Recently I was telling students that for certain statistics, generic labels like number and amount might not be suitable, for example when you’re writing about employment. Then today I saw this up-beat news item from the BBC, which contains some nice examples of ’employment speak’! Continue reading
TrendsThe word ‘trend‘ is only used once, and even then it is used together with ‘downward‘! See this post for further discussion of ‘trend‘.
Although is used to contrast two trends at the same time. This is a good thing to do, if you can, in your IELTS Task 1 overview.Indonesians notice the contrasted items are separated with a comma without ‘but’ (akan tetapi).
- Although female-dominated industries have suffered fewer job losses from globalisation and technological change, they also pay less.
Referencing and substitution
- This form of segregation.. (= men and women pursue different lines of work)
- ..those that have long employed women.. (those = ‘the fastest growing industries in America)
- This does not mean.. (This = slow growth of sectors dominated by men)
- ..they also pay less. (they = slow growth of sectors dominated by men)
- ..the figure (= % of American doctors and lawyers who are women)
- ..this process takes time (= changing male and female roles in the workplace)
- At this rate.. (= the rate at which full gender equality is to be achieved)
Vocabulary (Lexical Resource)
- pursue (v) + lines of work (n)
- segregation (n) – in this case male / female
- better off (adj) – comparative form of well-off (wealthy)
- capture (v) + jobs (n)
- mere (adj) – to emphasise a low figure
- gender (adj) + parity (n) – sophisticated synonym for gender equality
- the field – the work field (Make sure you establish a context before reducing a phrase like this!)
- Men and women often pursue different lines of work.
- ..many sectors…have grown much more slowly..
- ..the field will not achieve gender parity for another 200 years.
- In the 1960s, less than 10% of American doctors and lawyers were women.
- Today over 60% of chefs and cooks are men.
- ..a mere 10% of all nursing jobs.
- Today, women graduate from university at higher rates than men, putting them in a stronger position for many well-paid professional jobs that were once male-dominated.
Women having a first child was low in both years (1995 and 2005).
Women was low(?!) Here we have some subject/verb disagreement, and so I’m guessing that it was actually a different singular countable noun that was low, and not ‘women‘!
- The percentage of women having a first child was low in both years (1995 and 2005).
Your opening theme was ‘women‘. If the women you mention were indeed low then this could mean several things (click for captions):
When you’re describing numbers, you must describe numbers. Remember that numbers are represented by statistics words: number, amount, percentage,rate, ratio, etc. If you do not use one of these words then your writing becomes very difficult to follow, and obviously this affects your IELTS score.
The graph illustrates information about the results of a poll of theatregoers regarding disturbances during theatre performances. In general the 4 most disturbing problems are coughing, rustling sweet papers, whispering and arriving late. Their percentages stand at above 50%.
Thanks to the context setting at the start of the essay, I can see that 50% means 50% of the theatregoers who took part in the poll. But it’s not immediately obvious and I had to read the opening a second time to make sure I understood what you meant. If a text is difficult to understand then it will receive a low score in IELTS for coherence and cohesion (CC). In the example above it can also affect your score for task achievement (TA), because you don’t really say anything meaningful about ‘50%‘. (See IELTS Task 1 Writing public band descriptors)
A good strategy to introduce and develop percentages in IELTS Task 1 can be seen in this extract from an article in The Economist (analysis below):
What is ‘good’ about this reporting of percentages?
 The first percentage is expressed using the following pattern:
x% + of + noun (‘male characters’) + verb (‘were seen dressed..’)
Notice that the reader knows exactly what is meant by ‘male characters‘ thanks to the clear context setting of the opening sentence. Setting a context like this makes your writing coherent. When you use this structure you explicitly state the ‘whole’ – in this case ‘male characters’.
 The second percentage obviously also applies to ‘male characters’, and so there is no need to repeat ‘..of male characters’.
 ‘Those figures’ signals back to the previous two percentages, which we understand refer to ‘male characters’. Notice the structure:
past time expression (‘In 2014’) + subject (‘those figures’) + ‘stood at‘ + x%
 ..follows the structure:
x% + of + noun (‘male characters’)
 ..follows the structure:
x% + of + noun (‘female characters’).
We’re not surprised to read ‘female characters’ because this new context was set in the opening sentence of the paragraph. Again, this context setting makes your writing both cohesive and coherent since you explicitly state the whole (now ‘female characters’).
Whatever you do..
Make sure your first mention of a percentage includes an explicit reference to the whole:
x% + of + noun (the whole)
Would anybody like to try and re-write the text about theatregoers to make the ‘50%’ figure mean what it’s supposed to mean? Answers in comments below! 🙂
PS. Another example of what I’m talking about just came to my attention:
AAS students which have just about 37% students, submit assignments on time.
You seem to be saying that AAS students are not completely AAS students – 63% of each AAS student is not an AAS student!?
Perhaps you mean:
- AAS students, who represent just about 37% of all students, submit assignments on time.
You are much more likely to make sense if you construct a noun phrase in which your percentage number is followed by ‘of’:
x% + of + ‘the whole’(???) + verb + etc.
Make sure you state the whole explicitly. For example if you are discussing male and female representation among students, then the ‘whole’ is students. If you want to say that 50% of students are female, do not write 50% of females are students. For a more detailed look at what I mean by the ‘whole’, take a look at my post Don’t forget the whole.
Use this structure with the first two or three numbers that apply to each new theme that you introduce and your reader will understand what the numbers refer to. You will also receive a good score in IELTS in all four assessment criteria (see public band descriptors).