IELTS Speaking Vocabulary

Vocabulary is 25% of your marks in the speaking and writing test. In the Speaking test, you will have to speak face-to-face with a certified examiner. The Speaking test is 11-14 minutes long and is divided into three parts. They are:

Part 1 Self Introduction
Part 2 Talk about a topic
Part 3 Further discussion on the topic given in part 2

The Speaking test is the same for both versions (Academic and General) of IELTS. Some of the topics and related speaking vocabulary are listed below:

Sunny spells – short periods of sunny weather
To get drenched – To get very wet
Heatstroke – a serious condition caused by being too long in hot weather
thick fog – a dense fog that makes visibility very poor
torrential rain – Intense rainfall
classical music –  music that is regarded as part of a long, formal tradition.
a pop group – a small group of people who play or sing pop music together
Track – one of the songs or pieces of music on an album
background music – music that is played while something else is happening
a rock band – a group of musicians that play rock music

Apart from this, there are connectors, idioms, phrasal verbs, collocations, coherence and cohesive devices which are discussed below :

Connectors: They aid in improving the quality of sentence structure while framing complex sentences. Also, it links one thought to the other. Thus, it gives the conversation a logical flow. Some of them are given below:

Vocabulary to denote time :

  • Meanwhile
  • Since
  • During
  • Simultaneously
  • At the same time
Vocabulary to express agreement :

  • Exactly
  • So do I
  • That’s true
  • I consent that
  • I approve the idea of

Coherence – It refers to the organization of ideas. You need to organize your ideas in the given manner:

General ideas
| to
Specific ideas
| to
Explanation or Evidence
| to

Linking words or connectors help in achieving coherence

Cohesion: You need to know how to use linking words to avoid “Ums” and “Ahs”. If “Umms and “Aahs are used because you are in search for the right word, it will lead to a poor score in Speaking section. Here’s an example

Question : Describe your childhood friend

Wrong usage :
Ummmmmmmmm Aaaaaahh I think Umm Aah I liked her Ummmm Aah because she was very intelligent and secured the first rank in class.
Correct usage:
Well, I’m not exactly sure why I liked her so much. But I guess I liked her because she was the topper in class.

Collocations: They are two or three words that go together and sound just right. The watchword is “Don’t learn new words in isolation”. Always learn words in a context.

She spends a lot of money – Correct usage
She uses a lot of money – Wrong usage
Dev has a loud voice – Correct usage
Dev has a big voice – Wrong usage
Sunita was watching a movie – Correct usage
Sunita was looking at a movie – Wrong usage 

Idioms: They are phrases that do not have the same meaning as the words actually spoken. The common mistake people tend to make is to go on a search for difficult, uncommon ones which they cannot use properly in a sentence.

Uncommon idiom – it takes two to tango
Meaning: when you want to say that both people involved in a tough situation must accept the blame, or to denote that an activity needs two people who are willing to take part for it to happen.
Example: The street vendor wanted to argue, but it takes two to tango. So I paid what he demanded.

Success lies in practicing idioms which are simple and can be used in day to day language with much ease. Here are some of them :

idiom – To be on cloud nine
Meaning: To feel extremely happy
Example: She was on cloud nine.
idiom – I hit the ceiling
Meaning: To become very angry
Example: The car hit my bike’s headlight. I hit the ceiling and shouted at the driver.
idiom – To have a whale of a time
Meaning: to have lot of fun and excitement
Example: Please visit Shimoga. You can have a whale of a time.

Phrasal verbs: They are phrases that indicate actions. They usually consist of a verb with a preposition or an adverb. Here are some examples :

Phrasal verb  Adverb  Preposition 
Cheer       – Up
Cut Down On
Cheer up :
Meaning – becoming happy
Example – On seeing the diamond jewellery, she cheered up.
Hold on :
Meaning – waiting for a short period of time
Example – Hold on! While I give the receiver to my sister.
Cut down on: 
Meaning – reduce
Example – Due to recession, the company decided to cut down on its costs.

Also check :

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Sowmya is a content writer and is passionate about her job. She currently works on editing and writing engaging content for IELTS Material. She also has experience in the Software Testing Industry and has worked with Wipro for five and a half years.

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