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Writing in English

THERE ARE VARIOUS FORMS OF WRITING: for example, Creative Writing, IELTS Writing, News Writing, and Technical Writing.

SENTENCES & PARAGRAPHS

BASIC SENTENCE structure is called syntax. In English, sentences usually follow a Subject / Verb / Object pattern. Often (but not always!) the subject is doer of the sentence, and the object has soemthing done to it.

Remember that each sentence must start with a capital letter. Each sentence must also contain a complete thought.

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When describing people, we use the verb "to be" to indicate height, body build and age:

I am tall and slim

When describing hair and facial features, we use the verb "have":
She has long blonde hair and blue eyes

Without conjunctions, sentences are short and "choppy". Conjunctions allow you to construct complex and compound sentences. Instead of starting each sentence with the subject, alternate the structure by using prepositional phrases, inverted word order, dependent clauses and so on.

White space is an under-appreciated asset

Like conjunctions, paragraphs add to the coherence and cohesion of a piece of writing. Ideally, just as a sentence comprises a thought, a paragraph should introduce and explain a single idea.

Exercises

1. Make a basic sentence: Football Crazy.
2. Rewrite sentences using a different grammatical format.
3. Write a story of 50 words: My School Library
4. A Person You Admire: Mahatama Gandhi.

EXPANDING INTO ESSAYS

IN AN ESSAY, every paragraph should have a topic sentence, supporting idea, and a conclusion. The topic sentence is the introduction of a paragraph. In an essay, it should be written in an argumentative style. Examples are a type of evidence.

There are two kinds of essay: persuasive and discussion. In a persuasive essay, you argue your personal point of view. In a discussion essay, you must consider both sides of the argument.

Reporting verbs are essential for developing forceful arguments. "Say" might be an acceptable reporting verb in casual conversation, but academic writing requires far more precision. For example, "complain" is a strong verb, whereas "indicate" is a neutral verb, and "doubt" is a passive or uncertain verb. Very often in academic writing, reporting takes place in the present tense.

EXERCISES

1. Write three paragraphs: My Friend and I.

Narrative Writing

NARRATIVES TELL stories and are written to entertain and share experiences with the reader. There are many forms of narrative writing including novels, poems, fairy tales and diaries. Whatever the form chosen (be it The Odyssey or Ulysses), the structure is the same, progressing through five specific stages: orientation, complication, compulsion versus obstacles, resolution, and coda, in that order.

More than anything else, narrative writing needs to be dramatic. Add vivid descriptions and dialogue to bring life to your writing. Anglo-Saxon words are usually more powerful than their Romance-based equivalents. Dialogue is usually written in the present tense, as direct reported speech.

Exercises

1. Reporting Verbs: Academic Skills Centre
2. Make your own story: PBS Kids

See also Signal Words.

RECOMMENDED WEBSITES & WEBLOGS
» Hemingway App
» Pen & the Pad
» Spelling City
» StoryBird




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