WHAT TO AVOID in IELTS Writing Task 2
Unnecessary language tends to be found at the beginning of sentences and reduces the impact of sentences as they become more long-winded and less direct. This has the effect of reducing the impact or diluting the ideas being presented. Examples taken from actual student essays are shown below:
Nowadays, parents become more conscious about their children’s growth than they were before.
In recent days, it is easy to find many news stories on television, in newspapers and on the Internet that describe violent crimes.
As we all know, life on campus is totally different from high school.
Deleting the underlined phrase will make the sentence more direct. The words or phrases before the comma add no meaning because they are far too vague for formal writing. Educated native speakers almost never use them in writing and as such they should rarely be used. They are used in speaking in order to give the speaker time to think.
Common Phrases that should be avoided include the following:
- From my perception
- In recent days
- As we all know
- I guess
- One of the things
- Some people believe
- From my point of view
- I am convinced
- As far as I am concerned
- First of all
- One of the things
- On one hand, on the other hand
- After all
Unnecessary Language – Duplication
Similarly, at other times students will add information at the end of sentences (and occasionally in the middle of sentences) that is unnecessary as it is implied already and is a form of duplication.
Some people like to try various ways to live, they are willing to try different things and they enjoy change things.
This makes time more available for students to control by themselves.
It helps them to develop the ability to face problems with urgency and solve them by themselves.
Therefore, because people’s standard of living is improved at the time when society improves, people purchase goods because of their popularity instead of buying them for actual use or satisfying their needs.
In all of the examples given above the underlined words can be removed as this information is already stated or implied.
Avoid Oral Language
Sometimes words are used only in oral language and should be replaced by a formal word. Many examples are given below.
Not a mystery –not surprising
A lot of/plenty –many/a great deal of
Still –continue to/avoid
Happen – occur
On the right track –avoid
Know – understand
Anything/something/things –replace with the actual name
Job hunting –searching for a job
Much more –many more/much greater
Worried – anxious
The rest –the remaining
Like –similar to/such as
What’s more/Besides –In addition
On one hand/On the other hand –Although
Finish – complete
At the same time – During the same period
Avoid “some/those” Before General Nouns
IELTS Task 2 writing requires students to speak about a topic in general. As a result plural forms of nouns without an article are widely used. However, many students incorrectly add “some” or “those” in front of a noun to show that they are speaking in general, which is a form of duplication. The “some” or “those” is not required and should be deleted:
For example: Those companies that do not show care for their employees are likely to have their best employees leave.
Should be: Companies that do not show care for their employees are likely to have their best employees leave. Or: When patients are terminally ill, some doctors may feel that they should help patients die to avoid suffering.
When patients are terminally ill, doctors may feel that they should help patients die to avoid suffering.
Academic writing requires that the writer expresses their ideas objectively and therefore expressions of exaggeration should usually be avoided.
Avoid “just”, “only” and “even” because academic writing is objective and facts should be stated without emphasis.
Similarly adjectives that are highly emotional and have extreme meanings should be avoided.
Fantastic/amazing/incredible –Use high quality, excellent
Horrible/disgusting –Use undesirable, unacceptable