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

Arsenio's ESL Podcast
Arsenio's ESL Podcast
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.


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 3 – Episode 70 – Grammar – The Passive – Verbs with Two Objects

Welcome back to another passive blog/podcast. To be honest, this one is going to be a pain in the ass. Lol…but it’s going to be worth it in the end for a lot of you.

So, some verbs are followed by two objects, one usually a thing and the other a person. They told me the truth.

When this happens, we can make two different passive sentences.

I was told the truth.

The truth was told to me.

It is more common to make passive sentences with the person or people as the subject.

Here is a list of common verbs which are followed by two objects: bring, buy, give, lend, offer, owe, pay, promise, refuse, send, show, teach, tell.

Rewrite the sentences using the passive. Use the person or people as the subject.

The government has sent food and medicine to the victims of the earthquake.


The victims of the earthquake have been sent food and medicine by the government.

2. They paid the president of the company 40k for two Survival Capsules.

3. They’re offering the survivors financial aid.

4. My teacher has given me information about surviving earthquakes.

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 3 – Developing Vocabulary – Phrasal Verbs Connected with Money & Shopping

Welcome back to another ESL podcast! I’m here to bring you some Phrasal Verbs. Yes! We’re back with Phrasals!

Look at the phrasal verbs used in these sentences and match them with the definitions.

  1. If you want to buy a tablet, you should set some money aside each month.
  2. People are saying the airlines should cut back costs.
  3. He forgot to pay it back, so that’s why he got the notice in the mail.
  4. The bill comes to 17.99.
  5. He doesn’t earny much, but he gets enough to get by.
  6. I picked up some amazing shoes earlier today.
  7. I couldn’t buy the new game because they had already sold out.
  8. She’s going to splash out and buy that designer jacket.

A. Give someone the same amount of money they lent you.

B. Save money from a larger amount to use it later.

C. Reduce the amount of money you spend.

D. Buy

E. Buy something expensive

F. Have just enough money so that you can do what you need to.

G. Reach a total when you add all the parts together.

H. Stop selling a product because there are no more available.

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:
  2. Instagram:
  3. YouTube:
  4. Podcasts:,,
  5. Website:
  6. Twitter:

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 3 – Episode 57 – Vocabulary Skill – Using Descriptive Adjectives

You can make what you say more interesting by not relying on the same adjectives all the time. Try to use more descriptive language. For example, instead of saying a room is very dirty, you could say it’s grimy or filthy. We have an immediate and clear image in our minds. Instead of just a cold day, perhaps it’s chilly, bitter, or freezing?

Add these words to the correct columns.

Words: awful, delighted, enchanting, gigantic, gorgeous, huge, joyful, sizzling, steaming, terrible

beautiful hot big happy bad
lovely scorching massive cheerful unpleasant
striking blistering enormous thrilled dreadful
stunning stifling immense ecstatic horrible

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: Season 3 – Episode 47 – Pronunciation: Rhythm

Welcome back, everyone! We’re entering a more difficult phase of pronunciation, and I’m happy to bring to you today the basis of rhythm in phrases and sentences.

  • Basic rhythm patterns in phrases and sentences.
  • The kinds of words that are generally stressed.
  • The kinds of words that are generally unstressed.

Every language has its own rhythm or beat. If you hear the Japanese language, it’s often described as a roller coaster. In Thai, intonation and tones mean everything — and Vietnamese, too.

One of the big problems is that when we learn a new language we unconsciously transfer the rhythm patterns of our first language into the language we are learning.


  1. rejected
  2. engineer
  3. convert (verb)
  4. presented
  5. permit (noun)
  6. civilization


He wrecked it.

He can hear.

She’s hurt.

He meant it.

Learn it.

He’s at the station.

What do you notice when you say the phrases? What do you notice about the rhythm and patterns of each pair? Tune into my podcast down below!


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 – Part IV – Short Talks – Tactic Practice

Arsenio's ESL Podcast
Arsenio's ESL Podcast
Arsenio's ESL Podcast Special: TOEIC - Part IV - Short Talks - Tactic Practice


Welcome back to another episode, everyone! This is the re-learning from the Facebook live I did a few days ago (Saturday mornings at 7am).  This is the first time I’ve done a Short talks episode, so I hope this provides as much value to you as possible. Now, let’s get into this!

Source: Tactics for TOEIC

If you guys have seen my talks and videos on YouTube before, I do recall doing a Short Talks in the past.  So, today I’m going to do six live questions with you guys and we’re going to break it down one by one.  We need to first look at what’s being said, of course.


What is the main purpose of this announcement?

  1. To discuss the history of Arabella.
  2. To outline ways to get to Arabella
  3. To make Arabella sound attractive to visitors
  4. To describe Arabella’s local music.


What was Arabella originally?

  1. A culture center
  2. A center for sailing events
  3. A resort island
  4. A trading center


When is the Caribbean Carnival held?

  1. In mid-October
  2. During the winter holidays
  3. During the March break
  4. At the end of April


Why was the meeting called?

  1. To announce a schedule change
  2. To move the deadline
  3. To discuss the image files
  4. To answer any questions


When does the project have to be finished?

  1. By tomorrow
  2. By Thursday
  3. In five days
  4. In a week


What are Beth and Howard asked to do?

  1. Finalize the image files
  2. Check for typos
  3. Ask questions
  4. Write the address labels

The explanation of these questions are in the podcast and YouTube video. If you want to tune into Facebook, you can (still and always will be available).


YouTube – Coming Wednesday