Business charts and graphs —Vocabulary


Pie Chart
Bar chart
Line graph

List with phrases to describe charts

  • The pie chart is about …
  • The bar chart deals with …
  • The line graph (clearly) shows …
  • The slices of the pie chart compare the …
  • The chart is divided into … parts.
  • It highlights …
  • … has the largest (number of) …
  • … has the second largest (number of) …
  • … is as big as …
  • … is twice as big as …
  • … is bigger than …
  • more than … per cent …
  • only one third …
  • less than half …
  • The number … increases/goes up/grows by …
  • The number … decreases/goes down/sinks by …
  • The number … does not change/remains stable
  • I was really surprised/shocked by the …
  • So we can say …

Use of Tenses

Mind the correct use of tenses when describung a chart. If the charts deals with facts in the present (as in our example), use the Simple Present, if the facts are the past, then use the Simple Past. If there is a connection between the past and the present, use the Present Perfect.

How to describe a chart

With the following example we would like to show you how charts are described. Mind the three parts and do not repeat the global message in the conclusion.

A Pets in Year 7 at a school

We have chosen the pie chart because we think it shows the number of pets in Year 7 best.

 Population growth in Canada

This graph shows the growth of the population in Canada from 1978 to 2009. It is taken from the website aboutStatistics in Canada.

There are three graphs in the chart. The green graph shows the total growth of the population, the black one deals with the migrated people in Canada and the blue graph shows the natural increase of the population. In 1988/89 there was an enourmous growth. In the following years the total growth went down to about 250,000 in 1998/99. From that time on the Canadian population has been gradually growing again although the natural increase slows down. So we can say that the growth of the population in Canada is based on migration.



New and/or Useful Vocabulary from the Video

The Business of English graphs and trends

sales rose steadily

a marked increase

leveled off

reached their peak

a sudden drop

a significant increase

a sharp increase

bottomed out = reach their lowest levels

Noun Verb
an increase to increase
a rise to rise
climb to climb
improvement to improve
upturn xxx

decrease to decrease
a fall to fall
a decline to decline
a worsening to worsen
a downturn xx

There was an improvement in the figures for April. (Past Simple)

The figures for April have improved. (Present Perfect)

There has been a decline in sales since June. (Present Perfect)

Sales since June have declined. (Present Perfect)

Sales declined in June. (Past Simple)

big small fast slow

Adjectives Adverbs
before nouns after verbs

big (a lot)
significant significantly

massive massively

substantial substantially

small (a bit, a little)
slight slightly
insignificant insignificantly

fast quickly
sharp sharply
dramatic dramatically
sudden suddenly

slow slowly
steady steadily
moderate moderately

There was a dramatic increase in sales.
Sales rose dramatically.

There was a steady rise in sales.
Sales rose steadily.

There was a significant fall in sales.
Sales fell significantly.

There was a slight recovery in sales.
Sales recovered slightly.

due to
The drop in sales is due to an interest rate rise.

a consequence of
The drop in sales is a consequence of an interest rate rise.

because of
The drop in sales is because of an interest rate rise.

a result of
The drop in sales is a result of an interest rate rise

bottomed out = reach their lowest level

experienced a sharp increase

a pronounced drop


Chi è Vincent C. Torrieri?

Background professionale:

Ampia conoscenza e esperienza per quanto riguarda ricercare e riportare notizie di cronaca, svolgimento di indagini giornalistiche, scrivere articoli, redazione, intervistare, curare soggetti e sceneggiature per programmi televisivi, per emittenti radiofoniche e per compagnie cinematografiche.

Lasciato il mondo del giornalismo per insegnare l’inglese alle società in Italia – Specialità – 

Business Communications – Language Coach.

Titoli Di Studi:

YORK UNIVERSITY, Toronto, Ontario (1984-1987)

Laureato a livello Bachelor in scienze politiche e in filosofia


Laureato a livello Bachelor nelle arti applicate con specializzazione in giornalismo

UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGE LOCAL EXAMINATION SYNDICATE (UCLES)- Certificato English Language Teaching to Adults – Verona, Italy (1998) Trinity Language Workshops

Esperienza d’insegnamento

Language Instructor – Sabaudia’s Missile Air Defence base. (2004)

Trained High Ranking Military Personnel, low Level English to medium Level English, Military Language Code Procedures.

Business Language Consultant Business Crash Courses and Seminars -Responsible for co-ordinating and teaching Individual and Group Courses. Companies include:

Dalmine Tenaris, Disney, DHL, Exxon, Fater, Fameccanica, Gefco, Geodis and other freight forwarding companies including Cargo City Milan. (Johnson & Johnson) Quintiles and Merloni, Indesit, SGS, UPS and many more.

Exam results for students

Cambridge BEC Exams (Business English Certificates) 95%

Cambridge Exams – 90% –

                                                                                              TrinityExams – 90%


Written by

Vincent Towerpast

English Language Consultant for Business English courses and Journalist - Foreign Correspòndent