How will complex grammar help in scoring well in IELTS?

    Sayantani Barman Sayantani Barman
    Study Abroad Expert

    The students preparing for the IELTS exam must know that complex grammar not only helps in improving the overall grammar score, but it also increases the coherence and cohesion score. The speaking test is the same in both IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training and it also includes a face-to-face interview with a qualified IELTS examiner. All the test takers get involved in a face-to-face interview with the examiner regardless of the kind of mode they opted for the test including a paper-based or a computer-based version of the test.

    The speaking test lasts for almost eleven and fourteen minutes and it is equally divided into three sections, which gradually become more challenging. The candidates’ skills in the test are based on the following important assessment criteria:

    • Fluency and coherence – the candidates’ ability to speak at a good speed and link ideas together is checked
    • Lexical resource – the candidates’ ability to use different vocabulary appropriately is examined
    • Grammatical range and accuracy – how effectively the test-takers can use a range of grammatical structures accurately is checked
    • Pronunciation – the candidates’ ability to get understood easily is also checked

    We will focus on ‘Grammatical range and accuracy’ and, more particularly, how complex sentences can be used in the IELTS Speaking exam. Before we understand it in detail, first of all, let’s start by having a look at the parts of the band descriptors for Bands 5, 6 and 7 that relate to using complex sentences. In case, the candidates get a ‘Band 5’ then it means they are using a limited range of structures and attempts to use complex sentences while a ‘Band 6’ means candidate uses a mix of simple and complex sentence forms. While ‘Band 7’ means the candidates can use a variety of complex sentences in his/her IELTS test.

    What is Cohesion?

    Good cohesion is all about how well your writing is linked together. For IELTS students, good Cohesion means using a good range of linking phrases. The students preparing for IELTS must know how to use a range of basic linking phrases together to come to a worthy conclusion. Most of the students get a coherence and cohesion score with a band of 6, but in case you want a band 7 or above, then you must know how to link the writing more naturally, and for the same grammar can help. In Complex grammar like relative clauses and participle clauses, linking your writing in a more natural way is important which will also help in widening your range, and get you to a score of 7 or above. The IELTS aspirants are advised to practice a range of structures so that the same can be used while writing IELTS Task 2 essay.

    The candidates must know how to incorporate complex sentences into their speaking so that they can get a higher score for ‘Grammatical Range and Accuracy’. The complex sentences are not as much complex as they actually sound as a complex sentence is merely a combination of two or more simple sentences and some of IELTS test takers might already know how to form some types of complex sentences.

    What are complex structures?

    The test takers mostly assume that complex means very long sentences or it might look a combination of complicated sentences. Many students write very long and grammatically weak sentences which become difficult to understand as well. Hence it is important to write easily readable sentences rather than making it more complex sentences.

    Some key facts about Complex Sentences

    • Complex sentences communicate more than just an idea
    • Complex sentences include several clauses
    • One of the parts of the sentence consists of the main clause, which offers more information

    Some of the different ways to use complex structures are mentioned below which will help in improving the IELTS aspirants’ flow of writing as well:

    Simple Sentences

    • Junk food is readily available. Therefore it is high in sugar and salt.
    • Homes and offices are equipped with the latest devices. So many tasks are performed easily. Therefore this saves society significant time and effort.

    Standard Complex Sentences

    • Areas are becoming increasingly similar because products are becoming universal.
    • Products are becoming universal so areas are becoming increasingly similar.


    • In case people use more internet regularly they remain less active as compared to the ones who don’t.
    • If products continue to become universal, then areas will become more similar.
    • If smartphones and the internet hadn’t been invented, the world would be much different at present.

    Non-defining Relative Clauses

    • Junk food, which is high in sugar and salt, is readily available.
    • The globalized products, which are becoming progressively ubiquitous, are making places increasingly similar.

    Defining relative clauses

    • People who use the internet regularly are less active as compared to the ones who don’t.
    • Junk food is heavily marketed through different advertising campaigns, which are increasingly liked by children.
    • Homes and offices are equipped with devices that can do so many tasks that is helpful in saving society significant time and effort.

    The easiest method to form a complex sentence is to use conjunctions for joining two sentences together. Conjunctions are words that are used to join the sentences together and the most common coordinating conjunction words include ‘and’, ‘but’ ‘or’, etc. However there are many words like ‘Because’, ‘so that’, ‘after’, ‘when’ and ‘although’ that are also conjunctions but they are not too tricky.

    Another method that can be considered to join two simple sentences together is to use a relative clause. For instance

    Example 1

    • Instead of saying -- I live with a friend. I met him at College.

    It is better to say

    • I live with a friend, who I met at the college

    Example 2

    • Instead of saying-- On my last holiday, I went to Goa. It’s a place by the sea.

    It is better to say

    • On my last holiday, I went to Goa, which is a town by the sea.

    Having a clear idea of what complex sentences are is not that difficult. Complex sentences include two or more simple sentences conjoined into one with a sentence in such a way that the meaning remains unchanged.

    Few examples include:

    • 1. Simple Sentences: He is a very good girl by nature. She can’t score well in the tests. She is a very lazy student.
    • 1. Complex Sentence: Though by nature, she is a very good girl, but as she is a lazy student, she is not able to score well in the exams.
    • 2. Simple Sentence: She was extremely tired. She must go to the office today. There is a very important discussion.
    • 2. Complex Sentence: Though she was extremely tired, she must go to the office today because there is a very important discussion.

    Besides, the above-mentioned sentences, many other complex sentences are available on the Internet. Most of the students assume that writing a complex sentence is a very complex process itself, and these sentences are difficult to understand as well. However, it is not true at all as a complex sentence which is written grammatical correct not only sounds better, but it also makes the writing more cohesive.

    Some useful tips on writing Complex Sentences

    • The candidates must understand and use the grammar structure properly which needs more practice.
    • Rather than looking for lots of complex structures, you must first know how they will work if they are appropriate to use or not?
    • Remember that all the sentences must be error-free so that you can score a higher band, so it is better to use only those sentences that you are confident of using.
    • While practicing the IELTS writing section, the test-takers first must consider the ideas in simple sentences and then link all the parts together logically to form complex sentences.
    • Reading good grammar books and taking the help of the Internet can help the IELTS aspirants to enrich their knowledge up to the desired level.

    Why the test takers are expected to write complex sentences?

    Correctly written Complex Sentences are useful in presently lots of information in a complete sentence. Thus the candidates who can write well-structured and correct complex sentences indicate the expertise and understanding of the students. Writing using a variety of sentence structures, the candidates’ depth of knowledge, usage of grammar, spelling, vocabulary, synonyms, etc are also checked. Therefore it is important to judge the test-takers style of writing complex sentences and are the sentences written by them readable?

    The test takers must use complex sentences into your speaking, and the candidates must know how to achieve a balance. Don’t assume that in IELTS you only have to use complex sentences, each of the sample answers that you come across starts with a simple sentence and this is how one can perfectly use the language. The candidates must understand that there are three other areas of assessment, which include ‘fluency and coherence’ as well. It becomes more difficult to work on it in case you over-emphasize the importance of including more complicated language. The test takers must focus on expressing what they actually want to say and in case you are unable to know how to use these structures, then you must start incorporating them instinctively on regular basics. With more and right practice, the IELTS test-takers will be able to show improvements in their writing skills and scoring higher band will not be a problem anymore!!



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