How to Describe Line Graphs for IELTS Writing Task 1

The IELTS Writing Task 1 often features a line graph. Describing a line graph is not as difficult as it seems. In fact, there are a few things to remember to help you gain a band 7.0 score.


You can learn these two structures and, with only a little bit of variation, you can describe almost any trend.

Interest rates decreased significantly.

Subject (what you’re describing) + verb + adverb


There was a significant decrease in interest rates.

There was + adjective + noun + (what you’re describing)

You can use these formulas to describe most trends in line graphs. Here are some more examples.

Unemployment levels dropped slightly.

The price of gas increased suddenly.

There was a steady decline in attendance.


As you can see above, you can use verbs or nouns to describe changes given that you alter the grammar of the sentence. This is useful for avoiding repetition. For example, read the following passage:

Interest rates increased from 5% to 6% and then increased again from 6% to 8%. They decreased to 4% and then increased once more to 7.5% before decreasing back to 5%.

It sounds awfully repetitive! Let’s trying mixing it up:

Interest rates increased from 5% to 6% and then rose again from 6% to 8%. They fell to 4% and then there was an increase once more to 7.5% before dropping back to 5%.

Here are some comparable pairs:

Rose (to) A rise
Went up (to) A growth
Climbed (to) An upward trend
Boomed A boom
Increased (to) An increase

Keep in mind that if you use the verb + to then you must follow with a number. Also, most of those words can be used interchangeably, except for “boom” which suggests a large, sudden increase.

Being Specific

There’s a big difference between the right word and the nearly right word… In the IELTS, getting a higher band can be achieved by using more specific and accurate language. Instead of simply saying that something went up or went down, try using adverbs and adjectives to say how it went up or down.

Here’s a list of some useful words:

Adjectives Adverbs
Dramatic Dramatically
Sharp Sharply
Enormous Enormously
Steep Steeply
Substantial Substantially
Considerable Considerably
Significant Significantly
Moderate Moderately
Slight Slightly

They can be used together thusly:

Adverb and Adjective Table

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Author: David S. Wills

David S. Wills is the author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult' and the founder/editor of Beatdom literary journal. He lives and works in rural China, and loves to travel.

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  1. IELTS Writing Task 1 Process Diagrams - TED IELTS - […] most of that list, you can use pretty similar language to tackle the question. Words like “an increase” or…

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