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. There could be a useful solution.
  2. Many families are now double-salary.
  3. All school children need to maintain the procedure.
  4. Compulsory service can enhance the armed forces.
  5. Coal takes an important role in producing energy.
  6. Some people like to undertake risks.
  7. It is not good when people are forced to attend the military.
  8. Doing military service causes a gap in their career.


Answers to Back to Collocation (Once Again) (3 of 4)

  1. This may cause a problem of energy shortage.
  2. Nuclear energy creates/raises risks.
  3. Any mistakes could have/lead to serious consequences.
  4. America dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
  5. Studying space can offer the possibility of living elsewhere.
  6. This has become a serious issue.
  7. The cure to this disease could be found.
  8. The earthquake struck last year.



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