Writing Task 1 | Line Graphs Series

IELTS Lessons, written by Sam Morgan and Tom Speed

This is a lesson from our Academic Writing Task 1 course. If you like the lesson, join the course.

In the first lesson on this topic we looked at some simple verbs that can be used to report changes in data.

In the second lesson on this topic we looked at some important adverbs that you must use to give extra detail about changes in data.

In the third lesson on this topic we looked at adjective and noun phrases which can be used to report changes in data.

In this class you will

  • Read complex descriptions of line graphs
  • Write a complex description of a line graph using what you have learned over the 4 classes on this topic.

First we will see examples of the language we want to use (exercise 1) then we will analyse and practice that language.

Exercise 1 | Match the Graphs

​Match the description with the correct line graph. Mobile users should use their device horizontally and select full-screen.

Language Analysis

1. Notice that prepositions such as before and after are followed by gerunds ​(verb + ing), nouns or pronouns.


At the beginning of the year sales remained relatively stable before rocketing up in May. (verb – rocketing)

After a period of wild fluctuations, sales levelled off. (noun – a period)

Sales increased dramatically over the first two months of the year before they stabilized. (pronoun – they)

2. Notice that contrasting clauses can be linked with while.


Sales rose steeply through the first half of the year while expenses gradually declined.

The main clause is: Sales rose….
We have a subject (Sales) and a verb (rose).

The contrasting clause is: ...while expenses declined.
while + subject + verb.

So we have two subjects, each followed by a verb.

We can swap the main clause and the contrasting clause around and add a comma (,) between them:

While expenses gradually declined, sales rose steeply through the first half of the year.

Contrasting while clauses are a great way to use complex language to boost your Grammatical Range and Accuracy band.

Exercise 2 | Writing

​​Study the following graph. Write a short summary (not a complete task answer) of what the graph shows then compare your writing to ours.

Points given for words (you don't need to use all of them, so don't worry if you don't get full marks):

while, after, before, expenses, sales, decline, fall, increase, rise, steadily, dramatically, gradually, steady, declined, increased, remained, rose

Our Example Answer

Remember there are many ways to write about a graph. This example is just one.

Short Summary

Between January and February sales and expenses remained steady at 40,000 and 15,000 pounds respectively. In March expenses rose gradually to 20,000 pounds while sales dramatically increased to a peak of 90,000 pounds.

From the middle of the year to the end of the period, while sales declined steadily to 50,000 pounds, expenses remained stable at between 10,000 and 15,000 pounds.

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