IELTS Writing Task 1: Grammar for describing trends

Vocabulary and grammar for line graphs and describing trends.

In Writing task 1 academic you need to write a report about a bar chart, a line graph, maps, a pie chart or a process diagram. In this case we are going to look at describing a line graph in IELTS writing task 1 and the kind of grammar and vocabulary that is needed for this task.

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


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 Phrases for Task 1 reports
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 third highest among the four countries.
5. Coal exports showed a downward trend throughout the 10 year period.
6. The number of cars sold levelled off in the last part of the 20 year period.

AdverbsAdjectives
sharply
suddenly
rapidly
abruptly
dramatically
significantly
steadily
considerably
markedly
slightly
gently
gradually
steeply
Marginally
sharp
sudden
rapid
abrupt
dramatic
significant
steady
considerable
marked
slight
gentle
gradual
steep
Marginal

Collocations to describe trends

Sample Sentences
1. There was a substantial increase in the value of stocks on March 15th.
2. House prices rose dramatically in July.
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 2009 rose marginally from 30% to 32%.

Prepositions:

Prepositions are needed to describe dates and statistics:

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

Note: This task is not an official Cambridge task, this is for practice purposes only.

The line graph below shows exports of rubber ducks from 2013 to 2017.
ielts tak 1
Fill in the gaps.

Exports of rubber ducks in the USA ___ 2013 started ___ 10,000 units and ____ slightly to around 15,000 units, they ________ off and fell ______ by 2016 to around 13,000 units. However_____ 2016 ____ 2017 exports fell sharply ending ___ only 2,000 units.

In contrast, exports of rubber ducks from the EU started well at 30, 000 units and rose_________ but then ________ gradually in 2015 to 21,000 units. Soon after, the trend grew _________ to over 33,000 units in 2016 and  _______ at 40,000 units in 2017. Similarly, in the UK  exports _____ steadily from 2014 ending at 40,000 units ___ 2017.

Exports of rubber ducks in the USA in 2013 started at 10,000 units and rose slightly to around 15,000 units, they levelled off and fell slightly by 2016 to around 13,000 units. However from 2016 to 2017 exports fell sharply ending at only 2,000 units.

In contrast, exports of rubber ducks from the EU started well at 30, 000 units and rose gradually but then dropped gradually in 2015 to 21,000 units. Soon after, the trend grew steadily to over 33,000 units in 2016 and peaked at 40,000 units in 2017. Similarly, in the UK,  exports rose steadily from 2014 ending at 40,000 units in 2017.


Key point: When writing the task 1 report you do not have to cover everything in the chart or graph as I have done above, you need to summarise the data and write about the key features only.