May 8

English C1 Speaking: 5 Idioms and 1 Model Answer About Family and Friends

Learn 5 idioms about family and friends and listen to one model answer about this topic. 

Hello listeners, how are you doing? I hope you’re ready to learn some English with me. Here in Spain it’s stil hot, we’re all waiting for the swimming pools to be opened. That said, the air conditioning is working top-notch, so I’m sitting comfortable in my studio, ready to record this episode! Are you ready? Here we go!

Welcome to “Cambridge Advanced Speaking,” a podcast for learners of English, where we talk about C1 exam questions, while exploring some useful vocabulary along the way. My name is Kristian, and today, we’ll be diving into the role of extended family in raising children and examining the advantages and disadvantages of this approach. We’ll also be exploring five idioms related to family and friends. So, let’s get started!

5 Idioms

Our first idiom today is “two peas in a pod.” This phrase is used to describe two people who are very similar or share many common interests, often referring to siblings or close friends. For example, “Julia and Jack are like two peas in a pod; they both love music and playing football.”

Our second idiom is “chip off the old block.” This phrase is used to describe someone who closely resembles their parent, particularly in terms of behaviour, attitude, or abilities. For example, “Kristian is eager to get better at English, just like his mother; he’s a real chip off the old block.” (This is a true example) 

Our third idiom is “blood is thicker than water.” This saying suggests that family bonds are stronger and more important than friendships. Do you agree listener? Why or why not? Hey, that could be an exam question! Personally, I’m inclined to disagree. I think it’s essential to recognise that both family and friends play significant roles in an individual’s life, offering unique perspectives, experiences, and support systems.

The fourth idiom is “to bury the hatchet.” This phrase means to end a conflict or argument and make peace with someone, typically within the context of family or friendships. For example, after a disagreement, Peter and John decided to bury the hatchet and move forward as a family.

Our final idiom for today is “to go the extra mile.” This expression means to make an additional effort or put in extra work, often for the sake of one’s family or friends. For example, Laura went the extra mile by organising a dinner party for her mother.

C1 Questions

Now, let’s tackle our main discussion question:

What are the advantages and disadvantages of children being raised by extended family members? (such as grandparents or aunts and uncles?)

That’s an interesting question, because it looks to me as if this happens more and more these days. Well, I’d say that a key advantage is a stronger support system. For example, grandparents might take care of their grandchildren after school, allowing the parents to work full-time without worrying about childcare. And while doing that, they offer love and guidance to their grandchildren, providing a different perspective on all kinds of things and challenges, such as eating different food or solving a puzzle.

However, there are also disadvantages, such as potential conflicts between parenting styles or family members. One example of this is when grandparents, with more traditional views on discipline, disagree with the parents’ more progressive approach. This difference in parenting styles can lead to confusion for the child and tension between the family members involved. Although, now that I think of it, it could also be the other way round. It also happens that grandparents are less strict, for example with eating lots and lots of cookies!   

Okay then, that’s your model answer!

Closing Notes

So, as we’ve explored today, raising children with the involvement of extended family members can be both beneficial and challenging. It’s crucial to consider both sides of the questions in the exam. As always, listen carefully when the examiner asks you a question! 

Now there’s one more thing: this episode is just the start. 

This week all the activities in the C1 Speaking Club will be centred around the topic of family and friends. The 5-Day Challenge, the online Live Lessons and the Speaking Practice Rooms will all focus on this particular topic.

So if you want to speak fluently and with confidence about this topic in just one week, this is the perfect moment to join the C1 Speaking Club.

The regular membership fee is €97 per year, but now you can get a yearly membership for only €48.50. And if you don’t want to commit for one year, no problem! You can also become a member for just €9.99 per month.

So why not give it a try? The place to go to and become a member is, and there you click on the big yellow C1 Speaking Club button. I hope to see you on the inside!

Thank you for joining me on “Cambridge Advanced Speaking.” I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s discussion and learned some new idioms to use in your conversations about family and friends. Be sure to tune in next time for more insights and language learning tips. Until then, 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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