Writing Skills: Spotting Mistakes 3

Mistakes in grammar or vocabulary can affect your score in IELTS writing. Learning to proof read your essay will help reduce the errors and improve your score. There are links to more practice lessons below.

Spot the Mistakes

The following sentences contain mistakes (one or more). Can you spot them?

  1. Research into space explorations can lead to new cutting edge technology.
  2. Handwriting skills is still essential even in todays modern world.
  3. The best way to tackle problem of littering is to have more bins available.
  4. Working long hours is a problem which can lead to increase levels of stress.
  5. Government should spend more money on the arts for order to protect cultural identity.

If you are aiming for band score 7, you should be able to spot 6 out of 7 mistakes.

Answers

Click below to reveal the answers:

Answers
  1. space exploration = uncountable
    1. Research into space exploration can lead to new cutting edge technology.
  2. noun verb agreement = are  /  today = today’s
    1. Handwriting skills are still essential even in today’s modern world.
  3. problem = it needs an article
    1. The best way to tackle the problem of littering is to have more bins available.
  4. working long hours = this is a noun phrase starting with a gerund = singular verb is correct  /  increase = increased
    1. Working long hours is a problem which can lead to increased levels of stress.
    2. Working long hours is a problem which can lead to an increase in the levels of stress.
  5. government = article needed  /  for order to = in order to
    1. The government should spend more money on the arts in order to protect cultural identity.

 

More IELTS Essay Writing Lessons 

If you would like more lessons, tips and see some model essays, please see this page: IELTS Writing Task 2 Main Page

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How to Put Examples in Your Essay

Learn the best way to add examples to your essay to support your ideas. You need to use a range of linking words in your essay and also use them flexibly in different locations in the sentence. See below for a list of useful linking words with sample sentences:

Linking Words for Giving Examples

  • for example
  • for instance
  • to illustrate
  • as an illustration
  • to give a clear example
  • take, for example,
  • such as
  • namely

Video Tutorial: How to Add Examples in an Essay

 

Sample Sentences with Supporting Examples

Please note that the linking words do not need to be at the start of the sentence. You can use them more flexibly by changing their location.

Global warming should be taken more serious as it can result in a number of disastrous consequences. To give a clear example, the melting polar ice caps have not only caused a loss of habitat for polar bears but are also threatening seas levels worldwide.

More and more women are choosing to start a family later in life. 20% of women giving birth to their first child, for instance, are over the age of 30 in the UK.

Crimes should not have the same punishment. Minor crimes, such as pick pocketing and traffic offences, should not have the same penalty as major crimes, namely murder and manslaughter.

Children often learn behaviour from the adults around them subconsciously. To illustrate, around 50% of children who are brought up by aggressive parents often use aggression to solve their own problems later in life.

Parents should be responsible for teaching their children right and wrong. If, for example, they see their child using bad language, they should spend time explaining to their child the serious consequences that can result from this type of behaviour.

More and more people are leading sedentary life styles due to work conditions. Take, for example, office workers in the UK who spend at least 8 hours a day, 5 days a week  sitting in front of their computers.

All Linking Words for Essay Writing

You can find a list of all linking words that can be used in essay writing: Linking Words for Writing.

IELTS Essay Questions

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IELTS Writing Task 2: Paraphrasing Practice

IELTS writing task 2 paraphrasing practice exercise. To get a good mark in IELTS writing task 2 for the criterion of vocabulary, you need to be able to paraphrase. The exercise below is a chance for you to practice your paraphrasing skills.

The answers for this exercise have now been posted below. No more writing should be posted for this lesson. But you can still learn from completing the exercise on your own and checking your writing with the answers provided.

Paragraph

Paraphrase the words in this paragraph using the words in the box below. Only paraphrase a word if you are sure it is appropriate to do so.

Many people, when driving their cars, go over the speed limit in city centers. As a way of solving this, the government should put more speed cameras on major streets to put people off  speeding. If this is done, more people who speed will be caught and this problem will eventually be solved.

Paraphrasing Options

You do not need to use all the words. You must decide which words to use and which words not to use.

town         an answer            the law           install         motorway         stop        humans         put away         authorities               exceed               deter  from         directly          riding        ought to            key             by doing this            arrested       vehicles               resolved             citizens            large            caught red handed             speed prevention             increasing       urban

Answers and Advice

Please see the answers given below:

 

Answers: Click here

Answer:

Many people, when driving their cars, exceed the speed limit in urban centers. As a way of solving this, the authorities ought to install more speed cameras on major streets to deter people from  speeding. By doing this, more people who speed will be caught and this problem will eventually be resolved.

