Describing a table

Describing a table

Learn how to summarise information in a table and write a report on the main features.

Do the preparation task first. Then read the text and tips and do the exercises.


Reading text

The table below gives information about some of the world's most studied languages. Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

Language Number of people learning the language Number of native speakers Number of countries where the language is spoken
English 1.5 billion 527 million 101
French 82 million 118 million 51
Chinese 30 million 1.39 billion 33
Spanish 14.5 million 389 million 31
Italian 8 million 67 million 29
Japanese 3 million 123 million 25

The table illustrates some interesting facts about some of the world's most popular languages to learn. It allows comparisons between the number of people who study a language versus those who speak it as a mother tongue, and shows how many countries have speakers of each of the languages.

The prominence of English is striking. 1.5 billion people are learning English compared to only 82 million studying the second most popular language to learn, French. English is spoken in 101 countries, roughly twice as many as French and three times more than Chinese. English is the only language with more learners than native speakers.

In terms of native speakers, Chinese is the most spoken language, more than double English with 1.39 billion. It is the third most popular language to learn with 30 million learners. Spanish has over five times more native speakers than Italian, but proportionally fewer learners at 14.5 million for Spanish and 8 million for Italian. As for Japanese, it is the least studied language of those given with 3 million learners.

Overall, more people are learning English than the other languages combined and English is spoken in the highest number of countries. However, Chinese has by far the greatest number of native speakers. There seems to be little correlation between how many native speakers there are of a language and the number of learners, but there is a stronger link between the number of learners and how many countries have speakers.

Please note: This page was designed for writing practice only. Information and statistics in the table may not be accurate.


  1. Start by saying what information is shown. If you are writing in an exam, try to avoid repeating the same wording as the question, e.g. The table illustrates some interesting facts about some of the world's most popular languages to learn.
  2. In the second paragraph give an overview of the most important features of the information.
  3. Be selective and choose the key observations and trends. You don't have to write about every single detail.
  4. Divide your observations into paragraphs about different aspects of the data. A concluding paragraph is not always necessary.
  5. Don't use your own general knowledge to give reasons for the data or to add more information than is shown. The question only requires you to summarise and report the data in the table.
  6. Use a variety of structures for:
  • making comparisons, e.g. slightly more than, by far the highest, as … as, compared to, double the number of, correlation between
  • approximating, e.g. nearly, roughly, almost
  • stating what you are referring to, e.g. in terms of … , as for … , of those given.

Task 1

Task 2

Task 3


Worksheet112.91 KB

Language level

Average: 4.4 (10 votes)
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Submitted by Rita25 on Tue, 29/11/2022 - 02:16


I've always been eager to learn different languages, I was born and raised in a country where there's a great diversity in minority languages, Apart from my mother tongue and our country's national language which I can both speak fluently, I can speak English as well with great confidence.

I would love to learn Spanish and be able to have a conversation with native speakers. In fact Its unique feature and complicated sentence structure is certainly worth studying for. Moreover, Spanish musical style appeals so much to me beacuse of its rhythmic beats and catchy upbeat vibes. It goes without saying Spanish is indeed an influential language. It's worth learning for.

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Submitted by Hennadii on Mon, 20/12/2021 - 14:24


Well, not that I'm a fancу to learn languages but I now I can speak in four of them. On a different level of course but anyway it's a good achievement I might say.
If we talk about what specific languages I learn (not to mention my mother tongue) there is, first of all, the Ukrainian language. Not the hardest for me to learn and I really like it. It's so melodic and quite authentic. Especially, the folk songs.
The second language I learn is English. And this is a much more tough experience for me. English is a strange language - minimum rules, looks simple but exceptions and phrasal verbs - they are really shocking. Honestly, why do complicate things so much? Why does the very same group of letters read in different ways?
Anyway, I like this language and love learning it, for sure.
And the last one, and still less learned is Polish. It's quite correlated with Ukrainian and not too hard to learn (at least for those who know any other Slavic language) but also has its own difficulties.

Submitted by Heiitsme on Fri, 22/01/2021 - 08:20

hola! its too esasy. i gott al rigt

Submitted by Ugulhan on Mon, 12/10/2020 - 14:23

If I am 100 percent confident and fluent in English, then I would like to learn the Arabic language. In-home I was raised up Russian and Uzbek Languages, and then later English. But in my career path is the most useful language would be English. I am in high respect for English-speaking countries.

Submitted by Phoin Lawi on Wed, 19/08/2020 - 10:49

Please help me to start learning english!

Submitted by Phoin Lawi on Wed, 19/08/2020 - 10:48

I want to do IELTS for CSC Scholarship and according to a guide IELTS is required in top Universities of China But, I do not know where I should start, plz help me
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Submitted by OlaIELTS on Sun, 24/05/2020 - 16:52

I would like to learn French apart from English.
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Submitted by Magedelabd on Sun, 17/05/2020 - 22:32

I would like to learn German language beside the English. Because Germany os a great country to visit , study and live.