Weigth of grammatical errors?

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Weigth of grammatical errors?

Postby Gelever » Fri Oct 16, 2015 5:11 pm

Hi, David!
Nice to see this new much-needed section!
This time I'd like to ask about grammatical mistakes test-takers make.
Is it true that different mistakes can be counted against you differently?
For example, one makes a spelling mistake in a word 'exaggeration', having written 'exeggaration' instead, or 'acquiesce', having written instead 'acquiese'.
Or for instance, a man can make some stupud mistakes like : '..my mother have been ..' or 'the Americans is coping', '..health conditions doesn't..'.
Both mistakes are grammatical, but do examiners count them equally? I mean is it possible that one 'exeggaration' mistake reduces your score from 9 to 8, whereas one 'is/are' mistake reduces your score from 9 to 5?
On a hunch, I feel it should be so, but this is nowhere clarified.
I am asking beacuse I feel many native speakers may do spelling mistakes, like 'exeggaration'. My confidence is based on that in my native language, few people would write complicated words like that correctly. So, as IELTS is the test for non-native speakers, I need to know how strict the rules regarding this kind of mistakes are? Or mistake is mistake regardless how stupid it is?
Last edited by Gelever on Mon Oct 19, 2015 6:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Weigth of grammatical errors?

Postby Teacher » Sun Oct 18, 2015 9:53 pm

Dear Gelever
Spelling errors come under Lexical Resource, so a Band 6, for example, would be "makes some errors in spelling and/or word formation, but they do not impede communication", while a Band 8 would be "produces rare errors in spelling and/or word formation".
Grammatical errors come under Grammatical Range and Accuracy and the score is split between the range of grammatical structures (from the simple to the more complex, such as a sentence beginning with a participle phrase or a conditional sentence) and the actual errors - including punctuation - in the sentence (such as using a singular subject and plural verb). In this set of descriptors, a Band 6 is "uses a mix of simple and complex sentence forms and makes some errors in grammar and punctuation but they rarely reduce communication" while a Band 8 is "uses a wide range of structures, the majority of sentences are error-free and makes only very occasional errors or inappropriacies".
To answer you question
is it possible that one 'exeggaration' mistake reduces your score from 9 to 8, whereas one 'is/are' mistake reduces your score from 9 to 5?
no, it isn't.
Does that help?
Kind regards
Teacher Jill

IELTS Examiner
IELTS Examiner
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Re: Weigth of grammatical errors?

Postby Cliff.IELTS.Examiner » Mon Jan 04, 2016 10:59 am

What Jill says is correct. I would add only that some errors are permissible, even at band 9, as long they are what is called "native speaker" errors. That means you are not allowed to show systemic errors. If you make the same kind of error repeatedly, like preposition errors, article errors or agreement errors, then you can not reach band 8, even if you make only a small number of errors. It's worth remembering too that Grammar is assessed not only on the number of errors, but more importantly, by the range and appropriateness of the sentence structures you can produce. To talk about complex ideas you must use complex sentences. To make simple points, use simple sentences. This shows that you can use different sentence structures flexibly. You must show a range of these structures, used appropriately. Even at band 9, some errors are permissible, but at the higher levels generally, errors are infrequent.

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