What’s the difference between ‘affect’ and ‘effect’?

In IELTS, using vocabulary precisely is very important for getting a high score in lexical rescource. Affect and effect are often used incorrectly even by native speakers!

Lets look at the difference between these and how can they be used in a sentence accurately.

They are not exactly synonyms, they are homophones, which means they sound the same but are spelt differently. There are some exceptions when affect can be used as a verb or effect used as a noun, but generally speaking these are the rules below:

Affect is a verb   –   Effect is a noun

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What’s more important in grammar, range or accuracy?

Let’s take a look at grammatical range and accuracy in writing.

Many IELTS test takers think that they need to have a wide range of grammar for a high score in grammatical range and accuracy in the writing section. This is only partly true. If you have a wide range of grammar but it is not accurate then it will not score very high.

My advice is to focus on accuracy rather than range. You need to think of the reader when writing. If you are just trying to impress the examiner then you are not considering the overall coherence of the essay. Keep it concise and simple. Of course, if you have a consitently wide range of grammar with good accuracy then you are well on the way to a Band 7 or more.

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IELTS Writing: Keeping it simple

Being concise and keeping it simple.

If someone asked me for my advice about the the best way to approach the IELTS essay tasks, I would say keep it simple and concise. I correct a lot of IELTS essays but the one thing that stands out is that so many IELTS students are trying too hard to use  ‘complex sentences’ and completely miss the point and end up using ‘complicated sentences’ that the reader would have trouble understanding.

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IELTS Grammar: Conjunctions in writing

Using conjunctions in IELTS Essays

One key skill to getting a good band score in the grammar criteria in IELTS writing, is by using conjunctions effectively, this shows the examiner you have a good range of grammar and can show different points of view. These are marked in grammar, coherence and cohesion in the IELTS marking criteria. Conjunctions also help to contrast ideas.

In fact ‘complex sentences’ can be constructed using conjunctions. Lets take a look at some of these and how to use them correctly.

What is a conjunction and how can we use them effectively?


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How to use Cohesive Devices effectively

Guide to Linking and Cohesion in IELTS.

One of the most important skills for getting a good score in the IELTS writing exam, is the way cohesive devices or linking devices are used. In the marking criteria for task 2 essays and Writing task 1 reports, Coherence and Cohesion accounts for 25% of your marks, therefore it is important to have an essay that flows naturally and is easy for the reader to understand. A key component of this is cohesive devices, however, use them correctly and sparingly.

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IELTS Grammar: How to use complex sentences

Writing Complex Sentences in IELTS.

It is important to use some ‘complex sentences’ in IELTS writing task 2 otherwise you are unlikely to get a band 6.5 or above. However, not all of your sentences have to be  ‘complex’ you need to use simple sentences too. Remember that grammar accounts for 25% of your marks in the writing tasks but there is some confusion in IELTS about what a ‘complex sentence’ actually is.

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Two common grammar mistakes in IELTS writing.

The 2 most common IELTS grammar mistakes.

Do you know what most IELTS students have trouble with in 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, but most commonly are  articles (The’, a, an) and countable / uncountable nouns.

Read moreTwo common grammar mistakes in IELTS writing.

Grammar Lesson: Instead / Instead of / Rather than

Mini Grammar lesson: How to use instead / instead of / rather than.

When writing essays in IELTS task 2 (It also comes in handy for the speaking test) , we often need to use “instead” or “rather than” to show preference, changing trends, opinions or facts. Here are some sentences based on the topic of technology and internet use.

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IELTS Writing task 1: Line graph with a future trend

IELTS graph future trendsWriting about graphs with future trends.

Occasionally in IELTS academic Writing task 1 a task graphs with predictions and future trends may come up.

In this case you need to use the future tense with some specific academic phrases for graphs with a future trend. Let’s have a look at the grammar needed for this kind of graph here. Note that the data in this task is dynamic, that means it changes over time.

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Grammar Lesson: Most/ Almost / Almost all

How to use: Almost all / Most / Almost.

A quick grammar lesson here. Let’s take a look at some common grammar mistakes using the word most / almost / almost all. Remember that the IELTS examiners mark you on your grammar in the speaking and writing section.

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