Writing descriptively (part 1)


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Writing descriptively (part 1)

  1. 1. Writing DescriptivelyPart 1 - Introduction, defining and describing thingszondag 2 juni 2013
  2. 2. IntroductionIn academic writing many different genres exist. Dependingon the subject you are studying you could be asked to write:• an essay• a lab report• a case study• a book review• a research proposal• etc.zondag 2 juni 2013
  3. 3. IntroductionAll genres can be constructed from these text types.• Descriptions• Reports• Explanations• Argumentszondag 2 juni 2013
  4. 4. IntroductionDescriptions - this can include defining a topic, describing anobject, system, or a process. It also includes categorizing andclassifying.Reports - this is a description of a past activity, something youdid or something that happened.Explanations - this is why or how something happens orhappened. It includes giving reasons and explanations andwriting about cause and effect.zondag 2 juni 2013
  5. 5. IntroductionArguments - this includes giving opinions or holding positionsfor or against an issue or advantages and disadvantages. Itinvolves evidence to support an argument as well as makingdecisions or recommendations and justifying the action.zondag 2 juni 2013
  6. 6. IntroductionEvaluate possible solutions to the problem ofinternational brand management.If you were asked to write an essay to answer the above-mentioned question you could answer it in the following way:• You could start by defining brand management,saying what itis and giving an example.• You might then explain why international brand managementis a problem in business today, and support your explanationby evidence from your reading.zondag 2 juni 2013
  7. 7. Introduction• After that you would describe some possible solutions to theproblem of brand management, again supporting yoursuggestions with evidence from your reading.• Next you would evaluate the advantages and disadvantagesof each of the possible solutions.• Finally, you would decide which solution you would prefer andgive reasons.zondag 2 juni 2013
  8. 8. IntroductionSo in order to answer the essay question you need to be ableto write texts that do the following:zondag 2 juni 2013
  9. 9. Introduction• define• give an example• explain why• support your explanation with evidence• describe a solution• describe advantages and disadvantages• evaluate• choosezondag 2 juni 2013
  10. 10. IntroductionAgain, for everything you needed to do to be able to answerthe before-mentioned essay question, you used one of thesetext types.• Descriptions• Reports• Explanations• Argumentszondag 2 juni 2013
  11. 11. DefiningIn academic writing it is usually necessary to define yourterms. Many words have several different meanings and inyour subject they may be used in very specific ways. It isimportant to show that you understand the terms that you areusing and exactly the sense in which you are using them.zondag 2 juni 2013
  12. 12. DefiningIn the following text ʻadvertisingʼ is being defined. Notice howthe definition is organized and what language is used.Advertising is defined as any paid form of non-personal presentation and promotion of ideas,goods or services through mass media such asnewspapers, magazines, television or radio by anidentified sponsor.zondag 2 juni 2013
  13. 13. DefiningHere ʻmortgageʼ is defined.A mortgage is a form of loan that is secured on anasset, typically land. Financial institutions such asbanks, insurance businesses and pension fundsare often prepared to lend to businesses on thisbasis. The mortgage may be over a long period.zondag 2 juni 2013
  14. 14. DefiningTwo typical ways of writing definitions that you might like touses are:A mortgage is a form of loan that is secured on an asset.orA form of loan that is secured on an asset is called amortgage.zondag 2 juni 2013
  15. 15. DefiningYou will notice that these sentences were written in the form:X is a Y that ...AY that ... X.zondag 2 juni 2013
  16. 16. DefiningOther language that youʼll find useful in writing definitions is:X is ...X is called ...X is known as ...X may be defined as ...X is a type of Y that/which ...A type of Y is ... X.zondag 2 juni 2013
  17. 17. DefiningNote:Make sure that you define rather than just describe or giveexamples. For example, in the following text, the writer hasfailed to define and is simply giving an example of what amentor does.The mentor supports and helps you with any school basedproblems.zondag 2 juni 2013
  18. 18. DefiningSometimes definition sentences are followed by more detail.In these cases. the short definitions often form topicsentences and are often followed by more descriptive detail,as in the following example:Hire purchase is a form of credit that is used to acquire an asset. Under theterms of a hire purchase agreement a customer pays for an asset ininstallments over an agreed period. Normally, the customer will pay an initialdeposit (downpayment) and then make installment payments at regularintervals (perhaps monthly) until the balance outstanding has been paid.The customer will usually take possession of the asset after payment of theinitial deposit, although legal ownership of the asset will not be transferreduntil the final installment has been paid.zondag 2 juni 2013
