martes, 29 de septiembre de 2009

How to write a good essay


Would you like to learn how to write 500 words English essays? Maybe it has happened you that you have many topics and you do not know how to begin; or perhaps, once you have finished, you do not feel happy with your composition completely, do not you? Here I am going to give you the process about how to write an essay. That is: to know the good elements of good writing, prewriting techniques, to write an outline of your essay, to write your draft, and review and editing your draft. Applying the processes that we will see here, your future compositions become clear, neat and flowing.

Elements of good writing: subject, purpose and audience

Before beginning to write, you should choose your subject, purpose, and audience. I mean, the subject should be well known and understood for you in order to the composition do not be vague or weak. Regarding purpose to write, it should be focus either to entertainment, to inform, or to persuade because each one has variants in the content, vocabulary and tone. For example, entertainment compositions talk about hobbies, personal experiences, or something like that where their vocabulary and tone are cheerful and friendly. On the other hand, most of inform compositions are polite. Their vocabulary is choose careful, it has many data like statistics, facts, observations or instructions in order to do something and they do not try to persuade or convince anybody. Persuade compositions could be a mix between previous both trying to convince somebody about the topic it is talking.

Prewriting

Once you have chosen your topic, purpose, and audience is time to write your prewriting. You can help you choosing among brainstorm, free writing, or clustering techniques.

Brainstorm is to write all your topics that come up from your mind on paper in order to develop them later in your draft. Free writing, it is writing fast, without stops, in order to write your prewriting without worrying for the details like spelling, punctuation or grammar. Even, it is possible that your topics are not related each other, but do not worry because later on we will correct these details. Regarding clustering is write your topics into bubbles and join them with lines according their topic, as your were drawing one tree. This chart can help you later in order to write your draft orderly because you can see your topics and how they were grouped.

Later you can prepare an outline based on the groups of similar ideas.

Sentences

Because an essay has paragraphs and each paragraph have sentences so that we should begin by recognize a sentence and know how to write a good sentence. In addition, this section will help us to edit our writing.

All sentences should begin with capitals and end with period. All sentences in English must have subject and a verb. It must also express a complete thought. A complete sentence can stand alone. If a sentence lacks either a subject or a verb or is not a complete thought, it is called sentence fragment. For example:

1. No Subject

Fragment: Did very well on her math exam.

Complete Sentence: Karen did very well on her math exam.

2. No Verb

Fragment: Both Alexander and his younger sister Lisa.

Complete Sentence: Both Alexander and his younger sister Lisa enjoy tennis.

3. Incomplete Thought

Fragment: Before I went to college.

Complete Sentence: Before I went to college, I worked part time at a bank.

One rule more, we should take care of the run-on sentences. Sentences that were written in hurry are called run-on sentences and they should be fixed. For example:

Run-on sentence: I am hungry I did not eat breakfast.

Option one: I am hungry. I did not eat breakfast. (Two sentences)

Option two: I am hungry because I did not eat breakfast. (One sentence)

Option three: I am hungry and I did not eat breakfast. (One sentence)

In option one I had to split the run-on sentence in two sentences: “I am hungry” and “I did not have a lunch”. While in option two I had to add one transition: "because". And in option tree I had to add one connector: “and”. The three sentences are right, but we should take care of fix run-on sentences because most of the time the meaning could be quite different. In order to connect sentences we can use transitions and conjunctions, for example: first, last but not least, as soon as, next to, moreover, such as, meanwhile, especially, between, by the time, but, and, for, so, or, nor, yet, etc. At last but not least, must to have an agreement of subjects and verbs, pronouns and nouns, and possessives and nouns or pronouns. For example:

My friend was late for class.

My friends were late for class.

My friend and I were late to class. (Because the subjects are joined by “and”, the verb is considered plural)

Either Jason or Pat drives me to school. (Because the subject closer to the verb is singular, the verb is considered singular too)

Neither Ann nor her sisters plan to join the tennis club. (Because the subject closer to the verb is plural, the verb is considered plural too)

When a student eats in the cafeteria, he/she must to show a student ID.

When students eat in the cafeteria, they must show a student ID.

The little boy is holding his mother’s hand.

The children are holding their mother’s hand.

Each of the girls had her own bedroom in the apartment.

Both of our daughters have their own cars.

Give it to Janet, It’s hers.

That book belongs to me. It’s mine.

As you can see, writing an English sentence is not easy; we should to take care of some rules. Although they seems obvious, everybody who is studying English as a foreign language should bear in mind those rules because they could be forgotten. In order to do not forget them, could be a good idea, do a checklist and use it once you are reviewing your sentences.

