Two ways to write an argumentative composition
- attack the opponent: Give each of the opposing views and then give yours, showing that yours is the better view.
- balanced approach: Look at both sides of the argument and finally give your view. In this case the structure of the composition would be a) introduction b) points in favour c) points against and d) conclusion (your opinion)
writing introductions to argumentative essays
- Introduce the topic with a) definition of the main words of the topic, b) by saying that the topic is an ‘oft-debated one’ or c) a related quotation.
- State why the topic is important
- State whether there is a difference of opinion about this topic
- Describe how your essay will be structured and and clearly state your main argument.
Sample introduction (topic: examinations should be abolished)
An examination is a mode of determining whether a student is eligible to undertake higher education or a candidate is able to fulfil the demands of a job he has applied for. This topic is of paramount importance today, as educational reforms are being carried out almost in every country of the world. As examination is a core issue in a civilized society, topics such as this will give rise to views which may be sharply opposite to one another.
Writing a paragraph
Each paragraph should have 1) the topic sentence that gives the main argument b) explanation of this point and 3) reasons to say so.
The types of reasons that may be used in a argumentative composition: facts, statistics, words of experts, and personal experience.
If the new paragraph gives an additional point on the idea that is already stated, you can use expressions such as ‘another reason’, ‘another factor’ etc, to begin it. If the new paragraph gives a contrasting idea, you can use expressions such as ‘on the other hand’, However this is not always the case’ etc,.
The narrative composition
The narrative composition is about telling a story. At O’ level, students are expected to write two types of narrative compositions: One which asks them to write a story with a given sentence in it, and the other that gives a particular situation for the students to write about.
Are you bored by the words you use? If you are bored, think how much more bored will the examiner be when you see your answer paper, The key to add zest to the language is to use sharper words that convey the exact, not generic meaning. Let us look at some of them.
come: advance, approach, arrive, near, reach
go: depart, disappear, fade, move, proceed, recede, travel
run: dash, escape, elope, flee, hasten, hurry, race, rush, speed, sprint
hurry: rush, run, speed, race, hasten, urge, accelerate, bustle
hide: conceal, cover, mask, cloak, camouflage, screen, shroud, veil.
move: plod, go, creep, crawl, inch, drag, shuffle, trot, dawdle, walk, traipse, jog, trudge, lumber, trail, run, sprint, trip, bound, breeze, stride, tear, rush, dash, dart, bolt, scamper, scurry, scoot, scuttle, scramble, race, chase, hasten, hurry, accelerate, roam, journey, trek, ride, slip, guide, slither, prance, pace, lunge
Now let us have a small exercise. Below given are some sentences with ordinary words we use. Replace them with more appropriate and sharper words given above.
- The mice ran across room get to the cheese.
- I was unhappy that he had hidden the truth from me.
- Many of the jobless people just go around the town,
- We moved fast to the supermarket as it was almost time to close,
- He had hidden a gun under his bed.
All that you need to know and learn about O’level English examinations at one site,