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Welcome to the Composition Wikibook, where you can learn about the skills required for various kinds of composition writing and can practice planning, drafting, redrafting and proofreading compositions.
- 1 Things to remember before you get started:
- 2 Format
- 3 Audience and Purpose
- 4 Plan
- 5 Draft
- 6 Review
- 7 Organize
- 8 Redraft
- 9 Proofread
- 10 Editing Pages in this Wikibook
- 11 Advice on Style
- 12 Guidelines for Proofreading (First Draft)
- 13 Planning
- 14 Newspaper Article (First Draft)
- 15 Letter to a Newspaper: Cyber Cafes (First Draft)
- 16 Reply to Letter of Complaint: Practical Skills
- 17 Letter to a Friend Looking for Work (First Draft)
- 18 Letter to a Friend Looking for Work (Second Draft)
- 19 1998 Section E Practice: Task One
- 19.1 Poster 1
- 19.2 Poster 2
- 19.3 Poster 3
- 19.4 Conclusion
Things to remember before you get started:
Writing should be seen as a process that involves several stages, from formulating your ideas through planning, drafting, redrafting and proofreading. An in depth guide to process writing is available at: Rhetoric and Composition Wikibook. The focus in this wikibook is on practical exercises to provide students with opportunities to apply the writing skills that they can learn about by following this and other links in the book.
Be aware of the layout which you are expected to use when writing for different purposes. The layout of a formal letter to a newspaper will be very different from that of a postcard to your best friend.
Audience and Purpose
Make sure you have a good idea of who you are writing to/for and why. Are you trying to persuade, argue, inform, advise, or narrate a story? Are you writing to someone you know well or someone you have never met? Are you writing to someone in a position of authority, or as someone in a position of authority? To one person or many?
Plan. Decide on the main ideas that you want to include and the order in which they should be included. This can be done in the form of a list, but a mind-map may be more helpful. Traditional outlines work well for longer essays.
More about mind maps: Wikipedia Mind Map Article
Write a rough draft. Get your ideas down on paper (or onto your computer) as quickly as possible. Remember, at this stage your writing doesn't have to be perfect - so don't get stuck on how to form the ideal phrase.
It helps at this stage if you remember the golden rule of writing: KISS: "Keep it simple, stupid!"
The following guide is very useful for helping you to keep your writing clear, simple and to-the-point:
Read through your work. Underline places where grammar or phrasing seems awkward, where you feel you could add more detail or description, or where you feel it would be more effective if you were more concise. While doing this, try to imagine that you are the person for whom the writing is intended. If you received this piece of writing in the post, saw it in a newspaper, or had to hear it being delivered as a speech, would it make sense to you? Would you respond positively to it?
Do you overuse any particular words or sentence patterns? Using a variety of linking phrases and sentence structures - i.e. simple, compound and complex sentences - will make your writing more varied and less boring.
These guides will help: Sentence Types Guide and Exercise
Sentence Types - Guide and Quiz Bonesaw
A thesaurus such as www.thesaurus.com can help you to avoid repeating words, but be careful that you are choosing alternative words that have the right tone and fit the context.
Ask yourself: is the writing coherent (does it make sense when you read it)? Does it have a beginning, a middle and a conclusion? Does each paragraph focus on one main idea, clearly marked by a topic sentence (the first sentence of the paragraph- it explains what the rest of the paragraph will be about) and the effective use of linking phrases? If it doesn't, fix it!
Go through the parts of your work that you have underlined and rewrite them. You should do this as often as possible.
Check for grammar and spelling mistakes. Sometimes it helps if you do this by working backwards from the bottom of your composition. That way, your attention on proofreading is less likely to be distracted by the flow of ideas.
Editing Pages in this Wikibook
The sample compositions in this Wikibook are rough first drafts. They contain many errors and need to be extensively edited and enhanced. Please do not make changes to improve the first draft - but rather, do your editing work on the most recent draft on the screen. As many students may be working on these compositions at the same time, please edit by selecting the section you wish to edit and then clicking the edit icon on the right hand side of the screen directly above it. Please do not edit by selecting 'edit this page' at the top of the screen, as this will make it difficult for other people to work on the compositions at the same time as you.
Advice on Style
Keep your writing simple. Each sentence should contain one main idea. Sentences do not need to be long or complicated in order to do this.
