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December 22, 2011


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Hi Simon, always a pleasure to read your essays, very simple and easy to read.

Well you mentioned/compared all the highest figures in the third paragraph whereas you compared the rest of the/lowest figures in the fourth paragraph.


Thanks Khan.

Hi Simon,

Thank you very much for your great support!
I could not find the right answer of your first question. Would anyone help me please?

Dear Simon;

Thank you for your information
Can we say (the table shows THE percentage of) i.e without (S )in percentage and with (THE)

Thank you

Hi dear Simon,
I have recently joint to your daily lessons and found it really useful.I have got a question about the task1 which is written by you.Would it be better to compare the figures rather than just describing them?For example,Turkey spent the highst amounts of money on Food/drink/Tobacco(32.14%),this is compared to 15.77% in sweeden or 16.36% in Italy.

1.In your summary, you compared the highest firgure(Food/Drinks/Tobacco)and the lowest figure(Education/Leisure)in general.
2.In your paragraph2, the reason why you use past tense is this happened in 2002, and why you use present, I guess because you just simply describe the the information in the table right now.
3.You put the countries with highest percentages in paragraph 3 and put countries with lowest numbers in paragraph 4.

Simon, can I ask you,in my essay,I put Turkey and Sweden in paragraph 3 by using 'by contras' to link sentences together .Then I put remaining three countries in paragraph 4, pointing out the noticable features for each country.Do you think my structure is ok?
Thank you very much!

hi simon,
Today i got the results.L-7, R-8,s-7.5, w-6.5.I took exam 4 times,however all the time I got 6.5 in writing.Is it it advisable to put for recorrection?
Pls advice me

My name's Han. I'm from Vietnam. I'm going to take IELTS exam in about one month. I've known this great website for some days. I'm really like it. My exam's coming up, but I don't think i can be confident of any English skills. Everyday, if i learn this part (e.g. reading), I'll miss that part(e.g. listening). I'm really worry about that. Could you give me some advice for the preparation for the exam and the way the learn four parts of the test efficiently.
On the other hand, i want to buy your material because i get stuck with getting ideas, so could you tell my the way to pay and get it.

Best regards,

I'm really sorry for missing the copy 'greeting' to you that i've typed. 'DEAR SIMON',

Hi Saniye,

Have a look at the answer given by Sunny.


Hi Ghyath,

Yes, that's fine too.


Hi Nafiseh,

I did compare the figures. Look at paragraph 3 for example. All of these are 'comparing' words and phrases:

- was noticeably higher (means 'higher than the other countries')
- was also highest (means 'highest compared to the other countries')
- while...
- was significantly higher in Italy, at 9%, than in any of the other countries

Remember that "compared to" is not the only phrase for comparing. Comparative and superlative adjectives (e.g. higher, highest) are definitely used for comparing too.


Hi Sunny,

Thanks for answering the questions so well. Your structure would also be good.


Hi Sri Lankan,

Yes, it might be a good idea to try a re-mark. If your score doesn't improve, it would be a good idea to take a few lessons with a private teacher who can check your writing to see what the problem is.


Hi Han,

The only way to improve your confidence is with more hard work and more practice! IELTS is difficult for everyone, so just keep working and do your best.

If you want to buy the ebook, just follow the instructions on the page linked below. Several students in Vietnam have bought the ebook, so the payment system works fine there.


Hi dear Simon,
First of all I wish you a very happy chirstmas and thanks for your valuable time helping students around the world.
Secondly again I have a question about task one, if we use hight,higher and highest , or low,lower and lowest,do you think these are not repeatative and same comparative or superlatives adjectives and better to use different ones? Thanks

Hi Simon,
Your lessons are really helping me. Thank you for all you're doing for us.
I have a question. My question could be addition to Nafiseh's one: is it Ok using the same verbs (e.g. to be, to have) in every sentences while giving details?
Thanks very much!

Hi Nafiseh,

No, the examiner doesn't see it like that. In fact, using variations of the same adjective is good because it shows grammatical flexibility.

Happy Christmas! I'm glad you like the blog.


Hi Bobur,

Don't worry about repeating certain key words or verbs like 'be' or 'have' - this is normal in English (and in other languages as far as I know). Just focus on describing and comparing the numbers.

Hi Simon,

Hope you had good X'mas.

I tried to write the first sentence in different ways. I do not know if I went of the topic or changed the meaning. is ther any other way to write this?

Awaiting for your comments.

1. The proportion of consumer spending on food, drinks and tobacco in Turkey was the highest among these five countries, at 32.14%, closely followed by Ireland at nearly 29%.

