February 17

5 Advanced Phrasal Verbs to Talk About Money and Shopping in C1 Speaking


Hello, this is Kristian from Cambridge Advanced Speaking, how are you doing today? I hope all is well and that you’re completely focused, without any distraction.

If you didn’t know, I run the website Get Ready For Success, and there you can find the audio files, videoclips and lesson notes for all the podcast episodes.

I create and share these learning materials, because I want to help you speak better English and get a high mark in your C1 Speaking Exam.

In today’s episode I’m going to share 5 phrasal verbs you can use to talk about money and shopping. But before I start, I’d like to thank all of you who shared their Top-5 topics with me. It really helps me to create the best C1 speaking course possible for you.

If you haven’t shared your Top-5 yet, then there’s still time to send me an email or leave a comment on the blog. You can find the list of possible topics in the lesson notes of the previous episode (11).  Thanks a lot, it really helps!

All right, now let’s get this episode started.

Listener’s Question

Okay, so originally I’d planned a different episode altogether. I mean to say, I wanted to to publish an episode about the topic of health. But yesterday I read a question from a listener on my YouTube channel, and now I feel the urge to answer this particular question right here, right now.

So, let’s do that.

Firstly, I want to thank listener NC (name on YouTube) for your question. It’s a great question and one that deserves an answer. So thank a lot, NC.

All right, so here’s the comment:

Dear Christian, thank you very much for sharing such valuable content.
I have a question, in your examples in this video and in others I can understand almost everything, the examples sound smart, but you don’t use really advanced vocabulary, like “extol virtues”, “vehemently disagree” or “fork out”, as some other CAE teachers used in their videos. Are these advanced vocabulary words necessary to pass the exam, in your opinion?

Now, here’s my answer:

I think you should use a mix of simple and more complex language in your exam. More importantly, you should be clear and concise. At the end of the day you want to be understood. Or to use an advanced word, you want to sound intelligible, which means being able to be understood.

But, hold on, wait a moment, is intelligible an advanced word? What is “really advanced vocabulary”?

Between you and me, to tell you the truth, I’m not sure… I don’t think there’s an official list of advanced C1 vocabulary or anything of the kind. There are books with upper-intermediate and advanced vocabulary, but there’s no clear distinction between B2 language, C1 language and C2 language.  

That said, it’s quite interesting to have a look at the specific “really advanced vocabulary” in the comment on YouTube.

First, let’s look at extol virtues.

Extol = praise highly or enthusiastically. For example:

He often extols the virtues of his students.

Personally, I’ve never, ever used this verb and I’m not going to use it anytime soon. According to the Cambridge Dictionary it is formal, and the example sentences don’t sound like natural spoken English to me.

I suppose I’d use highly praise, which is a simple yet effective collocation you can use in everyday conversation. Or maybe the idiom sing the praises of something or someone

This may sound like we’re singing our own praises here, but I honestly think most people find our music irresistible.

Wow, some lovely language there.  

Okay, let’s look at the next example.

That is the collocation vehemently disagree = you disagree in a forceful, passionate, or intense manner; with great feeling.

I vehemently disagree with you

Frankly speaking, I wouldn’t use I vehemently disagree with you in the C1 exam.

I would use something more indirect, something less intense, like Well, I see your point, but I beg to differ or I’m afraid I can’t agree with you, or I’m sorry, but I think I have to disagree.

This is the kind of polite, indirect language I hear all the time. In schools, at the workplace, on podcasts, in talkshows and so on.

Of course, you could say that you vehemently disagree in your exam, but then don’t forget to smile to the other exam candidate when you’re getting intense, okay? There’s no need to create unnecessary tension in an already tense situation.

All right, the last example of “really advanced vocabulary”  is the phrasal verb fork out, which means “to pay a large amount of money, especially unwillingly”.

I had to fork out a large amount of money for my car when I had it serviced.

And yes, I’d definitely use fork out in the exam, if the opportunity arises. In fact, I believe I’ve already used it in one of the previous podcast episodes. 

BTW, is fork out “really advanced vocabulary”? I don’t know… As previously mentioned, I have no idea what “really advanced vocabulary” is. For my part, I believe it’s more important to show clarity and conciseness in your speaking exam.

Clarity means to speak clearly with precise words so the examiner knows exactly what you mean. Conciseness means using the least amount of words to get your message across. A phrasal verb like fork out can help you achieve just that.

Speaking of phrasal verbs, they are an essential building block of natural spoken English. They are what I call key vocabulary.

And therefore I’m going to share in the rest of this episode 5 phrasal verbs with you. Five expressions that you can use to talk about money and shopping.

And to be clear, I found these phrasal verbs in the book Phrasal Verbs in Use Advanced, so I guess I’m now going to share advanced language with you 🙂

5 Phrasal Verbs

Let’s imagine that you have to talk about the disadvantages of online shopping in the exam.

What are the disadvantages of online shopping?

In this case you could use the following 5 phrasal verbs:

Well, I guess online shopping makes it more difficult for people to cope with money. I mean, they run through their money when shopping online, because nowadays, you know, the buying process, to buy stuff on the internet, on most websites is frictionless. I mean, it’s really dead easy to make an online payment with online banking, credit cards and software like Paypal, right?

Consequently, more and more people get into debt. Suddenly, they realise that all the money is gone, and sometimes even the money they put aside, and then, then they have to work off their debt. So in my view, this is a the most serious drawback of online shopping: people getting into debt.

Cope with: deal effectively with something difficult.

Run though: spend a lot very quickly

Get into debt: you owe money

Put aside money: to save money

Work off debt: reduce the size of a debt by earning money to pay for it.

Closing Notes

That’s it. There you are. Five phrasal verbs you can use to talk about the disadvantages of online shopping. All natural spoken English.

I hope you enjoyed this episode! If you did, please share it with someone who could benefit from it.

If you would like to suggest topics for future episodes, leave me a comment on my blog or on YouTube.

All right, that’s all from me. Take care of yourself, and each other.

Speak soon, my friends.


About the Author

As a Dutch proficient speaker of English, Kristian not only holds a grade A Cambridge C2 certificate but is also CELTA qualified. His five years of experience as a teacher and ESL exam coach, specialising in Cambridge English C1, C2, and IELTS, has equipped him with a unique blend of skills to guide and support your English learning journey.

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