Let's say I was given a pie chart saying that the Coca-Cola company sold 17.1 billion bottles in the year 2000.

My task is to construct a sentence that describes the chart. However, I am forbidden from using the exact number 17.1. I am expected to replace it with something like "sold slightly more than 17 billion bottles".

Considering that there are a lot of numbers in the task and that I cannot use the same phrase more than once (and if I do, I lose points) my question is about numbers and their descriptions:

  1. How can I say "slightly more than" in other words (=synonyms)?
  2. How can I describe these numbers (in the phrase "sold XXX bottles"):

    • 30.4
    • 25.7
    • 7.0 (very important!)
    • 16.4
    • 20.5

Any extended resources are welcome!


It is a good practice to use round figure while answering visual presentations in IELTS academic writing task 1.

You can use several words like "slightly more than" :

  • just under
  • just over
  • well under
  • well over
  • roughly
  • nearly
  • approximately
  • around
  • about
  • exactly

Lets present those numbers by using these words/phrases:

  • 30.4 : just over 30
  • 25.7: well over 25 or nearly 26
  • 7.0 : exactly 7
  • 16.4 : roughly 16
  • 20.5 : about 20

I hope you find this helpful.

I recently come across a great infographic to score well in IELTS writing task-1 and like to share with you:



Very much depending on context, but the possibilities are almost endless:

Roughly 30
Almost 26
Just over 16
Around 20

For 7.0, it would be difficult to avoid 7, unless the context permits it. For instance, if it is 7.0%, you could say roughly 1 in 14. If the number is compared to, say, last year, 7.0 can be almost 10% more than last year.

As for sources and resources, I'd suggest papers and news sites. Especially economically-oriented media tend to use a lot of variations on numbers and how to use them in texts.

Of course, you may not always be aware that the numbers are approximated or rounded. In a sentence like:

In the overall household savings, bank deposits account for nearly 5% while provident and pension funds make up 15%. (source)

The nearly 5% indicates that the actual number may be 4.8% or so, but the 15% might very well be somewhere between 14.7 and 15.3% as well!

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