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Key Phrases for IELTS Speaking

There are key phrases for IELTS speaking that you can use to improve your fluency and coherence, which is one of the four criteria you are graded on.

Why Are Key Phrases Important?

Before delving into the key phrases for IELTS speaking themselves, it's crucial to understand why some are vital for success in the IELTS speaking test.

Fluency and coherence are critical assessment criteria, and demonstrating a wide range of vocabulary and expressions showcases your ability to communicate effectively in English.

For a band 7, the band descriptors say:

  • Flexible use of spoken discourse markers, connectives and cohesive features

Integrating essential phrases into your responses reflects your language skills and conveys your ideas clearly and precisely.

So whether you're aiming for a higher score or just trying to feel more confident in your answers, we'll look at key phrases you can incorporate into your speaking practice that can make a difference in your overall performance.

Key Phrases for IELTS Speaking

The Introduction

Begin your speaking test positively by using welcoming greetings such as:

  • "Good morning/afternoon/evening, examiner"
  • "Nice to meet you"
  • "Hello, it's a pleasure to be here"

These courteous expressions set a friendly tone and establish rapport with the examiner, creating a comfortable atmosphere for both parties.

Expressing Opinion

Articulate your viewpoints confidently using phrases like:

  • "In my opinion..."
  • "From my perspective..."
  • "The way I see it..."
  • "I believe that..."
  • "As far as I'm concerned..."
  • "Personally, I think..."
  • "From where I stand..."

These expressions lend weight to your ideas and demonstrate your ability to articulate thoughts effectively, showcasing your capacity to express personal opinions clearly and coherently.

Expressing Agreement or Disagreement

You can also clearly convey your stance on a topic in terms of agreeing or disagreeing. This might be useful in part 3 when the examiner puts a point to you or counters something you have said previously and you wish to agree or disagree.

You can use key phrases such as:

  • "I agree that..."
  • "On the contrary, I believe that..."
  • "From my perspective, I'm inclined to agree/disagree..."
  • "While I see your point, I must disagree because..."

By articulating your agreement or disagreement, you establish the direction of your response and provide a clear perspective on the issue.

Giving Examples

Enrich your responses by incorporating illustrative examples with phrases such as:

  • "For instance..."
  • "Such as..."
  • "To illustrate..."
  • "To give you an example..."
  • "Consider, for example..."
  • "A case in point is that..."

By providing concrete examples, you substantiate your arguments and enhance the clarity and depth of your answers, thereby elevating the quality of your speech and reinforcing your points.

Part 2 - Long Turn: Introducing the Topic

In the long turn in part 2 you are given a topic and three bullets points to cover.

Initiate your response by rephrasing the topic statement, employing phrases such as:

  • "The topic I'm going to talk about is..."

Or you might relate it to the specific topic in question:

  • "The person that I admire the most is..."
  • The person that I'm going to talk about is...
  • "The place that I would really like to go to if I had the chance is..."
  • "A gift that I once gave somebody is..."
  • "My happiest childhood event was when..."

These introductory steps set the stage for your discussion and ensure clarity in addressing the given topic.

Transitioning Between Ideas

Ensure coherence and fluidity in your speech by employing transitional phrases such as these to add more information:

  • "Also..."
  • "Furthermore..."
  • "Moreover..."
  • "In addition to that..."
  • "Another point to consider is..."

Or to show contrast and similarity:

  • "On the other hand..."
  • "However,..."
  • "Conversely..."
  • "In contrast,..."
  • "Similarly,..."
  • "Likewise,..."

Or a result/conclusion:

  • "Therefore,..."
  • "As a result,..."
  • As a consequence,..."
  • "Thus,..."
  • "This means that..."
  • "...which means that..."

Part 3 - Discussion: Initiating Responses

Engage actively in the discussion in part 3 by initiating your responses with phrases like:

  • "That's an interesting question..."
  • "I haven't thought about it that way, but..."
  • "That's a valid point, and I'd like to expand on it by saying..."

This proactive approach demonstrates your eagerness to contribute to the conversation and encourages dialogue.

These key phrases for initiating responses in IELTS speaking can also be used as fillers to improve fluency as they give you time to think and are preferable to silence or saying 'uhm' and 'eh'!

Learn more about using fillers to improve fluency.

Linking Clauses

We've been looking mainly at key phrases for IELTS speaking but don't forget all the other key words that link ideas and improve fluency and cohesion.

Adverbs to create adverbial clauses are common ways to do this:

  • "I like to read books because..." (reason)
  • "Since the government came to power, wealth has increased" (reason)
  • "If people study more, they'll improve their English" (condition)
  • "I always get up early unless it's a weekend" (condition)
  • "I will keep working for as long as I can" (time clarification)
  • "Although e-readers are popular, most people still prefer books" (concession)
  • "I eat healthily so (that) I could lose weight" (purpose)
  • "He likes spicy food, whereas I prefer it more bland" (comparison)

Or other words and key phrases to show comparison/contrast across sentences/clauses:

  • "My brother is much healthier than me".
  • "Italy is the furthest place I have ever travelled to".
  • "Texting isn't the same as phoning".

These transitional expressions facilitate the smooth flow of your discussion, allowing for a logical progression of thoughts and enhancing the overall coherence of your response.

Example Question and Answer

Below is an example of how you might use some of these phrases in the test in the part 3 discussion.

Topic: The impact of social media on modern society

Expressing Opinion with an Example

Personally, I believe that social media has both positive and negative effects on society. For instance, platforms like Facebook and Instagram enable users to stay in touch with friends and family, fostering meaningful relationships and enhancing social connectivity in an increasingly globalized world.

Transitioning Between Ideas with Examples

Moreover, social media serves as a powerful tool for information dissemination and social activism. A case in point is the Black Lives Matter movement gained significant momentum through social media, raising awareness about racial injustice and prompting discussions on systemic inequalities.

Transitioning Between Ideas with a Result

Furthermore, the rise of misinformation and fake news on social media platforms has posed a threat to democratic societies worldwide as the spread of misinformation can influence public opinion, undermining trust in traditional media and democratic institutions. Therefore, promoting media literacy and critical thinking skills is crucial to combatting the spread of misinformation and ensuring informed decision-making in society.

Summing Up

Mastering key phrases is crucial for excelling in the IELTS speaking test. Incorporating these phrases into your responses will enhance your fluency and coherence and impress examiners with your language proficiency.

So, start integrating these phrases into your speaking practice today and watch your confidence soar!

With the right preparation and practice, you can achieve your desired band score on the IELTS speaking test.

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