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Unit 8: Task 1 – Line graph: take advantage of the “time” feature

Of the three graph types for Task 1, the line graph is probably the easiest to write. This is quite understandable, because when it comes to Task 1, we immediately think of words that describe ups and downs like increase/ decrease/… However, there is a particular aspect of the line graph that I see few people exploiting in my article, which is the change according to time. Take a look at the following example:

This is a pretty typical line graph in IELTS. 99% of line graphs in IELTS will have:

  • vertical axis: quantity increases and decreases => this will be the subject of your trend description sentences. So, one of the most important things when analyzing charts is read units of vertical axis trục.
  • horizontal axis: timeline => most commonly it will be the year, but there are also charts that analyze months, days, or certain days.

Usually the times given in the line graph will be the time in the past. You need this note to conjugate verbs correctly. However, in the chart above, you can notice two dates in the future, 2020 and 2040. Of course, when describing this period, you can’t use the past tense, but you can. You can’t use the future tense either. The reason is, when you use the future tense, your sentence will be positive, while the given parameters are for guess. So, do the following:

Instead of writing

People aged 65 and over will account for over a quarter of the total Japanese population in 2040

Please write:

  Unit 18: 5 phrases to avoid in IELTS Writing - Practice Writing online

People aged 65 and over are predicted to account for over a quarter of the total Japanese population in 2040

By using the phrase “be predicted to”, you have shown that the information behind is purely conjecture and may be wrong in the future. In addition to “be predicted to”, you can use other phrases such as “be forecasted/ projected to …”, but the following 2 words should be used with a subject: number. In the above sentence, the subject is “People aged 65 and over…”, is not a number, so you should avoid using forecasted/ projected to… If you want to use these two words, you should change the sentence above to:

The number of people aged 65 and over is forecasted/ projected to account for over a quarter of the total Japanese population in 2040.


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