2 common IELTS grammar mistakes.
Do you know what most IELTS students have trouble with when it comes to their writing? … It’s articles (the, a, an) and countable/uncountable nouns.
Over many years of marking IELTS essays and listening to students when speaking, I have noticed a few common mistakes, most commonly they are articles (The’, a, an) and countable/uncountable nouns.
Correct use of grammar in IELTS Writing and Speaking accounts for 25% of marks in the exam. If you have more than one grammar mistake in each sentence, then the chances are that you will get a Band 5 or 6 in grammar in the writing section. Also in the Speaking test grammar is important. For articles (the, an, a) there are a lot of different rules in English regarding these.
With some knowledge on this, you can learn to avoid making these common errors in your writing and speaking. Try the exercise at the bottom of the page and see how well you do.
Articles: When to use The:
1. When there is only one of something
The Queen, The Moon, The Sun, The Environment, The Government, The World, The Sky, The Country, The Ocean.
2. When the other person knows what we are talking about
- John: “ I’m going to the shop, do you need anything? ”
Sally: “No thanks” (both speakers know the shop in question)
- John: ” How was that restaurant? ”
Sally: ” The food was good and the service was great” (both speakers know which food and service)
3. With superlatives
The best, The worst, The longest, The latest, The most interesting, The most expensive, The tallest, The greatest, The least important, The most important…
4. With cardinal numbers
The First, The second, The Third, The fourth, The Fifth ..etc..
5. With adjectives connected to people:
The young, The old, The unemployed, The injured, The disabled, The rich, The poor, The homeless.
6. With nationalities
The British, The Chinese, The Americans, The Egyptians, The Australians. (in some cases the nationalities end in “s” The Canadians, The Italians, The Thais )
7. With particular places
- Hotels – The Sheraton, The Hilton, The Raffles, The Cumberland
- Theatres- The Old Vic, The National theatre, The Moscow art theatre
- Museums – The British museum, The Natural History Museum, The Louvre Museum
- Oceans or Seas – The Indian ocean, The Atlantic ocean, The Mediterranean sea, The Caspian sea
- Deserts – The Sahara, The Atacama, The Gobi desert, The Mojave desert.
(In some cases we need “of” ..The tower of London, The Bank of England, The University of London, The Houses of parliament.)
When not to use The:
1. Speaking generally:
- I like flowers
- I don’t like noise
- Environmental problems are getting worse
- Crime is on the increase
- Workers are getting higher salaries
- Chinese manufacturing is increasing
- Sugar isn’t healthy.
- Traffic is an issue in modern cities.
- I like reading books.
(none of these nouns needs ‘the’ before them)
When we speak about something in particular, we need “the” eg: The flowers over there look nice, The crime rate is rising, The workers are not happy.
2. Particular countries:
England, Ireland, France, Japan, China, Korea, Australia (unions need the: The USA, The EU, The UK, The UAE)
- Continents: Africa, Europe, India, Antarctica
- Cities: London, New York, Rome, Sydney
- Mountains: Everest, Fuji, Kilimanjaro
Countable and Uncountable Nouns:
Many nouns are uncountable, it is easy to make mistakes with these especially when using much, many, a few, a, an, all of, so here is a list of uncountable nouns.
When the noun is uncountable it is not possible to use much or many, see these sentences below.
manysome information from the tourist office.
mucha lot of traffic in the city.
manya lot of money at the shops.
a fewsome news on the TV about the accident. All ofAll the advice he gave me was good.
I listened to
asome music on the train. Anpollution is getting worse in the city. (no article) Aresearch was carried out on the problem. (no article)
muchsome time to study because I am not working right now.
As you can see I have made corrections with ‘some’ and ‘a lot of’ These words can be used with uncountable nouns.
There are 5 Sentences below which are incorrect, can you find the mistakes and correct them? (some sentences have more than one mistake.)
1. These days there are much problems with the environment, a government needs to do something about a problem.
2. The crime is a growing issue in modern societies because of an unemployment.
3. Eating many fast food is unhealthy and leads to the obesity.
4. Due to recent economic problems, many young people cannot find a job.
5. Traffic fumes in modern cities cause health problems for children and the elderly.
6. I asked my friend for some advices about the best way to pass a exam.
7. Many progress has been made in a research into cancer.
8. The media has a responsibility to report honest facts on the news.
9. I drank a water because I was so thirsty after running.
Click below to check the answers.