Academic IELTS Writing Task 1 question requires you to use several vocabularies to present the data given in a pie/ bar/ line/ mixed graph or to describe a process or a flow chart. Being able to use appropriate vocabularies, presenting the main trend, comparing & contrasting data and presenting the logical flow of the graph ensure a high band score in your Academic IELTS writing task 1. This vocabulary section aims to help you learn all the vocabularies, phrases and words you need to know and use in your Academic writing task 1 to achieve a higher band score. The examiner will use four criteria to score your response: task achievement, coherence and cohesion, lexical resource, & grammatical range and accuracy. Since lexical resource will determine 25% of your score in Task 1, you have to enrich your vocabulary to hit a high band score. To demonstrate that you have a great lexical resource, you need to:
» Use correct synonyms in your writing.
» Use a range of vocabulary.
» Do not repeat words and phrases from the exam question unless there is no alternative.
» Use less common vocabulary.
» Do not use the same word more than once/twice.
» Use precise and accurate words in a sentence.
It is advisable that you learn synonyms and use them accurately in your writing in order to give an impression that you can use a good range of vocabulary.
Graph Writing Vocabulary Index:
The general format for writing academic writing task 1 is as follows:
Introduction + Basic/ General Trends + Details Description + Summary (optional).
Each part has a specific format and therefore being equipped with the necessary vocabulary will help you answer the task 1 efficiently and will save a great deal of time.
Vocabulary for the Introduction Part:
Starting:The/ the given / the supplied / the presented / the shown / the provided
Presentation Type:diagram / table / figure / illustration / graph / chart / flow chart / picture/ presentation/ pie chart / bar graph/ column graph / line graph / table data/ data / information / pictorial/ process diagram/ map/ pie chart and table/ bar graph and pie chart …
Verb:shows / represents / depicts / enumerates / illustrates / presents/ gives / provides / delineates/ outlines/ describes / delineates/ expresses/ denotes/ compares/ shows contrast / indicates / figures / gives data on / gives information on/ presents information about/ shows data about/ demonstrates/ sketch out/ summarises…
the comparison of…
the number of…
the proportion of…
the amount of…
the trend of…
the percentages of…
the ratio of…
- The diagram shows employment rates among adults in four European countries from 1925 to 1985.
- The given pie charts represent the proportion of male and female employees in 6 broad categories, dividing into manual and non-manual occupations in Australia, between 2010 and 2015.
- The chart gives information about consumer expenditures on six products in four countries namely Germany, Italy, Britain and France.
- The supplied bar graph compares the number of male and female graduates in three developing countries while the table data presents the overall literacy rate in these countries.
- The bar graph and the table data depict the water consumption in different sectors in five regions.
- The bar graph enumerates the money spent on different research projects while the column graph demonstrates the fund sources over a decade, commencing from 1981.
- The line graph delineates the proportion of male and female employees in three different sectors in Australia between 2010 and 2015.
Note that, some teachers prefer “The line graph demonstrates…” format instead of “The given line graph demonstrates…”. However, if you write “The given/ provided/ presented….” it would be correct as well.
1. For a single graph use ‘s’ after the verb, like – gives data on, shows/ presents etc. However, if there are multiple graphs, DO NOT use ‘s’ after the verb.
2. If there are multiple graphs and each one presents a different type of data, you can write which graph presents what type of data and use ‘while’ to show a connection. For example -‘The given bar graph shows the amount spent on fast food items in 2009 in the UK while the pie chart presents a comparison of people’s ages who spent more on fast food.
3. Your introduction should be quite impressive as it makes the first impression to the examiner. It either makes or breaks your overall score.
4. For multiple graphs and/ or table(s), you can write what they present in combination instead of saying which each graph depicts. For example, “The two pie charts and the column graph in combination depicts a picture of the crime in Australia from 2005 to 2015 and the percentages of young offenders during this period.”
Never copy word for word from the question. If you do do, you would be penalised. always paraphrase the introduction in your own words.
General Statement Part:
The General statement is the first sentence (or two) you write in your reporting. It should always deal with:
What + Where + When.
Example: The diagram presents information on the percentages of teachers who have expressed their views about different problems they face when dealing with children in three Australian schools from 2001 to 2005.
What = the percentages of teachers…
Where = three Australian schools….
When = from 2001 to 2005…
A good General statement should always have these parts.
Vocabulary for the General Trend Part:
In general, In common, Generally speaking, Overall, It is obvious, As is observed, As a general trend, As can be seen, As an overall trend, As is presented, It can be clearly seen that, At the first glance, it is clear, At the onset, it is clear that, A glance at the graphs reveals that…
- In general, the employment opportunities increased till 1970 and then declined throughout the next decade.
- As is observed, the figures for imprisonment in the five mentioned countries show no overall pattern, rather shows the considerable fluctuations from country to country.
- Generally speaking, citizens in the USA had a far better life standard than that of remaining countries.
- As can be seen, the highest number of passengers used the London Underground station at 8:00 in the morning and at 6:00 in the evening.
- Generally speaking, more men were engaged in managerial positions in 1987 than that of women in New York in this year.
- As an overall trend, the number of crimes reported increased fairly rapidly until the mid-seventies, remained constant for five years and finally, dropped to 20 cases a week after 1982.
- At a first glance, it is clear that more percentages of native university pupils violated regulations and rules than the foreign students did during this period.
- At the onset, it is clear that drinking in public and drink driving were the most common reasons for the US citizens to be arrested in 2014.
