You might be given a neighbor cue card in part two of your IELTS Speaking test. The cue card could ask you to describe your neighbor or describe one of your neighbors.
Let’s think about how to answer this question well for a band-seven score. Below, you can also read three good example answers (go straight to the answers here).
What You Can Talk About
Think of any neighbor you can talk about easily. Anyone who lives in the same area as you will be fine. Then you can say:
- How well you know that person
- What their personality is like
- What you like about them
- What you don’t like about them
- What you do together
- What you’ve done together in the past
- What they do for work or fun (if you know)
- How you first met them
- A story you can think of about them
- Anything else that comes to mind
What If You Don’t Know Your Neighbors?
It’s quite common not to know your neighbors, especially if you live in a big city.
That’s not a problem. Just explain that you don’t know any of your neighbors.
But you still need to talk about someone, so you could talk about:
- A neighbor you had in the past
- A neighbor you had when you were a child
- What you imagine your neighbor might be like
- Someone you’d like to have as a neighbor (a friend or coworker perhaps)
- What the perfect neighbor would be like for you
- Anyone else you can think of
Focus on Things To Say
In part two, you have 60 seconds to prepare some notes for your answer.
It’s important that you keep speaking for one or two minutes without stopping.
So when you’re preparing your answer, note down lots of things you can talk about when describing that person.
Tell a Story
A great way to keep talking is to tell a story or even tell two stories.
This also shows the examiner that you can easily use the past tense.
For this question, you could tell a quick story about:
- How you met your neighbor
- Something you did with your neighbor
- Something strange/funny/interesting/unusual/annoying your neighbor did
- Where you neighbor lived before
- Any other memory relating to your neighbor
Focus on Vocabulary
Also, when preparing your answer, focus on vocabulary. Think of lots of interesting words you can use. Even try to think of a few idioms.
An excellent way to do this is with word groups.
Word groups are lists of words and idioms you have prepared before that describes one aspect of a person.
For example, you could prepare a ‘helpful person’ word group or a ‘cheerful person’ word group.
Your ‘helpful person’ word group could include great words and phrases like, ‘considerate, supportive, reliable, always ready to lend a hand, someone I can count on…’ and more.
Then you can use this same word group to describe different people, depending on your part two question.
See more about using word groups here. And you can also see some word groups being used in the example answers below.
Let’s look at some natural answers to this question about neighbors. See if you can borrow some ideas for your own answer.
Neighbor Cue Card 1
Describe one of your neighbors.
You should say:
- What their name is
- How well you know them
- Something you’ve done together
And say why you like or dislike this person.
I’m going to talk about my neighbor John. You know, to my mind, John is a man who truly embodies the saying, “A friend in need is a friend indeed.” I’ve known him for many years now and he’s always been there for me whenever I needed a helping hand. He’s a very helpful and considerate person, who is always ready to lend a hand in any way he can. He’s really the type of person who you can always count on.
Whether I need help with a home repair project or just someone to talk to, John is super supportive and always eager to help out. If there’s some sort of neighborhood activity going on, he is always ready to pitch in. It makes him really popular in the community. He’s such a good guy.
John’s always been known for his handyman skills. A few years ago he offered to help me build a new garden shed. I had been wanting to build one for some time but didn’t have the skills or know-how to do it on my own. John stepped in and offered to help! We worked together for several weekends, with John providing a lot of guidance throughout the process. And the shed turned out very nicely. I still use it to this day.
Of course, I help him out too when I can. It’s great to have a neighbor like John: someone who’s handy in a pinch and won’t let you down. I couldn’t ask for a better neighbor.
Word Group Used: Helpful Person
Here, we used lots of words and idioms from the ‘helpful person’ word group. This is it:
- Eager to help out
- Always ready to lend a hand
- Always ready to pitch in
- Someone I can count on
- Handy in a pinch
- Always has my back
- Has my best interests at heart
- Won’t let you down
- A shoulder to cry on
- A friend in need is a friend indeed
- Love him like a brother
- As thick as thieves
- Stick together through thick and thin
- Know who your real friends are
- Not a fair-weather friend
Learn more about how to use word groups to improve your IELTS vocabulary for speaking here.
