Here’s why you got a score of Band 7 in the IELTS Speaking Test

What speaking ability does a score of IELTS Band 7 represent?

Watch this Speaking test sample, where Hendrik from Germany talks about ‘Famous people’. Here’s why this performance was given a Band 7:

This candidate can maintain the flow of speech without noticeable effort and there is no loss of coherence. He uses a variety of linking words and markers (I would say; that’s a good question; as I said; as long as), but he overuses the filler (yeah) and sometimes referencing is inaccurate (for the one or the other reasons).

He uses a wide range of vocabulary, including some less common and idiomatic items and effective collocation (easy to blame; global warming; financial crisis; he stands for something; can’t stand the pressure). However, sometimes he lacks precision in his choice of words and expressions (Greek instead of ‘Greece’; on the other side of the lake; environmentally people/things; a big branch).

His grammar displays a good range of both simple and complex structures. Many of his sentences are error-free but he makes some mistakes in subject/verb agreement (people who wants; the people who admires him), articles (the normal person) and relative pronouns (everything what happens).

His pronunciation is clear and easy to follow. He uses both sentence stress and intonation effectively to convey meaning (you can’t blame a soccer player but it’s easy to blame the politicians). He does have a noticeable accent, however, and his mispronunciation of a few words results in occasional loss of clarity (wole model for ‘role model’; wong for ‘wrong’; serf the planet for ‘serve the planet’).

What speaking ability does a score of IELTS Band 7 represent?

Watch this Speaking test sample, where Alexandra from Colombia talks about ‘Famous people’. Here’s why this performance was given a Band 7:

The test taker speaks quite fluently and gives appropriate and extended responses. She makes good use of a range of markers and linking words (first; actually; I think so; for example; in a lot of ways; that’s why). There is some hesitation, but it is mainly content-related as she seeks to clarify her ideas before expressing them. Coherence is not affected by these slight pauses.

Vocabulary is a strong feature of her performance and she uses a wide range, including some less common, idiomatic and colloquial items (lose your privacy; selling their soul to the devil; getting dumped; it depends on the target; we need a rest from the serious stuff). However, there are also a few examples of error and inappropriate word use (a small news; end of the relax evening; free dresses).

Her grammar displays a good range of both simple and complex structures that are used flexibly and a number of her sentences are error-free. However, there are some noticeable errors in areas such as articles, prepositions, subject/verb agreement and verb tense (if someone recognise you; if people follows; you will like them fail; it won’t be happen like this).

Although she has a noticeable accent, her pronunciation is generally clear and easy to follow. Stress and intonation are used well to enhance meaning (You don’t have to pay for a lot of stuff. They will give free dresses and free stays in the hotels). She has a tendency to use syllable-timing, which prevents her sustaining appropriate rhythm over longer utterances. She also has occasional problems with sounds (jung for ‘young’), but this has only minimal effect on intelligibility.

[Source: http://www.youtube.com/IELTSofficial ]

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See also:

Here’s why you got a score of Band 5 in the IELTS Speaking Test
Here’s why you got a score of Band 5.5 in the IELTS Speaking Test
Here’s why you got a score of Band 6 in the IELTS Speaking Test
Here’s why you got a score of Band 7.5 in the IELTS Speaking Test
Here’s why you got a score of Band 8 in the IELTS Speaking Test
Here’s why you got a score of Band 8.5 in the IELTS Speaking Test
Here’s why you got a score of Band 9 in the IELTS Speaking Test

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Here’s why you got a score of Band 6 in the IELTS Speaking Test

What speaking ability does a score of IELTS Band 6 represent?

Watch this Speaking test sample, where Stephen from China talks about ‘Hobbies’. Here’s why this performance was given a Band 6:

This test taker is willing to speak at length but there are moments when coherence is lost as a result of repetition, self-correction and hesitation and he is unable to answer the question about why people need a hobby. He is able to use a variety of markers to link his ideas (first of all; I guess; like; it depends; at least; so), although these are not always used appropriately. Limitations in his performance are evident when he falls back on fillers such as how to say; how do you say.

