Idioms are basically a group of words or a phrase that has meaning through common and collective usage, but it is not really clear from the words themselves. For example, the use of ‘It’s raining cats and dogs’ has nothing to do with cats and dogs. It simply means that it is raining heavily. The main purpose of this blog is how to use idioms in the IELTS speaking task and to uncover if using idioms for IELTS speaking helps improve the band score, and to what extent.

Another query that would arise is that if we can use idioms in the IELTS writing task. This part too shall be thrown light upon ahead. So let’s move forward and find out how to use Idioms in IELTS speaking.

How Does The Usage of Idioms for IELTS Speaking Impact the Band Score?

Idioms can be used flexibly in the IELTS Speaking exam. There are certain band descriptors that define band scores for the speaking exam including usage of idioms in English.

Lexical Resources

  • Using knowledge of idioms naturally and accurately

  • Using vocabulary with precision and full flexibility in almost all topics

  • Using less common and idiomatic vocabulary in a skilful manner, with minor errors

  • Using a wide vocabulary resource readily and flexibly to convey the right meaning

  • Effectively using paraphrases as required

  • Using less common and idiomatic vocabulary, showing awareness of style and collocation, with some inappropriate choices

  • Using vocabulary with the flexibility to cover all topics

  • Using paraphrases effectively

Also Read: Vocabulary Words for IELTS Speaking: List of Topic Related Vocabulary with Examples           

Implying Descriptors for Band Score: Correct Vocabulary for IELTS

The above table shows 3 different sections which show three different band score descriptors for IELTS Speaking. The first section is for a band score 9, the second section for a band 8, and the last for a band 7. The band 9 descriptor shows that there is the proper usage of idioms in English with no errors. For a band score of 8, the vocabulary for IELTS is flexible but with minor errors. The band score 7 section shows some inappropriate choices.

It is important to know how to use idioms correctly in IELTS speaking. Excessive or unnecessary use of idioms can turn out to be a negative point, as the examiners are trained to spot the same. It is wise to use idioms in the most appropriate and accurate manner, so they can fetch better scores.

Can we Use Idioms In IELTS Writing task?

Unlike the usage of idioms in the Speaking task, it is not advisable to use many idiomatic terms in the writing task. The reason for that is the informal nature of idioms in English. It might not look as presentable in the writing task to use such informal language. Speaking is much less formal when compared to writing, and hence it is fine to use idioms in the same.

The basic ideology of the examiner when checking the writing exam is to mark the person on the usage of his/her own language and words. An idiom would not be a suitable set of words to be marked as self-created, rather it would look lent or repeated.

Another way to do this could be taking an idea from the idiom, and putting it in your own words for writing. This would increase the appeal of the essay.

Idiomatic Vocabulary for IELTS

There are hundreds and hundreds of idioms that are used in the English language. They may sometimes meddle with the simplicity of language, but they also add imagery and an expression of art to words while speaking. Proper usage of idioms would point towards thinking outside the box. It is important not to lose fluency while using them, and they should not become a distraction.

Following are some common idioms in English with meanings that can be used for IELTS:

  • Once in a blue moon– happens very rarely

  • Run of the mill– something very ordinary or average

  • Go the extra mile– do more than what is needed

  • Sit on the fence– to be undecided

  • Miss the boat– lose an opportunity

  • Under the weather– to feel ill

  • Go down in flames– to fail spectacularly

  • As right as rain- something perfect

  • Take the bull by the horns- face and deal with the issue

  • On the same page- to be in agreement over a common topic

Conclusion

So now that the entire process is covered, it is quite understandable how idioms are used in IELTS speaking. Surely, these can make an impact in building the band score, but they are to be used with accuracy and precision, and sometimes not be used at all, especially in the case of writing. Once you master the usage of idioms in IELTS, then getting a good band score is just a piece of cake!

Also Read: 9 Superb Ways to Improve Your Score In IELTS Writing Test Task 1/2