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Thanks to your guidance, I was able to increase my writing score from 6.5 to 7.5, and then to 8.5! I really don't believe I could have done it without you.
-Imam Mohamed

Hi Ryan,
I am so happy to inform you that I scored 7.5 in writing!
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Hi Ryan,
Thanks for your help, I’ve scored band 8 in writing.
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Hi Ryan,
I prepared just by looking at your videos and scored 7.5! Thank you!
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Hi Ryan,
I would like to thank you for your very helpful lessons. I finally got 7 in all modules and can now start residency processing for New Zealand!
-Kiran Kiccha

Hi Ryan,
I obtained a writing score of 8.5. Your videos were instrumental in helping me achieving this score. Thanks, mate!
-Carlos Flores

Hi Ryan,
Thank you for my 8.0 writing score. You ebook played a pivotal role in my success!
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Hi Ryan,
I read your blog every day and scored 7.5 in writing!
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I went from band 6.0 to 7.5 following Ryan’s coaching!
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IELTS Grammar Tip – How to use commas in your Task 1 and 2 responses

Posted on July 17, 2012 by

Commas can be a challenge.  Knowing when and how to use them can be the skill that takes your writing band beyond 7.  I hope you find this short video helpful.

Please comment and let me know what other grammar related topics I should touch upon in upcoming videos.

11 Responses to “IELTS Grammar Tip – How to use commas in your Task 1 and 2 responses”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I find this video really very helpfull.

  2. Mitsu says:

    I learned American English back in my country, Japan, and noticed that commas are often omitted between a dependent clause and following independent clause when I started studying in Australia. Is it common in British English?

  3. Lee says:

    Thanks heaps for this awesome video Ryan! just one quick question. are these comma rules you taught in the video internationally applicable?

  4. Kavitha says:

    Dear Ryan , I recently wrote exam on 30th June and cleared exam with L-7.5, R-7, W-7, S-7.5 Overall 7.5 . Its all your help, your blog helped me a lot as I was trying individual 7 from long time, your essay structure Videos and weekly exercises helped to reach my goal thank you so much ,,,,,,,, please continue your blog definitely it will help many students ,,,,,, Thank you once again ,,,

  5. Junaid says:

    Hi Ryan,

    i reckon, your video is very helpful. could please post any new essay topic which you perhaps received.


  6. Junaid says:

    just to add further, essay topic with your recommended response, specially of discussion essay.


  7. Maria Elena says:

    Thank you Ryan! What about linkers? Students don’t know how to use them correctly (Moreover, futhermore vs in addition to, etc.)

  8. Ryan says:

    @Anonymous Thank you

    @Mitus Yes, dependent clauses that come after independent clauses are often without commas. I should have pointed that out in my video.

    @Lee Yes, these are the most widely accepted rules for comma use.

    @Kavitha Thank you for sharing your story! Would you mind if I included it in a ‘testimonials’ page I am making? Congratulations!

    @Junaid Thank you for the feedback. Yes, I will keep trying to get the model responses up. I am visiting family in Toronto at the moment, so I am a little short on free time. I will post as much as I can.

    @Maria Excellent idea! I’ve made a few small videos on cohesive phrases, but perhaps I should try to make a longer one that explains the topic thoroughly.

  9. Manju says:

    Thnaks Ryan, the tips on comma usage are very good. Can you also share such guidelines for use of articles, as I often misuse or miss out on article ‘the’

  10. Anonymous says:

    how to get high score in ielts exam?

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Ryan's Recent Posts Posts

Memorizing model essays to improve grammatical accuracy on the IELTS

Is grammar what’s holding you back from band 8? Watch this video to learn about a new strategy that can help you improve your grammatical accuracy:

Alisher scores band 7.5! Listen and find out how…

No access to YouTube? Download an MP3 of the interview here.

Is it OK to make up examples on your IELTS essay?

This is a question I’m often asked. In this video, I explain when and how to make up examples in Task 2:

No access to YouTube? Here is a copy of the model essay from the video:

In your opinion, what environmental problem poses the greatest risk to humanity?

