Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

Today you’ll find out if the word “freak” is too informal for IELTS Speaking Exams.

In IELTS Speaking Parts 1 and 2, the topics are informal, such as asking you about what you do in your free time, or what your favorite snacks are.

Therefore, it is appropriate to use vocabulary that tends toward the informal end of the communication spectrum.

This is why getting a 7 or higher for Vocabulary requires you to exhibit a range, from informal in Part 1 to formal in Part 3.

However, there are instances when going too informal would not be appropriate.



Now, the traditional meaning of the word “freak” describes a person that is very different or abnormal.

You can use it in a positive sense:

“He’s kind of a freak, but in a good way. I mean, he can hear a piece of music and play it immediately.”

That would be totally acceptable for IELTS Speaking.


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In contrast, used in a negative sense, it would convey a hateful message, and, as we say, you should try to keep your mindset and your answers positive on exam day.

So, don’t say:

“No, I don’t like him. He’s a freak, always talking about weird stuff that no one cares about.”

There is another usage of “freak”, though, which is very common among native speakers.

We use this word to replace the swear word that starts with “f”, such as:

“There’s no freaking way I would ever jump out of an airplane.”

I would say that if your examiner is on the younger side, this wouldn’t bother them.

However, if the examiner is older and more conservative or traditional, they might not think this is appropriate language for the exam.

Above all, never use swear words in your IELTS Speaking answers!

What IELTS questions do you have?

Ask us in the comments section below!


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