Idiomatic Vocabulary for IELTS (23 of 25): “Damn that Murphy guy!”

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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 some useful examples.

Murphy’s law

As Murphy’s Law states,

in accordance with Murphy’s Law,

… just like Murphy’s Law states,

to follow Murphy’s Law

These are related sayings, referring to ‘Murphy’s Law’, which states, ‘If anything can go wrong, it will.’ In other words, it predicts the tendency for things to go wrong, accidents to happen, and the unexpected to occur. 

This is useful for IELTS speaking because, in this complicated world with which we are constantly engaged, always trying to achieve personal and professional advance, we often face setbacks and problems, many of them unexpected.

These phrases are too long (breaking Rule 2) and too dependent on a single person (breaking Rule 3) to be able to be used in IELTS Writing.

  • “So, I was all prepared to go, but when I turned on the projector, in accordance with Murphy’s Law, the machines ‘popped’ and went dead on me! Great! What could I do then?”
  • “One of them needed some money, and rather naively, I lent it to him, and, as Murphy’s Law states, he was fired shortly thereafter, so [smiling wryly] naturally, I never saw the money again.” [From the IELTS Test Practice Book. P.171]
  • “The guidebook stated that Naples was a dangerous town, but you were unlikely to suffer trouble if you were careful, but the writer of that book obviously failed to take Murphy’s Law into account!”

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