Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 3 – Episode 58 – Grammar – Present and Modal Passives

Boy! We’re getting to the end of this season, and it’s been such a LONGGGGGG series. Honestly, I don’t like stopping for long because then I would lose my listeners. Consistency is everything….and constantly pumping out content is even more important. So, let’s get into some of the harder areas of passive!

The passive voice, as most of your know, is common in the writing “processes” on IELTS — even more — in scientific reports and lab experiments.


Present form of be + past participle.   The water is treated with chemicals.

About 15% of plastic bottles are recycled.

Modal + be + past participle         Bottled water can be shipped quickly. 

Treating and testing water should be done.

  1. Complete the paragraph with present and modal passives.

Distilled water is water that is purer than regular water. It can ________________(buy) in supermarkets like regular water, or it can ________________(distill) at home with some simple equipment. First, a glass container ___________(fill) with tap water. Then a stopper ______________(place) on top of the container. This stopper ______________(connect) to something called a condenser. A condenser is basically a cold surface where the steam _________________(cool). Then another container _________________(attach) to the end of the condenser in order to catch the water. At this point the water ______________(heat) and ______________(boil). The steam that forms _______________(condense) back into water, and the water ______________(collect). You know have distilled water! The water can _________(drink) or _____________(use) for other purposes

Skillful Listening & Speaking

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Nathan on IELTS Writing Tasks, Mistakes, Solutions

This is the beginning of a new series! I love bringing teachers, consultants and students on to do live coaching, or teachers who can give tips about test preparation courses or anything English in general. Today we’re talking about IELTS and Nathan, who’s living in Aktobe, Kazakhstan, has gone over some tips on how to improve your writing.

International Guest Speaker Nathan from Kazakhstan

  • Entrepreneur

Things we discussed:

  • Brief introduction given by Nathan to the listeners.
  • Kazakhstan’s winter
  • The basic of IELTS writing. What are some of the problems that students encounter in IELTS?
  • What are the basics of IELTS writing?
  • How much will it affect the IELTS scores for minor mistakes?
  • The marking scheme for IELTS writing. What is Nathan’s advice for IELTS students for their writing?
  • Discuss about the length of an IELTS writing task and formats.
  • Problem with the way students are approaching the IELTS writing questions.
  • How to jumpstart IELTS writing?
  • Reading and writing skills complement each other.

Thank you for listening!



  1. Facebook page:
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  3. YouTube:
  4. Podcasts:,,
  5. Website:
  6. Twitter:

IELTS Reading: Locating and Matching Information Questions

Welcome back to another episode of my IELTS, everyone! So, I was going to make a blog, but it wouldn’t have made sense to put discombobulated graph on here so you guys can read through a lot of nonsense and get even more confused. Instead, I have the link above for you guys to download and the YouTube video right down below for your viewing. I would suggest printing the above link and having it ready for the video to get the maximum usage of this lesson. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Special – IELTS – Understanding Writing Task 2 Questions

Arsenio's ESL Podcast
Arsenio's ESL Podcast
Arsenio's ESL Podcast: Special - IELTS - Understanding Writing Task 2 Questions

Welcome back to another episode, everyone! This is going to be great for you guys to do some freewriting, but more importantly, understand the question.

Learn to analyze task 2 questions.  They contain a subject and often include a general noun or nouns to help you organize your essay. The world is changing rapidly (noun). What are the causes (general noun to help you organize your answer) of this?

  1. In each group a-d below, which general noun has a different meaning from the other two?

a. Advantages, drawbacks, benefits

b. Measures, steps, reasons

C. causes, effects, consequences,

D. disadvantages, drawbacks, solutions.

2. Complete each task 2 question below with the general nouns and verbs from down below.

Agree or disagree, advantages, disadvantages, causes, solutions, measures, views, benefits

a. What are the benefits of learning skills in the modern world?

b. Any attempts to preserve the natural world will always hinder economic development.  However the benefits of helping the environment will always far outweigh the ____________.  Do you ___________?

c. Some young people take a year off between school and university.  What are the ________________ and ______________ of taking such time off?

d. Students should be trained on how to cope with changes in the modern world.  How far do you _______________?

e. Volunteer work with disadvantaged groups like underprivileged children is the best way for young people to learn about the real world.  To what extent do you ____________________? What other _________________could be effective?

f. Every day, animals are becoming extinct throughout the world.  What do you think the _____________ of this are? What _______________ can you suggest to deal with this?

g. Some people think overcrowding in large cities can be reduced by building skyscrapers, while others think the problem can be solved be encouraging people to move to the countryside.  Discuss both these _____________ and give your opinion.


