Cause and Effect

Effects of Stress
Stress has become an increasing health problem nowadays. When it becomes severe, it may cause tragedy to those who have it. We can see from the news that many sad events have been associated with stress. At the same time, stress can have many effects on ordinary persons. They are physical effects, mental effects, and social effects.

As for the first effect, stress affects a person physically by increasing the blood pressure. This can cause the person to have serious headaches. High blood pressure can also affect blood vessels. If it becomes too high, the blood vessels may be broad. This could be very dangerous to the life of the person.

As for the second effect, stress can affect a person mentally. That is, it reduces a person's abiltiy to concentrate and accordingly it reduces his creatively. Unable to succeed what a person has done may cause persisting stress and that makes a person become emotionally unstable. This serious consequence could be very damaging for people whose job requires concentration, creativity, and a good mental health.

Lastly, the mental effects of stress will eventually cause social effects. As previously stated, stress causes a person to become emotionally unstable. This type of person is very hard to cope with and it will be very dangerous if our society if full of these groups of people since they may argue or fight with each other every day. In fact, coping with these persons might even cause stress. Therefore, this results in the persons being isolated from their peers.

The previous paragraphs should explain the effects of stress. In my opinion, stress may have physical effects, mental effects and social effects. These three effects may bring about restlessness and confusion among people in the society. It will be very risky to cope with or to live with people having serious stress. Thus, people with stress should try to reduce their stress by being away from hard work for a while. Others should be more considerate to those who are fighting with it. If we all cooperate, we can bring stress under control and finally we can live peachefully in our society.


Why Nature Like a Women?
Nature has been called Mother for many years. She produces and nurtures many things as her children, teaches them how to live and help themselves and preserves her original beauty.

Nature produces and cares for her children. A woman may feel that she is not complete until she mothers a child or two. No one has ever conceived of a mother without children, including Nature. Nature produced all the animals and plants in the world as her own children, feeding and protecting them. Nature without these many things would be unimaginable.

Nature teaches her children how to live and grow. After bearing many animals and plants into the world, like a true, good mother, she cannot simply abandon them. Nature teaches her young to grow and to find their own food, to prepare them for adulthood and the event that their parents can no longer support them. Women also teach and raise their children, if they truly desire and love them.

Nature remains beautiful and pure, in spite of Man. Nature looks after her image and her beauty like a woman caring for her skin and body. Despite years of land development and encroachment. Nature remain still very beautiful and pure. Many of her original features such as mountains still stand and present a majestic, untamed imaged to the viewer.
Nature and women seem to be the same thing for reasons such as childbearing and personal maintenance. Certain feminine characteristics such as these may be the reasons why men have called Nature "Mother."

It's the end of another class, and one student has stayed behind. No problem, you think, maybe an easy grammar question, or a comment on how they enjoyed the class (or not!)... or maybe it's a question about an ESL exam. "What's the difference between TOEFL and TOEIC?" "Should I take the FCE?" "Who recognizes IELTS?" So if you don’t know your BEC from your KET, or your CAE from your CELS, here's a brief guide to the most popular ESL exams.

ESL exams fall broadly into three main categories: General English, Business English and Academic English.

General English

Probably the most popular in this category are the Cambridge ESOL exams. One and a half million people in 135 countries take Cambridge exams every year. There are five General English exams, sometimes referred to as the "Cambridge Main Suite."

The first two levels are the KET (Key English Test) and the PET (Preliminary English Test). The KET and PET have reading and writing, listening, and speaking components, and are most often used to assess progress or to prepare for the next exam in the series. The PET is also recognized by some employers and universities. KET and PET have two pass grades, Pass with merit and Pass.

Next up from the PET is the FCE (First Certificate in English). The FCE has five sections, reading, writing, use of English, listening and speaking. It is widely recognized by employers and educational institutions and so is very popular with students who want to study or work abroad.

Many universities and employers, however, prefer the CAE (Certificate in Advanced English), which is the next level up. This exam shows that a student is capable of following a university course or can function in a range of business contexts.

After the CAE comes the CPE (Certificate of Proficiency in English), the highest level in the series. Students who pass this exam have the ability to function effectively in almost every English speaking context. The CPE is also a typical requirement for non-native speakers who want to train as English teachers. Students typically need 3 years of study after passing the FCE to reach this level (depending, of course, on how often they study and other factors).

FCE, CAE and CPE have five grades, A-E, of which A-C are passes.

Cambridge also has a series of General English exams for Young Learners aged between 7 and 12 (YLE). There are three exams in the series, Starters, Movers and Flyers. They are taken mainly as a means of measuring progress, and also as preparation for the KET and PET. There is no pass or fail - students are awarded up to five "shields" for each component (reading and writing, listening, speaking).

Other General English exams

Cambridge also offers CELS (Certificates in English Language Skills). These are individual exams in each of the four skills (reading, writing, listening, speaking). Students can choose which of the exams they want to take, according to their strengths and requirements.

Pitman, part of the British City and Guilds Group, is another examining body with a series of General English exams. The International ESOL covers listening, reading and writing, and the International Spoken ESOL is a one to one structured interview. Both have six levels, from basic to advanced.

Business English

Every year four and a half million people take the TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication), run by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The TOEIC is a multiple choice exam in two sections, listening and reading, each scored out of 445, giving a total of 990. Many companies and government agencies use TOEIC as a criterion for recruiting or promoting staff, or for sending staff abroad. Some universities also use TOEIC, requiring their business school students to achieve a particular score prior to graduation, for example.