He has a wide enough vocabulary to discuss topics at length (China opening up to the world; cut down the working shifts; more work opportunities), but while he uses some natural colloquial expressions (some other guys; that’s sweet), there are also some collocation errors (broaden your friendship; kill the spare time; in the past times; make more troubles). These rarely cause comprehension problems.

He produces a mix of short and complex sentence forms with a variety of grammatical structures. However, overall his grammatical control is variable and errors recur (you are make trouble to the society; people like spend; in the past …people work more … there is a period; may go travel round; we have also get), although these do not impede communication.

His pronunciation is generally clear and he divides the flow of his speech into meaningful word groups with good use of stress and intonation (normally we work eight hours a day, five days a week – that’s forty hours in total). Generally he can be understood, but occasionally some words are hard to catch because of mispronunciation of sounds (bose for ‘both’; yoursels for ‘yourself’; cupper years for ‘couple of years’; zen for ‘then’; word for ‘world’).

What speaking ability does a score of IELTS Band 6 represent?

Watch this Speaking test sample, where Xin from China talks about ‘Famous people’. Here’s why this performance was given a Band 6:

This candidate is able to give extended responses. He uses a range of markers (you mean; you know; it’s really a hard question; in this way) and other cohesive features, such as referencing, but he uses only a narrow range of linking words (so; because). He repeats himself quite a lot and self-corrects, but coherence is only occasionally threatened.

He has a wide enough vocabulary to discuss topics at length and his ideas and opinions are quite clearly conveyed (change the world; focus on the real things; use reputation to gain a lot of profit). Vocabulary is sometimes inappropriate but meaning can be worked out from the context (have a silence instead of ‘have privacy’; signature instead of ‘autograph’; act well instead of ‘behave well’).

He produces a mix of simple and complex structures though his attempts at longer, more complex sentence forms tend to contain errors. Mistakes in verb tenses, subject/verb agreement and prepositions are quite frequent, but these do not impede communication.

His pronunciation is generally clear and there is some effective use of stress and intonation. However, his speech is mainly syllable-timed, so his rhythm is rather mechanical. Some words are mispronounced (uerally for ‘usually’) or are wrongly stressed (profit). This reduces clarity at times, but understanding generally requires little effort.

What speaking ability does a score of IELTS Band 6 represent?

Watch this Speaking test sample, where Gabriel from Brazil talks about ‘Hobbies’. Here’s why this performance was given a Band 6:

This test taker is able to keep going and produce answers of sufficient length, but his performance is characterised by hesitation, repetition and self-correction. This limits his fluency and causes some loss of coherence but, overall, he is not hard to follow as he uses linking words and markers quite effectively (first; because; for example).

His vocabulary is wide enough to deal with the topics at some length (way to escape; driving over the limit; day-today activities; you need to pay your bills), but there is a lack of flexibility. In spite of some inaccurate word choices and expressions, he is generally able to express his ideas and opinions sufficiently, if not very effectively (they need to be pleasure; forget what’s bad; we need to have other thing to be relax).

He produces a mix of short and complex sentence forms and a variety of structures, but with limited flexibility. Errors occur with word order, articles, redundant subject pronouns or subject omission, but these do not impede communication (they need always have something to do; is something that you don’t do always; if you spend too much time doing hobby there’s something wrong; if you are doing a lot of hobby; if you do always everything).

The test taker uses a range of pronunciation features but with mixed control. Rhythm is sometimes affected by his hesitation and some lapses into syllable-timing. Not all sounds are well articulated and he occasionally omits syllables (activit(ie)s).

Although these negative features reduce clarity at times, he can generally be understood throughout.

What speaking ability does a score of IELTS Band 6 represent?

Watch this Speaking test sample, where Li from China talks about ‘Hobbies’. Here’s why this performance was given a Band 6:

This test taker is able to keep going and is willing to give long answers, but coherence is occasionally lost through hesitation while she searches for words and ideas.

She uses a good range of connecting words and markers (actually; in this way; I think the most important reason; as an example; as we know). Vocabulary is the strongest feature of her performance. She is able to discuss topics at length and demonstrates some awareness of style and collocation (contemporary society; casual activities; temporarily forget; a moment just for yourself; time and resources). While she does make errors, these do not interfere with communication (for your healthy).

