Talking about likes & dislikes in IELTS
In Part One of the IELTS speaking test, it is common to be asked questions about what you like or don’t like, and you may have to talk about your preferences. Here are some possible questions you may be asked:
- Do you enjoy travelling?
- Do you like playing computer games?
- What hobbies do you enjoy doing?
- What’s your favourite food?
- What do you do to relax?
- Is there anything you dislike about mobile phones?
- Is there any food you don’t like eating?
- Do you prefer to go out with friends or spend time at home?
- Would you rather a home cooked meal or a meal in a restaurant?
- Is it better to spend time in a hot or cold place?
It is important (as with any question in the IELTS test) that you give a full, extended answer to the question using a range of vocabulary, so here is some vocabulary that you can use when talking about likes, dislikes and preferences.
- I’m fond of (X)
- I’m into (X)
- I’m keen on (X)
- I adore (X)
- (X) is stunning
- (X) is excellent
- I’m not keen on (X)
- I detest (X)
- I can’t bear (X)
- I loathe (X)
- I can’t stand (X)
- I hate (X)
- (X) is better
- I like (X) more
- I’d rather (X)
- (X) is far superior
- I’d sooner (X)
Tip 1: Concession words
When expressing preferences it is common to use concession words. A concession word allows the speaker or writer to express another point of view that is opposite to their first point. For example:
Do you prefer to study with other people or in a private class?
I much prefer a group class. Admittedly, you do get more personal attention in a one to one class, but you can also learn from other students when you study together.
Do you enjoy trying new foods?
Yes, I’m keen on experiencing anything new and I love going to restaurants where you can try a little of lots of different things. Having said that, though, I do have some favourite meals that I really enjoy no matter how many times I’ve had them.
Tip 2: Change of focus with +ing or to…
You can use like, love, hate and prefer with an –ing form or with a to-infinitive. However, there is a slight difference in meaning.
I like to study every day – this is something that is a habit for the speaker, something they think is a good idea
I like studying in the morning – this is something that the speaker actively enjoys studying.