Cambridge also has a series of business exams called the BEC (Business English Certificate). BEC comes in three levels, Preliminary, Vantage and Higher. The types of exam task are similar to those in the Cambridge Main Suite, but test language ability in a business context. They are recognized by many employers worldwide, and students take them to demonstrate language skills required for international business. There are two pass grades for BEC, Pass with merit and Pass.

Other Business English exams

Cambridge offers BULATS (The Business Language Testing Service). BULATS is designed specifically for companies and organizations to test the language ability of employees who need English in their work, and for students and employees on language and business courses.

Pitman has a three-level series of exams called English for Business Communications, which tests business writing ability, and English for Office Skills, a two-level series designed to test the ability to carry out office-related tasks where accuracy in writing and following instructions is important.

Academic English

A common question from students is "What's the difference between TOEIC and TOEFL?" Well, both are run by ETS, but whereas TOEIC evaluates language skills for the workplace, TOEFL evaluates language skills in an academic context. It is therefore used primarily as a prerequisite for admission to universities and colleges. More than 5000 colleges and universities in 90 countries recognize the exam. During 2005 and 2006, TOEFL is phasing in a new internet-based test (iBT), which will replace the current computer-based and paper-based exams. The iBT has 4 sections, reading, listening, speaking and writing, each with a score of 30, giving a total score of 120. This is likely to cause some confusion for a while, as most students and universities are used to working with the paper-based total of 677, or the computer-based total of 300!

Cambridge also has an academic exam, the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), which they jointly manage with the British Council and IDP:IELTS Australia. IELTS is recognized by universities and colleges, as well as employers, immigration authorities and professional bodies. The exam has listening, reading, writing and speaking components. For the reading and writing, students can choose between an academic and a general option. IELTS is scored on a scale of 1-9.

Comparing levels

One of the most common questions from students is how exams in the different categories compare to each other. Is the FCE equivalent to one of the BEC exams? If I have the CAE, what TOEFL score can I expect? Luckily, we have a reference guide to help us here, called the "Common European Framework of Reference for Languages" (CEF). The CEF divides language learners into six levels, and enables us to compare all the ESL exams according to these levels.

The six levels are A1 (Breakthrough), A2 (Waystage), B1 (Threshold), B2 (Vantage), C1 (Effective Operational Proficiency), and C2 (Mastery).

Here's a quick comparison of exams at the different levels. Bear in mind that this is a general guide only -- students' scores in different exams will of course depend on many factors, such as preparation time and motivation!

A1: YLE Movers, Pitman ESOL Basic, IELTS score 1-2.

A2: KET, YLE Flyers, Pitman ESOL Elementary, TOEIC score 246-380, TOEFL iBT score 32-42, IELTS score 3.

B1: PET, TOEIC score 381-540, BEC Preliminary, TOEFL iBT score 43-61, IELTS score 3.5-4.5.

B2: FCE, Pitman ESOL Intermediate, TOEIC score 541-700, BEC Vantage, TOEFL iBT score 62-91, IELTS score 5-6.

C1: CAE, Pitman ESOL Higher Intermediate, TOEIC score 701-910, BEC Higher, TOEFL iBT score 92-112, IELTS score 6.5-7.

C2: CPE, Pitman ESOL Advanced, TOEIC score 911-990, TOEFL iBT score 113-120, IELTS score 7.5-9.

Here's an effective way to teach the third conditional to your ESL students.

1. First, write a short story (a few paragraphs is fine) about someone who had a bad day. The first paragraph could start something like this:

Sarah had to be at the airport for her flight at 9am, but her alarm didn't go off and so she overslept...

With this example you could continue to talk about Sarah's travel problems as the day progressed. Maybe she forgot her passport and had to rush back home to get it, which made her miss her flight, and so on. The key is to create a problem in each paragraph and describe what happened as a result.

2. Once you've got your story, cut it up into paragraphs and you're ready to go. Pre-teach any vocabulary you need to and divide your students into pairs or small groups. Then hand out the story and ask the students to put the paragraphs into the correct order.

3. When everyone has ordered the story correctly, ask your students if Sarah (we'll use the example from above) had a good or a bad day. (They should of course say "bad"!) Ask one pair to tell you Sarah's first problem and write it on the board. Then go from pair to pair and elicit the other problems. When you've got them all on the board, ask pairs what the result of each problem was, and write these next to their corresponding problems.

So now, on the board, you might have something like this:

Her alarm didn't go off – she overslept

She forgot her passport – she missed her flight

and so on. Leave some space under each one for the next step.

4. Tell students they are now going to imagine that Sarah had a good day. Ask one pair to tell you the opposite of the first problem-result, and write this underneath it:

A Her alarm didn't go off – she overslept.

B Her alarm went off - she didn't oversleep.

To clarify that sentence A is the "real" past, ask students which sentence really happened in the story, and which we are just imagining.

Now draw their attention to sentence B. Reinforce once again that this is imagining a diffferent past, and ask them how they would express this idea in a sentence beginning with "If..." You may have a more advanced student who gives you the correct third conditional sentence. If not, tell them, and write it on the board under sentence B so that they can see the connection with the imaginary situation:

A Her alarm didn't go off – she overslept.

B Her alarm went off - she didn't oversleep.

If her alarm had gone off, she wouldn't have overslept.

Highlight the form: Past Perfect + Would(n't) have + Past participle.

5. Go through one or two more examples on the board, and then ask students to try the remaining problems themselves. Be sure to get feedback to check they are forming the third conditional correctly.

6. Now it's time for some practice. We often use the third conditional to express regret, and this makes a good context for a communicative activity. Model it first: Tell the class you are going to talk about a few regrets you've had in your life (you can make them up if you want!), and you would like them to note them down.

