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Describe a new public building
IELTS Speaking Part 2: Describe a new public building that you would like to visit. This topic was from the previous season, however, it is still being used this season! Though it’s a tricky topic, there are many things we could talk about.

About this topic: A new public building you would like to visit.

Well, where to begin with this one… I’d probably hazard a guess by saying this is, by far the most difficult Part 2 “Places” type topic. That being said, don’t worry about it because I’m here to help.

First, let’s look at some possible “public buildings” you could talk about.

Public buildings are any building that is open to the public, free of charge, typically funded by a local community or national government. 

Such as:
Schools
Libraries
Museums
Swimming pools
Gymnasiums
Public parks (debatable, but valid)
Post offices
Courthouses

There probably aren’t so many “new” ones that will come to mind immediately, so that’s why it’s important we prepare for topics like this. You don’t want to be wasting time thinking of what you will talk about during the 1-minute preparation time.

The preparation time should be used entirely to think about and write down language, content and interesting structures.

So, take your time to pick a good example to use, preferably one that can be transferred to other “Places” type topics, such as a colourful place or a school you went to.

Note for this topic:

You can always talk about these “extra ideas” for “Places” type topics.

  1. Location
  2. Quality
  3. Frequency
  4. Recommend
  5. Return

When you talk about “Location” – try to estimate the distance from your home or workplace. Mention if the place is in a convenient location, or if it’s a long journey away.

When talking about “Quality” – there are so many things we can mention. It could be the quality of the furniture, building, services, goods, facilities, atmosphere, etc.

“Frequency” – how often you go there, or how often you went there. So, I always try to mention frequency when talking about either a Place or a Thing/Object/Person and use a good expression of frequency or adverb of frequency.

You might be wondering what I mean by “Recommend”. Well, would you recommend it to a friend? And why. Do you think they would like it? If you’re both like-minded people, more often than not they would like it too, right?

“Return” – would you go back there? Would you like to go back there? Have you been back there since? Would you like to go back there with someone else? Who would you like to go back with?

Suggested language, definitions and examples of use:

Phrasal verbs / Informals: (synonymous with “visit“)

Visit -> Drop by, stop by, go and see, pay a visit, have a gander, pop in, go to see, spend time at, etc

“I’d like to drop by sometime in the near future”

“I might pay a visit to the new swimming pool next week”

“I’m gonna’ pop in next Wednesday”

“Let’s go to see the new Library together!”

“I’d love to have a gander at the new museum that recently opened in town”

“We should spend time at the new gym”

Useful language: for “location”

Remember, always try to estimate a distance, so try not to say an exact distance. I will explain why later on.
(or length of a journey)

Just a stone’s throw away from….” – very close by (you could throw a stone the same distance, often used as an “exaggeration”)

Right next door to…” – very close by (again, often used as an “exaggeration” of how close by somewhere is)

Heart of the city” – in the middle or central location of a city

Central location” – similar to “the heart of the city” (collocation)

Out of the way” – far away (we’ll often say this when you need to travel a moderate distance to the place)

Collocations: Walking distance, moderate distance, prime location, convenient location, inconvenient location,

(walking)
Within walking distance (close by)
A brisk walk (further away)
Half a marathon (far away)

(bus/public transport)
One or two stops away (close by)
Half the route/line (further away)
The end of the line/route (far away)

(driving)
A short drive away (close by)
Few blocks away (further)
A mini road trip (far away)

Useful language: for “quality”

This could be for:

The quality of services, facilities, maintenance, decorations, atmosphere, furniture, etc

(Maintenance) Well-kept / Looked after / As good as new / Not a day old / Does/doesn’t look its age / Falling apart (antonym, poorly maintained :P)

(Services/Facilities) The best of its kind / Top of its league / Could be better / Room for improvement / Better than expected / Satisfactory / Puts the competition to shame / Outstanding, Exceptional, Most Excellent (Movie quote: Bill & Ted’s excellent adventure :P) / Well-known for

(Decorations, Atmosphere, Furniture) Modern / Traditional / Cozy / Clean / Business-like / Intimate / Warm / Cold / Sterile 

Example answer:

Well, to be perfectly honest with you… I’m finding it pretty tough to come up with a new public building that I’d like to pay a visit to someday, off the top of my head there aren’t so many I could talk about, right? However, if I had to talk about one today, it would have to be the new swimming pool here in Hanoi.

(topic Cue card)

Anyway, I don’t know much about it because it’s still under construction, but I do know that it’s gonna’ be great once it’s ready. I’d probably have a gander with a few mates as soon as it opens, or drop by on my own to have a quick dip in the pool. I reckon it’s such a great idea to build a new public swimming pool because the old one is falling apart (maintenance). I’ve been keen on picking up swimming as a hobby/exercise for a while now, it’d definitely help me lose a few extra pounds, you know?

(location)

The pool is about 12km away from my house, I guess (apply “style of speechhacks: stretch “about” -> “abouuut”, and show the examiner you are conscious about your intonation when saying “I guess”, up in pitch).
It’s a bit out of the way for me to pop in regularly, but it’s in a central location right in the heart of the city.

(quality)

From what I’ve heard, the pool is the best of its kind here in Hanoi. It’ll put the competition to shame, that being said, I’ve only seen pictures (“I think they’re called blueprints, right?” – wrong, but it shows you’re trying) so far. The building already looks outstanding and extremely modern in design.

(frequency, recommend)

I’m gonna’ try my best to go at least once or twice a month, but I know I won’t go as much as I’d like to. (frequency)
If it’s any good, then I’ll tell all my mates to stop by and check it out. (recommend)

So yeah, anyway. Thanks for listening, that’s a new public building I’d like to visit.

Post conclusion:

Remember, this example answer is NOT a real answer. It would be a challenge for any native speaker to provide such rich language content in part 2, however, it is a great example of the suggested language above in use.

All of the above vocabularies are “Transferable” to other “Places” type topics.

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