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Ielts Essay Task 1 Vocabulary Workshop

Vocabulary For Academic IELTS Writing Task 1 (part 1)

Last Updated: Saturday, 10 March 2018 19:32
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The Academic IELTS Writing Task 1 requires you to use several vocabularies to present the data given in a pie/ bar/ line/ mixed graphs or to describe a process or a flow chart. Being able to use appropriate vocabulary, presenting main trends, comparing & contrasting data and presenting the logical flow of the graph ensures a high band score in your Academic IELTS writing task 1. This vocabulary section aims to help you learn all the vocabulary, phrases and words you need to know and use in your Academic writing task 1 to achieve a high band score. The examiner will use four criteria to score your response: task achievement, coherence and cohesion, lexical resource, grammatical range and accuracy. Since lexical resources will determine 25% of your score in Task 1, you have to enrich your vocabulary to hit a high score. To demonstrate that you have great lexical resources you need to: 

» Use correct synonyms in your writing.
» Use a range of vocabulary.
» Do not repeat words and phrases from the exam question unless there is no alternative.
» Use less common vocabulary.
» Do not use the same word more than once/twice.
» Use precise and accurate words in a sentence.

It is advised that you learn synonyms and use them accurately in your writing in order to give an impression that you have a good range of vocabulary.

Graph Writing Vocabulary Index:

Part 1  |  Part 2  |  Part 3  |  Part 4  |  Part 5  |

The general format for writing academic writing task 1 is as follows:

Introduction + Basic/ General Trends + Details Description + Summary(optional).

Each part has a specific format and therefore being equipped with the necessary vocabulary will help you answer the task 1 efficiently and will save a great deal of time.

Vocabulary for the Introduction Part:


Presentation Type



The/ the given / the supplied / the presented / the shown / the provided

diagram / table / figure / illustration / graph / chart / flow chart / picture/ presentation/ pie chart / bar graph/ column graph / line graph / table data/ data / information / pictorial/ process diagram/ map/ pie chart and table/ bar graph and pie chart ...

shows / represents / depicts / enumerates / illustrates / presents/ gives / provides / delineates/ outlines/ describes / delineates/ expresses/ denotes/ compares/ shows contrast / indicates / figures / gives data on / gives information on/ presents information about/ shows data about/ demonstrates/ sketch out/ summarises...

the comparison of…
the differences…
the changes...
the number of…
information on…
data on…
the proportion of…
the amount of…
information on...
data about...
comparative data...
the trend of...
the percentages of...
the ratio of...
how the...


Example : 

  1. The provided diagram shows data on employment categories in energy producing sectors in Europe starting from 1925 and till 1985.
  2. The given pie charts represent the proportion of male and female employee in 6 broad categories, divided into manual and non-manual occupations in Freedonia. 
  3. The chart gives information on expenditures of 4 European countries on six consumer products namely Germany, Italy, Britain and France.
  4. The supplied bar graph compares the number of male and female graduated in three developing countries while the table data presents the overall literacy rate in these countries. 
  5. The bar graph and the table data depict the water use in different sectors in five regions.
  6. The bar graph enumerates the money spent on different research projects while the column graph demonstrates the sources of the amount spent over a decade, commencing from 1981.
  7. The line graph delineates the proportion of male and female employees in three different sectors in Australia between 2010 and 2015.

Note that, some teachers prefer "The line graph demonstrates..." format instead of "The given line graph demonstrates...". However, if you write "The given/ provided/ presented...." it would be correct as well.  


1. For a single graph use 's' after the verb, like - gives data on, shows/ presents etc. However, if there are multiple graphs, DO NOT use 's' after the verb.

2. If there are multiple graphs and each one presents a different type of data, you can write which graph presents what type of data and use 'while' to show a connection. For example -'The given bar graph shows the amount spent on fast food items in 2009 in the UK while the pie chart presents a comparison of people's ages who spent more on fast food. 

3. Your introduction should be quite impressive as it makes the first impression to the examiner. It either makes or breaks your overall score.

4. For multiple graphs and/ or table(s), you can write what they present in combination instead of saying which each graph depicts. For example, "The two pie charts and the column graph in combination depicts a picture of the crime in Australia from 2005 to 2015 and the percentages of young offenders during this period." 

Never copy word for word from the question. If you do do, you would be penalised. always paraphrase the introduction in your own words.


General Statement Part:

The General statement is the first sentence (or two) you write in your reporting. It should always deal with:

What + Where + When.

Example: The diagrams present information on the percentages of teachers who has expressed their views on different problems they face when dealing with children in three Australian schools from 2001 to 2005. 