Her grammatical control is less strong, although she does produce some complex structures, such as subordinate clauses, accurately. Her control of verb tenses is variable and she has recurring difficulty with subject/verb agreement (you shouldn’t to be too addict; they’re too focusing on; he need to). Despite these errors, her meaning is usually clear.

She uses a range of pronunciation features but with variable control. Her rhythm is at times affected by syllable-timing but stress and intonation are used to some good effect (our life is not just for working – we should enjoy our lives as well). Some individual words and sounds are mispronounced, particularly ‘th’, but this has no significant impact on intelligibility and she can generally be understood without effort.

[Source: http://www.youtube.com/IELTSofficial ]

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See also:

Here’s why you got a score of Band 5 in the IELTS Speaking Test
Here’s why you got a score of Band 5.5 in the IELTS Speaking Test
Here’s why you got a score of Band 7 in the IELTS Speaking Test
Here’s why you got a score of Band 7.5 in the IELTS Speaking Test
Here’s why you got a score of Band 8 in the IELTS Speaking Test
Here’s why you got a score of Band 8.5 in the IELTS Speaking Test
Here’s why you got a score of Band 9 in the IELTS Speaking Test

Here’s why you got a score of Band 5.5 in the IELTS Speaking Test

What speaking ability does a score of IELTS Band 5.5 represent?

Watch this Speaking test sample, where Balwinder from India talks about ‘Famous people’. Here’s why this performance was given a Band 5.5:

This test taker is willing to speak at length but he loses coherence at times owing to repetition and self-correction, e.g. when comparing famous people in the present and in the past. He uses a range of markers, linking words and phrases (hopefully; like; actually; if we can talk about; as well; that’s why), but not always appropriately. Coherence is also affected by problems with word order.

Although he has a wide enough vocabulary to discuss topics at length, he often confuses word classes (give you famous instead of ‘give you fame’; doing social workers instead of ‘doing social work’). Despite this, his meaning usually comes through.

The grammatical aspect of his performance is affected by poor control of word order, which sometimes causes comprehension problems. He uses both simple and complex sentence forms but structures frequently contain error (it’s depend; there will always be welcome of you; this is one reason can be).

He can produce some acceptable features of pronunciation but overall rhythm is affected by his rapid speech rate. Intonation is generally too flat, apart from rising pitch at the end of sentences, which is not always helpful. This, combined with phonemic problems (vork for ‘work’; vell for ‘well’; evryting for ‘everything’), makes some patches of speech hard to follow.

What speaking ability does a score of IELTS Band 5.5 represent?

Watch this Speaking test sample, where Ali from Saudi Arabia talks about ‘Famous people’. Here’s why this performance was given a Band 5.5:

This test taker is willing to speak at length but his speech is not always coherent. He uses a variety of linking words and markers (it’s possible that; while; especially;) but maybe is overused.

He uses a range of vocabulary, including a few less common items, with some awareness of collocation (internet website; a specific group; local society; easy come, easy go).

His meaning is usually clear despite some inappropriate vocabulary use (they are interesting about; the another people) and he is able to paraphrase (touch the feeling of the people).

Grammar is his weakest feature. Basic sentence forms are fairly well controlled for accuracy and he produces some complex structures, but errors in areas such as articles, pronouns and verb tenses are frequent and sometimes impede communication (people whose they can; know them since when we were a child; everybody will forgot them; read it only which is enjoyable to them).

He uses a range of pronunciation features. He uses pausing quite effectively to break up the flow of speech into word groups and there are some good examples of the use of intonation and both emphatic and contrastive stress (sports stars or maybe movie stars; the young ones; create or produce). However, there are a few problems with syllable stress (colleagues; interesting), and some sounds are poorly formed, with a redundant ‘s’ added to the end of some words (buts; in the futures). Generally, he can be understood without much effort.

[Source: http://www.youtube.com/IELTSofficial ]

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See also:

Here’s why you got a score of Band 5 in the IELTS Speaking Test
Here’s why you got a score of Band 6 in the IELTS Speaking Test
Here’s why you got a score of Band 7 in the IELTS Speaking Test
Here’s why you got a score of Band 7.5 in the IELTS Speaking Test
Here’s why you got a score of Band 8 in the IELTS Speaking Test
Here’s why you got a score of Band 8.5 in the IELTS Speaking Test
Here’s why you got a score of Band 9 in the IELTS Speaking Test

Here’s why you got a score of Band 5 in the IELTS Speaking Test

What speaking ability does a score of IELTS Band 5 represent?

