Comparatives in IELTS Speaking and Writing
Writing
Comparatives in IELTS Speaking and Writing

Would you like to show your IELTS Speaking examiner how good your range of language is? Would you like to do better in your Writing test? If the answer to these questions is 'Yes!', then read on. In both the Speaking and the Writing test you will be asked to discuss your opinion on a given topic.  Questions like these in the Writing test:     These questions will require you to compare sets of data or discuss two different points of view. In both, you will need to use the language of comparison.  For example: There is a far higher percentage of sugar consumed at snack times than at any other mealtime.  Or I believe that although it might not be easy to improve a bad situation it is far better to try to change things than it is to just accept your lot.  To get a higher band score you need to show that you can use more sophisticated language of comparatives. Just using ‘better than,’ ‘bigger than’, ‘more difficult than’ will not get you a higher band score. You need to use a wider range of comparative language.  The same is true for your Speaking test. Here is an example Speaking test question: Do you think your home town has changed much in recent years? (Why/ Why not?) Listen to this response. What do you think? ‘…there are more people and more buildings.’  This response answers the question but the range of language is quite limited so the examiner won’t be able to give a higher band score.   Now compare it to this response. ‘… there are far more people and far more buildings…’ ‘… it’s become much more cosmopolitan.’ By adding the adverbs and using your voice to emphasise these words you can convey much stronger feeling and show a much wider range of structures. It’s essentially the same answer but the second response gives the examiner a much better idea of the person’s English language ability. Here’s another example question: Do you think it’s more important to earn a large salary or to be happy in your job? Again, here is a lower band score example answer: ‘It’s more important to earn more money than be happy in your job.’ How can we make this response better? Here’s an example: ‘…it’s as important to earn a high salary as it is to be happy’ ‘ …I would much rather be far happier in my professional life … than to earn a lot of money.’ I hope you found these examples useful. Now Ii’d like you to try one! Here is a Speaking test question for you to try: Why has online shopping become so popular in many countries?  Record yourself answering the question. Listen to your answer. Could you make it better by using some of the language in this blog? far better far more far higher far happier much more  … as (adjective as… Record a second response using some of the language above. Was the second attempt better? Keep practising answering Speaking and Writing test questions in this way. The more you practise, the easier it gets!  I hope you’ve found this blog useful. Let us know if you’d like to see more blogs like this. Liz  

Liz Marqueiro

13 August, 2020

Comparatives in IELTS Speaking and Writing

Comparatives in IELTS Speaking and Writing

Would you like to show your IELTS Speaking examiner how good your range of language is? Would you like to do better in your Writing test? If the answer to these questions is 'Yes!', then read on.

In both the Speaking and the Writing test you will be asked to discuss your opinion on a given topic. 

Questions like these in the Writing test:

Page 29 - IELTS 14 Academic

 

Page 30 - IELTS 14 Academic

 

These questions will require you to compare sets of data or discuss two different points of view. In both, you will need to use the language of comparison. 

For example:

There is a far higher percentage of sugar consumed at snack times than at any other mealtime. 

Or

I believe that although it might not be easy to improve a bad situation it is far better to try to change things than it is to just accept your lot. 

To get a higher band score you need to show that you can use more sophisticated language of comparatives. Just using ‘better than,’ ‘bigger than’, ‘more difficult than’ will not get you a higher band score. You need to use a wider range of comparative language. 

The same is true for your Speaking test. Here is an example Speaking test question:

Do you think your home town has changed much in recent years? (Why/ Why not?) Listen to this response. What do you think?

‘…there are more people and more buildings.’ 
This response answers the question but the range of language is quite limited so the examiner won’t be able to give a higher band score.
 

Now compare it to this response.

‘… there are far more people and far more buildings…’
‘… it’s become much more cosmopolitan.’

By adding the adverbs and using your voice to emphasise these words you can convey much stronger feeling and show a much wider range of structures. It’s essentially the same answer but the second response gives the examiner a much better idea of the person’s English language ability.

Here’s another example question:

Do you think it’s more important to earn a large salary or to be happy in your job?

Again, here is a lower band score example answer:

‘It’s more important to earn more money than be happy in your job.’

How can we make this response better?

Here’s an example:

‘…it’s as important to earn a high salary as it is to be happy’

‘ …I would much rather be far happier in my professional life … than to earn a lot of money.’

I hope you found these examples useful. Now Ii’d like you to try one! Here is a Speaking test question for you to try:

Why has online shopping become so popular in many countries? 

Record yourself answering the question. Listen to your answer. Could you make it better by using some of the language in this blog?

  • far better
  • far more
  • far higher
  • far happier
  • much more 
  • … as (adjective as…

Record a second response using some of the language above. Was the second attempt better? Keep practising answering Speaking and Writing test questions in this way. The more you practise, the easier it gets! 

I hope you’ve found this blog useful. Let us know if you’d like to see more blogs like this.

Liz
 

Liz Marqueiro

Liz has been teaching IELTS around the world for over 25 years.

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