IELTS Cue Card Sample 88 - Talk about a gift that you gave to someone recently

IELTS Speaking Part 2: IELTS Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card.

Talk about a gift that you gave to someone recently.

You should say:

  • What was the gift?
  • Whom did you give it to?
  • How did you feel about it? Why?

and explain why you chose this gift.

Possible Answer: 
The gift I gave to my younger sister recently is the one I would like to talk about. I gave her a cell phone recently. The model of the cell phone is Sony Experia Z and it has Android Operating System. This is a water resistant cell phone manufactured by Sony Mobile and is a hot one in the market. The cells phone cost me around 40 K and I had to save the money for the last 6-7 moths to present her the gift.

I knew that she had been wishing to buy a smartphone for a year but could not do so. I thought to buy her one on her next birthday and started saving the money. I saved almost 7-8 k each month and just before 3-4 days of her birthday, I bought the phone.

I felt really great after I gave the gift to my sister. That was an unexplainable pleasure, amusement, satisfaction that I felt after I saw her bewildering face after she opened the gift. She was so happy that I felt like that was a perfect gift for her. I am sure I would not have felt the same pleasure as I felt giving her the gift doing something else. She had been longing to own a smartphone and after receiving it from me she hugged me.

As I already told, from her conversation I knew that she wished to own a smartphone that she would be able to use the internet and take quality photographs. From that day, I promised myself that I would buy her one. And I wished to buy her a really good one. I could have bought her a phone for 10k but seriously I wanted to give her the best one that I can accommodate.

Tips for answering this Cue Card topic:

While talking about this cue card, keep in mind that you are to talk about a gift/ present you have recently given to someone. So do not talk about a gift that you actually gave someone a few years ago.

Remember a gift you gave to someone recently and describe that event based on the questions asked in the supporting questions of this cue card topic. The gift can be merely a postcard to an expensive one like house/ flat. Following are some gifts we usually give to others to help you plan for this cue card topic:

Mobile Phone
Fountain pen
Music player
Tabloid PC
Photo album
Laptop etc.

You can actually think about any gift item which you usually give to others on occasions like birthday, marriage anniversary etc.

For this cue card topic, first, mention what was the gift. Then mention whom you gave it (can be a family member, friend, relative, classmate, teacher, neighbour or a colleague). Then mention what was the occasion for that person who received that gift. Was it a birthday or simply a social visiting party, marriage day, a celebration of promotion etc.?  Also mention how long has passed since you gave it. You should mention that the occasion was only a couple of months ago and this is the latest gift you gave to someone.

Whatever the gift was, you should be very fluent describing the event, gift and occasion of the gift. First mention what was the gift item and then mention to who you gave it to. Also, mention if you were planning to give it for a long time or did you instantly bought this gift. After that give an approximate cost idea that you had to spend to buy this gift. Also, mention the occasion for the gift. That can be a birthday gift or so or can be a surprise gift.

The final 2 questions require your elaborate discussion on the topic and expect you to talk about how you felt after giving this present. Simply mention that you were very much pleased to be able to give this present to that person and the excitement grew more when you noticed the happiness of this person. For the final question, ‘and explain why you chose this gift’ say that you knew that s/he was in need of that/ was eagerly waiting to have one of these items/ would be very excited and happy to receive it. You can also mention, you had no previous preparation for buying a gift and you roamed in a gift shop and chose this one all of a sudden.

Your 'fluency and coherence' is the most important part of your speaking exam. Being able to cover the questions asked with the cue card topic in a real life conversational way would ensure a good score in your cue card section.

Since this cue card asks you to talk about a gift you gave to someone recently, you should relate the event to a recent occasion. Mention that you gave this gift only a few weeks/ months ago and that you make your speaking exactly what is expected in the cue card topic.

If the gift is for a family member like a younger sister, mother or father, mention how eagerly you were expecting to give this gift to him/her. After that mention how you managed to purchase the gift and from where you bought it. For the question “How you felt about it?” Mention that you bought this gift to make this person happy. This might not be an expensive gift but you bought it with good wished and cordial love. Finally, say that the recipient of this gift was very happy to have it and that made you feel really good. A gift is always a souvenir of good wishes and a mark for a better relationship and you felt just happy to be able to give it to this person.

The final question “and explain why you chose this gift?” is a tricky one and you are expected to give a convincing answer to this question. You have your own reasons and following are some of the helpful hints for you to answer this question:

1.  I knew that s/he had a great desire for this and I thought this would be perfect opportunity to give it to him/her.
2.  I was suddenly informed about this occasion and I had to pick a gift quickly. I went to the nearby gift shop and this particular gift caught my eyes.
3.  This was a gift I was long longing to give her/ him. I knew s/he would be very happy to receive it and that’s why I bought it.
4.  The gift was a shared one and three of our friends / colleagues decided that it was a good gift within our budget.
5.  I knew that s/he loves this sort of gift and that’s why I decided to give it to her/ him.

Part 3: Details Discussion.

