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Thursday, February 22, 2018

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Hello Simon. I love your blog and your videos. The techniques I've learned from you have given me the confidence to aim for a score of 9 and with practice, I know I can achieve that.I thank you enormously for it.
I have a question regarding answers in the listening exam. When an answer is time, how should we answer it? Like this "7:30", "7 thirty" or "seven thirty"?
Another example, "8:55", "Eight 55", "5 to nine" or "five to nine"?
Taking into consideration that sometimes the word limit given does not allow for an answer as long as "five to nine" for example.

Thank you again

My edited version is:
"The line graph compares three types of travelers visiting New Zealand between 1997 and 2017 in terms of the average amount of money they spent each day during their trips.
It is noticeable that overall spending by international visitors to New Zealand was at its highest between the years 2000 and 2003. Also, over the 20-year period shown, business travelers spent the most per day, on average, while people visiting friends or relatives spent the least.
In 1997, business visitors to New Zealand spent an average of just under $260 per day, while holidaymakers spent around $190 and the others spent less than $120. Over the following five or six years, the figures for all the three categories increased dramatically, to peaks of around $330, $270 and $220 respectively. However, visitors’ spending suddenly fell again between 2003 and 2005.
From 2005 to 2015, there were wild fluctuations, and the trends were downward. In the final year 2017, the figures for average daily spending stood at approximately $250, $210 and $140 respectively for vacationers, business people and those visiting family or friends."
(181 words)
Could anyone out there please help me with how to effectively pick up, group and present specific details for the two main paragraphs? I find it challenging. Thanks in advance.

@Minh Hung

One way is to deal with the similarities, and then point out the exceptions, and base all the comments in relation to one category line. To avoid repetition, where two lines are the same just write "in the other groups/categories".

Copying and building on Oleg's version:

The line graph compares three types of travelers visiting New Zealand between 1997 and 2017 in terms of the average amount of money they spent each day during their trips.

Overall, spending by international visitors to New Zealand peaked between 2000 and 2003, then fell off significantly, with little sign of recovery since.

In 1997, spending by visitors on business was (at $260) over twice that of those visiting friends or relatives and substantially higher than by vacationers. Business and vacation spending then rose by about a third to peak in 2002/3, while the third category nearly doubled. All groups then dropped substantially, business by nearly half.

In the decade to 2015, business and vacation spending flattened out, but the remainder continued to decline.

By 2017, the average for holiday and vacation spending had recovered to $250 per day, significantly more than its original value, $40 above the business figure, and was running at twice the rate ($140) for the last cohort.

(163 words)

(perhaps insert one or two more figures, but the comparisons are quite specific)

The line graph compares three types of traveller visiting New Zealand between 1997 and 2017 in terms of the average amount of money that they spent each day during their trips.
It is noticeable that overall spending was at its highest between the years 2000 and 2003. Also, it shows business travellers spent the most per day, on average, while people visiting friends or relatives spent the least.
In 1997, the average of money daily spending just under $260 ,$190 and $120 in each areas. Yet the following five or six years, the figures of all increased dramatically, to peaks of around $330, $270 and $220 respectively. However,it suddenly fell again between 2003 and 2005.
From 2005 to 2015, similar daily travel expenditure levels can be seen for both business visitors and vacationers, with figures fluctuating around the $200 mark. while those visiting family or friends spent roughly 60 to 80 dollars per day less than the others. In the final year shown, the figures stood at approximately $250, $210 and $140 the three respective categories.

Dear Simon,

I hope you are doing well.

I wanted to say thanks, as after following your instructions, I got 7 in each module, especially in writing and speaking. Simple and elegant.

Keep up the good work!

Please take a look. The word counts is 175.

The line graph compares three types of traveller visiting New Zealand between 1997 and 2017 in terms of the average daily spending amount.

It is noticeable that spending by international visitors to New Zealand was at its highest between the years 2000 and 2003. Also, over the period shown, business travellers spent the most per day, on average, while people visiting friends or relatives spent the least.

In 1997, the average daily spending by business visitors was just under $260, while holidaymakers spent around $190 and $120 by people visiting friends or relatives. Over the following six years, spending by all travellers reached at peak, around $330, $270 and $220 respectively. However, those figures suddenly fell between 2003 and 2005.

Over the next decade, daily travel expenditure levels fluctuated around $200 for both business visitors and tourists. By contrast, people visiting friends or family spent the lowest, roughly $70 per day over this time period. By 2017, the figure of business visitors were approximately $250, vacationers were $210 and $140 for visiting family and friends.


