Birthday vocabulary
TopTips
Birthday vocabulary

We Love IELTS is officially a year old today and to celebrate our first birthday I'd like to help you learn some vocabulary on the topic of birthdays and milestones. So, whether you're 18, 80 or anywhere in between, read on for some vocabulary related to these special occasions and for some common mistakes to avoid. Even if you don’t celebrate birthdays yourself, it’s still important to be able to talk about this topic in case you have to in your IELTS Speaking test! Birthdays When you think about the word ‘birthday’, which other words come to mind?  The first words to come to my mind are birthday cards, birthday cakes, birthday parties, and birthday presents.   These pairs of words are examples of words that are often used together in English (i.e. collocations), and if you remember them as combinations of words (e.g. ‘birthday presents’) rather than separate, individual words (‘birthday’ and ‘presents’), you’ll be able to use them more fluently when you speak. Whenever I think of birthdays, I also think about getting one year older and one year nearer my next milestone birthday – a milestone or landmark birthday is a special birthday such as your 18th, 21st, 30th, or 40th. Are there any birthdays that are particularly special in your culture?  A common mistake when describing your age Which of the following are correct ways for someone to describe his/her age and which are mistakes? I have 20 years old I’m 20 years old I have 20 years I’m 20 Think carefully as you could choose the wrong answers if you translate directly from your first language. You may be surprised at how many English language learners use the wrong grammar to say how old they are! You can check the answers at the end of this post. (You could also check the grammar I used above to describe how old We Love IELTS is). Milestones One meaning of the word ‘milestone’ is a very important event or stage in someone’s life. Which of these milestones have you reached?    Remember, personalising vocabulary like this (i.e. connecting new words/phrases to your own experiences and opinions) is one way to improve your vocabulary for IELTS. For other meanings of the word ‘milestone’, check out the entry in the Cambridge online dictionary here. A useful phrasal verb  With any important milestone, there’s usually some excitement about reaching it, e.g. I’m sure you are (or were) excited about going abroad for the first time. To see how to use (and not to use) the phrasal verb ‘look forward to’ to describe this excitement, check out this video of 30-second IELTS. {"preview_thumbnail":"/sites/default/files/styles/video_embed_wysiwyg_preview/public/video_thumbnails/Ff-zeuaWG98.jpg?itok=65uQk0KR","video_url":"https://youtu.be/Ff-zeuaWG98","settings":{"responsive":1,"width":"854","height":"480","autoplay":0},"settings_summary":["Embedded Video (Responsive)."]}   At 1, We Love IELTS has reached an important milestone, and we’re looking forward to continuing to help you prepare for IELTS over the next year. Pete P.S. The correct ways for someone to describe their age are 2) I’m 20 years old, and 4) I’m 20. Answers 1 and 3 are mistakes.

Pete Jones

26 February, 2021

Birthday vocabulary

Birthday vocabulary

We Love IELTS is officially a year old today and to celebrate our first birthday I'd like to help you learn some vocabulary on the topic of birthdays and milestones.

So, whether you're 18, 80 or anywhere in between, read on for some vocabulary related to these special occasions and for some common mistakes to avoid.

Even if you don’t celebrate birthdays yourself, it’s still important to be able to talk about this topic in case you have to in your IELTS Speaking test!

Birthdays

When you think about the word ‘birthday’, which other words come to mind?

The first words to come to my mind are birthday cards, birthday cakes, birthday parties, and birthday presents.

Birthday Vocabulary

 

These pairs of words are examples of words that are often used together in English (i.e. collocations), and if you remember them as combinations of words (e.g. ‘birthday presents’) rather than separate, individual words (‘birthday’ and ‘presents’), you’ll be able to use them more fluently when you speak.

Whenever I think of birthdays, I also think about getting one year older and one year nearer my next milestone birthday – a milestone or landmark birthday is a special birthday such as your 18th, 21st, 30th, or 40th.

Are there any birthdays that are particularly special in your culture?

A common mistake when describing your age

Which of the following are correct ways for someone to describe his/her age and which are mistakes?

  1. I have 20 years old
  2. I’m 20 years old
  3. I have 20 years
  4. I’m 20

Think carefully as you could choose the wrong answers if you translate directly from your first language.

You may be surprised at how many English language learners use the wrong grammar to say how old they are!

You can check the answers at the end of this post. (You could also check the grammar I used above to describe how old We Love IELTS is).

Milestones

One meaning of the word ‘milestone’ is a very important event or stage in someone’s life.

Which of these milestones have you reached?

Milestones

 

Remember, personalising vocabulary like this (i.e. connecting new words/phrases to your own experiences and opinions) is one way to improve your vocabulary for IELTS.

For other meanings of the word ‘milestone’, check out the entry in the Cambridge online dictionary here.

A useful phrasal verb

With any important milestone, there’s usually some excitement about reaching it, e.g. I’m sure you are (or were) excited about going abroad for the first time.

To see how to use (and not to use) the phrasal verb ‘look forward to’ to describe this excitement, check out this video of 30-second IELTS.

 

At 1, We Love IELTS has reached an important milestone, and we’re looking forward to continuing to help you prepare for IELTS over the next year.

Pete

P.S. The correct ways for someone to describe their age are 2) I’m 20 years old, and 4) I’m 20. Answers 1 and 3 are mistakes.

Pete Jones

Pete has been helping IELTS test takers and teachers for many years and really enjoys helping people improve their English and their IELTS band score.

More about the author

filter tags

Recommended For You

recommended book image
IELTS Vocabulary up to Band 6

Learn all the vocabulary you need to achieve up to band 6 in IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training. It includes useful tips on how to learn vocabulary and covers tricky areas such as the language needed to describe data and processes. This book also includes practice exercises for each skill, regular progress checks and tips on how to avoid typical errors. Previous title Cambridge Vocabulary for IELTS *Our preparation materials are sold directly through Cambridge University Press.

Skill bar

Stay up-to-date