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Can we use singular or plurals in IELTS reading answers?

by Umesh Pokharel

If our answer is mistakenly in plural but had to be in singular, would that be right or wrong under listening section?

But, this issue has ignored in reading section, which we can observe in answer section of Cambridge IELTS book. I mean, it has allowed in reading section.

Now, things could not be understood is, is it possible to judge differently?

I am asking this to IELTS buddy, especially.

Thanking you,

with warm regards
Umesh Pokharel

Comments for Can we use singular or plurals in IELTS reading answers?

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May 10, 2015
Singular and Plural reading answers
by: IELTS buddy

Hi Umesh,

In the IELTS listening it would be wrong if you put plural instead of singular on the answer sheet, when the correct answer is singular.

It would normally be wrong in the reading as well. But there are many different question types with different instructions on how to answer them.

Can you post here the question you are referring to, the instructions, and the piece of text where the answer comes from?

I would really need to see that to give you the correct answer.


May 11, 2015
Evidence to solve the debate of singular and plural
by: Umesh Pokharel

Hi, Ielts buddy

I am glad to present you the evidence regarding the issue of singular and plural. I would be extremely grateful if you would go through as given below.

Ielts book 4/ Test 1/ Academic module/ Reading passage 2/ No.(23)/ Answer: fresh water dolphin(s).

Ielts book 4/ Test 2/ Academic module/ Reading passage 2/ (25)/ Answer: headache/headaches.

Ielts 4/ Test 3/ Academic module/ Reading passage 3/ (35)/ Answer: facial expression/facial expressions.

Thanking you


Umesh Pokharel

May 11, 2015
singular or plurals in IELTS reading answers
by: IELTS buddy


You are told to use words from the passage, so to be safe, that is what you should do.

However, from looking at the examples you pointed out, I just think that Cambridge would feel it would be a bit harsh to penalise somebody if in those cases they missed the 's' off / added an 's' as it would fit grammatically either way.

So I would go with the same advice - if it says use words from the reading, use the word/s in the text, and make sure it fits grammatically (grammar of course is not always important as in the case of the 'headaches' answer). But as I said, in some cases if plural or singular would be ok they are obviously prepared to let you have that.

Jul 16, 2020
Plural/Singular answer
by: Anonymous

TEXT:Within the resort, transport modes include walking trails, bicycle tracks an the beach train.

QUESTION: Within the resort, transports include trails for walking or tracks for both ..... and the beach trains.

ANSWER: Bicycle
MY ANSWER: Bicycles

Will this be considered wrong?

Jul 17, 2020
Plural/Singular answer
by: IELTS buddy

Yes it will be wrong. You have to get singular / plurals correct.

Mar 22, 2022
To say "bicycles tracks" is incorrect
by: Betica

To add to the discussion, for those who don't know, the expression "bicycle tracks" refers to the "tracks", and in English, the word bicycle, in this case, must be singular, only "tracks" must be plural.

Writing "bicycles" in the plural, means that the test taker ignores this rule. So, in this case, "bicycle" in the singular is the only answer.

Each case regarding singular and plural is different.

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