@saiman
congratulation for your high score!

It is noticeable that the overall spending by international travelers was at the highest at the years 2000 and 2003. It showed that the business travelers spent the most per day on average while people visiting friends or relative spent the least over the 20-year period.

In 1997, the business travelers spent an average just under $260 daily while holiday travelers spent around $190 and people visiting friends or relatives spent less than $120. All three types of travelers increased average daily expenditure level dramatically to the peaks of around $330, $270 and $220 respectively. However, the daily spending sharply decreased from 2003 to 2005. The business and holiday spending flattened out but the remainder continued to decline.

In 2017, the holiday travelers spend the most per day among the three categories of international travelers the average daily spending of holiday travelers was $250 while business travelers spent $210 and people visiting friends or relatives spent $140 per day.

(word count: 159)

@Tae
"... spending by all travellers reached at peak, around $330, $270 and $220 respectively." 1) How does the reader know what order the three dollar figures are in? 2) -> reached a peak at around .... OR peaked at around ....

" the figure of business visitors were approximately $250, vacationers were $210 and $140 for visiting family and friends."
-> the figure for business visitors was approximately $250, for vacationers $210, and for visiting family and friends $140.

"The word counts is 175": hmmm, that doesn't sound quite right - I wonder why not?

"Also, over the period shown, business travellers spent the most per day, on average,..": which period? If the whole period, then business travelers were not the top spenders in the final decade.

"congratulations for on your high score!"

Tae:

"over the period shown": exactly which period - it is not clear.

" business travellers spent the most per day": not in the final decade.

"reached at peak around $.." -> reached a peak at around $...

"around $330, $270 and $220 respectively": how does the reader know which order these are in?

"the figure of business visitors were approximately $250, vacationers were $210 and $140 for visiting family and friends." -> the figure for business visitors were approximately $250, for vacationers $210, and for visiting family and friends $140.

Alternative cohesion:

"... respectively. However, those figures suddenly fell between 2003 and 2005." -> ...respectively, followed by a sudden fall between 2003 and 2005.

"...around $200 for both business visitors and tourists. By contrast, people visiting friends or family... " -> ... around $200 for both business visitors and tourists,whereas people visiting friends or family .....

Simon

Posting sometimes does not work; is your server overloaded?

@Jo

Notice that Simon is not using "the" in front of "business travellers", "daily spending", "holiday travellers". "among the three categories of international travelers" is correct, however, as it refers back to the categories already mentioned.

@Rui
"In 1997, the average of money daily spending just under $260 ,$190 and $120 in each areas": "each" is followed by a singular noun. Which figure refers to which category? How are we supposed to know? Where is the main verb?

"Yet in the following five or six years,"

".. around $330, $270 and $220 respectively": in respect of what? Again, how would we know which category in what order?

"figures fluctuating around the $200 mark. while those visiting family or friends spe...": this needs a comma instead of a full stop/period.

"$250, $210 and $140 the three respective categories." Again, what is the order?

To use "respectively", or "in that order", the categories or items, must be iterated earlier in the sentence, and the figures shown in the same order. For example, the figures for business, holiday, and friends/relatives spending were $1,$2,$3, in that order/respectively. Checkout the usage of "respectively" on google books.

Because the label "those visiting friends and family" is so tediously long and repetitive, using "respectively" does not work well with this particular graph.

@Tae
Correction: the figure for business visitors were was approximately $250,

@Oleg

Thank you very much for correcting my task.
I appreciate your comment.

I will try to pay more attention to make less easy mistakes in my writing.
'reach a peak at' and 'was'

'REPECTIVELY"
Over the following six years, spending by THE THREE travellers reached a peak at, around $330, $270 and $220 respectively.

=If I changed to the sentence above, is it still ok to use respectively?

Your suggestion for Alternative cohesion
It would be too long in one sentence wouldn't it?
I would like to keep as three sentences in each 3rd and 4th paragraph.
What do you think?


Tae Verrall

It would need to be: ... spending by business visitors, vacationers, and those visiting friends and family peaked at around $330, $270, and $220 respectively.

Otherwise the reader does not know which category each figure refers to.

Actually, "reached a peak" does not work well here, as there are three peaks, one for each category, so: reached their peaks at ...

