Monday, September 16, 2019

C2 Sample Essay 33 (Good news versus bad news in the media)

https://argutelegacy.blogspot.com/2019/09/c2-essay-33-bad-good-news.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 what factors influence news editors' choice of news items to broadcast, whether we've become accustomed to bad news and if more good news should be reported. 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.

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

Monday, April 8, 2019

The Latest Word: Herculean

https://argutelegacy.blogspot.com/2019/04/latest-word-herculean.html

The latest word is one found in the bottom half of the list of popular words used in English. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary places its first appearance in 1513, Dictionary.com in the 1590's, Oxford dictionary in the late 16th century, while Collins' (Collins Cobuild) online dictionary shows the popularity of this rarely used word peaking in 1860 at a frequency of 0.3.

Friday, April 5, 2019

C2 Sample Essay 29 (Failure)

https://argutelegacy.blogspot.com/2019/04/c2-essay-29-failure.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 give your opinion about the statement "failure is proof that the desire wasn't strong enough." 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.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Naoshi Koriyama - A Loaf of Poetry (Overview Part 2)

http://argutelegacy.blogspot.com/2019/03/koriyama-loaf-of-poetry-overview.html
This is part 2 of the analysis of Koriyama's "A Loaf of Poetry". Read a brief introduction of mine and find facts about the poet's life, the poem's structure (rhyme, meter, sounds, divisions, turning point), persona, and the first half of the poem here:


Naoshi Koriyama - A Loaf of Poetry (Overview)


This part completes the analysis of the poem's content and discusses the symbolism found in it as well as the title and overall message.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Naoshi Koriyama - A Loaf of Poetry (Overview)

https://argutelegacy.blogspot.com/2019/03/koriyama-loaf-of-poetry-overview.html
Naoshi Koriyama deftly equates the poetic process with a commonplace procedure in his poem "A Loaf of Poetry," proving that in the end, poetry is open to anyone who has the persistence, experience and inspiration to dabble in it. Added to this is the idea that poetry, like a loaf of bread, is not an ornate affair like some gastronomical preparation, but one of the primary forms of sustenance crucial to our diet.

The fascination with this poem, often reprinted in textbooks and taught to students by way of introducing poetry to them, lies in its simplicity which conceals Koriyama's methodical approach. That, however, is what the poem actually wants to point out: great care and diligence to create such a piece of writing is required, no matter how modest the end product may appear to be. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

B2 Sample Writing 15 (Letter - Exchange Student Mentor Recommendation)

https://argutelegacy.blogspot.com/2019/03/b2-letter-exchange-student-mentor.html
The following sample letter has been written so that exam candidates for a B2 level English examination (FCE now called First for Schools, ECCE, IELTS - 5.5 / 6.0, MSU-CELC, ESB, LRN) can get some ideas about how to organize and argue their writing.  First take a look at how to use the sample essays and letters that appear on this blog by reading the following post:

What do I do with the sample writing found on this blog?


Remember: such topics can also be used to start class discussions, so teachers might also want to read on to get ideas about a class activity they could set up to improve students' oral skills.


Thursday, March 14, 2019

B2 Sample Writing 14 (Letter - Perfect Holiday)

https://argutelegacy.blogspot.com/2019/03/b2-sample-letter-perfect-vacation.html
The following sample letter has been written so that exam candidates for a B2 level English examination (FCE now called First for Schools, ECCE, IELTS - 5.5 / 6.0, MSU-CELC, ESB, LRN) can get some ideas about how to organize and argue their writing. 

First take a look at how to use the sample essays and letters that appear on this blog by reading the following post:


What do I do with the sample writing found on this blog?




Remember: such topics can also be used to start class discussions, so teachers might also want to read on to get ideas about a class activity they could set up to improve students' oral skills.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

B2 Sample Writing 13 (Letter - School Uniforms)

https://argutelegacy.blogspot.com/2019/03/b2-sample-letter-school-uniforms.html
The following sample letter has been written so that exam candidates for a B2 level English examination (FCE now called First for Schools, ECCE, IELTS - 5.5 / 6.0, MSU-CELC, ESB, LRN) can get some ideas about how to organize and argue their writing. 
First take a look at how to use the sample essays and letters that appear on this blog by reading the following post:


What do I do with the sample writing found on this blog?


