101 Helpful Hints for IELTS

Quick Punctuation Guide 1. Use full-stops only at the end of a sentence. Begin sentences with a capital letter. Proper nouns also require capital letters. Use commas to separate parts of a sentence to avoid any confusion with meaning. Additional information is enclosed within commas. e.g. the Eiffel Tower the University of North London

2.

e.g. The pollution of rivers, which is often caused by chemical waste and fertiliser, is causing enormous problems for fishermen, especially in Britain. (The comma after 'fishermen' ensures that 'especially' connects with 'Britain' not 'fishermen'.)

A comma is used after most connectives (linking words), and usually before and after a connective in mid-sentence. Commas separate clauses in most conditional sentences. 3. Semi-colons are used to separate subgroups within lists, but more often to join two independent clauses that are grammatically complete but closely related. However, in the latter case, you can always use a full-stop instead. You may use a colon if you need to draw attention to what is to follow. Use quotation marks for quotes and titles. Apostrophes show possession or contraction. Do not use contractions in formal writing. Use the full form instead. Do not use exclamation marks in the IELTS Writing Test, and avoid asking questions. Brackets are useful, especially for quoting statistics in Writing Task 1, but do not overuse.

e.g. Therefore, the use of chemicals on farms should be better controlled. However, even if such laws were passed tomorrow, most rivers would take years to recover. e.g. Chemical waste from factories is still drained into river systems; it is hard to believe that this practice is still allowed by law in some areas.

4. 5.

e.g. The environment is important for the following reasons: e.g. The Daily Express farmers' profits there's e.g. don't, shouldn't, can't, it's etc.

6. 7.

8.

e.g. the total number of cars (10)

UNDERSTAND THE QUESTION TASK
It is important to fully understand the task you must perform in the IELTS Writing Test. The Golden Rule is that you must be sure of the type of answer you are required to give to the examiners, and what you must do with that information to give the answer accurately. (See IELTS Test - Basic Hint 7.) You will probably receive a lower Writing Test Band Score if you fail to ...

... write what you are required to write, and with at least the minimum number of words requested per task. You may be asked to write an essay, report, or description etc. There is no maximum word limit, but there is a limit to the amount of space in which to write your answers.
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