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Overall – IELTS word of the day

Today’s word from the academic word list is



This is a very flexible word that can do a variety of jobs – mostly as an adverb or an adjective. It is particularly useful when you are writing conclusions and can help you avoid “In conclusion”. It’s always good to have another option.

The adverb

We can use overall when we are summarising points – to mean something like “all things considered”.

Be careful with punctuation here. You should really use the comma when you use it as the first word in the sentence and it qualifies the whole sentence. Look at this example:

Overall, it seems evident that climate change is directly affected by human activities.

The adjective

It is also useful as an adjective where it can often be used when you are summarising. Here are some examples to show you how you use it in both task 1 and task 2.

Task 1 examples

These examples show how you can use “overall” when you are looking at the big picture: i.e. the overall trend may be upward even though it fluctuated.

The overall trend in this period was upward

The overall number of people reading books fell

All four groups showed an overall increase

The overall attendance rate fell

Task 2 examples

Central government should be responsible for overall policy

Despite this, overall responsibility should be retained by parents

The overall effect on the environment has been highly negative


More AWL words 




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One Response to Overall – IELTS word of the day

  1. Piyu February 18, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

    Good to see you back in action….

    Thanks a lot for all the efforts you have put in making this blog.

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