Using Hypotheticals and Modals

What are hypotheticals?

Hypothetical situations are those that are not real, but imagined.

In their simplest form they are ‘if…would/could/should’.

If the government decided to ban non-degradable plastics the environment would benefit.

Hypothetical situations can be useful in an IELTS essay when:

(i) you want to talk about things potentially happening in the future
(ii) you have run out of real evidence/examples and need to imagine one.

What are modals?

Modal verbs are words that affect the next verb. The list of modal verbs is:

can, could, should, would, might, may, must, have to, had better.

It is not likely that you will need many modal verbs in the IELTS writing test, but they can be useful if you are stressing an opinion (particularly in the conclusion).