Things to Avoid

There are some things that look wrong – very wrong – in the IELTS writing exam.

Using commas as a conjunction

– The idea of a teacher wearing a uniform is odd, it seems strange to me.

– In my opinion it would be a mistake to stop teaching traditional languages in schools, they are a link to our past.

In English the comma cannot simply be used to replace ‘and’, ‘but’, or ‘because’. Clauses must link with either conjunctions or stronger punctuation.


Asking the examiner a question

– In conclusion, I think travelling abroad for schooling is an advantage. What do you think?

– Many people believe that technology is making students lazier. Isn’t that right?

The exam is an expression of your ideas. The examiner will not write back.


Finishing a list with ‘etc’ or ‘and so on’

– There have been many advances in classroom technology recently, including the smartboard, tablet networks, projectors, and so on.

– Increasing the amount of the cars on the road will lead to myriad of issues: greater pollution, increased traffic congestion, more frustration, destruction of green belt areas as more roads are built, etc. 

In an official essay terms like ‘etc.’ and ‘and so on’ can look vague and a little lazy. Try to learn phrases such as ‘of which x, y, and z are examples’, ‘or ‘x, y, z, to name but a few’.