Top 5 Grammar rules you should know for IELTS writing task 1 & 2

Top 5 Grammar rules for IELTS writing

Top 5 Grammar rules you should know for IELTS writing task 1 & 2

Top 5 Grammar rules for IELTS writing
Top 5 Grammar rules for IELTS writing

Grammar rules are important and your knowledge of grammar is not tested directly in the IELTS exam. However, good grammar is essential for getting a high score in every section of the test.

In this article, IELTS Game will discuss why grammar is so important in IELTS Writing with the top 5 grammar rules you should know to pass IELTS writing tasks.

We will review some grammar rules that will help you achieve a high band score in this section, but first, Let’s discuss why grammar is important in IELTS exam?

Why grammar is important?

If you still doubt the importance of grammar, here are some evidence to prove it:

  1. It goes without saying that without grammar you won’t be able to construct sentences and express your thoughts.
  2. In case you make a lot of grammar mistakes and they cause some difficulty for understanding, your band for writing will be reduced.
  3. Grammar is one of the assessment criteria of the IELTS writing. It makes up 25% of your Writing band.

That is why you are supposed to use not only error-free grammar structures but also different grammar structures to perform your advanced grammar knowledge.

Top 5 Grammar rules for IELTS Writing

Now let’s focus on the grammar rules that you will really need for completing the Writing section of the test:

  1. Verb tenses
  2. Passive voice
  3. Degrees of comparison
  4. Relative clauses
  5. Punctuation

1- Verb Tenses

By all means, you cannot get a high band score in IELTS without good knowledge of the English tenses.

To express your thoughts and ideas correctly, you need to master basic tenses of English.

Right, the basic ones, not all of them.

For instance, you will hardly ever need Future Perfect Continuous tense.

At the same time, you are supposed to know quite well and accurately how to use Present Simple and Present Continuous; Past Simple and Present Perfect; and some future forms (will, be going to).

These grammar rules will definitely help you complete Writing Task 1 as different types of questions may need the use of different tenses.

Verb tenses examples in IELTS Writing Task 1

In 1600, pollution levels were low, but over the next hundred years, the levels of sulphur dioxide rose to 700 micrograms per cubic metre, while the levels of smoke rose gradually to about 200 micrograms per cubic metre. (Past)

The solar energy of the sun heats up the surface water and this warm water is introduced into the evacuated evaporation chamber, where it boils. (Present)

It is estimated that international tourism will continue to grow, so that by 2025, it will be earning around $8 billion for the country. (Future)

Verb tenses uses in IELTS Writing Task 2

When you write an essay, you will also have to use verbs in different tense forms.

For instance, the gift I gave to my college on his birthday became one of the special gifts for him as he later expressed. (Past)

The argument to support this is the fact that adults have free will and make their own choices about what they eat and the exercise that they do. Children are also becoming less healthy. (Present)

Development in the health care will be greatly observed in this century. First of all, the diagnosis of severe diseases will be straight-forward as a consequence of the presence of high technological apparatuses and innovative devices. (Future).

2- Passive voice

The next grammar structure you will need for your writing is the passive voice.

The passive voice can be used to sound more formal and impersonal.

You form the passive voice by using the verb “to be” in the tense you want, plus the past participle (the third form of the verb; for example, for the verb “write” you would use “written”).

[ passive = verb to be + past participle ]

For example:

  • This computer is made in China.
  • He was born in the USA.
  • The union will be run by an executive officer.

You will need the passive voice both for Task 1 and Task 2 if you want to make the tone of your writing more formal.

The passive voice is also useful when you want to impress the examiner with your knowledge of grammar or you want to vary grammar structures in your writing.

Passive voice examples in IELTS Writing Task 1

Let’s look at the example of passive voice in Writing Task 1:

The leaves are grown, they are then plucked, and following this withering of the leaves occurs. (here passive voice is used to describe the process of tea making)

Passive voice example in IELTS Writing Task 2

The example of passive voice in the essay:

The economic boost that accompanies a successful travel industry is quite well recognised and Thailand is the best example.

Also, you can use the following set expression in passive voice to connect your ideas:

  • It is understood that;
  • It is considered that;
  • It is often thought;
  • It is commonly believed that; etc.

3- Degrees of comparison of adjectives

In the Writing test you will definitely need to use adjectives to describe people, things and events.

