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IELTS READING LEVEL 7.5 – Different Forms of Water

Different Forms of Water

by ReadWorks


When you’re thirsty, few things feel better than drinking a tall glass of water poured over ice. But as you’re drinking, do you realize you are experiencing two very different forms of water, and that each form can be used for totally different jobs?

If you suddenly catch a cold, your parent may give you a cup of steaming hot tea to drink. That steam is a third form of water and has its own properties.

Water is the most common compound on Earth, covering about 70 percent of the planet’s surface. Most of that water is in liquid form, sloshing around in the oceans and other bodies of water. Because it’s so common, and because it’s easy to use for so many different purposes, liquid water is part of our everyday lives. We use water to nourish everything from ourselves to our pets to our yards. Like all liquids, water travels faster and increases in pressure as more of it is pressed through a tighter space. We can see this principle after we brush our teeth, using water flowing from the tap to push the toothpaste down the drain. By increasing the pressure, we use water to clean glasses in a dishwasher and cars in a carwash.

Water is great at cooling things down. To cool off our bodies, we go swimming at the pool on a hot summer day. To cool off our cars and factories, we force water through pipes to keep engines from overheating.

Water can also be a great way to travel. People have used sails, paddles and oars to propel boats through water for thousands of years. In modern times, one gallon of diesel fuel can pull one ton of cargo 59 miles by truck down a highway, 202 miles by train down a railroad track, and 514 miles in a boat through water.

Another traditional use for water is generating power. When water drops quickly in elevation, as over a waterfall, special gears called turbines can be placed inside the stream. Turbines can be used either directly to spin machines like sewing looms, or indirectly to capture that momentum as electricity. America has used this property of falling water to build giant electricity plants, including the ones at Hoover Dam and Niagara Falls.

When water freezes into ice, it becomes hard. Unlike most other frozen liquids, ice is actually less dense than water in its liquid form, which is why ice cubes float. These two properties explain the Antarctic ice pier, which has been constructed at America’s McMurdo research station every summer since 1973. Workers pump seawater into a contained area and let it freeze. The pier becomes so sturdy it can support semi-trucks, which transport tons of food and equipment from supply ships to the station.

Ice also cools things down. The National Seal Sanctuary in Britain uses a machine to produce ice for the sea lions, because they fight less when they’re cool. Zoos around the world buy ice machines to chill areas for polar bears and penguins. Humans like ice so much that large restaurants and hotels often spend more than $10,000 on a single ice machine.

As the temperature rises, ice melts into water, which boils into steam. Perhaps the most common use of steam is electricity; about 90 percent of all electricity generated in the U.S. comes from steam turbines. Heat to boil the water is generated by many fuels, including coal, natural gas and nuclear fuel.

For thousands of years farmers have used steam to sterilize their fields and kill weeds and bacteria. You can see steam at work in many buildings and homes, where it is forced through pipes and radiators for heat. You can also see steam at work if your parents cook vegetables in a steamer.

Because we are constantly surrounded by water, ice and steam, it’s easy not to pay attention to them.

But all three are really just the same chemical compound that makes life on Earth possible.




compound       com ·pound



  1. something made up of two or more parts or elements.

Water is a compound.


  1. having to do with a word that has two or more parts, or a sentence made up of two or more main clauses. “Bathroom” is a compound word. “I went to the store, and I bought some bread” is a compound sentence.


  1. to figure and pay interest on the interest that you have earned combined with the principal.

The bank compounds interest four times a year.

Advanced Definition


  1. made up of two or more parts or elements.

Salt is a compound substance made up of sodium and chlorine.

  1. combining two or more functions or actions.

Sending the convicts to the colonies served a compound purpose.

  1. of or pertaining to a word made up of two or more lexically distinct parts or a sentence made up of two or more main clauses.

Campground is a compound word made up of the elements “camp” and “ground.”

“I was tired, so I went to bed early” is a compound sentence.


  1. something made up of two or more parts or elements.

The cleaning compound contains ammonia and other solvents.

  1. a substance formed by the union of two or more chemical elements in fixed proportions, with properties different from those of its constituents.

Water is a compound made up of hydrogen and oxygen.

  1. a word composed of two or more lexically distinct words, such as “pickpocket”.

transitive verb

  1. to combine or mix.

The chemicals must be compounded in the correct proportions.

  1. to intensify by adding to.

Lying about what he had done only compounded his offense.

After the crops failed, disease compounded the suffering of the settlers.

  1. to produce by combining.
  2. to calculate or pay (interest) on accrued interest as well as on principal.

The bank compounds interest quarterly.

intransitive verb

  1. to form a compound.

Sodium and chlorine compound to form sodium chloride.

  1. to settle or come to terms by compromise.

Spanish cognate

compuesto: The Spanish word compuesto means compound.

