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Time and Contrast to Describe Line Graphs

In the first lesson on this topic we looked at some simple verbs that can be used to report changes in data.

In the second lesson on this topic we looked at some important adverbs that you must use to give extra detail about changes in data.

In the third lesson on this topic we looked at adjective and noun phrases which can be used to report changes in data.

In this class you will

  • Read complex descriptions of line graphs
  • Write a complex description of a line graph using what you have learned over the 4 classes on this topic.

First we will see examples of the language we want to use (exercise 1) then we will analyse and practice that language.

Exercise 1 | Match the Graphs

​Match the description with the correct line graph.

IELTSLineGraph4A
After a period of wild fluctuations, sales levelled off and then steadily rose in the last quarter. Expenses, on the other hand, started low and remained relatively steady throughout.
Sales rose steeply through the first half of the year while expenses gradually declined. From the mid-point in the year both remained fairly steady despite some slight fluctuations.
The general pattern for sales was a steady fall with minor fluctuations. Unfortunately, expenses rose sharply to May before levelling off and remaining steady until the end of the year.
Sales increased dramatically over the first two months of the year before they stabilized and then reduced gradually towards the end of the year. On the other hand, there was a steady fall in expenses over the year.


IELTSLineGraph4B
After a period of wild fluctuations, sales levelled off and then steadily rose in the last quarter. Expenses, on the other hand, started low and remained relatively steady throughout.
Sales rose steeply through the first half of the year while expenses gradually declined. From the mid-point in the year both remained fairly steady despite some slight fluctuations.
The general pattern for sales was a steady fall with minor fluctuations. Unfortunately, expenses rose sharply to May before levelling off and remaining steady until the end of the year.
Sales increased dramatically over the first two months of the year before they stabilized and then reduced gradually towards the end of the year. On the other hand, there was a steady fall in expenses over the year.


IELTSLineGraph4C
After a period of wild fluctuations, sales levelled off and then steadily rose in the last quarter. Expenses, on the other hand, started low and remained relatively steady throughout.
Sales rose steeply through the first half of the year while expenses gradually declined. From the mid-point in the year both remained fairly steady despite some slight fluctuations.
The general pattern for sales was a steady fall with minor fluctuations. Unfortunately, expenses rose sharply to May before levelling off and remaining steady until the end of the year.
Sales increased dramatically over the first two months of the year before they stabilized and then reduced gradually towards the end of the year. On the other hand, there was a steady fall in expenses over the year.


IELTSLineGraph4D
After a period of wild fluctuations, sales levelled off and then steadily rose in the last quarter. Expenses, on the other hand, started low and remained relatively steady throughout.
Sales rose steeply through the first half of the year while expenses gradually declined. From the mid-point in the year both remained fairly steady despite some slight fluctuations.
The general pattern for sales was a steady fall with minor fluctuations. Unfortunately, expenses rose sharply to May before levelling off and remaining steady until the end of the year.
Sales increased dramatically over the first two months of the year before they stabilized and then reduced gradually towards the end of the year. On the other hand, there was a steady fall in expenses over the year.




IELTSLineGraph4E
Both sales and expenses fluctuated in the first half of the year. From June onwards sales increased slowly while there was a gradual decrease in expenses.
After a slow start to the year, sales improved dramatically. However, towards the end of the year, the trend for sales was downward. Expenses started the year at double the level of sales but fell significantly before levelling out.
Sales were steady in the first two months of the year. Then they plummeted but quickly recovered and ended the year at the same level they began. Expenses were high throughout but gradually fell over the second half of the year.
At the beginning of the year sales remained relatively stable before rocketing up in May. Sales reached a peak in September and then reduced slowly for the remainder of the period. In is interesting to note that expenses started at half the rate of sales and didn’t change a great deal throughout the whole period.


IELTSLineGraph4F
Both sales and expenses fluctuated in the first half of the year. From June onwards sales increased slowly while there was a gradual decrease in expenses.
After a slow start to the year, sales improved dramatically. However, towards the end of the year, the trend for sales was downward. Expenses started the year at double the level of sales but fell significantly before levelling out.
Sales were steady in the first two months of the year. Then they plummeted but quickly recovered and ended the year at the same level they began. Expenses were high throughout but gradually fell over the second half of the year.
At the beginning of the year sales remained relatively stable before rocketing up in May. Sales reached a peak in September and then reduced slowly for the remainder of the period. In is interesting to note that expenses started at half the rate of sales and didn’t change a great deal throughout the whole period.


IELTSLineGraph4G
Both sales and expenses fluctuated in the first half of the year. From June onwards sales increased slowly while there was a gradual decrease in expenses.
After a slow start to the year, sales improved dramatically. However, towards the end of the year, the trend for sales was downward. Expenses started the year at double the level of sales but fell significantly before levelling out.
Sales were steady in the first two months of the year. Then they plummeted but quickly recovered and ended the year at the same level they began. Expenses were high throughout but gradually fell over the second half of the year.
At the beginning of the year sales remained relatively stable before rocketing up in May. Sales reached a peak in September and then reduced slowly for the remainder of the period. In is interesting to note that expenses started at half the rate of sales and didn’t change a great deal throughout the whole period.


IELTSLineGraph4H
Both sales and expenses fluctuated in the first half of the year. From June onwards sales increased slowly while there was a gradual decrease in expenses.
After a slow start to the year, sales improved dramatically. However, towards the end of the year, the trend for sales was downward. Expenses started the year at double the level of sales but fell significantly before levelling out.
Sales were steady in the first two months of the year. Then they plummeted but quickly recovered and ended the year at the same level they began. Expenses were high throughout but gradually fell over the second half of the year.
At the beginning of the year sales remained relatively stable before rocketing up in May. Sales reached a peak in September and then reduced slowly for the remainder of the period. In is interesting to note that expenses started at half the rate of sales and didn’t change a great deal throughout the whole period.



Language Analysis

1. Notice that prepositions such as before and after are followed by gerunds ​(verb + ing), nouns or pronouns.

Examples

At the beginning of the year sales remained relatively stable before rocketing up in May. (verb – rocketing)

After a period of wild fluctuations, sales levelled off. (noun – a period)

Sales increased dramatically over the first two months of the year before they stabilized. (pronoun – they)

2. Notice that contrasting clauses can be linked with while.

Example

Sales rose steeply through the first half of the year while expenses gradually declined.

The main clause is: Sales rose….
We have a subject (Sales) and a verb (rose).

The contrasting clause is: ...while expenses declined.
while + subject + verb.

So we have two subjects, each followed by a verb.

We can swap the main clause and the contrasting clause around and add a comma (,) between them:

While expenses gradually declined, sales rose steeply through the first half of the year.

Contrasting while clauses are a great way to use complex language to boost your Grammatical Range and Accuracy band.

Exercise 2 | Writing

​​Study the following graph. Write a short summary of what the graph shows then compare your writing to ours.

Picture
Our Example Answer

Remember there are many ways to write about a graph. This example is just one.

Short Summary

Between January and February sales and expenses remained steady at 40,000 and 15,000 pounds respectively. In March expenses rose gradually to 20,000 pounds while sales dramatically increased to a peak of 90,000 pounds.

From the middle of the year to the end of the period, while sales declined steadily to 50,000 pounds, expenses remained stable at between 10,000 and 15,000 pounds.

Or next lesson will look in more detail at how to use prepositions to present figures (numbers).