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I have just finished a practice test for Ielts, and I looked at the key. There is a question in listening part asking about what the speaker said for a course requirement, the exam must be completed by using NO MORE THAN 3 WORDS

The question number 26 is what I want to ask about.

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The speaker said: "You’ll have to give a small talk to your tutorial group for 25 minutes . . ."

Since you have to use NO MORE THAN 3 WORDS, you have very few options here.

  1. give a talk
  2. give small talk
  3. a small talk

As you can see, there is the word "must" at the end of the line above, which means the option 3. isn't the right one.

Scroll left to see the given answer by its key.                          Its key states that option 1. is the correct answer.

Thanks

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*Give small talk for 25 minutes is not acceptable English. Since small talk appears without an article, it would be most naturally interpreted as an uncountable compund noun, namely small talk, meaning 'conversation about things that are not important, often between people who do not know each other well'. But small talk is not something that we 'give' (instead, we make or conduct it). Moreover, it makes no sense in the context.

On the other hand, give a talk for 25 minutes makes perfect sense. Moreover, if you said give a small talk for 25 minutes, you wouldn't really add any new information, as the assigned duration of the talk (25 minutes) completely specifies the size of the talk.

  • Plus a 25-minute talk is not exactly ‘small’ in the context of students taking a class. It would be small if you were Fidel Castro, but small talks in class are usually more like five minutes than 25. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 30 '18 at 7:54
  • @JanusBahsJacquet Fair enough... – linguisticturn Oct 31 '18 at 18:11

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