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有关英语写作意见和范文

发布时间:2015-06-11

发布者:英语系

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有关英语写作意见和范文

英语作文常见典型语法错误

语言是评判作文的一个极其重要的因素。在实际的阅卷过程中,语法错误,尤其是较为严重的错误,是阅卷人员的主要照顾点,有时甚至是惟一的点;当然那样处理是有道理的,大家可以设想一下,一篇语法上漏洞百出、严重影响表达的作文又会有什么样的好内容呢?如果因为语言上的错误而导致失分,那将得不偿失。因此,认清各种各样的语法错误,尽可能地避免少犯,对于提高作文分是有极大的帮助的。现将我们在阅卷过程中所发现的大量语言错误逐一归类,抽出其中的典型错误,以警示大家,供参考。

  1.句子成分残缺不全

  We always working till late at night before taking exams()

  We are always working /We always work till late at night before taking exams()

  We should read books may be useful to us. ()

  We should read books which may be useful to us. ()

  2.句子成分多余

  This test is end, but there is another test is waiting for you. ()

  One test ends, but another is waiting for you. ()

  The driver of the red car was died on the spot. ()

  The driver of the red car died on the spot. ()

  3.主谓不一致

  Someone/Somebody think that reading should be selective. ()

  Some think that reading should be selective. ()

  My sister go to the cinema at least once a week. ()

  My sister goes to the cinema at least once a week. ()

  4.动词时态、语态的误用

  I was walking along the road, and there are not so many cars on the street. ()

  I was walking along the road and there were not so many vehicles on the street. ()

  We have little time to read some books which we interest. ()

  We have little time to read some books in which we are interested. ()

  I am a student who has studying in the college for two years. ()

  I have been studying in the college for two years()

  5.词类混淆

  It is my point that reading must be selectively. ()

  In my opinion, reading must be selective. ()

  Honest is so important for every person. ()

  Honesty is so important for everyone. ()

  The old man was hit by a car when he across the street. ()

  The old man was hit by a car when he was crossing the street. ()

英语写作常见错误与分析

下面我们对一些在英语写作中典型的病句实例逐一加以剖析.


一. 不一致(Disagreements
所谓不一致不光指主谓不一致,它还包括了数的不一致 时态不一致及代词不一 致等.
例1. When one have money ,he can do what he want to .
(
人一旦有了钱,他就能想干什么就干什么.)
剖析:one是单数第三人称,因而本句的have应改为has ;同理,want应改为wants.本句是典型的主谓不一致.
改为: Once one has money ,he can do what he wants (to do)


二. 修饰语错位(Misplaced Modifiers
英语与汉语不同,同一个修饰语置于句子不同的位置,句子的含义可能引起变化.对于这一点中国学生往往没有引起足够的重视,因而造成了不必要的误解.例1. I believe I can do it well and I will better know the world outside the campus.
剖析:better位置不当,应置于句末.


三. 句子不完整(Sentence Fragments
在口语中,交际双方可借助手势语气上下文等,不完整的句子完全可以被理解.可是书面语就不同了,句子结构不完整会令意思表达不清,这种情况常常发生在主句写完以后,笔者又想加些补充说明时发生.
例1. There are many ways to know the society. For example by TV ,radio ,newspaper and so on .
剖析:本句后半部分"for example by TV ,radio ,newspaper and so on .”不是一个完整的句子,仅为一些不连贯的词语,不能独立成句.
改为:There are many ways to know society ,for example ,by TV ,radio ,and newspaper.


四. 悬垂修饰语(Dangling Modifiers
所谓悬垂修饰语是指句首的短语与后面句子的逻辑关系混乱不清.例如:At the age of ten, my grandfather died. 这句中"at the age of ten"只点出十岁时,但没有说明十岁时.按一般推理不可能是my grandfather, 如果我们把这个悬垂修饰语改明确一点,全句就不那么费解了.
改为:
When I was ten, my grandfather died.
例1. To do well in college, good grades are essential.
剖析:句中不定式短语 “to do well in college” 的逻辑主语不清楚.
改为:
To do well in college, a student needs good grades.


五. 词性误用(Misuse of Parts of Speech)
词性误用常表现为:介词当动词用;形容词当副词用;名词当动词用等.
例1. None can negative the importance of money.
剖析:negative 系形容词,误作动词。
改为:
None can deny the importance of money.


六. 指代不清(Ambiguous Reference of Pronouns)
指代不清主要讲的是代词与被指代的人或物关系不清,或者先后所用的代词不一致。试看下面这一句:
Mary was friendly to my sister because she wanted her to be her bridesmaid.
(
玛丽和我姐姐很要好,因为她要她做她的伴娘。)
读完上面这一句话,读者无法明确地判断两位姑娘中谁将结婚,谁将当伴娘。如果我们把易于引起误解的代词的所指对象加以明确,意思就一目了然了。这个句子可改为:
Mary was friendly to my sister because she wanted my sister to be her bridesmaid.
1. And we can also know the society by serving it yourself.
剖析:句中人称代词we 和反身代词yourself指代不一致。改为:
We can also know society by serving it ourselves.


七. 不间断句子(Run-on Sentences)
什么叫run-on sentence?请看下面的例句。
例1. There are many ways we get to know the outside world.
剖析:这个句子包含了两层完整的意思:“There are many ways.” 以及“We get to know the outside world.”。简单地把它们连在一起就不妥当了。
改为:
There are many ways for us to learn about the outside world.
或:
There are many ways through which we can become acquainted with the outside
world


八. 措词毛病(Troubles in Diction)
Diction
是指在特定的句子中如何适当地选用词语的问题,囿于教学时间紧迫,教师平时在这方面花的时间往往极其有限,影响了学生在写作中没有养成良好的推敲,斟酌的习惯。他们往往随心所欲,拿来就用。所以作文中用词不当的错误比比皆是。
例1. The increasing use of chemical obstacles in agriculture also makes pollution.
(
农业方面化学物质使用的不断增加也造成了污染。)
剖析:显然,考生把obstacles“障碍障碍物误作substance“物质了。另外“the increasing use (不断增加的使用)” 应改为“abusive use (滥用)”
改为:
The abusive use of chemical substances in agriculture also causes/leads to pollution.


九. 累赘(Redundancy)
言以简洁为贵。写句子没有一个多余的词;写段落没有一个无必要的句子。能用单词的不用词组;能用词组的不用从句或句子。如:
In spite of the fact that he is lazy, I like him.
本句的“the fact that he is lazy”系同谓语从句,我们按照上述能用词组的不用从句可以改为:In spite of his laziness, I like him.
例1. For the people who are diligent and kind, money is just the thing to be used to buy the thing they need.
剖析:整个句子可以大大简化。
改为:
Diligent, caring people use money only to buy what they need.


十. 不连贯(Incoherence)
不连贯是指一个句子前言不对后语,或是结构上不畅通。这也是考生常犯的毛病。
例1. The fresh water, it is the most important things of the earth.
剖析:The fresh water 与逗号后的it 不连贯。It things 在数方面不一致。
改为:
Fresh water is the most important thing in the world.


十一. 综合性语言错误(Comprehensive Misusage)
所谓综合性语言错误,是指除了上述十种错误以外,还有诸如时态,语态,标点符号,大小写等方面的错误。
1Today, Money to everybody is very importance, our’s eat, cloth, live, go etc.

英语中12个典型的中国式错误

1. 这个价格对我挺合适的。

  误:The price is very suitable for me

  正:The price is right

  提示:suitable(合适的、相配的)最常见的用法是以否定的形式出现在告示或通知上,如:下列节目儿童不宜。The following programme is not suitable for children. 这句话用后面的说法会更合适。

  2. 你是做什么工作的呢?

  误:What's your job?

  正:Are you working at the moment?

  提示:what's your job这种说法难道也有毛病吗?是的。因为如果您的谈话对象刚刚失业,如此直接的问法会让对方有失面子,所以您要问:目前您是在上班吗?Are you working at the moment?接下来您才问:目前您在哪儿工作呢?Where are you working these days?或者您从事哪个行业呢?What line of work are you in?

  3. 用英语怎么说?

  误:How to say?

  正:How do you say this in English?

  提示:How to say是在中国最为泛滥成灾的中国式英语之一,这绝不是地道的英语说法。同样的句子有:请问这个词如何拼写?How do you spell that please?请问这个单词怎么读?How do you pronounce this word?

  4. 明天我有事情要做。

  误:I have something to do tomorrow

  正:I am tied up all day tomorrow

  提示:用I have something to do来表示您很忙,这也完全是中国式的说法。因为每时每刻我们都有事情要做,躺在那里睡大觉也是事情。所以您可以说我很忙,脱不开身:I'm tied up。还有其他的说法:I can't make it at that time. I'd love to, but I can't, I have to stay at home

  5. 我没有英文名。

  误:I haven't English name

  正:I don't have an English name

  提示:许多人讲英语犯这样的错误,从语法角度来分析,可能是语法功底欠缺,因为have在这里是实义动词,而并不是在现在完成时里面那个没有意义的助动词。所以,这句话由肯定句变成否定句要加助动词。明白道理是一回事,习惯是另一回事,请您再说几话:我没有钱;I don't have any money。我没有兄弟姐妹;I don't have any brothers or sisters。我没有车。I don't have a car

  6. 我想我不行。

  误:I think I can't

  正:I don't think I can

  提示:汉语里说我想我不会的时候,英语里面总是说我不认为我会。以后您在说类似的英语句子的时候,只要留心,也会习惯英语的表达习惯的。

  7. 我的舞也跳得不好。

  误:I don't dance well too

  正:I am not a very good dancer either

  提示:当我们说不擅长做什么事情的时候,英语里面通常用not good at something,英语的思维甚至直接踊跃到:我不是一个好的舞者。

  8. 现在几点钟了?

  误:What time is it now?

  正:What time is it, please?

  提示:What time is it now是一个直接从汉语翻译过的句子,讲英语的时候没有必要说now,因为您不可能问what time was it yesterday, 或者what time is it tommorow?所以符合英语习惯的说法是:请问现在几点了?还有一种说法是:How are we doing for time?这句话在有时间限制的时候特别合适。

  9. 我的英语很糟糕。

  误:My English is poor

  正:I am not 100% fluent, but at least I am improving

  提示:有人开玩笑说,全中国人最擅长的一句英文是:My English is poor. 外国人遇到自己外语不好的情况,他们会说: I am still having a few problem, but I am getting better

  10. 你愿意参加我们的晚会吗?

  误:Would you like to join our party on Friday?

  正:Would you like to come to our party on Friday night?

  提示:join往往是指参加俱乐部或者协会,如:join a health club; join the Communist Party。事实上,常常与party搭配的动词是come 或者go。如go a wild party,或者come to a Christmas Party

  11. 我没有经验。

  误:I have no experience

  正:I don't know much about that

  提示:I have no experience这句话听起来古里古怪,因为您只需要说那方面我懂得不多,或者这方面我不在行,就行了。I am not really an expert in this area

  12. ——这个春节你回家吗?

  ——是的,我回去。

  --Will you be going back home for the Spring Festival?

  误:--Of course!

  正:--Sure. / Certainly

  提示:以英语为母语的人使用of course的频率要比中国的学生低得多,只有在回答一些众所周知的问题时才说of course。因为of course后面隐含的一句话是我当然知道啦!难道我是一个傻瓜吗?因此,of course带有挑衅的意味。在交谈时,用surecertainly效果会好得多。同时,of course not也具挑衅的意味。正常情况下语气温和的说法是certainly not

走出中国式英语作文三大误区

为什么我的词汇量如此丰富却仍然写不出能让阅卷老师满意的作文?相信不少同学都曾有过这样的疑问。对此,英语老师相楠分析指出,词汇量的多寡往往并不是一篇英语作文质量好或者坏的关键。许多同学即便很努力地去准备作文,但最终分数仍然不理想,这很可能是因为他们陷入了某种写作的误区。本期,相楠老师特为我们列举了比较常见的三种英语写作误区,希望能帮广大学生对号入座,并施以针对性的改进。

  误区一:用中文思维串联英文词汇

  一些同学在绞尽脑汁也写不出英语作文的情况下,会先按照题目写一个中文稿出来,然后再借助电子辞典翻译出一篇所谓的英语作文。还有一些同学习惯性地用中文的表达方式来写英语作文。这就造成了所谓的中国式英语作文。在这样的作文里,我们常常读到以下这类用中文的语法和英语单词拼凑出来的句子:“When Iwas a child,my parentsvery loveme”(正确的表达:When Iwas achild,my parents lovedme verymuch)“Thesupermarket’s in frontof is a guesthouse”(正确的表达:There is a guesthouse in frontof thesupermarket)

  解决之道:强化语法

  要想流利的掌握一门外语,你需要能够使用该语言思考,而不用在头脑里来回翻译。而将中文式思维转变为英语思维的最根本的途径之一就是强化语法知识。很多同学的词汇量很丰富,但是对于怎么用,什么时候用却并不明白。而这些恰恰是语法知识所能告诉我们的。哪些词要用在句中,哪些词应该用在句尾,语法里都有相应的规定。一旦用错了位置就会写成英国人看不懂的英语作文。另外,对于词汇所存在的不同的形态也应该注意。

  误区二:过分精雕细琢而忽视了大局

  不少同学在写英语作文时,将过多的注意力放在优美的文笔上面。因此,他们不停地用电子辞典搜集华丽的词藻,并运用难度颇高的句式,以期能让自己的作文技高一筹。但事实上,多数情况下会弄巧成拙。太生僻的单词同学们运用起来并不能得心应手,而且使用太复杂的句型也常常会出错。还有一些同学为了使句式错落有致而将句子随意断开,或者是在句中插入一些短语,如果运用不当会有哗众取宠之嫌,反而会使作文质量下降。

  解决之道:用平常心表达平常事

  写作要求学生能够综合运用逻辑、词汇和语法等多种知识和技能来完成一个写作任务,但并不苛求学生去做标新立异的创作。因此同学们无需力求完美地到电子辞典里去找生僻的词汇,也不需要写得多么高深莫测,而是应该抱着平常的心态去描述自己看到的东西,表达自己想到的内容,将学过的词从记忆深处调动出来,复习语法课上学到的知识。

  同时,考生应注意用一些能反映自己观点的词,从而增加文章的韵味。很多情况下,用这样的心态写出来的东西内容虽简单但不乏生活气息,语言虽稚嫩,但却准确易懂。

  误区三:文章冗长细枝末节过多

  不少学生在写作中的一大担心就是文章的长度不够,再加上对于可适当增减细节,不可字对字的翻译的误解,于是便充分发挥想象能力,加入了很多离题较远的细枝末节。这样的文章写出来更像是一篇大杂烩,从中找不到任何主题。还有一些作文,句子和句子之间的连贯性不强,逻辑思维混乱,读起来让人摸不到头脑。

  解决之道:理清思路,言之有物

  英语老师认为,很多人之所以写不够题目要求的作文字数,其中一个重要原因就是对于题目本身没有理解透彻。建议同学们不要急于下笔,而是先考虑清楚自己要说几点内容,这些内容之间的逻辑关系是怎样的。

  作文开头不要写得太罗嗦,要找着恰当的切入点,快速入题,简洁明快,结尾同样不要拖泥带水。建议大家多使用一些关联词。有了这些词的连接,就会使文章变得语句通顺,层次清楚。另外,考生不用过度迷信一些使用难度较高的复合句,只要关联词搭配合理,短小的句型、简单的短语同样也能使文章出彩。

写好段落的三个标准(一)

首先,一个段落必须有一个中心即主题思想,该中心由主题句特别是其中的题旨来表达。整个段落必须紧扣这个主题(stick or hold to the topic),这就是段落的统一性(unity)。其次,一个段落必须有若干推展句,使主题思想得到充分展开,从而给读者一个完整的感觉,这就是完整性(completeness or adequateness)。再者,一个段落不是杂乱无章的,而是有机的组合,句子的排列顺序必须合乎逻辑,从一个句子到另一个句子的过渡必须流畅(smooth),这就是连贯性(coherence)。下面我们就对这三个标准分别加以说明。
1.
 统一性
  一个段落内的各个句子必须从属于一个中心,任何游离于中心思想之外的句子都是不可取的。请看下例:
  Joe and I decided to take the long trip we'd always wanted across the country. We were like young kids buying our camper and stocking it with all the necessities of life. Bella bakes the best rhubarb pie. We started out in early spring from Minneapolis and headed west across the northern part of the country. We both enjoyed those people we met at the trailer park. Joe received a watch at his retirement dinner. To our surprise, we found that we liked the warm southern regions very much, and so we decided to stay here in New Mexico.
  本段的主题句是段首句,controlling idea(中心思想)是take the long trip across the country。文中出现两个irrelevant sentences,一个是Bella bakes the best rhubarb pie,这一段是讲的是Joe and I ,中间出现一个Bella是不合适的。还有,Joe received a watch at his retirement dinner这一句更是与主题句不相关。考生在四级统考的作文卷上常常因为造出irrelevant sentences(不相关语句)而丢分,值得引起注意。再看一个例子:
  My name is Roseanna, and I like to keep physically fit. I used to weigh two hundred pounds, but I joined the YMCA for an exercise class and diet program. In one year I lost eighty pounds. I feel much better and never want to have that much weight on my five-feet frame again. I bought two new suitcases last week. Everyday I practice jogging three miles, swimming fifteen laps, lifting twenty-pound weights and playing tennis for one hour. My mother was a premature baby.
  本段的controlling idea like to deep physically fit,但段中有两个irrelevant sentences,一个是I bought two new suitcases last week,另一个是My mother was a premature baby
  从上面两个例子可以看出,native speakers同样会造出来irrelevant sentences。卷面上如果这种句子多了,造成偏题或离题,那问题就更严重了。

2 完整性
  正象我们前面说得那样,一个段落的主题思想靠推展句来实现,如果只有主题句而没有推展句来进一步交待和充实,就不能构成一个完整的段落。同样,虽然有推展句,但主题思想没有得到相对圆满的交待,给读者一种意犹未尽的感觉。这样的段落也不能完成其交际功能。例如:
  Physical work can be a useful form of therapy for a mind in turmoil. Work concentrates your thoughts on a concrete task. Besides, it is more useful to work ---- you produce something rather than more anxiety or depression.
  本段的主题句是段首句。本段的两个推展句均不能回答主题句中提出的问题。什么是 a mind in turmoil"(心境不平静)Physical work又如何能改变这种情况?为什么它能起therapy的作用?读者得不到明确的答案。
  由于四级统考的作文部分只要求写一篇100120个词的三段式短文,每一段只有大约40个词左右,因此,要达到完整就必须尽可能地简明。例如:
  It is not always true that a good picture is worth a thousand words. Often writing is much clearer than a picture. It is sometimes difficult to figure out what a picture means, but a careful writer can almost always explain it.
  段首句所表达的主题思想是一种看法,必须有具体事例加以验证。上述两个推展句只是在文字上对主题作些解释,整个段落内容空洞,简而不明。如果用一两个具体的例子的话,就可以把主题解释清楚了。比如下段:
  It is not always true that a picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes, pictures are pretty useless things. If you can't swim and fall in the river and start gulping water, will you be better off to hold up a picture of yourself drowning, or start screaming "Help"?

3.连贯性(coherence)
  连贯性包括意连和形连两个方面,前者指的是内在的逻辑性,后者指的是使用转换词语。当然这两者常常是不可分割的。只有形连而没有意连,句子之间就没有内在的有机的联系;反之,只有意连而没有形连,有时行文就不够流畅。
  1 意连
  段落中句子的排列应遵循一定的次序,不能想到什么就写什么。如果在下笔之前没有构思,边写边想,写写停停,那就写不出一气呵成的好文章来。下面介绍几种常见的排列方式。
   A.按时间先后排列(chronological arrangement)
  We had a number of close calls that day. When we rose, it was obviously late and we had to hurry so as not to miss breakfast; we knew the dining room staff was strict about closing at nine o'clock. Then, when we had been driving in the desert for nearly two hours ----- it must have been close to noon ---- the heat nearly hid us in; the radiator boiled over and we had to use most of our drinking water to cool it down. By the time we reached the mountain, it was four o'clock and we were exhausted. Here, judgement ran out of us and we started the tough climb to the summit, not realizing that darkness came suddenly in the desert. Sure enough, by six we were struggling and Andrew very nearly went down a steep cliff, dragging Mohammed and me along with him. By nine, when the wind howled across the flat ledge of the summit, we knew as we shivered together for warmth that it had not been our lucky day.
  本段从 rose"(起床)写起,然后是吃早餐(not to miss breakfast, closing at nine o'clock),然后是 close to noon",一直写到这一天结束(By nine--")

  B. 按位置远近排列(spatial arrangement)。例如:
  From a distance, it looked like a skinny tube, but as we got closer, we could see it flesh out before our eyes. It was tubular, all right, but fatter than we could see from far away. Furthermore, we were also astonished to notice that the building was really in two parts: a pagoda sitting on top of a tubular one-story structure. Standing ten feet away, we could marvel at how much of the pagoda was made up of glass windows. Almost everything under the wonderful Chinese roof was made of glass, unlike the tube that it was sitting on, which only had four. Inside, the tube was gloomy, because of the lack of light. Then a steep, narrow staircase took us up inside the pagoda and the light changed dramatically. All those windows let in a flood of sunshine and we could see out for miles across the flat land.
  本段的写法是由远及近,从远处(from a distance)写起,然后"get closer",再到(ten feet away),最后是 inside the pagoda……当然,按位置远近来写不等于都是由远及近。根据需要,也可以由近及远,由表及里等等。
  C. 按逻辑关系排列(logical arrangement)
   a. 按重要性顺序排列(arrangement in order of importance)
  If you work as a soda jerker, you will, of course, not need much skill in expressing yourself to be effective. If you work on a machine, your ability to express yourself will be of little importance. But as soon as you move one step up from the bottom, your effectiveness depends on your ability to reach others through the spoken or the written word. And the further away your job is from manual work, the larger the organization of which you are an employee, the more important it will be that you know how to convey your thoughts in writing or speaking. In the very large business organization, whether it is the government, the large corporation, or the Army, this ability to express oneself is perhaps the most important of all the skills a man can possess.
  这一段谈的是表达能力,它的重要性与职业,身份有关,从"not need much skill" "of little importance" "more important",最后是 "most important"


  b.由一般到特殊排列(general-to-specific arrangement
  If a reader is lost, it is generally because the writer has not been careful enough to keep him on the path. This carelessness can take any number of forms. Perhaps a sentence is so excessively cluttered that the reader, hacking his way through the verbiage, simply doesn't know what it means. Perhaps a sentence has been so shoddily constructed that the reader could read it in any of several ways. Perhaps the writer has switched tenses, or has switched pronouns in mid-sentence, so the reader loses track of when the action took place or who is talking. Perhaps sentence B is not logical sequel to sentence A ---- the writer, in whose head the connection is clear, has not bothered to provide the missing link. Perhaps the writer has used an important word incorrectly by not taking the trouble to look it up. He may think that "sanguine" and "sanguinary" mean the same thing, but the difference is a bloody big one. The reader can only infer what the writer is trying to imply.
  这一段谈的是a writer's carelessness,先给出一个general statement作为主题句,然后通过5 perhaps"加以例证。
  c. 由特殊到一般排列(specific-to-general arrangement)
  I do not understand why people confuse my Siamese cat, Prissy, with the one I had several years ago, Henry. The two cats are only alike in breed. Prissy, a quiet, feminine feline, loves me dearly but not possessively. She likes to keep her distance from people, exert her independence and is never so rude as to beg, lick, or sniff unceremoniously. Her usual posture is sitting upright, eyes closed, perfectly still. Prissy is a very proper cat. Henry, on the other hand, loved me dearly but possessively. He was my shadow from morning till night. He expected me to constantly entertain him. Henry never cared who saw him do anything, whether it was decorous or not, and he usually offended my friends in some way. The cat made himself quite comfortable, on the top of the television, across stranger's feet or laps, in beds, drawers, sacks, closets, or nooks. The difference between them is imperceptible to strangers.
  本段的主题句是段首句,它仅提出一个问题:为什么两只猫会被搞混。然后对两者进行比较,末句才下结论。

