😦 Australians who disagreed or remained neutral had an upward trend during the period.
I mentioned in a previous post that ‘trend’ is a dangerous word and perhaps best avoided because:
- it is usually redundant
- it carries with it unusual collocation that does not translate easily from other languages
The wrong collocation can cause meaning to change. In the example above, ‘upward trend’ sounds like some kind of illness, which is something that we ‘have’, for example “I had a cold last week.” We might imagine the following conversation:
You: Sorry I missed our appointment yesterday. I had an upward trend.
Your friend: Sorry to hear that. I hope you’re feeling better!
Once again, it’s possible, and usually preferable to describe a trend without using the word ‘trend’. Avoid it!
😦 In general, all the lines show that there is an increasing trend of people with bronchitis.
When students are preparing for IELTS Task 1 writing they learn the importance of describing ‘trends’ in graphs, tables and charts. Not surprisingly, they go ahead and use the word ‘trend’ to describe these trends. But native speakers almost never do that.
In the opening example a trend is described, but the word ‘trend’ is redundant. It is enough to write:
🙂 In general, all the lines show that the incidence of bronchitis is increasing.
This kind of statement stands out as ‘a trend’ because it says something general about a change over time without mentioning data.
So here’s your checklist for a trend:
- It is expressed as a sentence
- It does not feature the word ‘trend’
- It says something general without mentioning values from the graph, table or chart
- It describes a change over time
- The thing that is affected by change is named specifically (‘incidence’).
Understand also, that a trend is usually apparent in data that is highly irregular. In the following graph grammatical accuracy goes up and down erratically over time, but the general trend (shown by the straight line) is downward.
The ‘trend’ in this graph can be described:
🙂 The more frequently the word ‘trend’ is used, the less accurate the writing.
IELTS Task 1 trends practice activity
- Study the chart below (source here).
- On a piece of paper, write a short paragraph describing the main trends. Don’t look at PG’s text just yet!
- Read PG’s sample text (below). Click highlighted text for explanations.
Sample text by Pak Guru (PG). Click highlighted text for explanations.
In general, Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton attract by far the highest numbers of Twitter followers, but all candidates enjoyed significant increases in follower numbers during the period. In terms of average retweets per tweet, Bernie Sanders joins Trump and Clinton in the top three. Trump’s Twitter account saw almost twice as many retweets as Sanders’, and more than three times as many as Clinton’s. However, Sanders trumps trump when it comes to retweets per tweet per 1,000 followers.
In general – This is the most concise way to introduce an overview, and remember that an overview is important if you want a good score for Task Achievement. See public band descriptors for Task 1. (back)