Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 17

Academic English for Masters

Week 3

Writing introductions

The aim of this lesson is to look at the main features of an introduction in an academic essay,
focusing on structure and vocabulary

TASK A

What is the purpose of an introduction to an essay? Make a list with your partner.

TASK B

Compare your answers with the list below. Which items do you think are essential?

a) To define specific terms in the title


b) To give your opinion of the subject
c) To show that you have read some research on the subject
d) To show that the writer knows why the subject is important (why its being discussed)
e) To explain which areas of the subject you will deal with
f) To get the readers attention with a provocative idea
g) To show how you intend to organise your essay

TASK C

Study the sample introduction below. Which of the functions in Task B can you identify in it?

Essay title: The current (2008-present) financial crisis is the biggest global economic challenge
since 1930. What were the main causes of this crisis and how effective have the measures to
alleviate the situation been?

The financial crisis of 2008 was described as the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression,
(Soros, 2008) as financial turmoil spread across the world. The United States housing market has
suffered from the biggest prolonged reduction in value since the 1930s. According to Turner (2010),
property prices declined by up to 50 per cent in some areas of the US in 2009 alone, leading to
numerous declarations of non-payment on mortgage loans. In turn, the US mortgage loans
breakdown caused the bankruptcy of several large American mortgage companies and sparked a
significant profit decrease in the European investment sector. Moreover, the financial turmoil has
spread from residential real-estate into credit card debt, auto debt and commercial real-estate areas
resulting in the so-called credit crunch; a reluctance to lend money caused by the collapse in the
value of existing debt and fears of foreclosures. Countries throughout the world are still dealing with
the consequences of this enormous credit shock. Economic growth has fallen substantially in the UK
over the last three years and is set to stagnate or fall further in the future as the cost of bank
bailouts are taken on board. According to the official data, there have also been huge slumps in
property markets in Spain, Ireland and other places within the Euro zone (Morris, 2009). This essay
argues that the financial crisis of 2008 signals a crisis in global economic policies that will directly
challenge the current market economic model. It will first examine the main causes and then
evaluate the effects of the current financial breakdown. After that, the essay analyses measures
taken by the UK and US authorities since the onset of the crisis. Particular emphasis is placed on
drawing a number of parallels with Japan's experience of debt deflation of the 1990s, which
Academic English for Masters
Week 3

suggests that banks and government authorities in particular may struggle with the consequent
reduced economic growth. Finally, the essay suggests the most effective potential methods of
minimizing outcomes of the crisis and recommend the right policy mix to provide long-term
solutions.

Answers

AWL
A Most of the following words are in the AWL. Give yourself a mark of 1-5 according to
whether you dont know the meaning (1) to I regularly use this word and are familiar with
its collocations (5).

financial decline areas investment sector


significant reluctance residential so-called collapse
consequences enormous economic policy global
challenge analyse evaluate authority emphasis
parallels growth consequent finally minimize
outcomes potential methods depression

B Check with a partner the meaning of words marked 1. For words marked 2 or 3, check the
collocation in the text.

Synonyms
C Which of the words in Exercise A could be replaced by each the words in the following
groups.

1 major, serious
2 fall, slump
3 results, consequences
4 similarities
5 huge, massive
6 stress, importance

Answers

Word families
D Complete each set of collocations for a word family by using different forms of the words
below.

financial significant economic consequences


global analyse authority emphasis

1 the crisis / ... rewarding / work in / improve the . of the


company
2 a decrease / rise / the difference was of no .
3 policy / growth in the .. / . unviable
4 .. measures taken / following the .. of the data / adopt an .. approach
Academic English for Masters
Week 3

5 deal with the / the . failure / ., the situation improved


6 . economic policies / a major issue around the .. / .. significant
7 UK and US / the new project / an report
8 particular is placed on / the importance of / an .. answer

Answers

E In pairs, talk about an example of:


- jobs that are financially rewarding.
- some statistic that has risen significantly.
- something that has proved economically unviable.
- a situation that has improved as a consequence of something.
- a major issue around the globe.
- a new project that has been authorised recently.

