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IELTS Preparation Series 1, Episode 3: Company Growth


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0:02

Hello. I'm Margot Politis. Welcome to Study English, IELTS preparation.

0:20

Today we're going to talk about businesses, and different ways to discuss economic information.

0:27

We're going to listen to an interview with the head of a large clothing company.

0:32

Then we're going to look at how he describes the success of his company.

0:37

Here's Derek O'Neill.

0:39

Well, we've said before that we've had consistent growth over the last four to five years. We've

0:45

delivered EPS growth in excess of 20% over the last three years. You know, growing earnings

0:51

at 25, 30, 35% forever becomes impossible. I think we end up owning US GDP in about 2023

0:59

with 25% growth.

1:01

We've registered that 15 per cent is our plan and we think that's a good target.

1:05

We're very happy with our level of sales. We grew sales in the US in girls' wear at

1:11

50 per cent and we think that's a fantastic performance, so we'll stand by those numbers.

1:15

We've had solid momentum in that market for four or five years and we expect that momentum's

1:19

going to continue.

1:20

OK. So today we're going look at the language of description, particularly describing economic

1:28

information.

1:29

In formal academic writing, it's important to use impersonal, objective language when

1:36

describing things.

1:38

Notice that in the interview, Derek O'Neill often begins his sentences with We've, short

1:44

for we have.

1:46

Using phrases like I've or we've is very common in spoken English.

1:52

Well, we've said before that we've had consistent growth over the last four to five years. We've

1:58

delivered EPS growth in excess of 20% over the last three years.

2:02

He says: We've had consistent growth.

2:06

We've delivered growth in excess of 20 per cent.

2:10

We've had solid momentum in that market.

2:14

How would you turn these sentences into more formal descriptions?

2:18

Take the first sentence: we've had consistent growth.

2:23

Generally the first person forms of I and we are not used in more formal writing, or

2:29

when describing economic data.

2:33

We'd use an objective form: there is, there are,

2:38

there has been, or there will be.

2:41

So, "We've had consistent growth," becomes, "There has been consistent growth."

2:49

Look at this one: We've delivered growth of 20%.

2:55

That becomes: There has been growth of 20%.

3:00

Now listen to him again.

3:01

We've had solid momentum in that market for four or five years and we expect that momentum's

3:06

going to continue.

3:08

He said: We've had solid momentum.

3:12

We expect that momentum is going to continue.

3:16

We've had, we expect.

3:19

How could you write that information in a formal way?

3:23

We've had solid momentum. There has been solid momentum.

3:30

We expect that momentum is going to continue. It is expected that momentum is going to continue.

3:38

So looking for the use of the first person is a good way to tell whether someone is discussing

3:44

information in a formal or informal way.

3:52

You should remember that in an academic context, you always need to include evidence to support

3:58

your opinions or descriptions.

4:01

You should try to always include data to explain and support what you're saying.

4:06

Data is information, especially facts and figures - numbers, percentages, and dates.

4:15

In formal language, you need to include data to support your arguments.

4:21

Listen to the data Derek uses.

4:24

We've delivered EPS growth in excess of 20% over the last three years. You know, growing

4:29

earnings at 25, 30, 35 per cent forever becomes impossible. I think we end up owning US GDP

4:37

in about 2023 with 25% growth.

4:40

We've registered that 15% is our plan and we think that's a good target.

4:45

He mentions a variety of facts and numbers, but he also describes how the data has changed

4:51

- that is, the degree or type of change.

4:56

To describe data, there is a variety of word choices.

5:00

You can use both adjectives and adverbs - words that describe.

5:07

Of course, adjectives describe things, and adverbs describe actions.

5:14

So you'll need both nouns and verbs for your descriptions.

5:18

For example, you might use nouns like the rise, the increase, or the growth.

5:25

Listen to Derek again.

5:28

Well, we've said before that we've had consistent growth over the last four to five years.

5:34

They've had consistent growth.

5:37

He uses an adjective, consistent, with a noun, growth.

5:42

Let's look at a table.

5:46

To describe numbers going up, we can use nouns like the rise, the increase, or the growth.

5:55

And to describe numbers going down, we can use the drop, the decrease.

6:02

Then we've got adjectives to describe those nouns - like rapid, slow,

6:08

slight, dramatic, sudden or consistent.

6:14

And we can put these together: a sudden rise, a slight decrease,

6:20

a sudden drop, a consistent growth.

6:24

But, there's another way of describing these changes.

6:28

We can use verbs and adverbs.

6:31

Many nouns like the rise, the increase, the growth can be used as verbs:

6:39

to rise to increase

6:41

to grow to drop

6:44

to decrease

6:46

And many adjectives can become adverbs - rapidly

6:51

slowly slightly

6:54

dramatically suddenly

6:56

consistently

6:59

By using these new words, we can describe data by using verbs and adverbs.

7:05

We can say to rise suddenly, to decrease slightly, to drop suddenly, to grow consistently.

7:16

So look how these phrases change: a sudden rise, becomes to rise suddenly

7:23

a slight decrease, to decrease slightly

7:28

a sudden drop, to drop suddenly

7:32

And look at how sentences can be changed to fit these different phrases:

7:38

It has grown consistently There has been consistent growth.

7:45

It's important to always use a variety in your written work. Sometimes use verbs and

7:50

adverbs to describe data, and sometimes use adjectives and nouns. It will make your English

7:56

sound much better.

7:57

OK, listen to the clip again, and then we'll try to put together all the things we've looked

8:03

at today. Listen for personal descriptions, simple verbs, and descriptions of data.

8:11

Well, we've said before that we've had consistent growth over the last four to five years. We've

8:17

delivered EPS growth in excess of 20% over the last three years.

8:21

We've registered that 15% is our plan and we think that's a good target.

8:25

We're very happy with our level of sales. We grew sales in the US in girls' wear at

8:29

50% and we think that's a fantastic performance.

8:33

He finishes by commenting on the data, and its significance for the company.

8:38

OK, let's go back over the steps we've looked at today.

8:43

When you're making an argument, it's important to support your case - you must include data

8:49

or facts.

8:51

Make sure you discuss this data - use objective, impersonal language.

8:58

Describe changes to data by using a variety of noun/adjective, and verb/adverb combinations.

9:05

And finally, comment on the data, using formal objective language.

9:12

And that's all for Study English today. Don't forget to keep reading, writing, speaking

9:18

and listening to English as much as you can. And why not try to rewrite some conversational

9:24

English into more formal academic styles.

9:28

I'll see you next time for more IELTS preparation. Bye.

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