- Overall, the leisure hours enjoyed by males, regardless of their employment status, was much higher than that of women
The structure of the IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 (Report Writing):
Introduction (never copy word for word from the question) + Overview/ General trend (what the diagrams indicate at a first glance).
Main features in the Details
+ Comparison and Contrast of the data. (Do not give all the figures.)
+ Most striking features of the graph.
Conclusion (General statement + Implications, significant comments)
[The conclusion part is optional.]
1. Write introduction and General trend in the same paragraph. Some students prefer to write the ‘General Trend’ in a separate paragraph and many teachers suggest the both to be written in a single paragraph. Unless you have a really good reason to write the general trend in the second paragraph, try to write them both in the first paragraph. However, this is just a suggestion, not a requirement.
2. Your ‘Introduction (general statement + overall trend/ general trend) should have 75 – 80 words.
3. DO NOT give numbers, percentages or quantity in your general trend. Rather give the most striking feature of the graph that could be easily understood at a glance. Thus it is suggested to AVOID –
“A glance at the graphs reveals that 70% male were employed in 2001 while 40 thousand women in this year had jobs.”
And use a format /comparison like the following:
“A glance at the graphs reveals that more men were employed than their female counterpart in 2001 and almost two-third females were jobless in the same year. “
Vocabulary to Start the Report Body:
Just after you finish writing your ‘Introduction’ (i.e. General Statement + General overview/ trend), you are expected to start a new paragraph to describe the main features of the diagrams. This second paragraph is called the ‘Body Paragraph / Report Body”. You can have a single body paragraph/ report body or up to 3, (not more than 3 in any case) depending on the number of graphs provided in the question and the type of these graphs. There are certain phrases you can use to start your body paragraph and following is a list of such phrases —
1. As is presented in the diagram(s)/ graph(s)/ pie chart(s)/ table…
2. As (is) shown in the illustration…
3. As can be seen in the…
4. As the diagrams suggest…
5. According to the…
6. Categorically speaking…
7. Getting back to the details…
8. Now, turning to the details….
9. The table data clearly shows that…
10. The diagram reveals that…
11. The data suggest that…
12. The graph gives figure…
13. It is interesting to note that…
14. It is apparently seen that…
15. It is conspicuous that…
16. It is explicitly observed that…
17. It is obvious…
18. It is clear from the data…
19. It is worth noticing that…
20. It is crystal clear/ lucid that…
21. It can be clearly observed that…
22. It could be plainly viewed that…
23. It could be noticed that…
24. We can see that…
Vocabulary to show the changes
|Trends||Verb form||Noun Form|
|Increase||rise / increase / go up / uplift / rocket(ed) / climb / upsurge / soar/ shot up/ improve/ jump/ leap/ move upward/ skyrocket/ soar/ surge.||a rise / an increase / an upward trend / a growth / a leap / a jump / an improvement/ a climb.|
|Decrease||fall / decrease / decline / plummet / plunge / drop / reduce / collapse / deterioriate/ dip / dive / go down / take a nosedive / slum / slide / go into free-fall.||a fall / a decrease / a reduction / a downward trends /a downward tendency / a decline/ a drop / a slide / a collapse / a downfall.|
|Steadiness||unchanged / level out / remain constant / remain steady / plateau / remain the same / remain stable / remain static||a steadiness/ a plateau / a stability/ a static|
|an upward trend / an upward tendency / a ceiling trend|
|a downward trend / a downward tendency / a descending trend|
|Standability/ Flat||level(ed) off / remain(ed) constant / remain(ed) unchanged / remain(ed) stable / prevail(ed) consistency / plateaued / reach(ed) a plateau / stay(ed) uniform /immutable / level(ed) out/ stabilise/ remain(ed) the same.||
No change, a flat, a plateau.
- The overall sale of the company increased by 20% at the end of the year.
- The expenditure of the office remained constant for the last 6 months but the profit rose by almost 25%.
- There was a 15% drop in the ratio of student enrollment in this University.
- The population of the country remained almost the same as it was 2 years ago.
The population of these two cities increase significantly in the last two decades and it is expected that it will remain stable during the next 5 years.Tips:
1. Use ‘improve’ / ‘an improvement’ to describe a situation like economic condition or employment status. To denote numbers use other verbs/nouns like increase.
2. Do not use the same word/ phrase over and over again. In fact, you should not use a noun or verb form to describe a trend/change more than twice; once is better!
3. To achieve a high band score you need to use a variety of vocabulary as well as sentence formations.
Vocabulary to represent changes in graphs:
- The economic inflation of the country increased sharply by 20% in 2008.
- There was a sharp drop in the industrial production in the year 2009.
- The demand for new houses dramatically increased in 2002.
- The population of the country dramatically increased in the last decade.
- The price of the oil moderately increased in last quarter but as a consequence, the price of daily necessity rapidly went up.
Vocabulary to represent frequent changes in graphs:
|Type of Change||Verb form||Noun form|
|Rapid ups and downs||wave / fluctuate / oscillate / vacillate / palpitate||waves / fluctuations / oscillations / vacillations / palpitations|
- The price of the goods fluctuated during the first three months in 2017.
- The graph shows the oscillations of the price from 1998 to 2002.
- The passenger number in this station oscillates throughout the day and in early morning and evening, it remains busy.
- The changes of car production in Japan shows a palpitation for the second quarter of the year.
- The number of students in debate clubs fluctuated in different months of the year and rapid ups and downs could be observed in the last three months of this year.
1. 4. DO NOT try to present every single data presented in a graph. Rather pick 5-7 most significant and important trends/ changes and show their comparisons and contrasts.
