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Thursday, December 08, 2011


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Hi simon ,
first of all i would like to thank you for your site ! it is extremely helpful !
just wanted to know few things ! first of all in this question do we need to comapre graph and table ? as mostly in ielts exam they want comparision , secondly , would it be ok to use word 'water usage' instead of 'water use' ?
thanks for your help n consideration !

Hi Simon.
I want to ask you that. With the number of..., we can use "highest, lowest".
With the amount of, the proportion of, the percentage of, we can use "largest, smallest". Is it right?

I am really confused. Which one should I use for "the number of"? Highest and lowest? Is that correct?

Hi Simon,

Thank you so much for your kind help.
Please I need to ask about the difference between two words; prerequisite and requisite ?

I'm sorry to insert my query here as I couldn't find your email address or a thread for asking questions.

Many thanks in advance.


Hi Simon
I have a question about repeating the words like agriculture,industry,consumption,water and similar words for describing the charts above.Most of the times I have noticed that we can not find synonyms in order to prevent repeitition,wouldn't it decrease our score?
many thanks in advance



Thank you so much for your kind help, in doing this post I really appreciate it! I like the way you described the graph, you don't use bullets and you write it precisely, clear and straight to the point. TheIELTSSolution.com

Thank you.

Thank you very much, Simon, Tomorrow I will take my exam. I wish I had my dreaming score in this time.

Hi simon

I am really confuse about usage of word quantity.could you tell me the words we can use quantity insist of them?

Hi simon

where can we use the word account like you wrote in your essay?could you give an example for me?

Hi Simon,

Your essay is really helpful to me.
Would you like to give your opinion on my paragraph about describing the table:
"The consumption of water for land which stood at 26,500 km2 was higher significantly in Brazil than in Congo being 100 km2. Besides, the figure of water for individual essential need in Brazil was 359 m3, comparing to the figure in Congo which was 8 m3"

Thank you very much for your helpful work.
Best Regards,

Hi NG,

I'm glad you like the lessons!

In this question, the graph and table are too different for us to be able to compare them. However, I've still made comparisons - between the 3 lines on the graph, and between the 2 countries in the table. Have a look at this lesson for more advice:


'water usage' is fine.


Hi Trung,

Yes, that's right.


Hi Ahlam,

Both mean 'necessary'. Prerequisite means something that is necessary BEFORE something else can happen. Have a look in a dictionary or use Google to find some examples.


Hi Pedram,

Many students worry about this. Think about what you would do in YOUR language - would you try to find a different word for 'water'?

You will always have to repeat some key words in writing task 1. If you change the words, you risk changing the meaning and confusing the reader.


Good luck Ariuntuul!


Hi Mehran,

You can use 'quantity' instead of 'amount' or 'number' of something (e.g. quantity of water, quantity of bananas). Just avoid using it with 'people'.

You can use "accounted for" to mean "was" when describing the proportion of something e.g. "The proportion of water used for agriculture was 50%" = "Agriculture accounted for 50% of water consumption".


Hi UT,

I don't give specific grammar corrections, but your sentences look fine. It would be a good idea to find a teacher or native speaker to check your work - this will help you to improve your writing more quickly.

could you,pleases, be helpful to comment on this ?

The first chart illustrates changes in the amount of global water used for different sectors over a period o 100 years and the second chart gives information about the breakdown water consumption for two countries.

As a whole it is apparent that significantly a greater amount of water was used for agriculture. it is also seen that Brazil used to more water, compared to Congo.

Hi Simran,

Your paragraphs look good. Just delete "the breakdown".

hi simon,
i want ask about the grammer of the third paragraph , you are using the paste simple in when you talking about the year 1900 and use the past perfect in 2000 , what i ask about that i learned that the action which happened in the past first will be in the past perfect and the nearest one will be at the past simple .is this role right ?

waiting ur replay , Thanks in advance .

simon , am waiting ur replay pls .

Hi Hesham,

I can understand why you are confused. The reason I used 'past perfect' with 2000 is because I used the word "by" (by 2000...).

When you write "by 2000" it means that you are describing what happened "before and until 2000". "2000" is in the past, and "by 2000" includes what happened BEFORE that year.

When I wrote about 1900, I was writing only about that year, not about what happened BEFORE it.

As you can see, the rule that you learned is a bit too simple. If you are confused by the past perfect, just use the past simple only.

ok thanks simon so much for your help , but what can i do for that grammer simon , what is your advice to enhance that which i need in the ielts ?

Hi Hesham,

In terms of grammar, just keep trying to reduce the number of mistakes that you make. It helps to have someone who can check your essays, correct your mistakes, and show you how to improve.

