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JABATAN PENDIDIKAN NEGERI JOHOR

2016

FIVE STARS
SPM
ENGLISH
LANGUAGE
MODULE

COMPILED BY:
RAMESH A/L RAMASAMY
RAHMAH HJ SAYUTI
HO YAT CHIN

TABLE OF CONTENTS

SECTIONS

HOURS

PAGE

A. SENTENCES AND
PARAGRAPHS
i)
Showing sentences vs.
Telling sentences
ii)
Paragraph Power
B. DIRECTED WRITING
i)
Tips and Guidelines
ii)
Formats
iii) Analysis of Past Years
Questions
iv) Marking Criteria
v)
Elaborating Your Points
vi) Putting it Together

3-10

11 -29

C. CONTINUOUS WRITING
i)
Analysis of Past Year
Papers
ii)
Marking Criteria for Band
A&B
iii) Tips for Scoring High
Marks
iv) Sample Essays:
- Narrative (1) & (2)
- Descriptive (1) & (2)
- Argumentative (1) & (2)
v)
Practices: Before & After

30-49

D.I)
ii)

95 common synonyms
Idioms

50-56

SECTION A
SENTENCES AND
PARAGRAPHS

SENTENCE TYPES

The best way to improve your writing is to use a variety of sentence


structure
Variety of sentence structure is used to avoid monotony and to make the
writing more interesting and meaningful
How do you do that? By using
simple sentences
longer sentences
sentences with joining words
sentences with different beginnings
Simple sentences
There is one main idea and one verb
It was raining heavily.
I was frightened.
I started running fast.
***Writing a long series of short sentences will make your writing
jerky and choppy. It will also tire the reader thus make the reader
lose interest towards your writing.
Longer sentences
Aini was not allowed to leave the classroom. The teacher was busy
in the office. She had to get permission from the prefect on duty.
As the teacher was busy in the office, Aini was not allowed to leave
the classroom unless she got the permission of the prefect on duty.

I was on my way home from school. I saw thick black smoke. It was
coming from a burning house. I saw people rushing out with their
belongings.
While I was on my way home from school, I saw thick black smoke
coming from a burning house. People were rushing out with their
belongings.

Construct sentences with joining sentences such as conjunctions to make


ideas flow smoothly and combine two independent thoughts, giving both
equal strength and importance.
Linking a whole string of complete sentences with conjunctions will make
the paragraph monotonous and boring to read, so it is advised to have
varied paces in your writing as some parts can be slow moving while
others might be fast paced.
Short sentences for action and excitement
I sensed that someone was following me. I turned around. There
was no one there. Again, I heard the thud of boots. So, I quickened
my steps. My heart started beating fast.
Longer sentences for slow-moving events
Only an hour ago I had celebrated my twenty-first birthday and now
he was gone. I knew that I would never see him again but why was I
still waiting for his phone call? I hugged my mother and cried
uncontrollably. We will never see him again but the memory of those
wonderful times we had would forever be embedded in my mind.
Using sentences with different beginnings :
Using one / two adverbs
Using verb-part openers
Using the ..ing opener ( Gerund )
Using infinitives as openers

SHOWING SENTENCES VS TELLING SENTENCES

Show Me, Dont Tell Me is an approach to writing a more vivid


paragraph as it breathes life and energy into any story.
A reader would want to see how the characters in a story come alive and
controls the attention of the reader. When you tell a storyit may seem
mundane or boring.
Telling sentences tell us something and gives general, non-specific and
often vague ideas
They do not involve the reader and these type of sentences are written in
a dull and lifeless manner.
Telling is the wrong way of communicating facts to the reader.
So if telling is not an effective way of writinga good writer should use
showing sentences.
Showing sentences show us - they describe the scene and actions,
they help us see by using clear, specific details to create clear, strong
pictures in our minds.
Showing sentences will get the reader to experience the story as if the
reader is there participating in the story.
Nowlets look at some examples
touch
Telling Sentence

Showing Sentence

Jack was afraid.

As the footsteps tapped closer and closer,


Jack felt his stomach muscles tighten. He
flattened himself to the wall, the gritty
bricks against his cheek. Jack was afraid.
hear

touch

In the telling sentence, we are given information but in a way that


doesnt involve the reader
In the showing sentence however, the reader is brought in the scene
along with Jack. Here the 5S ( sense of touch, smell, feel, see, hear ) factor
is used
Smell

touch

feel

see

hear

Jack was afraid.

So the secret of a showing sentence is its beautifully simple with specified


details that brings life and stimulates the readers imagination so that the
reader could project him or herself into the scene and become part of the
story.

LETS TRY
Change the telling sentences below into showing sentences
Telling Sentence

Showing Sentence

Hassan thought Zarina was


acting secretively.

Julia was a pretty girl, with blue


eyes and blonde hair.

It was very dark inside.

The pizza was delicious.

The house was haunted

***Use the factor to change the sentences into showing sentences.

PARAGRAPH POWER

Every paragraph should contain the three main elements mentioned below
Topic Sentence
Lets the reader know the topic or main idea of the paragraph
General Statements
Gives general reason to go along with the main idea
Supporting Sentences
Added support and details to enhance a general statement
Paragraphs should also be structured as a BLOT ( Bottom Line On Top )
Topic sentence
Sets up the expectation in the mind of the reader. The paragraph
fulfills those expectations
Key points and supporting details
Concluding sentences
These sentences should lead into the topic sentence of the next
paragraph and remind us of the main point

In order to construct a meaning paragraph and establishing logical flow is the use of
transitions words that logically link supporting sentences in a paragraph
To choose the correct transition words, first determine the conceptual category, then
select the words or phrases.
Transition Category

Transition Words / Phrases

Adding to

also, furthermore, in addition, moreover

Showing sequence

then, next, after, finally


first, second, third
one, two, three

Contrasting

however, nevertheless, in contrast, on the


other hand, conversely

Showing cause and effect

therefore, as a result, consequently, thus for


this reason

Providing examples

for instance, for example

Showing similarity

similarly, likewise

Conclusion

in summary, in conclusion, to sum up, all in


all, all things considered

Transitions are signals, they establish the relationship between concept and paragraphs
to powerfully move the reader from paragraph to paragraph.

Now let us have some practice on how to construct a topic sentence.

1. Topic ( Fast food ) + Main Point ( What will you say about the topic )
8

I will tell you about fast food.


Fast food is bad for your health.

()
()

This is about fast food.


Fast food chains are opening restaurants in Malaysia
and Indonesia.

()

Here I will talk about fast food.


Fast food is getting healthier.

()
()

I will introduce fast food.


Fast food in Malaysia is highly popular.

()
()

()

*** ( x ) with these type of sentences, not much elaboration can be done

A good paragraph contains a topic sentence, general statements, supporting


details and a concluding sentence
Practice 1
topic sentence

general statements

Fast food is getting healthier. Recently, in restaurants such as Mc Donalds,


you can find veggie burgers and salads on the menu. Burger King even has
special menus for people who have to avoid certain food for health reasons. They
list all the ingredients for people to see. Things have really changed for the
better on the fast food chain. Now, when you think of fast food, it does not have
to mean bad food.
supporting details
sentence

concluding

The above paragraph contains the three elements mentioned above. It shows
that a good paragraph will have ample information about the topic supported
with various sentences.
When constructing an interesting paragraph, the writer must think about the
readers :

i. What will they want to know?


ii. How can I make this more interesting?
iii. Can I give them new information or a new view of the topic?

Practice 2

My favourite subject is English. I like to read interesting and exciting literature. Most of all, I
like debates, discussions we are able to have about the things we are studying. There is no class
compared to English.
My favourite subject is English.

- topic sentence

I like to read interesting and exciting literature.

- general statement 1

I like debates, discussions we are able to have


about the things we are studying.

- general statement 2

As mentioned earlier, a good paragraph will consist of a topic sentence, general statements,
supporting details and a concluding sentence. Each general statement should be accompanied by two
supporting statements and transition words or phrases should be used to begin each general
statement. Transitions help the flow of the paragraph and at the end of each paragraph a concluding
sentence must be written.

