It Depends

Getting a higher band score in IELTS is all about being accurate in your language use. That means you need to explain yourself clearly, showing developed thoughts. Here’s a sample question and answer:

What personal qualities does a person need to be a good boss?

I think he should be kind and hard-working.

Is that a good answer? It’s not terrible, but it’s a bit too basic. Let’s look at how to use “it depends” to create a more developed and precise reply.

Why Do We Say “It Depends”?

This short phrase is quite common in spoken English, and it means that there is no simple answer. The answer will be different according to different situations. If this sounds difficult, it’s really not. At its most simple, we could use it in this conversation:

What are you going to do this afternoon?

It depends on the weather.

You see, second person could have said, “I’m going to play football.” However, he wanted to express that there was uncertainty due to the weather. This is very basic, but it can be applied to many situations, and mastering it will help your IELTS speaking skills.

It Depends + On

We use “it depends on” with a noun or noun phrase. To answer the questions above, you might then say:

It depends on the type of business he or she runs…

In this case we are exploring more possibilities. We could develop the answer further:

It depends on the type of business he or she runs. Some businesses are highly competitive places, and require a serious and determined personality, whereas others rewards a company with a considerate personality, who thinks first and foremost of the welfare of his employees.

It Depends + If

This phrase is used to introduce an imaginary situation, and we follow it with a clause outlining that situation. To answer our question, you might say:

It depends if you consider profits or workplace environment to be the most important factors.


It depends if you look at customer feedback or just sales.

It Depends + “Wh” Word

“It depends” can also be followed by a “wh” word. For example:

It depends who you ask. Different people have different thoughts on the matter. Personally, I think a good boss is aggressive and fearless.


It depends what exactly you consider the aim of a company to be.


It depends where you want the company to go. If you want it to shoot to the top, you probably want a tough boss, but if you want long-term success, you’ll be looking forward someone who is more considerate.

Author: David S. Wills

David S. Wills is the author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult' and the founder/editor of Beatdom literary journal. He lives and works in rural China, and loves to travel. He has worked as an IELTS tutor since 2010, has completed both TEFL and CELTA courses, and has a certificate from Cambridge for Teaching Writing. In 2018, he wrote the popular IELTS handbook, Grammar for IELTS Writing. His other IELTS website is called IELTS Teaching.

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