2. The question asks you to write a report and summarise the data presented in graphs(s). This is why you need to show the comparisons, contrasts, show the highest and lowest points and most striking features in your answer, not every piece of data presented in the diagram(s).
Types of Changes/ Differences and Vocabulary to present them:
Great change / Huge difference:
Big change / Big difference:
Medium change / Moderate difference:
Minor change / Small difference:
Dates, Months & Years related vocabulary and grammar:
» From 1990 to 2000, Commencing from 1980, Between 1995 and 2005, After 2012.
» By 1995, In 1998, In February, Over the period, During the period, During 2011.
» In the first half of the year, For the first quarter, The last quarter of the year, During the first decade.
» In the 80s, In the 1980s, During the next 6 months, In the mid-70s, Next 10 years, Previous year, Next year, Between 1980 – 1990.
» Within a time span of ten years, within five years.
» Next month, Next quarter, Next year, Previous month, Previous year.
» Since, Then, From.
Percentage, Portion and Numbers:
10% increase, 25 percent decrease, increased by 15%, dropped by 10 per cent, fall at 50%, reached to 75%, tripled, doubled, one-fourth, three-quarters, half, double fold, treble, 5 times higher, 3 timers lower, declined to about 49%, stood exactly at 43%.
4% = A tiny fraction.
24% = Almost a quarter.
25% Exactly a quarter.
26% = Roughly one quarter.
32% Nearly one-third, nearly a third.
49% = Around a half, just under a half.
50% Exactly a half.
51% = Just over a half.
73% = Nearly three quarters.
77% = Approximately three quarter, more than three-quarter.
79% = Well over three quarters.
2% = A tiny portion, a very small proportion.
4% = An insignificant minority, an insignificant proportion.
16% = A small minority, a small portion.
70% = A large proportion.
72% = A significant majority, A significant proportion.89% = A very large proportion.
89% = A very large proportion.
Words/ Phrases of Approximation – Vocabulary:
» More or less
» Just over
» Just under
» Just around
» Just about
» Just below
» A little more than
» A little less than.
What criteria would a band 9 graph response satisfy?
A) Fully satisfies all the requirements of the task.
B) Clearly presents a fully developed response.
What will be assessed by the examiner?
a) How appropriately, accurately and relevantly you fulfil your task requirements.
b) How accurately you write your report and how appropriately you present the data (compare/ contrast/ show the most striking trends/ features/ data.)
Coherence and Cohesion:
A) Uses cohesion in such a way that it attracts no attention.
B) Skillfully manages paragraphing.
What will be assessed by the examiner?
a) No misinterpretation and presentation of data and trend.
b) How well you organise your paragraphs.
c) Overall clarity and fluency of your report and message.
d) How well you have organised and liked the information, data and ideas in your writing.
e) Logical sequencing and appropriate use of linking devices between and within your sentences.
- Do not incorporate more than 3-4 paragraphs.
- Do not use a single paragraph to describe everything.
- The conclusion part is optional. If you think that you have already written more than 170 words and have nothing to say, you can skip the conclusion.
A) Uses a wide range of vocabulary with very natural and sophisticated control of lexical features.
B) Rare minor errors occur only as ‘slips’.
What will be assessed by the examiner?
a) The range of vocabulary you have used in your writing.
b) How accurately and appropriately you have used words/ phrases while presenting the graph(s) as a report.
Tips: Do NOT use words/ phrases that are already given in the question. Do so only if there is no alternative word(s)/ phrase(s) to convey the same meaning/idea.
Grammatical Range and Accuracy:
A) Uses a wide range of structures with full flexibility and accuracy.
B) Rare minor errors occur only as ‘slips’.
Do not use the same sentence structure and data comparison/ contrasting style over and over again. Bring a variety in your writing to show that you can formulate different sentence structures without making any grammatical mistakes.
You do not need to write down every bit of information presented in the graph. Rather, you are expected to write the most significant features of the graph and the highest and lowest points are two significant information you should not miss in your writing. Following is a list of useful vocabulary to learn by heart and to use them in your graph response.—Vocabulary to represent highest and lowest points in graphs:
Vocabulary to represent highest and lowest points in graphs:
|Highest Point||peaked / culminated / climaxed / reach the peak / hit the peak / touch the highest point / reach the vertex/ reach the apex||a (/the) peak / a (/the) pinnacle / a (/the) vertex / the highest point/ an (/the) apex / a (/the) summit, a (/the) top, a (/the) pinnacle, a (/the) acme, a (/the) zenith,|
|Lowest Point||touch the lowest point / get the lowest point / reached the nadir||the lowest point / the lowest mark / bottommost point / rock bottom point/ bottommost mark / nadir/ the all-time low/ the lowest level/ the bottom/ rock-bottom|
- The price of the oil reached a peak amounting $20 in February and again touched the lowest point amounting only $10 in July.
- Student enrollment in foreign Universities and Colleges increased dramatically hitting a peak of over 20 thousand in 2004.
- The highest number of books was sold in July while it was lowest in December.
- The oil price reached a pick in 2003 while it was lowest in 2006.
- The selling volume of the DVD hit a pick with 2 million copies sold in a month but after just three months it reached the bottom with only 20 thousand sold in a month.
