Each language or culture has a different set of phrases that have special meaning in their country. Similarly, English native speakers use idioms and phrasal verbs to express themselves. If you’re a non-native English speaker and will take the IELTS Speaking Test soon, you need to know about these idioms to improve your IELTS score. The IELTS Speaking assessment focuses on how well you can use idiomatic language. Let’s check out how you can speak like an English native speaker by learning idioms and use them during your IELTS test.
What’s an idiom?
An idiom is a phrase or expression whose meaning isn’t obvious or clear when you read each word. Idiomatic phrases have figurative meaning conventionally understood by native speakers. So if you don’t understand and learn common idioms in English, it’ll be hard to truly communicate like a native speaker during your IELTS Speaking Test.
You might be familiar with some of the idioms, like “piece of cake” (meaning something easily done”). Another idiomatic phrase you might have heard is – “it’s raining cats and dogs” (meaning heavy downpour of rain). Just like these phrases, there are so many idioms that English native speakers use all the time when talking casually with family, friends, and colleagues. If you learn how to use idioms correctly, you will sound like you’re at ease with the English language.
Common Idioms Used by Native English Speakers
- Beat around the bush – I don’t have much time. Stop beating around the bush and tell me what actually happened.
- A bad apple – John is not focusing on his studies these days. He spends his time hanging out with bad apples.
- Compare apples and oranges – I’m not sure which I enjoy more – writing or designing. It’s like comparing apples and oranges.
- Spice things up – Are you buying a birthday gift for Sarah? Why don’t you spice things up this year by taking her out for dinner?
- Rule of thumb – A good rule of thumb when it comes to exercise is that you get at least 30 minutes of cardio every day.
- Shell out money – You won’t have to shell out a fortune for it.
- Make ends meet – After losing my job due to the pandemic, it’s getting difficult to make my ends meet.
- Keep your chin up – Don’t worry, you’ll find a new job soon, keep your chin up.
- Up in the air – Everything was up in the air when I last spoke to him about it.
- The ball is in your court – I’ve done my bit. The ball is in your court now.
- Under the weather – I’m feeling a bit under the weather. I hope I don’t have COVID.
- Better late than never – All of us have been waiting for you for two hours – but better late than never.
Tips for Learning Idioms
- Be selective when learning English idioms – There are some phrases that stick with you even you don’t memorize them. When you purposefully learn English idioms, you should learn the ones that are relevant in everyday scenarios or your personal circumstances.
- Engage in activities involving the English language – When you engage in plenty of activities involving the English language, you will not only encounter new vocabulary, but you will also learn idioms and feel comfortable using idiomatic expressions when you speak.
- Engage in conversations with English native speakers – The best advice is to listen to native speakers by chatting to them. You can even watch English movies and songs and listen to how native speakers communicate and what’re the common idioms they use.
- Be careful when you use idioms – You need to use idioms naturally. Make sure you learn how to use them in different instances. You should not overuse them and sound forced. You don’t have to start with the most complex idioms. Learn simple ones first and use them when you speak to connect in a more meaningful way during the conversation.
- Practice and Practice More – Practice makes a man perfect. The more you practice, the better it gets. Learn common idioms used by native speakers and start using them in your daily situations. This will help you add a level of sophistication to your English speaking and sound more like a native speaker.
When you learn English idioms and phrases, you will sound more confident especially when you speak with native English speakers. The only way you can be proficient in speaking English like native speakers is to actually keep talking and practicing.
Once you’re ready to take the IELST Speaking Test, look for available IELTS test booking dates in London, Kingston, Brampton, and Mississauga. To book your IELTS test in these four locations, visit the website of IELTS AOLCC.
IELTS AOLCC has test centres in London, Kingston, Brampton, and Mississauga for your IELTS test booking. You can choose from a range of available test dates. For any queries, email IELTS AOLCC at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://ieltsaolcc.ca/register/.