Phrases for IELTS Speaking Test and Meaning

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Phrases for IELTS Speaking

You must have heard some phrases while preparing for the English proficiency exam. These phrases 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. These words are part of the IELTS exam syllabus. In this article, we will help you to learn Phrases for IELTS Speaking Test with their meaning. Let’s look at the list of idioms which can help you ace your IELTS speaking test. 


Students prospecting to pursue their education from the best institutes abroad are required to partake in the IELTS Exam to prove their proficiency in the English Language. The Speaking section carries a lot of weightage in the said exam, hence prospective candidates are advised to give much emphasis on the segment. We have curated and shortlisted some phrases for practising. Have a look. 

  • That’s an interesting question This is one of the most popular phrases. Using this phrase will buy you enough time to figure out the solution.
  • Looking back, I would say–  This phrase is used for questions related to one’s past. 
  • Funny you should ask that– It is typically used when a person has the answer in his/her mind. In this case, Funny refers to an interesting coincidence.
  • Well, that depends on a few things– One can use this phrase when they are faced with a convoluted question and need to buy enough time to figure out the solution. 
  • I haven’t really thought much about it, but I would say– Employing this can help you ponder over the answer and buy you more time. 

Here are some other idioms and phrases that can be used in the IELTS Speaking Test. 

WordMeaning Example
Find my feetIt means being familiar with an activity.I took some time to find my feet in this new profession. 
And then someThis refers to more than just the number or figure being discussed. 5,000 cartons and then some were shipped to the designated place.
Before LongSmall DurationHe will be gone before long, but I hope you will always remember him. 
Read your/my/his/her mindTo Read someone’s mind.He knew almost everything about her as if he could read her mind. 
Set in their waysPeople or institutions are obstinate and do not wish to change. My family is conservative with their temperament and set in their ways. 
Cost an arm and a legHugely expensiveThe shoes sure do look nice, but it did cost me an arm and a leg. 
Burn the midnight oilIt means working late into the night and staying up to accomplish any taskYou will have to burn the midnight oil and complete the assignment by tomorrow. 

Must Read: Important Vocabulary for IELTS Essays

Do’s and Don’ts of Using Phrases in IELTS Speaking Tests

Idioms can be tricky to incorporate into conversations. One must know their context before filling them randomly amidst conversations. Apart from that, one must show spontaneity while using them, or it will just seem fake and forced.  

Do’s Don’t
One must be as spontaneous and natural while using phrases as one can. This will convey the message to the examiner that the candidate is affluent in the language and knows the context behind the phrase. Don’t go overboard with the usage of idioms. This will only sabotage the coherence of your sentences and make them difficult to comprehend. 
One must be well versed with phrases, and where/when to use them. The examiner should have clarity about the message you are trying to convey through the phrases. Don’t repeat the same phrase over and over.
One must incorporate the usage of phrases that are diverse and not similar contextually. Avoid formal phrases for simple generic questions. 
It is recommended that candidates incorporate the use of phrases in daily conversations to enhance their vocabulary skills. 

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. 

Also Read: Vocabulary for IELTS Writing

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. 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. 

English language certifications, such as the IELTS Scores are instrumental in securing admission to leading universities. Many of them require that you score the predefined marks so that you can be eligible to apply. In any case, a high score increases your chances of admission. Build a plan with Leverage Edu‘s Leverage Live classes and our top trainers and strengthen your English score as well as your application so that you can secure your spot in your dream college. Reach out to Leverage Edu on 1800572130 and schedule a free session today.

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