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IELTS 5 Phrases to improve your speaking
MAria Aviles / June 18, 2019

IELTS 5 Phrases to improve your speaking
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Do you get tongue tied?

Tongue tied is when you are trying to speak but the words just won’t come out of your mouth. This can happen especially when we are either nervous or anxious. In the IELTS speaking exam, it is easy for someone to become tongue tied and unable to answer the question properly. This is partly due to students trying to think and speak at the same time. Some students even try to think in their own language and translate their thoughts into English at the same time, which in an IELTS exam makes things very difficult. Here are 5 phrases that you can use to give yourself time to think, and therefore you can avoid trying to speak and think at the same time. As a result, your thoughts and words will flow more naturally, and help you to answer the questions better. These are the sort of useful tricks you can learn on our IELTS Course in Malta.

1 .- That’s an interesting question

This is a good phrase to use and one that can help you take time to consider your answer. Don’t say the phrase too quickly, and make sure you take your time when you emphasise the stress in the word ‘interesting’ (inTREsting). This should give you about 5 seconds to think carefully about how you are going to answer the question.

For example:

Question: “Is technology needed to make friends?”

Answer: “That’s an interesting question.”

 2 .-Well, that depends on a few things

 This is a really good phrase to use when you don’t think you’ve been asked a straightforward question. You might think that there are a few factors that can influence your answer as well, which might make the question more challenging to answer. While you are thinking of including those factors in your answer, buy more thinking time with this phrase, ‘Well, that depends on a few things’. First of all, take your time saying the word ‘well’. By taking your time on this word, you can easily add a couple of seconds that can really help you to think of your answer. Regarding the second part of that question, take your time on the words ‘depends’ and ‘things’ while emphasising the stress in both words. All in all, it’s a good idea to give yourself 5 to 8 seconds of thinking time before answering the question.

For example:

Question: “Do you think shopping habits will change in the future?”

Answer: “Well, that depends on a few things. First it depends on…”

 3.- I haven’t really thought much about it, but I would say

 This phrase means that you haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about the answer to this question, and therefore you need a bit of thinking time before trying to answer. As you can see, it’s quite a long phrase, which means you can take your time. The main words you want to stress in this phrase are the words ‘really’ and ‘much’. By taking your time, you can give yourself a good 5 to 8 seconds before answering the question.

For example:

Questions: “Why do you think different cultures have different table manners?”

Answer: “Well, I haven’t really thought about it, but I would say…”

4.-  Funny you should ask that

 This phrase is appropriate if they have asked a question on a subject or particular aspect of a subject that you yourself have recently been thinking about. For example:

Question: “Do you think technology helps people to make friends?”

Answer: “Funny you should ask that, as I was thinking about friends and social media just the other day.”

You can see that the word ‘funny’ in this phrase does not mean funny haha, but instead it means that it is a coincidence you should ask me that question.

 5.-  Looking back, I would say

 This phrase is most appropriate when you have been asked a question that is to do with the past. The phrase is similar to the phrase ‘on reflection,’ which is another phrase you can use. This basically means, ‘Thinking about that time in the past’. For example:

Question: “Did you enjoy school?”

Answer: “Looking back, I would say yes, but it wasn’t always enjoyable.”


 Want to know more?

If you’ve found this article helpful and would like to know more about the best ways to prepare for IELTS make sure you follow the link to our website and download our IELTS brochure. Many students are looking to prepare for IELTS in Malta, and AM Language has a great course that helps you achieve your IELTS goals. The course is particularly good for people who are preparing to go to university or looking to do a masters at university.  https://www.amlanguage.com/learn/ielts/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=am-language-ielts