Elevate Your IELTS Writing Score: Improve Your Grammar Skills 

 March 20, 2024

By  Jonathan

Strong grammar is the foundation of clear and effective communication, especially in the IELTS Writing test. Grammatical errors can hinder the clarity of your ideas, impacting your score negatively. By focusing on improving your grammar skills, you’ll enhance your writing and take a significant step towards achieving your desired IELTS band score.

Why is Grammar Important in IELTS Writing?

  • Clarity and Accuracy: Errors in grammar can distort your intended meaning, leading to confusion or misunderstanding by the examiner.
  • Formality: Correct grammar usage is crucial for maintaining the formal academic style required for the IELTS Writing test.
  • Coherence: Proper grammar helps connect your ideas logically, making your writing flow smoothly.
  • Overall Impression: Consistent grammatical accuracy demonstrates your command of the English language and contributes to a higher overall band score.

Common Grammar Challenges in IELTS Writing

To improve, it’s essential to be aware of the typical problem areas:

  • Subject-Verb Agreement: Ensuring the verb agrees with the subject in number (singular/plural).
  • Tenses: Correctly using past, present, and future tenses to convey timeframes accurately, especially in Task 1 data descriptions.
  • Articles: Understanding the use of definite (the) and indefinite (a/an) articles.
  • Prepositions: Choosing the right prepositions (in, on, at, by, etc.) in various contexts.
  • Sentence Structure: Constructing grammatically correct sentences of varying types (simple, compound, complex).

Strategies for Improving Your IELTS Grammar

  1. Brush Up on the Basics
    • If your foundations are shaky, revise the essentials! Online grammar resources or a good grammar textbook can help you solidify the core concepts.
    • Focus on areas where you frequently make mistakes.
  2. Targeted Practice
    • Use online quizzes and exercises that specifically target common IELTS grammar trouble spots (the areas mentioned above are a good start!).
    • Dedicate a portion of your study time to focused grammar practice.
  3. Write and Analyze
    • Write regularly on different IELTS essay topics with a focus on being as grammatically accurate as possible.
    • Analyze your written work – circle potential errors and research them to understand where you went wrong.
  4. Read for Grammar
    • While reading various texts, pay attention to grammar usage
    • Notice how sentences are constructed, how tenses are used, and how formal English sounds.
  5. Proofread Diligently
    • Leave enough time at the end of your practice tests for thorough proofreading.
    • Look specifically for grammar mistakes – try reading your essay backward to catch errors more easily.

Additional Tips for Success

  • Get Feedback: Have a qualified instructor or a proficient English speaker review your essays for grammatical feedback. This is invaluable for pinpointing your specific weaknesses.
  • Utilize Grammar Checkers (With Caution): Online grammar tools can be helpful, but don’t rely on them completely. Use them as a guide, but always understand why the tool suggests a correction.
  • Use a Good Dictionary: A quality dictionary clarifies word meanings and provides explanations of grammatical usage.

Example: Subject-Verb Agreement

Let’s focus on one common mistake: Incorrect subject-verb agreement:

  • Incorrect: The committee meet every Tuesday.
  • Correct: The committee meets every Tuesday. (‘committee’ is singular)

Practice Task: Identify and correct subject-verb agreement errors in the following sentences. Check your answers against a reliable grammar resource.

  1. The number of international students in the UK increase every year.
  2. Pollution have a significant impact on the environment.
  3. The data show a steady decline in unemployment rates.

Remember: Improving your grammar takes effort and practice. By understanding common problem areas, using targeted practice techniques, and being mindful of proofreading, you can significantly enhance your IELTS Writing score.

Jonathan has been teaching students to prepare for the IELTS and PTE Exams for more than 10+ years. He's taught English to students in various countries in the world including Singapore, China, Australia, Canada and Colombia.