The grammatical range and accuracy of your sentences is one of the most important grading criterions in IELTS writing. Your sentences have to be grammatically correct. You also need to use a variety of sentence patterns.
Why grammatical range is important?
Your grammatical range is a good indicator of your level of English. It is not something you do consciously. People who have a good command over the language will naturally write more complex sentences. If your English isn’t that good, you are more likely to use simple sentence patterns. Of course, by using these simple sentences you can reduce the number of grammar mistakes you make. But unfortunately, that is not enough to impress the examiner. They also want to test your range. One way of doing this is to look at the different patterns you use. If you use just one or two sentence patterns throughout your writing, your band score will suffer.
It is not just about tenses
Of course, tenses are important and learning them is essential to construct sentences that make sense. But it is not just about tenses. The truth is that you can use different tenses in the same sentence. The key is learning the rules of the sequence of tenses.
How to improve your grammatical range?
One way of doing this is to learn the different methods used for combining two or more simple sentences. There are several techniques. You can, for example, use the relative pronouns who, which and that to combine two clauses. You can also use participles and infinitives to combine two sentences. Another method is to use if-clauses.
Not all grammar mistakes are treated alike
Yes, you heard it right. No two grammar mistakes are treated alike. Simple grammar mistakes are the most dangerous ones and for good reason. Such mistakes arise only when your English is really bad. To avoid making a lot of simple mistakes, pay careful attention to subject-verb agreement. Make sure that singular subjects are used with singular verbs. In the same way, use plural verbs with plural subjects. Learn common word combinations with prepositions. There are quite a few of them and they require special attention. Also learn the correct use of articles. Note that some common expressions take no articles at all. Learn them by heart.
How is your essay graded?
To get band 7, you will need to write a lot of error-free sentences. A grammatical mistake here and there is unlikely to have a huge bearing on your overall score. But try to avoid them at any cost. Note that basic grammar accuracy is more important than complex grammar accuracy. That means even if your complex sentence patterns aren’t completely error-free, you might still get a good band score.
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