lunes, 26 de mayo de 2014

Module 8 - Some tips for writing essays

Hi everybody. Before you take your M8 exam I’d like to share with you a few last-minute tips you might find useful for your writing tasks.

The writing process

Even if you’re working against the clock, steps to a good essay should include:
a)      Brainstorm for ideas
b)      Organize ideas
c)       Focus on language
d)      Write a first draft
e)      Check your work (revise organization, content and language)
f)       Write the final draft

Writing skills

There are some common linguistic mistakes that could be avoided by bearing in mind some basic rules concerning...

 a) Word order
  • The usual order of sentence elements in English is this:

Subject + verb + object + additions

            If the sentence includes both direct object and indirect object there are often two possibilities:

-          S+V+Oi+Od > Paul gave her the report
-          S+V+Od+to+Oi > Paul gave the report to her

Many time expressions (today, last month, next week) may come either at the beginning or the end of the sentence.

Do not separate the verb from its object:      
We don’t have any homework today    
We don’t have today any homework

b      b) Subject-verb agreement

Singular nouns that refer to groups can have either singular or plural verbs
The band play/plays beautifully

Some/any pronouns take singular verbs
Someone is getting out of the building now

Most uncountable nouns are singular
Olive oil is rare in this area

Clothes and people are plural

c    cAdjectives

They come before nouns and after certain verbs
We’ve got very good marks
The kids look tired

Adjectives are invariable words in English (they don’t take plural morphemes)

If several adjectives are preceding a noun, this is their usual order:
Opinion + size or age + color + origin + material

      d) Connectors

Here’s a chart with connectors/phrases and the meaning they convey:

Connectors and phrases
Adding points on the topic
And; in addition; furthermore; moreover; what’s more; besides; also; too; as well
Showing contrast
But; however; nevertheless; although; even if; even though;
In spite of; despite
Expressing cause or reason
Because; since; as
Because of; due to;
Expressing  result
So; therefore; consequently; that’s why
Expressing purpose
So that;
In order to; so as to; to
Describing similarity
Similarly; likewise; in the same way
Expressing personal opinions
In my opinion; I (strongly) believe that; in my view; it seems to me that; as I see it; personally
Introducing facts
In fact; as a matter of fact; actually
Making general statements
Generally; in general; on the whole; as a rule
Listing points
To begin/star with; in the first place; first of all; firstly, secondly, thirdly; finally
Giving examples
For example; for instance; such as; in particular; especially; (more) specifically
Introducing opposite points
On the one hand… on the other hand; in contrast; it can also be argued that
Showing sequence
First; in the beginning; at first; before; next; then; later; soon; meanwhile; after that; afterwards; at last; eventually; finally; in the end
Showing time
When; while; before; after; by the time; as soon as; still
In conclusion; to sum up; in short

 Source: Grant E and Payne K, (2009) Viewpoints for Bachillerato, Burlington Books

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