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This is a writing question which I'm trying to use to practice, but I'm a little confused about its instructions. I think what the pie chart shows is that the percentages of each meal in three types of nutrients, while the instructions say that the chart is about "the average percentages in typical meals of three types of nutrients". So I'm really confused about that. Is there anything wrong with me or the instructions?

The charts below show the average percentages in typical meals of three types of nutrients, all of which may be unhealthy if eaten too much. Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

Further ahead it says

Average percentages of sodium, saturated fats and added sugars in typical meals consumed in the USA.

Here is a picture of the page with the question and graphs - click on it to see it full size:

IELTS Writing task 1 screenshot

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  • What, exactly. are you asking? What is it that you do not understand? Commented Jul 31, 2020 at 22:36
  • This is my question: [I think what the pie chart shows is that the percentages of each meal in three types of nutrients, while the instructions say that the chart is about "the average percentages in typical meals of three types of nutrients". ] I think they're different, but I'm not sure about that.
    – greeneri
    Commented Aug 1, 2020 at 0:08
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    The chart says "ingredients" and "meals" in two different orders, in the box andi in the chart labels, but both are correct. You have to keep careful track of the words "of" and "in". You have it backwards in the restatement in your post. Commented Aug 1, 2020 at 0:12
  • Thank you for answering, but I do it on purpose actually (have it backwards), because in my view, this is what the chart really shows. That's my question as well. (P.S. My titile has been changed. Could anyone tell me the reason? Thank you very much! I'm a beginner, so I'm not very familiar with that, and the original title is "Confusion About the Instructions of a Writing Task".)
    – greeneri
    Commented Aug 1, 2020 at 0:35

3 Answers 3

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The phrasing in the instruction box is confusing, because it's breaking up the phrase:

? the average percentages in typical meals of three types of nutrients

This makes it difficult to parse without paying careful attention.

It really should have been written differently, mirroring the structure used in the figure:

✔ the average percentages of three types of nutrients in typical meals

Although both versions of the sentence are correct and mean the same thing, the first is needlessly difficult to read.


Note that you have the prepositions reversed in your question, which might be part of your confusion:

✘ the percentages of each meal in three types of nutrients

You're right that it doesn't mean the same thing; however, that's not what's actually said in the writing question itself.

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  • Thanks for your patient answer, but from the pie chart, I found that, for example, sodium is divided into four parts, Breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. So I think what the pie chart shows is, the average percentages of typical meals. I'm sorry, but I don't know why not. Could you please give me some instructions? I would appreciate it! Thank you.
    – greeneri
    Commented Aug 1, 2020 at 0:56
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    @greeneri For example, 43% of the total daily sodium consumed is consumed in dinner (the black part of the pie chart for sodium). Commented Aug 1, 2020 at 3:21
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The OP explained their confusion in

I think what the pie chart shows is that the percentages of each meal in three types of nutrients

Answer:
The three pie charts show the percentage of three unhealthy nutrients eaten in each meal: breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner. For example,

In the USA, 43% of sodium and 37% of saturated fat is eaten in dinners (shaded in black) while 42% of added sugar is consumed in snacks (unshaded). Breakfast (shaded in grey) is the meal with the lowest percentage of all three nutrients: 14%, 16% and 16% respectively.

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  • Thank you for explaining it for me!
    – greeneri
    Commented Sep 17, 2020 at 3:07
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The three pie chats illustrate the percentage of regular intake different unhealthy nutrients in each meals sodium, saturated fat and added sugar. In United States of America.

In the USA, the sodium was highly taken 43% in the dinner. At the same time, it was most eaten 37% in the saturated fat. Sodium was twice dropped in lunch with 29 percent, which was slightly decreased with 3% in saturated fat. On the other hand, both breakfast and was consumed equal with 14% percent. But they both were increasing with 2% and 7% in saturated fat.

The remaining nutrient, in the added sugar snakes was more consumed with 42%. On the one hand, dinner was twice dropped of snakes with 23%. Whereas, lunch and breakfast was eating with 19% and 16% percent.

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