The typical pattern that English writers follow is to say something fairly general and then to give more specific information to prove, illustrate, or explain that general statement.
EXERCISE 1: SPECIFICS
Look at the following pair of phrases. In each pair; which item is more specific?
EXERCISE 2: SPECIFICS
Arrange each of the following groups of phrases from most general to most specific. In the space following each phrase, enter a for most general, b for in between, or c for most specific.
1. waving hands
2. giving money to charities
donating one hundred dollars to the March of Dimes every year
3. Casa Gallardo
an ethnic restaurant
a Mexican restaurant
4. communicating with more than just words
using gestures while talking
talking with more than just words
EXERCISE 3: SPECIFICS
In each of the following pairs of statements, mark the more specific one.
la. She arrived at the dentist’s office and sat in the waiting room looking nervous. lb. She arrived at the dentist’s office and sat in the waiting room biting her nails.
2a. A North American professor visiting Brazil soon realized that Brazilian attitudes about time were more flexible than hjs own. 2b. When you visit a foreign country, you may find that what you consider polite or impolite behavior is not the same as what the people from that country consider polite or impolite behavior.
3a. When you visit a foreign country, you may be surprised to realize that many attitudes which seem natural or inherent in human beings differ from one culture to another. 3b. When you visit a foreign country, you may find that what you consider polite or impolite behavior is not the same as what the people from that country consider polite or impolite behavior.
4a At the restaurant last night, the salad dressing was rancid and the buns were like rocks. 4b. The food at the restaurant last night was as bad as I have ever tasted.
5a. A good language class is one in which students are not afraid to ask questions. 5b. A good language teacher knows how to create the right atmosphere for learning.
EXERCISE 4: SPECIFICS
Read the following paragraph on nonverbal communication in Taiwan. (1) Every culture has its own rules about nonverbal communication among the members of its society, and the Chinese are no exception. (2) The Chinese believe that they have to keep a distance between people, whether they are strangers or friends. (3) For example, the Chinese consider that it is rude to stare at a stranger be- cause this will make the stranger feel that he must have done something wrong. (4) On the other hand, the Chinese seldom smile at a stranger they meet either because they believe that they should never trust a stranger. (5) This distance among people carries over to nonverbal forms of communication among friends. (6) Thus, according to old Chinese traditional culture, the Chinese do not accept embracing as a way to show friendship or kissing as a way to show love. (7) Although Chinese have the same kinds of emotional relationships as people do in any other culture, the Chinese are careful to maintain physical distances among themselves.
On the following scale, rank each sentence of this composition by number according to how general it is. Is the sentence more general, more specific, or about the same as the sentences before and after it? The first two sentences have been done for you.
Most general: sentence 1
More specific: sentence 2
Did these sentences become increasingly more general or increasingly more specific, or did specific and general ideas alternate in some pattern?
STUDENT WRITING A
Talking to native speakers gives the language learner a good chance to practice the language in real life. In other words, being in another environment gives the learner...