What are Punctuations? How Important are they in the IELTS test?

IELTS test

There are several aspects in the English language which are essential while you are preparing for the IELTS test.  One of them is use the effective use of punctuation marks. In this short article, let us understand why it is so important to use these punctuations in the test and what will happen if they are not used appropriately.

First of all, it is vital to know that the IELTS test is divided into four parts.

1. Listening

2. Reading

3. Writing

4. Speaking

Among these tests, the importance of punctuations is mainly for the writing test, as this part of the test is for assessing how well you can express your ideas in the form of a written script.

The writing test is different for the IELTS academic test and the IELTS general training test. However,  the role of punctuations and their use in the appropriate context is a very important aspect of the test. It is thus understood that learning about these small symbols is very crucial for you while you are preparing for the IELTS test.

There are four factors that are taken into consideration when the score is calculated for the writing task 1 and writing task 2. These are called band descriptors.

The band descriptors are:

1. Task achievement (task response for task 2).

2. Coherence and cohesion

3. Lexical resource

4. Grammatical range and accuracy.

Among these factors,  the use of punctuation marks is described under the band descriptor called grammatical range and accuracy. Now,  let us understand the full information about punctuations.

What are the different types of punctuations?

There are differences punctuations which are very useful for the IELTS test.

1. Comma

2. Apostrophe

3. Exclamation point or exclamation mark

4. Hyphen

5. Circular brackets

6. Square brackets

7. Colon

8. Semi colon

9. Full stop or period

10. Question mark

11. Quotation marks.

1.Comma and its uses: A comma indicates that a sentence is still incomplete and something should be added before it is complete.  A comma indicates the sentence continuity.  In the IELTS test, a comma is used

a. To join two independent clauses when a compound sentence is formed.

b. To join a dependent clause with an independent clause when a complex sentence is formed.

c. To indicate that there are two adjectives in a sentence.  These are called co-relative adjectives.

d. To indicate a space between the name of the city and the name of the state when you are writing an answer in the IELTS listening test.

e. To indicate the salutation in a letter in the IELTS general training test.

f. To indicate that you are signing off the letter.

g. To join a complex sentence with a compound sentence when you form the complex – compound sentence.

h. When you are reading a passage,  sometimes you will see that a comma is used to separate the information that is required from the information that ia not essential for getting the answer.

2. Full stop : This is also called a period.  This is yet another punctuation symbol that is very important in the IELTS test.  There are two main purposes of using a full stop.

A.  To show that the sentence is complete, and hence it is going to end.  Generally,  in the writing test,  you have to use a variety of sentence structures,  like simple sentences,  compound sentences,  complex sentences,  conditional sentences,  etc.  Use a full stop after all these sentences.

B.  This is mainly for the general training test takers.  The writing task 1 in the general training test is a letter.  When you are addressing the other person in a respectful manner, then three types of salutations are possible. A. Mr.   B. Ms.  C.  Miss.

If you observe carefully, a full stop has been used after these words.

3. Question mark: There is one major purpose of a question mark. It is used to set off a direct question. Any sentence that ends in a question mark is called an interrogative sentence.

4. Semicolon: It is indicated by the symbol  ; . This is a very helpful punctuation mark in the IELTS test.  It contains a comma and a full stop which are joined together. This serves a major function in the IELTS test. A semicolon is used to join two sentences which are closely linked with each other.  In such cases,  a semicolon is a much better choice of punctuations than a full stop.

5. Colon: This punctuation symbol is majorly used when indicating that there are many items to be listed.  It is also used after a side heading has been written in a sentence. A colon can also be used in the IELTS listening test while indicating that there is a particular time mentioned in the audio.

6. Apostrophe : This punctuation mark is usually not properly understood by the candidates. An apostrophe is used

a.  To show that something belongs to someone or it means that something is a property or a possession of a person or a thing.

b.  An apostrophe has another use as well. It is used to join two words in to one word. These are known as word contractions. Example : isn’t,  doesn’t,  etc.

7. Explanation point: This punctuation mark is generally used to express one’s emotions or feelings.  This punctuation is particularly essential when an informal letter is written in the IELTS general training test. It plays a vital role in the IELTS speaking test as well.

8. Brackets : These brackets are if various types, like the square brackets,  circular brackets,  etc.  Generally,  circular brackets are used frequently in the IELTS test.  These are used to give by additional information pertaining to a topic.  Brackets also indicate the numerical form of a word. Example: one hundred and seventy two (172).

9. Hyphen: A hyphen is indicated by the symbol -. It is used to join two words which are inter related to each other.  In the IELTS test,  words containing a hyphen are counted as a single word.

This is a brief description of all the punctuations, and how they have to be used appropriately in the IELTS test.


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