Ultimate Grammar Guide for IELTSMarch 16, 2022 2022-03-28 0:53
Ultimate Grammar Guide for IELTS
Ultimate Grammar Guide for IELTS
Welcome to Ultimate Grammar Guide for IELTS.
It has taken me 3 months to prepare this guide for you. And this is going to teach you everything you need to ace IELTS Grammar.
You see you only need very specific grammar to ace IELTS.
You don’t need to understand everything that is there in the English language.
In fact, as I explain in my Ultimate Guide to Hacking IELTS online course, you can cut out as much as 80% of the information that is in the English language, and only focus on the 20% that is relevant for the IELTS.
In this Ultimate Grammar Guide For IELTS, you will learn everything you need to learn about IELTS Grammar to score 8+ Band.
Ultimate Grammar Guide for IELTS
Part 1: Understanding Clauses The Simple Way
Part 2: Forming Sentences The Right Way
Part 3: Become A Pro With Use of Tenses
Part 4: 10 Most Common Mistakes People Make
Let’s dive in.
Part 1: Understanding Clauses The Simple Way
Grammar & The Bands
There are 4 criteria you are marked on in your IELTS test.
Each of those 4 criteria makes up 25% of your test. The common criteria in both your Speaking and Writing tests is Grammar.
In fact, if more than 50% of your sentences have errors, you will not get more than a 6 Band.
Here is the Band descriptor for Grammar & Vocabulary:
|9||· Uses a wide range of structures with full flexibility and accuracy; rare minor errors occur only as slips.||· Sophisticated control on vocabulary; rare minor slips occur|
|8||· Uses a wide range of structures|
· The majority of sentences are error-free
· Makes only very occasional errors
|· Produces rare errors in spelling and/or word formation|
|7||· Uses a variety of complex structures|
· Produces frequent error-free sentences
· Has good control of Grammar and punctuation but may make a few errors
|· Occasional errors in word choice, spelling, and/or word formation|
|6||· Uses a mix of simple and complex sentence forms|
· Makes some errors in Grammar and punctuation but they rarely reduce communication
|· Some errors in spelling and/or word formation, but they do not impede communication|
What Are Clauses?
Clauses are building blocks of sentences.
A clause is a group of words that includes a subject and a verb.
There are two types of clause:
An Independent Clause – that can stand alone as a sentence.
A Dependent Clause – that supports a sentence.
- “Even though I go to the gym, I am still unfit.”
The blue one can stand alone on its own. It’s an independent clause. The green one is a dependent clause.
- “I want to pursue a career in culinary arts after I graduate from college”.
In this example, the independent clause comes in the first part of the sentence.
To better understand clauses, let’s go through the 4 different types of clauses.
4 Types of Clauses
1) Sentence Clause
A sentence clause is when a subject and a verb are used together to form a sentence.
The subject is the entity performing the action. The verb is the action the entity is performing.
An example of a clause is, “The athlete ran very fast.”
In this sentence, ‘athlete’ is the subject, and ‘ran’ is the verb.
Another example is, “The coffee is extremely hot.”
In this sentence, ‘coffee’ is the subject, and ‘is’ is the verb.
A sentence can have up to 4 clauses. If there is no subject or verb in a part of the sentence, it then becomes a phrase.
2) Relative Clause
Relative clauses are used to form complex sentences.
A relative clause is made up of an independent and a dependent clause.
Relative clauses are used to either modify or give detail about a noun.
In practice, they are placed after the noun by breaking up the independent clause.
The pronouns used to make this clause are who, that, whom, whose, which, and where.
Here’s an example, “The movie, which premiered last week, is a phenomenal success.” The relative clause in this sentence is ‘which premiered last week’.
This clause also broke up the independent clause. The relative clause, in this case, is identified by the pronoun “which”.
3) Noun Clause
This is another type of clause used to form complex sentences.
A noun clause is a dependent clause that acts as a noun.
It answers ‘who’ or ‘what’ questions.
Since it is a dependent clause, it also requires an independent clause for it to make sense. However, unlike a relative clause, a noun clause comes after the verb.
Noun clauses start with how, however, that, what, whatever, when, where, whether, which, whichever, who, whoever, whom, whomever, and why.
An example is, “He talked with whichever person arrived first.”
