It has been argued that expenditure needed for applying a circular economy tends to be high (Kirchher et al., 2017). However, their claim is easy to counter given the many economic benefits offered by a circular economy.
This writer has used their as a substitute for a source – Kircher et al. However, since the source is in brackets and has not yet appeared in the body of the text, we have to assume that the reader has not yet seen it! Only use a pronoun as a substitute if the noun you are substituting has already been mentioned in the body of the text: Continue reading →
A good way to avoid repetition in writing, and at the same time to cement (= stick) sentences together so that ideas flow smoothly, is to use what’s called referencing and substitution (many examples of referencing and substitution in previous posts).
In this post we focus again on using it and this as substitutes for themes and rhemes. If you’re not sure what is meant by theme and rheme, please read this before trying the activity below. Continue reading →
In the first place is over-grazing, which caused 35% of land degradation.
Not a terrible error – we know what you mean! But still, it’s important to understand the distinction between ‘in first place’ and ‘in the first place’.
In IELTS Task 1 writing we often find ourselves ranking items as follows:
In first place is over-grazing, which caused 35% of land degradation. Meanwhile in second place, 20% of land degradation was caused by deforestation.
But what if you’re listing rather than ranking? Let’s say, for example, that you’re listing supports for an argument. In this case you need ‘in the first place’, ‘in the second place’, etc.:
Mr Jones cannot be the one who stole your car. In the first place he was in a different city when the car was stolen, and secondly he is blind!
In this case ‘in the first place‘ means ‘as the first consideration‘. It’s often used to introduce reasons that should be obvious but may need to be emphasised, as in the above example. Notice that it is unusual to continue ‘in the second place‘, ‘in the third place‘, etc. Better to switch to ‘secondly‘, ‘thirdly‘, and so on.
To sum up..
‘In first place..’ is useful in Task 1 writing (for ranking)
‘In the first place..’ is useful in Task 2 writing (for emphasising reasons)
In detail, sleeping was of hobbies preferred by Indonesians. said that they enjoy sleeping. was other hobbies, which were liked by about half of respondents, and reading only caught the interest of around 5% of those surveyed.
Me chatting to my friend later about the information..
I’m not at all surprised about the lack of interest in reading. books are expensive in Indonesia, and reading is a solitary activity and as we know, Indonesians prefer doing things together with other people. And the result for sleeping doesn’t surprise me either! it’s very hot and humid in Indonesia and this can make you very sleepy. And Indonesians need to concentrate hard on the road – to avoid death – and this, too, can be exhausting!
TIP! If you’re doing this in IELTS Speaking, it can sometimes help you to structure an argument if you count off items using your fingers, perhaps under the table!
Americans rose steadily, while Indonesians fell dramatically.
Well, maybe. Something like this?
With a sentence like the one above you are unlikely to communicate anything meaningful about a graph, table or chart. If there was a rise or a fall, then you need to state precisely what it was that rose and what it was that fell – What is the subject?
The divorce rate in Americarose steadily, while the divorce rate in Indonesiafell dramatically.
Here there are 2 subjects:
the divorce rate in America
the divorce rate in Indonesia
Some of you will complain about the repetition in this sentence (‘the divorce rate‘). However, it’s better to repeat words and phrases and communicate something meaningful than to avoid repetition and communicate nothing.
Actually in this example repetition can be avoided:
The divorce rate in America rose steadily, while thatin Indonesiafell dramatically.
* Many thanks to Diro, Nando and Ari for the ‘falling Indonesians’ photo – You guys rock! 🙂
In general, all the lines show that there is an increasing trendof people with bronchitis.
When students are preparing for IELTS Task 1 writing they learn the importance of describing ‘trends’ in graphs, tables and charts. Not surprisingly, they go ahead and use the word ‘trend’ to describe these trends. But native speakers almost never do that.
In the opening example a trend is described, but the word ‘trend’ is redundant. It is enough to write:
In general, all the lines show that the incidence of bronchitis is increasing.
This kind of statement stands out as ‘a trend’ because it says something general about a change over time without mentioning data.
So here’s your checklist for a trend:
It is expressed as a sentence
It does not feature the word ‘trend‘
It says something general without mentioning values from the graph, table or chart
It describes a change over time
The thing that is affected by change is named specifically (‘incidence‘).
Understand also, that a trend is often ‘hidden’ in data that is highly irregular. In the following graph grammatical accuracy goes up and down erratically over time, but the general trend (shown by the straight line) is downward.
The ‘trend’ in this graph can be described:
The more frequently the word ‘trend’ is used, the less accurate the writing.
Famous people are followed everywhere by the press. Their families sometimes feel they have to hide from reporters, and the children of famous people may feel that they are living behindthe bar.
Here, again, we have a breakdown in communication caused by inaccurate use of articles.
Remember that for any noun there are 3 possible meanings:
all of them everywhere (or all ofit for non-count nouns)
one of many (or someof many for plurals)
this one exactly (or theseexactly for plurals)
I think the writer of the opening example meant to describe the bars in a prison, and was trying to use the idiom ‘behind bars‘ (grammar = some of many).
‘the‘ indicates this one exactly. Ifyou are talking idiomatically about a prison window then that doesn’t look right. If there’s only one bar and unless it’s a very small window – or a very large bar – then the prisoner will be able to escape easily!
Meanwhile ‘the bar‘ has very strong connotations with the part of a pub or restaurant where people sit to drink alcohol. Add ‘behind‘ and you get ‘behind the bar‘ – the area where drinks are stored and where the bar staff prepare drinks for customers. Clearly this is not a suitable place for children!
I’m pretty sure the writer meant something like this:
Famous people are followed everywhere by the press. Their families sometimes feel they have to hide from reporters, and the children of famous people may feel that they are livingbehind bars.
Now the text carries two correct meanings:
The ‘s‘ on ‘bars‘ gives us the grammatical meaning some of many – so, more than one bar. (high score in IELTS writing for grammar)
‘behind bars‘ is an idiom – we don’t imagine the children actually in prison, they’re just ‘trapped‘ somehow, or their movements are restricted. (high score in IELTS writing for vocabulary)
Be careful with your meanings and choose articles (or ‘s‘) with care!