Write complete sentences.
Avoid pretentious, silly language. Try not to use a long and difficult word when you can express the same idea more clearly with a short, easy word. Try not to use unusual, confusing metaphors.
Avoid biased, opinionative writing. Report objectively on events and let the facts speak for themselves.
Avoid the passive voice unless you have to use it.
Avoid obsequious, lengthy acknowledgments of advisors, teachers in charge of activities and so forth.
Avoid exaggerating or lying. Do not write simply for the sake of filling space. If there is very little to say about something, then say very little about it.
Avoid writing anything rude, offensive or vain.
Many of these ideas are taken from George Orwell's essay, Politics and the English Language - a must read for anyone interested in writing professionally. Read the essay here: 
Here’s an example of bad style:
A touch of lipsticks, a pat of powder on our so beautiful faces, eyebrows plucked, hairs all in place. A final look into the mirror: perfect faces for the evening. Dressing in lavish, shimmering gowns, as beautiful as angels on the tops of Christmas trees, the F. 5 girls sallied forth into the Conrad International Hotel for the celebration of their magnificent schooldays. There was an air of excitement filling the air in addition to the scrumptious aroma of the exquisite selection on the buffet counter. It was the much anticipated Graduation Dinner.
Far better would be:
The F. 5 Graduation Dinner took place on Friday, 26th June in the Harbour View Ballroom of the Conrad International Hotel, where graduating students enjoyed a sumptuous buffet. The F. 5 girls wore formal evening gowns for the occasion, and also put a lot of effort into preparing their hair and make-up. Everyone looked splendid.
The stamp-collecting club has as its aim and objective to promote interest in stamp-collecting. Although being the co-ordinator of stamp-collecting club has not been an easy task for me because of I had to organise many activities that related to stamp-collecting, but I learnt about leadership skills. This has been a very fruitful year for our club and all our members successfully collected stamps. I would like to thank my members for their eager stamp-collecting skills and my dearest vice-chairlady, secretary and PRO for their tireless efforts in trying to assist me in running this important activity. Also, we must express our sincere and heartfeltest gratitude to our teacher advisor, Mr. Terence Stamp. Without you our club would not have been so successful!!! We LOVE you, Mr. Stamp!
This would be far better:
This year has been very successful for the stamp-collecting club. We were able to attract more than 50 students to join the club, and our increased membership has made it possible for us to organize a wider range of activities than in previous years. Students particularly enjoyed the visit to the General Post Office in December and the talk on first-day covers by Mr. Wally Tang, the chairman of the Hong Kong Philately Society, in March. We are very grateful to Mr. Stamp for his help in organizing these activities.
Guidelines for Proofreading (First Draft)
(Please do not correct this version - work on the latest draft.)
Tips for Proofreading
Cross out of unnecessary words. Mark the position a missing word with an upside down letter y. Then write the missing word above symbol. Underline words which need to be changed. Then write the correct words above it. If a sentence is correct, write a tick beside it. Pay attention of mistakes like wrong prepositions as well as the watching out for unnecessary articles. Look out missing prepositions, too. One of the mistakes are likely to be subject-verb agreement. Next most common mistake is a missing article. You are also likely to notice of unnecessary prepositions. Is easy to spot missing pronouns and you should also spot The use of plural noun instead of singular nouns Or when the examiner had used the wrong tense. Try to read through the passage for several times. Each time you can focus at a different kind of mistake. Remember to make changes which change the meaning and that the passage should be logically inconsistent. Remember that because the proofreading task is at the end of the paper, you should never allow sufficient time to complete them.
Guidelines for Proofreading (Second Draft)
Tips for Proofreading
Omit unnecessary words. Mark the position of a missing word with an upside down letter v. Then write the missing word above the symbol. Underline words that need to be changed. Then write the correct words above. If a sentence is correct, write a tick at the end of it. Pay attention to mistakes like wrong prepositions as well as watching out for unnecessary articles. Look out for missing prepositions, too. One of the mistakes is likely to be subject-verb agreement. The most common mistake is a missing article. You are also likely to notice unnecessary prepositions. It is easy to spot missing pronouns and you should also spot the use of plural instead of singular nouns or when the examiner has used the wrong tense. Read through passages several times. Each time you can focus on different kinds of mistakes. Do not make changes that alter meaning. Passages should be logically consistent. Although proofreading occurs at the end of the paper, prepare appropriate time to complete it properly.