In this sentence, the subject is ‘he’, and the verb is ‘talked’. In the noun clause, the subject is ‘person’ and the verb is ‘arrived’.
Another example is, “Charlie’s problem was that he didn’t practice enough.”
You can see that it is telling the question and answering within one sentence. If it were separate, it would be, “What was Charlie’s problem? It was that he didn’t practice enough.”
These two sentences have been combined into one sentence. The noun clause is complementing the subject because, without it, the sentence would be incomplete.
4) Adverbial Clause
Adverbial clauses are also part of complex sentences. And they are also made up of an independent clause and a dependent clause.
Within adverbial clauses, there are a few types:
Time clauses refer to a time period, like: “I wish to pursue a career in real estate after I graduate from college.” Or “I like listening to songs when driving.”
Conditional clauses are used when you want to express a condition, such as: “What would you do if you had a million dollars?” Or “I can’t lose weight unless I cut off unhealthy food.”
Reason clauses are used to explain the reason behind something, for example: “I’m going to take an online course because I want to score better in IELTS.” Or, “Since my phone broke, I have to buy a new one.”
Purpose clauses are used to show the purpose behind an action, for example: “I’m studying in a culinary college so that I can pursue a career in this field.” Or, “I’m taking this course in order to ace my IELTS.”
Concession clauses are used to show a contrast between two statements, such as: “Even though they’re common now, electric cars are still too expensive for some people.”
Other words you can use to make these sentences are: Even though, Although, Whereas, While, and Though.
2 Rules for Adverbial Clause
Adverbial clauses are made up of an independent and a dependent clause. An independent clause is one that can stand alone as a sentence. A dependent clause is one that requires another clause to stand as a sentence.
The first rule is that independent and dependent clauses can switch positions. So, a sentence that was previously “I want to pursue a career in culinary arts after I graduate from college” can become “After I graduate from college, I want to pursue a career in culinary arts.”
And the second rule is that if you place the dependent clause first, you must put a comma before the independent clause. You can view the example provided above.
With that, you’ve come to the end of Part 1 of the Ultimate Grammar Guide for IELTS.
I’d like you to take the quiz below just to reiterate your understanding of Clauses.
Quiz: Identify the number of clauses in each sentence
- I was hungry last night, so I ordered some pizza.
- We should recycle more to stop global warming.
- I went to the zoo with my family yesterday. We saw all kinds of animals and ate dinner at a local restaurant. I got a bit sick later that night though.
- My mom took the car so I had to take an Uber to work.
- One should always help a person in need.
- Two; 2) One; 3) Three; 4) Two; 5) One
Part 2: Forming Sentences The Right Way
There are 4 types of sentences. Understanding these different types of sentences will help you in articulating your thoughts more effectively and score better in both your IELTS Writing and Speaking tests.
4 Types of Sentences
1) Simple Sentences
A simple sentence is one clause with a subject and a verb.
Let’s take this sentence for example, “I eat cereal every morning.”
In this sentence, ‘I’ is the subject and ‘eat’ is the verb.
A simple sentence can have more than one subject or verb as well. It can have two subjects and one verb.
For example, “My brother and I spend most of our time playing video games.”
It can also have one subject and two verbs, like, “I like to eat snacks and drink some tea in the evening.”
And finally, it can have two subjects and two verbs as well, such as, “My girlfriend and I like to eat snacks and watch movies late at night.”
2) Compound Sentences
A compound sentence is when simple sentences are joined together. It consists of two or three clauses. The clauses in these sentences are joined with the following coordinating conjunctions: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so.
A simple acronym to remember these is ‘FANBOYS’.
Here is an example of a compound sentence structure: “I like having soft drinks, but they are high in sugar content.”
You can even use two coordinating conjunctions, such as, “I like having soft drinks, but they are high in sugar content, so we should try to avoid them.”
However, you CANNOT use ONE coordinating conjunction more than once in a sentence. It is grammatically incorrect so avoid using too many clauses.
3) Complex Sentences
This is the most important sentence structure. In order to score 6 Band or higher, you must show the examiner that you have the ability to use complex sentences.
Complex sentences are two (or more) clauses joined together by using subordinating conjunctions.
You might ask, what are subordinating conjunctions?
