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Unit Four

Expository Essays

After Studying the unit, the student should be able to:

?Learn how to write an expository

essay; ?Mast

er the skills and methods of explaining a process or what something is, for instance, comparison and contrast, classification, cause and effect, and definition.

? 2012年专四作文真题:The Dragon Boat Festival(端午节)
? 2008年专四作文真题:The Benefits of Volunteering(参加志愿活动的好处) ? 2003年专四作文真题:The Importance of Keeping a Good Mood(保持好心情的重 要性)

? 2002年专四作文真题:The Best Way to Stay Healthy(如何保持健康)

Expository Essay
Ⅰ Introduction to an expository essay

Exposition means explaining.
Expository writing in most cases requires a rather impersonal attitude.

Expository Essay
Ⅱ What is an expository essay? There are 2 kinds ? 1. “how”---it explains a process, how to do sth. eg. How to cook a dish How to learn English well How to write an essay
? 2. “what”---it explains an idea, a phenomenon,

etc. eg. The benefits of volunteering The importance of keeping a good mood The best way to stay healthy

The Difference between Argumentation and Exposition
1. purpose ? exposition---to inform; make sth known to readers ? argumentation---to convince; try to make the readers agree on its point of view and support it

? 2.The author of argumentative essay assumes the position of a debater. They usually have an opponent, sometimes open and sometimes implied. ? And they usually emphasize their opinion using such expression as “believe”, “should” etc.

Expository Essay
Ⅲ Structure 1. Introduction: lead into the subject and state thesis statement. It is advisable to state the thesis in the first paragraph. 2. Body: develop the thesis statement 3. Conclusion: summarize the previous discussion; restate thesis statement; propose a solution; predict a result, etc.

Ⅳ Developing Methods 1. Illustration ★Illustration is the use of example to illustrate a point. It is the most common, and often the most efficient, pattern of exposition. ★Good examples help to clarify a writer’s thought by making the general specific, and the abstract concrete. They also add interest and help to persuade or convince the reader.

★A successful illustration paper

depends on a wise selection of sufficient examples which are specific and typical, interesting and relevant---personal or second-hand from reliable sources;


Language and Culture

…… Once a group of Chinese were visiting the home of a fairly well-to-do American. As they were shown around the house, they commented, “you have a very nice home. It’s so beautiful.” The hostess smiled with obvious pleasure and replied in good American fashion “Thank you”—which caused surprise among some of her Chinese guests. Later, while conversing at the dinner table, the host remarked to the Chinese interpreter, a young lady who had graduated not long ago from a Chinese university, “Your English is excellent. Really quite fluent.” To this she said, “No, no. My English is quite poor”—an answer that he had not expected and found a bit puzzling. Was the American hostess’ reply immodest, as it seemed to some of the Chinese? Was the young Chinese interpreter’s remark insincere, as it sounded to the Americans? In both cases the answer is no. ……

Thesis Statement: The same words or expressions may not mean the same thing to people of different languages and cultures.

2. Classification
★ It is used to classify one subject into several
categories according to a common quality. eg. courses in college: ① elective and required ② those taught in the native language and those offered in foreign languages. ★ The same group of things may be classified according to different principles.

★ when

using classification in your writing, keep in mind the following guidelines:


Choose an appropriate principle A body of students may be classified into male and female, or majors of natural sciences, social sciences, etc. Apply your principle consistently and thoroughly, and avoid overlapping. eg. It is faulty to classify delegates at a conference into Europeans, Africans, Canadians, Chinese and blacks.


3. Comparison and Contrast ★ A comparison explains how things are similar, and a contrast, how they are different.

★ Only items of the same general class can be compared/contrasted. eg. There is no sense in comparing a computer with an apple. It is reasonable to compare computer with human brain.

★ A comparison/contrast essay usually follows one of the two patterns: subjectby-subject pattern or point-by-point pattern. In subject-by-subject pattern, the writer discusses the various points of one subject before going on to the other. In point-by-point pattern, the writer discussed both subjects under each of the various points

Model: subject-by-subject pattern

Thesis statement: A is a better school than B. ⅠA 1.student body 2. teaching staff 3. library and other facilities 4. campus ⅡB 1. student body 2. teaching staff 3. library and other facilities 4. campus

Model: point-by-point pattern

Ⅰstudent body 1.A 2. B Ⅱ teaching staff 1. A 2. B Ⅲ library and other facilities 1. A 2. B Ⅳ campus 1. A 2. B

★ Students are suggested to use point-bypoint method as the similarities or differences are more impressive and striking. ★ The comparison/contrast should be balanced; the two subjects are to be given equal treatment. ★ All aspects of the two subjects should be discussed in the same order. ★ Use transitional expressions

Though my father and I look like each other, we are very different in many things. First, my father is a workaholic; he works more than then hours a day. He doesn’t care for music, sports, sightseeing or TV. Unlike him, I always finish my assignments as quickly as I can in school, and then I spend most of my after-school hours in the playground. I play all kinds of ball games. Sometimes I go to nearby parks with friends or go to see movies. Second, my father is known for his tidiness both at the office and at home. He puts everything in its proper place and he will be rather upset if anyone, even my mother, moves them form their usual place. In contrast, I’m often scolded for leaving things everywhere. My room is always a mess: books and magazines are on the table, bed, sofa and floor. Last, as far as intelligence goes, my father is very good at science. In fact, he is an expert in electronic engineering. But I often get only passing grades in math and physics and am always scared to death when the chemistry teacher writes incomprehensible formulas on the blackboard. Obviously, the proverb “Like father, like son” is not true with my father and me.