  2 形连
  行文的逻辑性常常要靠适当的转换词语及其他手段来实现。请读下面这一段文字并找出文中用以承上启下的词语:
  Walter's goal in life was to become a successful surgeon. First, though, he had to get through high school, so he concentrated all his efforts on his studies --- in particular, biology, chemistry, and math. Because he worked constantly on these subjects, Walter became proficient in them; however, Walter forgot that he needed to master other subjects besides those he had chosen. As a result, during his junior year of high school, Walter failed both English and Latin. Consequently, he had to repeat these subjects and he was almost unable to graduate on schedule. Finally, on June 6, Walter achieved the first step toward realizing his goal.
  本文中起承上启下的词语有两种,一种是转换词语(transitional words or phrases),另一种是起转换作用的其他连接手段(linking devices)。前者依次有:first, though, so, in particular, and, because, however, besides, as a result, both…and, consequently, and, finally.后者依次是:he, he, his, his, he, these, them, he, those, his, he, these, his. 本段中共有词汇105个,所使用的转换词语及其他连接用语共26个词,约占该段总词汇量的四分之一。由此可见,掌握好transitions不仅对行文的流畅(smoothness)有益,而且对于学生在半个小时内写足四级短文所要求的120个词也是不无好处的。
  一个段落里如果没有transitions也就很难有coherence.我们看下面一个例子:    Speaking and writing are different in many ways. Speech depends on sounds. Writing uses written symbols. Speech developed about 500 000 years ago. Written language is a recent development. It was invented only about six thousand years ago. Speech is usually informal. The word choice of writing is often relatively formal. Pronunciation and accent often tell where the speaker is from. Pronunciation and accent are ignored in writing. A standard diction and spelling system prevails in the written language of most countries. Speech relies on gesture, loudness, and rise and fall of the voice. Writing lacks gesture, loudness and the rise and fall of the voice. Careful speakers and writers are aware of the differences.
  本段中除了第6句开头出现一个起过渡作用的"it"之外,没有使用其他的过渡词语.这样,文中出现许多重复的词语,全段读起来也显得生硬而不自然。如果加上必要的过渡词语来修饰的话,这一段就成了下面一个流畅连贯的段落:

  Speaking and writing are different in many ways. Speech depends on sounds; writing, on the other hand, uses written symbols. Speech was developed about 500 000 years ago, but written language is a recent development, invented only about six thousand years ago. Speech is usually informal, while the word choice of writing, by contrast, is often relatively formal. Although pronunciation and accent often tell where the speaker is from, they are ignored in wiring because a standard diction and spelling system prevails in most countries. Speech relies on gesture, loudness, and the rise and fall of the voice, but writing lacks these features. Careful speakers and writers are aware of the differences
4
有损连贯性的几种情况:
  考生在写作中经常出现下面几种错误:

  1)不必要的改变时态,比如:
  In the movie, Robert Redford was a spy. He goes to his office where he found everybody dead. Other spies wanted to kill him, so he takes refuge with Julie Christie. At her house, he had waited for the heat to die down, but they come after him anyway.
  2)不必要的改变单复数,比如:
  Everybody looks for satisfaction in his life. They want to be happy. But if he seeks only pleasure in the short run, the person will soon run out of pleasure and life will catch up to him. They need to pursue the deeper pleasure of satisfaction in work and in relationships.
  3)不必要的改变人称,比如:
  Now more than ever, parents need to be in touch with their children's activities because modern life has the tendency to cause cleavages in the family. You need to arrange family like
it so that family members will do things together and know one another. You need to give up isolated pleasures of your own and realize that parents have a set of obligations to sponsor togetherness and therefore sponsor knowledge.

  因此写作中,一定要注意时态,人称以及数的变化是否正确,要注意保持一致。

英语写作必会的十字真经

英语的书面表达一直以来就是英语学习的瓶颈。在此,笔者向各位学习者提供突破英语写作的十字建议,即研习、背诵、默写、互译、模仿,概括出培养写作能力的五个方面,如能严格遵循,定能柳暗花明。

  研

  没有规矩,不成方圆。对于一般英语学习者而言,写出优秀的文章有赖于后天习得,但并不意味着机械背诵、生吞活剥,或者照搬照抄、人云亦云。所谓研习,需要有独立思考和个人的判断,本着他山之石,可以攻玉的精神,汲取文章的精华部分加以研究。研习主要侧重两个方面,包括文章章法和语言表达。文章章法指文章的行文思路、布局谋篇、结构安排、逻辑顺序。许多学习者面对一个话题,可能存在两种不同的困惑,一是下笔千言,但离题万里;二是思绪万千,却无从落笔。导致两种困惑的根源皆在于欠缺思考问题、组织思路的恰当方式,以至于文章不得要领、章法紊乱。这就要求我们从全篇脉络角度多研习范文,之后领悟如何以演绎法行文、怎样用归纳法谋篇以及如何围绕特定话题拓展思路等等。此外,研习还要侧重于语言表达,包括遣词造句和句子、段落之间的各种衔接手段,以期在自己日后的写作中派上用场,因为英文写作皆通一理。只有善于借鉴,勤加研究,才会借他人的优势和长处,提高自己的写作水平。

  背

  背诵是提高写作的又一有效途径。要学好写作文,首先要处理好语言输入与输出之间的关系。前者是后者的前提条件。如果头脑空空如也,就根本谈不上写出像模像样的文章。只有读过大量东西,并且有意识地将其中精彩部分储存于记忆之中(commit the highlights to memory),才能保证下笔流畅、文通字顺。因此,背诵对于写作极为重要。但背诵不是机械记忆,而是有选择性的背诵,是有意义的记忆。因为机械背诵的结果要么是记忆很快就荡然无存、了无痕迹,要么是无法活学活用、付诸实践。背诵包括五个方面:重点词汇、常用套语、精彩句子、优秀段落、经典篇章。

  重点词汇

  美妙的用词及搭配皆在此列,像fall victim(受害)stand a fair chance(大有希望)这种地道的动宾搭配要勤加记忆。为了积累写作词汇,应将文中同属一个话题的用词汇总归纳,组成主题词族(topic family)。归类记忆可以使自己日后即写即用,得心应手。下文是一篇阐释爱心的优秀文章,多处用词精巧,现将文中关于爱心这一主题的词汇总结如下:

  emotional strength 情感的力量

  the noblest of human emotions人类最高尚的情感

  no thought of gain不计得失

  the lamp of love爱心之灯

  help the victims of natural disasters支援自然灾害受害者

  donate whatever they can倾囊相助

  help their needy fellow citizens 帮助有需要的同胞

  be ready to give a helping hand 随时准备伸出援手

  常用套语

  套语指流行的公式化语言,在写作中适当使用颇有必要。

  当前流行应试写作模板,即套语的使用贯穿文章始终,为考生提供万能公式型的文章主架,每句表达皆由固定套语框定,考生只要背下套用句型、过渡词语,在考试中根据特定考题填充具体内容。这种应试策略使写出的文章矫揉造作,生硬刻板,虽可以让考生及格过关,但绝对得不到高分。套语的过多使用不妨可以比作大海中的救生圈,有了它,仅仅可以让不擅游泳者保全性命,却无法自在畅游,一展泳姿。一般而言,套语较为空洞,如使用过多,文章容易流于空泛,言之无物。写作宜虚实结合,形式与内容相统一。

  精彩句子

  精彩句子指文章中句式优美、蕴含哲理的句子。精彩句子的背诵有助于写作时的引用和模仿。如在阅读美国前总统约翰?肯尼迪(John F. Kennedy)的就职演说(Inaugural Address)时,可以记住诸如“Ask not what your country can do for you ask what you can do for your country. ”(不要问国家能为你做什么,而要问你能为国家做什么。)这样的传世佳句,当你写关于爱国(patriotism)主题的作文时,则可以适时引用。现仍以上面谈爱心的文章为例,其中值得背诵的句子为数不少。摘录如下:

  Love is emotional strength which can support us no matter how dark the world around us becomes

  爱心是情感的力量,不论我们周围的世界多么黑暗,爱心都能支撑我们。

  People all over the country do not hesitate to donate whatever they can ― be it money or goods ― to help their needy fellow citizens

  全国人民毫不犹豫地倾囊相助——不管是钱还是物——帮助那些有需要的同胞。

  The best way to show love is to help people who are more unfortunate than we are

  表达爱心的最好方式是帮助比我们更加不幸的人。

  The darker the shadows of sorrow become the more brightly the lamp of love shines

  悲伤的阴影越黑暗,爱心之灯的光芒就越闪亮。

英语作文的文章的开头

一篇文章通常可分为三个部分,即开头、正文和结尾。这三个部分安排是否得体,直接影响到文章的质量。

文章的开头一般来说应尽量做到开门见山,用简单明白的叙述引出文章的话题,使读者了解文章要谈论什么,一下于引起读者的兴趣。

作文常见的开头形式大致有以下几种:

1.开门见山,揭示主题
文章一开头,,就交待清楚文章的主题是什么。如“How I Spent My Vacation”(我怎样度假)的开头是:

I Spent my last vacation happily

下面是题为"Honesty"(谈诚实)一文中的开头:

Honesty is one of the best virtuesAn honest man is always trusted and respectedOn the contrary, one who tells lies is regarded as a "liar"and is looked upon by honest people

2.交代人物、事情、时间或环境开头
在文章的开头,先把人物、事件和环境交待清楚。例如"A Trip to Jinshan" (去金山旅游)的开头:

The day before yesterday my class went on a bus trip to Jinshan. The bus ride there took three hours. The long trip made us very tired, but the sight of the beautiful sea refreshed us.

3. 回忆性的开头

用回忆的方法来开头。例如"A Trip to the Taishan Mountain"(泰山游)的开头是:

I remember my first trip to the Taishan Mountain as if it were yesterday.

4.概括性的开头
即对要在文章中叙述的人或事先作一个概括性的介绍。如“The Happiness of Reading Books”(读书的快乐)的开头:

People often say that gold and silver are the most valuable things in the world. But I say that to read books is more valuable than anything else, because books give us knowledge and knowledge gives us power.

5.介绍环境式的开头
即开头利用自然景物或自然环境引出要介绍的事物。如“An Accident”(一场事故)的开头是:

It was a rainy and windy morning. The sky was gloomy, the temperature was low, and the street was nearly empty. I was on my way back to school. Suddenly, a speeding car came round the corner.

6.交待写作目的的开头。
在文章的一开头就交待写作目的,如通过文章要表扬谁,批评谁,或说明一个什么问题等。如 "Pollution Control" (控制污染)的开头:

In this article I shall draw your attention to the subject of pollution control.
 

英语作文的文章的正文

文章的正文是由若干段落组成的,段落通常由几个或者更多的句子组成,有时候一个句子也能成段。

文章的正文应以文章的开头为线索,具体地叙述、说明或论证文章的主题。文章不论长短,每个段落都必须为主题服务。像说明文和议论文这一类的文章,一个主题还常分成几个小主题,每个小主题要用一个段落处理,另起一段时,应是一层新的意思。每一段的开头,要放一个表示段落小主题的主题句,这样可使文章条理化,易于阅读,便于读者抓住主题。段内的所有句子应围绕主题句的意义加以阐述或论证,为中心思想服务。句子之间应衔结自然,有条不紊,而且还要合乎逻辑,段落中不能出现任何与主题无关的句子;英语写作比较重视主题句的作用,缺少它段落意义就会含糊不清。主题句也可放在段落的中间和末尾等部位,但对初学者来说,以放在段首为好。见下列这篇题为"How to Be a Good Student" (怎样做个好学生)的文章:

We students are the builders and masters of the country. It is important for us to know how to be a good student.

A good student, I think, should be diligent in his studies. The more he studies, the more he will increase his knowledge. Without enough knowledge, we cannot make great contributions to the modernization of our country.

To take care of one's own body is another important thing for good student to do. Anyone, who hasn't got a strong body, can do nothing for his country, even if he has much knowledge. There was a man, who, when he was student, studied hard but neglected his health. No sooner did he come to serve the country than he died of poor health. From this we may see that to have a strong body is really very important for a student.

Lastly, to cultivate one's own virtue is most important. Virtue is the essence
of a noble and good character. It will greatly help one to be useful and his country heart and soul. When learned people go astray, they do more harm than good to society. We should draw lessons from this.

这篇文章的第一段引出了文章的主题,第二、第三和第四段则是文章的正文,每段的第一句即是段落的主题句,它们既支持了文章中心的观点和思想,同时又概括了全段的意思。在同一段落中,其余的句子都围绕主题句所表示的中心展开,同时句子间的衔结也很自然;各层的意思都很连贯。

分段是文章组织上重要的一步,但如果写的题目范围很小,那就无须再将题目分成小的主题,并分入各个段落去阐述了。像一篇简短的评论;某一事情的简短记载,某一个想法的说明,对一个人物或一件事情的简要叙述或说明等,就可以只用一个段落来表现主题。

在记叙文中,段的结构有时可以很简单,不需要有主题句,叙事一气呵成,中途没有停顿。段与段之所以分开,只是为了起修辞作用,以便把某一细节置于显著的地位。

某些测试用的表达题,在题目中就已经说明只需要根据。所给的提示写一个段落,而不是一篇文章。对于这一类的写作试题,就可以予以简洁的处理,并不是非要扩充成一篇有头有尾的完整文章。

下面这篇题为“Weekend Homework”(谈周末作业)的短文,就是用一个段落来论述问题和表达观点的。

Usually Saturday night is the time for students to get back to their desks and do their weekend homework. Six school days are enough for the students who have many other interests. I think weekend homework should not be given. With homework arranged for Saturday night and the whole of Sunday, when can he find time to help around the house, play a game of football or see a good film, or just relax? In fact weekend homework is usually put off until Sunday night. As a result our homework is done very poorly and we achieve no results. If there were no homework on weekends, students would go to school on Monday well rested, willing to work. Teachers, don't you agree?
 

英语作文的文章的结尾

文章结尾的作用是概括全文内容,进一步强调或肯定文章的中心思想,使文章意义表达得更加深刻。

文章结尾的形式也是多种多样的,常见的有以下几种:

1.首尾呼应,画龙点睛
在文章的结尾,把含义较深的话放在末尾,以点明主题,深化主题,起到画龙点睛的效果。如"I Cannot Forget Her" (我忘不了她)的结尾:

After her death, I felt as if something were missing in my life. I was sad over her passing away, but I knew she would not have had any regrets at having given her life for the benefit of the people.

2.重复主题句
结尾回到文章开头阐明的中心思想或主题句上,达到强调的效果。如“I Love My Home Town”(我爱家乡)的结尾:

I love my home town, and I love its people. They too have changed. They are going all out to do more for the good of our motherland.

3. 自然结尾
随着文章的结束,文章自然而然地结尾。如“Fishing”(钓鱼)的结尾:

I caught as many as twenty fish in two hours, but my brother caught many more. Tired from fishing, we lay down on the river bank, bathing in the sun. We returned home very late.

4.含蓄性的结尾

用比喻或含蓄的手法不直接点明作者的看法,而是让读者自己去领会和思考。如“A Day of Harvesting”(收割的日子)的结尾:

Evening came before we realized it. We put down our sickles and looked at each other. Our clothes were wet with sweat, but on every face there was a smile.

5.用反问结尾

虽然形式是问句,但意义却是肯定的,并具有特别的强调作用,引起读者深思。如 "Should We Learn to Do Housework?" (我们要不要学做家务?) 的结尾。

Everyone should learn to do housework. Don't you agree, boys and girls?

6.指明方向,激励读者
结尾表示对将来的展望,或期待读者投入行动。如“Let's Go in for Sports”(让我们参加体育运动)的结尾:
As we have said above, sports can be of great value. They not only make people live happily but also help people to learn virtues and do their work better. A sound mind is in a sound body. Let's go in for sports.

文章的结尾没有一定的模式,可以根据表达主题的需要灵活创造。一般的习惯是,一些记叙文和描写文经常采用自然结尾的方法;但说理性和逻辑性较强的说明文和议论文则往往都有结束语,以便使文章首尾呼应,结构完整。

英语中表示强调的8种方式

为了强调英语句子中的某一成份,强调方式是多种多样的,现将它们归纳如下,以供参考。

1.用形容词“very”“single”等表示强调

egRed Army fought a battle on this very spot

红军就在此地打过一仗。

Not a single person has been in the office this afternoon

今天下午竟然没有一个人来过办公室。

2.用反身代词表示强调

egI myself will see her off at the station

我将亲自到车站为她送行。

You can do it well yourself

你自己能做好这件事情。

3.用助词“do”表示强调

egThe baby is generally healthybut every now and then she does catch a cold

那孩子的健康状况尚好,但就是偶尔患感冒。

Do be quietI told you I had a headache

务必安静,我告诉过你,我头疼。

4.用副词“very”“only”“even”“too”等表示强调

egHe drank it to the very last drop

他把它喝得一干二净。

Only in this way can we wipe out the enemy troops

只有用这样的方法我们才能消灭敌军。

He didn't answer even my letter

他甚至连我的信都未回。

I will too go!我要去的!

5.用...and that”...and those”“not...too much”否定加否定等结构表示强调

egThey fulfilled the taskand that in a few days

他们在几天内完成的就是那项任务。

I gave her some presentsand those the day before yesterday

前天我送给她的就是那些礼物。

I can't thank you too much.我无论怎样感谢你都不过份。

I am not unfaithful to you.我对你无比忠诚。

6.用短语“in every way”“in no way”“by all means”“by no means”“only too”“all too”“but too”“in heaven”“in the world”“in hell”“on earth”“under the sun”等表示强调

egHis behavior was in every way perfect

他的举止确实无可挑剔。

By all means take your son with you

你一定要把儿子带来。

The news was only too true

这消息确实是事实。

It was over all too soon

此事的确了结得很快!

Where in heaven were you then

当时你到底在哪里?

Nobody under the sun would buy that car

确实没有人会买那辆车。

7.用倒装句表示强调

egDishonest he is!他的确不诚实!

In wine is the truth 酒后吐真言。

8.用强调句型表示强调

egIt was the headmaster who opened the door for me

正是校长为我开的门。

It was yesterday that we carried out that experiment

就是在昨天我们做了那个实验。

英语句子中的四种非连续成分

了解英语句子中非连续成分的运用无论对于正确理解英语句子的意思,还是用正确汉语来表达英语句子的意思都是至关重要的。

  我们都知道,英语大多数陈述句都采用SVO这种线性结构(linear structure),各成分之间的语法关系是靠语序来体现的,为了准确地表达句子中各成分之间的语法关系,避免歧义,人们在写英语句子时一般要遵循相邻原则(principle of adjacency),即语法关系密切的两个成分应处于相邻的位置。但是,在实际运用中有时人们并不遵循这一原则,两个应该相邻成分之间被其它成分分隔,构成含非连续成分(discontinuous constituents)的句式。例如:

  A wild yell of jubilation to their surprise, went up suddenly from two dozen throats and pandemonium of joy ensued.

  --F. S. Fitzgerald: The Diamond as Big as the Ritz

  But here on the same road you might have seen among these heavy men a being lithe…

  --J. Conrad: Amy Foster

  Indeed, if readers find the introduction hard going, they should read just the last section, then plunge into the body of the book, and return to Chapter I when puzzles arise about the general nature of the field.

  --S. C. Levinson: Pragmatics

  As soon as they were gone, Elisabeth walked out to recover her spirits, or in other words, to dwell, without interpretation on those subjects that deaden then more.

  --J. Austen: Pride and Prejudice

  上面几个都是含非连续成分的句子,但非连续成分的构成情况各不相同。例句子中的主语A wild yell of jubilation和谓语went up被状语to their surprise分隔,构成主谓非连续成分,例中谓语动词might have seen和宾语a being被状语among these heavy men分隔,构成动宾语非连续成分。例中的中心词puzzles和修饰语被分句的谓语arise分隔,构成名词中心词和后置修饰非连续成分。例不定式动词to dwell和该动词词组的小品词分隔,构成动词副词小品词非连续成分。

  在上面四种非连续成分中,最多见的是中心词和后置修饰语非连续成分,这种连续成分比较复杂。除上面例讲的中心词和介词短语修饰语以外,还有以下各种情况。

  1、中心词是句子的主语,其修饰语是关系分句,这个关系分句的主语又是关系代词,这种关系分句往往可与中心词分隔。例如:

  Some things have been done that ought to have been done long ago.

  2、中心词是主语或宾语,同时被两个后置修饰语修饰,其中一个修饰语

  把中心词和另一个修饰语分隔。例如:

  I've got something important to say.

  There is a man downstairs who wants to see you.

  The enterprises and property in Chinaof the Japanese aggressors and the chief traitors were confiscated.

  Is there anything you want that you have not?

  从这几个例句看,造成非连续成分产生的可能是形容词,副词后置修饰语,介词短语后置修饰语,关系分句后置修饰语等。

  3、中心词是主语或宾语,状语或插入成分把中心词和修饰语分隔。例如:

  There are a lot of people at the bus stop waiting for the bus.

  They found a room there to put up for the night.

  "Here is the man, " he said, "who told us the good news yesterday."

  at the bus stop, there都是状语,he said是插入成分,它们把中心词和修饰语分隔,产生了非连续成分。

  4、中心词位于句首,而修饰它的后置修饰语又需置于谓语之后,两者不得不分开。这种情况多见于疑问代词作中心词的句子中。例如:

  What did he want to say about it?

  Who is there to be criticized?

  研究上面所举的所有例句,我们可以发现,英语句子中的非连续成分主要由两个原因造成的,一个是插入语导致产生非连续成分,另一个是为了使句子结构平衡,防止句子产生头重脚轻而产生了非连续成分。

  含非连续成分的英语句子的运用,有时与修辞因素有关,即运用非连续成分是为了提高英语句子的修辞表达效果。含非连续成分的英语句子主要有以下几种修辞作用。

  1、保持句子结构平稳

  由于用文字传递信息的需要,构成句子的各种成分可能会较复杂地交织在一起,这就不可避免地会导致句子结构不平衡的问题,违背句子末端加重(end weight)的原则。例如:

  News that the rebels threatened to blow up the city came.

  这个句子语法上应该是对的,但修辞效果无从谈起,句子的主语很长,谓语部分只有一个词,太短,句子头重脚轻,失去平衡。现在我们来看下列几例:

  When a subject was accused of a crime important enough to interest the king, public notice was given that on an appointed day the fate of the accused person would be decided in the king's arena.

  --F. Stockton: The Lady or the Tiger

  We watched on TV the two astronauts walking on the moon.

  I know of a place on that mountain where we can find this kind of plant.

  这几个都是含非连续成分的句子,由于非连续成分的运用,按正常语序的句子所产生的弊端随之消失。句子结构平稳自然,语义严密,修辞效果显而易见。

  2、避免句子意思混淆

  使用非连续成分有时可以避免句子意思混淆,请看下列例句:

  As I approached the stream I saw a tall man hastening toward me beyond it.

  Once married, the church considers that a couple has signed up for a lifetime contrast.

  这两个句子的意思混淆,不合逻辑,原因是beyond itonce married这两个成分在句子中的位置不当。现在我们把它们改成如下形式:

  As I approached the stream, I saw a tall man beyond it hastening toward me.

  The church considers that a couple, once married, has signed for a lifetime contrast.

  这两个都是含非连续成分的句子,第一个句子中宾语和宾语补足语被分隔,第二个句子中分句的主语和谓语被分隔,但两个句子都意思清楚,完全合乎逻辑,非连续成分在某些情况下的优点,在此也可见一斑了。

  3、使行文精炼,结构紧凑,言简意赅。

  使用非连续成分有时并非为了句子结构平稳,也不是为了避免句子意思混淆,而是为了使行文精炼,句子结构紧凑,语言表达言简意赅。这类非连续成分多数是插入型非连续成分,即插入成分把本来应该相连的两个成分分隔。例如:

  I shall propose several sorts of formulations and propose that such sub-collection structures of terms are a resource in the sensitivity to topic of the selection of place formulations.

