Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 96 – Developing Writing – Describing a Place (Two-Part Patreon)

Welcome back to another Developing Writing segment! This is going to be a two-part Patreon special, so in the part that’s available to the general public, there will be lots of speaking and vocabulary development. If you want the writing bank and the layout of how to write about a place, you’ll have to tune into my patreon in the links down below! Enjoy!


  1. Choose three cities in the photos. Which would you prefer to live in and why?
  2. What factors do you think decide the quality of life in a city?
  3. Which cities in the world do you imagine offer the best quality of life? Choose five and discuss the reasons.

Each year a consulting company called Mercer ranks cities around the world according to the quality of living of the inhabitants. The living conditions are analyzed according to different factors grouped into these ten categories:

1. Political and social environment

2. Economic environment

3. Health and sanitation

4. Socio-cultural environment

5. Schools and education

6. Public services and transportation

7. Recreation

8. Consumer goods

9. Housing

10. Natural environment

These were the results of 2014….

  • Vienna
  • Zurich
  • Auckland
  • Munich
  • Vancouver
  • Dusseldorf
  • Frankfurt
  • Geneva
  • Copenhagen
  • Bern, Switzerland


Here are so vocabulary terms describing cities and towns: Atmospheric, bustling, cosmopolitan, crowded, filthy, hilly, historic, industrial, isolated, magnificent, picturesque, quaint, renowned for, run-down, shabby, spotless, sprawling, steeped in, thriving, touristy, vibrant, welcoming, well-connected, well-off

  1. interesting or attraction with a slightly strange and old-fashioned quality.
  2. full of noise and activity in a pleasant and interesting way
  3. friendly and pleasant, especially to someone who has just arrived at a place.
  4. build over a wide area in a way that is not carefully planned, and maybe ugly
  5. in bad condition because no-one has spend money on repairs
  6. where people from many different countries and cultures live
  7. having a lot of particular qualities or things
  8. famous/well-known for…

More on my patreon!


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 17 – Writing Skills – Examples of Brainstorming

Writing skills and three ways to brainstorm! One might be better for you than the other, but the goal is to find one that best helps you in writing articles, blogs, papers, or anything for that matter. Here’s the write up!

Before you write a longer text, such as an essay, you need to gather ideas so you will have something to organize and then write about. This idea – gathering is called brainstorming. Different methods of brainstorming suit different writers and different essay topics. Learning to brainstorm quickly will help you write better essays timed exams.

  1. Label the examples of brainstorming

chart           free writing          word map

flute player        music           Chosen traits cat lover kittens

                             ▽                              ▼                

         classical music lover                football fan



2.      For me I think my most important personality traits are my achieved ones, I mean I can’t help the born ones ones I was born with so I don’t really  count those. If I had been born tallest, I could have been better at sports, I  think, so I regret that a little, but I don’t think about it so much. I focus  (sp??) more on what I can choice myself. When I acheive achieve something  through my own efforts, it means more to me because

ascribed achieved chosen
short honor student flute player (or achieved)
black hair high school graduate Monterrey football fan!!
Mexican driver’s license cat lover

2.      Choose one of these topics. Brainstorm for five minutes using one of the methods above. Then brainstorm for another five minutes using a different method.

  •       An achieved personality trait I am proud of.
  •       An identity trait I want to change.
  •       A recent or new identity trait of mine.

  • 3.  Work with a partner. Which brainstorming method helped you get the most ideas? Which one would be easiest for you to write an essay from?

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 3 – Episode 73 – Developing Writing – A Formal Email of Complaint

Yes, I want to make sure I get all the specifics out of the way before heading into the upper-echelon levels that will be pretty difficult. The last develop writing podcast and blog scored big, so I decided to do another one. I’m first going to show you useful expressions, then an email, then practice for you. Be sure to send your emails to my Facebook page.

Useful Expressions: Linkers in formal emails and letters

  • Consequence: Therefore, and so, as a result
  • Time and sequence: next, then, after that, finally
  • Contrast: but, although, however, nevertheless
  • Reason: because, as, since
  • Addition, in addition, what is more, furthermore

Dear Sir or Madam,

I’m writing to complain about the goods and service in your store.

On 19th August I bought an e-reader at your store in Guildford. When I arrived home, I removed the e-reader from its box and discovered that the screen was broken. As a result, I took it back to the store the following day. However, the shop assistant told me that I could only have a refund if I returned the e-reader in its original box.

The next day I went back again with the e–reader in its original packaging. This time a different shop assistant told me that I could not have a refund because he said I had broken the screen myself. This was not true. In the end, I had to leave the store with the original, faulty e-reader and without my refund.

I will not go back again to the store in Guildford since the shop assistants there are so rude. I demand a full refund for the faulty e-reader. Furthermore, I would like a written apology for the bad treatment I have received. If I do not hear from you in the next two weeks, I will take my complaint to a Consumer Advice Center.

Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Gateway B1+

Pretty good complaint, huh? This is how you write it in English, in my podcast, I’ve gone some more things on how to deal with people in these situations.

Now it’s time to write your email. Here’s your scenario.

In July, you ordered two tickets for a concert by your favorite band on the internet. The tickets were very expensive. The concert was suppose to be August 1st, but the tickets only arrived two days after so you couldn’t go.

You rang the ticket company three times before August 1st, but they promised the tickets would arrive on time. Write a letter of complaint to the manager of the ticket company.