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Special – TOEIC – Be Aware of Comparative & Superlative Forms

Arsenio's ESL Podcast
Arsenio's ESL Podcast
Arsenio's ESL Podcast: Special - TOEIC - Be Aware of Comparative & Superlative Forms

We’re back again with the Facebook live!  For those of you who have tuned in last weekend, here’s the podcast and video form of what I’ve talked about.  Also, I now have the transcription available, so for those of you who want rough shownotes of what I talk about, hit the link and read everything I say!

Source: Tactics for TOEIC

Let’s first look at some examples of common comparative and superlative forms.

  • as high as the market will support.
  • more difficult than we first expected.
  • faster than the competition.
  • the cheapest product.
  • his/their/my greatest problem.
  • the most important thing.

Given the examples above, use them to complete the following sentences.

  1. The ____________(good/better/best) thing they have is the food.
  2. This system uses the ___________(advanced/more advanced/ most advanced) technology on the market.
  3. This department may not be as __________(big/bigger/biggest) as some of the others, but its budget is much ___________(large/larger/largest).
  4. They are our ____________ (important/more important/most important) customers.
  5. The old distributor’s delivery was much ______________ (fast/faster/fastest) than the new one.
  6. Most attendees felt the first presenter was ______________(informative/most informative/ more informative) than the second one.


Task – Make comparative and superlative sentences about the transportation below.

Car, train, ship, airplane, motorcycle.


This practice is from the book, and it’s time to break this down.  On my podcast, I will not give the answers.  However, on YouTube — I will.  So be sure to tune into that!  Type your answers in the comments section and be sure to tune in Tuesday for the answers when the YouTube video makes its debut.


High among the many triumphs of man’s courage and spirit is Walter Drake’s and Olivier Vogel’s _______________ climb to the summit of Mount Everest without oxygen tanks in 1967.

Although several attempts to climb Everest without additional oxygen had been made in the past, none had been successful.  Drake and Vogel began moving cautiously up the south ridge towards the summit, which the reached after a grueling climb at 10:30.  They lingered ____________ on the summit and then began the tiring climb down the mountain.  They said it was the _______________ test of endurance they had ever experienced.

TOEIC Live Coaching Ep 2



Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 3 – Episode 21 – Pronunciation – Two-Syllable Stressing

Arsenio's ESL Podcast
Arsenio's ESL Podcast
Arsenio's ESL Podcast: Season 3 - Episode 21 - Pronunciation - Two-Syllable Stressing

Happy Monday and welcome back! It’s time for some more pronunciation!

English word stress is variable.  Sometimes it is hard to know which syllable to stress.  Fortunately, there are general rules that can help.

  • About 90% of two-syllable nouns have first-syllable stress: problem, freedom, baggage.
  • Most two-syllable names also have first-syllable stress: David, Justin, Sarah, Lauren.
  1. Secret
  2. Compare
  3. Relaxes
  4. Succeed
  5. Office
  6. Haircut
  7. Provide
  8. Steven
  9. Presented
  10. Jacob
  11. Daydream
  12. Concept

What makes a syllable sound stressed in English?

  • The vowel sound is full and clear.
  • The vowel sound is often higher in pitch.
  • The vowel sound is especially long.


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 3 – Episode 20 – Speaking Skill – Speak About A Journey

Arsenio's ESL Podcast
Arsenio's ESL Podcast
Arsenio's ESL Podcast: Season 3 - Episode 20 - Speaking Skill - Speak About A Journey

So, this will sound a bit similar to IELTS speaking task 2, but it’s not going to be academic, just a very laid back story-telling time.  This is great for non-NES speakers in order to tell a story about where they have traveled with someone else. If you’re taking a class, this is even better to give a presentation about.  So, because I have so many crazy a$$ stories that I’ve told before in regards to going to Bali, Maldives and other places, I decided to tell a story about my Hawaiian trip with a college buddy back in 2013…and what a trip this was!


  1. Where was the journey to?
  2. How did you travel?
  3. When was it?
  4. Who went?
  5. Who had chosen the destination?
  6. How had you prepared for the journey?
  7. What special thing(s) happened on the journey?
  8. What were you doing when these things happened?
  9. How did the journey end?
  10. How did you feel about what happened?


