Native English speakers pepper both speech and writing with idioms.
This makes them sound more compelling.
For the IELTS Test student this is a good skill to develop. It makes speech interesting and vibrant. However, using too many idioms can make you sound like a comedy sketch – lampooning idiom users.
So what is an idiom?
A group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words, e.g., a bird in the hand is worth two In the bush – this means having something that is certain is much better than taking a risk for more, because chances are you might lose everything.
So, idioms are words, phrases, or expressions that cannot be taken literally. In other words, when used in everyday language, they have a meaning other than the basic one you would find in the dictionary.
Unfortunately, there is often not a logical connection between the idiom and its meaning, so the only way for an IELTS student to get to know them is to learn them. The more you hear or read them more you will be tempted to use them.
Here are 7 common idioms to start you off:
- A Blessing In Disguise – Something good that isn’t recognized at first.
- A Chip On Your Shoulder – Being upset for something that happened in the past.
- A Doubting Thomas – A sceptic who needs physical or personal evidence in order to believe something.
- Bend Over Backwards – Do whatever it takes to help. Willing to do anything.
- Between A Rock And A Hard Place – Stuck between two very bad options.
- Bite Off More Than You Can Chew – To take on a task that is way too big.
- Blood Is Thicker Than Water – The family bond is closer than anything else.
Start learning them today. Try to use each of these in conversation with your friends and fellow students. Use some of them in your writing.
But remember, don’t use too many or you’ll begin to sound silly.
To your IELTS success,
P.S. This post is part of the Good Grammar series of posts. Look out for the others in the series. Please comment below if you would like us to address other Grammar queries you might have in future posts.
P.P.S. Click here if you would like your IELTS Test Writing marked and correctedto improve your IELTS writing with skill such as this.