« IELTS Writing Task 2: how to write a paragraph | Main | IELTS Speaking: an important conversation »

Thursday, April 28, 2011


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Thanks for sharing with us, Simon, such a clear and easy to follow overview.
I do have a question in regards with intro: instead of naming each (Canada, Australia and European Community) how is better to say? 3 nations?
Thank you in advance.

Greetings from Bulgaria :)

I've recently found out about this blog and I was amazed how well organized and helpful it was (keep up the good work Simon!) especially if your taking the IELTS exam in two weeks time.
I know you don't usually give scores and correct mistakes but I'd really appreciate it if you could just give me some advice on this charts overview and perhaps write an example of one details paragraph (because this chart is different at least for me and I guess a bit messed up) and if you could take a look at what I've written as an intro and overview. So here it goes:

Intro: The bar chart gives information about the sum of money spent on six consumer items in four European countries.

Overview: It is clear that the UK is the lead spender on each of the goods followed by France, Italy and Germany. The greatest amount of money was given away for photographic film in Britain and the least for the same item in Germany.

Thanks :)

Hi Simon

How's your day? I have a question again. Sorry.
I have been really confused about when to use " life" or " lives".
It would be really wonderful if you can teach me. Thank you very much.

It is clear that there are noticeable variations in exporting wheat among the three countries over the period but the most striking feature is the peak which is experienced by Canada at mostly at the end of the period.


It is clear that the trends in exporting wheat among the three countries are not following he same pattern with being peaked significantly in Canada at mostly at the end of the period.

I had confused about same problem until I asked my teacher here there is easy example to show differences between lives and life



Hi Simon,
I am wondering if it is ok to write Australia's fell?
I think Australia's fell(noun) = australia fell(verb)
but Australia fell or Australia increased is wrong, wheat exports from Australia fell or increased is correct.
Could you explain more?

Hi Cami,

It's tricky because the European Community is not a nation. You could say "3 regions/areas".


Hi Yoan,

You've got the right idea. You seem to have followed my advice well for those 2 paragraphs.


Hi Yamei,

"life" is singular and "lives" is plural, like "person" and "people". Also, look at Burak's comment above.


Hi Sulaiman,

I prefer your first attempt.


Thanks Burak!


Hi Ngan,

"Australia's fell" means "Australia's wheat exports fell", but I missed "wheat exports" because I had already written that earlier in the sentence. This is quite a sophisticated way of expressing the idea, but it's typical of what native speakers write.

Hi Simon,
I think it is clear now and i can understand this structure.
Some thing like " my book is yellow but YOURS is red "

Hi Simon

It is a very good illustration of the diagram


does it consist of " 150 " words ?????!!!!

Hello Noony,
Its just overview. yhere should be two more paragraph with the details of graphs which might make 150 words or more. just my view. cheers.

Thanks Simon for this site

Thanks for this website

That's exactly right Ngan!


Hi Noony,

Jams is right (see comment below yours) - this is just half of the essay. Have a look through my task 1 lessons to see advice about the "4-paragraph" essay structure.


No problem Limp and Alex. Glad you like the site.

Hello simon:

I wanna ask a question about the phrase "for most of the period shown" which used in your sentence. And why you chose the verb "shown" by using past participle.

thanks you & well-organized blog

Hi Simon
I noted that in some writing task 1 essay, when we talk about statistics, we often use either "at" such as ...at 34%, or "with" (...with 34%). So could you please tell me about how to use above words exactly???
Thanks a million!!!

Hi Wanjaw,

It's a typical phrase in English. It's not really necessary to understand it grammatically - you can just learn the phrase and use it. (the period shown = the period that is shown)


Hi Dung

I think I answered on Facebook, but I'll explain again in tomorrow's lesson on the blog.

thanks for your patience!!!

hi simon for this graph


should the figure be 350 billion or 350,000 million?

The graph compares the amount of wheat (that was) exported by Australia, Canada and the European Community for the period of five years.

I would like to ask have I used the right preposition here "BY" and is it be all right if I omit "that was" from the sentence.

Thanks Simon, your lessons are really invaluable. Million thanks

No problem Dung.


Hi Liy,

I'd do the same thing as the writer of the essay (e.g. 350,000 million) to avoid confusion.


Hi Antonela,

Perfect. "BY" is correct, and it's fine to omit "that was".

Hi Simon,
I would like to write first paragraf as follows. could you please let me know wether it is correct.

