Idioms and Phrasal Verbs for IELTS

Source: Dr. Roma IELTS

Idioms for IELTS Vocabulary: Speak Like a NativeIdiomatic expressions add flair to your language and convey cultural fluency. Here are some idioms to enrich your IELTS vocabulary:

IdiomMeaningExample Sentence
Out of the blueSomething that happened unexpectedlyYesterday, out of the blue, he asked me to marry him!
In the redTo owe money, to not have moneySorry, I can’t afford it, I’m in the red.
Day and nightContinually working without stoppingI was studying day and night for my IELTS test.
Drop outTo leave without finishingShe dropped out of the course because it was too hard.
Learn by heartTo memoriseI learned all my idioms by heart.
BookwormSomeone who reads a lotWhen I was younger, I was a bookworm, I just loved reading.
A piece of cakeVery easyThe math exam was a piece of cake for him.
Break a legGood luckBreak a leg in your performance tomorrow!
Piece of adviceA helpful suggestionCan I give you a piece of advice?
Don’t cry over spilled milkDon’t worry about something that has happenedYes, I made a mistake, but let’s not cry over spilled milk.
In the blink of an eyeVery quicklyThe thief disappeared in the blink of an eye.
A penny for your thoughtsAsking someone what they are thinkingYou seem lost in thought – a penny for your thoughts?
Catch someone red-handedCatch someone in the act of doing something wrongThe police caught the thief red-handed.
Cross your fingersHope for good luckI’m crossing my fingers for a positive outcome.
Bury the hatchetMake peace with someoneAfter their argument, they decided to bury the hatchet and move on.
Go the extra mileMake additional effortShe always goes the extra mile to help her colleagues.
Kill two birds with one stoneAccomplish two things with a single actionBy visiting my friend in the city, I can kill two birds with one stone – see the sights and catch up with her.
To show promiseTo indicate possible successThe new vaccine is showing promise.
Under the weatherFeeling unwellI’m feeling a bit under the weather. I hope I don’t have COVID.

Phrasal Verbs: Unraveling Language Complexity

A phrasal verb is a type of verb that consists of two or more words: a main verb combined with one or more particles (prepositions or adverbs). The combination of these words creates a new meaning that is different from the individual meanings of the verb and the particles.

Below is a list of commonly used phrasal verbs:


Carry outTo complete or perform a taskThe researchers will carry out the experiment.
Get alongTo have a good relationship with someoneI get along well with my colleagues at work.
Look afterTo take care of or be responsible for somethingCan you look after my dog while I’m away?
Take offTo remove or become airborneThe plane will take off in an hour.
Give upTo stop doing something, to quitHe decided to give up smoking for his health.
Turn onTo activate or start somethingCan you turn on the lights, please?
Put offTo postpone or delay somethingThey put off the meeting until next week.
Get overTo recover from an illness or emotional setbackIt took her some time to get over the breakup.
Bring inTo introduce or generate incomeThe company plans to bring in new technology.
Set upTo establish or arrange somethingWe need to set up a meeting with the client.
Call offTo cancel or terminate somethingThey had to call off the event due to bad weather.
Run intoTo encounter someone unexpectedlyI ran into an old classmate at the supermarket.
Get inTo enter or arrive at a placeWhat time does your flight get in?
Bring aboutTo cause or make something happenThe new policy will bring about significant changes.
Take onTo accept a responsibility or challengeHe decided to take on the project despite its complexity.
Put up withTo tolerate or endure somethingI can’t put up with the noise from the construction site.
Find outTo discover or learn somethingI need to find out the time of the meeting.
Give backTo return something that was borrowed or takenCan you give back my pen when you’re done using it?
Look intoTo investigate or examine somethingThe authorities will look into the matter.
Get outTo leave or exit from a placeLet’s get out of here before it starts raining.
Show upTo arrive or appear at a place or eventShe didn’t show up for the meeting.
Carry onTo continue doing somethingDespite the difficulties, they decided to carry on.
Make outTo understand or perceive somethingIt’s hard to make out what he’s saying from a distance.
Stand forTo represent or symbolize somethingThe initials NASA stand for National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Break upTo end a relationship or disperseThe initials NASA stand for National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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