Best Practices: Describing Trends, Graphs, And Changes

In business and everyday English, you sometimes have to describe changes in trends (movement or tendency), graphs, and diagrams.

In the business context, you may have to describe trends in reports, meetings, and presentations. In everyday life, you could describe changes in any subject because things change all the time!

Describing changes and trends generally consists of three parts:
  • Use a verb (or an adjective and a noun) to describe movement
  • Describe the speed or size of the movement
  • Explain the reason or consequence of the change
You can also view it this way: Verb + Speed or Size + Result/Reason/Consequence


In 2011, Samsung's profits increased considerably thanks to its successful Galaxy S series.

Part 1

Here are some verbs you can use to describe change and movement.

Upward  Movement

To climb
To rise
To go up
To improve
To pick up
To recover
To increase
To reach a peak

Downward Movement

To fall
To decline
To bottom out
To decrease
To drop
To plummet
To deteriorate
To hit a low
To slip back
To do down

Horizontal Movement

To even out
To remain stable
To stabilize

Part 2

Here are some adjectives and adverbs you can use to describe the speed and size of change.

Speed of Change

Rapid - Rapidly
Slow - Slowly
Sudden - Suddenly
Sharp - Sharply
Steady - Steadily
Gradual - Gradually
Fast - Quickly

Size of Change

Noticeable - Noticeably
Substantial - Substantially
Considerable - Considerably
Slight - Slightly
Significant - Significantly 
Dramatic - Dramatically
Negligible - Negligibly

Part 3

Here are some expressions you can use to express reason, consequence, and result:
  • As a result of
  • Due to
  • Because of
  • Was the reason for
  • Caused
  • Resulted in
  • Explains
  • Accounts for
  • That is why
  • Consequently
  • So
  • Thanks to

Time Expressions You Can Use
  • In January / In 2011
  • In Q1 / Q2 / Q3 / Q4 (In the first quarter / second quarter / third quarter / fourth quarter)
  • From January to March

  • Apple's sales increased significantly due to the launch of the iPhone 4.
    [verb + adverb construction]

    There was a significant increase in Apple's sales due to the launch of the iPhone 4.
    [adjective + noun (word) construction]
  • Our turnover remained stable in January and February. However, in March and April, it dropped suddenly as a result of the financial crisis.
    [verb + adverb construction]

    In March and April, there was a sudden drop in our turnover as a result of the financial crisis.
    [adjective + noun (word) construction]

The following video shows how to describe trends in a meeting and presentation context. Listen to the language and vocabulary the people use in the video.


  1. Thank you! Very useful vocabulary. It helped me a lot in preparing for a test from graphs describing.

  2. I am happy to hear that, Kisiel!

    Best wishes,


  3. Thanks for useful information i was looking for such info. nice job

    1. You are welcome! I am happy you found the information to be useful!

  4. man your a life saver! just the help i needed for my business report. thanks a whole heap.

  5. Thanks for posting this! It's very helpful for my final exam :)

  6. Thanks a lot! It's very useful for my students.

  7. Thank you very much!!! Excellent material! Kudos!

  8. thank you so much. I finally got the idea about charts.

  9. I am happy everyone found the information to be useful! Enjoy!

  10. very good and helpfull

  11. thank you so much, very very helpful

  12. Thank you it is very helpful but could you add graphics about that vocabulary.Because we can not compare words, we don't know which one is strongest

    1. Sorry, Burak, but what do you mean by "graphics"? Are you talking about comparing verbs or adjectives and adverbs?

    2. i think he means, you should add graphs as an example of different types of upward movement and downward movement, so people can see the difference between for example plummet and bottom out. then they know that when something has bottomed out or plummeted that "to bottom out" is a stronger downward movement. i hope that clears it.

    3. I think you are right. Thank you for clarifying that point.

  13. very simple and useful.You helpe me to save a lot of time.

    1. I am happy to hear that! Thank you for your comment!

  14. very helpful now I am no longer scared of graph description. Thank you

  15. Hi Terry,

    Exceptionally helpful page! Could you also give some examples how to describe small shorter time variations like "local bumps", "small peak","imbalances" or similar? Please imagine a engine load for example.
    Thank you,

    1. Thank you, Krisztian!

      I will do some research on engine loads and see if I can add some shorter time variations to the post.

      I appreciate your feedback and suggestions.

      Best wishes,


  16. Thank You this was very helpful

  17. to bottom out is not a downward movement. It means the reverse of a trend to an upward movement - so NO MORE DOWNWARD movement.

    1. You are right, Kiepski!

      I would also like to add that bottom out implies that there is 1) previous movement downward and 2) the movement has plateaued or started moving upward again.

      Thank you for commenting on that point.

  18. I really appreciate your help!! I'm an English teacher in a bank in Chile, so this website has helped me a lot to cover the unit about Trends. I've been using this material for ages and my EFL students love it. Thanx again!! Yanet

    1. My pleasure, Yanet!

      I am happy to hear that the blog has helped you and your students. Use it as you like and enjoy!

      Best wishes,


  19. Very very helpful, especially the examples!

  20. great collection of the trends

  21. very helpful in my assignment.

  22. this is used as our class assignment by our English teacher

    1. I am happy to hear that and I hope you do well!

  23. Thanks a lot! This helped me write my science assessment heaps!

    1. Great! I hope your science assessment goes well!