Did you learn how to ride a bike when you were a child?
Did you learn to play a musical instrument in school?
Did you learn how to swim when you were young?
Language step 1 The Past Simple &Times in Life Phrases
Let’s look at how the two IELTS candidates, Alice and David, use the past simple and times
in life phrases.
Alice Yes, .I did! …It was during the fet holiday. My parents bought me a really wonderful new bike…
David I did not learn to swim at school because my school did not have any swimming
classes, but I learned to swim/or a few months one summer when my parents took.,
me to classes at the local swimming pool. I went ever) other day with a small
group of friends…
David and Alice use past tenses accurately. The past simple can be used here in two different ways:
Using the past simple to talk about something that finished in the past:
I learned to swim…
I did not learn to swim because…
Using the past simple to talk about habitual actions in the past:
I went every other day…
I practised playing the guitar three evenings a week…
It’s important to tell the examiner when you did or did not learn to do X using the following times in life phrases:
when I was + age
When I was lOyears old, my grandfather showed me how to make…
on my + birthday
On my 8th birthday, I found out how to…
During the Tet holiday, my father taught me to…
about + number + year(s) ago
About two years ago, I learned how to play…
One cold, wet day in December, my sister taught me that…
And for habitual actions, remember these adverbs of frequency:
every day/every other day /every week/every month
I went to the swimming pool every other day until I could swim.
about twice a week/ month
I had classes with my trumpet teacher about twice a week,
occasionally /from time to time /sometimes / quite often /frequently
From time to time, my aunt would teach me a little Spanish.
Language step 2 Saying Who Taught You
Let’s have a look at how the two IELTS candidates,.Alice an^ David, mention the person who
taught them to do something.
Alice …7 was taught to ride by my uncle,.,
David ,„We were taught by,„a semi-professional swimmer.
Notice how Alice and David use the simple structure I was taught (to do X) by + the
person to say who taught them and some information about them. This is a simple language
step, but it’s important you get it right.
Look at these other examples:
l was taught to knit by my auntie…
I was taught to ride a motorbike by my uncle’s friend…
I was taught to cook by my grandmother…
I was taught to write by my father…
I was taught to play football by an elder boy who lived in my street..
You can also use Ilearned (how) to do Xfrom + the person to say who taught you.
I learned (how) to play the violin from Mr. Chevins,my teacher.
7 learned (how) to sprint from my bestfriend, Ben Johnson.
I can use spreadsheets well. 7 learned (how) to use them from my dad.
I love to make short films with a video camera. 7 learned (how) to use itfrom my friend,
Language step 3 Non-defining Relative Clauses and Adjectives of Personality
Let’s take a look at how the two IELTS candidates, Alice and David, use non-defining relative
clauses and adjectives of personality.
Alice …I was taught to ride by my uncle, who was incredibly encouraging but quite
David …We were taught by a really friendly and supportive man, who was a semi-professional swimmer,
Notice how after naming the person who taught them, Alice and David go on to say what
their personality was like.
Look at the following useful adjectives of personality:
These adjectives of personality can also be combined with non-defining relative clauses.
A non-defining relative clause provides extra information about the person you are talking
about, and takes the form who + extra information (for more about relative clauses, see
Part Two, Person Monologue Stage l).
There are two ways to use non-defining relative clauses:
part of sentence,non-definingrelative clause,part of sentence
My mother, who was a fantastic cook,taught me how to make bread.
I was taught to make bread by my mother, who was a fantastic cook,
Look at these other examples of sentences combining adjectives of personality and nondefining relative clauses:
I was taught by my brother, who was very impatient.
I was taught by a neighbour, who was particularly kjnd and understanding.
When I was young, my friend Daniel, who was firm butfair,taught me how to play tennis.
I learned to play cricket from Mr. Philips, who was quite an aggressive and quicktempered