Watch this Speaking test sample, where Tina from Vietnam talks about ‘An interest or hobby you enjoy’. Here’s why this performance was given a Band 5:

This candidate is able to maintain the flow of speech for most of the time but there are hesitations as well as some repetition and self-correction. This, together the fact that she describes several interests rather than one interest, makes her hard to follow at times and leads to some loss of coherence (before when I live in Vietnam I often go to … church and or some association … er … I can … er … I often ask my friend to … er … to contribute … er … er … and give a hand to help the poor people … or the old people because I think the old people are so … er … my … is look like my grandparents so I want to take good care for them). She can use markers accurately but within a narrow range (first; so; because; as well; in the future).

Her rather limited range of vocabulary is just adequate for this part of the test. She manages to talk at some length about these familiar topics and produces some good items (widen my knowledge; to overcome or try to get over the problem; contribute; take good care). She makes some errors in usage (do volunteers).

She uses a narrow range of sentence patterns, but there are a few instances of ‘if’ and ‘when’ clauses. She produces basic structures with reasonable accuracy but verb tense errors and omissions are frequent (I can shopping; before when I live in Vietnam I often go … ; in picnic; I enjoy with it).

She has quite a strong accent with a number of poorly formed sounds and systematic omission of word endings (lee a han for ‘lend a hand’). Rhythm is often syllable-timed and utterances are sometimes delivered too rapidly, which causes some difficulty for the listener.

[Source: http://www.youtube.com/IELTSofficial ]

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See also:

Here’s why you got a score of Band 5.5 in the IELTS Speaking Test
Here’s why you got a score of Band 6 in the IELTS Speaking Test
Here’s why you got a score of Band 7 in the IELTS Speaking Test
Here’s why you got a score of Band 7.5 in the IELTS Speaking Test
Here’s why you got a score of Band 8 in the IELTS Speaking Test
Here’s why you got a score of Band 8.5 in the IELTS Speaking Test
Here’s why you got a score of Band 9 in the IELTS Speaking Test

Types of sentences

Transcript:

There are different types of sentences. And we’re going to briefly go through them. These are more for your information than anything else. But you can use simple sentences, compound sentences, complex sentences, or compound-complex sentences. And I’m going to give a brief description of all of these.

So, a simple sentence is just an independent clause. It’s just one independent clause that stands by itself. A compound sentence is where you have more than one independent clause together. You might have, “He performed the research, and he won an award for his strong work.” You have two complete sentences, two independent clauses combined together, and that is a compound sentence.

Complex means that you have one independent clause and one or more dependent clauses in the sentence. So we have the sentence “Although he had never been a good student in high school, he graduated from university summa cum laude.” To make up the complex sentence, we have our independent clause, “he graduated from university summa cum laude,” and we have our dependent clause, “Although he had never been a good student in high school.”

Compound-complex is where you have two or more independent clauses and one or more dependent clauses. So here we are giving you examples of how you can combine your phrases and clauses, specifically our clauses together, to create different varieties of sentences.

It’s not necessarily important that you can label which is a compound sentence or which is a complex sentence. But it is important to know that you can combine clauses and phrases in these ways so that you can use these different types of sentences in your writing to be as clear as possible and vary your writing in a way that makes it engaging for your reader.

[Source: Walden University. https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/c.php?g=465757&p=3491588 ]

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See also:

Simple Sentences
Compound Sentences
Complex Sentences
Combining Sentences
Common errors in structuring sentences
 

 

How to engage your reader with academic writing?

1. What does it mean to engage your reader?

Transcript:

So first off, we just want to talk about the word “engage.” What does the word “engage” even mean? And, according to Merriam-Webster here, it’s to really grab the attention, hold the attention of, attract or hold by influence or power. And to induce or participate.

