Learn English Writing – Appositives

by eslwriter on April 26, 2015

in ESL STUFF

Learn English Writing – Appositives

 

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Appositive? What’s an appositive?

This English lesson helps student learn how to write better sentences by using appositives.

An appositive is a noun or noun phrase that tells us more about another nearby noun. It looks like a relative clause but there are no words like ‘which, who or that’. Here is an example:

  • Sparky, my first cat, loved to catch mice. (The appositive is my first cat.)

Why use an appositive in your writing?

  1. It is an easy way to add details.
  2. It can change choppy sentences into nice sentences.

TWO KINDS OF APPOSITIVES

1. Important

Must stay in the sentence because it gives meaning. For example:

  • Have you read the novel War and Peace?
  • Have you read the novel?

If we take out the appositive – War and Peace – we wouldn’t know which book the speaker was talking about.

2. Optional

Not necessary. These appositives are surrounded by commas. Here is an example:

  • My cousin, a teacher, is coming to South Korea.
  • My cousin is coming to South Korea.

PRACTICE

Read these sentences. What is the appositive? Is it important or optional?

  1. Jack, my sister’s old dog, loves to chew on slippers.
  2. A city on the south coast, Busan is famous for green mountains, raw fish and pretty sunsets.
  3. Jack, my brother, is having a party next week.
  4. The singing group FT Island will be performing this summer in Busan.
  5. Mars, the fourth planet from the sun, is also called the Red Planet.
  6. The movie Interstellar was showing at the theater last night.

MORE PRACTICE

Rewrite these sentences by combining them with an appositive.

  1. My aunt lost her favorite ring. It was a gift from her sister.
  2. The Han River flows through Seoul. It is South Korea’s second longest river.
  3. The first man in space was from Russia. He was Yuri Gagarin.
  4. I sat beside Mr. Black. Mr. Black is a local prosecutor.
  5. Janet’s dog sat under a tree and panted. Her dog is a mutt.
  6. Dr. Jones loves to bake bread. He is a prize-winning baker.
  7. Mexico City is the biggest city in the world. Mexico City has many interesting places to visit.

EVEN MORE PRACTICE

Read the text. Rewrite the text with appositives.

  • Pepper spray is a weapon that can easily irritate the eyes and result in temporary blindness. Pepper spray is an organic material that comes from cayenne pepper. The spray normally comes in a can, which is often small enough to be carried in a pocket.

 

ANSWERS

PRACTICE

  1. Jack, my sister’s old dog, loves to chew on slippers. (optional)
  2. A city on the south coast, Busan is famous for green mountains, raw fish and pretty sunsets.  (optional)
  3. Jack, my brother, is having a party next week. (optional)
  4. The singing group FT Island will be performing this summer in Busan. (important)
  5. Mars, the fourth planet from the sun, is also called the Red Planet. (optional)
  6. The movie Interstellar was showing at the theater last night. (important)

MORE PRACTICE

Possible answers.

  • My aunt lost her favorite ring. It was a gift from her sister.
  • My aunt lost her favorite ring, a gift from her sister.
  • The Han River flows through Seoul. It is South Korea’s second longest river.
  • The Han River, South Korea’s second longest river, flows through Seoul.
  • The first man in space was from Russia. He was Yuri Gagarin.
  • The first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, was from Russia.
  • I sat beside Mr. Black. Mr. Black is a local prosecutor.
  • I sat beside Mr. Black, a local prosecutor.
  • Janet’s dog sat under a tree and panted. Her dog is a mutt.
  • Janet’s dog, a mutt, sat under a tree and panted.
  •  Dr. Jones loves to bake bread. He is a prize-winning baker.
  • Dr. Jones, a prize-winning baker, loves to bake bread.
  •  Mexico City is the biggest city in the world. Mexico City has many interesting places to visit.
  • Mexico City, the biggest city in the world, has many interesting places to visit.

 

EVEN MORE PRACTICE

Pepper spray, an effective weapon, can easily irritate the eyes and result in temporary blindness. An organic material made from cayenne pepper, the spray is normally sold in a canister that is small enough to be carried in a pocket.

PHOTO IMAGE CREDIT

The image in this post comes from Hersson Piratoba and its use complies with the owner’s creative commons licensing terms.

Learn English Writing – Articles

by eslwriter on April 12, 2015

in ESL STUFF

Learn English Writing – Articles are Confusing

 

confused-woman

Articles are indeed confusing for ESL students learning how to write English stories, essays and reports.

Knowing how to write a sentence with the correct article is a tough job for ESL students. There are so many rules and the rules are confusing.

