Mediation: talking about data in graphs and charts- examples

(Updated 4.3.20)

These days lots of figures and data are being used in the media to refer to the scale of the pandemic. If you have to mediate this information for somebody else in English, you may need this vocabulary:

vocabulary to talk about charts, graphs and diagrams

Here are some examples taken from Spanish and British sources:

Download the slides in the video here

You can also read this article:

Click on the screenshot to read the annotated article


Or listen to these clips:

With the number of deaths in the UK rising sharply over the last 24 hours, testing of frontline NHS staff is to start next week. 

  • *frontline staff/workers:
  • *NHS: National Health Service (=Seguridad Social in Spain)
  • *is to start: is going to start

Tests to determine whether frontline NHS staff have coronavirus are expected to begin this weekend, following prolonged criticism from health workers. Staff who are found to be negative will be able to continue working as the number of patients continues to surge


The Government has set out plans to increase significantly the number of tests for coronavirus. The aim is to carry out 100,000 per day by the end of the month. 



Screenshot 2020-04-04 at 13.07.08

Two of the most commonly used terms these days are flatten the curve and reach the peak. You have some more information about them here (download the pdf file here).


Coronavirus in the news

Sadly, we are surrounded by news related to the coronavirus outbreak, which is having an effect on people’s health, obviously, but also on the economy, on jobs, even on the environment. Instead of writing a blog post every time I find something which might be relevant for students in terms of vocabulary, I thought I had better start a Google site. In it you can find extracts from radio shows with their transcripts as well as annotated articles. I will be updating it as the days (and the lockdown) go on.

[I originally started a Padlet, but in the end, for different reasons, I decided to swap to a Google site]

Click on the picture to visit the site

Listening- Bookclub (C2)

Listen to some short extracts from interviews with world-famous writers. Match each extract (1 – 6) with the best heading (A-H) and write the letter in the appropriate box. ONE of the headings does not correspond to any of the extracts. The first extract is an example. You can listen to the clips twice.

Words in the news: coronavirus, inversions, work

The coronavirus crisis is making headlines worldwide. Some of the language used to report it refers back to aspects we have discussed in class at some point in the year:

  1. Italy locked down to slow the spread of coronavirus- as mentioned in the report, documents allowing citizens to travel within Italy are now needed: 

The new reality is dawning in Italy. The heart of Europe has been quarantined with a blanket ban on gatherings and public venues closed, the toughest confinement measures since the war. Travel is prohibited without filling in a document showing urgent need or a return home, which we as everyone have to complete. We’d need to produce it if asked.

Well, this form will now allow me to be able to drive back to Rome. And it says here that falsifying this document could lead to prosecution. Never could people in Italy have conceived of the idea that they’d need this to be able to move within their own country.

2. Airlines cancel thousands of flights:

The extent to which airlines are struggling is becoming clear. B.A. has emailed all of its staff asking people to volunteer for unpaid leave. Norwegian Air has said it will cut 15 percent of its global schedule for a month, while some staff will be temporarily laid off. The German giant Lufthansa has already said it will cut up to half of its flights during the coming weeks. Anyone booked on a flight which is canceled is eligible for a full refund.


Words in the news: cut-throat

Flybe, a low-cost regional airline in the UK, has collapsed into administration. The coronavirus crisis has apparently added increased pressure to an already precarious financial situation.

In this news report you can hear the expression ‘cut-throat’ world: typically associated with business, where competition is strong, and sometimes, ruthless.

In the cut-throat world of budget airlines, where competition is intense and costs are cut to the bone, Flybe was a relatively small player. It carried around 8 million passengers a year, far fewer than the likes of easyJet or Ryanair. Its importance lay in the routes it served, offering regional connections from airports in places like Newquay, Belfast, Inverness and the Isle of Man.


More information:

Related expressions:

Words in the news: US elections-endorse

Listen to this extract from the news about Super Tuesday 2020, the day when a great number of US states have held primary elections. You can find the verb to endorse and the noun endorsement in the report. To endorse means to make a public statement of your approval or support for something or someone.

You can also pay attention to other interesting expressions:


INTRO: Voting is underway in the United States on Super Tuesday, the most significant day in the race to select a Democratic candidate to take on Donald Trump in November’s presidential election. Polls are taking place in 14 states, the results of which should give greater clarity as to who will win the Democratic nomination. The frontrunner remains the Vermont Senator, Bernie Sanders, but as our North America correspondent Nick Bryant reports, the former vice president, Joe Biden, has been given a boost by endorsements from former rivals.

POLITICIAN: It’s time to get Joe Biden, the next president of the United States of America, Joe Biden.

REPORTER: Super Tuesday is when the primary season goes nationwide, with contests from Maine to California, from Texas to Tennessee. The aim is for the candidates to amass delegates to back them. And a third of them are up for grabs today.

A lopsided victory in South Carolina over the weekend for Joe Biden has not just revived his campaign, but reset the race. His moderate rivals, Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar, have suspended their campaigns and endorsed his candidacy, largely in an attempt to stop Bernie Sanders from winning the presidential nomination.

Words in the news: inversions (Tokyo 2020 and the new coronavirus)

Listen to this extract from the news about the potential impact of the new coronavirus on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games:

Discussions over the coronavirus outbreak dominated the first morning of a scheduled two-day meeting at Olympic headquarters. Japan’s Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto has hinted that the Games could be moved until later in the year. But the IOC president, Thomas Bach, said he was fully committed to staging a successful event, which starts on July the 24th. The IOC is seemingly reluctant to speculate on possible deadlines should the disease continue to spread.

As you will remember, the use of this inversion (should the disease continue to spread) is an alternative to an ordinary second conditional clause (if the disease continued to spread). By using the inversion, the speaker aims to emphasise that remote possibility in the context of the sentence. (More about inversions for emphasis here).