How would you turn these rough notes into compositions?
A Person I Admire
Where can you find answers to these questions? How would you make sure that you present the information in your own words? Stephen Hawking - Scientist (what discoveries?) - Overcame disability (which one? how long? how severe?) - Background - where born? when? what did he study? family life? - Why I admire him: What we can learn from his example:
My Favourite Restaurant
In what order should the points be made? How would you divide this into paragraphs? How can you use descrip[tion to make the place sound appealing? When I visited: Service: Atmosphere: Name of restaurant: Decoration: Value for money? Who should go: Types of food: Location:
Draft your answers here:
A Person I Admire
A Person I Admire: David Beckham
I admire David Beckham because he is very handsome and his football skills is (s/v agreement) very good!
As he gets older, he finds that his good looks can only carry him this far. Moving to LA to play football was a strange move, especially (spelling) since soccer is hardly a popular sport in the US. Was that a publicity move instead? Perhaps he and his skinny wife wants to get into Hollywood? Perhaps he should rely on his mean goal kicks...... In short, I admire (why past tense?) David Beckham. (is this conclusion just a repetition?)
This makes a few interesting observations, but a lot is missing - an outline of his career and specific details about his achievements, for example. For a piece of writing on why you admire Beckham, it also seems rather negative!
My Favourite Restaurant
Newspaper Article (First Draft)
(Please do not correct this version - work on the latest draft.)
A Dog Jumped Into A Pool
On Friday 29th April there was swimming gala. All the students cheering for there house and singing school song when someone shouted that she can see a dog. And that dog jumped into the swimming pool. Then Mr. Jones was very brave he was the announcer for the swimming gala and he saw the dog swimming in the pool.
Immediately he didn’t think and he jumped into the water to rescue the dog. After that the dog was very afraid and bit him so he had to go to hospital. A doctor told us that Mr. Jones bit the dog and drank the water in the swimming pool. Mr Jonnes is lucky because the St John’s Ambulance workers could bring him out the pool. Or he would drown.That naughty dog ran away.
Also some students were chewing gum at the swimming gala. People who live near the park complained to the police because the cheering teams were very noisy.At last, Jupiter came first with 650 points. Yeah! Jupiter Forever!
Newspaper Article (Second Draft)
This has fewer grammar mistakes, now, but does it have the right tone for a newspaper article? Is it unbiased and objective? Does it have all the important information for a news story? Could some less important information be left out?
Dog Bites Teacher at Swimming Gala
A dog attacked a teacher April 29 during the Marymount swimming gala at Victoria Park public pool. The incident took place as students cheered and sang for their respective houses. Witnesses, including the victim, Mr. Jones, claimed they saw the animal jump into the pool and swim.
Mr. Jones said the frightened dog bit him after he jumped into the pool to save the animal. Jones was transported by ambulance to ABC hospital, where staff treated his wound and cleared his lungs of excess water.
Furthermore, some students were cheering too loud during the swimming gala. People who live near the park complained to the police that the Marymount cheering teams were very noisy, disturbing them. The principal punished the whole school after the swimming gala. At last, Jupiter came first with 650 points. Obviously the students of Jupiter are strong and good.
Letter to a Newspaper: Cyber Cafes (First Draft)
(Please do not edit this version - work on the latest draft)
I am writing to express my views towards the increasingly common of cyber cafes, karaokes and electronic game centres. According to the violent cases happened recently in a cyber cafe, two form three students were being injured. Although no people died in this accident, we should not ignore the bad effects behind.
For computers, we cannot live without being insulated with them. If students got addicted to lingering in cyber cafes, and enjoy exposing too much to the computer world, infers that less time will be spent on students’ own studies and this may cause low incentive in studying. Following will be poor performances at class, appalling results in exams and poor relation with teachers. Instead of entertaining, they should focus more on their academic.
Secondly is about the problem of health. The number of students are found to be buried themselves in cyber cafes. Cyber cafes are usually found in the old buildings or in some of the commercial buildings. There is no window found. As a result, the ventilation of air is poor enough to cause the non-smoker feel sick. According to my biological knowledge, breathing in too much smoke disposed from the cigarettes would become more easily to be suffered from cancer. Another problem is the safety. Many cyber cafes are opened without lifeguard equipment. This can be fatal if fire accident happens.