Describing trends and changes

A Look at the examples from the introduction showing trends and changes. Find an example of
trends or changes using the following and note any time expression which is used.
- the past simple
- the present perfect
- a present tense

The United States housing market has suffered from the biggest prolonged reduction in
value since the 1930s.
According to Turner (2010), property prices declined by up to 50 per cent in some
areas of the US in 2009 alone.
The financial turmoil has spread from residential real-estate into credit card
debt.
Countries throughout the world are still dealing with the consequences of this
enormous credit shock.
Economic growth has fallen substantially in the UK over the last three years and
is set to stagnate or fall further in the future. Answers

You can also describe trends and changes using a noun. For example:

There have also been huge slumps in property markets in Spain, Ireland and other places within the
Euro zone
The US mortgage loan breakdown sparked a significant profit decrease.

The tense of the verbs that go with these nouns will depend on the time period being referred to as
above.
Academic English for Masters
Week 3

B Complete the sentences with the correct form of the verb in brackets. Pay attention to the
time phrases.

1 Since the onset of the banking crisis the number of bankruptcies .. (increase
significantly)
2 Over the past few years, the smart phone market . (grow enormously).
3 While overall crime .. (steadily fall) over the last decade, figures for 2009 and 2010
show that knife crime .. (rise) by 20%.
4 There .. (be) a temporary drop in manufacturing output in the final quarter of 2010
which was blamed on the unusual cold spell and heavy snow falls.
5 During the Bush presidency, government debt .. (soar).
6 The percentage of the population on a pension .. (be set) to increase over the next
twenty years as baby boomers reach the age of retirement.
7 The latest census figures show that more people .. (co-habit) than ever before.
8 The success of British cyclists in the Olympics and other events, . (lead) to an explosion of
interest in cycling in recent years.
Answers

Paraphrasing and re-writing

You can paraphrase and re-write information on trends and changes you have read about by using
a noun instead of a verb (or vice versa) and possibly also using a synonym for the trend or change.
You may also change other aspects of the sentence.

C How many changes can you find between these two sentences?
According to Turner (2010), property prices declined by up to 50 per cent in some areas of the
US in 2009 alone.

During 2009 there was a 50% fall in house prices in certain parts of the US (Turner, 2010).

D Re-write the sentences 1-4 in Exercise B so that they mean the same. Use a noun instead of a
verb (or vice versa) to describe the changes. Make at least two other changes to the
sentence. For example:

There has been a substantial rise in the number of foreclosures since the financial crisis began.

Explaining causes and results

In introductions and elsewhere when we explain a trend we frequently want to explain the cause or
result of that change / trend. We can do this using a variety of verbs and verb phrases.

Result Cause
1 The collapse in bank lending stemmed from financial mismanagement.

Cause Result
2 The collapse in bank lending has lead to companies struggling to finance future projects.
Academic English for Masters
Week 3

A Decide if the following verbs link a result to a cause (1) or a cause to a result (2).

give rise to come about from originate in


result in emerge out of
result from come in response to be due to
cause bring about
lead to impact on spark
mean play a part in

Answers

Note that most of these words are followed by a noun or noun + - ing:
The government claims its policy has given rise to a dramatic fall in unemployment.
The crisis came about from banks failing to understand the size of the risk that they were exposed
to.

Mean is followed by a clause


The collapse in bank lending means (that) companies are struggling to finance future projects.

Spark shows a sudden change. Play a part in shows the cause was one of several.
We usually say that something impacts negatively or positively on something.

B Complete the following sentences with ONE word in each space.

