Idiomatic Vocabulary for IELTS (15 of 25): “It’s a jungle out there!”

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Every language has phrases and sentences that cannot be understood by just knowing the individual words. This is known as idiomatic language, and it is a very important part of any language, including English, and is very useful for IELTS speaking. Here are three useful examples, all related to each other.

the rat race / concrete jungle (N phrase)

dog-eat-dog (adj. phrase)

It’s a jungle out there (sentence)

These terms describe the intense and often ruthless competition in society, and are useful because we all live in a society which has such competition. We can all be compared to laboratory rats racing each other to get food. City life can be compared to a jungle of buildings – a concrete jungle – where animals eat other animals, even of their own kind – a real dog-eat-dog existence. Yeah, it’s a jungle out there, right?

These phrases all express strong criticism or negative feelings towards this existence – and if you honestly feel this, express it.

Here are some example sentences in IELTS Speaking.

“After some 25 years in the workforce, I just want to get out of this rat race, and live in a quiet rural area.”

“Coming from Australia, it’s really weird that I find myself now marooned, probably forever, in an unlovely concrete jungle.”

Here are some example sentences in IELTS Writing.

The competition in the Asian-school systems is becoming increasingly competitive, often ruthlessly so, creating a ‘dog-eat-dog’ scenario, which can hardly be psychologically healthy for the students involved.

In the race to succeed in all aspects of life and work, ethics inevitably fall, and the ‘rat race’ begins from an early age.

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