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Describing Trends

Aim:
This exercise introduces the vocabulary and grammar needed to describe trends. For students taking the English for Academic Purposes course, this function is from Unit 3 of the EAP book and will help EAP students prepare for Assignment One. (Teachers: Click here for a printable version of this exercise in MS Word.)

Instructions:
Read the information on the vocabulary for describing trends, then fill in the gaps in the text following the table by choosing an options from the drop-down lists. Then check your answers.

Vocabulary for Describing Trends

Word Part of Speech

Example Sentences

increase verb: to increase, is increasing, has increased, increased
noun: an increase of $5,554m
an increase in spending of $5,554m
Total expenditure increased from $33,611m to $39,165m from 1995 to 1996.
From 1995 to 1996 there was an increase in expenditure of $5,554m.
decrease verb: to decrease, is decreasing, has decreased, decreased
noun: a decrease of 0.7%
a decrease in spending of 0.7%
Expenditure on primary education decreased from 22.2% to 21.5% from 1995 to 1996.
From 1995 to 1996 there was a decrease in expenditure of 0.7%.
rise verb: to rise, is rising, has risen, rose
noun: a rise of $5,554m
a rise in spending of $5,554m
Total expenditure rose from $33,611m to $39,165m from 1995 to 1996.
From 1995 to 1996 there was a rise in expenditure of $5,554m.
fall verb: to fall, is falling, has fallen, fell
noun: a fall of 0.7%
a fall in spending of 0.7%
Expenditure on primary education fell from 22.2% to 21.5% from 1995 to 1996.
From 1995 to 1996 there was a fall in expenditure of 0.7%.
drop verb: to drop, is dropping, has dropped, dropped
noun: a drop of 0.7%
a drop in spending of 0.7%
Expenditure on primary education dropped from 22.2% to 21.5% from 1995 to 1996.
From 1995 to 1996 there was a drop in expenditure of 0.7%.
to be financed by verb: to be financed by, is financed by, has been financed by, was financed by
meaning: to be paid for (e.g. money is transferred from one budget to another)
The increase in spending in this sector was financed by decreases in other sectors.
_ing forms After an introductory clause that includes some analysis; e.g. 'Spending rose in all three years', an '_ing' form can be used to describe numbers and dates. Spending rose in all three years, increasing from 17.6% to 18% from 1995 to 1996, and then rising again to 18.2% in 1997-8.

Expenditure on Education in Hong Kong 1995 to 1998

Breakdown of spending 1995-6 1996-7 1997-8
Total expenditure ($ million) 33,611 39,165 45,315
As % of government budget 17.6% 18% 18.2%
% spent on
  • primary education
  • secondary education
  • tertiary education
22.2%
33.7%
35.9%
.
21.5%
33.2%
36.7%
.
21.6%
33.5%
35.9%
.

Source: Hong Kong 1998. Hong Kong: Government Printer

Exercise Text:

Total public expenditure on education in Hong Kong (1) continuously from 1995 to 1998. In academic year 1995-6 it (2) HK$33,611 million, (3) to $39,165 million in 1996-7 and $45,315 million in 1997-8. As a percentage of the government’s budget, spending on education also increased (4) year, from 17.6% to 18% and then to 18.2%.

However, the percentage of expenditure spent on primary, secondary and tertiary education did not show the same consistent (5). In 1995-6 expenditure on primary education was 22.2% of the education budget, 33.7% (6) on secondary, and 35.9% on tertiary.

In 1996-7 an increase of 0.8% in spending on tertiary education (7) by a (8) in spending of 0.7% in primary and 0.5% in secondary schooling.

In 1997-8 tertiary spending as a percent of the education budget (9) to its 1995-6 level. The percentage spent on primary education (10) to 21.6% and that on secondary to 33.5%, (11) figures being (12) than 1995-6 levels.

Note: this text not only describes the figures from the table, it analyses them, for example by comparing the rise in the percentage spent on education and contrasting the spending on secondary and tertiary education. Repeating the numbers from the table without analysing them is not enough to describe the trends.

Click here to see the answers.


Answers:

1. Your answer was: 'Total public expenditure on education in Hong Kong (1) continuously from 1995 to 1998.' The correct answer is 'increased' or 'rose'. This description uses the simple past tense because the data in the graph is from the past: 1995 to 1998.

2. Your answer was: 'In academic year 1995-6 it (2) HK$33,611 million'. The correct answer is 'was'.

3. Your answer was: '(3) to $39,165 million in 1996-7 and $45,315 million in 1997-8.' The correct answer is 'rising'. Click here for more on '_ing' forms.

4. Your answer was: 'As a percentage of the government’s budget, spending on education also increased (4)  year, from 17.6% to 18% and then to 18.2%.' The correct answer is 'each'.

5. Your answer was: 'However, the percentage of expenditure spent on primary, secondary and tertiary education did not show the same consistent (5) .' The correct answer is 'rise'. 'Rise' here is a noun. The clue here is that 'consistent' is an adjective, and adjectives are usually followed by nouns.

6. Your answer was: 'In 1995-6 expenditure on primary education was 22.2% of the education budget, 33.7% (6)  on secondary, and 35.9% on tertiary.' The correct answer is 'was spent'. This is a passive voice verb, meaning 'was spent by the government'.

7. Your answer was: 'In 1996-7 an increase of 0.8% in spending on tertiary education (7) ' The correct answer is 'was financed'. Click here for more details on 'was financed'.

8. Your answer was: 'by a (8) in spending of 0.7% in primary and 0.5% in secondary schooling.' The correct answer is 'drop'. 'Decrease' is also an acceptable answer. The clue that the answer is a noun here is the word 'a', as nouns often have an article such as 'a', 'an' or 'the' in front of them.

9. Your answer was: 'In 1997-8 tertiary spending as a percent of the education budget (9) to its 1995-6 level.' The correct answer is 'returned'. This is a past tense verb. 'Returned' has the right meaning as the figures for 1995-6 and 1997-8 are the same, although the figure for 1996-7 was different.

10. Your answer was: 'The percentage spent on primary education (10) to 21.6%,  and that on secondary to 33.5%,'   The correct answer is 'rose' or 'increased'.

11. Your answer was: '(11) and that on secondary to 33.5%, figures being...'  The correct answer is 'both'.

12. Your answer was: '(12) figures being than 1995-6 levels.' The correct answer is 'less'. The clue that this answer is a comparative adjective is that it is followed by 'than'.

 

Last updated on: Monday, February 25, 2013