Love, relationships and speaking exams!


Love is in the air. This week we’re celebrating Valentine’s Day so here are some useful expressions and vocabulary for talking about love and relationships. Also, read on for some tips for using this vocabulary confidently in speaking exams.


To fancy someone:  to feel attracted to someone.

To get to know someone:  to spend time with someone and gradually learn more about them.

To get on well with someone: to have a good relationship with someone.

A fling:  a short romantic relationship, not serious.

To fall for someone:  to be attracted to someone and start to love that person.

Love at first sight:   immediate love, the first time you see or meet someone.

To go on a date:  A date is an appointment to meet someone, especially someone you are having a romantic relationship with.

To be plain sailing: when a situation is easy and without problems

To hit it off: If people hit it off, they like each other and become friendly immediately.

Have lot in common: If two people have something in common, they are interested in and like the same things.

To have ups and downs: If you have ups and downs, it means you experience good and bad things.

To kiss and make up: to become friendly again after a fight or disagreement.

To work at something: to put effort into something e.g. a relationship

To break up with someone: to finish a romantic relationship

To pop the question: to ask someone to marry you

To tie the knot: to get married

screen (2).jpg

A love story

I met John at a party in a friend’s house when we were in university.  I fancied him straight away, he was very attractive. We started talking and hit it off immediately. We both love cooking and reading so we had a lot in common. We went on a few dates and the more I got to know him, the more I liked him. It wasn’t love at first sight but after a few months I knew it was more than just a fling.

It hasn’t always been plain sailing. We’ve had our ups and downs and we broke up four years ago after a really big argument. But we eventually kissed and made up and worked hard at our relationship to make things better. John surprised me on New Year’s Eve when he popped the question. Of course I said yes immediately so now we’re busy planning a wedding and are going to tie the knot later this year.

screen (1).jpg

What’s next?  Now you understand the expressions, it’s time to start using them.

  1. You are more likely to remember the language if you use it personally. So think about a relationship you are confident talking about. A lot of this vocabulary is for talking about romantic relationships but you can also use some of it to talk about friendships and family relationships.
  2. Choose 3 or 4 of the expressions that you like and that you want to start using. Be realistic. If you try to use too many expressions, you won’t remember all of them.
  3. Make sure you can change the expressions when you are talking about different times. For example: We are going on a date next Saturday so we will get to know each other better.

We went on a date last Saturday so we’re getting to know each other better.

  1. What do you need to do to make the expression negative? For Example: We really don’t get on well with each other.   We have nothing in common.
  2. Write a brief description of the relationship using the expressions you chose. Check your writing for any errors. Writing the description down is an important step in learning as it increases your chances or remembering and using the vocabulary.
  3. Practice describing the relationship you chose using the expressions. I got to know my best friend in school. We didn’t hit it off straight away but we have lots in common and we get on so well together.
  4. When you are comfortable using the expressions, try using them to talk about other relationships you have.
  5. Finally – make some questions using the expressions. This will help you when you are having conversations with other people about relationships.

Speaking Exam preparation:

‘Relationships’ is a topic that comes up very often in exams.  We talk about our friends, family, colleagues, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands and wives all the time so it’s a topic that’s worth thinking about carefully if you are preparing to take an exam such as IELTS.

For example, in IELTS Speaking part 2, you could be asked to describe a person.

  • Describe a person you admire
  • Describe someone who is important to you
  • Describe a person who has influenced you
  • Describe an important family member
  • Describe an older person you spend a lot of time with
  • Describe a family member you know well
  • Describe a childhood friend that you haven’t seen for a long time

For each of these questions you can describe how you met, how you got to know the person, how you get on, if you have a lot in common, if you’ve had any ups and downs etc. For the first three questions you could describe your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife and use more of the relationship vocabulary.

Remember, it’s important that you use the vocabulary naturally! So it’s necessary to learn and practice using the expressions regularly. Make them part of the language you use.

Finally – keep improving. Once you are comfortable using the first 3 or 4 expressions you chose, go back and choose some more expressions to add to your speaking range.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s