Importance of Grammar in IELTS

Grammar is fundamental in the process of learning a language. But how important is it in an English proficiency exam like the IELTS?

Grammar is an inevitable component of IELTS because the exam assesses an individual’s ability to provide appropriate responses, including all idiosyncrasies of the language, grammar being the most important. As a result, knowing the proper grammar usage is critical if you want to achieve a high score on the IELTS exam.

importance of grammar in IELTS

Why don’t we look further into the role grammar plays in different modules of the examination, as well as some tips to make learning grammar for the IELTS easier?

Does grammar matter in IELTS listening?

Though grammar doesn’t have an essential role in the listening module, it is necessary to have a basic understanding of the grammatical structures in order to find the correct answers and present them without error.

When you are required to write more than two or three words as your answer for the IELTS listening, grammar becomes important. Typically, one or more of the words in such answers will include an article such as a, an, or the. There is a chance that you will make an error and lose your score if you do not have proper grammatical knowledge on which one to use among them. The same thing can happen when you’re supposed to write is or are. This is determined by whether a singular or plural word follows it. As a result, it is critical to have a basic understanding of grammar to ensure that you do not lose scores.

Is grammar important in IELTS reading?

The reading test is not intended to directly assess your grammatical abilities, but without proper knowledge of grammar, you will find it extremely difficult to understand the contextual meaning of the passages provided and as a result finding the right answers will turn out to be a herculean task.

All of the reading section question items require a clear understanding of the passages provided. Reading the passages line by line, on the other hand, would be impossible for a candidate with an average or below-average reading speed. To find answers quickly, skimming and scanning modes of reading are used. Unfortunately, if you have a poor sense of grammar, speed reading won’t be effective for you because you won’t be able to quickly understand the meaning. This compromises your ability to quickly and accurately arrive at the correct answers.

How important is grammar in IELTS speaking?

Speaking is one of the modules where grammar is highly valued, with grammatical precision accounting for 25% of overall points. The remaining three parts are for fluency, pronunciation, and cohesion and coherence.

The speaking module begins with the examiner introducing themselves, followed by the candidate giving a brief introduction. The importance of grammar begins here because this is the first time the examiner hears the candidate speak, and it is critical not to make any grammatical errors in order to establish a positive first impression.

The applicant is expected to provide precise responses to the examiner’s queries during the interactive sessions in parts 1 and 3 of the speaking module. They are allowed 2 minutes to talk on a topic of the examiner’s choice for part 2 of the speaking exam.To excel in all three modules, you must be able to express your responses with proper sentence structure and grammatical accuracy. Remember that no matter how good your vocabulary is during your speaking session, if you make grammar mistakes, your overall score will suffer.

Is grammar important in writing ?

Grammar accounts for about 25% of the overall writing score, same to how it does for the speaking module. Thus, if you are unable to communicate relevant and exact material owing to grammatical flaws, all of your flared and high frequency vocabulary will be wasted. There is no shortcut because without a firm grasp of syntax, it is impossible to write lucid and interesting writing.

The IELTS writing module consists of two writing tasks that require candidates to:

  1. Report on a graph, map, or process diagram, making comparisons and emphasising differences as needed.
  2. Write a formal , semi formal or informal letter in various scenarios using the appropriate language and structure.
  3. Express opinions, argue or justify a point with reasons.
  4. Discuss on a topic and draw points on its merits and/or demerits.

As a result, it is apparent that the depth of a candidate’s language knowledge is comprehensively examined in the writing segment. A candidate must employ a significant amount of relevant vocabulary, build complex sentences, and make the fewest grammatical errors to receive a higher band score. However, keep in mind that the main component of an effective writing work is not the cramming of heaps of vocabulary and the squeezing in of many sentence forms, but the clarity and precision of the writing and if it satisfies the needs of the topic posed.

What are some of the most common grammatical errors made in writing and speaking?

The table depicts some of the most typical mistakes made by students during their writing and speaking sessions. Correcting these errors might propel you far ahead in terms of band scores.

Errors in writingErrors in speaking 
Using although and but in the same sentence.Using the wrong preposition of time and place.
Using comma after while or whereas.Using fillers such as well, ofcourse, you know et al  in every answer.
Not using proper punctuations.Not using the appropriate tense.
Writing a sentence without proper subject verb agreement.Mixing up the usage of different forms of verbs.  (For example, is, are, and am should be used in the present tense, but was/were is used in the past tense.)
Using the articles at wrong places ( especially the definite article the).Error in usage of singular and plural form of noun. ( eg: traffic , money and happiness are uncountable nouns and their plural form is the same word).
Confusion on using the prepositions in , on and at.Misplacing the comparative and superlative degree of adjectives.

How to improve grammar for IELTS?