  --E. A. Schlegloff: Notes on a Conversational Practice

  从语法上讲in the sensitivity to topic完全可以省略,但句子所含的信息量会随之减少,而这一信息在交际中却是十分必要的。运用非连续成分我们不但不觉得句子罗嗦,而且还觉得行文精确,结构紧凑,言简意赅。再如:

  With the establishment during the last century and the flourishing during the present of a modern tradition in American literature, the authority of English opinion and usage has diminished.

  --A. Baugh et al: A History of the English Language

  显然,在这个句子中,非连续成分的运用与句子结构平衡有否无关,during the last centuryduring the present的运用主要是为了增加信息量,使信息更有效地传递。它们的运用并不给人冗赘的感觉,而是行文清晰精炼,结构严谨,语义表达确切严密。

  不过,使用英语非连续成分切忌弄巧成拙,以免引起不必要的误解。例如:

  The only person beside the teacher who knew the matter was the monitor.

  在这个句子中,beside the teacher的位置会导致句子的意思产生歧义,因为who knew the matter可理解为修饰person,也可理解为修饰teacher,实际上beside the teacher是状语,应置句首:Beside the teacher the only person who knew the matter was the monitor.再如:

  Who is the man reading a newspaper next to the woman?

  该句中,next to the woman可理解为man的后置修饰语,也可理解为newspaper的后置修饰语,句子是歧义句,意思含糊不清。应该换一种含非连续成分的句子来表达:Who is the man next to the woman reading a newspaper? 这个句子没有歧义,非连续成分的运用使句子语义表达清楚,这才是非连续成分运用的目的之一。

英语作文的结尾方式示例

文章结尾的作用是概括全文内容,进一步强调或肯定文章的中心思想,使文章意义表达得更加深刻。

  文章结尾的形式也是多种多样的,常见的有以下几种:

  1、首尾呼应,画龙点睛

  在文章的结尾,把含义较深的话放在末尾,以点明主题,深化主题,起到画龙点睛的效果。如“I Cannot Forget Her” (我忘不了她)的结尾:

  After her deathI felt as if something were missing in my life. I was sad over her passing awaybut I knew she would not have had any regrets at having given her life for the benefit of the people.

  2、重复主题句

  结尾回到文章开头阐明的中心思想或主题句上,达到强调的效果。如“I Love My Home Town”(我爱家乡)的结尾:

  I love my home townand I love its people. They too have changed. They are going all out to do more for the good of our motherland.

  3、自然结尾

  随着文章的结束,文章自然而然地结尾。如“Fishing”(钓鱼)的结尾:

  I caught as many as twenty fish in two hoursbut my brother caught many more. Tired from fishingwe lay down on the river bankbathing in the sun. We returned home very late.

  4、含蓄性的结尾

  用比喻或含蓄的手法不直接点明作者的看法,而是让读者自己去领会和思考。如“A Day of Harvesting”(收割的日子)的结尾:

  Evening came before we realized it. We put down our sickles and looked at each other. Our clothes were wet with sweatbut on every face there was a smile.

  5、用反问结尾

  虽然形式是问句,但意义却是肯定的,并具有特别的强调作用,引起读者深思。如“Should We Learn to Do Housework(我们要不要学做家务?) 的结尾。

  Everyone should learn to do housework. Don’t you agreeboys and girls

  6、指明方向,激励读者

  结尾表示对将来的展望,或期待读者投入行动。如“Let’s Go in for Sports”(让我们参加体育运动)的结尾:

  As we have said abovesports can be of great value. They not only make people live happily but also help people to learn virtues and do their work better. A sound mind is in a sound body. Let’s go in for sports.

  文章的结尾没有一定的模式,可以根据表达主题的需要灵活创造。一般的习惯是,一些记叙文和描写文经常采用自然结尾的方法;但说理性和逻辑性较强的说明文和议论文则往往都有结束语,以便使文章首尾呼应,结构完整。

如何边学边写提高英语写作水平

关于写作,很多同学都问过这个问题:老师,如果我坚持用英语写日记,对提高英语写作有帮助吗?帮助是有的,不过不像一些人想象的那么大。因为如果我们每次写作都在同一语言水平写,而不注意随时的积累,提高速度就会比较缓慢。不过,还有种人走另一个极端,就是觉得自己写的不好,所以就从不动手写文章。总是自己闷着头写和总是仰着头不写,这两种方式都不可取。最好的办法就是边学边写。

  这里推荐大家采用一种行之有效的练习方法,就是模仿写作。模仿写作类似于、但不同于汉译英。模仿写作要求文章本身是原汁原味的英语文章,同时有比较地道的汉语翻译。我们在训练的时候,先不要看英语原文,而是看着翻译过来的汉语,先把它翻回英文。之后再和英语原文对照。有比较就有鉴别。通过这种比较,我们就能够感觉出,同样一个意思,人家用那个词,那样的句型表达,为什么比自己写的好。这比单纯的背诵人家写好的英语范文,或者自己埋头苦写,不去积累,效果要好很多。这个方法很简单,但对于提高写作水平非常有效。

  写作中重要的构成因素,除了语言以外,谋篇布局的逻辑其实是很重要的。也就是我们经常说的思维。如果我们按照中国人的语言和文化习惯去写,写出来的文章西方人有时候是看不明白的。虽然写作没有固定格式,以有效表意为核心要素。但不管一开始练习写作时我们的文章布局有多刻板,以后的行文有多自如,有一个原则是我们从始至终都应该把握的,就是自己说的观点,自己要提出论据来证明。我给这种原则起了个名字,叫横竖原则。是大家的观点,是证明观点的论据。论据要细节化,不要用一个观点去证明另一个观点,用一个抽象去解释另一个抽象。这里建议大家,一开始写文章,不要抓个题目过来就开始写。一开始写的题目,最好是有范文的。这样,你写完去和范文比较,主要比较逻辑关系、论证手法、论据选择。

  写作有没有必要背范文呢?你要有时间有精力背,我也不拦着你。熟读唐诗三百首,不会做诗也能吟。你要愿意多背些范文,对写作肯定有帮助。可是,如果从投入产出上比较背诵范文和模仿写作,后者帮助提高的效果应该是更快些。因为后者比前者更有针对性。你能通过写完之后的比较,更好的发现自己写作中或思维上的问题。

  写作有没有必要背模板呢?基础弱的、没法成句的是必须要记一些的,这样保证在考试紧张时,起码能完成写作任务。这里大家要知道,在大多数考试评分系统中,如果一篇文章是残篇,也就是说如果没写完,就算前面写的内容再好,文采再好,扣分也是非常重的。还有同学问我:老师,那是不是用模板写的文章,就一定得不了高分呢?也不是。我看到过不少考试中的满分作文也都是模板样式的。所以大家不用刻意的去使用或回避模板。你如果积累到一定水平之后,自然就会练就更多的谋篇布局的方式方法。

  关于练习写作的素材,如果是要参加某个考试,就可以选择相关的范文从模仿写作练起。如果是单纯为了提高写作能力,可以用新概念来练习模仿写作。不过比用范文练习,会更费时间。再次强调,一定得找外国人写的原汁原味的作文范文或英语文章练习模仿写作,把主要精力放在谋篇布局和句型结构的选择上。

  如果大家处于时间紧任务重的学习状态和考试压力下,建议大量阅读范文和模仿写作同步进行。在一篇范文中看到的好句子,争取自己在下一篇的写作中就把它用出去。
 

Strategies for Improving Sentence Clarity

Go from old to new information
Introduce your readers to the "big picture" first by giving them information they already know. Then they can link what's familiar to the new information you give them. As that new information becomes familiar, it too becomes old information that can link to newer information.

The following example sentence is clear and understandable because it uses old information to lead to new information:

Every semester after final exams are over, I'm faced with the problem of what to do with books of lecture notes (new information). They (old) might be useful some day, but they just keep piling up on my bookcase (new). Someday, it (old) will collapse under the weight of information I might never need.
Here is a sentence that is not as clear. It moves from new information to old information:

Lately, most movies I've seen have been merely second-rate entertainment, but occasionally there are some with worthwhile themes. The rapid disappearance of the Indian culture (new) is the topic of a recent movie (old) I saw.
Did you find the second sentence hard to read or understand? If so, it could be because the old information comes late in the sentence after the new information. A clearer version that moves from old information to new information might look like this:

Lately, most movies I've seen have been merely second-rate entertainment, but occasionally there are some with worthwhile themes. One recent movie (old) I saw was about the rapid disappearance of the Indian culture. (new)


Be careful about placement of subordinate clauses
Avoid interrupting the main clause with a subordinate clause if the interruption will cause confusion:

clear (subordinate clause at the end):
Industrial spying is increasing rapidly because of the growing use of computers to store and process corporate information.

clear (subordinate clause at the beginning):
Because of the growing use of computers to store and process corporate information, industrial spying is increasing rapidly.

not as clear (subordinate clause embedded in the middle):
Industrial spying, because of the growing use of computers to store and process corporate information, is increasing rapidly.

Use active voice
Sentences in active voice are usually easier to understand than those in passive voice because active-voice constructions indicate clearly the performer of the action expressed in the verb. In addition, changing from passive voice to active often results in a more concise sentence. So use active voice unless you have good reason to use the passive. For example, the passive is useful when you don't want to call attention to the doer; when the doer is obvious, unimportant, or unknown; or when passive voice is the conventional style among your readers.

For more on this topic, consult our handout on active and passive voice.

clear (active):
The committee decided to postpone the vote.

not as clear (passive):
A decision was reached to postpone the vote.

Use parallel constructions
When you have a series of words, phrases, or clauses, put them in parallel form (similar grammatical construction) so that the reader can identify the linking relationship more easily and clearly.

clear (parallel):
In Florida, where the threat of hurricanes is an annual event, we learned that it is important (1) to become aware of the warning signs, (2) to know what precautions to take, and (3) to decide when to seek shelter.

not as clear (not parallel):
In Florida, where the threat of hurricanes is an annual event, we learned that it is important (1) to become aware of the warning signs. (2) There are precautions to take, and (3) deciding when to take shelter is important.

In the second sentence, notice how the string of "things to be aware of inFlorida" does not create a parallel structure. Also, notice how much more difficult it is for a reader to follow the meaning of the second sentence compared to the first one.

Avoid noun strings
Try not to string nouns together one after the other because a series of nouns is difficult to understand. One way to revise a string of nouns is to change one noun to a verb.

unclear (string of nouns):
This report explains our investment growth stimulation projects.

clearer:
This report explains our projects to stimulate growth in investments.

Avoid overusing noun forms of verbs
Use verbs when possible rather than noun forms known as "nominalizations."

unclear (use of nominalization):
The implementation of the plan was successful.

clearer:
The plan was implemented successfully.
We implemented the plan successfully.

Avoid multiple negatives
Use affirmative forms rather than several negatives because multiple negatives are difficult to understand.

unclear (multiple negatives, passive):
Less attention is paid to commercials that lack human interest stories than to other kinds of commercials.

clearer:
People pay more attention to commercials with human interest stories than to other kinds of commercials.

Choose action verbs over forms of be
When possible, avoid using forms of be as the main verbs in your sentences and clauses. This problem tends to accompany nominalization (see above). Instead of using a “be” verb, focus on the actions you wish to express, and choose the appropriate verbs. In the following example, two ideas are expressed: 1) that there is a difference between television and newspaper news reporting, and 2) the nature of that difference. The revised version expresses these two main ideas in the two main verbs.

Unclear (overuse of be verbs):
One difference between television news reporting and the coverage provided by newspapers is the time factor between the actual happening of an event and the time it takes to be reported. The problem is that instantaneous coverage is physically impossible for newspapers.

Clearer:
Television news reporting differs from that of newspapers in that television, unlike newspapers, can provide instantaneous coverage of events as they happen.

Avoid unclear pronoun references
Be sure that the pronouns you use refer clearly to a noun in the current or previous sentence. If the pronoun refers to a noun that has been implied but not stated, you can clarify the reference by explicitly using that noun.

Unclear (unclear pronoun reference):
With the spread of globalized capitalism, American universities increasingly follow a corporate fiscal model, tightening budgets and hiring temporary contract employees as teachers. This has prompted faculty and adjunct instructors at many schools to join unions as a way of protecting job security and benefits.

Clearer:
With the spread of globalized capitalism, American universities increasingly follow a corporate fiscal model, tightening budgets and hiring temporary contract employees as teachers. This trend has prompted faculty and adjunct instructors at many schools to join unions as a way of protecting job security and benefits.

Unclear (unclear pronoun reference):
Larissa worked in a national forest last summer, which may be her career choice.

Clearer:
Larissa worked in a national forest last summer; forest management may be her career choice.
Larissa worked in a national forest last summer, and she may choose a forest management career.

怎样写好英语句子(一)

 

我们在前面曾提过学生的作文主要有以下几个方面的问题:
  第一、英语底子太薄。
  第二、词汇量太小,且对已学词汇记忆不清。
  第三、表达思想不清楚。 下面我们以考生的实际作文来进行一下分析。
  1 Some one consider that fresh water will not touch it's end.(961月,2)
  2 One man's life lack of money, he will impossible to live on. 951月,5分)
  3 As is know, that there are much fake commodities in today's society.(9712月,6)
  这里引述的例句与考生通篇作文的写作水平是一致的,其中56分的例句具有典型性,代表了近乎中等水平考生的写作水平。从这些例句中不难看出,中等水平的考生,事实上也包括中上等水平的考生,在写作上存在的主要问题是表达思想不清楚。
  表达思想不清楚的主要原因是考生作文中严重汉化的英语,即中式英语,比如: "man can live happiness" "Man is iron, and food is steel.", Women are half side sky."。此外,语言错误的普遍性和严重性十分惊人,比如,主谓不一致,名词单复数不分,动词时态语态滥用,常用词拼写错误比比皆是。这些严重地影响了思想的表达。考试实践表明,多数考生在写作上的主要欠缺不是系统的写作理论和方法,而是最基本的单句写作能力。
  文章无论长短,都是由句子组成的,句子是表达思想的最基本的单位。因此,句子是否能写得正确、达意和清楚,将直接影响整篇文章的写作质量。大学英语四、六级考试和研究生入学英语考试的实践都表明,考生写作成绩长期得不到明显提高的主要原因是欠缺写好单句的能力。
  为改变这种状况,我们将从剖析考生作文中的典型病句入手,对写作测试中的基本句子结构和写法进行评议和分析,来帮助考生进一步提高句子写作能力。
  否定结构除了在助动词、情态动词,behave后面加not之外,还有许多不含not的否定结构。若能正确使用他们,文章会显得生动活泼,增加写作的闪光点。下面我们就来看看:
1
含有否定意义的词汇和短语
  以下列举的词和词组本身就具有否定的含义,因此无需用否定词。
  介词against, beyond, but, except, without,...
  形容词和动词absent, deny, differ, different, fail, free, ignore, miss, refuse, the last, used to,
  reluctant, lack, want,...
  短语keep...from, protect...from, prevent...from, let alone, at a loss, in vain, instead of, out
  of the question, rather than, too...to, by no means, anything but,...
  我们看以下例句:
  1 Women fail to get the equal rights in some countries.
     在一些国家里妇女没有得到平等的权利。
  2 This is by no means the best way to solve the problem of energy crisis.
    这不是解决能源危机的最好的办法。
  3 We should protect trees from being destroyed.
    我们应保护树木,不让它们受破坏。
  4 In old China we could not make a nail, let alone(make) machines.
    在旧中国,我们连一个钉子都造不了,更不用说制造机器了。
2
含有半否定意义的词语
  barely, hardly, few, little, rarely, scarcely, seldom, not all, not everyone, not everything,...
  有半否定的意义。例句:
  1 We could hardly see any fresh vegetables in winter on market several years ago.
    几年前在冬天市场上很难见到新鲜蔬菜。
  2 These young people know little about how to choose good books to read.
    这些年轻人几乎不知道如何挑选优秀的书籍来读。
3
不含否定意义的否定结构
  有些词和词组形式上是否定结构,但其含义是肯定的,比如:cannot but, can't help,
  no sooner...than, not...until, in no time, none other than, nothing but,等等。例句:
  1 We can't but face the reality.
    我们只有面对现实。
  2 These old buildings will be replaced by modern apartment buildings in no time.
    这些旧建筑将很快为现代化的公寓所代替。
4
否定结构的倒装语序
  我们有时为了强调而把否定词和词组放在句首,这时句子结构应倒装。例如:
  1 On no account should we follow blindly.我们决不应当盲从。
  2 No where has the world ever seen such great enthusiasm for learning as in our
    country.没有任何其他地方有我国这样高的学习热情。
五、 含有it的结构
考生病句:
  1. As is known to all of us that science and technology play an important role in the
     development of society.
  2. It is known to us, practice makes perfect.
正确表达:
  1. It is known to all of us that science and technology play an important role in the
     development of society. (:As is known to all of us, science...)
  2. It is known to us that practice makes perfect. (:As is known to us, practice...)
评议与分析:
  例句19312月六级考试11分作文的评分样卷句子,例句2选自971月四级考试作文。很显然,两个考生混淆了itas的用法。如果用it作形式主语,后面的主语从句必须由that引起;如果用as,则后面不能用that,因为as是关系代词,代表practice makes perfect
  It 在英语中是个相当活跃的代词,在写作中我们常要使用它。以下几种用法应熟练掌握,并能灵活运用。
  1.作形式主语
  It is necessary for us to master a foreign language skillfully. It makes difference whether
   we could purify the air or not.
  2.作形式宾语
  We find it rather difficult to prevent people from doing that. Modern science has made it
   possible for babies to grow healthily and for people to live longer.
  3.引导强调句
  It is only by this way that we can achieve success. It was then that people began to realize
   the importance of controlling population.
  从语法结构来看,上述的句子都不难,或者可以说是考生相当熟悉的。然而在写作考试中,多数考生缺乏运用自己已掌握的句式的意识,而以自己头脑中拼凑的中式英语取而代之。其实,只要能恰当地运用上述的任何一个句式,考生的作文就会出现闪光点,就会取得比较好的成绩。  

怎样写好英语句子(二)

一、 There be"结构
  考生病句:
  1. There are many people like to go to the movies.
  2. There are different kinds of vegetables can be bought on the market by people.
  正确表达:
  1. There are many people who like to go to the movies.
  2. There are different kinds of vegetables that people can buy on the market.
  这两个例句的错误比较有普遍性,因为在历次考试中有不少考生不能正确运用there be这一最常用的句式。在这种结构中,there是引导词,没有实际意义。be在句中作谓语,有时态和数的变化。
例如:
  1. There was no school in the village at that time. (=there was not a school...)
  注意:在否定句中,否定词用no,也可用not anot anynot a后接单数名词,not a 后接复数名词,no后面的名词单复数都可以。
  2. There is not a moment to be lost.
  3. There are many people rushing into the cities every year.
  4. There are many things we can do to prevent traffic accidents.
  5. There is no use holding back the wheel of history.
  从以上例句还可看出,句中的主语后面可接多种修饰语,如介词短语、不定式短语、定语从句、分词短语等等。这无疑使该结构增加了表现力,使句子表达内容更加丰富。 在运用这一结构时,考生最容易犯的错误是在there be之后又用了一个动词作谓语,使句子结构出现严重错误。这里列举的考生的典型错误均属这种情况,对此我们在写作中要格外注意。

  二、 比较结构
  考生病句:
  1. Comparing with the bike, the car runs much faster.
  2. The climate in Walton is colder than other cities.
  正确表达:
  1. Compared with the bike, the car runs much faster.
  2. The climate in Walton is colder than that of other cities.
  评议与分析:许多考生在作文中用comparethan表示比较,但相当多的表达有误。
  在例1中,对两个事物进行比较的句式为Compared with A, B...,只能用compare的过去分词,不能用现在分词,因为B是分词的逻辑主语,只能被比较。在例2中,考生误将"天气""城市"进行比较,而二者没有可比性,只有将后者改为"其他城市的天气"才符合逻辑,很显然,考生的错误是受了汉语表达习惯的影响。
  比较结构是常用结构,正确地使用这一结构可以使文章的句式增加变化,有利于提高写作成绩。一般说来,考生若能恰当、正确地运用这一结构,其写作成绩应在5分以上。
下面是比较结构的一些常用的表达方法。
  1 同级比较
  1 In 1998 we produced as many cars as we did in the previous five years.
  2 We have accomplished as much in the past three years as would have taken ten years
     in the past.
  2 比较级
  1 Children now enjoy better medical treatment than before.
  2 We can live longer without food than we can (live ) without water.

  3 最高级
  1 This is the most interesting book I've ever read.
  2 Of all his novels I like this one best.
  4 the more…the more…结构
  1) The harder you work, the greater progress you will make.
  2) The more a man knows, the more he discovers his ignorance.
  5 选择比较
  1) I prefer staying at home to going out.
  2) They prefer to work rather than (to) sit idly.
  3) He prefers to work alone.
  注意:这里的1)句用的是Prefer A to B结构,to为介词,后接名词或动名词;2)句是以不定式作   prefer的宾语;3)句用法同2),只是不把rather than部分表达出来。
  6 对比
  1) Motion is absolute while stagnation is relative.
  2) He is tired out, whereas she is full of vigour.
  注意:while whereas均可用于连接两个意义对立的分句,相当于汉语的""字。许多考生能较好地运用这一句式,尤其在图表作文中。
  三、 表达原因的结构
考生病句:
  1. The real reason to our failure is not far to seek.
  2. The reason for this is because some people want to earn plenty of money without
     working hard.
正确表达:
  1. The real reason for our failure is not far to seek.
  2. The reason for this is that some people want to earn plenty of money without working
    hard.
评议与分析:
  以上两个病句分别引自921月和9712月四级考试的考生作文。从遣词造句上看,这两位考生具有一定的写作能力,not far to seek, plenty of money以及without working hard等均运用正确、恰当。但令人遗憾的是,第一位考生不知道reason不与to搭配而应接介词for,第二位考生犯了一个中国学生常犯的错误,就是用because引起表语从句,because这个词不能引起表语从句,在本句中只能改用that才正确。
  掌握好表达原因的结构是十分重要的,几乎所有的写作试题都要求写原因或可以写原因。在大学英语四、六级考试、研究生入学英语考试以及TOEFL考试中,写作的文体基本上是议论文,而议论文的基本模式是摆事实、讲道理,讲道理就是说明原因。写作测试的文体决定了表达原因结构的重要性。
  英语中用来表达原因这一概念的结构有多种。我们可用as , because, since, seeing that, considering that, now that, not that...等词组引出表示原因的从句。例如:
  1. Now that we have seen these great achievements with our own eyes, we feel more
    proud than ever of our country.
  2. Professor Liu is strict with us because he wants us to make rapid progress.
  3. Since we live near the sea, we enjoy a healthy climate.
  4. Pollution is still a serious problem, not that we don't have the ability to solve it, but that
    some people have not realized the consequences of the problem.
  我们还可以借助某些词语用简单句表达原因结构。例如:
  1. The reason for this change is quite obvious.
  2. Diligence is the key factor of success.
  3. Idleness is the root of all evils.
  4. He was ashamed to have made the mistake.(=He was ashamed that he had made the
    mistake. =He was ashamed because he had made the mistake.)
  除了上述的例句外,英语中还有很多或易或难的表达原因的结构。我们在进行写作训练的时候,不能满足于一知半解,要讲究书面语言的正确性和准确性。比如,because是最常用的引导原因从句的连词,语气最强,表示直接的原因,若because置于句首,后面的主句不能再用so。用as引导的原因从句语气较弱,所说明的原因是附带的,而since表示的原因暗示着是稍加分析之后才能推断出来的原因。
  四、 否定结构
  考生病句
  1. Some people think we needn't to worry about fresh water.
  2. Nowadays many people don't like to go to the movies, too.
  正确表达:
  1. Some people think we needn't worry (don't need to worry) about fresh water.
  2. Nowadays many people don't like to go to the movies, either.
评议与分析:
  例句1选自961月四级考生作文,例句2选自921月六级考生作文。例句1 的错误在于该考生混淆了need作为情态动词和作为普通动词的用法。need作为情态动词时,主要用于否定句,后面的动词不带to, needn't worry,作we的谓语。need作为实意动词时,可用于肯定句、否定句和疑问句,don't need to worry 中的to worrydon't need的宾语。例句2的错误在于该考生混淆了tooeither的区别,这两个词都表示""的意思,但是在英语中too, also只能用于肯定句,而either只能用于否定句。

怎样使句子多样化?