This graph shows the amount of wheat exported by Australia,Canada and Europian Union during the 5 year period from year 1985 to 1990 and compaires their amount by showing THE AMOUNT in millons of tonnes.

Hi Violet,

That's fine. You don't need to repeat "amount" twice at the end:

"...and compares the amounts in millions..."

hi simon

first of all i would to thank you for this helpfull site.

my answer

In the following graph line shows information about wheat exports by the number of tonns over an five year period,from 1985 till 1990 in three regions.As an overall trend,the highest rate of exporting wheat was canda at 25 million/tonns in 1988. In this year the line chart of eurbean community was rose and Australia line chart was decreasd dramatically.

I hope my answer is good :)

Hi Ahmad,

You've got the right idea. Just be careful with spelling. Try to find someone who can check your grammar and help you to reduce the number of mistakes.

Hi simon

this is my answer, it is quite different from yours. I wonder it can be accept or not.

The graph compares the wheat export in millions of tonnes in three countries, that is Australia, Canada and European Community from 1985 to 1990. Generally, the fluctuation of both three countries are between 10 and 25 millions tonnes.


Hi Ahfangss,

My answer above doesn't contain an introduction - I've only done the second paragraph (overview/summary).

The first sentence of your answer is an introduction. If I were you, I would start a new paragraph from "Generally" and write a bit more for the summary (try writing 2 sentences to do a more detailed summary like the one I wrote in the lesson above).

Thanks a lot!Simon!your website helps me a lot!

Hello Simon, I wonder if this sentence written by Yoan P is right : "The greatest amount of money was given away for photographic film in Britain and the least for the same item in Germany."

In my opinion, it should be "... and the least for the same item was paid out in Germany ."

Please don't mind if I am wrong . This kind of sentence looks very effective and I want to get a total comprehension of it . Thank you :)

Hi Kevin,

Yes, your correction does make the sentence better.



At the begining of the period, it is obvious that canada was the leading wheat exporter at about 19 millions of tonnes. While the figure for european comunity was slightly lower by about 2 million tonnes compared with canada, the amount of wheat exported from australia recorded the least at about 15 million tonnes.

At the begining of the period, it is obvious that canada was the leading wheat exporter at about 19 millions of tonnes.The figures for european community and Australia were lower at around 17 and 15 million tonnes.

The second one is much clearer.

can i get a high score if write a second one? i have forgotten to write repectively.

Yes, it's good.

While Australia fell gradually between 1986 to 1989 Canada was reaching a peak of 25 millions of tones in 1988.After that date, lowest wheat exporting amount was account by Canada with under 15 million/tonns in 1988. At the end of the 1990 European community did their highest wheat export with over 20 millions of tones in 1990.

Is this paragraph ok Simon? Thanks

Hi idil,

Be careful - you can't say "Australia fell" or "Canada was reaching a peak".

Look at the common mistakes in this lesson:


Hi Simon,

great job!

Can i explain canada's graph as follows:
Canada exported almost 19 millions of tonnes of wheat in 1985. The graph depicts that its trend fluctuated in following years.The Wheat export fell in 1986,then plunged to 25 millions of tonnes in 1988. Thereafter,it fell dramatically in 1989 and then rose steadily to almost 19 millions of tonnes in 1990.

my qs are:
is this paragraph gramatically correct?

is comma used with then correct?

thank you

Hi Sohaib,

You've got the right idea, and the commas are fine.

Note: 'depicts' is normally used when describing paintings. I wouldn't use it for writing task 1.

thanku Simon
your advice is much appreciated. Can i use "reflect" instead of "depict"?
is it ok to write paragraph like this or should i omit some figures?

Hi Sohaib,

No, don't use 'reflect' either. Just use shows, illustrates, compares (if the chart compares something) or 'gives information about'. You don't need to learn more alternatives than that.

Don't omit the figures, it's fine like that.

Thankyou Simon.

Hi Simon,

1. Between 1985 and 1990 there was many fluctuations in the amount of wheat exports in Canada, with the total amount more than Australia and European Community.
- Should i write " the amount of wheat exports" or "the amount of wheat exported"?
- In this sentence is the phrase"with the total amount more than Australia and European Community" fine?

2. Please have a look the paragraph below:
The biggest change can be seen in the proportion of Canadian wheat exports , which reached a peak of 25 million tonnes in 1988 before fell dramatically to nearly 15 million tonnes in the year after and recovered to stand at 19 million tonnes in 1990. However, in 1989, the amount of wheat exported from European Community surpassed that from Canada by approximately 5 million tonnes, and jumped to 21 million tonnes in 1990.

