deprived areas (without necessary things, e.g. enough money, good living conditions)
- Bumper-to-bumper traffic all day long
- The volume of traffic (amount)
- Exhaust fumes
- The incessant roar of trucks and buses (very loud noise)
Describe The City Where You Live
Here is a description of the city where I peresently live: Santander, in Spain.
It has rather dreary weather = dull weather
Mild climate = not hot or cold
Overcast (adj).= cloudy
As for the weather, it’s often overcast in my city.
The city looks over the bay
Holiday-makers = people on holiday
People like to nibble snacks in the bars = to eat in small bites (usually snacks)
Local people love going for a stroll in the afternoon = go for a short walk
Big attraction = popular attraction
There is a lot of heavy rain
It often throws it down = it often rains heavily
IELTS Speaking Sample: Town and City
Describe your hometown.
-My hometown is a small city. It is both traditional and modern because of having several festivals celebrated by the locals, and at the same time it is starting to be developed with increasing number of infrastructures and establishments.
Where is your hometown located?
-My hometown, Sorsogon City is located in the southernmost tip of the Bicol Peninsula and the Luzon Island. Bicol is one of the regions in the Philippines and Luzon is the biggest island in the country.
Is it easy to travel around your hometown?
– Yes, it is. It is a small city but there are different kinds of transportation available.
What is it known for?
-It is known for “Pili nuts”. They are said to grow in volcanic soil.
What do people in your town do?
–Agriculture and fishing are common in my hometown. Also, with the latest modernization, numerous office jobs have appeared in my town.
Describe your home town. You should say:
- Describe the place
- What is special about it?
- Compare it to other cities in the world?
My hometown is called Sorsogon. I was born and raised there and I can say it is definitely my favorite place. It is located in the southernmost tip of the largest island in my country. I cannot tell that it is a very big province. The town is both traditional and modern. I call it traditional because there still are many festivals celebrated by the locals, yet modern, as it is starting to be developed just like other province having much more sophisticated infrastructure.
Sorsogon is a province that is about 12-hour bus ride from the capital city of the Philippines. Main roads are part of the national highway, so they are wide and huge. The highway happens to be an important place, because it is a key passage for buses and cars that cross it on their way from the North to the South.
Sorsogon is also special as it offers many tourist attractions. For example, in a close vicinity, there are an active volcano and a lake with very beautiful scenery.
Among all the places I have been to, I think Sorsogon is one of the best. There are wonderful places to visit – not crowded and not polluted. I frequently go to beautiful and clean beaches. Sogroson is located on many islands that are not yet developed and are very peaceful and relaxing to stay in. On top of that, natural cold and hot springs are popular here as well. Many people visit this place to experience them.
In what ways can you improve your hometown?
One problem in my hometown is a low accessibility of some places due to problems of public transportation systems. Although there are different means of transportation, it can still take you hours to get to certain venues. For example, the earliest bus leaves at 5:00 am and the latest – around 5:30 pm. Therefore, for those who go back from work after 5:30 pm, it gets increasingly difficult to commute.
What is the main reason for liking a hometown other than the fact you were born there?
I reckon, we all love our hometowns, because we were raised there. I am personally used to this place and I have become very comfortable with it. I have created some very pleasant memories here – met friends, family, my first love, first academic achievements. In my hometown I was formed physiologically as an individual.
Most people in this world do not live in their hometowns. Why?
Well, I guess the majority of people feel that there could be more opportunities outside of their hometowns and consequently – comfort zones. Therefore, many believe that living in such a comfortable place, with relatives and friends can be distracting and too relaxing on the way of pursuing goals. Also, people (not only youth) strive to explore other places and experience different cultures across the globe.
Why do you think people like visiting their hometown if they don’t live there anymore?
Speaking for myself, I love coming back to my hometown to visit family and friends. Also, I’m amazed at how things have changed like new businesses such as fast food restaurants and even shopping centers. Generally speaking, I think most people who no longer live in their hometown enjoy returning for the same reasons as me.
Why do some people prefer to live in a town?
