Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

Today you’ll learn how to use the super impressive band 9 phrase ‘de facto.’

We’ll also share example sentences you can use on IELTS Speaking and Writing exams.

You’ll definitely want to take notes today!

This phrase comes from the Latin “of fact” and using it makes you sound fancy and smart.

Use this vocabulary correctly for a 7 or higher on IELTS!

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What is the meaning of ‘de facto’ and can I use it on the IELTS test?

You definitely should!

It makes you sounds smart and well-educated.

De facto

This is useful for talking about sociological issues and societal issues.

Use it to describe:

  • characteristics
  • commonalities
  • general attributes

Synonyms are:

  • in reality
  • actual
  • basically
  • essentially
  • unofficial


Spanglish is the de facto language of the border.

It’s not the official language, but it’s what people are actually speaking.

This is the reality.

Questions come up on Speaking and Writing Task 2 about language usage.

Use the phrase ‘de facto’ to describe how people actually speak.

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We’ve been doing a civil rights series on the All Ears English podcast.

Make sure you’re subscribed and don’t miss that series!

When discussing segregated neighborhoods, you could use ‘de facto.’

There is a de facto racial segregation in the United States.

Your answers should be from today’s headlines.

It’s essential to create a culture of thinking within yourself.


You may be asked about results and consequences on IELTS.

You could also get a question or Writing Task 2 topic about the education system.

There is a de facto segregation in place in terms of segregation.

In the United States, property taxes are used to fund schools.

Due to this, in poorer neighborhoods schools receive less funding.

Often, the population in these areas are largely minorities.

These would be perfect phrases to use for an IELTS band 7 or higher.


These caregivers are the de facto parents when biological parents are not present.

This phrase indicates that the caregivers are not biological parents.

It may be grandparents or a family members such as an aunt.

“It takes a village to raise a child” is a useful idiom here.

It means that communities and culture have a large effect on how kids behave.

It also indicates that parents need parenting support from their community.

We often turn this into a half idiom.

“It takes a village.”

For more information about half idioms, check out Jessica’s YouTube video on this topic.


As you can see, there are a myriad of ways to use ‘de facto’ on the IELTS exam.

This is an extremely high level, band 9 phrase.

Today’s sentences gives you examples of how it can be used on Speaking and Writing.

Practice using it when writing Task 2 essays and answering Speaking Part 3 questions.

We provide more high level vocabulary and the strategies you need to use it in 3 Keys IELTS.

We guarantee a score increase, or your money back so sign up today!

How would you use ‘de facto’ in a sentence?

Share an example in the comments below!

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