These pages are here to help you with your IELTS grammar, mainly for writing.
However, it can obviously help with your speaking and also with your reading as it is easy to misunderstand what you have read if you are confused by different sentence structures.
All grammar for IELTS is important, but there are some specific things that are directly related to IELTS. The explanations and exercises will highlight these so you can see how they are relevant.
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Why is Grammar Important?
There is no actual grammar test section in the IELTS test, but you are still graded on this by the examiner in the speaking test and writing test.
These are specifically what you are graded on in each test:
- Task Achievement / Response
- Coherence and Cohesion
- Lexical Resource
- Grammatical Range and Accuracy
- Fluency and coherence
- Lexical Resource
- Grammatical Range and Accuracy
So as you can see, grammar makes up 25% of each test.
However, it is also important for the 'lexical resource' part. This is your use of such things as your vocabulary, idiomatic vocabulary, and collocations.
You will be marked down on this if you are making mistakes with such things as word forms (e.g. using a noun form instead of a verb form) so this is also grammar related.
This is not to suggest that you should focus only on grammar as the other elements such as fluency in your speaking and your ability to answer the question and organise your response in the writing are a major part of the marking.
But it is clearly important to work on improving your IELTS grammar, and this is often the part candidates have the most problems with and the thing that brings their score down.
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How is the grammar for IELTS writing marked exactly?
In order to work on improving your IELTS grammar, it is useful to understand how it is marked.
For each of the parts of the exam highlighed above, you are given a band score (so you get four scores) and these are then averaged to get your overall score for your writing.
- Task Achievement / Response - band 6
- Coherence and Cohesion - band 6
- Lexical Resource - band 6
- Grammatical Range and Accuracy - band 5
Overall score = 5.5
The table below shows the two sections on lexis and grammar. These are adapted from the public band descriptors for Task 2 and show you what the examiner is looking for.
The column on 'grammatical range and accuracy' is exactly as from the public band descriptors, but the 'lexical resource' column just picks outa key part related to grammar.
Writing Band Descriptors for Lexis & Grammar
Grammatical Range & Accuracy
Minor errors in spelling and word formation are extremely rare and have minimal impact on communication.
- A wide range of structures is used with full flexibility and control.
- Punctuation and grammar are used appropriately throughout.
- Minor errors are extremely rare and have minimal impact on communication.
Occasional errors in spelling and/or word formation may occur, but have minimal impact on communication.
- A wide range of structures is flexibly and accurately used.
- The majority of sentences are error-free, and punctuation is well managed.
- Occasional, non-systematic errors and inappropriacies occur, but have minimal impact on communication.
There are only a few errors in spelling and/or word formation and they do not detract from overall clarity.
- A variety of complex structures is used with some flexibility and accuracy.
- Grammar and punctuation are generally well controlled, and error-free sentences are frequent.
- A few errors in grammar may persist, but these do not impede communication.
There are some errors in spelling and/or word formation, but these do not impede communication.
- A mix of simple and complex sentence forms is used but flexibility is limited.
- Examples of more complex structures are not marked by the same level of accuracy as in simple structures.
- Errors in grammar and punctuation occur, but rarely impede communication.
There may be frequent lapses in the appropriacy of word choice and a lack of flexibility is apparent in frequent simplifications and/or repetitions.
Errors in spelling and/or word formation may be noticeable and may cause some difficulty for the reader.
- The range of structures is limited and rather repetitive.
- Although complex sentences are attempted, they tend to be faulty, and the greatest accuracy is achieved on simple sentences.
- Grammatical errors may be frequent and cause some difficulty for the reader.
- Punctuation may be faulty.
Inappropriate word choice and/or errors in word formation and/or in spelling may impede meaning.
- A very limited range of structures is used.
- Subordinate clauses are rare and simple sentences predominate.
- Some structures are produced accurately but grammatical errors are frequent and may impede meaning.
- Punctuation is often faulty or inadequate.
Control of word choice and/or spelling is very limited, and errors predominate. These errors may severely impede meaning.
- Sentence forms are attempted, but errors in grammar and punctuation predominate (except in memorised phrases or those taken from the input material). This prevents most meaning from coming through.
- Length may be insufficient to provide evidence of control of sentence forms.
There is no apparent control of word formation and/or spelling.
- There is little or no evidence of sentence forms (except in memorised phrases).
No resource is apparent, except for a few isolated words.
- Responses of 20 words or fewer are rated at Band 1.
- No rateable language is evident.
Understanding the descriptors
If you study the table you will notice phrases near the top such as 'rare', 'occasional' and 'few' in reference to word form and grammatical errors.
Near the band 6 range are phrases such as 'some', and then 'noticeable' and 'causing difficulty' as you go down lower.
You can also see that it is important to be:
- Getting your word forms right
- Understanding how to write complex sentences and structures
- Expanding your range of grammatical structures you can use
- Using grammar accurately (i.e minimising your error density).
So the pages you'll find here link to explanations and exercises on IELTS grammar to help you improve your score and your grammar.
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