Best 20 IELTS Speaking Idioms with Samples Earning a Band 9


Speaking fluently and confidently is essential to excel in the IELTS speaking exam. One effective way to boost your speaking score is by incorporating idioms into your responses. Idioms add color and depth to your language, showcasing your advanced language skills. In this article, we will explore the top 20 IELTS speaking idioms that will not only impress the examiner but also help you score a band 9 in the speaking test.

Learn these idioms on Quizlet.

1. Idiom: A piece of cake

  • Meaning: Something that is very easy to do.
  • Example: “For me, answering questions on science topics is a piece of cake because I’ve always been interested in the subject.”

2. Idiom: Hit the nail on the head

  • Meaning: To get something exactly right or say something accurately.
  • Example: “My teammate hit the nail on the head when he mentioned that teamwork is crucial for success in any project.”

3. Idiom: On cloud nine

  • Meaning: To be extremely happy or delighted.
  • Example: “When I received the acceptance letter from my dream university, I was on cloud nine. It was the best day of my life.”

4. Idiom: In the blink of an eye

  • Meaning: Something that happens very quickly, almost instantaneously.
  • Example: “The time flew by during my vacation. It felt like I was there for just a day, and it was over in the blink of an eye.”

5. Idiom: Bring the house down

  • Meaning: To cause great enthusiasm or applause from an audience.
  • Example: “The stand-up comedian’s hilarious performance brought the house down. Everyone was laughing uncontrollably.”

6. Idiom: Keep an eye on

  • Meaning: To monitor or watch carefully.
  • Example: “Parents should keep an eye on their children’s online activities to ensure their safety in this digital age.”

7. Idiom: Break the ice

  • Meaning: To do or say something to ease the tension or start a conversation in a social situation.
  • Example: “At networking events, it’s important to break the ice by introducing yourself and asking open-ended questions.”

8. Idiom: Steal the show

  • Meaning: To attract the most attention or praise in a performance or event.
  • Example: “The lead actor’s captivating portrayal of the character stole the show. Everyone was mesmerized by his talent.”

9. Idiom: Cross your fingers

  • Meaning: To hope for good luck or success.
  • Example: “Even though I was nervous, I crossed my fingers and gave my best during the job interview. Thankfully, I got the offer.”

10. Idiom: Hear it on the grapevine

  • Meaning: To hear rumors or information indirectly from other people.
  • Example: “I heard it on the grapevine that the company is planning to launch a new product. I can’t wait to find out more details.”

11. Idiom: Get cold feet

  • Meaning: To become nervous or scared, especially before an important event or decision.
  • Example: “I was excited about the bungee jumping activity, but when I stood at the edge, I got cold feet and couldn’t jump.”

12. Idiom: Put all your eggs in one basket

  • Meaning: To depend on a single plan or option, which can be risky.
  • Example: “Instead of investing all your money in one stock, it’s wise to diversify your portfolio. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

13. Idiom: Draw a blank

  • Meaning: To be unable to remember or think of something.
  • Example: “When the examiner asked me about my favorite book, my mind went blank, and I drew a blank. I couldn’t recall any titles.”

14. Idiom: Butterflies in your stomach

  • Meaning: To feel nervous or anxious, often before a significant event.
  • Example: “Before the public speaking competition, I had butterflies in my stomach. But once I started, the nervousness faded away.”

15. Idiom: A blessing in disguise

  • Meaning: Something that appears to be bad initially but turns out to be advantageous in the end.
  • Example: “Not getting selected for the team was a blessing in disguise because it gave me more time to focus on my studies.”

16. Idiom: Catch someone’s eye

  • Meaning: To attract someone’s attention.
  • Example: “The colorful and unique artwork in the gallery caught my eye. I couldn’t resist admiring it.”

17. Idiom: Time flies

  • Meaning: Time passes very quickly.
  • Example: “When you are engaged in an enjoyable conversation, time flies. Before you know it, hours have passed.”

18. Idiom: Break a leg

  • Meaning: An expression used to wish someone good luck, often before a performance.
  • Example: “Before going on stage for the dance competition, my friends told me, ‘Break a leg!’ It boosted my confidence.”

19. Idiom: The ball is in your court

  • Meaning: It is someone’s turn or responsibility to take action or make a decision.
  • Example: “I’ve given you all the information you need. Now, the ball is in your court to decide which option works best for you.”

20. Idiom: Get the hang of

  • Meaning: To become familiar or skilled at doing something.
  • Example: “It took me some time, but eventually, I got the hang of playing the guitar. Practice and perseverance paid off.”


Incorporating idioms into your IELTS speaking responses can significantly enhance your score and impress the examiner. These top 20 idioms, along with their band 9 sample sentences, provide you with a solid foundation to showcase your advanced English skills. Remember to use idioms appropriately and practice incorporating them naturally into your conversation. So, go ahead, break a leg, and ace your IELTS speaking test!


Q1: Can I use these idioms in the writing section of the IELTS exam?

A: While idioms can add color to your writing, it’s essential to use them sparingly and in the right context. In academic writing, focus on clarity and precision rather than using idioms excessively.

Q2: How can I remember idioms effectively?

A: To remember idioms, try using them in your everyday conversations, writing practice, and even making flashcards. The more you use them, the more they will stick in your memory.

Q3: Should I use idioms in formal discussions?

A: In formal discussions or professional settings, it’s advisable to use idioms sparingly. Always consider the context and the level of formality the situation demands.

Q4: Can I create my own idioms for the speaking test?

A: While it’s encouraged to showcase your creativity in the speaking test, it’s better to use established idioms to convey your meaning effectively. Creating your own idioms may lead to miscommunication or confusion.

Q5: How can I practice using idioms for the IELTS speaking test?

A: You can practice using idioms by engaging in conversation with native English speakers, watching movies or TV shows in English, and reading English books or articles. Use idioms in your everyday conversations to improve your fluency and confidence.

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