- grammar, graphs, vocabulary, англійська мова
Using prepositions: describing trends and changes
What words and prepositions we use to describe trends and changes:
NOUN + IN + NOUN
We use a noun describing a specific trend or change + in + a word or phrase describing the thing which has changed:
Negative meaning: a(n) cut/decline/decrease/drop/fall/reduction, etc. in something
- The chart shows a reduction in the hamster population.
Positive meaning: a(n) increase/rise/growth/improvement, etc. in something
- The chart shows an increase in the hamster population.
Neutral meaning: a(n) change/trend/variation/fluctuation, etc. in something
- There are massive changes in hamster’s lifestyles.
No chenge: A levelling of at …
NOUN + OF + NUMBER + IN + NOUN
We use a noun describing a change or the result of a change + of + a number showing the size of the change:
Negative meaning: a(n) cut/decline/decrease/drop/fall/reduction, etc. + of + number
- The statistics show a decline of 10% in food costs as a result of the measures.
Positive meaning: a(n) increase/rise/growth/improvement, etc. + of + number
- The chart shows an increase of 10% in the hamster population.
Other words: a high/low/maximum/peak/total, etc. of + number
- Demand reached a peak of 10,000 in December.
Some rules you should know to describe statistics:
X% of something
- Only 10% of customers said that they were not satisfied with the service.
Between X and Y
- The rate rose dramatically between July 2004 and February 2008.
The figure / percentage / total, etc. for a group or category
- If we compare the percentages for young and middle-aged workers…
- The average income for sailors is …
At a level/rate
- Inflation has remained at roughly the same level over a number of years.
- They can obtain loans at cheaper rates.
Be highest / come top / rank second, etc. with X
- Football scored highest with 68% of the vote.
Tips for describing statistics:
We use percent or the symbol % after a number:
- Sales fell by two percent /2% last year.
Percentage = частка
- The chart shows the percentage of households with more than one car.
Proportion is also used to describe part of a total:
- Which country has the highest proportion of people living in poverty?
Rate describes how often or how fast something happens, and some other measures:
- The rate of growth is slower in developing countries.
- Also: the unemployment crime rate, the birth/death rate, the exchange/interest rate.
How statistics could be shown?
- A graph has two lines (the vertical axis and the horizontal axis) marked with numbers, and a line or curve showing a trend.
- A chart shows statistics in a visual form, often as coloured lines or columns (a bar chart) or as sections of a circle (a pie chart).
- A table shows something, usually numbers, organised within a box in rows and columns.
- A diagram is a general word for something represented in a visual form – for example, showing how something works, the stages of a process, etc.
Common verbs used to describe graphs, charts and diagrams include:
- The chart/graph shows levels of post-school education in four countries.
- The diagram illustrates/represents the structure of the political system.
- The chart/graph compares average working hours in the UK and the US.
Common verbs used to describe figures and statistics include:
- The statistics/figures suggest that people in rural areas are healthier.
- The figure will increase further, reaching 6 million in 2020. (not touching 6 million)
- Demand rose by 48% in just 2 years, (not raised by 48%)
- Time spent with the fam ily dropped from 21 % to just 6%. (not reduced from-24 %]
Verbs such as rise, drop, decline and fall describe a change which happens. A person or organisation can raise or reduce something:
- The Bank of England has raised interest rates.
- The Government has introduced measures to reduce traffic in the capital.
Number VS Amount
We use number of before a plural countable noun:
- The chart shows the number of hours/passengers/people/’schools/times, etc.
We use amount of before an uncountable noun:
- If we look at the amount of energy/food/information/money/time/waste, etc . . . .
We use the + number of/amount of to talk generally about a quantity:
- The number of passengers carried each year has risen gradually.
- We need to reduce the amount of water we waste.
We often use a/an before an adjective + number of/amount of.
- They spend a significant amount of money on travel, (not an important amount of)
- This is the best way to reach a large number of people, (not a big number of)
But: the average/greatest/largest/maximum/same/total number/amount of something
Number and amount are used to describe the actual quantities of things or people. Percentage, proportion, rate, etc. are used to describe measurements as part of a total:
- The percentage of students with green eyes is 25%.
- The number of students with green eyes is 18.
There are a number of common words and phrases that we use to make comparisons:
Compare something (to/with something)
- The graph compares the crime rates in Japan and the US.
- It’s impossible to compare modern film s with those made maybe 20 years ago.
- M any have compared her voice to Aretha Franklin’s. (= they have said it is similar).
Compared to/with something
- Women’s income rose by 31% compared to only 13% for men. (not comparing to)
In comparison (to/with something)
- US workers get very little holiday in comparison with their European counterparts.
- After two weeks in a tent, the simple little hotel seemed luxurious in comparison.
(draw/make) a comparison between two things
- There is no comparison between my life here and the way o f life in my home village.
- It is impossible to draw a direct comparison between the two conflicts.
Something is bigger/higher/lower/more important, etc. than something else
- Prague has more churches than any other European city.
Something is double/half etc. that o/something else
- Britain’s population density is double that o f China, (not compared to)
We use in contrast to introduce a fact or idea which is very different from what has already been mentioned. Notice the position of the phrase in the sentence:
- Questionnaires produce only limited responses. Interviews, in contrast, are time-consuming, but allow for fuller replies.
- In Britain only 9% o f over sixties live with their families, in contrast to 29% in Japan.
We can also say that there is a contrast between two things which are very different:
- There is a stark contrast between the affluent suburbs and the nearby slum areas.
We use on the contrary, especially in speech, to introduce the opposite of what has just been said or to express an opposite opinion:
- Have visitor numbers dropped since the attack?’ ‘On the contrary, they’ve risen slightly.
We use the phrase on the other hand to introduce an opposite viewpoint:
- Parents need to warn their child about things to avoid, but, on the other hand, they must not make the child over-anxious.