The official IELTS by IDP app is here! Download it today.


Rules: Grammar for IELTS 

Do you want to understand the grammar behind the English language? Read on to find out.  

IELTS grammar preparation 

For starters, here are some things to keep in mind to be fully prepared for your test day: 

IELTS grammar for writing 

Knowing what mistakes to avoid helps you optimise your chances for a better band score. In this article, we look at some common errors test takers make in the Writing part of the IELTS test. 

Also, check out these 7 mistakes preventing you from getting a band 7.   

Common grammar mistakes made by IELTS test-takers 

Here are some common grammar mistakes to be aware of before writing the IELTS test: 

Subject-Verb Agreement 

In a sentence, the subject and verb must agree. In other words, the verb must be singular when the subject is. The same thing applies when plural, both the subject and verb must be in plural form.  

  • Singular

The man has 10,000 books in his library. 

She dances in the competition. 

He is the strongest athlete.

The head of the committee is 37 years old. 

  • Plural  

The men have a bet going on at work.

They dance as a couple.   

They are a stronger team. 

The members of the committee are in the meeting room.  

  • Conditionals 

Errors with conditionals can happen, so it’s important to know the different structures. Zero Conditional = if + Present Simple + Present Simple 


If water reaches 100C, it boils. 

If it rains, things get wet. 


First Conditional = if + Present Simple + will/won’t + infinitive verb (without ‘to’) 


If you take too long, you will miss the bus. 

I won’t participate if it’s not fair. 


Second Conditional = if + Past Simple + would/wouldn’t + infinitive verb (without ‘to’) 


If I were a cat, I would sleep all day. 

I would travel around the world if I won the lottery. 


Third Conditional = if + Past Perfect + would/wouldn’t have + Past Participle 


If she had studied harder, she would have passed the test. 

If the team had worked together, they wouldn’t have lost the finals. 


Mixed Conditional = if + Past Perfect + would/wouldn’t + infinitive verb (without ‘to’) 


If she had received the certificate, she would be an instructor now. 

I would be in the middle of nowhere now if I hadn’t checked the GPS. 

  • Word order

When writing a sentence, it is very important to have the correct word order. This makes the sentence clear and easy to understand. 


Subject + Auxiliary Verb + Main Verb + Object + adverb of time 

Incorrect: I have played for six years basketball. 

Correct: I have played basketball for six years.



Auxiliary Verb + Subject + Main Verb + Object 

Incorrect: You have played basketball? 

Correct: Have you played basketball? 


  • The Use of Commas 

Commas are misused frequently. They can be overused, underused, or missed completely.  

  • Overuse of Commas 

When there is an independent and dependent clause in the same sentence, you don’t need a comma. 

Ex. The house plant died because I didn’t water it. 

A comma is not necessary when two parts of a sentence are complementary. 

Ex. You either follow my rules or you leave my house. 

  • Missing Commas 

There needs to be a comma after a transitional word, phrase, or clause.


Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. 

On the other hand, social media has some benefits. 

Once the timer has finished, please put down your pencil. 


Commas are necessary when separating two independent clauses in a compound sentence. 

Ex. The woman jumped on the scooter, and she drove towards the station. 


  • Comma Splice 

A comma splice occurs when two independent clauses are joined by a comma. Two independent clauses should be separated by a period.

Incorrect: I go shopping every Saturday, I buy clothes from different stores. 

Correct: I go shopping every Saturday. I buy clothes from different stores.  

  • Sentence Fragments 

Sentence fragments can also often occur in writing. When there is a sentence fragment, it usually means a subject or a main verb is missing in the sentence.  

  • Missing a Subject 

Incorrect: Shut the window on his hand. 

Correct: The boy shut the window on his hand.  

  • Missing a Verb 

Incorrect: Displaying his trophy. 

Correct: The Olympian was displaying his trophy.  

  • Dependent Clause 

Incorrect: After I start university. 

Correct: I’ll come home less often after I start university. 


Grammar mistakes can easily be made, but they can also be easily avoided. Always double-check your writing when doing the IELTS test. Fewer mistakes could result in a higher band score.

How is the grammar in IELTS writing evaluated?

Let’s take a look at one of the important standards for the IELTS Speaking and Writing tests, which together account for 25% of your final score – Grammatical Range and Accuracy.  

This particular criterion has two components since it addresses both "Range" and "Accuracy." So how do the two differ from one another? Many English language learners are quite familiar with the concept of Grammar Accuracy. A speaker or writer should only make a few, infrequent, or uncommon mistakes at the top bands, which range from 7 to 9. Grammatical errors become more common as you go down the bands, from 6 and below, but the difference with band 6 is that the mistakes do not affect the writer’s or speaker’s message from coming through. 

Grammatical Range, however, relates to the variety and complexity of grammatical structures used. Those who achieve high bands in Grammatical Range and Accuracy have not only a variety of sentence structures and tenses, but also make very few mistakes. 

Here is an article that outlines aspects of this rating that you may need to be aware of.

English grammar books for IELTS

As a bonus, take a look at the official grammar for IELTS books to help you practise your grammar and ace your IELTS test: