Chapter 3 How to Write a Composition Lecture One

Chapter 3
How to Write a Composition
Lecture One
I. Difference between speech and writing
II. Forms of composition(with Examples)
1. Narration
2. Description
3. Exposition
4. Argumentation
III. Steps of writing a composition
IV. Homework: Practice
Difference between speech
and writing
(e.g. Unit 2)
(e.g. Unit 3)
Sentence Shorter,
repetition, pause Complex
Vocabulary Nonsensical
Longer, formal
words (eh, aha,
etc.), less formal
II. Forms of composition
• 1. Narration(叙述文): writing about
events, actions, or incidents
– In chronological order
– The first person or the third person
– Event: beginning, development and ending
(past tenses for past events)
– Clearly state time, place, people, event,
cause and result.
– Emphasize on the theme, leaving out
unnecessary details.
Example: Life on a Farm (Narration)
One day down on the farm, something
funny happened. My cousin and I got into
big trouble with his dad. It all had to do
with pigs.
It was one of those hot, peaceful days.
We were harvesting fruit to sell. The pig
pens were near the orchard. The pigs were
always allowed to eat the window falls
under the tree. But this time, when harvest
was over, they escaped and got into the
This was serious business. Part of the
family income depended on the sale of apples
and papayas. Anyway, my uncle gave us orders
to fix the pens, and then he left for market.
My cousin was a know-it-all. He had to boss
his job, so we put the pigs back in, patched up
the big holes, and went swimming.
The trouble began when my uncle got home.
The pigs had been squeezing through the small
holes. So, my cousin and I were really in hot
II. Forms of composition
• 2. Description(描写文): depicting
people, objects, or scenery
– Focus on what’s described
– Order to describe (center around the
typical characteristics and features)
– Diction (vividness)
Example: Life on a Farm (Description)
The still morning calm is broken by
the rooster’s crow. Shortly after that all
the creatures on the farm are hungrily
The birds are singing delightfully,
flying from tree to tree. The little
chicks hurry around with their mother
hen looking for food.
The sun begins to warm the earth.
Farmers begin to work hard in the fields,
but my cousin is riding on his brown,
furry water buffalo. He is playing his
flute cheerfully.
The cool evening is quiet and peaceful
on the farm. The crickets chirp secret
messages back and forth. The frogs
croak deeply. The beauty of nature and
these mysterious sounds gently lull me to
sleep every night on the farm.
II. Forms of composition
• 3. Exposition(说明文): to expose, or
to present and explain information,
ideas and opinions
– Point to convey
– Supporting details (facts): order of time,
space, logic, etc.
– Logical techniques: cause-and-effect,
comparison-and-contrast, classification,
definition, etc.
Examples: Life on a Farm(Exposition)
Farm life can be fun, but it is very different
from life in the city. I visit my uncle’s farm
each summer and help him in the garden and
with the livestock.
Country life is so different from life in the
city. The air is clean and fresh, It is quiet, and
you can hear the birds sing.
The vegetable garden and small orchard
need lots of care. There are weeds to hoe and
bugs to spray, but picking oranges is what I like
My uncle raises poultry and livestock.
We have to feed the chickens, ducks
and geese twice a day, but the pigs only
once. Gathering hen’s eggs is easy. They
are in the nest. The ducks lay theirs by
the pond.
I always enjoy country life. My
cousin thinks there is too much work.
He likes city life.
II. Forms of composition
• Argumentation(议论文):persuasive
& convincing
– An explicitly defined theme: The negative view
and the author’s view (his argument)
– Sufficient evidence: The supporting details
(including much of the writer’s comment)
– Sound logic
– Well-woven organization
– A friendly attitude
Example: Life on a Farm (Argument)
When you talk about life on a farm,
whether to raise chickens or ducks is the
question. I think chickens are the best
poultry to own, but my cousin preferred
I had to convince my cousin that
chickens were better, so I reasoned with
him. If we got ducks, we would have to
build a pond. For chickens we would only
have to build nest boxes.