I know a lot of times when we talk about writing in an academic sense, we talk about it as a conversation, because really, writing is a form of communication, and communication goes two ways. So you want to be able to invite your readers to participate with you in this academic journey, whether that’s a course paper or a dissertation.

[Source: Walden University. https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/c.php?g=465757&p=3307000 ]

2. Syntax

Transcript:

The first example is with syntax. This is the way that words are put together to form a sentence. So oftentimes, I will see repetitive syntax in student writing because, you know, a student maybe is very comfortable in one style of sentence writing, and so that’s what the whole paper ends up being. But if you think about this example, if I were telling you a story: I went to the store. I bought eggs. I got in my car. I drove home. I made dinner.”

Okay, that gets a little monotonous, a little burdensome. As a reader, a listener, rather than saying that, I could simply say, “I went to the store and bought eggs because I had to make dinner,” or something along those lines. I can combine some of those sentences and change the syntax, the way that the words and the grammar is arranged, to keep my reader interested.

[Source: Walden University. https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/c.php?g=465757&p=3307347 ]

3. Sentence Structure

Transcript:

The next tool that you have is your sentence structure. And this is sort of related to the syntax. But the sentence structure really refers to the way that you group the words in your sentences. So, if you remember from, you know, either grammar school or you may have seen previous webinars where we’ve talked about phrases and clauses—phrases and clauses are kind of those grammar geek terms that just talk about the way words are combined, and they’re groups of words in a sentence. So they’re groups of words that work together in a sentence. And each sentence is made up of a combination of these phrases and clauses.

So if we use these, the nice thing about phrases and clauses is that you can intermix them and change the order of them to, again, vary the way that your sentence is portrayed to the reader. So let’s look at a few examples here. If you look at the examples, we have the examples:

  • Teachers create lesson plans.
  • Teachers revise lesson plans.
  • Students benefit from good teachers.
  • Students learn more from good teachers.

Okay, each of these are kind of an individual group of words together. If we combine them, though, we can have some sentences that have a mix of these phrases and clauses.

Teachers are responsible for creating and revising lesson plans. When teachers do this well, students benefit in many ways. One benefit can be increased learning.

Especially in the second example there—when teachers do this well, comma, students benefit in many ways—this is a great example of where there are a couple phrases and clauses mixed together, and one comes before the other that maybe wouldn’t always come in that order. So the way that you mix those up, and match—mix and match—those phrases and clauses, really gives a sense of variety and a sense of variation for your reader. So again, they are more engaged in your writing.

Take a look at the examples on this page. I’m going to read the last two, simply because I want to show you how these use the exact same words but in a different order. So the middle example here says, “Because counseling can be emotionally draining,”—that’s one chunk—“counselors must ensure that they take care of themselves”—that’s another chunk—“before they will be able to take care of their patients”—that’s another chunk. Ok, so we have those three groups of words working together.

If you look at the next example, it takes those three groups and puts them in a different order. “Counselors must ensure they take care of themselves [pause] because counseling can be emotionally draining [pause] before they will be able to take care of their patients.” We have exactly the same words; there was no variation in words whatsoever, but there was a variation in the way that the sentence was ordered and the way that those groups of words showed up in the sentence. So again, there’s lots of variation, lots of ways you can vary your sentences to better engage your readers.

[Source: Walden University. https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/c.php?g=465757&p=3307369 ]

4. Punctuation

Transcript:

Punctuation can be used, really, to just, again, give some difference in sentence structure and help you use those other two tools, the syntax and the sentence structure, and then still show different relationships between the ideas. So whether you use a semicolon or a period or a comma, they show different things.

So a semicolon is going to show two related ideas that are complete sentences. A comma is going to, you know, maybe separate items in a list or maybe separate, if it’s used with an and, maybe separate two complete sentences. If you have two commas, you’re making that phrase kind of like a “by the way” side note. So for example, the third one down here, we have, “Managers, responsible for accurate and effective communication, must tell employees about organizational changes.” That internal part—“responsible for accurate and effective communication”—that’s sort of like a side note, so it’s set off with those commas. And the last example uses a colon to kind of set off a list or an important or emphatic part of the sentence. These can definitely help you to vary the structure and to engage your reader in a different way.

