IELTS Energy 804: Commonly Committed Comma Confusion (And Other Grammar No-Nos)

What kind of sentences do you need to get a high score on IELTS Writing?

Many students feel they need lots of different types of sentences.

This is not the case!

What happens when students try to have many different types of complicated sentences?

They end up making grammar mistakes!

All you need are simple, compound and a couple of complex sentences.

If you use these correctly, your essay will get the score you want!

Tip #1 Compound and Complex Sentences

Compound sentences: Two simple sentences/independent clauses joined by a conjunction.

Use the mnemonic device FANBOYS to remember a few conjunctions!

  • For
  • And
  • Nor
  • But
  • Or
  • Yet
  • So

Example: Most people enjoy watching television, but I am of the opinion that it is a waste of time.

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What complex sentences do you need to know?

#1 Defining Relative Clause

This type of clause defines the noun; without it you wouldn’t know which noun is being referred to.

Example: The store that is on the corner was robbed last week.

  • This is necessary information, so you don’t need a comma
  • Can use any relative pronoun like that, when, where, who

#2 Non-defining Relative Clause

This clause is not necessary information for the sentence; it doesn’t define the noun.

The most common uses “which.”

Example: The store around the corner, which was robbed last week, has installed new security cameras.

  • Because it’s extra information, you need commas before and after the clause.

#3 Not only, but also

This is an impressive grammar structure!

The grammar in the “not only” clause is unexpected and uses a question as a statement.

Example: Not only should schools teach new subjects like coding, but they should also eliminate classes such as cursive writing.

More information about how to use these sentences and helpful writing templates can be found in the 3 Keys IELTS Success System.

Capitalization

If you have a lot of glaring capitalization and punctuation mistakes, your Grammar score could go down to a 5.

  • You must capitalize the pronoun “I”
  • You must capitalize the first word of each sentence
  • Proper nouns should be capitalized, including names and places

Punctuation

  • One common error is using way too many commas!

In some languages, punctuation rules are totally different.

You may use commas totally different in your native language, so you need to know the comma rules for English!

  • Comma splice: separating two clauses by a comma without using a conjunction

Where does the comma go?

  • before the conjunction
  • after higher level linking words like however and moreover

Jessica covered this in detail in a YouTube video!

Commas can also be used for emphasis.

Some mistakes affect both your grammar and cohesion/coherence scores

This happens when you make a grammar error in a transition phrase!

Example:  “One of the supportive claim is that poverty exists in every country, and they should each focus on helping their own residents.”

Do you see the mistake?

This was just a spelling error, but leaving the “s” off of claim is counted as a grammar error.

Not only that, but because it is in a transition phrase, it lowers the cohesion/coherence score as well!

This could’ve been prevented by carefully checking the essay.

What’s the best way to improve your grammar?

Read!

The more you read and see good writing with correct grammar, the easier it will be to use it correctly.

What does reading English improve?

  • Spelling
  • Vocabulary
  • Grammar
  • Punctuation
  • Capitalization
  • Sentence Structure

Takeaway

You don’t need to worry about using lots of complicated sentences.

In fact, this can lower your score because it’s so difficult to do it without making mistakes!

Instead, choose two types of complex sentences and practice using them correctly.

These, combined with simple and compound sentences can get you the score you need!

Additionally, punctuation and capitalization can lower your score if you make too many mistakes!

Use the tips provided in today’s episode to boost your score!

Do you have questions about today’s topic?

Let us know in the comments below

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