IELTS Speaking Test Grammar

We have a lot more to talk about with writing but since the grammar rules are the same in the speaking and writing tests I want to say something about how to improve your grammar mark in the speaking test.

At Band 6, the Public band Descriptors for Speaking under “Grammar Range and Accuracy” say:

  • uses a mix of simple and complex structures, but with limited flexibility
  • may make frequent mistakes with complex structures, though these rarely cause comprehension problems
What does this mean?
  1. You must use complex sentence structures to get to band 6
  2. Not many have to be right, but the meaning MUST be clear even if there are errors in the grammar
What is a complex sentence structure?

There are many, but I will give you just three at the moment:

  1. Subordinate clause (use words like: “although”; “even though”; “while”; “whereas” and the sentence you produce will be a subordinate clause structure)
  2. Relative clause (use words like: “who”; “that”; “which”, ….)
  3. If Conditional sentence (you don’t need the complicated If-clauses, just “IF something THEN something else” will do)
Here are some examples:

Question:
What did you study at school/university?
Answer:

“Actually, I studied physics, ALTHOUGHmy parents really wanted me to do law……..”

Question:
What kind of food do you like?
Answer:

“Do you know, I have always loved food WHICH is really spicy…..”.

Question:
What kind of restaurants do you like?
Answer:

“Actually, I usually don’t like to go anywhere to eat, but IF my friends call up WE ALWAYS GO to a little Thai restaurant near my house……”.

Easy, right?

No! Not easy, but not hard.

It just requires practice. Hours and hours of practice. How much do you want that good IELTS score? The answer to that will tell you how much to practice, and it is a question only YOU can answer.

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