Common Mistakes and Explanations

  1. Collocation: drive a car, not ride a car. We use the verb “ride” with bicycles.
  2. A town is not a city.  You can write “city center” or “urban center”. A town is much smaller and this essay is not about small towns and villages.
  3. The government can usually be paraphrased with the word “authorities”.
  4. The word “should” can be paraphrased as “ought to”. This is a common paraphrase.
  5. If you are writing about setting up or putting up equipment, you can use the word “install”.
  6. “to deter” is used to put people off committing a crime or an offence. It is actually a better word to use than “put off” for formal essay writing.
  7. “By doing this” and “As a way of solving this” both have the same meaning in this context. You can’t write “As an answer for solving this” – it isn’t correct English even though the meaning is the same.
  8. “people” are people. We rare use the word “citizen” in an essay about transport. However, it would be acceptable to use it in the second sentence which refers to the government.
  9. “people” cannot be paraphrased as “humans” except in one context – please watch the video below to learn. Any student making this mistake is not studying effectively. The video below explains this very clearly so you should not be making this mistake.
  10. “caught red handed” must be written as it is shown. You can never write “caught red”. There are three words in this idiom. However, this expression is mainly for theft or other crimes in which a person is caught face to face by the police. It can’t be used for speed offences caught by camera.
  11. “vehicles” is used when we don’t know what type of transport is being written about or when we refer to different types. This essay is about cars only which means you can’t use the word “vehicle”.
  12. This paragraph is about “streets”. This is not the same as a “motorway”. A motorway is a very large road outside a city which contains two or three lines in both directions for heavy traffic.

Results and Advice

  • If you had one mistakes, it is acceptable for band 7 or 8.
  • If you have two or three mistakes, it is around band 6.
  • If you are making more mistakes, it means you are not being careful enough with your language.
    • More Mistakes = Lower Score
    • You need to learn both the use and meaning of a word.
    • Don’t aim for range until you can achieve accuracy.
    • When you learn a noun or verb, learn the full collocation.
    • When you learn a word, learn when you can and cannot use it.
    • When you learn an idiom, learn if the words can be changed or not.

Best Writing Posted:

Well done to Esmaeil Bahmyari ! You wrote very well indeed but don’t avoid using the word “people”, it is the correct and most appropriate word to use for this essay. You have the potential to well with your level of English.

To all other students, I hope you learn to be careful when paraphrasing. Try to avoid making errors. You can see that a band score 9 student does not paraphrase continuously.

I hope you benefited from this lesson. I will put similar lessons up in the future if you found it useful.

 

Video: Paraphrasing Tips

 

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Improving Sentences for IELTS Writing Task 2

Below are some sentences written by a student. There might be one or more mistakes in the sentence or the sentences might be fine but you need to improve them.

  1. In my opinion, I believe that studying history is extremely important in term of learning about culture, and science, medicine development.
  2. On the one hand, history is a subject that is rarely used in people’s lives. Thus, it would be better to focus on science and technology, which is more relevant to the future.
  3. In other word, they should use the school time effectively, because students are loosing the motivation to study subjects like history that has no important role in day to day life.
  4. For instance, most people memorize dates,names and facts when they study history. This information is not useful for the future.
  5. Furthermore, Valuable information can often be found in history, how science and medicine had developed over the years.
  6. In conclusion, although history has many information that not used today, studying history is important for our present as will as for our future.
Answers
  1. In my opinion, I believe that studying history is extremely important in terms of learning about culture and the development of science and medicine. (The linking word “and” can be used to link items in a list as well as clauses.)
  2. On the one hand, as history is a subject that is rarely used in people’s lives, it would be better to focus on science and technology, which is more relevant to the future. (Combine the sentences to make one complex structure. 33 words is a good length but don’t try for much more than that.)
  3. In other words, school time should be used effectively because students are loosing the motivation to study subjects such as history that has no important role in day to day life. (Linking words.)
  4. For instance, most people memorize dates, names and facts when they study history which is not considered useful information for the future. (Combine the sentences.)
  5. Furthermore, valuable information can often be found in history which relates to how science and medicine has developed over the years. (Grammar: capital letters and tenses.)
  6. In conclusion, although history has a lot of information that is not used in today’s life, studying history is still important for our present as well as for our future. (The main issues are grammar and writing the sentence so that it contains a more precise meaning.)

Linking Words: You can also see that a number of linking words have also been corrected. Linking words are easy to learn but students still make mistakes with forgetting the “s” or using non-academic linking words such as “like”. Make sure you all work on perfecting your linking.

 

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Punctuation Practice for Writing

Below is an example of a complex sentence which does not have any punctuation. Not only does it lack commas but it also lacks full stops – it’s too long. This is a mistake that many students make. They think that the longer the sentence, the higher the band score – unfortunately this is not true. Check the three questions to help you decide how to punctuate it.

  • How many sentences do you think it should be?
  • Where would you put the full stops?
  • Where would you put the commas?

Write this sentence again using correct punctuation.

