Thursday, May 08, 2008

ENA6 Question 2a - editorials and letters

Here are two texts that might help you revise for the 2a) part of this paper. The first text is an editorial from The Guardian which should give you some idea about how to put together a piece of writing like this. Note the lack of first person pronouns (no I or we) and the emphasis on strong opinion expressed through modal auxiliaries, in the last paragraph particularly. If you’re asked to write an editorial, remember that you’re expressing the newspaper’s own view on the issue and that while you should look at both sides of the debate (arguments about male female talk, political correctness going too far, language change being a bad thing etc.) you should always come down one side of the debate more than the other (e.g. “texting can be a useful tool, but if it is allowed to spread into the written language of this country’s young people, standards will fall…” or something like that).

The second text is the nearest equivalent to a letter to the editor that I could find. On the exam spec a letter is mentioned as a possible form for this question, but most letters in broadsheet newspapers are pretty brief. This personal response is structured a little like a letter. It responds to a previous article (so you might be responding to one of the texts in the exam paper); it refers back to the original article by paraphrasing a few points and quoting briefly from it; it then constructs an argument against the original article, using personal observations and statistics. This is exactly the sort of structure you could use if you were set a question like this.

Accent bias: a guest blog for TEFL Workers' Union

I don't normally blog opinion pieces on here but thought I'd share this one as I was asked to write a few things for the TEFL Worker...