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Describing Line Graphs (3) - Using Adverbs

The following graphs illustrate the use of some adverbs:

  • The population rose slowly. (small increase in the population over the period)
  • The population rose steadily. (little or no variation in the rate of growth)
  • The population rose slightly. (small increase in the population over the period)
  • The population rose gently. (small increase in the population over the period)
  • The population rose gradually. (small increase in the population over the period)
  • From 1996 to 1998, the population increased dramatically.
  • From 1996 to 1998, the population increased significantly.
  • From 1996 to 1998, the population increased considerably.
  • From 1996 to 1998, the population increased rapidly.
  • From 1996 to 1998, the population increased substantially.
  • From 1996 to 1998, the population increased markedly.
  • From 1996 to 1998, the population increased greatly.
  • After 1998, the population grew more slowly.

 

  • From 1996 to 1998, the population grew from 9.9 million to 10.25 million.
  • From 1996 to 1998, the population grew by 0.35 million.
  • From 1996 to 1998, the population grew by 350,000.
  • From 1996 to 1998, the population grew by 3.535%.

 

  • From 1998 to 2007, the population grew from 10.25 million to 10.30 million.
  • From 1998 to 2007, the population grew by 0.05 million.
  • From 1998 to 2007, the population grew by 50,000.
  • From 1998 to 2007, the population grew by 0.488%

 

  • Overall, the population went up from 9.9 million to 10.3 million.
  • Overall, the population went up by 0.4 million.
  • Overall, the population went up by 400,000.
  • Overall, the population went up by 4.04%.

 

 

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Describing Bar Charts and Column Charts (1)

Bar charts and column charts are similar: only their orientations differ. A bar chart is orientated horizontally, whereas a column chart is arranged vertically. Sometimes "bar chart" refers to both forms.

These types of charts are usually used for comparison purposes (unlike line charts, which describe change).

Observe the following chart :

 

It shows the populations of various European countries in the year 2007. The populations are only for one year, 2007, and so we cannot make any comments about change in population: we can only compare one county with another.

When you write about a bar or column chart it is important to look first at the Chart Title. This tells you what information the chart displays and you can use this information in your description.

Then look at the X and Y axes. The titles of these axes sometimes give you information you can use in your description. It is important also to look at the UNITS. On the Y-axis in this chart the units are millions. The population of Belgium in 2007 was not 10, but 10 million people.

Bar and column charts show similarities and differences. When describing these charts you need to make comparisons.

You also need to group together any columns which have broad similarities.

To write a short description of this graph ask yourself (and answer!) the following questions:

  1. What exactly does the chart show? (Use the chart title to help you answer this question)
  2. What are the axes and what are the units?
  3. What similarities are there?
  4. Is it possible to put some of the columns into one or more groups?
  5. What differences are there?

Answering these questions will help you to write a short description of this simple column chart.

Here is an example:

This chart shows the populations of some European countries in 2007. The country with the largest population is Germany, with over 80 million people whereas Estonia has the smallest population, at little more than a million. Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia and Ireland all have populations or ten million or less, while Greece has a population of about eleven million. Apart from Germany, the largest countries are Spain, France and Italy with populations ranging from about forty-four to sixty-three million. Together, the four largest countries account for over eighty per cent of the population of the countries shown.

Vocabulary

To make comparisons, you need to know the comparatives and superlatives of common adjectives. Here are some examples:

Adjective

Comparative

Superlative

bad

worse

worst

big

bigger

biggest

expensive

more expensive

most expensive

good

better

best

great

greater

greatest

high

higher

highest

large

larger

largest

little

less

least

long

longer

longest

low

lower

lowest

many

more

most

much

more

most

new

newer

newest

old

older

oldest

poor

poorer

poorest

rich

richer

richest

short

shorter

shortest

small

small

smallest

strong

stronger

strongest

weak

weaker

weakest

To signal comparison and contrast within a sentence you can use the following conjunctions:

as ....... as, not as ......... as, not so ........ as, whereas, but, while, although

To signal comparison and contrast between sentences you can use the following words and phrases:

However, By contrast, On the other hand, In comparison

EssayBuildergives a more extensive list of these words and phrases with examples of their use.

 

 

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