Grammar Accuracy for IELTS Writing Task 1

When you describe a chart, for example a pie chart, in 25% of your marks is based on grammar. In the criteria of grammar, the examiner will check the range of sentence structures and also the accuracy of your grammar. The more mistakes you have, the lower your score will be.

There are a number of common errors which students make with their grammar. Here is a list:

  1. Articles (using a / an / the )
  2. Plurals
  3. Uncountable nouns
  4. Punctuation (commas and full stops)
  5. Noun verb agreement (remember that third person singular in the present tense has an ‘s’)
  6. Verb tense
  7. Prepositions (in / on / at etc)

How does grammar accuracy affect the band scores?

Band Score 5 = frequent errors and there may be mistakes in punctuation. Errors may cause difficulty for the reader.

Band Score 6 = some errors in grammar and punctuation but errors rarely cause communication problems.

Band Score 7 = has good control of grammar and punctuation. Few mistakes made.

Band Score 8 = the majority of sentences are free of errors.There are only occasional errors made.

ielts grammar exerciseGrammar Accuracy Practice

Look at the following sentences and find the grammar mistakes. Each sentence may have one or more mistakes.

1. While the spending on housing was 72.2%  in 2010 the spending was 22%.

2. The spending on food were 11.2% in 1950 and 34% in 2010.

3. The biggest spending in 1950 is 72.2% in 1950 while in 2010 the majority of money spent is on food.

4. Spending on other item was 4.4% in the first year and 19.2% in the second year.

5. The pie charts shows the typical expenditure of a household in 6 main categories.

6. There was an increase in spending in all area except with housing and education, which showed a downward trend over the period given.

7. The least amount spent in both years was in health care.

8. There was significant decrease in spending on housing from 72% to 22%.

  1. There should be a comma after 72.2%. (punctuation)
  2. were = was (noun verb agreement)
  3. is = was (verb tense – this mistake is made twice)
  4. item = items (plurals)
  5. shows = show (noun verb agreement)
    1. area = areas (plurals)
    2. with = for (prepositions)
  6. in = on (prepositions)
  7. There was  significant decrease… = There was a significant decrease…(articles)


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  1. Hi Liz,
    In what case should I use ‘food’ and ‘foods’? What’s the difference? I was told by a teacher that there’s no such words like ‘foods’ as it’s an uncountable noun… I’m confused.

    • when you reach a higher level of English, you will find that some uncountable words, such as food and cheese, can also be countable – foods and cheeses. If this is new to you, don’t use them. You need to learn from a teacher how to use them.

      • Hi Liz and Amy:

        Allow me to give a brief explanation for the difference between food and foods. Some uncountable nouns can be countable if they refer to types or kinds. Thus, foods refer to different kinds of food, such as rice, fruit, vegetables, and bread. Similarly, cheeses refer to different kinds of cheese, such as Provolone, Swiss cheese and Blue cheese.

  2. Dear Liz:

    Thank you for these very useful exercise on Grammar. I do have one plural/single confusion that keeps bugging me:
    With nouns that look single but mean a collective: e.g. population, species, fish, sheep.
    The below examples, should be verb be plural or single:
    1. The population has/have increased over time.
    2. A third of the whole population has/have two cars.

    I thought in 1. I’ll use “has” because the “population” is an abstract concept; in 2. I want to use “have” because it is talking about the actual people, but I am not too sure as “population” was in the subject part of the sentence. Your help is greatly appreciated!

  3. HI mam,
    i want to know about, if the chart shows present details which tense can we use to writing task 1

  4. hi mam,
    pls do help me with dis doubt.In explaning the map of writing part 1,u have been explained dat railway runs through dartford from north to can be sure dat its from north to south bcoz both the endings of the line are same..

  5. Hi Liz,
    Does using present tense occasionally in task 1 lower the score? For example : the pattern we observe from the graph is fluctuating.

  6. Hi Liz, thanks for providing this helpful grammar practice, it gives me an idea about what to look for when I self-correct my writing. Looking at the 6th sentence, is there a punctuation mistake in there? Should it be “……housing and education, which…..”.


  7. Hi Liz

    Why didn’t we mention 1950 in subordinate clause in number 1?

  8. Hi mam

    My question is regarding the 5th sentence written above
    Why we can’t use shows instead of show as a pie chart is singular?

  9. Hi liz
    i want to ask that how we count the words for witting 150 words i mean can we count the word ( ) ? ? May includ or not
    Thnx ur training tips awesome

  10. Grammardd says:

    Hi teacher litz, i have a grammar doubt.
    In particular, I am confused when it comes to use to +verb or use for+ ing
    I’ll give you an example:
    Internet is used to watch films
    Internet is uses for watching tv

    • You need to find a grammar website to learn more about grammar. Just google English grammar and start reviewing free websites.
      All the best

  11. Hi Liz, is it fine when describing a map ( in particular when there are two different possible sites of a supermarket or other places) to say… It’s more convenient for this living there; Seat A will allow people from there to do shopping more easily than seat B.
    Thank you

    • Avoid “more convenient”: just state the information “S2 is accessible by car but is outside the town, while S1 is directly in the town center but with no access by car or any vehicle.”

  12. HELLO, I have a problem with a particular introduction of task 1.
    When there are both a pie chart and a line graph. I have two tattics and I’d like to know if they are right.
    “The pie chart and the line graph illustrate THIS and THIS”
    “The pie chart shows THIS.While the pie graph gives information about…”

    Are they good? If so, What do you think is the best?
    And also in the first example should i put a comma after or before “and”,or both after and before.
    I hope you will help me.
    Thank you for your attention

  13. The pie charts compare data regarding the proportion of annual expenditure on different household sectors in both 1950 and 2010.

    Overall, what stands out from the diagrams is that, the total expenditure was accounted on six major catagories and among them the major proportion of spendings were recorded for housing and food product.

    While the spending on housing was 72.2%, in 1950 but in 2010 the figure plunged to 22%. Further, In 2010, citizens comparatively paid more attention towards food products than other catagories, which was around a third of total spending. However, in 1950, the figure stated only 11.2% for food products.
    The percentage for other products also rised significantly, over 60 years period, from 4.4% to 19.3%. Also, education and health care saw a small increase by 0.3% and 2.1% respectively in both the years.

    • As I can’t see the pie charts, I can only mention that a pie chart is a pie chart, it is not a diagram. Don’t change the type of chart given to you in your writing. Make sure that ALL key features are given in your overview: the main categories, the smallest, which increased, which decreased etc. Is this over 150 words?
      All the best

      • Sorry, its only 136 words, I need to be careful regarding word count. Thanks for your suggestions. Ya you are right, I missed to mention the lowest figure in overview. Thanks a lot. Have u found any grammar or punctuation mistake?

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