1 The protest at the killing of a black youth by the police initially .. the riots, but the
wider disturbances seem to have . about from a mixture of causes that are not
easily pigeonholed into the traditional split between left and right-wing policies.
2 The current deficit reduction plan came in to the huge debt . from the
bank bailouts and pressure from financial markets. However, there is concern that the plan
.. there will be large numbers of redundancies within the public sector which growth in
the private sector will not compensate for. This will then .. to increased
unemployment, which in turn will negatively .. on tax revenues which will ultimately
about a higher deficit.
3 While it has stabilised over recent years, the divorce rate rose rapidly between the 60s and the
turn of the century, giving . to increasing numbers of single-parent families. This in turn,
has .................... a part in the greater need for childcare solutions.
answers

In turn

We often show chain reactions by linking the consequent results (or more distant cause) with
which in turn or starting a new sentence with This in turn. For example:

The loss of the sea otters from many coastal ecosystems on the Pacific Coast of North America due to
hunting led to a boom of sea urchin populations (a prey species for otters ) which in turn led to the
loss of kelp forests (which are eaten by urchins).
Academic English for Masters
Week 3

C Complete the sentences with your own ideas. Use verbs from Exercise A.

1 Zara frequently changes stock in its shops to encourage return visits. This in turn .
2 The government is dealing with a huge deficit which is the result of the huge bailouts they
provided to avoid a collapse in the banking system, which in turn .
3 The tightening of immigration controls has meant a reduction in the number of foreign students
in UK universities, which in turn.

Answers

D In pairs, explain the causes and results of as many of the following as you can:

The Iraq War rise of Facebook / social networks Discovery of DNA


heart disease The / Euro crisis Feminism
All-seater football stadiums File sharing sites

Paraphrasing and re-writing

You can paraphrase and re-write information on causes and results by reversing the order of the sentence and
using a different linking verb or phrase. You may also change other aspects of the sentence.

E How many differences can you find between the following sentences?

The crisis came about from banks failing to understand the size of the risk that they were
exposed to.
The banks failure to keep track of the amount of risk connected to the debt they held led to
the current credit crunch (Jones, 2010 p.16).

F Re-write the sentences in Exercise B so that they mean the same by changing the order of the
causes and results. Make at least two other changes to the sentences and add an invented in-
text reference).

More complex sentences linking ideas using -ing and ed forms

Some people prefer to write shorter sentences. They use this / these + noun at the beginning of a
new sentence to make clear the links to the previous sentence as well as show the subject of the
new sentence.

A Complete the sentences with noun(s) to make the links between the two sentences clear

1 Property prices declined by up to 50 per cent in 2009. This . led to numerous


declarations of non-payment on mortgage loans.
2 The financial turmoil has spread. This .. has resulted in the credit crunch. This
is a reluctance to lend money. This is caused by the collapse in the value of
existing debt.
Academic English for Masters
Week 3

3 This essay analyses measures. These . have been taken by the UK and US authorities.
Answers

Instead of starting a new sentence with this / these we can link the ideas within the same sentence
using which or who. For example:

Property prices declined by up to 50 per cent in 2009 which led to numerous declarations of
non-payment on mortgage loans.
The financial turmoil has spread which has resulted in the credit crunch, which is a
reluctance to lend money, which is caused by the collapse in the value of existing debt.
This essay will analyse measures which have been taken by the UK and US authorities

B Now compare the final sentences below with the ones in the box above and answer these
questions.

1 How does the grammar of the verb following which change when which is removed?
2 Can you work out the rule?
3 What other ways has extra information been added to the final sentence?

According to Turner (2010), property prices declined by up to 50 per cent in some areas of
the US in 2009 alone, leading to numerous declarations of non-payment on mortgage loans.
Moreover, the financial turmoil has spread from residential real-estate into credit card debt,
auto debt and commercial real-estate areas resulting in the so-called credit crunch a
reluctance to lend money caused by the collapse in the value of existing debt and fears of
foreclosures.
After that, the essay analyses measures taken by the UK and US authorities since the onset
of the crisis.

