Idiomatic Vocabulary for IELTS (22 of 25): Nature calls!


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 answer the call of nature

This is a indirect and idiomatic way to say, ‘Go to the toilet’. Incidentally, many Americans may even find ‘go to the toilet’ too direct, and prefer, ‘Go to the restroom’. Women might say, ‘I’m just going to powder my nose.’ But here I’ll go for the more scientific, ‘to answer the call of nature’.In fact, even in America, some people might say, ‘Nature calls’ when wanting to go to the toilet.

This is useful for IELTS because it is a fact of life, happening regularly to every single human being on earth. When relating stories, anecdotes, or when exemplifying generally, such a concept may need to be stated.

This phrase follows our rules for use in IELTS writing (being 1. Not too many words, and 2. able to be applied to many people), although it is very unlikely that such a subject matter will need to be explored in writing.

Here are some example sentences in IELTS Speaking.

“I worked for one school where the whole floor, with some 300 people, had access to two tiny toilets. If everyone had to answer the call of nature at once, it would have been horrible.”

“I see building sites, and they always have outdoor cubicles there for when the workmen have to answer the call of nature.”

Here are some example sentences in IELTS Writing.

With over seven billion human beings on the planet, all needing to ‘answer the call of nature’, efficient sewerage systems are now crucial.

[Task One, map task] The north-eastern corner of the park has provisions for those needing to respond to ‘the call of nature’.

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