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November 27, 2011


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Dear Simon
The trends and movements in writing task 1 are easy to study and understand after practice. I face problem, spending a plenty of time choosing a good suitable vocabs to substitute the words in graphs and tables. for example, when there are two main groups men and women and every main group contains several subgroups such as (3-9 years old), (10-20), (20-30),....; So all the time we repeat and restate the groups. Another example is households with one, two, three,.....seven pepole. so I try to write something like children,teenagers, adults, single, married couple so I do a lot of mistakes.
My question is what should I study to know these vocabs. Also if it is possible to do a lesson about these age groups.

Hi Maryam,

Many students worry about this. My advice is not to worry so much - sometimes you must repeat words several times in an essay e.g. men, women, age groups, people, items on a chart etc. If the chart shows "numbers of children", you have no choice but to repeat the word "children" several times in your essay - "teenagers" is not a good synonym because some children are not teenagers. "Kids" is not a good synonym because it's too informal.

Don't worry if you have to repeat names of items shown on a chart/graph etc. Just make sure that there is some variety in the way you construct your sentences to describe those items.

Hi, Simon

Could I also say?;
British shops saw dramatic CD sales increase in the 1980s.
British shops saw dramatic CD sales' increase in the 1980s.

Many thanks;)

Thanks Simon for your advice

Hi Simon,

Thanks for your advice, we'll definitely used this as a guide, it was really appreciated. Thanks a lot! TheIELTSSolution.com

Thank you.

Dear Simon,
Could I re-write like this:
British shops saw a dramatic increase in CDs sales...?
( This sentence in your lesson is "British shops saw CD sales increase dramatically in the 1980s." )
Thank u ;)
If not, so what are the differences between the sentence number 1, 2 and number 3. Thank u indeed.

Hi Simon , let me thank you too much for your useful advice
I need to know , how does the examiner count the number of words in writing? do they consider figures and article specially in writing task 1( such as A, AND, OR ,..) as one word?
warmest regards

Hi Noriko,

No, I'm afraid you can't write either of those sentences.


Hi Quynh,

Yes, you can write that. Just put "CD sales" instead of "CDs sales".

If you put "CD" after "sales" you can use the plural e.g. "sales of CDs".


Hi Shian,

Yes, everything is considered to be a word, even articles and figures.

Thank u so much!! It sounds that " British shops saw CD sales increase dramatically" more academic than " British shops saw a dramatic increase in CD sales"; doesn't it?

Hi Quynh,

No, both seem equally good to me.

Hello Simon

I want to know score for task 1 and task 2
Some people they say task 1 accounted only 25% and task 2 75%
Is it true this

Thank you Simon for your help

Plz Simon answer me

Hi Attou,

You wrote the same question in 2 places, and I answered in the other place. Here's the answer I wrote:

"I think it's 33.3% for task 1 and 66.6% for task 2."

Thank you Simon

No problem.

hi, Simon,
i've got a question, can we say 'experience' or 'witness'instead of' see' in those sentences. e.g.
can we say 'the first nine hours of a day in summer witness a gradual decline ' &'The last two hours of the day experience a marked fall to approximately 35,000 units.'?

Yes, those words are fine Merlin.

Dear teacher Simon,
I am a royal reader who have benefited from your so helpful website a lot and have made it my self-learning source for IELTS. Thank you for running this amazing site for us!

A question I have is that, can I use 'witness' or 'experience' interchangeably to 'see'? Would it sound more formal?
In this case, are they used in passive or positive voice?

Thank you very much

Sorry, and how about using 'undergo'?

dear Mr.Simon
Can I use "witnessed" in stead of "saw"

Hi, Simon.
I just don't understand the third sentence:
British shops saw CD sales INCREASE dramatically in the 1980s.
My question is why the verb "increase" is not in form of "increasing", because the main verb is seemed "saw" in this situation ?

Dear Simon,

The structure - Year/place + witness/saw/experience + noun - is quite well known as you have claimed, as well as - the number + underwent + noun.

However, when it comes to " The number + witness/saw", someone says that we cant use it because it sounds strange, while others accept it.

Please advise
Kind regards,

I meant the "number of something" (not someone)

Hi, Simon.
I just don't understand the third sentence:
British shops saw CD sales INCREASE dramatically in the 1980s.
My question is why the verb "increase" is not in form of "increasing", because the main verb is seemed "saw" in this situation ?

Dear Simon,

I was wondering if we can use 'the number of sth' as a subject when using 'see' in a sentence. For example, if I write a sentence like this 'CD sales saw a dramatic increase in Britain in the 1980s', will it be correct?

I would appreciate it if you could clarify it for me. Thank you very much in advance.

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