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How do you organize and store new words? How do you make sure that do not slip out of your active memory, but are available when you need them? The techniques that we use to remember and recall are often quite personal and not equally effective for everybody.
1 In pairs, compare the ways that you record new vocabulary.
2 In small groups, discuss the suggestions given below and add your own ideas.
3 Exchange your ideas with others groups and build up a list of strategies and activities for the whole class.
4 Try out some of the new ideas. Which ones work for you?
1 Divide your file or vocabulary notebook into different sections. A loose-leaf file is probably the best idea, so that sections can be moved around and expanded. Experiment with different categories for storing new items. For example:
a words and phrases connected with a topic.
b verbs used for reporting speech.
c false friends: words which have different meanings if you transfer them into English from your language.
2 Use a dictionary to build up a network of information about a new item. A spidergram would be a good way to do this.
a different situations where the new item can be used.
b related words that can be built up with different beginnings and endings.
c collocations: words that often go together.
d antonyms: words with opposite meanings.
e synonyms: words with same/similar meanings.
Donít just try to memorise lists of words and their meanings. Find other ways of doing it. For example:
Build up a story using a number of new words you have learned. (The words can be quite unrelated and the more fantastic the story, the better you will remember the words!)
2 Word games
Play word games where players are only allowed to use words from a list that the class has recently learned.
3 Your own vocabulary tests
Make up tests for the rest of your class. For example, you can ask them to:
a match jumbled words and definitions.
b rearrange jumbled letters to form new words.
c choose words from a list to fill gaps in a short story.
In the previous unit we looked at ways of building vocabulary lists. In this unit we will suggest a strategy to help you remember new words by explaining what they mean.
Often when we find a new word and we donít know what it means we find out and write down the translation. This technique words well in the short term, but have you ever looked back at your vocabulary lists, new words and their translations and realized how many you have forgotten? Perhaps we forget them because translation isnít enough. We need a way of using the new words to keep them alive in the memory.
Monolingual dictionaries explain what a word means by telling us what type of word it is, giving a definition and then an example sentence to show the meaning of the word.
fame noun, uncountable condition of being known or talked about by all. His fame as a poet did not come until his death.
1 Match the following four words with their jumbled word types, definitions and example sentences: simplify, falsely, ill, panic.
She was ill with anxiety.
to make simple; make easy to do or understand
There is always danger of panic when a cinema catches fire.
to make simple; make easy to do or understand adverb
unreasoning, uncontrolled, quickly spreading fear
That will simplify my task.
in a manner which is false and not true
in bad health, sick
He was falsely accused.
2 In pairs, discuss the words below. Write the details under the headings given. When you have finished, check your entries with a monolingual dictionary and then with another group. Finally check your translation with bi-lingual dictionary.
3 Using the techniques you have developed, work in teams of four to give the meanings of four new words which you have found in this unit. Then present your ideas to the rest of the class and see if they can recognise the word.
New words can be formed by adding prefixes and suffixes to a word. Careful reading of these prefixes and suffixes can also help us understand the meaning of new words.
1 What kind of words would end with the following suffixes? Put the word type(s) next to the word and then give an example. Some have been done for you.
-er noun, teacher
-ly adverb, happily
-ly adjective, friendly
-ry adjective, angry
-nt adjective, excellent
-ise verb, fantasise
-ment noun, government
-en verb, frighten
-ant adjective, hesitant
-nce noun, excellence
2 Working in pairs, choose three new words from the texts in Unit 3 and see how many ways you can change their form and meaning by using different suffixes. When you have finished, present your ideas to the class.
govern, verb: government, noun; governor, noun; governable, adjective.
1 English makes use of a number of common prefixes which can be added to the beginning of a word to change its meaning. Look at the words below, underline the prefix and decide what it means. Note:
1 In some cases the prefix is an essential part of the word and cannot be removed:
transport, to carry, to carry across.
