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Hyphens IELTS Listening Test

by Hesham


Please help me to resolve this repeated problem.

1. I want to ask when I could use (-) in between words. In the answer sheet the answer was (brother-in-law) while I wrote it (brother in law). Will be counted as a correct answer?

2. The answer in the answer sheet was 'newtown', while I wrote it 'new town'. Is that wrong?

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May 26, 2017
Hyphenated Words in IELTS Listening
by: IELTS buddy


IELTS don't talk about hyphens in IELTS Listening on their website so it's difficult to know for sure if they would allow it or not.

But my guess is that they would mark it right if you missed a hyphen as you have clearly demonstrated your listening skills and your understanding of the words that have been said.

So I think 'brother in law' would be ok. But I cannot say yes 100%. You should learn which words are hyphenated as you learn English and do your best to get it right.

But I don't think they would allow 'newtown'. You would need to be able to show that you can recognise two different words when you hear them.


Jan 03, 2018
a situation where a hyphrn is beeded
by: Austin Rand

A general rule that I follow is that if the words involved are spoken as a unit, a writer should show that by hyphenating them. As in commander-in chief and editor- in chief. Another instance of this rule (if spoken as a unit, use hyphens) would be "a ten-year-old boy", "a tired-looking tramp".

Nov 11, 2020
Hyphen - A must (in case)
by: Maanasa

When we look at the instructions carefully, we can see the number/word limitations to be used for the answers.

Here, in the case of the word "brother in law", it is counted as 3 words (if am not wrong!). Hence, we need to use a hyphen if the instruction says to write answer in a one word.

Hope it helps!

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Hyphenated Words in the IELTS Listening

by khan

Hello Sir,

I have been practicing the listening tests from the official IELTS book (IELTS upgrade from IELTS academic).

Well in section 4 of Practice test 7 the instructions tell us to write:


The answer for one of the blanks is 65% and in the answer key also they have given as 65%.

As you can see its a number. Will this be the correct answer? As in the instructions they didn't mention about writing numbers.

We can't write sixty five percent also as it will count as up to 3 words.

Another blank answer is 25 pounds. I don't understand how can this be the correct answer as in the instructions it clearly mentioned we can use only words not numbers.

I have my IELTS test in two days, please help me with this doubt.

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Jan 05, 2017
IELTS Listening Answer Key Problems
by: IELTS buddy

Hi khan,

Are they actual official Cambridge past test papers? From what you called them they did not sound like they were.

Normally they would allow you to write it either way, so for the first one, 65% would be fine.

I can't explain why it does not say 'NUMBER' as well in the instructions but maybe it is an error in the book?

But also don't forget numbers are hyphenated and hyphenated words count as one word in IELTS. So if you are in that situation and you want to follow the instruction and avoid actual numbers, 'sixty-five percent' is two words so fits ok.

The same goes for the second one - '25 pounds', twenty-five pounds' or '£25' would normally be fine, but if you are in the situation where you are asked for just two words, you could write the second one.

Jan 22, 2018
Not an error
by: Anonymous

65% is simply Sixty-Five Percent. This statement contains 2 words not 3.

Sixty five means Sixty and Five i.e 60 and 5 so check it up.

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Capitalisation and Hypens

by Camille Ablao


This is an inquiry with regards how you are going to write answers in the answer sheet.

When I do practice exams in listening, I sometimes capitalize the first letter of my answer (because the answer is found in the beginning of the sentence, and it is not a proper noun), but looking at the key answers, it was not capitalized.

Will I be marked wrong for it? Does it mean proper nouns are the only accepted case for capitalizing the first letter of the word, not because it is the first word in the sentence?

How about if i did not put a hyphen in between 2 words that needs one? will they mark it wrong?

hope you will help me with my confusion. I will be taking my exam in 5 days.

thank you


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Aug 31, 2016
Capitals and Hypens
by: IELTS buddy

Hi Camille,

It does not matter whether you use big or small letters.

For example "bAnglaDesH" would be ok.

As for hyphens, IELTS don't talk about that on their website so it's difficult to know for sure if they would allow it or not.

Sep 02, 2016
re capitalisations and hyphens
by: mimi ablao

thsnk you... wish me luck. I'll be seating the exam tomorrow! good luck to those who are taking the exam with me. see you there :)

Sep 22, 2016
Capital letter
by: Anonymous

According to british council's expert, we need to write the answer either all in capital or in lower letter format. Then how bAnglADesH would be correct?

Sep 25, 2016
by: IELTS buddy

Who is the expert you are referring to?

Of course you are not going to write "bAnglaDesH". That was used to make the point that you could write:


All those would be correct.

Sep 11, 2017
by: Anonymous

In one of the sample papers from British council the instructions were WRITE NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS. For one question the answer given was 'time-consuming' so here writing time consuming without a hyphen would make the answer wrong?

Sep 17, 2017
by: IELTS buddy

No it says 'not MORE than two words'.

So one or two words is ok.

IELTS don't officially say if they accept a word without hyphens that should be hyphenated. I expect they would accept it but it's not possible to say for sure whether you'd get the mark.

Apr 09, 2019
Hyphen to connect words between two lines.
by: Saroj Shrestha

Is it OK, to use the hyphen (-) at the end of a line in case word does not seems to fit in the line, or is it better to place the whole word in a new line.

Which one is better:
1) Maintain margin on right side of the paper and write ( 'edu-' {in 1st line} and 'cation' in the second line)

2) Don't try to maintain an equal margin on the right side of the paper. So, place the whole word in the new line.

Among these two options which one you prefer?.

May 11, 2019
apostrophe in the Listening test Answer
by: Anonymous

what if i forgot to include apostrophe in the Answer. For example Answer was Student's union, but i wrote it as Students union. Is it still correct?

May 15, 2019
apostrophe in the Listening test Answer
by: IELTS buddy

I don't think IELTS officially say publicly what they do in that case but I'd imagine they would accept it.

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North-West or northwest

by Steve

Guys I was doing a listening practice and wanted to ask if I can write "North-West" as "northwest". Do you have to put the dash and need the capital letter, will I lose a mark?

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Aug 29, 2019
North-West or northwest
by: IELTS buddy

Either should be ok. If you have a look online you'll see that both Northwest and North-West are used. And capitals do not matter in the IELTS listening test so 'northwest' is ok.

Apr 09, 2024
north west
by: Anonymous

will North west be considered correct with answer not more than 2 words.

Apr 16, 2024
Compass directions in IELTS
by: IELTS buddy

Nobody knows exactly what the markers instructions are each time and what they can allow.

North west is ok for the word limit as it's not more than two words. However it should be 'northwest' or 'north-west'.

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