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Intervenant

Laurence Petoud
Executive Assistant

Formatrice en Entreprise

ECDL Expert
laurence.petoud@gmail.com

www.facebook.com/CambridgeExamsPreparation

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This support has been developed as part of my


revisions for exams First Certificate in English.
Transitional adverbs
Transitional adverbs or transitions are words and phrases writers and speakers
use to move from one sentence to the next. Using transitions properly is essential
to indicate the rhetorical structure of your writing. Transitions make it easier for
your readers to follow your arguments and explanation.
Here is a list of some of the most common transitional adverbs in English.
First, firstly, second, secondly, third, next, then, finally, lastly etc.
These transitional adverbs are used to show the order of ideas or facts. They may
also indicate sequence.
Note that firstly, secondly etc., are more formal than first, second etc.
Firstly, we need to improve our productivity. Secondly, we need to cut
costs. And thirdly, we need to compete in international markets.
Also, too, in addition, furthermore, moreover etc.
These are mainly used to add information.
Smoking is injurious to health. Also it makes you smell bad.
The cricketer played badly. In addition, he was extremely rude to press
photographers.
However, on the other hand, but, yet, though, nevertheless, in contrast
etc.
These expressions are used to show contrast or to make a concession.
I was a little afraid. However, I decided to try it.
She had little chance of getting the job. Nevertheless, she decided to
apply.
Notes
Some grammarians insist that however cannot be used to begin a sentence, but
this rule has been ignored by many great writers.
For example, to illustrate, for instance
These expressions are used to introduce examples.
Smoking is indeed a dangerous habit. For instance, have you thought of
the thousands of people who get cancer because they smoke?
That is, in other words
These expressions are used to explain or elaborate on an idea.
Does she have the necessary skills and experience? In other words, can
we hire her for this job?
His office is on the first floor. That is, the floor above the ground floor.
He is an oncologist. In other words, he treats people suffering from cancer.
In fact, indeed, as a matter of fact
These expressions are used to emphasize an idea or add a surprising anecdote.
The film was very bad indeed.
As a matter of fact, she is much older than her husband.
Smoking is a dangerous habit. In fact, it is one of the major risk factors
that lead to cancer.
Susan is a renowned psychotherapist. In fact, she has been treating people
with cognitive behavioural problems for well over two decades.

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How to make your writing interesting?
The ideal English text is clear, concise and easy to understand. Even
advanced level academic text books are written in plain English words. So
when you write, try to keep your sentences clear and well structured so that
your readers will have no difficulty understanding them.
Dont try to use complex sentence patterns with the sole objective of
impressing the reader. Chances are they wouldnt. Worse still, they might
abandon your text before finishing it.
WHEN WRITING IN ENGLISH, KEEP THE FOLLOWING RULES IN MIND:
Use simple language. That doesnt mean that you should only write short,
simple sentences. Instead, use a variety of sentence patterns some
complex, some simple and some compound. Just make sure that your
sentences are not ridiculously long.
Make your text interesting by using a wide variety of sentence patterns. For
example, use participle clauses, relative clauses, prepositional clauses,
infinitive constructions and if-clauses.
KEEP SUBORDINATE CLAUSES SHORT
Participles and infinitives are useful for shortening lengthy subordinate
clauses. It is also a good idea to restrict their number to a maximum of
three. Not that you cant have more than three subordinate clauses in a
sentence. You certainly can, but the more clauses you have in a sentence,
the more complex it gets. Whats more, when your sentences are extremely
long, you are invariably going to make mistakes.
Use verbs instead of nouns. It is not always possible, but if it is then do it.
For example, instead of writing The meaning of this is that, you can write
This means that
ACTIVE VERB FORMS
Use active verb forms instead of passive verb forms. You dont have to
completely eliminate passive forms from your writing: sometimes they are
more appropriate than active forms. But as a general rule, your text should
have more active verbs than passive ones.
AVOID SLANG AND TECHNICAL JARGON
Slang is not considered appropriate in writing. Of course, you can use it
while chatting, but avoid it in all other forms of formal or academic
communication. You must also avoid technical jargon. These are words and
expressions that only industry experts can understand. Avoid them, because
a good piece of writing is easy to read and understand.
Try to put the subject close to the beginning of a sentence. Of course, you
can use introductory clauses, but keep them short.
Discuss just one main idea in a paragraph. Summarize this point in the first
sentence. Use the next few sentences to support this idea. The last sentence
in a paragraph should make a smooth transition to the next paragraph.

