Line Chart Essay

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


  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.


Below is a sample task 1 question on line graphs. It uses the following structure.

Paragraph 1

Paraphrase question

Paragraph 2

Overview of 2 main features. You will notice that I have included no numbers and used very general language.

Paragraph 3

Details of first main feature. Here I have gone in to more detail about the first general point I mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Paragraph 4

Details of second main feature.

You will notice that I have wrote a lot more about the first feature. I did this because I think the most used fuels and more significant. You will also noticed that I shortened ‘Quadrillion units’ to ‘q’. This is acceptable if you tell the examiner this by putting it in brackets like I have done.


Don’t look at the answer yet and try to do the question without any help and then compare with my answer.

The graph below gives information from a 2008 report about consumption of energy in the USA since 1980 with projections until 2030.

Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and making comparisons where relevant.

The line graph shows energy consumption by fuel type in the United States from 1980-2008, with projected use until 2030.

Overall, fossil fuels have been the dominant type and will continue this trend in to the future. Nuclear and renewable energy sources have represented a small but significant proportion of total energy use and despite small projected gains; it is projected that they will continue doing so.

Petrol and Oil command the biggest share with 35 quadrillion units (35q) in 1980, rising to approximately 40q in 2008 and this trend is set to continue with a projected value of nearly 50q in 2030. In 1980 natural gas and coal came in second and third, with around 16q and 20q respectively. However, coal overtook natural gas in 1990 and despite some fluctuation, is set to be the second most used fuel in 2030 with just over 30q. It is predicted that natural gas will level off and remain relatively constant at about 25q.

Nuclear and the renewable energies all represented around 4q in 1980 and fluctuated up until 2008.  It is speculated that nuclear energy will reach 10q by 2030 and solar/wind around 5q, with hydropower dropping and then remaining constant at approximately 2q.

I hope you have find this useful and if there are other questions you would like me to answer, just let me know in the comments section below.

For a more detailed post on how to answer IELTS task 1 chart questions, please click the link.

You may also find my grammar guide for IELTS task 1 useful. It has lots of phrases to help you describe data.

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