1. Match the sentence halves to make phrases for being diplomatic.
1) Can I have a word
2) Well, it’s
3) What did you have
4) I thought
5) You must
6) So, how can
7) I didn’t want to bring
8) You should have said
9) And could we possibly
a feel that ___
b it up, but ___
c something earlier.
d we resolve this?
e with you about ___ ?
f perhaps we could ___
g just that ___
h in mind?
i agree on ___ ?
1) e 2) g 3) h 4) f 5) a 6) d 7) b 8) c 9) i
2. Listen to a student doing the task below. Tick the phrases in exercise 1 that you hear.
You are going on holiday with a friend for the first time. You are having problems with your friend. You feel you are taking all the responsibility. Talk with your friend about preparing for the trip and agree on a fair division of the tasks.
Can I have a word with you about ___ I didn’t want to bring it up, but ___ ; Well, it’s just that ___ ; You should have said something earlier. You must feel that ___ ; And could we possibly agree on ___ ; I thought perhaps we could ___
Erika Can I have a word with you about something, please?
Examiner Of course, what is it?
Erika I didn’t want to bring it up, but I feel that I’m doing all of the organising for our holiday.
Examiner Do you? Like what?
Erika Well, it’s just that I’ve already researched the holiday and found the hotel and the flights. Now I’ve booked and paid for it, too. I was wondering if we could divide up the tasks more evenly.
Examiner Oh, dear. You should have said something earlier.
Erika I did!
Examiner Oh, I’m sorry. You must feel that I’ve been very lazy. What else needs doing, then?
Erika You need to transfer some money to me now, don’t you? I don’t have anything left in bank account and I’m supposed to be buying sister a birthday present soon! And I am arranging the insurance for the holiday, aren’t I? You’ll need to pay half of that too.
Examiner OK. Thank you for arranging it. Just let me know how much I owe you.
Erika OK, I’ll do that. And could we possibly agree on how we’re getting to the airport? You said you wanted to go by train, didn’t you? But I thought perhaps we could go by coach. It’s much cheaper than the train, isn’t it?
Examiner I suppose so. But I have a railcard. Let me have a look and see how much discount I can get for us.
Erika OK, great. And we need to buy some currency, don’t we? Maybe next week?
Examiner Why don’t we both go to the bank and sort it out together?
Erika That’s a good idea. Let’s do that. And why don’t you come round to house one evening this week and we can research things to do and see while we’re there?
Examiner Thanks. I’d love to.
3. Put the following topics in the order they were discussed. What other topic was discussed?
a arranging insurance
b changing money and traveller’s cheques
c organising transport to the airport
d booking and paying for the holiday
1) d 2) a 3) c 4) b
Other topic discussed: researching things to do while they’re there
4. Read the Speaking Strategy. Listen again. Note examples of the strategies you hear.
Structures to emphasise Oh, dear, ___ I’m sorrry, ___ Thank you for ___
Question tags don’t you? aren’t I? didn’t you? isn’t it? don’t we?
See exercise 2.
In a guided conversation, listen carefully to what the other person is saying and show interest.
Use structures like Oh, dear ___ Oh, I’m sorry ___ I didn’t realise ___ to empathise with the other person.
Use question tags, e.g. ___ don’t you? ___ isn’t it? ___ are you? to gain agreement from the other person.
5. Match the question tags with the statements.
1) You’ve got the money, ____ ?
2) I paid for the ticket, ____ ?
3) Holidays aren’t easy to organise, ____ ?
4) We hadn’t booked the tickets, ____ ?
5) She can’t be telling the truth, ____ ?
a had we?
b didn’t I?
c can she?
d haven’t you?
e are they?
1) d 2) b 3) e 4) a 5) c
6. Complete the second sentences so that it has a similar meaning to the first. Use supposed to.
1) It’s important that we keep our travel documents safe at all times.
2) It’s expected that we leave a tip after the meal.
3) We need to pay for the holiday by the 25th.
1) We’re supposed to keep our travel documents safe at all times.
2) We’re supposed to leave a tip after the meal.
3) We’re supposed to pay for the holiday by the 25th.
7. Read the task below. Prepare your points about the issues below. Think of diplomatic phrases to use.
You are on holiday with a friend and are having problems with him/her. You feel you are taking all the responsibility for organising sightseeing trips, looking after the money and the luggage, and keeping the hotel room tidy. Talk with your friend about agree on how you can share these tasks.
1) organising sightseeing trips
2) looking after the money and luggage
3) keeping the hotel room tidy
your own answers
8. Think of one more topic to add and prepare a diplomatic phrase to use.
9. Now do the task using your notes from exercises 7 and 8.
your own answers
To sound natural, use language which is typical for spoken interaction, e.g. phrasal verbs (get on, turn up), discourse markers (you know, actually, as I was saying, what I mean is), colloquial expressions (in hot water, couch potato), or hedging words (may, might, could, quite, a bit, sort of, I guess).
1. Read the Strategy and look at sentences 1-6. Replace the underlined words with the more colloquial alternatives below.
a drag but get in touch with kind of busy
loads and loads of put up with
1) Sorry, I’m occupied today. ________.
2) How can you tolerate this mess? ________.
3) I’ll contact him tomorrow. ________.
4) Good idea; however, I’m not around on Monday. ________.
5) There are many exercises to do. ________.
6) Studying grammar is very boring. ________.
1) kind of busy 2) put up with 3) get in touch with
4) but 5) loads and loads of 6) a drag
2. As part of a school exchange, a student from the UK is staying with you. You are having problems with the student and you need to establish some clear rules. Discuss the following points and come to an agreement on each one.
– leaving the lights on
– clearing up after meals
– talking on the phone late at night
– using your laptop
3. Summarise what you have agreed for each point in exercise 2.
your own answers