Know the IELTS punctuation rules and score more in your exam

The examiners of the IELTS test mark the aspirants based on spelling, coherence, organization, grammar, vocabulary, punctuation, and sentential range. Every year, many students lose marks based on the absence of inappropriate and incorrect punctuation marks in the writing module. Thus we have penned down this article to look at the various punctuation rules in the grammar and remove the chances of getting it wrong. You also have to be very careful about the punctuation marks use in the practice test during IELTS preparation. Otherwise, you will repeat those incorrect habits even in the main exam.

  1. Full Stop or Period

Full stop or period is one of the most significant punctuation rules. The aspirants use it to:

  • End a continuing sentence

For instance, Harry woke up in the morning and made a cup of coffee for himself.

  • For the abbreviations

You can use a full stop while writing a short abbreviated form of any specific word.

Like, Dr. Strange is one of the best surgeons in the town.

  1. Comma 

According to the punctuation rule, a comma gets symbolized as “,”. It is used in different contexts like

  • For separating the clauses

For example, after such a hectic tour, he decided to take a day off from his office work.

  • After the sentence before initial adverbs

Adverbs in the English language include certain positions that they conquer within a sentence. Let us take a look at those positions below.

The cat runs away quickly. In this sentence, the quick adverb appears after the verb run.

I have to submit this email by night today. Here, today’s adverb is present at the end of the sentence.

Usually, we go to bed early. Well, in this sentence, the usual adverb is present at the beginning of the sentence. It is significant that whenever an adverb appears in the sentence beginning, a comma will follow it.

Like, occasionally we go to a fancy restaurant to have dinner.

  • While stating more than two things within a sentence

Sometimes within a sentence, we list things to compartmentalize or include a boundary of the items present in the list. The students use the comma on this occasion.

For instance, I will order bread, jam, half-boiled eggs, and coffee for breakfast.

In some scenarios, we require multiple words to describe the object or the subject. In those situations, the adjective which describes the subject gets separated by the commas.

For example, I have made different desserts like cake, cupcake, pudding, and ice cream for your birthday.

  • Implementing more than one adjectives for the noun modification

For example, it was a rainy and gloomy day.

  • Indicating the number of greater than three digits 

In the numerical unit system, commas come after the third digit while counting from the left position.

Like 3,000.

  • Have to use a comma before stating a quotation 

For instance, He asked in horror, “what will we do then?”

  • Always implement conjunction and a comma while joining the two clauses. 

Like, I woke up late but still got on time for my class.

  • When you are adding the adjuncts

Adjuncts are the additional data, and commas should be present before and after them.

For instance, my brother, who is coming to town after one year, will get married this weekend.

  • When you are writing an address

For example, 33, greenhouse road.

  1. Apostrophe 

An apostrophe is used in the following conditions.

  • To indicate possession or ownership.

To indicate the possession, implement the apostrophe after the phrase ends with s.

Like, this is my mom’s watch.

  • Contractions

When you want to remove any letter from informal written English, you have to replace it with an apostrophe.

Like, let’s not get into so much detail.

  1. Question Marks

The students use question mark punctuation after asking a query. So we can say, question marks are used at the end of every interrogative sentence.

For instance, where do you live?

  1. Semicolon 

A semicolon is one of the most underused and underrated punctuation symbols used in the IELTS examination. It is implemented to join two closely relevant sentences together.

For example, yesterday I visited a museum; it has outstanding collections.


So these are the most significant punctuation rules that you have to keep in your mind during IELTS preparation and the main exam. Hopefully, now that you have gone through this article, you have a clear idea about punctuation usage and how to avoid making common mistakes and achieve a high score in the writing segment of the exam.

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