5 Formal Idioms for IELTS Writing Task 2

Today we’ll discuss formal idioms for IELTS Writing Task 2 to increase your vocabulary score!

formal idioms IELTS writing task 2

Usually, idioms are considered informal, and, thus, are not appropriate to use in our Academic Writing.

However, we also know that in order to secure a 7 or higher for Vocabulary in IELTS Writing, you must utilize “less common phrases“, with an “awareness of style and collocation“.

Formal idioms satisfy those requirements!

5 Formal Idioms for IELTS Essays

A means to an end– a way of achieving a goal

Raising taxes is just a means to an end. Although citizens may initially express dissatisfaction with allocating more of their income to the government, increased revenue would mean the nation could provide healthcare for all, which leads to a happier and more productive society.

If you will– This phrase can be used when asking the reader to do something

Imagine, if you will, a university which guaranteed equal numbers of males and females in all classes.

Ill-gotten gains– money/profits which were obtained unfairly, or, even, illegally

I would posit that the profits made by institutions from international students are ill-gotten gains. Foreign pupils should not be asked to pay a higher sum than local individuals.


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In droves– a large amount gathering very quickly, usually describing people

Every time Apple releases a new device, consumers purchase it in droves.

Since time immemorial– something has been happening for an extremely long time

Since time immemorial, children have wished they could be more like adults. However, this wish revolves around the freedom they perceive their elders as having, not the responsibilities. 

Choose two idioms you find interesting and want to use. Add them to your vocabulary notebook.

In the next 5 essays you practice for IELTS, try to find a way to include these high-scoring, impressive phrases!

Which idiom from today’s article is your favorite?

Share your choice, and an example sentence, in the comments section below!


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