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

Example 

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

Examples
  • 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.

13 comments:

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

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  2. I am happy to hear that, Kisiel!

    Best wishes,

    Terry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ReplyDelete
  10. very good and helpfull

    ReplyDelete