Hi Simon,

I have a question about the word “ downturn”.

After that, the figure undergoes the biggest increase, reaching at the highest point ( just over 6%) in 1993, although it experiences a small downturn in 1989.

I am not sure if I use “downturn” correctly. Could you please let me know your comments?


Hi Karen,

Yes, you've used it correctly.

Hello simon
I have question about how they assess the ielts writing
For example, is it true 25% for task 1 and 75 % for task 2
Thank you for your help

Thank you, Simon!

Hi Attou,

I think it's 33.3% for task 1 and 66.6% for task 2.


No problem Karen.

Hi Simon,

It is mentioned that,

"The graph and table below give information about water use worldwide and water consumption in two different countries".

It is not telling us to compare. So can we describe the table and chart individually or we have to compare in such types of charts.

Hi Pranay,

When the 2 charts are different, you don't need to compare them. Have a look at the advice here:


Hi Simon,

I have a question.

'water consumption was considerably higher in Brazil than in the Congo.'

May I replace 'higher' with 'larger' here?


Hi Lei,

We don't really put 'consumption' and 'large' together. This is an example of "collocation" - some words go together, but others don't (e.g. we say "Merry Christmas" but we don't say "Merry Birthday").

Hi Simon,
I wanted to ask, is it a mistake to write some sentences you wrote (in past perfect e.g. 3 paragraph)just in past simple tense?
Thank you beforehand,

sorry, is it a big mistake?)

Ok. I get it. Thanks a lot.

Hi Nosir,

No, that's not a big mistake, and it won't affect your score.


Hi Simon,

I am just wondering why you use 'that' after 'than' in the last sentence of the last paragraph when you compare water consumption per person in Brazil and in the Congo, but not use 'that' in the last sentence of the second paragraph. Are there any differences between them?

So 'Water consumption per person in Brazil, at 359m³, was much higher than that in the Congo, at only 8m³' v.s. 'We can also see that water consumption was considerably higher in Brazil than in the Congo.'

Thanks :)

Hi Mo,

'that' in the first sentence replaces 'water consumption', but you don't need either - you could write the first sentence in the same way as the second one.

Well noticed!

My report:

The line graph shows the global use of water in three sectors during the twentieth century, while the table compares the consumption of this element in Brazil and the Republic of Congo in 2000.

It can be clearly seen that the water demand in all three sectors (agriculture, industry and households) increased steadily during last century. In particular, agriculture faced the most dramatic rise in its water consumption.

During the first half of the 20th century, the industry and home sectors had a minimal, almost static demand of water, which accounted for about 100 km3 each. In contrast, the world already used 500 km3 of water in agriculture in 1900, and by 1950 this usage had increased to 1,100 km3.

From 1950 onwards, all three sectors increased their water demands. The water consumption in the industry had risen to 1,000 km3 in 2000, and in the domestic sector this figure had climbed to 400 km3 that year. These increases were, however, minuscule when compared to the substantial rise in water use that saw the agricultural sector, where the water usage tripled in fifty years and reached 3,000 km3 in 2000.

The marked increase in water usage by agriculture during last century helps to explain why in 2000, Brazil, a nation with a vast irrigated territory (26,500 km2) had a considerably higher proportional water consumption than Congo (359 km3 vs. 8 km3), a country with fewer irrigated lands (100 km2).

(240 words)

Actually, it took me more than 20 minutes to write it the first time, and I could only wrote it within that time frame by the third brief. Nevertheless, it helped me to structure my ideas.

Hi Simon!
My question may be trivial. You wrote "in Brazil" and "in the Congo" in the second paragrapd. Does "the" make a difference?

is it wrong if we write the waters usage instead of water use?

The "waters usage" isn't really correct English I'm afraid Tas.

Hi simon,
In the first graph, it is noticeable that all the figures experienced a dramatic increase after 1950, but you don't discribe this. Is it for us to do so ? Wish you can answer my question.thx in advance.

USAGE : Language usage . like English usage and etc.
USE : the employment of...
Usage seems more classy, but you better forget about it and use "USE"!

Hi Simon,

I'm marking someone's practice paper now, and I noticed you posited that: because the irrigated land area was larger by a factor of 265 in Brazil over The Congo, that this could explain the apparently relatively inflated water usage in Brazil. I'm not so sure. (Please explain if I'm off target.)

If you divide the irrigated land size in both counties by their respective populations, the resultant ratio of Brazil to The Congo is 7.784. That means Brazilians shared the usage of 7.784 times the area of irrigated land per person than those in the Congo in 2000. This does not explain the per capita difference in water consumption between the countries.

