Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Useful Words: Rating or Reviewing

https://argutelegacy.blogspot.com/2019/06/useful-words-reviews.html
Writing a review presupposes making judgments and rating, say, a service, establishment or work of art. For ESL / EFL exam-takers, this means having to come up with a variety of words that qualify what is being described, something which might present problems since making more than one assessment in such pieces of writing is the norm.

If words used to assess something are repeated, then candidates cannot expect to receive a satisfactory grade (at least in terms of their lexical ability and range). Using less formal words is also frowned upon.

Therefore, this list should serve as a brief catalog of go-to words aimed at digging students out of the proverbial hole they might find themselves in during the Writing section of an English exam.

The list has been divided into three categories: saying something is terrific, so-so and terrible.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Words to use instead of 'Important'

The first post in this series of "Words to use instead of ..." dealt with the overly used word "nice" (read about it here).

Today, I'll tackle that bane of every ESL teacher's existence, that word they often hear when helping students work on their oral exams or read when correcting essays, the one every student so easily lets slip out when they can't think of what else to say: important.

It's always "this must be done because it's very important" or "saving the planet is extremely important" or "graduating from a good university is very important these days."

Examiners might be lenient the first time they hear this word, but imagine hearing it 5 times in answers to 6 questions asked? To put it more mathematically, in a 10 to 12-minute examination where an exam candidate uses the word in five out of six responses, the examiner hears the same word once roughly every two to two and a half minutes. Though it's perfectly natural to hear pronouns, demonstratives and articles repeated, adjectives, verbs and nouns must be varied if you're aiming for a high score. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

C2 Sample Essay 32 (Richer nations sharing wealth)

https://argutelegacy.blogspot.com/2019/06/c2-essay-32-richer-nations-share-wealth.html
Writing at C2 level (Proficient User) on English language examinations is the same no matter the awarding body when it comes to writing essays. If you are a candidate giving an exam in English (IELTS, CPE, ECPE, CELP, LRN, ESB, TOEFL), make sure you read my earlier post What do I do with the sample writing found on this blog? to get the most out of the sample essays provided on Argute Legacy.  

  The topic of this essay is to discuss whether wealthier nations should share their wealth with poorer nations or if each nation should fend for itself. If you are not taking an exam but need to discuss this topic, then read on and note down what you deem useful. If you intend to use this essay as part of an assignment, remember to paraphrase so as not to plagiarize.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Essay Writing: The Main Body - Supporting Sentences

Having discussed the overall organization of an academic essay, the introductory paragraph and the topic sentence of main body paragraphs, let's take a look at what we need to do to develop an argument

As mentioned in the first article in this series, students writing an essay as part of an assignment or an ESL/EFL examination often find it difficult to elaborate on the topic they have been given. One cause which can only be remedied by reading newspapers, academic journals or discussing current affairs and a variety of subjects with others, is a lack of ideas. The other is not knowing how to expand an argument, but fortunately this can be solved by putting into play the various types of supporting sentences available.

Let's see what these six types of sentences are.

Monday, May 13, 2019

C2 Sample Essay 31 (Traditional versus international music)

https://argutelegacy.blogspot.com/2019/05/c2-essay-31-traditional-vs-international-music.html

Writing at C2 level (Proficient User) on English language examinations is the same no matter the awarding body when it comes to writing essays. If you are a candidate giving an exam in English (IELTS, CPE, ECPE, CELP, LRN, ESB, TOEFL), make sure you read my earlier post What do I do with the sample writing found on this blog? to get the most out of the sample essays provided on Argute Legacy.  

  The topic of this essay is to discuss why music is a necessary part of life and whether the traditional music of a nation is more important than the international music most often heard nowadays. If you are not taking an exam but need to discuss this topic, then read on and note down what you deem useful. If you intend to use this essay as part of an assignment, remember to paraphrase so as not to plagiarize.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Essay Writing: The Main Body - The Topic Sentence

This is the third article in my essay-writing series which will clarify issues relating to the main body of an essay. In the two previous articles, I discussed the overall organization of an essay and how an introductory paragraph should be set down.

I'd like to clarify once again that these articles can be useful to anyone who has to compose an essay but have mainly been aimed at giving test-takers a practical guide as to how they can manage to successfully complete the Writing Section of an EFL / ESL examination and so are in no way the definitive answer to all essay organization queries. Candidates who are studying to take the IELTS, MSU-CELC or CELP, ECPE, ECCE, ESB, LRN, TOEFL, CPE, FCE (First for Schools), PTE and need to write an essay in approximately half an hour can use the layout I propose to quickly structure their answer and not waste time having to come up with something more inventive.

Monday, April 22, 2019

C2 Sample Essay 30 (Labelling works of art masterpieces)

https://argutelegacy.blogspot.com/2019/04/c2-essay-30-artwork-masterpiece.html
Writing at C2 level (Proficient User) on English language examinations is the same no matter the awarding body when it comes to writing essays. If you are a candidate giving an exam in English (IELTS, CPE, ECPE, CELP, LRN, ESB, TOEFL), make sure you read my earlier post What do I do with the sample writing found on this blog? to get the most out of the sample essays provided on Argute Legacy.  

Friday, April 19, 2019

Commentary - What's the Ending to Nadine Gordimer's "An Intruder" All About?




https://argutelegacy.blogspot.com/2019/04/gordimer-intruder-ending.html

Nadine Gordimer -- An Intruder


That Dratted ... errm ... Enigmatic Ending




          So I said to myself one day, “When are you going to sit down and deal with what you fear the most – not being able to come up with a plausible interpretation for the “incident” or ending to Gordimer’s short story “An Intruder” that wouldn’t make readers laugh their socks off?”
          That dratted ending. It escaped me the first time I read the story, then again the second and third time, till I finally got pen and paper and jotted down all the facts in a manner that Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot would never have had the idiocy to acquiesce to, given their superior powers of recollection. At any rate, seeing the facts before me in note form did make certain words stand out above all else, enabling me to draw conclusions about what Gordimer may have intended for the reader to deduce. Let’s see what those facts are:

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Speaking Strategies for Oral Exams

Whether you are preparing for a B2, C1 or C2 language examination in English, at some point during the test you are required to maintain discussion for about 1-2 minutes on your own. This is something students sometimes find difficult to do as they have very few ideas about what to say after having stated one or two basic points. 

Regardless of the awarding body and certificate you are sitting an exam in (IELTS, Cambridge CPE or FCE/ First for Schools, ECPE or ECCE, MSU CELP or CELC, LRN, TOEIC, ESB, PTE), you will have to find ways to expand your answers to show that you can speak English without needing anyone's help. To do this, you need to keep the examiner from having to ask you one or two follow-up questions in order to elicit a longer response from you. In other words, if a task requires a candidate to speak for about two minutes on a topic, and the candidate manages to speak for a minute and 10 seconds only, the examiner will have to ask another question to get more information from the test-taker.  

In the mind of the examiner, having to ask that extra question or two translates into one of the following two things:

a) the candidate simply doesn't have ideas to express (which can't be penalized)

or

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