Trends and comparing contrasting

Similarities between trends phrases comparing/ contrasting version

What is the similarity between all the words and expressions in each section? (It could be in meaning when used to talk about trends, original sources or meanings, grammar, connotation, etc) 

Useful language

Both of them/ All of them…

The (main/ chief/ most apparent/ most obvious/ sole/ only) similarity between them is…

They (could be said to) share…

They are similar with respect to/ in terms of/ when you look at…

They are similar/ linked/ related in that…

They have something/ one or two things/ many things/ much in common.

They resemble each other in that…

They share some features, for example…/ They share one feature, which is…

What links them/ unifies them/ ties them together is…

What they (most) have in common is…

Despite their (great/ important/ obvious) differences/ Although they have (great/ obvious/ important) differences, they are similar in so much as…

decline                                           decrease                                        drop

fall                                                                 shrink


grow rapidly                                                increase sharply                          rise dramatically

rocket                                                           soar                                                take off


crash                                                            dive                                                 plummet

rocket                                                           soar                                                take off


be stable                                                      not vary                                          remain constant

remain steady                               stay flat                            stay the same


bottom out                                                   flatten out                                      level off

plateau                                           stabilize


expand                                           grow                                               shrink


collapse                                                       crash                                              dive

plunge                                           plummet


boost                                                            cut                                                   hike

increase                                                       raise                                               slash


doubled                                                       dropped by a third                        halved

increased more than fourfold    tripled



be unstable                                                 bounce back                                 dip

fall back                                                       fluctuate                                        peak

pick up                                           rebound                                         recover

regain lost ground                                     slip back


collapse                                                       crash                                              deteriorate

escalate                                                       slump                                             worsen


be enhanced                                              bounce back                                 improve

recover                                           regain lost ground


a blip                                                            change                            move



dip                                                                 dive                                                 plunge



peak                                                             plateau                             climb


rise at the same rate                   drop steadily                                 continue its (good) progress


accelerate                                                    rise less rapidly              slow down


bottom out                                                   flatten out                                      level off


boom                                                            explode

Match these descriptions to the sections above, writing a brief note next to each thing above to remind you. Some fit in more than one place, but there is only one way to match all of them.

Although they have obvious differences, all of them could refer to an upward or a downward trend, meaning you only know which one from the context.

Both of them are related to explosions such as bombs.

Despite their differences, all of them mean “fall very quickly”.

The main similarity between them is meaning “become flat”.

The most apparent similarity between them is a connection to mountains.

The most obvious similarity between them is that they mean “go down”.

The sole similarity between them is negative connotations, namely being the opposite of “get better”.

They are similar in terms of all meaning straight diagonal lines on a graph.

They are similar when you look at the shape of the line, which in these cases are curved.

They chief similarity between them is prepositions which mean “in the end”.

They have something in common, being is a connection to water.

They resemble each other in that they refer to going both up and down.

They share a connection with flying.

They share one feature, which is meaning “not change”.

They share positive connotations, meaning “getting better”.

What links them is being actions that people etc can do to change things.

What they have in common is meaning “go up quickly”.

What they most have in common is including numbers.

What ties them together is a connection with physical size.

Compare your answers as a class but without looking at this page (to make you use the useful phrases).


Trends and comparing/ contrasting

Language of trends the same or different Comparing/ contrasting version

Use comparing and contrasting language to talk about how similar or different the words and expressions above below and what any differences are. Each time first say how similar or different they are, then what the (main) differences are. If there are more than two, they are all the same or all different. After your discussion, write an equals sign or an equals sign with a cross through it next to each line below.