What = the percentages of teachers...
Where = three Australian schools....
When  = from 2001 to 2005...

A good General statement should always have these parts.

Vocabulary for the General Trend Part:

In general, In common, Generally speaking, Overall, It is obvious, As is observed, As a general trend, As can be seen, As an overall trend,  As is presented, It can be clearly seen that, At the first glance, it is clear, At the onset, it is clear that, A glance at the graphs reveals that...


  1. In general, the employment opportunity has increased till 1970 and has dropped down afterwards.
  2. As is observed, the figures for imprisonment in the five mentioned countries show no overall pattern of increase or decrease rather shows the considerable fluctuation from country to country.
  3. Generally speaking, USA had a far more standard life than all the other 4 mentioned countries. 
  4. As can be seen, the highest number of passengers used the London Underground station at 8:00 in the morning and at 6:00 in the evening.
  5. Generally speaking, more men were engaged in managerial positions in 1987 than that of women in New York.
  6. As an overall trend, the number of crimes reported increased fairly rapidly until the mid-seventies, remained constant for five years and finally, dropped to 20 cases a week after 1982.
  7. At the first glance, it is clear that more percentages of native university pupils violated regulations and rules than the foreign students.
  8. At the onset, it is clear that drinking in public and drink driving were the most common reasons for the US citizens to be arrested in 2014.
  9. Overall, the leisure hours enjoyed by males regardless of their employment status was much higher than that of women.

The structure of the IELTS Academic Writing Task 1 (Report Writing):


Introduction (Never copy word for word from the question.) + Overview/ General trend. (What the diagrams indicate at a first glance.)

Reporting Details:

Main features in the Details
+ Comparison and Contrast of the data. (Do not give all the figures.)
+ Most striking features of the graph.


Conclusion (General statement + Implications, significant comments)
[Conlcusion is optional.]

1. Write introduction and General trend in the same paragraph. Some students prefer to write the 'General Trend' in a separate paragraph and many teachers suggest the both to be written in a single paragraph. Unless you have a really good reason to write the general trend in the second paragraph, try to write them both in the first paragraph. However, this is just a suggestion, not a requirement.

2. Your 'Introduction (general statement + overall trend/ general trend) should have 75 - 80 words.

3. DO NOT give numbers, percentages or quantity in your general trend. Rather give the most striking feature of the graph that could be easily understood at a glance. Thus it is suggested to AVOID -

"A glance at the graphs reveals that 70% male were employed in 2001 while 40 thousand women in this year had jobs."

And use a format /comparison like the following:

"A glance at the graphs reveals that more men were employed than their female counterpart in 2001 and almost two-third females were jobless in the same year. "

 Vocabulary to Start the Report Body:

Just after you finish writing your 'Introduction' (i.e. General Statement + General overview/ trend), you are expected to start a new paragraph to describe the main features of the diagrams. This second paragraph is called the 'Body Paragraph / Report Body". You can have a single body paragraph/ report body or up to 3, (not more than 3 in any case) depending on the number of graphs provided in the question and the type of these graphs. There are certain phrases you can use to start your body paragraph and following is a list of such phrases ---

1. As is presented in the diagram(s)/ graph(s)/ pie chart(s)/ table...
2. As (is) shown in the illustration...
3. As can be seen in the...
4. As the diagrams suggest...
5. According to the...
6. Categorically speaking...
7. Getting back to the details...
8. Now, turning to the details....
9. The table data clearly shows that...
10. The diagram reveals that...
11. The data suggest that...
12. The graph gives figure...
13. It is interesting to note that...
14. It is apparently seen that...
15. It is conspicuous that...
16. It is explicitly observed that...
17. It is obvious...
18. It is clear from the data...
19. It is worth noticing that...
20. It is crystal clear/ lucid that...
21. It can be clearly observed that...
22. It could be plainly viewed that...
23. It could be noticed that...
24. We can see that...

 Vocabulary to show the changes:


Verb form

Noun Form


rise / increase / go up / uplift / rocket(ed) / climb / upsurge / soar/ shot up/ improve/ jump/ leap/ move upward/ skyrocket/ soar/ surge.

a rise / an increase / an upward trend / a growth / a leap / a jump / an improvement/ a climb.


fall / decrease / decline / plummet / plunge / drop / reduce / collapse / deterioriate/ dip / dive / go down / take a nosedive / slum / slide / go into free-fall.

a fall / a decrease / a reduction / a downward trends /a  downward tendency /  a decline/ a drop / a slide / a collapse / a downfall.


unchanged / level out / remain constant / remain steady / plateau / remain the same / remain stable / remain static

a steadiness/ a plateau / a stability/ a static

Gradual increase



an upward trend / an upward tendency / a ceiling trend

Gradual decrease



a downward trend / a downward tendency / a descending trend

Standability/ Flat

level(ed) off / remain(ed) constant / remain(ed) unchanged / remain(ed) stable / prevail(ed) consistency / plateaued / reach(ed) a plateau / stay(ed) uniform /immutable / level(ed) out/ stabilise/ remain(ed) the same.