The environment today is threatened by many factors. However, among the most concerning is polluted drinking water. Unsanitary drinking water is a growing global problem that impacts the health of millions of people on a daily basis. This essay will suggest two viable ways of improving this situation.

Firstly, governments should uphold strict penalties for companies that fail to operate in environmentally friendly ways. In countries like Canada, for example, the government should loosen regulations that restrict the capping of lawsuits levied against companies with practices that harm the environment. Doing so would make these companies liable for their damages and thus less likely to engage in risky and dangerous activities. Such increased penalties would act as a tremendous step towards improving the world’s drinking water.

Secondly, companies must be made transparent and public when reporting of any possible contaminants that may have leaked into a water supply. This can be achieved by making community meetings mandatory for all companies that operate near a source of drinking water. Examples of the effectiveness of such meetings can be seen in Finland, where companies are required to regularly provide testing results and declare concerns immediately. As Finland is known to have some of the highest quality drinking water in the world, the merits of forced company accountability are clear.

As this essay has shown, the threat of polluted drinking water is a very major concern and can be countered by empowering the legislative ability of people and mandating meetings that hold companies accountable for their actions. It is hoped these strategies are increasingly put into practice in the foreseeable future.

Choose the correct prepositions for this IELTS essay

Watch this video and post your score as a comment:

Here is a copy of the essay with correct prepositions:

Competitiveness among high school students should be encouraged. Do you agree or disagree?

The gradual merging of cultures and economies the world over has led to an increasingly competitive international job market. Recognition of the role competitiveness plays in success has permeated most facets of society, and this includes the institutions that prepare students for adulthood. It is agreed that competitiveness among high school students should be encouraged. The merits of this position will be shown by looking at how a competitive spirit can help train young people to both spot opportunity and cooperate with others.

Firstly, grooming students to be competitive at a young age can help prepare them to seize opportunities down the road. For example, in many countries, high school is followed by a period of intense competition, as students vie for scholarships, internships and career options. Students who are not naturally competitive or willing to improve their skills in relation to others will not achieve the same results as those that approach chance more aggressively. Thus, it is important to encourage competition among students at an early age to provide them with a strong start in life.

Furthermore, competition in team settings breeds cooperation, a trait that often acts as a precursor to success in life. For instance, to overcome an opponent, the members of a high school basketball team must work together to maximize their collective strengths. This acts as an example of how competition in a group setting can teach a young person the importance of teamwork, a valuable skill these young people will need in their future careers. Thus, it is clear that benefits do derive from the encouragement of competition in high school.

As the above shows, competitiveness is beneficial to teenagers because it prepares them to grab educational and professional opportunities and as well instills an understanding of the importance of cooperation. Thus, it can be concluded that there are clear and healthful advantages to encouraging competition among high school students. It is hoped this trait is increasingly instilled in the young people of tomorrow.

Model essay in response to a recent General Task 2 question

Some countries make it illegal to work past the age of 65. Do you think people should be forced to retire at a certain age?

Opinions regarding what constitutes a healthy retirement age seem to vary from one country to another. This is manifest in nations with laws, or lack thereof, that stipulate the age when a person is required to end their professional life. It is felt compulsory retirement should not be legally enforced upon anyone except those working in positions where age could pose a significant safety risk to themselves or others. The following paragraphs will illustrate the merits of this position.

Firstly, it should be remembered that age does not necessarily affect professional performance negatively. In fact, as is the case with writers, age can often bring a certain wisdom that enhances the quality of an author’s work. Noam Chomsky, a topical author now in his mid-eighties, continues to publish relevant and highly respected material despite his advanced years. Were he forced to halt his profession due to his age, his insight and decades of understanding would largely go unheard. Thus, it is clear that certain professions should be allowed to continue regardless of age.

However, there are other lines of work that demand strict ruling with regards to retirement. Pilots, for example, must able to execute decisions clearly without reservation or fatigue. The reduced stamina of pilots over the age of 65 could potentially risk the lives of hundreds of passengers, and this is obviously a serious safety risk. Thus, there are merits to enforcing a retirement age upon people in certain professions.

It can be concluded that the establishing of a mandatory retirement age should be made specific to the profession in question. Such a policy helps to maximize both the productivity and safety of a society.

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