My favourite subject
is English

exciting literature

general statements

debate / discussion

read lots of different


things

supporting details

hearing others perspective

non-fiction helps
understand history

supporting details

like to argue

concluding sentence

10

SECTION B
DIRECTED WRITING

11

TIPS AND GUIDELINES

Read the question carefully. Identify your task, your role and your audience.

Use the 45 minutes allocated for this question wisely.

Plan your essay and organize your thoughts (this includes what to write and
how to elaborate on points)

Include an introduction and a conclusion and make sure your paragraphs


are well organized.

Use all content points given. It is advisable to cross out the points you have
used, so that no point is left out.

Include points of your own only if you are asked to. Otherwise, do not
waste precious time doing so because you will not get any extra marks.

Elaborate on the points given. Write 2-3 sentences to elaborate on each


point. Remember a crucial aspect of this paper is language and your ability to
write can only be tested if you provide sufficient language for the examiner to
gauge your linguistic ability.

Use a variety of sentence structures so that your essay is not dull and
monotonous.

Always read through what you have written. Correct grammatical, spelling
and punctuation errors before handing in your script.

1. ARTICLE

12

OUR HERO

F1
Title

by Alina

F2
Writers name

F3
....................wishing him all the best for his future. Well
done John!

Ending
(wish/hope)

2. FORMAL LETTER

13

Consumer Club,
SMK Kuantan,

F1
Senders

25000 Kuantan.
______________________________________________________________

&

The Manager,
SKF Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.,

Recipients address

472, Jalan Kuantan,


52000 Kuala Lumpur.
03 March 2014

Date
&

Dear Sir, (ONLY USE THIS)


PERMISSION TO VISIT YOUR FACTORY

Salutation (Dear sir)


(F2)
F3
Title

&

Yours faithfully, (ONLY USE THIS)


David

Signing off (F2)


(Yours faithfully)

David Tan
Consumer Club Secretary (STATE YOUR NAME AND POST)

3. INFORMAL LETTER

14

F1
123, Taman ABC,

Senders address

25000 Kuantan
F2
Salutation (Dear name)
Dear Atilia, (name)

F3
Your friend, (DO

Signing off

NOT USE Yours faithfully)


Betty
4. REPORT
To: Mr Lee
Principal

F1
To

SMK Kuantan
REPORT ON THE SCHOOL SPORTS EQUIPMENT

F2
Title
(REPORT ON)

Reported by,
Lee
LEE LI LI

F3
From
(Reported by

Secretary

& name

Sports Committee

& post)

15

5. SPEECH
F1
Good morning ........

Greetings (Good morning)

I am going to give a speech entitled Healthy


Lifestyle in accordance of Worlds Health Day

F2
Speech title & purpose

F3
......... Thank you.

Ending (Thank you)

ANALYSIS OF PAST YEARS QUESTIONS

Year

Text type

2000

Letter
(informal)

2001

Article

2002

Speech

2003

Letter (formal)

2004

Report

2005
2006

Letter
(informal)
Letter
(informal)

2007

Speech

2008

Article

2009

A Report

2010

A letter
(Informal)

Purpose
To inform mother of choice of present for your
brother and persuade mother to lend you some
money
To inform students on ways of coping with
stress
To inform students about road safety - causes
of road accidents and suggestions to reduce
them
To inform the class teacher about the choice of
class trip
To inform the school principal about the
conditions of the school canteen
To inform a friend about a holiday camp
To convince a friend to run for the post of head
prefect
To tell students about a science reference book
To inform students about a friend who has been
chosen as the Best Group Leader
To inform the Principal of the reasons why
students lack of interest in sports
To tell a cousin the benefits of taking part in
National Service Program

16

2011
2012
2013
2014
2015

Talk
Informal letter
Formal letter
Article

Upgrade skills in first aid treatment to Red


Crescent members
Advising sister who is studying overseas on how
to spend money wisely
A letter of complaint to the town council on the
poor conditions of Bukit Indah recreational park
How to ensure safety in the neighbourhood

Speech

A farewell speech for an English teacher who is


retiring

SECTION A
MARKING CRITERIA
For students to answer this type of question. Attention need to be given to the
marks allocated for various parts of the essay. The ability to determine the
structure of marks will allow students to gain good marks. Based on standard
marking scheme, the allocation of marks for Directed Writing are as follows:
Item
Format
Contents
Language

Mark
3
12
20

Students should realize that these marks are given based on these criteria.
1. Format Students should use appropriate format based on the needs of the
questions.
2. Contents students must use all contents points given and it must be in
sentence form.
3. Language less grammar mistakes ensure higher marks.

BAND

MARK
RANGE

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

19-20

Language is entirely accurate

16-18

Language is accurate

13-15

Language is largely accurate

10-12

Language is sufficiently accurate with patches of clarity

7-9

Meaning is never in doubt- but errors hamper reading

Ui

4-6

Meaning is fairly clear-errors hamper reading

Uii

2-3

Little or no sense

Uiii

0-1

No sense at all

17

ELABORATING YOUR POINTS


Before you even start writing your essay, you should read the question
thoroughly first. Attempting to answer this section without a clear understanding
of the RUBRIC will mean disaster. You should spend some time reading the
question and highlighting the important information.
1. Understand the different parts of the question. Label the parts correctly.

STIMULUS

TASK

SITUATION

Sample Question 2002


Road accidents have been on the increase with more and more young people
becoming victims. Your school has decided to launch a Road Safety Week to
raise awareness among students of the need to be more responsible on the road.
As chairperson of the schools organizing committee, you have been asked to
give a talk to other students on road safety.
Below are some notes you have made on the reasons why road accidents occur
and suggestions to reduce to reduce the number of accidents.
Reasons
speed
reckless driving
tiredness
racing
poor maintenance of vehicles
road conditions
Suggestions

strict enforcement of traffic rules


increase fines
road-worthy vehicles
awareness campaigns
increase age limit for new drivers
suspend driving license

Write out the talk that you would give. When writing out what you plan to say,
you should remember to:
-

address the audience


introduce the topic of the talk
use all the notes above
end the talk appropriately
marks]

[35

18

Before you start elaborating, read the question and complete the F.A.C.T.S below:
ASPECT

INFORMATION

Format
Audience
Contents
Task
Situation

MODEL ANSWER

19

20

NOW YOU TRY!


PRACTICE 1: Informal Letter
Read the question below and complete the graphic organizer. Work in groups.
You have just returned from a three-day outdoor activity camp. You have
decided to write a letter to a friend about your experience at the camp. Write
your letter based on all the notes below
who organized the camp
date of the camp
transport to the campsite
number of participants
location of the camp
accommodation
give two relevant examples of
activities
benefits
problems
When writing the letter you should
remember:
to layout the letter correctly
to use paragraphs
that your letter is to your friend
Before you start elaborating, read the question and complete the F.A.C.T.S below:

21

Know Thy F.A.C.T.S


Format
Audience
Contents
Task
Situation

LEARNING TO ELABORATE CONTENT POINTS


CONTENT
POINT

REWRITE THE POINT

ELABORATE THE POINT

MARK
S

1. Who
organized
the camp

2. Date of the
camp

3. Transport
to the
campsite

4. Number of
participants

22

5. Location of
the camp

6. Accommod
ation

7. Activity 1

8. Activity 2

9. Benefit 1

10.
2

Benefit

11.
1

Problem

12.
2

Problem

23

PRACTICE 2: Report to the principal


(taken from ECP Module)

You are advised to spend about 45 minutes on this section.