Also, more people eat chicken than
ducks, so they will bring more at the
market. Not only that, chicken manure
makes good fertilizer for plants around
the farm.
You will just have to admit it: all
things considered, chickens are better
than ducks to make a pleasant life on the
III. Steps of writing a composition
• 1st step: Choose a topic or given a topic
E.g. Title: A Teacher
III. Steps of writing a composition
• 2nd step: Determine the theme--think about the title and make a list
in note form on a separate sheet of
paper of what you want to write, like
the following:
– A familiar teacher
– Professor Li
• Very knowledgeable
• Explains his points fully
• Speaks loudly and clearly
• Often invites students to his house
• Gives full attention to students’ questions
• Answers students’ questions patiently
• Tells jokes to hold students’ attention
• Always gives assignment schedules
ahead of time
• Lends books to students
• Always punctual to class
• Returns papers and tests promptly
• At times criticize students severely
• (a) Professor Li is a good teacher.
• (b) Professor Li is a capable teacher.
• (c) Professor Li is a responsible teacher.
Discourse pattern:
Topic 1
Topic 2
Topic 3
Reason 1
Reason 2
Reason 3
III. Steps of writing a composition
• 3rd step: Make an outline
A teacher
Theme: Professor Li is a capable teacher.
1. Professor Li, a capable teacher
2. He is patient.
A. explains his points fully
B. listens willingly to all students’ questions
3. He expresses himself clearly
A. speaks slowly and loudly
B. talks logically
4. He organizes his class well.
A. gives schedules of assignments ahead of time
B. returns papers and tests promptly
5. He has a good sense of humor.
A. tells jokes
B. tells stories
6. Professor Li succeeds as a college instructor.
IV. Steps of writing a composition
• 4th step: Write the draft ---give
supporting details
– 要一气呵成。
– 必要时修改提纲。
– 留出一定的行距。
– 注意段与段之间的逻辑衔接。
• 5th step: Revision and copying
A Capable Teacher
Like most of Professor Li’s students,
I think of him as a capable teacher. He
has many of the qualities that students
appreciate in an instructor.
First, he is patient. When
introducing new material, he tries to
explain it fully. Even more important,
he gives serious attention to all the
students’ questions. In his class,
students are never made to feel
embarrassed if they ask a weak or
irrelevant question.
Second, Professor Li expresses
himself clearly. He does not speak
too rapidly, and his voice is loud
enough so that it can be heard by
everyone in the classroom.
Third, he organizes his classes well.
Students particularly welcome the
schedules of assignments that he gives
them at the beginning of a term. Having
an idea of an entire semester’s work in
advance allows them to budget their time
more efficiently. Moreover, Professor Li
promptly corrects and returns papers
and tests. This permits students to learn
from their mistakes and to produce
better work in their next assignments.
Finally, this instructor keeps the
attention to his classes through his
sense of humor. To emphasize
important points in a lecture, he
often tells witty stories.
A thoughtful and dedicated man,
Professor Li is generally recognized
as a successful college instructor.
Class work: group work
Please make an outline for the following
Advantages and Disadvantages
of Examination
Outline (for reference)
1. Examination is a commonly used way to…
2. The advantages of examination
A. the method to test how much the
examinees have mastered
a. to check how much they have achieved
b. to help find out what problems exist in
their study
B. the way to inspire and stimulate one
to learn further
a. to inspire them to make great
effort in their study
b. to help improve their learning
method, etc.
C. The measurement for examiners
to choose qualified persons
3. Disadvantages of examination
A. to make people nervous
B. to be a burden for examinees
C. to fail to test the practical
ability of a person, etc.
4. There are more advantages than
A. to take advantage of examination
B. to avoid disadvantages
a. overcome nervousness
b. avoid too many examinations
V. Homework: Practice
Develop the outline into a passage.