Vocabulary to show fluctuations/ups and downs/ rise and fall in Verb forms:
- Be erratic
- Rise and fall erratically
- Changes sporadically
- Rise and fall irregularly
- Changes Intermittently
Date, month & year related Vocabulary and Grammatical rules:
- Between …(year/ month)… and …(year/ month)…
- From …(year/ month/ day/date)… to …(year/ month/day/date)…
- In …(year/ month)…
- On …(day/ day of the week/ a date)…
- At ……, In ……, By ……
- During … (year)…
- Over the period/ over the century/ later half of the year/ the year…
- Over the next/ past/ previous …….. days/ weeks/ months/ years/ decades…
You can present a percentage data in one of the three different ways. It is suggested that you use all these formats in your report writing instead of repeating the same style to show percentages in your writing.
% = In percentage / in %. (20%, 25 percentage, ten per cent etc.)
% = In proportion. (two out of five, every student out of three etc. )
% = In fraction. (one-third, two-fifth, a quarter etc.)
Vocabulary to show how many times…
- Exactly the same.
- Roughly the same
- Practically the same
- Four times
- Five times
- Ten times
- Hundred times.
Vocabulary to show how much changed…
- Trebled / tripled
- Quadrupled (fourfold /four times)
- Pentadrupled (fivefold /five times)
- Hexadrupled (sixfold /six times)
- Septupled (sevenfold /seven times)
- Octupled (Eightfold/eight times)
- Nonupled (Ninefold/ nine times)
- Centupled (hundredfold/ hundred times)
Vocabulary to represent comparison in graphs:
|Type||Word(s) should be used|
|Similar||about / almost / nearly / roughly / approximately / around / just about / very nearly /|
|Just over||just above / just over / just bigger / just beyond / just across|
|Just short||just below / just beneath / just sort / just under / just a little|
|Much more||well above / well above / well beyond / well across / well over|
|Much less||well below / well under / well short / well beneath|
- The number of high-level women executives is well beneath than the number of male executives in this organisation, where approximately 2000 people work in executive levels.
- About 1000 people died in the highway car accident in 2003 which is well above than the statistics of all other years.
- The number of domestic-violence cases was just below 500 in March which is just a little over than the previous months.
- The average rainfall in London in 2014 was just above than the average of other two cities.
- The salaries of male executives in three out of four companies were well above than the salaries of female executives in 1998.
» In the case of
» As for
» Turning to
» When it comes to ….. it/ they …..
» Where … is/are concerned,……
Adjectives with one syllable form their comparatives and superlatives form. In your academic writing task 1, you will often use such comparison and contrast related words.
good » better » best || bad » worse » worst etc.
Some adjectives with two syllables form their comparatives and superlatives:
pretty » prettier » prettiest || happy » happier » happiest etc.
striking » more striking » most striking || common » more common » most common|| clever » more clever/cleverer » most clever/cleverest etc.
All adjectives with three or more syllables form their comparatives and superlatives using ‘more’ & ‘most’:
attractive » more attractive » most attractive || profitable » more profitable » most profitable || expensive » more expensive » most expensive.
1. The price of the custom made cars was more expensive in 2014 than it is now.
Vocabulary to present Linkers:
However, On the other hand, Similarly, On the contrary, Meanwhile, In contrast, By comparison.
Use the following vocabularies if both subjects are the same/ identical:
… Identical to/ Identical with …
… Equal to with …
… Exactly the same …
… The same as …
… Precisely the same …
… Absolutely the same …
… jus the same as …
Use the following vocabularies if both subjects are not identical but similar:
… Almost the same as …
… Nearly the same as …
… Practically the same as …
… Almost identical/ similar …
… About the same as …
The reverse is the case…
It is quite the opposite/ reverse…
Rules of Time Preposition use:
»» Use preposition ‘in’ when you talk about years, months, decades, centuries, seasons.
Years= in 1998, in 2015 etc.
Months= in January, in December etc.
Decades= in the nineties, in the seventies etc.
Centuries= in the 19th century, in the 14th century, in the 1980s etc.
Seasons= in summer, in winter, in autumn etc.
»» Use preposition ‘in’ to talk about past or future.
Past time= in 1980, in the past, in 1235, in the ice age, in the seventies, in the last century etc.
Future time = in 2030, in the future, in the next century etc.
»» Use preposition ‘in’ when you talk about a long period.
in the ice age, in the industrial age, in iron age etc.
»» Use preposition ‘on’ when you talk about days (days of the weeks or special days).
Days of the week= on Sunday, on Friday, on Tuesday.
Special days= on New Year’s Day, on your birthday, on Independence Day, on holiday, on wedding day etc.
»» Use preposition ‘on’ when you talk about dates.
on July 4th, on 21st January 2015, on 5th May etc.
»» Use preposition ‘on’ when you talk about times (like morning/ afternoon/ evening/ night) of a day.
on Friday morning, on Saturday afternoon, on Sunday evening, on Monday evening etc.
However, notice the below list that shows a further use of preposition ‘in’ and ‘on’ for periods of the days versus periods. This is often confusing and mistakenly used by IELTS candidates. Look at those, notice the use and memorise it.
|in the morning||on Sunday morning|
|in the afternoon||on Monday afternoon|
|in the evening||on Tuesday evening|
»» Use preposition ‘at’ when you need to express an exact time.
At eight o’clock, at 10: 45 am, at two p.m, at nine o’clock.
»» Use preposition ‘at’ when you talk about meal times
At breakfast time, at lunchtime, at dinner time etc.
»» Use preposition ‘at’ when you talk about weekends, holiday periods, or the night time.
At the weekend, at Christmas, at Easter, at night etc.
Words to make a comparison / contrast:
A bit/ slightly/ a little/ only just/ approximately/ about/ almost/ precisely/ quite/ nearly/ considerably/ a huge/ a great deal/ quite a lot/ completely/ exactly…
» This year population growth of the country is slightly larger than the previous year.