Section A: Directed Writing
[35 marks]
[Time suggested: 45 minutes]
Your school has carried out activities for Health and Safety month. Write a
report to your school principal regarding the activities organised. In the
report, you must describe the problem faced and the activities that have
been carried out.
Use the following notes to write your report:
PROBLEMS

dengue fever
dirty toilets
floor
_________________
____________________

- clogged drains
- filthy
-

ACTIVITIES

- practised 3Rs
- cleared clogged drains
- organised Clean-up Day
cut off old, overhanging branches
__________________________________

__________________________________

When writing the report, you must:


- address your report to the Principal
- provide a title
- include your name
- use all the notes given
- provide two more problems and two more activities of your own

24

Before you start elaborating, read the question and complete the F.A.C.T.S below:
Know Thy F.A.C.T.S
Format
Audience
Contents
Task
Situation

LEARNING TO ELABORATE CONTENT POINTS


CONTENT
POINT

REWRITE THE POINT

ELABORATE THE POINT

MARK
S

1. dengue
fever

2. filthy toilets

3. clogged
drains

4. dirty floor

25

5. problem 1

6. problem 2

7. practiced
3Rs

8. cleared
clogged
drains

9. organized
Clean-up
Day

10.
cut off
old overhanging
branches

11.
1

activity

12.
2

activity

26

PRACTICE 3: Informal letter


You have just returned to Kuching from a holiday in Johor. Write a letter to your uncle, thanking him
for the wonderful time you had.
Use the following notes to write your letter.

arrived airport safely


parents there to fetch
thank him - gifts, souvenirs
thank aunty - delicious cooking
wonderful trip - Johor
enjoyed picnic - Kota Tinggi Waterfalls
exciting time - Legoland
shopping - City Square
photos - remembrance
regret not able to stay longer
invite uncle and family - Kuching
tell him latest news

When writing your letter, you must remember:

To lay out the letter correctly [F1- F3]


To use all the points given [C1 C12]
That your letter is to an uncle

Before you start elaborating, read the question and complete the F.A.C.T.S below:

Know Thy F.A.C.T.S


Format
Audience
Contents
Task
Situation

27

LEARNING TO ELABORATE CONTENT POINTS


CONTENT
POINTS
1. arrived
airport
safely

REWRITE THE POINT

ELABORATE THE POINT

MARK
S

I arrived safely at Kuching


International Airport at 10 p.m.
yesterday

2. parents
there to
fetch

3. thank
him gifts,
souvenir
s

I would like to thank you for all


the thoughtful gifts and
souvenirs you bought us.

4. thank
aunty delicious
cooking

Please thank Aunty Lily for her


delicious cooking. It was most
sumptuous and mouth-watering.

5. wonderfu
l trip Johor

6. enjoyed
picnic Kota
Tinggi
Waterfall
s

Firstly, I enjoyed the picnic at


Kota Tinggi Waterfalls. The water
was really cooling.

7. exciting
time Legoland

28

8. shopping
- City
Square

9. photos remembr
ance

10.regret not
able to
stay
longer

Nevertheless, I regret not being


able to stay longer. But fear not,
Ill be back!

11.invite
uncle and
family Kuching

12.tell him
latest
news -

Before I pen off, I would like to


tell you the latest news. Our
family pet, Snowball, has given
birth to eight kittens.

29

SECTION C
CONTINUOUS
WRITING

30

Continuous Writing
[50 marks]
i)

Analysis of Past Year Papers; SPM 1119/1: Section B

Write a composition of about 350 words on one of the following topics.


Yea
r

Descriptive

201
5

(1) Describe
what makes
you happy and
explain why.
(2) Honesty is
always the
best policy.
Describe an
experience
when this was
true for you.

201
4

(1) Describe an
important
family
celebration
and how you

Argumentative

Factual

Narrative

Social networking
has caused a lot
of problems. How
far do you agree?

Why is having
good
neighbours
important?

Write a story about


someone you know
who took a big risk
and had a good
result. Begin your
story with:
Everybody said
that the plan would
never work. It was
far too risky

There is a lack of
freedom given to
teenagers today.
Do you agree?

Why are
animals
important to
human
beings?

Write a story about


a fisherman
beginning with:
"The wind blew
strongly. Out at

One
Word

Imaginative

31

201
3

felt about it.


(2) 'A friend in
need is a
friend indeed.'
Describe how a
friend helped
you in difficult
time.

sea, ..."

'Truly
Malaysian.'
Describe what
this means to
you.

Reality shows

(1) Write a story


about being alone.
(2) Write a story
that ends with: "...
and so I became a
better person."

Is tuition
necessary?
Discuss.

201
2

Describe an
outing with
your friends.

Should parents
give children
more freedom?
Discuss.

Saving money
for the future.

Write a story
beginning with:
"The teacher
walked into the
classroom. It was
the first period ..."

201
1

A famous
person you

Should school
students have

The best
things in life

Write a story that


ends with: "... They

Cleanline
ss

Peace

32

admire.

part time jobs?


Discuss.

are free.

201
0

Describe the
most popular
student in your
school.

"The internet is
mostly a good
thing." Do you
agree? Support
your opinion.

What can we
do to save the
environment?

200
9

Describe an
unforgettable
incident that
you saw on
your way
home from
school.

School children
should not have
long holidays. Do
you agree?

200
8

Write about a
person who
has succeeded
in life.

Examinations good or bad?

My favourite
day of the
week.

looked at each
other and smiled
meaningfully."

Write a story
beginning with "It
had been raining all
day ..

Write a story that


ends with: "... We
said our goodbyes
and went our
separate ways."

Write a story
ending with: "...
Now I realise the
value of a true
friend."

Home

Beauty

Stars

My perfect
future
husband or
wife

33

'Teenagers today
are only
interested in
entertainment.'
Do you agree?
Support your
opinion.

Write a story
beginning with:
"Kim was nervous
when the door
opened..."

200
7

Describe an
embarrassing
experience in
your life.

200
6

Describe an
enjoyable
weekend you
have
experienced.

200
5

Describe the
biggest
challenge in
your life.

How to keep
oneself
healthy.

Write a story with


the title: "An
Unexpected
Visitor".

200
4

Describe a
festival

How can we
help promote

Write a story
ending with: "... We

My early
years.

How can
television help
students in
their studies?

Write a story
ending with: "If
only I had been
more careful, that
wouldn't have
happened."

Tomorrow

Food

What changes
would you like
to see in your
life in the next
ten years?

Music

If you were
given a chance
to be anybody,
who would you
want to be and
why?

Clothes

My ideal
school

34

tourism in
Malaysia?

had never laughed


so much in our
lives."

Data 3

An invention
you cannot
live without.

(1) Write a story


that ends with: "...
If only I had
listened to his/her
advice."
(2) A day I wished
had never
happened.

Friends

Describe a
favourite
teacher who
had a great
influence on
you.

Good results in
school do not
guarantee
success in the
future. What is
your opinion?

How I can
help to make
the world a
better place
to live in.

Write a story
beginning with: "Is
it really you? Where
have you been all
these years?"

Colours

Describe how
you spend a
free day when
the weather

Good results in
school do not
guarantee
success in the

(1) How do
you think the
media has
influenced

Write a story of an
old man returning
to his home he left
many years ago.

celebrated in
your area.

200
3

200
2

200
1

You have been


given a chance
to visit a
country of
your choice.
Which country
would you
choose and
why?

35

future. What is
your opinion?

you and your


family?
(2) Large
families make
happy
families.

200
0

"More land should


be used for
agriculture than
for industry." Do
you agree or
disagree? Give
reasons to
support your
opinion.

(1) Life in
Malaysia in
the new
millennium.
(2) Things
that I like
about my life.

199
9

The computer - is
it really an
advantage?

Education what it means


to me.

was very bad.

My Hero

199
8

Describe a day
at school when
you were very
unhappy.

Parents do not
spend enough
time with children
nowadays. What

If you were
able to choose
a time in
history that
you could visit,
which time
would it be
and why?

The day I lost my


temper.

Memorie
s

My Dream Car

Write a story
beginning with: "I
could tell by his
face that he was

36

is your opinion?

199
7

(1) Imagine you


were moving to
a new house.
Describe the last
day in your old
house.
(2) Describe the
scene at a
crowded bus or
railway station.

Do you think
games are an
important part of
school life?

angry...

Being young.

Write a story with


the following title:
A Narrow Escape.