As there is a new cyber café opens near my school, I decidied to go there to a try. The services of the waiters were bad, and the food, Oh my god! You just can’t put them into your mouth, they were not for humans. Due to the reasons there were someone stearing at us, we therefore keep silent. When I passed through the kitchen I saw crouchates everywhere. (What I think is I’m in a black shop!)
When we decided to pay the bill, to our surprised it costed as almost $80 per person, even they said to have discounts.
Moreover, children under 18 are inquisitive during purberty and may get some wrong and indecent knowledge from computer. We should give a correct guidance to youngsters. And they should be forced to ban any pronographic webpage. This is not just a need, but a must.
Students may know some bad guys in the internet, too. Many bad businessmen make good use of the trend and do guilty things. They do not concern about students. There will be stealing, bullying and sexual disturbance. Government must monitor cyber cafes inorder to avoid these people to control the cafes leading to any other crimes.
Letter to the Newspaper - Cyber Cafes (Second Draft)
This is improving, but there are still many grammar mistakes and problems with awkward, unidiomatic phrasing - I have highlighted these. Could the message be conveyed more simply and directly? Is there a clear conclusion?
I am writing to express my views about the increasing number of incidents which happen in cyber cafes, karaoke bars and electronic game centres. According to (wrong expression) the violent cases (missing pronoun)happened recently in a cyber cafe, two form three students were injured. Although nobody died in this accident, we should not ignore the bad effects behind. (wrong expression)
We cannot live without computers.However, if students get addicted to lingering in cyber cafes, and enjoy being in the computer world, this will interfere with students' studies and they will have a lower incentive to study. This will also lead to poor performances in class, unsatisfactory results in exams and poor relationships with teachers. Instead of entertainment, they should focus more on their studies.
Secondly is (what is?) about the problem on (wrong preposition) health. Students are found to be burying themselves (sounds a bit extreme!) in cyber cafes. Cyber cafes are usually found in old commercial buildings. There aren't any windows (is this always true?). As a result, the ventilation of air (can anything other than air be ventilated?) is so poor that (missing subject)causes the non-smokers to feel sick. According to my biological knowledge, (do you need to sound so technical?) breathing in too much smoke disposed by the cigarettes (is it? how would cigarettes do this?) would be likely to suffer (parallelism: who would suffer? from lung cancer. Another problem is safety. Many cyber cafes are opened without lifeguard (sounds like they are swimming pools!) equipments. This can cause fatal (word form) if fire accidents happened. (awkward: one word is redundant and the tense seems wrong) Bold textSECOND IS THE PROBLEM OF HEALTH.STUDENTS OFTEN FOUND THEMSELVES BOURING IN THE CYBERCAFE.CYBER CAFE USUALLY HAVE NO VENTILATIONS AND NON SMOKERS OFTEN FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE AS IT HAS NO WINDOW AND IT IS IN COMMERCIAL COMPLEXES.SOMKING IN PUBLIC PLACES CAUSES LUNG CANCER TO MEN.SAFETY IS THE OTHER THING WHICH THE CYBERCAFE DOESNOT HAVE AS IT OFTEN OPEN TOWARDS SWIMMING POOL AND HAVE NO LIFE SAVING EQUIPMENT CAUSING ACCEDENTS.
As there is a new cyber café opened (stick to subject+verb+object) near my school, I decided to go there for a try (wrong expression). The waitors (spelling) are (tense) unfriendly, and the food, Oh my god! (tone) You just can’t (tense) put them (agreement with uncountable noun) into your mouth, they were certainly not for humans! Due to these reasons (which reasons, there was someone staring at us, we therefore kept silent. When I pass (tense) through the kitchen (seems unlikely that they'd let you!) I saw cockroches (spelling) everywhere.
When we decided to pay the bill, to our surprise it cost us almost $80 per person, even (missing word) they (who?) said to have discounts (awkward).
Moreover, children under 18 are inquisitive during puberty and may get some wrong and indecent information from the internet. We should give suitable guidance to youngsters. And any pronographic (spelling) webpages should be banned. (sounds too formal and general - not specifically related to cyber-cafes This is not just a need, but a must (is there a difference?).
