By paying more attention to corruption can improve the welfare of a country.
Yet another Indonesian structure that doesn’t translate directly into English!
If you really must begin with ‘by‘ then you need…
- By paying more attention to corruption, a government can improve the welfare of a country.
By + [name of solution] + subject + verb (+ etc):
However, native speakers would probably just say “Goodbye to ‘By’” and go straight to the solution as the theme in the sentence:
- Paying more attention to corruption can improve the welfare of a country.
Full-day school becomes an important issue because it concerns a wide range of people, especially parents.
This is the influence of Bahasa Indonesia. In English ‘become‘ is used to describe a change, rather than a constant:
- People become sleepy when they drink a lot of beer.
- Most knives become dull after a while and need to be sharpened.
- When there’s a problem, Clark Kent becomes Superman.
In each of these three cases, a change is implied, from alert to sleepy, from sharp to dull, and from newspaper journalist to superhero. They are all familiar, recurring situations, and so we use present simple tense to describe them.
If we say “Full-day school becomes an important issue,” a change is indeed implied (from non full-day school to full-day school), but since this is a unique, rather than a recurring situation, then we need a time frame.
If the change happened in the past, but we’re not sure exactly when, then we use present perfect tense:
- Full-day school has become an important issue.
If the change is happening right now – continuously – then we can use present continuous tense:
- Full-day school is becoming an important issue.
However, if we are analysing a situation that is true now, constant and without change, as though we are looking at it under a microscope, then we use present simple tense:
- Full-day school is an important issue.
When I was living in the desert I lost my weight.
Indonesians for some reason like to use the possessive here. But there are problems with this. If you include the possessive then it sounds as though you lost something that you own.
Of course it is possible to own a ‘weight’ (countable thing – definition 1, items 2a and 2b), but not many people are owners of a single ‘weight’, and it’s unlikely anybody would worry about losing one!
If you’ve been living in a desert then it’s possible that you have experienced weight loss (weight uncountable – definition 2), and so if you’re talking about body weight, you need:
- When I was living in the desert I lost weight.
Giving a challenge for human workers to involve in controlling machines is a good idea.
Involve as adjective
You got the preposition right, but the wrong form of ‘involve’. This is nearly always constructed as an ‘ed’ adjective phrase:
- Giving a challenge for human workers to be involved in controlling machines is a good idea.
‘Get’ also collocates strongly with ‘involved in’, as does the more formal ‘become’:
- Giving a challenge for human workers to get/become involved in controlling machines is a good idea.
It’s not always necessary to mention the activity that someone is involved in:
For Indonesians there are easy translations for involved as adjective:
- involved – terlibat
- (to be) involved in – terlibat dalam
Involve as a verb
If you want to use involve as a verb, usually there is an indirect object:
- I rarely involve myself in politics.
Again, for Indonesians there is an easy translation.
- to involve + someone + in + something – melibatkan … dalam …
Several audiences left before the film finished.
Audience is indeed countable but it is a ‘collective’ noun, and so an (=1) audience can comprise many people. If you want to focus on a subgroup of an audience then it is common to refer to these people as ‘members of an audience’:
- Several members of the audience left before the film finished.
An example of audiences (plural) might be:
- The opening of the new James Bond film was enjoyed by audiences up and down the country.
In this case the same film was watched simultaneously by many different groups of people (audiences) in many different locations.
I’ll end this post with two illustrations. The first shows audience, the second audiences.
I am a staff at the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
Although you will occasionally find an example of staff as a countable noun, it is extremely rare.
Used as an uncountable noun, staff refers to people who work for a particular organisation:
- Staff at the Ministry of Religious Affairs receive a competitive salary.
Used as a countable noun, a staff is a kind of stick with certain features and functions:
- often very long – longer than its user is tall
- usually made of wood
- usually quite ornate, possibly hand-crafted
- used by someone with special powers, for example a wizard
- often used in specialised fighting, like kung fu
- otherwise used to assist in walking (elderly people, etc)
- He used his staff to scare away evil spirits and then used it to turn my horse into a brand new Ferrari. I noticed the staff also helped him to walk!
In the context of your writing one of these meanings, staff countable / staff uncountable, will probably be more obvious than the other. However, if you want a high score in IELTS for vocabulary, I suggest you choose the most appropriate meaning!
If you really must use a countable noun, you can do this:
- I am a member of staff at the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
In this post we’ll do two things. First, you will read a text and complete (draw) a bar chart based on the text. Next we’ll think about the use of ‘stood at’ in this kind of text, which is very similar to the writing you do in IELTS Task 1.
Reading (and drawing!)
- Copy this chart to a piece of paper:
- Read this article. As you read, complete the bar chart on your paper.
- Check your completed chart against mine.
Now let’s notice how the writer uses ‘stood at’:
- The time frame in the ‘stood at’ phrase is past and finished.
- The number being described in the ‘stood at’ phrase (in this case the price of Freddos) remained the same for a significant period of time (in this case 3 years).
- The number is represented as a number (and not, for example, as a percentage).
- The number is subject to some kind of change throughout the period.
- The following structure is applied: subject + stood at + number + past time expression
Note that the time expression can also appear at the beginning:
past time expression + subject + stood at + number
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In 2020, sales of all devices will increase.
In IELTS Task 1 writing candidates are often required to make future predictions based on data in graphs, tables, and charts.
This can be an opportunity to display some sophisticated grammar, in particular the future perfect tense!
In a previous post I showed you how to use a phrase beginning by + time expression to build a sentence using past perfect tense. In fact we can take the same approach with other perfect tenses:
In this example we can say:
By 2020, sales of all devices will have increased.
Here I used the structure:
by + future time expression + subject + will + have + V3
We can then add other information in the usual manner using will for prediction:
By 2020, sales of all devices will have increased. Sales of the PS4 will be double sales for the Xbox One, which will in turn be three times sales for the Wii U.
Future perfect is very rarely used by native speakers because there are very few opportunities to use it! This is one of the reasons why future perfect, and indeed the other ‘perfect’ tenses, helps to increase your IELTS score for grammar in both writing and speaking.
Pay careful attention to the structure of future perfect and good luck with your future predictions in IELTS task 1!