Water

37

ii)

Marking Criteria for Band A & B


Mark
Range

Description of Criteria

A
44 50

B
38 43

iii)

Language is entirely accurate. Very occasional first draft


slips.
Sentence structures are varied.
Vocabulary is wide and used with precision.
Punctuation is accurate and helpful.
Spelling is entirely accurate.
Paragraphs are well-planned, have unity and are linked.
Topic is addressed with consistent relevance.
Interest of the reader is aroused and sustained throughout
the writing.
Language is accurate. Occasional errors are minor or first
draft slips.
Vocabulary is wide enough with some precision.
Sentences show some variation of length and type with
some complex sentences.
Punctuation is almost always accurate.
Spelling is nearly always accurate.
Paragraphs show some planning, have unity and are usually
appropriately linked.
Writing is relevant to the topic.
Interest of the reader is aroused and sustained through most
of the time.

Tips For Scoring High Marks

Here are the tips on how to write a good essay, based on each criterion:
1) Hardly any mistakes in grammar (including spelling and punctuation)
Good essays should be without any major grammatical, spelling and punctuation
errors. So, focus on these key aspects. Make sure that you know the grammar
rules well and apply them when you write.
2) Effective use of varied sentence structures
Many students face problems with the sentence structure of the English
language. The problem can be solved through plenty of reading. When you read,
your mind is fed with the correct sentence structures over and over. In time, you

38

will be able to write sentences with the right structure. When you write an essay,
use a variety of sentences - simple, compound, complex sentences, in both the
active voice and passive voice, etc. Thus, it is advisable to make good use of as
much variety of reading material as possible - storybooks, magazines,
newspapers, etc. to expose yourself to different types of sentence structures.
3) Wide vocabulary used expressively/precisely
Reading helps to increase your vocabulary. When you see a new word, look it up
in a dictionary to learn its meaning. To score high marks, you need to show that
you have a wide vocabulary. For example, you can use 'delighted' or 'overjoyed'
instead of 'happy'. Instead of using 'sad', use 'upset' or 'downhearted'. Try not to
use the same word repeatedly. Use different words with the same meaning to
impress the examiner. It is also important that you use a word precisely or
accurately. Wrong use of words will result in mark deduction. So, make sure that
a word is suitable to be used in a sentence or a particular situation before using
it. Reading helps you understand the meaning of a word accurately. When you
read extensively, you tend to be familiar with words and know when to use them
and when not to. Look it up in a dictionary again when you forget the meaning of
a particular word.
4) Good and relevant points
When writing an essay, it is important to write about relevant points, or write
about what the question ask for. For example, for the title 'Describe an outing
with your friends', the whole essay should be about the outing. If you write about
other things such as your friends' hobbies, that would be irrelevant. As long as
you understand the title and write relevant points, you will be safe. The lack of
points or ideas is a common problem faced by students when writing essays.
Reading model essays helps a lot, since it gives you plenty of ideas.
5) Coherence in paragraphing & 6) Well-organised paragraphing
An Oxford dictionary defines 'coherence' as 'the situation in which all the parts of
something fit together well'. For instance, when writing an essay entitled 'My
Hero', it is advisable to write about things that are of the same nature in a
paragraph. For example, after the introduction, you can write about the
childhood of your hero in the first paragraph. Then, in the second, third, fourth
and fifth paragraphs, you can write about his educational background,
occupation, personalities and accomplishments respectively. It is unwise to mix
them up as it lacks coherence and is not well-organised.
7) Essay is very interesting and shows originality
An interesting essay does not talk about the boring stuff. For example, you
decide to write an essay entitled 'Describe an enjoyable weekend you have

39

experienced' or Describe a camping trip at the beach with your family. Avoid
including stuff like:
"When I woke up that morning, I went to the toilet to brush my teeth and wash
my face. After that, I dressed up and went downstairs to have my breakfast. I
had bread and butter for breakfast..."
You can put it this way:
"When I woke up that morning, I was excited as my whole family would be going
on a camping trip at the beach. After getting everything ready, we set off for the
beach in my father's van..."
You can continue the essay by describing all the interesting things that you and
your family saw and did at the beach. It is a good idea to write about your own
experience, since it shows originality. When writing essays, it is also important to
write about logical things.

Stated above are the important points to note. Apart from those based on the
criteria, other points to take note of include:
i) Practise writing essays, since 'practice makes perfect'. Besides school
assignments, try to write more essays and have someone qualified to correct
them for you. When you make mistakes, learn from them and make it a point not
to repeat them , in order to improve your writing skills effectively. When
practising, learn to finish an essay within the time frame given. For instance, in
SPM, you have about an hour to complete an essay. Spend about 10 minutes, 35
minutes and 15 minutes on planning, writing and checking the essay
respectively.
ii) Remember, there are no short cuts to success. Essay writing skills take time to
develop. There goes the saying, 'Rome wasn't built in a day'. Diligence and
perseverance are the keys to success. Do not give up until you succeed.
iii) Look at the past year papers and study the examination format. Then, refer to
the model answers and familiarise yourself with the answering techniques in
order to score high marks.
In short:
1 Learn and know the grammar rules well.
2 Do more reading, as it helps in all aspects of writing good essays.
Good luck
3 Practise writing essays and learn from your mistakes.

40

In your SPM!

iv)

Sample Essays :

Read aloud these sample essays and identify the strengths of each essay.

Narrative (1): A day I wished had never happened (2003)


My eyes are filled with tears as I look at a photo. It is a family photo taken three
years ago, showing my parents, my younger brother Alex and myself having fun
while we were having a picnic at a beach. I used to have a warm and happy
family but now I am left with only memories.
I could still remember vividly what happened that day, the day I wished had
never happened. It was about two weeks after our family picnicked at the beach.
My parents owned a business which required them to travel once or twice per
month. That morning when my brother and I were having our breakfast before
going to school, we saw our parents walking down from the stairs, all dressed up.
They were carrying their luggage and were ready to go on a business trip to
Singapore. Normally, they drove but this time, for a change, they decided to go
by air.
Alex and I helped our parents to carry their luggage to a taxi waiting outside our
house.
"Sally, we'll be in Singapore for only three days," said my mother, before getting
into the taxi. "Take care of your brother while we are gone."
"Don't worry, Mum," I replied. "I will."
"Alex, be obedient to your sister. Don't be naughty," said our father.
Alex, who was a year my junior, nodded his head. We bade our parents goodbye
before they went off in the taxi.
While my brother and I were schooling later that morning, we were requested to
go and see the principal.
"I'm sorry to inform both of you that the aeroplane which your parents were
travelling on has crashed, due to mechanical failure. No one survived the crash,"
said the principal, while we were in his office.

41

Extremely shocked and grief-stricken to hear the tragic news, we burst into tears.
I was so miserable that I fainted. When I woke up, I found myself at home in my
bedroom. I then went downstairs and saw my brother in the living room. Some of
our relatives were present as well. They comforted us and asked us what we
were going to do, since our parents had passed on. They invited us to stay with
them so that they could take care of us. I thanked them for their benevolence
and replied that my brother and I needed to think it over before making a
decision.
Having considered our future for a few days, we decided to live in an orphanage
as we did not wish to trouble our relatives.
Three years have passed since we moved into the orphanage. At first, it was hard
living without our parents. Now we have settled down. In the orphanage, we have
friends just like us - orphans. Our relatives come to visit us once in a while. I am
in Form 5 now and will be sitting for my SPM examination at the end of the year.
Alex is in Form 4. We take our studies seriously and hope to have our own loving
families one day.

Narrative (2): Write a story with the following title: Pride Goes
Before A Fall.