Writing paragraphs

In your prewriting, your topics were developed but they are spreading, the order does not have sense, and it has much grammar, spelling, punctuation, and other mistakes. The first we are going to do is take the related topics and group together them in one paragraph, and then, for each paragraph, we are going to think in any topic sentences. Each one topic sentence should be the first sentence in our paragraphs and they should state the topic of the paragraph and identifies the focus. For example, in the next topic sentence: "Mahatma Gandhi was an influentian leader" the topic is "Mahatma Gandhi", and the focus is "was an influentian leader". In other words, the paragraph is going to talk about Mahatma Gandhi and his leadership. From then on, all the paragraph sentences should support the topic sentence. For example, we can include facts, anecdotes, examples, details, and specific reasons. Then, we should delete the sentences that do not have to do with the topic sentence; or rewriting it, or moving it to another paragraph. Also, we can add new ideas or more specific support and rearrange ideas to improve the organization. Finally, some paragraphs include one conclusion. It should restate, in few words, the paragraph content.

Once the paragraphs have been built the next step is correct the sentences; it is to say, fix run-on sentences, and connect your sentences with transitions. Do not forget check the grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Last of all, a paragraph also needs to be easy to understand. This means it should have a logical organization like time order, spatial order, or order of importance. In order to do not forget anything, we can do one checklist and applying it to each paragraph.

Writing the essay

At this point, we are ready to write 500 words essays and here I give you one formula about how do it. The techniques consist in think in five paragraphs: introduction, three supporting paragraphs, and one conclusion.

The introduction paragraph is special because it should capture the reader’s interest, provide background information, and state the main idea of the essay. The first part in the introduction should capture the reader’s interest and attention in order to create desire to read the rest of the essay. Letter on we should to provide background information. And finally, we should state the main idea of the essay in the thesis statement, the last statement.

We can capture the reader’s interest and provide background information following one or a combination of the next techniques:

· Move from general to specific

This type of introduction opens with a general statement on the subject that establishes its importance and then leads the reader to the more specific thesis statement.

· Use an anecdote

Another way to write an introduction is to relate an interesting story that will interest the reader in the subject.

· Ask a question.

Asking one or more questions at the beginning of an essay is a good way to engage readers in the topic right away.

· Present facts and statistics

Presenting some interesting facts or statistics establishes credibility.

· Use a quotation

A quotation is an easy way to introduce your topic. You can quote an authority on your subject or use an interesting quotation from an article.

Now let me tell you that a good thesis statement should identify the subject of the essay, state the purpose of the essay, and tells the focus of the subject. In other words, tells the reader what your essay is talking about.

The supporting paragraphs should support the thesis statement. All of them are known as the body essay and they are editing as we saw previously: first, the topic sentence; then, support the topic sentence with supporting details, examples, facts; and finally, if you want, one conclusion. Now, can you guess how many paragraphs will have your essay? The number of supporting paragraphs depends of the number of main ideas you have developed in your writing paragraphs process. But, if you prefer, at the beginning, in the prewriting process, the broad essay subject can be divided in tree main subjects. For example:

Place

People

a. Local

b. National

c. International


a. Home

b. Work

c. School


a. Land

b. Sea

c. Air

a. Students

b. Workers

c. Retired people


a. Family

b. Friends

c. Co-workers


a. Children

b. Adults

c. The elderly


Time


Society

a. Pas

b. Present

c. Future


a. Childhood

b. Adulthood

c. Old age

a. Economic

b. Political

c. Social/educational/religious


a. Business

b. Science

c. The arts

The final paragraph of your essay is the conclusion. It is the last thing your readers will see, so you want to make it interesting.

The purpose of this paragraph is to summarize the main points you have made in your essay, or at least, mention it. Also, you might ask questions in order to leave the reader thinking about the subject. Finally, in this paragraph you can suggest a solution; make a recommendation or prediction.

Conclusion

As we have seen, writing essays could be easy if we follow the process; that is, to know the elements of good writing likes subject, purpose and audience. Right away, we should use some prewriting techniques in order to come up our ideas. Once our ideas are on paper, we can write our first draft and develop all the topics we want to include in our essay. Later, we should review the sentences and correct them. Immediately, the sentences must be grouped according a theme and edit the paragraphs. Finally, add one introduction at the beginning and one conclusion at the end and do not forget that all the paragraphs should support the thesis statement.

Lastly, as you know, to acquire the techniques of any knowledge it is easy, but become a master is a long–life process. So, in order to improve your English writing you might write every day short scripts or keeping a journal about your day, work, or people you meet. So that, I hope that this essay have been useful for you and I encourage to you to write every day.

