Task 1 – TOOLS, part 4
Hey everyone. This is Part 4 of our 4-part series about how to write your IELTS Writing Task 1 (Academic) answer.
Today we’ll talk about putting all of our tools together and combining our observations into more complex sentences by comparing and contrasting different observations.
I want you to be able to write sentences like this:
“Even though food prices were higher in the summer months, they dropped drastically in September and reached their lowest point of 1.2 million dollars on September 25.”
Being able to compare and contrast is really important on your Task 1! You want to avoid just listing observations… so this tool gives us a way to put our observations into more interesting sentence constructions.
This can increase your Grammar, your Vocabulary, and your Coherence band scores on the test.
Let’s get started.
How Do I Compare and Contrast My Observations?
Know your Comparatives and Superlatives:
Comparatives and superlatives are essential for describing information in Task 1.
- A comparative is an adjective with the -er suffix (or the word ‘more’ or ‘least’ before it), used for comparing nouns:
“Kyoto (1981) and Los Angeles (2001), in addition to being much shorter than the other routes, have only 45 and 50 million passengers per year, respectively.”
- A superlative is an adjective with the -est suffix (or the word ‘most’ or ‘least’ before it), used for indicating the highest or lowest degree of something:
“Europe had the highest total percentage of land degraded at 23%.”
“The largest segment of Yemen’s population in the year 2000, ages 0-14 years, is predicted to drop…”
- Always include “THE” before a superlative.
- For three syllable words (like “dramatic”), we do not add -er / -est suffixes! Instead, for these long words, always use more/less and most/least before the adjective form.
Know your Linking Words:
Linking words (words like and, because, although, but) are really simple and fantastic ways to increase both the complexity of your sentences, and their coherence.
You shouldn’t use them too much, but occasionally using them to compare and contrast information in Task 1 is a great idea.
Here are some linking words that are extremely useful in Task 1:
“The numbers for rail increased for a few years but dropped suddenly in 1997.”
Although / even though
“Both national/international fixed line calling and mobile calling both experienced similar trajectories, although national/international remained higher in total minutes.”
On the other hand
“National/internal calling minutes began below 40 billion minutes and rose to just over 60 billion in 2002. Mobile calling, on the other hand, started below 5 billion minutes in 1995 and rose to…”
While / whereas
“The category of young people from 0-14 will also shrink a little, while the proportion of people aged 60+ will nearly double from 24.1% to 42.3%.”
Unlike __, __
“The major difference between Yemen and Italy is that unlike Yemen, Italy’s proportion of people aged 15-59 years will shrink by around 15%.”
“Washington DC is the fourth oldest underground railway system, created in 1976. It is also the fourth most popular, with 144 million passengers per year. By contrast, the two newest stations, Kyoto (1981) and Los Angeles (2001), have only 45 and 50 million passengers per year, respectively.”
Both __ and __
“Both road and rail experienced slight dips after the year 1978”
“Roads reached a low point around 1981 of about 70 million tonnes of transport, and rail descended to about 25 million tonnes a few years later.”
Were/had/experienced similar results/paths/trajectories
“National/international fixed line calling and mobile calling both experienced similar trajectories, although national/international remained higher in total minutes, while mobile calling experienced a more dramatic recent rise.”
“The numbers for energy consumption in the USA rose dramatically in 1973. Similarly, Europe’s numbers rose to over...”
- Note that the linking words above are useful, but should be used carefully! An excellent Task 1 answer might use only 2-4 of the above words once each, and take care to use them accurately.
- LINK TO COMPLEX SENTENCES LESSON
Let’s Get Some Practice!
Below you'll see a graph showing mobile phone ownership in 2006 and 2010 in six Asian countries.
Use it to complete the exercise below.
Well done! You've completed all four of the Task 1 TOOLS lessons (and if you haven't, I strongly suggest you go back and do them all!)
Next, I recommend getting some practice with creating complex sentences. This lesson is useful for both Task 1 and Task 2 of the IELTS Writing Test. Good luck!