Having held the interschool storytelling championship for the past three
consecutive years, I was the star of my school. When it came to choosing the
right candidate to participate in such competitions, I was always the first choice.
Naturally, I was once again selected to represent my school in the approaching
contest this year.
Upon hearing the fact that I was chosen again, my classmates and friends
acknowledged unanimously that I would undoubtedly emerge as the champion
again. Consequently, I became conceited. I was so complacent that I neglected
the importance of practising for the contest.
"Cindy, would you like to come in front of the class to rehearse for the contest?"
asked my teacher, a week before the contest was held.
"I'm sorry, teacher," I replied. "I'm having a sore throat."
That was what I would do, whenever my teacher requested me to practise in
front of the class. I always found excuses to avoid doing so as I had the opinion
that I was too good and therefore the practice was quite unnecessary. On one
occasion, I even told her not to worry as I was well prepared for the contest. I
only managed to glance briefly through the story a day before the day of the
contest. As the best storyteller among the students of the local secondary
schools, I was too vain to practice and expected everything to be fine.
The contest was arranged to take place in a community hall. On the day of the
contest, the hall was packed. Apart from my school teachers and principal, many
of my classmates and schoolmates were present as well. I was the eighth
contestant. Those who spoke before me did extremely well. On seeing their

42

captivating and outstanding performance, I began to lose confidence in myself.


My palms perspired heavily and I felt nervous.
Soon, it was my turn to talk. While walking up the steps leading to the stage, I
tripped up on the step and fell, drawing laughter from the audience. I was
mortified and got up quickly to proceed to the microphone. When I was facing
the crowd, I suffered from stage fright. My legs shivered and so did my voice. I
spoke in an expressionless voice and even stuttered a few times as I had
forgotten some parts of the story. On seeing my terrible performance, the judges
shook their heads. The supporters from my school looked at me in
disappointment. I had never been so embarrassed in my life. In the end, I walked
off the stage with my eyes filled with tears.
When the results were announced after the contest, I did not win any prizes - not
even a consolation prize. It was not surprising at all. I regretted underestimating
my opponents. My vanity had cost me the championship and I was remorseful for
being so vainglorious. I had learnt my lesson well and finally understood the
meaning of the saying, 'pride goes before a fall'.

Descriptive (1): Describe the scene of a night market

One of the most interesting places in Malaysia is the night market. You may visit
and experience the night market yourselves. Both locals and foreigners agree
that the night market is the most common feature in the local society.
The night market begins when the vendors arrive in the late afternoon. More and
more goods laden vans arrive to begin a brisk day of business. Most of the
vendors busily set out to set up their stalls respectively in order to get ready for a
brisk day of business.
The sun gradually sets and the night market picks up momentum. More cars and
vans are arriving. By now, the stalls are neatly and strategically arranged to
entice their customers. There is an assortment of goods sold ranging from food,
toys and clothes, to name a few. A variety of goods is sold at low prices.
Large rainbow-coloured parasols are used to shade the people from rain and
shine. A concoction of blaring music can be heard in the night market
background amidst the constant shouting. It is an amazing kaleidoscope of
sights, sounds, smells and colours.

43

The night market is known as a haven by local gourmets who can enjoy various
kinds of mouth-watering local cuisine. Still more people arrive, they come from
all walks of life, mingling freely and harmoniously. Crowds are walking up and
down in an endless stream. Some of them are stopping by the stalls and haggling
before making purchases. Little children tag along, amused and excited.
Sprinklings of tourists join in to experience the lifestyle of typical Malaysian folks.
When night falls, lighted lamps brighten up the place, they add gaiety to this
atmosphere, and it is like a funfair. The night wears on and the traffic of people
recedes. Vendors get a chance to rest their weary legs besides bantering with
each other.
By 10.00 pm, all the stalls call it a day. The vendors pack up and close the van
doors. One by one, they leave, leaving behind pieces of papers, plastic bags and
discarded boxes. It is an eyesore! Finally, the night market disappears. The place
becomes quite and still once more.

Descriptive (2): Malaysia, A Unique Country

Malaysia is a multiracial country. Malaysia has a population of 23.27 million


consisting of 61 percent Malays, 30 percent Chinese, 8 percent Indians and 1
percent of other ethnic groups. Malaysia is unique because of its diversity of
races, religions and cultures, the stability of the country and many places of
interests. Besides, there are many international achievements which are the
pride of our nation.
Diversity of races, religions and cultures is a significant characteristic of our
nation. Malaysia is a multiracial country with a rich cultural heritage. Unique to
Malaysia is the 'Open House' concept where during the various cultural and
religious festival like Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, Deepavali, Gawai Day and
others, friends and families and even strangers would visit the homes of those
who are celebrating the festival, to wish them well and enjoy the feast prepared
by the hosts. Although the visitors may be from different races, they still can
tolerate with each other and live under the same roof where they celebrate the
festival together. This will help to strengthen the ties among themselves.

44

Moreover, the stability and peacefulness of Malaysia is also a uniqueness of us.


We live harmoniously in a country where there are no wars and conflicts among
Malaysians. War is dreadful and it may deteriorate human lives. We are fortunate
that our country is safe and free from war. So, people can live safely here.
Besides, our country is freed from natural disasters such as earthquakes.
Earthquakes may bring death and destroy many buildings. Therefore, Malaysia is
unique because of the stable and peaceful environment.
On top of that, there are many places of interests in the country such as
beaches, islands and rain forest. Malaysia's rain forest is considered as the oldest
in the world. The diverse species of animals and plant life continue to excite a
great deal of scientific research. Many believe that some undiscovered plants
may hold cures to many currently incurable human diseases. There are many
islands in our country such as Pulau Langkawi, Pulau Redang and Pulau Ketam.
Pulau Langkawi has a lot of historical information. Those who are in favour of
history can go there to explore the history of that place. All the beaches in those
islands are beautiful. The sand is soft and white. The accommodation is wellestablished and that makes those islands ideal places to visit.
In short, Malaysia is unique that it has a diversity of races, religions and cultures,
a stable and peaceful environment, places of interest and some internal
achievements. Those are important characteristics of our nation. It is rich of
cultural heritage; it would be worth to pay a visit here.

Argumentative (1): Money Brings Happiness. Do you agree?


It is truly undeniable that in this science and technology millennium, we can
hardly live without money. Even buying something small such as a sweet will cost
you some money. However, this does not mean that money can buy happiness,
unlike the misconception of most people in the world. In fact, wealth is a far cry
from happiness. If you disagree with me, let's look at the reasons for my stand.
Firstly, one of the main gates to happiness is to stay healthy. Maybe some people
think that when one is rich, he can be healthy or it does not matter even if they
have diseases because these rich men have lots of money to pay for their
medication. This is totally wrong. Good health is acquired from a healthy lifestyle
progressively and not in a day. With lots of money we tend to tempt ourselves
with exotic and luxurious food. If this food is taken excessively, it will lead to
obesity, heart diseases, diabetes, hypertension and other serious illness.

45

Moreover, rich people probably lack of exercise as they hardly walk outdoor,
putting them at a higher risk of unnecessary health problems. How can a person
enjoy his life and feel happy when he is confined to a wheelchair or bed-ridden.
He would not even be glad spending his money and time curing his sickness.
Therefore, wealth cannot bring happiness.
Professionals like doctors, lawyers, engineer and accountants earn a lot of money
per month. They are considered the high class citizens who can afford large,
expensive houses with huge beautiful gardens. But do they really enjoy the
pleasures of life? Most probably not , because they are simply too busy with their
work. They frequently burn the midnight oil at their work place. It is even more
miserable if they have to turn their home into a work place. Most specialists have
to stand-by 24 hours in case of emergency calls from the hospitals. Hence, they
can hardly spend any relaxing night at their home even if they possess a huge
two and a half storey bungalow with a beautiful garden and artificial waterfall.
Successful businessmen may always have the chance of flying to all parts of the
world when they go out station for business. However, very few of them can
really take it as a holiday or as a treat for themselves for their schedules are
always full and they are so stressful with their work. Even fewer businessmen can
ignore urgent, pursuing calls from their clients or office when they are going for
holidays or resting. In other words, one can make lots of money but he may not
enjoy even the beauty of nature around them or the branded, expensive things
with them. So what is the use of money when we do not even enjoy a meal
properly and are discontented with our lives? One with a moderate income can
feel happier if he leads a simple life and be grateful with what he has.
Finally, a child or a teenager brought up in a moderate family is better than in a
rich family. As the sons or daughters of billionaires, their parents will give them
whatever they want in material. These children or teenagers get a lot of pocket
money from their parents and can afford to buy many expensive things like the
latest handset, expensive clothes and branded sport shoes. But the question is,
are they happy if their parents are always working with only an Indonesian maid
to accompany them? If they are asked to choose between wealth and love from
their parents, I believe that they will undoubtedly choose love. These children are
mentally not as healthy as those being cared and loved by their parents. Children
need parents who can listen to their problems and give them words of wisdom,
as well as teach them day by day. Parents who are not rich may not be able to
buy branded things to satisfy their children but with more communication and
understanding, these teenagers will understand the difficulty of their parents in
earning money, and earn to be thrifty. In short, money does not promise a happy,
caring family.
Money may be able to buy a lot of things but not love, friendship, health and
others. These are the main ingredients for a happy life. Even, if we can afford
many things we desire, we may not be happy and enjoy our lives if we are always
dissatisfied with what we have, always yearning for more. Thus, I stand firm that
money cannot bring happiness.

