Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"

Today you’ll learn how you can increase IELTS Writing scores using pronouns, like the formal pronoun ‘one’.

We don’t often talk about grammar, but there is a specific aspect that will directly effect your scores.

A 3 Keys student recently posted this interesting and intelligent question:

Can I use the anaphora ‘there/themselves’ as a gender neutral term when referring to ‘one’ when writing, because I remember that it is possible to use this collective pronoun as an anaphora for a singular subject such as ‘him’ or ‘her.’ 

For example: When making a decision, one should bear in mind the potential consequences of their actions. 

There has been much debate about using the plural ‘they’ and ‘their’ to refer to singular nouns. In fact, if we do not know the gender of the noun, then, yes, you can use the plural pronoun.

Using the formal pronoun ‘one‘ is fantastic- very high-level.

Also, never use the pronoun ‘you’ in your Academic writing.

This is directly connected to your IELTS Writing scores. In order to score highly for Cohesion and Coherence, you must show your ability to correctly use pronoun references. So, understanding these rules is imperative.


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You could use ‘one’s’ instead of ‘their’ would also be correct.

In addition, as far as pronoun referencing goes, using ‘this’ and ‘that’ to reference entire ideas in the sentence before.

The last piece of advice today is to not be so rigid in the grammar rules you learned, such as only thinking that plural pronouns refer to plural nouns.

Do not get hung up on small grammar details, like commas, for example. You can use or not use a comma before a conjunction. This does not make any difference to  your score!

In short, do not waste your time studying specific grammar rules!

How would you use the formal pronoun ‘one’?

Share an example sentence in the comments section below.

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