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Useful Vocabulary and Common Mistakes

We have already looked at structuring our paragraphs for a writing task 1 answer. In this lesson we are going to study…

  • useful synonyms for discussing numbers and percentages.
  • a common mistake that many candidates make.

Exercise 1

You need to use a range of synonyms to make your writing interesting and improve your band score for vocabulary.

Which word or phrase in each list has a different meaning. Select the word or phrase with a different meaning.

1. The odd one out is...
show
illustrate
socialize
reveal
2. The odd one out is...
number
amount of
figure
point of
3. The odd one out is...
percentage
proportion
share
factor
4. The odd one out is...
in contrast
in addition
however
although
5. The odd one out is...
similar to
for example
for instance
such as



Answer Explanations

1. The words in the list can be used as synonyms for ‘show’ in the introduction to your task 1 report, however socialize means to communicate with other people.
2. If the data is in the form of numbers rather than percentages, then these words can be used as synonyms. Point of, on the other hand, is used give a reason: The point of this lesson is to improve your IELTS score.
3. If the data is concerned with percentages, then these synonyms can be used. A factor, however, is a reason or an influence: One important factor to consider when you move abroad is the quality of the food!
4. The words and phrases in the list are linking word or phrases which show contrast (difference). In addition is for adding information which agrees.
5. The phrases in this list are linking phrases that connect examples but similar to compares two things.

Study the following task.

You should spend about twenty minutes on this task.

The table below shows what percentage of foreign tourists to a British tourist attraction came from different regions of the world in 1989 and 2009 as well as the total number of tourists who visited in each year.

Summarize the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

Write at least 150 words.

Exercise 2

Study the sample task 1 report for this task below. There are 8 errors in the vocabulary which is used. Can you find the errors? After you have found them, select the tab to see the answers.

3 vocabulary errors in paragraph 1:

The table socializes where foreign tourists to a British tourist site came from in two separate years. Overall, the proportion of tourists in 2009 was twice as high as in 1989, with the figure of visitors from Asia and the Middle East increasing while the percentage from other parts of the world fell or remained stable.

 

2 vocabulary errors in paragraph 2:

Looking at the numbers in more detail, visitor numbers stood at 320,020 in 1989 but this had doubled to 731,455 twenty years later. The amount of visitors from Asia and the Middle East also doubled from 13% and 8% respectively in 1989, to 26% and 17% in 2009.

 

3 vocabulary errors in paragraph 3:

In both years the highest figure of foreign visitors came from Europe. However, the number fell from 44% in the first year to 31% in the second year. Likewise, the percentage of visitors from North America fell by a roughly similar amount from 31% to 22%. For example, the share of South American visitors was the same in both years.

164 words

3 vocabulary errors in paragraph 1:

The table socializes where foreign tourists to a British tourist site came from in two separate years. Overall, the proportion of tourists in 2009 was twice as high as in 1989, with the figure of visitors from Asia and the Middle East increasing while the percentage from other parts of the world fell or remained stable.

 

2 vocabulary errors in paragraph 2:

Looking at the numbers in more detail, visitor numbers stood at 320,020 in 1989 but this had doubled to 731,455 twenty years later. The amount of visitors from Asia and the Middle East also doubled from 13% and 8% respectively in 1989, to 26% and 17% in 2009.

 

3 vocabulary errors in paragraph 3:

In both years the highest figure of foreign visitors came from Europe. However, the number fell from 44% in the first year to 31% in the second year. Likewise, the percentage of visitors from North America fell by a roughly similar amount from 31% to 22%. For example, the share of South American visitors was the same in both years.

164 words

Let’s replace these vocabulary errors with more accurate words.

Exercise 3

Select the best word from each drop down.

The table 1. where foreign tourists to a British tourist site came from in two separate years. Overall, the 2. of tourists in 2009 was twice as high as in 1989, with the 3. of visitors from Asia and the Middle East increasing while the percentage from other parts of the world fell or remained stable.
Looking at the 4. in more detail, visitor numbers stood at 320,020 in 1989 but this had doubled to 731,455 twenty years later. The 5. of visitors from Asia and the Middle East also doubled from 13% and 8% respectively in 1989, to 26% and 17% in 2009.
In both years the highest 6. of foreign visitors came from Europe. However, the 7. fell from 44% in the first year to 31% in the second year. Likewise, the percentage of visitors from North America fell by a roughly similar amount from 31% to 22%. 8. , the share of South American visitors was the same in both years.



Answer Explanations

  1. A synonym of ‘show must be used.
  2. A synonym of ‘number’ must be used – number is best as this is what is written on the table. In later sentences synonyms may be used.
  3. A synonym of ‘percentage’ must be used. – percentage is best as this is what the symbol % from the table means. In later sentences, synonyms may be used.
  4. ‘Looking at the data in more detail’, is a set phrase that never changes.
  5. A synonym of percentage must be used.
  6. A synonym of percentage must be used.
  7. A synonym of percentage must be used. Notice that a different synonym is used in sentence 5, 6, and 7 to make the report more interesting and boost the band score for vocabulary.
  8. The relationship between the two sentences is of contrast. The percentage of one category has changed but for the other category it has remained the same.

The complete band 9 sample report

The table reveals where foreign tourists to a British tourist site came from in two separate years. Overall, the number of tourists in 2009 was twice as high as in 1989, with the proportion of visitors from Asia and the Middle East increasing while the percentage from other parts of the world fell or remained stable.

Looking at the data in more detail, visitor numbers stood at 320,020 in 1989 but this had doubled to 731,455 twenty years later. The share of visitors from Asia and the Middle East also doubled from 13% and 8% respectively in 1989, to 26% and 17% in 2009.

In both years the highest proportion of foreign visitors came from Europe. However, the percentage fell from 44% in the first year to 31% in the second year. Likewise, the percentage of visitors from North America fell by a roughly similar amount from 31% to 22%. In contrast, the share of South American visitors was the same in both years.

164 words

Exercise 4

Let’s look at the table again and study some example sentences with common vocabulary mistakes.

Study the table and the following examples carefully. Each one contains the same common error that IELTS candidates make.

Example 1: The total proportion of tourists increased in the second year.

Example 2: While the number of tourists from north America decreased, the number of tourists from South America remained the same.

Example 3: The amount of tourists from Asia increased from 13% to 26%.

What is the common error that all these examples share?
The tense of the verb is incorrect.
The subject of the sentence is incorrect because it is too long
The subject of the sentence is incorrect because of the choice of vocabulary.
The sentences should be longer and contain more detail.



Answer Explanation

The example sentences all contain errors in the subject. There is an important difference between ‘numbers’ and ‘percentages’. Making mistakes with this type of vocabulary shows that the candidate has misunderstood the task and so will receive a poor score for task achievement.

The corrected sentences are shown below.

Example 1: The total number of tourists increased in the second year.

Example 2: While the percentage of tourists from north America decreased, the number of tourists from South America remained the same.

Example 3: The proportion of tourists from Asia increased from 13% to 26%.

Well done so far. Next, we will study some very important grammar that will help you describe data before finishing the module with a test.