Writing Class Week 14

This is week 14 of the semester. It’s the last week of official classes so it is time to complete the wrap up activities and our English learning.

Today’s Notes

  1. Hand back quiz #3 and discuss
  2. Check final exam schedule – December 16th 10-12?
  3. Return remaining pieces of writing for feedback
  4. Write final assignment – before and after assessment
  5. Friday, some notes about the final exam questions plus return of pre and pst writing


Here are the sample questions for the final exam.

Quiz #2

Total score 10 points

Part 1

My class is going on a trip next week. We’re going to an exhibit called “Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries.” The trip is on Monday, and I’m really excited about it. I am the only one in my family who has not seen this exhibit yet. I have always been interested in dinosaurs. I asked my mom if the exhibit has a lot of information about the Tyrannosaurus, but she could not remember. I guess I will have to wait until next week’s trip to find out!

Part 3

  1. social
  2. economic
  3. cultural


This worksheet has one short paragraph. It describes a person’s experience on the subway. The writing gives the reader a good picture of the what we can hear, see and smell in a subway. Read the story. Look closely at the verbs the writer uses to help us understand the place. It is a good example of an old writing rule: don’t tell me about the subway, show me the subway with words. BTW, what are the five  human senses?

Now it’s your turn to write. You will write a one paragraph story.

  1. Choose a place which has many different senses.
  2. Brainstorm a list of verbs, nouns and adjectives.
  3. Start writing one paragraph.
  4. Read, edit and rewrite.

Good luck.

Writing Class Week 13

This is week 13 of the semester. We are near the end of the session so it’s time to complete a few tasks to help students learn English writing skills.

Today’s Notes

  1. Students hand in homework – rewrite business memo
  2. Tuesday, email writing lesson
  3. Friday, quiz #2
  4. Quick review of the things we’ve learned and done since the mid term exam
  5. Answers for textbook chapter 6-8.
  6. Textbook vocabulary for quiz #2.

Email Writing Lesson

  1. some basic research
  2. research about email messages from Korean hotels
  3. professional email writing structure

1. Basic Email Writing Research

This slideshow provides basic data about email messages.

2. Hotel Email Research

  1. Here is an email which I sent to many hotels in Korea. Some of the answers I received are here.

Dear Sir/Madame,

I’d like to get some information about rooms and availability at your hotel.

I have two adults and one teenager traveling to Seoul. They need a room for two nights
on May 26 and May 27.

1. Do you have rooms available on those nights?

  1. 2. What are the rates and taxes?
  2. 3. Do you have wheelchair access?

4. What is the best way to travel to your hotel from the airport?

Many thanks for your help and information.



Writing an effective email in English is not difficult. But my students need to learn a few basic writing skills.  This lesson will help them in the future, especially when they start looking for a job and need to write emails in English.


Just about every email – in the professional world – is about two things:

  1. Giving information
  2. Asking for something (a request)

Email is fast, which is good. But you have to write for people who read quickly as well. That means:

  1. be clear (few mistakes)
  2. be brief (not too wordy, no extra information).

In business, the tone of an email is very important. Tone means the feeling people get when they read your message. Emails should be polite. But unlike a business letter, an email does not usually have to be super polite. Also the style (or formatting) of the email message is important.

Email Structure

Here is a worksheet that outlines the basic structure of an email.

10 Rules for Writing Business E-Mails

  1. Remember PAS. Purpose, action, salutation. The beginning should say the purpose; why you are writing. Next, the email should have clear action: are you giving information or asking for something? Finally, close the email with a polite way to say goodbye.
  2. Be informal, but not too friendly. ‘Hello Rob’, or ‘Hi  Mr. Kim’ are okay. Sometimes, people write emails that begin with a name, like “Steve”. Never use emoticons.
  3. Be concise. Business e-mails are short. Usually, 2 paragraphs are enough – few people read long emails.
  4. Use the subject line well. Tell readers why they should open your email.
  5. Remember grammar, word choice, punctuation and spelling.
  6. People scan emails. If it is interesting, they might read it carefully. Many people receive 25 to 100 emails a day. They don’t have time to read every email. Short sentences and short paragraphs are good.
  7. Reference. If your email is a reply, say that. Something like this: “In your last email you asked …..” .
  8. If your message has an attachment, add one sentence to say that.
  9. Use white space. Usually, 2 lines per paragraph. This makes the message easy to scan and read.
  10. Write with active sentences. Passive sentences use more words and take longer to read.

Writing Exercise

You task is to write an email message that sends an answer to a question with information.

