WRITING

# How to Write a Report About a Graph

Sometimes in proficiency exams like IELTS, TOEFL, or Cambridge, you may be asked to describe a graph. But what exactly is a graph?

A graph is a visual representation of data or information. It helps us understand and analyze different trends, patterns, or comparisons in a clear and organized way.

In these exams, you may come across various types of graphs that you’ll need to describe. Let’s take a look at some common types of graphs:

When you talk about graphs in these exams, it’s important to give a clear and short summary of the main things you see.

It’s good to learn how to describe graphs because it helps you understand and explain information better. You can use this skill to study and share data in your writing.

Here you have the basic guidelines to write a report to describe a graph:

## What is a report describing a graph?

A report describing a graph is a way to explain and share information about a graph you see. A graph is a picture that shows data or information in a clear and organized way.

When you write a report about a graph, you look at the different parts of the graph and describe what you see. You talk about the important points, like the highest or lowest values, the trends or patterns you notice, or any comparisons between different parts of the graph.

Writing a report describing a graph helps you understand and communicate the information in the graph to others. It’s like telling a story about the graph and what it shows.

## Parts of a report describing a graph

### 1 Introduction

• Start by explaining what the survey is about, who did it, and when.

Example: “This report tells us about a survey on [topic].

• Use the passive to do this:

Example: The survey was done in [month/ year]/ by [organization/ person]

### 2 Main findings

• Begin with the most important discovery in the first sentence.

Example: “The most important thing we learned from the survey is that [state the discovery].”

• Use numbers and facts to support your main finding. Use words like “but,” “different,” or “compared to” to talk about contrasting information.
• If there is more than one topic or discovery, talk about each one in a different paragraph.
• Use words like “but,” “different,” or “while” to show contrasting information.
• Use simple words and phrases like “most people,” “almost two-thirds,” or “a lot” to describe numbers.

### Conclusion

• Explain what you think the survey results mean using phrases like “show,” “seem,” or “tell us.”

Example: “The survey results show that [interpretation of findings].”

• Give a suggestion or advice based on the survey results.

Example: “From these findings, it would be a good idea to [suggested action].”

Now that you know the parts of a report and the steps to follow, let’s see a report sample for the IELTS, TOEFL, Cambridge or Duolingo tests

Survey Question: How many hours per week do you spend following the news?

Results:

## Pro tips for writing reports

Make sure that you:

• wrote a title that shows what the report is about
• divided the report into clear paragraphs with subheadings
• did NOT use contractions or informal words
• Used connectors and formulaic expressions (useful language)
• Used the correct verb tenses, word forms and punctuation

## Practice time

You have been asked to write a report about a media survey.

Look at the following chart.

WRITING

# Don’t Make These Writing Mistakes – Tips for English Learners

As a high-intermediate English learner, you’ve likely already gained a lot of proficiency in the language. However, there are still some common writing mistakes that can prevent you from reaching your full potential. Here are five of the most common writing mistakes made by high-intermediate English learners, along with some tips on how to avoid them.

## 1. Using the wrong verb tense

One of the most common mistakes that English learners make is using the wrong verb tense. This can happen for a number of reasons, including confusion about the rules for each tense, or simply not having enough practice using them. To avoid this mistake, take the time to review the different verb tenses and their uses, and try to practice using them in context as much as possible.

Example:

Wrong: Last night, I see a movie with my friends.

Correct: Last night, I saw a movie with my friends.

In this example, the incorrect verb tense is “see”. The past tense of “see” is “saw”. To correct the sentence, we need to use the past tense of the verb “see”, which is “saw”. So the correct sentence is “Last night, I saw a movie with my friends”.

Remember, in English, the verb tense must match the time period you are describing. By paying attention to the verb tense you are using, you can avoid common errors and communicate more effectively in English.

Review and practice verb tenses 👇

## 2. Misusing articles

Another common mistake made by English learners is misusing articles (i.e. “a”, “an”, and “the”). This can happen when learners are unsure about whether to use a definite or indefinite article or when they simply forget to include an article altogether. To avoid this mistake, try to pay close attention to the way that articles are used in English, and practice using them in your writing.