» This year population grown is almost twice than 2007.
» Sale of the company has increased quite a lot this year.
Using Appropriate Prepositions:
You must use the correct preposition in the IELTS writing task 1 to get a high score. Be accurate about the uses of to, by, of, off, in, on, for etc.
» Papers are sold by the ream.
» Oranges are purchased and sold by the dozen.
» Students enrollment in the University has increased by 2% this year.
» Eggs are counted in dozens.
» Rice is measured in kg.
» He is junior to me by 4 years.
» The employees are paid per week in this factory.
» All these products are made of glasses.
Vocabulary – Using the appropriate “Prepositions”:
» It started at…, The sale started at $20…, It peaked at…
»Itr reached at/to…, It reached the lowest point /nadir at…
»It increased to 80 from 58. It decreased from 10 to 3.
»There was a drop of six units. It dropped by 3 units.
»It declined by 15%. There was a 10% drop in the next three years.
Formal and Informal expressions and words:
Few more informal expressions with their formal versions are given below. Since IELTS is a formal test, your writing should be formal as well. Using informal words or expressions should be avoided. Some of the informal words are so frequently used that it would be tough for you to eliminate them from your writing. However, we would suggest you make a habit of using formal words and expressions instead- for your performance and band score’s sake.
|In the meantime||In the interim|
|In the end||Finally|
|Lots of/ a lot of||Much, many|
|I think||In my opinion|
Following are the vocabularies for Academic IELTS Writing Task 1 grouped as Noun, Verb, Adjective, Adverb, and Phrase to help you improve your vocabulary and understanding of the usages of these while describing a graph.
A growth: There was a growth in the earning of the people of the city at the end of the year.
An increase: Between the noon and evening, there was an increase in the temperature of the coast area and this was probably because of the availability of the sunlight at that time.
A rise: A rise of the listener in the morning can be observed from the bar graph.
An improvement: The data presents that there was an improvement of the traffic condition between 11:00 am till 3:00 pm.
A progress: There was a progress in the law and order of the city during the end of the last year.
A surge: From the presented information, it is clear that there was a surge in the number of voters in 1990 compared to the data given for the previous years.
A rapid increase/ a rapid growth/ a rapid improvement: There was a rapid growth in the stock value of the company ABC during the December of the last year.
N.B: Following adjectives can be used before the above nouns to show a rapid growth/ increase of something:
Rapid, Sudden, Steady, Noticeable, Mentionable, Tremendous, huge, enormous, massive, vast, gigantic, monumental, incredible, fabulous, great etc.
(The above list is the words which are actually adjective and can be used before nouns to show the big changes)
A/ The peak: The number of visitors reached the peak in 2008 and it exceeded 2 million.
Top/ highest/ maximum: The oil prices reached to the top/ highest in 1981 during the war.
N.B: Some of the words to present the highest/ top of something are given below:
Apex, pyramid, zenith, acme, obelisk, climax, needle, spire, vertex, summit, tower, most, greatest, max, tops, peak, height, crown…
A fluctuation: There was a fluctuation of the passenger numbers who used the railway transportation during the year 2003 to 2004.
A variation: A variation on the shopping habit of teenagers can be observed from the data.
A disparately/ dissimilarity/ an inconsistency: The medicine tested among the rabbits shows an inconsistency of the effect it had.
Stability: The data from the line graph show a stability of the price in the retail market from January till June for the given year.
A plateau: As is presented in the line graph, there was a plateau of the oil price from 1985 to 1990.
A fall: There was a fall in the price of the energy bulbs in 2010 which was less than $5.
A decline: A decline occurred after June and the production reached to 200/day for the next three months.
A decrease: After the initial four years, the company’s share price increased and there was a decrease in the loss it was bearing.
Using ‘Nouns’ and ‘Verbs’ to describe trends in a graph:
» Increased (to) An increase
» Rose (to) A rise
» Climbed (to) An upward trend
» Went up (to) A growth
» Surge A surge
» Boomed (to) A boom / a dramatic increase.
» Decreased (to) A decrease
» Declined (to) A decline
» Fell (to) A fall
» Reduce (to) A reduction
» Dipped (to)
» Dropped (to) A drop
» Went down (to) A downward trend
» Slumped (to) A slum / a dramatic fall.
» Plummeted (to)
» Remained stable (at)
» Remained static (at)
» Remained steady (at)
» Stayed constant (at)
» Levelled out (at) A level out
» Did not change No change
» Remained unchanged No change
» Maintained the same level
» Plateaued (at) A plateau
» Fluctuated (around) A fluctuation
» Oscillated An oscillation
» Peaked (at) The peak/ apex/ zenith/ summit/ the highest point
» Bottomed (at) The lowest point/ the bottom/ bottommost point
Use ‘adjective/adverb’ to indicate the movement of a trend.
1. There has been a slight increase in the unemployment rate in 1979 at which point it stood at 12%.
2. The price of gold dropped rapidly for the next three years.
Use ‘adjective’ to modify the ‘Noun’ form of a trend and use ‘adverb’ to modify the ‘verb’ form of a trend.
Greater or Higher?
We usually use ‘greater’ when we compare two numbers, and ‘higher’ while comparing two percentages or ratio. Reversely, ‘smaller or fewer’ could be used to compare two numbers and ‘lower’ to compare two percentages or ratios. The following table would make it clear —
1. The number of male doctors in this city was greater than the number of female doctors.
2. The number of European programmers who attended the seminar was fewer than the number of Asian programmers.
3. The percentage of male doctors in this city was higher than the percentage of female doctors.
4. During 2010, the inflow of illegal immigrants was lower than that of 2012.
5. the birth rate in Japan in 2014 was higher than the birth rate in 2015.
