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24 May 2011

First: Assess an article

If you are interested in writing articles, think about this one:

Today's television

"A load of old rubbish" or
"More choice than ever before"?

Is today's television still good value for money?

How would you answer this question? Pay a visit to the flo-joe website to take a look at one student's attempt.

17 May 2011

Advanced Sample - Article on the past

The Times newspaper has asked the public to contribute articles for a series in their Sunday magazine supplement. If we make a concerted effort to conserve energy, could we live without electricity?
They wish to receive your views and opinions on this subject. What do YOU think life would be like with no electricity? Send your articles to us at the address below or use the e-mail number.
Write your article.

Back to the past
Can you conceive your life without electricity? Imagine a complete power cutü. Imagine [m1] your house or your job without any artificial light. Imagine hospitals, commercial centres, even the street`s lights, all gone. And now try to assume that this is the new way of living. It sounds like a terrible nightmare, doesn`t it? üü

If this had happen, it would be necessary a complete change [m2] in our world. First of all, if there was no artificial light, we would need to adapt our timetables to the sun hours=. In additionü, a great amount [m3] of jobs would need to be modifiedF. For example, do you know how many people work with computers every day? How many call phones do we make? In my opinion, people would become lost and disoriented without electricity.

But this would beWO not only about jobs. Almost all our entertainmentsG work v+ [m4] with electricity. What do you normally do at home? Watching a film or playing a videogame? Not anymore! We would need to haveü candles everywhere, and of course, no more leftoversü heated in the microwave!

In conclusion, it seems almost impossible for me to imagine our life without electricity. Nowadays, we are used to have [m5]; lots of comforts, most of them dependant on electrical energy and I don`t think that we are ready, materially and mentally;[m6speakingüü, to change it.

Highlight to rad comments
Certainly a 6/10. A couple of translatey bits and a few grammar points to definitely pay attention to (used to, amount vs number/quantity), but the style and content are great.
A rewrite of this, with some of those points addressed (and perhaps rather fewer questions aimed at the reader) would probably hit 8/10 for me.

[m1] I guess this is a delibérate repitition – I kind of like i ton one level, but wonder if “Think of…” might be a better exam option.
[m2] would to have change completely our world – rearrange to make a natural way to say this!
[m3] Uncountable nouns have amounts
[m4] Rely on
[m5] Be very careful of this – an easy trap to fall into. Used is not a verb here so’s not followed by an inf.
[m6] I think english would use psychologically

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15 May 2011

Things to Remember: Exam Writing Checklist

Six months work have got us to the point where many of you can give advice from your own work on how to check work, so here's what three groups put together:

TPS/TPP = third person singlular/plural

Some more points that didn't get on the board:

10. Avoid repeating words, especially within sentences - look for pronouns.
11. Becareful of those deadly three dots!
12. Do everything you can to avoid mistakes in your first and last sentences - "Dear Alan, I am writting..."

And finally...

13. Read over our Things to Remember thread!

14 May 2011

Link: British Council Article Archive

Still in need of inspiration? Go here for more articles than you will ever need - in alphabetical order. Use them for ideas, but make sure the constructions and grammar are always yours.

13 May 2011

Keeping it Real

A new occasional feature. Real people writing for real reasons in the real world.

You might enjoy reading a real letter of complaint. We can't really recommend this style for the exams though!

05 May 2011

First Samples - Essay

2. Essay (120-180 Words)
You have recently had a discussion in your English class about places to live. Now your
teacher has asked you to write an essay, giving your opinion on the following statement.

Whatever your age, life in the country is always better than life in the city.

There's a lot of opinions about where life is better but in my opinion, the advantages are more ^ than the disadvantages ifü you live in the city.
In the cities there're more options that you can choose. The important building are usually in the center, where everybody can arrive. There are also more activities, what is moreü, if you are a teenager the city is more amazingü, because it's bigger, there's more party, but if you're an adult it can also be better, because your office will probably be there. (Adults don’t go to parties then? Hmmmm!)

On the other handü the city is sometimes stressfulüü, because there's a lot of noise, traffic jamsüü and people.There's another problemüü which is if you're coming from the country, you will think life is very copmplicatedüü in the city, and you won't probably wo like it.Living in the city it is not a good idea for ancientv people.PeopleR in the countries are normally more friendly, so while they're having a rest, they can be talking with another people who maybe will be more relaxed than people in city [m1] . Another pointü is that they have the bassic services in the country-side[m2].
To sum upü I would choose living in the city, because i think it is more enjoyableü, whereas i could maybe feel bored in the country.I also think if you're studingSP a careerV you should live in the city, because ^is the place where you will have more opportunities. ü

Comments (Highlight to read)
8/10 Very good – lots of good “effort” vocab – a few things to work on to get towards 10 - if you want it, it’s doable!


[m1]An odd sentence this.
[m2]Needs more explanation.- DO you mean “they ONLY have basic services, so…”?

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04 May 2011

Advanced Sample: Article


Over the last century people’s lifes have completely changed<!--[if !supportAnnotations]-->[m1]<!--[endif]--> upside down. This is due to, above all, [the existence of] electricity.

Nowadays, it has become crucialü for every single activity we do, since<!--[if !supportAnnotations]-->[m2]<!--[endif]--> doing the shopping, or takingü a warm bath; even when we are sleeping we relay on the alarm clock to go offü and make us start a new day on time. If electricity didn’t exist, life would be totallyü different.
First of all, we would have to adapt our lives to sunlight, reducing working time from eight to five hours in winter. And, asü we wouldn’t have anything to do from sunset to dawn, we could sleep at least 9 hours every day!!

When it comes toü leisure time, we could only do outdoor activities, such as running, strollingü, or going out with our friends. We had to learn how to survive<!--[if !supportAnnotations]-->[m3]<!--[endif]--> without mobile phones, video games and gossip programmes on TV.... Can you imagine?? We wouldn’t have to put up with them anymore!

Regarding work, we wouldn’t have to spend so many hours in front of a computer / machine / whatever, as lots of people do. It would all boil down to (oooh!) just one thing: getting food. Fishing and hunting would take the most of our time, which might sound a bit hazardousü... especially for men! But of course, women would only be in charge of collecting mushrooms and plants in the forest all day, strolling and talking to one another. (a substitute for the gossip programmes….?)

For all these reasons, you’ll have to agree with me when I say life would be much better without electricity! Of course, there wouldn’t be any security, medicine for diseases, or even clothes, but ... who cares??

Comments (highlight to read):
A terrific piece of work. To be honest, I can’t find much wrong with it (although I think a bit more hypothetical would be appropriate in two of the underlined places). We shall say 8/10, but that’s my conservative nature. I really think it’s at least 8/10.

[m2]such as, surely?
[m3]Get by

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