 No change, a flat, a plateau.


  1. The overall sale of the company has increased by 20% at the end of the year.
  2. The expenditure of the office remained constant for the last 6 months but the profit rose by almost 25%.
  3. There was a 15% drop in the student enrollment of the University.
  4. The population of the country remained almost the same as it was 2 years ago.
  5. The population of these two cities increase significantly in the last two decades and it is predicted that it will remain stable in the next 5 years.

1. Use 'improve' / 'an improvement' to describe a situation like economic condition or employment status. To denote numbers use other verbs/nouns like increase.

2. Do not use the same word/ phrase over and over again. In fact, you should not use a noun or verb form to describe a trend/change more than twice; once is better!

3. To achieve a high band score you need to use a variety of vocabulary as well as sentence formations.

Vocabulary to represent changes in graphs:

Type of Change

Adverb form

Adjective form

Rapid change

dramatically / rapidly / sharply / quickly / hurriedly / speedily / swiftly / significantly/ considerably / substantioally / noticably.

dramatic / rapid / sharp / quick / hurried / speedy / swift / significant / considerable / substantial / noticable.

Moderate change

moderately / gradually / progressively / sequentially.  

moderate / gradual / progressive /  sequential.

Steady change

 steadily/ ceaselessly.

steady/ ceaseless.

Slight change slightly / slowly / mildly / tediously. slight / slow / mild / tedious.


  1. The economic inflation of the country increased sharply by 20% in 2008.
  2. There was a sharp drop in the industrial production in the year 2009. 
  3. The demand for new houses dramatically increased in 2002.
  4. The population of the country dramatically increased in the last decade. 
  5. The price of the oil moderately increased in last quarter but as a consequence, the price of daily necessity rapidly went up.

Vocabulary to represent frequent changes in graphs:

Type of Change

Verb form

Noun form

 Rapid ups and downs

wave / fluctuate / oscillate / vacillate / palpitate

waves / fluctuations / oscillations / vacillations /  palpitations


  1. The price of the raw materials fluctuated for the first three months.
  2. The graph shows the oscillations of the price of fuel from 1998 to 2002.
  3. The passenger number in this station oscillates throughout the day but early morning and evening are the two busiest time.
  4. The changes of car production in Japan shows a palpitation for the second quarter of the year. 
  5. The number of students in debate clubs fluctuated in different months as rapid ups and downs could be observed in the last three months.

1. 4. DO NOT try to present every single data presented in a graph. Rather pick 5-7 most significant and important trends/ changes and show their comparisons and contrasts.

2. The question asks you to write a report and summarise the data presented in graphs(s). This is why you need to show the comparisons, contrasts, show the highest and lowest points and most striking features in your answer, not every piece of data presented in the diagram(s).

Types of Changes/ Differences and Vocabulary to present them: 

Great change / Huge difference:

Adjectives                           Adverbs

Overwhelming                   Overwhelmingly
Substantial                         Substantially
Enormous                          Enormously

Big change / Big difference:

Adjectives                           Adverbs

Significant                          Significantly
Considerable                     Considerably

Medium change / Moderate difference:

Adjectives                           Adverbs

Somewhat                           Somewhat
Moderate                             Moderately

Minor change / Small difference:

Adjectives                           Adverbs

Fractional                           Fractionally
Marginal                             Marginally
Slight                                 Slightly

Dates, Months & Years related vocabulary and grammar: 

» From 1990 to 2000, Commencing from 1980, Between 1995 and 2005, After 2012.
» By 1995, In 1998, In February, Over the period, During the period, During 2011.
» In the first half of the year, For the first quarter, The last quarter of the year, During the first decade.
» In the 80s, In the 1980s, During the next 6 months, In the mid-70s, Next 10 years, Previous year, Next year, Between 1980 - 1990.
» Within a time span of ten years, within five years.
» Next month, Next quarter, Next year, Previous month, Previous year.
» Since, Then, From.

Percentage, Portion and Numbers:

10% increase, 25 percent decrease, increased by 15%, dropped by 10 per cent, fall at 50%, reached to 75%, tripled, doubled, one-fourth, three-quarters, half, double fold, treble, 5 times higher, 3 timers lower, declined to about 49%, stood exactly at 43%.

