Grammar | Band 7 Noun Phrases Series

IELTS Lessons, written by Sam Morgan and Tom Speed

First review what you know about complex noun phrases with this previous post.

In this lesson we will look at an IELTS Speaking Test part 2 task and study two similar answers.

One answer doesn’t use complex noun phrases so there is a lot of repetition. This lowers the candidate’s band score. 
The second answer is a higher band response because it uses complex noun phrases to reduce repetition.

Read the IELTS Speaking Part 2 Question Topic below.

Describe a journey you have been on.
You should say:
  • Where you went on the journey
  • Who you went with
  • Whether you enjoyed it


Response 1 | Lower band

Read the student’s answer below. Notice that without complex noun phrases to combine information together, there is a lot of repetition (for example, the first 2 sentences repeat the word ‘journey’).
I’m going to tell you about a long journey. I went on the journey last year. I took a trip. The trip was from Kochi in Kerala to Margao in Goa in southern India. My girlfriend and I cycled the 800km route. We had great views along the whole way. The views were of the sea to the west and the mountains to the east.

I love southern India as there are lots of interesting things to see there. In one place we saw ancient temples. The temples were full of pilgrims. The pilgrims came from all over India. In another area we cycled through isolated hills. The hills were covered in dense jungle. We saw monkeys and heard wild birds calling. Local people informed us that leopards and big snakes live in the jungle there. We saw a snake but it was quite small. It was passing by the side of the road.

We ate lots of delicious food along the way. The food was prepared by local people. We met people along the way. Most people were very friendly. We were tired by the time we got to the end of our journey. The last place we stayed was on a beautiful beach. The water sparkled water and coconut trees swayed in the wind. It was one of the best journeys I have ever been on and someday I would love to go back.


​Response 2 | Higher Band

Complete Response 2 by rewriting the underlined information in Response 1 as complex noun phrases. The relevant complex noun phrases are in bold.
I’m going to tell you about a long journey which I went on last year. I took a trip 1) Kochi in Kerala to Margao in Goa in southern India. My girlfriend and I cycled the 800km route. We had great 2) sea to the west and the mountains to the east along the whole way.
I love southern India as there are lots of interesting things to see there. In one place we saw ancient temples 3) of pilgrims 4) came from all over India. In another area we cycled through isolated hills 5) in dense jungle. We saw monkeys and heard wild birds calling. Local people informed us that leopards and big snakes live in the jungle there. We saw a snake 6) the side of the road but it was quite small.
We ate lots of delicious 7) by local people. Most people 8) along the way were very friendly. We were tired by the time we got to the end of our journey. The last place we stayed was on a beautiful 9) sparkling water and swaying coconut trees. It was one of the best journeys I have ever been on and someday I would love to go back.


​We hope you can see how using complex noun phrases can improve your English. Try them out yourself by writing out your response to this question in around 150 words. Post it into the comments section below for some free feedback.

See our Grammar Page for more great free grammar lessons.

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