Students may know (wrong word) some bad guys (tone) through the internet, too. Many bad (in what sense? are they incompetent?) businessmen make good (really?) use of the trend and do guilty (wrong word) things. They do not concern (should be passive) about the students. Thery commit crimes like stealing, bullying and sexual disturbance (parallelism). The government must closely monitor cyber cafes in order to avoid (wrong word) crimes.
Reply to Letter of Complaint: Practical Skills
Please do not correct this version:
Dear Mr. Kwok
I am sorry about you are unhappy with your holiday in your letter on 5th September but I think that we have some misunderstandings. You recently went on one of our tours to Cebu and you can only say you had a terrible time and hold our company responsible, but isn’t this unfair?
Some of those matters are beyond our control. First of all, the flight was delayed and the airline and airport should be responsible for that, so we are sorry about the inconvenience this caused to you. Also, you can’t expect us to make the weather sunny while you are on holiday. Didn’t you know August is the rainy season in Philippines? Anyone could have told you that. Then, we don’t decide how much duty to pay – the Hong Kong Government is responsible for this and information is provided in every duty free shops. We are sorry about that and will try to prevent this from happening again in future. Finally, we didn’t lose your luggages. When you saw that you should have reported to the airport staff immediately. If I were you, I would read the back of my ticket more carefully next time. ______________________________________________________________________ Unfortunately, you didn’t read our tour pamphlet as it states that economic transport is being offered. We apologise that we did not fly first class because it is not economical enough and group member wants to have single room preferred must pay $500 in advance because this is the low season price. According to our records you are male and 41 years old but you are not allergic to seafood because other passengers can remember to make a special request such as Muslim no pork and vegetarian single room etc. but not you.
Tours and excursions have to pay 24 hours advance, so if you cannot. Perhaps if you don’t like seafood you shouldn’t go to Cebu next time as our brochure stated that you can have your breath taken away by the corals and enjoy nightly seafood barbecues, succulent shrimps and lobsters fresh from the sea. ______________________________________________________________________
Let me refer you to our medical policy about your doctor in Cebu with an old kidney problem. It states that all members of the tour are covered by a group insurance policy but the policy does not cover any illness or medical conditions known to the tour members before the tour, and the insured must pay the first $1000 himself. The insurance company will pay any further receipted expenses up to $50000 and in the event of death will pay up to $80000 in funeral expenses, but since you are not dead and your doctor charged you less than $1000 this is not necessary.
Finally, I would like to apologize to the tour guide about he has been incredibly rude and nasty to you. We have taken appropriate disciplinary measure, but when we fried him he told us you are a real pain, that nobody liked you and that you never stopped complaining. Don’t you know that you are on a cheap low season package? I am sorry that you are frustrated, but everyone else was happy and reasonably priced.
Please correct this version:
Dear Mr. Tai
We are sorry that you are unhappy with your holiday in Cebu as stated in your letter on 5th September. However, having read your complaints I think that you may have some misunderstandings about the nature of the tour and our liability to you.
We would like to point out that some of the matters which you complained about are beyond our control. First of all, while we regret the inconvenience caused by the flight being delayed, the airline is responsible for this, so if you wish to seek compensation for the delay, you should pursue the matter with the airline rather than with us. Also, the weather is clearly not something which we can be held responsible for. We have already included the weather facts of the Philippines in 'Guide Book to the Philippines' which has stated very clearly that the Philippines has heavy rainfall in summer, so that our customers can be awarded of it. And we assumed that it was clear enough for our customers. We will be more considerate in the future and will make sure that everyone who goes on the tour is clearly awarded of that.
The Hong Kong Government decides how much we need to pay for stamp duty and this information is provided at every duty free shop. Finally, when you realised that you had lost your luggages, you should have reported to the airline ground staff immediately. This information was printed on the back of your ticket.
Unfortunately, you did not read our tour brochure as it states that the economy class is being offered. We apologise that we did not provide the first class flight, but it's clearly stated in our brochure that if customers wish to make an upgrade to their transportation, booking should be done 24 hours in advance, and it also states that if group member wants to have single room, they would have to pay $500 as a supplement. According to our special requests list, there are no special requests being made by you. Special requests should be made if you have any sorts of food allergy, or have other requests such as requesting for a single room etc. in advance.
