In the IELTS writing test, you are graded on four areas: task achievement/ response, coherence and cohesion, lexical resource and grammatical range and accuracy. There are some very common grammar and vocabulary mistakes that we see time and time again. Here are the key ones to avoid.
(X) Driving makes us lazy…on the other hand it also affects the environment.
(V) Driving makes us lazy…on top of that it also affects the environment.
(V) Driving make us lazy…On the other hand though, it is an easy way to get around the city.
Use On the other hand to present a contrasting/ opposing point. Don’t use it to add a supporting point.
(X) Nowaday, many people are….
(V) Nowadays, many people are….
We always say nowadays, never nowadays.
(X) There was a dramatically increase
(V) There was a dramatic increase
When describing changes (especially in Task 1) use adj. + noun (a dramatic increase) OR verb + adv. (it increased dramatically).
(X) 40% of 60 years old people drive cars.
(V) 40% of 60 year old people drive cars.
(V) 40% of 60 year olds drive cars.
- When you same one’s age, years is plural – he is 60 years old.
- When you use age to describe people you don't need ‘s’ – a 60 year old man.
- You can also use age as a noun. In this case, if it’s plural, then you add ‘s’ to ‘old’ – 60 year olds are healthier than they used to be.
(X) Many people in the Japan believe that….
(V) Many people in Japan believe that….
Most of the time, we don’t need to use an article (the) with countries. E.g. American, Japan, England, France. Not ‘the France’ etc…
However, if the country is abbreviated, or the name refers to a collection of islands, nations or states, then we do use the. E.g. The U.K., The U.S.A, The Philippines etc…
(X) …is an important reason for this. Besides, people also…
(V) …is an important reason for this. Besides this/ In addition, people also…
In Taiwan, it’s very common to use ‘Besides’ to link ideas together, but this is incorrect. Besides is more commonly used in spoken English, and means ‘anyway’ or ‘regardless’.
In writing, if you want to use it to add a supporting argument/ fact, then you can use besides this/that or in addition.
(X) If this continues, animals will extinct
(V) If this continues, animals will be/ become extinct
Extinct is an adjective not a verb. So you need to use a verb with it, like are, will be, will become, have become etc…
(X) It Is obviously that exercising frequently is good for your health.
(V) It Is obvious that exercising frequently is good for your health.
Obviously is an adverb. In this sentence pattern (It is _______ that) you need an adjective.
(X) In this essay, I will describe about the problems and suggest some solutions.
(V) In this essay, I will describe the problems and suggest some solutions.
Some verbs go together (collocate) with prepositions, and some don’t. We can say talk about but we don’t say describe about. We just say describe.
(X) Reading can help us get more knowledge
(V) We can learn a lot from reading
The grammar is correct, but it is unnatural to use knowledge in this way.
We don’t use this noun as often as you do in Chinese.
In English, we sometimes use the adjective knowledgeable – ‘he is very knowledgeable’.
OR, we use the verb to learn or to understand.