Well, a conjunction is a word used to join two clauses together. A subordinating conjunction is a word used to join a dependent clause to an independent clause.
Here are some subordinating conjunctions: after, as, as if, as long as, although, as much as, as soon as, as though, because, before, even if, even though, if, where, in case, once, since, so that, that, though, unless, until, when, in order to, whenever, whereas, wherever, and while.
An example of a complex sentence is: “Even though they are common now, electric cars are still too expensive for some people.”
Notice that since I put the dependent clause first, I put a comma after it.
4) Compound-Complex Sentences
Compound-Complex sentences are complex sentences with a simple or compound sentence before or after them.
Such as, “Kate doesn’t like cartoons because they’re loud, so she doesn’t watch them.”
There are two independent clauses and one dependent clause in this sentence.
The dependent clause cannot stand in its self as it wouldn’t make sense. Therefore, it requires the assistance of two independent clauses.
The way to score the highest Band in IELTS is to form all types of sentences in your writing and speaking. Understanding the above 4 types of sentences will help you practice forming these sentences in your practice sessions.
Lastly, in this section, I’d like to explain to you Modal Verbs, Infinitives, and Gerunds. These will assist you in forming your sentences more effectively.
What Are Modal Verbs?
Modal verbs are what we use to add further information to the main verb in the sentence.
These verbs cannot be used on their own so they have to put together with the main verb. They are used to clarify the verb to the reader.
Some examples of modal verbs are might, shall, may, could, should, can, must, etc.
When you are using a modal verb, there are 3 functions you need to focus on:
1) Degree of Certainty
The common verbs used to show a degree of certainty are may and will.
The word will shows that you are 100% sure your argument is true. While may adds to a degree of uncertainty.
Among the modal verbs, there are words like must, need to, ought to, and could.
These words are used to give suggestions. There will be questions where you’ll be given a problem and asked solutions for tackling it. In these questions, use these words to show whether this solution is necessary, or just a helping factor and is not urgent.
For example, the words must, have to, need to, and ought to give the impression that this suggestion is critical in solving the problem, so unless it is, don’t use the words must or need. Instead, use words like should and could.
3) Hypothetical Situation
Words like would, could, and might are used when describing a hypothetical situation.
This means that you are discussing a topic that has not happened, but you are making a prediction of what the outcome of that suggestion might be if the event ever happened.
For example, “If more people used public transport, there would be lesser traffic and emergencies could be attended to a lot faster.”
In this sentence, the word If suggests that this is a hypothetical situation. The words would and could show that if the situation were to happen, this could be a possible outcome.
What Are Infinitives?
An infinitive is [to + verb].
This means that it is a bare form of a verb with ‘to’ before it, such as to make, to understand, to search, to feel, to see, to cook, etc.
Infinitives can also be used as a short form of ‘in order to’.
This sentence, “I cut off fatty and sugary foods in order to lose weight”, can also be written using infinitive as, “I cut off fatty and sugary foods to lose weight.”
Some common verbs that are commonly followed by an infinitive are: afford, deserve, decide, demand, hope, hesitate, manage, intend, learn, mean, need, prepare, promise, and pretend.
What Are Gerunds?
A gerund is a noun that ends in -ing.
Some examples of gerunds are walking, sleeping, eating, talking, exercising, etc.
When gerunds are used as a subject, they are always in the singular form, even if there are multiple objects.
For example, “Drinking 8 glasses of water a day is the recommended amount of water for an adult.” Although I said 8 glasses, I used the singular verb ‘is’.
However, if there is more than one gerund in a sentence, we must use a plural verb.
Such as, “Exercising and eating a balanced diet are both crucial for staying healthy.” In this sentence, there were two gerunds, so I used the plural verb ‘are’.
If we want to make the sentence negative, we must place ‘not’ before the gerund.
For example, “Not sleeping for 8 hours every day can result in you being tired throughout the day.”
With that, you’ve come to the end of Part 2 of the Ultimate Grammar Guide for IELTS.
I’d like you to take the quiz below just to reiterate your understanding of Sentences, Infinitives, and Gerunds.
Quiz 1: Identify what type of sentence each is
- I was late for work.
- He failed the test because he did not study hard enough.
- Even though pollution is widespread, people are doing little to prevent it.
- Animals should not be killed for their fur, but this is still happening, so action must be taken.