Firstly while it is thought that over population can be solved by limiting the number of children people can have it would be better to limit the number of people moving from rural to urban areas which is where the biggest problem lies because many people are moving to cities in search of employment so if the government tried to create more jobs in the countryside the problem would be solved almost instantly.

Answer

Firstly, while it is thought that over population can be solved by limiting the number of children people can have, it would be better to limit the number of people moving from rural to urban areas. This is where the biggest problem lies. Many people are moving to cities in search of employment so if the government tried to create more jobs in the countryside, the problem would be solved almost instantly.

Comments:

  1. After a linker such as “firstly” at the beginning of a sentence we usually use a comma.
  2. When you use the linker “while” or “although” at the start of a sentence, you will need a comma before the clause.
  3. The sentence using “while” is long so it is logical and necessary to have a full stop after it.
  4. The word “this” is used in order to divide the sentences and start a new one. This sentence is not long but it is still considered complex because it uses a “where” clause.
  5. The last sentence has two sentences joined with the linking word “so”. The first part is quite simple, while the second part is a second conditional which requires a comma between clauses.

 

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IELTS Writing Task 2: Practice with Linking Words

Decide the best linking word to use in the following sentences:

  1. (Whereas / While / But)……………… individuals can make a considerable difference to environmental problems, they ought to be dealt with on a global scale to be solved effectively.
  2. Global warming is a prominent issue these days (due to / owing to / because)……………. it has a direct impact on the climate of countries all over the world.
  3. (As a result / Consequently / Thus)……………… of global warming, sea levels are rising which threaten many low lying lands.
  4. One of the best ways to deal with global warming is to reduce the emissions of fossil fuels, (specific / particularly / certainly)…………. from industry.
  5. Global warming affects weather patterns and can cause extreme weather (namely / as an example / like) ………………. heat waves, droughts and floods.
Answers
  1. While
  2. because
  3. As a result
  4. particularly
  5. namely

 

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Improving Sentences: E-books and paper books

Improve your academic writing skills for IELTS writing task 2.

In recent years, more and more people are choosing to read e-books rather than paper books.

Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?

The statements below are taken from a student’s essay and contain some mistakes. Can you re-write these sentences so that they are not only correct but also higher band score?

  1. In my point of view, reading digital books have more advantages compared with printed books.
  2. First and foremost, E-book is been accessed, nowadays, easily by the people in a fraction of seconds through the advanced modern communication technologies.
  3. Secondly, buying an electronic version books are easier than the printed paper books.
  4. On the other hand, People health will affect when they spend more time to read books by using the modern gadgets such as laptop, mobile phones and tablets.
  5. In conclusion, in my view, electronic version books bring more pleasure and easily to access.

Try writing the sentences for yourself before you check the answers.Answers

  1. In my opinion, reading digital books has more advantages compared to printed books. (“reading digital books” is the subject and it is actually singular so the verb must be “has” not “have”)
  2. First and foremost, e-books can be easily accessed by people in only a fraction of a second through the use of advanced modern technology. ( The phrase “a fraction of a second” can’t be plural and must be written as it is. It’s a nice phrase to use and can be used for academic writing – just make sure you write it correctly)
  3. Secondly, buying electronic books online is easier for the consumer than purchasing printed paper books.
  4. On the other hand, spending too much time reading e-books on bright screens from gadgets such as laptops or tablets, can have an adverse effect on people’s health.
  5. In conclusion, I think that e-books are more accessible to both read and buy for the consumer than conventional paper books.

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Improving a Thesis Statement

This lesson will show you how to write a clearer thesis statement for a specific question essay. This is the introduction paragraph and is applicable to both the GT and academic paper.

Many people think that job satisfaction is important in work.

Do you think young people these days should be sure of getting job satisfaction before taking a new job or should they put salary first?

What can we see from this essay question?

  1. The essay question asks for your opinion (“Do you think….?”)
  2. The essay is about what people look for when they take a new job
  3. It is often thought that people should choose a new job for job satisfaction
  4. Others think that people should choose a new job for the salary

Here’s a student’s thesis statement for their introduction. How would you improve the thesis statement? Try to write this thesis statement again before you look at the models.

While work satisfaction should be a motive for a successful employee, I do not think that salary must be a priority.”

Model Thesis Statement

Here are two possible ways that the above thesis statement could be better written to make the answer clearer for the reader.

1. In my opinion, I think that work satisfaction should be the main motive for choosing a job rather than salary.

2. In my opinion, it is better for people to put satisfaction at work as a priority for choosing a job instead of aiming for a competitive salary.

Model Introduction

Below is a model introduction with both a background and thesis statement. This offers yet another way to write the thesis statement:

An increasing number of people are prioritising job satisfaction as one of the most important factors in their work. In my opinion, I think that job satisfaction should be the deciding factor when considering a new job instead of aiming for a competitive salary.

 

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