Updated Nov 24, 2016
Note that if you incorrectly or inappropriately use what you think is an example of "high level" vocabulary, you might actually lose points for vocabulary rather than gain points. This is mostly because communication can be damaged, or even broken, by such errors. In other words, using a simple word or repeating the same word is usually better than using an "impressive" word incorrectly. Clear communication is the Number 1 priority in the IELTS test!
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43. Trees and Forests
Many children's toys involve the child playing a role, an imagined adult role. For example, boys play with toy weapons and imagine they are soldiers (killing people) while girls play with doll babies (= baby dolls), imagining they are mothers (taking care of new-born life).
Words of the pattern, "toy + noun", such as "toy piano", "toy gun", "toy rabbit" are pronounced with the noun spoken more emphatically than the word, "toy". It is the same stress pattern as with the words, "model + noun". Here is the way, "model railway" is pronounced.
Other Internet Sites about Toys
For Both Boys and Girls
("Building brick" is pronounced with the same stress pattern as "building block".)
(For pronunciation of "wind-up" - http://www.howjsay.com/index.php?word=wind+up&submit=Submit wind-up & definition 4 here - http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/wind_24#wind_40)
A Robot Dog
A jigsaw puzzle
Mostly for Boys
- a toy gun
- a toy sword
Mostly for Girls
43. Trees and Forests
Parts of a Tree
- the roots
- the trunk
- the bark
- the branches
- leaves, plural of leaf (or "needles" for some pine trees)
- flowers and seeds
What Trees Give Us
- timber (for construction, furniture, paper etc.)
- firewood (esp. in poor parts of the world)
- shade (for humans and some farm animals) ["Shade" and "shadow" are different. A shadow is a silhouette on a flat surface such as a wall or the ground. It is 2D. Shade is 3D. A shadow can be produced by the sun or a man-made light, but the word "shade" is only used in connection with the sun, i.e., outside.] Adjective - shady
- a home for birds and small animals
- greenery (beautification, important for city dwellers in parks and gardens)
- soil stabilization (esp. important on mountain slopes; mangrove trees stabilize coastal areas + provide breeding grounds for fish)
- trees act as windbreaks (usually on farmland to prevent wind erosion; in Northern China, to help prevent dust-storms)
- important for the ecology of an area (e.g., food for bees and other insects, a home for living creatures, etc.) It is best to say, "the ecology of an area", not just "the ecology" like the way we say, "the environment".
- large forested areas promote rainfall (large reforested areas amazingly have more rainfall after the trees grow again) (See Note, below)
- trees help to regulate underground water flows (After trees are cleared, sometimes the underground water table rises to the surface, bringing salt to the soil and thereby damaging farmland. This is "salinization" of the soil.) (See Note, below)
- oxygen = O2 (fresh air; trees absorb carbon dioxide, CO2, which is food for trees, and give off oxygen)
- sap (rubber, edible syrup etc.)
- fruits and some nuts
- spices and flavourings
- balsa wood
- a virgin forest ( = a native forest; usually = an old growth forest)
- a rainforest (tropical rainforest; temperate rainforest. There are also dry climate forests.)
- a commercial forest (usually = a "plantation", most often fast-growing trees such as pine)
- a national park (Most national parks contain forests - camping, hiking in some national parks; can see wild animals)
- logging (verbal noun, an activity, to create and transport logs. )
- timber ("Lumber" is more American English and refers to timber that has been cut into boards or pieces of wood, ready for use. There is "the timber industry" but, "the lumber industry" is not a common expression, although "the lumber trade" is used in the U.S.)
- a bush fire (mostly used in Australia, NZ & English-speaking parts of Africa = a forest fire)
- undergrowth (what grows under the trees in a forest)
- a "wooded" area (similar to a "forest"; not necessarily a native forest - it could be a plantation or simply some tress planted by humans). The tree are not as close together in a wooded area as they are in a forest.
- forestry = the science and practice of planting, caring for and managing forests
Some Other Vocabulary Associated with Trees
- to lop a branch off a tree (= to cut off)
- to prune a small tree, hedge or shrub (= to trim it)
- to cut down a tree (= to "chop down" a tree when an axe is used = [a bit more formal-sounding] to "fell" a tree)
- an axe
- a chainsaw
- a hollow tree
- a log (a hollow log is often a home to animals)
- a tree house (No, it's not a house where trees live. It's a tree where a house lives!)