## 3. Failing to use subject-verb agreement

Subject-verb agreement is another important aspect of English grammar that many learners struggle with. This mistake can occur when learners don’t understand the rules for matching the subject and verb in a sentence, or when they don’t pay enough attention to the subject-verb agreement when writing. To avoid this mistake, practice using subject-verb agreement in your writing and seek feedback from your English teacher or language tutors.

## 4. Poor sentence structure

This can include writing super long and confusing sentences, incomplete sentences, and incorrect use of punctuation. To avoid these mistakes, focus on writing clear, concise sentences and review punctuation rules regularly.

One of the best ways to improve sentence structure is to read extensively in English. This will expose you to a wide variety of sentence structures, and help you develop a better sense of how sentences are constructed.

If you struggle with long and complicated sentences, try breaking them down into shorter sentences. This will make your writing easier to read and understand.

## 5. Lack of coherence

Coherence refers to the logical flow of ideas in a piece of writing. High-intermediate English learners often struggle with this, as they may have difficulty connecting ideas or organizing their thoughts. To improve coherence, make an outline before you start writing, and use transitions and linking words to connect your ideas.

Click to access coherence.pdf

WRITING

# How to Write a Movie Review

For the B2 FCE Cambridge exam

A movie review is an informal piece of writing that describes and evaluates a movie. Movie reviews are usually written by experts giving their opinion about the movie and published in newspapers, magazines, or blogs.

## 1. Title

This should include the movie title and an eye-catching heading

## 2. Introduction

This paragraph should include the name of the movie, the genre, the director, the stars and any prizes they have won. You can also include information about the place and the time the movie is set and filmed. The purpose of this paragraph is that you engage the reader and give them a general idea of the type of movie you are going to review.

## 3. Summary

This part should include an outline of the main events along with general information about the characters and the plot. Your summary should NOT spoil the film. Therefore, you should not mention anything about the ending of the movie.

## 4. Analysis

In this section you should share your opinion about the movie. Your review should examine the plot, the actors, the special effects and the soundtrack. You can also compare the movie you are reviewing to a similar film in the same genre. In this section you can also give examples of the good elements and the bad elements in the movie.

## 5. Conclusion

In this part you should summarize your thoughts on the good and bad elements of the movie. Finally, you should evaluate the movie (give stars ⭐⭐⭐, thumbs up 👍 or thumbs down 👎) and make a recommendation. You should mention why you recommend/ don’t recommend the movie.

Now that you know which parts should be included in a movie review 🎞️🍿, let’s see an example:

## Useful language to describe movies

### Movie genre

• an action movie
• an animated movie
• a drama
• a historical movie
• a horror movie
• a musical
• a romantic comedy
• a science fiction movie
• a thriller
• a war movie
• a western

### People and things in movies

• audience
• cast
• cinematography
• extra
• plot
• review
• scene
• script
• sequel
• soundtrack
• special effects
• star
• subtitles

### Verbs and phrases

• It was directed by …
• It was written by…
• It was dubbed into [languge]
• The movie explores themes of …
• The movie shows…
• [Actor] played the part/role of [character]
• It is set in…
• It is based on the book…
• It was shot on location in [city]
• One of the main storylines is…
• It stars…
• In the end…
• My favourite scene is…
• I strongly recommend the movie because…

## Pro tips for writing a movie review

• Remember to write the movie’s title.
• Remember to mention the genre of the movie.
• Don’t forget the audience. Who is the movie for?
• Don’t forget to include the names of the characters, the year the movie was made and if the movie or the actors have won any awards (For example, an Oscar, a Golden Globe, an MTV Movie Award, etc).
• Never ever mention the ending!!! You don’t want to spoil the movie.

## Time to practice

You see this announcement in your English school magazine.

Type your answer in the box below, and I’ll give you personalized feedback.

WRITING

# Writing tips for Spanish speakers

5 minutes

(En español 🇪🇸)

Si tienes dificultades para escribir de forma coherente en inglés, quizás el problema sea que también tengas problemas para escribir correctamente en español.

