A Wider Range of Grammar in IELTS

Hi everyone, and welcome to the instructor blog! I hope your studies at AGOS are going well.


I’m Mark, and today, I’m going to be talking about the importance of using a wider range of grammar, and how this can help you to improve your score in the IELTS speaking test. A lot of test takers in Japan struggle to use a wide range of grammar in the IELTS speaking interview, especially tenses which can be harder to use, such as the Past Perfect, Past Continuous, or Conditional sentences using ‘If’. However, using these structures can help you to achieve higher scores in this test.  Take the following example.


Here is part of a typical IELTS Speaking Part 2 question:


‘Describe an electronic device you use every day’.


A typical answer might begin as follows:


‘I’m going to talk about a useful electronic device I use. This is my smartphone. Actually, I bought a new smartphone last year and I use it every day. I bought my new smartphone because my previous smartphone was old and I accidently sat on my phone and cracked the screen, so I needed to buy a replacement. I take the train to work every day, so I use my smartphone to check the news, listen to music and send text messages to my friends, and …. er’.


The problem with this answer is that the speaker only uses a limited range of grammar, especially tenses. In this part of the answer, apart from ‘going to’, the speaker only uses the Present Simple and Past Simple tenses.

A much better answer to this type of question might be something like:

‘I’m going to talk about a useful electronic device I use, which is my brand-new smartphone that I bought last year. Actually, I’d wanted to buy a new one for a long time, but I was always working overtime and could never find time to go to the shop and buy a new one because it always takes ages. However, last year, while I was commuting to work on the train, I accidentally sat on my phone and cracked the screen. You see, I’d been standing for a long time, and because I was tired, I slipped my phone into my back trouser pocket and forgot about it until after I’d sat down. It’s very important to me so I was crushed. 

I take the train to work every day, so I use my phone to catch up on the news, listen to the latest tunes I’ve downloaded and send text messages to my friends. If I didn’t have my smartphone, I wouldn’t know what I’d do to pass the time.  Anyway I was very happy to get a new one.’


This is a much better answer to this question, and in my next blog, I will analyze why.