2 In some cases the prefix can have more than one meaning: inexplicable, not; inhale, in/into.
undeniable, translate, postdate, misunderstand, enable, non-returnable, impossible, replicable, exhale, inhale, inexplicable, irreplaceable, preview, illegitimate, monolingual, bicycle, tricycle, over-enthusiastic, disappear.
2 Use the following prefixes
to make opposites of the words below: dis-, mis-,
appear, responsible, believable, probable, secure, understand, returnable, mature, reliable.
The problem for most people is not how to correct mistakes, but realizing that a mistake has been made. You can increase your chances of spotting your own mistakes in the following ways.
1 Take a break! If you are writing at home, have a cup of coffee or go out for a walk before you re-read what you have written. If you are in the classroom or doing an exam, relax for a couple of minutes. Change the way you are sitting or do some slow, deep breathing. Then try to look at what you have written as if it had been done by someone else.
2 Know what kind of mistakes youíre looking for! Look back through your work for different categories of mistakes. (Your teachers may have her/his own code to indicate them.) When you check your work, look out for mistakes you know you often make.
3 Learn from your mistakes! When your work has been marked by your teacher, look at any corrections. To memorise the correct form, do as follows:
1 Choose ten words you have misspelled.
2 Write each of them correctly three times.
3 Rewrite the sentences in which you used them.
4 Write the words in new sentences. Show these sentences to a partner and see if s/he can guess which words you have been practicing.
1 Read your composition aloud and ask a partner to say where s/he thinks each sentence end and the next one begins.
2 Scan your text for names of people and places, titles of books, films etc. Note where you usually forget to use capital letters.
English does not present many problems of agreement, but check the following:
1 subject/verb and noun/pronoun agreement.
2 words which identify nouns: this/ that, these/ those and possessive adjectives.
3 words which quantify nouns: a lot o / much/ many, little/ few, less/ fewer
1 Agreement. Choose the correct form to complete each of the following examples:
1 My friend and I /am/are) sharing a flat text year.
2 Either the driver or the cyclist (was/were) guilty of causing the accident.
3 The teacher as well as her students (was/were) puzzled by the example.
4 The members of this club (is/are) given special privileges.
5 The number of members (is/are) increasing annually.
6 One hundred pounds (is/are) too much to pay for a second-hand bike.
7 (The cats/Cats) are (the most/most) independent domestic animals.
8 The exercises in this book are much more difficult than (these/those) in my last book.
9 (Our/Ours) immigration regulations are stricter than (their/theirs).
10 (Much/many) people believe that too (much/many) is spent on defence and too (few/little) on health care.
2. Word order. Rearrange the phrases below to form correct sentences. Then answer the following questions.
a Can the words and phrases in italics be used in more than one position in the sentence?
b What rules can you work out from the words in italics for the positioning of adverbs and adverbial phrases?
1 to/ the rules/ often/ of chess/ have/ I/ tried
2 started/ five years ago/ I/ English/ studying
3 a new branch office/ we/ in
4 in the final/ played/ brilliantly/ Maradonna
Read your composition aloud and ask a partner to say where s/he thinks there are natural pauses or extra information. Check that you have used commas in these places.
1 Draw a time line to show the relationship of events in a narrative you have written. Fill in the information on the time line without looking back at your composition. Then use the completed time line to check the tenses you used when writing.
2 Consider the following sentence and decide how the actions are related in time. Which happened first or did they happen at the same time? Underline the words which mark the time relation.
As soon as I heard the news, I rushed out to celebrate.
Having completed the homework assignment, I bought some food and then made supper.
1 She got married while training to be a nurse.
2 He discovered the meaning of life while he was at university.
3 I checked that I had my keys before I left the house.
4 After thieves had broken in twice, I bought a burglar alarm.
1 Group together sets of irregular verbs which change in the same or similar ways.
hit, hit, hit††††††††††††††††††† drink, drank, drunk
put, put, put†††††††††††††††† sing, sang, sung
cut, cut, cut††††††††††††††††† begin, began, begun
sleep, slept, slept
keep, kept, kept
sweep, swept, swept
2 Make your own table of irregular verbs, including only those which you often forget or get wrong. Exchange tables with a partner and test each other.
