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# Describe a Bar Chart http://foxhugh.wordpress.

com/charts/describe-bar-charts/ Describing Bar Charts and Column Charts (1) Bar charts and column charts are similar: only their orientations differ. A bar chart is orientated horizontally, whereas a column chart is arranged vertically. Sometimes "bar chart" refers to both forms. These types of charts are usually used for comparison purposes (unlike line charts, which describe change). Observe the following chart :

It shows the populations of various European countries in the year 2007. The populations are only for one year, 2007, and so we cannot make any comments about change in population: we can only compare one county with another. When you write about a bar or column chart it is important to look first at the Chart Title. This tells you what information the chart displays and you can use this information in your description. Then look at the X and Y axes. The titles of these axes sometimes give you information you can use in your description. It is important also to look at the UNITS. On the Y-axis in this chart the units are millions. The population of Belgium in 2007 was not 10, but 10 million people. Bar and column charts show similarities and differences. When describing these charts you need to make comparisons. You also need to group together any columns which have broad similarities.

To signal comparison and contrast within a sentence you can use the following conjunctions: as ....... as, not as ......... as, not so ........ as, whereas, but, while, although To signal comparison and contrast between sentences you can use the following words and phrases: Describing Bar Charts and Column Charts (2) Bar charts and column charts are often used to make multiple comparisons.

It shows the populations of major European countries in the years 1996 and 2007. In this case we can make two sets of comparisons. We can look at the change in population from 1996 to 2007 for each country, and we can compare the populations of the various countries in each year. Look at the Y axis. You can see that it starts at 30, not zero. Sometimes charts are formatted like this in order to make the differences more obvious. To see a comparison, see the next page. In general, when describing a chart of this type, you should describe the most important change first. Then you can compare individual items (in this case, countries). The most important information on this chart is that in all countries, except Poland, the population increased from 1996 to 2007. Now you can compare individual countries and you can compare two things: You can compare sizes of populations and you can compare the change in populations from 1996 to 2007. We'll concentrate on the change in population.

You can compare the largest change and the smallest change: The largest change was in Turkey, where the population rose from about 62 to about 73 million, whereas the smallest increase was in Germany where the population of nearly 82 million rose by half a million. Spain also had a fairly large increase from 39.4 million to 44.5 million. It is important to mention any exceptions to the changes you describe. In this case, the exception is Poland where the population fell very slightly in the period described.

Describing Bar Charts and Column Charts (3) It is important to look at the axes of graphs and charts

## Observe the following charts:

These two charts show EXACTLY the same information. However, it is easier to see the differences in the first chart because the Y axis starts at 30, not zero. Sometimes charts are formatted like this in order to make the differences more obvious.