British Council advice on cohesion:
"Don’t over-use linking words or phrases or use inappropriately – this could become confusing or irritating for the reader. Also don’t always use linking words at the beginning of sentences – show more variety."

https://takeielts.britishcouncil.org/sites/default/files/IELTS%20Writing-%20Coherence%20&%20Cohesion.pdf

It pays to have alternative cohesion methods "in your toolbox", and "whereas" is often useful in Task 1 where comparisons are needed.

Opinions on what constitutes too-long a sentence are divided. The UK government sets a limit at 25 words.

https://insidegovuk.blog.gov.uk/2014/08/04/sentence-length-why-25-words-is-our-limit/

Others avoid a rigid limit:
"Long sentences work best when your reader’s interest is piqued, as these sentences have the advantage of flow but require more focus on the part of the reader. Meanwhile, short sentences grab your reader’s attention. These sentences are ideal for keeping your reader engaged, but too many consecutive short sentences are jarring. Mixing these two sentence types keeps your audience engaged throughout the paragraph."

https://www.aje.com/en/arc/editing-tip-sentence-length/

An average sentence length of 28 words (which implies some are longer) does not automatically betoken poor style.
https://www.quora.com/How-long-is-the-average-sentence

In task 2, a short opening "topic" sentence at the start of each body paragraph often works well, followed by a longer sentence explaining in more detail and depth.

Band 8 states: "uses a wide range of structures".

“Nothing is stranger or more ticklish than a relationship between people who know each other only by sight, who meet and observe each other daily - no hourly - and are nevertheless compelled to keep up the pose of an indifferent stranger, neither greeting nor addressing each other, whether out of etiquette or their own whim.”
― Thomas Mann, Death in Venice

(56 words in one sentence !)

Incidentally Simon's latest Task 2 model paragraph averaged 25 words per sentence, with the longest being 42 words. See:

http://ielts-simon.com/ielts-help-and-english-pr/2018/02/ielts-writing-task-2-hard-work-paragraph.html

The sentences opening the paragraph are the shortest at sixteen words each.

The model answer for Task 2 provided by the British Council contains sentences ranging from 12 to 37 words. Variety is normal.

Hello. I have a question.
At the first sentence' three types of traveller visiting New Zealand', I think 'traveller' is a countable noun. but why is it written 'traveller'(no s), not 'travellers'(with s)?

@ Oleg

Wow!
Thank you so much for all the information and the analysis that is quit useful.
It will be my next level of writing style.
I am going to practice now!!

Regards

@Sun

Both are possible, unless the noun is uncountable. So "types of information" would be the only option, as "information" is never plural in English.

"Types of travellers/travelers" is more common than using the singular. However, the plural brings to mind a group of people, rather than an individual.

https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=types+of+traveller%2Ctypes+of+travellers%2Ctypes+of+traveler%2Ctypes+of+travelers&year_start=1960&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t1%3B%2Ctypes%20of%20traveller%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Ctypes%20of%20travellers%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Ctypes%20of%20traveler%3B%2Cc0%3B.t1%3B%2Ctypes%20of%20travelers%3B%2Cc0

My version:

The line graph compares three types of traveller visiting New Zealand between 1997 and 2017 in terms of the average expenditure during trips.
It is noticeable that overall spending by international visitors was at its highest between 2000 and 2003. Also, over the 20-year period, business travellers spent the most, while people visiting friends or relatives spent the least.
In 1997, business visitors spent an average of just under $260 per day, while holidaymakers spent around $190 and people visiting friends or relatives spent less than $120. Over the following years, spending by all three types of traveller increased dramatically, to peaks of $330, $270 and $220 in each.
From 2005 to 2015, similar daily travel expenditure levels can be seen for both business visitors and tourists, with figures fluctuating around the $200 mark. By contrast, people to see friends or family spent roughly 60 to 80 dollars per day less than the other visitors over the period. In the final year, 2017, the figures stood at approximately $250, $210 and $140 respectively for three categories of visitors.

@Inus

"to peaks of $330, $270 and $220 in each": the reader is left to assume they are in the same order as in the previous sentence, so perhaps -> to peaks of $330, $270 and $220 in the same order as above.

"similar daily travel expenditure levels can be seen for both business visitors and tourists": personally I would turn this around so that the familiar information/reference is first, and new information last.
-> daily travel expenditure levels for both business visitors and tourists were similar, fluctuating ...

"people to see friends or family" -> travellers visiting friends or family...

"By contrast": an alternative would be to use "whereas" and join the sentences together.