4% = A tiny fraction.
24% = Almost a quarter.
25% Exactly a quarter.
26% = Roughly one quarter.
32% Nearly one-third, nearly a third.
49% = Around a half, just under a half.
50% Exactly a half.
51% = Just over a half.
73% = Nearly three quarters.
77% = Approximately three quarter, more than three-quarter.
79% = Well over three quarters.

2% = A tiny portion, a very small proportion.
4% = An insignificant minority, an insignificant proportion.
16% = A small minority, a small portion.
70% = A large proportion.
72% = A significant majority, A significant proportion.89% = A very large proportion. 
89% = A very large proportion.

Words/ Phrases of Approximation - Vocabulary:

» Approximately
» Nearly
» Roughly
» Almost
» About
» Around
» More or less
» Just over
» Just under
» Just around
» Just about
» Just below
» A little more than
» A little less than.

What criteria would a band 9 graph response satisfy?

Task Achievement:
A) Fully satisfies all the requirements of the task.
B) Clearly presents a fully developed response.

What will be assessed by the examiner?
a) How appropriately, accurately and relevantly you fulfil your task requirements.
b) How accurately you write your report and how appropriately you present the data (compare/ contrast/ show the most striking trends/ features/ data.) 

Coherence and Cohesion:
A) Uses cohesion in such a way that it attracts no attention.
B) Skillfully manages paragraphing.

What will be assessed by the examiner?
a) No misinterpretation and presentation of data and trend.
b) How well you organise your paragraphs.
c) Overall clarity and fluency of your report and message.
d) How well you have organised and liked the information, data and ideas in your writing.
e) Logical sequencing and appropriate use of linking devices between and within your sentences. 


  1.  Do not incorporate more than 3-4 paragraphs.
  2.  Do not use a single paragraph to describe everything.
  3.  The conclusion part is optional. If you think that you have already written more than 170 words and have nothing to say, you can skip the conclusion.

Lexical Resource:
A) Uses a wide range of vocabulary with very natural and sophisticated control of lexical features.
B) Rare minor errors occur only as ‘slips’.

What will be assessed by the examiner?
a) The range of vocabulary you have used in your writing.
b) How accurately and appropriately you have used words/ phrases while presenting the graph(s) as a report.

Tips: Do NOT use words/ phrases that are already given in the question. Do so only if there is no alternative word(s)/ phrase(s) to convey the same meaning/idea.

Grammatical Range and Accuracy:
A) Uses a wide range of structures with full flexibility and accuracy.
B) Rare minor errors occur only as ‘slips’.

Do not use the same sentence structure and data comparison/ contrasting style over and over again. Bring a variety in your writing to show that you can formulate different sentence structures without making any grammatical mistakes.

Next »» Graph Writing Vocabulary (Part 2)»

This post will help you improve your score for IELTS task 1 vocabulary and grammar.

The IELTS writing test marking scheme is divided into four parts:

  • Grammatical Range and Accuracy
  • Task Achievement
  • Lexical Resource
  • Coherence and Cohesion

Grammar therefore accounts for 25% of the marks in your writing test.

You are assessed on two things:

  1. Your ability to produce grammatically accurate sentences;
  2. Your ability to use a wide range of grammar structures.

Grammar is often the area that students struggle with the most and it can easily bring a student’s scores down.

Accuracy of grammar

Examiners look for how many ‘error free’ sentences you have. You therefore need to make sure each sentence has no errors. Even a small mistake like an article in the wrong place or misplaced plural counts towards this.

This is why it is so important to check your work after you finish writing. Always try to leave yourself two minutes at the end to check your work. Simple errors, which could be fixed with a quick check, will really bring your marks down in this area.

Range of grammar

A good answer will have a range of appropriate structures and tenses. Many students try to insert complex sentences and tenses into their answers. This is not how to do it and will result in your answers looking unnatural and you making mistakes.

If you write a good answer, complex sentences, such as conditional and relative clauses will flow naturally.

Below is some advice on certain grammar structures that will help boost your mark in part one of the writing test, if used appropriately. I have only included advice for charts, such as pie charts, line graphs and bar charts, in this post. I will deal with process diagrams in a separate post.

Describing Trends

In IELTS writing task 1 you may have to describe trends. This may come up in a line graph, bar chart or when comparing more than one chart.

There are two main grammatical structures we can use to describe trends.

  1. There + be + adj. + noun + in + noun phrase


There was a gradual rise in the price of oil.

There has been a sharp drop in the price of oil.