- I came to study in the UK because I wanted to improve my English, so I talk to as many English people as possible.
Quiz 2: Fill the brackets with an infinitive or gerund form of the word inside that bracket
He had never read much in his life and knew he was weak in this area, so he practiced (read) as much as he could. He hated (write) in English too as his Grammar was quite weak so he also planned (practice) writing as many essays as possible. His teachers agreed (check) these for him. As it turned out, Ali actually really enjoyed (study) English. The other students on the course didn’t hesitate (help) Ali and the teachers always offered (assist) him if he was stuck. He kept up his studying for a number of months because he wouldn’t risk (sit) the exam until he was ready.
Quiz 3: Fill the brackets with an infinitive, gerund, or both forms of the word inside the bracket if both can be used
- He wanted (leave) his job for a better one.
- She intended (finish) her project within the week.
- He started (develop) an addiction to fast food.
- Simple; 2) Complex; 3) Complex; 4) Compound; 5) Complex-Compound
Reading, writing/to write, to practice, to check, studying, to help, to assist, sitting.
- To leave (infinitive)
- To finish (infinitive)
- Developing (gerund)
Part 3: Becoming A Pro With Use of Tenses
There are three verb tenses: Past, Present, and Future.
But within each of these three, there are 4 forms as well, such as Past Perfect, Past Continuous, etc.
Past tense is used when you’re talking about an event that has already occurred.
Present tense is used to discuss something that is currently taking place or is continuous.
Future tense is used when something is yet to happen, or, it will take place in the future.
Let’s get into each of them and understand them in a simple manner.
4 Types of Present Tenses
1) Simple Present
A simple present has two uses. It is used when an action is happening right now or when it happens regularly. The second use is to talk about habitual actions or occurrences.
Depending on the person, a simple present is formed by adding ‘es’ or ‘s’ to the root form of the verb.
In the simple present, most verbs use the root form except in the third person, which requires the addition of an ‘s’.
For instance, the verb ‘write’ would be used in the first person singular as “I write”.
In the second person, it would be used as, “You write”.
However, in the third person, it would be used as, “He/She/it writes”. Notice, that in the third person, the verb ended with an ‘s’.
Some verbs, when in the third person, end in ‘es’ instead of ‘s’. These verbs are usually ones that in their root form end with o, ch, sh, th, ss, gh or z.
For example, the verb ‘go’ would be used in the singular first person as “I go”.
In the second person as “You go”.
However, in the third person, it would be used as, “He/She/it goes”. You can see that since this verb ended with an ‘o’, it required the addition of ‘es’ to be used in the third person.
2) Present Perfect
Present perfect tense refers to when something started in the past and has continued up to the present time.
This tense is formed by have/has + the past participle.
The construction is very simple. The first part is has or have depending on the subject. The second part is the past participle which is usually formed by adding an ‘ed’ or ‘d’ at the end of the verb’s root form.
Some examples are, walked, talked, cooked, changed, baked, exercised, etc.
However, this rule does not apply to irregular verbs. Some irregular past participle words are: slept, fell, took, thought, broke, won, etc.
For example, “I have told him to come home early so we can eat dinner together.”
One thing you must remember is that past participle cannot be used when you are being specific about when something occurred.
For example, “I have baked some cookies this evening.” This sentence is incorrect because it is specifying the time the activity occurred at. The correct sentence would be, “I have baked some cookies.”
3) Present Continuous
This tense is used to indicate an action that is happening now and may continue into the future.
It is constructed by am/is/are + verb [present participle].
For example, “My brother and I are spending the weekend in a cabin in the woods. We are going to a lake nearby for fishing.”
4) Present Perfect Continuous
Present perfect continuous tense is used to show something that started in the past and is still continuing up till the present time.
It is constructed by has/have + been + [root form of verb + ing].
For example, “They have been playing football for an hour.”
Another example is, “He has been studying in the library for three hours!”
4 Types of Past Tenses
1) Simple Past
Simple past tense is used to talk about something that happened in the past.
To reiterate, present continuous talks about something that started in the past and continued till the present time. In contrast, the simple past is something that has already finished at some point in the past.
Simple past tense is constructed by adding ed at the end of a regular verb. If the regular verb already ends in e, then we only add d. Some examples are talked, walked, called, loved, typed, etc.
