Unit 10: Diversify vocabulary in Writing Task 1 – Online Writing exam preparation

With any type of task in Task 1, it is important to diversify vocabulary. We should not use the same sentence pattern too many times. For pie charts, use words to describe percentages and ratios.

The most common clusters are “the proportions of…” or “the percentage of…“. However, you can use vocabulary to describe fractions, see the following examples:

A large number of people

over a quarter of people

a small minority

A significant number of people

less than a fifth

This table presents some examples of how you can change percentages to fractions orratios:

Percentage Fraction

80% four-fifths

75% three-quarters

70% seven in ten

65% two-thirds

60% three-fifths

55% more than half

50% half

45% more than two fifths

40% two-fifths

35% more than a third

30% less than a third

25% a quarter

20% a fifth

15% less than a fifth

10% one in ten

5% one in twenty

If the percentage does not have an exact number like the examples above, you can use the following ways to describe it and still ensure accuracy with the original chart:

77% just over three quarters

7% approximately three quarters

49% just under a half

49% nearly a half

32% almost a third

Percentage proportion / number / amount / majority /minority

75%-85% a very large majority

65%-75% a significant proportion

10%-15% a minority

5% a very small number

Here are three useful methods you can use when describing percentages:

1. English speakers usually put the percentage at the start of the sentence.

2. Use while, whereas or compared to (after a comma) to add a comparison.

3. Use “the figure for” to add another comparison in the next sentence.

You can apply the following writing examples in your report:

– Printed 1999, 35% of British people went abroad for their holidays, while only 28% of Australians spent their holidays in a different country. The figure for the USA stood at31%.

– Around 40% of women in the UK had an undergraduate qualification in 1999, compared to 37% of men. The figures for the year 2000 rose slightly to 42% and 38%respectively.

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