IELTS: Complex sentences practice

15th January 2021

Two young Asian woman studying on the desk — Stock Photo © hans3513  #17626271

Being able to use complex sentences, effortlessly, is vital in attaining a respectable IELTS score. With that in mind, this blog is to help students practise.

Quite simply, give more information about your subject.

Extra exercises and vocabulary may be found on a previous blog: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2020/11/23/ielts-introduction-to-complex-sentences/

Without further ado, let’s dive right in !

Tips To Ace All Bands In Your IELTS Test - Skoolmates

To form a complex sentence, we simply need to combine two pieces of information in one sentence, linked by a relative pronoun.

As with all grammar exercises, it makes far more sense to show than tell:

10 Awesome Facts About Rabindranath Tagore Which Show His Prominence

This is Rabindranath Tagore. He was a poet. He was born in Kolkata, India. He won the Noble Prize for literature in 1913.

So, we have several pieces of information. Let’s start by making a long but simple sentence:

Rabindranath Tagore won the Noble Prize for literature in 1913.

As you see, we start with the subject (Rabindranath Tagore) therefore we don’t need the pronoun ‘he’ in this new sentence.

To make this sentence complex, we just add a further piece of information about the subject, by using a relative pronoun:

who = for a person // which for a thing // where = for a place // whose = possession

The name is clearly not English, so let’s talk about his background:

Rabindranath Tagore, who was born in Kolkata, won the Noble Prize for literature in 1913.

Rabindranath Tagore won the Noble Prize for literature in 1913 is our main clause (clause being part of a sentence containing a subject and a verb).

who was born in Kolkata gives extra information but it makes no sense on its own. Therefore, it needs the main sentence to give it meaning. In grammar, this is known as a subordinate clause.

Now – we could develop this further:

Rabindranath Tagore, who was born in Kolkata which is in India, won the Noble Prize for literature in 1913.

The first subject was Rabindranath Tagore, so we used ‘who’ to give more information.

The second subject was the city, Kolkata ‘which’ is in India.

Confusion by New Order - Songfacts

Yes, confusion ! Kolkata is a place so why use ‘which’ and not ‘where’ ?

Good question; it depends on the clause:

Kolkata which is in India

India is not a person, therefore we treat it as a thing and use ‘which’. Again, show don’t tell:

London, where I was born, is the capital of the UK. [object is ‘I’, a person, so we use ‘where‘.]

London, which is the capital of the UK, is where I was born. [object is ‘capital’, not a person, so we use ‘which‘]

Let’s get back to our Indian poet. The third subject is the Noble Prize … you could add more information here (awarded every year in Sweden).

Naturally, one could write endlessly, constantly adding more information about subjects but, for this exercise, just focus on a main clause and a subordinate clause.

NOW … Your turn

Subject (comma) + relative pronoun + (comma) main clause starting with a verb:

Rabindranath Tagore, who was born in Kolkata, won the Noble Prize for literature in 1913.

Make complex sentences:

Stockholm. Capital city of Sweden. Is very expensive. Is very cold in winter.

Louise Glück. Born in 1943. Born in New York, USA. Won Noble Prize for Literature in 2020. She is a poet.

Starbucks is a coffee chain. Company founded in 1971. Company started in Seattle in north-west USA. Starbucks is the world’s largest coffeehouse chain (information from Wikipedia).

Seattle is in USA. Seattle is famous for Grunge music. Many bands such as Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden came from Seattle.

Mozart. A famous composer. Born in Austria. Died in 1791. Buried in a common grave.

Vincom Centre. In District 1 by Hotel Continental. Largest shopping mall in Sai Gon. Has many international brands such as Hugo Boss and Ralph Lauren.

Frida Kahlo was an artist. She was born in Mexico. She was born in 1907. She painted many portraits and self-portraits.

Sergei Eisenstein is a famous film director. He was born in Latvia (then part of Russia). In 1930 he began a film in Mexico. It is about the Day of the Dead festival. This festival is every year at the beginning of November.

Louise Glück wins Nobel Prize in Literature 2020
Louise Glück – Noble Prize winner 2020
Nirvana Uploads Full Live and Loud Concert to YouTube: Watch | Consequence  of Sound
Nirvana
How a Horrific Bus Accident Changed Frida Kahlo's Life - Biography
Frida Kahlo
Films > Sergei Eisenstein
Day of the Dead, Mexico. Film by Sergei Eisenstein.
Asian Woman With Thumb Up Stock Photo, Picture And Royalty Free Image.  Image 42574102.
Good luck !

