IELTS Speaking: 19 Useful Idioms To Help You Get Band 8.0+

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  1. Hear on the grapevine   
    This idiom means ’to hear rumors’ about something or someone.
    Ex: I heard on the grapevine that she was pregnant, but I don’t know anything more.
  2. Hit the nail on the head
    To be right about something
    Ex: Mike hit the nail on the head when he said most people can use a computer withou knowing how it works.
  3. In the heat of the moment
    say or do it without thinking because you are very angry or excited
    Ex: She doesn’t hate you. She just said that in the heat of the moment.
  4. It takes two to tango
    both people involved in a bad situation are responsible for it
    Ex: She blames Tracy for stealing her husband. ‘Well, it takes two to tango.’
  5. Get/jump on the bandwagon
    Join a popular trend or activity.
    Ex: You jump on the bandwagon when all your friends begin eating at a new popular restaurant.
  6. Keep something at bay
    Keep something away
    Ex: She fought to keep her unhappiness at bay.
  7. Kill two birds with one stone
    This idiom means, to accomplish two different things at the same time.
    Ex: I killed two birds with one stone and saw some old friends while I was in Leeds visitingmy parents.
  8. Last straw
    The final problem in a series of problems.
    Ex: This is the last straw. I’m calling the police.
  9. Let sleeping dogs lie
    to not talk about things which have caused problems in the past, or to not try to change a situation because you might cause problems
    Ex: Jane knew she should report the accident but decided to let sleeping dogs lie.
  10. Let the cat out of the bag
    To reveal a secret or a surprise, often without an intention to do so
    Ex: It’s a secret. Try not to let the cat out of the bag.
  11. Not playing with a full deck
    Someone who lacks intelligence.
    Ex: Jim’s a nice guy, but with some of the foolish things he does, I wonder if he’s not playingwith a full deck.
  12. Far cry from
    Very different from
    Ex: What you did was a far cry from what you said you were going to do.
  13. Give the benefit of the doubt
    to decide you will believe someone or something
    Ex: I didn’t know whether his story was true or not, but I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt.
  14. Pull the wool over someone’s eyes
    Deceive someone into thinking well of them.
    Ex: You can’t pull the wool over my eyes. I know what’s going on.
  15. See eye to eye
    This idiom is used to say that two (or more people) agree on something.
    Ex: My father and I see eye to eye on most things.
  16. Take with a grain of salt
    Consider something to be not completely true or right
    Ex: I’ve read the article, which I take with a grain of salt.
  17. Taste of your own medicine
    Means that something happens to you,or is done to you that you have done to someone else
    Ex: Tom talks way too much – but last night he met someone who talked even more than he does, and he got frustrated. He finally got a taste of his own medicine.
  18. Whole nine yards
    Everything, the entire amount, as far as possible
    Ex: When I was little, my family always had lots of pets – dogs, cats,hamsters, fish, rabbits – the whole nine yards.
  1. Wouldn’t be caught dead
    Would never like to do something
    Ex: My father wouldn’t have been caught dead in a white suit.

Learn more: Top Phrasal Verbs for IELTS Speaking

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Tony IELTS Box is designed for anyone who wants to achieve a score of 7.0 - 8.0 or higher in the Speal‹ing and Listening modules on the Academic IELTS exam. The majority of candidates aim to get at least 6. 5 in order to study at university, to apply for a visa or to have proof of a good level of English. These videos aim to develops your speaking and listening skills up to and beyond this level.