Should I Indent my Paragraphs in IELTS Writing?

Many students ask me if they should indent the first sentence in a paragraph for IELTS writing task 1 and task 2. Let me explain …

In the old days, before the days when most people used computers, it was common to leave a space at the start of each paragraph. This helped the reader to know which sentence is part of a new paragraph and which is not. Nowadays, however, we don’t use this practice.

Currently, when writing by hand or typing on computers, you should leave one line empty between each paragraph rather than indenting. So, when you write your IELTS essays or your writing task 1, just start your sentences at the beginning of the line and when you have a new paragraph, miss one line.

Leaving one empty line between paragraphs is the easiest way for examiners to see your paragraphs. If the examiner can’t see your paragraphs, you will get a lower score because 25% of your marks (Coherence & Cohesion) relates to the use of paragraphs.

Can I indent and leave a line between paragraphs?

It is not necessary. Just aim to leave one line empty and don’t indent.

Will I lose marks if I indent my paragraphs?

No. It’s not wrong to indent but it’s better to leave one line empty instead. The key is making your paragraphs very clear for the examiner and having one empty line is much clearer.

Do I need paragraphs?

Yes, you need paragraphs. Your score will be reduced if you don’t use paragraphs.

Main IELTS Pages

Develop your IELTS skills with tips, lessons, free videos and more.

Get my free lessons by email

Subscribe for free to get my new IELTS lessons sent to your email inbox.

Sharing is caring...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail this to someonePin on Pinterest

Comments

  1. Subhangi says:

    Ma’m I wasn’t aware of paragraphs so I wrote in all one flow considerably more than the least word count. I’m pretty sure I used a vast vocabulary and didn’t repeat the words from question. Do you reckon I’ll get more than 7?

    • Band scores can not be predicted but you will lose marks for not having paragraphs.

      • If I forgot to leave one line between each paragraph. How much will it influence the band score?I mean will it drop to 6 if I did so even if I wrote pretty fine essay?

  2. Thanks a lot.
    You’ve answered all the questions in my mind.

  3. hi Liz,
    A technical question. Please make it clear to the students.
    Imagine your last word of your second paragraph goes at the end of the line of the first page. To begin the third paragraph at the back of the page, student should technically start from the first line. In this case, how the examiner (reader) recognize that the writer has started the third paragraph?
    Thank you,

    • If you are worried about this, you can write “PTO” – this means Please Turn Over. It is what we write when we are worried someone won’t see the writing on the back of the sheet. However, examiners will always check the back.

  4. How many papers are provided for IELTS writing task2?

  5. Liz is it possible to tell what you want tell in task 2 with simple vocab . I have seen the writings of some 9 band scorers and their writing was not so complex but on the other hand the ones with 8 or 7.5 has written in a very complex manner and it was difficult to understand their paragraphs .

    • You can see from my model essays which are estimated at band 9 that accuracy is much more important than trying to fill your essay with impressive vocabulary. Never try to use language which is above your own level. Stick at your own level and make it accurate – that will help you more. See this page to find my model essays as well as more tips: http://ieltsliz.com/ielts-writing-task-2/

  6. I used to write in every other line. Can I indent in the beginning of each paragraph and leave two lines between paragraphs to make it obvious.
    Thanks.

  7. Hello, Ms.Liz. I have a question. Do you have writing correction service for IELTS learners. I usually try to practice writing, but no one checks it, so i don’t know whether my writing is satisfactory or there are any mistakes.

  8. hi madam
    i have taken date for the ielts and i have left 30 days for preparation so can you send me the link for all skill except listening because i am getting 7.5 bands in that and in reading i am not getting what i am excepting for , in speaking i cannot speak for 2 minute in cue card, and in writing how can i improve my vocab. so please send me some link for all skill. and also thanks for the videos in youtube which you have posted and thanks in advance.so send me on my email id is shivamgandhi264@gmail.com

    • You can find all the main pages for each part of the test in the page above. You can find over 300 pages to tips and model answers etc.

