Writing Skills

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					          Writing Skills

The topic sentence
- Every good paragraph has a topic
- It indicates the main idea of a
- It is a helpful guide to both the writer
    and the reader.
          Writing Skills
Two parts of a topic sentence

1. the topic: the subject or the main idea
2. the controlling idea: a specific
    comment about the topic
           Writing Skills
1. Avoid topic sentences that are too
   general or too specific.
2. Do not include too many unrelated
   ideas in your topic sentences.
           Writing Skills
Facts vs. opinions
 - Facts are objective statements of truths.
 - Opinions are subjective statements
     based on a person’s beliefs or
        Writing Skills
Giving support to your opinions
  - examples
  - statistics
  - statement by authorities
         Writing Skills

The concluding sentence
- It signals the end of the paragraph.
- It summarizes the main point of the
    paragraph or gives a final comment
    on the topic.
           Writing Skills
End-of-paragraph signals:
 A. followed by a comma
 Finally,           As a result,
 In conclusion      Indeed,
 In summery         In brief
 Therefore,         In short
         Writing Skills
A. not followed by a comma
We can see that …
It is clear that …
These examples show that …
There can be no doubt that …
The evidence suggests that …
       Writing a Report

Four major parts of a report:
    - reference
    - analysis
    - conclusion
    - recommendation
 Writing a report - reference
• In the half-yearly estimates of…
• (Six Asian countries) are reviewed
• The chart compares / shows…
  Writing a report - Analysis
• The comparison reveals a steady
  rise in …
• A has…, while B has grown rapidly
• The graph shows A as second only
  to B.
Writing a report - Conclusions
• The last (ten yeas) have seen (an
  improvement) in…
• It is clear that A has (risen) steadily as B
• The figures suggest / show that A’s
  situation is (serious).
Writing a report - Recommendation

• (The Government) needs to…
• As a first step, we should…
• In view of this, we recommend…
   Describing Trends

The price        increased
The population   rose
The rate         went up
    Describing Trends

The price        decreased
The population   fell
The rate         declined
                 went down
   Describing Trends

The price        fluctuated
The population   were erratic
The rate
       Describing Trends

The price        remained     steady
The population    stayed      constant
The rate                      stable

            Describing Trends
increased       significantly / substantially
decreased       considerably
                swiftly / rapidly
                slightly / somewhat
                gradually / steadily
                quickly / slowly
       Describing Trends
There was a …in …
There was a
 in price of home products.
    To describe increase
an increase    to increase
an expansion   to expand
a rise         to rise
a growth       to grow
a climb        to climb
a leap         to leap
 To describe decrease
a decrease   to decrease
a fall       to fall
a drop       to drop
a decline    to decline
a collapse   to collapse
a plunge     to plunge
a dip        to dip
To describe irregular changes

   to go up and down
   to fluctuate
   to be erratic
To describe absence of change
   to stabilize
   to level out
   to become steady
   to remain stable
   no change
   Adjectives and adverbs
to describe short, fast or sudden changes
     dramatic/ally      sharp/ly
     sudden/ly          abruptly
 to describe important , large changes
     substantial/ly     steep/ly
to describe important but not very large
     significant/ly     marked/ly
    Adjectives and adverbs
to describe small changes
     slight/ly         slow/ly
to describe changes that are slow and long
     gradual/ly        steady/steadily
     sustained         general/ly
 to describe changes that last a short time
     short-lived       brief/ly
Other useful expressions
recovery        to recover
a peak          to reach a peak
to show an upward/downward trend
erratic movements
to move erratically
the main trend
       Showing contrasts
while: contrasting two related points

 While 1998 saw sales grow substantially,
   there was little growth during the
   previous year.
        Showing contrasts
although: showing a stronger contrast
The dramatic increase in 1999 was welcome,
 although it was short-lived.

