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

Today you’ll learn IELTS band 9 phrases for work experiences to sound more like a native.

Last week, we talked about band 9 native phrases and vocabulary to describe your academic life, and, realistically, many of those can be used to describe your life in the world of work as well.

Today, we’ll learn 4 more idioms/sayings that contemporary native speakers utilize, which are more appropriate to describe your job or work experiences.

Remember, in order to increase your vocabulary score on the Speaking and Writing Exams, you need to stand out, and not talk like every other student!

The idioms today will get you there!



Band 9 Sayings to Describe Work:

Work hard, play hard– work hard and a lot, but also be very active outside of work

I work over 40 hours a week, but I still manage to go rock climbing every weekend. You know, work hard, play hard, as they say.

Live to work or work to live– ‘Live to work’ means your job is the most important thing in your life, and ‘work to live’ means that your job is not important, it’s just a way to make money and pay the bills


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The question of ‘live to work or work to live’ comes up often among adults. I think it’s a shame for people that live to work, as there are so many other spheres of life that deserve time and attention.

Put in my time, and that’s it– When you leave work, you don’t think about it. When you’re at work, you don’t care too much about it, either.

When I worked as a bartender, I would just sort of put in my time, and that was it. It wasn’t going to be my career or anything, so I didn’t put much thought into it.

Leave it at the office– If you have an intense job, you are able to go home and relax and not think about work a lot.

It’s important, but challenging, for doctors to leave it at the office. But, for their mental health, they must learn to leave worry and anxiety about their patients behind, so they are able to enjoy their family and friends.

Practice using these phrases for these Speaking Part 3 questions:

Why is it important to try and achieve a work-life balance?

Are some jobs more stressful than others?

How would you use today’s phrases?

Share your examples in the comments section below!

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