LEARN WRITING THROUGH PRACTICE

Often, regular, short practice exercises are a good way to help students learn this important writing task.

This [click to continue…]

words-eslwriting.org

Writing in English requires vocabulary fluency

 

Sometimes English composition teachers need to focus ESL student attention on word fluency. That is, the ability to recall words without dictionaries. Thus, teachers need a bag of activities to build and improve student vocabulary power. Here is one of those activities which all ESL teachers should keep in their back pocket.

ESL Dictogloss

This activity combines a variety of skills and doesn’t take much time. It’s called a dictogloss, a kind of dictation that involves note taking, group discussion and focused attention on language.

To begin, all you need is a short text. Perhaps 50 (beginners) to 200 (high intermediate level) words. It should be a passage which the students have read before (e.g. a section from a textbook).

The activity runs like this:

  1. Teacher reads the text normal speed – students listen. No writing while reading. After reading give students 3-5 minutes to write notes.
  2. Teacher reads the same text a second time at normal speed – students listen while reading; 3-5 minutes of note taking after reading.
  3. Teachers reads a third time. Then, students in small groups reconstruct the whole text from their notes. One person is the writer.
  4. When time is over, teacher gives students full text. Students self check for accuracy.

[click to continue…]

ESL Writing Lessons: Structure a Paragraph

 

This writing activity helps English students learn how to write a well structured paragraph by learning and practicing how to:

1 Write a good topic sentence.

This is the first sentence of the paragraph. This sentence tells the reader the main idea.

2 Provide evidence and details to support ideas.

This is a hard lesson to learn for some students. They think that when they make a claim no proof, evidence or details are required. This is not a mistake – it is a cultural difference in writing styles.

3 Write a whole paragraph.

Finish the idea or paragraph with a conclusion. This gives the paragraph unity and cohesion.

Writing Activity

  1. Choose two things which might not normally be compared.
  2. Find three ways to describe how they are similar.
  3. Write a full paragraph with a topic sentence, proof and a conclusion.

Example Paragraph

Here is an example by a middle school student, about school and jail.

School and jail are similar in many ways. First of all, I have to wear a uniform in both places. I hate wearing the same clothes as other people. Also, both places make us wear what they want. Just as if we were a doll. Second of all, I have to spend a lot of time there. At school, students have to stay from 8am to 4pm for 3 years (just counting middle school). Similarly, in jail people have to stay as long as the judge said. Finally, there is only one way to be free from school and jail. To get free from school you should graduate. To get free from jail you should wait for the day the judge said you can be free. These are the similarities between school and jail. Still, the most important thing is that I hate both places.

How to Write a Topic Sentence?

There are several different topic sentence styles.  There is no right or wrong answer. Here are two suggestions.

1 Specific Sentences

Write a topic sentence with three points. This sentence follows a pattern called parallel structure.

  1. Subject: Favorite Sports
  2. Three Points: soccer, biking, roller blading
  3. Topic sentence: When I have some free time, I like to spend it outside playing soccer, riding my bike, or roller blading.
  1. Subject: The Best Place for a Family Vacation
  2. Three Points: good sights, pleasant location, cheap rooms
  3. Topic sentence: The best place for a family holiday is Namhae Island because of the good sights, beautiful scenery and low-cost rooms.

2 General Sentences

These sentence are generally short and don’t tell the reader the reasons. The main idea is in the comparison. The details come in the paragraph. Here are a few examples.

  1. My hometown and college town have several things in common.
  2. Although the iPhone and Samsung Galazy S look different, they are similar in many ways.
  3. Work and school are similar in three ways.

How to Write a Conclusion?

The last sentence of the paragraph is important. It is like the candle on a birthday cake. Both of them make the product seem finished and complete. How can you have a birthday cake with candles? We can ask the same question about a paragraph. How can a paragraph be complete without a concluding sentence?

The conclusion does not have to be long. Nor does it have to repeat everything from the first sentence. Some writers use a hook. That is a word or idea that links up with a theme or idea in the topic sentence.

What to write? It might be … a final thought or something that you learned.

Here is a sample paragraph. How does the writer use a hook to connect the first and lasts sentences?

Walking down the street I noticed a new bookstore had opened in my neighborhood. The front of the store looks like an old English book shop with a large wooden door that is surprisingly heavy. Just inside the main door, there is a small box with used books. Oddly, these books are on sale for $1 per kilogram. Near the back, there is a tall bookshelf with great classics like Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Near the cash machine, there is a rack with a good supply of magazines like The Economist, Time and Asia Weekly. I’ll be spending a lot of time in this book shop, which is right around the corner from my house.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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