Punctuation and IELTS – Part 1

by IDP IELTS — July 8th, 2020

When writing in English, it is common for most of us (and even for those whose native language is English) to focus on using correct grammar and vocabulary. Often we pay little attention to other aspects of writing, such as punctuation, which is a big mistake. Just as using pause and intonation helps listeners, using punctuation correctly helps the reader to follow and understand your message. To better understand how important punctuation is, take a moment to read the Task 2 article example below and decide whether the paragraph is easy or difficult to understand:

even though some people think that it is a family’s responsibility to pay for care for their aging family members I believe that the government should help to pay for this care this is because the elderly population has played a very important role in our society and they are the reason for our existence elderly people teach us values traditions and how to deal with life experiences therefore it is essential that all aging adults receive proper care even if their families don’t have the means to afford it

If you had to re-read the paragraph to understand, you’re not alone.

As you may have noticed, there are no punctuation marks in the article, which reveals a very confusing and difficult-to-follow paragraph for the reader. Now take a few moments to add punctuation to places that you think might help you understand this paragraph better. When you’re done, compare it to the original paragraph below.

Even though some people think that it is a family’s responsibility to pay for care for their aging family members, I believe that the government should help to pay for this care. This is because the elderly population has played a very important role in our society and they are the reason for our existence. Elderly people teach us values, traditions and how to deal with life experiences.Therefore, it is essential that all aging adults receive proper care, even if their families don’t have the means to afford it. 

Some of the basic rules of punctuation, such as starting a sentence in capital letters and ending with a period, are quite simple and easy to remember. However, other punctuation marks are less pronounced and require some skill. Therefore, read Punctuation and IELTS – Part 2 article to understand better when and how to use punctuation in the IELTS Writing section.

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