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

Today you’ll learn band 8 words even natives misuse, and you’ll learn how to use them correctly for higher vocab. scores.

All native speakers make mistakes in their own language!

Learn the words below, correctly, and you will definitely stand out in the mind of the examiner.


This is assuredly an advanced vocabulary word!

For years, Jessica had only read this word, but never heard it spoken. She guessed the meaning from context, and thought it meant ‘transparent‘.

However, opaque means the opposite! It means ‘not transparent‘ or ‘not allowing light to come through‘.

A red eye

This idiom describes an overnight flight.

Lindsay used to think, as recently as two years ago, that this idiom described the red light on an airplane, but, actually, it describes the fact that travelers have red eyes at the end of this flight due to lack of sleep.

To make ends meet

This idiom means you make just enough money to pay the bills.

In a past episode, Lindsay said that she had thought the last word of this idiom was ‘meat‘, and so had a different image of this phrase in her mind.


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This extremely high-level word describes bushes and trees.

Jessica has always pronounced it foil-age, and was only corrected in recent years. Still to this day, she has to consciously think about it to pronounce it correctly.


Numerous native speakers say ‘anyways‘, although it is not correct.

This means that ‘anyways‘ is informal, or slang. Thus, it would be fine to use in Speaking Part 1 or 2.


This is a noun meaning ‘move or travel quickly‘.

It could easily be mistaken or misheard as said ‘worldwind’, which is not a word!


Some native speakers mistakenly say, ‘irregardless‘. This is not a word!

Only say ‘regardless‘, which means, ‘in spite of‘.

Ex-president George Bush famously used ‘irregardless’ and was hounded in the press for this blunder, because he made many gaffes while speaking.

Remember, even natives make mistakes! You can have slight errors or slips, and still get an 8+!

How would you use today’s vocabulary?

Share your examples in the comments section below!


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