Category Archives: Grammar for IELTS

Grammar for IELTS parts of speech

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Grammar for IELTS parts of speech

Grammar for IELTS parts of speechIn order to improve your result in the IELTS test, both for speaking and writing, it is important to be aware of the ‘parts’ of speech that create sentences in English. It is commonly accepted that there are only 9* different parts of speech from which all sentences, phrases or utterances are made.

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*Some schools believe that there are only 8 parts of speech, with articles being part of the adjective group.

The different parts of speech are as follows:

  1. nouns
  2. verbs
  3. adverbs
  4. adjectives
  5. articles
  6. pronouns
  7. prepositions
  8. conjunctions
  9. interjections

Understanding which groups words are in can also help you to break down sentences, making the passive skills (reading and listening) easier.

Below is a table showing the different parts of speech and an example.

Parts of speech

Part of speech Common use Example
Verb to describe an action He sat.
Noun To describe a thing He sat on the chair.
Adverb To describe the verb He slowly sat on the chair.
Adjective To describe the noun He slowly sat on the tall chair.
Pronoun To talk about who He slowly sat on the tall chair.
Preposition To talk about where or when He slowly sat on the tall chair.
Conjunction Used to join ideas He slowly sat on the tall chair but fell off.
Article Used to give more information about the noun He slowly sat on the tall chair but fell off.
Interjection A short exclamation – not a full sentence Ouch! He hit the floor.

Improving your knowledge of English

It is also useful to keep a vocabulary list and group words together that come from the same parts of speech.

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For example:

adjectives – e.g. glamorous

You should try to also learn their antonyms and synonyms to build your vocabulary.

e.g. alluring, attractive (synonyms) – dowdy, plain (antonyms)

and think about their comparatives and superlatives e.g. – (adj) more glamorous (comparative) the most glamorous (superlative)

nouns – e.g. accommodation

(check spelling and think about articles etc) – uncountable, no ‘a’ or ‘an’

You should try to also learn their synonyms to build your vocabulary.

e.g. place of residence, dwelling, abode (synonyms)

verbs – e.g. drive

(and their past and participle forms);

drove, driven

prepositions – e.g. on

(with examples of their different uses),

e.g. on the sofa, but in an arm chair.

conjunctions – e.g. moreover

(with examples of use and punctuation)

Smoking is expensive; moreover, it is detrimental to health.

Click here to try the parts of speech exercises.

Prepositions of time (1)

Prepositions of time (lesson 1)

prepositions_of_timePrepositions of time (like all prepositions) can be one of the hardest parts of English to use correctly.

This is because the rules are often quite difficult and there are lots of exceptions!

In this lesson, we are looking at the following prepositions of time:

  • at
  • in
  • on

Here are some example sentences using prepositions of time:

  • I’m going camping at the weekend.
  • They will be here in 5 minutes
  • School starts on the Monday.

Prepositions of time – ‘at

Here are the rules for using the preposition ‘at‘.

Rule #1:

For a clock time (at 5 p.m., at quarter to 12)

Example: I finish work at 5.30 p.m.

Rule #2:

For a particular time (at lunch time, at sunset)

We will be having dinner on the deck at sunset. How romantic!

Rule #3:

For a collection of days (at the weekend [the weekend includes Saturday and Sunday], at Christmas [Christmas period includes Christmas day, Christmas Eve etc])

Most games are held at the weekend.

Here are the rules for using the preposition ‘in‘.

Rule #1:

For months of the year (in February, in April)

They are getting married in March.

Rule #2:

For years (in 1990, in 2015)

I started working at the school in 2010.

Rule #3:

For part of a day (in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening) EXCEPTION: at night

I can concentrate better in the morning.

I love listening to the owls at night.

Rule #4:

For longer lengths of time: (in the summer, in the Middle Ages)

He always goes skiing in the winter.

Prepositions of time – ‘on’

Here are the rules for using the preposition ‘on‘.

Rule #1:

For days of the week (on Monday, on Tuesday etc)

I am seeing him on Wednesday.

Rule #2:

For dates (on the 4th of May, on the 26th February)

They got married on the 12th June.

Rule #3:

For specific single days (on my birthday, on New Years Eve, on Labour Day)

I am going to a party on New Years Eve.

