GP & O level English tuition: The right word at the right place

Excerpt from General Paper GP lesson / O level English notes (copyright: Knowledge Skills LLP)


In the past, many students would not engage in expository writing unless doing the General Paper. However, with the increasing focus on expository writing for the new 1128 ‘O’ level English Syllabus, banking on just the narrative is a risky option.

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Part 3: Word choice and phrasing
A common mistake by students when producing an expository essay is the misassumption that they are producing a factual report.  Such essays seemingly ignore the key goal of producing a pursuasive and well-supported argument and focus more on regurgitating facts.

To produce a distinction quality expository essay (be it for GP or EL1128), the use of correct nuancing is key.
The right word at the right place enhances and clarifies the argument and in turn, ups your ‘language marks’.

Consider the following simple examples:
Sentence A: Singaporeans do not care about the environment.
Sentence B: Singaporeans do not care sufficiently about the environment.
Sentence C: Singaporeans, despite considerable efforts by the government, do not care enough for the environment.

(Marker’s mindset tip:) Sentence A tends to get marked with such comments as “Sweeping statement” or “Inadequately supported”. Unless backed by sufficient evidence, the use of such cateogorical statements often penalises the student.

For Sentence B: The insertion of the word “sufficiently” is useful for several reasons:
1. It highlights to the marker that the student is aware that while Singaporeans care for the environment, it is not sufficient. It is a marked difference from the assumption inherent in Sentence A.

2. By inserting this idea of insufficient concern, it allows the student to smoothly develop the subsequent idea of the various ways of how care is shown for the environment and why they are insufficient.
In addition, marks are awarded because it shows a logical transition from the topic sentence, provides a relevant follow-through and
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[ End of Excerpt ]
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