Tagged: IELTS

Parallel structures and IELTS

😦 Modern art and music can cause conflicts in existing cultural values and can cause misinterpretation or even losing their originality in cultural identity.

If you want to pack a list of items into one sentence, then these items need to be ‘parallel’. What do I mean by items and what do I mean by parallel?

  • Items are usually noun phrases or verb phrases, although they are sometimes preposition phrases.
  • Parallel means that all of the items are the same type – all nouns, all verb phrases, etc.

Parallel nouns

Our opening example could be written using noun phrases only:

🙂 Modern art and music can cause conflicts in existing cultural values, misinterpretation, or even loss of originality in cultural identity.

..in which we have one verb – cause – and three nouns separated by commas:

  • conflicts in existing cultural values
  • misinterpretation
  • loss of originality in cultural identity

(Notice that the final noun is preceded by or even as a substitute for and.)

Parallel verbs

Alternatively the sentence could be written using verb phrases only, again separated by commas:

🙂 Modern art and music can cause conflicts in existing cultural values, lead to  misinterpretation, or even result in loss of originality in cultural identity.

Parallelism and IELTS

Accurate parallel structures can help to increase your IELTS score for GRA (they’re ‘structural’), LR (noun phrases are probably the most common item), and CC (non-parallel structures are difficult to understand).

Ha! There – I just used a parallel structure built from nouns (GRA, LR, CC)!

@eapguru

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Society and community revisited

😦 Space exploration does not improve conditions in the society.

Recently in class we were discussing the difference between society and community and it occurred to me that this might be an opportunity to contrast society and the society (see also previous post).

As you may be aware, there are so-called ‘uncontacted peoples‘ living in forests in different parts of the world. These people form communities whose social structures are very different from those found in ‘modern society‘. This is because uncontacted peoples – for whatever reason – are cut off from the rest of society.

In this case, society (uncountable, without the) refers to all of humanity. Meanwhile community (here countable) refers to a group having shared values, interests and lifestyle. Academics sometimes identify uncontacted peoples as ‘primitive societies‘ (plural countable), where each society can be counted as a separate group having unique social characteristics. Note, however, that the countable use of society tends to be restricted to the fields of anthropology, sociology, and other social sciences.

If we wish to talk about society (uncountable, without the) to mean ‘all of humanity’, then our opening sentence should probably read:

🙂 Space exploration does not improve conditions in society.

flag-of-indonesia A common error made by Indonesian students is to write the society (a particular group) when you really mean society (all of humanity).

For further analysis of society and the society try here.

@eapguru

Getting an accident

😦 I drove to town this morning and got an accident.

flag-of-indonesia This is a direct translation from Bahasa Indonesia: mendapatkan kecelakaan. In English you don’t ‘get’ an accident, you ‘have’ one.

If you say you drove to town and got an accident, it sounds as though you bought an accident, perhaps from a shop that sells accidents? Depending on the type of accident, you might need a very large shopping bag!

Admittedly the context of your sentence makes meaning clear, but if you want a high score for vocabulary in IELTS writing, try to use stronger collocation:

🙂 I drove to town this morning and had an accident.

@eapguru

Showing support(s)

😦 They have somehow shown their supports and encouraged me to pursue postgraduate study.

Right collocation (v. show, n. support), wrong form (at least in this context).

‘Support’ is one of those annoying words that can be countable and can be uncountable. In its countable form it refers to a physical support (or supports), for example the supports used to stop a building from falling down.

showing supports Bob

In its uncountable form, ‘support’ refers to a more abstract support that may be physical but can also be emotional. I think it was this second meaning that you were aiming to communicate:

🙂 They have somehow shown their support and encouraged me to pursue postgraduate study.

Again, the collocation is good: v. show, n. support!

@eapguru

Lemon Squeezy

Another song from eapguru – this time to practice the words ‘easy and ‘difficult’. See also this earlier post for further practice of these not-so-easy items!

A free handout with lyrics and tasks for students accompanies the song. The video features Indonesian EAP students preparing to study abroad. Enjoy!

@eapguru

Photos that never forget

😦 I keep my photos because they can memorise the moment.

But in order to memorise anything they would need consciousness, which is of course impossible. A photograph does not have a brain:

memorise

Only humans can memorise things, so perhaps you mean:

🙂 I keep my photos because they help me to remember the moment.

Be careful with ‘memorise‘. We don’t usually memorise ‘moments’. We generally memorise information, and this often requires continued and intensive concentration. For example if you want to remember somebody’s phone number, you must first of all memorise it. The memory of the number then stays in your head ready for the next time you need it. With a photograph, the memory might not stay in your head. Rather, you remember the moment whenever you look at the photograph. In this sense the photo acts as ‘a reminder‘.

flag-of-indonesia Indonesians would do well to read through the previous paragraph and consider the translations of ingat and its forms, and also hafal and its forms.

@eapguru

 

My yard is wide

😦 Of course I love my house. It has a yard. Actually it’s not a very wide yard.

flag-of-indonesia Here an Indonesian candidate is translating ‘luas’ (lit. ‘wide’).

In English, ‘wide’ is one of several dimensions (including ‘long’, ‘deep’, etc.), and doesn’t really communicate the idea of overall size.  If you tell me your yard is wide, I immediately want to know whether it is long. Then I might be able to decide whether it is big or small. For example, a yard might be 10m ‘wide’, but only 10cm ‘long’.

To communicate the idea of overall size – when speaking about the land next to or between buildings – it would be better to say:

🙂 Of course I love my house. It has a yard. Actually it’s not a very big yard.

More academic synonyms for ‘big’ might include ‘spacious’, ‘expansive’.

@eapguru