Grammatical Range and Accuracy is one of the four criteria in IELTS Writing tasks public band descriptors. Just so you know, the four writing criteria in the IELTS Test band descriptors are equally important.
While accuracy is self-explanatory, so much has to be learned about grammatical range. Some candidates overlook this criterion and this is what this post is all about; to remind you of its value and how to improve your chances of getting a higher band score.
Before I explain further I’m going to highlight something that all candidates need to remember:
[color-box]IELTS Examiners need evidence from you to justify the award of high scores.
Your job in the IELTS Test is to make sure you give it to them.[/color-box]
I cannot emphasise this enough. You need to really understand what the examiner is looking for and how you can present this to him or her.
So, let’s get started on improving your band score…
How is Grammatical Range Improved?
To show mastery of English grammar, you must be able to write different kinds of sentences in various structures/syntactical forms in your essay. This is what is meant by Grammatical Range.
Therefore, candidates must write a mixture of sentence types.
Examiners expect to read the following sentences:
1. Simple sentence: subject + verb + complement (noun or adjective)
2. Compound sentence: simple sentence + coordinating conjunction (i.e. and, but, or, nor, yet, so and for)
3. Complex sentence: simple sentence (also known as independent clause) + 1 or more dependent clauses (i.e. that, which, when, where, why, who, because, since, etc.)
4. Compound complex: 2 simple sentences + 1 or more dependent clauses
Take a look at these examples:
1. Hard work is important. (SIMPLE SENTENCE)
2. Hard work is important, and it is beneficial for everyone. (COMPOUND SENTENCE)
3. Hard work is important because it enables anyone to achieve something. (COMPLEX SENTENCE)
4. Hard work is important, and it is beneficial for everyone because it enables them to achieve something. (COMPOUND COMPLEX)
Take a look at the sentences in your IELTS Writing
Your score on Grammatical Range and Accuracy will be greatly affected by the kinds of sentence you write down. If most of these are just simple sentences, examiners will not have the evidence they need to award you higher band scores. A combination of these kinds of sentences will boost your band score for this particular criterion.
Before writing, plan for your paragraphs to contain the different kinds of sentence. Most will be simple sentences. Compound and complex sentences will only appear a few times for the simple reason that most ideas are best expressed in a simple way. Therefore, the most complex kind – which is compound complex – are expected to be used a couple of times only.
Your writing coach will be able to explain how you could improve your IELTS Writing to enhance your use of grammar.
Don’t rush off to practise only complex compound sentences…
As Grammatical Range as the focus of this article, you are now probably obsessed about constructing compound sentences. But remember that you need to show a variety of sentence types.
Complex compound sentences are not a panacea for your writing. They are the tool which separates medium IELTS Test performance from higher level performance. Remember, also, that the sentences you write should still possess cohesion, coherence and unity.
Your writing needs to present evidence of many writing skills. Learn and practise them one by one until you master them.
[color-box]Don Enricuso is a fervent aficionado of the English language. A teacher by heart, he holds an AB English degree and a TESOL certificate (School of TEFL, Canada). Currently, he is pursuing an MA in applied linguistics at a top university in the Philippines. He coaches candidates from all over the world in IELTS skills and English proficiency.[/color-box]