Look at this simple real-life comparison:
- Yesterday Fiona drank 4 cups of tea and Sam drank 2 cups of tea.
It’s Band 5 (accurate but mechanical)
How else can you paraphrase that information?
- ‘Fiona drank more tea than Sam’.
Band 5.5 (a simple comparison)
- ‘Fiona drank considerably more tea than Sam.’
Band 6 (more specific)
- ‘Fiona drank twice as much tea as Sam’.
- ‘Fiona drank twice as many cups of tea as Sam’.
Band 7 (more complex)
The grammar of ‘twice as much/many’
Look at the Band 7 examples in the answers above and review the grammar below.
Firstly you need to decide if the noun is UNCOUNTABLE or COUNTABLE:
- uncountable nouns (tea, coffee, pollution, rubbish) use MUCH
- countable nouns (cups, teaspoons, cars, emissions) use MANY
This is the main grammar decision you have to make.
- I drank twice as much tea.
- I drank twice as many cups of tea.
Here are some other options with ‘twice as much’. What are the differences between them?
You can use ‘twice as’ in 3 main ways:
1) verbs + noun
- London produces twice as much pollution as Berlin. (Active)
- London produces twice as many emissions as Berlin. (Active)
- Twice as much pollution is produced in London as in Berlin. (Passive)
- Twice as many emissions are produced in London as in Berlin. (Passive)
2) ‘there is/are/was/were’ + noun
- There is/was twice as much pollution in London as there is/was in Berlin.
- There are/were twice as many cars in London as there are/were in Berlin.
3) with adjectives
- London is twice as polluted as Berlin.
- London is twice as crowded as Berlin.
How to use ‘double’ and ‘twofold’ in IELTS Task 1
Look at the sentence below. Can you rewrite it using ‘double’ or ‘twofold‘?
‘The price of oil went from $2 a gallon in 2020 to $4 a gallon in 2022.’
1. The price of oil doubled between 2020 and 2022. (‘To double’ is a regular verb)
2. The price of oil in 2020 was double/twice that of 2022. (Use ‘double’ like an adjective)
3. The price of oil in 2020 was twofold/twice that of 2022. (Use ‘twofold’ like an adjective)
4. There was a twofold increase in the price of oil. (Use ‘twofold’ as an adjective before the noun)
Other options for ‘double’ and ‘twofold’ structures
You can add any number to the ‘____fold’ structure, so it’s really useful for IELTS Task 1 when you need to go further than ‘triple’ (x3) and ‘quadruple’ (x4) e.g.
- Profits are likely to triple/quadruple next year.
- Sales are expected to increase fivefold next year.
- There will be a tenfold increase in profits.
- Can I say ‘thrice as much/many?’
It’s possible, but it’s better to use ‘3 times as much/many’.
- Can I say ‘The population increased twice as much during the period’?
It’s possible, but it’s better to say ‘The population doubled’.
- What if the population increased by 3 times/4 times?
You can say ‘The population increased threefold/fourfold’.
- What if the population decreased by 50%?
You can say ‘The population halved’.
How NOT to use ‘double’ ‘triple’ and ‘quadruple’
When I was doing some research I found this advice.
I would correct the first example to:
- The company expects to double/triple/quadruple its profit next year.
*As for ‘earn triply/quadruply’, I would NOT use these structures. It’s better to say:
- The company expects to earn twice/three times/four times as much next year.
- The company expects to double/triple/quadruple its earnings next year.
Please be careful about whose advice you follow on social media.
Did you know…?
… many IELTS Writing experts such as Pauline Cullen believe that the reason that many people don’t get Band 7 in the IELTS Test is NOT because of Task 2 but because of Task 1?
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