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July 24, 2018


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hi simon,

After months of preparation, today I appeared in the IELTS speaking.

I am following your blog since January, andanmany followed many of your lessons.

I am anxious, what band I will achieve.

Anyone tell me whats the diffent between are you or do you. In other word are you solve this question or do you solve this qurstion i dont know exactly whats matter between them.
Simon sir its humble request clear my this doubt

These rules tell US ( not tell use) that ..

What you mean ? Kami

Thanks Kami. Well spotted!

I'm afraid,i don't understand what kami wanna explain.could you explain an innovative way?

Thank you so much! It's really helpful to me.

Also, I'm studying more phrases such as life-saving drugs, red-colored parts, the most-asked question, carbon-rich soil,.. I find these have rules too but I'm not sure about the rules I concluded.
Does anyone have ideas for that?
Simon, could you please tell us a little bit about rules for these phrases?

Thank you.

Could you explain these words:
I’ve found them on Cambrige dictonary. Thank you

Hi, Simon,

I recently attended an online course held by a current IELTS examiner in China who i believe to be a true examiner. One problem he pointed out in most students’ writing is TR mistake.

Let me just make an example.

1. Some people think that social networking site has a negative impact on individual and society. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
So if i respond the question in the first paragraph like this :while I admit social networking site has a negative impact on individual and society, I believe that it also has positive effects on individual and society.
Second paragraph: negative impact
Third paragrah: positive impact

2. According to that examiner, positive impact is irrelevant to the argument of the essay, so i am likely to get a low mark like 5 or 5.5 in TR for this essay. (he also mentioned that if students get marks in TR below 6, even they got 6 in other bands, the overall band for writing will be below 6, so TR is the key part for overall band)

3. This has remind me of one of your model essays,
Some people believe that unpaid community service should be a compulsory part of high school programs(for example working for a charity, improving the neighborhoods or teaching sports to younger children). To what extent do you agree or disagree?

It is sometimes argued that high school students should be made to do some work in their local communities. While I disagree with the idea of making such programmes compulsory, I do believe that voluntary community service could benefit young people.

4. If the that examiner is right, the same logic should be applied to your model essay. It seems that the benefits of community service is not relevant to the argument, because it can not prove that it should be or should not be a compulsory course.(i understand that the way you write in this structure is easy for students to imitate, i just wonder if it is still the write way to continue this way.)

I would appreciate if you could help me to answer this question.

Thank you so much.



Those are all adjectives, not nouns. The research that was described in Monday's reading lesson said:

Rule 1: If the compound word is a verb (like to blow-dry), or an adjective (like world-famous), it probably needs a hyphen.



As far as I can see, "firefighter" is most commonly written as one word. Try googling it to see examples.

"Mother-in-law" is a three word compound, but I suppose it sort of follows the first rule in the lesson above, in the sense that "in" has only two letters.

Please note: These 'rules' are the result of very recent analysis of the English language. The researcher (see Monday's lesson) does also say that there are exceptions. The rules work 75% of the time.

Strictly speaking there are no "rules" for punctuation: it is a matter of convention. Punctuation is primarily there to assist the reader toward the correct meaning, intonation, and phraseology.

As the graph below shows, it is possible to spell some words with or without the hyphen without either being "wrong". Sometimes a new word is hyphenated but over time loses the hyphen: over time "e-mail" will probably become "email", for example.


Here are some other useful links:




Absolutely right. Traditional language teaching acted as if the 'grammar rules' came first and the language came second.

These days we can use online search tools and huge corpora of 'real' language instead of grammar books. Let's say that 'patterns' is a better word than 'rules'.

@ jeff

It seems to me that there are two possible readings of "has a negative impact":

a) = has a (net) negative impact (overall); that is, on balance the negatives outweigh the positives.

b) = has a negative impact (and any positives do not matter)

To me, (a) would seem more natural, legitimate; and (b) excessively picky. In some Cambridge exams, such as FCE, CAE, CPE, specific guidelines are issued every time for examiners in relation to each essay question , but this is not the case for IELTS, so we are reliant on the moderation process, where some marking of each examiner is checked by a principal examiner to see if all are being marked in the same way.

so why we write "full_time" and "part_time"?


'full-time' and 'part-time' are adjectives, not nouns.

Your content is really helping me with my IELTS preparation.

Let's see if I will be able to achieve good band score this time.

Hi dear Simon
I have a question. In today’s exam we were supposed to write 24 river lane but I wrote 24 riverlane. Do I lose mark?

Dear Sam,
I've just found an exception in the IELTS test book 8. Question 13 in Section 2 Test one, the answer is "car-park", which is an answer rather different from those listed in your second rule. According to your rules, the answer might be "carpark". I'm getting a little bit confused.

off-topic ?

Hello Simon,
Thank you for yhe useful information.
I recently did a listening test on Cambridge. I have sone questions.
Do I lose point
1. if i write 5-12 years old instead of 5 to 12 years old.
2. note taking instead of note-taking
3. 10000 instead of 10,000
4. As a hotel name i put sun shade but the answer sheet says sunshade

What about 'car park'?

Cambridge English IELTS 9 - Test 1 - 13

used 'car-park'


My dictionary has 'car park' as two words.

Hello Simon,
How about sports bag? I encountered it in Cambridge 9, test 1, section 2. The same goes with sports shoes and many other sports compound nouns.

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