IELTS Writing Test And Punctuation Marks?

The use of punctuation marks is important in order to help your readers understand the meaning of the sentence. Most of the IELTS test takers do not give importance to punctuation. Three are many candidates who just do not focus on punctuating their essay or letter in IELTS. 

Consider these two sentences.

Question: What is your name? 

Answer: My name is Alena? 

Do you find something unusual? Yes, the answer My name is Alena ends with the question mark that is not correct. The use of the question mark shows that the one who is replying to the question is actually not replying but asking a question himself/herself. 

If you use punctuation marks incorrectly, it will make your essay stand out like a sore. Certainly, something will look off about the message that you really want to convey. 

And it will likely confuse people or they may not fully understand your message (what you are trying to say). 

Therefore, it is always better to check your writing before you submit. If there are any errors in punctuation, those should be corrected. Analyse well so that you can use the punctuation marks only as needed.  

But, often candidates make errors while using quotation marks, apostrophes or exclamation marks. 

Use of Quotation Marks

Do not use quotation marks when you are not quoting anything.  

Check out this example:

Country Oven offers “the best deals on Christmas cakes”!

The above sentence will be considered wrongly punctuated. Because, you have used double quotation marks to represent the information (and it is not something that is quoted).   

It is always better to write the above given sentence as follows:

Country Oven offers the best deals on Christmas cakes. 

Ok, so, you have got understood that you use quotation marks only when you quote something. But, what about highlighting or emphasizing something? Can you do this using single or double punctuation marks? Well, the answer is NO. you can’t do it. Instead, you can italicize or bold the specific part of the message that you want to highlight.   

Use of Apostrophes 

Do not put the apostrophes where they are not needed.  For example, following sentence doesn’t need an apostrophe.


  • It is all their’s. 
  • It is your’s.  
  • 10 dollar’s discount on this package. 


Here, you do not have to add the Apostrophe. You only have to make use of the plural form of the word. 


  • It is theirs. 
  • It is yours. 

Remember, use apostrophes only when you need the possessive form. 


It is her brother’s college. 

It is my father’s clinic.  

You can use apostrophes for contractions such as shouldn’t (for should not), wouldn’t (for would not), haven’t (for have not), can’t (for can not), won’t (for will not)

Do not use too many commas

You shall not make use of too many commas in your sentence.

One of the bad examples include the following:

I called Mathews, but he was sleeping, her mother picked the call, informed me that he would go to the library at 2 pm, and asked me to meet him at the library.

There are too many commas in the sentence. That is not good. It is always much better to break down a long sentence into smaller pieces of information. You can use periods to fulfil the needs.

There are no rules that can help us understand how many commas actually constitute too many but it is always better to limit their use in the sentence.

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