For example:

I regret not studying French. If I'd studied French, I would have worked in Paris.

Ask individual students to report back your regrets to you, reconstructing the third conditional sentences correctly.

Now give students a few minutes to think of some regrets of their own (tell them they can make them up if they are not comfortable talking about their past). Put students into pairs and have them tell each other their regrets. Make sure you monitor well here to ensure correct use of the third conditional as it comes up.

Students then report back to the class about their partners' regrets. You can develop some into a discussion if you like, but make sure you don't have a full-on discussion about any regrets which could be sensitive for the student concerned.

The IELTS Listening test comes first, and many candidates find it a hard, sometime even discouraging, way to get started. The IELTS Listening task tests a diverse range of skills, and many people find it challenging.

There are many ways to prepare for this portion of the IELTS exam. There are, for example, many practice tapes and CD sets on the commercial market. While all of them are helpful to some degree, the one thing you can be sure is that none of them will be the IELTS Listening test you take.

The good news is that the best forms of IELTS Listening practice are available free, or at least readily and at low cost. They’re also more fun. They are radio, TV, and movies!

If you have access to an English-language radio or TV station, listen to it as often as possible. The benefits are many.

- You become familiar with a wide variety of accents and individual ways of speaking

- You get the rhythms of spoken English sentences in your ear

- You become more familiar with the way native speakers pronounce English words

- You start to hear word patterns and notice the way English sentences are put together

- You begin to learn new vocabulary by hearing it in context

- You simply become accustomed to the sound of spoken English, which may be the single most important thing of all

English radio and TV talk shows give you good exposure to the way native speakers – not English teacher – actually use the language. They familiarize you with slang and other colloquialisms.

English radio and TV news programmes give you great background for the multiple-voice, nonacademic setting section of the IELTS Listening test, which often uses a mock radio broadcast. Hearing up to four different individuals talk about the same incident from different personal perspectives, in different acoustical situations, and in a variety of accents (including those of second-language speakers) is exactly the kind of training you need to perform well on this portion of the test, which some candidates find the hardest.

Watching English, Australian, American, and other movies in English – in any format – is also highly useful in giving you exposure to the way “real people” speak English. As with all languages, it’s not the same as classroom English.

If you see such movies in the theatre, try to look at the subtitles as little as possible. If you watch them on DVD, watch them once with subtitles, so you learn the situations and dialogue – and then switch the subtitles off and watch them again and again, until you can understand what is being said without “translating.” Many local cable-TV providers show movies many times over the same time period. If you have access a movie channel on such a service, get the schedule, watch the movies you want once with the subtitles – and then, on repeat viewings, tape over the bottom of your TV screen so you cannot use the subtitles.

What’s important is that you expose yourself to the sound of spoken English as much as possible between now and the time you take IELTS. Use time that you otherwise might waste. When you’re getting dressed or eating breakfast in the morning, have the radio or TV on, set to an English station. If you are doing tasks that don’t require your full attention, like cooking or cleaning your room, have the radio or TV on in the background. If you spend a lot of time stuck in traffic, turn the car radio onto an English news or talk station.

Of course, you will benefit more the more you concentrate on what you hear. But even if you don’t focus on what you hear only, trying to understand what is being said, simply letting the sounds into your ears will help. Educators are now convinced that there is such a thing as “passive listening.” That means that you’re often learning even when you’re not trying to. If you have English on – even “in the background” – your brain is trying to figure out what is being said even if you’re not concentrating on it.

Most important of all, the day you actually tale the IELTS exam, make sure that the first time you hear English that day is not when the tape for the Listening test starts. That may be too late, and you could miss a question or too while your ears “adjust” to the sound of English. Even if you’re nervous and feel like you can’t concentrate on it, have the radio or TV on while you’re getting dressed, eating breakfast, or getting to the IELTS exam. You’ll be glad you did!

It takes a long time for students of English-as-a-second-language to learn to read well. This is not because they have a reading problem: They can read perfectly well in their own language. The problem is just that they don’t know the meaning of enough English words. In other words, they don’t have a big enough vocabulary.

It’s not easy to build a vocabulary that allows you to read as well, or almost as well, as people who grew up speaking and reading English. It's quite easy to build the basic vocabulary of 1000-2000 words that you need in order to speak English to other people and understand what they’re saying. You’ll probably pick up that many words, without really trying, during the early stages of your study of English. And if that doesn’t happen, you can always sit down with a good vocabulary list and a dictionary and start memorizing.

However, to be able to read English well, you need to know a lot more than 2000 words — about ten times that many, in fact. You won’t learn all these words without trying, even if you spend a lot of time taking English courses and talking to English speakers.

Learning the most basic words in English, or any other language, is easy because these words are used so often. ‘Second-level words’ — words that are not necessary for basic communication, but which are necessary for reading — can only be learned by the hard work of studying. But what sort of studying is most effective and most enjoyable?

One method is to take the direct approach and learn words ‘out of context’ — by studying word lists, doing vocabulary ‘exercises,’ or even by reading through a learners’ dictionary. There are plenty of textbooks around to help you with this job and you may find English courses that concentrate on this sort of vocabulary building.

It’s also possible to take a more ‘natural’ approach and try to build up your vocabulary by reading English books, newspapers, and magazines — looking up words in a dictionary as you go along and taking notes.

Both the direct and the indirect approach can work, but both have serious disadvantages. Most people find studying word lists and reading dictionaries quite boring, and a boring method of studying is likely to be ineffective. In addition, even if you’re not bored, you may find it hard to remember the words you try to learn in this way. It seems that words, and other things, stay in our minds better if we see them for the first time while we’re doing something interesting — like reading an enjoyable story or article.

