Tagged: change

When ‘become’ is not becoming

ūüė¶ Full-day school becomes an important issue because it concerns a wide range of people, especially parents.

flag-of-indonesia¬†This is the influence of Bahasa Indonesia. In English ‘become’ is used to describe a change, rather than a constant:

  • People become sleepy when they drink a lot of beer.
  • Most knives¬†become dull¬†after a while and need to be sharpened.
  • When there’s a problem, Clark Kent becomes Superman.

In each of these three cases, a change is implied, from alert to sleepy, from sharp to dull, and from newspaper journalist to superhero. They are all familiar, recurring situations, and so we use present simple tense to describe them.

If we say “Full-day school becomes an important issue,” a change is indeed implied (from non full-day school to full-day school), but since this is a unique, rather than a¬†recurring situation,¬†then we need a time frame.

If the change happened in the past, but we’re not sure exactly when, then we use present perfect tense:

ūüôā Full-day school has become¬†an important issue.

If the change is happening right now Рcontinuously Рthen we can use present continuous tense:

ūüôā Full-day school is becoming¬†an important issue.

However, if we are analysing a situation that is true now, constant and without change, as though we are looking at it under a microscope, then we use present simple tense:

ūüôā Full-day school is¬†an important issue.


Change in graphs, tables and charts


fast food 550

ūüė¶ In 2015 sales of all 3 types of fast food increased dramatically.

This is a common error. Unfortunately there is no information about change IN 2015, only FROM 2005 TO 2015:

ūüôā Between 2005 and 2015¬†sales of all 3 types of fast food increased dramatically.

If you are not specific about the time frame then your reporting of data will be inaccurate and you will receive a low score in IELTS for Task Achievement.

Before you write, decide exactly when the change happened and design a suitable time expression. These are the most commonly used:

  1. from time 1 to time 2
  2. between time 1 and time 2


The percentage (raised/rose)

ūüė¶ The percentage of Australians holding a maths, science, or computing degree raised quite significantly from 10 to 18.

It’s an easy mistake to make. There are 2 verbs with similar meanings. One is transitive (must have an object), the other intransitive (no object).

In your example you use ‘to raise‘, as in ‘raise the titanic’ (V2: raised). However, you have no object, and so what you need is¬†‘to rise‘ (V2: rose):

ūüôā The percentage of Australians holding a maths, science, or computing degree¬†rose¬†quite significantly from 10 to 18.

Let me try to make a sentence using ‘to raise’:

ūüôā A combination of improved¬†teaching methods,¬†widespread¬†availability of courses, student interest and governmental commitment¬†raised the percentage of Australians holding a maths, science, or computing degree¬†quite significantly from 10 to 18.

Possibly you were looking for a synonym for ‘to increase’ in the hope of avoiding repetition. OK, well the synonym is ‘to rise’. But¬†‘increase’ is a very effective word in Task 1 writing. To avoid repetition, use ‘increase’ both as a verb and as a noun:

  • The percentage of¬†Australians holding technical degrees increased.
  • At the same time¬†there was an increase in the percentage of women joining the¬†¬†Australian workforce.