I set off on this journey on a Thursday evening (if I’m no mistaken). I met a friend in Phoenix, Arizona and we went to Buffalo Wild wings the night before, got two hours of sleep, then left her home around 4am.  We made our way to Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, and there was the ticketer, talking about Nemo and looking like he had about 10,000 grams of caffeine.  We waited for our plane to take off, a very small one at that, and we needed to get to LAX to transfer planes.

Because LAX, at the time, was the biggest eyesore in all of America, it proved just that.  we landed and we couldn’t disembark the plane for at least 30 minutes, reducing our layover time to a mere 15 minutes.  We ran about 800 meters to the next gate, arrived there gasping for air, and the two workers pointed at us and said, “Arsenio, Alissa…on the plane now.” As soon as we entered, the door was shut and that was the end.  We nearly missed our plane because America….is America. Lol.

After arriving and surprisingly getting our luggage (thought our luggage wouldn’t make it), we got on Speedi shuttle and made way to Pagoda Hotel, the cheapest and ugliest hotel on the island (lol).  We went to Waikiki the first day, dragging ourselves there because the lack of the sleep we had, and we ended up going into a coma around 6-7pm and woke up 12 hours later.  When I woke up, I went running around the island to get the feel of the air.  If I can recall, we did a couple of things before going on a snorkeling trip to Hanuama Bay (probably misspelled it, but can’t be bothered with correcting it). This crazy Vietnamese driver gave us our snorkeling gear and we went into the bay, which was magnificently beautiful and lavished with turquoise waters and ultra-gorgeous fish.  After our long day there, we did a couple of others things before going out at night.

The night time came and we walked into — let’s just say — the wrong bar.  I was playing pool with three women, Joy, who ended up becoming a great friend of mine to this day — and Alissa.  I realized that men were hitting on me, so I quickly asked Joy if it was THAT TYPE OF BAR…she said “ughhh yeah!” I ran down the stairs and went home with Alissa, completely inebriated and woke up feeling like pure hell.

That morning I wanted to cancel all activities (rent-a-car and go around the island), but Alissa was adamant and aggressive with getting the car.  So, we hopped in a taxi, and I quickly got car sick and complained the entire way there.  We got out, walked into the car dealership, and there I saw an African American male wearing a fat rock on his finger.  He was a wide receiver for the University of Hawaii, and after glancing at me when I walked in the door, he knew I had a rough night.

Soon after that, Alissa and I began driving around the island and I got sick — AGAIN! I told her to pullover a many of times and we started to argue because she said she didn’t want to pull over anymore.  LOL. We went to the pineapple plantation, Aulani Disney Resort, Turtle Beach, and a few other places — all spectacular beyond belief.

The day before we left, it was pretty relaxing and we met up with Joy again that evening.  It was a little head-scratching because three men approached our table and act as if they knew my friends, but they didn’t. We call these people “pick-up” artists….such a cringing couple of hours.  Japanese tourists were everywhere and tried smooching on a friend…and I just laughed the night away.

That next day we had to check out the hotel early but our flight left at 9pm.  We sat in the lobby for some time, but we also went to the movies.  Nonetheless, it was a journey back (and we had to land in DRAB SALT LAKE CITY) before I went to Arizona, and back to Vegas.  That was the last time I had seen Alissa for four years (my adventure back last year), but it was the most memorable journey of my life.


Transcription ESL Podcast #20


Arsenio’s ESL FB Live Lesson 001: Pronunciation – Glided Vowel Sounds

Arsenio's ESL Podcast
Arsenio's ESL Podcast
Arsenio's ESL FB Live Lesson 001: Pronunciation - Glided Vowel Sounds

Four vowel sounds — e as in feet, a as in late, u as in boot, and o as in boat — require you to glide or move your tongue toward a/w/ or y sound.

These are the words that I did recently on my Facebook live video that focuses on the high-pitch in the words on the left and the dull/short sound with the words on the right.  Tune into the podcast down below!



green, grin,

cheap, chip

pain, pen

gate, get

stewed, stood

fool, full

coat, cot

note, knot


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Special – IELTS – Speaking Test Basics

Arsenio's ESL Podcast
Arsenio's ESL Podcast
Arsenio's ESL Podcast: Special - IELTS - Speaking Test Basics

Hello, everyone! Free IELTS Coaching on Facebook live was this past Sunday, but now I decided to do a YouTube video and a podcast on what I covered on there! This normally debuts every Sunday at 7am Bangkok, Thailand time — unless something happens.  But I’m glad to be bringing this to you guys today and we’re going to go from the very basics with what I have on the lesson.