一篇好文章的条件很多。除了内容丰富和组织紧密之外,词汇的运用和句子的处理,也起着决定性作用。

  句子可长可短,同一件事,可以用不同的句式表达。如果句子清一色是简单句,文章必定很单调乏味。如果全篇充满了冗长的复杂句,读起来也很费力。最好的方法是以简单句为基础,配合适当的并列句和复杂句。简单句可长可短,通常要加些附属成分,如分词短语、介词短语、副词短语、不定式动词短语,以及节缩成分。

  总之,作者可根据情况,使句子多样化,使文章灵活多姿。例如下列五个句子的基本概念一样,但是句式不同,内容重点也有些差别:

  (1) The goats grazed peacefully in the farm and were unaware of the approaching hunter. (并列分句(1)+2)

  (2) Grazing peacefully, the goats in the farm were unaware of the approaching hunter. (现在分语短语+简单句)

  (3) In the farm, the goats grazed peacefully and were unaware of the approaching hunter. (副词短语+并列分句(1)-(2) )

  (4) There were goats grazing peacefully in the farm, unaware of the approaching hunter. (简单句+形容语短语)

  (5) As the goats grazed peacefully in the farm, they were unaware of the approaching hunter. (原因副词从句+主句)

  (1)(5)的句式最常见;如果加上其他三种互相交替,句子不是更多样化吗?

  最后,看看这两个句子要如何多样化呢?

  (6) The young pilot was on his first overseas training.

  (7) He felt very uneasy.



  (a) The young pilot on his first overseas training felt very uneasy.

  (b) The young pilot felt very uneasy during his first overseas training.

  (c) The young pilot's first overseas training made him feel very uneasy.

  (d) Extreme uneasiness seized the young pilot on his first overseas training.

  (e) The young pilot was on his first overseas training, feeling very uneasy.

  (f) It being his first overseas training, the young pilot felt very uneasy.

  (g) Being on his first overseas training, the young pilot felt very uneasy.

  (h) The young pilot was on his first overseas training and felt very uneasy.

  (i) The young pilot, who was on his first overseas training, felt very uneasy.

  (j) When the young pilot was on his/first overseas training, he felt very uneasy.

  (k) As the young pilot was on his first overseas training, he felt very uneasy.

  (l) The young pilot was on his first overseas training, so that he felt very uneasy.

  在上述12个句子中,(a)-(g)是简单句;(h)是并列句;(i)-(l)是复杂句。简单句除(b)(g)之外,其他五样,用的人并不多。人们最喜欢采用复杂句,尤其是(j)(k)这两款;接着便是并列句(h)。如果大多数人的句子只限于(b),(g), (h), (j)(k)这五种,而其他的则弃如敝屣,不是很可惜吗?

怎样突出句子中的重点?

有效的句子要有重点,并且要突出重点。

  句子的重点可以通过下列方法,加以突出:

  1. 把重点摆在句首或句尾。

  一般而论,最显眼的位置是在句尾,其次是在句首,中间的位置最平淡,乏善可陈。例如:

  (1) Incorrect grammar and improper construction invariably distract readers' attention.

  (2) The history of vocabulary is, in many ways, the record of civilization.

  把重点放在句尾是种吊胃口的方法,读者或听者非得读完或听完整句不可。

  2. 在复杂句里,把主句放在从句之后。

  除了名词从句和形容词从句之外,因为它们位置较固定,副词从句中有几种的位置灵活,可以在主句之前出现,也可以跟在主句之后。通常我们就把这样的副词从句提前,重点则放在后头的主句,如(3b)

  (3a) I came upon an old classmate when I went to town yesterday.

  (3b) When I went to town yesterday, I came upon an old classmate.

  副词短语更是如此,如 (4b):

  (4a) Steel is commonly used to make knives, razors and other useful tools because of its durability.

  (4b) Because of its durability, steel is commonly used to make knives, razors and other useful tools.

  3. 把较重要或有分量的词语放在后头,如(5b)(6b)

  (5a) I was delighted and amused by the classical opera

  (5b) I was amused and delighted by the classical opera.

  (6a) That singer's life was tragic and brief.

  (6b) That singer's life was brief and tragic.

  4. 把句子中一系列的项目作逻辑性的排列。例如:

  (7) Tony ate his dinner, watched TV, and then went to bed.

  (8) Were you bored with years of study in elementary school, high school and institute of higher education?

  5. 必要时,重复重要的语词或概念。

例如:

  (9) Jackie enjoys the company of ladies. He likes their beauty, he likes their delicacy, he likes their vivacity, and he likes their silence.

  (10) ...the land stretched out without names. Nameless headlands split the surf; nameless lakes reflected the nameless mountains and nameless rivers flowed through nameless valleys and nameless bays.

  6. 尽量用主动说态,因此(11b)(11a)好:

  (11a) A pedestrian was struck on the head by a flying stone.

  (11b) A flying stone struck a pedestrian on the head.

  7. 适当时候,可用倒装句和平行句,如:

  (12) Seven dwarfs lived here in the centre of the dark forest. → Here, in the centre of the dark forest lived seven dwarfs.

  (13) Severity breeds fear; roughness breeds hatred.

  (14) Honesty recommends that I speak; self-interest demands that I remain silent.
 

怎样写好英语段落(一)

段落是文章的缩影。写好了段落,就能比较成功地写出较好的文章。经过中学英语基础阶段的学习之后,大学英语的写作重点就从选词造句转移到了联句成段和联段成篇上。进行段落层次上的写作训练,是写好英语文章的关键一环。下面介绍的是段落结构。
  段落( paragraph )是由表达单一中心思想(controlling idea or central idea )的一组句子(包括主题句 topic sentence,推展句supporting sentences及结论句concluding sentence)构成,是文章结构的基本独立单位。本讲我们将就主题句和中心思想这两个方面展开讨论。
                   主题句与推展句

1 主题句
  主题句(topic sentence)是表达段落主题的句子。它用以概括段落大意,要求全段其他文字都围绕它展开。请看下例:
  My mother has passed along to me certain rules for getting along with others. Don't argue with parents; they will think you don't love them. Don't argue with children; they will think themselves victimized. Don't argue with spouses; they will think you are a tiresome mate. Don't argue with strangers; they will think you are not friendly. My mother's rules, in fact, can be summed up in two words: Don't argue.
  主题句中提出的 "certain rules" 指的是什么?展开句中通过四个 "Don't argue --" 逐一加以交代。从结构来看,这是一个比较典型的段落,它包括了主题句,推展句和结论句(即本段中的末句)。  
1
1 主题句的位置
  主题句通常放在段落的开端,其特点是开门见山地摆出问题,然后加以详细说明。其作用是使文章的结构更清晰,更具说服力,便于读者迅速地把握主题和想象全段的内容。主题句可以放在段中起到承上启下的作用,或放在段尾起概括全段的作用。但初学者比较难于掌握,因而在四级考试中,考生应尽量采用将主题句放在段落开头的写作手法。

  例1: Our life today depends very much on energy. In towns and in villages, on farms and in factories, machines have made life easier than it used to be. The machines use energy, and energy is needed for heating, lighting, communications, carrying goods -- everything. Factories and industrial plants use a great deal of energy to make the things that we use and buy and sell.

  这段文字所讲的主要是能源问题。第一句就概括性地提出我们目前的生活很大程度上依赖于能源。而随后出现的三句都是具体事例,对第一句进行说明和论述。我们可以断定第一句为该段的主题句(斜体部分)。

  例2: (主题句)No one can avoid being influenced by advertisements. (推展句1Much as we may pride ourselves on our good taste, we are no longer free to choose the things we want, for advertising exerts a subtle influence on us. (推展句2In their efforts to persuade us to buy this or that product, advertisers have made a close study of human nature and have classified all our little weakness.
  以上这段由三句话组成。第一句是主题句,直截了当指出无人不受广告影响这个主题,接着列举两个推展句对其补充和支持,指出我们已无法自由选择所需的商品,理由是广告商已仔细研究了我们的心理,并完全掌握了我们的弱点。句子衔接自然,步步紧扣主题。
1
2 如何写好主题句中的关键词
  段落的主题句对主题的限定主要是通过句中的关键词来表现的。关键词要尽量写得具体些。对具体的要求包括两个方面:一是要具体到能控制和限制段落的发展;二是要具体到能说明段落发展的方法。准确地把握关键词是清楚地表达段落主题、写好段落主题句的重要前提之一。在上面的例1,例2中,主题句的关键词分别为:depends very much on energy; no one can avoid being influenced. 我们再看下列例句:
  原句1: He can fix a bicycle himself.
  斜体部分应为主题句中的关键词。但它只是限制了段落发展的部分内容,并没有告诉读者该用哪种方法展开,是用因果关系法还是用分类法?
  修正:He can fix a bicycle himself in several simple steps.
  修正:There are several reasons why he can fix a bicycle himself.
  原句2: She tries to improve her looks.
  斜体部分应为主题句中的关键词。她试着改变她面容的理由是什么?或者她采取什么方法来改善呢?我们无法从关键词中清楚得知。
  修正:She tries many ways to improve her looks.
  修正:There are some reasons why she tries to improve her looks
1.3
如何写好主题句的中心思想
  主题句由两部分组成,即主题(topic)和中心思想(controlling idea)。中心思想的作用是导向(control)和制约(limit)。我们前面谈到的关键词就反映了中心思想。所谓导向就是规定段落的发展脉络,所谓制约就是限制主题的覆盖范围,两者不可分割。没有导向,内容就会离题或偏题;没有制约,内容就可能超出一个段落所能容纳的范围。
  对于初学写作的人来说,导向的重要性容易理解,但如果由他们自己来构思一个主题句,就可能忽视制约这一面。例如:
  There are two ways in which one can own a book. The first is the property right you establish by paying for it, just as you have made it a part of yourself and the best way to make yourself a part of it is by writing in it.
  本段的主题句如果没有in which 引出的定语从句,那么two ways 不仅不能起制约作用,而且也不能起导向作用,句子本身读起来也就使人觉得欠缺点什么。
  Exercise is beneficial to your heart. A 22-year study was conducted by doctors inCalifornia. They found that people who work at physical jobs experience fewer heart attacks than other people. These active people work all the time at moderate speeds, their daily routine gives them an adequate amount of exercise and helps them stay in shape.
  "Exercise is beneficial"这是毫无疑义的。但主题句中如不加上"to your heart"来加以 control limit,那就流于空泛。
  因此,紧紧把握主题句中controlling idea的导向和制约作用,是短文写作成功关键之一。
2
.推展句
2.1
主要推展句
  主要推展句(major supporting statement)的主要特点是:围绕段落主题句展开的每一个推展句本身都不要求作进一步的说明或证明,句与句之间的关系是相互独立又是互相连接的。
  例1(主题句) There are several factors affecting climate. (推展句1)One factor is the mount of sunlight received. (推展句2)Altitude, or the height above sea level, also determines climate. (推展句3)The oceans have an effect on the climate of adjacent land. (推展句4)In addition, climate is influenced by the general circulation of the atmosphere.
  主题句指出影响气候的几个因素。然后用四个扩展句说明四种因素。第一种是太阳光的接收量,第二种是海拔高度,第三句和第四句分别是海洋和大气环流因素。
2.2
次要推展句
  次要推展句(minor supporting statement)是指对主要推展句作进一步的事实分析和举例说明。它从属于某一个或某几个推展句。
  例2(主题句)I don't teach because teaching is easy for me. (主要推展句1)Teaching is the most difficult of the various ways I have attempted to earn my living: mechanic, carpenter, writer. (主要推展句2)For me, teaching is a red-eye, sweaty-palm, sinking-stomach profession. (次要推展句1)Red-eye, because I never feel ready to teach no matter how late I stay up preparing. (次要推展句2)Sweaty-palm, because I'm always nervous before I enter the classroom, sure that I will be found out for the fool that I am. (次要推展句3)Sinking-stomach, because I leave the classroom an hour later convinced that I was even more boring than usual.
  从属于主要推展句2的三个次要推展句起着解释说明作用,分别解释red-eye, sweaty-palm, sinking-stomach的含义,这就更加形象生动地证明了 "teaching is not easy" 这个主题。
2
3 主要推展句与次要推展句的关系
  主要推展句与次要推展句的关系(relation)基本可以遵循下面的三部分”(three-part)规则。
  1〕每个主要推展句都应该是对主题句中表示主要思想的关键词的直接、明确的说明。
  2〕每个次要推展句都应该说明它的主要推展句。
  3〕含有讨论说明或分析的问题通常既要有主要推展素材,又要有次要推展素材。
2
4 写好推展句的方法
  主题句及关键词确定后,开始选择和主题有关的信息和素材。实质上,针对关键词测试每一个所选择的素材就是一个分类的过程。有一种常用的方法就是句子展开前加以设问,然后解答,即设问-解答(why-because)的方法。下面我们通过举例来看一看这种分类过程是如何完成的。例3
  假设 (suppose) Topic sentence: English is an international language?
  设问(why) Why can we say English is an international language?
  解答(because)
  Because: English is spoken by pilots and airport control operators on all the airways of the world.
  Because: Over 70 percent of the world's mail is written in English.
  Because: More than 60 percent of the world's radio programs are in English.
  Because: Pakistan was once one of the British colonies.
  Because: Many members of the International Language Society are selected from English-spoken countries.
  从上面可以看出,最初的三个推展句是和关键词an international language一致的。第四句和主题句不统一,尽管第四句会成为另一主题句(Many Pakistanis speak English)很好的推展句。第五句说服力不强。
  当然,在写成段落时,没有必要在每个句子开头写上 "because",但是,在动笔展开句子时,头脑里要想着这个词,这种检验方法能帮助你把注意力集中在某个重心,围绕主题思想层层展开。
  上面我们讨论了主要推展句的一种展开方法。而展开次要推展句的方法与主要推展句类似,这里我们就不再复述了。  

怎样写好英语段落(二)

段落发展的手段及结尾段的写法
  在上一讲我们讲了主题句,推展句的写法;这一讲我们要进一步来谈一谈段落发展的几种手段以及结尾段的写法。
  段落发展的几种手段

1 列举法(details)
  作者运用列举法,是通过列举一系列的论据对topic sentence中摆出的论点进行广泛、全面地陈述或解释,列举的顺序可以按照所列各点内容的相对重要性、时间、空间等进行。

  Yesterday was one of those awful days for me when everything I did went wrong. First, I didn't hear my alarm clock and arrived late for work. Then, I didn't read my diary properly and forgot to get to an important meeting with my boss. During the coffee break, I dropped my coffee cup and spoilt my new skirt. At lunch time, I left my purse on a bus and lost all the money that was in it. After lunch, my boss was angry because I hadn't gone to the meeting. Then I didn't notice a sign on a door that said "Wet Paint" and so I spoilt my jacket too. When I got home I couldn't get into my flat because I had left my key in my office. So I broke a window to get in and cut my hand.
  根据本段主题句中的关键词组everything I did went wrong,作者列举了8点内容,分别由first, then, during the coffee break, after lunch time等连接词语引出,使得该文条理清楚、脉络分明、内容连贯。
  常用于列举法的过渡连接词有:for one thing , for another, finally, besides, moreover, one another , still another, first, second, also等。

2. 举例法(example)
  作者通过举出具体事例来阐述、说明主题句的内容,严格地讲,举例法也是列举法的一种,它们的区别在于:列举法侧重罗列事实,所列事实力求全面;而举例法侧重通过举出典型事例来解释作者观点,且事例可多可少。
  我们来看下面这个用举例法展开的段落。

  There are many different forms of exercises to suit different tastes. For example, those who enjoy competitive sports may take up ball games. For another example, if they prefer to exercise alone, they can have a run or take a walk in the morning or in the evening. Besides, people can go swimming in the summer and go skating in the winter. In short, no matter what their interests are, people can always find more than one sports that are suitable to them.

  本段采用了三个事例来说明主题句中的关键词组different forms of exercises,这三个例子分别由连接词for example, for another example besides引出,最后由引导的结尾句总结全段内容。
  举例法中常用的连接词有:for example (instance), one example is, besides, furthermore, moreover, in addition等。

3. 叙述法(narration)
  叙述法发展段落主要是按照事物本身的时间或空间的排列顺序,通过对一些特有过渡连接词的使用,有层次分步骤地表达主题句的一种写作手段。用这种方法展开段落,作者能够清楚连贯地交待事物的本末,从而可以使读者可以清晰、完整地理解文章的含义,例如:

  In the flat opposite, a woman heard the noise outside. When she looked out through the window, she discovered that her neighbor was threatened by someone. She immediately called the police station. In answer to the call, a patrol police car arrived at the scene of the crime quickly. Three policemen went inside the flat at once, and others guarded outside the building to prevent anyone from escaping.

  这段是按照事物发展的先后顺序,叙述从发现案情、报警、到警察赶到、包围现场的过程。全文脉络清晰,叙述的层次感强,结构紧凑。
  常用于叙述法中的过渡连接词有:first, an the beginning, to start with, after that, later, then, afterwards, in the end, finally等。

4 对比法或比较法(comparison & contrast)
  将同类的事物按照某种特定的规则进行比较分析是一种常用的思维方法。通过对比,更容易阐述所述对象之间的异同和优缺点,例如:
  The heart of an electronic computer lies in its vacuum tubes, or transistors. Its electronic circuits work a thousand times faster than the nicer cells in the human brain. A problem that might take a human being a long time to solve can be solved by a computer in one minute.
  在这段文字上, 作者为了突出电子计算机运行速度之快,首先将它与人脑进行了比较, "-- a thousand times faster than --" ;而后,又将这一概念具体到了 "a problem"上,通过对比使读者从 "-- a long time -- in one minute"上有更加直观的认识。
  常用于对本法或比较法上的过渡连接词有:than, compared with等。

5 分类法(classification)
  在阐述某一概念的段落中,常用分类法。通过对概念中所包括的事物进行分门别类,分别加以叙述,使读者有更为清晰的认识,如:
  Ever since humans have lived on the earth, they have made use of various forms of communication. Generally, this expression of thoughts and feelings has been in the form of oral speech. When there is a language barrier, communication is accomplished through sign language in which motions stand for letters, words and ideas. Tourists and the people unable to hear or speak have had to resort to this form of expression. Many of these symbols of whole words are very vivid and exact and can be used internationally; spelling, however, cannot. Body language transmits ideas or thoughts by certain actions, either intentionally or unintentionally. A nod signifies approval, while shaking the head indicates a negative reaction. Other forms of nonlinguistic language can be found in signal flags, Morse code, and picture signs.
  在该段中为了说明topic sentence中的 "various forms of communication",作者将其分为oral speech, sign language, body languageother forms of nonlinguistic language,并逐加阐述。
  采用这种方法的段落并没有标志突出的连接词,所述各项均为平行并列关系,所以没有明显的主次之分。

6. 因果分析法(cause and effect)
  在阐述某一现象的段落中,常采用因果分析法。例如:
  The role of women in today's society is changing. One reason is that women have begun to assert themselves as independent people through the women's movement. Also, women are aware of the alternatives to staying at home. Another reason is that increasing numbers of women who enter new fields and interests serve as role models for other women. Moreover, men are becoming more conscious of the abilities of women and have begun to view their independence positively.
  本段中,主题句提出了一种社会现象,推展句则对产生这种现象的原因作出各种解释。 常用于因果分析法的连接词有:because, so, as a result等。

7 定义法(definition)
  在科普文章的写作中,定义法是必不可少的。通过下定义,可以使读者对该事物有一个更直接的认识。
  Automation refers to the introduction of electronic control and automation operation of productive machinery. It reduces the human factors, mental and physical, in production, and is designed to make possible the manufacture of more goods with fewer workers. The development of automation in American industry has been called the "Second Industrial Revolution".
  这一段文字使我们了解了 "automation" "Second Industrial Revolution" 两个概念,分别由 "refers to" "been called" 引出。
  常出现在定义法中的词语有:refer to, mean, call等。

8. 重复法(repetition)
  句子的一部分反复出现在段落中,这就是重复法。它往往造成一种步步紧逼的气氛,使文章结构紧凑,有感染力。比如:
  Since that time, which is far enough away from now, I have often thought that few people know what secrecy there is in the young, under terror. I was in mortal terror of the young man who wanted my heart and liver; I was in mortal terror of my interlocutor with the iron leg; I was in mortal terror of myself, from whom an awful promise had been extracted; --
  该段中反复应用了I was in mortal terror of …我经常处于恐怖之中。
  以上, 我们结合具体文章讨论了展开段落的几种方法。在实际写作中,我们往往不必拘泥于一种写作方法,而是将若干方法穿插在一起,使文章有声有色。

结尾段
  我们知道文章的开头很重要,因为好的开头可以吸引读者、抓住读者的注意力。同样,文章的结尾也很重要,好的结尾会使读者对全文的中心思想留下深刻的印象,可以增添文章的效果和说服力,让人深思,回味无穷。确切地说,结尾的作用就是概括全文内容,进一步强调或肯定文章的中心思想,使读者加深印象;有时也用于展望未来,提出今后方向或令人深思的问题给读者留下回味和思考的余地。
  但是,如何才能写好英文短文的结尾呢? 下面就介绍几种写结尾段最常用的方法:

  1.重复中心思想: 回到文章开头阐明的中心思想或主题句上,达到再次肯定和强调的效果。
  (1)A sense of humor is really one of the keys to happiness. It gives zest to life to make it worth living.
  (2)With all these benefits, it is no wonder that sports and games have now become more popular with people than ever.

  2.作出结论: 文章最后用几句话概括全文内容,并进一步肯定文章的中心思想或作者的观点。
  (1)In conclusion, a good teacher-student relationship can be mutual beneficial. The students gain knowledge eagerly and enjoyably, and the teacher gains satisfaction from his job.
  (2)On the whole there are more advantages than disadvantages in the use of TV. Yet different people may have different attitude toward TV. But we must realize that television in itself is neither good nor bad. Its value to people and society depends on how we look at it.

  3.应用引语: 用格言、谚语或习语总结全文,既言简意赅又有更强的说服力。
  (1)If you have anything to do, try to do it yourself, for that is the safest way to
permanent success. Remember the famous saying. "God helps those who help themselves."
  (2)If we stick to studies day after day, there is nothing that can't be achieved. As an old saying goes: "Constant dropping of water wears away a stone."

  4.用反问结尾: 虽然形式是问句,但意义却是肯定的,具有明显的强调作用,引起读者思考。
  (1)Therefore, listening skills must be consciously improved. Since it is such an important means of learning and communication, why should we not develop this ability as far as possible?
  (2)Sowhat can we benefit from wealth if we do not have health?

