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January, 2011:

to make ends meet

If your expenses almost exceed your income, you have difficulty making ends meet. Some people find it impossible to live on their salary and get into debt.

She earned so little that she couldn’t make ends meet and had to borrow money from her friends.

to be all ears

If you are all ears, you really want to hear what someone has got to say. It might be news or a story. It could even be instructions.

He was all ears when the teacher told him that he was going to explain the secrets of IELTS success.

Let’s get this show on the road

We say this when we want to start something. Perhaps we have a plan or we have been discussing a project for a while and now it is time to start work. It’s very similar in meaning to “let’s get down to business.”

Okay everybody. I think we all understand why we are here at this meeting today and time is running out so let’s get this show on the road.

Let’s get down to business

We say this when we want to start something. Perhaps we have a plan or we have been discussing a project for a while and now it is time to start work.

Okay everybody. I think we all understand why we are here at this meeting today and time is running out so let’s get down to business.

Nothing springs to mind immediately

We can use this phrase when we can’t think of an appropriate answer to a question. It means that you are thinking about the answer but you don’t have it immediately. It is perfectly acceptable to say this in the IELTS speaking exam but you must come up with an answer after saying it. It is better than “confused” silence. Read this post for more help on giving yourself time to think in the IELTS speaking exam.

Examiner: What are the main factors that have contributed to the economic growth of your country?
Candidate: Hmmmm. Nothing springs to mind immediately. I suppose our production of high quality electronics has contributed …….. (etc.)