List of Idioms and Phrases for IELTS

6 minute read
List of Idioms and Phrases for IELTS

List of Idioms and Phrases for IELTS: As a student pursuing education abroad, one of the most pertinent and pressing issues you may face is the inability to ‘Break the Ice’ and start a conversation with your peers. We know we have been ‘Beating Around the Bush’ and not getting to the point in the previous lines, but you get the idea, right? 


Okay, enough with the idiom puns; let’s get back on track and delve into the topic. 

We often use these combinations of words in our day-to-day blathers and discourses to enunciate certain intangible elements such as ideas or feelings. Albeit it may not be required for everyone to understand or know every idiom in existence, if you want to pass your IELTS, you must have a firm grasp of such phrases. Idioms and phrasal verbs, which are frequently utilised in colloquial jargon, are largely used for self-expression. 

‘Idioms’ and ‘Phrasal Verbs’ take up a majority of weightage in the IELT Speaking assessment section. Thereby, one must be well-versed in the topic as it is scoring and equally easy to understand. 

Let’s look at the list of idioms which can help you ace your IELTS speaking assessment. 

Idioms and Phrases for IELTS 

Below given is the list of the idioms and phrases for IELTS. You must understand their meaning and practice using these to ace the Idioms and Phrases section of the IELTS. Let’s deep dive into the below-given list of idioms and phrases for IELTS. 

Out of the blueThe unexpected occurrence of something. His idea, which came out of the blue,
surprised the clients in the meeting. 
In the redTo owe money, to not have moneyHe is unable to pay his debts because
he is currently in the red. 
Give someone the green lightTo give permissionShe was given the green light to work
on her assignment. 
A white lieTo tell a lie that is not very seriousOnce in a while, it is fine to tell a white lie.
Day and nightContinually working without stoppingHe prepared day and night for the
upcoming tournament. 
Drop outTo leave without finishingHe dropped out of college to pursue his
dream of becoming a musician. 
Learn by heartTo memoriseI have learned all the chemical formulas
by heart. 
Brought upRaised/developedClark was brought up in the barns of
Child’s playVery easy to doSolving convoluted mathematical
equations was child’s play for him. 
Break a legTo wish someone good luckI wish you ace the interview, break a leg!
Driving me up the wallSomething that annoys youSolving convoluted mathematical
equations were child’s play for him. 

So, What Exactly is an Idiom? 

What comes to your mind when you come across the term, ‘Bite the Bullet’, for the first time? 

A visual image of a man biting a bullet is almost certainly and inevitably going to pop into your head. That, however, is not the case. Taking a bullet refers to tackling a difficult task or performing something unpleasant. 

Don’t worry, it’s not your fault. That’s an Idiom, all right. These phrases or expressions, known as idioms, do not have a literal meaning. In other words, you will never directly understand what they mean if you try to read them. 

Let’s take this as an example. You’ve been invited to a house party where people you may not know well will be present.  In this instance, you must break the ice with such unfamiliar faces without being a Now, in such a case, you will need to break the ice with such unfamiliar faces and not be a complete buzzkill. I mean, who wants the tag of a party pooper, right? 

If you try to visualise the phrase mentioned in the preceding lines in a literal sense, an image of you cracking ice will spring to mind. The idiomatic meaning of the term, on the other hand, is simply to start a discussion. 

See how idioms are woven into our everyday conversations, so much so that we may not even notice or care about them. In any case, it is critical for anybody, especially those considering studying abroad, to be familiar with such words and understand how to use them. This will keep you from getting yourself into an impasse. 

Collocation is another term that must be studied while preparing for the IELTS speaking test. 

Also read: How to Prepare for IELTS? A Detailed Guide

What is Collocation? 

Students intending to clear their IELTS Speaking Test need to work majorly on Collocation. But what does the term actually mean? Collocation is a group of words that frequently occur together organically and are typically employed in that sequence when speaking. Say, for example, would you say ‘Machine Time’ in a sentence? No, right? That’s because the order is incorrect. 

The words should be arranged as ‘Time Machine’. When it comes to incorporating idiomatic language, collocation plays a vital role as the words chosen are equally important as the order in which they are spoken. 

What’s a Phrasal Verb?

A phrasal verb is a verb that has been conjugated with an adverb or a preposition. Their formation may result in the production of an idiomatic phrase. For example, when the verb ‘Look’ and the preposition ‘After’ are combined, the word ‘Look After’ is formed, which signifies ‘taking care’. 

Now you see how we implement idiomatic language every now and then to express ourselves. 

Let’s look at the list of idioms which can help you ace your IELTS speaking assessment. 

Practice is the Key to Success

Considering there are so many idioms and phrases out there, it is impossible to list them all; thus, it is recommended that you pay close attention to how native speakers interact in their daily conversations. No matter how much idiomatic language is studied in your curriculum or textbooks, the most effective way to learn new idioms is to be exposed to daily interactions and real life in general. This is the most effective method for learning a new language. 

While using idioms, one must be cautious of: 

  1. Overusing them 
  2. Force usage of idioms 

You can even watch English films or read novels/novellas to get acquainted with idioms, phrases, and phrasal verbs. 

5 Phrases to help you in the IELTS Speaking Exam 

  • Well, I believe that this question is challenging now since…
  • I suppose you might respond “absolutely,” and there are a few reasons for this. First… and secondly…
  • To be completely honest, I’ve never given it any thought.
  • If my memory is correct then…
  • Is it alright to discuss…?

How to Use Idioms in IELTS Speaking?

Usage of Idioms affected the overall score. Here are some tips to keep in mind while using Idioms in the IELTS exam.

  • Do not overuse idioms 
  • Try to avoid using irregular words such as drive, gotten,among others
  • Try to avoid the usage of cliches as it shows less preparation
  • Make sure that you are using idioms within the context
  • Avoid using unsuitable idioms. More often than not, unconventional idioms can seem odd to the examiner.


Are idioms allowed in the IELTS exam?

Yes. Idioms are asked in the IELTS Examination. Therefore, students can use the same in the IELTS test.

Is 7 ok in IELTS?

Yes. 7 is a decent IELTS score. Students who secure 7 marks in the IELTS examination can meet several universities’ English proficiency requirements. However, a score of 8, and 9 is considered to be excellent.

What are 50 examples of idiomatic expressions?

Some of the most common idiomatic expressions are: Break a leg, a piece of cake,Easier said than done, born with a silver spoon, among others.

To sum it up, idioms can bring vivacity and life to your conversations and help you understand the subtext behind sentences. Students preparing for their IELTS test must definitely focus on the topic as it is scoring and carries a lot of weightage. This was all about the list of Idioms and Phrases for IELTS. For more such blogs, stay tuned with us and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin

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