If you're looking to improve your IELTS score, understanding and using fundamental grammar rules are super important.
Don't worry, though — I'm here to help! Check out these 10 essential IELTS grammar rules to help you achieve better results.
Subject-Verb Agreements and Verb Tenses
1. Subject-Verb Agreement
Make sure that the subject and verb in a sentence match in number (singular/plural).
"She plays" (singular) and "They play" (plural).
For more info, please see: What is subject-verb agreement?
2. Verb Tenses
It'll be helpful for you to use verb tenses correctly, including present, past, and future tenses, as well as perfect and continuous tenses. Correct tense usage is essential for conveying the time of action.
"I eat lunch every day." (subject + main verb)
Since I'm expressing a habit using "every day," the verb "eat" should be in the present simple tense.
"I am eating now." (subject + be + main verb + ing)
Since I'm expressing an action going on in the present moment using "now", we need the present continuous tense.
Check out this YouTube video: How to practice English verb tenses by Canguro English
Decide which verb tense to use: "When I ______ (arrive) at the party last night, most of the guests had already left."
Articles and Pronouns
3. Articles (a, an, the)
Learn when to use definite (the) and indefinite articles (a, an) correctly. Use "a" or "an" for general references and "the" for specific references.
"I saw a child outside last night. The child seemed cold."
The first sentence introduces something new that was previously unknown and could be any child — so in this case, the indefinite article "a" is used.
In the second sentence, you're now aware of the child mentioned in the first sentence, so the definite article "the" can be used for a specific noun.
For more on articles, please see: Definite and Indefinite Articles
Use pronouns (e.g., he, she, it, they) accurately and ensure they agree in number and gender with their antecedents.
"Jennifer, Paul, and Ken finished their group presentation fifteen minutes early."
"The dog quickly ate its dinner."
For more on pronouns, please see: Pronoun and Antecedent Agreement
Choose the correct article: "I saw ___ interesting movie last night."
Countable/Uncountable Nouns and Relative Clauses
5. Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Distinguish between countable and uncountable nouns and use the appropriate determiners (e.g., "few" for countable nouns and "little" for uncountable nouns).
"I've only got a little money so I can just buy a few apples."
To learn about using countable and uncountable nouns with "much" and "many", please see: The Britannica Dictionary
6. Relative Clauses
It'd be a good idea for you to study how to use relative pronouns (who, which, that, whom, whose) to create relative clauses to provide additional information about a noun.
"The book that I read is interesting."
"Marie Curie is the woman who discovered radium."
Check out this British Council page for more help: Relative pronouns and relative clauses
Complete the example: "There ______________ bread in the fridge. "
Conditional Sentences and Modals
7. Conditional Sentences
Be sure to review and understand the structure of different conditional sentence types (e.g., zero, first, second, and third conditionals) to express hypothetical situations.
Zero conditional (facts/general truths): "If/when it rains, I stay home."
First conditional (possible): "If it rains tomorrow, I'll stay home."
Second conditional (possible but unlikely): "If I had a million dollars, I would be rich."
Third conditional (impossible because it's finished): "If I had won the race, I would have made ten thousand dollars."
8. Modals (can, could, must, should, etc.)
It'll be helpful for you to understand the usage of modal verbs to express necessity, ability, permission, and other attitudes.
"You mustn't record the movie with your phone in the theatre." (necessity)
"I can ride a bike." (ability)
"Can I have the keys to the car?" (asking permission)
"You shouldn't eat too many sweets." (advice)
Based on the rules of the second conditional sentence, select the appropriate words to complete the following sentence: "If I ________ more money, I _______ travel around the world."
Passive Voice and Word Order
9. Passive Voice
It would be a good idea for you to learn how to form and use passive voice constructions, often used in academic and formal writing.
"All the data on the computer was erased by accident."
"The fridge was emptied of all its contents."
The passive voice can also be used to avoid assigning blame in certain situations.
10. Word Order
You should familiarize yourself with proper word order in English sentences, including the placement of adjectives, adverbs, and prepositional phrases.
"She does sports every day." (subject + verb + object + time)
Check out the page Word Order, which talks about the proper order of words in English sentences.
Choose the best option to complete this sentence in the passive voice: "The cookies ________ while I was away."
By focusing on these essential IELTS grammar rules and practicing them consistently, you can significantly improve your performance in the exam.
Additionally, consider taking practice tests and seeking feedback from teachers or language professionals to enhance your grammar skills further.
Good luck with your IELTS exam. You've got this!