Ask a partner to identify all the pronouns in your composition. It should be possible to draw arrows to link each of them to the nouns they represent.
Translation can affect word order and grammar as well as individual words. You can use the following double translation procedure to see where you are making mistakes through translation.
Translate your composition into your own language. Then ask a partner who speaks the same language as you to translate it back into English! Compare this English version with your original composition. What are the words, phrases or structures which are a problem when you move from one language to other?
Work with another student who has done the same composition as you. Read your partnerís composition and look for sentences and ideas which you think could have improved your own composition. Get together with another pair and write the composition again. Decide whether any of the language you want to use is now inappropriate Ė for example, language which is too informal for an essay or language which is too formal for a letter to a friend.
You written English will generally be more correct and easier to read if you kept your sentence short. How long is too long? Two things might warn you that your sentences are getting too long:
1 if someone (your teacher or another student) has difficulty in following what you are trying to say.
2 if more grammatical mistakes occur in your longer sentences.
The flowchart below shows four stages to follow in preparing, organising and writing a composition. Guidelines for each of these stages are given in Units 7-10.
PLANNING COMPOSITION → MAKING
WRITING ROUGH††† →†††† CHECKING
DRAFT ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† OUTLINE
CORRECTING DRAFT† →†† WRITING
†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† FINAL VERSION
Deciding what to write is the first problem for every writer because s/he has too few or too many ideas. If you get into the habit of brainstorming and note-making as soon as you have chosen a title, you will find it easier to plan your compositions and eventually easier to write them too.
Given a subject, the brain will automatically carry out a number of operations. Like a computer, it will scan the information stored in its memory, search for associated words and ideas, select or reject items of information and group ideas which belong together. Brainstorming and note-making are ways of organising this natural process.
Brainstorming is usually a group activity, but you can use the same technique by yourself. Think of as many ideas as possible which are connected with your subject before you start to think about the structure of your composition or the language you will need.
The purpose of note-making is to record your ideas about the subject and to begin to put them into a shape which will help you to plan. Remember these are preliminary notes and not the plan itself.
1 How do/did you organize your ideas before planning and writing essays for other school subjects?
2 Do you think that the comparison of the brain with a computer is a useful one? In what ways are they similar? How do they differ?
3 Should brainstorming and note-making be done in English or in your own language?
1 Having used the first stage to think and note down lots of ideas on the subject of a composition, you may feel ready to write. However, writing without an outline is like driving without a map. You run the risks of missing a turning which you wanted to take or of wasting time by exploring side roads, and perhaps never arriving at your destination.
At this stage your outline should be as simple and clear as possible. It should consist of notes (perhaps just key words and phrases) which summarise the three main sections for your composition: introduction, development and conclusion.
1 Explain the comparison between an outline and a road map. What are the turning and side roads?
2 Why is it a good idea to keep your first outline very clear and simple?
3 Can you think of any type(s) of composition where the introduction, development, conclusion structure might not be appropriate?
1 Drafting is a vital stage in the process of developing your skill in writing in English. A draft is not a final product, although you may carry much of it through to your final version. It gives you the opportunity to test your outline, to develop your ideas in writing and to make mistakes!
You should follow the outline you prepare, but feel free to add or change things while you a re writing. When you have finished, you should compare the draft with your original outline and decide whether the outline needs to be changed before you write your final version.
1 What do you think are the advantages and disadvantages of writing draft compositions?
2 Can you think of an effective way of comparing draft and outline?
1 A rough draft is not written for your teacher to mark, although s/he may look at it and make some useful suggestions. When you write a draft, you are writing something for yourself to read and to correct.
You should scan your draft for different kinds of mistakes. (See the correction check list in Units 4 and 5). Try to find and correct as many mistakes as you can. If there are whole sentences or sections which you think may not be clear to a reader, rephrase them using simpler language.