Possible adjectives

  • gradual
  • moderate
  • modest
  • sharp
  • dramatic
  • slight
  • steep
  • steady
  • significant
  • considerable
  • rapid

Possible nouns:

  • variation
  • decline
  • decrease
  • dip
  • drop
  • fall
  • peak
  • fluctuation
  • growth
  • increase
  • rise
  • slump
  1. Noun phrase + verb + adverb


The price of oil rose gradually.

The price of oil has risen dramatically.

Possible verbs:

  • rise
  • jump
  • grow
  • climb
  • increase
  • rocket
  • fall
  • drop
  • decline
  • decrease
  • go down
  • plummet
  • plunge

Possible adverbs:

  • gradually
  • moderately
  • modestly
  • sharply
  • dramatically
  • slightly
  • steeply
  • steadily
  • significantly
  • considerably
  • rapidly
  • slowly

Describing Increases and Decreases

When describing any of the charts in IELTS writing task 1, you might have to describe increases and decreases. There are three main ways you can describe increases and decreases.

  1. Noun phrase + verb + adverb


The price of property fell sharply

The percentage of homes dropped dramatically.

  1. There + be + noun + in + noun phrase


There was a fall in literacy levels.

There has been an increase in the cost of coffee.

  1. Using fractions


The price of oil halved in less than a year.

The price of oil has halved since July.

By July, the price of oil has halved.

Making Comparisons

IELTS writing task 1 will often require you to make comparisons between data sources, groups and times. Here are five grammatical structures you can use to make comparisons.

  1. More/few/less + noun + than


Overall, more people preferred public transport than taxis.

  1. of one syllable -er + than


A higher number of people preferred public transport than taxis.

  1. More/less + adj. of more than one syllable + than


Taxis were more popular than public transport.

  1. of one syllable -est.


The highest % of commuters preferred taxis.

  1. The most/least + adj. of more than one syllable.


The least popular mode of transport was buses.


IELTS writing task 1 is essentially a summarising task. Your overview paragraph should contain two or three sentences summarising the main features of the graph. In order to help you do this, here are some short phrases.

  • To summarise, the most marked change is….
  • Overall it is clear….
  • Overall the majority/minority….
  • In sum, the most noticeable trend is….

Don’t say ‘to conclude’. This is only for discursive essays.


Using the appropriate tenses in IELTS writing task 1 is essential if you want to get a high band score.

The key is to look at the title of the chart and the information contained on both axes to establish what time frame is used. This will help you establish what tense you should use.


  • If the time is one point in the past, for example January 1990, then we should use the past tense.
  • If it has projections for the future, for example 2045, we use future tenses.
  • It there is no time, we use present simple.

Below are a range of tenses that could be used in task 1. Remember, the tense you use will depend on the information displayed in the graph. This is not a complete list of tenses and an awareness of all the English tenses will help you achieve the IELTS score you need.

  1. Present Perfect:

We use this tense generally to talk about an action that happened at an unspecified time before now. The exact time period is not important.

In writing task 1, we use this tense to talk about changes in data that have happened over a period of time.


The price of oil has fallen by $5 a barrel every week since July.

  1. Present Perfect Continuous

We use this tense to show that something started in the past and has continued up until now.


Oil prices have been decreasing since July.

  1. Future Perfect

We use this tense to state that something will be finished by a particular time in the future.

We often use it with ‘by’ or ‘in’.


The price of oil will have reached $300 a barrel by 2020.

  1. Past Simple

Use this tense to talk about an action that started and finished at a specific time in the past.


The price of oil fell from $150 in Jan 2014 to $50 in Jan 2015.

Approximations, Percentages and Fractions

In many of the IELTS writing task 1 questions, you will have to deal with percentages. This is a good opportunity to express these percentages in a different way and boost your score. A way of varying this language is to express them as fractions or proportions.

Remember that you should vary your language as much as possible in order to score high in the ‘lexical resource’ part of the test.

It is also fine to use approximations, for example, 49% can be expressed as nearly a half.

Below are a range of expressions that can be used to express percentages.


73%- nearly three quarters

51%- just over a half

49%- just under a half

32%- nearly a third

3%- a tiny fraction

50%- exactly a half

26%- roughly one quarter

49%- around a half

24%- almost a quarter

77%- approximately three quarters


70%- a large proportion

71%- a significant majority

15% a small minority

3%- an insignificant minority

I hope you have found this post on IELTS Writing Task 1 vocabulary and grammar useful and if you have any grammar queries, please comment below.

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You might also be interested in the following pages:

10 Most Common Task 2 Topics 

Task 2 Essay Structures 

How To Write An Introduction 

Agree or Disagree Lesson

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