Monday, October 13, 2014

What are the Five Useful Grammar Tips on IELTS Writing?

Almost everyone in an English class thinks grammar class is difficult. Well, the reason behind this impression is the different rules in grammar that every English speaker must know. In taking English proficiency examinations like the IELTS or the International English Language Testing System, grammar is most needed in the writing section.

IELTS writing - grammar tips to remember
 
There are a lot of people who commit grammar mistakes. Some may have overlooked the rule while some are just careless in committing these mistakes. Grammar is an important criterion in the test. Poorly constructed essays due to grammar errors will not give you a good score. So as not to waste your effort in writing, here are the five useful grammar tips on IELTS writing.

1. Run-on sentences

This kind of sentence happens when two independent clauses are joined in one sentence without the correct conjunction or punctuation.

For example:
  • My niece is a smart baby, she learned to speak at the age of one year and six months.
  • Fixing this sentence can be done in three ways:

(a) Instead of making it in one sentence, make them into two separate sentences.

My niece is a smart baby. She learned to speak at the age of one year and six months.

(b) Use a semi-colon instead of the comma.

My niece is a smart baby; she learned to speak at the age of one year and six months.

(c) Use a coordinating conjunction between the two sentences.

My niece is a smart baby, and she learned to speak at the age of one year and six months.


2. Subject and Verb Agreement

If the subject is singular (only one), use a singular verb. If it is plural (more than one), use the plural form of the verb.

For examples:

The president, who is talking with his cabinet members, is discussing the current problem.

We use “is” as the subject of the sentence is the president, not the cabinet members.

The police are expected to respond in crime scenes as soon as possible.

The verb “are” is used as the noun “police” only takes a plural verb.


3. Pronouns and Antecedents

Pronouns substitute nouns; however, make sure that the pronoun you are using is a correct replacement of the noun. Singular nouns should take a singular pronoun and plural nouns with plural pronouns as well.

For example:

The class must turn in ITS/THEIR project by Thursday next week.

Its and Their can be used in this sentence with difference in meaning. 
When we use “its” we are referring to the class as a single unit while “their” refers to the individuals in the group.

4. Misplaced Modifiers/Dangling Modifiers

Modifiers describe the word within a sentence; hence, it should be next to the word it modifies. Misplaced modifiers when the modifier is placed away from the word it modifies making the context of the sentence confusing.

For example:
Incorrect: While I was in Europe, I was shocked to see a gate behind a house made of paper.

Is the house made of paper or the gate?

Correct: While I was in Europe, I was shocked to see a gate made of paper behind a house.

Incorrect: Walking to the theatre, the rain poured heavily.

The rain was the one walking?

Correct: Walking to the theatre, Jim help an umbrella as the rain poured heavily.


5. Apostrophes

Apostrophes are mainly used to show possession and contraction of some words. Other than that, it is already a grammatical error in the usage of punctuation.

For example:

The stars' at night looks so bright. (incorrect)

The stars at night look so bright. (correct)

These five common grammar errors can be avoided through constant practice in grammar. Familiarity with the rules is easy as long as you keep reviewing and keeping in mind the basic rules in grammar.

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