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How to compare and contrast factual information in IELTS Writing task 1? 

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Majority of the IELTS test candidates find quite challenging to compare main features in the Writing task 1 and use adequate grammar and vocabulary.

The main purpose of this article is to introduce you to the ways how to compare and contrast the main information in the Writing task 1.

 I will take an example of the Writing task 1 bar chart.


mobile phones landlines bar chart


To begin with, the bar chart presents information about mobile phone and landline usage within 7 different countries.

Firstly, we should identify the following:

Which country has the highest interest in mobile phones? 

Which country does prefer to use landline?

The country with the highest usage of mobile phones is Italy and the country with preference for landlines is Denmark.

What are the best ways to express the factual information?

  • Comparative and superlative forms of adjectives

One of the most convenient method of comparison in the IELTS Writing task 1 is using comparative and superlative forms of adjective. The challenging part is to be confident in using correct forms and avoid unnecessary spelling mistakes.

When do we use comparatives and superlatives?

Below you will find several examples of comparative and superlative adjective use in this particular task:

Comparatives are used to compare two things against each other:

For example:

The mobile phones are more popular in Sweden than in the UK.

Superlatives are used to compare one thing against a group of other things:

For example:

The mobile phones are the most popular way of communication in Sweden comparing to the other countries.

Be aware that superlative adjective requires definite article the in front of the form.

  • Transitions

Superlative and comparative adjectives are not the only way to express contrast factual information in the IELTS Writing task 1. Below, you will find additional ways to compare the data.

Transitions are words and phrases which provide the connection between separate sentences or clauses. They help to improve the coherence in the IELTS Writing task 1Transitions help to make your essay flow better. Here is the list and few examples with transitions:

  • But
  • Despite
  • Even so
  • However
  • Nevertheless
  • On one hand
  • In the same way
  • Similarly
  • Likewise
  • Conversely
  • On the other hand
  • Rather
  • Yet
  • Nevertheless
  • In contrast

 For example:

 There is a lack of hospitals in the UK, however it still provides free healthcare for all residents and citizens.

Germany makes great use of recycled materials.  On the other hand, most of European countries recycle very little of their waste.

  • Subordinating conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions are the words which join the main clause to the subordinate clause. They are crucial to guarantee the coherence in the Writing task 1. They help make a comparison where applicable. Here is the list and few examples using subordinating conjunctions:

  • After
  • Although
  • As
  • As soon as
  • Before
  • Even if
  • Even though
  • If
  • Now that
  • While
  • Whereas
  • Unless
  • Once
  • Only if
  • Since
  • Though
  • Until
  • When 

For example:

The UK provides free healthcare for all residents and citizens, whereas the US provides none.

AlthoughGermany is a rich country, German citizens live relatively simple lives.

  •  Other structures to compare the information

Here are some other structures that can be used when you need to compare different information in the Writing task 1:

 Chinese language is more difficult to learn than English.

 Asian countries produce far less renewable energy  than European countries.

 The weather this summer is  as bad as last year.

 My friend spends twice as much money as I earn.

 He usually spends slightly more money on his trips than his colleagues.

 Does the sentence have the same structure in Spanish as in English?