Vocabulary to compare to what extent / to (/by) what degree something is greater/higher than the other.
» Overwhelmingly, Substantially, Significantly. Considerably.
» Moderately, Markedly.
» Hardly, Barely, Slightly, Fractionally, Marginally.
Vocabulary to show the sequence:
» Subsequently, Respectively, Consecutively, Sequentially.
» Previous, Next, First, Second, Third, Finally, Former, Latter.
“The market shares of HTC, Huawei, Samsung, Apple and Nokia in 2010 were 12%, 7%, 20%, 16% and 4% globally.”
This above sentence makes it ambiguous to understand which mobile brand had what percentage of market share. If there are more than 2 values/ figures, you should always use ‘consecutively/ sequentially/ respectively‘. Using either of these words would eliminate any doubt about the above sentence as it will clearly state that the percentages of market shares mentioned here would match the mobile brands sequentially (i.e. first one for the first brand, the second one for the second brand and so on.)
“The market shares of HTC, Huawei, Samsung, Apple and Nokia in 2010 were 12%, 7%, 20%, 16% and 4% respectively in the global market.”
Note: You do not need to use ‘consecutively/ sequentially/ respectively’ if there are only two values to write.
Vocabulary to show transitions:
Vocabulary to describe different types of data/trends in a paragraph while showing a smooth and accurate transition is quite important. Following word(s)/ phrase(s) would help you do so in an excellent way…
- Following that
- Followed by
- Prior to
Few More Vocabularies:
Few more useful vocabulary to use in your report writing:
- Stood at
- A marked increase
Useful phrases for describing graphs:
- To level off
- To reach a plateau
- To hit the highest point
- To stay constant
- To flatten out
- To show some fluctuation
- To hit the lowest point
- Compared to
- Compared with
- Relative to
You will often need to use ‘adjectives’ and ‘adverbs’ to indicate the speed of changes in the trend (called ‘Degree of Speed) in your answer. Following is a list of vocabularies that will help you present the quick changes quite effectively.
» Rapid, Quick, Sharp, Swift, Sudden, Wild.
» Steady, Gradual, Moderate
» Slow, Gentle.
» Rapidly, Quickly, Sharply, Swiftly, Suddenly, Wildly.
» Steadily, Gradually, Moderately
» Slowly, Gently.
A different set of vocabulary to represent the ‘Degree of Trend’ would also be handy to summarise data presented in a graph. Both ‘adjective’ and ‘adverb’ form of this vocabulary list is given below. Use ‘adjectives’ to modify a ‘Noun’, while ‘adverbs’ should be used to modify a ‘verb’.
» Significant, Huge, Enormous, Steep, Substantial, Considerable, Marked, Dramatic, Abrupt.
» Moderate, Slight.
» Minimum (singular), Minima (plural)
» Significantly, Hugely, Enormously, Steeply, Substantially, Considerably, Markedly, Dramatically, Abruptly.
» Moderately, Slightly.
Vocabulary to describe a Map:
IELTS Map Example 1:
The map below is of the town of Garlsdon. A new supermarket (S) is planned for the town. The map shows two possible sites for the supermarket.
Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.
IELTS Map Example 2:
The two maps below show an island, before and after the construction of some tourist facilities.
Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.
» Horizontal, Vertical.
» Circle, Square, Rectangle.
» Across, Across from.
» Under, Over, Inside, Beside, On top of, Adjacent, Opposite, Next to.
» Along, Through, As far as.
» Midpoint, Halfway, In the middle.
» Intersection, Overlapping.
» Parallel to, Parallel, Perpendicular to.
» Edge, Diagonal.
» In front of the, Behind the.
» To the right, To the left.
» On the right-hand side, On the left-hand side.
» North, South, East, West.
» Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western.
» To the north, To the East…
» In which, To which, From which.
» Built, Erected, Replaced.
» Situated, Located.
» Changed to/ Converted/ Gave way to/ Became.
» While in 2001, it was ……, later, it was converted to ……
Vocabulary to describe a Process Diagram:
The diagram/ picture/ flow chart depicts/ illustrates/ describes the proces of/ how….
While Describing the Process:
A) First/ Firstly, Second/ Secondly, Third/Thirdly …… Next/ After that/ Then, Following that/Followed by, Subsequently/ Subsequent to that, Finally/ Lastly…
B) Where/ From where/ After which/ After that/ Afterward…
C) When/ As soon as/ Immediately, Just after that…
D) At the beginning, In the end, Just after the beginning, Just before the end…
To denote the end of a step:
A) After this step/ stage/ process…
B) Once this stage/ step is completed…
To donate what a Step involves:
A) The phase/ step/ stage involved…
To denote the repetition of a cycle/ process:
A) The cycle/ process then repeat itself.
B) The cycle/ process is then repeated.
Vocabulary to describe Predictions:
Some graphs and diagrams not only list down the data that represent something from the past or the present time but also gives a prediction of the future. For instance, a line graph might present the population of a country from 1950 to 2050, over a hundred years. If you are taking the IELTS exam in 2017, you need to describe the population of this country till 2016 using the past tense. For the population figure in 2017, you will use the present tense. Finally, the population from 2018 till 2050 is a prediction and hence you should be using the future tense while describing it in your writing. Moreover, you need to use certain vocabularies to represent such future data/ predictions. Following is a list of such vocabularies to help you accurately describe any predicted data —
It is predicted/ estimated/ projected/ forecasted/ expected/ anticipated that……… will ………..
