30th April 2020
Today we’ll concentrate on building longer, more interesting sentences, altering sentence structure, and applying discourse markers and relative pronouns in order to be proficient in meeting the IELTS requirements.
Let’s kick off with some basic sentences, each containing one fact.
Park So-yeon is from South Korea. She performed under the name ‘Soyeon’. She was in the band T-ara from 2009 – 2017.
One possibility is to make a longer, main sentence (an independent clause) then break it up with some extra but not essential information (a dependent clause):
Park So-yeon, who performed under the stage name Soyeon, was a member of the South Korean group T-ara from 2009 until they broke up in 2017.
Here, I employed a relative pronoun (‘who’) to introduce the dependent clause, and altered the sentence slightly, adding some extra words.
Another, more advanced, option, which I recommend experimenting with as it will impress the examiner, is to start with a dependent clause. Allow me to demonstrate:
Performing under the name Soyeon, the South Korean singer Park So-yeon achieved fame as a member of the band T-ara, with whom she played from 2009 until 2017.
You will, no doubt, notice that the grammar may have to change, that is altering the verb form, by which I mean transforming the simple past into present continuous.
Now, you can guess what’s coming, it’s your turn to practise. I realise that not all of you are so enamoured of T-ara and South Korean women as I am, therefore, for that express purpose, I have selected three examples and you merely have to choose the person that most interests or appeals to you:
Daniel Craig is an actor. He is most famous for playing James Bond. His wife is Rachel Weisz. She is also an actor.
Thandie Newton is an English actress. She has three children. She studied at Cambridge University. She was in Mission Impossible II with Tom Cruise.
Tsai Ing-wen is president of Taiwan. The official name of the country is the Republic of China. She has been president since 20th May 2016. She was the first woman to be president of ROC Taiwan.
Next stage is to introduce some information and then offer up an alternate view, that is to say, a critical response which can be achieved by the use of appropriate discourse markers.
Let’s focus on the most recent Noble prize laureate ( Literature):
Peter Handke is an Austrian writer. His first novel was published in 1966. The English title is ‘The Hornets’. Handke was critical of the Noble Prize. In 2014, he called for the award to be abolished. Many people were critical of Hendke winning because he had supported the Serbia cause in the breakup of Yugoslavia.
There is a lot of information here, some purely factual (dates, nationality) some regarding the reaction to the award.
The Austrian writer Peter Hendke, whose first novel ‘The Hornets’ was published in 1966, was awarded the Noble laureate in 2019 despite his previous comments calling for the abolition of the award. Furthermore, there was a lot of criticism surrounded the announcement due to Hendke’s support of the Serbians during the Yugoslavian war.
Although there was a lot of negative critical reaction, Peter Hendke, an Austrian writer whose first book was published in 1966, received the Noble Prize for Literature in 2019 in spite of the fact that he had previously called for the award to be abolished. The writer, whose first book was titled ‘The Hornets’, had additionally expressed views supportive of Serbia which caused a backlash once the winner of the award was announced.
Either write about somebody famous, somebody you admire or write something about yourself, making sure to include something positive and negative.
Next time, we can work on introductions, how to respond to IELTS questions by leading into the answer as opposed to simply answering directly.