The disadvantage of the natural approach is that for intermediate learners — ones who are trying to build their vocabulary up to the 20,000-word level — the most readily available texts tend to be far too difficult and, therefore, they are ineffiicent learning tools. Books, even if they are quite easy to understand, tend to be much too long for someone who is reading slowly while using a dictionary and taking notes. Magazine and newspaper articles, on the other hand, almost always contain a lot of language that is unnecessarily difficult because it is idiomatic or metaphorical or because it includes unusual words that are not really needed. This slows down learners and also makes the experience of reading less interesting and therefore less effective.

The best method of vocabulary building is one that combines the advantages of both approaches while avoiding the disadvantages. One way to do this is to learn vocabulary in context, through reading, but with texts that have been specially written for vocabulary building. This makes for natural, efficient, and enjoyable studying.

Finding this kind of reading material can be difficult, unfortunately. The reading passages in ESL texts can be a good source, but they're often few in number and very short. Moreover, the readings in books for beginners' are often quite uninteresting and the ones in books for more advanced students are often about quite difficult 'academic' ideas. To succeed with this method of vocabulary enlargement, you need long and interesting texts. The best sources are probably 'simplified' versions of famous works of English literature written specially for learners. Books of this kind are not used as often in ESL courses now as they were in the past, but, if you're taking an English course, your teacher may able to lend you some, and you should certainly be able to find some in your library. If you go to a library or bookstore to look for useful reading material, you should also look at children's and teenagers' books. They are written for readers who, unlike you, have English as their first language; but like you, they still have to learn more words before they can read 'grown-up' material easily.

IX. A sample TOEFL essay (based on the outline above)

It is a good idea for teenagers to have jobs while they are students because they can learn about responsibility; they can learn the value of money and they can learn how to work as a member of a team.

When teenagers have jobs while they are students, they can learn how to be responsible. As an employee, you must follow a weekly schedule. This means, you have to come to work on time. If you are scheduled to begin work at 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning, you have to be there at 8 a.m. It doesn’t matter if you went to a party the night before and do not want to get up. You have to get up. Your boss is relying on you to do your job. As an employee, you also learn that you must serve the customer in a friendly manner. If you are not friendly, the store may lose business and you may lose your job. Finally, an employee is responsible for maintaining the store shelves with inventory. If you work in a department store, you have to keep the shelves filled with merchandise. The products have to be priced and placed on the shelves. If the shelves look empty, customers may get a bad impression of the store and may not continue to shop there. It is good for students to learn responsibility when they are young because it will benefit them as they get older.

Another benefit to teenagers working is that they will learn the value of money. Often students get money from their parents, but they do not realize how hard their parents work for that money. When students work, they begin to appreciate how difficult it can be to make money. They also realize that “money doesn’t grow on trees” as some students seem to believe when asking their parents for money. Another reason it is good for students to work is that they will make wiser choices when they use their own money to buy things. For example, if students work 20 hours per week at $7.00 per hour, they will make $140 per week. In one month, that is about $540. Perhaps a student will think twice about spending $120 for a pair of tennis shoes or $350 for a stereo system when s/he has had to work very hard for that money. On the other hand, when students do spend money for personal objects, they will appreciate them more than if they had gotten the money from their parents.

Finally, working teenagers learn from being members of a team. As employees, students learn to work with others and help one another. For example, if someone is sick, you may be asked to help out. In addition, other employees will depend on you to do your share of the work. If one person does not do his/her job, other employees may have to do extra work to compensate. Students will learn very quickly that it is not good teamwork to expect others to do your work. Finally, students will develop friendships with other employees because they have learned to count on each other. Working as a member of a team will build strong character in students.

To conclude, it is a valuable experience for teenagers to have jobs while they are students because they will learn to be responsible adults. They will have an appreciation for money and they will learn about working with others. These experiences will help them grow into adulthood and benefit them throughout their lives.

VIII. A sample TOEFL outline:

TOEFL Question: In some countries, teenagers have jobs while they are still students. Do you think this is a good idea? Support your opinion by using specific reasons and details.

I. It is a good idea for teenagers to have jobs while they are students because they can learn about responsibility; they can learn the value of money and they can learn how to work as a member of a team.

II. Students can learn responsibility
a. They have to come to work on time every day
b. They must serve customers in a friendly manner
c. They have to maintain the store shelves with inventory

III. Students can learn the value of money
a. Students will learn that it takes a lot of time and effort to make money
b. Students will make wiser choices when buying things with their own money

IV. Students will learn how to work as a member of a team
a. Students will learn how to compromise with other employees (helping out when someone is sick, etc.)
b. Students will learn about the friendship that comes from teamwork (feeling like you can trust others)

V. Conclusion
It is a valuable experience for teenagers to have jobs while they are students because they will learn to be responsible adults. They will have an appreciation for money and they will learn about working with others. All of these traits will benefit them throughout their lives.

V. How to write good body paragraphs:
Each paragraph in your essay introduces a new idea. It should include a thesis statement followed by support and examples. Be sure to use LOTS of examples. Within and between paragraphs be sure to use transition words like: on the other hand, however, though, for example, in contrast, likewise, in addition, first, finally. The paragraph should end with a concluding sentence which briefly summarizes the ideas in the paragraph.

VI. The elements of a good concluding paragraph:
A good concluding paragraph should include a summary of your main points. It may also include the author’s opinion. It should NOT introduce any new ideas. A good concluding paragraph often leaves an impression on the reader. It may make the reader think more deeply about the topic.