Is /are predicted/ estimated/ projected/ forecasted/ expected/ anticipated to …………
It gives prediction/ estimation/ projection/ forecast of ……….
It …… will ………
……. Will have ……. by ……. (year/month/decade)…….
Vocabulary to show the value/ Incorporate data/ figure:
You should not write down every piece of data/figure that is given in the diagram in your report writing and doing so would actually hurt your band score. You are expected to mainly show the following in your report writing: —
- Comparison of data/trend
- Contrast of data/trend
- Most significant figures/data/information/ trend (typically 4-6)
- The highest point
- The lowest point
- The overall scenario.
However, to compare/contrast data or to show a significant change/trend you will need to show a figure that you will use as the base. For example, The British spent over eighty thousand Pounds on average which was twice than the spending of Americans and approximately quadruple than that of Irish. Here, over 80 thousand pounds is the base figure.
Following is a list of vocabulary to use to show such figures in your report writing:
Is/ was/ were: The percentage of foreign students was exactly ten in 2001 in this university and it rose three times in ten years.
Stand at/ Stood at: The percentages of males and females who opined that they should be allowed to get married at 21 stood at 14 and 16 in 1990 but witnessed a noticeable decline in 2010.
Exactly & As high as: The sale in March was exactly 400 and went up as high as 1100 in June.
Using (): In summer, the number of refrigerators sold (154) was far greater than the refrigerators sold (63) in winter.
1. From January to March the death case rose three times which was only 23 between October and December.
2. The temperature, which was 21 degrees C in March, climbed to 39 degrees C in mid-July.
Makes up: In the first decade, the population remained steady, which made up 2.8 million approximately, but it doubled in the next 30 years.
Constitutes: The initial expenditure, which constituted 280 USD, climbed rapidly and reached the peak during 2014.
1. In June 2016. the number of Asian students enrolment in this university accounted for 45 which is estimated to be almost double in the next year.
2. The number of infected people, which accounts for nine, is markedly lower than the number of infected patients in the last month, which accounted for forty.
Vocabulary to write the Conclusion part:
To draw the conclusion: In conclusion / To conclude / On the whole.
To Summarize: In short / In brief / To sum up / In summary.
However, according to some teachers and examiners, a more appropriate ways of drawing the conclusion of your graph writing should start with the words/ phrases:
All in all,
From the graphs, it is quite evident that.
1. In conclusion, third world countries have improved their production sectors like garments, over the last 10 years whereas the first world countries have improved their technology and research sectors during the same period.
2. In brief, the overall sale of the company has improved in the last 5 years except 2005 when the sale reduced significantly due to retrenchment.
3. All in all, the process of building an IC is a complex one and involves more than eight steps to complete including the testing phase.
4. It is quite evident that the women employment progressed remarkably in the last decade and in some employment sectors women are well ahead of men.
5. To conclude, weather forecasting is a complex process and a great deal of technology is used to prepare and broadcast the reliable weather forecasting.
Tip: ‘In a nutshell‘ is not a formal expression and this is why you should not use it in your IELTS Writing.
Everybody uses some common vocabularies to describe a diagram and to write a report. For instance, there would be hardly anyone who does not use the words ‘increase, decrease, fall, higher, fluctuate, climb, decline, quickly increase, sharply decrease, and those are really obvious words used by most of the IETLS candidates. If you too use these overused words and phrases, you would not be able to give an impression that your range of vocabulary is stronger and richer than others.
» Illustration: can replace – “diagram, chart.”
» As the diagrams suggest: can replace – “As can be seen, According to the diagrams.
» Illustrate: can replace – “describe, show, present data on.”
» Trifling: can replace – “small, insignificant.”
» Delineate: can replace – “show, present, describe.”
» From this graph, it is quite evident that: can replace – “In conclusion, In summary, In general.”
» The most possible ground: can replace – “the most common reason.”
» Elaborate: can replace – “describe, explain.”
» Nadir: can replace – “the lowest point.”
» Apex/ Vertex: can replace – “the highest point.”
» Soared: can replace – ” sharply increased.”
» Skyrocketed: can replace – ” very quickly increased.
» Frantically: can replace – “very quickly, very rapidly.”
» Slumped: can replace – “quickly dropped.”
» Plummeted: can replace – “quickly dropped.”
» Surged: can replace – “went up, climbed, increased.”
» Deteriorate: can replace – “fall.”
» Dip: can replace – “fall, decline.”
» Dive: can replace – “fall, drop.”
» Go into free-fall: can replace – “fall, drop, decline, decrease.”
» Plummet, plunge, slum: can replace – “fall, drop, decline.”
» Take a nosedive: can replace – “reduce, drop, fall, decline.”
» Slide: can replace – “drop, fall.”
» Decade: can replace – “ten years.”
» Projected: can replace – “predicted, forecasted, estimated.”
» Overwhelmingly: can replace – “greatly, significantly.”
» Hardly: can replace – “barely, merely,
» At the onset it is clear: can replace – “As can be seen from the graph.”
» Indicate: can replace – “point out.”
» All in all: can replace – “In summary, in conclusion.”
» Obtain: can replace – “get.”
» Commence: can replace – “start”.
» In the interim: can replace – “in the meantime.”
» Correct: can replace – “right”.
» Inexpensive: can replace – “cheap.”
» Depict: can replace – “show.”
» Plateaued: can replace – “remained the same.”
» Oscillate/ Vacillate/ Palpipate: can replace – “fluctuate.”
