The verbs we can use to describe trends are very colourful and metaphorical. There are plenty of synonyms we can use to describe a given trend. By way of example, consider 'to rocket', a clear analogy to the vertical trajectory of flight of a rocket at lift-off, or 'to seesaw' (which refers to a device we can find in every playground) and its up and down movement. Some verbs have their noun equivalent, e.g. 'to increase' - 'an increase'. When we describe a degree by which something has risen or fallen, we use verbs followed by adverbs, or adjectives followed by nouns, e.g. [ verb+adverb] The number of new cars sold last month increased significantly . [adjective+noun] There was a significant increase in the number of cars sold last month

Trends can be described more fully by adding adjectives or adverbs which underline their intensity:

degrees of change

considerable dramatic significant sharp slight moderate substantial
considerably dramatically significantly sharply slightly moderately substantially

speed of change

quick steady rapid abrupt sudden slow gradual
quickly steady rapidly abruptly suddenly slowly gradually

The following prepositions are used when showing change:

  • indicating the difference between the beginning and end of the period in question, use . from . to . . E.g. Profits have gone up from £2.5m to £3.5m or
    Profits have gone up from May to July.
  • giving the end figure use . to. (after verbs indicating movement), e.g. Profits rose 9 per cent to £3.7bn.
  • giving the amount by which a figure rises or falls, use . by . [=um], e.g. Our earnings grew by 15 per cent last year.
    Mixing by with to may result in an unintended result. Compare the following:
    Life expectancy increased by 2.8 years for men, and 3.2 years for women, and
    Life expectancy increased to 2.8 years for men, and 3.2 years for women.
  • Giving a figure after a noun, use . of ., e.g. There has been a decrease in annual turnover of £5m.
  • Giving the end figure, use . at. after verbs indicating no movement ( to stand or to be ), e.g. Last quarter profits stood at $12m.