Introduction:

In English, not only can you use verbs and nouns (like rise and fall) to describe changes in numbers/figures/trends from graphs, charts or tables, you can also be more precise about the amount of change by modifying these verbs and nouns with adjectives and adverbs.

In this second of three online exercises on describing trends, we will look at using adjectives and adverbs to describe how big an increase or a decrease is. The focus is on business English.

Click here to go to the first part of this 'Vocabulary for describing trends exercise'

Click here to go to the third part of this 'Vocabulary for describing trends exercise'


Exercise: Describing the type of increase and decrease in a business presentation

Read the following Annual Electricity Consumption Presenatation by the general manager of a power company. Focus on how the general manager describes the type of increases and decreases of the data/information in the chart below by using adjectives and adverbs.

Using both the context and the chart, try to guess what the meaning of the words/phrases in bold are. Then do the quiz at the end to check if you are right.

Electricity Consumption Chart

General Manager:'Now, we'll look at the Electricity Consumption for last year. Please look at the chart on the board. All the numbers/figures are in Billions of Kilowatt-hours(BKwH).

As you can see, in January consumption was at 50 BKwH. In February there was a steady increase of 2.5 BKwH. But in March consumption went down slightly to 52.3 BKwH. Then in April there was a sharp decline of 12.3 BKwH, due to the start of Spring. By May, there was a gradual decrease to 39 BKwH.

It was a hot June and as a consequence, there was a dramatic fall of 19 BKwH. Then July continued the downward trend and consumption dropped gradually to 17 BKwH. In August, consumption stayed the same. But then because September was unusually cold, consumption rose sharply by 11 BKwH in that month. In October there was a slight increase of 0.1 BKwH. But in November, consumption jumped dramatically to 46 BKwH. And lastly in December it increased steadily to 48 BKwH.

Does anybody have any questions?'




Quiz: Vocabulary for describing trends part 2

Using one of the words/phrases in bold from the above text, choose the word(s) from the question's selection box so that the sentence matches with the data in the below chart for Monthly Visitor Number to an Art Gallery. Only use one of the options in the selection box once. Click on the "Check Answers" button at the bottom of the quiz to check your answers.

When the answer is correct, two icons will appear next to the question. The first is an Additional Information Icon "". Click on this for extra information on the word/phrase and for a translation. The second is a Pronunciation Icon "". Click on this to listen to the pronunciation of the word/phrase and to do a pronunciation speaking test.

Sales Revenue Chart

1. In February, revenue decreased to 14,690.            

Slightly:
(adverb) . 'slighty' means very little. The adjective is 'slight' In Spanish: "ligeramente".

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Slightly:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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2. By March, there was a rise in revenue of 1,315.            

Gradual:
(adjective) 'gradual' means a little. The adverb is 'gradually'. In Spanish: "gradual".

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Gradual:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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3. In April, there was a climb of 8,995.            

Dramatic:
(adjective) 'dramatic' means very big. The adverb is 'dramatically'. In Spanish: "espectacular".

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Dramatic:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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4. In May, there was a increase of 3,000.            

Steady:
(adjective) 'steady' means normal. The adverb is 'steadily'. In Spanish: "continuo".

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Steady:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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5. In June, there was a fall to 27,500.            

Slight:
(adjective) 'slight' means very little. The adverb is 'slightly'. In Spanish: "ligero".

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Slight:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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6. And in July, it at 27,500.            

Stayed the same:
(verbal phrase) 'to stay the same' means no change. In Spanish: "quedarse igual".

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Stayed the same:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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7. In August, it went up by 1,500.            

Gradually:
(adverb) 'gradually' means little. The adjective is 'gradual'. In Spanish: "gradualmente".

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Gradually:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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8. In September, there was a jump in revenue of 6,000.           

Sharp:
(adjective) 'sharp' means big. The adverb is 'sharply'. In Spanish: "brusco".

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Sharp:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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9. In October, it increased to 41,500.            

Sharply:
(adverb) 'sharply' means big. The adjective is 'sharp'. In Spanish: "bruscamente".

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Sharply:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
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10. Whilst in November, revenue rose by 13,500.            

Dramatically:
(adverb) 'dramatically' means very big. The adjective is 'dramatic'. In Spanish: "espectacularmente".

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Dramatically:

Pronunciation Speaking Test:
To check your pronunciation of this word/phrase, first click on the microphone icon () below. Then allow the browser to record your voice and then say the above word/phrase. Although this test is good, it sometimes does not recognise some of the words/phrases.

       

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Practice

Now that you understand the use of adjectives and adverbs to describe levels of increase and decrease, you can draw your own line chart to show the differences between slight, gradual, steady, sharp and dramatic.