Click here to try the prepositions of time exercises.

good sentences for ielts

Grammar for IELTS writing good sentences

Grammar for IELTS writing good sentences

When writing in your IELTS test it is essential that you use a range of sentence structures, from simple to complex sentence forms. In order to write good sentences for IELTS means you will need how to form each type of sentence.

Start by looking at these examples:

SIMPLE SENTENCE:

  • Smoking can cause cancer.

 

COMPOUND SENTENCE:

  • Smoking can cause cancer, so should be banned.

 

Grammar for IELTS writing good sentencesCOMPLEX SENTENCE:

  • Even though smoking can cause cancer, many people continue to buy cigarettes.

 

Now let’s look at each type of sentence in more detail.

 

Simple sentences

As the name suggests, simple sentences are quite basic in structure. They need only a subject and a verb. Because they are the easiest form of sentence structure, it is important to make sure that your essay does not overly used this form of sentence structure.

 

Compound sentences

Compound sentences are formed when simple sentences are combined using a linking word (called a ‘conjunction’ word). There are seven conjunctions that can be used to combine simple sentences:

FOR, AND, NOR, BUT, OR, YET and SO (looking at the first letter of each of this conjunctions, you can spell ‘FANBOYS‘ – a useful way to help you remember!). In the example sentence used at the beginning of this page, SO has been used to combine Smoking can cause cancer SO (smoking) should be banned.

 

Complex sentences

These are the most important sentences for a good IELTS result – they are more difficult to accurately build, but are essential to make your writing ‘academic’. Complex sentences are created from 2 or more phrases joined together with a conjunction, but not the conjunctions used in compound sentences (FANBOYS). Instead, there are considerable more conjunctions that can be used. Here are some examples: even if, so that, unless, even so.

 

 

Prepositions of place (1)

Prepositions of place (lesson 1)

Prepositions_of_placePrepositions of place (like all prepositions) can be one of the hardest parts of English to use correctly because the rules are often quite difficult and there are lots of exceptions.

In this lesson, we are looking at the following prepositions of place:

  • at
  • in
  • on

Here are some example sentences using prepositions of place:

  • There is a fly on the table!
  • She lives in France.
  • John is at school right now.

Here are a few rules that will help you use prepositions of place correctly:

Prepositions of place rule #1:

We generally use at to talk about a point or position.

For example:

at the window – She sat at the window, waiting for him to arrive.

at the door – There is someone at the door.

at the end – There is a shop at the end of the street.

at the beginning – We met him at the beginning of the night.

Prepositions of place rule #2:

We generally use in to talk about when something that has three sides or is enclosed.

For example:

in a box – There are some pens in that box over there.

in the house – She is in the house, go in!

in New Zealand – I live in New Zealand.

in a tent – We will be sleeping in a tent all weekend.

Prepositions of place rule #3:

We generally use on to talk about a surface or position on a line.

For example:

on the floor – The dog was asleep on the floor.

on the ceiling – There is a beautiful mural on the ceiling.

on the screen – He couldn’t see clearly because there was dust on his computer screen.

on the page – All the information you need is on page 42.

Example exceptions to prepositions of place rules

Here are some common phrases in English that use prepositions of place but that don’t really fit any rule:

We say on a bus but in a taxi

We say in the armchair but on the settee (sofa)

We say on the left but in the middle

Click here to try the prepositions of place exercises.

inversion

Grammar for IELTS Inversion

Grammar for IELTS Inversion

To emphasise a particular part of a sentence, or to make your writing more literary (such as in a poem or novel), you can invert the traditional order of a sentence. For example:

Standard order – He didn’t realise he had been tricked until the following day.
Inverted order – Not until the following day did he realise he had been tricked.

It is common to invert sentence using negative, ‘restrictive’ words such as those in the list below:

hardly ever Hardly ever had there been such a shortage of water.
never Never had the President had to make such a difficult decision.
little Little did she know time was running out.
scarcely ever Scarcely ever have they had to wait for anything.
only by Only by learning to type will he improve in his job.
under no circumstances Under no circumstances is the prisoner to have visitors.
only in this way Only in this way can we be sure to avoid repeating the problem in the future.
on no account On no account is John to be given any money.
scarcely Scarcely had they left the building when the bomb went off.
not only Not only had he broken the law but he was also unrepentant.
seldom Seldom have I seen such wealth.
nowhere Nowhere else is there such an abundance of natural resources.
not until Not until the following day did he realise he had been tricked.

Commonly confused words for IELTS – GOOD or WELL?