I'm guessing that less of the Congo population depended on irrigation for food production in 2000 than that of Brazil.

If, say, you divide the population of the Congo by the Brazil/Congo ratio of 7.843, then you get 663,011 people in the Congo sharing the usage of irrigated land (and the rest didn't.) If this is the case, then the consumption of those who did, consumed 359 cubic m/per person for the Congo, same a s Brazil. And that most of the Congolese population did not benefit from the benefits of irrigation, probably due to poverty, inequalities between rural and urban, rich and poor, ongoing Belgian colonialism, isolation and war involving diamonds and the Lord's Army (or it's precursors).

Do you follow me?

Hi Tim,

Reading the last sentence of my essay again, I'm surprised that I even wrote "this could be explained by..."! I always tell my students that they should simply describe what they see, and not try to explain anything. If I wrote the essay again, I wouldn't include that part.

Dear Simon,
Could you please explain why you used past perfect in this line graph essay? I know why it is correct grammatically (because of 'By 2000'),but why did you use it in a line graph description (this time?). One of many many many good tips of yours is to not use perfect tenses in line graphs :)

Thank you kindly for your valuable help.

Hi Simon,

I'm completely astonished to find that you're running such a huge blog and consistently managing to answer everyone's questions for all the posts. No words can be chosen for my appreciation and gratitude for you!

The following link appears to be broken. Yet I found you've provided it in most of your reply. Could you please fix it?

Best regards

James Z.

Hi James,

Unfortunately I don't manage to answer everyone these days, although I do still read every comment.

Here are some possible links for lessons about 'more than one chart':




I hope this helps!

Thank you so much for your kind reply! I fully understand how much effort you've devoted to this blog. This is the real treasure for us all. I'm so excited to recommend it to others every time they're at loss. I also keep great interest in reading your replies in the comment area which provide so many useful instructions.

Thank you again Simon! I wish all the best to you!

In your blog of task 1 in September 01, 2011, the last tip you wrote(do not use perfect tense) is suitable for this essay? if so, why you used the perfect tense in the paragraph 3?
Look forward to your reply,thank you.

Ps. Waiting for your lesson about 'the figure for', 'the rate of', and 'the data of'.

Hi Betty,

As a general tip, you don't usually need perfect tenses when describing graphs and charts.

However, I sometimes break my own 'rules'. Have a look at this lesson:


Hi Simon,

I have a little question about this passage. I see that you wrote 500km3 instead of 500 km3. Is the former one more correct than the latter one?

Yours Sincerely,

Hi Pongsathon,

Well noticed. Strictly speaking I probably should have left a gap. However, if you try doing a Google search, you'll find native speakers (even on official websites) using both ways. This is obviously something that we native speakers get confused about! It won't affect your IELTS score.

Thank you very much for your reply. :D

The graphs compare the usage of water globally in agriculture, industry and domestic consumption from 1900 to 2000, and Brazil’s and the Congo’s water use in 2000.

It is clear that the world’s usage of water rose significantly, in particular, in agriculture. It can be observed also that Brazil used considerably higher than in the Congo.

In 1900, around 500 km3 of water was used for agriculture. The figures for industrial and domestic use stood at around one fifth of that amount. By 2000, global water use for agriculture reached to 3,000 km3 while industrial use and domestic consumption had reached at approximately 1,300 km3 and 400 km3 respectively.

In the year 2000, Brazil had a population of 176 million compared to 5.2 million in the Congo. Brazil consumed significantly higher at 359 m3 compared to 8 m3 in the Congo. It is due to the fact that Brazil has bigger land size at 26,500 km2, in comparison to 100 km2 of the Congo.

The table and graph show water usage by sectors globally and detailed information of two countries.

It is clear that the amount of water uses worldwide increased considerably over 100 years period, and water consumption was much more in Brazil than in Congo in 2000.

In 1900, agriculture sector consumed around 500 km3 water, whereas the numbers of industry and domestic sector were less than 100 km3 each. Throughout the whole 20th century, significant rise of water usage can be seen in all three sectors, especially the fastest growth in agriculture. In 2000, 3,000 km3 water used by agriculture.

With different demographic features of Brazil and Congo in 2000, statistics show there was 176 million people in Brazil, while the figure for Congo was only 5.2 million. However, irrigated land in Brazil was 265 time lager than that of Congo, and the average water consumption per person in Brazil and Congo were 359 m and 8 m respectively.

By 2000, global water use for agriculture had increased to around 3000km³, industrial water use had risen to just under half that amount, and domestic consumption had reached approximately 500km³.

Why Mr Simon used "had increased", "had risen"? Can I use increased and rose instead?

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