Top Tips for IELTS

Academic caution words: generalisations

Part of the skill in academic writing is being cautious. In this post I look at how you can make this work for you in IELTS by using vocabulary to generalise and then be specific. It’s a useful skill to learn as it will help to improve the range of grammar and vocabulary  in your writing and speaking.

academic caution

Take a look at these two examples to see how it works.

A weak example

The major advantage of living in a house is the issue of privacy. There is more opportunity for peace and quiet if you live in a house. Other significant advantages are that houses are more spacious and have gardens. This is important so that the children have a safe environment to play in. If you live in a tower block, then the children have to play outside on the pavement.

A much better example

Perhaps the major advantage of living in a house is the issue of privacy. Typically, there is more opportunity for peace and quiet if you live in a house. This is particularly the case if it is a detached house. Other significant advantages are that houses are generally more spacious and on the whole have gardens. This is especially important if there is a family so that the children can have a safe environment to play in. If, however, you live in a tower block, then the children may have to play outside on the pavement.

What are the differences?

Let’s have a little think. The main differences are:

  1. adverbs: the second version contains many more “-ly” adverbs.
  2. modal verbs not the verb to be: the second version has “can” and “may”
  3. if clauses: the second version uses “if” much more

Why does this work?

There are 4 good reasons to adopt this approach:

  1. your writing automatically becomes more academic and that’s a good thing – even in general training IELTS – the second version just sounds more intelligent
  2. you use a much greater range of grammar and so increase your grammar band score
  3. you write more words: if you have problems getting to 250 words, you can learn from this
  4. it’s not that hard to do

How can you learn to do this?

One suggestion here is to take this approach:

  1. make a general statement
  2. say that it is a general statement

To do this, you need words like: “generally”, “on the whole” or “typically”. Then it should become an automatic process to say:

  1. why it is only a general statement and not always true
  2. give a example

Tip: be careful of using the verb “to be” too often. You are probably making too many general statements.

Useful vocabulary to download

Here is a vocabulary download, I first posted in IELTS vocabulary – academic caution (1)

academic caution (4212)

Test yourself

See what you have learned by trying this timed exercise:

%CODE1%

single parents

To get my next lesson in your inbox

Enter your email address:
Delivered by FeedBurner

You might also be interested in:

How to like it, share it and share it

   

Get more help with IELTS preparation on the main pages of my site

Home page

Speaking Guide

Writing Guide

Essay writing guide

Academic task 1 guide

Letter writing guide

Reading guide

Listening guide

IELTS vocabulary

IELTS grammar

Keep up with me on Facebook - all the updates and even more advice there

   

Or just get all my free lessons by email

Subscribe to DC IELTS by Email

, ,

One Response to Academic caution words: generalisations

  1. home health December 6, 2010 at 12:05 pm #

    this post is very usefull thx!

Leave a Reply