Commonly confused words for IELTS – GOOD or WELL?

Even among native speakers, it can be common to hear these two words used incorrectly. Although ‘well’ has other meanings (regarding health or a place where fresh water can be had), the focus here is on the differences between good and well.

Good / Well

‘Good’ is an adjective (it helps describe something) and ‘well’ is an adverb (it helps describe how something is done).

Commonly confused words for IELTS - GOOD or WELL?For example:

  • IELTS is a good test of your ability to use English (‘good’ is describing the test)
  • I performed well in my IELTS speaking test (‘well’ is describing how the speaker performed).

Test yourself! Select the correct answer from the list for each gap

  1. It is important to eatif you want to be fit and healthy.
  2. He playedduring the tournament even though he lost.
  3. It’sto check your tyres before going on a long car journey.
  4. Eurgh! This is horrible! I thought you said the soup here was!
  5. Juan can speak English, but he is not soat writing.
  6. She is afriend – she’s always there when I need her.
  7. Most people do not sleep veryif they drink coffee just before they go to bed.
Click here to see the answers
1. It is important to eat WELL if you want to be fit and healthy.
2. He played WELL during the tournament even though he lost.
3. It’s GOOD to check your tyres before going on a long car journey.
4. Eurgh! This is horrible! I thought you said the soup here was GOOD!
5. Juan can speak English WELL, but he is not so GOOD at writing.
6. She is a GOOD friend – she’s always there when I need her.
7. Most people do not sleep very WELL if they drink coffee just before they go to bed.

Grammar for IELTS Participle clauses exercises

Grammar for IELTS Participle clauses exercises

Before attempting these exercises, we recommend you take a look at the introductory lesson first. Click here to read the lesson.

participle-clauses-exercisesRe-write the following into a single sentence using a participle clause.

NOTE: More than one answer may be possible. If you have a different answer to those given, post it in the comments section below and we’ll let you know.

1. Sue was lying in the sun. She got sunburned.

Show the answer

Lying in the sun, Sue got sunburned.

2. John has just retired. He is now able to spend more time gardening.

Show the answer

Having just retired, John is now able to spend more time gardening.

3. They bought their cinema tickets. Then they went to find a seat.

Show the answer

Having bought their tickets, they went to find a seat.

4. The student sat in front of the computer and wrote his essay.

Show the answer

Sitting in front of the computer, the student wrote his essay.

5. Some people argue against school uniforms. They feel children should wear what they want to.

Show the answer

Arguing against school uniforms, some people feel children should wear what they want to.

6. Some students are disappointed in their progress at school. These students often do not go into further education.

Show the answer

Disappointed in their progress at school, these/some students often do not go into further education.

7. Children do not have the maturity to make every choice themselves. A parent or guardian is need to make decisions on their behalf.

Show the answer

Not having the maturity to make every choice themselves, children need a parent or guardian to make decisions on their behalf.

7. I didn’t want to break the law. I called the police instead.

Show the answer

Not wanting to break the law, I called the police instead.

8. John travelled overseas a lot as a teenager. He is more open minded to different cultures.

Show the answer

Having travelled overseas a lot as a teenager, John is more open to different cultures.

Grammar for IELTS Participle clauses

Grammar for IELTS Participle clauses

Grammar for IELTS Participle clausesParticiple clauses are used in some tenses, but they also have another use – they can combine information into one sentence.

Participle clauses often express condition, reason, cause, result or time.

For example:

Jim walked past the old school. He got to the shop. > Walking past the old school, Jim got to the shop.

The section in bold is participle clause.

 

There are three types of participle clause:

Present participle Walking past the old school, Jim got to the shop.
Past participle Founded in 1912, the club has a long history.
Perfect participle After they had finished their homework, the boys went out to play.

 

Notes:

1. The participle clause and the main sentence must have either a cause/effect relationship or show a sequential relationship (one thing happened before the other).

Participle clause with a cause/effect relationship: Having studied hard, he passed the exam.

Participle clause with a sequential relationship: Locking the door, John walked to his car.

2. Both the clause and the main sentence normally need to have the same subject

Driving home, Mary thought about what she would cook for dinner (Mary was both driving and thinking about dinner).

Ready to test your skills? Click here for the participle clause exercises.

 

 

 

Grammar for IELTS Adjective order exercises

Grammar for IELTS Adjective order exercises

Grammar for IELTS Adjective order exercisesHave you read the information page on adjective order? Click here to read it before you try the adjective order exercises.

