Speaking (Buildings & Eating)


Idioms & Expressions:

eyesore (an ugly building or landmark)

The old power plant in my city is an eyesore.


cookie-cutter (an adjective describing homes or buildings which all look exactly the same)

The street I live on is full of cookie-cutter homes.


mixed-use (adjective that describes a building or area that is a blend of residential and commercial buildings)

The skyscraper is a mixed-use structure, with a hotel and a shopping mall inside it.


landmark (a recognizable building or structure that identifies the area it is in)

The Capital Building is one of Washington D.C.’s landmarks.


spot/haunt (these are nouns used to describe a location you like to eat or drink at)

This library is my favorite spot – I love to come here and spend a few hours reading a book.


health nut (a noun used for a person who doesn’t like junk food and prefers to eat natural food instead

I used to be overweight, but now I’m a health nut and I haven’t had fast food in months.


eat out/go out (verb phrases that refer to eating at a restaurant)

We went out to a restaurant for my grandfather’s birthday last night.


my happy place (a way to describe a place you really enjoy spending time at)

This café is my happy place.


Part I: Group Discussion

  1. Are there any famous buildings in your hometown?

My hometown doesn’t necessarily have any famous buildings, but it does have a few landmarks that are well-known in the area where I grew up. For example, on the beach in my hometown there’s a statue that was built during World War II. It’s of a woman looking out at the sea and waiting for her husband, fighting in the war, to come home.


  1. In what type of building do most people in your hometown live?

Most people in my hometown live in basic two-story homes. Most houses look the same in my area, actually. There are also a few apartment complexes in my hometown as well, and also some condos on the beach, but those aren’t really as popular for residents to live in.


  1. Should buildings be attractive to look at? Why or why not?

It depends on the building’s purpose. If a building is simply serving a purpose, like for meeting or for storage, then it doesn’t need to be that pretty. But if the architect has been asked to make a statement, or to add value to an area by designing a pretty building, then it absolutely makes sense to build at attractive building.


  1. Describe the most unusual building you have ever seen.

In Shenzhen, China, near Yantian beach, there’s a crazy building that is very long and disjointed. It looks like a skyscraper that’s been laid down on its side, and it has sideways windows as well. But of course, I expected to see weird buildings in China, so I didn’t really find it that remarkable.

Part II: Individual Presentations

Describe a restaurant that you enjoyed going to. You should say:

  • Where the restaurant was
  • Who you went with
  • What type of food you ate in this restaurant

and explain why you thought the restaurant was good.

This is not about a restaurant, but about a café I liked going to. When I was in South Korea, there a little café on my street called “The Gallery.” A young Korean man owned the place and he was always really kind to me. He’d give me free refills on my coffee, and every so often he’d bring me out a free plate of cookies or even a slice of pizza. It made for a really nice, pleasant atmosphere, and I went there almost every day. I appreciated it so much that I started leaving a little money on my table as a tip for him each day. In Korea, tipping is not customary, but I decided that it was worth it for me to leave him a little money in exchange for his accommodation.

Part III: Class Discussion

  1. Do you think people eat healthier food than they did in the past? Why?

I think that today the food is less healthy than it was in the past. We have much more processed foods available today.

  1. How important do you think it is for families to eat meals together?

I think it’s a good way for a family to bond. When I was growing up, I always ate dinner with my family, since that was the only time we really had available.

  1. What effect has modern technology had on the food we eat?

You can order food from your phone now, and you can also prepare your food easily at home. So technology has changed the way we access our food and made it more convenient.

  1. Why do people go to restaurants when they want to celebrate important occasions?

It feels like a more special event if you have a big night out with a lot of people at a nice restaurant and you spend a little money. That’s always why my family has gone out to restaurants.

  1. Which are more popular in your country: fast food restaurants or traditional restaurants? Why?

I think fast food restaurants are more popular. They’re definitely more ubiquitous, and people like to go to them because of their convenience.