  5.提出展望或期望: 表示对将来的展望或期待读者投入行动。
  (1)I am sure that Chinese will become one of the most important languages in the world in the next century. As China will open further to the outside world the language is sure to be spread world widely.
  (2) If everyone has developed good manners, people will form a more harmonious relation. If everyone behaves considerately towards others and social ethics people will live in a better world. With the general mood of society improved, there will be a progress of civilization.
  以上介绍了几种写结尾段最常用的方法,但到底选择何种方法结尾还得根据文体来决定。平铺直叙的记叙文,往往在故事或事实情节讲完时文章也就自然结束了,而说理性和逻辑性较强的说明文和议论文都应有一个正式的结尾。希望以上介绍的几种方法能对大家写好结尾有所帮助。

  首先,一个段落必须有一个中心即主题思想,该中心由主题句特别是其中的题旨来表达。整个段落必须紧扣这个主题(stick or hold to the topic),这就是段落的统一性(unity)。其次,一个段落必须有若干推展句,使主题思想得到充分展开,从而给读者一个完整的感觉,这就是完整性(completeness or adequateness)。再者,一个段落不是杂乱无章的,而是有机的组合,句子的排列顺序必须合乎逻辑,从一个句子到另一个句子的过渡必须流畅(smooth),这就是连贯性(coherence)。下面我们就对这三个标准分别加以说明。

1. 统一性
  一个段落内的各个句子必须从属于一个中心,任何游离于中心思想之外的句子都是不可取的。请看下例:
  Joe and I decided to take the long trip we'd always wanted across the country. We were like young kids buying our camper and stocking it with all the necessities of life. Bella bakes the best rhubarb pie. We started out in early spring fromMinneapolisand headed west across the northern part of the country. We both enjoyed those people we met at the trailer park. Joe received a watch at his retirement dinner. To our surprise, we found that we liked the warm southern regions very much, and so we decided to stay here in New Mexico.
  本段的主题句是段首句,controlling idea(中心思想)是take the long trip across the country。文中出现两个irrelevant sentences,一个是Bella bakes the best rhubarb pie,这一段是讲的是Joe and I,中间出现一个Bella是不合适的。还有,Joe received a watch at his retirement dinner这一句更是与主题句不相关。考生在四级统考的作文卷上常常因为造出irrelevant sentences(不相关语句)而丢分,值得引起注意。再看一个例子:
  My name is Roseanna, and I like to keep physically fit. I used to weigh two hundred pounds, but I joined the YMCA for an exercise class and diet program. In one year I lost eighty pounds. I feel much better and never want to have that much weight on my five-feet frame again. I bought two new suitcases last week. Every day I practice jogging three miles, swimming fifteen laps, lifting twenty-pound weights and playing tennis for one hour. My mother was a premature baby.
  本段的controlling idea like to deep physically fit,但段中有两个irrelevant sentences,一个是I bought two new suitcases last week,另一个是My mother was a premature baby
  从上面两个例子可以看出,native speakers同样会造出来irrelevant sentences。卷面上如果这种句子多了,造成偏题或离题,那问题就更严重了。
 

Narrowing Your Essay Topic

The first step in writing an essay is finding something to write about. Whether you are working from a list of assigned topics or selecting your own, try to find something which sparks your interest: not only will working on the assignment be more stimulating, but your commitment will also help you write a more convincing essay. Some preliminary reading may help determine how deep your interest goes, as well as letting you know what kind of material will be available as you write your essay.

A common problem of beginning writers is wallowing around in a topic too wide for their purposes. General words such as "media," "war," "life," or "nature" are often incorrectly used as if they were topics (even "dragons" is too broad). However, students often begin to write essays with nothing more in mind than a general concept, and the result is a vague and generalized essay, of little interest to the student and less to the instructor. If you start with a broad area, concentrate on narrowing your subject„it will also help you deal with your topic within the length of the paper assigned and the time you have been given to complete it.

You can narrow your topic by considering a particular approach to the subject, or a sub-topic within it. You might ask yourself key questions, such as the following:


Dragons

Am I writing of one specific species of dragon, or of dragons in general?
What kind of dragon do I wish to write about? Chinese? Fire-breathers? Kites?
What activities, qualities, or myths of that particular dragon do I wish to explore?
War

Am I writing of one war or of war in general?
Which war do I wish to write about? WWI? WWII? The Gulf War? "War" taken more metaphorically„between the sexes, siblings, or members of different races?
Am I concentrating on the history of the war itself, or its causes or outcome?
What specific events or examples will illustrate my points?
In deriving a workable topic from your subject, be careful not to narrow it too far; your topic must provide scope to develop a sustained presentation and argument.

General subject: Media

Narrowed topic: Commercials

Specific topic: How commercials manipulate their audience

General subject: Dragons

Narrowed topic: Fire-breathing dragons

Specific topic: Problems in fighting the medieval fire-breathing dragon.

Descriptive Essays

Descriptive writing portrays people, places, things, moments and theories with enough vivid detail to help the reader create a mental picture of what is being written about.


Things to Consider as You Write Your Descriptive Essay
Think of an instance that you want to describe.

Why is this particular instance important?

What were you doing?

What other things were happening around you? Is there anything specific that stands out in your mind?

Where were objects located in relation to where you were?

How did the surroundings remind you of other places you have been?

What sights, smells, sounds, and tastes were in the air?

Did the sights, smells, sounds, and tastes remind you of anything?

What were you feeling at that time?

Has there been an instance in which you have felt this way before?

What do you want the reader to feel after reading the paper?

What types of words and images can convey this feeling?

Can you think of another situation that was similar to the one you are writing about? How can it help explain what you are writing about?

Is there enough detail in your essay to create a mental image for the reader?

Conventions of Descriptive Essays Illustrated by Sample Paragraphs
Appealing-to-the-Senses Description: Let the reader see, smell, hear, taste, and feel what you write in your essay.

The thick, burnt scent of roasted coffee tickled the tip of my nose just seconds before the old, faithful alarm blared a distorted top-forty through its tiny top speaker. Wiping away the grit of last night's sleep, the starch white sunlight blinded me momentarily as I slung my arm like an elephant trunk along the top of the alarm, searching for the snooze button. While stretching hands and feet to the four posts of my bed, my eyes opened after several watery blinks. I crawled out of the comforter, edging awkwardly like a butterfly from a cocoon, swinging my legs over the side of the bed. The dusty pebbles on the chilled, wood floor sent ripples spiraling from my ankles to the nape of my neck when my feet hit the floor. Grabbing the apricot, terri-cloth robe, recently bathed in fabric softener and October wind, I knotted it tightly at my waist like a prestigious coat of armor and headed downstairs to battle the morning.

Spatial-Order Description: Show the reader where things are located from your perspective.

Billy Ray's Pawn Shop and Lawn Mower Repair looked like a burial ground for country auction rejects. The blazing, red, diesel fuel tanks beamed in front of the station, looking like cheap lipstick against the pallid, wrinkled texture of the parking lot sand. The yard, not much larger than the end zone atGeneralG.PattonHigh Schoolon the north end of town, was framed with a rusted metallic hedge of lawn mowers, banana seat bicycles, and corroded oil drums. It wasn't a calico frame of rusted parts, but rather an orchestra of unwanted machinery that Billy Ray had arranged into sections. The yellow-tanked mowers rested silently at the right of the diesel fuel. Once red, now faded orange, mowers stood at attention to the left. The oil barrels, jaded and pierced with holes, bellared like chimes when the wind was right. The bikes rested sporadically throughout the lot. In the middle of it all was the office, a faded, steel roof supported by cheap two-by-fours and zebra paneling. Billy Ray was at home, usually, five blocks east of town onKennel Road.  

Narrative Essays

As a mode of expository writing, the narrative approach, more than any other, offers writers a chance to think and write about themselves. We all have experiences lodged in our memories which are worthy of sharing with readers. Yet sometimes they are so fused with other memories that a lot of the time spent in writing narrative is in the prewriting stage.

In this stage, writers first need to select an incident worthy of writing about and, second, to find relevance in that incident. To do this, writers might ask themselves what about the incident provided new insights or awareness. Finally, writers must dredge up details which will make the incident real for readers.


Principles of Writing Narrative Essays
Once an incident is chosen, the writer should keep three principles in mind.

Remember to involve readers in the story. It is much more interesting to actually recreate an incident for readers than to simply tell about it.

Find a generalization which the story supports. This is the only way the writer's personal experience will take on meaning for readers. This generalization does not have to encompass humanity as a whole; it can concern the writer, men, women, or children of various ages and backgrounds.

Remember that although the main component of a narrative is the story, details must be carefully selected to support, explain, and enhance the story.

Conventions of Narrative Essays
In writing your narrative essay, keep the following conventions in mind.

Narratives are generally written in the first person, that is, using "I." However, third person ("he," "she," or "it") can also be used.

Narratives rely on concrete, sensory details to convey their point. These details should create a unified, forceful effect, a dominant impression. More information on sensory details is available.

Narratives, as stories, should include these story conventions: a plot, including setting and characters; a climax; and an ending.

Early Autumn

When Bill was very young, they had been in love. Many nights they had spent walking, talking together. Then something not very important had come between them, and they didn’t speak. Impulsively, she had married a man she thought she loved. Bill went away, bitter about women.

Yesterday, walking acrossWashington Square, she saw him for the first time in years.

“Bill Walker,” she said.
He stopped. At first he did not recognize her, to him she looked so old.
“Mary! Where did you come from?”
Unconsciously, she lifted her face as though wanting a kiss, but he held out his hand. She took it.
“I live inNew Yorknow,” she said.
“Oh” — smiling politely. Then a little frown came quickly between his eyes.
“Always wondered what happened to you, Bill.”
“I’m a lawyer. Nice firm, way downtown.”
“Married yet?”
“Sure. Two kids.”
“Oh,” she said.

A great many people went past them through the park. People they didn’t know. It was late afternoon. Nearly sunset. Cold.

“And your husband?” he asked her.
“We have three children. I work in the bursar’s office atColumbia.”
“You’re looking very . . .” (he wanted to say old) “. . . well,” he said.

She understood. Under the trees inWashington Square, she found herself desperately reaching back into the past. She had been older than he then inOhio. Now she was not young at all. Bill was still young.

“We live on Central Park West,” she said. “Come and see us sometime.”
“Sure,” he replied. “You and your husband must have dinner with my family some night. Any night. Lucille and I’d love to have you.”

The leaves fell slowly from the trees in the Square. Fell without wind. Autumn dusk. She felt a little sick.

“We’d love it,” she answered.
“You ought to see my kids.” He grinned.

Suddenly the lights came on up the whole length ofFifth Avenue, chains of misty brilliance in the blue air.

“There’s my bus,” she said.
He held out his hand. “Good-bye.”
“When . . .” she wanted to say, but the bus was ready to pull off. The lights on the avenue blurred, twinkled, blurred. And she was afraid to open her mouth as she entered the bus. Afraid it would be impossible to utter a word.

Suddenly she shrieked very loudly. “Good-bye!” But the bus door had closed.

The bus started. People came between them outside, people crossing the street, people they didn’t know. Space and people. She lost sight of Bill. Then she remembered she had forgotten to give him her address — or to ask him for his — or tell him that her youngest boy was named Bill too.

Life is about Choices

Michael is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I'd be twins!" He was a natural motivator.

If an employee was having a bad day, Michael was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Michael and asked him, "I don' t get it. You can' t be positive all the time. How do you do it?"

Michael replied, each morning I wake up and say to myself 'Mike, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.' I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life."

"Yeah, right. It isn't that easy." I protested.

"Yes it is, " Michael said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line is: It's your choice how you live life. " I reflected on what Michael said.

Soon thereafter, I left the big enterprise that I had worked in for years to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often though about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it. Several years later, I heard Michael was involved in a serious accident, falling off 60 feet from a communications tower.

After l8 hours of surgery, and weeks of intensive care, Michael was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back. I saw Michael about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I'd be twins. Wanna see my scars?" I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.

"The first thing that went through my mind was the well being of my soon-to-born daughter," Michael replied. "Then, as I lay on the ground, remembered I had two choices: I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I chose to live." "Weren't you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked. Michael continued, "... the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the operation room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, l read 'He's a dead man.' I knew I needed to take action." "What did you do?" I asked. "Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me" said Michael. "She asked me if I was allergic to anything. 'Yes,' I said. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled", 'Gravity'" Over their laughter, I told them, 'I'm choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead'."

Michael lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude.

I learned from him that every day we have a choice to live fully. Attitude is everything.

Feather in the wind

A certain good woman one day said something that hurt her best friend of many years. She regretted immediately and would have done anything to have taken the words back . What she said hurt the friend so much that this good woman was herself hurt for the pain she caused . In an effort to undo what she had done , she went to an older ,wise woman in the village, explained her situation ,and asked for advice.

Listening to her the older woman sensed the younger woman's distress and knew she must help her . She also knew she could never alleviate the pain , but she could teach . She knew the outcome would depend solely on the character of the younger woman . She said ,"Tonight ,take your best feather pillows and put single feather on the doorstep of each house in the town before the sun rises."

The young woman hurried home to prepare for her chore ,even though the feather pillows were very dear to her .All night long ,she labored alone in the cold. Finally the sky was getting light ,she placed the last feather on the steps of the last house .Just as the sun rose, she returned to the older woman.

"Now", said the wise woman, "go back and refill your pillows with the feather you have put on the steps .then everything will be as it was before."

"You know that's impossible! the wind blew away each feather as fast as I placed them on the doorsteps!" the young woman was surprised .

"That's true," said the older woman. "never forget. Each of your words is like a feather in the wind. once spoken, no amount of effort, regardless how heartfelt or sincere, can never return them to your mouth. Choose your words well and guard them most of all the presence of those of you love. "

Don’t Allow Your Weaknesses to Limit You

We all have weaknesses and strengths – no matter who we are. Sometimes the weaknesses seem to outweigh the strengths and sometimes it’s the other way around. Some people get sick easily. Some struggle to manage their finances properly. Some people are hopeless communicators and struggle with relationships.

Many people leave it and that and accept it as just bad luck – but not everyone. Some people facing huge limitations still manage to achieve tremendous things. They rise above their weaknesses and do not allow them to limit their possibilities.

It's Your Choice

I attended a school prize-giving ceremony not so long ago and the guest speaker was Andrew Becroft, who had a severe stutter as a child. Instead of allowing this to limit him, he chose to work hard to overcome it. He is now the Principal Youth Court Judge forNew Zealand. Not only did he become successful, but he did so in a profession where he had to speak in front of others regularly — where his weakness is front and center for all to see. If he hadn’t worked on his speaking ability, it would have been very limiting to his life and career prospects.

You can find similar people on New Zealand News channels, and I suspect the same in other countries. There are a number of presenters and reporters who have a noticeably unusual manner of speaking. Perhaps they have a lisp, or they have a peculiar accent or pitch of voice. These people have succeeded in spite of what would be appear to be a weakness in their profession.

Lots of people face far more significant limitations than you do. They may be missing limbs or are born into extreme poverty. But no matter what the limitation, you will always find people who have overcome it.

Here are some more examples:

Brett Eastburn has no arms or legs and yet is an inspirational speaker and also a very good wrestler. He shares his story in a brief video on his site.

Lance Armstrong’s bout with cancer meant he lost one testicle and had to go through chemotherapy which has a horrific effect on the body. Yet he went on to win the Tour de France, one of the most grueling sports events there is, a record 7 times.

Ringo Starr, drummer for the Beatles, came from a very poor background. He was constantly plagued with illness as a child and spent large amounts of time in hospital.

At 19 months old, Helen Keller became ill and lost her sight and hearing (before she’d learned to speak). She went on to become a world famous author and speaker, and an advocate of many social causes.

Grant Calder is a tetraplegic and yet he still works outdoors on a large sheep farm inNew Zealand’s ruggedSouth Island. Here is his inspiring story.

Wilma Rudolph was the 20th of 22 children. As a child she suffered measles, mumps, scarlet fever, chicken pox, double pneumonia and eventually polio, leaving her left leg and foot weak and deformed. Doctors said she would never walk again. She went on to win 3 gold medals in track during the 1960 Olympic games.

Mark Inglis lost both of his legs below the knees in a mountaineering accident, but has since climbed Mt Everest.

Bill Wilson was an alcoholic who wanted to help other alcoholics and founded what was to become Alcoholics Anonymous, a movement that has helped millions of people.

No One Would Have Predicted These Successes

These above are cases involving individuals with significant limitations, and it can be easy to write them off as exceptions to the rule, but that’s not the case. They were just people with problems. If one of these people had told you what they hoped to achieve you would have nodded kindly while quietly thinking to yourself that they had no chance. And yet the results speak for themselves.

We All Face Challenges in Life

Most of us will never have to face the kinds of challenges these people faced. Yet most of us will never achieve to the degree that these people have either.

Unless we choose to.

If Mark Inglis can climb the highest mountain in the world without legs, what can you do?

Life is a do-it-yourself project

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by.

The employer was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanshi­p and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunat­e way to end his career.

When the carpenter finished his work and the employer came to inspect the house and handed the front-door key to the carpenter. "This is your house," he said, "my gift to you."

What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differentl­y. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.

So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted­ way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized, we would have done it differentl­y.

Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your house. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build wisely. It is the only life you will ever build. Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously­ and with dignity. The plaque on the wall says, "Life is a do-it-yourself project." Who could say it more clearly? Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today.

Love and Time

Once upon a time, there was an island where all the feelings lived: Happiness, Sadness, Knowledge, and all of the others, including Love. One day it was announced to the feelings that the island would sink, so all constructed boats and left. Except for Love.

Love was the only one who stayed. Love wanted to hold out until the last possible moment.

When the island had almost sunk, Love decided to ask for help.

Richness was passing by Love in a grand boat. Love said,

"Richness, can you take me with you?"

Richness answered, "No, I can't. There is a lot of gold and silver in my boat. There is no place here for you."

Love decided to ask Vanity who was also passing by in a beautiful vessel. "Vanity, please help me!"

"I can't help you, Love. You are all wet and might damage my boat," Vanity answered.

Sadness was close by so Love asked, "Sadness, let me go with you."

"Oh . . . Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself!"

Happiness passed by Love, too, but she was so happy that she did not even hear when Love called her.

Suddenly, there was a voice, "Come, Love, I will take you." It was an elder. So blessed and overjoyed, Love even forgot to ask the elder where they were going. When they arrived at dry land, the elder went her own way. Realizing how much was owed the elder,

Love asked Knowledge, another elder, "Who Helped me?"

"It was Time," Knowledge answered.

"Time?" asked Love. "But why did Time help me?"

Knowledge smiled with deep wisdom and answered, "Because only Time is capable of understanding how valuable Love is."

The Greatest of these

My day began on a decidedly sour note when I saw my six-year-old wrestling with a limb of my azalea bush. By the time I got outside, he'd broken it. "Can I take this to school today?" he asked. With a wave of my hand, I sent him off. I turned my back so he wouldn't see the tears gathering in my eyes. I loved that azalea bush. I touched the broken limb as if to say silently, "I'm sorry."

I wished I could have said that to my husband earlier, but I'd been angry. The washing machine had leaked on my brand-new linoleum. If he'd just taken the time to fix it the night before when I asked him instead of playing checkers with Jonathan. What are his priorities anyway? I wondered. I was still mopping up the mess when Jonathan walked into the kitchen. "What's for breakfast, Mom?" I opened the empty refrigerator. "Not cereal," I said, watching the sides of his mouth drop. "How about toast and jelly?" I smeared the toast with jelly and set it in front of him. Why was I so angry? I tossed my husband's dishes into the sudsy water.

It was days like this that made me want to quit. I just wanted to drive up to the mountains, hide in a cave, and never come out.

Somehow I managed to lug the wet clothes to the laundromat. I spent most of the day washing and drying clothes and thinking how love had disappeared from my life. Staring at the graffiti on the walls, I felt as wrung-out as the clothes left in the washers.

As I finished hanging up the last of my husband's shirts, I looked at the clock. 2:30. I was late. Jonathan's class let out at 2:15. I dumped the clothes in the back seat and hurriedly drove to the school.

I was out of breath by the time I knocked on the teacher's door and peered through the glass. With one finger, she motioned for me to wait. She said something to Jonathan and handed him and two other children crayons and a sheet of paper.

What now? I thought, as she rustled through the door and took me aside. "I want to talk to you about Jonathan," she said.

I prepared myself for the worst. Nothing would have surprised me. "Did you know Jonathan brought flowers to school today?" she asked. I nodded, thinking about my favorite bush and trying to hide the hurt in my eyes. I glanced at my son busily coloring a picture. His wavy hair was too long and flopped just beneath his brow. He brushed it away with the back of his hand. His eyes burst with blue as he admired his handiwork. "Let me tell you about yesterday," the teacher insisted. "See that little girl?" I watched the bright-eyed child laugh and point to a colorful picture taped to the wall. I nodded.

"Well, yesterday she was almost hysterical. Her mother and father are going through a nasty divorce. She told me she didn't want to live, she wished she could die. I watched that little girl bury her face in her hands and say loud enough for the class to hear, 'Nobody loves me.' I did all I could to console her, but it only seemed to make matters worse." "I thought you wanted to talk to me about Jonathan," I said.

"I do," she said, touching the sleeve of my blouse. "Today your son walked straight over to that child. I watched him hand her some pretty pink flowers and whisper, 'I love you.'"

I felt my heart swell with pride for what my son had done. I smiled at the teacher. "Thank you," I said, reaching for Jonathan's hand, "you've made my day."

Later that evening, I began pulling weeds from around my lopsided azalea bush. As my mind wandered back to the love Jonathan showed the little girl, a biblical verse came to me: "...these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." While my son had put love into practice, I had only felt anger.

I heard the familiar squeak of my husband's brakes as he pulled into the drive. I snapped a small limb bristling with hot pink azaleas off the bush. I felt the seed of love that God planted in my family beginning to bloom once again in me. My husband's eyes widened in surprise as I handed him the flowers. "I love you," I said.

Hungry for Your Love

It is cold, so bitter cold, on this dark, winter day in 1942. But it is no different from any other day in this Nazi concentration camp. I stand shivering in my thin rags, still in disbelief that this nightmare is happening. I am just a young boy. I should be playing with friends; I should be going to school; I should be looking forward to a future, to growing up and marrying, and having a family of my own. But those dreams are for the living, and I am no longer one of them. Instead, I am almost dead, surviving from day to day, from hour to hour, ever since I was taken from my home and brought here with tens of thousands other Jews. Will I still be alive tomorrow? Will I be taken to the gas chamber tonight?

Back and forth I walk next to the barbed wire fence, trying to keep my emaciated body warm. I am hungry, but I have been hungry for longer than I want to remember. I am always hungry. Edible food seems like a dream. Each day as more of us disappear, the happy past seems like a mere dream, and I sink deeper and deeper into despair. Suddenly, I notice a young girl walking past on the other side of the barbed wire. She stops and looks at me with sad eyes, eyes that seem to say that she understands, that she, too, cannot fathom why I am here. I want to look away, oddly ashamed for this stranger to see me like this, but I cannot tear my eyes from hers.

Then she reaches into her pocket, and pulls out a red apple. A beautiful, shiny red apple. Oh, how long has it been since I have seen one! She looks cautiously to the left and to the right, and then with a smile of triumph, quickly throws the apple over the fence. I run to pick it up, holding it in my trembling, frozen fingers. In my world of death, this apple is an expression of life, of love. I glance up in time to see the girl disappearing into the distance.

The next day, I cannot help myself-I am drawn at the same time to that spot near the fence. Am I crazy for hoping she will come again? Of course. But in here, I cling to any tiny scrap of hope. She has given me hope and I must hold tightly to it.

And again, she comes. And again, she brings me an apple, flinging it over the fence with that same sweet smile.

This time I catch it, and hold it up for her to see. Her eyes twinkle. Does she pity me? Perhaps. I do not care, though. I am just so happy to gaze at her. And for the first time in so long, I feel my heart move with emotion.

For seven months, we meet like this. Sometimes we exchange a few words. Sometimes, just an apple. But she is feeding more than my belly, this angel from heaven. She is feeding my soul. And somehow, I know I am feeding hers as well.

One day, I hear frightening news: we are being shipped to another camp. This could mean the end for me. And it definitely means the end for me and my friend. The next day when I greet her, my heart is breaking, and I can barely speak as I say what must be said: "Do not bring me an apple tomorrow," I tell her. "I am being sent to another camp. We will never see each other again." Turning before I lose all control, I run away from the fence. I cannot bear to look back. If I did, I know she would see me standing there, with tears streaming down my face.

