Speaking: Expressing likes and dislikes

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In Parts 1 and 2 of the speaking test, you will be expected to use English to talk about familiar topics.This will include talking about your likes and dislikes. In IELTS it is helpful if you look directly at the examiner and use your face to help you communicate. This is not considered impolite in English.

Here are 2 of the most frequently used question starters :

What’s your favorite …. ?What food/drink don’t you like?

Please note that you can say anything you like. It is not important for the examiner if you like apples or some certain foods or not. The only thing which is important is the way you use English Language to express yourself.


Peter’s favorite food is rice but he can’t stand bananas.

Jane loves pasta but she doesn’t like cake. I love spaghetti but i (just) can’t stand rice.

Useful words and phrases:

lovenot keen on
can’t standterrible

Using intonation and word stress

Try to stress important words when you speak and use intonation appropriately. The speaking examiner will mark you on your pronunciation of English as well as your use of vocabulary and grammar.

Listen to some people expressing negative feelings.

Now, listen to some people expressing positive feelings. pay attention to the way they stress words and their intonations.

What do I say when I don’t know how to explain the reason?

Sometimes we don’t know how to explain why we like or dislike something. In this case it helps to stress certain words and refer simply to the food or the quality or the effect that is has. Listen to the file below :

I’m afraid i just don’t like … (at all)
I (just) can’t stand….
I (just) love
type of food/drink
the smell of fish.
the taste of ice creame.
sweet things.
what toffee does to my teech

You can use just emphasize how strongly you feel and to show that you have no other reason. 

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