Thursday, July 23, 2009

How to start your essay?

I am sure many of you have a problem in starting your essay. Many of my students take a long time to start their introduction or worse, they use the overused intro.:
Everyone in this world has a friend......
Everyone in this world love to watch television..

Your introduction must be something that grabs people’s attention. Use the following ideas:
1 Use some startling information or fact
Start with a pertinent fact that explicitly illustrates the point you wish to make. Then, elaborate with a sentence or two.
Topic: Teenagers and their problems
o A recent survey on teenagers provided some food for thought for parents. It was found that about 70 per cent of them smoked, 40 per cent watched pornographic videos and 14 per cent took drugs.Several factors have been identified as contributing to these problems.
2 Use an anecdote
An anecdote is a short story that illustrates a point.
Topic: The loafing syndrome among teenagers
Raj and his friends do not go home after school. They hang out daily at a shopping complex to while their time away. There, they join many other students from other schools. Sometimes, they play some video games or just enjoy each other’s company. Raj and his friends are just the tip of the iceberg of the loafing syndrome among teenagers.
3 Dialogue
Use an appropriate dialogue to start your story or convey a point. Use only two or three exchanges between speakers to make your point.
Topic: An unforgettable incident
“Help! Someone just snatched my purse!” The screams shattered the still of the night. Suddenly, lights were switched on and heads popped out of doors and windows. “Hey, what’s the matter?”
4 Use a question
You can also use a rhetorical question which jolts people into attention.
Topic: Reduce, reuse and recycle
Did you know that Malaysians throw away 1.2 million tonnes worth of newspapers daily? For every ten newspapers bought, only four are recovered for recycling. Thus, the government spearheaded a recycling campaign to encourage Malaysians to separate their waste.
Topic: Coping with peer pressure
What choice do you have if your friends are pressuring you to do something which you think is wrong? Would you walk away? Are you able to say ‘no’?
5 Use a definition
Define your topic.
Topic: Gawai Dayak Festival
In Sarawak, the word Gawai is the equivalent to a Festival. Numerous Gawais are celebrated throughout the year by the State’s indigenous people but Gawai Dayak marks the end of the harvest season and heralds a new year.
6 Use a quotation
Topic: How to save water
It is better to be safe than to be sorry. That is the message of the environmentalists to those who take water for granted. For one day, we may be faced with the situation whereby there is not enough water for everyone. Thus, we should take steps to save water.
7 Use a general statement
Use a general statement about your topic, then narrow it to a specific point of view.
Topic: Ways to reduce pollution
Of late, there has been increasing concern with the impact of pollution on the environment and our society. The public outcry over the various environmental disasters in our own country should be lauded. How do we resolve these problems?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Descriptive essay

Describe an afternoon at the bus station (SPM 97)

It was two o’clock in the afternoon. I was heading towards the bus station with Mohan after Mrs Wong’s extra class. The sun was beating mercilessly on my back and I could feel my sweat trickling down my spine. I have often wished that my mother would allow me to ride a motorcycle to school. She says that I am not ready but we both know that she is terrified that a car would knock me down.
When I reached the bus station, it was nearly empty except for a handful of boys. Mohan and I strode to a bench near the stationmaster’s office. I could feel the tension on my shoulders as the straps of my school bag ate into my shoulder. “Where is the bus?” I sighed to myself. An elderly woman came and asked me where I was going. She started a conversation but gave up after my monosyllable answers.
Suddenly, someone shouted and I saw a bus swerved into the station. I got up, thankful for the chance to escape from the woman. . It was Mohan’s bus. The group of boys were jostling each other to get into the bus. “Masuk! Masuk!” shouted the conductor but nobody seemed to be moving. The black fumes made me nauseous. All of a sudden, people started appearing from all directions to board their bus. In no time, the passengers were packed like sardines in the bus. It started to move, leaving some unfortunate passengers behind. I waved at Mohan when I noticed him dangling on the steps of the bus. The bus swerved out of the station again. It left another trail of black smoke.
I decided to go to Panjang’s ice stall. The iced sugar cane juice soothed my parched throat as I sipped slowly, all the while keeping an eye on the bus. Then I saw the bus heading towards the station. I paid for my drinks. “See you tomorrow,” I waved to Panjang.
Once more, the crowd began to swell near the bus. I noticed that the elderly woman was being shoved around by the boys. She started hitting them with her umbrella. Then, I saw Raja, my classmate at the back of the bus. I hurled my bag through the window and he caught it. By the time I got into the bus, it had already started moving. I got into my seat and told myself that I must really try to convince my mother about the motorcycle again.
(415 words)
(SPM Essential English, Pearson by Jenny Tan)


Apart from the common words such as nice and beautiful, there are other words which you can use to describe a place or scene.

Marvellous time
Terrific place
Exciting activities
Breathtaking beach
Magnificent buildings
Fascinating sunset
Spectacular view
Picturesque beach
Delightful play
Inspiring show
Thrilling performance
Panoramic view
Captivating sight
Relaxing room
Lively town
Vibrant people
Delicious food
Mouth-watering desserts

Unpleasant day
Dull show
Nerve-wrecking journey
Awful time
Dreadful room
Depressing scene
Disappointing show
Miserable time
Frustrating weather
Upsetting news
Tiring event
Crowded room
Chaotic roads
Deserted town
Crammed room
Feel discontented
Boring film
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