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How to write an essay?
Many students find the prospect of writing an essay unnecessarily daunting. It
doesnt have to be because essay writing isnt all that difficult. The truth is that
you can start writing your essay even before your ideas are fully formed.
The essay writing process has mainly three stages brainstorming, drafting and
revising. During brainstorming you explore your thoughts and find the ideas you
want to write out. The next step is to work out the best way to express them. Of
course, on an examination like the TOEFL or IELTS you cant spend hours in
brainstorming. You will get only around 40 minutes to write your IELTS essay. You
get even less time to write your TOEFL essay. That means, every second is
invaluable.
Many students can write a good essay if they have time on their side. But on
competitive examinations like TOEFL and IELTS, time management is very
important. Of course you cant write an outstanding essay in 30 or 40 minutes.
That isnt necessary either. A decent essay with few grammatical mistakes should
get you a band score of 7 or 8.
THE BASIC STEPS OF THE WRITING PROCESS
There are different types of essays. An argumentative essay requires you to
support a particular idea or point of view. Sometimes you will be asked to analyze
the two sides of a problem. No matter what the type of essay you are required to
write, the basic steps of the essay writing process are the same.
On the IELTS or TOEFL test, you cannot choose your topic. You have to write on
the topic provided for you. Before you start writing think about the purpose and
nature of your essay. Understanding them can help you develop the necessary
content for your essay and then structure them accordingly.
CREATE AN OUTLINE
Free writing is a great way to get started. At this stage, dont worry about your
grammar or structure. Take out a blank piece of paper and jot down all ideas that
come to your mind. Just make sure that you dont spend too much time on this
process. The purpose of this process is to create an outline for your essay.
Once you have prepared the outline, you can start writing your essay. Start with
the main idea. Do not repeat the question in your introduction. If you have to, try
to paraphrase it. Remember that your introduction is the most important part of
your essay. So spend some time and make it as compelling as possible. In the
body paragraphs of your essay, you have to further develop the main idea
introduced in the opening paragraph.
The introduction is the first part of your essay, but if you feel that you are more
capable of handling the body paragraphs first, start with them. While writing the
first draft, do not put too much pressure on yourself to make it perfect.
REVISE THE DRAFT
Once you have prepared the draft, revise it. During this stage, you have to pay
careful attention to your grammar, spelling and choice of words. Your choice of
words is an indication of your range of vocabulary. As far as possible, choose exact
words instead of more general ones. Of course, it is possible only when you have
a vast vocabulary.

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How to write a descriptive essay?
Writing a descriptive essay is a good creative exercise that allows you to horn your
writing skills. A descriptive essay describes something. Detailed observations and
descriptions are the soul of a descriptive essay. Here are a few tips on writing a
descriptive essay.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DESCRIBE?
Before you start writing your descriptive essay, you have to identify exactly what
you want to describe. In descriptive essays, people usually write about a person,
a place, an experience or a memory.
HOW SHOULD YOU WRITE YOUR DESCRIPTION?
Show dont tell. This is an oft-repeated advice about the process of writing a
descriptive essay. The most effective descriptive essays are full of descriptions that
allow readers to see and experience things for themselves. As you can probably
imagine, your ability to paint a vivid picture with words is what makes your
descriptive essay outstanding. You can create a vivid experience for your readers
by focusing on their senses. So write descriptions that will appeal to those senses.
QUICK TIPS FOR WRITING YOUR DESCRIPTIVE ESSAY
Writing a descriptive essay is a great creative exercise, but sometimes it can feel
a bit complicated. Here are a few things to keep in your mind as you plan, draft
and revise your essay.
PLANNING YOUR DESCRIPTIVE ESSAY
Before you start writing, you have to decide what or who you want to describe. If
you are writing the essay for an examination, you will have the topic provided for
you. Once you have a topic to write about, you have to think about the reason for
writing your description. Why do you want to write about this person or object?
What are the qualities or other features that make this person / object a great
topic for your descriptive essay?
DRAFTING YOUR DESCRIPTIVE ESSAY
It is nearly impossible to write the perfect essay on the first try. So dont worry
too much about getting it right as soon as you start preparing the first draft. Think
about all the points you want to include in your essay. Jot them down on a blank
sheet of paper. Once you have prepared an outline for your essay, you can start
writing your first draft. Elaborate on each point in your outline. Once you have got
the draft ready, revise it. Sometimes, you might need to write three or four drafts.
Keep revising your draft until you are satisfied with it. Look for spelling or grammar
mistakes and correct them.
The choice of words in your essay is very important. They must convey your
emotion. Have you left out any minor but important details? While revising your
descriptive essay, make sure that you have provided enough details and
descriptions that would help the reader get a vivid and complete picture.

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How to add variety to your writing?
You can add variety to your writing by varying your vocabulary and sentence
structures. There is nothing wrong with repeating words or sentence patterns but
if you do it too often, the reader will soon get bored with your writing. Whats
more, too much repetition suggests a limited knowledge of language. Therefore,
pay careful attention to your choice of words and sentence patterns.
You can vary your sentences in a number of ways. One way of doing this is to use
the different forms of the same word. You have already learned that a word can
exist in different forms (e.g. noun, verb, adjective, adverb, infinitive or ing form).
Knowing the different forms of a word is not enough. You must also be able to use
these different forms in a correct sentence. For example, the verb persist means
continue something despite some resistance. Persist can also be a noun
(persistence), an adjective (persistent) or an adverb (persistently).
Study the following examples.
Despite frequent dope tests, some athletes persist in using performance-
enhancing drugs.
Although there are frequent dope tests, some athletes show persistence in using
performance-enhancing drugs.
In spite of frequent dope tests, some athletes persistently use performance-
enhancing drugs.
Though athletes have to undergo frequent dope tests, some of them are
persistent in using performance-enhancing drugs.
Note how the sentence structures change with a change in the form of the word
persist.
Variety also comes from using different phrases and clauses. So if you are able to
use many different word forms in a variety of sentences, you can easily alter your
writing and impress the reader.

