When you look at an IELTS Writing Task 1, it is often full of numbers and possibly percentages too. But how can you use a wide range of vocabulary when describing percentages?
In this blog post, I’ll be looking at different ways to describe percentages.
Percent or percentage?
- 65 percent of people in the school prefer coffee.
- 65% of people in the school prefer coffee.
- A large percentage of people in the school prefer coffee.
As you can see, we use percent or % to give a specific amount.
We use percentage to give a more general idea of the amount.
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Look at the figure for glass. A simple sentence would be:
- The amount of glass recycled was 26%.
But, what fraction is it close to?
That’s right – a quarter, which is 25%. The figure for glass is not exactly a quarter though, so we can use a phrase such as just over, approximately or slightly more than in our sentence.
- The amount of glass recycled in 2016 was just over a quarter.
Similarly, we can also use just under, approximately or slightly less than if the figure is lower than the fraction or percentage.
- Approximately two thirds of people prefer coffee in the office.
What other fractions can we use in Writing Task 1?
- three quarters (75%)
- two thirds (66%)
- a half (50%)
- a third (33%)
- a quarter (25%)
There are, of course, other fractions, but these are the ones I’d recommend using. Remember, it’s not a mathematics exam!
Look back at chart 1. Which recycled material am I describing here?
- This material accounted for approximately a third of all recycled material.
Remember: If there are percentages in your chart, try to use a mixture of percentages and fractions to demonstrate your range of vocabulary.
You can find more practice in IELTS Vocabulary up to Band 6.0, p120.
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Look at the figure for plastic. Which of the following sentences is NOT correct?
- Approximately half of the materials recycled were made of plastic.
- Recycling of plastic accounted for just under half of the total materials.
- The amount of plastic recycled was 48 percentage.
- The amount of plastic recycled was approximately 50%.
Good! The third sentence is incorrect because it uses percentage after a specific number.
Can you write two more sentences using fractions or percentages? Try one sentence for each chart.
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