Months pass and the nightmare continues. But the memory of this girl sustains me through the terror, the pain, the hopelessness. Over and over in my mind, I see her face, her kind eyes, I hear her gentle words, I taste those apples.

And then one day, just like that, the nightmare is over. The war has ended. Those of us who are still alive are freed. I have lost everything that was precious to me, including my family. But I still have the memory of this girl, a memory I carry in my heart and gives me the will to go on as I move toAmericato start a new life. Years pass. It is 1957. I am living inNew York City. A friend convinces me to go on a blind date with a lady friend of his. Reluctantly, I agree. But she is nice, this woman named Roma. And like me, she is an immigrant, so we have at least that in common.

"Where were you during the war?" Roma asks me gently, in that delicate way immigrants ask one another questions about those years.

"I was in a concentration camp inGermany," I reply.

Roma gets a far away look in her eyes, as if she is remembering something painful yet sweet.

"What is it?" I ask.

"I am just thinking about something from my past, Herman," Roma explains in a voice suddenly very soft. "You see, when I was a young girl, I lived near a concentration camp. There was a boy there, a prisoner, and for a long while, I used to visit him every day. I remember I used to bring him apples. I would throw the apple over the fence, and he would be so happy."

Roma sighs heavily and continues. "It is hard to describe how we felt about each other-after all, we were young, and we only exchanged a few words when we could-but I can tell you, there was much love there. I assume he was killed like so many others. But I cannot bear to think that, and so I try to remember him as he was for those months we were given together."

With my heart pounding so loudly I think it wil1 explode, I look directly at Roma and ask, "And did that boy say to you one day, 'Do not bring me an apple tomorrow. I am being sent to another camp'?"

"Why, yes," Roma responds, her voice trembling.

"But, Herman, how on earth could you possibly know that?"

I take her hands in mine and answer, "Because I was that young boy, Roma."

For many moments, there is only silence. We cannot take our eyes from each other, and as the veils of time lift, we recognize the soul behind the eyes, the dear friend we once loved so much, whom we have never stopped loving, whom we have never stopped remembering.

Finally, I speak: "Look, Roma, I was separated from you once, and I don't ever want to be separated from you again. Now, I am free, and I want to be together with you forever. Dear, will you marry me?"

I see that same twinkle in her eye that I used to see as Roma says, "Yes, I will marry you," and we embrace, the embrace we longed to share for so many months, but barbed wire came between us. Now, nothing ever will again.

Almost forty years have passed since that day when I found my Roma again. Destiny brought us together the first time during the war to show me a promise of hope and now it had reunited us to fulfill that promise.

Valentine's Day, 1996. I bring Roma to the Oprah Winfrey Show to honor her on national television. I want to tell her in front of millions of people what I feel in my heart every day:

"Darling, you fed me in the concentration camp when I was hungry. And I am still hungry, for something I will never get enough of: I am only hungry for your love."
 

Plant Anything

A good friend of mine was going away on a long trip during the fall. Miriam thought she had given herself plenty of time to do all the things that are required when one goes out of town.

I called her the day before her departure to wish her bon voyage. She was a wreck. She was completely behind on everything she needed to do. "And to top it all off," she lamented, "I bought some wonderful corms to plant for next spring. I'll never get them into the ground now!"

Well, I'll tell you, I can't bear the thought of an unplanted corm, bulb, seed plug, you name it. I always start too many seeds in March and by June I'm tucking them everywhere I can. I just can't bear the thought of a plant not getting a chance to grow. In other words, she was in luck.

"I'll plant them for you," I said.

"Oh, would you? You would do that?" Miriam was elated. She promised to set them out on the porch for me. I knew her garden well, as we have spent many hours together, toiling in each other's gardens. We quickly brainstormed some nice places for them to go. But then she said, "Oh, just put them wherever you think they'll look nice."

I arrived a couple of days later on a chilly autumn morning and spied a frost-covered paper bag on the back steps. With my trowel and bone meal in hand, I set off in search of just the right place to plant.

The corms were weird-looking―- not the usual miniature, root-like bulbs. I hadn't asked what kind they were when Miriam and I had last talked, but the two of us were always trying out new varieties of anything we could get our hands on. Being a consummate experimental gardener, there isn't a lot I won't try to plant and coax through our seemingly endlessMinnesotawinters. So I shrugged my shoulders and went to work. After a lot of digging, arranging, changing my mind, digging some more and rearranging, I finally stood back from the patch of disturbed earth and nodded to myself in satisfaction. They were all planted in the perfect spot.

When Miriam got back a few months later, she and I went out to dinner to celebrate her return. At the restaurant we laughed about what a wreck she had been when she was trying to get out of town. And then she said, "You know, I still can't believe I forgot to put those corms out! What a ditz brain I am!"

I looked at her quizzically. "What do you mean? Of course you put them out. They were sitting on the porch in a paper bag, right where you said they'd be."
"No," she said, "they're still sitting on the counter where I left them."

Then an expression of dawning realization spread across her face. It held an odd combination of amusement and alarm.

"Valerie, I'm so sorry...."

"What?"

"I'm truly sorry...."

"What?!"

She paused as if to prepare me for her news. Then she slowly said, "That was cat poop."

"What?!"

"Cat poop," she repeated. "I'm afraid I cleaned the litter box out before I left and forgot to put it in the garbage. I guess I must have left it on the back steps. You planted cat poop."

News like this doesn't sink in immediately. It sort of bounces around in your head and all you can hear are the echoes. Cat poop... cat poop....

Miriam looked at my face―- and did the best she could to keep from laughing. Tears welled up in her eyes, and she pressed her lips tightly together. I usually have a good sense of humor. But I was too busy replaying the images of me picking these hard little corm-like kernels from a brown paper bag and lovingly planting them in Mother Earth's bosom. I took a long drink of my wine. I wasn't sure I could laugh about this.

Miriam managed to pull herself together. She cleared her throat and, sensing my state of shock, politely asked, "So, where did you plant them?"

"Uh, next to the catnip," I replied. The next thing I knew we both had collapsed into a fit of laughter. Much to my surprise, I was laughing. And it felt good. Very good.

Years have passed since then, and both our gardens and our friendship have continued to grow. That story has grown, too―- to become one of our dearest bonds. I guess, true to form, I really will try to plant just about anything.
 

Spring Thaw

Every April I am beset by the same concern-that spring might not occur this year. The landscape looks forsaken, with hills, sky and forest forming a single graymeld, like the wash an artist paints on a canvas before the masterwork. My spirits ebb, as they did during an April snowfall when I first came toMaine15 years ago. "Just wait," a neighbor counseled. "You'll wake up one morning and spring will just be here."

Andlo, on May 3 that year I awoke to a green so startling as to be almost electric, as if spring were simply a matter of flipping a switch. Hills, sky and forest revealed their purples, blues and green. Leaves had unfurled, goldfinches had arrived at the feeder and daffodils were fighting their way heavenward.

Then there was the old apple tree. It sits on an undeveloped lot in my neighborhood. It belongs to no one and therefore to everyone. The tree's dark twisted branches sprawl in unpruned abandon. Each spring it blossoms so profusely that the air becomes saturated with the aroma of apple. When I drive by with my windows rolled down, it gives me the feeling of moving in another element, like a kid on a water slide.

Until last year, I thought I was the only one aware of this tree. And then one day, in a fit of spring madness, I set out with pruner and lopper to remove a few errant branches. No sooner had I arrived under its boughs than neighbors opened their windows and stepped onto their porches. These were people I barely knew and seldom spoke to, but it was as if I had come unbidden into their personal gardens.

My mobile-home neighbor was the first to speak. "You're not cutting it down, are you?" Another neighbor winced as I lopped off a branch. "Don't kill it, now," he cautioned. Soon half the neighborhood had joined me under the apple arbor. It struck me that I had lived there for five years and only now was learning these people's names, what they did for a living and how they passed the winter. It was as if the old apple tree gathering us under its boughs for the dual purpose of acquaintanceship and shared wonder. I couldn't help recalling Robert Frost's* words:

The trees that have it in their pent-up buds

To darken nature and be summer woods

One thaw led to another. Just the other day I saw one of my neighbors at the local store. He remarked how this recent winter had been especially long and lamented not having seen or spoken at length to anyone in our neighborhood. And then, recouping his thoughts, he looked at me and said, "We need to prune that apple tree again."

Watch the world go by

I was sitting outside my new home yesterday (we just moved last week, and we love the new place), watching the world go by.

There were people in cars, in a hurry to get to their next appointment. There were birds flying by, insects just as busy as the people in cars, plants and weeds thriving in the humidGuamclimate.

Inside the house, my children were also busy, as ever, making a mess of the house (which my wife and I would soon clean up), getting into things, their natural curiosity overpowering our previous pleas for them not to play with lotion or take things apart.

The sky was slightly overcast and there was a cool breeze, quite strong and pleasant actually.

It’s not often that most of us just sit quietly, and allow the world to pass us by.

Why not?

What is so important that it can't wait until later? What email must be answered right this moment? Do we really need to read all those articles online, all those messages from others, all those newspapers and magazines? Do we need to have the television and radio and Internet on all the time?

Is life passing us by as we keep our minds super-busy? Are we missing out on the beautiful world around us as we constantly think about the future — what we need to do, our anxieties about what might happen — and the past — what we did wrong, what someone else did to us, what we said, what should have happened?

When was the last time you just sat, and observed? Why not do it today?

The 6 Ways Winners Plan For Success

Once upon a time, I used to be the messiest person alive.

I don't just mean in terms of messy room and messy car. I mean messy plans, too. I would have a general idea of what I wanted to do, but wouldn't be really sure about how I wanted to make it happen.

Over the years, through watching others and by trial and error, I have finally found ways to come up with plans, organize them and following through with them in ways that are much more manageable than they are overwhelming.

Recently, I have started keeping track of what I do when I first come up with a plan that seems to be all over the place.

Whether the plan involves work, play or anything else, having rules on how to handle this sort or organizational skill can enable a person to become more familiar with their own organizational process and can help them improve on the ways that they already have.

Here are some helpful hints that have helped me create plans that are thorough, orderly, and easy to manage.

1. Write down your plan

Make an outline of everything you need to have and do to make your plan happen. Make a list of all of the steps that need to be accomplished and think about what needs to be done.

Detail everything thoroughly and read over it so you can start coming up with some mental solutions of how to carry out your plans.

2. Come up with at least three different ways of carrying out your plans

This way, you ensure that if for some reason plan one doesn't work, you have a plan two and a plan three to lean back on. It's just a matter of being organized.

This is one of the things that has helped me the most, especially when I'm tackling so many things in my life.

Chances are that there is always more than one way of doing things, and chances are that if one of those ways doesn't work, one of the other ones will.

3. Commit yourself to finishing at least part if not all of your plan at once

It will show that you not only have initiative to get things rolling, but that you are invested in the results obtained with making the move to get everything done.

If you make a commitment to finish before a specific time, make sure that you carry that out, and be sure to do everything in the way you said you would, within the time-frame you set for yourself.

4. Do one thing at a time

Don't try to tackle more things all at once. All that does is delay your progress, distract you and make you lose your interest, motivation and energy.

Carrying out an effective plan requires being as organized as possible. You will only achieve this by sticking to the order of the plan and not deviating or trying to do more at once.

5. Finish what you started

Do not abandon things mid-project.

It will only annoy everyone around you including yourself. Unfinished plans are a waste of time, energy and, in some cases, even money.

6. Come up with a follow up plan

Nothing says organized more than keeping a notebook with all of your plans for work, complete with outlines, a detailed description of how each step was carried our and a plan of action.

Plus, following up on the details of an organized plan lets everyone know you are a responsible, involved and thorough individual that has the best interests of the people involved at hand.

Don't be afraid of organization. The older we get, the more necessary it becomes to have the skills necessary to follow through with confidence and to be able to carry through plans in an organized and manageable way. It pays to be organized, after all.
 

Life Is a Bag of Frozen Peas

A few weeks after my first wife, Georgia, was called to heaven, I was cooking dinner for my son and myself. For a vegetable, I decided on frozen peas. As I was cutting open the bag, it slipped from my hands and crashed to the floor. The peas, like marbles, rolled everywhere. I tried to use a broom, but with each swipe the peas rolled across the kitchen, bounced off the wall on the other side and rolled in another direction.

My mental state at the time was fragile. Losing a spouse is an unbearable pain. I got on my hands and knees and pulled them into a pile to dispose of. I was half laughing and half crying as I collected them. I could see the humor in what happened, but it doesn't take much for a person dealing with grief to break down.

For the next week, every time I was in the kitchen, I would find a pea that had escaped my first cleanup. In a corner, behind a table leg, in the frays at the end of a mat, or hidden under a heater, they kept turning up. Eight months later I pulled out the refrigerator to clean, and found a dozen or so petrified peas hidden underneath.

At the time I found those few remaining peas, I was in a new relationship with a wonderful woman I met in a widow/widower support group. After we married, I was reminded of those peas under the refrigerator. I realized my life had been like that bag of frozen peas. It shattered. My wife was gone. I was in anew citywith a busy job and a son having trouble adjusting to his new surroundings and the loss of his mother. I was a wreck. I was a bag of spilled, frozen peas. My life had come apart and scattered.

When life gets you down; when everything you know comes apart; when you think you can never get through the tough times, remember, it is just a bag of scattered, frozen peas. The peas can be collected and life will move on. You will find all the peas. First the easy peas come together in a pile. You pick them up and start to move on. Later, you find the smaller, harder-to-find peas. When you pull all the peas together, life will be whole again.

The life you know can be scattered at any time. You will move on, but how fast you collect your peas depends on you. Will you keep scattering them around with a broom, or will you pick them up one-by-one and put your life back together?

How will you collect your peas?

You’ll Never Regret it

Time is running out for my friend. While we are sitting at lunch she casually mentions she and her husband are thinking of starting a family. "We're taking a survey," she says, half-joking. "Do you think I should have a baby?"

"It will change your life," I say, carefully keeping my tone neutral. "I know," she says, "no more sleeping in on weekends, no more spontaneous holidays..."

But that's not what I mean at all. I look at my friend, trying to decide what to tell her. I want her to know what she will never learn in childbirth classes. I want to tell her that the physical wounds of child bearing will heal, but becoming a mother will leave her with an emotional wound so raw that she will be vulnerable forever.

I consider warning her that she will never again read a newspaper without thinking: "What if that had been MY child?" That every plane crash, every house fire will haunt her. That when she sees pictures of starving children, she will wonder if anything could be worse than watching your child die. I look at her carefully manicured nails and stylish suit and think that no matter how sophisticated she is, becoming a mother will reduce her to the primitive level of a bear protecting her cub.

I feel I should warn her that no matter how many years she has invested in her career, she will be professionally derailed by motherhood. She might arrange for child care, but one day she will be going into an important business meeting, and she will think her baby's sweet smell. She will have to use every ounce of discipline to keep from running home, just to make sure her child is all right.

I want my friend to know that every decision will no longer be routine. That a five-year-old boy's desire to go to the men's room rather than the women's at a restaurant will become a major dilemma. The issues of independence and gender identity will be weighed against the prospect that a child molester may be lurking in the lavatory. However decisive she may be at the office, she will second-guess herself constantly as a mother.

Looking at my attractive friend, I want to assure her that eventually she will shed the added weight of pregnancy, but she will never feel the same about herself. That her own life, now so important, will be of less value to her once she has a child. She would give it up in a moment to save her offspring, but will also begin to hope for more years—not to accomplish her own dreams—but to watch her children accomplish theirs.

I want to describe to my friend the exhilaration of seeing your child learn to hit a ball. I want to capture for her the belly laugh of a baby who is touching the soft fur of a dog for the first time. I want her to taste the joy that is so real it hurts.

My friend's look makes me realize that tears have formed in my eyes. "You'll never regret it," I say finally. Then, squeezing my friend's hand, I offer a prayer for her and me and all of the mere mortal women who stumble their way into this holiest of callings.
 

View in the Heart

There is a temple at the foot of Nanshanand an ancient banyan(菩提树) is in front of it.

One morning, a young monk gets up to clean up the courtyard and sees the fallen leaves from the ancient banyan are everywhere, he can’t help worrying and look at the tree to sigh.

For his sorrow is on the toppest, he throws down the broom and rushes to his master’s room ,then he knocks on the door to plea for interview.

His master hears it and opens the door, when he sees the disciple’s (信徒)worried look, he thinks something takes place, so he hurries to ask him:" My disciple, what does you worry about so much in the early morning? "

The young disciple is full of doubt and tells him: "Master, you persuades us to be diligent to cultivate our moral character and grasp the truth day and night, but, even I learn them well ,it is hard to avoid to die. Till that time, so-called me, so-called Dao, aren’t they just like the defoliation in autumn or the deadwood in winter? and they will be buried by a heap of loess?"

After hearing it ,the old monk points at the ancient banyan and says to the young monk:" My disciple ,you don’t need to worry about this. In fact, the defoliation in autumn and the deadwood in winter will climb back to the trees silently and become the flowers in spring and grow up into the leaves in summer at the time of autumnal winds is blowing strongliest and the snow falls down most heavily."

"Why don’t I see it?"

"It is the reason that there isn’t any view in your heart, so you can’t see the bloom ."

Facing the withering defoliations and imaging they will be in bud, it needs to have an immortal of spring heart, an optimism of heart.

There are always some miseries you will meet in your whole life and strike you when you are unprepared, but we don’t need to worry day after day for the arrival of this day, and feel sorry to yourself.

Treating the life with the attitude of the optimism, it can not only dissolve the agony and misfortune , but also bring a kind of pleased mood to you everyday and make your life bright and flourishing .

As long as the view is in the heart, aren’t the paths full of fragrance of flowers everywhere?

The Missed Blessings

A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer's showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted.

As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car. Finally, on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his private study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautiful wrapped gift box. Curious, but somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with the young man's name embossed in gold. Angrily, he raised his voice to his father and said, "With all your money you give me a Bible?" He then stormed out of the house, leaving the Bible.

Many years passed and the young man was very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and a wonderful family, but realizing his father was very old, he thought perhaps he should go to see him. He had not seen him since that graduation day. Before he could make the arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to his son. He needed to come home immediately and take care of things.

When he arrived at his father's house, sudden sadness and regret filled his heart. He began to search through his father's important papers and saw the still new Bible, just as he had left it years ago. With tears, he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. As he was reading, a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealer's name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired. On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words... "PAID IN FULL".

How many times do we miss blessings because they are not packaged as we expected? Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; but remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.

Sometimes we don't realize the good fortune we have or we could have because we expect "the packaging" to be different. What may appear as bad fortune may in fact be the door that is just waiting to be opened.
 

Beautiful Smile and Love

The poor are very wonderful people. One evening we went out and we picked up four people from the street. And one of them was in a most terrible conditionand I told the sisters: You take care of the other three. I take care of this one who looked worse. So I did for her all that my love can do. I put her in bed, and there was such a beautiful smile on her face. She took hold of my hand as she said just the words “thank you” and she died. I could not help but examine my conscience before her and I asked what would I say if I was in her place. And my answer was very simple. I would have tried to draw a little attention to myself. I would have said I am hungry, that I am dying, I am cold, I am in pain, or something, but she gave me much more-she gave me her grateful love. And she died with a smile on her face. As did that man whom we picked up from the drain, half eaten with worms, and we brought him to the home. “I have lived like an animal in the street, but I am going to die like an angel, loved and cared for.” And it was so wonderful to see the greatness of that man who could speak like that, who could die like that without blaming anybody, without cursing anybody, without comparing anything. Like an angel-this is the greatness of our people. And that is why we believe what Jesus had said: I was hungry, I was naked, I was homeless, I was unwanted, unloved, uncared for, and you did it to me.

I believe that we are not real social workers. We may be doing social work in the eyes of the people, but we are really contemplatives in the heart of the world. For we are touching the body of Christ twenty-four hours…And I think that in our family we don’t need bombs and guns, to destroy, to bring peace, just get together, love one another, bring that peace, that joy, that strength of presence of each other in the home. And we will be able to overcome all the evil that is in the world.

And with this prize that I have received as a Prize of Peace, I am going to try to make the home for many people who have no home. Because I believe that love begins at home, and if we can create a home for the poor I think that more and more love will spread. And we will be able through this understanding love to bring peace be the good news to the poor. The poor in our own family first, in our country and in the world. To be able to do this, our Sisters, our lives have to be wove with prayer. They have to be woven with Christ to be able to understand, to be able to share. Because to be woven with Christ is to be able to understand, to be able to share. Because today there is so much suffering…When I pick up a person from the street, hungry, I give him a plate of rice, a piece of bread, I have satisfied. I have removed that hunger. But a person who is shut out, who feels unwanted, unloved, terrified, the person who has been thrown out from society-that poverty is so full of hurt and so unbearable…And so let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love, and once we begin to love each other naturally we want to do something.

Today I begin a New Life

Today I begin a new life.

Today I shed my old skin which hath, too long, suffered the bruises of failure and the wounds of mediority.

Today I am born anew and my birthplace is a vineyard where there is fruit for all.

Today I will pluck grapes of wisdom from the tallest and fullest vines in the vineyard, for these were planted by the wisest of my profession who have come before me, generation upon generation.

Today I will savor the taste of grapes from these vines and verily I will swallow the seed of success buried in each and new life will sprout within me.

The career I have chosen is laden with opportunity yet it is fraught with heartbreak and despair and the bodies of those who have failed, were they piled one atop another, would cast a shadow down upon all the pyramids of the earth.

Yet I will not fail, as the others, for in my hands I now hold the charts which will guide through perilous waters to shores which only yesterday seemed but a dream.

Failure no longer will be my payment for struggle. Just as nature made no provision for my body to tolerate pain neither has it made any provision for my life to suffer failure. Failure, like pain, is alien to my life. In the past I accepted it as I accepted pain. Now I reject it and I am prepared for wisdom and principles which will guide me out of the shadows into the sunlight of wealth, position, and happiness far beyond my most extravagant dreams until even the golden apples in the Garden of Hesperides will seem no more than my just reward.

Time teaches all things to him who lives forever but I have not the luxury of eternity. Yet within my allotted time I must practice the art of patience for nature acts never in haste. To create the olive, king of all trees, a hundred years is required. An onion plant is old in nine weeks. I have lived as an onion plant. It has not pleased me. Now I wouldst become the greatest of olive trees and, in truth, the greatest of salesman.

And how will this be accomplished? For I have neither the knowledge nor the experience to achieve the greatness and already I have stumbled in ignorance and fallen into pools of self-pity. The answer is simple. I will commence my journey unencumbered with either the weight of unnecessary knowledge or the handicap of meaningless experience. Nature already has supplied me with knowledge and instinct far greater than any beast in the forest and the value of experience is overrated, usually by old men who nod wisely and speak stupidly.

In truth, experience teaches thoroughly yet her course of instruction devours men's years so the value of her lessons diminishes with the time necessary to acquire her special wisdom. The end finds it wasted on dead men. Furthermore, experience is comparable to fashion; an action that proved successful today will be unworkable and impractical tomorrow.

Only principles endure and these I now possess, for the laws that will lead me to greatness are contained in the words of these scrolls. What they will teach me is more to prevent failure than to gain success, for what is success other than a state of mind? Which two, among a thousand wise men, will define success in the same words; yet failure is always described but one way. Failure is man's inability to reach his goals in life, whatever they may be.

In truth, the only difference between those who have failed and those who have succeeded lies in the difference of their habits. Good habits are the key to all success. Bad habits are the unlocked door to failure. Thus, the first law I will obey, which precedeth all others is --I will form good habits and become their slave.

As a child I was slave to my impulses; now I am slave to my habits, as are all grown men. I have surrendered my free will to the years of accumulated habits and the past deeds of my life have already marked out a path which threatens to imprison my future. My actions are ruled by appetite, passion, prejudice, greed, love, fear, environment, habit, and the worst of these tyrants is habit. Therefore, if I must be a slave to habit let me be a slave to good habits. My bad habits must be destroyed and new furrows prepared for good seed.