2. The figure for consumer spending on food, drinks and tobacco was noticeably higher in Turkey, at 32.14%, and Ireland, at nearly 29%.

3. In Turkey, 32.14% of total consumer spending went on food, drinks and tobacco, which was the highest among five countries, in Irealand at nearly 29%, which was the second highest.

4. Out of the five countries, Turkey had the highest proportion of consumer spending on food, drinks and tobacco, at 32.14%, closely followed by Ireland, at nearly 29%.

I also noticed you used food, drinks and tobacco instead of food/drinks/tobacco. here it really looka like and but in other situation such as people living in raw house/town house, here do we use raw house OR town house or raw house AND town house?

Hi Simon. I am Judy and I am one of your (online) students..Your website really helps me a lot especially when I took my Ielts this early year. I believe that I have improved my writing because of my constant learning through your website. Your e-book is really, really helpful!!!!However, I have to take the exam again in January as my Reading part was slightly low (6.5). I have my practice Writing TAsk 1 below which I hope you could help me assess whether it is good or bad and I know I have to kepp on practicing...Thanks Simon

The table shows percentages of national consumer expenditure in three dufferent categories for five countries in 2002.

It is clear that food, drinks, and tobacco were the main expenses of people from the five countries. Turkey and Ireland were the two top countries who consumed the most for these products with the percentages of 32.14% and nearly 29%, respectively.

The second category is clothing and footwear in which Italians spent 9% making them the highest people to spend on the said products. while the rest of the countries consumed slightly lower with 5.40% to 6.60%.

The last category is about leisure and education. This category had the least number of proportion among the three categories. But still, Turkey had the highest percentage of expenditure with 4.35% . Spain had the lowest percentage with 1.98% only.

In conclusion, food, drinks and tobacco were the most important necessity in 2002 for five different countries.

Good work Kai.

Number 3 seems a bit strange though - you can't really add the part about Ireland in that way.

I agree that sometimes you might need to use "or" e.g. in your example about houses.


Hi Judy,

I'm glad you like the site and ebook. I don't assess students' essays here because everyone would send their work if I did.

One tip: you don't need the conclusion because you have already summarised the information in paragraph 2.

Good luck in your January exam!

Thanks Simon for your feedback. it really helps.

Simon, you're an angel!
This site is really helping a lot of desesperate students, and i can just imagine your hard work to keep it updated, and you even answer everybody!
You are reeeally an angel!
All I can say is: Thank you!

No problem Heliz. Thanks for your support!

it is important to describe all information from table this my example to show you my way of writing
in case of food and drink Turky received first rank followed by sweden and irenland while there was negligable differance between the figure of rest two countries's expense on the same consumer goods OR it is ok if i mention only 3 nations highet figure rather than all.

Hi Siya,

You don't need to mention all of the figures - remember that you only have 20 minutes. Also, don't write "first rank" or "first place" - this makes it seem like a competition.

Thanks a lot.but other sentence formation is ok last paragraph which i wrote

Yes, the rest was fine.

Very useful.
In the sentences:
"It is clear that the largest proportion of consumer spending in each country went on food, drinks and tobacco. On the other hand, the leisure/education category has the lowest percentages in the table." wouldn´t BY CONTRAST be better than on the other hand ???

Hi Puzzled,

It would be just as good, but not better. We basically use both phrases in the same way.

PS. Don't focus too much on the 'organising' phrases - it's the 'real' description of the figures that decides your score.

Hi, Simon! Can we say "expenditures" or "spendings"?

Can we not include some information? Will it affect the score?

Hi Anuar,

Those nouns are used as singular, uncountable. Never use them in the plural.

It's impossible to include everything in only 20 minutes, so you MUST select key information. You will not lose any marks for doing that.

Hi Simon,

expenditure on
enpenditure for

are both correct?

Yes, both are fine.

Dear Simon,
I just took the exam today. it was basically almost slmilar to the food tobacco expenditure task but it was a bar graph. I just realized I missed stating on the introduction the expenditure (on three different categories). But Im sure I did well on the rest of the essay. Will I lose a lot of points by not writing the "different categories" on the intro? Im so worried :(

My report:

The table compares the consumption on three categories of goods and services in five nations in 2002.

It can be clearly seen that the consumers spend most of their income in food, drinks and tobacco, and the least of it in education and leisure. Overall, the Turkish consumers had the highest proportional expenditure.

