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The topic about BORROWING SOMETHING has recently appeared in the actual IELTS Speaking exam. Learn how to talk about that topic using collocations or advanced vocabulary words. Get ideas from our material and come up your own. You can do it!




Describe an occasion when you borrowed something from someone

You should say:

What it was

When it happened

Whom you borrowed it from

What you did with it

And why borrowed that thing



To be honest, I don’t really like the idea of borrowing something from someone even if they are my family members or closest friends, as I have this fear that I may lose or damage their valuable thing, even if I put extra effort in taking care of it. However, back when I was just a college student, I had an experience asking my cousin if I could use his digital camera for our 2-day excursion.


Vocabulary & Expression:

Make money [expression] - to earn

Excursion [noun] - short trip


Tip: The speaker started his answer by talking about his personality, connecting it to the topic. This is a great way to develop a creative introduction of your answer.


It was an educational trip for our photojournalism class. All of us were required to have a camera of any types during that trip, since we needed to take photos or videos for the places where we had to visit. I actually had my own camera, but at that time, I left it in my parents’ house when I visited them the week before our trip. Unfortunately, it was impossible for me to get my camera back home since my hometown was six hours away by bus from my flat. Aside from that, I didn’t have any spare time to return home as I juggled my part-time job and my study. It was just too tough having a hectic schedule!


Vocabulary & Expression:

Flat [noun] - apartment

Aside from [phrase] - besides

Spare time [noun] - free time

Juggle [verb] - to do two or more things at a time

Hectic [adj.] - very busy


Tip: The speaker gave the main reason why he needed to borrow a camera then he added a background story about leaving his own camera in his hometown. So it is like two ideas were mentioned on this part that made his story more descriptive.


Anyway, I just gave a shot asking my cousin, who went to the same college where I was also studying, if I could borrow his camera and without a second thought he lent me with no conditions. His camera is Cybershot Sony, well I don’t exactly remember the model of it, but it was water-resistant up to 5 meters, which I was so delighted since we did take photos underwater while we were snorkeling on the second day of our trip. Also, what I liked most about that camera is the 4K resolution in both images and videos. Without any effort, I could take vivid photos as if I were a pro. I had to admit that his camera was way better than mine that made me think of investing a camera like his.


Well, to make a long story short, I couldn’t be happier with the photos and videos taken by my cousin’s digital camera and luckily one of my photos was chosen for our school’s yearly exhibit for outstanding photos taken by the photojournalism students.


Vocabulary & Expression:

Without a second thought [phrase] - acting immediately

Water-resistant [adj.] - being able to stop water penetration

4K resolution [noun] - refers to a horizontal display resolution of approximately 4000 pixels, some

cameras have only 1080 pixels; it is much clearer and it produces great quality photos and videos

Pro [adj.] - professional

To make a long story short [expression] - used to indicate that one is skipping the unnecessary details but

just focusing on the important points

Couldn’t be happier [phrase] - to be very happy




Why do you think some people prefer borrowing things from others instead of buying?


I can think of two reasons for that, first, people do so simply because they do not need those things for so long. They will probably just use them once or twice and buying them is just a waste of money. For instance, in schools, students normally have activities such as United Nations, and they are required to wear a national costume from a country where they are representing. That event is just once a year, as a result most parents decide to borrow costumes instead of buying. And that is being practical or wise. The second reason is that, people just do not have the financial capability to buy. Not everyone has the same living standard, some live just to make ends meet, so borrowing things is the only option they can have.


Vocabulary & Expression:

Practical [adj.] - reasonable; sensible

Financial capability [noun] - having enough money to buy something

Make ends meet [phrase] - the money one earns is just enough to live


Tip: The speaker did not give all his reasons at once in the first sentence, instead he gave his reason one after another with his explanation. It’s also a good way to answer, as the speaker will not have the chance to forget his reasons. Sometimes mentioning all the reasons in the first sentence makes the speaker forget to explain all of them.


What would you do if one of your friends did not keep their promise in paying the money they borrowed from you?


Well it depends on the situation, if he tells me the reason on why he could not pay me back and if I find it reasonable enough, then I would just understand. I would give him a chance or some time extension in order for him to find some ways to repay me. However, if that friend does not really care of returning my money, I would never trust him again as it simply shows that he is irresponsible. I am a kind of person who does not really like to remind someone to pay what they owe from me, as I always believe that it is the obligation of the borrower to pay, without any reminder coming from the lender.


Vocabulary & Expression:

Pay me back [phrase] - repay

Owe [verb] - to have an obligation to pay

Obligation [noun] - responsibility

Lender [noun] - a person who lends money


Tip: The speaker gives two kinds of situations in answering the question. This is an effective way to develop a long answer by talking two possible things. You just have to make sure that you can sustain explaining your reasoning in order to achieve coherence.


Why are some people feel embarrassed when they borrowed money from others?


In my opinion, that is because borrowing money is an implication that one is struggling financially. It gives people an idea about the financial standing that they have. It is shameful for some, especially men to owe money from others since it is a sign that they are not making enough and that will lead to conclusion that they are not good enough. As you know, it is common for men to value their pride more than anything else, to borrow money is to shatter their ego and that is one thing that they avoid. That for me is the main reason why it is humiliating for some people to borrow money.


Vocabulary & Expression:

Implication [noun] - conclusion

Financial standing [noun] - another way to say ‘financial status’

Shameful [adj.] - embarrassing; humiliating

Shatter [verb] - damage; break


Do you have any questions or comments? Please leave them below.


Check our previous post about LANGUAGE with this


Best of luck to your exam! Be Natural! Breathe Confidence!


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