However, irregular verbs are a bit more complicated. Some irregular verbs stay the same after being converted to simple past, such as hit, cut, put, cost, and made.
To make simple past verbs negative, you can use the formula did not + [root form of verb]. This formula can be used for both regular and irregular verbs. You can also use the contraction didn’t instead of did not.
2) Past Perfect
The past perfect tense is used to talk about something that happened before the time in the past being mentioned.
The formula for this tense is: had + past participle.
For example, “He had earned a lot of money, so he bought a new car.” This sentence tells us that he had bought a car in the past because he had earned a lot of money.
But what’s the difference between the past perfect and simple past?
Past perfect is used when you’re talking about some point in the past and want to refer to an event that happened even earlier.
Consider the difference between these two sentences, “He earned a lot of money so he bought a new car” and “He had earned a lot of money so bought a new car.”
The difference is subtle, but both sentences have a different meaning. The first sentence leaves the impression that he generally earned a lot of money, aside from that instance as well. However, the second sentence shows that he had earned a lot of money in that instance only, so he bought a new car.
Another time to use past perfect tense is when you’re expressing a condition and a result.
For example, “If I had earned that much money, I would have put it into my savings account.” The past perfect tense is used in the part of the sentence that explains the condition.
However, never use past perfect tense when you’re not mentioning a sequence of events.
For example, using “He had bought a new car” would be incorrect. It would imply that this event happened before another past event. The reader or listener would be waiting for you to tell them what happened after ‘He bought a new car’. Unless you’re mentioning something that happened after the event, using past perfect tense wouldn’t make sense.
To make past perfect negative, use had + not + [past participle].
3) Past Continuous
Past continuous tense refers to a continuing action or state that happened at some time in the past.
It is formed by combining “was/were” and the verb’s present participle. The present participle is formed by adding –ing to the root form of the verb.
This tense can be used to describe conditions that existed in the past, such as “The sun was shining every day that summer.”
It can also be used to describe something continuous that was interrupted by another action.
For example, “Alan was cutting the grass when a snake appeared.”
4) Past Perfect Continuous
Past perfect continuous tense is used to talk about something that started in the past, continued in the past, and ended at some time in the past.
It can be constructed by the formula had been + the verb’s present participle.
Some examples of this tense are, “She had been studying in the library before she came to class,” “They had been playing football when the rain started to pour” and, “He had been knocking on the door for 10 minutes before realized that I wasn’t home.”
Some words that you may see being used with this tense are for, since, before, and when.
4 Types of Future Tenses
1) Simple Future
The simple future tense is used to talk about something that will start and end at some time in the future.
There are two formulas for constructing this tense. The first one is will + [root form of verb]. The second formula is am/is/are + going to + [root form of verb].
It doesn’t matter if the subject is singular or plural. Both these formulas can be used for either one.
However, the going to formula is more on the informal side, so try to stick with the will + root form of the verb for formal writing.
Some examples are, “I’m going to learn how to play the guitar,” “I will buy a car once I get my driving license” and, “He will teach me how to get better at hockey.”
You can make simple future negative by adding not between will and the root form of the verb. The formula for it is, will + not + [root form of verb]. The going to formula for simple future negative is, am/is/are + not + going to + [root form of verb].
2) Future Perfect
The future perfect tense is used to talk about an event or action that will be completed at some time in the future.
The formula for future perfect tense is will have + [past participle]. It doesn’t matter if the subject is singular or plural. The formula will remain the same.
An example is “He will have left by 7 am for his flight.”
To make a negative future perfect, all you have to do is a place not between will and have. The formula for it is will + not + have + [past participle]. You can use the contraction won’t instead of will not.
3) Future Continuous
Future continuous tense indicates that something will occur in the future and will continue for some time.
It is constructed using the formula will + be + present participle (root verb + -ing).
For example, “I will be watching the football match tomorrow.”
This construction indicates that the action will not happen in an instant. Instead, it will continue for some time before finishing. Therefore, the will + be + present participle always indicates the future continuous tense.
However, it is important to note that future continuous tense can only be used with action verbs.
Some examples of action verbs are watching, running, eating, sleeping, seeing, and thinking.
4) Future Perfect Continuous
Future perfect continuous tense is used to describe an action or event that will continue up to some point in the future and will be completed.
