During the IELTS Speaking test, the examiner will ask you some general questions about your country, work or life, for example what people are allowed/not allowed to do in your country, what special skills are needed in your job, etc. In English, it is natural to use the pronoun ‘you’ when talking about people in general, including you and the examiner. Let’s look at some examples.
Talking about your country
If the examiner asks you about the dangers of your hometown or country, you can say:
In my city you have to be careful walking alone at night.
In this sentence, the meaning of you is ‘people in general including me and you’. Here are some more examples:
- In my country, you can’t smoke in public.
- In my hometown, you have to be careful crossing the street.
- In my country, you can get by (= survive) speaking English.
Talking about your work
If the examiner asks you some general questions about your work, you can say things like:
- In my work, you have to be good at speaking in public.
- In my work, you need an analytical mind.
- In my job, you can’t be lazy.
The meaning of you here is ‘anybody who works or wants to work in my job/profession’.
If you work, think about the skills and qualities that are needed to do your job well and practise talking about them using the impersonal you.
you and they
We often use they to talk about the government and authorities. Here are some examples:
- In my country, they increase taxes every year. (‘they’ = the government)
- In my hometown, they are building a new shopping centre. (‘they’ = the town authorities)
- They say it’s going to rain tomorrow. (‘they’ = the weather forecasters)