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How to avoid redundancy in writing?
A sentence contains a redundancy when it has two or more words, phrases or
clauses expressing the same idea. As only one of these words or phrases is
required, the other(s) should be removed. Here are a few tips to eliminate
redundancy from your writing.
Also, as well, too, furthermore, in addition, moreover
All of these words mean addition or continuation. Read the sentences given below.
They all contain redundancies.
The Prime Minster is unwilling to admit his mistake. Moreover, he is also incapable
of running the country.
The refugees are short of food. In addition, they need medical supplies as well.
Since moreover and also have similar meanings, only one of them is necessary
in the first sentence. In the second sentence, you can use either in addition or
as well: you cant use them both.
Moreover, he is incapable of running the country.
OR
He is also incapable of running the country.
In addition they need medical supplies.
OR
They need medical supplies as well.
Therefore, as a result, because, since, so and due to
All of these words are used to explain cause and effect or reason. And hence using
two or more of these words in the same clause will lead to redundancy.
The proposed airport will lead to the urbanization of the region. Therefore,
because of that, it is in the interest of the people residing in the area.
Use either therefore or because of that.
Therefore it is in the interest of the people residing in the area
. OR
Because of that it is in the interest of the people residing in the area.
In my opinion, it is my belief that, I feel that
All of these phrases are used to introduce your opinion. It is therefore wrong to
use more than one of them in the same sequence. Study the sentence given below.
It contains a redundancy.
In my opinion, I feel that the proposed international airport is in the interest of the
people residing in and around the area.
The above sentence should be rewritten as:
In my opinion, the proposed international airport is in
OR
I feel that the proposed international airport is in
How to vary and improve your sentences
Variety of sentence length and patterns can work wonders. It is true that readers
of the twenty-first century prefer terse sentences. Many writers, too, prefer short
and simple sentences because writing a really long sentence in a grammatically
correct way is not always easy.

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Unfortunately, this over emphasis on simple sentences makes the text dull and
uninteresting. Of course, by writing short sentences you can reduce the number
of grammatical mistakes. But if your prose is made up entirely of short sentences,
it will drive the reader crazy after a short while.
Before you start writing long sentences, here are a few things to remember.
Avoid sentence fragments at any cost
A complete sentence must make sense by itself. A fragment is a sentence that is
not complete. In most cases a fragment is a phrase or clause that should be a part
of the sentence that comes before it.
Study the paragraph given below. It contains several sentence fragments.
We were lucky to see the kangaroo. Hiking through the scrub. It was sitting quietly.
With only its ears moving. Peter signaled me to keep still. While he focused his
camera. Suddenly the animal hopped away. An example of the shy nature of the
kangaroo.
This paragraph could be rewritten as:
Hiking through the scrub we were lucky to see the kangaroo. It was sitting quietly
with only its ears moving. Peter signaled me to keep still while he focused his
camera. Suddenly the animal hopped away - an example of the shy nature of the
kangaroo.
Run-on sentences
The run-on sentence is a common fault. It is really two separate sentences that
have been joined with a comma instead of a colon, a full stop or a conjunction.
The following sentence is an example of a run-on sentence.
The camel is an ungainly animal, it has a huge hump on its back.
This could be written as:
The camel is an ungainly animal; it has a huge hump on its back.
The camel is an ungainly animal. It has a huge hump on its back.
The camel is an ungainly animal which has a huge hump on its back.
i
The camel is an ungainly animal in that it has a huge hump on its back.
Here are some hints about using long sentences to your advantage.
Coordination
When you write long sentences, make a conscious effort to reduce the distance
between the subject and the verb. Avoid putting too many unnecessary words
between them. In other words, make the connection between the subject and the
verb quick. After you have connected the subject part and the predicate part, let
the predicate develop. Be careful to develop the complex structures in parallel
form.
Variety in Modifier Placement
Modifiers can be of several different kinds. For example, subordinate clauses,
infinitive phrases, adverbs, participial phrases can all be used to modify the
principal clause. You can vary and improve your sentences by beginning them with
a modifier. Note that in most cases, you will need a comma to separate the
modifier from the principal clause.
Study the following examples.
Subordinate clause: Although she was ill, she went to work.
Participial phrase: Driven by rain, we took shelter under a tree.

