Today’s word from the academic word list is
This is a very flexible word that can do a variety of jobs – mostly as an adverb or an adjective. It is particularly useful when you are writing conclusions and can help you avoid “In conclusion”. It’s always good to have another option.
We can use overall when we are summarising points – to mean something like “all things considered”.
Be careful with punctuation here. You should really use the comma when you use it as the first word in the sentence and it qualifies the whole sentence. Look at this example:
Overall, it seems evident that climate change is directly affected by human activities.
It is also useful as an adjective where it can often be used when you are summarising. Here are some examples to show you how you use it in both task 1 and task 2.
Task 1 examples
These examples show how you can use “overall” when you are looking at the big picture: i.e. the overall trend may be upward even though it fluctuated.
The overall trend in this period was upward
The overall number of people reading books fell
All four groups showed an overall increase
The overall attendance rate fell
Task 2 examples
Central government should be responsible for overall policy
Despite this, overall responsibility should be retained by parents
The overall effect on the environment has been highly negative