1 SB Read the following table, then listen to the cassette and tick the information mentioned. Finally, using the information from the table describe the festival.
Name of festival Time
Ch'u Yan festival [J
5th day of the 5th month in Chinese lunar calendar the Dragon Boat Festival Q
5th day of the 5th month in Chinese solar calendar
Feelings to protect the river from dragons and spirits
suicide of a politician repaint boats QJ build boats Q
train for boat races Q design route of boat race Q
throw rice dumplings into river Q boat races Q eat rice cakes Q search for Ch'u Yan's body Q]
not very interesting Q] an unforgettable experience 0
A descriptive composition about an event should consist of:
a) an introduction in which you mention the name/type, time/date, place and reason for celebrating the event;
b) a main body in which you describe the preparations for the event and the event itself; and, c) a conclusion in which you describe people's feelings or comments on the event. Such pieces of writing can be found in magazines, newspapers or travel brochures, or as part of a letter, story, etc.
When you describe annual events (e.g. a celebration / festival which takes place every year), present tenses are used and the style is formal. However, when giving a personal account of an event which you witnessed or took part in, past tenses are used and the style may be less formal. The passive is frequently used to describe preparations / activities which take place, e.g. Pumpkins are carved and placed in windows and costumes are designed.
To make the description more vivid and interesting, narrative techniques and a variety of descriptive vocabulary can be used to set the scene and describe the atmosphere, e.g. Bright lights sparkled over the water as the fireworks spread like huge, colourful flowers and the onlookers who crowded the harbour gasped In wonder and admiration.
interpreting the topic
The number of paragraphs depends on whether the composition task asks for only a description of events or also asks you to explain its significance or how important it is. Compare the topics below. "Describe a typical wedding in your country" This topic asks only for a description of an event. The style is impersonal. Present tenses should normally be used. "Describe a wedding you attended and explain why it made an impression on you." This topic asks for a description of an event in narrative form, together with reasons why you enjoyed the event. The style is rather informal. Past tenses should be used.
Paragraph 1 set the scene
(name, time/date, piac of event, reason (s) for celebrating)
Paragraph 2 preparations
(decorations, rehearsa etc.)
Paragraph 3 description of actual event
(costumes, food, atmo sphere, activities, etc.)
Paragraph 4 explanation 1 and reason
Paragraph 5 explanation 2 and reason
Final Paragraph feelings, comments, fit thoughts
2 Read the models and give the paragraph plan for each. What tenses have been used? Why? Where could you find such pieces of writing?
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