Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"

Can you answer an IELTS Speaking question with the single word, “No”?

The short answer is no!

Just saying “no” will not get you a high vocabulary score on IELTS.

It also doesn’t give you an opportunity to show your fluency.

In today’s video, Jessica shares details about how this affects your IELTS Speaking score.

She also provides three phrases to use instead!

Watch the video now!

How does “No” affect your IELTS Speaking score?

  • Fluency and Coherence

To show you are fluent, you must be able to answer every question.

Just “No” or “Yes” does not suffice!

You must be able to elaborate on your opinion in order to show fluency.

  • Vocabulary

Throughout your Speaking exam, you need to show a range of vocabulary.

Appropriate informal and formal, high level vocabulary must be used in the right context.

When you don’t expound on answers, you have no chance to show this vocabulary.

Three phrases that replace “No”

Here are the three phrases you learn in today’s video:

1. Nope. 100%, no.

2. I wish I could answer in the affirmative, but, unfortunately, I gotta say no.

3. Oh, gosh, no. I have, like, zero talent in the kitchen.

We’ll break each one down and share where you should use it on IELTS.

#1: Nope. 100%, no.

This is a perfect phrase for Speaking Parts 1 and 2.

“Nope” is fun slang, showing that range of informal vocabulary.

Saying “100%” in this way is idiomatic language.

  • 100%: completely, absolutely, certainly

Don’t forget that you’re required to use idiomatic language for a 7 or higher!

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#2: I wish I could answer in the affirmative…

This is a more formal expression with the high level phrase “in the affirmative.”

It is perfect for Speaking Part 3.

If you are asked if you agree with something, use this phrase!

“I wish I could answer in the affirmative, but, unfortunately, I gotta say no.”

Even in Part 3, you can use the native “gotta” instead of “have to.”

This also shows that range of vocabulary!

#3: Oh, gosh, no!

With the slang “gosh,” this one is also perfect for Speaking Parts 1 and 2.

It also helps you add emotion and increase your Pronunciation score.

You’ll follow this up by explaining why your answer is no.

The meaning of this phrase is “absolutely not!”

You can use it when your answer is a strong, fervent no!


It is not sufficient to answer, “No” to an IELTS Speaking question.

This will pull down both your Fluency/Coherence and Vocabulary scores.

Instead, use one of today’s native phrases.

Then, expound on your answer!

Provide interesting details and explain why you feel that way.

For more strategies to get a 7 or higher on IELTS Speaking, sign up for 3 Keys IELTS!

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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