Algunas de las causas de este problema pueden ser:

• Falta de vocabulario: desconoces los sinónimos y antónimos de las palabras.
• Desconocimiento de la gramática básica: no sabes las conjugaciones básicas ni en qué contextos utilizarlas. No sabes como expresar la misma idea usando diferentes estructuras gramaticales. Tampoco sabes distinguir entre diferentes grupos de palabras, por ejemplo: sustantivos, verbos, adjetivos, adverbios, artículos y preposiciones.
• Desconoces las reglas básicas de puntuación: no sabes como estructurar una oración simple ni como conectar tus ideas de forma coherente en un párrafo. Tampoco sabes como usar conectores para hilar tus ideas de forma fluida.

### Al extrapolar estas deficiencias al inglés, entonces terminas escribiendo frases muy largas e incoherentes que son muy difíciles de entender.

Un consejo que quizás suene aburrido, es que estudies un poquito de gramática básica en español. No tienes que volverte experto en gramática, pero si saber lo más básico.

Otro consejo que también es de gran ayuda es la lectura. ¡LEE! Generalmente un buen lector, también es un buen escritor. Mientras más leas, más variedad de recursos léxicos (frases, palabras, expresiones) tendrás. Al mismo tiempo, tu cerebro aprenderá de forma natural a organizar y categorizar ideas y pensamientos.

### Uno de los errores más comunes al escribir en español es el uso excesivo de las comas.

Veamos el siguiente ejemplo tomado del blog de Diana P. Morales, escritora española y ganadora del premio Ignotus 2020.

### EL LABERINTO DE LAS COMAS

“Aquel era un bonito día de primavera, uno de esos  en los que apetece salir a pasear y  gozar del placer que te brinda la naturaleza, Laura viendo todo esto desde la ventana de su habitación  decidió salir a dar un paseo, poniéndose un calzado, cómodo, salió a la calle dispuesta a caminar por los senderos del monte, contenta, feliz, pensando en sus cosas, el día se estaba terminando, ella seguía caminando sin darse cuenta de las horas que pasaban”

Vamos a analizar por qué este texto es confuso y difícil de leer:

1. Las frases son muy largas.
2. No se puede distinguir en dónde comienza una idea y en dónde termina.
3. Este párrafo tiene muchas ideas, pero están todas mezcladas en un solo párrafo.
4. Este párrafo tiene muchísimas comas.

## Truquitos para evitar este error:

Un consejo para darnos cuenta si la información que hemos incluido en un párrafo es confusa, es que leas en voz alta el párrafo. Debes dar una pausa muy breve para las comas y una pausa mucho más larga para los puntos.

También podemos pedirle a otra persona que lea el texto en voz alta, así nos podremos dar cuenta si nuestras ideas son coherentes y si hemos usado los signos de puntuación correctos.

## ¿Cómo usar las comas (,) de forma correcta?

Ahora brevemente te explicaré como usar las comas de forma adecuada en español (secreto: el uso de la coma es muy similar en inglés, aunque hay algunos casos un poquito diferentes). Las comas se utilizan para separar frases y hacer pequeñas pausas en una oración o párrafo.

Una frase u oración es un conjunto de palabras que tienen un sentido lógico y están compuestas de:

• Un sujeto ( el que realiza la acción)
• Un verbo (la acción realizada)
• Un complemento (es opcional ). Puede ser:
• un objeto directo (¿qué?)
• un objeto indirecto (¿a quién?)
• un adverbio de lugar y tiempo

Podemos combinar varias frases (oraciones) entre sí para formar una oración compleja. Para poderlo hacer necesitamos un nexo que puede ser:

• Una conjunción: Palabra que se utiliza para unir dos o más partes de una oración o dos o más oraciones. Ejemplo: María estudiaba mientras su madre cocinaba
• Una coma (,): María estudiaba, su madre cocinaba y sus hermanos jugaban en el patio.

NOTA: La coma se usa solamente para separar ideas que ocurren al mismo tiempo. (He ahí la importancia de saber un poquito de gramática y tiempos verbales). Un error muy común que cometen los estudiantes es usar comas para separar ideas que ocurren en tiempos diferentes.

Ejemplo: María estudiaba, su hermano fue al parque, su madre lava la ropa, son una familia feliz.

## Truquitos para evitar este error:

### 1. Reemplazar las comas por conjunciones

Si tienes duda si poner una coma o no, intenta remplazar la coma por una conjunción (y, mientras, ni etc.)

Ejemplo: María estudiaba mientras su hermano fue al parque y su madre lava la ropa y son una familia feliz.

