Essay writing in English (practical tips)



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Essay writing in English (practical tips)

  • Elena Velikaya, Doctor of Philology, Professor in the Faculty of Economics (English Language Department), ICEF English Coordinator, National Research University Higher School of Economics
  • E-mail: evelikaya@hse.ru

IELTS exam type of essay

  • Text structure
  • Introduction:
  • 1. Topic sentence – introduces the subject, why it is important
  • 2. Scope of answer (First, this essay will analyse …, then it will look at … and, finally, it will examine …)

Main part

  • First main idea (Some people think … ), argument, example
  • Second main idea (Other people think …), argument, example
  • Third main idea (At the same time …), argument, example
  • (analysis of advantages and disadvantages, ‘for’ and ‘against’ arguments)

Conclusion

Practice (Essay title)

  • ‘There are many different types of music in
  • the world today. Why do we need music? Is
  • traditional music of a country more
  • important than international music that is
  • heard everywhere nowadays?’
  • You should write at least 250 words.

Practice (Essay title)

  • ‘The idea of having a single career is becoming an old fashioned one. The new fashion will be to have several careers or ways of earning money and further education will be something that continues throughout life’.
  • You should write at least 250 words.

Marriages and divorces in the USA, 1970-2000

Introductory paragraph

  • The diagram shows the number of marriages and divorces in the USA from 1970 to 2000. The vertical axis shows the number of people in millions. The horizontal axis compares four years: 1970, 1980, 1990, 2000.

Comment

  • As can be seen from the diagram, the number of marriages in 1970 accounted for 2,5 million people. On the other hand, the number of divorces in the same year was two and a half times less, and accounted for 1 million people.

Conclusion

  • In conclusion, from 1970 to 2000 in the USA there was a slight decrease in marriages, whereas the number of divorces in the same period remained the same.

Inflation rate

Introductory paragraph

  • The graph shows changes in inflation between May 1999 and May 2001.The vertical axis illustrates the percentage of inflation and the horizontal – the given period of time.

Comment

  • As can be seen from the graph, in May 1999 the rate of inflation accounted for 10%. It remained constant till July 1999, which was followed by a slight decrease when the rate of inflation constituted 8%. From October 1999 till March 2000 there was a dramatic increase in the rate of inflation when it reached nearly 32%. After a marked fluctuation from March 2000 till October 2000 the rate of inflation reached its peak of 33%.

Comment (continuation)

  • Between October 2000 and February 2001 there was a sharp decrease. In fact, in February 2001 the rate of inflation was approximately 17%. This was followed by a steep rise till April 2001 when the inflation rate made up 22%.

Conclusion

  • To conclude, during the period from May 1999 till May 2001 the trend in the rate of inflation was upward.

Family weekly expenditure in 2010 in Russia

Introductory paragraph

  • The pie-chart shows weekly expenditure of an average family in Russia in 2010.

Comment

  • As can be seen from the pie-chart, by far the largest part of family budget in Russia in 2010 was spent on food. In fact, spendings on food accounted for 28% or approximately 1/3 of the budget. At the same time, the expenditure on entertainment, housing and clothing made up 18, 16 and 14%, respectively which is almost 10% less than on food. On the other hand, the expenses on alcoholic drinks and other goods and services together constituted only 5%.

Conclusion

  • To conclude, in 2010 the biggest part of the family budget in Russia was spent on food and the smallest – on alcoholic drinks and other goods and services.

Average distance in miles travelled per person per year, by mode of travel

  • 1985
  • 2000
  • Walking
  • 255
  • 237
  • Bicycle
  • 51
  • 41
  • Car
  • 3,199
  • 4,806
  • Local bus
  • 429
  • 274
  • Long distance bus
  • 54
  • 124
  • Train
  • 289
  • 366
  • Taxi
  • 13
  • 42
  • Other
  • 450
  • 585
  • All modes
  • 4,740
  • 6,475

Introductory paragraph

  • The table shows differences between average distance in miles travelled per person per year by different modes of travel in 1985 and 2000.

Comment

  • As can be seen from the table, the biggest change was in travelling by car. In fact, it increased by approximately 1,600 miles per person. At the same time, the largest decrease occurred in travelling by local bus which accounted for 155 miles. In addition, an increase in average distance travelled by other modes of travel made up 135 miles.

Comment (continuation)

  • In contrast, the smallest changes were in travelling by bicycle, by walking and by taxi. Specifically, the average distance travelled by bicycle decreased by 10 miles and travelling by walking dropped by 18 miles. Taxi was more favoured in 2000: the average distance travelled by this means of transport increased by 29 miles per person.

Conclusion

  • In conclusion, the biggest changes were in travelling by car and the smallest – in travelling by bicycle. Travelling by all means of travel, however, increased in 2000.


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