How to Write a Perfect Body Paragraph in IELTS Writing Task 1

Writing perfect body paragraph is no brainy, you just need some skills and techniques. Consider these list while writing your next body paragraph.

1. Explain the trend first

You should explain the trend at the beginning of each group, and then give your selected figures to illustrate. A simple example is:

“Regarding x, the trend is a slow rise and then a fall, going from 100 to 110 and then down to 80.”

2. Compare any trends and/or exceptions that exist

“Regarding electricity, we see that consumption in the French and Japanese hospitals is roughly stable during the week, fluctuating around 32 and 18 mw respectively. In Canada and Russia, electricity use climbs dramatically towards the end of the week, going from 26 to 38 mw and from 12 to 24 mw. In Argentina, however, the use actually declines by almost half.”

Please notice how this paragraph is organised. The candidate identifies the first group of data (French and Japanese hospitals), explains the trend (fluctuation) and gives just 2 figures to show how they fluctuate. He then identifies the second group (Canada and Russia) and explains the trend (increase), giving the start and end figures to illustrate the extent of the increase. He points out that Argentina is the exception, and has decided not to use a figure to illustrate this.

3. Use adjectives for comparison where possible

Following terms may be handy for you:-

  • more + noun + than: More males than females chose the TV.
  • adjective+ -er+ than: The price of an apartment was lower in 1946 than 1999.
  • fewer +noun + than: Fewer females than males chose the TV.
  • more/less + adjectives+ than: The TV was more popular among males than females.
  • the most/least + adjective: The most popular form of communication was the Internet.
  • the+ adjective+ -est: The fastest means of communication is emailing.
  • as many …… as: As many females as males chose the computer.
  • not as many …… as: Not as many males as females chose the radio

4. Use adverbs for Comparison

In order to make comparisons more accurate consider using adverbs to modify the words you use to compare items. Following terms may be handy:-

  • slightly more/less …… than ……
  • considerably more/less …… than ……
  • substantially more/less
  • significantly fewer + countable nouns
  • far fewer/more +countable nouns
  • nearly as many …… as ……
  • quite as many …….. as …….
  • practically as many …… as

6. Use prefabricated forms

The following expressions are worth being memorized. They help you improve your report.

  • It is evident that …
  • It is noticeable that …
  • We can see from the data that …
  • From the pie chart it can be seen that …
  • It is worth noting that …
  • The pattern is a complete reverse when it comes to …
  • For … the pattern is reversed.
  • … clearly appeals more to …
  • on a weekly/monthly/… basis
  • During the same period, …
  • … at a slower/faster pace

7. Use “compare” in different forms

  • The graph compares the number of males and females…
  • 10% of males were unemployed, compared to only 8% of females.
  • The unemployment rate was high in 2008 compared with previous years.
  • The unemployment rate was high in 2008 in comparison with
  • By/in comparison, the unemployment rate in 2008 increased to…
  • Figures for the USA were comparable with/to those for the UK.
  • The figure for females was comparatively low, at only 8%.

8. Use Paraphrasing and smart repetition technique

Paraphrasing means writing something in a different way (using your own words). Here are some simple changes you can make:-

  • graph = line/bar graph
  • chart = line/bar chart
  • diagram = figure
  • proportion = percentage
  • information = data (data is plural and requires a plural verb)
  • the number of = the figure for
  • the proportion of = the figure for
  • people in the USA = Americans
  • from 1999 to 2009 = between 1999 and 2009
  • from 1999 to 2009 = over a period of 10 years
  • how to produce = the process of producing
  • in three countries = in the UK, France and Spain (i.e. name the countries)

Students often worry about repeating the same words in writing task 1. No! Repeating a key word or phrase a few times is not a problem; sometimes it is necessary to show that you are consistently talking about the same thing.

Look at these examples of small changes which can be made to the phrase average weekly spending, I call this a smart repetition:

spent on average = average expenditure = weekly spending figures = levels of spending = spent per week = expenditure per week

9. Find and Show Correlation

You get a good score for finding a correlation between the trends. A correlation is a relationship between two things, two variables. It can be either positive or negative. For example, it is generally true that the more junk food you eat, the fatter you get. This is a positive correlation– there is a strong relationship. A negative correlation means that there is a strong relationship between two variables, but in the opposite direction. For example, the older a second-hand car is, the lower the price.

At the other end of the scale we can see that by 1995 all girls were completing lower secondary, although 10% ended their schooling at this point. This is in stark contrast with 1945 when only 30% of girls completed primary school, 35% had no schooling at all and 35% only completed the third grade.

“in stark contrast” shows negative correlation.

10. Use Synonyms for the Grouped Number

Let’s consider age group is often used by graphs to break down into different groups. Here we can use the following expressions:-

  • age group/profile/bracket/range: half of 20-30 age profile expressed their dissatisfaction.
  • the younger/older/youngest/oldest: the younger age group are significantly more involved in various societies.
  • People aged ….: People aged 40 or more are more willing to invest in stable industries.
  • …. year-olds: 20-30 year-olds pay more attention to their physical appearance

11. Vary Your Language for Numbers

Use the following techniques in your writing task

Using numbers, fractions, or percentages: Look at the following table

$ 1200
$ 1800
  • The price of X went up by 600, from $1200 to $1800. (numbers)
  • The price of X went up by half, from $1200 to $1800. (fractions)
  • The price of X went up 50%, from $1200 to $1800. (percentages)

Using ‘ double’ , ‘treble’, ‘-fold’, and times: Compare how each word/phrase is used in the following examples:

  • ‘double’: (verb) The number of unemployed people doubled between 2005 and 2009.
  • ‘twice as…as/compared to’, ‘three times as…as/compared to’: There were twice as many unemployed people in 2009 as in 2005.
  • ‘twofold’, ‘threefold’ (adjective or adverb): There was a twofold increase in the number of unemployed people between 2005 and 2009. (adjective with the noun ‘increase’)

12. Use majority, few, many…

  • ‘Majority’ normally means more than 50%.
  • ‘Few’ and ‘many’ are normally used with numbers rather than percentages: a small percentage of people could still refer to a large number of (many) people.
  • ‘Many’ and ‘few’ are difficult to define because it depends on the context, but in general they refer to large and small numbers respectively.