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Facts and Figures

11.7.2018, , Zdroj: Verlag Dashöfer

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Facts and Figures

Edward Thomas

1. FACTS AND FIGURES

There are quite a lot of ways to bring facts and figures into our dealings with others. Look at the short table with verbs and nouns below - can you make suitable phrases which are ways of presenting information to people? In this case each verb has an ideal partner in one of the nouns - but they need to be correctly linked.

verbs nouns
1. show someone a) statistics
2. quote b) a puzzle
3. explain c) main points
4. highlight d) a graph

Correct answers are here1

In fact there are many more words we could use, and we could pair the above verbs in several ways if we really wanted to. There are small differences in language use though.

For example:„quote” is mostly used with written or verbal data - show would be used with visual aids like graphs, tables, and charts.

You may learn the differences between them, which may be grammatical as well as in meaning, but first you need to recognise them. Look at the table below which shows synonymous words. Can you find the synonyms? You may need your dictionary!

1. quote a) demonstrate
2. analyse b) cite
3. show c) emphasise
4. highlight d) show why
5. focus on e) see
6. notice f) point out
7. underline g) examine
8. explain h) evaluate

Correct answers are here2

Again, just be careful when you use these words. We could use the sentence „you can see” but we would be unlikely to say „you can notice”- even though notice and see can be synonyms. We don't usually use „notice” with modal verbs like „can” to show ability to do something. We might use it with „will”. For example: „looking at the graph, you will notice...” etc.

2. DATA PRESENTATION

Look at the presentation below by Alistair Sweetheart, leading economic minister of a major western government. Supply the missing verbs from Facts and Figures. Most of the time one letter is given to help direct you to the right word or phrase.

If we look at the chart above, you will 1. …………………………… 3 that the figures for public borrowing are very high. However, I would like to 2. …………………………… 4 the fact that this is part of a cycle of borrowing and that the cycle will reverse over time. Tax receipts, I would 3. ……………………………,5 are lower at the moment because, as you can 4. …………………………… from the graph beside the chart, consumer spending has plummeted in recent months, reaching, I would like to 5. …………………………… ……………………………,6 an all time low. That in part 6. …………………………… why Government debt is so high, and it 7. …………………………… …………………………… we are acting to raise taxes dramatically - with terrible political effects. In fact, my government's popularity has reached dangerously low levels. To 8. …………………………… 7one commentator: „government's poll numbers have fallen by 25% in one year- not a bad record!”. Well, I could 9. …………………………… many more commentators like that as well! Now I would like us to 10. …………………………… …………………………… 8 a graph which 11. …………………………… 9 just how bad things are. If we 12. …………………………… 10 it in detail, we can see that real levels of debt are much higher than I might have told everyone before - they have rocketed up by 79% in the last year! This 13. …………………………… 11 that the economy is really in a very bad situation. I have been 14. …………………………… 12 in the situation for a long time and I have taken time to 15. ……………………………13 the data and I should know! On the whole, this whole situation 16. …………………………… 14 the need to elect competent and experienced politicians like myself for at least the next decade or two.

Thank you for you attention, ladies and gentlemen.

Correct answers are here15

Exit questions:

1. Does „plummet” mean a) rise quickly or b) fall quickly?

2. Does „raise dramatically” mean a) „to increase something rapidly” or b) „to decrease something moderately” ?

Correct answers are here16

3. UPS AND DOWNS - DESCRIBING TRENDS

In Data Presentation we saw Alistair Sweetheart talking about trends. There is a lot of language to describe this. It is especially used to describe the stock markets. Here we will expand our range of vocabulary to describe trends.

Look at the verbs in the box below. Can you find the antonyms for them and put them in the sentences which follow? Some antonyms are given under the exercise.

A) fall, plummet, improve, go up, raise, bottom out, get better, slow down

1. Petrol consumption is …………………………… all the time due to increased car ownership.

2. The housing market …………………………… in 2003. Now it's falling back down from that high point.

3. The situation in the North of Sudan has …………………………… as fighting has increased.

4. It is likely that interest rates will …………………………… …………………………… to encourage consumer spending.

5. As you can see, the state of public finances has been …………………………… …………………………… recently - from €18bn debt to €29bn.

6. The European Central Bank is very likely to …………………………… interest rates to help highstreet shops.

7. The rate of repossession of houses has been …………………………… …………………………… over the last three months. There are more and more every day.

8. Share prices in P & P have …………………………… after suggestions that they could be taken over.

________________________________________________________________________________

deteriorate, peak, rocket, speed up, lower

Correct answers are here17

B)

Now look at the sentences below, and match the highlighted words to the definitions that follow them.

1. After strong growth, the market in washing machines seems to be levelling off. What we are seeing is not zero growth, but less than before.

2. Essentially our position in the market is stable - we're not rising or falling.

3. It looks like our profits hit the bottom last year - that was terrible - but they're above that now.

4. Our growth this year has been steady, but not spectacular. So we're in a strong position but we're not drinking champagne every evening.

