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

Ain’t using idioms for IELTS? We’ll teach you how today!

We had an awesome question from a 3 Keys student in our closed Facebook group:

Is it appropriate to use the “ain’t” form in speaking? For example, I like the expression, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” but I’m afraid it could count as a grammar mistake.

In order to get a 7 or higher for vocabulary, you have to show interesting, idiomatic, flexible language.

Sure, the word “ain’t” is grammatically atrocious, but it would be acceptable to use on your Speaking Exam, as long as it’s in this idiom.

In fact, on episode 871 of the All Ears English podcast, they did a whole show about “ain’t”.

If you’re worried about the examiner marking you down for grammar, frame the idiom like this:

Oh, you know what they say, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

I know this isn’t grammatically correct, but, as the saying goes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.


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You could use this in Speaking Part 1 answers about work, for instance, by saying, “I love my job. It’s very fulfilling, so I’m not going to look for another job. You know, as the saying goes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

Another interesting idiom you can use in Speaking and Writing is, “You don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

This means you don’t have to start from scratch, or create something, by yourself. You can use another idea or thing if it works fine, and save your time for other endeavors.

Jessica has been using this phrase often when talking about the positives of using IELTS Writing templates.

Another good idiom for Speaking and Writing would be, “It’s not rocket science.”

This phrase would be great to use to describe an idea or action that is a no-brainer, or an obvious choice, or, more specifically, not difficult.

Choose one of today’s idioms to use on your next exam!

How would you use today’s idioms?

Share your example sentences in the comments section below.


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