These are some examples of how the word or forms of the word are used:

  1. Water ice also mixes with other compounds, such as ammonia or methane. Those ices each have many different crystal structures too.
  2. Inside he found thousands of newly made compounds, including many organic ones. Organic compounds contain one or more carbon atoms. All life is based on them.
  3. The process in which a plant uses the sun’s energy is called photosynthesis. There are three specific elements necessary for photosynthesis to begin: the first is sunlight, the second is water and the third is carbon dioxide, a naturally occurring gas in our atmosphere. In fact, it’s one of the compounds animals exhale during the breathing process.
  4. Jonathan’s science teacher had told him that fossils sometimes had a piece of leaf or some dirt samples, even some chemical compounds, attached to them when they first became fossilized. This meant that when paleontologists unearthed them in modern times, the scientists were able to discover even more about the distant past.
  5. Not all behaviors your brain tells you to do are the best choice. If you’re walking in the woods and you see a bear, your brain, having received the image of the bear through the eye’s optic nerve, may start producing chemical compounds called hormones. Amongst other things, hormones affect moods and many behaviors.
  6. Sometimes, jewelry can react to sweat on the skin. A green band can appear on the skin underneath a ring or bracelet where the metal rubs it. This happens when metals mixed with gold react to the acidity in sweat on the skin. That reaction makes the metal corrode, which forms a salt compound that gets absorbed into the skin and turns it green in patches.
  7. Oil is a very useful chemical compound we have to thank for most of modern technology, like the gasoline we use to power our cars, and the electricity we need to see at night. With any extraction from the earth’s natural resources come certain risks, and one of the risks of extracting oil is that it is likely to spill into the water.
  8. The flavor of a strawberry and the stench of dirty socks are actually made up of invisible, natural compounds. “Smells and tastes are chemicals,” explains Charles Wysocki, who researches smell at the Monell Chemical Senses Center
  9. Common table salt, also known as sodium chloride, is an interesting chemical compound because, while it is commonly consumed by humans, whenyou separate its elements-sodium and chlorine-you are left with something quite different from the edible seasoning known as salt.



form       form



  1. the shape or structure of something.

He arranged the chairs in the form of a circle.

She presented the results of the survey in the form of a graph.

  1. a document with empty spaces for writing in information.

She filled out a form to apply for a passport.

  1. a type or kind of something.

She has a rare form of cancer.


  1. to make, build, or give a shape to.

He formed the clay into a pot.

Advanced Definition


  1. structure or shape, as opposed to substance.
  2. the body or outward appearance of an animal or person; figure.
  3. something that imparts shape, such as a mold.
  4. a document with empty spaces provided for the insertion of information.
  5. type or kind.

a form of plant life

  1. conduct guided by convention, regulation, custom, or standards of politeness.

It is considered bad form to insult the teacher during class.

  1. the style, design, pattern, or method of an artistic work.

The sonata is a musical form.

. 8. state of physical or psychological fitness for athletic or other activities.

She is in good form on the tennis court today.

transitive verb

  1. to make, create, or construct.
  2. to mold or train through instruction.
  3. to be one, many, or all of the parts of; constitute.
  4. to arrange in a specific order.
  5. to develop, as in the mind.

She formed an opinion of us.

intransitive verb

  1. to come into being; develop; arise.
  2. to assume shape or form.

Spanish cognate

forma: The Spanish word forma means form.

These are some examples of how the word or forms of the word are used:

  1. The Mayas were artists and sculptors. They also developed a calendar and an advanced form of writing. Their society collapsed around A.D. 800.
  2. Second, inappropriate online activity often comes in the form of cyberbullying. Fourteen states have passed anti-cyberbullying laws, and other states are considering them.
  3. No one can force people to join studies. Those younger than 18 can’t decide on their own to take part-parents or guardians have to sign a consent     form.
  4. Political cartoonists use a special form of exaggeration called caricature to distort the subject of a cartoon. An artist will often center on a person’s looks, behavior, or dress in drawing a caricature.
  5. Sallach had lymphoma, a form of cancer that affects part of the immune system called the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a network of channels throughout the body that fight infection. In people who have lymphoma, the system’s cells become abnormal and form tumors.
  6. I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.
  7. Dodgeball develops hand-eye coordination, strengthens muscles, and builds concentration skills, Troy told Weekly Reader. “It is also a good form of exercise.”
  8. At the same time, it’s always a good idea to avoid family conflict by talking openly about your interest. “Explain that tattoos and body piercings are a form of communication and an attempt to be a part of a larger peer group,” says Dr. Frank Barnhill, a physician in Gaffney, S.C. Then, if they give you the go-ahead, gather all the facts and take care in moving forward with your decision.
  9. Items found at the site included weapons, spurs, a horse harness, a drinking horn, and a copper belt. Also found were a ring and a bracelet made of jet, a form of coal considered to be as valuable as gold.
  10. In March 2006, President George W. Bush made a three-day trip to the world’s largest democracy. (A democracy is a form of government in which people vote to elect their leaders.) There, Bush and India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh talked about science and technology, trade and investment, and a clean environment.


property       prop ·er ·ty



  1. all of one’s possessions taken as a whole, or a part of those possessions.

The poor man’s property included some clothing and little else.

The chairs by the elevator are the property of the landlord.

