In part two of the IELTS Speaking test, you might get a neighborhood cue card. The cue card could simply ask you to describe your neighborhood and give you a few ideas on what to say.
Let’s look at how to talk about your neighborhood using lots of interesting vocabulary for a good band-seven score. And below, you can read three example answers to this question (go straight to the answers here).
Neighborhood vs Neighbor
A common mistake is to mix up ‘neighborhood’ with ‘neighbor.’ Just be careful that you read the question carefully and don’t make this mistake.
As I’m sure you know, your neighborhood is the area where you live. A neighbor is someone who lives next to or close to your home.
What You Can Talk About
When describing the area where you live, you could talk about:
The homes close to yours or in your apartment building
- Places you like to visit
- Parks, gardens, and natural areas
- Fun things to do there
- What you like most about it
- Anything you don’t like about it
- How long you’ve been living there
- Why you chose to live there
- Memories growing up there
- The people who live there (friends, family, strangers…)
- How near or far it is from your work
- Public transportation
- If it’s rural, urban, peaceful suburbs, or city center
- Plans you have to move
- Anything else that comes to mind
Focus on Interesting Vocabulary
The best way to get a band-seven score in part two is to focus on two things:
- What you can say
- Interesting vocabulary
If you can use some interesting, unusual vocabulary and idioms, the examiner will be happy.
One excellent way to use good vocabulary is to focus on using a word group.
If your neighborhood is very green, for example, with lots of trees and nature, then you can use a ‘natural place’ word group to describe it.
This word group might include really great, natural words like, ‘verdant, leafy, lush greenery, shrubbery, flora and fauna, wake up to the sound of birdsong, far from the hustle and bustle of the city center,’ and more.
You can use 10 or 15 of these words and phrases to make your answer sound natural and advanced.
The best thing about word groups is that you can use one word group to answer all different kinds of part two questions!
For example, you could use this ‘natural place’ word group to describe:
- A place you like to go
- A vacation you took
- Somewhere you visited as a child
- Your city
- A place you want to visit one day
- Your dream home
- Many other ‘place’ questions
See more about using word groups here. And the example answers below also show you how to use word groups.
Tell a Story or Two
Stories are a fantastic way to make your part-two answer more interesting.
If you can think of a quick story to tell about your neighborhood, then you’ll find it easier to keep talking for two minutes. And you’ll also show off your past tenses.
For this question, you might tell a quick story about:
- When you moved into your neighborhood
- Why you decided to live there
- Something fun, interesting, relaxing, strange, you did there
- Something you discovered in your neighborhood (an interesting shop, park, art gallery, friend…)
- A place you visited recently in your neighborhood
- Any other experience related to the area you live
Now let’s look at three good example answers to this question. Each answer uses one or two word groups, and also tells one or two stories. See if you can borrow some ideas for your own answer.
Neighborhood Cue Card 1
Describe your neighborhood.
You should say:
- Where you live
- How long you’ve lived there
- What’s special about your area
And say why you like or dislike your neighborhood.
I live in a very pretty, green suburb on the outskirts of a Belgian city. The neighborhood is a lush and leafy area, surrounded by flourishing verdant greenery and an abundance of natural beauty. I think that’s what I love most about my area: how green and natural it is.
There are emerald-green grassy parks and woodland areas. It’s such a peaceful and idyllic natural spot. Each morning I wake up to the sound of birdsong, and sometimes I can even hear little animals scurrying around in the undergrowth outside in the garden.
As a child, I used to explore the natural areas around my neighborhood with my brothers, and I have fond memories of those days. We had lots of adventures in the parks and woods close to my home, playing all kinds of fun games.
I don’t want to move away from my neighborhood because it’s great to live in such bucolic and peaceful surroundings. It’s a real escape from the busy and bustling city center where I work.
When I visit the parks beside my home, I can enjoy the fragrance of flowers and nature in the air, especially in the spring when the flowers are blooming. The lush and luxuriant greenery of the foliage and shrubbery creates a picturesque scenery that is simply breathtaking. I know I’m very lucky to live in such a lovely area. To be honest, I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
Word Group Used: Natural Place
Here, we focused on describing all the natural beauty in the neighborhood. This allowed us to use lots of great words and phrases from the ‘natural place’ word group.
By the way, this is a really big word group, but you don’t need to learn all the words! Just choose 15 or 20 that you like: that’s enough for a great part two answer.
