How to understand and describe line graphs using adverbs

The above graph is quite simple. You can use any of the following Adverbs to describe it.

- The population rose
**slowly**. (small increase in the population over the period) - The population rose
**steadily**. (little or no variation in the rate of growth) - The population rose
**slightly**. (small increase in the population over the period) - The population rose
**gently**. (small increase in the population over the period) - The population rose
**gradually**. (small increase in the population over the period)

The above graph is also fairly simple. However, it has two distinct trends so the description needs to mention this.

- From 2013 to 2016, the population increased dramatically.
- From 2013 to 2016, the population increased significantly.
- From 2013 to 2016, the population increased considerably.
- From 2013 to 2016, the population increased rapidly.
- From 2013 to 2016, the population increased substantially.
- From 2013 to 2016, the population increased markedly.
- From 2013 to 2016, the population increased greatly.
- After 2016, the population grew more slowly.

- From 2013 to 2016, the population grew from 10.02 million to 10.63 million.
- From 2013 to 2016, the population grew by 0.38 million.
- From 2013 to 2016, the population grew by 380,000.
- From 2013 to 2016, the population grew by 6.08782%.

- From 2016 to 2021, the population grew from 10.63 million to 10.75 million.
- From 2016 to 2021, the population grew by 0.12 million.
- From 2016 to 2021, the population grew by 120,000.
- From 2016 to 2021, the population grew by 1.12888%.

- Overall, the population went up from 10.02 million to 10.75 million.
- Overall, the population went up by 0.73 million.
- Overall, the population went up by 730,000.
- Overall, the population went up by 7.28543%.

Once again, it is important to note that the above line graph is used to illustrate how to describe the basic information in the graph. But you have to be careful about looking not just at the graph, but also the **X** and **Y** axes.

In the above graph the **Y** axis starts at 9.9 million, not zero. So the increase on the graph looks significant. But the percentage increase over these years is not great. It rises from 10.2 million in 2013 to 10.63 million in 2016. This is a rise of slightly more than 4% (4.1666) over a period of 3 years. So the adverbs we used in the to describe the change in the first part of the second graph (dramatically, significantly, considerably rapidly, ...) are somewhat exaggerated.

If we show the graph with the **X** axis starting at zero we get a more realistic impression of this increase.

So it is very important when interpreting graphs to be aware of how the data is presented. Not only do you need to look at the title, but also the axes, the units, and whether the scale starts at zero.

See example 3 on the authentic line graph examples page.

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