Again, this lesson is available in PDF form, so be sure to tune into either the note I posted, the PDF I provided, or the other forms I have.


 Get ready to speak!


As I’ve told you guys so many times before, there are frequently asked questions on the IELTS speaking part of the examination, and it normally starts like this.


  1. Can you tell me your name, please?
  2. What’s your candidate number?
  3. Can I see your card?
  4. Thank you. Ok, now in this first part, I’d like to ask you some questions.  Let’s talk about __________.


You get the idea.  So, getting familiar with familiar topics are extremely crucial.  These familiar questions are things about family, likes, dislikes, etc.



Let’s talk about where you live.

  • What do you like most about your home town/city? Why?
  • Is your home town/city a popular place for tourists to visit? Why/why not?
  • Do you think your home town/city has changed much in recent years? Why/why not?


At the end of each question, expect there to be follow-up questions from the examiner.  Your goal is to beat them to the punch.  Once the question is asked, always think “why?”  ALWAYS! Don’t let them ask you why.


Please do not memorize verbatim.  If you memorize anything, the examiner will stop you and ask a different question to throw you off your game.  Your goal is to be as natural as possible.


Answer the questions down below and don’t write anything.  No notes or anything, just speak freely and record yourself on a device.

  • When someone visits your town/city, do you recommend the main tourist attractions, or places off the beaten path?
  • What are some popular non-touristy dishes in your country?
  • What’s the 2nd/3rd best celebration in your country?


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Special – TOEIC – Reading – Finding the Answers

Arsenio's ESL Podcast
Arsenio's ESL Podcast
Arsenio's ESL Podcast: Special - TOEIC - Reading - Finding the Answers

Hello, everyone! If this is your second time tuning in, this was part of the TOEIC live coaching I did last weekend. However, because Facebook live stinks, I’m not able to show you exactly how I found the answers, and more just talking.  However, I will have the YouTube video down below (coming soon) so you can see how I find the answers.  Also, this is in podcast form, if you want to listen to this without the video.

The PDF is down below for you guys, too!

With that being said, today we’re going over a test tactic (from the book Tactics for TOEIC) and the goal is to locate information in double text questions.  So, towards the latter stages of the TOEIC exam, you will get these double passages. If you’re not looking in the right places, you will lose, quickly.  So my goal is to show you guys this in bulk (YouTube) and have the podcast down below, too.




Where did Kelvin Adams see the ad?

  1. On the internet
  2. In the newspaper
  3. In a shop


What feature probably attracted Kelvin to this apartment?

  1. The central heating
  2. The price
  3. The location


How many rooms are there in the apartment?

  1. 2
  2. 5
  3. 6


What does Kelvin request?

  1. Directions to the apartment
  2. Pictures of the apartment
  3. An appointment in March


Which of the following is likely to be a problem?

  1. The availability date
  2. The policy on pets
  3. The apartment size





Apartment for rent

  • Modern downtown studio apartment located 10 minutes from shops and public transportation
  • 2 bedrooms, kitchen, living/dining room, bathroom, balcony
  • Centrally heated (gas)
  • Suit young couple or professional
  • Part furnishing can be arranged
  • Rent $985 per month plus utilities
  • Deposit + 1 month’s rent in advance
  • No pets
  • Available mid-March

Contact Karim Patel 555 2345 Email:



From: Kelvin Adams (

Dear Mr. Patel

I saw your advertisement in the local newspaper. I’m very interested in the apartment for my family. We are currently living in Westside, but are looking to move closer to the town center, by the end of February so this apartment would be ideal. I was hoping to be able to arrange a visit sometime next week. Monday would be the best day for us, if this is convenient for you.

In the ad, you mentioned that the place could be part-furnished. We have a small amount of furniture ourselves, but probably not enough for a two-bedroom place. Could you possibly tell us what inventory is likely to be included with the apartment?

I would also really appreciate it if you could possibly send us a couple of pictures of the bedroom and living/dining room, as well as some directions as to how to get there. Thank you very much in advance.


Kelvin Adams



YouTube –


TOEIC Lesson 001