Starting with started from

Certain steps should be followed in making a business plan, started from establishing mission objectives, undertaking a position analysis, identifying and assessing strategic options, selecting strategic options, and formulating plans.

In this sentence the first comma splits the sentence into two halves: Continue reading

Describing transformational change(s)

The farmland was transformed become residential areas.

I have written elsewhere about how Indonesian IELTS candidates often use become to talk about a constant, where in English it is only ever used to describe a change. However, although become is used to describe a change, we would not use become AND transform together. Continue reading

Unreasonable use of ‘reason’

The reasons that caused land degradation are shown in the pie chart.

One problem here is that reason is closely synonymous with cause, and so it’s as though you’re saying:

  • ..the causes that caused land degradation!”

Another problem is that reason has stronger collocates:

  • The reasons for land degradation are shown in the pie chart.
  • reason(s) + for + effect(s) noun
  • The reasons why land became degraded are shown in the pie chart.
  • reason(s) + why + effect(s) clause

Notice that in these last two examples there is no cause effect signal (cause). If you use a cause effect signal then you need a more suitable substitute word for the cause or reason:

  • The factors that caused land degradation are shown in the pie chart.
  • The conditions that led to land degradation are shown in the pie chart.

In your IELTS Task 1 essay you will go on to name and describe factors and conditions, and this is easier to do elegantly if you call them ‘factors’ and ‘conditions’ than if you call them ‘reasons’.

The workforce in IELTS

In fact, palm oil plantations cover huge hectares of land which often requires a significant amount of workforce to pick the heavy oil palm fruit.

Words like amount and number are used to communicate statistics, as in the amount of electricity, the number of deaths, etc. The same is true of workforce: Continue reading

Fall down over

When demand is low, prices usually fall down.

This is a common error when describing trends in graphs in IELTS task 1 writing. It makes sense, intuitively – if something ‘falls’ then it falls down and not up! However, ‘fall’ and ‘fall down’ can have quite different meanings depending on the context. Continue reading