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Here’s a tip that I make sure all my IELTS students know – complex grammar not only improves your grammar score, but it also increases your coherence and cohesion score.

What is Cohesion?

Good cohesion is about how well your writing is linked together. For many IELTS students, this means using a good range of linking phrases.

For low level students this means using a range of basic linking phrases like in the example below:

Many people argue that as modern life becomes more convenient, people are more inactive. Firstly, our homes and offices are equipped with devices that take care of so many tasks. As a result, people save significant time and effort on domestic and office chores. Secondly, the development of the internet allows people to shop, study and even pay their bills online.

This is a good start but it can feel unnatural and robotic, so the maximum score it will get you for coherence and cohesion will be a band 6.

If you want a band 7 or above, you will need to link your writing in a more natural way, and this is where grammar can help.

Complex grammar like relative clauses and participle clauses link your writing in a more natural way, while also helping to widen your range, which is needed for a band 7 for your grammar.

You should practise a range of structures so you can use them flexibly in your IELTS Task 2 essay. Don’t rely on one structure as that is not natural.

 

Complex Structures

Let’s look at some different ways to use complex structures. Compare the examples and see how different structures improve the flow of the writing.

Simple Sentences.

Junk food is readily available. Therefore it is high in sugar and salt.

Homes and offices are equipped with devices. This takes care of many tasks. Therefore this saves society significant time and effort.

Standard Complex Sentences.

Places are becoming increasingly similar because products are becoming ubiquitous.

Products are becoming ubiquitous so places are becoming increasingly similar.

Conditionals

If people use the internet regularly they are less active than those who don’t.

If products continue to become ubiquitous, then places will become increasingly similar.

 If smartphones and the internet hadn’t been invented, the world would be a very different place right now.

Non-defining Relative Clauses

Junk food, which is high and sugar and salt, is readily available.

Globalised products, which are becoming progressively ubiquitous, are making places increasingly similar.

Defining relative clauses.

People who use the internet regularly are less active than those who don’t.

This issue has been compounded by the development of the internet, which has allowed people to shop.

Junk food is heavily marketed through sophisticated advertising campaigns, which are increasingly aimed at children.

Homes and offices are equipped with devices that take care of so many tasks, which saves society significant time and effort.

Participle clauses

People using the internet regularly are less active than those who don’t.

Places are becoming increasingly similar, making products ubiquitous.

Junk food is heavily marketed through sophisticated advertising campaigns, increasingly aimed at children.

Homes and offices are equipped with devices that take care of so many tasks, saving society significant time and effort (relative clause & participle clause).

Now it’s your turn! Put your answers in the comments

In some countries, governments are making some criminals do voluntary community work rather than being put in prison.

To what extent do you agree with this?

Write some complex sentences about the above topic. Try to use a range of structures.

Need more help?

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