I think you probably are familiar with, you know, the use of an exclamation point versus a period. If you get an e-mail from your boss that says, “Great job!” with an exclamation point, that makes you feel pretty good. If you get an e-mail from someone that just says, “Great job, period,” you don’t know whether they are enthusiastic or sarcastic…. it’s difficult to know, right. So punctuation makes a big difference in how you engage your readers.

[Source: Walden University. https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/c.php?g=465757&p=3307620 ]

5. Transitions

Transcript:

Using transitions can really help to engage your readers and keep them connected to your writing because without transitions, it can be very abrupt to jump from one topic to another. And transitions actually help to show relationships between your ideas. So, some of the different types of transitions might be transitions that show time frames; they might show relationships that are cause and effect; they might be transitions that show addition; or they might be some that show how ideas contrast with one another.

So, for example, in the category of time, there are the words: then, next, after, and so on. Cause and effect might be: because or consequently. In the category of addition, you might say: also, similarly. And then, if you had a category of contrasting, you might say: however or but. So you can see how these show different relationships.

The thing with transitions is if you’re going to use them, and especially if you’re going to use transitional phrases or words, use them sparingly and carefully because you really do want to make sure that you are accurately conveying the relationships that they show. So a lot of times, you can tell that, you know, a good transition also uses repeated words or phrases. And now I know I just told you, don’t use extra repetition if it’s not necessary. But sometimes a way to keep the reader engaged and keep the thought and concept flowing is to repeat just a word or a phrase that’s a keyword or phrase that helps the reader continue moving on. So for example here, we have:

A key danger for patients in hospitals are falls. Falls can result in more injuries that pose a threat to patient health.

Notice the word falls is repeated but kind of necessary to keep the reader moving forward. And also punctuation can help to keep the reader moving within the direction of the paper. Instead of using a period, for example, which is a little more abrupt, you might consider using a semicolon, which indicates that you have two complete sentences but the ideas are related to one another.

[Source: Walden University. https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/c.php?g=465757&p=3313391 ]

Examples of Transitions

Transcript:

So in this example paragraph there are no clear transitions.

I’m going to read it aloud, and I’d like you to follow along and really listen to how this sounds and the choppiness and the abruptness of these sentences.

“There’s a problem within public schools today regarding meeting no child left behind, NCLB legislation. NCLB mandates that all children achieve benchmark levels for the subject areas of reading and mathematics. Standardized test scores typically do not reflect successful attainment. The cause is the traditional teaching practice toward a single approach to learning, instead of the differentiated introduction practice of teaching toward a variety of modalities. Tomlinson, 2001, page two. Traditional instruction has not worked at all for students. The focus of this study is to explore how teachers can best make use of differentiated instruction to help children learn.”

So here is an example. This is actually fairly well written. The ideas seem clear, it seems like it’s well-presented in that it’s not confusing. The grammar is clear. But there’s really no transition. So it’s sort of list-like.

There’s a problem within the schools. NCLB mandates there. Standardized test scores do not reflect this. The cause is this. Traditional instruction has not worked. So you can see, it kind of feels more like a list than a cohesive paragraph or cohesive group.

So if we look at the next example, though, we’ve added a few transitions. And these help to combine the ideas, make the work flow a little and throw out the list-like feeling.

So we have, “within public schools there’s a problem. Traditionally, NCLB mandates that all students—”Again, we have kind of a repeated word. “All students achieve benchmark levels. However, standardized test scores show that typically students do not achieve these benchmarks.”

So again, we’re repeating “benchmarks” now, too. “The cause for specific lack of achievement is the traditional teaching practice; thus far, traditional instruction has not worked for all students because of this lack of achievement.”

So you can see, all of these ideas are kind of being put together. Their relationship is a little bit clearer with words like: “traditionally,” “however,” “thus far,” “because of.” And then you have these repeated words, “all students,” “benchmarks,” “lack of achievement.”

So because these are all put together in this paragraph, as a reader, it’s easier for me to follow. And I don’t feel like there is so much of an abrupt stop between each idea.

