Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Are you good at keeping secrets?

A few weeks ago Jessica Beck from the IELTS Energy Podcast revealed that she is an Ex-Examiner for the IELTS Exam. She had to keep this a secret for three years while we published the podcast.

Now the secret is out!

Do you want to know how to talk about keeping a secret in English?

This is a really important part of the culture, and so knowing how to talk about keeping secrets is vital.

We’re going to look at keeping secrets or surprises to yourself, and more importantly how to talk about this in conversation with native speakers in English.

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Knowing How To Talk About Keeping A Secret

There’s a lot of vocabulary around keeping a secret or a surprise in the English language.

This isn’t always a bad thing, because a surprise can be a really good thing.

You tend to know when it is appropriate to keep a secret or surprise as an adult, though it can sometimes be confusing.

It’s important to keep a secret if you are asked to, and therefore it’s also important to know how to talk about keeping something to yourself.

Having the right terms to say can help you in conversation, and can also help to remind you why it’s so important to keep a secret in the first place.

Terms To Use About Keeping A Secret

Not all secrets or surprises are bad, and you want to be sure to remember that.

These are the terms that talk about secrets, your ability to keep them, and how to keep information to yourself.

  • Weight off your chest: That sense of relief when you don’t have to carry something around as a secret or surprise. You may have even felt stressed with carrying this secret around with you, and now you can finally share it.
  • The big reveal: This is when you share your secret with other people in a big way. This is about the secret that you are sharing, but also the way in which you share it.
  • To spill the beans: This would be sharing the secret or surprise before it’s time. You don’t want to do this because it means that you are spoiling the surprise or sharing a secret prematurely.
  • To hold back: You have to keep the details of something to yourself. You are holding it back from others and therefore not telling anybody about it. This can be tough, but it’s essential in many situations. It’s about trust!
  • To keep something in: This is also about keeping a secret and maintaining trust with somebody. You want to be careful to keep something in if you are trusted with a secret. You don’t want to let somebody down and so you keep it in and hold onto it as a secret.
  • Poker Face: Keeping a straight face and not revealing your “hand”. This means not sharing the details of what you know. This is about keeping your emotions to yourself on the outside so that you don’t let on to the outside world what you know inside. You don’t let others see what you know or what is going on. You are not letting your emotions show on your face!

These terms all center around keeping a secret or surprise, and so they work well in conversations.

Remember it’s about trust, and the way that you talk about these secrets in conversation can make for great practice.


Keeping a secret is a really important part of making and keeping connections.

The way in which you talk about the ability to keep a secret can be very important too.

Practice using these phrases in conversation, and you will see how each one fits in naturally.

Secrets and surprises can be a really good thing, and so knowing these common phrases can be quite helpful.

The way you talk about this is important, and of course so is the ability to keep a secret or surprise too.

Go check out the big secret that our IELTS Expert Jessica Beck revealed a few weeks ago here about her 14-year job as an IELTS Examiner.

If you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments section.

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

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