Remember: such topics can also be used to start class discussions, so teachers might also want to read on to get ideas about a class activity they could set up to improve students' oral skills.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

Oracle & Folly du Jour: On Ambition

http://argutelegacy.blogspot.com/search/label/Oracle%20%26%20Folly%20du%20Jour

B2 Sample Writing 12 (Letter - Mall vs. Sports Complex)

https://argutelegacy.blogspot.com/2019/03/b2-sample-writing-12-letter-mall.html
The following sample letter has been written so that exam candidates for a B2 level English examination (FCE now called First for Schools, ECCE, IELTS - 5.5 / 6.0, MSU-CELC, ESB, LRN) can get some ideas about how to organize and argue their writing. 

 
First take a look at how to use the sample essays and letters that appear on this blog by reading the following post:


What do I do with the sample writing found on this blog?




Remember: such topics can also be used to start class discussions, so teachers might also want to read on to get ideas about a class activity they could set up to improve students' oral skills.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

B2 Sample Writing 11 (Letter - Alcohol Consumption Age Limit)

https://argutelegacy.blogspot.com/2019/02/b2--writing-letter-alcohol-age-limit.html

The following sample letter has been written so that exam candidates for a B2 level English examination (FCE now called First for Schools, ECCE, IELTS - 5.5 / 6.0, MSU-CELC, ESB, LRN) can get some ideas about how to organize and argue their writing. 

First take a look at how to use the sample essays and letters that appear on this blog by reading the following post:


What do I do with the sample writing found on this blog?


Remember: such topics can also be used to start class discussions, so teachers might also want to read on to get ideas about a class activity they could set up to improve students' oral skills.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

B2 Sample Writing 10 (Letter - Living with Grandparents)

https://argutelegacy.blogspot.com/2019/02/b2-sample-letter-grandparents.html
The following sample letter has been written so that exam candidates for a B2 level English examination (FCE now called First for Schools, ECCE, IELTS - 5.5 / 6.0, MSU-CELC, ESB, LRN) can get some ideas about how to organize and argue their writing. 

First take a look at how to use the sample essays and letters that appear on this blog by reading the following post:


What do I do with the sample writing found on this blog?

   

Remember: such topics can also be used to start class discussions, so teachers might also want to read on to get ideas about a class activity they could set up to improve students' oral skills.

 

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Oracle & Folly du Jour:On Given Facts


C2 Sample Essay 28 (Athletes' motivation)

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, 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 elaborate on the messages that are sent to young people when they see that athletes' motivation has changed from winning and breaking world records to seeking money and fame.
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, February 11, 2019

Carol Ann Duffy - Havisham (Overview - Part 3)

This is the last part of the overview to Carol Ann Duffy's poem "Havisham" which covers stanzas three and four of the poem in terms of content, namely: the puce curses, power of words and degeneration to an animal state, the incubus image and vampirism, the white veil, wedding cake, honeymoon, red balloon and necrophilic thoughts and final stutter present in a poem that comes full circle through the choice of words used at the beginning of each stanza.


Part 1 gave a brief biography, discussed the poem's structure (meter and rhymes), the sounds present in the poem and analyzed the persona of Miss Havisham (what is known about her from Great Expectations and how Duffy treats her case).

Part 2 dealt with various points present in stanzas 1 and 2 (enjambment, inability to escape, the notions of time and ageing, Miss Havisham's homicidal thoughts, green pebbles, ropes on the back of her hands, the concept of the spinster, the yellowing dress and slewed mirror, the bed, wall, wardrobe).


Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Carol Ann Duffy - Havisham (Overview - Part 2)

This is the second part of the overview to Carol Ann Duffy's poem "Havisham" which covers stanzas one and two of the poem in terms of content. 
Read part 1 which gives a brief biography, discusses the poem's structure (meter and rhymes), the sounds present in the poem and analyzes the persona of Miss Havisham (what is known about her from Great Expectations and how Duffy treats her case) here.



Saturday, January 26, 2019

Carol Ann Duffy - Havisham (Overview - Part 1)

https://argutelegacy.blogspot.com/2019/01/duffy-havisham-overview-1.html
A paragon of betrayal, vengeance, self-pity and idiosyncrasy, Miss Havisham is Dickens's most memorable and intriguing character. She was the woman who stayed fossilized in my mind the moment I finished reading the chapter in which Dickens first described her. She mesmerized me in the guise of Martita Hunt in the legendary 1946 film adaptation of Great Expectations starring iconic Sir John Mills, Finlay Currie, as well as a young Jean Simmons and Sir Alec Guinness.

