Better off using ‘better off’

Many students spend hours reading grammar books in order to improve their English. However, they are probably better off reading novels instead.

Most people are familiar with better off as the comparative form of well off (= wealthy). However, better off has other uses in IELTS speaking and writing (Task 2). Continue reading

Generating interest in introductions

E-commerce has been an attractive issue in the last decade, not only in Indonesia but also all countries throughout the world.

This is a bit like saying it has been widely discussed. The reader will be thinking “Who cares if it has been an attractive issue?” If you want your reader to want to read your text, try to relate the topic of your essay to your reader’s knowledge and experience. Continue reading

Jumbled hedges

Academic writers make frequent use of ‘hedges’ – phrases that change the strength of their claims so as to make them more acceptable to other academics. A claim can be made stronger or weaker by adding adjectives and adverbs, by changing verbs, or by adding lengthy ‘hedging’ phrases.

The activity below includes 10 sentences that feature hedging. Try to reconstruct them and see if you can identify which words and phrases constitute ‘hedging’!

(Answer key below!) Continue reading

Opinion in IELTS Task 2 Introductions

Some people argue that taking a year break causes hesitation to continue study permanently. However, many people claim that taking a gap year between finishing high school and starting university studies is beneficial.

If you want a good score for Task Response in IELTS writing (see public band descriptors) then you need to make sure your opinion is clear in every paragraph – including your introduction. Continue reading

Success failure effort belief – Part 2

Spoiler alert! If you want to test your ability to use these words, try the gap fill challenge first!

In my previous post I challenged you to complete a text using the words success, failure, effort, and belief. In this post I give the completed text plus some advice about common collocations used in the text. Continue reading

Success failure effort belief

These words – success, failure, effort, belief – take different forms and collocate strongly with other words.

Indonesian flag They’re also problematic for Indonesian scholars. Success has become sukses, effort is translated from upaya, and belief is subject to the same word form error as life (see note below).

Use a dictionary to complete the following text with suitable forms of these words. Continue reading