  1. a building or a piece of land.

We plan to build a summer house on our property by the lake.

Advanced Definition


  1. the sum total of items owned, or a part of that sum; possessions collectively.

The poor man’s property included some clothing and little else.

They left some of their property in the apartment when they vacated it.

She claimed that the paintings were her property and that she had a right to sell them.

  1. a piece of land or real estate.

We plan to build a summer house on our property by the lake.

  1. land or real estate collectively.

They own a lot of property upstate.

  1. a characteristic or essential quality or attribute.

Strength is one of the useful properties of steel.

  1. a work such as a play, or the rights to such work, as in copyright.

Are you interested in investing in this new property? The writer argued that he still owned the property.

Spanish cognate

propiedad: The Spanish word propiedad means property.

These are some examples of how the word or forms of the word are used:

  1. There are hopes for many homeowners that, if necessary or possible, they might one day resell their property at a higher price than originally purchased.
  2. The port would remain closed, the law said, until the East India Company was compensated for all of the tea that had been destroyed. Many in the colony strongly considered paying for the tea. Even among those who supported the colonial cause, some were upset by the destruction of property. But despite the debate, the tea was never paid for and the port’s closure went on.
  3. Some people get angry about these things and sue farmers based on public or private nuisance laws. A nuisance is someone or something that infringes on a person’s ability to enjoy his or her property, or that threatens the health and safety of a community.
  4. That raises another question: why does sweat makes people colder? This has to do with a special property of heat. Heat is a kind of energy, and energy moves spontaneously from hotter regions or objects to colder ones.
  5. In the North Oakland neighborhood known locally as Koreatown North, a string of commercial property, scrappy residential communities, and new small businesses have been popping up in force in 2013.
  6. Like many homesteads in Alberta, there’s an oil pipeline that runs through theproperty. Because of Canadian laws, you can’t really say “no” when the oilmen come to build on your land, but you can ask for something in return. So in return for letting pipelines run through the property, the Palmers had the oil company make a special manmade pond called a “dugout.”
  7. While some cats and dogs fight, others often live together and get along fine. For example, on many farms, farmers keep both cats and dogs on their property. Each of them does important jobs.
  8. Slaves were considered property-they worked on plantations, in shops, in towns and cities, and in the construction of railroads. In the South, slaves were just another part of the landscape.
  9. First responders were tasked with rescuing individuals who ignored warnings and remained with their properties or businesses. In the future, more people may reconsider the wisdom of investing in a beachfront property or business. Those who do still buy such properties might plant brush and trees instead of clearing away all greenery in favor of panoramic views. Home and business owners might also consider the benefit of different types of flood insurance to protect their financial livelihoods.
  10. Earthquakes can damage power lines and rupture other manmade stores of energy, causing additional hazards such as fires. If an earthquake ruptures plumbing infrastructure at the same time, it can make fighting those fires very difficult. We know then that we need to protect not only people and property, but also our infrastructure and the resources we put to use in case of an emergency


Name: ___________________________________ Date: _______________
Comprehension Questions
1. What are the three forms of water discussed in the passage?
A. liquid water, steam, and pressure
B. steam, electricity, and liquid water
C. ice, liquid water, and steam
D. ice, steam, and pressure
2. What does the passage describe?
A. The passage describes different forms and uses of water.
B. The passage describes different kinds of weeds that grow in fields.
C. The passage describes how to cook vegetables using a steamer.
D. The passage describes the effects of brushing your teeth.
3. Water is used for many different things.
What evidence from the passage supports this statement?
A. Seals are more likely to fight when they are hot than when they are cool.
B. As the temperature rises, ice melts into water, and water boils into steam.
C. If you catch a cold, you may be given a cup of hot tea to drink.
D. Water is used for cooling down engines, generating power, and traveling.
4. What is one difference between ice and steam?
A. Ice is hot; steam is cold.
B. Ice is cold; steam is hot.
C. Ice is liquid; steam is solid.
D. Ice is a gas; steam is liquid.
5. What is this passage mainly about?
A. the National Seal Sanctuary in Britain
B. the uses of water, ice, and steam
C. an ice pier at America’s McMurdo research station
D. how water can be used to generate electricity
6. Read the following sentences: “When water freezes into ice, it becomes hard. Unlike most other frozen liquids, ice is actually less dense than water in its liquid form, which is why ice cubes float.”
What does the word form mean?
A. a sudden increase in the number or amount of something
B. a decrease in body temperature that occurs after going swimming on a hot day
C. a change in the color or shape of an object
D. the way in which something exists or appears
7. Choose the answer that best completes the sentence below.
Water has three forms, _______ liquid, ice, and steam.
A. namely
B. but
C. so
D. previously
8. What is one use of ice described in the passage?
9. What is one use of steam described in the passage?
10. Using information in the passage, explain how water makes life on Earth possible.
___________________________________________________________________________________ · © 2019 ReadWorks®, Inc. All rights reserved.

Definitions and sample sentences within definitions are provided by Wordsmyth. © 2015 Wordsmyth. All rights reserved.

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