Wednesday, October 17, 2018

IELTS Writing Tips: How to Use Absolute Phrases

Are you looking for simple yet effective tips to boost your writing skills? For test takers enrolled in IELTS Manila, using absolute phrases is a practical writing strategy that can help hone your essay-writing skills and ace the IELTS writing test.

What is an Absolute Phrase?

An absolute phrase is a group of words that modifies an independent clause and is made up of a noun and a participle with an optional direct object. It is set off by a comma and can be removed from a sentence without changing the meaning of the sentence. Absolute phrases give an additional description to the information used in the independent clause of a sentence.

Building Sentences with Absolute Phrases

Absolute phrases can be inserted in different positions in a sentence. For students enrolled in IELTS Manila, check out these examples:

  §  An absolute phrase at the beginning of a sentence

His voice floating over the crowd, Peter awed everyone with his natural singing ability.
The absolute phrase “his voice floating over the crowd” modifies the independent clause “Peter awed everyone with his natural singing ability.”

  §  An absolute phrase in the middle of a sentence

Lois circles the bases like a Mississippi steamboat, flags fluttering, coming round the bend.
The absolute phrase “flags fluttering” modifies the independent clause “Lois circle the based like a Mississippi steamboat coming round the bend.”

  §  An absolute phrase at the end of a sentence

Stewie could be heard all the way down the hall, his loud laughter carrying across the school.

The absolute phrase “his loud laughter carrying across the school” modifies the independent clause “Stewie could be heard all the way down the hall.”

 Combining sentences using an absolute phrase

Absolute sentences can also be used to combine two or more short sentences in an essay. For test takers who want to boost their IELTS training, check out these examples:

Sample Sentences:   The hikers made their way down the wooded trail. Their boots were covered in mud.
Edited Version:         Their boost covered in mud, the hikers made their way down the wooded trail.      

Notice that the past tense “were” was removed in the second sentence “their boost were covered in mud” to transform it to an absolute phrase modifying the first sentence “the hikers made their way down the wooded trail.”

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Mack, E. "Absolutely! Use Absolute Phrases to Enhance Your Writing Style." WRITING CENTER UNDERGROUND. December 18, 2012. Accessed October 08, 2018.

Nordquist, R. "25 Examples of Absolute Phrases in English." ThoughtCo. Accessed October 07, 2018.

Simmons, R. "The Absolute Phrase." Grammar Bytes!: The Subordinate Conjunction. Accessed October 07, 2018.


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