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Class Supplement, TOEFL Essay, A traditional house in the countryside or a modern apartment in a city?

2012年3月8日

Writing Topic
What sort of setting would you like for your home, a traditional house in the county or an urban apartment building built in a modern style? Use specific reasons and details to support your choice.

☆Let’s think
Some questions make you wonder which planet you are on now. How many people actually want to live in either of these types of setting? A really traditional house in the country which still remains now in this industrialized world is an old farm house, often without electricity, in a remote area suffering from depopulation, and people who live in such places are elderly people whose children have left them to work in cities. Also, as most population of the world concentrate in urban areas, if you want to live in a city and still want to live in a decent apartment which can be described as modern, you have to work 25 hours a day and have little time to enjoy to your heart’s content the latest movies or exhibitions that are showing next door unless you are born with a silver spoon in your mouth. Neither can be a romantic, which-lifestyle-would-you-prefer setting.

Of course, these are the negative images of the two settings given in this writing topic. Now let’s see what kind of positive images we are supposed to develop from them. They are two ultimate images of ideal homes. Would you like to have a relaxed life close to nature or would you like to spend every day in an atmosphere that stimulates all of your senses? Which do you prioritize in your life, nature or civilization? Which would you prefer, an idyllic setting or urban setting?

Note: This question starts with the word “What,” not “Which.” You do not exactly have to choose either of these diagonally opposite types of places to live. Write, “Honestly, I would like to live in a high-tech mansion in a resort,” the mixture of both. However, since all kinds of settings can be more or less grouped into either of the two, this writing topic can be dealt with as a choice question. Thus, writing about both settings would be a good idea.

☆Hint for points
Brainstorm characteristics of each choice, juxtaposing them point to point.

Traditional house in the country
environment: full of nature, good for the health
lifestyle: relaxing, slow, monotonous
convenience: low prices, life based on automobile transportation, safer
relationship: intimate, warm, carefree, relaxed, down-to-earth, conservative
people: same kind of people, many relatives

Modern apartment in a city
environment: constantly changing, noisy, polluted
lifestyle: relaxing, slow, monotonous exciting, fast-paced
convenience: safer many means of transportation
varieties of shops, restaurants
many hospitals, schools, cultural facilities
relationship: dry, individualistic
people: people with many different backgrounds, interesting, open-minded, freer, progressive

☆Two ways of dealing with opposite ideas (Two types of body structures for a choice question)
Choose either of the following two ways of dealing with opposite ideas, and make a framework of the body of your full essay. It is one idea of efficiency to write the framework of the body and develop it first, and then add the introduction and the conclusion.

♦Comparing points
You write about both ideas comparing and contrasting them point to point.
e.g.
Point 1: Comparison of the environment, convenience, and security
Point 2: Comparison of the leisure activities
Your preference (choice)

♦Developing images of each choice
You write about each idea separately.
e.g.
About living in a traditional house in the county
About living in an urban apartment building built in a modern style
Your preference (choice)

The framework of the body of your full essay

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