VII. Preparing to write and writing your answer:
I. Read and understand the essay question. (2 minutes).
II. Organize your ideas on paper by writing a short outline of the introduction, body and conclusion. (8 minutes).
III. Write your essay. Remember to restate the question in your introduction. Use clear details and LOTS of examples in the body of your essay. Finally, summarize the main ideas in the concluding paragraph of your essay. (15 minutes).

I. Reread your essay and make any changes in spelling, verb tense, word choice or sentence structure. (5 minutes).

TOEFL essay question #2:
Is it better for children to participate in team sports or individual sports? Why? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Restatement & Thesis:
It is better for children to participate in team sports rather than individual sports. In team sports, children learn how to cooperate. They learn good sportsmanship and how to rely on their teammates. These are important lessons that will benefit children throughout their lives.

The first sentence clearly states the author’s opinion. This is followed by three reasons for the opinion. Finally, the author mentions life lessons. In the essay, the three reasons will make up the three main idea paragraphs in the body of the essay. In addition, the author will mention how each main idea is useful throughout life.

TOEFL essay question #3:
Some people prefer to live in a small town. Others prefer to live in a big city. Which place would you prefer to live in? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

Restatement & Thesis:
There are many good reasons to live in a big city and an equal number of good reasons to live in a small town. I, myself, prefer to live in a small town because it is more personal and homey; it is easier to get around in and it is safer than a big city.

The first statement says that both a city and town have positive aspects. The next sentence tells the author’s preference and reasons for that preference. These reasons will make up the body of the essay.

III. The parts of an essay:
In every essay, there should be an introduction, a body and conclusion.

A. The introduction:
The introduction restates the question using different vocabulary and/or sentence structure. The introduction also includes your thesis statement…the most important sentence in your essay.

B. The body:
The body of your essay is also the “heart” of your essay. It will include your main ideas and details and examples to support those ideas. Each new idea should be a new paragraph. Typically, a TOEFL essay will have 3 – 4 body paragraphs.

C. The conclusion:
The conclusion will be your final paragraph. It will summarize all the main ideas in your essay and it may also include your opinion.

IV. How to write a good introduction:
Let’s look at some more essay questions to see how to restate the question and how to write your thesis statement.

TOEFL essay question #1:
Some people prefer to eat at food stands or restaurants. Other people prefer to prepare and eat food at home. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

Restatement & Thesis:
People have two options when deciding where to eat. They can prepare meals and eat at home or they can go out to stands or restaurants. I prefer to go out to eat because the food is more varied and interesting, it is less work for me and it saves time.

The restatement mentions the two types of options people have for eating and tells which one the author prefers. In addition, it gives three reasons for that preference. These three reasons will make up the three main idea paragraphs in the body of the essay.

I. Before you begin:
I. Relax and feel confident.
II. Remember that you have 30 minutes to write your essay. Use your time wisely.
III. You may write your essay on the computer or on paper. Choose the one you are MOST comfortable with.
II. You can write an excellent essay if you remember all these tips!

II. Understanding the TOEFL question:
There are different types of TOEFL questions. You never know which question you will receive, so you must be prepared to write on ALL the types of questions. It is very important that you completely understand the question BEFORE you begin to write. Below are some different essay question types.

1. Choose a point of view and support that view.
Example: Some people believe that university students should be required to attend classes. Others believe that going to classes should be optional for students. Which point of view do you agree with? Use specific reasons and details to explain your answer.

This type of question asks you to look at only ONE side of the issue…the side you agree with. DON’T write about both sides. You tell which side you agree with and support your ideas with details and examples.

2. Describe something.
Example: If you could invent something NEW, what product would you develop? Use specific details to explain why this invention is needed?

In answering this type of question, you MUST be creative. It asks you to describe something NEW, something that does not exist. You must describe it in detail AND tell why it is necessary.

3. Compare two points of view and tell which one you agree with.
Example: Some people think that children should begin their formal education at a very early age and should spend most of their time on school studies. Others believe that young children should spend most of their time playing. Compare these two views. Which view do you agree with? Why?

In this type of question, you must write about BOTH sides of this issue and then tell which side you agree with. You may NOT say that you agree with both sides. You MUST make a choice. First, give support, details and examples of both sides of the issue. Then, tell which side you agree with and why.

4. Agree or disagree with something.
Example: Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: ONLY people who earn a lot of money are successful. Do you agree or disagree with this definition of success? Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion.

In this type of question, you MUST agree or disagree. You cannot be unsure or indecisive. After you have said whether you agree or disagree, you must give convincing reasons and examples for your choice.

5. Explain why something is true.
Example: People remember special gifts or presents that they have received. Why? Give specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

In this question, you should use lots of examples. (For this question, you would use examples of gifts one might receive and tell why those gifts are memorable). Do not write in the first person, “I.” Write in more general terms.

6. Support an idea or plan.
Example: It has recently been announced that a new restaurant may be built in your neighborhood. Do you support or oppose this plan? Why? Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.

In this question, first tell whether you support or oppose the plan and then tell why. Since this question is somewhat personal, it is ok to use personal pronouns such as: “I, me, my” in your answer.

Sometimes, it is difficult to figure out where to go with your argument. Aristotle in the Ars
Rhetorica lists several inventio. Inventio, or "invention techniques" can help a writer generate ideas while brainstorming. Frequently, these tools can help you think about an issue and possibly develop individual paragraphs. Be warned that these techniques are not a panacea. Some work better than others in specific essays and arguments. For instance, in discussing whether or not healthcare should cover myofascial massage, it may be important to define what exactly a myofascial massage is, and how particular HMOs categorize it. But when writing an essay on automobiles, it seems unlikely one would need to define the word "car" for a reader.


