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August 16, 2018


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Hi Simon,

Could you please update General Writing task 1?
I haven't seen any posting about writing letters.


Re (1): The phrase "A glance at the graph shows" occurs only six times on Google books, and "A quick look at at the graph" only twice:



Other phrases are much more common (Graph A):


Phrases such as "The graph shows the average.." and "The graph shows the number of" are more common, should sound more natural.

2) Common collocations for "the rate of" and "the figure for":


3) "The graph shows data about" comes up twice:


"The graph shows information about" crops up five times:


The phrase "graph provides information about" shows up fifteen times.


My conclusion: just stick to the more common phrases as shown in Graph A.


Looking at Google books is interesting but it only tells some of the story. We need to know WHEN these phrases are being used and in what situations they are appropriate.

In Task 1 you are supposed to analyse a chart, and 'a glance' or 'a quick look' doesn't make sense in this context. 'A glance' is a short look of around a second, and this is not relevant when you are analysing a chart and you need to look at it in quite a bit of detail. How can you 'glance' at a chart, and then provide any meaningful information about it?

i wanna ask some question related to this task: http://ielts-simon.com/ielts-help-and-english-pr/2016/11/ielts-writing-task-1-waste-graph-answer.html
In the overview,companies A and B were in a group and company C was in one group, but in the body paragraph, you group the data by years?
Can i write the task with the trend for A and B in one paragraph and C for the other?

Dote Dote

As I understand it, Simon's approach is for this type of graph is to describe the trends in the overview, and then detail the opening, mid-point, and closing figures in the succeeding paragraphs. This method should ensure that everything is covered, and is easy to apply under exam conditions.

Other approaches are possible, provided the entire period is in some way covered, and sufficient comparisons are made: otherwise one falls into the trap of "recounting detail mechanically".

For example using superlatives for comparison (needs figures added):
Company A was the top waste-producer at the beginning of the period, but their waste by-product fell steadily throughout to end in second place.

Company C began with the smallest quantity of waste, but trended upward and they ended up producing the largest amount.

Company B started in second place, peaked around 2005, but then their waste production dropped away to finish bottom.

Hi Simon,

I do not know how to use before and after in a sentence. Is it have a comma or not?? Can you explain it??
For example, this figure is followed by a rapid drop at 40mm prior in October, before climbing steadily over 50mm for the rest of the year.
In contrast, the divorce rate peaked in 1980, at nearly 1.5 million divorces, before falling back to 1 million at the end of the period.

thank you.

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