Achieving a 7-plus band score in the writing module of the IELTS test is the holy grail for many test takers. The writing section evaluates the ability of students to convey their thoughts in a clear and concise manner. Out of the four assessment criteria, namely, task achievement/response, coherence and cohesion, lexical resource and grammar range and accuracy, grammar is one parameter which is not very easy to grasp entirely in a short span of time. English grammar is a vast topic and will require a great deal of time and effort to master.
Most students do not have the luxury of time for preparation and hence, improving grammar for IELTS writing can be better achieved by focusing on the recurrent mistakes that students tend to make. As they say, there is an opportunity to learn from mistakes. Analysing and understanding the errors will help the test takers ensure that they do not commit the same errors while doing their online IELTS practice for the writing test. Consequently, by the time they take the actual IELTS test, they will be well-prepared to avoid such errors and will thus be able to get a higher band score in the writing module. Our aim in this article will therefore be to understand the most common lapses in grammatical structures in the IELTS writing section.
It is important to use the correct verb tense in writing. For instance, if the data depicted in a graph in the academic task 1 question pertains to the past, one has to use the past tense while describing the main features. To illustrate, if the data pertains to 2016, this sentence would be incorrect –
At 854, the Georgia Street branch has the highest number of transactions.
This sentence should be written as follows: –
At 854, the Georgia Street branch had the highest number of transactions.
Using the tenses correctly is also important. For instance – The sales was increased moderately by 10% in the last quarter.
The right usage would be – The sales increased moderately by 10% in the last quarter or
There was a moderate increase in sales in the last quarter.
For one’s writing to be clear and coherent, it is important that there be consistency in the tenses while doing the IELTS online practice test. Mixing up tenses within a paragraph or even a sentence is a big no-no. Therefore, test takers should pay attention to the aspects of time and use the appropriate tenses to have the intended meaning conveyed accurately.
This is another aspect of grammar where many of the candidates tend to make mistakes. The concept is very simple. If the subject is singular, the verb also should be singular and vice-versa. Moreover, the verb in the ‘third person singular’ takes an ‘s’. Let’s look at some examples of mistakes made under this category –
- The bar graph illustrate the average hours of daily sunshine in two different cities in Australia.
- In large cities, Governments spends an enormous amount of money to renovate old buildings.
The right way to frame these sentences would be –
- The bar graph illustrates the average hours of daily sunshine in two different cities in Australia.
- In large cities, Governments spend an enormous amount of money to renovate old buildings.
A good practice for students to follow would be to brush up on the SV agreement rules before commencing their writing module preparation using the free IELTS practice test
facility offered by many reputed IELTS coaching institutes.
Punctuation is an integral part of grammar. Unfortunately, students tend to ignore this vital aspect resulting in a lower band score for grammar. Did you know that even if you are able to use commas and full stops appropriately, you can write a perfectly good letter, essay or report? Let’s focus on the comma today as rules related to the use of the full-stop/period are quite simple and easy to follow. Commas are frequently over-used, under-used or not used at all. To illustrate some mistakes made –
To ensure cohesion in their writing, the test takers are expected to use linking words or phrases.
Rule – A transition/linking word or phrase should be followed by a comma.
Incorrect – Also it is believed that animal testing does not always predict accurate responses.
Correct – Also, it is believed that animal testing does not always predict accurate responses.
Correct –On the other hand, some people do not support this practice.
Rule – In a compound sentence, the independent clauses should be separated by a comma which should be placed before the coordinating conjunction.
Incorrect – This idea was accepted by all and it helped in keeping the history of the place alive.
Correct – This idea was accepted by all, and it helped in keeping the history of the place alive.
Rule – Commas are not required in a sentence having an independent and dependent clause.
Incorrect – Some people do not support this practice, because it is ethically wrong.
Correct – Some people do not support this practice because it is ethically wrong.
A sentence fragment means that you have not written a complete sentence. Either a verb or a subject is missing, which makes it incomplete – in fact, it is not even a sentence.
Incorrect – As the city needs to have new roads and hospitals, houses.
This is actually a dependent clause which needs the support of an independent clause to make it complete.
Correct – The money that is used for the renovation of old buildings should be used for developing the city as the city needs to have new roads, hospitals and houses.
Incorrect – Which helps us increase the amount of revenue generated from tourism.
Here, the subject is missing.
Correct – The heritage structures help us increase the amount of revenue generated from tourism.
Prepositions and articles
Students tend to either use the wrong preposition/article or omit the preposition/article which is required to frame a grammatically correct sentence.
Missing preposition – People are suffering many diseases.
Correct – People are suffering from many diseases.
Missing article – Living in metropolitan city can have a negative impact on one’s health.
Correct – Living in a metropolitan city can have a negative impact on one’s health.
Incorrect – Sydney gets a same amount of sunshine during whole year, which is 8 hours per day.
Correct – Sydney gets the same amount of sunshine during the whole year, which is 8 hours per day.
These are some of the aspects of grammar where most students tend to commit mistakes.
One might ask, what do I gain from simply knowing about them? Well as they say, “Mistakes have the power to turn you into something better than you were before’. An understanding of these oft-repeated lapses will ensure that you yourself do not commit them, not just while taking an IELTS online practice test but also while taking the actual IELTS test. Get access to trusted and reliable material from the best ielts coaching centre and ace it in your IELTS test to fulfil your dreams of moving abroad for better opportunities!