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Writing 4


Background information (hook + connecting information) + Thesis statement (to state your view)

I. Some common ways to provide BACKGROUND INFORMATION before writing the Thesis
1. Telling an anecdote or example  starting with an interesting story to get the reader’s
2. Asking a question  asking one or more questions at the beginning of an essay to lead the
reader to the topic right away
3. Giving facts or statistics  using some facts or statistics to establish credibility
4. Citing a quotation  quoting an authority (famous people) / an article / a person, or using
an interesting proverb
5. Moving from general to specific  starting with a general statement about the importance
of the subject
6. Starting with an opposite  giving an idea or situation that is the opposite of the one you
will develop
7. Explaining the importance of the topic to the reader

II. Read the following introductory paragraphs and say how (= by what techniques) the
general statements are written.
[1] Do movies and television programs affect our behavior? A special concern is whether
movies and TV programs make children and society more violent. I believe that they do
influence our behavior, both for the better and for the worse.
[2] In any house now you can find the so-called “couch potatoes” lying on the sofa watching
TV. The TV set is their friends and their dear relatives – they do not need to communicate
with anyone else. I, therefore, believe that television is harming human relationships.
[3] I remember my childhood as being generally happy and can recall experiencing some of
the most carefree times of my life. However, I can also remember, even more vividly,
moments of being deeply frightened. As a child, I was truly terrified of the dark and of
getting lost. These fears were very real and caused me some extremely uncomfortable
[4] Experience, not theory, has taught me the truth of the popular saying, “Two heads are
better than one.” With two people working together, tasks tend to be completed more
quickly, a wider range of skills is brought to the job, and most importantly, production
[5] One student looks at his neighbour’s exam paper and quickly copies the answers. Still
another student sneaks a sheet of paper with formulas written on it into the exam room.
According to a national survey, 40 per cent of American teenagers would cheat in the exam
rooms. Why? Most students cheat on tests because they are pressed to get high scores,
because they want to graduate without much learning, or simply because they are not
concerned with honesty.
[6] Stress is said to be the consequence of a busy life. Nobody likes it. Everybody tries
different ways to chase it away. Some are successful, but many others fail. Although people
often react to stress in harmful ways, there are many positive ways to handle stress.
[7] Karate, which means the art of empty hands, is the most widely practiced of all the
martial arts. It is primarily a means of self-defence that uses the body as a weapon for
striking, kicking, and blocking. Originating in the ancient Orient, the art of karate is more

Writing 4


than 1,000 years old. Over the years, this ancient art has gained much popularity, and
today karate is practiced throughout the world. More than a method of combat, karate
emphasizes self-discipline, positive attitude, and high moral purpose.
[8] What is the biggest problem facing our company? – Employee morale. And low morale
means low productivity. Since many of our employees are parents with heavy

responsibilities at home as well as at work, having the option of working at home a certain
number of hours each week would be sure to raise their morale. It would raise their
productivity as well.
[9] “Remember, Carla, you must always be true to your dream!” I can still see my Grandma
smiling as she said this, her sharp eyes gazing intently into mine. It is because of what
Grandma taught me that I was able to realize my dream of becoming a dancer.
[10] Over the past forty years, television sets have become standard pieces of equipment in
most homes, and watching television has become a standard activity for most families.
Children in our culture grow up watching television in the morning, in the afternoon, and
often in the evening as well. Although there are many excellent programs for children,
many people feel that television may not be good for children. In fact, television may be a
bad influence on children for three main reasons.

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