Advanced Writing Course: Week 2 Reflection

5-6/13 Week 5 & 6 Summary: Grammar to Make Sense and Choice Advanced Academic Writing: Tips and Ideas

Good day everybody! Hope you’re having a great weekend now. Just like last week, I’m going to briefly wrap up the week by summarizing what we’ve learnt and done in Week 2.

The focus in the coming weeks before our first assessment on 22 October is on summary writing. In Class 1, I explained what the skills of summarizing are important in academic writing. It is, because you cannot simply dragging and dropping others’ words to your essay, mainly because the essay has a word limit and you’ve got to make space for your own ideas. And of course it’s also because of the issues of plagiarism — you won’t want to get into this trouble (un)intentionally.

More broadly, in the first class we also had some discussion on a recent social phenomenon, namely “cancel culture”. Of course we aren’t having a very in-depth talk about it — at least not in very technical or theoretical ways — but through the discussion, hopefully we can build some relevant awareness about the topic, and the vocabulary for talking about it.

In Class 2, the focus shifted towards building a paragraph. I talked about the structure of a Schaffer paragraph, the parts of which have different functions. We then narrowed down to writing topic sentences, or what I called “paragraph openers”. It’s important to set the topic and tone with it, so that the reader has a rough picture of what will be described or reasoned in the paragraph.

The grammar of paragraph opener is quite straightforward. I emphasized that you don’t have to be too creative at this stage, for it’s important for us to set things up properly now. The sentence structure for it is simple, which is typically in the “Subject + linking verb + Subtopic” form, so that the reader understand what your argument in the paragraph is straight away. In a nutshell, it’s not the sentence that is complex, but the noun group, not in terms of the “difficulty” of the words within, but that it contains a lot of different components surrounding the “head noun”.

That’s it for now. I’ve included a few materials with this week’s content. Make sure you go over them, and get ready for our new venture next week!

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