"In the final year, 2017, the figures stood at approximately $250, $210 and $140 respectively for three categories of visitors": ah, no, the order has now changed with business in second place and vacationers in first, so it is essential to state which is which here.
-> In the final year, 2017, the average stood at approximately $250 for vacationers, $210 for business and $140 for the remaining category.

My thinking is that in Task 1 "by contrast" is too emphatic and obtrusive when making just a simple comparison. Band 9 requires cohesion to attract no attention. My suggestion would be to use "whereas" or "while", or either of the following:

...around the $200 mark, over 60 dollars per day more than the bottom category over the period.

around the $200 mark, compared to people to visiting friends or family, who spent roughly 60 to 80 dollars per day less over the period.

Collins dictionary states that "a contrast is a great difference between two or more things", which $60-80 is not. Band 7 states: "logically organises information and
ideas; there is clear progression throughout." With good planning overuse of cohesive devices such as "by contrast" and "however" can be eliminated. Sometimes all that is needed in Task 1 is a separate paragraph to indicate progression to the next item.

The descriptor for Band 5 states "recounts detail mechanically", thus clearly this is something to avoid. Simply iterating through the figures seems to be not good enough. For example: "business visitors spent ...$260 per day,holidaymakers .. $190, and people visiting friends or relatives .. less than $120". Simply inserting a "while", or "whereas" does not really change the situation.

My suggestion would be something like:
"business visitors spent far/substantially/significantly/considerably/much more than holidaymakers, averaging around $260 per day, more than double travelers visiting friends and relatives".

British Council in their model answer have only seven data points specified and Simon does much the same. To me, making the comparisons is more important than stacking the summary with too many figures.

Here is a very different approach:

The line graph compares three types of traveller visiting New Zealand between 1997 and 2017 in terms of the average amount of money that they spent each day during their trips.

The most striking feature is the degree of similarity between the three categories, which suggests some common factors at play. All cohorts peak somewhere around 2004, trail away and finish in the vicinity of their starting point, with the exception of business spending, which ends the survey period well below its peak.

Business visitor spending was also the most erratic, beginning at $250, peaking much higher, and, at about $210, finished considerably lower in second place.

Holiday and vacation spending was comparatively stable, and seems to have been recovering fairly steadily since the mid-2000s, finishing around $250 per day, some twenty percent above the starting figure.

Spending in the group visiting friends/relatives was much lower, peaked lower, and declined more slowly, remaining third in value throughout, and showing relatively little variation in the final decade the survey, ending at just under $140.

(173 words)

Correction: ..final decade of the survey

The line graph compares the three types of visitor visiting New Zealand between 1997 and 2017 with average amount money that they spent during their trip.

It is noticeable that overall spending by international travelers to New Zealand was the highest from 2003 to 2005. Also, over the 20-year period, business travelers spent the most while people visiting friends or relatives spent the least.

In 1997, business visitors to New Zealand spent around $260 per day, while holidaymakers spent approximately $190 and people visiting friends or relatives spent less than $120. Over the next five or six years, spending by all three types of travelers rose substantially and reached at peak by $330, $270 and $220 respectively. However, visitors spending suddenly fell between the years 2003 and 2005.

Following the years 2005 to 2015, similar daily travel expenditure can be seen both travelers and tourists fluctuating around the $200 mark. By contrast, people visiting friends or relatives spent roughly 60 to 80 dollars only. In the final year visitors including all three categories spent nearly $210, $250 and 140 respectively

180 words. I just made copy and edited.

@Raju

Please checkout Oleg's earlier comments above re using "respectively": how does the reader know which order the categories are in?

Thanks @csaj

I mentioned those three categories in my paragraphs before. So reader could take a look to understand which one I meant to be serially.

OK going back to Oleg's comments.

@Oleg
That was the first time posting my essay in here.
Thanks for your comments that point out my mistake and problem. I should work out more my grammar and makes every sentence sense. thank for pushing
:)

Hello teacher, I have tried to comment for first time. I need atleast 6 on writing and always get stuck on 5.5. I need your comments to improve my writing. The line graph illustrates the amount of money spent by people in Business, Holiday or vacation and visiting friends or relatives in Newzealand between 1997 and 2017. Units are measured in dollars.
Overall, there was a significant dropped in amount of money spent in all three areas by visitors in Newzealand over the given period. Visiting friends or relative showed lowest area of interest of visitors in all over the years, while most of the money was spent on business initially and replaced by holiday and vocation later.

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