- a fork in a tree
- a (tree) stump
- to shed leaves (deciduous trees shed their leaves in winter)
- a dead tree
- Some tree leaves change colour (to red, yellow etc.)
- a pine cone; pine needles
- a Christmas tree (usually a pine tree)
- deforestation (the possible start of desertification)
- tree rings (give the age of a tree)
- a swing (child's plaything hanging from a strong tree branch)
- to uproot a tree (what a typhoon or cyclone does to some trees)
- an overhanging tree (usually overhanging a fence or a house)
- an orchard (a farm consisting of fruit trees)
- a sapling (a young, immature tree)
- a twig (a small piece of a dead tree branch, like a short stick, not necessarily straight)
- a few trees "dotting the landscape" (= a few trees appearing on a landscape such as farmland where there are not many trees)
- deciduous trees (shed their leaves in winter)
- evergreen trees (keep their leaves in winter)
- termites = white ants (they eat wood, usually dead trees and fallen branches)
- a bonsai tree (small twisted ornamental tree in Japan, produced by humans twisting the tree when it is young)
A Few Varieties of Tree
It might be a good idea to know the English name for one or two trees in your area. But, at the same time, you need to be careful in the test of showing that you obviously knew that this topic is in the test and obviously showing that you are speaking a prepared answer. Examiners don't like that (both of them) and, in fact, the examiner could deduct points from your score if you show it too much throughout the test.
- a eucalyptus tree ( = a gum tree. An Australian tree that has also been planted in many parts of the world. There are many varieties of this species, as with most of the species shown below.)
- a palm tree (coconut palm, date palm, etc.)
- a banana tree (and many other fruits)
- a pine tree
- a willow tree
- a poplar tree
- an oak tree
- a mahogany tree
- an ash tree
- a cedar tree
- a fir tree
- a birch tree
- an olive tree (Esp. in the Middle East and the Mediterranean area; for food)
Some internet links
Vocabulary lists - (not all the words on these pages are useful for the IELTS test)
(Kids love tree houses)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forest (Very many more links at the bottom of that page)
Note (about large forested areas promoting rainfall)
Although this is a valid fact, I think not many examiners would know about this. Some examiners might even think you had made a mistake of some kind in your English because they might not understand what you are talking about if you say this. So, since this is rather complex to explain and since Part 1 answers should be rather summarized, it would be best to only use this fact in a Part 3 answer, when you can, and should, give longer, more complex answers.
Another point is this - you need to be careful not to speak so that the examiner knows, or is almost sure that you have read this website. If the examiner thinks you have read this website, he or she might be extra strict when grading your answers, might actually reduce your score if they recognize a memorized answer, and also might ask you questions that are much more difficult than usual.
Look up the meanings, pronunciation & uses of these in good dictionaries & other reference books.
The two words that are most often mistakenly used are "memorize" and "memory". You need to understand the difference between "a memory" (= an ability; such as, "I don't have a good memory" ), and on the other hand, and "a memory" (= something remembered)
"Can't remember" has the same meaning as, "don't remember", especially after someone has tried to remember something such as a name, but is unsuccessful.
a memory (n) = a recalled event, fact or idea etc.
"a good memory" (meaning 1) = "a pleasant memory" = "a happy memory" = something that is pleasant to recall
"a good memory" (meaning 2) = a good ability to remember things. The opposite is, "a poor memory" or, "a bad memory".
to memorize (v) = to put something into your memory ( = store it in your "memory bank"), mostly by repeating this item. For example, people memorize a new phone number, or a new password. This word is usually used to describe things that are "rote learned" or "learned by heart" (see below), and not for every new thing that is learned or put into the "memory bank". It does NOT mean "to remember". People memorize something in order to be able to remember, or recall it later.
to rote learn = to memorize by repetition. ~ to memorize. But "rote learn" is usually used when talking about rather long materials such as a song, a poem, a long answer to write in an exam etc. To "memorize" is used more for small things or short things such as a new phone number, a password, the name of someone/something etc.