46

Argumentative (2): Sharing is Caring. Do you agree?


Some of us may be selfish to share our study tips yet deliberately disturbing the
others while they are doing their works. Some might agree that such an attitude
is a secret weapon for crucial examination, namely the UPSR, PMR and SPM. But
don't you agree that sharing is actually the happiest thing we can do? When we
share, it means that we have the capability. Sharing brings more knowledge and
ideas to be exchanged. Nobody will improve much if they are reluctant to share.
In fact, when we initiate to share, we will definitely get more and more feedback
which may be beyond our knowledge. Two heads are better than one. More
minds contribute more thoughts. That's why group discussion is highly
recommended for it is a proven and effective way to catalyst our improvement in
our studies.
Studying is only a part of our life routine and being a student is merely our
temporary role. Actually that is our precious moment to develop into a better
person. One cannot know and experience everything with limited source.
However, we can gain unlimited knowledge and lesson once we start to share
and exchange. By sharing, we know more, we continue our learning and without
realising, we have foster good friendship and become a better individual. Let's
have a very simple example. Every one of us owns one box of biscuits. Every box
of biscuits has a different flavour. If we are kind enough to reciprocate our
biscuits with each other, then we get to taste a variety flavour of biscuits.
Similarly, sharing and exchanging is something mutually profitable for each of us.
Through sharing, we apply our knowledge and subsequently we gain more. Do
share your knowledge with others if you intend for them to share theirs with you.
Only those who are generous to share and humble to keep on learning deserve to
possess more power, wealth and knowledge.
Being students, we are still learning and painting our lives with endless colours
and school should be the safest platform for us to practice our behaviour. Here,
sharing makes more sense to complement each other. Nothing can be
accomplished without a cohesive teamwork. One cannot be successful without
any assistance provided by the others. Frankly, have you ever shared your
fortune, wealth and knowledge with your friends? If not, try your best whenever
you are still able to do so. When we are stepping into the working world, seldom
do we have such an opportunity to share and enjoy anxiety-free student lives. A
real success is more than just a straight A result or thousand and one certificates
but whether one really enjoys the process towards success. And sharing will be a
must for that particular joyful process.

v)

Practices: Before & After

Improve on the following paragraphs for a better piece of writing.

47

Write a story ending with: "If only I had been more careful,
that wouldn't have happened."
Before
After
Last Saturday, my mother asked
me to take care of my little
sister. She was three years old.
My mother was going out. My
father was working overtime.
They were very busy.

One Saturday afternoon, I had to


babysit my three-year-old little
sister. My mother was going out to
run some errands while my father
had to work overtime. They were
both extremely busy.

My sister was cute. She had big


eyes and a nice face. Though I
loved her, she was also very
annoying. Once she tore up my
Geography project and I became
very angry.

After a while, my friend, Victor,


phoned me. He invited me to his
house. I went and decided to
bring Angie along.

Victor came from a rich family.


His father was a wealthy
businessman. Then we went to
his big house. It was a large
mansion. His servant brought
us to meet Victor. Then Victor
took us up to his big bedroom
on the second floor.
Victor offered us some drinks.
Then we started to play a
computer game. We kept
playing and playing and forgot
about Angie. About fifteen
minutes later, we heard a
scream from the staircase.

Angie was missing.

48

We were very scared. We went


to look for Angie. She was lying
at the bottom of the stairs. She
was not moving. Victor called
the ambulance. Angie was sent
to the hospital.

Angie was injured. She had to


stay in the hospital. My parents
scolded me because I was not
responsible. I felt very sorry. If
only I had been more careful, that
wouldn't have happened.
If only I had been more careful, that
wouldn't have happened.

Describe a regrettable incident.


Before
After
49

My second term examinations


were fast approaching. My
father reminded me to do my
revision and not play with my
computer.

"Son, turn off the computer now


and do your revision immediately.
Your second term exams are fast
approaching," said my father, as he
was getting ready for work that
morning.

I did not listen to my father. I


was very stubborn. I continued
to play the computer game.
Although the examinations
were near, I could not stop
playing. I felt guilty.

A day before the examinations,


I began to worry. My father
wanted me to do well. I quickly
studied till late at night.
However, there was too much to
study. I really regretted not
listening to my father.

The next day, the examinations


started. I was shocked to find that I
could not answer most of the
questions. I was worried and did not
want to disappoint my father. So I
cheated. I asked my friend for the
answers.
I did the same thing in the next
few examinations. I was caught
by our disciplinary teacher. He
called me to his office.

50

In his office, he asked me why I


cheated.

I said sorry to Mr Lee and


promised not to do it again.
Since I did something wrong, he
still had to punish me. He caned
me five times on the palm. Then
he said that I would be
suspended from school for
three days after the
examinations were over. He also
gave me a letter for my father.
After school, I went home. I felt
very sad and guilty. I also felt
ashamed. . I looked at the letter I
was holding in my hand. How will I
explain everything to my father?

51

Describe an accident you witnessed.


Before

After

The school bell rang. I said


goodbye to my teacher. It was
raining heavily, so I took out my
umbrella. There were many cars
but traffic was moving slowly.
At a junction near my school, I
saw a girl from my school. She
was riding a scooter. She had
just stopped at the junction.
Suddenly, a van which was
going very fast, knocked into
her from the back. The girl fell
to the ground. Her scooter also
fell to the ground. Her books
were everywhere. She was
injured and in pain.
I quickly went to help the girl.
Suddenly, the van sped off. I
was shocked. I then helped the
girl to the side. I told her it was
alright because help was on the
way. Some passers-by came to
see if they could help.
Some Red Crescent Society
members came to treat her
injuries. I collected the girls
books. Her scooter was still in
good condition.
Then a parent stopped by. She
sent the girl to the hospital.
Then the policemen came. They
asked me some questions. I told
them what had happened. The
policemen thanked me for my
help. They also praised me.
After that, I went home. I felt
happy. I helped the girl and the
policemen. I was also very
happy to see so many people
helping the girl. I realised that
good people are always there in
this world.

52

SYNONYMS FOR 95 COMMONLY USED WORDS IN THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE


1.

Amazing incredible, unbelievable, improbable, fabulous, wonderful, fantastic,


astonishing, astounding, extraordinary

53

2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

8.

9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.
16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.
22.
23.
24.
25.
26.
27.
28.
29.
30.
31.
32.

