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TOEFL Writing Essential Words - Part 3 - indicate, indicative, indication, and indicator

In today’s post, we are going to look at four important words in TOEFL and IELTS exams. The words we are looking at today are  "indicate", "indication", "indicator", and "indicator". We will also look at how to paraphrase sentences using one or another. So let’ get started.

Let’s first look at the word “indicate”. To indicate sth. means to point something out or to present evidence. There are two patterns:

  1. indicate that + Subject + Verb
  2. indicate + Noun

Let’s look at some example sentences using the first pattern:

  1. Estimates indicate that more than 60 percent of the yearly retail sales in the U.S. are credit transactions.
  2. Evidence indicates that people have always been predominantly right-handed.
  3. The drastic disappearance of Foraminifera in these layers of rock indicated that something had happened at the boundary between the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods.

Here are example sentences using the second pattern:

  1. The drastic decline in the numbers of amphibians worldwide indicates the global pollution of water and air.
  2. Record profits in the retail market indicate a boom in the economy.
  3. An increase in crime indicates a decline in moral standards.

 

Alright! Now I am going to talk about the noun “indication”. An indication is an act of indicating something, so you can say it is a clue or a suggestion.

When paraphrasing, you can use "give sb. an indication of" or "be an indication of" instead of "indicate". For example:

  • The drastic decline in the numbers of amphibians worldwide indicates the global pollution of water and air.

Here the above sentence be paraphrased to

  • The drastic decline in the numbers of amphibians worldwide gives scientists an indication of the global pollution of water and air.
  • The drastic decline in the numbers of amphibians worldwide is an indication of the global pollution of water and air.

Here is another example:

  • Record profits in the retail market indicate a boom in the economy = Record profits in the retail market are an indication of a boom in the economy.


 

Alright! There is another noun called “indicator”. "Indicator" is an object that indicates the state or level of something.

Some people confuse “indicator” with “indication”. Let me try to explain the difference.

An indicator is an object that indicates something. So an indicator could show you whether the level of something is high or low. The speedometer, for instance, in your car is an indicator showing you how fast you drive on the road.

An indication is an act or the process of indicating something.

Basically, an indication is an abstract concept, and an indicator is an object that indicates something or gives an indication of something.

Alright! Now! Let’s look at an example to help you get a better idea of how to use the word "indicator".

Considering this sentence:

  • The drastic decline in the numbers of amphibians worldwide indicates the global pollution of water and air.

From the above sentence, we can say that

  • The number of amphibians worldwide is used as an indicator of global pollution of water and air.

(As you can see, an "Indicator" is an object that indicates the state or level of something.)

Alright! Let’s look at more example sentences using the word "indicator":

  1. Nitrogen oxides are used by scientists as an indicator of economic activity and of the effectiveness of pollution-control measures.
  2. Gold prices are often seen as an indicator of inflation.
  3. The stock market is seen as a leading indicator of economic growth.

You might hear a lot from newscasters about "economic indicators." These are figures, such as the rate of unemployment or inflation that indicate where we're headed economically. Here is an example sentence:

  • Economic indicators suggest that prices will go up.


 

Alright! A quick quizz! Does the following sentence make sense to you?

  • High crime rates are an indicator of a decline in moral standards.

The answer is no. You can change the sentence as follows:

  • High crime rates are an indication of a decline in moral standards.
  • Crime rates are used as an indicator of a decline in moral standards.

So, why doesn’t the example make sense? You should remember that the indicator is basically the object or number which shows you whether something is high or low. So crime rates can be used as an indicator - they can be high or low. But if crimes rates are high already, the indicator stopped and shows a result. This result is the indication - it is a fact and describes a situation.

Alright! Let’s look at the final word today. “indicative”. Indicative means suggestive or serving as a sign of something.

The phrase "be indicative of" basically means "is an indication of". Therefore, when paraphrasing, you can use "be indicative of" or "is an indication of" instead of "indicate". Let's look at the following example:

  • The drastic decline in the numbers of amphibians worldwide indicates the global pollution of water and air.

Can be paraphrased to

  • The drastic decline in the numbers of amphibians worldwide is indicative of the global pollution of water and air.

Okay! Here are more example sentences:

  1. Thin tree rings are indicative of slow tree growth. [=Thin tree rings indicate that a tree has grown slowly]
  2. Provocative images in the media are indicative of the vibrant competition in the media.

 

Okay! This is the end of the post. I hope now you know how to use indicate, indication, indicator, and indicative correctly. Next time you are writing a sentence using the verb “indicate”, try to paraphrase it uusing, indication, indicator, or indicative.