Como te puedes dar cuenta, la oración anterior es incoherente. Es decir, carece de sentido y es muy confusa.

Si la coma no se puede sustituir por una conjunción, entonces será necesario que reestructures tus oraciones.

### 2. Usar frases breves

• Las frases breves son claras y concisas. Evitan la confusión.
• Las frases breves llaman la atención y son fáciles de leer.

Una vez que hayas dominado la escritura de frases breves, notarás que poco a poco podrás escribir frases más largas que sean elocuentes y muy interesantes.

Aquí te comparto un ejemplo ilustrativo sobre como suena un párrafo compuesto solo de frases breves y otro que tiene una combinación de frases breves y frases largas pero coherentes.

WRITING

# How to write a report for the B2 (FCE) test

for B2 Cambridge First

A report is another piece of formal writing. It is based on facts (you’ll probably have to invent those ‘facts’ for the exam, and that’s okay). By writing a good report in English you will demonstrate that you can organize and communicate factual information using a formal tone. As with other pieces of formal writing (for example, essays, formal emails, articles, etc.), there is a special format used to write reports in English.

##### Parts of an English report
###### 1. Title

This part will give the reader a general idea of the topic of your report.

Make sure that you follow the capitalization rules for titles. You can find more information about how to write titles in English here.

###### 2. Introduction

In this section, you should state clearly the purpose of your report and what information you are going to include.

Try to paraphrase (use your own words) to write the information given in the instructions.

###### 3. Topic points

In these paragraphs, you will give most of the information and details of your report. It should be factual and clear. It shouldn’t sound like a story or like a novel.

You should write at least 2 topic points. One topic point per paragraph. Each paragraph must contain a topic sentence.

###### What is a topic sentence?

A topic sentence is a sentence that includes the main point (idea) of a paragraph. It has the information that readers need to understand what is the most important point in the paragraph.

The topic sentences guide readers and protect them from confusion. They usually appear at the beginning of each paragraph.

This is the last part of the report. You need to finish it up by writing your recommendations. You must base your recommendation on the facts that you wrote in the topic paragraphs.

Make sure that your recommendations are well-connected with the topic points that you wrote in the previous paragraphs.

##### Steps to writing a report

Step 1: Make a plan

Step 2: Write it

Step 3: Check it

Now that you know the parts of a report and the steps to follow, let’s see an article sample for the B2 (FCE) Cambridge writing test.

##### Useful language

For the introduction:

• This report describes…
• This report is based on …
• The purpose of this report is to …

For the topic points:

• Currently …
• To begin with …
• It appears that …
• It seems that …
• In general/ Generally speaking
• It is generally believed that …
• almost always/ nearly always
• Most/ The majority of + noun
• noun + tend to be + adjective

• All things considered …
• Based on the findings of this report I recommend/ suggest + verb-ing
• I would recommend/ suggest + verb-ing
• Although both… I think that …
• It would be advisable that …
##### Pro tips for writing reports

Make sure that you:

• wrote a title that shows what the report is about
• divided the report into clear paragraphs with subheadings
• answered all the parts of the question
• did NOT use contractions or informal words
• Used connectors and formulaic expressions (useful language)

WRITING

# How to Write an Article for the Cambridge B1 Preliminary (PET)

An article is an informal/ neutral piece of writing that is written for a specific audience. The purpose of an article is to share an opinion, or knowledge on a particular topic, or offer suggestions and pieces of advice to the readers. Newspapers, magazines, and journals usually publish articles. For that reason, articles have to be easy to read.

##### Parts of an Article
• Author’s name: A line having the name of the person who wrote the article (optional)
• Main paragraphs: This is the main part of your article, it should include the following parts:
• Introductory paragraph: Here you introduce the topic. The introduction should be short, catching, and interesting.
• Descriptive paragraph: Here you give examples and reasons.
• Additional information: only if needed.
• Conclusion: This is the ending paragraph of the article that should be a summary of your article.
##### Steps to write an article

1 Think of the topic that you are going to write about carefully.

2 Identify the target audience. Who are going to read your article: students, young people, adults, elderly people, or professionals?

3 Find the objective of writing the article. Do you want to give advice? Are you going to give some useful tips? Do you want to teach your readers how to do something?