In Turkey, the spending on foods, drinks and tobacco, and on education and leisure were 32.14% and 4.35%, respectively; the highest across all five countries. Irish consumers had the second greatest proportional expenditure on foods, drinks and tobacco (28.91%), but their consumption on education and leisure only accounted for 2.21% of their budget. Italians showed the biggest demand for clothing and footwear and destined 9% of their income for it.

In contrast, Swedish consumers had the lowest proportional spendings on food, drinks and tobacco, and on clothing and footwear, 15.77% and 3.22%, respectively. While Spaniards only spent 1.98% of their earnings on education and leisure, the lowest figure of all.

(163 words)

Hi Simon
i am using your site from past few days and i find it very helpful.
I really want to say thanks to you for all your help through this site and through your ebook.
Thank You!

can someone please chick it for me !
This table in the figure illustrates information of consumer spending on three different items in five different places in 2002. This table includes four columns and six rows. The title row shows the five different countries including: Ireland, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and Turkey. The title column represents the items which consumers spent their money on, including: Food, Drink, Tobacco, Clothing, Footwear and LIESURE, education. The highest percentage of expenditure at around 32% came from Turkey on Food, Drink and Tobacco while the lowest one came from Spain on Leisure and Education at about 1 percent. By adding together the percentages in each row, we can see that Turkey people are the ones who spent the largest percentage of expenditure on these items including in the survey. Overall, by looking at the figure, it is clearly seen that consumers in these five countries have something in common; all of them spent most of their money on Food, Drink and Tobacco. On the other hand, we can also see that Leisure and Education had the lowest percentage of expenditure.

Hi Simon...

in Paragraph 3....Last sentence...

you wrote " than in any of the other countries"

Can I Write : than any other country

What is right and why??

Dear Arwa
Expending --> expenditure
This table in 2nd sentence must change to 'it'.

Hi Simon,
Can you please tell me the following two sentences regarding the chart are grammartically correct.
1.Turkey spent the highest amount (32.14%) on food,drinks and tobacco and this is more than twice the amount spent by Sweden (15.77%)
2.Turkey was the highest spending country on leisure and education too, and the figure was 4.35%.

Dear Simon

Thanks for your essay. But there is one question. Needn't we include all data in the essay?



hi, Simon it is great to get table writing form you. I belong to Pakistan and eager to get good learning. this site is not less than a blessing for me. Can you guide me how to do comparison and contrast in report writing? Regards, iram.

hi I am from Uzbekistan Now I'm preparing from Ielts and I take myself direction Thank's A lot

Hi Simon. Can I write the conclusion like this?

In conclusion, in 2002, in those five countries, people tended to spend most on daily necessaries such as food, drinks and tobacco. The investment in leisure and education seemed not equivalent to that in other categories.

Thanks in advance!

Thank you.You are the only person who build my staggering dreams.To put it in a nutshell,thanks for all your help.

Hi Simon, here are some questions. Can I replace"with" for "at"? For example, at 32.14% -> with 32.14%.
And sometimes I see people using with instead of at when referring to a percentage.
I wonder if there is any difference between them. Or is it better to use one of them?
Thank you in advance!

Hi Simon
if you want to mark yourself for this writing what marks do you give?

Hi Simon

"consumer spending on food, drinks and tobacco was noticeably higher in Turkey, at 32.14%, and Ireland, at nearly 29%."

In this paragraph, "consumer" can be just singular?

The table compares the amount of money spent on different categories in 5 nations in 2002.

It is clear that the largest proportion of expenditure in each country went on food, education and tobaccos. By contrast, Leisure and education were least paid.

In comparison to others, Italy pay the second least attention to education, food and tobaccos with 16.36 percent of budget went on it and spent the highest proportion of expenditure on clothing and footwear with 9 percent. Meanwhile, the largest percentage of expenditure on education , food and tobaccos came from Turkey , standing at 32.14 percent; and this proportion was followed by Irelands figure with 28.79 percent.
Besides Italy, the amount of money every other country listed spent on Clothing and footwear is just under 7 percent. Finally, none of those paid more than 4.5 percent of their budget for Leisure and education
To conclude with , Italys figures appeared to be the most stable

155 WORDS, how much do you think I can get?

The table shows percentage of consumption on three items by people in five different countries in 2002.

It is noticeable that spending on food/drinks/tobacco was much higher than the other two categories in all five countries. Clothing/footwear was the second most consumed goods, leisure/education made up the lowest proportion.

