Idiomatic Vocabulary 2: ‘a real eye-opener’

The Phrase

To be a real eye-openerEye opener

 Its Definition

 An event or experience that is surprising,

and shows you sth. that you did not already know


This phrase is useful because it can describe any very surprising thing or event or experience which you have encountered. Admittedly, many people lead quite conventional lives, without encountering really interesting things, but you never know. This phrase is often useful for when describing event when traveling to other countries. Because it involves so much personal reaction, this phrase is more for spoken, not written English.

Example Sentences

In IELTS Speaking

  • “Oh, when I went into Libya it was a real eye-opener. I realised what a police-state was like, and the word ‘democracy’ finally took some meaning for me.”
  • “The poverty in South America was a real eye-opener. It’s just in-your-face, everyday, and the beggars can be really aggressive.”
  • “In Manilla, I had the opportunity to sleep one night in a slum, and I’ll tell you, that experience was a real eye-opener.”