With your revised outline and corrected draft you will be ready to produce a final version.
1 Do you find it easier to remember things when a teacher tells you them or when you discover them yourself? Think of science lessons or sports training too.
2 How do you think your teacher and fellow students can best help you in the writing process described above?
1 In note form, write down any ideas that come into your mind when you start thinking about each of the subjects: dream, the family, aging.
Allow yourself a maximum of three minutes for a subject.
2 In groups, compare and expand your word lists.
3 What were the ideas which everyone had thought of? How differently did you react to the subjects? Did you think of the past and the future as well as the present? Did you think about personal experiences? Did you remember any stories?
4 There are no rules for successful brainstorming, but practice can increase the flexibility of your thinking. Choosing new subjects, try the same exercise as a group competition. See who can produce the widest range of ideas on one subject.
The style you select for making notes will be one that suits you personally and that may not work for other students. But certain kinds of notes seem to be more appropriate to particular types of composition. Discuss which of the following types of note-making might be most suitable for organizing ideas for the composition titles listed below: flowchart, spidergram, dividing the page into two columns. Can you think of any others?
1 What are the advantages and disadvan≠tages of university education?
2 Write a description of an interesting member of your family.
†3 Write a review of a film which you either liked very much or strongly disliked.
4 Write a letter to a friend describing an unusual place you have visited while on holiday.
5 The world would be a happier and a safer place if we all spoke the same language. Do you agree or disagree?
1 In pairs brainstorm the following topics.
1 university education
2 family relations
5 language and communication
2 Working individually, make notes on the all of the composition titles above. When you have finished, compare your notes and make suggestions to your partner on how her/his notes might be modified or extended. Finally, compare your results with another pair.
1 In pairs, discuss your ideas on the following composition title. Use the brainstorming and note-making techniques which you practiced in Unit 7.
Computers and other machines play an increasing part in all our lives. Does this make you optimistic or pessimistic about the future?
2 If you are optimistic about technology and the future, look at Outline A. if you are pessimistic, look at Outline B. Complete the outline you have chosen.
1 Below are two possible draft versions of the composition outlined in Unit 8. One takes an optimistic view of technology and the future and the other a pessimistic view.† Read the two draft compositions and, without looking back at Unit 8, write the outlines for them.
Computers and other machines play an increasing part in all our lives. Does this make you optimistic or pessimistic about the future?
The long-term effect of computers on our daily lives remains to be seen. However I am generally optimistic and believe that they will have a beneficial effect. My reasons are as follows: firstly I believe that they will make our lives more comfortable. Secondly, they will give us more free time and thirdly, I believe in progress. The history of man is about adapting to change.
Computers already play an important part in our lives and make them more comfortable. Computers have made banking and the daily running of our finances much easier. Salaries are paid directly into our accounts and we can get money and bank statements simply by putting a piece of plastic into a machine and pressing the right buttons. Robots now do the boring routine work in factories. Computer scanners in hospitals diagnose illness with a speed and reliability that the overworked doctor could never achieve.
Computers mean that we will have more free time to enjoy ourselves than ever before. With less time spent on boring, routine jobs people will be freer either to relax at home watching satellite television or to read anything from the range of books available on microfilm libraries. People will become more creative and there will be fewer social problems which the pressures of working in the old industrial society used to produce.
Of course some people are suspicious, just as they were when the car took over from the horse, but in the end they will come to understand the benefits of living in a computer age. And those who realize it first will use computers to help the change take place. They will help to invent new ways of using computers to make our lives more interesting and more comfortable.
To conclude, I believe that computers will have a beneficial effect on our lives. They will give us more leisure, make our lives more comfortable and allow us the time to be more creative. Naturally there are some people who do not like change, but there always have been. The history of man is about change and adapting to change. It is only a question of time before the people who are suspicious and do not want the change understand the benefits that they are resisting. Then they will change their minds.
