Unit 1: Understanding Speaking Test
Unit 3: Focus on Fluency & Coherence
Unit 3: Focus on Pronunciation
Unit 6: Focus on Lexical Resource
Unit 5: Focus on Grammatical Range & Accuracy

How to answer did you ever learn to do this?

IELTS speaking is very popular for asking you questions where you have to explain the process of your learning. Although there is no such rule that best describes the way of answering IELTS questions, it is always better for you to know some language tips on How to Answer Did you ever learn to do this?

When IELTS examiner asks you such question they really have no interest on the content of your answer but construct. They just want to know weather you can use right grammatical structure.

First let’s see some questions under this category

» 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?

Remember this formula

When the examiner asks you did you ever learn to do this?? type questions, you must:

  1. Use past tenses with timespan life phrases.
  2. State who taught you with the preposition by.
  3. Use non-defining relative clauses and adjectives of personality to describe the person who taught you.

Click here for the secret behind band 7 speaking

Step- 1: Did you ever learn to do this??

Use past tenses with timespan life phrases

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…

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 practiced 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 10 years old, my grandfather showed me how to make…
» on my + birthday
On my 8th birthday, I found out how to…
» during+ holiday
During the Tet holiday, my father taught me to…
»
 about + number + year(s) ago
About two years ago, I learned how to play…

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.

Step- 2: Did you ever learn to do this?

Saying Who Taught You

Language step 2: Saying Who Taught You
Let’s have a look at how Bina mentions the person who taught her to do something.
Bina: We were taught by a semi-professional swimmer.

Notice how Bina uses 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 I learned (how) to do X from + the person to say who taught you.

» I learned (how) to play the violin from Mr. Chevins, my teacher.
» I learned (how) to sprint from my best friend, 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. I learned (how) to use it from my friend, Yorick.

Step- 3: Did you ever learn to do this?

Non-defining Relative Clauses and Adjectives of Personality

Language step 3: Non-defining Relative Clauses and Adjectives of Personality

Let’s take a look at how Tina uses non-defining relative clauses and adjectives of personality.
Tina: I was taught to ride by my uncle, who was incredibly encouraging but quite strict…
Notice how after naming the person who taught her, Tina goes on to say what their personality was like.

Look at the following useful adjectives of personality:

  • caring
  • supportive
  • encouraging
  • kind
  • understanding
  • talented
  • firm
  • patient/ impatient
  • strict
  • aggressive

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-defining relative clause+part of the sentence
My mother, who was a fantastic cook, taught me how to make bread.
➠ sentence+non-defining relative clause
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 neighbor, who was particularly kind and understanding.
» When I was young, my friend Daniel, who was firm but fair, taught me how to play tennis.
» I learned to play cricket from Mr. Philips, who was quite an aggressive and quick-tempered
teacher.

Extra language point: Phrases to Express Freedom & Constraints


It’s good to use expressions to say why you did or did not learn to do things in your life. Look at these examples and think how you could use such phrases yourself:

» I was lucky because my parents gave me the chance to + activity.
» I was very fortunate that I had the opportunity to + activity.
» It’s a shame I did not have enough time to + activity.
» It’s unfortunate I could not do + activity because my parents couldn’t afford it.
» I wish I had had more ambition and patience when I was younger, then I might have
learned to do + activity

To conclude: Did you ever learn to do this?

Step 1: Use past tenses accurately with times in life phrases.
I bought a flute when / was in university.
Step 2: Say who taught you with the preposition by.
I was taught by my grandmother.
Step 3: Use non-defining relative clauses and adjectives of personality to describe the person who taught you.
He was a patient and kind teacher.