IELTS writing task 1: Language for describing trends

ielts writing task 1 trendsVocabulary and grammar for IELTS graphs with a trend.

Updated:  June 2024

In IELTS writing task 1 academic you need to write a report about one of the following: a bar chart, a line graph, maps / floor plan, a table, a pie chart or a process diagram.

Line graphs with dynamic data are quite common so in this post, I will look at describing a line graph and the type of grammar and vocabulary that is needed for this task. Try the practice exercise at the end.

This lesson will look at:

1. Vocabulary for describing a line graph
2. Useful grammar for this task
3. Example of a basic line graph
4. Gap-fill exercise
5. Further practice


Useful Vocabulary

NounsVerbs
Upward movement
a rise
an increase
a surge
a growth
a peak

Quick changes
a fluctuation
a variation

No Changes
a period of stability
a plateau

Downward Movement
a fall
a decrease
a decline
a dip
a drop
Upward movement
to rise
to increase
to surge
to grow
to peak
to skyrocket

Quick Changes
to fluctuate
to vary

Downward Movements
to fall
to decrease
to decline
to dip
to dive
to plunge


Useful vocabulary for line graphs and trends.

showed an upward trend / showed a downward trend

hit the highest point / hit the lowest point

reached a peak / showed some fluctuation / fluctuated wildly

remained stable / remained static / remained unchanged /stayed constant

reached a plateau / levelled off / flattened out

the highest / the lowest / the second highest / the third highest

compared to  / compared with / relative to


Example sentences:

1. Sales of ice cream flattened out toward the end of the period.

2. Sales of ice cream showed some fluctuation between 2000 and 2008.

3. Car export figures hit the lowest point in 2014.

4. The figure for CO2 emissions was the second highest among the four countries.

5. Coal exports showed a downward trend throughout the 10 year period.

6. The figure for the number of cars sold levelled off toward the end of the timeframe.


Verb adverb collocations to describe trends.

1. There was a substantial increase in the value of stocks in early 2014.
2. House prices rose dramatically in 2019.
3. The number of tourists visiting New York fell sharply in October.
4. The number of students studying Economics rose gradually from 2001 to 2010.
5. There was a sharp increase in employee turnover after the strike.
6. Interest in environmental issues has risen steadily over the last 10 years.
7. The proportion of biofuels used in Germany in 2014 rose marginally from 30% to 32%.
8, There was a significant fall in the value of the currency from 2021.


Prepositions

Prepositions are needed to describe dates and statistics and they must be used accurately. Click here for a more detailed lesson on how to use prepositions in writing task 1.

Dates
In December,
In 2005,
From 2001 to 2010,
By 1998,
Between 1965 and 1969
Over a ten year period

Numbers
An Increase of 25%.
Decreased by 10%.
Fell from 200 in July to 150 in August.
Dropped from 200 units to 120 units in a period of 6 months.
Rose sharply over a period of 5 years.
Started at one third and peaked at three thirds
Fell from 30% to just over 20%


Example task

The line graph below shows exports of rubber ducks from 2013 to 2017.
ielts tak 1This task is not an official Cambridge task, this is for practice purposes only.

Fill in the gaps.

Exports of rubber ducks in the USA ____  2013 started ____ 10,000 units and then _______  to around 15,000 units. After that, the figure _______ _____ until 2015 and ______ ____ by 2016 to approximately 13,000 units. However, ______ 2016 ___ 2017 exports _______ _____ ending ___ around 2,000 units.

In contrast, the proportion of rubber duck exports from the EU in 2013 amounted to 30, 000 units and ______  _______ but then _______ somewhat ____  2015 to 21,000 units. Subsequently, exports ______  ______  to over 33,000 units in 2016 and _______  at 40,000 units ____ 2017. Regarding the UK, export figures accounted for 20,000 in 2013 and after a slight dip ______ _______  every year ______ 2014 comprising 40,000 units ____ 2017.

Exports of rubber ducks in the USA in 2013 started at 10,000 units and then climbed to around 15,000 units. After that, the figure levelled off until 2015 and fell slightly by 2016 to approximately 13,000 units. However, from 2016 to 2017 exports fell sharply ending at around 2,000 units.

In contrast, the proportion of rubber duck exports from the EU in 2013 amounted to 30, 000 units and rose gradually, but then dipped somewhat in 2015 to 21,000 units. Subsequently, exports grew steadily to over 33,000 units in 2016 and peaked at 40,000 units by 2017. Regarding the UK,  export figures accounted for 20,000 in 2013 and after a slight dip rose steadily every year from 2014 comprising 40,000 units by 2017.


Key point: When writing the task 1 report you do not have go into too much detail, you need to summarise the data and write about the key features, so keep the word count under 190 words.

 


Further practice

Writing task 1 vocabulary: ‘number, total, amount, figure, accounted for’

Writing task 1 academic vocabulary

IELTS Writing Task 1: Using prepositions correctly


 

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