Top Phrases for IELTS Speaking Test

Top Phrases for IELTS Speaking Test

Updated on 11 March, 2022
Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

The IELTS Speaking test is one of the vital sections of the examination. It would be best if you started using some phrases to improve the score of the IELTS speaking test. Your word usage and vocabulary are crucial parameters towards determining your final score. The section requires you to speak in a conversational tone which should be grammatically and linguistically correct. Here are the phrases for the IELTS speaking test that you should use to enhance your vocabulary, which will help you do better in IELTS.

Phrases for IELTS Speaking that you Should Know 

There are many phrases for IELTS speaking that you should practice beforehand. They include the following: 

  • That’s an interesting question– This is one of the most common phrases you can use, which will help you take more time to work out the answer. Please do not say it out too fast and take your time to highlight the word interesting. This will give you an additional 5 seconds to think carefully about your answer! 
  • Well, that depends on a few things– One of the useful phrases for IELTS Speaking Part 1 is used when there is a complex question. You may feel that several aspects may influence the final answer. This may make the question tougher to answer as well. While you think of these things that you should include in the response, you can kill a little time by slowly starting this phrase. Take your time when you are stating well, and you can add 2-3 seconds more for thinking about the answer. Take your time while you say things or depend
  • I haven’t really thought much about it, but I would say Another handy phrase that you can use, this means that you have not spent much time pondering over the answer and need some more time before answering. It is a long-phrase where you can take your time. Stress on much and really and give yourself 5-8 seconds before answering. 
  • Funny you should ask that This is one phrase that you should use carefully. It is only suitable if you get a question on a topic or sub-topic that you have just been thinking about. It is one of the top IELTS Speaking phrases for Band 9 that you can use. Funny here means an interesting coincidence. 
  • Looking back, I would say Yet another gem of a phrase, and it is suitable when you get a past-linked question. It is like reflecting on the past or thinking about any past incident or period. A question-answer example is necessary for this context. Suppose you get a question- Did you enjoy your horse-riding lessons? The answer will be looking back, I would say yes, they were truly enjoyable and fulfilling
  • Find my feet– It means steadily gaining comfort and familiarity in doing any task or activity. For example- I took some time to find my feet in this new city where the cultures were completely different
  • And then some– This means more than a figure or count that is being described. For example, 10,000 people and then some were packed into the concert hall
  • Before Long– A phrase indicating a smaller duration. Example- He will be gone before long, but I hope you will always remember him
  • Read your/my/his/her mind Another phrase that indicates its inherent meaning. I was amazed to see how he talked of everything, almost like he read my mind
  • Set in their ways– People or institutions who do not wish to change at all. For example- My bosses are conservative about technology and set in their ways
  • Cost an arm and a leg– Hugely expensive, i.e. The watch looks stylish but it cost her an arm and a leg
  • Burn the midnight oil– It means working late into the night and staying up to accomplish any task. For instance- You will have to burn the midnight oil and complete the assignment by tomorrow
  • The bottom line– It refers to the most crucial information or figure of all. My bottom line to execute this project is total autonomy in operational decisions. Another example will be help- Do not give me so much information about his bid; simply tell me about his bottom line
  • Over the moon– A phrase that means being pleased. An example- He was over the moon when she accepted his proposal
  • Call it a day– End something for the night or day. An example- While I love the dining experience here, I think it is time for me to call it a day
  • Change my/your/one’s mind– The phrase is easy to understand. An example- Nothing that you said motivated me to change my mind
  • Catch my/his/your eye– An example will help you understand- That watch really caught my eye. Another sentence could be- Do any of these vehicles truly catch your eye? 
  • Right off the top of my head– The phrase means stating something without thinking too much or going deep into it. An example- Right off the top of my head, I can state that the company has tasted success in edible oils
  • Cutting edge– Modern and updated equipment, products, services, and processes. An example is- He makes use of cutting-edge blending processes for crafting his specialty teas
  • Down in the dumps– Unhappy. For example- She is a bit down in the dumps since she failed her computer test
  • Chill out Calming down, or relaxing. An example- Despite numerous hurdles, Bob told his employees to chill out and get the job done by tomorrow
  • Put/Putting all your eggs in one basket– It means putting all your efforts, money, and aspirations into a single avenue/place/thing. For example- Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, make sure you apply to all the companies looking for engineers
  • Fed up with– It indicates being disgusted, exasperated, irritated, or tired with someone/somethingAn example- The shopkeeper is fed up with us today, do not needle him too much.
  • Once in a blue moon– Something taking place rarely. An instance- An employee scores 10/10 in the appraisals once in a blue moon
  • Miss the boat or bus– Missing any opportunity. For example- I think I missed the boat since my application arrived after the deadline. Another example will help you- Don’t miss the bus, apply early and reach the venue on time
  • White Elephant– Costly or unprofitable acquisition or investment, big and too expensive to regularly maintain. For example, the new car is turning out to be a white elephant, especially if you consider fuel costs
  • A drop in the ocean– Something which is a small component of a larger cause/thing. For example, you can say My charity work is only a drop in the ocean when relieving senior citizens
  • Bump into– Meeting somebody suddenly or by chance. An example- I did not expect to bump into my childhood crush at the mall
  • The in-thing– A fashionable thing. An example- The new Rolex timekeeper is the in thing currently
  • Work flat out Work hard. An example would be The employees who have worked flat out for completing the presentation before time
  • Run of the mill– It means ordinary or average. An example will be- Samsung smartphones are run of the mill these days
  • Make a fuss over Caring excessively for someone or something. Father makes a fuss over all of us whenever he returns from his business trips 
  • FarFetched– It means any concept, idea, plan, strategy, or decision impractical or unrealistic. An example would be The company’s choice for its new manager seemed far-fetched to the workers’ union
  • A hot potato– A controversial topic. For example- Justice for undertrials is a hot potato in the city now
  • Ace/Acing– Doing well. I aced my physics paper could be an example. You can also go with an example like- He is an ace footballer
  • Bent out of shape– Being upset or down in the mouth. For example- Don’t get bent out of shape about their speech and manners
  • Get a kick out of– This means deriving enjoyment or pleasure from something. An example could be I get a kick out of seeing pitchers hurl deliveries with full force