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Complete the adjective order exercises below to test your knowledge.

Adjective order exercises practice

Complete the adjective order exercises by putting the words into the correct order to make a correctly ordered sentence.

1. red / drives / a / truck / Australian / he / big

click here to see the answer
He drives a big, red, Australian truck.

 

2. these / old / I / replace/ shoes / must / cheap

click here to see the answer
I must replace these cheap, old shoes.

 

3. such / old / a / man / he / is / kind

click here to see the answer
He is such a kind, old man.

 

4. lovely / is / she / a / wearing / red / dress / new

click here to see the answer
She is wearing a lovely, new, red dress.

 

5. a / meal / Indian / we / had / delicious

click here to see the answer
We had a delicious, Indian meal.

 

6.  lives / a / lovely / apartment / she / modern / in

click here to see the answer
She lives in a lovely, modern apartment.

 

7. garden / beautiful / he / porcelain / has / a / Italian / statue / in / his

click here to see the answer
He has a beautiful, Italian, porcelain statue in his garden.

 

8. dining / an / bought / wooden / antique / he / table

click here to see the answer
He bought an antique, wooden, dining table.

 

9. face / my / watch / has / red / a / round / big

click here to see the answer
My watch has a big, round, red face.

 

10. wearing / my / I / love / pants / black / comfortable / cotton

click here to see the answer
I love wearing my comfortable, black, cotton pants.

 

Grammar for IELTS Adjective order

Grammar for IELTS Adjective order

Grammar for IELTS Adjective orderAdjective order is important if you are using more than one adjective before a noun. There is often a specific order in which they must be placed. For example:

A black leather jacket Correct
A leather black jacket Incorrect

Here is a short acronym to help you remember:

OSASCOMP

opinion – size – age – shape – colour – origin – material – purpose

Below you will find an explanation for each letter and some example sentences.

Adjective Order Rule 1: OSASCOMP – O for opinion

Adjectives that talk about opinions, judgements or attitudes usually come first.

Opinions, judgements or attitudes Noun
a lovely jacket.
a perfect plate.
an expensive bike.

Adjective Order Rule 2: OSASCOMP – S for size

Adjectives relating to size, length and height come next. For example:

Judgements, opinions or attitudes Size, length, height Noun
a lovely large jacket.
a perfect big plate.
an expensive bike.

 

Adjective Order Rule 3: OSASCOMP – A for age

Next are any adjectives relating to age

Judgements, opinions or attitudes Size, length, height Age Noun
a lovely large new jacket.
a perfect big old plate.
an expensive modern bike.

Adjective Order Rule #4: OSASCOMP – S for shape

Judgements, opinions or attitudes Size, length, height Age Shape Noun
a lovely large new jacket.
a perfect big old round plate.
an expensive modern bike.

Adjective Order Rule #5: OSASCOMP – C for colour

Next are the adjectives that talk about colour.

Judgements, opinions or attitudes Size, length, height Age Shape Colour Noun
a lovely large new black jacket.
a perfect big old round white plate.
an expensive modern red bike.

 

Adjective Order Rule #6: OSASCOMP – O for origin

This refers to adjectives that say where the noun is from.

Judgements, opinions or attitudes Size, length, height Age Shape Colour Origin Noun
a lovely large new black jacket.
a perfect big old round white Chinese plate.
an expensive modern red Italian bike.

Adjective Order Rule #7: OSASCOMP – M for material

This refers to what the noun is made of.

Judgements, opinions or attitudes Size, length, height Age Shape Colour Origin Material Noun
a lovely large new black leather jacket.
a perfect big old round white Chinese porcelain plate.
an expensive modern red Italian bike.

 

Adjective Order Rule #8: OSASCOMP – P for purpose

This refers to what the noun is used for (e.g. wedding ring). They are often nouns used as adjectives.

Judgements, opinions or attitudes Size, length, height Age Shape Colour Origin Material Purpose Noun
a lovely large new black leather jacket.
a perfect big old round white Chinese porcelain dinner plate.
an expensive modern red Italian sports bike.

Important notes:

1. The adjectives used in the tables above are examples only. It is uncommon in English to use more than three adjectives in the same sentence to describe a noun.

2. Some adjectives can be found in different positions, but if you follow the OSASCOMP rule you won’t be wrong!

Click here to try the adjective order exercises.