Thank you very much for your useful job.

Hi UT,

- both are fine.
- I'd write: '...total amount more than that exported by Australia...'

2. I'm afraid I can't offer grammar correction. If I did this, I would spend all day checking students' work. I'm happy to answer specific questions, but I don't have time to do more than that.

Hi Simon,

I am so sorry for bothering you.

Please help me reply for 3 questions based on the above paragraph:
1. Could i use "in the year after" in "...fell dramatically to nearly 15 million tonnes in the year after"?
2. and "recovered to stand at" in "...the figure recovered to stand at 19 million tonnes in 1990.?
3. and "surpassed" in "the amount of wheat exported from European Community surpassed that from Canada..."?

I am really thank you very much for your work.

Hi UT,

1. Yes.
2. I'd delete 'stand at' but it's ok.
3. Yes.

in the overview para,I think it should be like this,wheat exports of the european cummunity instead of wheat exports for the european community

I tried as follows

The line graph illustrated the trends in the amount of wheat exports, in millions of tones, by Australia, Canada and the European Community between 1985 and 1990.

Overall, wheat exports by the European Community increased while there was a steady decline in Australia and great fluctuation in Canada.

My full response

The line graph illustrates the trends in the amount of wheat exports, in millions of tonnes, by Australia, Canada and the European Community between 1985 and 1990. It is clear that the amount of wheat exports by the European Community increased, whereas there was a steady decline in Australia and great fluctuation in Canada.

In 1985, the amount of wheat exports in Canada stood at 19 million tonnes. A year later, this number fell to around 17 million tonnes and then reached a peak at 25 million tonnes in 1988.However, it dropped sharply to below 15 million tonnes in the following year and in the end, it went up to the 1985 level.

On the other hand, the figure for the European Community fell slightly at the begging, but later, it grew steadily to just over 20 million tonnes in 1990. In contrast, the numbers in Australia showed an increase of one million tonnes in the first year, to 16 million tonnes. Subsequently, it went down to just above 10 million tonnes in 1988 and levelled off in the rest of the period.

In conclusion, wheat exports in the three states had different trends. Europe had become number one exporter while exports from Australia reduced much.

This graph shows that the wheat export of three areas: Australia, Canada and European Community from 1985 to 1990. European community's wheat export experienced steady, while Australia decreased slowly and Canada fluctuated.

Dear Simon,
May I ask if I use the word "respectively" in this overview correctly?
Thank you very much

It is clear that each country’s wheat exports over a fifteen-year period show different trends. While Canada’s wheat exports fluctuated throughout the period, wheat exports from Australia and the European Community dropped and climbed steadily, respectively.

overview :

A glance at the graph provided reveals a noticeable variation of wheat export among three regions from 1985 to 1990. Overall, Australia’s wheat export saw a steady decrease, while the European Community indicated an opposite trend, and the Canada market fluctuated considerably during the period shown.

Good day Simeon, thank you for your help ,please help in scoring my attempt for an overview trail.
Secondly I need help on making my grammar, vocabulary, collocation better . thank you

Overall , each country's exporation rate fluctuated over the years, however Canada and Australia still maintained increased exportation of wheat; leaving canada with the highest value while European communities maintained a steady decrease.

Dear Simon,

Pls help me check and give the points. Thank you so much.

The line chart illustrates quantity of exported wheat from Australia, Canada and European countries between 1985 and 1990.

It is apparent fromt the chart that Canada exported more wheat than Australia and European community in most of period shown. Overall, the amount of wheat exported from Canada fluctuated and the figure for Australia fell, however, wheat exportation of many countries in Europe experienced steady growth between 1985 and 1990.

In 1985, Canada achieved the highest amount of exported wheat with nearly 20 millions of tonnes while the figures for European countries and Australia were 17 and 15 respectively. Noticeably, in 1988, Canada exported a significant amount of wheat and peaked at 25 millions of tonnes, whereas, there were a slight declining in exportation of both Australia and European countries.

From 1988 to 1990, the figure for exported wheat of Canada reduced sharply to under 15 millions of tonnes before going up to nearly 20 in the end of period and figure for Australia kept stable with 11 millions of tones. Nevertheless, the quantity of wheat exported from countries in Europe increased rapidly from 15 to 21 millions of tonnes over 2 years.

192 words.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)