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

Today you’ll get 4 idioms about accommodation to use for the General Training Letter, and also for IELTS Speaking and Writing Task 2.

There are many questions in these 3 parts of the exam having to do with accommodation.

The phrases you learn today are all formal idioms, so they can be used in any letter on the exam.

If you are instructed to write a letter to someone you don’t know, or only know in an administrative context, your tone must be formal.

The ‘tone’ of a letter is important, because this is part of your score! You must be able to express yourself in both formal and informal ways, not only for the letter, but also in IELTS Speaking.

One of our amazing 3 Keys students posted an idiom recently that she saw in a model letter, and was wondering if it was formal or not. It was formal, and is included in our examples today!

Example letter topics:

  • You enrolled in a study abroad program, and there is a problem with the accommodation.
  • You stayed in a hotel last month and there was a problem with the room.

Idiom #1: my heart sank

My heart sank when I saw that I was required to share my room with three other people. 

This describes the moment in which you get quite scared or despondent.


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Idiom #2: beside oneself

I was beside myself with joy.

This is used to describe being overtaken by strong emotion. It can be positive, such as the example, or negative, like beside myself with grief.

Idiom #3: throwing money down the drain

Keeping my broken down car was just throwing money down the drain.

This idiom describes spending a lot of money on fixing something, and never really getting the most positive results. You are just wasting your money.

Idiom #4: a change of heart

Originally I wanted a roommate, but, I had a change of heart, and have decided that I would prefer more private quarters.

This is a fantastic phrase to describe changing your mind.

Click here for more guidance about increasing your score on the General Training Letter.

To keep expanding your formal and academic vocabulary, you can use high-level newspapers such as the New York Times.

How could you use these idioms?

Share your example sentence in the comments section below.

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