TASK E

Prepare to write an introduction to the Essay assignment for this module

1. Which terms in the title might need defining?


2. What background information could you give?
3. How can you show the current relevance of this topic, either in Britain or another country?
4. How are you going to limit your discussion: geographically, historically, or both?
5. How will you organise the main body of the essay?
Academic English for Masters
Week 3

Answers

Task A

a) This isnt necessarily essential for all essays, however it is more likely to be important /
essential in many science and social science texts.
b) This isnt essential, but is often a good idea. It is sometimes called a thesis statement. You
dont write I think. but may write This essay will argue / show and explain the
conclusions you will reach.
c) You may quote from what you have read, but it is not an essential part of the introduction.
The main body of your essay will show your research. However, if defining terms or citing
statistics (see d), you will need to reference these points.
d) This is a key part of the introduction. You will make a statement about the current situation
or current theory that is the context for the essay. You may need to quote statistics or
report a debate.
e) You must also explain what areas you are dealing with, by referring to key areas of the
question you have been asked. If you dont, you will give the impression that you are not
going to answer the question.
f) This is not necessary, though it may be used on occasion. More important is to set the
context for the question to be asked (d) either by referring to recent incidents, current
trends, public or academic debates.
g) This is very important and we would say essential for those whose English is not perfect.
Readers will not mind occasional errors, if they can see the progress of the argument. You
can make this structure clear at the beginning and then follow it in the main body.
Academic English for Masters
Week 3

Task C
a) The introduction is an extended explanation of the term financial crisis of 2008.
b) We are not fully told the authors opinion but that the current solutions will create
problems
c) They quote from sources
d) The first line makes this clear
e) The parallels with Japan etc.
f) Not really the first line is dramatic but essentially uncontroversial
g) Very clearly laid out in the last part

back

Synonyms
1 significant
2 collapse (huge decline / depression (in certain circumstances, and note that in economics it
is a defined term))
3 outcomes
4 parallels
5 enormous
6 emphasis

back
Academic English for Masters
Week 3

Answers Word families


1 financial / financially / finance / finances
2 significant / significantly / significance
3 economic / economy / economically
4 analyse / analysis / analytical
5 consequences / consequent / consequently
6 global / globe / globally
7 authorities / authorise / authoritative (= full and comprehensive. If someone is an authority
on a particular subject they know a lot about it - more than most)
8 emphasis / emphasise / emphatic (= clear / without doubt)

Before you go on. Can you remember the collocations for the different word forms? Can you think of
one more for each?

Back

Answers Talking about trends


A
Use past simple with a clearly stated date in the past or a period of time which has finished. E.g.
declined.... in 2009.
Present perfect shows a trend that started in the past and includes now. Typically we use phrases
over the past six years / over the last decade / since the war / for a number of years (we prefer over
instead of for to talk about trends) - has suffered ...since the 1930s
Present perfect may also refer to something that took place at some (unknown) point during that
period - the turmoil has spread...
To talk about the current situation (not referring to the start point in the past) we use present
continuous - are still dealing with...
We tend to use the pattern is set to / is projected to / is predicted to ... to talk about future
developments - is set to stagnate... in the future

back
Academic English for Masters
Week 3

Trends B
1 has increased significantly (since the onset)
2 has grown enormously (over the past few years)
3 has fallen steadily (over the last..), rose (in 2009 and 2010)
4 was (2010)
5 soared (soar = increase a lot)
6 is set (over the next ..)
7 are co-habiting (now compared to the past) co-habit = live together without being married
8 has led (in recent years)

back

Cause and effect

stem from
result from , come about from, originate in, emerge out of, come in response to, be due to,

lead to
give rise to, result in, cause, bring about, impact on, spark, mean, play a part in

Note: while the words above are kind of synonyms, they may be used slightly differently in terms of
grammar or may have additional meanings (see the box below the exercise. and these example
sentences. Clicking on the word in blue will take you to the Macmillan dictionary online. If clicking on
the word opens a drop down menu, select hyperlink and click open)

