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A summary of a line graph

Learn how to describe a line graph.

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

Reading text

The graph below shows how people buy music. Summarise the information by selecting and reporting the main features, and make comparisons where relevant.

The graph illustrates trends in music buying habits between 2011 and 2018. It presents three different methods: streaming, downloading and buying CDs.

Overall, both downloads and physical sales of music have steadily declined. The latter has slumped since 2011, while the downturn for the former began in 2014. However, there has been a sharp rise in people streaming music since 2013.

In 2011, the majority of music sales were of CDs, at 55% of all sales. In contrast, streaming was not common at all at only 5%. Also, although people had started to download music, it only represented 35% of sales. As sales of CDs began to fall, downloads started to rise. They rose steadily and downloads overtook physical sales in mid-2013. During the same period, streaming doubled to 10% but then it started to grow more dramatically.

Downloads peaked in 2014 at about 43% of sales but fell to 30% by 2018. This was slightly higher than physical sales, which shrank to 25%. Streaming, on the other hand, overtook both of them and accounted for just over 40% of sales in 2018.

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


  1. Change the words in the question to introduce your answer, e.g. This graph shows = This graph illustrates.
  2. The second paragraph should give an overview of the main points the graph shows (imagine you're describing the results to someone who can't see the graph).
  3. The following paragraphs should describe the main patterns or trends in more detail.
  4. Use precise vocabulary like steadily declined and a sharp increase to describe trends. Use linking expressions like while and in contrast to make comparisons.
  5. The question asks you only to 'Summarise the information'. Don't give reasons why these trends might have occurred, or your personal preferences on the topic.



Language level

Upper intermediate: B2


In the last ten years I kept on buying CD, because I prefer these in place of the streams or the downloads. Perhaps I have remained behind, considering my age, but sometimes the old things become fashionable again, as the vinyl discs, which are achieving resounding success.

Really, I have bought so few music a log my life. Using my memory, I bought just 5 Cd’s in my entire life. In contrast, I have not bought stream music while download music I had a peak in my University time.

I think that if people want to listen to music then they would use an online music platform or you-tube for downloading music. This has been gradually increased over the last five to ten years. Right now, People would not like to listen to retro style music such as CD or other types of old recording. They are going to catch online and find out their favourite music with one click. That is a new cut-technology centre.

Hello , Jonathan R
I would to thank you, I got your advice about notebook ..
and i understand your explaining that includes simple examples for streaming.
thanks a lot

Hi Razan Mahairy,

That's great :) Try using a notebook, and let us know if it works for you or if you find any other good ways to learn vocabulary.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks for sharing such kind information.
Might you please explain more about the number as you mentioned in the paragraph.
1- sales but fell to 30% by 2018. Why using "to" with percentage and "by" with the year.
2- for just over 40% of sales in 2018.

Hello mxoubi0,

Mostly, this is just how we speak about these numbers. We use 'fall to' + a number to speak about a decrease in a value, not just percentages. If you follow the link and perform a search on that page for 'fell to', you will multiple examples of this and other uses.

One of the common meanings of 'by' is to indicate 'before' -- follow the link and look for entry 1.8. 'just over' means 'a little bit more than', so the number here could be, for example, 41 or 42%.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

I think the writer shall use had + been instead of using has+ been in the below statements
However, there has been a sharp rise in people streaming music since 2013.

Hello mxoubi0,

I'm afraid that's not correct, though it would be correct to use 'was' instead of 'has been'. 

I'd suggest you have a look at our explanations of the present perfect and the past perfect ('had been'). If it still doesn't make sense to you after that, please feel free to ask us about this again.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks again for the explanation.
So the writer could say that: However, there had been sharply rising in people streaming music since 2013.
Am I correct.