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Arts & Letters Daily

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Report: Description

Writing a Description

Description

Notes

A description has two main features: organization and key words. First, readers look for the organization of a text. Does it follow a logical order (first, second, third, last; a, b, c; before, after); describe an arrangement in space (near, far, top, bottom, center, distant, close); focus on the most notable features (important, significant, noticeable, outstanding) ; or report on the importance of events and/or people?

Second, a description focuses on the use of key words such as appealing to the senses (sight, sound, touch, smell, taste); selecting powerful and colourful words related to the topic; referring to things that are familiar to the readers; or personalizing events and people.

To many people, description seems to be the most natural kind of text. Anyone should be able to write a description – just say it the way you see it. Well, not really. Writers who write descriptive text need to follow certain structures and use certain key words so that readers can understand what is written.

The answers to the assignments on Description are subject to a certain degree of interpretation. Consequently, the answers are not always obviously right or wrong. The purpose of these activities is to understand the features of descriptive paragraphs.

Sample

Red River Valley Snowfall

It is hard to imagine the amount of moisture that accumulated in the Red River Valley. In early Fall of 1996, heavy rains saturated the Valley. Then came the early blizzards in November. By April, seven blizzards had dropped 83 inches of snow on Grand Forks. Very little snow melted during the extremely cold winter weather. In April, a combination of a blizzard and ice storm deposited an additional two to four inches of water. A city, which normally gets between 35 to 40 inches of snow a year had reached a new record of 98.6 inches. Everything now depended on the melt rate.

Template: Description

  • Introduction

It is hard to imagine the amount of moisture that accumulated in the Red River Valley

  • Organization of the text

– In early Fall of 1996

– Then came the early blizzards

– By April, seven blizzards had dropped 83 inches

– In April, a combination of a blizzard and ice storm

  • Key words

– cold and wet season and pending disaster.

– heavy rains saturated

– blizzard

– 83 inches of snow

– extremely cold weather

– combination of blizzard and ice storm

  • Conclusion

Everything now depended on the melt rate.

Assignment

Read the following paragraph and complete the template below.

Concorde

The Concorde is unique in aviation history. Britain and France built 20 of these delta-winged aircraft. They had four powerful engines which produced an average cruise speed of more than twice the speed of other aircraft. Concorde began regular flights in 1976 and continued for 27 years. It flew regular transatlantic flights from London and Paris to New York and Washington DC. Concorde was the fastest airliner in the world. It set speed records for flying around the world. Because of one crash in July 25, 2000, Concorde stopped flying. The last flight took take place on November 26, 2000. After all these years, Concorde is still unique in aviation history.

Template: Description

1. Main idea

____________________________________________________________________________

2. Select the organization used in the paragraph.

  • Follow a logical order (e.g., first, second, last); (a, b, c;); (before, after)

_____________________________________________________________________________

  • Describe the arrangement in space (near, far; top, bottom; centre, distant, close)

________________________________________________________________________________

  • Focus on the most notable features (important, noticeable, significant, outstanding)

_____________________________________________________________________________

  • Relate the importance of events and people

_____________________________________________________________________________

3. What kind of key words were used in the paragraph?

  • Appeal to all the senses (see, hear, feel, touch, smell)

_____________________________________________________________________________

  • Select specific words (adjectives, adverbs, nous, active verbs)

_____________________________________________________________________________

  • Refer to things that are familiar to the readers

_____________________________________________________________________________

  • Personalize events and people

_____________________________________________________________________________

4. Conclusion

_____________________________________________________________________________

Assignment

Writing Assignment: Description

Write a paragraph in which you present a description on a topic of your choice. Complete the template below to ensure that you have included all aspects of a description. Submit it to your teacher or tutor for feedback. Then edit your paragraph based on the feedback you received.

Template: Description

1. Main idea

____________________________________________________________________________

2. Selct the organization used in the paragraph.

  • Follow a logical order (e.g., first, second, last); (a, b, c;); (before, after)

_____________________________________________________________________________

  • Describe the arrangement in space (near, far; top, bottom; centre, distant, close)

________________________________________________________________________________

  • Focus on the most notable features (important, noticeable, significant, outstanding)

_____________________________________________________________________________

  • Relate the importance of events and people

_____________________________________________________________________________

3. Wat kind of key words were used in the paragraph?

  • Appeal to all the senses (see, hear, feel, touch, smell)

_____________________________________________________________________________

  • Select specific words (adjectives, adverbs, nous, active verbs)

_____________________________________________________________________________

  • Refer to things that are familiar to the readers

_____________________________________________________________________________

  • Personalize events and people

_____________________________________________________________________________

4. Conclusion

_____________________________________________________________________________

Answer Key

Description

Write your answers in the spaces provided

  • Main idea

The Concorde is unique in aviation history.

  • Select the organization used in the paragraph.

–       Follow a logical order (e.g., first, second, last); (a, b, c;); (before, after)

Concorde began regular flights in 1976 and continued for 27 years … Because of one crash in July 25, 2000, Concorde stopped flying … The last flight took take place on November 26, 2000.

–       Describe the arrangement in space (near, far; top, bottom; centre, distant, close)

_____________________________________________________________________________

–       Focus on the most notable features (important, noticeable, significant, outstanding)

four powerful engines which produced an average cruise speed of more than twice the speed of other aircraft.

Concorde was the fastest airliner in the world. It set speed records for flying around the world.

–       Relate the importance of events and people

_____________________________________________________________________________

  • What kind of key words were used in the paragraph?

–       Appeal to all the senses (see, hear, feel, touch, smell)

____________________________________________________________________________

–       Select specific words (adjectives, adverbs, nous, active verbs)

delta-winged aircraft, powerful engines, cruise speed, transatlantic flights

–       Refer to things that are familiar to the readers

____________________________________________________________________________

–       Personalize events and people

____________________________________________________________________________

  • Conclusion

Concorde is still unique in aviation history.