Important points to remember


To write a good essay, you need to know how to present your points in a formal style. This page will show you some of the common errors in the IELTS writing test and how to avoid them.


Avoid using personal pronouns (I / we / you / us etc)

Compare these two sentences:

  1. I think that the government should support us by providing better healthcare.
  2. It can be argued that the government should support the population by providing better healthcare.

It should be clear that the second sentence is better as it avoid using ‘I’ and ‘us’. One of the best ways of writing more formally and avoiding personal pronouns is by using the passive tense.


Avoid using emotional expressions

Compare these two sentences:

  1. People who spend extended periods in front of a television could be exposed to the great risks of suffering from health issues.
  2. People who spend extended periods in front of a television could potentially face related health issues.

As you can see, the first sentence is too dramatic and is not suited for academic writing. You need to remain objective, not passionate.


Avoid using personal examples

Compare these two sentences:

  1. A friend of mine has been unable to find work recently as he does not have the right qualifications.
  2. It is common for people to be unable to find work without the right qualifications

As you can see, the second sentence does not make the example ‘personal’ – this is a key point for getting a better result in the
IELTS writing test.


Avoid using contractions and abbreviations

Compare these two sentences:


  1. These days, many companies don’t employ people who can’t use a PC.
  2. These days, many companies do not employ people who cannot use a computer.

Always write the full word, not contractions or abbreviations!


Avoid using phrasal verbs in your essay

Compare these two sentences:

  1. Despite the health concerns, many people have difficulty in giving up smoking.
  2. Despite the health concerns, many people have difficulty in quitting smoking.

Phrasal verbs like ‘give up’, ‘take off’, ‘break down’ or ‘call into’ are not considered formal and will reduce your score. There is always a more formal equivalent for a phrasal verb.


Avoid asking questions

Compare these two sentences:

  1. Could the government do more to support poor people?
  2. Many people wonder if there is anything more the government could do to support poor people.

Avoid writing direct questions (also called ‘rhetorical questions’) – they are not academic and will reduce your writing result.


Informal linking words

Compare these two sentences:

  1. First, the government should support people who are actively looking for work.
  2. Primarily, the government should support people who are actively looking for work.

Using more formal linking words to connect your ideas will give you a better result.

 

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