Let's say I have 2 graphs: Graph A and Graph B.

Both graphs have all 12 months long the x-axis and y-axis of the graphs represent the number of sales closed.

The difference between the two is Graph A shows the number of sales each month while Graph B shows the total number of sales for the year at the end of each month.

A quick example would be that if you wanted to know how many sales you did in the same month last year, you'd use Graph A. If you wanted to know how many sales you had done up to today, you'd use Graph B.

The only word I have been able to come up with to differentiate the two graphs is by calling Graph B a "linear" graph because it has a linear increase. But is this the best way to describe the difference between the two?


1 Answer 1


A word which seems to fit the bill very well is cumulative. From my dictionary (Chambers, 11th edn) the word cumulate is defined this way:

vt and vi to heap together, combine; to accumulate

and cumulative is defined:

adj increasing by successive additions

cumulative sum is very widely used to mean the total to a point in a series of all the preceding values in the series, so cumulative sales is widely understood to mean the total of all sales since some time in the past. So if you have monthly sales for 2021 the expression cumulative sum of sales at end of June would be understood to mean the sales in January plus those in February, March, April, May and June.

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