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10 Commonly Used Figurative Expressions

Speaking can be quite a nuisance especially when we have to produce words that are rarely used in daily discourses. Uncommonly used vocabs can add greatly to your IELTS Speaking Test score if you can successfully exercise them fluently. Indeed, this inconvenience can be overcome by the use of idiomatic expressions that are frequently brought forth in your dialog with people around. As Amy Gillet, American English idioms expert says, idioms add color to the language.

These phrases can convey that the current situation being described has a resemblance with past history, and in that sense they may be similar to analogies or metaphors. Learning some key idioms and their usages can help your score in IELTS Speaking Tasks.

IELTS Test takers can try to memorize at least ten of these commonly used figurative speeches and repeat them regularly in particular occasions to identify each phrase’s contexts before finally confidently apply them in the IELTS Speaking Test.
  1. Piece of cake – When someone says that the assignment they just finished was a piece of cake, means it is a very easy task or accomplishment or something takes small effort to complete.I thought I was going to fail the test, but it turned out to be a piece of cake!
  2. Costs an arm and a leg –When something costs an arm and a leg it actually means that something is very expensive.These opera tickets cost an arm and a leg!
  3. Every cloud has a silver liningBelievingthat every bad situation has a positive side / eventually leads to something good.I’m sorry your business is going badly, but don’t despair, every cloud has a silver lining.
  4. State of the art – very similar to cutting edge. This means thatthe subject being discussed is so modern that it represents the latest science or technology; the most modern process known for it. Young people always hope to own cellphones that represent state of the art technology.
  5. Hit the books –Before students are dealing with tests, they run into their campus library and deal withlots of written resources to intensively study.We have exams next week, we better hit the books this weekend.
  6. Let the cat out of the bag – It actually means to disclose a secret or surprise that was supposed to be kept, well, as a secret. I was trying to keep the party a secret, but Jim went and let the cat out of the bag.
  7. Hit the nail on the head – This idiom has to do with doing or saying something that is precisely right. To do exactly the appropriate and effective and efficient way. You’ve spotted the flaw, Sally. You hit the nail on the head.
  8. When pigs (can) fly – At a time that will never come to pass or that something will never happen. It shows skepticism or cynicism over someone’s hypothetical remark.Democrats and Republicans on a tax reform bill when the pigs can fly.
  9. Can’t (or don’t) judge a book by its cover – This means we can’s base our opinion of something or someone on the way it or one look. This report looks dull, but don’t judge a book by its cover, since it is so detailed.
  10. Bite off more than (one) can chew – It just means to attempt to take on a task that is too much for one to handle. Or to decide/agree to do more than one can finally accomplish.“They offered me the job but the it was so difficult! I definitely bit off more than I could chew.”

In IELTS Jakarta wetrain our students to maximize their speaking experience by using these every day idioms.

BY almio harjanto ON february 23, 2017 


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