Part one of the IELTS Speaking test sometimes has some quite unusual questions. One example is, “How often do you smile?”
Let’s look at how to answer this question quickly and well, with 10 good example answers (go straight to the answers here).
How You Can Answer
The easiest way to answer this question is to say how often you smile, and then you can say:
- What makes you smile
- When you smile more
- What makes you feel happy
- Who makes you smile
- If you’ve always been a smiley person, or not
- If you smile more now than in the past
- If you used to smile more in the past
- Anything else that comes to mind
Some ‘Smiling’ Words
As well as smile and laugh, you can use words like grin, crack a smile, beaming, chuckle, giggle, and chortle (see the examples below).
Phrases For ‘How Often’ Questions
When asked how often you do something, you can use some interesting phrases in your answer, such as:
- All the time
- Every single moment
- You’ll rarely catch me without a smile on my face
- I’ve always been a smiley person
- Quite a lot
- Pretty often
- Most days
- Every now and then
- Once in a while
- Hardly ever
- I’m not in the habit of smiling much
- I’m not a very smiley person, to be honest
Use the Three-Step YES Method
Your part-one answers should be quite short, fluent, and natural.
Imagine you’re having a normal conversation. Don’t speak for more than 10 or 20 seconds in part one.
You can use the three-step YES Method to give a good-length answer. Just say:
- Your answer (say how often you smile)
- Explain your answer, or add a few more details
- Stop talking (let the examiner know you’re ready for the next question)
Speak Quickly, Without Hesitation
Remember that part one is only to warm you up.
So you don’t need to think of very clever vocabulary in part one.
Just answer as quickly as you can, without hesitation.
Use these 10 examples to find ideas for your own answer to this question about smiling.
1. I suppose I smile quite often. I think I’m a pretty happy person and I like to joke around with my friends. We’re always smiling and laughing about something.
2. I’m always smiling because I like to feel happy and grinning makes me feel happy. I think everyone should try to smile a little more.
3. To be honest, I’m not a very smiley person. You won’t often see me smiling, but that doesn’t mean I’m not happy inside. I just don’t smile much.
4. Well, I have good friends who always have a big beaming smile on their faces, so I’m probably the same. I think I smile all the time.
5. I’m not in the habit of smiling much. But whenever I complete a task well at work, I feel a deep sense of satisfaction, and then I smile.
6. I smile a lot because I’m a mother. My child always makes me smile. He’s so cute and funny, giggling about something or other. It really warms my heart to see him happy.
7. Well, I used to smile a lot when I was a child. But I think these days I smile a little less because life is stressful and I have to focus on work and earning money all the time.
8. I’d say I smile pretty often. I’m quite a cheerful person and I enjoy having a chuckle with my friends and colleagues.
9. That’s an interesting question. I think I smile quite a lot nowadays. I’ve become much happier since I found a wonderful new boyfriend last year. He makes me smile and laugh all the time.
10. I haven’t smiled since 1998. I remember the occasion well. My coworker told a very funny joke and I cracked a small smile for about five seconds. That’s the only time I’ve ever smiled.
Now It’s Your Turn
Set up the recorder on your phone and ask yourself, “How often do you smile?”
Try to answer as quickly and fluently as possible, without hesitation.
When you’ve finished, listen to your answer and try to improve upon it.
This is a terrific way to improve your IELTS Speaking part-one answers.