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)
- Additionally, we can use ‘double’, ‘treble’, ‘-fold’, and times:
Pay attention how each word/phrase is used in the following examples:
- ‘double’ – verb
The number of unemployed people doubled between 2005 and 2009.
- ‘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.
- ‘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.
- 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 … “majority” |
Small/ tiny use with the word a small minority of … “minority” |
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 |