This post looks at some vocabulary for IELTS writing task 1 when you need to describe a graph or chart that has a time element. I begin by looking at some of the most common vocabulary you need. Then I give you some variations and talk about some grammar.
Test yourself first
Before you read on, you may want to test your knowledge first.
The most basic trend vocabulary – a few variations
Let’s look at this graph and see what words we need to describe it. Put simply we need language that describes
- up (2009 to 2010),
- down (2008 to 2009),
- up and down (between 2006 and 2009)
- no change (2006 and 2007)
- the top (2010)
The trend vocabulary I am going to suggest may seem very basic. It does, however, allow you to say the same thing in up to 6 different ways.That’s good.
Tip: if you find yourself repeating a word, try changing the form of it from a verb to a noun
You should also note that, even with this basic language, there are a variety of grammar problems that cause many candidates problems. That’s bad.
Up and down
Sometimes you need to describe a graph that goes up and then down. Here we have fewer options.
Preposition problem 1 – by and to
Prepositions are horrid in English. Have another look at the graph:
The rate of unemployment rose to 12% in 2010.
The rate of unemployment rose by 5% in 2010.
Preposition problem 2 – in and of
This one is harder. We use “in” to describe changes in things and “of” to describe changes in number or amount. For example,
There was a rise in the rate of unemployment
There was a rise of 5% in the rate of unemployment.