Posts Tagged ‘read a lot’

How not to write an essay

6 July 2013

twitter: @eugenio_fouz



One of the four skills* to take into account when teaching a foreign language is writing. To write an essay teachers should provide students with opportunities to express themselves by writing short notes or opinions. Firstly, students might be asked to jot down some words about an easy topic to deal, for example, “are you for or against using mobile phones in public places?”. Also they would be expected to write a minimum of words- not too many, probably 40 or 60 words. Further on these students will be writing up to 100 words, hopefully.

Writing an essay or any long text is a hard job. To be a good writer one must be a better reader. Reading makes no sense without using dictionaries. Consequently, the good essayist must be a fanatic dictionary user.

It is advisable to write some drafts of what you want to say. Once you think your essay is done, revise it, checking and double checking silly mistakes or slips (*“he think” / “the thirst time” / “you visit me yesterday”, “people is worried”, “girls beautifuls”).

Keep in mind the idea that grammar is to be learnt continuously. On the other hand, a writer, a poet, a journalist covers lots of words. Without words there is no writing or communication.

When writing an essay one should try to think about the reader. One must be clear in his writing, express correctly and show more than one or two ideas. In other words, the student should make his writing interesting.

Most students don´t worry about linkers (moreover, therefore, nevertheless, however, then, later, secondly) and overuse certain conjunctions such as “AND”.  Taking a picture from the textbook the students were asked to describe and write about what they saw. Here you are an example of a wrong essay “In the picture there are two women and they are friends. They are smiling and I think that they are in the city of New York and they are in front of the river”.

And here another example “In this picture I can see two girls. I guess they are friends because it seems they are the same age. Behind them there is a beautiful landscape of a big city. It may be midday because of the sunlight

Style in writing helps too.


[*the four skills are: writing, reading, speaking and listening]

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