Idiomatic Vocabulary for IELTS (25 of 25): “All I get is chickenfeed!”


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 be chicken feed

[Referring to salary or payments]

To be a very small or insignificant amount

This term is useful for IELTS because most of us are working, or have worked, and often done so for very little money, and can often use this term to complain about it.

This phrase is not too long (Rule 2), but is quite dependent on an individual attitude (breaking Rule 3), so it cannot be used in IELTS Writing.

Here are some example sentences in IELTS Speaking.

“I worked in England, in a restaurant, but it was basically just chicken feed, which was particularly annoying given the cost of living there.”

“My wife met some rich people last year, and they earn so much it’s unbelievable, making what I earn look like chicken feed.”

“I tried picking fruit once, in Australia, but it was a shamelessly exploitative system, giving me just chicken feed for grueling nine-hour shifts in the orchard. I gave up after three hours, somewhat disgusted with the whole set-up.”

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