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IELTS Speaking Tips

Some additional phrases that you can also use- 

  • Lend/give a hand– Helping someone. For example- Can you lend me a hand with this jar? 
  • A piece of cake– Something that is easy and hassle-free. An example- Salsa dancing seems like a piece of cake to me after the first lesson
  • Sit on the fence– Indecisive about something, for example, I am still sitting on the fence about that issue
  • Soul mate– Someone you love and trust the most. For example, She is not just a simple crush but my soul mate
  • Hit/hitting the books– Studying, usually with full concentration. For example- I will hit the books tomorrow for my Chemistry examination
  • Broke– Financially down in the dumps, insolvent, having no money, and so on. For example- I am broke and cannot afford to replace my aging watch now
  • Go/going back to the drawing board– This means starting to plan something all over again due to the failure of the first strategy. For example- Go back to the drawing board and work out the mechanics afresh
  • On the go/move– Busy or on the way. Pick up smiles and blessings on the go, since life is too short! 
  • Walking/going the extra mile– It means doing more than the norm and putting in a lot more effort. I will walk the extra mile to make her happy could be an example. Another could be Going the extra mile for someone makes him/her truly feel special
  • Crash Course– A short and engaging lesson on something. For example- I took a crash course in marketing before applying for a job
  • Cram– Trying to mug up something or accomplish a lot of things swiftly or put things tightly into a place. For example- The job applicants are all cramming for their entrances. Another example could be- Don’t try to cram everything into a single basket
  • Upmarket– This means posh, premium, and costly. An example is- He lived in Notting Hill, one of the up-market residential localities of London
  • In high spirits– Elated and happy. An example- They were in high spirits after a couple of hot beverages
  • Get the ball rolling– Start something or a venture. For example- I decided to get the ball rolling on my new project
  • Keep/Keeping one’s/your chin up– Staying resilient and brave despite difficult circumstances. For example- Don’t go to bed with that frown on your face, keep your chin up
  • Fill in for– Covering for somebody or substitute for somebody. For example- Please fill in for Ankita while she is away on leave
  • For Ages– It means for a sustained or lengthy duration. For example- She waited for ages, but he never called back
  • Antsy– Turning restless. An example is – The menfolk are getting antsy, let us get away before they turn violent
  • Under the weather– feeling sick or not doing too good. I am a little under the weather today and won’t be able to talk much
  • Have a chin-wag– A long chat between buddies. An instance could be We had a great chin-wag over some good Darjeeling brews
  • Fingers-crossed Wishing for something and ardently waiting before it happens. Fingers crossed for your upcoming examination
  • The wee hours– It means the period after midnight. For example- She stayed up till the wee hours, hand-writing all her Christmas cards

Important Resources to Read About IELTS:

How to Prepare for IELTS in One MonthCommon Spelling Mistakes in IELTSTips to Improve Pronunciation
How to Fill IELTS Answer SheetHow to Prepare For Computer Based IELTSHow to Improve IELTS Score From 6.5 to 7
IELTS General Training ExamIELTS Introduction SampleHow to Write Conclusion in Writing Task 2
IELTS Essay on Art and CultureGlobal Warming Essay For IELTSGovernment and Society IELTS Essay





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