I will form good habits and become their slave.

And how will I accomplish this difficult feat? Through these scrolls, it will be done, for each scroll contains a principle which will drive a bad habit from my life and replace it with one which will bring me closer to success. For it is another of nature's laws that only a habit can subdue another habit. So, in order for these written words to perform their chosen task, I must discipline myself with the first of my new habits which is as follows:

I will read each scroll for thirty days in this prescribed manner, before I proceed to the next scroll.

First, I will read the words in silence when I arise. Then, I will read the words in silence after I have partaken of my midday meal. Last, I will read the words again just before I retire at day's end, and most important, on this occasion I will read the words aloud.

On the next day I will repeat this procedure, and I will continue in like manner for thirty days. Then, I will turn to the next scroll and repeat this procedure for another thirty days. I will continue in this manner until I have lived with each scroll for thirty days and my reading has become habit.

And what will be accomplished with this habit? Herein lies the hidden secret of all man's accomplishments. As I repeat the words daily they will soon become a part of my active mind, but more important, they will also seep into my other mind, that mysterious source which never sleeps, which creates my dreams, and often makes me act in ways I do not comprehend.

As the words of these scrolls are consumed by my mysterious mind I will begin to awake, each morning, with a vitality I have never known before. My vigor will increase, my enthusiasm will rise, my desire to meet the world will overcome every fear I once knew at sunrise, and I will be happier than I ever believed it possible to be in this world of strife and sorrow.

Eventually I will find myself reacting to all situations which confront me as I was commanded in the scrolls to react, and soon these actions and reactions will become easy to perform, for any act with practice becomes easy.

Thus a new and good habit is born, for when an act becomes easy through constant repetiton it becomes a pleasure to perform and if it is a pleasure to perform it is man's nature to perform it often. When I perform it often it becomes a habit and I become its slave and since it is a good habit this is my will.

Today I begin a new life.

And I make a solemn oath to myself that nothing will retard my new life's growth. I will lose not a day from these readings for that day cannot be retrieved nor can I substitute another for it. I must not , I will not, break this habit of daily reading from these scrolls and, in truth, the few moments spent each day on this new habit are but a small price to pay for the happiness and success that will be mine.

As I read and re-read the words in the scrolls to follow, never will I allow the brevity of each scroll nor the simplicity of its words to cause me to treat the scroll's message lightly. Thousands of grapes are pressed to fill one jar with wine, and the grapeskin and pulp are tossed to the birds. So it is with these grapes of wisdom from the ages. Much has been filtered and tossed to the wind. Only the pure truth lies distilled in the words to come. I will drink as instructed and spill not a drop. And the seed of success I will swallow.

Today my old skin has become as dust. I will walk tall among men and they will know me not , for today I am a new man, with a new life.

Life is all about Choices

Michael is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I’d be twins!” He was a natural motivator.

If an employee was having a bad day, Michael was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Michael and asked him, "I don' t get it. You can' t be positive all the time. How do you do it?"

Michael replied, each morning I wake up and say to myself 'Mike, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood.' I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.

"Yeah, right. It isn't that easy." I protested.

"Yes it is, " Michael said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people will affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line is: It's your choice how you live life. " I reflected on what Michael said.

Soon thereafter, I left the big enterprise that I had worked in for years to start my own business. We lost touch, but I often though about him when I made a choice about life instead of reacting to it. Several years later, I heard Michael was involved in a serious accident, falling off 60 feet from a communications tower.

After l8 hours of surgery, and weeks of intensive care, Michael was released from the hospital with rods placed in his back. I saw Michael about six months after the accident. When I asked him how he was, he replied, "If I were any better, I’d be twins. Wanna see my scars?" I declined to see his wounds, but did ask him what had gone through his mind as the accident took place.

"The first thing that went through my mind was the well being of my soon-to-born daughter," Michael replied. "Then, as I lay on the ground, remembered I had two choices: I could choose to live or I could choose to die. I chose to live." "Weren’t you scared? Did you lose consciousness?" I asked. Michael continued, "... the paramedics were great. They kept telling me I was going to be fine. But when they wheeled me into the operation room and I saw the expressions on the faces of the doctors and nurses, I got really scared. In their eyes, l read 'He's a dead man.' I knew I needed to take action." "What did you do?" I asked. "Well, there was a big burly nurse shouting questions at me” said Michael. "She asked me if I was allergic to anything. ‘Yes,’ I said. The doctors and nurses stopped working as they waited for my reply. I took a deep breath and yelled", ‘Gravity’” Over their laughter, I told them, 'I'm choosing to live. Operate on me as if I am alive, not dead'."

Michael lived, thanks to the skill of his doctors, but also because of his amazing attitude. I 1eamed from him that every day we have a choice to live fully. Attitude is everything.

How to Find Time for Yourself

Do you ever find yourself longing for some time for yourself? Many of us are so busy with work, school, and Home life that often there is no time left over to do something that you enjoy. What follows are some ways to carve out that essential time you need to slow down, enjoy life, and rejuvenate yourself.

Scheduling Time with Yourself

1. Evenings with Yourself. Try to save certain weeknights just for you. If others ask you to do things those nights, just tell them you have plans. Use the time for gardening, reading, exercise, thinking, or the ultimate luxury of doing nothing!

2. Monthly Treat. Schedule a treat for yourself once a month. It could be on your lunch break, a weekend, or it could be leaving work early. Maybe you get a spa treatment, go see a movie, a haircut, play golf, or whatever treat you’re always thinking about but rarely get to. Schedule it in and it will happen!

3. Buy Tickets in Advance. sports, theater, concerts, or any other event you would enjoy. Schedule the plans with a friend later. Having the tickets already in hand will force you to make it happen!

4. Leave Work on Time. Huh? Yes, many of us stay at work late on a regular basis. If this is you, make it a point to leave work exactly on time at least once a week, if not more. And then enjoy that time! Leave work at work.

5. Join a Group. Here are some ideas of groups that can allow you some time away from work and Home: singing group, gardening group, astronomy society, book club, quilting (or any other craft) circle, biking/walking/running/etc clubs, ski club, etc. What are you interested in? Strike while the iron is hot. Look up a club in your area today and join! If you can’t find a club, consider starting one yourself!

6. Take an Adult Education Class. Take a fun class. If accounting is fun for you, then go ahead. If not, then think about some of these ideas: foreign language, photography, art, creative writing, or sports (kayaking, archery, golf, yoga). Belly-dancing anyone?

7. Exercise. For busy people it can be difficult to make time for this. But, you know what? You can do it!! All you have to do is decide today and then make it a reality tomorrow. A new habit is started with just one step. Take that first step tomorrow. Walk for 20 minutes in the morning. And then build on that success daily. Vary how you spend that time. On some days use the time for thinking and daydreaming. Other days listen to motivational audio and on days you want a real boost, listen to your favorite music! Here are a couple travel audio books you could borrow from your local library that will take you on a journey to a foreign land while you are walking or jogging: “Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure” by Sarah MacDonald or “The Places in Between” by Rory Stewart. If you’ve been exercising for a while and you usually listen to music, try go without any input for a change. Instead, let your mind wander and expand.

On the Go

1. Commute Via Public Transportation. If you can, ditch your car, and let someone else do the driving. Use that time to plan your day, do some reading, writing, creative thinking, or even meditation.

2. Driving in Your Car. Make the most of this time. Vary how you spend that time. If you always listen to music, perhaps also try: educational radio (NPR), positive audio tapes (suggestion: “Follow Your Heart” by Andrew Matthews) or even totally quiet time. Use that quiet time for brain storming. Either think in your head or even talk your ideas out loud. Bring a voice recorder. You could write a book via voice recorder over time.

3. Waiting in the Car. If you find that you have a certain amount of “waiting time” in your life, change how you perceive it. Instead of “waiting time” you can instantly change it into “me time” by bringing along reading, writing, or entertainment items. Or if you find yourself waiting and you don’t have any of these things use the time for creative thinking about your life or try some meditation.

Synergy

1. 2 Birds, One Stone. Look for ideas where you can fit in time for you within things you need to do already or that will have multiple benefits. See the ideas below to give you an idea.

2. Walk to Work. This is a a great one because you’re accomplishing many things at once. You’re getting exercise, you have time to think or enjoy music/audio, and you’re helping to save the environment.

3. Arrive Early. Any appointment that you have, plan to arrive 15-30 minutes early. Then use this time for you: reading, writing, meditation, relaxation, thinking, whatever.

4. Volunteering. There are so many benefits with this. You make a difference for others, you escape work and personal worries, and you grow as a person. If you could help one organization or group, which would it be? OK, now go ahead and Google them and find out how you can help - even if it’s just once a year.

5. Side Job. Find a side job at which you can make money, but that will also allow you to do something you love. Some ideas: coaching, teaching a class (art, writing, sport, hobby, anything else you know well), or training others (what special skills do you have that you could share with others? singing, windsurfing, math?)

6. Lunch Alone. Try sneaking away for a quiet lunch alone on a park bench or even in your car. Enjoy some quiet time with no one to talk to and no audio inputs.

Time Away from Kids

1. Organize “Mom’s Morning Out” Circle. If you have a friend or group of friends, you could arrange to share babysitting services a few times a month so that others in the group get some time alone.

2. Babysitters. Make a plan to have a babysitter that you trust watch your children once a month or once a week so that you can get some time for yourself. The key here is to take action and make it happen. If you want more time for yourself, you can get it. Just don’t be afraid to ask.

3. Gym with Babysitting Service. Find a gym that offers childcare so that you can take a yoga class, do some strength training, or even work with a personal trainer. Make sure you fully research the safety of their childcare program first though. Get some references.

Care for Your Dream

My dream ended when I was born. Although I never knew it then, I just held on to something that would never come to pass. Dreams really do exist. But in the morning when you wake up, they are remembered just as a dream. That is what happened to me.

I always had the dream to dance like a beautiful ballerina twirling around and around and hearing people applaud for me. When I was young, I would twirl around and around in the fields of wildflowers that grew in my backyard.

I thought that if I twirled faster everything would disappear and I would wake up in a new place. Reality woke me up when I heard a voice saying, "I don't know why you bother trying to dance. Ballerinas are pretty, slender little girls. Besides, you don't have the talent to even be a ballerina." I remember how those words paralyzed every feeling in my body. I fell to the ground and wept for hours.

We lived in the country by a nearby lake. I did not like to be at home. When my parents were home, my mother just yelled and criticized because nothing was ever perfect in her life. She dreamed of a different life but she ended up living in the country far away from the city where she believed her dreams would have come true.

I enjoyed hanging out by the water. I would sit there for hours and stare at my reflection. There I was, looking nothing like a pretty ballerina dancer. Reflections don't lie. Once the waves would come, my reflection was gone. Washed away just like my dream to dance.

As I grew older, I began to realize that the reason my dream was even born, was because it was something that was inside of me. The dream I had was never nurtured and cared for, so it slowly died. It's not that I wanted it to die, but I allowed it to die the day I started listening to the words, "You can't do it." When I finally woke up from many years of dreaming, I realized that you can't settle for dancing in the wildflowers, you have to move on to the platform.

A Mother First

My mother did not work outside the home until later in life. And then she worked part-time in a bakery, waiting on people. She had me play where she could see me from the window, and often I would run inside to get a treat. At the time, she believed only her eyes were good enough to ensure my safety. She was always a mother first.

It was apparent to me, even at a young age, that wearing the title “mom” was my mother’s most important identity. I felt it in the way she looked at me, in her voice, and in her touch. From the beginning, almost to a fault, my mother offered me the most important part of her besides her love—her attention. In spite of the problems tossed her way, the distractions, her own yearnings for more in her marriage and in her life, she at least had attained one goal—to be a mother first.

Sometimes she would go overboard with her enthusiasm. If it was cold, I had on too many sweaters and never could be without my earmuffs. If it was hot, and our apartment was always hot, she would flee to the beaches and hurry me into the ocean. She was a worrying mother, and when a famous family lost their child in a kidnapping, my mother put bottles of coins on the window ledge so that, if they fell, she would be warned there was an intruder in the house. And if anyone threatened me at school with a schoolyard confrontation, my mother would square off with them if she found out. She was my protector, supporter, and the first person who ever made me feel as if I were special, as nowhere else in life.

I can still hear her voice encouraging me on my first date. “Go,” she ordered. “Have fun,” she smiled. “And don’t let him touch you,” she warned. And when I was older, and a date had left me waiting while he went out on the boardwalk with someone else, my mother found him and later told me, “I gave him a piece of my mind.” Though mortified at the time by her behavior, it is a memory I cherish.

Later in life, I wondered how she could know so much about me that I did not know about myself. She knew even though my marks were average in school, that I was just bored but smart enough. She believed in me even when I made mistakes that caused others to shudder. She wanted me to be more than she had been, when I thought she was everything I wanted to be.

Recently my children—a son and daughter—came to visit. In their forties now, they are married and with children of their own. Both were tired and soon fell asleep, one on the couch, the other on the bed. Carefully, while they slept, I took some blankets and tucked them in, as I had done so many times when they were young. I took the telephone off the receiver, so they would not be disturbed, lowered the shades, and for a precious moment, watched over them, grateful to be, just as my mother had been, a mother first.

A Miracle of Joy

As I stood at the gate in the busy airport waiting for my plane, my mind went back to all the changes in my life during the past months. My marriage had crumbled, leaving me shattered and very confused. My dream of a happy home and children had been dashed. But somehow God was restoring my sense of purpose and desire to follow wherever he led.

It was just a few days before Christmas. In a matter of minutes, I would board the plane and be on my way to Russia to adopt a six-month-old baby girl.

How it had all happened was amazing in itself. I remember sitting in the living room with friends and quietly sharing my desire for a child. “Well, there’s no reason why you can’t still be a mother,” my friend assured me. “Singles are now adopting.”

I remember how I had smiled at the idea, reminding him that I wasn’t young anymore.

“Oh, I don’t think it will take that long,” he responded, “and anyway, it doesn’t hurt to ask.”

With that, a seed of hope was planted that I could be a mother. In just six months, I was on my way to Russia to adopt a baby girl named Oksana. Questions flooded my mind. Would she be there when I arrived at the orphanage? Would she be healthy?

I continued to pray as I stuffed my baggage in the overhead compartment. I glanced again at the little picture I had of Oksana. “Lord, please lead me to other people going to Russia to adopt.”

How I feared traveling alone, but there was no one to go with me.

Before long, in little snippets of conversation, I overheard the words “Russia,” “babies” and “orphanage.”

“Are you going to Moscow?” I asked the woman to my right.

“Yes, my husband and I are going to adopt two children.”

“So am I!” I squealed. “I mean, I’m going to adopt a baby girl.”

From then on, we both talked incessantly. I discovered that they were heading to the same orphanage to be met by the same coordinator. We became fast friends. I whispered a prayer of thanks to God for answering my earlier prayer.

When the plane landed in Moscow, it was cold and dreary. I immediately sensed the strangeness of the different culture and my language barrier. But then I met our coordinator, who turned out to be a very friendly Russian woman who spoke no English. Her big, warm hugs were so reassuring.

“Is Oksana there?” I asked, having heard stories of people getting to the orphanage, only to discover that the child was no longer there.

“Da,” she answered with a twinkle in her eyes.

“When can we go to the orphanage?” I inquired, ready to go on the overnight train immediately.

“Soon,” the translator said.

“By Christmas? Will I see her by Christmas?”

“Da. Da,” she answered with a big grin.

I stayed in a simple apartment of a young couple and their three-month-old daughter, Anastasia. Their generosity was overwhelming. Although their living conditions were simple, they willingly shared what they had.

In just a few days, I left with two other couples to travel eight hours north. When we arrived at Borovitchy, we were tired but so excited. After only a few hours of sleep, we went to the orphanage. Walking inside the large brick building that was home to about 400 children, I whispered another prayer. “Just let her be healthy, Lord.”

As I walked the long hall, I met staff members who were warm and friendly. I saw that the facilities were neat and clean. A tall Russian doctor joined us and smiled when he asked if I was ready to see Oksana.

Was I? I thought my heart was going to burst with such a strange combination of excitement, fear, longing, hope.

Together, we walked down the cement steps, through the long, narrow hall to the infants’ room. They led me to a small room while they went to get the baby. In only a few moments, they were back.

Oh, I’ll never forget that moment for as long as I live! They placed her warm little body in my arms and discreetly stepped out to leave us alone.

“Oh, my,” I whispered in awe. “You are beautiful, darling.”

I gazed at her big brown eyes and flawless skin. I held her hand in mine, counting each finger. I held her close and sang to her softly, “Jesus loves me.” Time stood still.

It was a holy moment, a Christmas moment, a time when the Greatest Giver filled the arms of a hurting single woman with a priceless gift—a baby.

We left the orphanage on Christmas Eve at midnight. My tiny daughter, Noelle Joy Oksana Brani, was wrapped in a soft pink blanket. As I walked out into the night to catch the train back to Moscow, the snow was gently falling. And I thought I could hear the angels singing.

In Concert with Mom

When my oldest son was in high school, he planned to attend a Christian contemporary concert with the youth group from our church. To my amazement, Aaron invited me to go along; he knew I enjoyed the music of one of the performers. I readily accepted; however, by the time the date of the concert arrived, I had questions about going. My youngest son, who has Down syndrome and progressive heart disease, had been ill, and I was concerned about him. My husband encouraged me to attend the concert, assuring me he was quite capable of taking care of our youngest. I wavered.

Finally, it hit me. Aaron was sixteen years old. How many opportunities would I have to do something fun with him before he went away to college? And how many youth actually invited their mothers to attend a concert with them that was clearly geared for teens? The decision was made. I would not miss this opportunity.

At the concert, I sat with Aaron and his girlfriend in the third row, stuffing cotton in my ears to block out the loud, ear-splitting amplified music of the first performer. I stood when the kids stood, clapped when they clapped, and never let anyone know how nervous I was to feel the floor vibrate beneath my feet. Aaron and his friends were amused at my enthusiasm.

By the time we left the concert, I was certain my hearing was damaged forever. My ears were ringing and sounds seemed muffled, but it quickly passed. So did my son’s teenage years. In no time he was in college and away from home. I missed him more than I could say. On days when I was especially lonely for his ready smile and his teasing manner, I would think back to the concert we attended and be thankful once again that I didn’t pass up an opportunity to spend time with my son.

Aaron is now grown and has a family of his own, but we are still very close. Some days he calls just to chat and tell me about his day. I drop everything and enjoy the moment, knowing these times too shall pass.

We sometimes reminisce on that concert of years ago when my teenage son and I made a lifetime memory. Aaron always laughs about the fact that his mom was the “only” person in the whole youth group to get an autograph from the performer.
 

A Little Piece of Me

When he told me he was leaving I felt like a vase which has just smashed. There were pieces of me all over the tidy, tan tiles. He kept talking, telling me why he was leaving, explaining it was for the best, I could do better, it was his fault and not mine. I had heard it before many times and yet somehow was still not immune; perhaps one did not become immune to such felony.

He left and I tried to get on with my life. I filled the kettle and put it on to boil, I took out my old red mug and filled it with coffee watching as each coffee granule slipped in to the bone china. That was what my life had been like, endless omissions of coffee granules, somehow never managing to make that cup of coffee.

Somehow when the kettle piped its finishing warning I pretended not to hear it. That‘s what Mike‘s leaving had been like, sudden and with an awful finality. I would rather just wallow in uncertainty than have things finished. I laughed at myself. Imagine getting all philosophical and sentimental about a mug of coffee. I must be getting old.

And yet it was a young woman who stared back at me from the mirror. A young woman full of promise and hope, a young woman with bright eyes and full lips just waiting to take on the world. I never loved Mike anyway. Besides there are more important things. More important than love, I insist to myself firmly. The lid goes back on the coffee just like closure on the whole Mike experience.

He doesn‘t haunt my dreams as I feared that night. Instead I am flying far across fields and woods, looking down on those below me. Suddenly I fall to the ground and it is only when I wake up that I realize I was shot by a hunter, brought down by the burden of not the bullet but the soul of the man who shot it. I realize later, with some degree of understanding, that Mike was the hunter holding me down and I am the bird that longs to fly. The next night my dream is similar to the previous nights, but without the hunter. I fly free until I meet another bird who flies with me in perfect harmony. I realize with some relief that there is a bird out there for me, there is another person, not necessarily a lover perhaps just a friend, but there is someone out there who is my soul mate. I think about being a broken vase again and realize that I have glued myself back together, what Mike has is merely a little part of my time in earth, a little understanding of my physical being. He has only, a little piece of me.

A Boy Ought to Have a Chance

The little boy eyed all of the colorful items in the old fisherman’s tackle box. He wanted to touch, but he didn’t dare.

“You like to fish?” the fisherman asked.

“Don’t know. Never have,” said the boy, whose eyes never moved from the contents of the box. “You use all that stuff, Mr. Russell?”

“At one time or another. How come you never been fishing?”

“No one ever took me,” the boy answered.

The fisherman studied the little boy he had known for only a few weeks. Richard was a foster child living temporarily in my home. Soon the boy would be moving again to a permanent placement.

“Never been fishing,” the fisherman later repeated to me. “No one ever took him.” That just didn’t seem right to him. A boy ought to have the chance to go fishing. That was an important part of growing up. What kind of man would this boy grow up to be if he never went fishing, if he never patiently waited for the tug on a line?

The fisherman decided that Richard would go fishing before he moved. But going fishing wasn’t enough. The boy had to catch a fish. How could he be sure that the boy would experience the joy of hooking a fish and landing it? He decided to enlist the aid of another fisherman—his older brother Ernest.

The two men discussed the problem and decided on the solution. They would take young Richard to a fishing hole on their nephew’s place. The pond was overstocked with finger-size fish. Richard would get his chance to catch a fish. It might not be bragging size, but it would be a catch that Richard could delight in.

When the day arrived, the two men and the boy climbed into the pickup truck for the ride to the fishing hole. The boy watched as the men took turns getting out to open gates as they crossed one field after another. At last they stopped near a barbed-wire fence. On the other side was the fishing hole. They walked along the fence until they found the spot where the ground dipped a little. The men showed the boy how to get down and slide under the fence.

At first the boy was reluctant to move too far from the fence because of the nearby meandering cows, but the men assured him that he would be okay. They would protect him.

The men showed the boy how to bait his hook with the worms he had found earlier that day. Shortly after putting his hook into the water, the boy saw his float wiggle and then begin to bob up and down. One of the men told him to give his line a quick yank and pull it out of the water. Sure enough, dangling from the end of his line was a fish—small, very small, but a fish.

“Look, Mr. Russell! Look, Mr. Ernest! I got one!” the boy shouted.

“That is sure some fish!” one of the men responded.

“We got to get a picture of this,” said the other, pulling out the camera.

The old fisherman saw the boy catch his first fish that afternoon and helped create a memory that the child could take with him wherever he went. Three days later the boy was gone.

There were other young boys and girls who came, stayed awhile, and then left the temporary foster home. There were also some local kids who needed an unofficial “grandfather.” The man took the time to teach each one something. Becky learned to build a birdhouse. Jason learned to build a campfire on the first try with just one match. Beth learned to use a screwdriver and complete a project. Lisa learned to swim in a country pond, and Colby learned that someone cared enough about him to just sit and listen as he grieved over the loss of his father.

The man, who once thought it was time to retire and do his own thing, discovered there were kids who needed just what he could give them—his time.

An Empty Box

Once upon a time, a man punished his 5-year-old daughter for using up the family's only roll of expensive gold wrapping paper. Money was tight, and he became even more upset when on Christmas Eve, he saw that the child had pasted the gold paper so as to decorate a shoebox to put under the Christmas tree.

Nevertheless, the next morning the little girl, filled with excitement, brought the gift box to her father and said, "This is for you, Daddy!"

As he opened the box, the father was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction.

