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Some common mistakes in IELTS writing

This lesson is to alert you to some of the most common mistakes in writen English. None of these effect the meaning of you’re essay or report and so, in that sense, there not too serious. They are simply “surface” mistakes. They can, however, create a problem. if you make any of these errors, the examiner may beleive its because you have a problem with basic english. That’s a problem for you because your band score may drop. The message is quiet simple: you need to check your writting carefuly for these mistakes.

Test yourself

Read that first paragraph again. It contains some common mistakes in IELTS writing. Your job is simply to decide how many. In truth, you need to be able to find all these mistakes. Small though they are, they can seriously damage your band score. The problem is they are all very common problems.

How many mistakes did you find

How many mistakes

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Congratulations - you have completed How many mistakes. You scored %%SCORE%% out of %%TOTAL%%. Your performance has been rated as %%RATING%%
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See the mistakes

This lesson is to alert you to some of the most common mistakes in writen English. None of these effect the meaning of you’re essay or report and so, in that sense, there not too serious. They are simply “surface” mistakes. They can, however, create a problem though. if you make any of these errors, the examiner may beleive its because you have a problem with basic english. That’s a problem for you because your band score may drop. The message is quiet simple: you need to check your writting carefuly for these mistakes.

1. write: note that written has a double ‘t’ and writing only one

2. affect and effect: these two words sound exactly the same but they are different.

  •  “affect” is a verb – This might affect the number of children who want to become doctors”.
  • “effect” is normally a noun – This might have an effect on the numbe rof children who want to become doctors.

3. Your and you’re: this one should be easy. “You’re” is short for “You are”, while “your is the possessive of “you”. In truth, the only time you should write “You’re” in IELTS is if you are doing General Training IELTS and you get an informal letter.

4. There their and they’re: This is another common one.

  • “There is” and “there are” (impersonal like “it”)
  • “Their argument is not sound” (of them)
  • “They’re quite welcome to come and visit” (they are)

5. if: all sentences must begin with a capital letter

6. believe: English spelling is horrible. This is one word that often creates problems. You need to “see” that “i” comes before “e”. There are lots of ways to learn to spell, but much the best is to read lots. People who read can normally spell words well – they keep seeing the word and spelling is really to do with looking.

7. Its and It’s: easy to go wrong here.

  •  “It’s” is short for “It is” or “It has” – you are not normally going to use this short form in academic IELTS.
  • Its” is “of it”

8. English (Chinese, American etc): adjectives formed from proper nouns (names) also geta capital letter

9. Quite and quiet: another very common one. These are two quite different words. Here it amy help to think of the sound of the word.

10. Carefully: when you add -ly to a word, you do add it. This means that if the word ends in “l” anyway, then the”ly” word is spelled with a double “l”.

Three suggestions

I hope that you knew about most, if not all, of those mistakes anyway – most IELTS candidates do. However, mistakes still happen. This happens because you are in a rush in the exam room. So:

  • Always leave time to check your writing: sometimes the best way to do this is at the end of sentences and paragraphs and not essays – it’s easier to check a sentence than an essay.
  • You probably make these mistakes because you write too quickly and you probably don’t see these mistakes because you read too quickly. Here’s a suggestion: read with a pen in your hand as you check – that way you really look at the words as you read and you are far more likely to see the mistakes.
  • Make a checklist of your own mistakes: if there is a word you misspell – write it down.

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5 Responses to Some common mistakes in IELTS writing

  1. TheIELTSSolution August 12, 2011 at 2:31 am #

    Hi,

    Your blog seems awfully good because it would help the IELTS examinees in improving their writing skills through being sensible to the possible mistakes they would encounter. As stated on the content of your blog, “Always leave time to check your writing” . Yes, I do agree with this statement since this is very relevant in taking time of enhancing your piece so that you can attain good marks. TheIELTSSolution.com

    Thank you.

  2. Manendra December 2, 2011 at 2:25 pm #

    Very good guides all the best

  3. YIn Min August 17, 2013 at 2:12 pm #

    Thank you so much!! Your site is valuable website for IELTS candidates.

  4. jessica December 21, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

    Hi,
    Thank you for the guidance on grammar and vocabulary, especially the advertisement vocabulary and its exercises which help in broadening my knowledge on the unfamiliar words used in advertising….

  5. me April 25, 2014 at 11:02 am #

    corrent you’re in the second sentence.

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