Top Tips for IELTS

An error correction exercise – articles and agreement

This is not just an exercise on grammar, it is also a lesson on how to check your writing when you are preparing for IELTS. There are two main ideas:

  • don’t check your writing for mistakes – look for particular mistakes that you make
  • check for one or two things at a time – you’re much more likely to find mistakes that way

First, I talk you through the grammar very quickly and show you links where you can get more info. Then, there is a brief error correction exercise to test your skills.

A bit of grammar first

What things should you check for? Well, that will depend on who you are slightly. A sensible suggestion, though, is to check for common mistakes – the sort of mistakes that can happen in any sentence. Why? Statistically, you are much more likely to find and correct more mistakes that way.

Articles

Articles (a/the etc) are something that should be on everyone’s checklist. Every time you use a noun, you have a decision to make about articles. These go wrong a lot. To get them right, you can ask yourself two questions:

  1. is it countable/uncountable?
  2. am I talking generally or in particular?

Confused? Check this quick lesson.

Agreement

Agreement (making sure verbs and subjects match and thinking about plural and singular) is another key area. Why? It also goes wrong quite a lot and it looks bad if you do get it wrong. This lesson outlines some of the more common mistakes here.

An error correction exercise – find and correct the mistakes

This exercise is based on a paragraph sent into my Forum. As a paragraph it works well – it’s coherent and well-organised. There are, however, one or two too many little mistakes. Mistakes that could perhaps be avoided. Those are the important ones – the ones you can prevent. Your task is to find the mistakes and try and correct them. A clue: there are 6 mistakes with articles or agreement.

Advances in technology have led to many improvements in the field of communication. Today, sitting in the office we can talk with clients who are far away in some other country and we have access to video conferencing, emails and Whatsapp applications. For instance, with video conferencing one can interact face-to-face with their loved ones who are located in different nation. News and information can be shared on real time basis and this is only possible with new invention. The world seems to have come closer as people do not have to write letters and then wait for days to get reply as used to happen many years back because communication happens much faster. There are also many social networking sites where an individual can stay in touch with friends and relatives at the same time and find friends with whom he might have lost the contacts.

Note

If you are new to my site, you may not know one of my most common pieces of advice. Do not check at the end of the essay. It’s probably too late by then: time is short. Rather:

  • check as you write – either at the end of each sentence or at the end of a paragraph
  • this way, you will have time to check and it is much easier to check a sentence/paragraph than a whole essay

See the mistakes

How did you do?

Advances in technology have led to many improvements in the field of communication. Today, sitting in the office we can talk with clients who are far away in some other country and we have access to video conferencing, emails and Whatsapp applications. For instance, with video conferencing people can interact face-to-face with their loved ones who are located in different nations. News and information can be shared on a real time basis and this is only possible thanks to new inventions. The world seems to have come closer as people do not have to write letters and then wait for days to get a reply as used to happen many years back because communication happens much faster. There are also many social networking sites where an individual can stay in touch with friends and relatives at the same time and find friends with whom he might have lost contact.

 Notes

one and their do not match – this is an agreement problem. I have changed one to people.

nation is a countable noun – that means it needs an article/an s or some other qualifying word

invention  – another countable noun

basis – harder this time, but basis is another countable noun

reply – again a countable noun

the contacts – this time we are talking generally so we don’t want the and as an uncountable noun we don’t need an article either

 

   

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5 Responses to An error correction exercise – articles and agreement

  1. anhtran09 March 22, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

    some other country -> some other countries

    • Anonymous October 3, 2014 at 8:44 am #

      thanks f0r the response ,could you please send me some of the listening tests for practice

  2. salem May 25, 2014 at 5:22 am #

    Thanks a lot for your advices!
    I wish that your site can help me to get band 9!

  3. Anonymous June 26, 2016 at 3:49 am #

    I face lots of problem with grammatical errors during writing essay.how can i improve?

  4. bhupinder September 7, 2016 at 2:57 pm #

    with their loved ones = with his loved ones

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