We regret to tell you that you are not eligible to get the refund of the medical service related to your kidney problem. As stated in the medical policy note issued before departure, any illnesses or medical conditions known to the tour members before the tour will not be covered. As your condition is an old problem, the insurance company does not have the responsibility to cover the cost in this case.
Finally, we would like to apologize for the rudeness of the tour guide. Your feedback of the tour has been taken into consideration and we have already taken appropriate disciplinary measures. We are sorry that you are frustrated.
Letter to a Friend Looking for Work (First Draft)
(Please do not edit this version. Make changes to the latest version. I have highlighted some of the things that need to be fixed.)
Hi there! I’m Chris. How are you? I know that you are studying overseas but plans to return to Hong Kong during the summer holidays to look for a summer job and not sure how to find a suitable one. Is it right? It cannot be denied that this is a crucial decision. My dear Pat, I hope you will allow me to be frank: the moment I read your letter it became apparent to me that you are at a critical turning point in your life and, to coin a phrase, you are on the horns of a dilemma. I hope that what I have to tell you will assuage your anxiety.
First, for what types of jobs are suitable. I think you can become a salesman because if you work in a department store or a shop, you can meet a lot of people in the society. Or if you work as an assistant officer, it may be a good choice because you are comfortable to work in an office. You are good at English, Geography and Mathematics and passed your GCSE successfully. You can be a tutor and teach the younger children. Or you can work as a surveyor for the Lands Department during the summer holiday.
Then, how to get them. Hong Kong is suffering an economic depression and unemployment rate becomes higher and higher. Even university students can’t find a job for their living. Don’t expect it to be easy to get those well paid jobs. But if you tried hardly, I think you can get some jobs that are suitable to you.
First, you must decide what is your interest and ability. You must apply a job that suits these. Look on the newspaper for adverts of the recruitment session or visit to the Labour Department. Write a CV which says your qualification and experiences. If you are asked to conduct an interview, remember to dress up smartly and do researches about the company. Remember to ask about training opportunity and your promotion prospect. (in a summer job?)
About which ones should be avoided. First of all, if you are just returned from studying overseas, I don’t think you know enough about local culture – so don’t get a job as a tourist. Reject those jobs like modelling agencies that ask you to pay a training fee before you start work. Many teenagers are attracted for this and it is a trap. And don’t take up those black jobs like sell private CDs. You don’t want to hold a criminal record at your age.
Good luck with finding for a job. Please contact me when you arrive in Hong Kong. Then, we can find for a job together. I am looking forward to receiving your reply. Thank you for your kind attention.
Yours sincerely, (are you writing to a friend?) Chris Wong
Letter to a Friend Looking for Work (Second Draft)
This is much better than the first version, but there are still occasions when the tone is condescending and unfriendly, when phrasing is awkward, or when excessive use of cliches makes the letter sound silly. Also, is the advice realistic, given that the letter is supposed to be about temporary summer jobs?
I hope that you are doing well and that you have been having a good time in London. Have you finished your A Levels yet? In your last letter, you told me that you are planning to go back to Hong Kong during the summer holiday to look for a summer job. Unfortunately, you aren't sure how to find a suitable one. It cannot be denied that this is a crucial decision. My dear Pat, I hope you would allow me to be frank: the moment I was reading your letter it became apparent to me that you are at a critical turning point in your life and, to coin a phrase, you are on the horns of a dilemma. I hope that what i am going to tell you will comfort you.
First, you should look for jobs that are suitable for you. I think you can be a saleswoman because when you are working in a department store or a shop, you will have a lot of opportunies to meet a lot of people in the society. Being an assistant officer is also a good choice. You can work comfortably in an office. If you are good at English, Geography and Mathematics and passed your GCSE successfully, you can be a tutor and teach those young children. Or you can work as a surveyor for the Lands Department.
Then, how to get them. Hong Kong is suffering from an economic depression and the unemployment rate is becoming higher and higher. Even university students can’t find a job to make their living. Don’t expect you will easy to get those well paid jobs. But if you tried hardly, I think you can get a job that is suitable to you.
First, you must decide what are your interests and to consider your ability. You must apply for a job that suits you most. Look for the recruitment session in the newspaper or visit the Labour Department. Write a resume which includes your qualification and experiences. If you are being interviewed, remember to dress up properly and do some research on the company.