Anger enrage, infuriate, arouse, nettle, exasperate, inflame, madden


Angry mad, furious, enraged, excited, wrathful, indignant, exasperated, aroused,
inflamed
Answer reply, respond, retort, acknowledge
Ask question, inquire of, seek information from, put a question to, demand,
request, expect, inquire, query, interrogate, examine, quiz
Awful dreadful, terrible, abominable, bad, poor, unpleasant
Bad evil, immoral, wicked, corrupt, sinful, depraved, rotten, contaminated,
spoiled, tainted, harmful, injurious, unfavourable, defective, inferior, imperfect,
substandard, faulty, improper, inappropriate, unsuitable, disagreeable, unpleasant,
cross, nasty, unfriendly, irascible, horrible, atrocious, outrageous, scandalous,
infamous, wrong, noxious, sinister, putrid, snide, deplorable, dismal, gross, heinous,
nefarious, base, obnoxious, detestable, despicable, contemptible, foul, rank, ghastly,
execrable
Beautiful pretty, lovely, handsome, attractive, gorgeous, dazzling, splendid,
magnificent, comely, fair, ravishing, graceful, elegant, fine, exquisite, aesthetic,
pleasing, shapely, delicate, stunning, glorious, heavenly, resplendent, radiant,
glowing, blooming, sparkling
Begin start, open, launch, initiate, commence, inaugurate, originate
Big enormous, huge, immense, gigantic, vast, colossal, gargantuan, large, sizable,
grand, great, tall, substantial, mammoth, astronomical, ample, broad, expansive,
spacious, stout, tremendous, titanic, mountainous
Brave courageous, fearless, dauntless, intrepid, plucky, daring, heroic, valorous,
audacious, bold, gallant, valiant, doughty, mettlesome
Break fracture, rupture, shatter, smash, wreck, crash, demolish, atomize
Bright shining, shiny, gleaming, brilliant, sparkling, shimmering, radiant, vivid,
colourful, lustrous, luminous, incandescent, intelligent, knowing, quick-witted,
smart, intellectual
Calm quiet, peaceful, still, tranquil, mild, serene, smooth, composed, collected,
unruffled, level-headed, unexcited, detached, aloof
Come approach, advance, near, arrive, reach
Cool chilly, cold, frosty, wintry, icy, frigid
Crooked bent, twisted, curved, hooked, zigzag
Cry shout, yell, yowl, scream, roar, bellow, weep, wail, sob, bawl
Cut gash, slash, prick, nick, sever, slice, carve, cleave, slit, chop, crop, lop,
reduce
Dangerous perilous, hazardous, risky, uncertain, unsafe
Dark shadowy, unlit, murky, gloomy, dim, dusky, shaded, sunless, black, dismal,
sad
Decide determine, settle, choose, resolve
Definite certain, sure, positive, determined, clear, distinct, obvious
Delicious savoury, delectable, appetizing, luscious, scrumptious, palatable,
delightful, enjoyable, toothsome, exquisite
Describe portray, characterize, picture, narrate, relate, recount, represent, report,
record
Destroy ruin, demolish, raze, waste, kill, slay, end, extinguish
Difference disagreement, inequity, contrast, dissimilarity, incompatibility
Do execute, enact, carry out, finish, conclude, effect, accomplish, achieve, attain
Dull boring, tiring tiresome, uninteresting, slow, dumb, stupid, unimaginative,
lifeless, dead, insensible, tedious, wearisome, listless, expressionless, plain,
monotonous, humdrum, dreary
Eager keen, fervent, enthusiastic, involved, interested, alive to
End stop, finish, terminate, conclude, close, halt, cessation, discontinuance
Enjoy appreciate, delight in, be pleased, indulge in, luxuriate in, bask in, relish,
devour, savour, like

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33.
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45.

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56.
57.

58.
59.
60.
61.

Explain elaborate, clarify, define, interpret, justify, account for


Fair just, impartial, unbiased, objective, unprejudiced, honest
Fall drop, descend, plunge, topple, tumble
False fake, fraudulent, counterfeit, spurious, untrue, unfounded, erroneous,
deceptive, groundless, fallacious
Famous well-known, renowned, celebrated, famed, eminent, illustrious,
distinguished, noted, notorious
Fast quick, rapid, speedy, fleet, hasty, snappy, mercurial, swiftly, rapidly, quickly,
snappily, speedily, lickety-split, post-haste, hastily, expeditiously, like a flash
Fat stout, corpulent, fleshy, beefy, paunchy, plump, full, rotund, tubby, pudgy,
chubby, chunky, burly, bulky, elephantine
Fear fright, dread, terror, alarm, dismay, anxiety, scare, awe, horror, panic,
apprehension
Fly soar, hover, flit, wing, flee, waft, glide, coast, skim, sail, cruise
Funny humorous, amusing, droll, comic, comical, laughable, silly
Get acquire, obtain, secure, procure, gain, fetch, find, score, accumulate, win,
earn, rep, catch, net, bag, derive, collect, gather, glean, pick up, accept, come by,
regain, salvage
Go recede, depart, fade, disappear, move, travel, proceed
Good excellent, fine, superior, wonderful, marvellous, qualified, suited, suitable,
apt, proper, capable, generous, kindly, friendly, gracious, obliging, pleasant,
agreeable, pleasurable, satisfactory, well-behaved, obedient, honourable, reliable,
trustworthy, safe, favourable, profitable, advantageous, righteous, expedient, helpful,
valid, genuine, ample, salubrious, estimable, beneficial, splendid, great, noble,
worthy, first-rate, top-notch, grand, sterling, superb, respectable, edifying
Great noteworthy, worthy, distinguished, remarkable, grand, considerable,
powerful, much, mighty
Gross improper, rude, coarse, indecent, crude, vulgar, outrageous, extreme,
grievous, shameful, uncouth, obscene, low
Happy pleased, contented, satisfied, delighted, elated, joyful, cheerful, ecstatic,
jubilant, gay, tickled, gratified, glad, blissful, overjoyed
Hate despise, loathe, detest, abhor, disfavour, dislike, disapprove, abominate
Have hold, possess, own, contain, acquire, gain, maintain, believe, bear, beget,
occupy, absorb, fill, enjoy
Help aid, assist, support, encourage, back, wait on, attend, serve, relieve,
succour, benefit, befriend, abet
Hide conceal, cover, mask, cloak, camouflage, screen, shroud, veil
Hurry rush, run, speed, race, hasten, urge, accelerate, bustle
Hurt damage, harm, injure, wound, distress, afflict, pain
Idea thought, concept, conception, notion, understanding, opinion, plan, view,
belief
Important necessary, vital, critical, indispensable, valuable, essential,
significant, primary, principal, considerable, famous, distinguished, notable, wellknown
Interesting fascinating, engaging, sharp, keen, bright, intelligent, animated,
spirited, attractive, inviting, intriguing, provocative, though-provoking, challenging,
inspiring, involving, moving, titillating, tantalizing, exciting, entertaining, piquant,
lively, racy, spicy, engrossing, absorbing, consuming, gripping, arresting,
enthralling, spellbinding, curious, captivating, enchanting, bewitching, appealing
Keep hold, retain, withhold, preserve, maintain, sustain, support
Kill slay, execute, assassinate, murder, destroy, cancel, abolish
Lazy indolent, slothful, idle, inactive, sluggish
Little tiny, small, diminutive, shrimp, runt, miniature, puny, exiguous, dinky,
cramped, limited, itsy-bitsy, microscopic, slight, petite, minute

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62.

63.
64.
65.
66.
67.

68.
69.
70.
71.

72.
73.
74.
75.
76.
77.
78.
79.
80.
81.

82.
83.
84.
85.
86.