People in Ireland and Turkey spent one third of their income on food/drinks/tobacco, while the figures for Italy, Spain and Sweden were all less than one fifth. Turkish people also had the highest proportion in terms of leisure/education, at 4.35%. By contrast, the number of Spain was only 1.98% on that category.

There was 9% of Italian’s income purchasing clothing/footwear. Irish, Spanish and Turkish only had around 6.5% their expenditure on that. Sweden saw the lowest level which was 5.4% for clothing/footwear in five countries.

Should I mention overall expenditure in total? Or only the mentioned?

The table illustrates the proportion of money spent by the consumers on 3 categories in five different countries in the year 2002.
Overall, the people from all the five nations have spent the most of their money on food, drinks and tobacco while, the least amount was paid for leisure and education.
In the year 2002, residents from Turkey and Ireland paid more than a quarter of their money for consumables with nearly 32% and 29% respectively. Although other three countries also preferred consumable items, they spent less than a fifth for these goods.
Clothing/footwear was the second category which registered a proportion in the range of 6 to 9% for all the five nations. Ireland and Turkey, along with Spain, gave out roughly the same proportion of 6.5%. Surprisingly, citizens of Italy spend 9% of their money on footwear and clothing which was by far the most among the 5 nations.
In the category of leisure and education, consumers from all these countries under consideration spent the least for these two reasons. On one hand, Sweden and Italy residents dedicated nearly 3.2% of their money each; on the other hand, Ireland and Spain's people have spent around 2% for the same. Consumers from Turkey were the most generous in this category with 4.35% of their expenditure going for leisure and education in the year 2002.

Hi Simon,
My name is Sadokat. I'm prearparing for the taking IELTS. I wanna get a high score. Can u give ur advice please!
Thank you!

Hi Simon,
My name is Sadokat. I'm prearparing for the taking IELTS. I wanna get a high score. Can u give ur advice please!
Thank you!

Hi Simon

At the beginning of the first main paragraph, you wrote
'Out of the five countries, consumer spending on food, drinks and tobacco was noticeably higher in Turkey, at 32.14%, and Ireland, at nearly 29%'

Shouldn't it be 'the proportion of consumer spending' instead of just 'consumer spending'? We are talking about proportion instead of amount, is that right?

Actually I've seen a person who claims to be 'former IELTS examiners' pointing out this problem for a student's report and punished his Tash Achievement score BIG TIME.

To be honest, I'm a HUGE FAN of yours, Mr. Corcoran. Following your lessons I achieved band 7 in the writing section. So please shed some light on this issue? Is it really ok to use 'spending' here , or is it an individual examiner thing so that it would be safer to use proportion here? I certainly don't wish it is the latter one as I trust the consistency of examiner training.


Hi JW,

Well noticed, and I agree with what that former examiner says. I'm constantly trying to get students to describe numbers accurately too. However, I did write the sentence that you highlighted 'on purpose', so I'll explain why.

If you read my task 1 answers, you will occasionally find that I leave out some information in one or two sentences. I only do this when I feel that I have clearly established what the figures show (i.e. what the 'units' are), and when I think that a shorter, less repetitive sentence would be appropriate at that point in the answer.

So, if you look at the sentences before and the sentence directly after, it is very clear that we are talking about proportions. I just took a break from repeating this over and over again.

Note: I admit that it is a little risky to do this "selective omission of units". If you don't do it convincingly, you could lose points for the accuracy of your description. I think it works well in a band 8 or 9 answer, but it could cause problems at lower levels.

I hope this makes sense!

Hi Simon,

Understood. Thank you for your detailed explanation! I will try to be careful in my own writing.


Hi simon,
Thanks for the useful information you provided on the website. Is it correct to say, this was in contrast with sweden that only 5.40% of total expenditures comprised of expenses on clothing and footwear?

Sorry comprising of .....

The table shows the proportion of consumer expenses in three categories in five countries in 2002. Looking from the overall perspective, it is readily apparent that the category of food, drinks, and tobacco was the most popular, and it was followed by clothing and footwear. In contrast, people spent the least expenditure on leisure and education.

Among the five countries, Ireland and Turkey recorded the highest percentages in food, drinks, and tobacco section, at 28.91% and 32.14%, respectively. The proportion of expenditure of Turkish people was also the highest in leisure and education, at 4.35%. For the clothing and footwear category, a significant percentage of 9% of Italian people were consumers.

However, Sweden had the lowest percentages for food/drinks/tobacco and clothing/footwear sections, at just under 16% for the former and 5.40% for the latter. Meanwhile, the percentage of expenditure on leisure and education of Spanish consumers was just around 2%.

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