5. Things were pretty slow, but now the economy is really picking up - we're optimistic for the future.

1. This is a synonym for „reasonable”. So if things are quite good, ie. growing but not special, we can use this adjective to describe them.
2. When your company is not rising or falling, when it is secure but not growing particularly, this is a good adjective to use.
3. When you were doing pretty well, but now things are slowing down and less exciting you can use this verb.
4. When the situation was not so good but now it's getting (becoming) better, use this verb.
5. A noun, you use this word to describe the situation where things are as bad as they can be. Sometimes you „hit” this.

Correct answers are here18

4. ON THE UP, ON THE DOWN

In very informal English, to be „on the up” means to be going up, or rising „on the down” (less often used) means the opposite.

Look at the graph below. It shows the (fictional, but maybe realistic!) changes in numbers of people using the internet and newspapers over a period of ten years. There are five categories - overall internet usage, music online, newspapers online, newspapers (hard copies), and entertainment/film. Study the trends and answer the true or false questions which follow.

Graph 1

x = 10 year period

y = percentage of public using each media

graph 1 = overall internet use

graph 2 = music via internet

graph 3 = newspapers online

graph 4 = film/entertainment online

graph 5 = newspapers bought (hard copies)

Which of the below sentences are true about what the graph above says, and which are not (false)?

True or false:

1. In year 1, overall internet use was going slowly up.

2. In year1, newspapers bought were stable at high levels.

3. In year 6, newspapers bought plummeted.

4. In year 7, overall internet use began to level - off.

5. In year 9, music via the internet rocketed.

6. Between years 4 and 6, internet use rose dramatically.

7. Newspapers online went up and down through the whole period.

8. Newspapers online went up significantly in years 9 and 10.

9. Music use rose significantly in years four and five.

10. Music use began at quite low levels.

Correct answers are here19

Now, using the language learnt so far, describe the trend in use of the internet for film and entertainment. Use at least three descriptive sentences.

How has your internet usage changed over the last ten years? Could you describe your own personal trendlines? Have you ever watched a film online? Or perhaps the news? Or listened to the radio? Or downloaded clips? Summarise in the general terms given to you by the graph. NB, unlike in the examples, when we talk about the past up to now we use the present perfect (have + past verb). This means we say things like „my use of internet video has increased a lot in the last couple of years”- for example.

5. THE COMMODITIES MAN

Look at the graph below which shows approximate gold prices in US$ over a ten year period up to 2008.

Graph 2

X = time in years (from '98)

Y = Price in US$

Read what the Commodities Man has to say about the price of gold over the last ten years:

„As you can see, the price of gold 1. fell slightly between 1998 and 1999- all the measurement points were made in August by the way. After that it was 2. fairly stable for the next two years - taking us to August 2001. In fact what this graph doesn't show is that the values in 1998-9 were at 3. a twenty year low for the market in gold.

Now, what you will notice is that the price had 4. increased significantly by August of the following year, 5. rising sharply above 300 US$. It will not surprise you to hear that I think this was because of worries among investors after Sept 11, 2001.

In the subsequent years, 6. a modest rise was followed by 7. a rather steep one. In the years between August 2003 and August 2005 the price of gold 8. rose steadily. This 9. relentless rise took gold above 400 US$.

And now the fireworks begin! In 2006 the price of gold 10. surged dramatically to around 600 US$, the kind of rise not seen since the late 1970's.


In 2007 that growth 11. slowed a little, but the still 12. went up substantially to around 650 US$.

At the same time, the economic situation was 13. deteriorating rapidly. Previous 14. sharp rises could be linked with conflicts such as the Iraq war and the problems with Iran. Now, these problems came together with a crisis in housing and banking.

That's why in 2008 the price of gold 15. rocketed upwards, with no real sign yet that 16. a peak has been reached. The market 17. shot up by around 300US$ to $950 per ounce of gold. This 18. towering rise must mean a lot of investors are scared of shares and bonds, and prefer solid assets.

One final note- although gold is now at 19. an historic peak, it may not 20. come down much in the future. It may 21. slip slightly back, but don't imagine that it will 22. plunge dramatically or 23. fall a lot from where it is - commodities are more difficult to find and the world's nations are asking for more and more of them. Gold at high levels is here to stay.”

Look at the highlighted words and phrases in the talk given by the commodities man. Put them into the chart below in the two categories „up” and „down” (if it is neutral, put it in the „down” column. To give you an example, a phrase like „an amazing fall” would go into the „down” category.

UP …………………………………………………………………………………………………….

DOWN …………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Correct answers are here20

6. THE ADVERBS, THE ADJECTIVES

It is clear that when we describe trends we sometimes need to add more detail. Look at the following examples:

1. „House prices have risen significantly in the last two years.”

2. „There has been a noticeable drop in mortage approvals.”

Which sentence focuses on a noun?

Which includes an adverb?

Which focuses on a verb?

Which includes an adjective?

General rule: adverbs go with verbs, adjectives with nouns - but, NB, adverbs can add to adjectives, for example, „a surprisingly large drop”, and, NB, words like „a lot” and „much”, „downward” and „upward”, as well as „up” and „down” can all be adverbs.

Now look at the following phrases taken from the commodity man's talk. Put NA beside them if they use a noun-adjective combination, VA if they use verb-adverb. One sentence has contains two examples. There are ten in all.

a) the price of gold fell slightly

b) the values in 1998-9 were at a twenty year low

c) the price had increased significantly

d) a modest

 
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