Q. Do you enjoy giving and receiving gifts? Why or why not? 
Answer: I really love it! I enjoy quite a lot exchanging gifts. To me, this is a token of appreciation and a symbol of care.  

I like a lot to have presents from people I appreciate, care and love. I think that by gestures like gift exchanging, you are able to judge who is a real friend or how valuable you are to someone. For example, as gifts are given in special circumstances, it helps you understand if someone likes you, appreciates you, loves you or value you. It not only depends on the kind of gifts and prices but also how carefully and honestly the gifts were selected and given to you. In addition, this gesture is pleasant as it means that somebody shares a significant moment of their life with you.

Giving presents to someone is quite enjoyable because through this you can show your respects, love and care for someone. Gifts often reflect someone’s personality and character and also visualise how much you care for someone. For me, giving gifts to a relative, family member or friend is quite fascinating and an act of showing I care.  

Tips: It is very less likely that someone would not like to give and receive gifts. However, if you are one of them, who doesn't like receiving presents, you can just say the reasons. Some examples are that- you feel that you are obligated to repay them, you might not like the present but you must keep it because the opposite is disrespectful, you just invite someone to an important event of yours not for bringing gifts but because you want them there for you.

About those who don't like giving presents you can say that it is costly, you don't know someone so well so you can't pick a present for them, gifts do not always represent that the giver cares about you or it is a custom that is inflicted by other generations, people often give flowers, toys and chocolate and you are allergic to flower, do not like chocolate and hate toys.

Q. Who usually gives you gifts?
Answer: My parents, relatives and friends mostly give me gifts. But, I received some fabulous presents from my godmother when I graduated from university. However, I will never forget the gift my brother gave me and it was a ticket to England!

Tip: You can say that you receive presents from parents, friends, grandparents, godmother and godfather, uncles, cousins, siblings even teachers, colleagues and bosses. If you want you can mention one or two examples when you were given some important gifts.

Q. Who do you give gifts to?
Answer: I mostly buy presents for my friends on their birthdays. This is the most common case, but I also give presents to my parents at their wedding anniversary. So I would say family and friends are the people I buy gifts for. The latest gift that I gave to one of my friends on her birthday was a book he wanted to have.

Q. In your country when do people usually give gifts?
Answer: I don't think that in my country this custom is very different from that of other countries. Specifically, people buy presents on name days and birthdays, wedding anniversaries and graduation ceremony. There are also some cases, such as when someone is admitted in a university or is promoted at work, but these aren't so common in my country. Some festivals also encourage people to exchange gifts.

Tip: If in your country this isn't the case, you can just mention in which occasions people give presents. Remember that these answers are based on my experiences and personal opinions and it doesn't mean that they represent every case in every country.

Q. What kinds of gifts do they give?
Answer: The type of presents depends on the occasion, a person's personality, choice, economic & social status and so on. You can't give the same present all the time because not everything suits to everyone and this is completely reasonable. Some examples that I can think are clothes, books, perfumes, shoes, household appliances, and bags, especially on birthdays. But, there are some cases that presents are much more different and expensive. When someone, for example, gets married you can give them household and electric appliances, money or even a car.

Q. Do you think gift-giving customs are different now than they were in the past? How?
Answer: I am not quite sure how the gift exchanging was in the past generation but I believe that they don't differ much. I assume that in the past, presents were given in the same occasions as we do nowadays. The only thing I reckon that's different today is the kind of gifts given. The reason and occasions of gift-giving remained the same throughout the generations, I guess.

Q. Do you think they will change in the future? How?
Answer: It's a thoughtful issue but my personal opinion is that it may change in the future. In future people will be able to buy presents not only in usual occasions but also whenever they want to. Furthermore, if some commodities become more affordable there is a possibility that this trend will be much different in the future than it is now. People will be more practical while choosing a gift for other and the range of gifts would increase. However, the grand gesture and underlying reason for gift-giving will remain almost same as it is today.

General Tip: Don't always try to give a big and extended answer. Apart from the fact that time is limited, it's a speaking exam that assesses your skill of handling the language -English, not the intellectual level. Speaking more would expose you to make more mistakes. Try to give clear and substantial answers. So don't worry if some of your answers are bigger than others.

[Part 3 answers are written by - Mary, UK, Economist with Main Field of Studies in Business Economics.]

Your ability to answer this Cue Card Topic would also help you to talk about the following Cue card topics:

1.Describe an occasion that you enjoyed.
2.Describe a gift shop you know.
3.Describe a party you recently had.
4.Describe a gift you received from your colleagues/ friends.
5.Describe a gift you want to give to your best friend.
6.Describe a birthday gift you once received.
7.Describe an expensive gift you gave to someone.
8. Describe an important gift you received.
9. Describe something you gave to your friend.
10.Describe a birthday party gift you bought.
11. Describe a gift you would love to give to your friend.
12. Describe something you plan to buy in the future.
13. Describe a gift shop you have visited.
14. Describe a postcard you have received.
15. Describe a flower shop your have visited.

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