Narration How did it happen?
Description How can it be described?
Process How is it made? How is it done? How do you do it?

Cause What causes it?
Effect What effect does it have on other things?
Compare How is it similar to something else?

Contrast How it different than something else?
Classification Is it a part of a larger group? What group is that?
Division Can it be broken down into smaller groups? What groups are those?

Formal definition How does an authoritative source define it, such as a Penal
Code, Black's Law Dictionary, a Biochemistry Guide, etc.?
Etymology Where does the word come from? Does that knowledge
help understand the problem? (If not, don’t bother!)
Example What are some examples of it?

Exposition Simply explain it in your own words
Negative Definition What is it not?
History Can you give me a history of it?

Diagram Can you draw a diagram showing how it works?
Anecdote Can you tell me a short story to explain it?
Possible/impossible Could it work? Did it work? Does it work? Why or why not?

These techniques are the means to an end, not a purpose in themselves. In most situations, you would never be asked to write "a paper using classification," but you might find yourself needing to write a report to someone and then discover that classification would be a good way to organize part of that paper, or it might be useful to help the reader understand part of your argument.

ESL Bingo!

Posted by idea2ry | 11:58 AM

One of our customers recently wrote to me with some
feedback on our bingo games. I thought her comments were so typical and highlighted some misunderstandings and problems with ESL bingo.

Her comments were --

It took a long time for my students to learn how the game is played but once they did they had a lot of fun.

This is a very typical comment and illustrates a
ms-conception. If native speakers were to play the same bingo game, it would be simple because we understand the vocabulary and the rules. And if we had questions about the rules, we could easily consult the rules and clarify our concerns.

However, for a native speaker, the situation is very different. They don't understand the vocabulary, not the rules, where are in a foreign language. So, it is going to take some time to set up, and probably the first game will be difficult, but after that, our experience is students can't get enough!

Here are some pointers and suggestions for playing bingo:

* Prepare before you start. Before class, review the vocabulary and make a note of any difficult words. Before actually playing the game, introduce the words. This can be made into a game as well. Instead of simply telling students the definitions, say something like, "If you are going to win, you will need to know these words. Here are some clues for winning." or "I'm going to tell you 3 clues, are you listening?"

* The first game MAY be difficult, but preparation will help. With proper preparation, you will see a huge change on the second or third game. They are so eager to win they will learn the rest of the vocabulary themselves.

* Students love to help each other, and love to be the one that 'knows.' Use this to your advantage by allowing students to work together for the first game. Depending on the group, you may want to allow some helping and working together on the second game as well. After that, students should have a grasp of the game and some of the vocabulary
to play without sharing or helping.

We have found Bingo to be an excellent supplemental activity for ESL students. If played at the end of the class, students leave their English class feeling positive and look forward to coming back.

Learning the lessons taught by failure is a sure route to success. (THESIS STATEMENT) The United States of America can be seen as a success that emerged from failure: by learning from the weaknesses of the Articles of Confederation, the founding fathers were able to create the Constitution, the document on which America is built. (BEST SUPPORTING EXAMPLE [1]) Google Inc., the popular Internet search engine, is another example of a success that arose from learning from failure, though in this case Google learned from the failures of its competitors. (NEXT BEST SUPPORTING EXAMPLE [2]) Another example that shows how success can arise from failure is the story of Rod Johnson, who started a recruiting firm that arose from Johnson’s personal experience of being laid off. (NEXT BEST SUPPORTING EXAMPLE [3])

The United States, the first great democracy of the modern world, is also one of the best examples of a success achieved by studying and learning from earlier failures. (TOPIC SENTENCE FOR EXAMPLE 1) After just five years of living under the Articles of Confederation, which established the United States of America as a single country for the first time, the states realized that they needed a new document and a new more powerful government. In 1786, the Annapolis convention was convened. The result, three years later, was the Constitution, which created a more powerful central government while also maintaining the integrity of the states. By learning from the failure of the Articles, the founding fathers created the founding document of a country that has become both the most powerful country in the world and a beacon of democracy. (FOUR DEVELOPMENT SENTENCES TO SUPPORT EXAMPLE 1)

Unlike the United States, which had its fair share of ups and downs over the years, the Internet search engine company, Google Inc., has suffered few setbacks since it went into business in the late 1990s. (TOPIC SENTENCE FOR EXAMPLE 2) Google has succeeded by studying the failures of other companies in order to help it innovate its technology and business model. Google identified and solved the problem of assessing the quality of search results by using the number of links pointing to a page as an indicator of the number of people who find the page valuable. Suddenly, Google’s search results became far more accurate and reliable than those from other companies, and now Google’s dominance in the field of Internet search is almost absolute. (THREE DEVELOPMENT SENTENCES TO SUPPORT EXAMPLE 2)

The example of Rod Johnson’s success as an entrepreneur in the recruiting field also shows how effective learning from mistakes and failure can be. (TOPIC SENTENCE FOR EXAMPLE 3) Rather than accept his failure after being laid off, Johnson decided to study it. After a month of research, Johnson realized that his failure to find a new job resulted primarily from the inefficiency of the local job placement agencies, not from his own deficiencies. A month later, Johnson created Johnson Staffing to correct this weakness in the job placement sector. Today Johnson Staffing is the largest job placement agency in South Carolina, and is in the process of expanding into a national corporation. (FOUR DEVELOPMENT SENTENCES TO SUPPORT EXAMPLE 3)

Failure is often seen as embarrassing, something to be denied and hidden. But as the examples of the U.S. Constitution , Google, and Rod Johnson prove, if an individual, organization, or even a nation is strong enough to face and study its failure, then that failure can become a powerful teacher. (THESIS STATEMENT REPHRASED IN BROADER WAY THAT PUSHES IT FURTHER) The examples of history and business demonstrate that failure can be the best catalyst of success, but only if people have the courage to face it head on.