Being thus prejudicially inclined, it was with immense joy that I discovered that a poem had been written to recapture the sound of a shattering heart. Miss Havisham lived on in her agony, yet this time round her thoughts were open to further interpretation not limited to details set down by Dickens's 19th century novel. 

Carol Ann Duffy's 1993 poem does Miss Havisham justice, indeed. So much so, in fact, that I've spent hours drawing up my overview which at 3 A-4 sized sheets of paper is nowhere near completion. 

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Essay Writing: The Introductory Paragraph

http://argutelegacy.blogspot.com/search/label/writing
In the first article in this series of posts, Essay Writing: The Overall Organization of an Essay, I pointed out what the general layout of an academic essay should look like. Today, we're going to see how the first paragraph of such an essay should be organized.


By way of reminder, an entirely different organization is possible, but for the sake of helping exam takers sitting timed EFL (English as a foreign language and not the English Football League!) examinations, I stick to one particular style so that test-takers can focus on one kind of layout which should save time. Note also that I'm writing about academic essays and not letters or emails, reports, proposals, newspaper or magazine articles, or narratives. Those varieties of written work have their own traits and therefore need to be discussed in separate blog posts (which I hope to eventually address at some later time).

But for now, let's get back to our academic essay introduction.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Monica Wood - Disappearing (Overview - Part 4)

https://argutelegacy.blogspot.com/2018/12/monica-wood-disappearing-overview-part-1.html
This is the fourth part of the overview to Monica Wood's short story "Disappearing" which covers the story's themes: body image, assistance, silence, and acknowledgment.

If you want to read an introduction which includes a link to the story, a short biography of the author, the setting of the story as well as the characters that interact in it, click here

Part two deals with the plot and the "growth" process through which Wood intimates how destructive others can be and how -- as traumatizers -- they can permanently stunt development (to read that, click here). 

Part three about the story's point of view and symbolism can be found here.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

C2 Sample Essay 27 (Past criminal record)

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, 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.  
 

  If you are not taking an exam but need to discuss whether a jury should have information about a defendant's past criminal record or not, 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.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Monica Wood - Disappearing (Overview - Part 3)

https://argutelegacy.blogspot.com/2018/12/monica-wood-disappearing-overview-part-1.html
This is part three of the overview to Monica Wood's short story "Disappearing". It covers the story's point of view and symbolism. 

If you want to read an introduction which includes a link to the story, a short biography of the author, the setting of the story as well as the characters that interact in it, click here. Part two deals with the plot and the "growth" process through which Wood intimates how destructive others can be and how -- as traumatizers -- they can permanently stunt development (to read that, click here.)


Tuesday, January 8, 2019

10 More IELTS Cue Card Questions (Part 5)

http://argutelegacy.blogspot.com/search/label/IELTS
Please note that the following questions are not only for those sitting the IELTS examination. Teachers, students or anyone who wants to improve their spoken English can use them to practice speaking.
All you have to do is practice with a tutor or speaking partner, or even by yourself. Use a stopwatch to time your answers -- a reasonable answer should last 2-5 minutes. 
For IELTS test takers, this is the fifth list of cue card questions, so if you haven't seen the previous lists, here are the links: 
10 More IELTS Cue Card Questions (part 1)
10 More IELTS Cue Card Questions (part 2)
10 More IELTS Cue Card Questions (part 3)
10 More IELTS Cue Card Questions (part 4)

Remember to limit your answers to 2 minutes.

IELTS candidates should also read the tips for Part 2 of the Speaking section here:IELTS Speaking: Part 2 Sample Questions (List 1) & Tips.

Friday, January 4, 2019

C2 Sample Essay 26 (Reasons for attending college)

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, 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 this blog.  
 
If you are not taking an exam but need to discuss the reasons why people decide to attend college, 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.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Grammar: Wishes

Please read the first two paragraphs from Grammar: The Subjunctive by way of introduction to this series of blog posts regarding grammar.




Knowing how to properly use constructions that contain wishes in them demonstrates a better knowledge of English, which is why it is taught to students preparing for a B2, C1 or C2 level English examination (IELTS, ECPE, ECCE, ESB, LRN, MSU-CELP, MSU-CELC, TOEFL, TOEIC, ALCE, to name a few).

In English, wishes are expressed either using the verb "wish" (which is a regular verb) or the phrase "if only" stated just before you say the thing you wish for.

It is easy to learn how to express wishes if you divide them into three categories.

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C2 Sample Essay 33 (Good news versus bad news in the media)

Writing at C2 level (Proficient User) on English language examinations is the same no matter the awarding body when it comes to writing...

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