Idiomatic Vocabulary for IELTS (21 of 25): Here’s a more interesting story.


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 two useful examples.

To be a different story

To be a different kettle of fish

These are two related sayings, describing a situation which is completely different to another.

These are useful for IELTS because, in a complicated world, we face a variety of situations, each different to the other, and we often compare them. In addition, to test your speaking and explore a situation more deeply, in Part Three of the IELTS Speaking Test, examiners tend to ask questions which change the situation: “What about women?”, “Is it the same for adults?”, and “Would teachers agree with that?”

This saying is too long and personal to be used in IELTS writing.

Here are some example sentences in IELTS Speaking.

“I think shopping is a form a torture, but obviously, for women, it’s a different story.”

“Rock music is fairly popular among young people.” [“Is it the same in Asia?”] “Well, that’s a different story.”

“The humidity in this country is sometimes almost unbearable.” [“What about in your country?”] “Well, that’s a different kettle of fish.”

“I managed a school for five years, and had to deal with incompetence all around me. Now I run my own small classroom, and [smiling] it’s a different kettle of fish altogether”.

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