Interpreting The Topic

Various composition tasks in examinations ask you to describe a person or people; however, this description may be only one part of the composition. Composition tasks often ask you to describe a person and explain something about them.

In order to complete such a composition task successfully, you should not describe every aspect of appearance, personality, etc. You should choose the aspects which are most relevant to the particular question, e.g. "Describe a person who has done a great deal for others, and explain how he or she has managed to achieve so much." In answering this question, it is not as relevant to describe appearance e.g. "He Is a tall, well-built man with pale blue eyes..." as it is to describe the person's character, achievements and so on. e.g. "She Is strong-willed, outgoing, and dedicated to..." It is important to interpret the instructions carefully. The instructions contain certain key words and phrases which you must not ignore; for instance, if the instructions say "Describe a famous person ..." you cannot describe someone who is unknown to the general public.

The instructions may also ask you to explain the reasons for your impressions/reactions, for somebody's success, etc. e.g. Describe a person who has Influenced you greatly and explain the reasons for this Influence.You should state each reason in a separate paragraph with a clear topic sentence which summarises the main idea of each paragraph, and supports this with examples and/or justification. e.g. The main reason I found him eccentric was the way he dressed. [Topic sentence]

For Instance, he often wore strange, enormous hats that seemed to belong to some other period in history. Furthermore,... [Examples/Justification]

21 Read the following composition task and underline the key words. Wha information will you include in eac paragraph? How would you adapt th paragraph plan to organise you composition?

1 Describe a person whom you associat with a particular place and explain wh you make this connection/

2 Describe a famous person from histoi whom you admire. Give reasons fc your choice.

3 Describe a person you know well an say how he/she has changed since yo first met him/her.

4 Describe two people you know well an say how their hobbies reveal their di ferent personalities.

5 Describe someone you knew in the pa and say in what ways you were infli enced by him/her.

22 Read the model below, underline the topic sentences of each paragraph, and then complete the outline plan on the right.

Describe a person you admire and explain uihy you admire

* introduction - Gary - fellow student

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