Top Tips for IELTS

Pausing and speaking fluently in IELTS – words to help you out

This lesson is a continuation of my earlier lesson on thinking time in IELTS speaking. The focus this time round is to give you help with the right sort of “pausing” vocabulary to use when you need a little time to think and so make your answer more fluent, especially when it’s a tough question.

I show you lots words and phrases to speak more fluently and there’s also a vocabulary sheet to download with a practice suggestion – and this language does need practice if you want to get it right.

pausing in IELTS speaking


Do you need this language?

Do any of the following situations sound familiar to you? If so, this language may well help you.

  • you don’t know what to say next
  • you’ve forgotten the word in English
  • you just said something the wrong way
  • you need time to think about the question
  • you’re feeling tense and need to slow down
  • you know you’re talking nonsense

Go from being nervous to more fluent

When you’re nervous, use simple language you are familiar with

The problem with all those situations are that they are likely to make you nervous and a key in the speaking is to feel relaxed. Relaxed candidates tend to be fluent candidates and fluency is 25% of your band score. It’s not always easy though – you can’t just tell someone to relax and not be nervous. It doesn’t work that way. You need some help. This is my attempt to help you with some vocabulary. All these words and phrases give you something to say when you are under most pressure – easy language you don’t need to think about.


The vocabulary

IELTS fluency words

More fluency vocabulary phrases in IELTS

How to rephrase words in IELTS

How to correct mistake speaking in IELTS

IELTS speaking fluency words and phrases

How to answer harder question vocabulary (66119)


How this vocabulary works

Always communicate. So say something, even: “I don’t have anything to say” is better than silence.

This vocabulary works on the idea that it is better to say that you have nothing to say than to say nothing. At least that way you are communicating and using language. The crime is to keep silent. The trick is to keep your mouth moving when your brain is working. There are some things, though, to remember if you want to use this language.

  • it should be simple – pressure free language to deal with pressure situations
  • it needs to be automatic – language you can use without thinking
  • it allows you to communicate even when you have little to say – speech is communication
  • it gives you fluency, so that there are fewer unnatural pauses in your conversation
  • you have to feel comfortable using it and not everyone does

Do you need to learn all these phrases?

Of course not. The idea in giving you so many is to allow you to pick and choose the words and phrases you feel comfortable with. Everyone uses language in their own way – it is called your idiolect. Go through them and find the ones you like – it’s as simple as that. One thing, though, make sure you have some variety here.

My favourite word isn’t there

Okay there’s space for you to write it in. These are words and phrases I use and I have successfully helped learners to use. That doesn’t mean you can’t use your own language: in some ways, it is better if you do.

How to learn this vocabulary – an exercise

You will see on the download that there are several boxes after each phrase. The idea is you practise answering difficult questions and each time you use a phrase, you tick the box.

  • try and tick as many boxes as possible – force yourself to use the phrases
  • if you manage to tick all the boxes, you’re half way to learning the phrases: repetition is important
  • if you’re working with someone else, make it a competition – who can tick the most boxes

Other lessons to try out

If this helped you, then you might like these lessons too

opinion vocabulary for IELTS speaking

Examiners are your friends – talk to them personally



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26 Responses to Pausing and speaking fluently in IELTS – words to help you out

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      Kiran if u understand then plz help me for understanding

      • Umair November 20, 2015 at 3:29 pm #

        Whats difficulty in it Dear???
        Just you need to need some of these phrases if you have little pause in your conversation and you don’t want to stop speaking….

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