Most people believe that all technological developments mean progress, but they do not consider the disadvantages. Current trends in so-called high technology make me very pessimistic about the future for three main reasons: we are in danger of losing touch with the natural world; technology is making our lives too easy; and worst of all, we are already destroying our natural environment and could eventually destroy ourselves.
If current trends continue, I am afraid that cities will become even more overcrowded and the countryside will completely disappear. Machines will provide so much ready-made entertainment that no one will care about this. We will become lazy-made entertainment that no one will care about this. We will become lazy and unhealthy. Children will have no motivation to learn and progress will actually slow down! The greatest danger, however, is that of self-destruction: acid rain, caused by chemicals escaping from factory chimneys and car exhausts, is already a major problem: nuclear accidents, such as those at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, are a constant threat; and the world could be destroyed altogether by nuclear war.
So, far from improving the quality of our lives, technology is causing more problems that it solves. We are neglecting our natural-environment, depriving our children of any challenges and endangering the world and all the people in it. It seems to me that progress may be an illusion. We believe we are advancing, but we may in fact be going backwards.
2 Now refer back to Unit 8, and answer the questions below.
1 What examples have the writers used to fill out the missing parts of the outlines?
2 Has the sequence of ideas been changed?
3 Have the writers introduced any extra ideas which were not planned in the outline?
4 Have the writers missed out any important points which were in the outlines?
5 Have the writers repeated themselves? If so, in which section(s) has this happened?
1 Choose one of the composition topics from Unit 7. Follow stages 1-3 of the writing process.
1 Brainstorming and note-making
Points to remember:
1 Think about as many possible aspects of the topic as you can.
2 Select an appropriate form for your notes.
3 At this stage, concentrate on writing down as many ideas as possible. Donít worry yet about the shape of the composition.
2 Planning your composition, making an outline
Points to remember:
1 Select the ideas from your notes which will help you to build up an argument, description, narrative etc.
2 Decide which points you will present as your main ideas and which points you can use as examples.
3 Using numbers, users, underlining, capital letters etc., outline the paragraphs of your composition with main headings and sub-headings. At this stage it is useful to begin to use phrases which you will want to include when you write.
3 Writing a rough draft, checking your outline
Points to remember:
1 Write freely. Donít worry about possible mistakes at this stage Ė youíll be able to correct them later.
2 Follow your outline, but feel free to change ideas or to re-order them if necessary.
3 Use your completed draft to check and possibly to rewrite your outline.
2 Look back at the correction checklist in Units 4 and 5.
1 Use the checklist to search your composition, especially for mistakes which you know you often make.
2 Exchange compositions with a partner and check each otherís work.
3 Rewrite whole sentences or sections if your meaning may not be clear to a reader.
3 Write your final version. Remember to check the following:
1 handwriting, punctuation, paragraphing.
2 your sentences are clear and not over-extended.
1 Read the paragraphs 1-3 below. They are all introductory paragraphs found at the beginnings of pieces of writing, but the opening sentences are missing. Choose one sentence a - f which you think would be the best to start each paragraph.
ÖBy understanding how your body changes decade by decade, and by structuring a healthy lifestyle, you can reap both the short-term benefits of feeling good, day in, day out and protect yourself from the effects of premature aging.
ÖAfter taking a train, being met by a car, and driven to some country house of house in the country, the visitor was immediately astonished, shocked, by the grassy silence. It fell on the ears like a blow: but the shock was therapeutic; the clean air was perceived by the nose and throat and lungs, and by the skin itself, like a cool draught on a thirsty palate.
ÖIf this is true, then television must have some effect on the way in which we perceive the world. This essay will attempt to discuss the effects of television and categorise these effects as either positive and negative and harmful.
a We are becoming more an more worried about the effects of old age.
b Of the pleasures
c While television is certainly a varied and inexpressive form of home entertainment, it is also a dangerous influence in society.
d I walked to the station and got onto the 8.30 train to go to my auntís house in the country.
e You can be your best at 20, terrific at 30 and fabulous at 40.
f Research suggests that many people spend more than fifteen hours per week watching television.
