Vowels and consonants

Speech Work: Revision of Vowels and Consonants


/i:/‘ee’ in greet, ‘ea’ in treat
/i/‘I’ in simple, cripple
/e/‘e’ in bet, set, let
/æ/‘a’ in mat, cat
/u:/‘oo’ in moon
/Ʊ/‘oo’ in look, ‘u’ in bush
/ɔ:/‘a’ in fall, ‘or’ in lord
/ɒ/‘o’ in hot, ‘a’ in what
/ɑ:/‘a’ in father
/ʌ/‘u’ in stuff, ‘o’ in love
/ᴈ:/‘ir’ in first, ‘ur’ in burn
/ә/‘e’ in happen, ‘o’ in reason, ‘a’ in plural
/ei/‘a’ in late, ‘ai’ in pain
/iә/‘ear’ in clear
/eә/‘air’ in fair, ‘are’ in rare
/aƱ/‘ou’ in mouth, ‘ow’ in now
/ɔi/‘oi’ in oil, ‘oy’ in boy
/ai/‘I’ in time, ‘igh’ in night
/әƱ/‘o’ in go, ‘ow’ in flow
/Ʊә/‘oor’ in poor, ‘ur’ in sure


/p/‘p’ in pay
/b/‘b’ in beat
/t/‘t’ in take
/k/‘k’ in keep, ‘c’ in come
/d/‘d’ in do
/g/‘g’ in get
/tʃ/‘ch’ in check
/dӡ/‘j’ in just, ‘dg’ in ledge
/f/‘f’ in first
/v/‘v’ in very
/s/‘s’ in so, ‘ss’ in miss
/z/‘z’ in zero, ‘s’ in has
/ʃ/‘sh’ in rush
/ӡ/‘s’ in measure
/θ/‘th’ in think, both
/ð/‘th’ in the, that
/n/‘n’ in no
/m/‘m’ in my
/ŋ/‘ng’ in sing
/l/‘l’ in lip
/r/‘r’ in run
/w/‘ w’ in we
/j/‘y’ in you
/h/‘ h’ in help

Examination Hints: Paper testing

What is Paper Testing?

Essay writing is ‘a test of the candidates’ ability to communicate in English through the medium of writing.

Apart from AMPS (Audience, Medium, Purpose and Style), you will need to pay attention to the following:

  1. Content: the ideas, the points, the details that you need to include in your essay
  2. Expression: the words you use to express these points
  3. Mechanical Accuracy: this refers to grammar, spelling and punctuation
  4. Organisation: the way you organise your information in paragraphs

The common complaints by chief examiners include the following:

  • Some candidates write their answers in one long paragraph – there is no attempt to arrange the information in paragraphs at all
  • Some candidates attempt to include paragraphs but on a random basis, there is no understanding that each paragraph should be on a certain topic to which all sentences are related
  • Some candidates write every sentence as a paragraph: one-sentence paragraphs should almost always be avoided.

How to do the examination

  1. Go into the exam hall with a good eraser, a pencil, and a ball-point pen. You will need the pencil and eraser for rough work.
  2. You have to choose one topic out of a choice of six. Make an informed choice, taking into account your own special interests. For example, if you like letter writing, look at the letter writing topic carefully. Make sure that you understand the situation and that you can relate to the audience.
  3. Once you have chosen your topic, make a plan.
  • Brainstorm: read, understand and think ‘Mind maps’ or ‘spider diagrams’ may help you to ‘bounce a few ideas around’ inside your head, before you start  to plan in a more orderly fashion
  • Plan each paragraph
  • If you have time, write out your short version in pencil. If not, draft the the important paragraphs, especially the introduction and conclusion
  • Write out a neat fair copy, re-read it carefully, correcting any mistakes and cross out the rough draft.
  • Try to leave 5 minutes at the end for a careful check. Remember that you have only this one essay to show your writing ability.


A cliché is a type of collocation that is defined in the dictionary as ‘a phrase or idea that has been used so much that it no longer has much meaning and is not interesting’. A good example is the last straw that broke the camel’s back, meaning ‘the final event in a series of events, which made the general situation unbearable’. Thus a woman may have found living with her husband very difficult, for all kinds of reasons, until finally, one day, she discovers that he is having an affair with their neighbour’s wife. She tells a friend: ‘That was the last straw that broke the camel’s back’. And she decides to ‘pack out of the matrimonial home’.

Other expressions which can be regarded as clichés are: be that as it may, dispense justice without fear or favour, go down memory lane, every Tom, Dick and Harry, ladies of the night, a canker-worm eating deep into the fabric of society.

We are often advised to avoid clichés, and to find other expressions to use instead. This is because relying on clichés is an evidence of lazy thinking: by using them we are just echoing phrases we have heard other people use, instead of trying to be creative in our own language use.

So our advice is: try to avoid clichés.


  1. How many vowels and consonants are there in English language?
  2. What is the purpose of essay writing as a form of examination?
  3. How can you successfully write a good essay during an examination?
  4. What do you understand by clichés?

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