The IELTS Band Descriptors (public version) state that for your Writing Vocabulary Mark …


Band 7

Uses less common words with some awareness of style and collocation.

Band 8

Skillfully uses words but there may be occasional inaccuracies in word choice and collocation.


The key point here is ‘collocation’, which is putting together groups of words in accepted and stylish way. We say ‘heavy rain’, not ‘big rain’. I have already presented some material on collocation. Click Good Collocation to see that.


Students mostly do not collocate words very well (which is why they don’t receive IELTS 7 or 8). Bad IELTS material encourages students to memories wordy phrases that no native writer would ever produce, and which don’t make sense (‘concluding theories representing the solution can be portrayed in detail’). So, you need to get better at this, which means, it’s time to practise.


Change the italicised words to make the following sentences better.

  1. This may cause a problem of energy lacking.
  2. Nuclear energy brings risk.
  3. Any mistakes could make serious consequences.
  4. America shot the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
  5. Studying space can bring the possibility of living elsewhere.
  6. This has become a heavy issue.
  7. The solution to this disease could be found.
  8. The earthquake attacked last year.


Possible Answers to Back to Collocation (Once Again) (2 of 4)

  1. The schools can offer a solution.
  2. We can have further discussion.
  3. They produced/emitted a large amount of waste.
  4. My father had a car accident.
  5. Establishing more academic institutions will help. [The students probably wanted ‘Setting up’, but I avoid two-word verbs if possible.]
  6. America should have more space missions.
  7. Another serious effect of not marrying is …. [‘Influence’ is for positive things.]
  8. We need to continue with more space tasks.


    IELTS Advice


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