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Wednesday, August 16, 2017


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Hi Simon,

I have a question about how to describe the multiple of a number in Writing Task 1. In the model answer of Cambridge 4 Test 1 Writing Task 1, there is a sentence in the second paragraph:
However, those xxx had almost double this proportion of poor people, with xxx.

I don't know the word double here is an adjective, a noun, or a verb.

If it is a verb, I think it should be "(had) doubled"-in past perfect tense.
If it is a noun or an adjective, would you please give some examples on how the word 'double' is used in this way?

Thanks in advance!


I totally agree with this. My first IELTS writing exam was a disastrous because of a nicely prepared templates. Although the examiner gave me a score of 6.5, I should have done it better on focusing more on the context of my essay. On my second appearance, I did a different approached. I followed everything what Simon's lessons and applied this lesson method, most importantly. I was surprised with the result that it did increase drastically to 7.5. I know that my grammar knowledge is below average but if you follow what Simon has always advised us, concentrate on our vocabulary, it would definitely help us to increase our desired score in a short possibly time.


'to double' is a verb which means 'increase by two times'

'double' the predeterminer (similar to an adjective), means 'two times bigger'

'double this proportion' means two times bigger than this proportion

Candidates make this mistake all the time. It's because the words look the same. If they were different words, like 'half' and 'to halve' then it would be easier to see the difference.


The problem with a lot of templates is that they contain too many memorised words and phrases. This then lowers the amount of topic vocabulary.

Simon even uses a basic template (for example, he uses a five sentence body paragraph with a clear topic sentence, and similar linkers). However the key is that a template (or what I would call 'good organisation') does not dominate the essay. I always say from an examiner's point of view that candidates should keep memorised words and linkers to under 20% of the total word count.

Sjm, perfectly explained. That's what I was trying to say but I've just had a poor command of English, limited vocabulary and can't expand my ideas in more effective way. hahaha

Sjm, thanks for you answer, but I am still confused about it.

I think the word 'double' in the following sentence is a verb.

However, those xxx had almost double this proportion of poor people, with xxx.

but it should be in past perfect tense, i.e. doubled, because there is a word 'had' before.

am I right?

thank you!


In that sentence it is clearly NOT a verb. The verb is 'had'.

The word 'double' here is a synonym of the word 'twice'. This is not a verb.

Remember, you are COMPARING two numbers here. You are not describing an increase, which is what the verb 'double' means.

The verb 'double' always describes an increase. When you compare numbers there is no increase.

got it!
Sjm, thanks for your great help!

I looked up in a dictionary, the grammar of predeterminer is very complex for me.

In grammar, a predeterminer is a word that is used before a determiner, but is still part of the noun group. For example, "all" in "all the time" and "both" in "both our children" are predeterminers.

So, I will treat the following words as a whole, never separate them
have double the proportion of
have half the proportion of

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