4 Identify the details that are more significant and think of some examples.

5 Organize your ideas and arrange the information and the facts in a coherent and logical way.

Now that you know the parts of an article and the steps to follow, let’s see an article sample for the B1 Cambridge writing test.

You see this announcement in your English school magazine.

##### Useful language for writing an article

For the introductory paragraph:

• Have you ever thought about …?
• What would you do if …?
• Do you like + verb+ing …?
• How important is it for you to …?
• What would life be like if …?

• In my opinion, …
• From my point of view, …
• As far as I’m concerned, …
• I guess that …
• I’m under the impression that …
• I have no doubt that …
• I have the feeling that…

• Don’t forget to …
• Remember to…
• Make sure you…
• You should + base form
• You should have + past participle
• Never + base form
• Let’s consider…
• Why don’t you …?

• Above all…
• Above all, …
• On top of that, …
• Moreover, …

Reasons:

• … in case
• … so (that)
• … because it might + base form
• The evidence shows (that) …
• The facts suggest (that) …

# Writing Practice 1

You are going to write an opinion article for a school magazine about the best places to visit in your city.

Plan the content

1 Think of at least 2 interesting/ touristic places

2 Think of an interesting introductory paragraph

4 Write your descriptive paragraphs. Write one paragraph per place

6 Type your answer in the box below, and I’ll give you personalized feedback.

## Checklist

1. Introduction:
• Did you write a clear introduction that introduces the purpose of the opinion article?
• Does the introduction include a sentence with your opinion on the best places to visit?
2. Body paragraphs:
• Have you included separate paragraphs for each recommended place?
• Did you provide detailed descriptions of each place, highlighting their attractions and unique features?
• Have you supported your opinion with specific examples or personal experiences for each place?
3. Conclusion:
• Does the conclusion summarize the main points discussed in the body paragraphs?
• Does it restate your opinion on the best places to visit in the city?
• Does it provide a strong closing statement or call to action?

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# Writing Practice 2

You are going to write an article for a school magazine. Choose one of the titles below>

• How to stay safe if you are hiking in the mountains.
• How to stay safe on a day at the beach.
• How to stay safe online.

Plan the content

1 Think of at least 3 useful tips

2 Think of an interesting introductory paragraph

4 Write your descriptive paragraphs. Write one paragraph per tip.

6 Type your answer in the box below, and I’ll give you personalized feedback.

WRITING

# How to Write a Short Story for the B1 Preliminary Test (PET)

A short story is a piece of fiction that has a limited number of words and a few characters.

##### Parts of a short story
• Title: It summarizes the whole story, or it is related to the main theme. The theme is the central idea or belief in a short story.
• Exposition: It is the beginning of the story where you introduce the main characters. It also serves as the introduction to the next part.
• Climax: It is the action part where the main characters try to solve the conflict or problem.
• Resolution: In this part, the conflict is solved.

Let’s see a short story sample for the B1 Writing test

##### Useful vocabulary for a short story

Time expressions:

• at that moment
• as soon as
• _____ minutes later
• just in time
• then
• after that
• meanwhile
• while
• one morning in + month
• one afternoon in + month
• one evening in + month

• suddenly
• in the end
• eventually
• unexpectedly
• right away
• nearly
• actually
• in fact
• apparently
• basically
• obviously
• anyway
• all of a sudden
• without warning

• in the end
• eventually
• finally
• luckily
• when it was all over

##### Verb tenses used for short stories

Short stories usually take place in the past, for that reason, the most common narrative tenses you should use for your short story are:

## Writing Practice 1

You are going to write a short story about a past mistake you have made.

1. Where were you?
2. What were you doing?
3. What was happening around you?
4. What surprising thing happened suddenly?
5. What did you do?
6. What did you think/ say?
7. How were you feeling
8. How did the story end?

Write your story in about 100 – 120 words in the comment section below.

## Checklist:

1. Title: Have you included a title that accurately reflects the content of your story?
2. Exposition: Have you introduced the characters, setting, and plot of your story in a clear and concise manner?
3. Action part: Have you included a sequence of events or actions that develop the conflict and engage the reader?
4. Resolution: Have you provided a satisfactory conclusion to your story that ties up any loose ends and provides a resolution to the conflict?
6. Narrative tenses: Have you used the appropriate narrative tenses (simple past, past continuous, past perfect, past perfect continuous) to tell your story consistently and clearly?
7. Clear ideas: Have you organized your story in a logical and coherent manner, ensuring that your ideas are expressed in a clear and concise manner?

