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Class Supplement, TOEFL Essay, One aspect of my hometown I would like to change

2011年12月18日

☆Writing Topic
Suppose that you had the power to change one thing about your hometown. What aspect of your hometown would you like to change, and in what way? Support your ideas with specific details and reasons.

☆Let’s Think
If you are bothered by the presence of a huge factory in your hometown every day, it is easy for you to find a topic for this essay, but as it is said that every bird thinks its own nest charming, it is often not easy to think of things to be improved about your hometown. To find it, becoming an outsider might be one way of finding the answer. That is to remember other towns and cities you know and compare them with your hometown. Is your hometown as beautiful as they are, as convenient as they are, or as exciting as they are? Another way is to think of your ideal town and find what your hometown lacks to be it.

Here are some things that can be the hint for the change you could write about:
1. facilities: hospital, community center, library, swimming pool
2. system: events, neighborhood watch group, disaster planning
3. environment: green, pollution, littering, relationships, manners

Now let’s ask ourselves some questions about the change and answer them.
1. Problem: What is wrong?
e. g. Senior citizens do not have places to get together. Some of them gather at local coffee shops but it is rather expensive to do it every day.

2. Goal: How would you change it?
e. g. I would make all coffee shops in town free to the elderly and also have them have nurses and counselors on call. The expenses would be subsidized by the municipal office, in other words, tax money.

3. Expected Benefits: How will it benefit my hometown?
e. g. All seniors in town will have chances to enjoy themselves, their safety and health can be monitored easily, and the fact that my town has places for the elderly is something to be proud of in itself.

☆Essay for Ideas and Expressions Barron’s Writing for the TOEFL iBT, pp. 247-248
If I could change one thing about my hometown, I think it would be the fact that there is no sense of community here. People don’t feel connected, they don’t look out for each other, and they don’t get to know their neighbors.

People here don’t feel connected to the community. They come and go a lot. They change jobs frequently and move on. This means that they don’t put down roots in the community. They don’t join community organizations and they don’t get involved in community issues. They don’t participate in the schools or try to beautify the neighborhoods. They don’t feel like community members.

People don’t try to support others around them. They don’t watch out for each others’ children or check in on elderly neighbors. They may not know if a neighbor loses a loved one. There’s not a lot of community support for individuals.

Neighbors don’t get to know each other. When neighbors’ children ride their bikes through someone’s garden, there’s not casual, friendly way of mentioning the problem. A simple problem becomes a major disagreement.

My hometown is a nice place to live in many ways, but it would be much nicer if we had that sense of community.

☆To increase the volume of your essay, find the shortest paragraph and …
1) describe/develop the main idea well: If a paragraph has only one or two sentences, chances are that you have not described/developed well enough. Make sure that each paragraph has its main idea, supporting details (examples), conclusion, and additional supporting details like counter-argument treatment if necessary.
2) describe/develop each sentence well: A statement usually has some exception or needs some condition or concession. Look for a sentence that you can add a reason, condition, concession, or any other additional information, and add “except …”, “as long as …”, “although …”, etc.
3) describe words well: Which of the following sentences gives a clear picture of someone’s pet? A) I have a pet. B) I have a cute cat. C) I have a little fluffy kitten. With two adjectives and a specific noun, Sentence C) depicts an adorable pet well and it happens to be the longest of the three. Also, use transitions such as Fist, Also, Moreover, Therefore when necessary.
4) discuss other choices: Even if the Writing Topic does not say, “Discuss the two views” or “Compare and contrast the choices,” you can write about other choices. Doing so will make your essay more convincing and longer. Make sure that you do not digress.
5) take up counter-arguments if necessary: While you are writing, sometimes a counter-argument, “Well, but what about this case?” comes up to your mind. Then it is better not to ignore it but take it up and give a counter-counter-argument or two. By doing so, you can confirm your argument. If you can do it well, you will get a high score.

The key to remember is to try to put what you want to say into words as accurately as you can. Then you cannot help adding some more words and sentences, and some more… In the end, your essay will have many words.

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