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Saturday, May 04, 2019


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Mr Simon

Band 7 criteria also include: "uses a variety of complex structures".

Presumably this would include using complex sentences where appropriate as per https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/english-grammar/sentence-structure

This would presumably also include the ability to use and distinguish between infinitive and gerund usage cf https://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/beginner-grammar/verbs-followed-ing-or-infinitive-1

Surely one cannot be a "good user" of English if one cannot demonstrate the capability to handle and put across complex ideas clearly?


From an examiners point of view, 'range' is rarely an issue at the 7+ level. Almost all candidates use complex sentences sometimes. What we are looking for is a good 'balance' of shorter and longer sentences.

Putting across complex ideas clearly relates more to vocabulary and coherence/cohesion.

Simon is exactly right. Grammar is almost all about accuracy (how many grammar errors you make). To be more specific, for a 7 you need close to 50% error free sentences, and for an 8 you need at least 75%.

I always say that if you are receiving feedback on your writing, then ask that person to identify every grammar error. Then count how many sentences have errors. This will usually give you an approximate idea of your grammar score. Of course some errors are 'more serious' than others but overall this is not a bad place to begin.

Mr Sjm Thank you for your insights !

Some people think that the government is wasting money on the arts and that this money could be better spent elsewhere. To what extent do you agree with this view?

It is thought by some that the government should not spend money on the arts, which is a waste of money, because there are many other areas needing money to improve the quality of life, which are more important than the arts. However, I don’t agree with this idea. In my view, the arts are indispensable part of life. It is necessary for the government to invest money in the area of the arts.

First of all, although it is easy for people to forget the existence of the arts, the fact is that the arts are always as important as other aspects of people’s lives, such as science, sport or history. Humans can often get inspirations or new ideas from the arts, which form the foundation of their beliefs. Furthermore, it is exactly these beliefs advancing the development of individuals and society.

Secondly, there is no doubt that it is because of the arts that our lives are interesting and meaningful. Today modern cities are filled with beautiful, inspiring buildings; loads of art activities help citizens kill some time or develop their hobby; spectacular sculptures become the highlight of tourist attractions. If there is no aesthetics, music, painting, statue, etc., then the question is, how can human beings survive in this boring and dark world?

In conclusion, while some always forget the fact that the arts are essential part of humans’lives, it is absolutely wrong to underestimate the importance of the arts. People need governments to invest in the arts to make life colorful and vibrant.

he li

1) https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=It+is+thought+by+some%2CIt+is+sometimes+argued&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2CIt%20is%20thought%20by%20some%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2CIt%20is%20sometimes%20argued%3B%2Cc0

2) https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=*+indispensable+part+of+life&year_start=1960&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Can%20indispensable%20part%20of%20life%3B%2Cc0

3) "It is necessary for the government to invest money in the area of the arts." Why? Why is it for the government to spend money? Why not just ordinary people? Rice is an indispensable part of life. So therefore the government must spend money on rice? Defective logic.

4) "the fact is that the arts are ...": no, it is not a fact; it is your opinion. Please explain why you hold this opinion. Just repeatedly asserting your opinion does not make it any truer or more reasonable.

5) "..these beliefs advancing the development of individuals and society": Chairman Mao might have disagreed. So we need your explanation for why these art-inspired beliefs will advance us all.

6) "there is no doubt that it is because of the arts that our lives are interesting and meaningful" : there is doubt because I, for one, disagree. Merely asserting your opinion does not make it true. We need your explanation of why you think it is true.

7) "this boring and dark world": why do you find this world boring and dark? Why do you only want to "kill time"? If you have no other interests, you could at least save the world from climate change, or plastics overload, or collapse from loss of biodiversity. That might occupy your time meaningfully.

8) "humans’lives": space required.

9) "make life colorful and vibrant": people used to dress up and dance; who needs the government? You could at least give it a try (dancing) that is.


Have a look at this lesson about complex and compound sentences. Hopefully it reinforces what sjm and I have said above:



Got a couple of questions here.

Is it correct to assume that if I write 13 sentences (following the structure you taught) then basically I still can score BAND 7 in the Grammar criterion if get 10/13 sentences error-free?

Is it considered/counted as wrong Grammar if I use wrong article? Let's say, one of those 3 errors I got (10/13) was due to this mistake.

Hey, bro.
why did u appear to be so extreme? It's just a language test, isn’t it? Do you want to get band 10?

If the governments don't spend money to do the stuff, tell me who will do it. Privately-owned companies? individuals? If it can’t make profits for these investors, do you let it die? Do you mean that companies, individuals or other organizations are responsible for all these things? unrealistic!!! For many countries, this is not a fact. You said "Rice is an indispensable part of life. So, therefore, the government must spend money on rice?" My answer is YES, Of course, man. Because rise is so important. The government cannot risk it.

Once again, this is just a language test. I'm not writing a dissertation. My goal is not to get band 100. It really doesn’t matter whether it is a fact or not. If the exam marker thinks that is true, then it is a fact. Anyway, I think you are the man who “特别爱钻牛角尖”. Maybe you can find Chairman Mao to teach you the meaning of this Chinese phrase.

If there is no government financing, many organizations and industries will die, such as the arts, because they can’t make profits for investors. Of course, privately-owned companies will not invest in them. That’s the reason why we now talk about whether is right or wrong for the government to finance the arts. Because it will be in a dangerous situation. People dressing up and dancing cannot address the problem.

he li

I have reworded your reply below into a format more suitable for inclusion in an IELTS essay. However, in my opinion, it is still somewhat repetitive. Your position is based on the unexplained assumption that the arts cannot be made profitable.

If the governments did not spend money to support the arts, the question arises as to who would support them. Privately-owned companies? Individuals? If there is no profit in the arts for these investors, then the arts might be left to die. It would be unrealistic to make companies, individuals or other organizations are responsible for the arts. The arts are an indispensable part of life in much the same was as rice and therefore the government must support them and the government cannot risk the loss of culture.

If there is no government financing, many organizations and industries will die, such as the arts, because they cannot make profits for investors. Of course, privately-owned companies will not invest in them. That is the reason why we now talk about whether is right or wrong for the government to finance the arts. Because it would be a dangerous situation.

Hi Simon,

I got 7 in writing 6 years ago (7 in all bends actually :D ) after reading your posts and following your instructions. I totally agree with this concept. I used to use a lot of big words and complicated grammar in my writing in order to impress examiners but always failed with 6/6.5.

"Frequent error-free sentences" actually requires a higher level of English to achieve during a time limited test. This principle helps our writing easier to read.

Thank you for hard work and dedication. Passing IELTs changed my life and enabled me to pursue my professional career in Australia.

I will keep following your page and share it with all my friends whoever needs it.



I really am pleased to become familiar with your ideas and relevant webpages created. Actually, in 2 following months, I am intent on retaking IELTS exam. Now I want you to help me. My essay is practically ok but task 1 is needed to improve or spent more time by effective methods of learning.
I would be glad if you assist me with your perfect techniques of writing (task1).

Best Regards,

Elham Afshar Rad

Hi Elham,

Everything that you need is here on my blog, so just go through as many of the lessons as you can.

If you need a more organised, step-by-step course, try my video lessons here:


Or if you want to communicate with me in my 'member area', you can subscribe through the page linked below:


I'm sure my materials will help you!

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