Idiomatic Vocabulary for IELTS (7 of 25): ‘Not everyone’s cup of tea’.

Cup of tea.jpg

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 in the IELTS Speaking test. Here’s a useful example.

Not [somebody’s] cup of tea

This simply means “I don’t like it”, and it is useful because in the IELTS Speaking test you are often asked about your likes and dislikes, and even if not asked, we often give these feelings anyway.

Examiner:      Do people in your culture like outdoor sport?

Speaker:       Some do, but it’s certainly not my cup of tea.

Here are two points to remember.

Point One: This phrase is always used in the negative, when saying that you do NOT like something.

Examiner:          Do people in your culture like indoor sport?

Speaker:           Well, it’s certainly my cup of tea.

Point Two: This phrase is probably too long [Check Post 6, Rule 2], and thus too informal to be used in IELTS writing.

Here are some example sentences in IELTS Speaking.

  • “People go to bars and drink, but that’s definitely not my cup of tea.”
  • “My ambition has always been to climb Mount Everest, but I know that would definitely not be everyone’s cup of tea.”

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