4. Cause and Effect ★ A cause-effect essay explains why something happened or what are the consequences. ★ In a short essay, we focus either causes or on effects.

Model The Reasons Why College Students Smoke It is widely known that more and more college students nowadays have joined the group of adult smokers. While the whole society is making efforts to stop them from smoking, the young smokers claim that everything that exists is reasonable and try to justify their behavior. Their justification is presented as follows, from a survey conducted among these college smokers.

First, they claim that smoking can help them relax. The heavy burden from the stress, hard competitions and various confusions make these young people tired and painful at time. Naturally they resort to cigarettes and try to find some comfort to divert them in another direction, as is often the case with the adults. Second, smoking gives an appearance of physical maturity. They admire the adults, who gain independence and are able to act on their own will. They get an excellent feeling of maturity from the adult smokers. Third, smoking makes the smokers attractive. It is not surprising that some boys want to be in the limelight when there are girls around and for some girls, a boy with a cigarette between his lips or fingers is more ideal a figure. To win girl’s attention and admiration, they believe the money spent on cigarettes is worth its while.

Regarding the behavior of smoking cigarettes, it is generally accepted that it is a bad habit, a waste of money and, more importantly, does harm to one’s health. One may have one thousand reasons to smoke, but which is more important, the short time pleasure on the one hand, or the health on the other?

5. Definition ★ Definition is to explain the meaning of a term. ★ common problems in writing a definition 1) circular definition: it means one defines a term with the term itself. eg. Literature study is the study about literature.

2) over-restricted definition: it means one explains a term in a way that only one aspect, or one part, or one side of the item is covered. eg. A table is a piece of furniture at which one eats. (read, write)

3) Overextended definition: it means one uses a word that can be applied to more things than just the term being defined eg. Coke is a refreshing drink. (Pepsi, milk, lemonade)

★ Analysis of sample 13 on page 66.

6. Showing a Process ★ it instructs readers how to do something. ★ it involves a series of steps. Therefore, the steps must be organized in chronological order. ★ use transitional words.

? 1.时态相对较为统一:多用现在时态 (present tense) 由于说明文往往是对客观事物或事理的一 种介绍与解释,而这种客观的介绍与解 释一般是不随时间和空间变化而改变的. 比如:说明早锻炼的好处,介绍猫的胡子 的功能,解释臭氧层对人类生活的影响 等等,是不受时间和空间影响的。因此 ,尽管有时为了特殊表达的要求,会在 个别地方采用其他时态,英语说明文的 基本时态还是一般现在时。

? 2.采用客观表述,避免主观色彩 (objective) 由于在很多情况下,说明文是对客观存在 的说明与介绍,因此语言的表述也应该 尽可能地给人以客观可信的感觉,比如 : (1)I think that getting up late is not always a bad thing. (2)It is said that getting up late is not always a bad thing.

? 相比之下,例(2)的语言要比例(1) 的语言客观一些,容易让人接受一些。 如果再作一些表述上的改动:
(3)Getting up late is not always a bad thing, according to Franklin Smith, a well-known psychologist in Stanford University.

? 引进著名人士作为信息的来源,可以使 想要说明的内容更具有说服力。
如果我们将例(3)中的always再改为 necessarily,就可使整个句子更客观、委 婉,便于为读者接受: ? (4)Getting up late is not necessarily a bad thing, according to Franklin Smith, a well-known psychologist in Stanford University.

? 在英语中,采用被动语态,引进权威的 信息来源以及选用委婉的词语是使说明 文避免主观色彩,增加客观性,从而为 读者接受的重要语言手段。

Expository Essay
Ⅴ writing task 1. How I Overcome My Difficulties in Learning English 2. My view on Income Gap

How I Overcome My Difficulties in Learning English

I, like many other English learners, have encountered various difficulties in my learning process. But I managed to overcome most of them and made much progress.

Firstly, meaning and usage of words can be hard for a beginner to master. At the beginning, I just copied them again and again, only to find it inefficient. Then I was advised to memorize them as parts of the whole sentence, together with other words ahead or after with which they collocate. Learn the chunk, not the isolated word, imitate and practice the usage. This is my experience. It helped me a lot.

Secondly, I found grammar particularly difficult. It is so even now. I have tried to learn the rules by heart. But just reading lots of grammar books is of little help. Then I read interesting books and magazines in English. The sentences and structures in them familiarize me much better than what is said in the grammar books. They give me better insight into and keener sense of the English language.

