IELTS Speaking Using Contractions: wanna, gonna

Should you use contractions in your IELTS speaking test? Will you get a lower mark if you use contractions like “gonna”?

What are contractions?

A contraction is when you combine two (or more) words to make them shorter and make them flow together when speaking. “It is” = “it’s” or “want to” = “wanna”. Most contractions are used in informal speaking. Is the IELTS speaking test formal or informal? The IELTS speaking is 100% informal.

  • Part 1 is informal short answer questions
  • Part 2 is an informal talk
  • Part 3 is an informal discussion on broader current issues
    • This means informal language is fine to use in all parts of the test.

They are an accepted part of SPOKEN English. One student pointed out that they even heard contractions used by the BBC and the British Royal Family – this is true.

Using Wanna / Gonna

Yes, it’s fine to use contractions (words joined in pronunciation) in the IELTS speaking test. In fact, it will boost your score for pronunciation.

  • want to = wanna
    • I really wanna go to the cinema tonight.
    • The majority of students wanna travel before starting university.
  • going to = gonna
    • He’s gonna visit his grandmother this evening.
    • The local council are gonna improve the roads in this area.

Wanna and gonna are only used in spoken English and NOT in formal writing. The reason is that “wanna” and “gonna” are pronunciation features – it is how we pronounce “want to” but it is not how we write it in formal written English. It is fine to use these words in your IELTS speaking test and in fact will help with your pronunciation band score. Are these contractions in the Cambridge dictionary? Yes, they are. Follow the links: wanna and gonna.

IELTS Speaking Pronunciation

Pronunciation is 25% of your marks for IELTS speaking. This means the way you pronounce sounds, words and sentences is marked in your speaking test. Part of that does include linking sounds and linking words, such as gonna, wanna, it’s and doesn’t. So, try to learn these contractions and use them naturally in your test.

Common  List of Contractions

To Be

  • I am = I’m
  • you are = you’re
  • he is = he’s
  • she is = she’s
  • it is = it’s
  • we are = we’re
  • they are = they’re

To Have

  • I have = I’ve
  • you have = you’ve
  • he has = he’s
  • etc


  • I will = I’ll
  • you will = you’ll
  • he will = he’ll
  • etc


  • is not = isn’t
  • are not = aren’t
  • does not = doesn’t
  • did not = didn’t
  • has not = hasn’t
  • have not = haven’t
  • should not = shouldn’t
  • would not = wouldn’t
  • could not = couldn’t

Remember, these contractions are NOT used:

  1. in formal writing, such as in IELTS writing task 2
  2. report writing
  3. formal letters or business letters

But they are good to use in IELTS speaking. Contractions can also be used in informal writing, such as GT writing task 1 informal letters.

Advanced Contractions

The contractions below are only used in speaking and NOT in writing. It is good to use these types of contractions in IELTS speaking.

  • I should have = I should’ve
  • should not have = shouldn’t’ve
  • I could have = I could’ve
  • I could not have = I couldn’t’ve
  • I would have = I would’ve
  • I would not have = I wouldn’t’ve

Example Sentences Using Contractions:

  1. I should’ve finished my homework last night but I didn’t.
  2. He wouldn’t’ve gone traveling if he’d’ve known how expensive it was gonna be.
  3. The government should’ve developed better public transportation. If they wanna limit global warming, they need to limit the use of cars and the best way is to provide cheaper and more efficient bus services.
  4. If you’re gonna learn a language, then improve your pronunciation.


Main IELTS Pages

Develop your IELTS skills with tips, lessons, free videos and more.

Vocabulary for Food: Vegetables

Learn vocabulary for vegetables for the topic of food. In IELTS it is possible to get the topic of either food or just vegetables in speaking part 1. Make sure you include lots of interesting vocabulary in your answers.