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Participial phrase: Deceived by his friends, he committed suicide.
Adverb: Tomorrow, the classes will start.
Adverb: Outside, the strong wind howled.
Infinitive phrase: To please her parents, Ann decided to study medicine.
Note on the placement of phrases and clauses
Phrases or clauses should be placed in such a way that they relate clearly to the
words they modify.
Study the following sentences.
She took the bread back to the shop that was too hard to eat.
I bought a clock from a dealer with crooked hands.
I read that there was an explosion near the station in the paper.
Dad announced that he was starting a business after dinner.
In the sentences given above, the clauses do not relate clearly to the words they
modify. The problem with misplaced clauses and phrases is that they make it
difficult to understand the meaning of a sentence.
The example sentences given above could be rewritten as:
She took the bread that was too hard to eat back to the shop. (Here the clause
that was too hard to eat goes immediately after the noun (bread) it modifies.)
I bought a clock with crooked hands from a dealer. (The clock, and not the dealer,
has crooked hands.)
I read in the paper that there was an explosion near the station.
Dad announced, after dinner, that he was starting a business. OR After dinner,
Dad announced that he was starting a business.
Additional Hints on Variety
Try an occasional question, exclamation or command at the beginning of a
paragraph. A question will immediately arouse the readers curiosity. A command,
too, wont go unnoticed. By starting a paragraph with these sentence types, you
can revive the readers interest in your writing.
Try beginning an occasional sentence with an adverb.
In the garden, the children were playing.
Try beginning a sentence with a phrase.
Without a torch, we would not be able to explore the cave.
Try beginning a sentence with a coordinating conjunction (and, but,
nor, for, yet, or, so)
Your grammar teacher has probably told you that you cannot begin a sentence
with and or but, but the truth is that sentences beginning with a coordinating
conjunction are acceptable in most cases. They almost always call attention to
themselves and add variety and sophistication to your writing. So use them, but
not so often that the effect goes out of control.

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English writing tips: How to write well?
Dictionaries may be bloated with over 500,000 words, but to write correct English
you only need around 2000 different words as part of your vocabulary. Knowing
where to place these words and how to use them correctly make us good writers.
Use familiar words
The rules of good English are simple. Use smaller and familiar words instead of big
and unfamiliar words. Note that great writers and thinkers always use simple
words. By using simple words in your writing, you make it easier for the reader to
understand what you are trying to express. So don't be overwhelmed by all those
unknown words in the dictionary. Learn only a small fraction of them number and
you will still be able to write well.
Good writing makes you sound intelligent and look professional. As you probably
know these two benefits will significantly improve your personal and professional
life.
Learn grammar and spelling
Follow the rules of grammar and spelling. To be a good writer you should have a
decent command over grammar and spelling rules. Spelling and grammatical
mistakes will make you look unprofessional. So brush up on basic English Grammar
before you start writing.
Write short sentences
Write short sentences. Avoid writing long, winding sentences. Short sentences are
easy to construct and they are less likely to contain grammatical mistakes.
Get your facts right.
If you misinform readers about facts they will consider your writing unprofessional.
So get your facts right.
Write, write, write
Keep writing. Cultivate the habit of writing and before you know it you will have
developed good writing skills.

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Words and phrases you must not use
The words or phrases discussed in this lesson routinely cause problems. Some of
them have to be avoided at any cost. Others need to be modified.
1. And also
Use and or also. Using them both is often redundant.
2. And / or
This construction is quite common in legal texts. But it is neither necessary nor
logical in other situations. Use one of these words, but dont use them both.
3. As to whether
The single word whether will suffice in most cases.
4. Basically, essentially or totally
These words are possible, but they hardly add anything useful to a sentence. Try
writing a sentence without these superfluous discourse markers and in most cases
you will notice that the sentence has improved.
5. Being that / being as / being
These words must not be used as a substitute for because.
Because I was the youngest child, my parents pampered me silly.
(NOT Being the youngest child, my parents pampered my silly.)
(NOT Being that I was the youngest child, my parents )
6. By means of
In most cases, a simple by will do.
Someday we may travel to the stars by (means of)nuclear powered
rockets.
7. Concerning the matter of
Use about instead. A phrase as wordy as this must be eliminated when something
as simple as a single word will do the job.
The principal wants to see you about the broken window. (Much better than
The principal wants to see you concerning the matter of the broken
window.)
8. Considered to be
That to be can be dropped before an adjective or a noun.
I considered him an excellent choice. (Better than I considered him to be
an excellent choice.)
9. Due to the fact that
Be careful with this phrase: It will unnecessarily land your sentence in trouble.
Due to means because of.
The match was cancelled because of bad weather.
OR The match was cancelled due to bad weather.
But avoid constructions like: The match was cancelled due to the fact that the
weather was bad.

