oet writing grammar

Grammar is what gives structure to any language. Various aspects of grammar related to OET Writing are discussed in this blog article.

Please note, this is assessed under Language of OET Writing Assessment Criteria.

1. Articles (a/an/the)

They are used to indicate whether a noun in a sentence is specific or general. OET candidates are often struggle with the application of articles ‘a’, ‘an’ and ‘the’.

Please go through the this link to master the use of articles in OET writing.

2. Common Adjectives

It is important to use appropriate adjectives to convey the information accurately in the letter.

For example:

Mr. Philip is a heavy drinker.

Mr. Philip is a moderate drinker.

Here is a guide explaining the use of adjectives in OET writing.

3. Countable and Uncountable Nouns

Nouns can be countable or uncountable, and it is important to note that nouns used in medical English belong to these categories.

For example:

Uncountable nouns: pain, bleeding, surgery

Countable nouns: ache, wound, operation

Use of indefinite articles with these nouns depend on their type.

For more information read this OET countable and uncountable nouns guide.

4. Verb Tenses

OET Medical letters include a lot of information related to timeline of events, and using verb tenses accurately is critical as it can alter the intended information.

For example:

Mrs. Mark has signs of dementia.

Mrs. Mark had signs of dementia.


Mr. Larry was diagnosed with pneumonia.

Mr. Larry has been diagnosed with pneumonia.

To have a better understanding on using the correct verb tense in an OET letter, the following links will be helpful.

Present Tense in an OET Letter

OET Present Perfect Tense

Present Perfect Continuous Tense

Tense to Describe Today’s Visit in an OET letter

5. Subject-Verb Agreement

Another important thumb rule, with some exceptions, in English grammar is that if the subject is singular, the verb is plural. If the subject is plural, the verb must is singular.

Subject-verb agreement is usually confusing in sentences using the following tenses.

  • Simple present tense
  • Present continuous tense
  • Present perfect tense
  • Present perfect continuous tense
  • Simple past tense
  • Past continuous tense

The 2-part series below guide you

Subject-Verb Agreement in an OET Letter – Part 1

Subject-Verb Agreement in an OET Letter – Part 2

6. Active and Passive Voice

In OET letter writing, it is important to shift the focus from the writer (I/we) as much as possible to make the letter content more formal. This makes the patient or clinical information more important than the one who is performing it. Using passive voice is the best way to achieve that.

For example:

Active voice: I ordered an ECG and increased the dose of Anginine.

Passive voice: An ECG was ordered and the dose of Anginine was increased.


Here is a guide on how to use passive voice for OET referral letters.

Also, read useful OET Passive Voice Writing Guide

7. Infinitive Form of Verb

Infinitive form (to + basic verb form) of verb is commonly used in OET writing, and errors related to that are also commonly seen.

For example:

Mrs Shaw has been advised to exercise regularly.

Learn how to use an infinitive for explanation in OET.

8. Relative Clauses

These are used to add information about a noun. For example, who, whose, which, that, etc. Using relative clauses accurately enhances the overall quality of your OET letter. However, their incorrect use may also affect the letter writing grade negatively.

Therefore, go through these OET Guidelines to Relative Clause.

9. Comma

Comma is the mostly used punctuation is OET writing, and many people have difficulty using them appropriately when writing.

Punctuation (comma) rules in OET Writing

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