When to use ‘Twice as much’
Look at this simple example below using a real life example.
Yesterday Fiona drank 4 cups of tea and Sam drank 2 cups of tea. (Band 5: accurate but mechanical)
How else can you paraphrase that information?
Band 5.5: (a simple comparison):
‘Fiona drank more tea than Sam’.
Band 6 (more specific)
‘Fiona drank considerably more tea than Sam.’
Band 7 (more complex)
‘Fiona drank twice as much tea as Sam’.
‘Fiona drank twice as many cups of tea as Sam’.
The grammar of ‘twice as much/many’
Look at the Band 7 examples above.
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.
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 have double/triple/quadruple the profit next year.
- 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.
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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