Determiners In English Are Important In Your IELTS Writing Band Score

 
 

Determiners in English have two main functions, referring and quantifying ( determiners in English which do the latter are also called’ quantifiers’). They include words like ‘the’, this’, ‘some’, ‘each’, and ‘many’. At first sight these seem to be basic words, as even beginner leaners are likely to know these words. However, this group of words provide an excellent example of the difference between knowing ‘what’ and knowing ‘how’. That is, while most learners know the basic meaning of most English determiners, it is much less likely that they know how to use them correctly. The best example of this of course is the definite article, which is a challenge for all learners, regardless of level. For IELTS, having a clear understanding of the difference between, for example; ‘some’ and ‘any’ can help to raise your grade for accuracy.

 

Exercises


Exercises 1 (Basic)

Add some or any to the following:


1. Can you lend me ……..money for the weekend?

2. You don’t need to go to the shop. We still have …..milk left.
3. The suspect refused to answer …. questions.

 

Exercises 2 ( More advanced)

1. The following is a Task 1 type question. It is a letter from a student to his or her professor asking for a reference. Choose the correct options, bearing in mind the need for an appropriate level of formality as well as grammatical correctness. In some cases, more than one option is possible.


I am writing to ask if you could possibly write a reference for me. I imagine that you must receive lots of / a lot of / many such requests. However, I would really appreciate a reference from yourself as I believe no one else has so much / many expertise in your field. I have attached a bit of / some information about the position. It would be really helpful if you could just write a few / only a few comments.

I apologize for any / the/ some inconvenience I am causing you but if you could spare little/ a little time to write a short reference I would be very grateful.

2. What’s the difference between:

“Any of the candidates could have done that task.” ?
“Some of the candidates could have done that task.”?

3. Is this sentence correct?

“Some people don’t like mobile phones.”


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Answers to Exercises

Exercises 1

1. ‘Can you lend me some money for the weekend?’
2. You don’t need to go to the shop. We still have some milk left.
3. The suspect refused to answer any questions.

‘Some’ is used to refer to indefinite quantities. It is not used for large quantities.

‘Any’ is used to refer to indefinite or unknown quantities, with no limit implied. It is also usually used with questions and negative forms, including statements with a negative meaning, such as with verbs like ‘refuse’.

Exercise 2 ( More advanced)


1. The following is a Task 1 type question. It is a letter from a student to his or her professor asking for a reference. Choose the correct options, bearing in mind the need for an appropriate level of formality as well as grammatical correctness. In some cases, more than one option is possible.

I am writing to ask if you could possibly write a reference for me. I imagine that you must receive lots of / a lot of / many such requests. However, I would really appreciate a reference from yourself as I believe no one else has so much / many expertise in your field. I have attached a bit of / some information about the position. It would be really helpful if you could just write a few / only a few comments.

I apologize for any / the/ some inconvenience I am causing you but if you could spare little/ a little time to write a short reference I would be very grateful.

2. What’s the difference between:


“Any of the candidates could have done that task.”
“Some of the candidates could have done that task.”
‘Any’ in the former is equivalent to ‘all’.

3. Is this sentence correct?
 

“Some people don’t like mobile phones.”
It’s correct. ‘Some’ can be used to mean ‘not all’.

 

In English there is a saying “Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves”: Similarly with language, by paying close attention to how you use basic words such as the above determiners, you may well find that you become better at detecting errors in other more ‘advanced areas.

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