[Source: Walden University. https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/c.php?g=465757&p=3313343 ]

6. Avoid Wordiness and Redundancy

Transcript:

Don’t be overly wordy. You don’t need to use twice as many words to say the same thing if a smaller number of words is going to be sufficient. So beware, as you’re writing. I think a lot of times when we think about academic writing, we think, “I have to sound smart. I have to put lots of words in there. I have oh, to put lots of big words in there.” That’s not always the case.

When you want to really engage your reader, you want to sound as if you know what you’re talking about most definitely, and you want to be evidence-based and research-based if you’re doing your research project. But you can do that in a very direct and concise way. You don’t have to use extra words.

So we have a few examples here.

One thing that comes up with wordiness, a lot, are unnecessary words like “very” and “really.” These not only make your writing wordy, but they also kind of give an emotional feel to your writing, and so you want to avoid, you know, putting any kind of emotion like that into your writing. While you might be passionate about the subject, you still want to maintain an objective, authorial distance as the author of the work.

So instead of saying, “the teachers were very well informed” you could say “the teachers were well informed as illustrated by the lengthy discussion they had about the English Language Learners.” Here we know why they were well informed. It may even have more words to describe something, but it’s –it’s much more precise, and specific.

So instead of saying, “the manager really understood his employees.” You could say “the manager understood his employees in depth, valuing them as people as well as employees.” So again, you know, you may actually use more words to be more specific, and that’s okay. But it’s definitely to your benefit to avoid any unnecessary words. And very and really are often used in that way.

Also circumlocution is another word that goes into wordiness. Talking about wordiness, that’s really wordy! It’s really another way to say that you’re talking around the point instead of getting to it.

So in the example here, instead of saying that, “the woman was the patient, had lived 30 years, and was located in an area outside of New York City but not far away.” You could simply say, “the female patient was 30 years old and lived in a New York City suburb.” You can see there’s a difference here. Instead of talking around the idea, just saying it directly is always the best way to go. It avoids sort of that circular reasoning and those roundabout explanations.

Redundancy is another thing that happens when we think about wordiness. And redundancy means unnecessary repetition. If you don’t need to repeat it, don’t. There’s no need for it. So instead of repeating information, even if it’s in the next sentence, it’s just a good idea to be specific and try to group your information together in a way that all of the information related to a certain topic is all in one place. And then you don’t have to go back and repeat unnecessarily.

So you can see an example of this here. Where we talk about, it says, “to be a counselor, it is important to have good listening skills for counseling patients. As good listening skills for counseling patients leads to better understanding of a patient, which, as a counselor, is the entire purpose of a counseling session.”

You can see even in that example, the word “counselor,” “listening skills,” “good listening,” “good counseling” are repeated multiple times. And as a reader, I find that very difficult to articulate, even just reading it out loud.

So, again, being precise and specific will help there.

[Source: Walden University. https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/c.php?g=465757&p=3307657 ]

7. Avoid Casual Language

Transcript:

Casual language. Now, I think a lot of times when we enter into the realm of academia, when we start to write in an academic way, it becomes challenging for us as writers because we want to write how we speak. And that’s actually not a good way to write. Because we are writing for different audiences, different, what we would consider discourse communities, you know, writing is a very different kind of communication than speaking is.

So when we’re writing in the academic audience or for an academic audience, rather, we want to be sure that we are using academic tone and avoiding that conversational language.

So things like, metaphors, things that are considered clichés or maybe idioms, you know, those are things that we want to avoid because they can’t always be translated to readers that maybe are not familiar culturally with the language. And it might even just confuse some readers, even, you know, native readers who are strong readers, might just be confused by the use of language.

So when I think of clichés and idioms, I think of an experience that I actually had where someone asked me in — from another culture – asked me if I had fallen out of a sugar sack as a child, and I had no idea what she was saying. And I came to find out that it was — it was a cliché for, you know, an idiom for, you are a very sweet person. So it can be very confusing as a reader to read those kinds of things in your writing.

So instead of saying “the doors were closed to advancement,” you can actually say “there was no way to advance.” Or instead of “it was a slippery slope to failure.” You know, you could say “failure occurred easily.”

