IELTS Writing Task 1: Describing a graph

Describing a graph is another task type in IELTS writing task 1. This graph could be a line graph,

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Matthew Simoneau

or a bar graph.

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In order to give the right description, you need to identify the trends or the patterns in the graph, and then describe them using specific verbs, adjectives and adverbs.

Some of them are:


Verbs for Upward Trend

increased, rose, went up, peaked, improved, gained, recovered, soared, skyrocketed

Verbs for Downward Trend

fell, dropped, plunged, plummeted, declined, decreased, dwindled, fluctuated

For Same/Unchanged Trend

levelled off



Depending on the rate (speed) of the trend, you may use any of the following adverbs to describe it. Big upward/downward trend

sharply, dramatically, suddenly, rapidly, considerably, significantly

example. rose sharply, fell dramatically

Slight upward/downward trend

slightly, slowly, gradually

ex. decreased slightly, increased slowly, gained slightly

Adjectives to describe a trend especially on profits

exponential, huge, big, slight

example: huge decrease/increase, exponential change, slight increase/decrease

Just be sure that the words you use truly reflect the description. Don't use the word skyrocketed, when the change in the data being described is just a fraction or a small one. It just doesn't make sense. Using of the right words says so much of your understanding of the graph or the table.

You must remember as well that in IELTS, it does not matter whether you are using American or British English. Both are accepted.

How do American and British english differ? There is not much difference except in some words.

Think of it this way. In American english, words that has -Z are spelled with -S in British english. Words with -OR become -OUR in British. The ones with -ER are spelled with -RE in British english.

Examples: analyze-analyse, organize-organise, labor-labour, color-colour, theater-theatre

In some cases, they differ in some words, but they mean the same thing.

Examples: elevator-lift, gift-present, refrigerator-fridge, dessert-pudding.

Note: The first words given are American, the second words are British.

You must be consistent in using them. If you are more familiar with the American english, then it must be used consistently throughout.

From describing a graph to Explaining a process


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