Monday, 4 November 2013

Speakout Advanced p 35. Homes and housing. Extra Speaking


A. Have a conversation as natural as possible with a partner about the topic. Use the pictures above and the questions below to help you.

  1. Would you prefer a detached house in the country or a large town-centre flat?  Explain and give reasons.
  2. Renting or buying a house?
  3. The house of your dreams.  What is it like?
  4. What do you think of squatters and squatting?  How do you think you might react if squatters came to live near you?
  5. “A house is a home when it shelters the body and comforts the soul”. Discuss.


Student A
1. What are the advantages and disadvantages of living in a vast overpopulated metropolis? And in a quaint, secluded village far from any big cities?             
2. Are property prices a problem? What do you think of house evictions and repossessions?
3. What is good or bad about the space where you work or study?

Student B
1. If you had to work from home what changes would you need to make to your home? How would you balance working and free time?
2. When do you think young people should become independent from parents? What are the problems they face?
3. What solutions can you think of for people who sleep rough?  

Useful language
roomy large with a lot of space inside it.


generous more than is necessary; large. E.g. a generous helping of meat. The car has a generous amount of space

shady protected from the sun or producing shade. E.g. a shady patio

gloomy dark, especially in a way that makesyou feel sad.

airless without much fresh air 

comfortable /ˈkʌmftəbl/

décor: /ˈdeɪkɔː(r)/ the style in which the inside of a building is decorated. E.g. interior decor. The restaurant's elegant new decor. Choosing the furniture and decor for their new home was an exciting project.

gaudy /ˈɡɔːdi/ too bright and cheap-looking. E.g. gaudy clothes/colours

Airy: /ˈeəri/ with plenty of fresh air because it is large or has a lot of windows. E.g. the office was light and airy.

huge very big

sunny – light and sun-filled.

peaceful quiet and relaxing

calm: /kɑːm/ E.g. The city is calm again (= free from trouble and fighting) after yesterday's riots. The sea looks much calmer today.

tranquil: /ˈtræŋkwɪl/ quiet and peaceful. E.g. a tranquil scene. A tranquil village.

dreary /ˈdrɪəri/ dull and making you feel sad or bored. E.g. a dreary winter's day. A dreary film. A long and dreary journey on the train.

poky /ˈpəʊki/ too small and not very pleasant or comfortable. Cramped. E.g. a poky little room

messy: dirty and/or untidy. Chaotic. E.g. The house was always messy.

draughty: /ˈdrɑːfti/ uncomfortable because cold air is blowing through. E.g. a draughty room/ corridor.

Neat and tidy: e.g. he always keeps his desk neat and tidy.


grubby: /ˈɡrʌbi/ rather dirty, usually because it has not been washed or cleaned. E.g. grubby hands/clothes.  He wore torn jeans and a grubby shirt.

shabby: /ˈʃæbi/ in poor condition because they have been used a lot. E.g. The outside of the house was beginning to look shabby. She wore shabby old jeans and a T-shirt.

grand: impressive and large or important. E.g. It's not a very grand house. The wedding was a very grand occasion.

opulent: /ˈɒpjələnt/ made or decorated using expensive materials. E.g. in the opulent comfort of the living room. He relishes an opulent lifestyle with palatial homes in Europe and America, private jets, two yachts and a helicopter.

proportioned: /prəˈpɔːʃənd/ having parts that relate in size to other parts in the way that is described. E.g. a well-proportioned living room. She was tall and perfectly proportioned.

cosy: /ˈkəʊzi/ warm, comfortable and safe, especially because of being small or confined. E.g.
a cosy little room. A cosy feeling. I felt warm and cosy sitting by the fire.

confined: /kənˈfaɪnd/ (of a space or an area) small and surrounded by walls or sides. E:g. It is cruel to keep animals in confined spaces.

stark: /stɑːk/ (often disapproving) looking severe and without any colour or decoration. E.g. I think white would be too stark for the bedroom. The hills stood stark against the winter sky.

dingy: /ˈdɪndʒi/ dark and dirty. E.g. a dingy room/hotel. Dingy curtains/clothes. The nightclub was in a dark and dingy basement in central Manchester where you couldn't see more than 6 inches in front of your face because of the smoke.