The most efficient technique is to practise writing and speaking while simultaneously having it examined by an experienced instructor or a friend or colleague you know has an excellent command of the language. Let’s have a look at some interesting methods to enhance your grammatical skills:

  1. Read anything you can get your hands on, including articles, blogs, newspapers, and magazines. However, keep in mind to read slowly and absorb the grammar and terminology employed in the sentences. You may also practise reading aloud to enhance your fluency and pronunciation.
  2. Write down whatever that comes to mind, not simply responses to the IELTS writing section questions. Consistent writing will assist with self-check on areas you struggle with conveying your ideas and what parts of a sentence you make the most mistakes in. Once you’ve identified the type of your grammatical issue (for example, tenses or prepositions), you may look it up to correct your errors.
  3. Find a grammatical pedant who can correct your errors as they occur since being a grammar nazi is a syndrome and they cannot avoid correcting you, which would be highly beneficial for your learning.
  4. Learn how to use correct punctuation. The perfect punctuation may enhance the beauty and complexity of a statement, while the wrong one can completely wreck it.
  5. Keep a personal synonym notebook in which you may record remarkable and uncommon synonyms of popular words that you come across. Synonyms may help your sentences move smoothly, fluently, and easily. 
  6. Try becoming a cinephile since viewing movies, shows, documentaries, and other forms of entertainment are among the most enjoyable methods to learn English. Turn on your subtitles only when absolutely essential, as watching without them can help you enhance your ability to absorb the language.

What are some grammar rules for scoring better in IELTS?

English grammar is a labyrinth that is simple to get lost in. So, here are nine essential grammar rules to help you improve your grammatical accuracy and reduce errors:

1. Write in complete sentences 

Every sentence needs two parts to be complete, a subject and a verb. If your sentence is missing either of this, then it is a sentence fragment. 

Eg: Malcolm plays the piano.

2. Subject – verb agreement 

Confirm that your singular subject takes a singular verb and a plural subject takes a plural verb.

Eg: – My dog needs food. ( singular subject, singular verb).

– My dogs need food. ( plural subject, plural verb).

3. Link ideas with a Conjunction

Though writing in simple sentences is easy, it seldom has an effect, especially while writing a report or an essay. You may build compound sentences by combining simple sentences with coordinating conjunctions.

Eg: – Anita wanted to go running but it started to rain.

      – Our team won the match, so we got the trophy.

4. Use commas correctly 

You can use a comma with a coordinating conjunction but you cannot use a comma alone to connect two independent clauses. This error is known as comma splice.

Eg: – John found a dog, he named it Jacky. (❌- comma splice)

    – Our team won the match, and we got the trophy.  (✔️- coordinating conjunction)

5. Use active voice 

 Sentences in active voice put the subject before the verb.

 For example, in the active sentence “Tatiana ate the eggs,” Tatiana is the subject. It performs the action in the verb (ate) to the object in the sentence (the eggs).

In these examples of active voice sentences, the subjects are bold, the verbs are underlined, and the objects are italicized.

  • Clarissa washed the dishes.
  • Olivia walked the cat.

Passive voice places the subject after the verb or at times leaves the subject out completely. 

  • The dishes were washed by Clarissa.
  • The cat was walked by Olivia.

It is better to present your sentences in active voice as passive voice can be quite complicated and confusing and may make the meaning you want to convey unclear.

6. Right verb tense 

One of the most important areas of grammar to understand is how to use the correct verb tense. Tenses determine when an event occurs, whether in the past, present, or future.

There are 12 forms of tenses and if you find it difficult to learn all of the tenses at once, start with the simple past, simple present, and future tenses. This will help you learn the perfect tenses and the progressive (continuous) tenses more quickly. Remember to keep the tense consistent throughout a paragraph or the entire answer. Mixing up tenses might cause uncertainty in comprehending the meaning of the text, resulting in lower band scores.

Do you want to learn more about the 12 forms of tenses? Check out the blogOpens in a new tab.

7. Use Apostrophe only for Possessive nouns and Contractions

Do not use an apostrophe for plural nouns. They are used when letters are missing in a contraction and also indicate a singular or plural noun’s possession.


  • Aneetta couldn’t wait out for the rain. (✔️- couldn’t is the contraction of could not).
  • Did you borrow the neighbour’s jeep? (✔️- neighbour’s is a possessive noun)
  • This is the children’s room (✔️ children’s is a plural possessive pronoun)

8. Understand your Homophones

Homophones are words that sound the same but spell and/or mean different. It is easy to get your ‘to’ and ‘too’ mixed up. 


  1. too — to
  2. Your — You’re
  3. There — Their— They’re
  4. Except — Expect

To learn about more homophones and confusing words check out this blog Opens in a new tab.

9. Use right-end punctuations

The ending is just as vital as the beginning. So how you conclude your writing, whether it’s a report, a letter, or an essay, should match the tone you want it to end on. The use of the appropriate punctuation mark to create this concluding tone is critical.

  1. Period: It is important to take initiative against the plastic accumulation around us. ( serious /neutral tone)
  2. Question mark: will they agree to it ? (confused/dilemma tone)
  3. Exclamation mark: they agreed to it! ( excited tone)

Note: if your sentence ends in a quote or dialogue, put your end punctuation (also called terminal punctuation) inside the quotation marksOpens in a new tab. as well.


English grammar is not something that can be learned quickly. It takes practice to wield words while hanging onto the great abyss of grammar. However, if you understand the fundamentals of grammar and practise and correct it on a daily basis, the rest becomes easy and will help you secure a higher band and eventually live your dream life abroad.

Shruthi Raveendran

I am Shruthi Raveendran, a TEFL-certified IELTS/PTE and ESL tutor who has 8+ years of experience working in the education industry. I am a passionate writer, logophile and film enthusiast

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