Grammar for Process Diagrams – Part Three

This lesson explains another technique for improving grammar and vocabulary scores when describing process diagrams in IELTS Task One.

Advanced Sequencing – Reversing cause and effect

Reversing the cause and effect relationship is quite simple. Test-takers need to look at one of the stages and describe what needs to be done to reach that stage. In the process diagram model essays, this is done using the phrase ‘in order to + verb’. For example:

In order to remove significant amounts of dirt, the untreated water is passed into two separate tanks.

This is the same information as:

The untreated water is passed into two separate tanks, then significant amounts of dirt are removed.

The first example is a complex sentence (see clauses and complex sentences) with the effect before the cause. Using this simple trick will help to avoid an essay where the ordering seems oversimplified.

In your process diagram essays, try to put the effect before the cause once per paragraph. This will increase the complexity of the grammar used, and will impress the examiner.

Of course, there are other ways to reverse a simple order. The ones I have found to be easiest are shown below:

need _______ so

The water needs to be filtered, so it is passed into a third tank.
The worm needs a host, so it climbs to the top of the grass and waits to be eaten.
The bricks need to be fired, so they are placed in a kiln.

Before (or before something can happen)

Before the water is filtered, it must pass through the sedimentation tank.
Before the worm can enter the host, it must climb to the top of the grass and wait to be eaten.
Before the bricks are fired, they are placed in a kiln.

The paragraph below, which is taken from this model essay, shows this technique in a paragraph.

Initially, adult worms living in the intestines of a sheep lay eggs which are expelled in sheep faeces. Five days later, the worms within the eggs develop to become embryos and continue to grow. When the nematode worm reaches the first larvae stage it can hatch from the egg, but will remain in the faeces. In order to increase its body size, the worm removes its outer layer of skin and grows until it reaches the second larvae stage.

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