Bulats language functions – comprendre les nombres

Language Functions refer to the different situations where we use language. Often, the meaning of expressions we use is not easy to understand from the words of the sentence. For example, a person could say ‘I see what you mean but …’ and the meaning of the sentence is ‘I understand what you are saying but my opinion is different.’

In BULATS, your knowledge of Language Functions will be tested. You will see examples of Language Functions in the Reading texts and you will hear people use them in the Listening audios. They are also important in the Writing Test and the Speaking Test. If you can understand the different nuances of meaning, you will improve your score.

This exercise will give you examples of typical expressions that are used to talk about numbers, trends and statistics effectively.

 

Precise numbers
0 Zero, nought, nil (sport only), oh (phone numbers only).
1 One.
2 Two, a couple, a pair.
6 Half a dozen.
12 A dozen.
20% A fifth, one in five, one out of every five.
25% A quarter, one in four, one out of every four.
33% A third, one in three, one out of every three.
50% A half (plural: halves) one in two, one out of every two.
2, 4, 6 … Even numbers.
1, 3, 5 … Odd numbers.
€22k “Twenty-two thousand euros.”
$3.5m “Three point five million dollars.”
£15bn “Fifteen billion pounds.”
Sentences with numbers
There are a couple of taxis available, so you won’t have to wait.
Our competitor is launching half a dozen new products at the trade show.
According to the survey, one in five of our customers want free delivery.
According to the survey, a quarter of our customers want free delivery.
According to the survey, one out of every three of our customers want free delivery.
In football each half lasts 45 minutes, so that’s 90 minutes for the two halves.
On the left-hand side of the street, you can houses with odd numbers.
A typical salary for this job is around €30k.
Calculations
10 + 2 = 12 Ten plus two equals twelve / Two added to ten equals twelve.
10 – 2 = 8 Ten minus two equals eight / Two subtracted from ten equals eight.
10 x 2 = 20 Ten times two equals twenty / Ten multiplied by two equals twenty.
10 2 = 5 Ten divided by two equals five.
Don’t forget to add sales tax to the invoice amount.
Don’t forget to subtract discount from the customer’s bill/invoice.
If we divide the $1000 bonus between the salesmen, they each get $500.
Profits increased from $3m to $6m, they doubled.
Profits increased from $3m to $9m, they tripled.
Profits increased from $3m to $12m, they quadrupled.
 
Vague numbers
More than one but less than ten. A small number, a handful, several, a few.
We expected at least a dozen people at the meeting, but only a few turned up.
I didn’t have any breakfast, I just had a handful of biscuits.
Your report is very interesting but I have several questions.
 
30% much less than 50%.
47% almost 50%, a little under 50%, slightly less than 50%, less than half.
48-52% around 50%, about 50%, approximately 50%, roughly 50%, somewhere in the region of 50%, 50% or so, more or less 50%.
50% exactly 50%, precisely 50%.
53% a little over 50%, slightly more than 50%, in excess of 50%, more than half.
70% considerably more than 50%, much more than 50%.
In the survey, only 12% of our customers expressed a preference, which is much less than a fifth.
Almost half of our customers want free delivery.
Precisely 60%, or six out of every ten of our customers want free delivery.
Roughly half, or 55% of our customers want free delivery.
75%, or three quarters of our customers want free delivery, considerably more than we expected.
75%, or the majority of our customers want free delivery.
Only a fifth of our customers want free delivery which is a small minority.
A tiny minority of our customers, just 5%, want free delivery.

 

Expressions and idioms
He’s earning a six-figure salary, around $150,000.
The money I owe you is €18.50, I’ve rounded it up to €20.
The total comes to £304.25, I’ve rounded it down to £300.
The total comes to £304.25, let’s call it £300.
£300 is a round number.
A rough estimate of the project cost is around $60,000.
$60,000 is a ball park figure for the project cost.
Our profits for the first three months of the year were up 5%.
Our profits for the first quarter were up 5%.
Our profits for Q1 were up 5%.
Our profits for the last six months of the year were up 10%.
Our profits for the second half of the year were up 10%.
Our profits for Q3 and Q4 were up 10%.
He will arrive between six and eight this evening.
He will arrive at seven this evening, give or take an hour.
Salesman A and salesman B achieved their targets so they both get a bonus.
Salesman A and salesman B didn’t achieve their targets so neither get a bonus.
I went on holiday for two weeks.
I went on a two-week holiday.
I went on holiday for a fortnight.
 

 

Describing graphs, charts and trends
As you can see from this graph (sales) are increasing.
On the graph, you will note (sales).
I’d like to show you this chart of (sales).
Let me draw your attention to this table.
Let’s look more closely at these figures.
This figure refers to (sales).
This chart shows (sales).
The table represents (sales).
 
Describing increase
+ (Sales) increased last year./There was an increase in sales last year.
+ (Sales) went up last year.
+ (Sales) rose last year/There was a rise in sales last year.
+ (Sales) grew last year.
+ There was a slight increase in (sales) last year./(Sales) increased slightly last year.
+ There was a small increase in (sales) last year.
+ There was an upward trend in (sales) last year.
++ There was a strong upward trend in (sales) last year.
++ There was a marked increase in (sales) last year.
++ There was a substantial increase in (sales) last year.
+++ There was a steep increase in (sales) last year./(Sales) increased steeply last year.
+++ There was a sharp increase in (sales) last year./(Sales) increased sharply last year.
+++ There was a dramatic increase in (sales)./(Sales) increased dramatically.
+++ (Sales) soared last year.
+++ (Sales) rocketed last year.
 
Describing decrease
(Sales) decreased last year./There was a decrease in sales.
(Sales) went down last year.
(Sales) fell last year./There was a fall in sales.
(Sales) dropped last year./There was a drop in sales.
There was a slight decrease in (sales) last year./(Sales) decreased slightly last year.
There was a small decrease in (sales) last year.
There was a downward trend in (sales) last year.
There was a strong downward trend in (sales) last year.
There was a marked decrease in (sales) last year.
There was a substantial decrease in (sales) last year.
There was a steep decrease in (sales) last year./(Sales) decreased steeply last year.
There was a sharp decrease in (sales) last year./(Sales) decreased sharply last year.
There was a dramatic decrease in (sales)./(Sales) decreased dramatically.
(Sales) plummeted last year.
 
Describing stability
= (Sales) fluctuated last year./There were some fluctuations in (sales) last year.
= There were some variations in (sales) last year.
= (Sales) stabilised last year.
= (Sales) levelled off last year.

To go further in your Bulats preparation, you can check out our Language Function summary, or choose one of the study sheets below.