If you use this list, you can check that you have included everything you need to in your short story.

This will help you create a story that makes sense and is interesting for people to read. In addition, if you include all the items from the checklist, you will get an EXCELLENT writing score.

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# Writing Practice 2

Write a short story beginning with one of the sentences below:

Plan the content:

• It was midnight when the phone rang.
• Alex had been working hard all day and was looking forward to going home.
• We had been driving for hours when we saw the sign for a small hotel and decided to stop.

1 Write what happened simply, in about 50 words.

3 Think about what tenses you need for each part of the story. For example, how to set the scene, and what significant events happened before the story starts.

Write your story in about 100 – 120 words in the box below.

## Checklist:

1. Title: Have you included a title that accurately reflects the content of your story?
2. First line: Have you used the given first line from the instructions to begin your story?
3. Exposition: Have you introduced the characters, setting, and plot of your story in a clear and concise manner?
4. Action part: Have you included a sequence of events or actions that develop the conflict and engage the reader?
5. Resolution: Have you provided a satisfactory conclusion to your story that ties up any loose ends and provides a resolution to the conflict?
7. Narrative tenses: Have you used the appropriate narrative tenses (simple past, past continuous, past perfect, past perfect continuous) to tell your story consistently and clearly?
8. Clear ideas: Have you organized your story in a logical and coherent manner, ensuring that your ideas are expressed in a clear and concise manner?

If you use this list, you can check that you have included everything you need to in your short story.

This will help you create a story that makes sense and is interesting for people to read. In addition, if you include all the items from the checklist, you will get an EXCELLENT writing score.

WRITING

# How to Write a Formal Email for the B1 Preliminary Test or IELTS General Training

Formal emails are the ones that people write to people they don’t know well. The language used in these types of emails is more formal and polite.

Formal emails have a standard format, so they must include the following parts:

1. Greetings

We say hi to the other person. Depending on the kind of relationship we have with the person we are writing to, we can use the following greetings:

• Dear Mr./Mrs./ Ms. + Last name,

For example: Dear Mr. Smith,

If you don’t know the name and last name of the recipient

• To whom it may concern

This is a more generic formulaic expression.

2. Introduction

In this part, we must indicate briefly and clearly the reason for writing. It should be consistent with the subject of the email. We can use the following introductory phrases:

• I’m writing with regard to … (email subject)
• I’m writing to … (ask, inform, request, send, confirm, etc)
• I’m writing in reference to … (email subject, e.g. a job post, an advertisement, a website, etc)

3. Body

There are no formulaic expressions or conventional formulas for the body of the text because the information that we share in the body of the email varies according to what you need to communicate.

There is one general rule for this part: it should be divided into short paragraphs.

4. Closing paragraph

There are various ways to end your email. The most common formulaic expressions are the following:

• I look forward to hearing from you soon / at your earliest convenient time.
• Thank you for your attention.
• If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
• For further information, please do not hesitate to contact me.
• Please let me know if you have any questions.

5. Goodbye

Here you can find a list of the most common phrases to end a formal email:

• Sincerely,
• Kind regards,
• Best regards,
• Yours faithfully, (only if you began your email with ‘Dear Sir/Madam’)
• Yours sincerely, (only if began your email with ‘Dear Mr./Mrs./ Ms. + Last name)
• Regards,

6. Signature

We write our full name (name + last name)

Now that you know which parts should be included in a formal email, let’s see an example:

• She is 23 years old. She has graduated from college.
• She wants to take an IELTS course in July.
• She needs to get information about dates and prices.
• She wants to stay with a host family.
• She wants a room for her and her friend.
##### Pro tips for writing formal emails
• Use the standard format that English speakers use to write formal emails.
• Use formulaic expressions.
• DO NOT use contractions (I’m, I’ve, I’d, don’t, can’t, won’t, etc.).
• Use formal words and indirect questions (e.g. I was wondering if …/ I would be grateful if you …)
• Don’t forget to START your email by saying why are you writing or what you are

##### Time to practice

The best way to improve your writing is to practice. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Remember that practice makes progress.