IELTS Task 1: The graph/table DESCRIBES?

ScottsEnglishScottsEnglish Administrator Posts: 1,165 admin ✭✭✭✭✭✭✭
edited March 2017 in IELTS Test
A lot of students seem to want to use the word 'describes' in connection with their IELTS Task 1 introduction.  I think this is a mistake.  Here's why:

To describe means 'to say or write what someone or something is like'. For example: I would describe the man as tall, with short, black hair and a mustache.

Did you notice how those words say what the man is like

Now, have a look at the following IELTS Task 1 question and a student's introductory sentence:

The table describes the percentage of water pollution in Taipei, Sao Paulo, Tokyo and New York in 2015. 
The word 'describes' in this context is being used inappropriately. Re-read the definition above. The table does not state what something looks like, it provides data in relation to four categories (domestic sewage, pesticides, erosion and phosphates in detergents).

I encourage my students to simply use the word 'shows' because, in most cases, this is what graphs and tables do.

Looking for words other than 'shows'?  Click here  B)

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