Task 1 numbers and statistics

Task 1 numbers and statistics

How to talk about numbers and statistics

You can use numbers, percentages, or fractions

Look at the following table that shows the price of X in different years

year   1990                  1995
value  $1200                $1800


  • The price of X went up by 600, from $1200 to $1800. (numbers)
  • The price of X went up by half, from $1200 to $1800. (fractions)
  • The price of X went up 50%, from $1200 to $1800. (percentages)


  1. Additionally, we can use ‘double’, ‘treble’, ‘-fold’, and times:

Pay attention how each word/phrase is used in the following examples:

  1. ‘double’ – verb

The number of unemployed people doubled between 2005 and 2009.


  1. ‘twice as…as/compared to’, ‘three times as…as/compared to’

There were twice as many unemployed people in 2009 as in 2005.

Twice as many people were unemployed in 2009 compared to 2005.


  1. ‘twofold’, ‘threefold’ – as an adjective or adverb

There was a twofold increase in the number of unemployed people between 2005 and 2009. (adjective with the noun ‘increase’)

The number of unemployed people increased twofold between 2005 and 2009. (adverb with the verb ‘increase’)


Some more examples:

1992            1994              1996               1998
500               1000              3000              12000



  • The figure doubled between 1992 and 1994
  • The figure trebled between 1994 and 1996.
  • The figure quadrupled from 1996 to 1998.
  • There was a twofold increase between 1992 and 1994.
  • The number went up sixfold between 1992 and 1996.
  • The number in 1996 was six times more than the 1992 figure.
  • The figure in 1998 was four times the 1996 figure.


  1. We use Fractions:
1992              1994                   1996            1998
1000              800                      400              100


  • Between 1992 and 1994, the figure fell by one-fifth.
  • Between 1994 and 1996, the figure went down by a half.
  • The figure in 1998 was one-tenth the 1992 total.

See how we form fractions:

              Singular                                             Plural
A half                                                  two halves

One-third                                           two-thirds

A quarter                                           two quarters        

One-fifth                                            two-fifths

One-sixth                                           two-sixths


A little extra:

Use Adjectives to modify numbers

It will increase your band score for vocabulary marking:

Adjective                            usage                                                        example
Hefty/staggering/        use for big numbers                   a hefty 90 percent of …

Massive                                                                                a massive 85 percent of ….

Modest                          use for percentages                   a modest 20 percent  of …
between 15 and 40%
Mere/tiny                      use for small numbers              a mere 10 percent of …
a tiny 10 percent of …
Overwhelming              use with the word                     an overwhelming majority of …
Small/ tiny                     use with the word                      a small minority of …



How to generally or specifically describing, how to express the proportions.


Speaking to specific statements, they usually contain reference to data, while general statements do not. Examples are as follow.

Far fewer female lecturers as opposed to male lecturers are employed at the university, 25 and 75 respectively.

We can see that there are considerable differences in the proportion of nationalities in each course.


We have alternative verbs or proportion phrases to make changes while describing proportions.


Usually, verbs or phrases like represent, occupy, constitute, account for or make up can be used before proportions or figures.

Water used in agriculture accounts for the largest proportion (53.2%) of the total water used.

The demand of everyday life makes up 21% of the total need of paper.


While for the figures, we have different ways to express.

75% three quarters three out of four
48% almost half nearly half
just under one half close to one half
33% one third one in three
26% about one in four just over a quarter


Also, adjectives could be used before nouns.

Very big vast, overwhelming the vast/overwhelming majority
Very big (used before numbers) massive, hefty a massive / hefty 80percent
Very small tiny a tiny minority
Not very big(used before numbers) modest, mere a modest/mere ten percent