"To learn by heart" = to rote learn = to learn by rote = to learn by repeatedly speaking or writing something, even if it is not well understood. You can learn a song in a foreign language by this method, even if you don't understand what the words mean.
to recall = to remember
to recollect = to remember, especially when you are remembering a more intricate memory, rather than something simple such as a name E.g., "I recollect exactly what happened."
a recollection = what is recollected = what is recalled
short-term memory / long-term memory. One's short-term memory applies to things that stay in your memory (= are easily recalled) within a few seconds, minutes, or even hours. Long-term memory applies to thing that stay in your memory for periods longer than short-term memory, especially many years. We usually forget things in the short-term memory because they are not useful to remember. But when studying something new, such as new English vocabulary, frequent review or revision will place the item into the long-term memory.
to associate = to connect one idea with another idea in your mind, even if the connection is simply a feeling rather than any concrete connection, or even if this connection is illogical or ridiculous. Idea X reminds you of idea (or fact) Y. Association (and the memory in general) works best when vivid or highly imaginative ideas are used. An "association" is such a connection in one's mind.
a memory system = a system used to help you remember things. Most memory systems are based on a set of already memorized associations, such as "book = 1", "cow = 2", "dog = 3" etc. Also called a "mnemonics system" (that's the spelling but the initial "m" is not pronounced).
an appointment book = "a diary" when the purpose is not to record past events but instead, to remind you of something at some future time. Also called "a date book".
to remind someone of something; a reminder
a reminder note = a note to remind you to do something, usually written by yourself
to "jog someone's memory" = to help someone remember a detail such as a name = to remind someone of something that they can't easily recall. A fact, or something else can jog someone's memory to recall another fact.
a memorial to (the memory of) someone who has died, or people who have died, especially in war or a natural disaster.
It "slipped my mind" = "I forgot to do it" or, "I can't remember it", e.g., as a name.
forgetful = describing someone who often or easily forgets things; forgetfulness
"It's on the tip of my tongue" = I feel that I can almost remember it; I feel that it will come to me soon. (e.g., a name)
"I have a memory like a sieve" = I have a very poor memory. A common jocular expression.
Wikipedia on Memory – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memory (this is a bit complex). 中文 http://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E8%A8%98%E6%86%B6 (See other languages on the left-hand side of the English Wikipedia page)
memorable (adjective) = hard to forget / easy to remember the details of. For example, "a memorable occasion".
A memento – similar to "a keepsake" and similar to "a souvenir". ("Souvenir" is the French verb, "to remember" but in English it is a thing, not a verb.)
To commemorate – usually a public activity or ceremony to remind people of something important in the past such as the end of World War 2 etc. We can also commemorate those who have died in a war. Usually, but not always, we commemorate solemn occasions. When the occasion is not solemn, we use a different word, "to celebrate" such a past event. For example, people in Australia and the USA celebrate the date of the first landing of European settlers in their countries.
An interesting fact about memory is that it is easier to learn (= to understand and remember) new abstract concepts such as new mathematics when things, including some steps or processes, are given a name. Another example is the verb tenses in English. If you first learn the names of the 12 verb tenses, even in your own language, then it is easier to learn more about these verb tenses.
the imagination (uncountable noun) = the power of imagination
to imagine (to "see" something in your mind, not using the eyes; = to visualize)
imaginary (= not real but believed to be real in some cases)
to visualize (when you cannot actually see something with your eyes)
abstract (= not concrete)
Uses of the Imagination
when understanding abstract ideas or concepts (= "when understanding" since all ideas and concepts are abstract; i.e., all ideas and concepts are in the mind)
thinking of possibilities
predicting future possibilities
goal-setting (and visualizing achieving the goal)
creativity (uncountable noun; an ability)
when creating art (especially when the art is a form of self-expression, or representing an idea, not simply copying)
when appreciating art (imagining the meaning, ideas or feelings of the artist)
when reading a novel or listening to a story (= visualizing the people, the scenery, the actions etc.)
when trying to follow or understand an explanation
when listening to the radio (visualizing what is being talked about)
when speaking to someone on the telephone (visualizing the face of the other person)
story-telling (story creation)
a myth (= an imaginary or untrue explanation or belief)
when empathizing with another person; when feeling empathy (= imagining oneself in the other person's situation; imagining oneself feeling what the other person is feeling)
when showing kindness (imagining what another living creature needs or wants; similar to empathizing)
when teaching or explaining (imagining the steps to understanding that the student or the other person needs to experience)
when communicating (imagining how the other person is understanding you)