The more adjectives you know, the better they show your use of vocabulary.

Also, you may need adjectives to compare something.

In this case, you should use comparative and superlative forms of adjectives. Let’s look at the formation of these forms.

  1. One-syllable adjectives and two-syllable adjectives ending with y form comparatives and superlatives by adding the ending -er and est accordingly.

For example:

  • This boy is taller than the rest of the group.
  • This boy is the tallest in the group.
  • Your bag is heavier than mine.
  • I’m the happiest person in the world.
  1. Adjectives with two or more syllables form the comparative by putting more in front of the adjective, and the superlative by putting the most in front.

For example:

  • I think this chair is more comfortable.
  • What is the most dangerous animal in the jungle?
  1. There are some adjectives that have completely irregular comparative and superlative forms:
  • good ⇒ better ⇒ the best
  • bad ⇒ worse ⇒ the worst
  • far ⇒ farther ⇒ the farthest
  • little ⇒ less ⇒ least
  • much ⇒ more ⇒ most

Comparative and superlative forms in IELTS Writing Task 1

You will definitely need comparative and superlative forms for describing bars and charts in Task 1.

The tasks often ask you to compare data in these types of questions. Let’s look at the example:

The other categories were much smaller. Community contributions, which were the second largest revenue source, brought in 10.4% of overall income, and this was followed by program revenue, at 2.2%. 

(As you see, just in one paragraph the author uses both a comparative and a superlative forms).

4- Relative clauses

The next grammatical structure will definitely make your writing speech more interesting.

The examiners are usually not happy when you are using only simple sentences in your writing.

That is why you have to be able to make complex sentences with relative clauses.

Uses of Relative clauses

We use relative clauses to give additional information about something without starting another sentence.

By combining sentences with a relative clause, your text becomes more fluent and you can avoid repeating certain words.

Relative clause usually refers to the subject of the main sentence.

Types of Relative clauses

There are two types of relative clauses: defining and non-defining.

  1. Defining clause tells us which specific person or thing we are talking about in a larger group of people or things. In other words, it defines the subject of the main sentence.

For example: Van Gogh was an artist who used a lot of bold, vibrant colours

  1. Non-defining clause gives us some additional information about the person or thing we are talking about.

For example: TV’s News at Ten, which occupied the mid-evening slot for many years, was a very popular programme.

Pay attention: a defining relative clause is not separated from the rest of the sentence by commas or parentheses, but non-defining relative clauses are always set off from the rest of the sentence with commas or parentheses.

Relative clauses are always introduced with relative pronouns and they give extra information about a person or a thing from the main sentence.

A list of Relative pronouns

The list of relative pronouns:

  • who – is used to refer to people (very seldom to domestic animals): Please welcome Mike Bowers, who is going to talk to us about how to look after your home.
  • which – refers to things: These are dangerous if you live in a flat which is in a large high-rise building.
  • that – it can be used both with the reference to people and things: Find someone that can check on your home while you’re away. (but that is never used in a non-defining clause)
  • where – is used when we talk about place: This is your home, the place where you keep your most treasured possessions.
  • when – refers to time periods: Programme them to come on at times when you would normally be home.
  • whose – shows possession: You’re a person whose job involves a lot of travel.
  • why – is usually used after words the reason (reasons): There are often very good reasons why one house is burgled and another is not.

Example of relative clause in IELTS Writing

We can join two simple sentences together with the help of a relative pronoun to make a complex sentence with a relative clause:

I used to live in one of those houses. They have now been demolished.

I used to live in one of those houses that have now been demolished. (main partrelative clause).

5- Punctuation

The most basic rule in punctuation: begin every new sentence in your writing with a capital letter and finish the sentence with a period.

It’s not advisable to use exclamation marks in the academic writing as it usually expresses excitement and emotions, but these things are prohibited in the formal style.

Both Task 1 and Task 2 must be written in a neutral and official tone.

There are several special rules concerning types of sentences and punctuation marks, we will mention in a separate article.


So, I told you about basic grammar rules you are likely to use in your Writing test.

But you shouldn’t stick to only this grammar during your preparation as you may come across any other grammar structures in Listening or Reading.

It means that you must study and practice all grammar rules of the English language if you still don’t know them.

You may find a good grammar book or have classes with an English teacher who will explain you everything.

Choose any way that is more convenient for you and work hard. 🙂

Good luck!

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