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Five grammar mistakes that you should avoid in your IELTS Speaking test

Which of the following grammar mistakes do you make in your IELTS Speaking?

GrammarIn your IELTS Speaking test, the examiner is going to assess your spoken fluency, vocabulary and pronunciation, and of course your grammar. To give yourself a better chance of getting the band score you need, it’s important that you start noticing and correcting the grammar mistakes you make.

To help you make fewer grammar mistakes in your IELTS Speaking test, here are five common grammar mistakes that IELTS candidates make.

As you look through the examples, think about which one(s) you make in your speaking and make a note of the corrections.

1. Using the present tense to talk about past events

Perhaps the most common grammar mistake in IELTS Speaking is forgetting to use the past form of verbs to describe past events. Here’s an example from a candidate talking about a special gift he gave to his girlfriend:

“I went to many shops to find it but I never find…”

In this example, the candidate should have said ‘I never found…‘ and not ‘I never find…‘ because he was talking about a time in the past.

2. Using the wrong word order

Another common grammar mistake is putting a word in the wrong place in a sentence.

Here’s an example from a candidate talking about whether she prefers listening to live or recorded music:

“I feel always the singer is not good in live music so…”

The usual position of the adverb ‘always‘ is before the main verb, which in this case is ‘feel‘, and so the candidate should have said: ‘I always feel the singer is not good in live music so…‘.

3. Missing out ‘a’ or ‘the’

As you probably know, there are many different rules (and exceptions) for using the articles ‘a‘ and ‘the‘, and so it’s no surprise that missing out an article is a common mistake.

In the following example, the candidate missed out the article ‘a‘ before ‘student‘ when she was asked the question ‘Do you work or are you a student?‘.

“I’m student”

The candidate should have said ‘I’m a student‘ because the word ‘student‘ is a singular, countable noun.

4. Missing out a preposition such as ‘in‘ or ‘with

The fourth common mistake is missing out a preposition such as ‘in‘ or ‘with‘ from a sentence.

In both of the following examples, there’s a preposition missing after the main verb:

“I usually listen Turkish music”

“I don’t agree this view”

In the first example, the candidate should have said ‘I usually listen to Turkish music‘. In the second example, the candidate should have said ‘I don’t agree with this view‘.

5. Using the wrong form of a verb

A really common mistake is not matching the form of a verb with the subject of a sentence.

To show you what I mean, here are a couple of examples I’ve heard many times:

“Everybody have…”

“He work…”

The first example should be ‘Everybody has…‘ and the second example should be ‘He works…‘.

All of these IELTS Speaking grammar mistakes are from the sample IELTS Speaking tests in the Official IELTS Practice Materials or from IELTS candidates I know.

Which of these mistakes do you think you make in your speaking? Have you got any suggestions about how to avoid making these mistakes? Let me know by leaving a comment below.


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5 comments on “Five grammar mistakes that you should avoid in your IELTS Speaking test

    1. Hi Pete ,

      A million thanks for all the above examples, you’re making our IELTS easier.

      I am planning to do my first test in 2020 and appreciate every single comments could help me to achieve my goal.

      Many Thanks.

      1. Hi Ammar,

        That’s great to hear, and I’m looking forward to hearing how your preparation goes over the next few months.

  1. Hello Pete,

    My name is Denada. I want to say thank you.

    I did the IELTS one year ago in my country and I passed with 4.5 points, but I have to do it again in higher score at least 6.5.

    My speaking is not bad because I am living in New Zealand but I am scared in listening and reading, fortunately not in writing.

    I saw all your videos and all of them are so helpful.

    Thank you from bottom of my heart.

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