IELTS Writing: Short sentences


Long sentences

Some IELTS students believe they have to write like David Foster Wallace, with long, flowing sentences with different clauses and conjunctions, as they think this proves to an examiner that they have the language skills to write complex sentences, thus achieving a higher Band Score.

Now breathe. That was hard work. You may also have found it difficult to understand and follow.

There is nothing wrong with long sentences but you don't want to make it hard for the IELTS examiner to understand your writing.

Short sentences

I recommend that you keep sentences short. You can achieve a high IELTS Band Score for both writing sections with short, effective sentences. You can still link and add extra information. You just need to use full stops instead of conjunctions such as 'and'.

Keep it simple

Writing short sentences does NOT mean a lower Band Score. In fact, keeping it simple can help your writing flow and make more sense. Here's why…

Short sentences help you to:

1) Organise different points.

2) Use a range of sentence starters.

3) Reduce mistakes. With a longer sentence you are more likely to make mistakes with punctuation, subject-verb agreement, conjunctions etc. Sometimes it is better to add a full stop and start a new sentence.

4) Prevent repetition.

"Reading helps us to learn and it gives us information about the world and it can help with writing and it is a cheap or free activity."

This does not sound good. It would be far better to separate the different ideas into different sentences.

So the next time you are writing, don't worry if you are not writing long, sweeping sentences! Keep it short. Keep it simple and you can still hit that high IELTS Band Score.

This was a guest post from Joe at IELTS Champion. For more lessons, tests and tips, visit

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