Here is the email message with a question. You job is to answer the question by

  1. comparing the two things
  2. write a properly formatted email message


Since the mid term exam:

  1. analyze numbers, identify patterns of change, describe those changes in words
  2. learned to write with the basic memo format
  3. learn the concepts of close ad faraway words
  4. learned to write about progression (i.e. change)
  5. read and learned vocabulary from the textbook (chapter 5, 6 and 7 since the mid term exam)

Writing Class Week 12

This is week 12 of the semester. It is also a short week because there was no class on Tuesday.

Today’s Notes

  1. Review some key points from the business memo writing assignment.
  2. Feedback on other assignments.
  3. Next week, email writing lesson.
  4. Next week – Friday, you have quiz #2.

Business Memo Feedback

This writing exercise was, in part, learning how to describe very specific changes in the amount of something over time.

These changes could be comparisons between two things (for example, apple and tangerine consumption) and changes over time (for example what happened between to apple consumption between two years).

Here are some examples.

Write a Control Sentence to Start a Paragraph

  • The total consumption of fruits in 2001 more than doubled compared to the total consumption 1980.

Not bad. Let’s make some small changes to make it less wordy.

  • Total consumption of fruit in 2001 more than doubled compared to 1980.

Paragraph Structure

Generally, each paragraph about the data starts with a sentence that describes the general trend for that food (i.e. fruit, or vegetable or meat). That’s the first sentence. Then the other sentences give specific details about specific kinds of food.

  • Start with a general description then specific.

Need to be Clear – Missing Words

  • Beef and poultry doubled.

Can a beef double? No. There is a word missing. The beef did not double. Consumption increased.

  • Beef and poultry consumption doubled.

Say a Lot in a Few Sentences

  • Although garlic and onion consumption is 5-7 times bigger than 1970, they consumed only 7-14 kg. But Others consumption is not only 5 times bigger than 1970 but also the biggest rate in total.

Here is a very good example of how to say a lot things in a few sentences. Excellent comparison of consumption for different kinds of food over different time periods. Let’s correct a few small things to make it clearer.

  • Although garlic and onion consumption was 5-7 times more in 2000 compared to 1970, these foods were a small part of total vegetable consumption, about 21 kg or 13% of the total. “Others” consumption in 2000 was not only 5 times bigger compared to 1970 but also the biggest single category of vegetable consumption, almost 50% of the 2000 total.

Describing Change – KISS

When describing the growth rate in consumption, keep it simple (KISS principle).

  • Seafood has increased more than about 11 times.

Let’s simplify and be more clear.

  • Seafood consumption increased about 11 times between 1969 and 1998.


It’s the first draft so some people did not use the memo format. When you rewrite please use the memo format. That includes a short introduction to explain the purpose of the memo – maybe one or two objectives – and data sources.





















Writing Class Week 11

This week the ESL students will combine the English writing skills they have learned so far this semester and begin to compose practical business documents. The first business document is an office memo.

Business Memo Writing

A memo is a business document that communicates information to people inside the company or to customers. Memos are typically written in an easy to read style. They are not academic research papers nor are they letters.

Here is a sample memo with typical format. Most memos have these features:

  1. a top section with the receiver’s name, the writer’s name, the date and subject
  2. the content, often divided by bold headers
  3. a close with a name and signature
  4. a reference to any attached documents

Memo Writing Assignment

This lessons helps ESL students develop business writing skills. These skills will be useful to any student who works in an environment that communicates with international clients and customers in English.

Specifically, the students will:

  1. learn data analysis and interpretation skills by identifying patterns and changes
  2. practice summary writing by describing important patterns and changes in text
  3. develop critical thinking skills by explaining changes in patterns
  4. create a business memo by using a standard memo format

The data for this assignment comes from Korean food consumption figures.

Instructions for the Students

In this exercise, the student is a research assistant working for Pizza Hut. In this scenario, we pretend there are no Pizza Hut restaurants in Korea, however, the company is thinking about expanding into Korea.

Before any financial decisions can be made, the company needs background information. One part of that research is an understanding of food consumption patterns in Korea, past, present and future.

There are four tables of data. For each table, the students will write two paragraphs. One paragraph will describe key patterns and changes from the past to today. To simplify the task, we will examine only two years of data: the oldest year and the most recent year.

The second paragraph offers some reasons that might  explain the cause  of these changes.

One paragraph will be written to summarize changes for all data. A final paragraph or two will offer the some ideas about future trends in food consumption.

Write the report in a standard business memo format.