Being able to interpret figures and trends is an important skill especially when doing research, giving a presentation or presenting data. There are a number of different nouns and verbs that are used to describe upward and downward movements. Both transitive (T) and intransitive verbs (IT) can be used to describe trends. A transitive verb needs to be accompanied by an object whereas an intransitive verb takes no object.

Look at the two examples below where the verb ‘increase’ can be both a transitive and intransitive verb.

Transitive verb
Landlords (subject) in Hong Kong are always increasing (verb) their rents (object).

Intransitive verb
Share prices
(subject) have increased (verb) in recent months.

Here are some examples of verbs and nouns used to describe downward and upward movements:

Downward movement Upward movement
Verb Noun Verb Noun
 To cut (T)  A cut  To balloon (IT)  A ballooning
 To decline (IT)  A decline  To expand (IT/T)  An expansion
 To decrease (T/IT)  A decrease  To increase (IT/T)  An increase
 To dive (IT)  A dive  To peak (IT)  A peak
 To drop (IT)  A drop    
 To fall (IT)  A fall    
 To plummet (IT)  A plummet    
 To plunge (IT)  A plunge    


Task One - Prediction

You are going to read an article about chocolate consumption around the world. Before you start reading can you predict the answers to the following questions? Then quickly skim the article to check your predictions.

Your prediction
Who produces the most chocolate in the world?
Africa, Asia, North America, South America, Europe
Who consumes the most chocolate in the world?
Africans, Asians, North Americans, South Americans, or Europeans
Do women eat a lot more chocolate than men?

Who consumes the most chocolate? – January 17th, 2012


In "Chocolate's Child Slaves," CNN's David McKenzie travels into the heart of the Ivory Coast to investigate what's happening to children working in the cocoa fields.
But who produces the most chocolate in the world? Do women really partake of it more than men? Who has the highest demand for the indulgent treats? Take a look at some of these figures:

Chocolate is an $83 billion a year business, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets. That makes the industry's value larger than the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of more than 130 nations on earth, World Bank figures show. Europeans account for nearly half of all the chocolate the world eats, according to the International Cocoa Organization. The average Brit, Swiss or German will each eat around 11 kilograms (24 pounds) of chocolate a year.

Men's love of chocolate is on par with women's preference for the treat: A UK study by research group Mintel revealed 91% of all women admit to eating chocolate – with the men not far behind at more than 87%.

In Asia, chocolate hasn't traditionally been the sweet of choice, market analysis firm Euromonitor International reports. Right now, Indians eat only 165 grams (less than 6 ounces) of chocolate a year. The Chinese eat only 99 grams (3.5 ounces). But as Asian economies grow, so is their demand for indulgent treats, reports Mintel. This year, chocolate sales in China are expected to rise 19 percent to $1.2 billion. India expects to see a 7 percent jump to $633 million. And in Indonesia chocolate sales are expected to leap 25 percent to $1.1 billion - ballooning to nearly $2 billion by 2015. In fact, Asian markets are expected to hold a 20% share of the global market by 2016.

Valentine's Day, which is just around the corner, means big business for chocolate companies. In the U.S. alone, more than 58 million pounds of chocolate candy are sold during Valentine’s week. That's $345 million in sales in just one week and it makes up more than 5 percent of chocolate candy’s sales for the year, according to Nielsen research.

Since the Harkin-Engel protocol was signed, the chocolate industry has made nearly a trillion U.S. dollars. According to the watchdog group Stop the Traffik, only 0.0075% of that money has been invested into improving the working conditions for children in West Africa. Africa produces more than 75% of the world’s cocoa. The Ivory Coast alone produces more than 35% of the world's cocoa, says the International Cocoa Organization. More than three-fourths of all the world's cocoa comes from West Africa – but the entire continent of Africa only accounts for about 3 percent of its consumption.

Of the estimated 218 million child laborers in the world, about 70% work in agriculture, says the International Labour Organization, a U.N. agency.

Reprinted with permission from the CNN (cnn.com)

Task Two – Language describing trends

There are several further examples of language used to describe upward movement in the passage you have just read.
  1. Quickly scan the article to locate them
  2. Put them in the correct place in the box below
  3. Add the missing verb or noun if there is one
  4. If it is a verb, indicate whether it is IT, T or both.

Downward movement Upward movement
Verb Noun Verb Noun
 To cut (T)  A cut  To balloon (IT)  A ballooning
 To decline (IT)  A decline  To expand (IT/T)  An expansion
 To decrease (T/IT)  A decrease  To increase (IT/T)  An increase
 To dive (IT)  A dive  TO peak (IT)  A peak
 To drop (IT)  A drop  To grow (IT)  A growth
 To fall (IT)  A fall  To jump (IT)  A jump
 To plummet (IT)  A plummet  To leap (IT)  A leap
 To plunge (IT)  A plunge  To rise (IT)  A raise (US)/ A rise (UK)

Hide answers.

Task Three – Inferring meaning

Read the article again more carefully this time and answer the true/false questions below.

Answer Feedback
1. False Not all 130 in total but each individual nation
2. False Switzerland’s population is smaller than Germany’s
3. True 'On (a) par with' means 'equal to'
4. True  
5. False Sales are expected to leap, jump, balloon
6. False It is one of the reasons not ‘the’ only reason
7. True 0.0075%
8. True  
9. False The entire continent of Africa only accounts for 3% of chocolate consumption
10. True 70% of 218 million is 150 million

Hide answer.

Task Four - Vocabulary

Look at the vocabulary below and find words that have similar meanings in the article. Write them in the box.

Word Form Definition Synonym
Noun equal footing a par
Noun ¾ (three quarters) three-fourths
Verb expand rapidly ballooning
Noun part/proportion share
Adjective approximate estimated
Verb To make up or consist of a particular amount or part of something. to account for
Verb to predict to expect

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Task Five – Checking understanding

Read the article below and fill in the gaps with either one word, two words or a phrase. They are all words/phrases that can be found in the previous reading on ‘Who consumes the most chocolate?’ or in the table of synonyms. If you want some help click on the help icon and the missing words/phrases will be provided in a jumbled order for you.

Reprinted with permission from the CNN (cnn.com)

1. according to 6. predicted/expected
2. rising/growing/increasing/expanding 7. account for
3. demand for 8. leaped/jumped/ballooned
4. estimated 9. jump/leap/increase
5. jump/leap 10. rising

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