Posted by idea2ry | 1:28 PM

Group 1
Sequencing / Listing

First of all, ………..
In the first place, ………….
To begin with ………..
First (ly), ……--> Second (ly), ….. --> Third (ly), …….
First, ….--> Next, …--> Then, ..… --> After that, ….---> Finally, …..

Group 2

Also, ………….
Besides, ……….
Furthermore, ………….
In addition, ……………
Moreover, …………….

Group 3

In the same way, ……………
Likewise, …………..
Similarly, …………..

Group 4

In conclusion, ……….
In summary, …………
To conclude, ………...
To sum up, ………….

Group 5

For example, ………..
For instance, ………..
In particular, …………
Particularly, ………….
…… such as ………..
…..., that is, ………
......., that is to say, ………

Group 6
Showing Results

……, namely, …….
As a result, ………
Consequently, …….
Hence, ………
So, ………..
Therefore, ………..

Group 7

In other words, ……..
In that case, ………..
Then, ……………
(Or) else, ………..
Otherwise, ……….

Group 8
Giving Alternatives

Alternatively, ……….
On the other hand, …………..
Then again, …………….

Group 9

In other words, ………..
That is to say, …………
To put it simply, ………..

Group 10

Conversely, ……………..
In comparison, ……………
In contrast to this, ………..
Instead, ………….
On the contrary, ……………
…….., whereas, ……………
…….., while, …………
…….., whilst …………

Group 11

After all, ………..
All the same, ………..
Although ……….
Though ………..
Even though ………….
Even if ……………
However, …………
In spite of ………..
Nevertheless, …………
Nonetheless, ………….
Still, ………….
Yet, ………….

"Hi, Hello, Thank you, and Goodbye" are common English expression that the Thai people use in their daily conversation among the Thai people. It is obvious that English is well known as an international language. It seems possible to attribute this to three things: English as an important language to traders, an official language in colonies of the British Empire, and finally English as one of the easiest languages to typeset.

For the first factor, trader from English-speaking countries have been traveling around the global for a long time. People from non-English-speaking countries might not be able to communicate with these traders if they do not know how to speak English. Not understanding English when dealing with them has caused confusion and disputes. When they have problem with them, it will lead to trade delays and lower profits. On the other hand, understanding English reduces the trade delays and lower profits. On the other hand, understanding English reduces the trade delays significantly. It also creates good impressions and thus leads to good deals. This motivated many traders to study English all over the world. Therefore, it causes English to become and established trade language.

For the second factor, colonization helped English become an international language. The British Empire had colonized many countries in many continents around the world. Each time it successfully colonized one, it established English as an official language. People in the colonies viewed English as the language of elites, or high class people. This caused these colonized people to study English in order to advance their status. However, in many countries where English is used as a foreign language, the people are interested in studying it because it helps them advance in their careers and be able to continue their education in the western universities.

The last factor, English was one of the easiest languages to typeset. Typesetting allows many documents to be reproduced accurately in a very short time. This cause typesetting to become an important tool for delivering information. In addition, English has only 26 alphabets and a simple writing system. These facts caused information in English to be delivered faster than information in other languages. People who wanted to deliver information quickly were eventually forced to use English.

In sum, the above paragraphs should discuss the reasons why English has become an international language. It was an important trade language and an official language in colonies of the British Empire, Finally, it was one of the easiest language to typeset. Those who use English should understand why it has become an international language.

When students learn the English language, they want to be able to communicate with native speakers. That is, they must be able to listen, to speak, to read and to write with them. To master these four skills efficiently, they cannot rely on only Thai teachers teaching English and many things should be done in order to improve their English skills. Therefore, in my opinion, there are three guidelines for any student who wants to achieve these goals. They are--studying English with native speakers of English, devoting much time and effort on learning and understanding all systems of rules, and practicing using them very often in the daily life conversation.

As for the first guideline, it will be very lucky if any student has a good start learning English with the native speakers, since he or she can have early opportunity to listen and to speak the correct accents. Otherwise, his or her accents will be influenced by the mother tongue or the Thai language. Therefore, good model is necessary for his or her imitation. In case that there is no chance to have a native speaker, that person must listen to the conversations from the tapes with the scripts everyday. When the time passes by, that person can gradually pick up correct pronunciations, words, phrases and sentences.

As for the second guideline, that person must spend time and effort on learning and memorizing all kinds of rules so that that person knows the content of the English language. This includes the understanding the English phonological system, morphological system and the grammatical systems. To master all of these aspects, it is very time-consuming and it requires regular attention so that this knowledge is developed unconsciously. That person should spend much time on reading available textbooks and materials in addition to learning from the native speakers.

As for the last guideline, that person should learn the usages parts of the rules. This part will be concerned with the cultural aspects of the English language. That person must learn how to select pronunciations of words and phrases to agree with the context or how to select pronunciations of words and phrases to agree with the context or how to select pronunciations of words and phrases to agree with the context or how to write a word or a phrase in a particular context. That is, that person must understand different types of usages. Moreover, if that person can understand what he or she speak, how to speak and practice speaking regularly between friends or among friends, finally that person will develop his of her communicative skills and he or she will be able to speak with native speakers when the opportunity comes.