The formula for this construction is will + have + been + [present participle].
An example of this tense is, “Next month, I will have been working in this company for fifteen years.”
Parallelism and Voices
Lastly, in this section, I’d like to discuss Parallelism, and Active & Passive Voices. These will assist you in forming your sentences correctly and more effectively.
Parallelism is when you balance the grammatical structure of words, clauses, sentences, or phrases in your writing.
When we are writing in the form of a series or a list, each item or word of the list or series must have the same grammatical form.
A noun should be balanced with a noun, a clause with a clause, an adverb with an adverb, a verb with a verb, and so on.
Some examples of the parallelism are:
Infinitive: “I wanted to go to London visiting my brother.”
This sentence is incorrect as the first item was an infinitive and the second was a gerund. Since the first was an infinitive, the second one must be an infinitive too.
The correct version of this sentence would be, “I wanted to go to London to visit my brother.”
Gerund: “My family’s going to Australia and will be to settle over there.”
This sentence is wrong as well because it isn’t balanced. To give it a parallel structure, we will have to balance it by replacing the second item with its gerund form.
The correct sentence is, “My family’s going to Australia and will be settling over there.”
Adjectives: “My new blanket is comfortable, soft, and not dirty.”
The first two items in this sentence are both adjectives. However, since the third one is a verb, the sentence is incorrect.
The correct sentence would be, “My new blanket is comfortable, soft, and clean.”
Active & Passive Voices
Active voice is when the subject is doing the action of the verb. Passive voice is when the victim of the action (the object) becomes the subject.
For example, “I am digging in the ground” is active voice. “The ground was dug by me” is passive.
In this sentence, ‘ground’ is now the new subject and the previous subject can be eliminated or put in place of the victim.
When it comes to changing active voice to passive voice, there are three rules you must follow:
- Move the object of the sentence and make it the subject.
- Add ‘by’ before the new object.
- Change the verb to the past tense.
In the above example, the word ‘digging’ has been changed to ‘dug’, thus the sentence is now in the passive voice.
With that, you’ve come to the end of Part 3 of the Ultimate Grammar Guide for IELTS.
I’d now like you to take the quiz below just to reiterate your understanding of Tenses & Parallelism.
Quiz 1: Replace the words in the bracket in their correct tense
- This workshop (take place) in the art gallery every week.
- He is busy right now. He is (talk) on the phone.
- The company (operating) a wide range of cultural sightseeing every year.
- In the UK, students (entered) law undergraduate degree programmes immediately after high school.
- My parents (are touring) around Western Europe this summer.
Quiz 2: State whether the sentence is balanced or not
- The scenery was spectacular, exciting and looked beautiful.
- I like neither to wash dishes nor mopping the floor.
- They studied quickly, quietly, and carefully.
- It was both a long meeting and a very boring one.
- She was not sure whether to move to Australia or stay in Japan.
- Takes place; 2) Talking; 3) Operates; 4) Enter; 5) Are touring
- Not balanced; 2) Not balanced; 3) Balanced; 4) Not balanced; 5) Balanced
Part 4: 10 Most Common Mistakes People Make
I have checked over 1000 practice essays by my students since 2018. After going through them, I can clearly see the similar patterns of mistakes getting repeated again and again.
In this part of the Ultimate Grammar Guide, I have compiled a list of 10 of the most common mistakes people make when giving their IELTS.
I have also discussed how you can avoid such mistakes.
1) Using the word ‘The’
The first most common mistake is using the word ‘the’ wrong.
Here are the instances where you should use ‘the’.
We use ‘the’ when only one of something exists in that area, such as the police, the cinema, the hospital, the train station, the airport, etc.
It is also used when there is only one of something in the entire world. For example, the atmosphere, the sun, the sky, the sea among many others.
‘The’ can also be used with cardinal numbers, such as the first, the second, the third, the fourth, and so on.
We can use it with superlatives. Some examples are the best, the worst, the tallest, the shortest, the prettiest, and many more.
It can be used with names of countries where name refers to a group of states or islands like the USA, the UAE, the UK, and the Middle East.
It is also used before nouns that describe general actions or activities. For example, “I spent most of my day at the swimming pool” and “We took our cars to the race track.”