2 How clear have you been?
The way you begin your writing is very important. Your first sentence (sometimes called the topic sentence) should be interesting and give a clear idea of what you are writing about. Think of the reader. Just because you know what you are writing about, donít assume that the reader knows. Look back at three of your compositions and rewrite the topic sentences. Ask a partner to read them and tell you what s/he thinks the rest of the writing will be about. Is s/he correct?
1 In groups of four discuss the following.
1 What is the function of an opening paragraph?
2 What is the function of a closing paragraph?
3 How much should an opening paragraph tell us about the rest of the writing?
4 How does a closing paragraph relate to the rest of a piece of writing? How much should it repeat what has already been started?
2 In pairs, read the passage below. It is part of a letter of advice from an FCE examiner giving exam hints for the composition paper. It has not been put into paragraphs. As you read, make notes to form an outline and then decide how you would break the passage into paragraphs. Where would you make the breaks and why?
1 Read the paragraph below. They are all final paragraphs found at the ends of pieces of writing, but the closing sentences are missing. Choose the sentence a-f which you think would be the best to end each paragraph.
1 So there we are, all in all it really was a wonderful holiday which we will all remember forever. We are only sad that we live so far away from each other that we cannot see you more often. Still, a year isnít so long. Ö
2 I forced myself to keep on running. There was a burning in my chest and my legs felt like soft metal bending under the strain. I was no longer as light-footed as I had been at the start of the race. My head was pounding and my vision was getting blurred. I thought I was going to black out, but I used all the mental will I had left to concentrate on keeping my eyes wide open, on keeping going. Then there it was, the finishing line. I had gone through the pain barrier, through the wall. Ö
3 In conclusion, while the location, views and general condition of the hotel were thought to be superb, the food and service let it down. Considering the fact that it is categorized as a luxury hotel with all the required facilities (sauna, pool, tennis courts, shops etc), one expects them all to be open and in good working order during the high season. They were not, and those which were, such as the tennis courts, were in a bad state of disrepair.
a I had completed my first marathon.
b In consideration of all the factors mentioned above, we could only award The Majestic two stars.
c So, it was not good value for money, but the swimming pool overlooking the bay was very pleasant.
d Thank you once again and we look forward to seeing you here next year, love Ö
e I collapsed and woke up three hours later in hospital.
f We will never forget your kind hospitality, the little restaurants you took us to, the sun, the sand and the general friendliness we met everywhere. Yours Ö
2 Look back to two of your compositions and re-read the final paragraphs and then the rest of the composition. How well did you conclude? Pass your compositions to a partner to see what s/he thinks.
Signposting is the use of expressions which give the reader a clear idea of how the writing is organized and what the writers opinions are.
As a general rule, formal writing (reports, essays, business letters etc) follows the same pattern. There is an introduction, which states the subject, the purpose for writing and the way in which the writing will develop. Then there is the main body of the writing. This is made up of paragraphs which analyse issues and give details and examples. Then finally, there is the conclusion, which summarises the main points found in the body of the writing and may express a personal opinion or give a recommendation.
1 Look at the expressions below and decide which part of the composition you might find them in: the introduction, the main body or the conclusion. In some cases they may be found in more than one place.
The purpose of this essay
One of the main arguments for / against
To sum up
This report is divided into three parts
In other words
As a result
2 When we write or speak we often use expressions to show that some important information is coming and indicate our personal opinion. Read the sentences below and choose the expression which you think the writer would have used to show his/her attitude.
1 Ö, I believe that the press has too much political influence today.
a In fact b In my opinion c Certainly
2 Although the project will be costly, Ö that it will serve as a long-term investment which we will help us to expand abroad.
a I feel sure b I tend to agree c I donít think
3 The food was Ö disgusting!
a certainly b absolutely c fairly
4 He is Ö a good student but he will not work!
a obviously b naturally c officially
5 Ö, I would never want to work for them, but I tell you this in the strictest confidence.
a Actually b Of course c Personally
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