- Lush, luxuriant greenery
- Wooded area
- Fields of wildflowers
- Mountainous terrain
- Flora and fauna
- Natural surroundings
- An abundance of natural beauty
- Natural landscape
- Close to nature
- Closer to the elements
- Plenty of greenery
- Wake up to the sound of birdsong
- The chirping and cheeping of birdsong
- Little animals scurrying around in the undergrowth
- Flowers blooming in spring
- Fragrance of flowers and nature in the air
- Escape into nature
- Close to the great outdoors
- Far from the busy, bustling city center
- The blissful peace and quiet of nature
- Majestic landscape
- Picturesque scenery
- Idyllic natural spot
- Sweeping vistas
- Spectacular views
- Breathtaking scenery
Learn more about using word groups here.
Neighbourhood Cue Card 2
Describe your neighbourhood.
You should say:
- What you can do there
- How busy it is
- What you like about it
And say why you live in your neighborhood.
I live in the heart of Metro Manila, in a busy urban neighborhood that’s always packed with people. It’s a really fast-paced, bustling, lively area that is always abuzz with activity. The streets are always congested with cars, motorcycles, and people, and the noise levels can be quite overwhelming at times. Sometimes I love all the energy but sometimes, to be honest, it’s a bit too much for me.
Despite its hectic pace, there is a positive energy in this neighborhood that is palpable. The packed streets give the area a dynamic and vibrant feel. It is a beehive of activity, with people coming and going, always on the move. There is a sense of excitement in the air, as if the city is pulsing with life. Because I’m quite young and just starting my career, I think it’s a perfect place to live, so I can soak up that excitement and energy.
But like I said, living in such a congested and noisy area can also be overwhelming. The streets can be chaotic at times, with cars honking and people shouting. The buildings are packed so closely together that it can feel like you are living in a concrete jungle, all pushed together like a tin of sardines. The noise levels can be so high that it can be difficult to find peace and quiet, even in my own home!
Overall, I’d say find that I enjoy the fast-paced, dynamic energy of my neighborhood. There’s always something new to discover, like street vendors selling delicious food and local shops selling all kinds of interesting things. I’ll probably keep living here for many more years.
Word Group Used: Busy Urban Place
Here, we used the ‘busy urban place’ word group. It’s a great word group for describing busy towns and cities, with lots of interesting vocabulary and idioms:
- Hustle and bustle
- Densely populated
- Pulsing with life
- Coming and going
- Always on the move
- A beehive of activity
- A bustling metropolis
- A concrete jungle
- Packed like a tin of sardines
- A hive of industry
- A melting pot
- A rat race
- A sea of people
- A 24/7 city
- A never-sleeping town
- A city that never stops moving
Neighborhood Cue Card 3
Describe your neighborhood.
You should say:
- What you can see in your neighborhood
- What’s missing from it
- When you started living there
And say why you chose to live there.
I live in the old historical area of Krakow in Poland and I couldn’t be happier with my decision to move here. My apartment is close to the central square, and so I’d say the whole historical city center is my neighborhood.
Five years ago, I was looking for a change and wanted to live in a larger city with more culture and things to do. That’s when I decided to move to Krakow with its lovely old buildings, historical landmarks, and rich sense of history that dates back many centuries.
And it’s so wonderful to live there. Every day when I walk to work, I am surrounded by the city’s cultural legacy. The historic quarter is full of antiquated buildings with intricate architecture, cobblestone streets, and lovely old buildings. The cathedral, medieval castle, and statues are a testament to Krakow’s ancestry and its place in history.
Even today after five years, as I walk through the city, I am struck by its beauty and I get this kind of magical sense that I’ve traveled back in time. There are lots of monuments commemorating famous historical figures and places of historical interest. I love the way the city has preserved its history and cultural heritage, and how it has become a destination for tourists from all over Europe. And I get to live there so I feel very lucky.
Word Group Used: Old Architecture Place
Here, we’ve focused on the rich history and old architecture of this neighborhood. We used lots of words and idioms from the ‘old architecture place’ word group:
- Lovely old buildings
- The historic quarter of the city
- Paved streets
- Cobblestone streets
- Medieval Castle
- Famous historical figures
- Historical landmarks
- Places of historical interest
- The city’s cultural legacy
- A long history going back centuries
- Dating back many centuries
- A rich sense of history
- You feel like you’ve traveled back in time
- UNESCO World Heritage List
- Gothic / Baroque / Renaissance / Victorian style of architecture
Now It’s Your Turn
Answer this question yourself with a recorder and a time limit.
It’s always best to practice answering questions just like in the test.
So prepare a word group or two. Then turn on the voice recorder on your phone, and set the timer to 60 seconds.
Ask yourself aloud to describe your neighborhood.
For 60 seconds, write down notes about what you can say and interesting vocabulary you can use.
When 60 seconds is finished, start speaking!
Try to keep talking for two whole minutes if you can.
Afterward, listen to the recording and note down any mistakes you made. You can even write down everything you said if you really want to see the mistakes clearly.
Keep repeating this whole process. It’s a great way to get ready for a band-seven score on your IELTS Speaking test.