And so avoiding those kind of more metaphorical, more cliché phrases will definitely help to keep your readers engaged because they won’t be confused. And I think it’s — it’s a little bit different than what we would expect, because when we think of engaging writing, we don’t think, “I have to be creative; I have to really, you know, draw my readers in with my creativity,” but you can do that while still staying within the bounds of the rules and standards of academic writing. And that’s where the syntax and the style, and the punctuation and sentence structure all kind of work together.

[Source: Walden University.  https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/c.php?g=465757&p=3313280 ]

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Modifiers, Misplaced Modifiers, Dangling Modifiers

Transcript:

This part of speech, this word might be a little bit unfamiliar. But basically all a modifier is, is a word that gives information about another word.There are two main types of modifiers. Adjectives, which describe nouns, so you can see here, [reading from the slide], “Cathy is the company’s first female CEO,”

The word “female” describes the word “CEO”, so this is an adjective. And then adverbs, which describe verbs, adjectives, or other words. So for example, [reading from the slide], “Cathy recently accepted the CEO position.”

When did she accept it? “Recently.” She is “very eager.”

How eager is she? “very.” [Reading from the slide again], “To meet her staff and is meeting on Monday with all the managers.” And interestingly, adverbs can be more than one word. As you can see here, “on Monday.”

This phrase explains when she is meeting. It actually modifies the word “meeting”, so it counts as an adverb. I’m not going to spend too much time on modifiers, but I do want to talk about one very common error that I see in student papers. Just as you always want to be clear what noun your pronouns refer to, you always want to be clear what your modifiers are modifying. So let’s look at this example down here in this little tip box. [Reading from the slide]: “As a nurse, patients should be my main concern.” Now, the way this sentence is set up, it makes it look as though “patients” is the word being modified.

Now, the problem with that is patients are not a nurse, right? It’s a little bit confusing, so this is what’s called a misplaced modifier. So you just wanted to adjust the sentence a little bit to make it clear what word this phrase is actually modifying.

[Reading from the slide]: “As a nurse, I should mainly be concerned about patients.”

[Source: Walden University. https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/c.php?g=465757&p=3437397 ]

Misplaced Modifiers

Transcript:

When a modifier is not modifying the correct word, we would call that a misplaced modifier. So, here the original sentence is “The study that was extremely difficult was eventually published by a famous researcher.” This sentence correctly uses the modifier. In this sentence, the phrase “that was extremely difficult” is describing “the study”, and it’s important to the meaning of the sentence, which is why there are no commas around it–it’s necessary to fully understand the sentence. If those two parts of the sentence get separated, then the sentence might be a little bit confusing and may have a different meaning, so our second sentence is an example of a misplaced modifier.

So in the second example, “The study was eventually published by a famous researcher that was extremely difficult,” now it sounds like the researcher was extremely difficult and that’s not the original intention of the sentence because really it’s the study that was difficult, so this sentence has a misplaced modifier.

So you do have to be very careful when you’re using descriptive phrases and clauses that it is clear what they are describing in the sentence, or you may unintentionally be calling a researcher very difficult. So be sure to watch for misplaced modifiers, which can cause confusion in your sentences.

[Source: Walden University. https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/c.php?g=465757&p=3437958 ]

Dangling Modifiers

Transcript:

Dangling modifiers are where the main part of a description is disconnected from the description because the description is actually at the very beginning of the sentence. So, you may have a descriptive clause or phrase usually as an introduction and it’s set off by a comma, but then the very next word should be the main part of the description that is attached to it.

So, an example of a dangling modifier, where it’s not done correctly, is the following: “Racing across the finish line, her shoe fell off.” Well, who or what is racing across the finish line? Whoever that is, the very next word after that comma, after that phrase “Racing across the finish line,” should be the main part of that description. So, is her shoe racing across the finish line? It sounds like her shoes are just racing by themselves. That’s not quite what we want to communicate. The revision would be “Racing across the finish line, she lost her shoe” because “she” is the one that is racing across the finish line.

Dangling modifiers can be really entertaining if they’re done wrong, but they can be very misleading as far as communicating your ideas to your reader. So you want to be careful when you’re using descriptions that the main idea is always attached, even if it comes after the description, it needs to be right next to that descriptive phrase or clause.

[Source: Walden University. https://academicguides.waldenu.edu/c.php?g=465757&p=3437978 ]

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