Where are the commas in your IELTS Writing?
Writing
Where are the commas in your IELTS Writing?

When you do IELTS Writing practice, how much attention do you pay to punctuation (capital letters, full stops, commas, semi-colons, etc.)? If your answer is ‘not much’, you may be missing an opportunity to improve your Writing band score. Pay attention now and avoid these two common mistakes with a very important punctuation mark: the comma. 1. Commas after linking words/phrases When you start a sentence with one of the linking words/phrases in the table below, you should put a comma after the word/phrase. (A linking word or phrase is one that connects information/ideas within or between sentences or paragraphs). For example, there’s a comma placed correctly after ‘First of all’ in this example from a band score 6 answer: In my opinion, most people will prefer to spend their holidays travelling. First of all, people are ... (click to enlarge) It’s easy to do, of course, but a lot of IELTS test takers forget to add one, and this can affect their band score and may affect yours if you forget too. To help you remember, place a comma in the right place in each of these examples from band 5.0 to 6.5 Writing Task 1 and 2 answers now. a. However some people argue that … b. For example most parents in … c. Finally energy is… d. To sum up it is necessary to … I’ve put the answers at the end of this blog post. 2. Commas before or around linking words/phrases When you introduce an example or examples within a sentence using ‘for example/instance’, you should put a comma before the linking phrase and a comma after the example(s) if the sentence continues. For example, there’s a comma placed correctly before ‘for example’ in this corrected sentence from a band score 6 answer: To solve this problem, I think the government of every country should guarantee their citizens basic rights, for example access to food, clean water and education. Are all of the commas placed correctly in this example from a band 3.5 Writing Task 2 answer?  e. On the other hand, many ways can improve road safety, for example, more educate in usual life, more advertising on TV, radio, newspapers, limit speed on the road, stronger fines. You can check your answer with mine at the end of this blog post. (When you read my answer, you’ll see that I’ve corrected the vocabulary and grammar mistakes in the example too). If you’re still not sure how to use commas with the linking words/phrases in the table above, here’s me sharing some other examples. {"preview_thumbnail":"/sites/default/files/styles/video_embed_wysiwyg_preview/public/video_thumbnails/oy0ra5Lpt2Y.jpg?itok=qekjsq-e","video_url":"https://youtu.be/oy0ra5Lpt2Y","settings":{"responsive":1,"width":"854","height":"480","autoplay":0},"settings_summary":["Embedded Video (Responsive)."]}   You could also look at how I’ve used commas in my sentences above when I used the linking phrases ‘for example’ and ‘of course’, and then download the following worksheet for some practice. Using commas in IELTS Writing Worksheet You can read about more common mistakes in the book ‘IELTS Common Mistakes for Bands 6.0-7.0'. Pay attention to commas and you’ll hopefully be smiling when you get your IELTS result. Pete   Here are the answers to the questions above: a. However, some people argue that … b. For example, most parents in … c. Finally, energy is… d. To sum up, it is necessary to … e. On the other hand, there are many ways that can improve road safety, for example more education in schools, more advertising on TV, radio and newspapers, stricter speed limits and heavier fines.

Pete Jones

3 March, 2021

Where are the commas in your IELTS Writing?

Where are the commas in your IELTS Writing?

When you do IELTS Writing practice, how much attention do you pay to punctuation (capital letters, full stops, commas, semi-colons, etc.)?

If your answer is ‘not much’, you may be missing an opportunity to improve your Writing band score.

Pay attention now and avoid these two common mistakes with a very important punctuation mark: the comma.

1. Commas after linking words/phrases

When you start a sentence with one of the linking words/phrases in the table below, you should put a comma after the word/phrase. (A linking word or phrase is one that connects information/ideas within or between sentences or paragraphs).

For example, there’s a comma placed correctly after ‘First of all’ in this example from a band score 6 answer:

  • In my opinion, most people will prefer to spend their holidays travelling. First of all, people are ...
Commas after linking words and phrases

(click to enlarge)

It’s easy to do, of course, but a lot of IELTS test takers forget to add one, and this can affect their band score and may affect yours if you forget too.

To help you remember, place a comma in the right place in each of these examples from band 5.0 to 6.5 Writing Task 1 and 2 answers now.

a. However some people argue that …

b. For example most parents in …

c. Finally energy is…

d. To sum up it is necessary to …

I’ve put the answers at the end of this blog post.

2. Commas before or around linking words/phrases

When you introduce an example or examples within a sentence using ‘for example/instance’, you should put a comma before the linking phrase and a comma after the example(s) if the sentence continues.

For example, there’s a comma placed correctly before ‘for example’ in this corrected sentence from a band score 6 answer:

  • To solve this problem, I think the government of every country should guarantee their citizens basic rights, for example access to food, clean water and education.

Are all of the commas placed correctly in this example from a band 3.5 Writing Task 2 answer?

e. On the other hand, many ways can improve road safety, for example, more educate in usual life, more advertising on TV, radio, newspapers, limit speed on the road, stronger fines.

You can check your answer with mine at the end of this blog post. (When you read my answer, you’ll see that I’ve corrected the vocabulary and grammar mistakes in the example too).

If you’re still not sure how to use commas with the linking words/phrases in the table above, here’s me sharing some other examples.

 

You could also look at how I’ve used commas in my sentences above when I used the linking phrases ‘for example’ and ‘of course’, and then download the following worksheet for some practice.

Using commas in IELTS Writing Worksheet

Download Worksheet

You can read about more common mistakes in the book ‘IELTS Common Mistakes for Bands 6.0-7.0'.

Pay attention to commas and you’ll hopefully be smiling when you get your IELTS result.

Pete

 


Here are the answers to the questions above:

a. However, some people argue that …

b. For example, most parents in …

c. Finally, energy is…

d. To sum up, it is necessary to …

e. On the other hand, there are many ways that can improve road safety, for example more education in schools, more advertising on TV, radio and newspapers, stricter speed limits and heavier fines.

Pete Jones

Pete has been helping IELTS test takers and teachers for many years and really enjoys helping people improve their English and their IELTS band score.

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