» Declivity: can replace – “drop, fall, decrease”.
» Acclivity: can replace – “An upward slope, an upward trend, increase.”
» A steep fall: can replace – “A quick fall”.
Vocabulary to ensure high band score in IELTS Graph writing:
Few more useful vocabulary to ensure high band score in IELTS Graph writing:
Meaning: Reach a state of little or no change after a period of activity or progress, levelled out.
Example: The share price of the ACME company have plateaued out.
Meaning: Submerge, lower plunge, sink.
Example: The employee satisfaction score then dipped in 2005 and remained at this level for the next three years.
Meaning: Decrease, decline, deteriorate.
Example: The number of passengers then slumped and reached to only 2500 compared to four thousand in the previous year.
Meaning: Sheer, sharp, abrupt, perpendicular.
Example: The steep decline of the heavy drinkers contributed to the enhanced life expectancy in this country.
Meaning: Notable, considerable, significant, marked
Example: A substantial number of these diploma holders did not finish their tertiary education.
Meaning: Significant, notable, noteworthy, remarkable, considerable, substantial.
Example: The dramatic rise of the car use has polluted the air.
Meaning: Step by step, slow but continuous, uniform, successive, progressive, steady, regular, even, consistent.
Example: The participation of women in these sectors gradually improved and in 2015, more than 38% women were employed in these job sectors.
Meaning: Reduce, decrease, plummet, plunge, slump, shrink, fall off, lessen.
Example: Investment in clean energy declined in the third world countries in 2005 while it actually doubled in most of the first world countries.
- An upward trend
Meaning: The tendency of being higher, something that goes upward.
Example: An upward trend in the number of club members was visible from 2005 to 2007 after which it actually dropped.
Meaning: Consecutively, sequentially.
Example: Car theft cases in Denmark, Sweden, UK and Japan were respectively 240, 210, 354 and 189 in January 2018.
Meaning: Sequentially, progressively.
Example: While the daily fast food consumption per person in the UK was 50 grams, it was 61, 32 and 25 grams in the USA, Sweden and China consecutively.
Meaning: The highest point, peak, vertex, pinnacle, summit, top.
Example: The price then increased noticeably and reached the apex in 2017.
Meaning: Ascent, climb, rise.
Example: The activity of the car ownership in Europe further developed and reached to 57% in 2011.
Meaning: A downward slope, decline, decrease.
Example: The declivity on the number of female members in 2011 was almost double than that of the previous year.
- Remained stable
Meaning: Remained constant, did not change.
Example: The ratio of highly skilled professionals in the former country increased significantly but remained stable in the later one.
Meaning: Plunge, fall, decline, slump, nosedive, drop, decrease.
Example: The ratio of unemployed youth, who have vocational education, plummeted in 2005 than that of two years earlier.
Meaning: Common, general, usual, prevailing, widespread, endemic, rampant.
Example: The prevalence of the trend could be better understood if we compare the data with that of the last twenty years.
- Stood at
Meaning: To remain stable/ intact, to come to a stop.
Example: The old hospital stood at the same position as it was five decades earlier but the free-space in front of it was converted to a car parking area.
Meaning: Identify, itemise, list, summarise, recite, specify, quote, relate.
Example: The illustration enumerates how Australian Bureau of Meteorology collects up-to-the-minute information on the weather.
Meaning: Completely, hurriedly, abruptly.
Example: The technological advancement has radically changed the way employees used to work in their offices.
- Positive development
Meaning: Improvement, progress, stay forward, increase, grow, rise.
Example: The increasing number of female executives in the company is considered a positive development.
Meaning: Following, next, successive, succeeding.
Example: Despite a hike at the beginning of the year, the oil price steadily declined in the subsequent months until June 2017.
Meaning: Start, begin, set in motion, open, initiate, inauguarate.
Example: The construction of the road was commenced at the beginning of 2001 and ended in 2003.
Meaning: Slump, plummet, shrink, fall off, decline, decrease, drop, reduce.
Example: Employers’ contribution to the fee for skill development courses has plunged to a great extent in the last decade, as the graph suggests.
Meaning: Increase, went higher, jump.
Example: Duration of watching TV as a leisure activity surged among the elder people in Australia after 1998.
- To dive
Meaning: Fall, descent, plummet, plunge, nosedive, drop.
Example: Consumption of word resources in some Asian countries, on the contrary, has dived after 2014.
Meaning: Swift, sudden, instantaneous, hurried, startling, unanticipated, unexpected, rapid, speedy.
Example: The abrupt rise of the population in the early 21st century is contrasting to that of the beginning of the 18th century, as the data suggests.
Meaning: Correlative, corresponding, parallel, reciprocal.
Example: The academic performance and professional efficiency are somewhat relative to each other despite the presence of many other variables, according to the survey outcome.
Meaning: Tolerable, adequate, moderate, fair, satisfactory, acceptable.
Example: The wheat export then witnessed a modest decline and it affected the revenue earned in 2015.
Meaning: Disparity, inequality, dissimilarity, difference, variety, diversification.
Example: It can be inferred from the given data that variations in the pH values are sometimes detrimental.
Meaning: Explain, make clear, clarify, throw/shed light on, explicate, annotate.
Example: The line chart elucidates how much waste was recycled in the UK between 1990 and 2015.
Meaning: Untangle, clear up, disentangle, explain, straighten out, separate out.
Example: The data unravel the fact that the crime rate increases in the later decades despite some stringent initiatives from the law-enforcers.
»» Make sure you know all of these words/ phrases and can use them while writing a report/ describing a graph.