Jessica Beck
"Director of IELTS Training"
Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"

Believe it or not, negatives can boost your IELTS grammar score!

Today you’ll learn a very high level grammar structure.

It can be used in Speaking or Writing to really impress the examiner.

It is a structure that can increase those difficult grammar scores!

Tune in today for details!

IELTS grammar scores

The IELTS scoring system is specific in the grammar requirements.

You must use ‘a variety of complex structures’ for a 7 on the grammar score.

Using simple, compound and complex sentences satisfies this requirement.

However, there are many other options!

Additionally, to score 8 or higher you need a ‘wide range’ of structures.

Today’s grammar structure can boost these scores.

Three negatives

You are likely familiar with using neither/nor.

This structure is extremely useful on IELTS!

Today you’ll learn how to use three negatives in a sentence.

We’ll show you the formula for four different negative words.

These are useful both on IELTS Speaking and Writing.

We’ll share examples for each.

You can then practice using this structure when writing essays and answering sample IELTS Speaking questions.

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#1: Nobody

This is perfect when talking or writing about people.

You may be required to describe a person on IELTS Speaking Part 2.

For Part 1 and Part 3 you also often share details about people.

Of course, this can also be useful for examples in IELTS essays.


Nobody benefited from her performance, neither author nor audience.

Nobody likes working in that office, neither the boss nor the employees.

Notice the structure: Nobody [details], neither [noun] nor [noun].

Create your own examples using this structure!

#2: Nowhere

There is a good chance you’ll describe a place on IELTS Speaking.

You may be asked about favorite restaurants or shops.

This is a perfect structure for sharing details!


Nowhere had the ice cream I wanted, neither 31 scoops nor SoftFreeze.

Nowhere emphasizes recycling like California, neither Arizona nor anywhere else in the U.S.

Be sure to use proper punctuation for these structures.

Always include a comma before ‘neither.’

#3: Never

You need to share a lot of detail in IELTS Speaking answers.

A great way to share these details is by providing timing of events.

This structure is a great way to do that!


Never did I expect to get grades like this, neither when I was in high school nor college!

Never would I guess flights would be this cheap, neither to Europe nor anywhere else!

You can see how this structure lends to sharing more details.

This is because you can’t stay general.

You’re giving specific examples at the end of each sentence.

#4: Nothing

Don’t be afraid to be negative on IELTS!

Your answers don’t have to all be in the affirmative and about positive things.

Your score is not affected by how positive your answers are.

When you share that nothing worked or nothing went right, you should definitely give details!

What went wrong?

What didn’t work out?

This grammar structure will help you share those details!


Nothing worked to improve my English, neither textbooks nor in person class.

Nothing went right on that trip, neither the hotel nor the tours we booked.


This impressive structure can boost your grammar scores.

Be sure to use the correct negative for the context.

Keep in mind that you shouldn’t only focus on grammar!

You must be aware of what is needed for each score the Examiner is considering.

For all the strategies you need, sign up for our online IELTS course!

What questions do you have from today’s episode?

Please leave a comment below.

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