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Language for describing graphs in Academic IELTS Writing Task 1.
In this post I’d like to look at some of the best IELTS language for Academic Writing Task 1. First of all, have a quick look at Data to analyse in IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 to get an idea of the different types of graphical data you might have to analyse. OK, did you check them out? Good, now we can jump right in to looking at some useful language. Academic IELTS Writing Task 1 is basically asking us to describe trends, so first of all, I’d like to look at some of the most common language used to describe trends.
To indicate upward movement
Nouns a rise an increase Verbs to rise to increase to go up a climb a jump to climb to jump
To indicate downward movement
Nouns a fall a drop a decline a decrease to fall to drop to decline to decrease Verbs
To indicate stability and fluctuation
to level off at… to remain stable at… to remain steady at… to fluctuate to reach a peak to hit a trough
As well as having language to describe the trend, we also need to be able to describe the degree of difference.
Degree of difference
X increased rapidly / sharply / dramatically / significantly (adverbs to go with verbs). There was a rapid / sharp / dramatic / significant increase (adjectives to go with nouns).
www.bestieltsonline.com X increased steadily / moderately / slightly / gradually / slowly (adverbs to go with verbs). There was a steady / moderate / slight / small increase (adjectives to go with nouns).
X decreased suddenly / abruptly / steeply (adverbs to go with verbs). There was a sudden / abrupt / steep decrease (adjectives to go with nouns).
X decreased steadily / moderately / slightly / gradually / slowly (adverbs to go with verbs). There was a steady / moderate / slight / gradual / small decrease (adjectives to go with nouns).
Putting it all together
One of the biggest problems students tell me they have when answering Academic IELTS Writing Task 1 is actually putting all this language together to make a coherent response to the question. IELTS Writing responses require a systematic approach and I usually give my students the following two example tables so they can organise their answers well and achieve the best IELTS score possible. www.bestieltsonline.com
Time period From January to February, From February to April, From April to June,
Subject of the sentence sales sales sales
Verb to describe change rose fell increased
Adverb to describe how much change dramatically. slightly. moderately.
‘there’ + verb ‘to be’ in appropriate tense to introduce the subject there was a there was a
Adjective to describe the amount of change
Noun to describe change
From January to February, From February to April, From April to June,
in sales. in sales.
there was a
Now let’s look at the individual columns in greater detail so that we can get more variety of language in our answer. I have seen many students simply write ‘a catalogue of details’ (and then it went up, then it went down, then it increased again etc) when they answer an IELTS Writing Task 1; a variety of expressions is necessary to make your writing more interesting and get a higher band score.
‘From January to February…..’ We could also use the following alternatives: www.bestieltsonline.com
www.bestieltsonline.com • • • • For one month Over the next month For a period of one month During the next month
When you describe change, it is important to be clear about what exactly is changing. Let’s say, for example, that the topic of the graph in the two tables was ‘cars’. We cannot say ‘cars increased’ but ‘the sales of cars increased’ or ‘car sales increased’. If the graph was describing the increase in cars on Sydney roads, then we would say ‘the number of cars increased’ or ‘car numbers increased’.
Verbs, adverbs, nouns and adjectives
See the selection at the beginning of the post. Keep these guidelines in mind when doing practice IELTS Writing Task 1; you’ll soon find that using a variety of language will come naturally to you and that your answer will have a clear structure. Here’s to the best IELTS score possible!