Good luck!



Restated by Luis Miguel Peña Rodríguez.

Review
Ready to write more: from paragraph to essay. Second edition. By Karen Blanchard and Christine Root. Ed. Longman.

lunes, 28 de septiembre de 2009

Denunciemos la corrupción

25 de septiembre de 2009

Apreciable, Óscar

Te escribo para que me permitas realizar una reflexión contigo referente al último de tus acontecimientos, en donde fuiste timado y cómplice al mismo tiempo.

El supuesto empleado de Sony que te hizo "el favor", por una corta lana, de hacerte válida la garantía vencida para la reparación de tu computadora es uno de los que gentilmente son llamados ladrones de cuello blanco. El pseudo empleado, el cual se disfraza de blanco cordero, suciamente se las ingenia para sacar ventaja de los beneficios que su empleador le otorga.

Ese feroz lobo o astuto coyote, que de aquí en adelante me referiré al tal por cual como “infame chacal”, abusa de su puesto, privilegios y confianza que su patrón le confía para hurtar, tranzar, estafar, burlar, etc., etc., a cuanto inocente se le cruza en su pernicioso camino.

Que importa si se trata de un conocido o un desconocido; de un compañero de trabajo o de un amigo; de un jefe o de un subordinado; de un proveedor o de un cliente; del padre o del hijo. El infame chacal solo trabaja para su beneficio; vacilando, fingiendo, mintiendo, embaucando y valiéndose de muchas otras argucias para apoderarse del bien ajeno.

Los magos del disfraz son difíciles de identificar, se presentan con una falsa amabilidad expeliendo, por la cloaca nauseabunda que tiene como boca, una sarta de palabrería con la finalidad de que sus incautas víctimas terminen enredadas y confundidas con las soflamas de su perorata falaz.

Me conmuevo y compadezco por tu desafortunado encuentro con aquel charlatán embustero, perverso mago del disfraz y la mentira, quién se atavió de pulcras túnicas para tenderte la mano en un momento de confusión en el cual te encontrabas.

Ahora que estás fuera de la trampa y lejos del alcance de ese ladino, espero tengas la claridad para identificar el deshonesto trato en el cual te viste involucrado.

Fortalécete, recupérate de la artera treta y acude a tus nobles principios para que en el futuro logres identificar a esos Judas infieles, hombres cuasi genuinos, apócrifos, que se enriquecen con el trabajo de los demás.

¡Denunciemos la corrupción!


Mis más sinceros saludos,
Luis Miguel.

miércoles, 23 de septiembre de 2009

Greetings from Mars


Wow! I just got here and I can’t believe how incredible it is here.

First, the trip was very comfortable. It took the same time as San Francisco to New York by plane. The flying dish is wide, clean and light up with white shining ceilings. It was silent and you aren't aware you are moving. The crew was very polite and approachable. I had a productive talk with them about the stars and our Solar System. When the talk was in the most interesting point, we had already arrivedL.

Then, the space ship stood above the city for awhile in order to download the passengers to one small ship. The city is crowded with tall buildings and green people flying their personal ships everywhere. There are feelings you have to feel; for example, my weight is 20% less than Earth, so I can be awake and walking for more time. The days are longer than days in Earth, and there are two moons at night.

Finally, as long as I am an engineer and I have heard that Mars has a complex hydraulic system, tomorrow I’m going to travel to the North Pole to watch the system up close. Did you know that hydraulic system all over Mars carry water everywhere?


I’ll write you tomorrow to tell you how my trip was.

See you later,
Your cosmic friend.

lunes, 21 de septiembre de 2009

Mis lecturas favoritas


Rayuela, de Julio Cortazar, es una de las novelas que más trabajo me ha costado leer y que debo regresar a ella para terminar de entenderla --aunque tal vez no haya nada que entender sino simplemente leer a placer.

Recuerdo algunos capítulos que me gustaron mucho.

Capítulo 7. Toco tu boca.

Capítulo 68. Lenguaje inventado por él: El Glíglico.

En la siguiente página puedes leer algo breve de Cortazar en donde está presente su ingenio e ironía.

De Óscar de la Borbolla recomiendo a "Las Vocales Malditas" el cual es un pequeño libro con cinco cuentos, en donde cada uno está escrito con palabras que solo incluyen una vocal.

Las Vocales Malditas. Cantata a Satanás.

De Calos Alberto Nacher, un cuento que está escrito con palabras que solo incluyen a la vocal "a".