  19. 19. Describing thingsIn your writing , you will often have to describe something: anobject, a system, an organization or a process.Read a description of the brain from a psychology textbook.Notice the way the description is organized and the languagethat is used. You will see that if you were writing about thebrain, you could describe:• what a brain looks like• how much it weighs• how important it iszondag 2 juni 2013
  20. 20. Describing thingsThe brain looks like a lump of porridge and has theconsistency of blancmange. This organ, weighing anaverage 1400g in an adult human, is the most importantpart of the body. It contains an estimated 10 to 100billion nerve cells and about as many supporting cells,which take care of important support and ʻhousekeepingfunctions. The brain contains many different types ofnerve cell which differ in shape, size and the kind ofchemicals they produce.zondag 2 juni 2013
  21. 21. Describing thingsThe following text continues describing the brain by describingits function, what it does. You would start by describing thenumber of functions it has and then give some detail abouteach function.The brain has two roles: controlling the movements of the muscles andregulating the physiological functions of the body. The first role looksoutwards towards the environments and the second looks inwards. Theoutward-looking role includes several functions: perceiving events inthe environment, learning about them, making plans, and acting. Theinward-looking role requires the brain to measure and regulate internalcharacteristics such as body temperature, blood pressure and nutrientlevels.zondag 2 juni 2013
  22. 22. Describing thingsIf you are writing a description of an object, you might includefor example:• physical description• weight• size• color• structure• material• shape• properties• functionszondag 2 juni 2013
  23. 23. Describing thingsAs well as describing simple objects, you may need todescribe an organization or a system. The followingdescription of the European commission, from a law textbook,gives you an example of how you could do this. Notice thatthe paragraph describes:• how the commission is made up• what its function iszondag 2 juni 2013
  24. 24. Describing thingsThe commission is composed of 27 members, called commissioners, who are eachappointed by the member states for five years. The must be nationals of a memberstate, and in practice there tend to be two each from the largest states- France,Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK - and one each from the rest. However thecommissioners do not represent their own countries: they are independent, and theirrole is to represent the interests of the EU overall. The idea is that thecommissionerʼs commitment to furthering the EU interests balances the role of thecounsel, whose members represents national interests.In addition to its part in making EU legislation, the commission is responsible forensuring that the member states uphold EU law, and has powers to investigatebreachers by member states and, where necessary, bring them before the Court ofJustice. It also plays an important role in the relationship of the EU with the rest of theworld, negotiating trade agreements and the accession of new members, and drawsup the annual draft budget for the EU. It is assisted in all these functions by anadministrative staff, which has a similar role to that of the civil service in the UK.zondag 2 juni 2013
  25. 25. Describing thingsSo when you are describing objects, systems ororganizations, you might want to describe physicalcharacteristics, such as:• position• structure• size and weight• shape• functionzondag 2 juni 2013
  26. 26. Describing thingsPositionAs isoppositeon the right ofdiagonallyabovevertically belowB.As isbetweenequidistant fromB and C.The pivot is verticallyabove the base.zondag 2 juni 2013
  27. 27. Describing thingsStructureXis connected to Y by Z.X consistsconsists ofY and Z.Y and Z.Y and Z.XcontainsincludescontainsincludescontainsincludesY and Z.Y and Z.Y and Z.The brain contains many differenttypes of nerve cells.zondag 2 juni 2013
  28. 28. Describing thingsSize and weightXweighshas a weight of6 cm long.high.wide.in length.in height.X is6cmlong.high.wide.in length.in height.The voltmeter is 4 cmwide and 12 cm long.The adult brain weighsapproximately 1400 grams.zondag 2 juni 2013
  29. 29. Describing thingsShapeX issquaresemi-circularhexagonalellipticalin shape.The brain is roughlyelliptical in shape.zondag 2 juni 2013
  30. 30. Describing thingsFunctionTheAOneisfunctionpurposeaimobjectiveroleof thethermometertripodbrainmeasure the temperature.hold the beaker.zondag 2 juni 2013