minimalist: /ˈmɪnɪməlɪst/ lacking decoration or adornment; deliberately simple or basic in design or style. E.g. his recently renovated minimalist kitchen.

rustic: /ˈrʌstɪk/ 1 (approving) typical of the country or of country people; simple. E.g. an old cottage full of rustic charm. 2 made very simply of rough wood. E.g. a rustic garden seat. A rustic fence.

run-down: in very bad condition; that has not been taken care of. E.g. run-down inner-city areas.

neglected: /nɪˈɡlektɪd/ not receiving enough care or attention. E.g. neglected buildings. The garden was neglected and overgrown.

dilapidated: /dɪˈlæpɪdeɪtɪd/ old and in very bad condition. Ramshackle. E.g. old, dilapidated buildings.

ramshackle /ˈræmʃækl/ in a very bad condition and needing repair. Tumbledown. E.g. a ramshackle house.

tumbledown: old and in a poor condition so that it looks as if it is falling down. Dilapidated. E.g. tumbledown cottages.

have seen/known better days
(humorous) to be in poor condition. E.g. Our car has seen better days! 

battered: old, used a lot, and not in very good condition. E.g. a battered old car.


scruffy: /ˈskrʌfi/ dirty or untidy. E.g. a scruffy open-plan office. Parks ranging from scruffy to splendorous are everywhere in the city. The destination was a scruffy little stadium in a tough neighborhood known to the locals as the “Concrete Jungle.” He shared what he later called "a very scruffy flat" with my husband-to-be.

cramped: /kræmpt/ a cramped room, etc. does not have enough space for the people in it. E.g. working in cramped conditions.

cluttered (up) (with somebody/something) /ˈklʌtəd/ covered with, or full of, a lot of things or people, in a way that is untidy. E.g. a cluttered room/desk. A small kitchen can feel cramped and cluttered

Bright and cheerful: e.g.There's nothing quite like a bright and cheerful living room.

Sparsely: /spɑːsli/ only present in small amounts or numbers and often spread over a large area. Sp. Escasamente, dispersamente. E.g. a sparsely furnished room.  

refurbish something to clean and decorate a room, building, etc. in order to make it more attractive, more useful, etc. E.g. The theatre has been extensively refurbished.

refurbishment (N) (informal refurb /ˈriːfɜːb/) the act or process of cleaning and decorating a room, building, etc. in order to make it more attractive, more useful, etc. E.g. The hotel is closed for refurbishment. This is just one of several planned refurbishments.

renovate something to repair and paint an old building, a piece of furniture, etc. so that it is in good condition again. E.g. the newly renovated church. They spent the summer renovating a farmhouse in Kent.

renovation: /ˌrenəˈveɪʃn/ the act or process of repairing and painting an old building, piece of furniture, etc. so that it is in good condition again. E.g. buildings in need of renovation. renovation work. There will be extensive renovations to the hospital.

do up: to repair and decorate a house, etc. E.g. He makes money by buying old houses and doing them up.

updating: E.g. this property needs some updating and improvement.

makeover: the process of improving the appearance of a person or a place, or of changing the impression that something gives. E.g. She won a complete makeover in a magazine competition. The station's interior has had a makeover to improve access.

upgrade: (N) /ˈʌpɡreɪd/ the act of improving the condition of a building, etc. in order to provide a better service The building urgently needs an upgrade. 
upgrade: (V) /ˌʌpˈɡreɪd/ upgrade something to improve the condition of a building, etc. in order to provide a better service. E.g. to upgrade the town’s leisure facilities. The towpath was upgraded for use by cyclists. 
towpath: a path along the bank of a river or canal, that was used in the past by horses pulling boats (called barges ). 

strip: to remove all the things from a place and leave it empty. E.g. strip something (out) We had to strip out all the old wiring and start again. The house was stripped. strip something + adj. Thieves had stripped the house bare. 

gut something to destroy the inside or contents of a building or room. E.g. a factory gutted by fire. The house was completely gutted. The hotel was completely gutted by fire last year.

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