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Key Grammar

In order to get a higher band score for grammar you need to use a range of different grammatical structures and your writing needs to be fairly accurate. In this lesson we will look at some of the most common grammatical errors that students make in academic writing task 1.

Exercise 1

In the present tense, we add ‘s’ to verbs that follow a 3rd person singular noun/pronoun (it, he or she).

For example: The cost of fruit rises in the winter.

Subject: The cost of fruit (it)

Verb: rise + s =rises

Complete the academic task 1 essay below with the verbs in brackets. Do you need to add ‘s’ to the verbs?

The graph 1. (show) the changes that occur in the price of fruit in the UK over 12 months. Overall, the cost of most fruit 2. (rise) in the winter and 3. (fall) in the summer.

Apples, pears and peaches 4. (be) much more expensive in winter rather than in summer. These fruits 5. (cost) the least in August and September. Then the price of all three fruits 6. (increase) until December. From December to April, the three fruits 7. (have) the same price. The price then 8. (start) to fall until August.

The one fruit that 9. (do not) follow this rule is bananas. Bananas 10. (be) roughly the same price throughout the whole year.

Answer Explanations

  1. The subject is the graph and so is singular (it).
  2. The subject is the cost and so is singular (it).
  3. The subject is the cost and so is singular (it).
  4. The subject is apples pears and peaches and so is plural (they). Notice that there are different forms of the verb be which you may need to use. In task 1 you are likely to need the form ‘is’ for singular 3rd person subjects and ‘are’ for plural subjects
  5. The subject is these fruits and so is plural (they).
  6. The subject is the price and so is singular (it).
  7. The subject is the three fruits and so is plural (they).
  8. The subject is the price and so is singular (it).
  9. The subject is the one fruit and so is singular (it)
  10. The subject is bananas and so is plural (they).

Language Analysis

Another common area that candidates make errors in is the use of verb tense. In academic writing task 1, the data which you have to summarise and analyse may be from the past, the present or the future.  The tenses you need to use are the past tense and the present tense. You will use the present tense in a prediction phrase to predict (present guesses about) the future.

Future prediction phrases:

It is predicted that the number will increase.

The number is predicted to increase.

It is forecast that the number will increase.

The number is forecast to increase.

Exercise 2

Study the simple line graph below and complete the IELTS academic writing task 1 essay that follows. Complete the essay by choosing the correct form, past tense or present tense, of the verbs in brackets.

You should spend about twenty minutes on this task.

The graph below shows the rural and urban inhabitants of a small country from 1950 to the present day with population predictions to the year 2030.

Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

Write at least 150 words.

The line graph 1. (illustrate) the population changes in a small county since 1950 with projections until 2030. Overall, the number of people living in rural areas 2. (increase) until the 2010s and is projected to 3. (decrease) in the future while the number of people living in urban areas is forecast to 4. (continue) increasing.

The urban population 5. (start) much lower than the rural population at only 0.6 million people in 1950. Between 1950 and 1970 it 6. (increase) to roughly 0.9 million people. After that, the urban population 7. (go) up faster so that in 1990 it was just over 1.5 million people. From then until now, it 8. (increase) by roughly 2 million people, overtaking the rural population in 2010. It is predicted to 9. (continue) increasing until 2030 when it is likely to be roughly 4.2 million people.

On the other hand, although the rural population 10. (increase) until 2010, it is forecast to 11. (fall) in the future. From 1950 to 2010, the rural population 12. (increase) gradually from 1.8 to just over 3 million people. However, it is predicted to 13. (fall) back to just under 3 million people by 2030.
185 words

Language Note

It is also correct to use the present perfect tense for actions that started in the past and continue to the present time (subject+has/have+V3).

If you are not confident using the present perfect tense in your writing, then use the past simple. You will not lose marks for this.

Which verb from the exercise above could be in the present perfect tense?

The answer is the verb from number 8: From then until now, it has increased by roughly 2 million people.

The complete text

The line graph illustrates the population changes in a small county since 1950 with projections until 2030. Overall, the number of people living in rural areas increased until the 2010s and is projected to decrease in the future while the number of people living in urban areas is forecast to continue increasing.

The urban population started much lower than the rural population at only 0.6 million people. Between 1960 and 1970 it increased to roughly 0.9 million people. After that, the urban population went up faster so that in 1990 it was just over 1.5 million people. From then until now, it increased by roughly 2 million people, overtaking the rural population in 2010. It is predicted to continue increasing until 2030 when it is likely to be roughly 4.2 million people.

On the other hand, although the rural population increased until 2010, it is forecast to fall in the future. From 1950 to 2010, the rural population increased gradually from 1.8 to just over 3 million people. However, by 2030, it is predicted to fall back to just under 3 million people by 2030.

Language analysis

You will need to use comparative and superlative adjectives to compare things in writing task 1. You can review comparative and superlative adjectives using the grammar box below.

Exercise 3

Complete the sentences taken from IELTS writing task 1 essays with the correct form of the adjective in brackets.

1.Children in city A received (high) scores in national exams than those is city B.
2.Overall, it is clear that most people who took part in the survey thought studying history was (interesting) than studying geography.
3.A (small) number of people applied for positions in the police after 2009.
4.According to the data, people in country Z are the (healthy) out of the 8 countries.
5. (low) numbers of people in town A attend evening classes than in town B.
6.People with 2 or more children had (few) hours of free time than couples without children
7.The (bad) scores were from teams that didn’t have enough time to prepare.
8.Interestingly, people who had (unhealthy) lifestyles said that they were generally (happy) than those who were very health conscious.

In this grammar essentials lesson, we have studied important verb tenses and comparative language. We will complete this module with a test of what we have learned so far before moving on to studying tables task types.