‘The’ is also used before abstract nouns that are describing a process or a situation. It can be used in sentences like this: “The frequency of customers increased after the summer sale.”
Conversely, we do not use ‘the’ before something that is plural. It is also wrong to use ‘the’ when mentioning a single place like a country or a city.
2) Uncountable Nouns
Some nouns in English are uncountable. This means that they will always be in their singular form.
Some of the more common uncountable nouns that students mistake are: advice, advertising, knowledge, food, traffic, entertainment, and happiness.
If a noun is uncountable, it is wrong to use a plural form of it.
3) Noun-Verb Agreement
This is yet another common mistake. The noun and verb must always agree with each other, meaning that if the noun is plural, the verb must be plural as well.
For example, “There is kids in the playground,” is incorrect, but “There are kids in the playground” is correct.
4) Gerunds or [to + Infinitive] Verb
Students are often seen making mistakes when using gerunds and infinitives. They make mistakes in choosing the verbs that follow gerunds and infinitives.
This has been explained in-depth in previous parts.
When we are writing, we often link ideas. To do this, we use words like, however, nevertheless, moreover, furthermore, in conclusion, and though.
Whenever these words are used at the beginning of a sentence, we must place a comma after it.
For example, “In conclusion, it is important to have good Grammar to score better in IELTS.”
There may be instances where you have to place it in the middle of the sentences. When this happens, we must place a comma on both sides of the word.
Here’s an example, “Regular exercise is key to staying healthy, however, a balanced diet is just as important.”
6) Use of Articles before Noun Phrases
We should include a/an before a combination of adjective and singular noun.
Such as: an incredible sight, a large house, a delicious steak, etc.
Sometimes we have to use the word ‘of’ after a noun phrase, for example, a large number of, a small number of, etc.
7) Verb Tenses
Using the wrong tenses is yet another common and a major error in IELTS.
Verb tenses have been explained in detail in the previous parts. Using the correct tense is a crucial part of your Grammar so make sure you do them right.
Apostrophes are very important. They can change the entire meaning of your sentence if placed incorrectly, so make sure you understand them.
Apostrophes are used for multiple purposes. They are used to make contractions and shorten words, such as, changing I will to I’ll, or changing should not to shouldn’t.
Apostrophes can also be used to show possession.
For example, “We went to the beach in David’s new car.”
9) Common Spelling Mistakes
People often make spelling mistakes as well, and while it’s difficult to be perfect, there is a trick to make lesser mistakes.
The trick is simple, read out loud when rechecking your work. This is simple and extremely effective.
10) Prepositions After Adjectives And Nouns
This is a problem faced by many students. They often get confused about which preposition to place after the adjective or noun.
Below are some common prepositions:
At: We use ‘at’ when we are talking about a skill or ability, such as, bad at something, good at something, amazing at something, talented at something.
About: ‘About’ is usually used with adjectives of feeling to explain the cause of them. Happy is a feeling, so you can use ‘about’ to tell that you were happy about the promotion, or perhaps you were nervous about your IELTS exam.
With: With is similar to ‘about’ because it too, is used to talk about feelings. However, the difference is that ‘with’ is used when you are referring to a person. Such as, you were happy with the work your employee turned in. Or, you were angry with someone.
In: Some examples of the preposition ‘in’ are, fall in, get in, drop in, rise in, etc.
Of: Some common uses of this preposition are, example of, number of, use of, made of, and many more.
To: This preposition is used to show the connection between two things, such as, He is married to her, I want to tour France, etc.
Congratulations, by now, you have learned – in a simple manner – everything there is about Grammar you need to ace your IELTS.
To reiterate, you do NOT need a perfect Grammar to get 8+ Band in your IELTS. As I teach in my Ultimate Guide To Hacking IELTS online course, the most important thing is the structure and smart strategies to do each section of the IELTS.
When I got 8.5 Band in IELTS, I didn’t have nearly as much command over Grammar as I have today. That is proof that you do not need to be a pro at Grammar.
However, it doesn’t hurt to learn everything I’ve taught in this Ultimate Grammar Guide so that even if you falter a bit in your structure and the use of smart strategies, you score extra for the Grammar component.
I hope you will keep this guide with you and use it to ace your IELTS exam the next time you take it.
You can access the course here: