FCE First Certificate course
Dialogue Lesson 12
Dialogue lesson 12: writing an essay, a letter or an article
Having finished talking about stories, reports and reviews, the pair then discuss the remaining 3 – essays, letters and articles.
GORDON: Ok so if we take a look at what you need to do when writing an essay. One thing’s for sure; you need to answer the question. Make sure you don’t stray from the point, you need to be clear and effective in getting your points across. As the chunks of text are likely to be bigger due to the academic basis of an essay, I would advise to separate this format into five paragraphs. Thus, in the first paragraph, you should give a general introduction to the subject in hand, then bring all your ideas together in the concluding paragraphs, developing your arguments in the middle paragraphs in between. In essays, it is generally better to be subjective with your arguments. You can have a point of view, which you need to support with reasons and examples when possible, but in general don’t be completely forthcoming with your personal opinion until the conclusion, which is the perfect place to be expressive. As for the grammar points of this format, I would suggest using formal language and not using contractions. Like a report, the style of the text needs to be relatively formal. For vocabulary, if I were you, I would revise expressions which can be used to express comparison and contrast, results and the proposal of examples. Ok so that is essays out of the way. Let’s move on to one I hope that you’re already familiar with; letters.
EMMA: This is the format that I’m actually comfortable with. I know that you’re supposed to put your address in the top right corner and on the left side, put a greeting at the top. This greeting will be something like “Dear sir” or “Dear Madam” depending on who you are writing it to. Then, you should give a reason why you are writing in the introductory paragraph. In the middle paragraphs, you have the opportunity to expand on this reason, then bring everything together in the conclusion, where you should sign off by writing something like “I look forward to your reply”, or “yours sincerely”.
GORDON: Good knowledge Emma. However, all that you know seems to be based on formal letters. I’m just going to talk to you about informal letters too so you’re aware of both. You can keep the structure the same as formal letters. However, the tone needs to alter completely. The tone needs to be relaxed and talkative. You can address the recipient by saying things like “Hello, how are you?” and conclude the letter informally by writing “Best wishes” or “Love from”. With both types of letter, you should revise connectives so the text will flow better. Ok so last but not least is articles. Like all formats, you should have 4 or 5 paragraphs, including an introduction which grabs the attention of the reader. This can be done by using the technique of rhetorical questions and addressing the reader directly by writing in the second person. It’s appropriate to express your own opinion in this format, this should probably be written in the conclusion. Useful vocabulary to review for this would be phrases which help to introduce new ideas, for example “firstly” or “secondly”. Ok, Emma. everything clear?
EMMA: Yes, that’s excellent. Thanks very much.
Vocabulary Lesson 12
SYNONYM or DEFINITION
one thing’s for sure
in any case
to get a point across
to communicate one’s arguments
a large piece
expressing a lot
an intonation, a style
that talks much
last but not least
to give a speech to
Exam Tips 12
EXAM TIP FOR FCE LESSON 12
How to write an ESSAY) One of the goals of an essay is to present your arguments and examples in an structured manner. You must remember the following:
- 4 paragraphs minimum (1 introduction, 2 or 3 body paragraphs and 1 conclusion).
- Each paragraph of the body must develop a different argument.
- You must provide reasons and examples for each of your arguments.
- You must use formal language (so no contracted forms or slang).
- The conclusion is also an important paragraph as that is where you will express your opinion clearly.
Some more useful vocabulary:
My personal opinion is… I believe that…
Expressing other people’s opinion
According to… People often say… Many people believe… It is often said that…
Presenting opposing views
On the one hand… On the other hand…
However… Nevertheless… On the contrary… Alternatively… Instead… Otherwise… Nonetheless… Conversely… Though…
Thus… Therefore… As a result… Consequently… For this reason… Because of this… Hence…
In the meantime… Subsequently… At last… Presently… During this time… By that time…
Similarly… Another like… As with…
Introduction: It is often believed that………………. In this essay we will discuss how …………………………
Paragraph 1: (your viewpoint on one aspect/theme) From my personal experience …………………………
Paragraph 2: (your viewpoint on one aspect) Another aspect …………………………
Conclusion: To conclude …………………………