To get a Band 7 or higher score in IELTS Writing, it’s vital that each sentence you write is meaningful with appropriate connections between and within sentences.
In order to do that you need to use the right connecting words and proper grammar. I will teach you how to in my answers to the following topic:
Some people think that history has little or nothing to tell us while others believe that studying the past can help us better understand the present. Discuss both these views and give your opinion.
This first example is more direct.
If we study how society handled crises in the past, we will/can be better prepared to make decisions on current issues.
We use the present simple in the if part: “If we study,” with will.
This next one has the verb in the past after if and several possible modal verbs in the other part of the sentence.
If we studied how societies dealt with crises in the past, we would/could be better prepared to make decisions on current issues.
The difference is that the second sentence is much more hypothetical than the first.
This sentence shows a contrast or a difference between two ideas.
Although governments and economists have studied the causes of previous financial crises, they have not always made the right decisions themselves to prevent them re-occurring.
We can start the sentence with ‘although’ or, alternatively, ‘even though’.
Notice that these connectors are part of what we can call a “dependent clause”. A dependent clause is a clause that does not make complete sense by itself. For example:
Although governments have studied the causes of previous crises…
We need to complete the sentence with another clause, which we call the independent clause, a clause that makes complete sense by itself.
These are sentences with “however” or “nevertheless”. These words are grammatically different to although and even though. We usually put them at the beginning of the independent clause. Notice the punctuation.
Governments have studied the causes of previous financial crises; however, they have not always made the right decisions themselves to prevent them re-occurring.
Punctuation is important. Use a semi-colon (;) before and comma (,) after. If you prefer, you can put a full stop instead of a semicolon:
Governments have studied the causes of previous financial crises. Nevertheless, they have not always made the right decisions themselves to prevent them re-occurring.
Another interesting way to show difference is when we use despite or in spite of. Both come at the start of the dependent clause but be careful with the grammar here. Why? Because we never use a subject + verb after these connectors. We usually use a gerund. Look at this example:
We often need to explain or justify something when we write. Here’s one way to do it:
Because scientists had studied the historical data on previous epidemics, they were able to find a solution quickly.
First, we mention the cause followed by the result or consequence. We can also use since or as.
Since the research team had studied the historical background to the case, they were able to make a quick decision.
Of course, we can put the result first followed by the explanation.
A solution to the problem was found because scientists had studied and made use of historical data.
The simplest way is to use because. Alternatives again are since and as.
We usually think of a “coordinated” sentence when we use “and” or “but”. Have a look at this example.
History can help us understand the present and (it can help us) plan the future.
We have two independent clauses with the same subject, history. After and we are adding more information.
Another way to do this is to end the sentence with our first idea and then begin a new sentence with words like moreover or furthermore, or maybe a phrase such as in addition.
History can help us understand the present. Furthermore, it can also help us plan for the future.
Another advanced way to do this is to use not only, but also.
Look at these examples. Notice very carefully what form the verb has in the first part of the sentence.
Not only does history help us understand the present, but it can also be the basis for making projections into the future.
Not only did the crisis hit poor families, but it also affected the more affluent.
You can see that the first parts are in question form.
A sentence using this structure will impress the IELTS examiner, but it takes time to get it right.
Today we’ve looked at one of the important criteria the examiners are looking out for. I’ve designed my online courses specifically to teach you all this and more. These courses can help you prepare for IELTS Writing and Speaking in less time and achieve a higher score.