Can you name all the vegetables in the picture below? Under the picture is a list of possible words, not all of them are in the picture (there are 26 words but only 24 answers needed).


broccoli          aubergine          corn           tomatoes         bean sprouts           artichoke         cucumber           lettuce            onions           radish             garlic pumpkin          sweet potato             cauliflower               sprouts             potatoes              asparagus                peas              courgette              red pepper             chili pepper           carrots               parsnip               celery              beans                mushrooms           spinach         beetroot


  1. peas
  2. mushrooms
  3. pumpkin
  4. cauliflower
  5. radish
  6. onions
  7. celery
  8. artichoke
  9. carrots
  10. potatoes
  11. lettuce
  12. tomatoes
  13. aubergine or eggplant
  14. sprouts
  15. courgette or zucchini
  16. cabbage
  17. corn (corn on the cob)
  18. asparagus
  19. beetroot
  20. broccoli
  21. red pepper
  22. sweet potato
  23. cucumber
  24. beans


Clothes Vocabulary: Formal and Casual

Clothes is another common topic in IELTS speaking. Organise the following vocabulary into three different categories: Casual / Formal / Suitable for both Formal or Casual. You will see that the vocabulary below includes both clothing and accessories (bags etc).

  • tie
  • suit
  • shorts
  • t-shirt
  • trousers
  • suitcase
  • dress
  • flipflops
  • shoes
  • jacket
  • waistcoat
  • backpack
  • briefcase
  • pajamas
  • coat

Casual Clothes

  • shorts
  • t-shirt
  • flipflops
  • backpack
  • pajamas

Formal Clothes

  • tie
  • suit
  • waistcoat
  • briefcase

Either Casual or Formal

  • trousers
  • dress
  • shoes
  • jacket
  • coat
  • suitcase


Parts of the Face: Vocabulary for People

It is common to be asked to give a description of a person in IELTS speaking. Here is some useful vocabulary to help you describe a person in detail.

You can see that one word in the diagram is missing. Do you know that word?

face parts vocabulary Listen to the recording below to complete the diagram. Words will not come in order so you will need to make notes to find which is the missing word. Answer is given below.

The missing word is “eyebrow”

Note: many of these words are often used as plurals, for example, “she has rather thick lips” or “he has high cheek bones”. Make sure you use this vocabulary accurately.


Types of Films: Vocabulary

It is common to be asked about films / movies in all parts of the IELTS speaking test and therefore it is necessary that you have plenty of examples of films ready to tell the examiner.

Listening Practice: Film Types

Below is a list of film types and a listening recording.

Film Genres

  • action films
  • comedies
  • romantic films
  • rom-coms
  • adventure films
  • musicals
  • dramas
  • period films or historical dramas (films set in another historical time)
  • real life films
  • war films
  • horror films
  • science fiction (Sci-Fi or SF)

Listen and decide which type of film is being described from the list above.

There are 12 descriptions. Get your paper and pencil ready!!


Click below to reveal the descriptions and the answers. The descriptions contains very useful vocabulary.

Written Descriptions
  1. These films are serious and plot driven (story line motivated) with realistic characters and lots of character development as well as character interaction.
  2. These films usually have high energy, stunts and quite a few fights.
  3. These films contain both romantic and very amusing elements.
  4. Often set in another world or on another planet, these films are full of imagination.
  5. These films are based on a life event that actually happened with characters that really existed. Portrayal is supposed to be accurate but that isn’t always the case.
  6. The plot of these films is mainly based around a conflict between two countries or two groups and is usually set on land, in the air or at sea.
  7. These films are exciting and often follow a search or an expedition to find something.
  8. Not all people like these films in which words are often sung rather than spoken.
  9. These films confront our hidden fears.
  10. These films have you in stitches with tears rolling down your cheeks.
  11. The story in these films is heartwarming and often preferred by women.
  12. Often set in the past in a well-known time and usually depicts a famous historical character or event.

Listen to the recording below to hear the answers. This will also help you with your pronunciation of the vocabulary.

  1. dramas
  2. action films
  3. romcom
  4. science fiction
  5. real life films
  6. war films
  7. adventure films
  8. musicals
  9. horror films
  10. comedy (have you in stitches = make you laugh very much)
  11. romantic films
  12. historical films


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