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10. Each and every
Use one or the other. Dont use them both.
The nation expects each citizen to do his or her duty.
OR The nation expects every citizen to do his or her duty.
(BUT NOT The nation expects each and every citizen to do his or her duty.)
11. Etc.
This overworked Latin abbreviation must be banned from all composition. It simply
shows that you are too lazy to add another example.
12. He/she
This construction is used to avoid gender bias in writing but it can offend a reader
if it appears too often. Use he or she or the plural form they (where
appropriate).
13. Got
Got is an overworked word. If you can avoid it in writing, do so. Write He earned
$200 last week instead of He got $200 last week.
14. In this day and age
Use today instead.
Today we all use computers. (NOT In this day and age we all use
computers.)
15. Irregardless
Regardless is possible, but irregardless isnt. That word doesnt even exist.
16. Is one who
This phrase can and should be eliminated.
She likes dancing to that kind of music. (Better than She is one who likes
dancing to that kind of music.)
17. Kind of or sort of
They are alright in informal situations, but you must avoid them in formal academic
prose. Instead, use words like somewhat, rather or slightly.
I am kind of pleased with your performance. (Informal)
I am somewhat pleased with your performance. (Formal)
18. Only
Place it immediately before the word it modifies.
19. Owing to the fact that
Avoid this wordy phrase. Use because instead.
I was late because the train broke down. (Better than I was late owing to
the fact the train broke down.)
20. Per
This word is frequently used in legal texts, but it is not appropriate in other
situations. Use according to instead.
We did it according to your instructions. (NOT We did it per your
instructions.)
21. Plus
Plus is not a conjunction. Use and instead.

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22. Regardless of the fact that
Use although instead. Why should anyone want to write five words when a single
word will suffice?
23. Thru
This is the nonstandard spelling of through. It must be avoided in academic prose.
24. 'Til
Don't use this word instead of until or till.
Phrases you can omit
Although the phrases mentioned in this lesson might give the impression that they
are important, they add nothing to the meaning of a sentence and hence can be
left out.
All things considered
All things considered, Indias mangrove forests are in worse shape now than ever
before.
All things considered can be left out and then the sentence would read:
Indias mangrove forests are in worse shape now than ever before.
As a matter of fact
As a matter of fact, Susie is more interested in finding a job than in pursuing higher
education.
As a matter of fact can be left out.
Susie is more interested in finding a job than in pursuing higher education.
As far as I am concerned
As far as I am concerned, there is an urgent need for the protection of our open
spaces.
As far as I am concerned can be left out.
There is an urgent need for the protection of our open spaces.
At the present time
Avoid this wordy phrase. The same idea can be expressed using the adverb now.
Most people use computers at the present time.
Most people use computers now.
Because of the fact that
Many forms of cancer have become curable because of the fact that improved
treatment options are now available.
Write because instead of because of the fact that
Many forms of cancer have become curable because improved treatment options
are now available.
By virtue of the fact that
I didnt go to the party by virtue of the fact that I was feeling a bit tired.
Write because instead of by virtue of the fact that.
I didnt go to the party because I was feeling a bit tired.

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Due to the fact that
We had to postpone the meeting due to the fact that the chairperson was ill.
Write because instead of due to the fact that.
We had to postpone the meeting because the chairperson was ill.
For all intents and purposes
The era in which newspapers were the only source of news has, for all intents and
purposes, ended.
Remove for all intents and purposes from the sentence.
The era in which newspapers were the only source of news has ended.
Have a tendency to
This policy has a tendency to isolate some communities.
Write tends to instead of has a tendency to.
This policy tends to isolate some communities.
In the event that
In the event that enough people protest, this new policy will be revoked.
Write if instead of in the event that.
If enough people protest, this new policy will be revoked.
In the nature of
Something in the nature of a new legislation may soon come into force.
Write like instead of in the nature of.
Something like a new legislation may soon come into force.
In the process of
Policy makers are already in the process of drafting new policies.
In the process of can be removed.
Policy makers are already drafting new policies.
The point I am trying to make
The point I am trying to make is that sometimes anti-corruption laws dont
accomplish what they are supposed to achieve.
Sometimes anti-corruption laws dont accomplish what they are supposed to
achieve.

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How to write concise sentences?
A sentence should contain no unnecessary words. In the same way, a paragraph
should contain no unnecessary sentences. This does not mean that every sentence
you write should be short and devoid of details. What it does mean is that every
word you write should have something to tell. If it doesnt, eliminate it because
vigorous writing has to be concise. Here are some notes towards conciseness in
writing.
AVOID SAYING THE SAME THING TWICE.
Consider the following sentence.
Many illiterate people who cannot read or write will gladly attend school if
they get an opportunity.
It should be rewritten as:
Many illiterate people will gladly attend school if they get an opportunity.
(The clause who cannot read or write is redundant (and hence needs to be
removed) because that idea has already been expressed by the phrase illiterate
people.)
More examples are given below.
I was offered a free gift by my company.
It should be rewritten as:
I was offered a gift by my company. (A gift is always free. What is the point
in saying a free gift?)
The meeting will be held at 5 pm in the evening.
Rewrite as:
The meeting will be held at 5 pm.
A total of 10 boys participated in the program.
Rewrite as:
10 boys participated in the program.
She is planning to write a biography of her life.
Write as:
She is planning to write her biography.

