IELTS Speaking: Contrasting Ideas

If you want a high IELTS score, it’s important in the Speaking exam to demonstrate your ability to use English for complex purposes, such as developing an argument, or changing a listener’s opinion.

One way to demonstrate your command in this area is to use specific language to contrast opposite ideas.

Here are four words and phrases you can use to contrast ideas, along with a couple examples of each:

However, …

Public transport in my city is slow, and the buses are rarely on time. However, at least our public transport isn’t very expensive, like it can be in some cities.

I don’t really watch much TV as I don’t think the programmes we have here are very good. However, I do sometimes like to relax after a hard day at work, and TV can be good for that.

On the other hand, …

Travel agents and tour operators are great for taking the stress and legwork out of the process of booking a holiday. On the other hand, it can be a rewarding experience to organize a holiday which meets your own exact preferences, and the result is certainly more enjoyable. 

Tuition fees these days are becoming cripplingly high, and this may cause many potential students to forego a university education  On the other hand, student loans are made available to them, and nowadays it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find a job if you don’t have a degree.

Apart from that, …

One thing that frustrates me about football is the ludicrously high wages the players are offered. Apart from that, I love the sport. I watch it every weekend, play for a local team, and I’m always encouraging my sons to get involved.  

They offered me a decent salary and my own office cubicle. But apart from that, the position looked awful. I would have had to work twelve hours a day, with only half an hour for lunch, and there wasn’t a benefits package to speak of.

Even so, …

Personally, I hate television and everything about it. Even so, I take ten minutes out every day to watch the headlines on BBC News. 

I’ve never been much of a sports person, and I have a terrible sense of balance. Even so, I’ve signed myself up for a weekend of surfing lessons; it looks so much fun so I thought I had to try it!