Arsenio’s ESL Cafe: Speaking Skill – Talking About a Past Event (ESL & IELTS Learners)

This relates not only to IELTS learners, but for students around the world who are asked a set of questions, such as the following.

In the IELTS Part II, there’s a great chance that you will be asked to “describe a special event.”  In this will be a set of four questions, but today I will talk about seven.  The goal, when speaking in the past tense, is to stay in the past tense.  It’s like switching your mind to a tense and using different clauses, tenses and “high level” vocabulary.

So, here it is at the bottom and watch my YouTube video so you can get an idea.

A Special Event

  • When did it happen?
  • Where did it happen?
  • Who did you go with?
  • What problem did you have?
  • What did you see when you arrived?
  • What happened in the end?
  • Why was it a good experience.


Additional for ESL learners

Useful expressions to show interest, surprise, or sympathy. 

  1. Did you?
  2. Really?
  3. Then what happened?
  4. I see.
  5. Why?
  6. Wow!
  7. Cool!
  8. That’s interesting.
  9. That’s amazing!
  10. That’s incredible!
  11. Oh, no!
  12. What a shame.
  13. Poor you! (use this sparingly because it could be used as sarcasm.



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