Idiomatic Vocabulary for IELTS (17 of 25): A salty idiom!


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’s an example.

To take [sth.] with a grain of salt

This verb phrase means you don’t really believe the previous fact.

This is useful for IELTS because there are so many lies and so much deceit in the world. An intelligent person doesn’t necessarily believe it all, and we often have to indicate this to other speakers.

Following Rule 2 (See Post Six of this series), this phrase is too long for formal writing, and so should not be used there.

Here are some example sentences in IELTS Speaking.

  • “He claims he really helped me – but I took it all with a grain of salt.”
  • “All the advertising is just basically garbage. You have to take it all with a grain of salt.”
  • “I’ve checked other IELTS websites, from other school and freelance teachers, and almost every one of them is just utter lies. Totally! I don’t take it with a grain of salt; I just reject it outright with absolute disgust! The sad fact is that students usually believe it.
  • “I know a guy, and absolutely everything he said had to be taken with a grain of salt.”

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