I would have to say that town folk desire a tranquil and unbusy lifestyle where they can live a non stressful existence and not worry about things like traffic jams, rude people, and crowded streets. On top of that, they want to be able to go to the supermarket and not worry about long lines of people waiting to check out. If you ask me, I’m right with them. Who wants to put up with the rush hour traffic in a big city, certainly not me!
How can traffic be reduced in a city?
This is a really good question, and I don’t feel there’s a good solution to cut down on the amount of cars driving on the city roads. One possible way would be for more people to use public transportation instead of using their private vehicles. In order for this to work, some cities might have to undergo major urban development to build more subway and bus lines because these transportation systems may become too crowded.
IELTS Speaking Practice: Town and City
Part 1 -style questions
Examiner: What is it like where you live?
Christiane: I live in a residential area of a busy town in the south of Spain … we have all the facilities you need … good public transport … a good shopping centre … it’s nice …
Examiner: Do you like living in the city?
Andrea: Yes I do … I like going out with my friends and there are lots of lively bars and restaurants within walking distance of my apartment … I’m a bit of a culture vulture as well so it’s great to have access to art exhibitions and that kind of thing …
Examiner: Do you get many tourists visiting your area?
Mandy: Not really no … I live in the inner-city and the area is a little run down … it’s basically a lot of high-rise flats and many of the shops are boarded up … so nothing to interest tourists really …
Part 2 -style task
Describe an interesting town or city in your country that visitors might enjoy. You should say
– what the place is called
– where the place is
– what the facilities are like
and say why visitors might enjoy going there.
Monique: Anyone who comes to my country really should spend some time in Barcelona … it’sa beautiful place … it’s not what you would call a sprawling city … it’s quite compact really and you could walk across the city in a couple of hours … but there’s no need to do that as we have a fantastic public transport system so it’s easy to get around … there are various districts all with their own character … you have the upmarket shops in the centre … you’ll find lots of chain stores you’ll recognise from your own country but also local brands as well … we have the narrow streets in the Gothic district with lots of fashionable boutiques and tourist attractions … there’s the Olympic area and the beaches along the coast … and dotted around the city are some lovely public spaces … parks and squares in the city centre and on the outskirts of Barcelona where people relax with their friends and family … and of course pavement cafes everywhere … all that and some great historical places of interest … so a great destination for tourists …
Part 3 -style questions
Examiner: What are the advantages of living in a city or big town?
Carrie: I think it’s having access to local facilities really … local shops as well as access to larger shopping malls in the city centre … and if you’re well-off you can afford to live in the suburbs away from the busy traffic …
Examiner: In your experience are city centres usually attractive places?
Mary: Some can be yes … especially those with a historical interest … but sometimes they’re full of ugly office blocks … multi-story car parks … and residents living in poor housing … it depends on the city doesn’t it?
Examiner: What are some of the challenges facing towns and cities?
Penny: I suppose traffic congestion is a major problem … and the growth in out-of-town supermarkets and retail parks mean lots of town centre shops are closing down … plus a shortage of good quality housing … I think these are the major challenges …
boarded up shops: shops that are no longer doing business
chain stores: well-known brands with shops in multiple cities
to close down: to stop doing business
fashionable boutiques: fashionable clothes shops
to get around: to travel around
high-rise flats: multi-story apartments
inner-city: the central part of a city where people live and where conditions are often poor
in the suburbs: the outer area of large towns and cities where people live
lively bars/restaurants: bars or restaurants with a good atmosphere
local facilities: local buildings or services serving the public
multi-story car parks: car parks on several floors
office block: a large building that contains offices
out of town shopping centre/retail park: large shopping centres outside of the town or city
pavement cafe: cafes with tables outside on the pavement
places of interest: buildings that have a particular interest for visitors
poor housing: housing that is not in good condition
public spaces: areas in a town or city that are open to the public
public transport system: public vehicles such as buses and trains that operate at regular times on fixed routes
residential area: an area where people live
run down: old and of a poor standard
shopping centre: an area consisting of multiple shops
shopping malls: large indoor shopping centres
sprawling city: a city that has grown over time and which covers a wide area
tourist attraction: a place of interest to tourists
traffic congestion: heavy traffic making it difficult to move around a town or city
upmarket shops: expensive fashionable shops