Subject Index: Beginners’ English

4th December 2020

Beginners’ English

Compilation of exercises: https://thaypaulsnotes.com/2019/12/11/beginners-english/

The verb ‘to like’ // Beginners’ English // 24th June 2020

Beginners‘ short conversations // Beginners’ English: Short dialogues // 8th April 2020

Grammar exercises // Beginners’ English // 23rd June 2020

Grammar past continuous // Beginners’ English // 2nd July 2020

How was your day ? // Beginners’ English // 26th May 2020

Introductions – what’s your name (video) // Beginners’ English, Part 2

Introductions // Beginners’ English: dialogues // 5th June 2020

Introducing Yourself // Beginners’ English: dialogues // 25th June 2020

Past tense exercise // Beginners’ English, Part 2

Past tense // Beginners’ English // Beginners’ English Part 4

Past continuous // Beginners’ English: I was reading your blog // 2nd July 2020

Past tense pronunciation // Begs’ English: The past is passed // 7th July 2020

Phrasal verbs & collocations // Beginners’ English Part 4

Present perfect exercises // Beginners’ English

Regular & irregular verbs // Beginners’ English Part 4

Sentence building & irregular verbs // Beginners’ English // 27th May 2020

Sentence building // Beginners’ English // 5th June 2020

Sentence building // Beginners’ English // 24th June 2020

Useful sounds ‘en’ and letter ‘g’ // Beginners’ English // 20th May 2020

Vowels and it’s a / it’s an // Beginners’ English: vowels // 20th May 2020

What did you do yesterday ? // Beginners’ English // 26th May 2020

What’s it for ? // Beginners’ English // 25th June 2020

Adult Speaking Class, level 1: Where were you and what were you doing ?

16th August 2020

Past simple/ past continuous

Look at the house map – say where you were last night and what you were doing ?

House Plan 77400 - Country Style with 1311 Sq Ft, 3 Bed, 2 Bath

EXAMPLE:

Last night, I was on the porch watering my plants

Last night (time), I was (past tense) on the porch watering (verb + ing – past continuous) my plants.

The Front Porch: An American Tradition - American Profile
Watering plants on the porch

Last night, I was in the dining room, eating dinner

Family Dinners Beneficial for Youth Development – Youth First
I was Eating in the dining room with my family

NOTICE – ON the porch / ON the deck but IN the room

To help you, match the rooms with the activities:

kitchen / dining room / great room or living room / bedroom / laundry room / bathroom / deck

watching TV / washing clothes / sleeping / cooking / studying English / sunbathing / reading / online / ironing clothes / taking a shower

Extended exercise – say who was with you

Example: I was in the bedroom reading a story to my daughter

Bedtime stories: Reading bedtime stories to kids, Child habits ...

Adult Speaking Class, level 1: What do they like ?

22nd June 2020

An exercise for lower-intermediates. Help to use basic verbs, and to build long sentences.

We can see five people:

Andrew, Fiona, Helen, Mark and Tina

We see what they eat (dinner), their job (occupation), what they do in their free time (hobby) and what that do on Saturday and Sunday (the weekend).

For example, Andrew likes to drink beer, Tina like to do karate

What do they do ?

Name // dinner // occupation // hobby // weekend 

Andrewsteak and chips
spaghetti
brewerfootball & beersports & cinema DOESN’T like shopping
Fionatuna salad
soups
accountantreading
driving
visits family & shopping DOESN’T like sports
Helensushi
Korean BBQ
marketingyoga & keep fit
craft beer 
exercises & cinema DOESN’T like loud clubs
Markfish and chips
kebabs
civil servantcars and bikes
sports
fixing cars & drinking beer DOESN’T like loud clubs
Tinapasta
pizza
dentistkaraoke
clubs
shopping and meeting friends DOESN’T like beer or sport.
Couple watching a football game | Royalty free photo - 404574
Andrew likes to watch football but his girlfriend does not (doesn’t)
CMA - Lady accountant - (S) - YouTube
Fiona is an accountant
Dara eating sushi (Line play 053115) | 2ne1, South korean idol, Yg ...
Helen likes to eat sushi
Buy his bikes, bee-cause! - Los Angeles Times
Mark likes to ride a bicycle
Taekwondo Girl - Bing Images | Martial arts girl, Taekwondo girl ...
Tina likes to do karate

Make sentences

Use so does with positives, neither does with negatives.

EXAMPLE:

Mark eats chips and so does Andrew. 

Helen doesn’t drink beer neither does Tina.

Tina likes shopping …

Mark doesn’t like loud clubs …

Make questions

EXAMPLE:

Who likes beer ? Who eats Italian food (pizza, pasta, spaghetti) ?