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IELTS Conversation Vocabulary: Family

In the IELTS interview, you will likely be asked about your family. You will hear conversations about family in IELTS Listening as well.

Many English family words are probably already familiar to you. For this post, I’ll assume you already know the words motherfathersondaughterbrothersistergrandmothergrandfather, and grandchildren (grandson and granddaughter).

There are a few other family terms you might not know, however. The first two terms we’ll look at are immediate family and extended family.

Your immediate family are the family members in your own household. Your husband or wife and your children would be part of your immediate family. Your parents, brothers and sisters would also be part of your immediate family.

Your grandparents are part of your extended family, and so are many other relatives. Words for extended family relatives can be very different from one language to the next. So there’s a good chance you aren’t familiar with some of the English words for extended family. This post will focus on extended family vocabulary words that might appear on the IELTS. But first, we’ll look at a couple of vocabulary words for immediate family that ESL students often don’t know.

IELTS Conversation Vocabulary: Immediate family

  • spouse
    • a husband or wife
  • sibling
    • a brother or sister
  • sibling rivalry
    • a feeling of competition between siblings (This is a possible topic not just in IELTS Speaking and Listening, but also in the Reading and Writing portions of the exam.)

IELTS Conversation Vocabulary: Extended family

  • aunt
    • the sister of your father or mother
  • uncle
    • the brother of your father or mother
  • cousin
    • the son or daughter of your aunt or uncle
  • niece
    • the daughter of your brother or sister
  • nephew
    • the son of your brother or sister
  • in-laws
    • “In-law” is used to describe the relatives of your husband or wife — that is, the relatives of your spouse. Your spouse’s brother is your brother-in-law, your spouse’s sister is your sister-in-law, your spouse’s mother is your mother-in-law, your spouse’s father is your father-in-law, and so on.

IELTS Conversational Vocabulary: Less common family words

The family terms below are unlikely to come up in IELTS Listening tracks or Reading passages. And they are rare in IELTS Speaking and Writing questions. Still, there is at least some chance you’ll see this vocabulary on the exam. And you might use these words in your own responses to IELTS questions.

  • step
    • Just as “in-laws” are your relatives by current marriage, your “step” relatives are relatives from previous marriages. For example, if a man marries a woman who already has children, he becomes their step father, and they become his step children. And if both a husband and wife have children from their previous marriages, those children become each others’ step siblings.
  • great grandparents (great grandmother and great grandfather)
    • the parents of your grandparents
  • great grandchildren
    • the children of your grandchildren

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