But when he opened it, he found it was empty and again his anger flared. "Don't you know, young lady, " he said harshly, "when you give someone a present there's supposed to be something inside the package!"

The little girl looked up at him with tears rolling from her eyes and said: "Daddy, it's not empty. I blew kisses into it until it was all full."

The father was crushed. He fell on his knees and put his arms around his precious little girl. He begged her to forgive him for his unnecessary anger.

An accident took the life of the child only a short time later. It is told that the father kept that little gold box by his bed for all the years of his life. Whenever he was discouraged or faced difficult problems he would open the box, take out an imaginary kiss, and remember the love of this beautiful child who had put it there.

In a very real sense, each of us as human beings have been given an invisible golden box filled with unconditional love and kisses from our children, family, friends and God.

There is no more precious possession anyone could hold.
 

The Difference a Teacher can Make

Steve, a twelve-year-old boy with alcoholic parents, was about to be lost forever, by the U.S. education system. Remarkably, he could read, yet, in spite of his reading skills, Steve was failing. He had been failing since first grade, as he was passed on from grade to grade. Steve was a big boy, looking more like a teenager than a twelve year old, yet, Steve went unnoticed... until Miss White.

Miss White was a smiling, young, beautiful redhead, and Steve was in love! For the first time in his young life, he couldn’t take his eyes off his teacher; yet, still he failed. He never did his homework, and he was always in trouble with Miss White. His heart would break under her sharp words, and when he was punished for failing to turn in his homework, he felt just miserable! Still, he did not study.

In the middle of the first semester of school, the entire seventh grade was tested for basic skills. Steve hurried through his tests, and continued to dream of other things, as the day wore on. His heart was not in school, but in the woods, where he often escaped alone, trying to shut out the sights, sounds and smells of his alcoholic home. No one checked on him to see if he was safe. No one knew he was gone, because no one was sober enough to care. Oddly, Steve never missed a day of school.

One day, Miss White’s impatient voice broke into his daydreams.

“Steve!!” Startled, he turned to look at her.

“Pay attention!”

Steve locked his gaze on Miss White with adolescent adoration, as she began to go over the test results for the seventh grade.

“You all did pretty well,” she told the class, “except for one boy, and it breaks my heart to tell you this, but...” She hesitated, pinning Steve to his seat with a sharp stare, her eyes searching his face.

“...The smartest boy in the seventh grade is failing my class!”

She just stared at Steve, as the class spun around for a good look. Steve dropped his eyes and carefully examined his fingertips.

After that, it was war!! Steve still wouldn’t do his homework. Even as the punishments became more severe, he remained stubborn.

“Just try it! ONE WEEK!” He was unmoved.

“You’re smart enough! You’ll see a change!” Nothing fazed him.

“Give yourself a chance! Don’t give up on your life!” Nothing.

“Steve! Please! I care about you!”

Wow! Suddenly, Steve got it!! Someone cared about him? Someone, totally unattainable and perfect, CARED ABOUT HIM??!!

Steve went home from school, thoughtful, that afternoon. Walking into the house, he took one look around. Both parents were passed out, in various stages of undress, and the stench was overpowering! He, quickly, gathered up his camping gear, a jar of peanut butter, a loaf of bread, a bottle of water, and this time...his schoolbooks. Grim faced and determined, he headed for the woods.

The following Monday he arrived at school on time, and he waited for Miss White to enter the classroom. She walked in, all sparkle and smiles! God, she was beautiful! He yearned for her smile to turn on him. It did not.

Miss White, immediately, gave a quiz on the weekend homework. Steve hurried through the test, and was the first to hand in his paper. With a look of surprise, Miss White took his paper. Obviously puzzled, she began to look it over. Steve walked back to his desk, his heart pounding within his chest. As he sat down, he couldn’t resist another look at the lovely woman.

Miss White’s face was in total shock! She glanced up at Steve, then down, then up.

Suddenly, her face broke into a radiant smile. The smartest boy in the seventh grade had just passed his first test!

From that moment nothing was the same for Steve. Life at home remained the same, but life still changed. He discovered that not only could he learn, but he was good at it!

He discovered that he could understand and retain knowledge, and that he could translate the things he learned into his own life. Steve began to excel! And he continued this course throughout his school life.

After high-school Steve enlisted in the Navy, and he had a successful military career. During that time, he met the love of his life, he raised a family, and he graduated from college Magna Cum Laude. During his Naval career, he inspired many young people, who without him, might not have believed in themselves. Steve began a second career after the Navy, and he continues to inspire others, as an adjunct professor in a nearby college Miss White left a great legacy. She saved one boy who has changed many lives.

You see, it’s simple, really. A change took place within the heart of one boy, all because of one teacher, who cared.

Man Is Here For The Sake of Other Men

Strange is our situation here upon earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose.
  
From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know that man is here for the sake of other men --- above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the countless unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received. My peace of mind is often troubled by the depressing sense that I have borrowed too heavily from the work of other men.
  
To ponder interminably over the reason for one’s own existence or the meaning of life in general seems to me, from an objective point of view, to be sheer folly. And yet everyone holds certain ideals by which he guides his aspiration and his judgment. The ideals which have always shone before me and filled me with the joy of living are goodness, beauty, and truth. To make a goal of comfort and happiness has never appealed to me; a system of ethics built on this basis would be sufficient only for a herd of cattle.

英语写作中一些有趣的双关语

所谓pun,通常是指利用一个单词的两个含义,或者利用两个特定的单词,达到一语双关的目的。例如在下面这句话里,其中的grave有两个含义,一个是严肃的(形容词),一个是坟墓(名词),因此这句话的意思是:他不是一个严肃的人,除非他躺到坟墓里,才能严肃起来。再比如下面第二句话,其中的pray(祈祷)和prey(捕食),发音相同,外形相似,因此这句话的意思是:他们今天为你祈祷,明天就会加害于你。这就是两个典型的pun

  He is not a grave man until he is a grave man.

  They pray for you today and prey on you tomorrow.

  国外一个网站评选的2003年十大pun,下面是其中的三个例子,如果您能看懂、听懂,肯定会觉得pun很有意思。

  He drove his expensive car into a tree and found out how the Mercedes bends.

  他违章超速驾驶,结果将昂贵的名车撞到树上,他终于看到他的奔驰车(Mercedes)是怎样撞弯(bends)的。这句话的幽默之处是将Mercedes Benz(奔驰车)中的Benz,故意改写成bends

  Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

  这句话乍一看,好象是说:时光像箭一样飞逝,水果像香蕉一样飞逝。其实这句话后半部分的真正意思是:果蝇喜欢吃香蕉,也就是fruit flies/like/a banana

  A bicycle can't stand on its own because it is two-tyred.

  这句话的表面意思是:自行车自己站不起来,因为它只有两个轮胎(two-tyred)。而这句话的另外一个意思是:这辆自行车被它的主人骑了很长时间,它现在太累了(too tired)。

  怎么样,pun是不是很有意思?我下面再列出三个pun,但不告诉您意思,请您自己琢磨一下。如果您能琢磨出来,那说明您的英语水平已经很高了。

  She wore a new hairpiece every day and was considered a big wig.

  Old math teachers never die, they just become irrational.

  When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.

美国大学生最常见的语法错误

在下面的十组例句中,第一句是病句,第二句则是改正过来的句子。

  一、句子之间缺少过渡性的单词或词组

   Salmons swim upstream, they leap over huge dams to reach their destination.

   Salmons swim upstream, and then they leap over huge dams to reach their destination.

  二、省字号(')的滥用

   the government's plan

   the plan of the government

  三、代词之间的性、数、格不一致

   Everyone has their homework.

   Everyone has his (or her) homework.

  四、主句与从句的顺序不当

   Some of the new dot-com millionaires found out the party was over, after the NASDAQ value dropped by over two thirds.

   After the NASDAQ value dropped by over two thirds, some of the new dot-com millionaires found out the party was over.

  五、双重否定

   Barely no one noticed that the pop star lip-synched during the whole performance.

   Barely anyone noticed that the pop star lip-synched during the whole performance.

  六、修饰语、插入语的位置不当

   The forest fire, no longer held in check by the exhausted firefighters, jumped the firebreak.

   No longer held in check by the exhausted firefighters, the forest fire jumped the firebreak.

  七、意义含糊的先行词

   The band members collected his and her uniforms.

   The band members collected their uniforms.

  八、介词和冠词的滥用

   The project of the government reduces the costs of production of the private firms.

   The government project reduces the production costs of private firms.

  九、句子缺少成分

   When aiming for the highest returns, and also thinking about the possible losses.

   When aiming for the highest returns, investors also should think about the possible losses.

  十、忘记断句

   I do not recall what kind of printer it was all I remember is that it could sort, staple, and print a packet at the same time.

   I do not recall what kind of printer it was. All I remember is that it could sort, staple, and print a packet at the same time.

谈谈广泛阅读与英文写作

  对于绝大部分中国学生来说,学习英文写作似乎只是为了一个目的——应试。的确,从基础的中、高考,到大学英语四、六级,乃至高阶段的TOEFLIELTS,研究生入学考试等等,写作一直是必考的内容之一。为了应付这些考试,同学们不得不机械地背诵大量程式化的词组、句子、甚至是范文。这种做法也许能在短期内提高我们的应试能力,可长此以往,英文写作势必会重蹈历史的覆辙,演变成又一种八股文,这是我们所不愿意看到的。那么,怎样才能真正提高自己的写作能力呢?我想最根本的方法只有一个:阅读,而且是广泛的阅读。

  其实,中英文写作在很多方面是相通的。关于阅读和写作的关系,中文有很多俗语:读书破万卷,下笔如有神。熟读唐诗三百首,不会做诗也会吟。等等,英文同样如此,只有读得多了,见得广了,才能写出精彩的东西。

  要读书,读些什么内容呢?首当其冲的,是文学作品。经过时间考验的文学作品里,凝聚着一门语言的精华。掌握了这些精华,把他们变为自己的血肉,你就掌握了写作的精髓。有的人也许要问:英语的文学作品岂止成千上万,我应该选择哪些来读呢?,给大家一个建议,从简单的开始读起,不要开始就读莎士比亚、乔叟、弥尔顿。对于新东方三级的学生来说,从《简·爱》、《傲慢与偏见》这种难度的书开始会比较适合。此外,大家可以根据自己喜欢的风格,选择不同的作家来读。喜欢幽默,可以读马克·吐温的小说;喜欢简洁,读培根的散文;喜欢铿锵有力,读蒲柏的英雄双韵诗;喜欢优雅,读王尔德的童话……对不同的风格有广泛的涉猎,一定会对自己的写作大有裨益。除了上述的这些内容,我们还要特别注意学习语言背后的文化。比如希腊、罗马神话,基督教知识等等。举个例子,表达致命的弱点这个意思,一般同学都知道用“fatal weak point”,可如果你知道用“Achilles heel”这样一个源自希腊神话中的短语,就会显得与众不同。

  当然,提高写作水平还可通过别的很多方法,在此就不一一赘述。最后我想强调,一周一次的写作课教给大家的东西是非常有限的,只有通过自己不断地积累和体会,我们才能真正做到学有所成。

三篇短文和一个老外的评语

第一篇: Oops, think I forgot

There was a company with a good reputation. My brother, a senior, wanted to work there. Up to the last interview, he had done well and made a good impression on the manager. If he passed the last "barrier" ? interview ? he would be the only lucky one and his dream would come true.

The day came and my brother went for the interview by bike with his gloves on because of the cold weather. After entering the office, he drew off his gloves and put them on the side table. The interview began.

The manager asked him a lot of questions and my brother answered smoothly. My brother was very satisfied with what he had done and went out of the hall with confidence and delight. On the way home, he felt cold and realized that he had left his gloves behind. So he hurried back to take them.

The next day, the spokeswoman of the company told my brother that he had not been accepted because of the gloves he had forgotten. "It shows that you are not careful enough," said the spokeswoman.

By Yu Erlong, Shanxi

第二篇: Not very easy to get

SPEAKING for an inexperienced sophomore, me, 25 yuan per hour is really a great temptation. So without hesitation, I was on my way to make a fortune. I used to think it was easy getting a job as a tutor. However, it couldn't have been worse than this time.

I was seated in a hard and cold chair. And over piles of books I finally saw my student ? a big boy who seemed very unhappy with my visit. Giving me an indifferent look as a response to my "hello," he sat down impolitely with his Walkman on.

The father ordered me to take out my certificates. Having examined every line, he insisted that I take a test so that he could judge by himself.

Anyhow, I finished the test. With a red pencil in hand he began to check the answers. I really wondered who on earth was the teacher, as he was checking it time and again regardless of his son's obvious impatience.

"OK." He finally raised his eagle eyes. "Your accuracy is 90 per cent." "Is that enough?" I asked.

"It's enough. But don't you think your reading speed is low and ..."

"And Sir," I couldn't help interrupting him. "It's also enough for me to not have to bear this here."

I stood up and went away, leaving him astonished.

By Zhang Rui, Tianjin

第三篇: Mistaken identity

MY first job-hunting moment ? the worst ? is still fresh in my mind.

The office building was huge and it took me quite some time to figure out where the elevator was before I could get to the door of the studying abroad consulting company. I had already
made it halfway inside the office when I remembered to step back and knock at the door. Only one employee raised his head, so I headed for him. "I wonder if you need a translator or interpreter?" was the mosquito's voice that slipped from my throat. Even I myself didn't know what I was talking about.

As his routine, he welcomed me and inquired about which country I was interested in. Three minutes later, he finally found out what this shy and blushing girl was doing there. Then he gave me a glass of water and showed me to the manager who had overheard our conversation. My trembling hand spilled out some water just as the manager approached from behind. I looked up and saw a frown and a serious face ? Jesus ? it was my former English teacher! "Oh, it's you!" he blurted out.

I was so ashamed.

By Zhu Ye, Beijing

以下是一位老外的评语:

What makes an essay stand out

WHEN one reads a lot of essays, as I do, the problem is that they tend to blur into each other. So I am always looking for something that makes a particular piece of writing stand out from the crowd; something that makes it different or special.

Unless they are numerous, or make understanding difficult, I usually ignore spelling mistakes or grammatical errors, at least at the first reading. These are things that can be edited out. What I am looking for is a sense that the writer has control over his or her material and over the structure of the ideas being expressed. I am also looking for accurate, sensitive and appropriate observations of life.

Let us look at the three essays published this week about the experience of job-hunting ? a tough business that can sometimes be cruel. All three essays, as it happens, tell stories of failure, though they do so in different ways. What was it that made them stand out for me?

In the first, the writer's control of language struck me. The story is simple, though it has a cruel ending, and the writer has told it in simple, straightforward language without any unnecessary embellishment. Notice how few adjectives and adverbs there are. The weather is simply "cold." This is enough to explain why the brother was wearing gloves and it would not have helped the story to have added anything.

The essay also shows control of the ideas and structure; a plain narrative that is concluded by the critical event. The writer has sensibly avoided putting any moral lesson or commentary at the end. It is quite clear to the reader how the brother must have felt and the stark and almost brutal ending speaks for itself ? no expression of regret, unhappiness, or complaint about the cruelty of life. None is needed. My one criticism of the essay is the choice of title, "Forgetting the gloves shows carelessness." I think this is too explicit and takes away from the surprise ending. It would have been better simply to call it "The gloves" and left the reader to wonder what the connection between gloves and job-hunting was.

The second essay stood out because of the sudden and very unexpected twist to the story ? an apparent success which is then rejected. Again, the writer has controlled her story well and kept the ending simple and effective. Notice once more the relative absence of adjectives, with only one that is metaphorical ? "eagle eyes." All the others are factual descriptions, giving the basic information that makes the story "real."

Finally, the third essay. The overall structure of the story is quite well controlled, though the logical links between individual events could be improved. For example, the employee "showed her to the manager", so she was going towards him, but then the manager "approached from behind." Finally, she "looked up and saw a frown", which again suggests that she was facing him. But these are errors that can be corrected with careful thought. What really made this essay different from all the others was a single phrase that leapt off the page at me? "mosquito's voice." This phrase, unexpected and metaphorical, shows precise observation of life. It clearly expresses a complex set of features in the way the writer spoke. Think of the nights when you hear the high-pitched whine of a mosquito in the dark. You don't know where it is and you flap your hands madly trying to hit it, but usually without success. Now think about the writer: Her voice was high-pitched, from nervousness probably, and she probably had the feeling that it came from somewhere else and was not under her control ? just like the mosquito. A striking and very effective image that lifted this essay out of the crowd for me.

By John Hilton

The author is a professor of English at the University of International Business and Economics. He has worked in China since 1995.

如何才能写出通顺的英语作文

英语写作是语言应用的一个重要方面,也是语言能力测定的重要手段,衡量写作水平的标准便是看其是否能用学过的语言材料,语法知识等用文字的形式来表达描述。

书面语言表达一般分为三个过程:思维、组织、表达。先是思维,把要写的东西在脑中思考,这往往是个别的,孤立的一些素材,很凌乱琐碎;因此要对此进行组织,把这些思维作出整理,使其条理、系统化,但这还是较粗糙的,可能还有一些用词不当或语言错误;最后才是表达,把组织过的材料仔细推敲,确无问题了再落笔成文。在撰写时要注意主谓语一致,时态呼应,用词贴切等,这就是写作。上述的三个过程,最难的就是第三个过程,这需要我们有较好的语法知识,掌握一定数量的句型,习惯用语,熟练的写作技巧,这样才能写出通顺生动的文章来。

总之,要提高英语写作水平,需要两方面的训练:一是语言基础方面的训练,要有扎实的造句、翻译等基本功,即用词法、句法等知识造出正确无误的句子;二是写作知识和能力方面的训练以掌握写作方面的基本方法和技巧。那么,究竟怎样才能写好作文呢?  

阅读优秀范文  

首先要搞好阅读。阅读是写作的基础,在阅读方面下的功夫越深,驾驭语言的能力也就越强。所以要写好英语先要读好英语,在语言学习方面狠下苦功,教科书要读透,因为教科书中的文章都是一些很好的范文,文笔流畅,语言规范,精彩的一些课文段落要背诵。再就是要进行大量课外阅读,并记住一些好文章的篇章结构。  

加强练词造句训练  

其次,要加强练词造句的训练。词句对作文相当于造房的材料,无好材料就造不出好房子。平时在学习阅读时要注意收集积累,把好的词语、短语、句型做好笔记。平时在练习中的错误也要做好记录,再对照正确句子,使地道的英语句子如同条件反射,落笔就对。  

了解英语写作格式  还有,要了解英语写作的不同体裁与格式。可以先看一本介绍英语写作入门的书,对英语写作有一个初步的概念,如怎么写议论文,如何提出论据,如何展开,如何确定中心句;又如,英语信的格式,如何根据不同身份写不同结束语等,然后根据不同的体裁进行写作练习。  

用英语写日记  

要养成记英语日记勤练笔的好习惯。经常用英语记日记,等于天天在练笔,这无疑是提高英语协作的行之有效的好办法。在记日记时,不要总是用简单句,要有意识地用一些好的词组、句型、关联词和复合句等,使文句更优美生动。还有要按照题目或所给情景写文章练笔。写好后对照范文,找出差距,然后再练习,这对提高英语作文也很有帮助,在游泳中学会游泳,只有多练习才能练好。  

总之,平时学习语言素材积累多了,体裁格式记住了又经常练习不断提高,到作文下笔时就会得心应手,水到渠成。  

修改和润色作品

在修改文章的过程中,你迟早要碰到下面两种情况:或者对写出的作品非常满意,并希望下一稿会更好;或者发自内心地认为写得不好,并对下一步感到茫然。不管你是哪种感觉,下面的问题会从头到尾地帮助你完成文章。 

  内容
1
、你想说的最重要的事是什么?如果已经说出来了,在草稿中找出这段话,并在句子下面划线。如果还没有说出来,现在就写。 
2
、文章里所写的每件事都同主旨相关吗?哪个部分你不需要?如果你写的是当你在银行实习时,意识到自己宁愿成为一名核物理学家,那么坐地铁上班这段话就显得十分没有必要了。 
3
、你做到具体化了吗?如果发现自己只是泛泛而谈,那么就把一般变为具体。
4
、你有没有思考并回答读者最想问的问题? 
5
、你的文章是否像你的人?有没有在陈述自己时过于正式?是不是过于随意?寻找一种适合主题的语调(乏味的语调会毁了一个好故事)。 
6
、文章中最令你满意的是什么? 
7
、文章中最令你不满的是什么?哪一部分还不对头?要使它和文章其他部分一样好,你能做什么?

  趣味 
8
、你开头的第一个句子能否抓住读者的注意力?如果你是读者,它能吸引你吗?14岁时,我家搬到了吉隆坡是否同他们把大货车开过来,上面装着各种各样的箱子。我的东西被他们无情地扔进里面,直到空荡荡的房间里只剩下我一个人。我们又搬家了。一样吸引人? 
9
、你的文章是否需要更多的细节?举例来说,如果你已经写了在你志愿服务的野营地里,孩子们教会你欣赏生活中简单的事情,你还需要再多写一到两句话,详细描述一下这种教育意味着什么。 
10
、结尾能让读者们感觉文章已经写完了吗?结束语听上去像是结束语吗?在一篇写自己从错误中汲取教训的文章里,一个总结性的概括,不如某些发自内心的简单写法具有感染力。 
11
、大声地读你的文章,相信自己的耳朵。你认为这篇文章有趣吗?如果自己都觉得它令人厌倦,想想读者的感觉! 

  清楚 
12
、是否每个段落在文章中都有明确的位置?如果不是,就需要做些删除或改写一下。
13
、你的读者能轻松地跟上你的思绪吗?有没有需要填充的裂缝或者需要删除的不必要的迂回?
14
、有没有一些词或句子显得粗糙或模棱两可?如果有,删除模棱两可的词,加工粗糙的地方。

  简洁 
15
、你的文章到底是从哪里正式开始的?能否把那些引导性的句子删除,直接进入主题?
16
、有没有和主题无关的细节?如果有,删掉它们。 
17
、是否用了很多的词语,其实用一到两个词就可以完全代替?我要告诉你们的非常重要的一点是,我申请的只有贵校一所学校,那是我从童年开始形成的一生的渴望。这是一个无比冗长的句子,不如改为:我只申请了艾莫利大学,因为我一直都想进这所学校。记住,在一篇短文里,每一个字都要有意义。 

  用法和风格
18
、你把所有的旧词、过时的词都删掉了吗?
19
、你用没用主动语态和动作性很强的动词? 
20
、对句子的长度和结构进行过修改吗? 
21
、有没有用到描述性的词和比喻的手法? 
22
、是否避免了使用空洞的修饰语,如“very”“rather”“somewhat”等等?
23
、如果使用了缩略语,它们是否和文章的风格统一?省略号的位置对不对?

  语法 
24
、主语同动词单复数是否一致?
25
、代词与先行词是否一致? 
26
、代词指代明确吗?(尤其要注意的是“this”“that”
27
、修饰词的位置是否靠近被修饰词? 
28
、有没有悬垂结构或放错位置的修饰语?
29
、动词的形式同时态及语态一致吗? 
30
、有没有逗号重叠的情况? 
31
、有没有发现不完整的句子?

  标点符号
32
、标点符号是否明确地划分开句子结构? 
33
、所用的标点符号,如省略号、冒号、波折号、分号、逗号、括号、连字号、引号等是否正确? 
34
、是否尽量不使用惊叹号?(合适的词语比惊叹号在表达上更为有效) 

  技巧 
35
、大写字母是否用得正确并前后呼应?
36
、数字使用是否相互对应?(十以前的数字最好用拼写的方式,十以后的数字用符号代替。如果搞不清楚,就全用符号表示。) 
37
、每个词都拼写正确吗? 
38
、因篇幅所限需要分开的词分得是否正确? 
39
、你的文章是否打印得整洁?版式是否吸引人? 

  校对 
40
、有没有丢掉的词或行? 
41
、有没有打字错误?  

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