How have shops changed in your city in the last five years?
How has your hometown changed in recent years?
How have restaurants in your country changed since you were young?
Language step 1 The Present Perfect
Let’s look at how the two1ELTS candidates, Alice and David, use the present perfect tense.
I’m from Ho Chi Minh City and it has certainly changed a lot in recent years. Not
so long ago, there were lots more low-rise buildings and narrow streets; now the
local government has replaced them with tall apartment buildings…They have
also put a lot more parks iii the city and have planted thousands of trees…
Restaurants and eateries have changed a great deal since I was young
David t •r « »•
Notice that Alice and David use the present perfect accurately to talk about changes that
Remember that the structure of the present perfect is: have/ has + past participle
She has invested lots of money in a KTV bar.
The government has spent lots of money on public transport recently.
The traffic situation has become a lot worse in the last few years.
Language step 2 The Past Simple & Present Simple
Let’s look at how the two IELTS candidates, Alice and David, use the past simple and present
Not so long ago, there were lots more low-rise buildings and narrow streets
…The streets are now much wider than before…the city is more beautiful.
David …Restaurants and eateries have changed a great deal since I was young. When
I was a kid, nearly all restaurants in our city were cheap…Now, however, a wide
range of Vietnamese and many international restaurants line every street. These
are a lot cleaner and more elegant than the small eateries…
Alice and David use the pastsimple and present simple accurately to talk about changes.
This may seem like a very simple language point, but many students get a low score on the
test for making basic mistakes with these tenses.
Look at some example sentences that use these tenses to talk about changes:
My town was small; now it is quite big.
The streets used to be very quiet; now they are noisy.
The shops sold poor-quality clothes; now they sell the latest designer fashions.
Before many people ate at small eateries or night markets, but now people choose more
Language step 3 Comparative Adjectives
Let’s take a look at how the two IE-LTS candidates, Alice and David, use the comparative
Alice …now the local government has replaced them with tall apartment buildings with
better facilities…The streets are now much wider than before. They have also put
a lot more parks in the city and have planted thousands of trees in the streets, so
the city is more beautiful.
David …These are a lot cleaner and more elegant than the small eateries, but sadly are
more impersonal and much more expensive!
Notice how Alice and David use a lot of comparatives to explain how their cities have
changed and to express whether those changes are good or bad.
This is a very important part of your answer, so now let’s review comparatives.
We add -er at the end of the adjective, or we add more before the adjective.
To form the comparative of an adjective, you should:
add -er if the adjective is one syllable long.
add -ier if the adjective is two syllables long and ends in -y.
add more before the adjective if it is two or more syllables long.
Look at the table to refresh your memory.
|Adjectives ending in -y||Long Adjectives|
|Form||Adjective||Adjective||Form||Adjective Comparative Form|
|comfortable more comfortable|
fashionable more fashionable
In comparing the past to the present, it is also useful to remember this structure:
X + is/are + comparative adjective + than + time in the past
My city is prettier than it was ten years ago.
The university library is much better stocked now than it was before.
The city is a lot greener than it was when I was a child.