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More examples are given below. Against each redundant phrase, their leaner, more
appropriate versions are also given.
12 midnight (incorrect) / midnight One and the same / the same
(correct) A period of four days / four days
12 noon / noon Personally, I think / feel / I think/feel
5 pm in the evening / 5 pm Refer back / refer
Absolutely spectacular / spectacular Repeat again / repeat
A person who is sincere / a sincere Return again / return
person
Revert back / revert
A total of 10 girls / 10 girls
Shorter/longer in length s /
Close proximity / proximity shorter/longer
Completely unanimous / unanimous Small/large in size / small/large
Consensus of opinion /consensus Rectangular in shape / rectangular
Cooperate together / cooperate Summarize briefly / summarize
Each and every / each Surrounded on all sides / surrounded
Enclosed herewith / enclosed Surrounding circumstances /
End result / result circumstances
Exactly the same / the same The future to come / the future
Free gift / gift There is no doubt but that / no doubt
He/she is one who . . . / he/she We are in receipt of / we have
In spite of the fact that / although received
In the event that / if
ABBREVIATED REDUNDANCIES
Some people insist that it is redundant to say PIN Number because PIN means
Personal Identification Number. They add that it is redundant to say ATM machine
because ATM means Automated Teller Machine.
Other common abbreviated redundancies include CD disk (which means Compact
Disk Disk) and HIV Virus (which means Human Immuno Deficiency Virus Virus).
While it is possible to insist that these redundancies must be pruned, the truth is
that they have become quite acceptable. So if you are used to saying ATM machine,
you probably have no reason to correct yourself and say ATM instead.

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How to proofread your writing?
BEFORE YOU PROOFREAD
Before proofreading make sure that you have revised the larger aspects of your
text. Proofreading will not yield the desired results if the text still needs to be
developed or organized.
Do not proofread immediately after writing the text. Ideally you should set it aside
for at least two hours. If you stay away from the text for a while, you will be able
to spot more mistakes easily.
KNOW WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Create a list of the mistakes you make all the time. While proofreading the text,
pay careful attention to them. Use the search function of your computer to find
commonly confused words. For example, many writers confuse the words its, its,
their and there. As your spell-checker cant find mistakes of these kinds, you need
to make a conscious effort to spot them.
Many word processors now come with advanced proofreading features. They will
make your job easier, but remember that a computer cant replace a human
proofreader. Before submitting your work, you must proofread it at least once. Or
ask a friend or colleague to do it for you.
WHEN YOU PROOFREAD
Take a printout of the article you want to proofread. Finding mistakes on paper is
easier than finding them on a computer screen.
READ OUT ALOUD
Reading aloud is better than reading silently especially when it comes to
proofreading. By reading out the text aloud, you can spot mistakes like run-on
sentences. Read backwards sentence by sentence. This method is highly effective
in spotting sentence fragments.
USE THE SPELL-CHECKER
Use the spell checking feature of your word processor. Most word processors come
with built-in spell checkers. They are highly effective in spotting major spelling
mistakes. However, dont trust them completely. A spell-checker merely checks
whether a particular word exists in its dictionary. It cannot spot correctly spelled
words used in the wrong context. For example, you may have written complement
instead of compliment. Dont expect your spell-checker to spot this mistake
because both of these words are in its dictionary.

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Discourse markers: of course, however, even so, all the
same, nonetheless, all the same
Discourse markers are words and expressions that show the connection between
what has already been said and what is going to be said. They add sophistication
and variety to your writing. There are very many discourse markers in English. In
this lesson we will learn about discourse markers used to make counter arguments.
These expressions are used in a three-part structure.
1) The writer mentions ideas that point in a certain direction.
2) He or she then introduces a contradictory fact that points the other way.
3) The writer then dismisses the contradictory fact and returns to the original
direction of the argument.
KEY PHRASES
Concession: it is true; of course; certainly; if; may
Counter-argument: however; even so; but; nevertheless; nonetheless; all
the same; still
Examples are given below:
People who believe in basic human rights cannot agree with colonialism. It is true
that the British did some good in their colonies. Even so, colonialism is basically
evil.
Here the first statement expresses a certain idea. The second statement
contradicts it. The third statement dismisses the second statement and agrees with
the first statement.
His relationships with women were always problematic. Of course, several women
loved him, and he was married twice. All the same, the women in his life were
invariably unhappy.
Few people could understand Einsteins Theory of Relativity. Of course, almost
everybody had heard of the word relativity, but hardly anybody could understand
what it actually meant.
It was a great party. The guests, if a little surprised by the hosts behaviour, were
nonetheless impressed by the warm welcome they received.

