Let’s Talk About Work!

Say It Better! Series. C1 Advanced Season. Episode 3

Earlier in our series, we have focused on the following topics: Health matters, and the world of Cinema and Theatre. You’ve been invited to use the word lists provided  in C1 Advanced Cambridge exam context, like its Speaking paper and the Reading and Use of English one. Are you new to our series? Have a go and widen your English language range in both speaking and written expression.

To go on and learn vocabulary related to another theme, I invite you to do a short task, similar in structure to the one earlier known as Part 4 of the Use of English paper. Each of its questions had three gapped sentences, and you had to come up with one word only to complete all three sentences. Given the 2015 updates in the CAE exam, now C1 Advanced, this part has disappeared. Nonetheless, why don’t we have a taste of it?

So, what is the ONE missing word in the three sayings below?

______ without love is slavery. – Mother Teresa

Be steady and well-ordered in your life so that you can be fierce and original in your ______ . – Gustave Flaubert

All happiness depends on courage and ______ . – Honoré de Balzac



Are you ready for a new episode? Roll up your sleeves!

Say It Better! Series
C1 Advanced Season
Episode 3
WORK Matters
Topic vocabulary

Download the PDF. Translate and/or write the definition of the words in the list. Make sure while looking them up in the dictionary, you look for the episode-related meaning. 


Word formation

Download the PDF and complete the table with the missing words. 



e.g. WORK










Speaking paper

Step One: Read the questions. Make changes to the answers provided. Use the TOPIC language.

Step Two: Write your own answer. Use the TOPIC language as much as possible.

Step Three (optional): Record yourself while answering the questions. Send your answers to your English teacher for assessment and feedback.

Part 1

Question:  “What career plans have you got once you finish your studies?”

Answer:  “Well, I consider myself a career-minded person. For this reason, like anyone else who gives a lot of importance to his or her job, I would like to achieve a lot of career-oriented goals. To start, finding a job, one I love doing. Even if I had to work hard, at first not as well paid, and no matter the hours I’d had to put into it, I’d be happy since I’d become better and better at it. Next, I would like to advance in my career. I wouldn’t like to work somewhere where there is no chance of progressing, no way.”

Question: “What are the advantages of running your own business rather than working for someone else? “

Answer: “Guess one of the main advantages is not having to follow a set of rules, like how to dress or behave. Besides, it’s the possibility to work where you want, when you want and even choose the amount of work you can manage to do. There is of course this financial insecurity, but in the end, you are your own boss.”

Question: “What are some important things a young candidate should find out before accepting a job?”

Answer: (your own answer)

Part 4

Question: “Discuss the main issues that affect employees in your country.” 

Answer:  “No matter what work field we work in, at some point, our country’s economical and political issues do affect us, as employees. Consequently, this triggers unemployment, low salaries or very few possibilities to be successful at work and get a higher position. Not only that. Let’s consider the technological advances, for instance, here and everywhere else. Factories are faster than ever automated. Machines and computers replace people. At this point, we face one of the biggest concerns, the impossibility to have enough work and use our skills. Don’t you think so? Of course we can add here other issues like equal pay, flexible working hours, having the right to a holiday or job satisfaction. But guess this is secondary, since what matters is having a job.”

Question: “Overwork has a negative impact on productivity. Do you agree?”

Answer: (your own answer)

Other questions:

  • “It is said that a company’s success depends on how satisfied the workforce is. Do you agree?”
  • “Everyone wants to achieve a work-life balance. What are the steps to achieve this?”
Reading and Use of English quiz

Part 1

Decide which answer best fits the gap.

1. If you feel feverish and have got a splitting headache, you have to phone in sick and take time … work.

a. for

b. off

c. in

d. aside

2. With your … knowledge of accountancy, you are bound to get promoted.

a. vast

b. strong

c. extensive

d. big

Part 2

Think of the words which fit the gap.

Our company representatives have insured the clients that the deadline will be met due to the fact that the whole production department is working … the clock.

Part 3

Use the word given in CAPITALS to form a word that fits the gap.

It is becoming more and more difficult to get a skilled workforce with the right … , qualifications and experience. EXPERT

Part 4

Complete the second sentence so that it has a similar meaning to the first sentence, using the word given. Do not change the word. You must use between three and six words.

Our team has good working knowledge of statistics, so mostly thanks to us, we’ve pulled off in the pension scheme. 


We have all good working knowledge of accounting, so it’s our team that should … success of the pension scheme.

Part 1: 1b, 2b

Part 2: AROUND



Topic word cloud

The word clouds are a priceless learning tool. Make sure they are there for you, within easy eye-reach, in your cosy study corner. Check the one below. It’s got all the WORK-related expressions, (phrasal) verbs, adjectives and nouns from the topic vocabulary PDF above, but in eye-catching layout.

Now that you’ve worked with today’s topic vocabulary, without looking at the Work wordlist, write down, in around 4 minutes, as many words and expressions related to the theme of Work as you can remember. Once you’ve done it, check which ones have been left out. Why don’t you try and use them in your own sentences, about your future plans to travel around your country or abroad? Wait, I’ve got an idea, it’s going to be much fun. The activity is called the association game. Write down the word work, then, think fast and write another word or expression that you associate work with, like do all the donkey work, then write the word/phrase that the last is associated with, for instance, slog it out, and so forth. Remember, you must use the vocabulary from the wordlist.

Let’s call it a day! We deserve a break now. As my dearest father used to say: 

Work is not a wolf – it won’t run away to the forest.

Stay tuned for more words of advice and handy material!

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