Example sentences for cause and effect words

Judge Steven comments on the case in 2001 outlined the legal environment which gave rise to the
current laws that are in place connected to copyright and the internet.
The discovery of the form and function of DNA resulted from research conducted by many scientists
and not just Watson and Crick.
The 9/11 attacks led to a declaration of a War on Terror, which has since been rejected by many
western governments.
The governments deficit reduction plan has impacted negatively on efforts to maintain equality for
women. This is due to the fact that more women tend to work in the public sector where cuts are
being made.
Feminism emerged out of the 1960s counter-culture that questioned traditional roles in society.
The police action in Tottenham was seen to have sparked the original riot, but it is claimed that
many organised criminal elements played an important part in the other widespread disturbances
that followed it.
The introduction of stricter visa requirements for students has come in response to concerns within
the electorate of overpopulation and higher unemployment.
The project to set up a cyberarmy originated in the strategic defence review of 2008 that identified
cyber attacks as posing a very real risk to the security of the country in years to come.
Fluid accumulation in the brain can bring about seizures, as well as a lack of oxygen.
Deposits of degraded material in the radiators mean that water fluid cannot circulate easily and
there will be a loss of efficiency in the central heating system.
Certain nanotechnologies used in mobile phones came about from astronomical research into black
holes.
Academic English for Masters
Week 3

B
1 sparked, come
2 response, resulting, means, lead, impact, bring
3 rise, played

back

C
Example ideas...
1 This in turn increases sales. / This in turn creates a strong relationship with customers and
builds brand loyalty.
2 which in turn was the result of bankers failure to control investment and lending / the
downturn in the US property market.
3 which in turn has created a shortfall in the universities finances / which in turn has led to
universities seeking to boost the numbers of home students

back
Academic English for Masters
Week 3

Answers More complex sentences

A
1 decline
2 spread (or situation), credit crunch (or crunch or problem)
3 measures (or actions or policies)

back
Academic English for Masters
Week 3

Answers complex sentences B


1 you put the verb into the -ed or -ing form.

2 -ed forms are used with passives, so all of the following in italics might become 'the
measures taken'
the measures which were taken improved the situation
the measures which have been taken should improve the situation
the measures which are being taken to help people in poverty are actually compounding the
problem

-ing forms are used when the verb is a normal active verb, so all the following in italics could
become taking
All students who are taking an exam this week, should check for changes to the timetable.
The study found that those people who had taken some form of exercise on a daily basis,
were less likely to contract colds and other mild infections.
Interestingly, the results suggest that people who take less time on completing the surveys,
provide more reliable data suggesting respondents should be given a time limit to complete the
questionnaire.

3 You might add time phrases / adjectives / names or explanations (between commas or
dashes () / additional examples or lists of examples (such as, X, Y and Z) etc. / prepositional
phrases (in some areas of the US)

back
Academic English for Masters
Week 3

Appendices

1
Read the information below. Underline the points that are new to you. Check with your partner
Academic English for Masters
Week 3

2
Example sentences for cause and effect words

Judge Steven comments on the case in 2001 outlined the legal environment which gave rise to the
current laws that are in place connected to copyright and the internet.
The discovery of the form and function of DNA resulted from research conducted by many scientists
and not just Watson and Crick.
The 9/11 attacks led to a declaration of a War on Terror, which has since been rejected by many
western governments.
The governments deficit reduction plan has impacted negatively on efforts to maintain equality for
women. This is due to the fact that more women tend to work in the public sector where cuts are
being made.
Feminism emerged out of the 1960s counter-culture that questioned traditional roles in society.
The police action in Tottenham was seen to have sparked the original riot, but it is claimed that
many organised criminal elements played an important part in the other widespread disturbances
that followed it.
The introduction of stricter visa requirements for students has come in response to concerns within
the electorate of overpopulation and higher unemployment.
The project to set up a cyberarmy originated in the strategic defence review of 2008 that identified
cyber attacks as posing a very real risk to the security of the country in years to come.
Fluid accumulation in the brain can bring about seizures, as well as a lack of oxygen.
Deposits of degraded material in the radiators mean that water fluid cannot circulate easily and
there will be a loss of efficiency in the central heating system.
Certain nanotechnologies used in mobile phones came about from astronomical research into black
holes.
Academic English for Masters
Week 3

3
Support for higher education introduction