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How to write a line graph for IELTS writing task 1

To describe a line graph, you must use give accurate descriptions of main changes over a period of time. IELTS require you to use a range of language and sentences to relate the informtion given in the graph.

Below is useful language and also a check list for you to follow to describe a line graph.

Adverbs: steadily, gradually, sharply, rapidly, steeply, slightly, dramatically, significantly, considerably

Adjectives: steady, gradual, sharp, rapid, steep, slight, dramatic, significant, considerable

Nouns and verbs: vocabulary for a line graph


The number of cases in Someland increased steadily from 100 to 200 between 1983 and 1988.

There was a steady rise in the number of cases in Someland to reach 200 from 1983 to 1989.

Time phrases: over the next three days, three days later, in the following three days, the next three days show, over the period, from…to… / between … and…, the last year, the final year, the first year, at the beginning of the period, at the end of the period

line graph practice


  1. Have a clear introduction
  2. Put all main trends in an overview statement – this should be contained in one paragraph
  3. Don’t have a conclusion
  4. Make sure you are using adjective + noun or verb + adverb
  5. Don’t repeat language of change – use a variety of words
  6. Use a range of time phrases
  7. Don’t always give from … to … for the amounts, sometimes you can give the difference “it increased by double..”
  8. Add numbers or percentages to your sentences in the body paragraph
  9. Organise your body paragraphs logically so it is easy for the examiner to read
  10. Write 150 words or more. Don’t write under the word count.

Line Graph Model

The graph illustrates the number of cases of a particular disease (disease X) in Someland over 10 years from 1983 to 1992.

Overall, the number of cases of disease X remained below 200 over the period given except for a considerable surge between 1989 and 1991 when the figures doubled. The disease was completely eradicated by the final year.

In 1983, the number of cases of the disease stood at 100 which then rose steadily over the following 4 years to reach 200 in 1987. In the following year, 1988, the figure returned to the original number of 100.

There was a dramatic growth in cases to a peak of 400 in 1989 after which it experienced a slight fall to 350 in 1990. Over the following year, the number remained stable at 350. In the last year, the number of cases plummeted sharply to zero with no cases being reported.

151 words

Take time to read through the model and pay attention to:

  1. the content of each paragraph
  2. the use of verbs, nouns, adverbs and adjectives
  3. the logical order of information in the body paragraphs

Please note: this is a practice exercise lesson. It is rare for IELTS to give a one-line graph. So, use this to practice language and technique.



  1. Hi ,
    Can you please let me know that is it ok to use brackets in your writing tasks ?

  2. Hi liz,
    Somebody told me that, for graphs ‘Overall Statement’ should put at last, rather than within introduction or second paragraph. To what extent it is right??

    • There are no rules about this. The examiner will mark you based on logical organisation. Your overview statement can come before or after the smaller detail. This means it comes before or after the body paragraphs.

      • Mam, as you said before, I would prefer “overall” just after the Introduction paragraph.
        thank you so much for your worthful lessons! All of the classes are excellent and it means a lot…

  3. Hello liz
    I couldnot find your answers for all the writing task 1 ,i had found it once,but now i could’nt find it again rather those in the home page..please help me this..that is really usefull for me.

    • Go to the red bar at the top of each page and click on the words: Writing Task 1. All main pages are accessed through the red bar.

  4. and plateau word good for line graph

  5. Abdul Rehman says:

    Hello Liz mam,
    I’ve a question. Can we use both verb+adverb and adjective+noun in a line graph or we have to choose only one pair for whole graph.
    Thanks in advance..

  6. Dear Liz,
    It is possible in Writing task 1 just have 1 body paragraph ?

    • If you want a good band score, then you need to demonstrate the skill of organising paragraphs. See the band score requirements.

  7. Bin Clinton says:

    Excuse me, Why ‘the origin number’? I think that should be ‘the original number’

  8. Hi Liz,
    Question about the intro, how come it is “over 10 years” when it is from 1983-1992?

    • The word “over” does not mean “more than” in this context. It refers to over the period. There are 10 years given.

      • Thanks!

        • Hi Liz,
          Just a follow up question. So the counting of years should start at the first given year, which is 1983? However, 1983 + 10 = 1993. In the line graph it is 1992.
          There was another essay says 26 years (1981-2007) which is correct when being added (1981 + 26 = 2007).
          Just really curious. Do you have any explanations about this? And one last question, should the overview be in a separate paragraph or part of the intro?
          Thanks a lot!

  9. Hi Liz,
    thank you so much for you free lessons, thank you for teaching me that overview contains the key features or the highest or the lowest point ..but i am still struggling to understand the real content of overview,
    I would like to ask about your overview above, you wrote” Overall, the number of cases of disease X remained below 200 over the period given except for a considerable surge between 1989 and 1991 when the figures doubled.”
    -In 1991, the number of cases is actually 350 which is not double of 200, so, is it still fine or accurate to say that” the figure doubled”? or should we say ”…the figure almost doubled?because it is doubled in 1989 (400 cases) but not in 1991 (350 cases).
    or does the accuracy of information we give in overview is not 100% required?

    My last question is about Grammar, would you please explain a bit more when we put ”s” in ”figures”?
    One student wrote ”’The figures rose steadily in the next four years, to reach its first peak in 1987” and you asked to take off ”s” in figure. when we should not put ”s” like”figure”?thank you.

    • The overview contains a description, so if we write “it doubled” as a description it is fine. But you can certainly make it clearer by writing “it more or less doubled”. As long as you don’t write “it doubled exactly”. But you need to understand that we are not referring to details. In the first years the numbers were 200 and under, then they reached 400. The description is “doubled”. If you get lost in details, then it isn’t an overview.

      Usually, we write about “the figure” rather than using the plural.
      All the best

  10. Dear Liz,

    I am from Mongolia. I am doing independent study on the preparation of IELTS examination. Thank you for helping the students like me around the world. I would like to kindly ask you to check my writing below in order to let me know my writing skill in task 1.

    The line graph illustrates the amount of goods transported in four different ways (road, water, rail and pipeline) in Uk between 1974 and 2002. The units are measured in million tonnes.

    Overall, over the period, the highest amount of goods was transported by road while the least amount of goods was transported by pipeline. Interestingly, all the amounts of goods were increased over the 28 years except the amount of rail transportation which almost reached back to it’s original number.

    In terms of the road, the amount of goods was transported, it began about 70 million tonnes which rose steadily over the following 18 years to reach over 80 million tonnes in 1992. In the following 4 years, there was a gradual decline after which it grew up to nearly 100 million tones. Likewise, about 39 million tonnes of goods was transported through water in the first year and then the figure fluctuated slightly and rose to about 65 million tones. Similarly, in 1974, the figure of the pipeline transportation stood at about 5 million tonnes and there was a steep fluctuation until it leveled out from 1995 to 2002.

    On the other hand, the amount of goods was transported by train was 40 million tonnes in 1974 which was followed by slight changes and reached at just above it’s beginning figure of 40 million tonnes.

  11. how to write bar graph

  12. Ronak Maniya says:

    How can apply this sentence structure. Subject+ verb + proposition + indirect object + direct object. In graph and essay

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