Describing a graph

Having completed an English tense review with one of my students – (don’t be alarmed, this is a predominantly spoken exercise, we don’t bury ourselves in grammar books) – we’ve now moved on to improving written skills. A key part of my student’s job is to produce reports and recommendations for customers in English. During our last lessons – (via video-conferencing obviously), we’ve been producing some writing together. Of course it’s him doing the lion’s share of the work – I simply provide some inspiration and guidance. In this particular case we based ourselves on one of the excellent tasks from the British Council

When describing trends – (graphs generally show trends), we often use the Present Perfect tense.

Form = to have (present tense) + main verb (past participle)

This is because we use it to speak about unspecified periods of time without an obvious link to the past. If there is an obvious link to the past – for example using a word like last year, yesterday, in 2014, we would use the past tense.

Here are some extracts from the student’s answer:

In 2011 CDs led the market. (Past tense)

In 2014 downloads peaked. (Past tense)

From the start the purchase has gone down dramatically. (Present perfect)

Over a period of 4 years downloads have continually decreased. (Present perfect)

Throughout a 4  year period, downloads have steadily dropped off. (Present perfect)

Throughout the years all methods have experienced their golden age. (Present perfect)

To conclude, streams have conquered the market. (Present perfect)

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