DESCRIBING CHANGES IN A VARYING
Changes in a variable over a period of time might be shown with a set of characters, or displayed visually being a line chart. Graphs will take an almost endless variety of designs, and the dialect used to tease them is correspondingly rich. Consequently, all that may be offered this is some standard hints about the most common features. 1 . Bringing out the explanation Typically the description opens having a sentence indicating: i) the variable, ii) the time period, and perhaps iii) the units of measurement Cases: The graph/table illustrates changes/variations/movements in the company's share price over the period from 1991 to 2150... indicates the total value of mergers involving UK organizations, in UNITED STATES DOLLAR, each year among 1980 and 2000... reveals how major banks' income have evolved/changed since 60 Notes: i) Avoid вЂdevelopment/developed', as they are qualitative, not quantitative ii) The timeframe may extend into the future (forecasts), in which case it might have to be defined in two parts (up to the present; the future). Usually, the current month, year, and many others is efficiently part of the long term, since not any firm statistics are available however. 2 . Explaining values for a point with time Usually the description starts with a statement of the initial worth of the variable concerned. It will end which has a similar assertion. a) These kinds of statements can use verbs that collocate the natural way with the variable (including вЂto be'). Illustrations: In 1991 the price was $13. 87/the shares were well worth $13. 87 In the first/second of those years 23 per cent of companies were involved with mergers b) Alternatively, verbs used especially for this purpose can be chosen Examples: On the start/beginning of the period the retail price stood for $13. 87 At the end in the period margins amounted to 16 % Notes: i) In used language (eg describing a great OHP transparency) it is possible being more simple, and to make use of the present tense (eg вЂThe graph begins at $13. 87). However , these forms needs to be avoided in written terminology, or formal situations. ii) The verb вЂto reach' is CERTAINLY NOT appropriate for describing a starting value, mainly because it implies a comparison with before values (but: вЂBy 97 the value got reached... ') 3. Conveying upward or downward moves a) The safest method of describing such changes is to use basic verbs meaning вЂto go up or perhaps down' (or the equivalent nouns), combined wherever necessary with an appropriate disjunctive (or adjective) to indicate the nature of the activity Examples: Among 1991 and 1994 the cost rose/increased steeply/sharply/dramatically After 1985 there was a gradual/steady decline/drop/fall in margins By 97 the percentage had fallen/dropped/decreased to 12 per cent Three years by 1992 about saw a marginal/slight rise/increase b) Alternatively, there is a wide range of verbs and nouns describing particular types of motion, some prevalent examples getting: soar, (sky)rocket, plunge & plummet. Employ these just use ONLY if you are SURE WHAT they mean & HOW they are used.
Copyright: C J Ross
Notes: i) The verbs used in this context happen to be вЂfall' (not вЂfall down') and вЂrise' (not вЂrise up'). ii) Again, in spoken dialect, more relaxed usages will be possible: вЂAfter 1985 the curve falls steeply iii) The use of вЂby' - instead of вЂbetween... and' - places the reader in the year mentioned, seeking backwards. Consequently the use of the previous perfect tense. 4. Summarising the nature of enhancements made on a given period Examples: In the mid-1990s the cost was (fairly/almost) constant/stable Since 1997 the percentage has varied only slightly/remained fairly steady From 1982 the price remained (virtually) unchanged/showed little alter to 1991 margins fluctuated dramatically/wildly Since 1990 the price has been highly volatile 5. Describing everywhere points Examples: In 1991 the cost reached a peak/(record) large of/at $56 In 1976 the proportion peaked in 45 per cent, before falling away once again In 1981 margins sank to a new low/trough of 3...