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IELTS writing – grammatical range and accuracy explained

Grammatical range and accuracy is perhaps the most misunderstood grading criterion in IELTS writing. The clue is in the name: it is not enough to not make mistakes (accuracy), you also need to use a variety of grammatical structures (range). Too often candidates focus only on the mistakes.

Accuracy of grammar

Accuracy is not a simple idea and it can be though about in 2 ways.

How many mistakes

One key here is to understand that examiners look at how many error free sentences you write. For example, to get band 7, you need to be able to write “frequent” error free sentences. This means that basic grammar such as articles which you need for every sentence is very important.

What kind of mistakes

Not all mistakes are equal. The basic rule is that you need to be more accurate with simple grammar than complex grammar. For example, to get band 5 in the writing, you need to attempt more complex structures, but these do not have to be as accurate as simple structures.

Range of grammar

This is as important as accuracy. It is important to use not just a range of structures but also to use more complex structures too. It is important to understand that this grammar is not just about tenses, but also about how you organise your sentences.

Two suggestions for more complex grammar:

  1. If clauses are very useful for explaining and giving examples
  2. Relative clauses (who/that/which/when etc) will also impress the examiner and are a good example of more complex grammar.

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3 Responses to IELTS writing – grammatical range and accuracy explained

  1. Ranjith July 11, 2011 at 9:39 am #

    Very Useful basic Information.

  2. kingdoom February 2, 2014 at 2:08 am #

    very usefull……………………………….


  1. IELTS Singapore | Moms In Mind – IELTS Singapore - July 24, 2015

    […] is that they typically use too simple language. Bear in mind that you will also be marked based on grammatical range and accuracy so you need to avoid settling for simple […]

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