About which one should be avoided. First of all, if you are just returned from studying overseas, I don’t think you know enough about local culture – so don’t get a job as a tourist. Reject those jobs like modelling agencies that ask you to pay a training fee before you start working. Many teenagers are attracted to this but it is a trap. And don’t take up those black jobs like selling private CDs. You don’t want to hold a criminal record at your age.
Good luck with finding a job. Please contact me when you arrive in Hong Kong. Then, we can find a job together. I am looking forward to receive your reply. Thank you for your kind attention.
1998 Section E Practice: Task One
The artist drew a boy and a girl to draw both boys' and girls' attention to his message. The artist wants to tell everyone not to copy the characters in poster by showing how the boy behaved dangerously and how the girl wore unsuitable clothes.
The artist wants to tell everyone not to dress improperly or drive dangerously on a motorcycle like the boy and girl in the poster.
The careers teacher, Miss So, thinks that some immature students might want to copy the dangerous acts as the artist seems to suggest that the behavior is smart and trendy. She suggests that the artist should redraw the poster to remove this idea.
The English teacher, Mr Fung, similarly criticizes the language used in the poster for being too wordy and complex. He suggests that the caption ought to be simplified as "Dress properly!".
Student questionnaire results
Most junior form students (approximately 80%) like the poster. It was equally popular with junior boys and girls. However, fewer than half of the senior students like the poster. Around 40% of senior boys and only around 25% senior girls like it.
Junior and senior students' comments during interviews
Two of the Junior form students find the words on the poster confusing.
Two senior form students said that they think that the characters on the poster set a negative example for the junior students.
The drawing should be redesigned so as to avoid suggesting that dangerous driving is fun. The artist should rephrase the message to be more direct and simpler.
The artist wanted to show that young people should be actively involved with road safety and they should set a good example for others to follow.
The careers teacher, Ms So, understands the artist's messages of drawing attention to the difficulty that many old people have when trying to cross a busy road. However, she feels that the helpful teenager should not be only a girl, boys should be included also. The English teacher, Mr Fung, thinks that the caption should be rewritten as he's not sure who is saying it and it's not appealing.
Student questionnaire results
The poster appeals more to the senior forms. A clear majority of senior boys and girls like the poster, while a majority of junior girls and about a quarter of junior boys like it. Within both the junior and senior forms, there is a higher percentage of girls liking the poster than of boys.
Junior and senior students' comments during interviews
Most junior and senior students think that the aim of the poster is to show that girls are helpful but boys are not, instead of showing the importance of road safety. Some students think that the poster contains elements of sexual discrimination. The message of the poster is not clear for junior students.
The poster should be redesigned so that it shows both girls and boys being helpful. The caption should be rewritten as well to show that road safety is important for everyone.
The artist shows teenagers not paying attention to useful advice. The artist wants to point out that everyone (including students) should learn about the importance of road safety.
The careers teacher, Ms So, thinks that it is not fair for the teacher to only scold girls as both boys and girls are not paying attention in the poster. The caption suggests that only the girls need to pay attention in class, which is also discriminatory against girls.
Mr Fung, believes that the poster should clearly state that it is a road safety lesson, and because the wording of the poster is biased, it distracts people from the intended meaning.
As the artist wants to bring out the importance of road safety to both boys and girls, both teachers think the caption is inappropriate and should be changed.
Student questionnaire results
The results of the questionnaire show that more boys like the poster than girls do. There are fewer than 50 percent of boys and nearly 20% of girls in the junior forms who like the poster. In the senior forms most students dislike the poster. Only around 20% of boys and 10% of girls said that they liked it.
Junior and senior students' comments during interviews
Some students seem to think that the message brought out by the poster is rather unclear and confusing. They don't know whether the point of the poster is about 'road safety' or about 'paying attention in class'. They also seem to think that the poster contains elements of sexual discrimination, as the teacher emphasizes that it's the girls who have to pay attention and they asked why this did not apply to both boys AND girls?
The caption of the poster should be changed so that it doesn't have a biased implication. Also the wording should state clearly the subject of the poster, which is road safety.
Based on the above findings, poster 2 would be the most suitable as it was the most popular poster among students according to the questionnaire, and both teachers liked it more than the other designs. However, it needs to be improved by redesigning the picture to show that both boys and girls can contribute to road safety and rephrasing the caption to show that everyone should be involved.