IELTS Writing. Task 1. Bar graph vocabulary

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Bar graph vocabulary
To  make significant strides within the limited space makes the task challenging. In the minimum of 150 words, you have to use numbers and certain words to describe a bar graph. In order to resolve this, you should be at a good vocabulary level. You should use a number of words which describe, enhance and compare the subject. IELTS bar chart vocabulary generally consists of up verbs, down verbs, adjectives and adverbs of degree and steady adjectives. Let’s have a look at some of the example words.


These verbs are alternatives to the basic rise and fall vocabulary. An advantage of using them is that with their help you avoid repeating too many numbers. When using a strong verb, you don’t have to provide the exact figure.

Up Verbs

Verbs Example
Soar Should they risk buying a new car when gasoline prices might soar again?
Leap Stock prices leapt on inflows of new money.
Climb Populations climbed to over one million by 1980.
Rocket Three months after that drug hit the market, sales rocketed to $38 million a quarter.
Surge In Central Asia, many economies continue to surge owing to large oil and gas investments.
  • Soar and rocket are both very strong words that describe a substantial increase. Rocket is more sudden. You do not need to qualify these verbs with adverbs.
  • Leap illustrates a large and sudden rise. Again, you do not need to qualify it with an adverb.
  • Climb is a relatively neutral verb that can be used with the adverbs provided below.

Down verbs

Verbs Example
Sink The cost of housing sunk after 2008.
Slip back Some countries may slip back into recession.
Dip In primary education, the rate dipped from 182 to 129 per cent.
Drop However, contributions dropped significantly in 2012 and 2013.
Plummet Exports of agricultural products, such as bananas, have plummeted.
  • Plummet is the strongest word here. It means to fall very quickly and a long way.
  • Drop is normally used for relatively small decreases.
  • Slip back is used for falls that come after rises.
  • Drop and dip are also frequently used as nouns: a slight dip, a sudden drop.

Adjectives and adverbs

This is a collection of the most common adjectives and adverbs used for describing trends. Make sure that you use adjectives with nouns and adverbs with verbs.

Adjectives of Degree

Adjective Example Adverb Example
Significant A significant progress Significantly Progressed significantly
Dramatic A dramatic increase Dramatically Increased dramatically
Sudden A sudden rise Suddenly Has risen suddenly
Substantial A substantial gain Substantially Gained substantially
Sharp A sharp decrease Sharply Has decreased sharply
  • Sudden and sharp are used for relatively minor changes that happen quickly.
  • Dramatic is a very strong word used for big changes.

Steady Adjectives

Adjective Example Adverb Example
Consistent A consistent support Consistently Supported consistently
Steady A steady growth Steadily Grew steadily
Constant Constant shift Constantly Sifted constantly

Small adjectives

Adjective Example Adverb Example
Slight A slight increase Slightly Increased slightly
Gradual A gradual removal Gradually Has been removed gradually
Marginal A marginal decline Marginally Had declined marginally
Modest A modest progress Modestly Progressed modestly
  • marginal is a useful word for describing very small changes
Other useful adjectives These adjectives can be used to describes more general trends
Adjective Example
Upward Upward pressures on the national currencies have been particularly significant.
Downward Downward adjustment based on past spending experience.
Overall Overall 1994 income exceeded expenditure by $252 million.
  • Overall can be used to describe changes in trend over the whole period: very useful in introductions and conclusions.
  • Upward and downward are adjectives: the adverbs are upwards and downwards.
Here you can find more examples of how these words are used. IELTS Writing. Task 1. Bar graph

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