Useful phrases

  • They are (absolutely/ almost) identical.
  • They are (exactly/ very nearly/ almost/ nearly/ practically/ basically/ fundamentally/ more or less) the same.
  • They are (remarkably/ surprisingly/ really very/ very/ rather/ quite/ fairly) similar.
  • They are (completely/ totally/ very/ clearly/ quite/ fairly/ slightly) different.
  • … is (far far/ far/ much/ a lot/ a great deal/ … times/ considerably/ substantially/ quite a lot/ a little/ a bit/ slightly/ very slightly/ a tiny bit) ….er/ more…/ less… than…
  • …is (three times/ twice/ one and half times/ exactly/ very nearly/ almost/ nearly / three quarters/ half/ not quite/ not nearly) as… as …
  • The (biggest/ most important/ most significant/ most obvious/ clearest/ only/ sole) difference between… and… is…
  • A (great/ slight/ minor) difference/ (An important/ obvious) difference between … and… is…
  • They are (complete/ almost complete/ almost) opposites.
  • …, whereas…/ … However,…/ … In (complete/ total) contrast,…
  • Unlike…,…


expand/ grow

raise/ rise

rise/ rise up

grow/ grow up

increase/ go up

increase/ improve

rocket/ soar/ take off

climb/ rocket

increase at the same rate/ sustain its (good) progress

attain…/ reach (the level of)…/ rise to…

plateau at…/ peak at…

stay flat/ flatten out

flatten out/ level off

stabilize/ remain stable

bottom out/ plateau

bounce back/ recover/ regain lost ground/ rebound/ be restored/ pick up (again)

change/ vary

dive/ plummet/ plunge/ crash/ collapse

drop/ fall/ decrease/ go down

fall/ fall back


rose by 20%/ rose to 20%

fluctuate between 10 and 20/ rise from 10 to 20


accelerate/ increase exponentially/ increase more (and more) quickly

decrease dramatically/ decrease rapidly

dip a little/ dip briefly

fall sharply/ fall slightly

remain steady/ rise steadily

increase at the same rate/ rise steadily


significant decline/ steady decline

considerable/ significant

be unstable/ fluctuate

remain constant/ remain stable/ stay flat/ stay at the same level


a peak/ (a new/ an all-time) high

a blip/ a dip


double and double again/ rise fourfold

rose by a third/ tripled

just over a third/ almost a third/ around (= approximately/ about) a third

just under a third/ almost a third/ nearly a third


it declined/ it had declined

it declined/ it has declined

it will shoot up/ it would shoot up

the rise caused…/ the rise was caused by…


an upward trend/ the upward trend

When things are different above, which is more likely to be useful in an academic setting?

Are there any phrases which you are really unlikely to be able to use?

Use as many phrases from above as you can to describe the graphs that your teacher gives you.

Use similar language to compare and contrast different lines on a graph, single lines at different times, and overall trends against shorter periods.


Trends and comparing/ contrasting

Phrases for talking about similarities and differences presentation and practice

Try to think of or remember at least two expressions for each of the spaces below. Some spaces have many more than two possibilities.


_________________________________________________________________ of them…

The _______________________________________________similarity between them is…

They are _________________________________________________________in that…

They are similar _______________________________________ (where they come from).

They have ____________________________________________________in common.

They share _____________________________________________________________,…

What _____________________________________________ them (_______________) is…

They are ________________________________________________________identical.

They are _____________________________________________________the same.

They are __________________________________________________________ similar.

_______________________ differences, they are similar in so much as…


They are ___________________________________________________________different.

A is ______________________________________________….er/ more…/ less… than B.

A is _____________________________________________________________ as… as B.

The ______________________________________________________________________ difference between A and B is…

A ____________________________________________________________________ difference between A and B is…

They are _________________________________________________________ opposites.

Check your answers with the worksheets above.

Homework One

Paste a line graph into a Word document and underneath write at least 200 words, including:

–       Description of the most important parts of the graph

–       Comparisons (e.g. between different parts of the graph or with different times, places or topics)

–       Reasons for and consequences of the trends

–       Future predictions

Homework Two

Write an essay of at least 200 words comparing and contrasting two things related to your area of interest, for example:

       Academic writing in two or more countries, e.g. British and American

       The ideas of two or more experts/ schools of experts

       The meanings of a term in two or more different areas

       The past and present consensus

       Two or more academic areas

       Two or more academic publications

       Two or more academic writing style guides

       Two or more causes for something

       Two or more consequences of something

       Two or more different processes

       Two or more government policies

       Two or more ideas of one person

       Two or more ideologies

       Two or more pieces of research (e.g. some qualitative and some quantitative research)

       Two or more related terms

       Two or more solutions to something

       Two or more theories/ explanations of something


PDF version for easy saving and printing: Trends and comparing contrasting

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