  9. Harinder Singh says:

    At that time my level is 5 bands. But I want 7 bands. So what things or how much work I should to do in a day. I just have 2 months. Plese tell me what should I do at home for reach my best ielts score.

    • To get band 7, you must have band 7 English. Is your English a high level? Start reading all my main pages for IELTS on this blog to learn and develop.

  10. Nausheena says:

    Thanks for the info…

  11. it’s really helpful, thank you so much

  12. Dama Amarnadh says:

    Hello Liz !

    Could I write whole the word in capital letters in the part of listening sections ?

  13. Hi Liz,
    U r doing a great job. Ur tips r always useful to us.
    Thanks,

  14. Basim Hussien Alotoom says:

    What if I leave 2 lines between paragraphs in case I want to write more?

    • Sure, you could do that if you want but it can be confusing for the examiner. Always plan your essay before you start writing so that you know exactly what you want to write in your paragraphs.

  15. Barkat Khan says:

    Hi Liz!
    Thank you as always. You are the typical IELTS teacher, I would recommend to every one.
    Suppose, I prefer to use indention as well as leaving empty single line, then what you think, reflection?
    My test on coming 20th-August-2016 (Pakistan), please suggest me some quick trick to use my these 10 days more efficient?

    Cheers
    Barkat Khan

    • It’s up to you but it really isn’t necessary and it might look a bit strange.

    • Hey,goodluck to you! My friend will also have her exam this coming aug 20. I have taken the exam last month and I got 6.5 in writing. What I could suggest (that I should have done during the exam) is PLAN your topic and examples for each paragraph. What happened to me was I just let ideas come into my mind WHILE I am writing. And it is such a bad idea. So, take time to think about what examples(3) you will discuss in each paragraph and develop it nicely.

    • No indentions. Leave a space for each paragraph. Perfect.

  16. Thank you Liz for all your tips. I hope you are always healthy and happy! 🙂

  17. Prisca Bella says:

    Thank you, Liz, for the information on paragraphing and more. Bless you.

  18. Chastey Tony says:

    Helped*** sorry

  19. Chastey Tony says:

    Hi Liz
    Hi everyone

    I took my IELTS test on the 7th of May 2016 and got an overall band score of 7.5 with no individual band score less than 7

    Pls I strongly advice that u paragraph ur essays 1&2 by simply leaving a line. Be advised also not to indent ur paragraphs at all. I scored 7.5 in writing and I think that the way I fixed my paragraphs help my score. It was my first attempt at IELTS by the way.

    • A great score. Well done! Thanks for sharing your experience. Anyone else think the same?

    • I haveto improve my base english then I get 7 socer for ielts .could you help me ?l have been using this link but before I need to improve my base english and I dobt know how to improve them??thanx

  20. You’re one of my best tutors, this information I was thinking of it because I noticed some examples do it, so thanks a million for making it so easy, God bless you.
    by the way, my test will be on Aug 20th

  21. Ibraheem Rasheed says:

    Many thanks fir this!
    My area of concern is mostly this aspect of writing. Hope to get more tips

  22. I just read this article and I now know what mistake I have made from my last IELTS writing exam. I indented the line of very paragraph and did not leave a space in between paragraphs. Thanks for the information.

    • It’s not wrong to indent. You won’t lose marks because you indent. But you will lose marks if the examiner can’t see your paragraphs very clearly which is why leaving an empty line is better.

  23. Thanks Liz for your tip.Its really new to me .

  24. Hai Liz, I want to know about academic writing task one.how I can write this.

  25. Thanks Liz for your great work.to help us.

  26. You are one of the great teachers in the world. It seems to me so simple, but it is really helpful for me. Thanks a million times.

  27. Hi Liz,
    nice to know.
    Thank you.

    anyway, have you got answers collection of ielts speaking part ?

  28. Ather ali says:

    It’s really help me especially last practices. I improved little bit thank a lot ?

  29. It is really helpful article.
    You are amazing (:

  30. Thank you for this important information
    My exam on 20th of August

  31. Thank you, This will help me a lot.

  32. Thank you Liz! You are doing such a great job!!!

  33. Thanks Liz, bless you

Speak Your Mind

*