IELTS Writing. Task 1. Line graphs

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Here is a simple line graph

How to Make Line Graphs in Excel | Smartsheet

Line graphs are used to show trends or tendencies that happen over a period of time. A graph has an X-axis which gives us information on the horizontal axis, and a Y-axis which gives us information on the vertical axis. It is important to read what each axis is about.

In this graph, the X-axis shows us the week time period, more specifically the days from Monday to Sunday.

The Y axis tells us the number of muffins sold.

A quick question for you. How many books were sold on Friday? The IELTS examiner will check to see if you have read and understood the information in the X and Y axes.

With line graphs, it is important to look at the general features or characteristics of the graph and not just repeat the numbers at each time interval.

If you say, on Monday 5 muffins were sold, on Friday 12 muffins were sold, on Sunday 15 muffins were sold, you are just repeating what happens at each time interval. The examiner will ignore this type of response as you not explaining the general trends. What is the general trend you can see in the graph? It goes up.

What is another way of saying that something goes in an upward direction? We could use rise, increase, or ascend. So, how can we describe the general trend of this graph? We could say:

  • The graph shows an increase in the number of muffins sold.

Notice how we used a noun in this example …. an increase.

But this information is a little incomplete. We need to add the time period.

What is the starting point? Monday
What is the end point? Sunday

So, we can say:

  • The graph shows an increase in the number of muffins sold between Monday and Sunday.

Do you know of another way of saying this time period?

We can say:

  • The graph shows an increase in the number of muffins sold over a seven-day period.

The difference between Monday and Sunday is 7 days. Yes, it says: seven-day period (day is in singular) and not eight-days period. Why? Seven-day is an adjective, and adjectives never have a plural form.  You will also notice there is a dash or hyphen between the word seven and day… seven-day.

This is used to combine the two words to make an adjective or more specifically a compound adjective.

Let’s look at the graph again. Here are two similar statements about it.

  • The graph shows the number of muffins sold has increased.
  • The graph shows an increase in the number of muffins sold.

How much of an increase was it? Was it by a large amount or a small amount? With our description we don’t know so we need to add additional information. Look at these two words to describe the trend: considerable and considerably. What I want you to do right now is in each statement add the word considerable or the word considerably in its correct position. Where does each word go?

  • The number of muffins sold has increased considerably.
  • The graph shows a considerable increase in the number of muffins sold.

Why did we put considerably in the first sentence and considerable in the second one? Why did we put them in that position in each sentence? More information here

  • The graph shows a considerable increase in the number of muffins sold.

How was the increase? Considerable. The adjective considerable describes the noun increase. The next one:

  • a slow decline.
  • a sharp increase.

Considerable, slow, and sharp all describe the trend. They are adjectives. Adjectives go before a noun.

So let’s look at these two sentences again.

  • The number of muffins sold has increased considerably.
  • The graph shows a considerable increase in the number of muffins sold.

Why did we include these highlighted words in each sentence? We do this to give a more accurate description of the trend.

You have to imagine that the examiner cannot see the graph so you need to give a detailed description by saying how things changed and by including numbers to state these changes.


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