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Sentence connectors expressing a contrast
Sentence connectors add variety and sophistication to your writing. To achieve
the effect of unbroken continuity of thought, certain conjunctions and discourse
markers are found useful. Words like hence, therefore, however,
nevertheless, but, or, in spite of and then are some of the words which, if
rightly used, will connect sentences up and make your paragraphs a well-knit,
organic whole.
In this lesson we will learn about sentence connectors used to emphasize a
contrast.
Common conjunctions used to emphasize contrast are: on the other hand,
while, whereas, however, nevertheless, still, yet and in spite of
ON THE OTHER HAND; WHILE; WHEREAS
These expressions are used to balance two contrasting ideas that do not contradict
each other.
I like to live in the city, while / whereas my wife prefers the country.
Electronic gadgets make life easier. On the other hand, they encourage
people to be physically inactive.
HOWEVER, NEVERTHELESS, STILL, YET, IN SPITE OF THIS
These sentence connectors are used to emphasize the fact that the second point
contradicts with the first.
Some of us want a new system. However, not everybody agrees.
He is rich. Still, he leads a miserable life.
There was little chance of success; nevertheless they decided to perform
the surgery.
James is very ambitious whereas his brother is quite the reverse.
The flight was an hour late. In spite of this, I managed to get to the
conference in time.
We went out in spite of the rain.

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Precis writing tips
The summary or prcis of a passage has to be expressed in the fewest and clearest
words possible. In a summary you should mention only important points and leave
out all unnecessary details.
WHAT IS A GOOD PRECIS?
A summary or prcis is the shortened form of a passage. A good summary should
be complete in itself. It should be able to convey the ideas expressed in the original
passage so that a reader who does not have enough time to read the original one
should have no trouble getting the message.
A summary should be brief, clear and precise. It should be brief, but it shouldnt
be a number of disjointed simple sentences. A good summary should give ideas,
facts or points in the order in which it appears in the original. Note that it is best
to write summaries in the same tense as the original.
The original passage may contain pieces of conversation. When you summarize it,
all the sentences given in the direct speech should be changed into indirect. The
summary should be in the writers own words. As far as possible, avoid using the
vocabulary used in the original. Also note that a summary shall not contain points
not mentioned in the original.
HOW TO SUMMARIZE A GIVEN PASSAGE?
Read the given passage thoroughly and try to understand what it means. If you
dont understand the passage after reading it once, read it twice or thrice. Try to
find out what the passage is really about. And then provide a title for it.
Underline important points in the passage. Prepare a sketch or outline summary,
containing all the points which you have marked in the passage. Compare the
outline with the original passage. If you have left out some points, add them. If
the outline contains some unnecessary details, strike them out.
Prepare your summary with the help of your notes. Dont refer to the original.
Finally, read what you have written. Correct all spelling or grammatical errors if
any.
SOME IMPORTANT POINTS
If the passage is in poetry, express its ideas in prose. Write the prcis in simple
language. Avoid lengthy sentences containing many clauses. Dont use phrases
such as the writer says, I think or in my opinion.
Prcis writing tips - useful aids in summarizing
USE SUBSTITUTION
A useful aid in summarizing is the method of substitution. Study the following
examples:
Write indivisible for cannot be divided
Write invisible for cannot be seen
Write people for men and women
Write extempore for speaking without preparation
Write simultaneously for at the same time
In many cases a phrase or a clause can be replaced by an adjective or adverb. For
instance, the sentence The old woman accepted the gift with a heart full of
gratitude can be summarized as The old woman accepted the gift gratefully or
thankfully.

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THE LENGTH OF A SUMMARY
There are no hard and fast rules regarding the length of the precis or summary.
Ideally it should be one-third of the length of the given passage.
HOW TO CHOOSE A HEADING?
Read the given passage carefully. Find out what the passage is all about. Try to
find a word or a phrase or a short sentence that will sum up the subject matter of
the passage. This should be the heading or title. If the given passage is a story,
you may choose the name of the protagonist or an incident in the story as the
heading. If the given passage is an essay or a paragraph, you may use some apt
proverb or quotation as the heading. Begin all the important words in a heading
with capital letters.
The use of capital letters
Capital letters are used:
1. at the beginning of a sentence
My name is Cyrine.
Honesty is the best policy.
2. at the beginning of each line of poetry
3. at the beginning of the names of days, months and public holidays. But note
that the names of seasons usually begin with small letters.
Examples are: Monday, May, Easter, spring, autumn
We met on a wet Sunday.
I was born in January.
If winter comes, can spring be far behind? (NOT Winter).
4. at the beginning of the names of people and places including stars, planets,
mountains and rivers
Examples are: Mars, Jupiter, South Africa, The Niles, John etc.
5. for people's titles
Examples are: Dr Johnson, Mr John and Professor Louis
Meet Mr John.
Can I talk to Dr Smith?
I have an interview with Professor Alice.
6. At the beginning of the nouns and adjectives referring to nationalities,
languages, ethnic groups and religions
He is Jewish.
She is German.
I speak Hindi.
7. At the beginning of the first word (and often other nouns, verbs, adverbs and
adjectives) in the titles of books, plays, pictures and magazines
Call of the Wild or Call of the wild
Much ado about nothing or Much Ado About Nothing
New Scientist