Look gaze, see, glance, watch, survey, study, seek, search for, peek, peep,
glimpse, stare, contemplate, examine, gape, ogle, scrutinize, inspect, leer, behold,
observe, view, witness, perceive, spy, sight, discover, notice, recognize, peer, eye,
gawk, peruse, explore
Love like, admire, esteem, fancy, care for, cherish, adore, treasure, worship,
appreciate, savour
Make create, originate, invent, beget, form, construct, design, fabricate,
manufacture, produce, build, develop, do, effect, execute, compose, perform,
accomplish, earn, gain, obtain, acquire, get
Mark label, tag, price, ticket, impress, effect, trace, imprint, stamp, brand, sign,
note, heed, notice, designate
Mischievous prankish, playful, naughty, roguish, waggish, impish, sportive
Move plod, go, creep, crawl, inch, poke, drag, toddle, shuffle, trot, dawdle, walk, traipse,

mosey, jog, plug, trudge, slump, lumber, trail, lag, run, sprint, trip, bound, hotfoot,
high-tail, streak, stride, tear, breeze, whisk, rush, dash, dart, bolt, fling, scamper,
scurry, skedaddle, scoot, scuttle, scramble, race, chase, hasten, hurry, hump, gallop,
lope, accelerate, stir, budge, travel, wander, roam, journey, trek, ride, spin, slip,
glide, slide, slither, coast, flow, sail, saunter, hobble, amble, stagger, paddle, slouch,
prance, straggle, meander, perambulate, waddle, wobble, pace, swagger, promenade,
lunge
Moody temperamental, changeable, short-tempered, glum, morose, sullen,
modish, irritable, testy, peevish, fretful, spiteful, sulky, touchy
Neat clean, orderly, tidy, trim, dapper, natty, smart, elegant, well-organized,
super, desirable, spruce, shipshape, well-kept, shapely
New fresh, unique, original, unusual, novel, modern, current, recent
Old feeble, frail, ancient, weak, aged, used, worn, dilapidated, ragged, faded,
broken-down, former, old-fashioned, outmoded, pass, veteran, mature, venerable,
primitive, traditional, archaic, conventional, customary, stale, musty, obsolete,
extinct
Part portion, share, piece, allotment, section, fraction, fragment
Place space, area, spot, plot, region, location, situation, position, residence,
dwelling, set, site, station, status, state
Plan plot, scheme, design, draw, map, diagram, procedure, arrangement,
intention, device, contrivance, method, way, blueprint
Popular well-liked, approved, accepted, favourite, celebrated, common, current
Predicament quandary, dilemma, pickle, problem, plight, spot, scrape, jam
Put place, set, attach, establish, assign, keep, save, set aside, effect, achieve, do,
build
Quiet silent, still, soundless, mute, tranquil, peaceful, calm, restful
Right correct, accurate, factual, true, good, just, honest, upright, lawful, moral,
proper, suitable, apt, legal, fair
Run race, speed, hurry, hasten, sprint, dash, rush, escape, elope, flee
Scared afraid, frightened, alarmed, terrified, panicked, fearful, unnerved,
insecure, timid, shy, skittish, jumpy, disquieted, worried, vexed, troubled, disturbed,
horrified, terrorized, shocked, petrified, haunted, timorous, shrinking, tremulous,
stupefied, paralyzed, stunned, apprehensive
Show display, exhibit, present, note, point to, indicate, explain, reveal, prove,
demonstrate, expose
Slow unhurried, gradual, leisurely, late, behind, tedious, slack
Stop cease, halt, stay, pause, discontinue, conclude, end, finish, quit
Story tale, myth, legend, fable, yarn, account, narrative, chronicle, epic, sage,
anecdote, record, memoir
Strange odd, peculiar, unusual, unfamiliar, uncommon, queer, weird, outlandish,
curious, unique, exclusive, irregular

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87.
88.
89.
90.
91.
92.
93.
94.
95.

Take hold, catch, seize, grasp, win, capture, acquire, pick, choose, select, prefer,
remove, steal, lift, rob, engage, bewitch, purchase, buy, retract, recall, assume,
occupy, consume
Tell disclose, reveal, show, expose, uncover, relate, narrate, inform, advise,
explain, divulge, declare, command, order, bid, recount, repeat
Think judge, deem, assume, believe, consider, contemplate, reflect, mediate
Trouble distress, anguish, anxiety, worry, wretchedness, pain, danger, peril,
disaster, grief, misfortune, difficulty, concern, pains, inconvenience, exertion, effort
True accurate, right, proper, precise, exact, valid, genuine, real, actual, trusty,
steady, loyal, dependable, sincere, staunch
Ugly hideous, frightful, frightening, shocking, horrible, unpleasant, monstrous,
terrifying, gross, grisly, ghastly, horrid, unsightly, plain, homely, evil, repulsive,
repugnant, gruesome
Unhappy miserable, uncomfortable, wretched, heart-broken, unfortunate, poor,
downhearted, sorrowful, depressed, dejected, melancholy, glum, gloomy, dismal,
discouraged, sad
Use employ, utilize, exhaust, spend, expend, consume, exercise
Wrong incorrect, inaccurate, mistaken, erroneous, improper, unsuitable

LIST OF USEFUL IDIOMS/PHRASES


01.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder


(we miss our friends and relatives more when they are away)
eg. She used to quarrel with her sister but now, she misses her. It is a case
of absence makes the heart grow fonder.

02.

All and sundry


( everybody, all types of people)
eg. The governments new rule concerns all and sundry.

03.

As different as night and day


( completely different)
eg. The twins sister may look alike but their mannerisms are as different as
night and day.

04.

Bed of roses
( a happy, comfortable situation)
eg. Life is not always a bed of roses. At times, it can be challenging, too

05.

Boiling point
( when one is very angry)
eg. When he repeated the mistake for the third time, the teachers
reached the boiling point.

06.

Cost a bomb
(very expensive)
eg. His new bungalow house costs a bomb.

07.

Curry favour with someone


(to sweet talk/ pretending to be nice to someone for owns advantage)

57

eg. Some students have been currying favour with the new form
teacher.
08.

Cut your coat according to your cloth


(adjust the spending /expenses according to the money one has)
eg. That shirt is too expensive, so I have to cut my coat according to my cloth.

09.

Dream come true


( a wish which has come true)
eg. Having you as a friend is a dream come true.

10.

Dyed in the wool


(holds certain principles/believes strongly since small)
eg. For a person dyed in the wool, it was difficult for him to change his
ideas and values.

11.

Eat humble pie


( to be apologetic when proven wrong)
eg. Youll have to eat humble pie if youre proved wrong.

12.

Every nook and cranny


(everywhere)
eg. They searched every nook and cranny for the missing book but to no
avail.

13.

Fall on deaf ears


( did not pay attention to the advice/warning)
eg. The teachers advice to him seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.

14.

Few and far between


(very few/limited)
eg. Good jobs with bright chances for promotion are few and far between.

15.

Fish out of water


(someone who is uncomfortable with the surroundings)
eg. I was like a fish out of water as I was not familiar with the place.

16.

From A to Z
( to know everything in detail)
eg. You should know the details of the topic from A to Z.

17.

From cradle to the grave


( throughout ones life)
eg. Whatever you learn now, you should remember it from cradle to the grave.

18.

Give a big hand


( to clap/applause)
eg. Everybody gave a big hand after the dancers finished their eautiful performance.

19.

Give a pat on the back


(to praise/congratulate someone)
eg. Although Lim did not excel in his exams, his parents gave him a pat on the back for
trying hard.

20.

Green with envy

58

(feeling very envious)


eg. If you buy a new car, your neighbours will be green with envy.
21.

Haste makes waste


(doing something in a hurry will spoil the work)
eg. She was in such a hurry that she spilt the milk on the floor. Haste makes waste.

22.

In hot water
(in serious trouble)
eg. The principal caught him red-handed vandalizing. Now, he is in hot water.

23.

On the dot
(at exactly the right time)
eg. We are expected to be at there at 2.30 on the dot.

24.

On ones high horse


( very arrogant/proud)
eg. She has been on her high horse ever since she was admitted to the prestigious university

25.

Pride and joy


(A special object that is someones love and pride)
eg. The table that he built on his own, is his pride and joy.

26.

Shake like a leaf


(to tremble with fear)
eg. The boy who was caught stealing, was shaking like a leaf.

27.

Show ones true colours


(to show ones true character)
eg. He pretended to be generous but he showed his true colours when he refused to donate
money to charity.

28.

See red
(to become very angry)
eg. My mother saw red when she caught me coming home late at night.

29.

Thick and fast


(comes in great numbers and fast)
eg. Offers to help the tragedy-stricken family came thick and fast.

30.

Tom, Dick and Harry


(anybody)
eg. We do not want any Tom, Dick and Harry to enter the hall.

31.

Ways and means


(methods or ways to do something)
eg. There are ways and means of making money through business deals.

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