Although less than half of households had a
  car ten years ago, more than three
  quarters own one now.
         Showing contrasts
even though: showing a still stronger
Even though many households still lack
  central heating, it is clear that living
  standards ate rising.
2001 saw an overall rise in sales, even
  though they were extremely erratic for
  most of the time.
    Writing cause and effect
due to
Population ageing is mainly due to a
 decline in fertility.
We regret to announce that the football
 match has had to be postponed due to
 poor weather
    Writing cause and effect
because of
Elderly women outnumbered elderly men
  because of gains in female longevity

as a result
The government raised tax on alcohol. As
  a result, sales declined by 20%.
    Writing cause and effect
be attributed to
The fall in the number of people smoking
  can be attributed to education programs.
We attribute our success to being in the
  right place at the right time.
    Writing cause and effect
be a direct consequence of
as a consequence of

The high number of visa over-stayers is a
 direct consequence of economic
As a consequence of his laziness, he was
    Writing cause and effect
lead to
It has been clearly demonstrated that
  smoking leads to heart disease and
The accident led to many lawsuits.
    Writing cause and effect
contribute to
Immigration after the Second World War
  contributed to population growth.
Air pollution contributes to respiratory
      Giving Comments
Overall comments
  well organized
  well developed
  generally well organized
  adequately organized
      Giving Comments
Overall comments
  inadequate organization or
  serious disorganization or under-
        Giving Comments
Overall comments
    uses appropriate details to support a
    uses appropriate details to illustrate
    uses some details to support a thesis
      Giving Comments
Overall comments
  inappropriate or insufficient details
         to support generalizations
  little or no detail to support ideas
      Giving Comments
Overall comments
  displays (consistent) facility in the
        use of language
  demonstrates adequate but possibly
        inconsistent facility with syntax
        and usage
  a noticeably inappropriate choice of
      Giving Comments
Overall comments
  serious and frequent errors in
        sentence structure or usage
  severe and persistent writing errors
      Giving Comments
To be positive and encouraging
I was pleased to notice…
You are right in stating …
You’ve given strong support to …
I was gratified to see the improvements
   you have been making in …
      Giving Comments
To be positive and encouraging
- I am sure you could have done better
    by giving more examples.
- You could have done better by …
- You’ve made a good point. However,
    you may need to give it more
    concrete support.
      Avoid Plagiarism
What is plagiarism?
   Plagiarism is the use of words,
facts, figures, ideas, graphics, etc.
obtained from the work of others in
such a way as to convey the
impression that the material
originated with you.
        Avoid Plagiarism
Serious consequences of plagiarism

    - loss of jobs and reputations
    - serious academic penalties at
       Avoid Plagiarism
   Documentation is the use of an
agreed format to show which material
came from sources other than the report
writer and also to show where that
material came from.
        Avoid Plagiarism
You document for the following
1. Honesty and courtesy:
    to give credit to the person who wrote
the words you are quoting or developed
the ideas, information or graphics, etc.
that you are using.
        Avoid Plagiarism

2. Reliability:
    to enable readers to check your
accuracy by comparing your material to
the source that provided the material, and
to enable readers to judge whether your
sources themselves are reliable and up-to-
       Avoid Plagiarism

3. Utility:
    to allow your readers to find your
sources for themselves if they would like
more information.
       Avoid Plagiarism
    Whether plagiarism occurs
accidentally or deliberately makes no
difference to the way your work is
judged, since the effect is the same —
credit has not been given for the words
or information used.
        Avoid Plagiarism
Some examples of acceptable documentation:
1. Quotation:
    "However, our graduates also need to be
effective communicators in their personal and
social lives. Good communications skills
enable people to understand better and to
express their opinions, dissent, agreement,
concern and knowledge in an effective and
useful way" (Smith 23).
       Avoid Plagiarism
2. Paraphrase plus quotation:
    Smith believes that college graduates
need communications skills outside the
classroom and the workplace, where
they must be able to express "opinions,
dissent, agreement, concern and
knowledge" effectively (23).
       Avoid Plagiarism

3. Summary:
    Smith says college graduates need to
be able to communicate effectively in a
variety of personal and social situations

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