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Contractions
Contractions are forms like don't and I'm. They represent the pronunciation of
informal speech. They are common and correct in informal writing too.
Contracted forms are given in brackets.
I am (I'm) There will (There'll)
I have (I've) There had/would (There'd)
I will (I'll) Are not (Aren't)
I had/would (I'd) Cannot (Can't)
You are (You're) Could not (Couldn't)
You have (You've) Dare not (Daren't)
You will (You'll) Did not (Didn't)
You had/would (You'd) Does not (Doesn't)
He is/ has (He's) Do not (Don't)
He will (He'll) Had not (Hadn't)
He had/would (He'd) Has not (Hasn't)
She is/has (She's) Have not (Haven't)
She will (She'll) Is not (Isn't)
She had/would (She'd) Might not (Mightn't)
It is/ has (It's) Must not (Mustn't)
We are (We're) Need not (Needn't)
We have (We've) Ought not (Oughtn't)
We will (We'll) Shall not (Shan't)
We had/would (We'd) Should not (Shouldn't)
They are (They're) Used not (Usedn't)
They have (They've) Was not (Wasn't)
They will (They'll) Were not (Weren't)
They had/would (They'd) Will not (Won't)
There is/has (There's) Would not (Wouldn't)
NOTES
1. In non-standard English, ain't is used as a contraction of am not, are not, is
not, have not and has not.
He ain't going to come. (= He is not going to come.)
Don't talk to me like that - you ain't my master. (= You are not my master.)
I ain't got anything to read. (= I have not got anything to read.)
2. Daren't, shan't and usedn't are not often used in American English.
3. Am not is not normally contracted in questions. We use aren't.
I am late, aren't I? (NOT ... amn't I)

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Formal and informal speech and writing
INFORMAL USE OF OBJECT FORMS
In informal English, we use object forms not only as the objects of verbs and
prepositions, but also in most other cases where the words do not come before the
verbs as their subjects. Object forms are common, for example in one-word
answers and after be.
Who said that? (It was) him. (Informal)
Whos that? Its me. (Informal)
In a more formal style, we often use subject form + verb.
Who said that? He did.
It is possible to use a subject form after be, but this is extremely formal, and is
usually considered over-correct.
It is I (Very formal)
It is me. (Informal)
It is he. (Very formal)
It is him. (Informal)
WHOM IN QUESTIONS
Whom is not often used in informal English. We prefer to use who as an object,
especially in questions.
Who did they arrest?
Who did you go with?
We use whom in a more formal style; and we must use whom after a preposition.
Whom did they arrest? (Formal)
With whom did you go? (Very formal)
ELLIPSIS
Ellipsis (leaving out words) is more common in informal language.
Compare:
Have you seen Mr John? (Formal)
Seen John? (Informal)
We think that it is possible. (Formal)
We think its possible. (Informal)

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Table of contents
Transitional adverbs ..................................................................................................................... 2
How to make your writing interesting? ......................................................................................... 3
When writing in English, keep the following rules in mind: ................................................................ 3
Keep subordinate clauses short .......................................................................................................... 3
Active verb forms ................................................................................................................................ 3
Avoid slang and technical jargon ......................................................................................................... 3
How to write an essay? ................................................................................................................ 4
The Basic Steps of the Writing Process ............................................................................................... 4
Create an outline ................................................................................................................................. 4
Revise the draft ................................................................................................................................... 4
How to write a descriptive essay? ................................................................................................. 5
What do you want to describe? .......................................................................................................... 5
How should you write your description? ............................................................................................ 5
Quick Tips for Writing Your Descriptive Essay..................................................................................... 5
Planning your descriptive essay .......................................................................................................... 5
Drafting your descriptive essay ........................................................................................................... 5
How to add variety to your writing?.............................................................................................. 6
Avoid saying the same thing twice. ................................................................................................... 15
Abbreviated Redundancies ............................................................................................................... 16
How to proofread your writing?.................................................................................................. 17
Before You Proofread ........................................................................................................................ 17
Know what to look for ....................................................................................................................... 17
When You Proofread ......................................................................................................................... 17
Read out aloud .................................................................................................................................. 17
Use the spell-checker ........................................................................................................................ 17
Key phrases........................................................................................................................................ 18
Sentence connectors expressing a contrast ................................................................................. 19
On the other hand; while; whereas .................................................................................................. 19
However, nevertheless, still, yet, in spite of this .............................................................................. 19
Precis writing tips ....................................................................................................................... 20
What is a good precis? ...................................................................................................................... 20
How to summarize a given passage? ................................................................................................ 20
Some important points...................................................................................................................... 20
Prcis writing tips - useful aids in summarizing ............................................................................ 20
Use substitution ................................................................................................................................ 20

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The length of a summary................................................................................................................... 21
How to choose a heading? ................................................................................................................ 21
The use of capital letters ............................................................................................................ 21
Notes ................................................................................................................................................. 22
Informal use of object forms ............................................................................................................. 23
Whom in questions ........................................................................................................................... 23
Ellipsis ................................................................................................................................................ 23

Sources: Google.com
Perfect your English.com

Reference: Parts of the text taken from 'Perfect Your Sentences' published by
i

Orient Longman

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