Business English Course Excerpt – Some Words and Phrases Used in Describing Graphs

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Business English Course Excerpt – Some Words and Phrases Used in Describing Graphs

One of the things you may run into in a business situation is having to describe graphs in a meeting or presentation, so this article will deal with English words and phrase you can use in describing graphs. Included in this discussion we will look at how to use verbs and nouns in describing graphs and the different sentence structure each word form uses. 

Some Words you can use in Describing Graphs

Let’s take a look at the words and phrases you can use to describe what is happening or changing on a graph over time. The following words and phrases can be used to describe changes in a graph or chart.

Upward: increase, rise, climb, rocket, leap, jump, trickle, took off, soar, etc. 

Downward: fall, decline, decrease, drop, decline, collapse, plunge, slump, etc.

Magnitude: steady, steadily, rapid, rapidly, quick, quickly, slight, slightly, large, big, dramatic, dramatically, etc. 

This is not an exhaustive list of verbs, nouns, adjectives, and adverbs that you can use in describing graphs. There are many more words you can use to describe changes in graphs, but we will focus more on using the words in verb or noun phrases and on adding adjectives and adverbs to help in explaining the magnitude of the changes.

Describing Graphs with an upward change

We will take a look at using verb and noun phrases to describe an upward change in a graph. As you will notice you can use different ways to describe the amount of the change and when the change occurred.   For upward changes you can use the words in the following way: 

Using verb phrases:

  • Sales rose 15%, or Sales rose by $1,000.
  • Revenue increased by $100,000 in 2013.
  • Costs climbed 25% in 2014 compared to 2013.

Using noun phrases:

  • There was a rise in sales revenue of 15% or of $1,000
  • In 2013 we experienced a $100,000 increase in revenue.
  • We saw a climb in costs of 25% in 2014

Describing Graphs with a Downward Change

Now it is time to look at describing graphs that have downward changes how you can use the verbs and nouns. Below you will see some examples of describing downward changes: 

Using verb phrases:

  • The 2014 dividends declined by 35%
  • December revenue dropped by $100,000
  • The stock market plunged in 2013
  • Oil prices plunged at the end of 2013

Using noun phrases:

  • In 2014 there was a 35% decline in yearly dividends.
  • December had a drop in revenue of $100,000.
  • In 2013 the stock market had a collapse.
  • At the end of 2013 oil prices experienced a plunge.

Using Adjectives and Adverbs in Describing Graphs

At times you will want to provide more information about the amount of magnitude of the change in the graph. Some words can be used to modify the upward or downward phrases to give you more of an idea about the magnitude of the change when you are describing graphs. These words are either adjectives or adverbs. 

Using adverbs with verbs:

  • Company sales slightly decreased in 2013, or company sales decreased slightly in 2013.
  • After Christmas, revenue declined dramatically.
  • Total income rose steadily in 2013.

Using adjectives with nouns:

  • There was a slight climb in company revenue during 2014.
  • There was a steady increase in sales during the last quarter.
  • There was a large decline in sales revenue at the beginning of 2014.

Take note that the adverbs are used with verbs and usually have the form of an adjective with “-ly” added. The adjectives are used with nouns. 

The verb or noun that you choose can also give you an indication of the magnitude of change. For example you can use words such as rocketed, soared, plunged, collapsed, etc. 

  • Revenue plunged we the price of oil collapsed.
  • We had a plunge in revenue after the collapse in oil prices.

This article was a short look at the words and phrases that you can be used in describing graphs and the changes that occur. We also found that you can use verb or noun phrases using different sentence structures, but still say the same thing. Now, you can use these words and phrases when you are describing graphs.


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