Neighbour Cue Card 2
Describe one of your neighbours.
You should say:
- Who they are
- Where they live
- How you met them
And say why you do or don’t get along.
Unfortunately, I don’t know any of my neighbors at the moment but several years ago, I lived in London and I came to know one of my neighbors quite well. So I’m going to talk about her.
I remember that she was remarkably hard-working and disciplined. I think she ran some kind of online marketing business and whenever I saw her, she seemed to be busy and overworked. You know, I reckon she was the most self-controlled and non-indulgent person I’ve ever met. She just seemed to never stop working.
It was really quite inspiring actually. Her tireless efforts, tenacity, and methodical approach toward her work really impressed me. She was very driven and committed, and determined to succeed in her business. It seemed to me that she put blood, sweat, and tears into her work, day in and day out. And at that time, I was a pretty lazy student so it made me feel a little guilty.
I remember one time when she told me she worked all night for a week, pulling an all-nighter every night, and somehow she still managed to keep up with her work the next day. And what impressed me was that she always seemed quite happy, even though she was so unbelievably busy.
She might have been a bit of a workaholic, I suppose, always knuckling down to get things done, often burning the midnight oil, and going the extra mile to meet a client order. I really hope she’s rich and successful now. She really deserves it.
Word Group Used: Disciplined Person
Here, we focused on how diligent and hard-working the neighbor was, so we used lots of words from the ‘disciplined person’ word group. This is a great word group that you could use in any person-related question in part two of the test. Here it is:
- Has great enthusiasm for work
- Knuckles down to get things done
- Burns the midnight oil
- Burns the candle at both ends
- Goes the extra mile
- Pull an all-nighter
- Blood, sweat, and tears
- No pain, no gain
- Does the work that needs to be done
- Works day in, day out to achieve her goals
- Sees things through
Neighbor Cue Card 3
Describe your neighbor.
You should say:
- What their name is
- How often you see them
- What their personality is like
And say why you like having them as a neighbor.
I’m going to talk about my neighbor who lives in the house right beside mine. I don’t know him very well but we often see each other around and exchange a few words of greeting.
What I like about him is how cheerful he always seems to be. He has a good-natured personality and always seems upbeat and in high spirits. You know, I think he’s one of the most chipper people I know, and his positive attitude is pretty contagious. He has a big beaming smile and a carefree, untroubled demeanor that’s always nice to see.
I actually saw him this morning when I was leaving the house, and as usual, he was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. We chatted briefly, and he wished me good luck in my IELTS test.
It’s nice to have such a convivial person as a neighbor, who always seems to be in a good-humored mood. I know some people with bad, grumpy, or negative neighbors, and I think I just got really lucky with my one.
I suppose it would be nice to get to know him more since he seems to be such a happy-go-lucky person. Everyone likes positive, optimistic people. Maybe I should invite him over for a barbecue or something like that. I’ll consider doing some time soon.
Word Group Used: Cheerful Person
If you want to talk about a cheerful, happy person in part two, then you can use the ‘cheerful person’ word group, like we did here. Here it is:
- In a good mood
- Positive attitude
- Carefree and untroubled
- Cheery and chirpy
- Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed
- Buoyant mood/personality
- Bubbling with laughter
- Infectious good mood
- As happy as Larry
- Always in high spirits
- As happy as a clam
- Nothing gets her down for long
- Beaming smile
- Grinning from ear to ear
Now It’s Your Turn
Give this question a go yourself.
First, think of a word group you’d like to practice using. Take time to memorize many words from that word group.
Then turn on your voice recorder and read one of the cue cards above. Ask yourself to describe your neighbor or describe one of your neighbors.
Prepare for 60 seconds, then try to keep speaking for two whole minutes.
Keep on repeating this process. Listen to your answers and see if you can improve a little each time.
This method will prepare you well for part two of the IELTS Speaking test.