Thirdly, I had a little difficulty in translation. I had a wrong conception of translation and usually were content with using the Chinese counterparts to replace the English words. It make the whole sentence unnatural and unsmooth. Gradually, I realized that words of the same meaning in different languages are not completely equivalent, and different languages have different sentence structures. Now I first understand the general idea of the whole sentence or passage and then transform the meaning into the corresponding English expressions, which, of course, are available in mind.

To learn English well needs fortitude. We must keep practicing the skills of listening, speaking, reading, writing and translating all the time. That’s why I can beat my difficulties and make progress.

? 2008年专四作文真题:The Benefits of Volunteering

? Direction: December 5th is International Volunteers Day. Since 1985, when the United Nations announced the special day, tens of millions of people around the world have volunteered to help those in need. China now has 4.5 million registered volunteers who have provided more than 4.5 billion hours of volunteer work. What can you gain from volunteering?

Write a composition of about 200 words on the following topic: The Benefits of Volunteering ?You are to write in three parts: In the first part, state clearly what your view is. In the second part, support your view with appropriate reasons. In the last part, bring what you have written to a natural conclusion or a summary. ?Marks will be awarded for content, organization, grammar and appropriateness. Failure to follow the instructions may result in a loss of marks.

? 写作指南: ? 本文要求说明“志愿活动的好处”,主 体部分可以着重论述志愿活动对社会的 好处,也可以论述志愿活动对志愿者本 人带来的好处,还可以兼顾两方面。构 思立意时要从多个角度论述自己的观点 ,并对所有者材加以整合、归纳。

以讨论“对志愿者自己的好处”为例,可以讨 论如下好处: ?第一,在交际、沟通能力方面的好处(包括扩 大交际面,与不同的人打交道,协调不同的关 系,理解不同的立场等)。 ?第二,提高工作能力、增加技能的好处(主要 谈对自己知识、技能的提高有什么作用,包括 学校知识的运用,实际能力的提高等,注意与 前面的“交际能力”有所区分)。
?第三,为志愿者带来成就感,获得必理上的满 足(获得尊敬与承认,实现自我价值)。

The Benefits of Volunteering Volunteering has grown into a fashion these years, with volunteers ranging from college students to white collar workers. It is reported now China has 4.5 million registered volunteers having provided more than 4.5 billion hours of volunteer work. Why would so many people like to do volunteer work? Are there any benefits of volunteering?

The answer is absolutely yes. First of all, through volunteering we can gain more experiences. Whatever volunteering work we do, either being a volunteer teacher for a village school or a volunteer worker in a retired house, we can taste different lifestyles and broaden our horizon. Expand our outlook

Secondly, through volunteering we can acquire the sense of being needed. Many people feel frustrated with travails in life and empty with the cycling of working and resting. They gradually become numb, losing the sense of being needed. By joining the volunteer group and offering help voluntarily to people who need it, we may feel happy and fulfilled again.

Thirdly, through volunteering we can learn more good qualities. Volunteer work is team work, which needs good cooperation. We can know people with different personalities and different background joining in the volunteer group and devoting to the volunteer work together. From our co volunteers we can absorb many good qualities that could help us be better persons.

In conclusion, volunteering is of great benefit in that we can gain more experiences, acquire the sense of being needed and learn more good qualities.

2003年专四作文真题:The Importance of Keeping a Good Mood ?Direction: People in modern society live under a lot of pressure, from education, career, or family. So it is important for them to keep a good mood under whatever circumstances.

? Write a composition of about 200 words on the following topic:

The Importance of Keeping a Good Mood
? You are to write in three parts: In the first part, state clearly what your view is. In the second part, support your view with appropriate reasons. In the last part, bring what you have written to a natural conclusion or a summary.

? 写作指南: ? 这是一篇属于给定明确观点型的作文。 一般情况下,考题先提出一个话题,并 给定了关于这个话题的一种明确的观点 ,要求考生以这个给定的观点作为文章 的中心思想(论点)进行论证。写这类 作文的关键在于是否能很好地论证这一 明确的观点。

The Importance of Keeping a Good Mood ?With the development of modern science, technology and economics, our living standard has reached an ever higher level. But more and more people are living under greater pressure than ever before. As a consequence, people are increasingly suffering from various distortions both physically and mentally. To help out, it is important that everyone keep a good mood today.

? There are several reasons for my argument. First, a good mood can create high efficiency. When you work with a good mood, you will feel happy and be willing to do some work which used to be boring. On the contrary, a bad mood can make you passive and do things with reluctance. Second, a good mood is beneficial to your health. If you fail to keep a good mood, you will be feeling depressed and fed up, which is apt to cause some psychological diseases. Third, when you have a good mood, other people around you will be influenced. Thus more and more people will feel happy to communicate with you.

? To sum up, keeping a good mood is very important both for yourself and for the people around you. If you want to have a happy and successful life, please keep a good mood every day.

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