Show vs Indicate

ScottsEnglishScottsEnglish Administrator Posts: 1,030 admin ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
edited March 2016 in Vocabulary
Students seem to use these words interchangeably which, in many cases, is a mistake.

So when do we use show and when do we use indicate?

Keep in mind these basic rules:

to show = to demonstrate, such as a fact

to indicate = to suggest, or to point to

I suggest in IELTS Writing Task 1 that students use 'show'.  The reason for this is that in the graph/table/diagram, the statistics are clearly stated (shown) they are not indicated (suggested).

If you use 'indicate(s)' in your Task 1 answer, there is a chance that you might be speculating/guessing/offering an opinion (eg: The data seems to indicate/to point to the fact that...). Remember that this is something you must NOT do on the IELTS Writing Task 1; just describe the data you see.

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