The following is part of a book that I guess is written by a non-native speaker because some parts of it do not sound natural to me. Can you please let me know if the marked words and the passage in general are academically correct?

The statistical data reveals an information regarding daily processor chip output. The horizontal axis shows the days ranging from Monday to Sunday, whereas, the vertical axis express the chips produced in thousands, and ranges from 0 to 18 thousand. According to the graph, the highest number of chips were produced on Friday, approximately, 18 thousand, whereas, the lowest were produced on Sunday. Apart from this, almost a similar number of chips were produced on Wednesday and Thursday. In conclusion, the company is closed on Sunday and very busy on Friday.


If the quoted text were from a formal written text, such as an academic paper, the following criticisms would apply. It turns out that the context is actually a simulated impromptu verbal description of a "PowerPoint slide", so some of these criticisms are not appropriate.

Most of the quoted paragraph is written in a formal style. If I were writing the paragraph, I would use a terser, slightly less formal style. It is possible that the author was trying to "pad the text" to achieve a high word count. (Many students writing academic essays do this, as do some journalists when they are in a hurry.)

To my (American) eye, there appear to be a few mistakes:

  1. There should not be a comma after either use of "whereas".
  2. There should not be a comma between "approximately" and "18 thousand".
  3. "18 thousand" should be either "18,000" or "eighteen thousand"
  4. "an information" should be "some information".
  5. "the vertical axis express" should be "the vertical axis expresses" or "the vertical axis shows".
  6. "the highest number of chips were produced on Friday" should be "the highest number of chips was produced on Friday" or "the most chips were produced on Friday".
  7. "the lowest were" should be "the lowest was" or "the least were" (parallel to the previous clause).
  8. "almost similar" is either redundant, or an oxymoron.
  9. "almost a similar number of chips were" should be "similar numbers of chips were" or "almost as many were".

The phrase "days ranging from Monday to Sunday" uses "to" to describe an "inclusive range". While this is an accepted usage, it is not a clear usage. (The reader might not realize that Monday and Sunday are both part of the range.) I would use "through" instead of "to". "Through" implies an inclusive range.

It turns out that the quoted paragraph is from a test-preparation guide, where the test is about providing an impromptu description of a "PowerPoint slide". The test-taker is supposed to take 25 seconds to review a chart, and speak for (up to) 40 seconds about the chart. Thus, "padding the speech" to "fill the time" is expected.

Of the previously listed criticisms:

  • Criticisms 1-3 are only applicable to written text. Someone listening to an audio sample would not notice any of these three issues.
  • Criticisms 4-5 are valid. A native speaker would be unlikely to make these mistakes. On the other hand, these mistakes are not worth correcting in a "real-life" "PowerPoint presentation".
  • Criticisms 6-9 are really only noticeable when the text is written out. A native speaker might well make these mistakes when speaking, and many members of the audience might not notice.
  • Thanks Jaser for you comprehensive answer. I particular the last to paragraph. I alway like to know what kind of mistake is recognized by native speaker instantly. – PHPst Jun 17 '17 at 8:26
  • so do you think the verb express is suitable for such context? I thing demonstrate, indicate, show, ... may suit better. – PHPst Jun 17 '17 at 8:28
  • @PHPst -- I would probably use "shows" instead of "expresses", but "expresses" is also correct. – Jasper Jun 17 '17 at 15:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.