The above paragraph describe the three guidelines that a person should do in order to improve his or her English skills. The first is that the person should learn the correct accents from the native speakers. The second is that the person must spend time and effect in acquiring the content of the English language. The last is that the person must practice using the four skills as much as possible.

George Bernard Shaw said famously that the American and the British were "two nations separated by a common language".

Beneath are some instances of different usage in American and British language. You may already be aware of some of these differences, others may surprise you.

Two weeks / Fortnight
Legal holiday / Bank holiday
Regular/special shareholders' meeting / Ordinary/extraordinary general meeting (of the shareholders)
(Articles of incorporation and) bylaws / (Memorandum and) articles of association
Income statement / Profit and loss account
Currency exchange / Bureau de change
President/Chairman / Chairman
Chief Executive Officer / Managing director
Realtor / Estate agent
Real estate / Property
Zip code / Post code
Run (for office) / Stand (for office)
Checking account / Current account
Check / Cheque
Mutual fund / Unit trust
Penitentiary / Prison

These are just a few examples. It is often worthwhile establishing whether your audience/the receivers of your document would prefer American or British nomenclature, as though many US terms may be comprehended by a British person and contrariwise others may generate confusion and a need for time to be spent on further explanations or clearings.

As well as the differences in vocabulary we just considered, it is also possible to spot divergences in grammar and country-specific structures in 'British' and 'American' documents. There are often no strict rules, it is merely a question of usage and the outcome of how the language has evolved in each country.

Dates are one long-familiar example:

September 29, 2003 / 29 September 2003
9/29/2003 / 29/9/2003

Helpful Hint: It may be a good idea to write a date out in full, to avoid confusion:
Is 3/9/2003 the 3rd of September 2003 or March 9, 2003 ?

The use of commas in lists is also different. Note the missing comma in the UK version of the following sentence:

The company has not issued any bonds, shares, stock options, or securities this year.

The company has not issued any bonds, shares, stock options or securities this year.

Some grammatical differences are shown in the next table:

I will write them next month / I will write to them next month
It was nice to talk with her / It was nice to talk to her
I am meeting with the union representatives today / I am meeting the union representatives today
I live on First Avenue / I live in First Avenue
Let's go see a movie / Let's go and see a film
Different than/different from / Different from/different to
I already ate / I have already eaten
Look out the window / Look out of the window
Hudson River / River Thames

Another interesting instance is the third person singular form 'one':
"one does what one is told to do".

This is still in use in the UK in formal language, but is very seldom heard in the US .

Familiar speech forms can also differ greatly. Whereas the British would say "I really need a drink" or even "I'm dying for a drink", Americans might say "I sure could use a drink",

You are much more likely to hear a British person say "yes, of course" or "leave it with me", when an American might say "sure can" or "will do" when asked to do something,

Though such usage may be particular to one country, in most cases it is readily understood in the other. Indeed, with today's increasingly 'global' culture, many British people are now using 'Americanisms', although the reverse is seldom true!

Finally, words are often spelled differently between British and American English. For example:

-z organize / -s organise
-or favor, behavior / -our favour, behaviour

Mistakes can easily be averted by choosing the appropriate language (American or British English) in your word processing software and executing a spell-check, seems obvious, but is easy to forget!

Article Directory:

People who are currently working usually want to succeed in their work and thus they eventually get promotion. Not every person can accomplish this goal. It depends on the different natures of work and different characteristics and capabilities of a particular person. Therefore, to get promotion at work, one should do at least three things--completion of assigned tasks, continuation of their further education, and participation in organization's activities.

The first thing that someone should do in order to get promotion is the completion of assigned tasks. That person should do his work perfectly. Moreover, he should finish the assigned tasks in time. In addition, he should come to work regularly. When he has some reason not to attend his work, prior notice must be delivered. Besides, he should create good of favorable relations with colleagues. Finally, he should create good of favorable relations with colleagues. Finally, he should be a good employee by willingly accepting any comments on his work.

The second thing that he should do to get promotion at work is that he should be well-informed. That is he must update changing global information relevant to his work. Furthermore, he should exchange information among the same business areas. He should rely on messages from various medias--newspapers, televisions, etc. Finally, for those who are administrators should take some short courses in order to refresh their knowledge.

The last thing that he should accomplish is participation and cooperation among numbers within organizations. He needs to attend the conferences or meetings in order to share the ideas, to acknowledge the progress and to be involved with any current problems. He should figure out any possibility for the solutions. Moreover, he should be willingly to work extra hours when there are some urgent matters. Furthermore, he should be ready to work in the provinces or temporary traveling to work in local branches.

In conclusion, the above paragraphs should explain the three factors that help the employee to get promotion at work. The first factor is that he should complete the assigned or routine tasks perfectly and on time. The second factor is that he should continue his education relevant to his position. The last factor is that he should participate or cooperate among members in his organization. These three factors will enable him to be promoted to a higher position.

Universities are places where students come to learn various courses from instructors. A good university must be able to support the learning process. It must have enough qualified instructors, many modern buildings with adequate high technology facilities, and the most of all good management.

Being a place where students come to learn, it is important that universities have enough qualified instructors for every course. Being a qualified instructor for a course requires more than having knowledge in the course. It requires having adequate teaching skills. Without adequate teaching skills, knowledge will not be transferred to the students. It is also requires having proper personalities. An instructor without appropriate personalities will be unpopular and disliked.

As for the second characteristic, a good university must have many buildings with adequate high technology facilities for students and employees. There must be enough rooms for the courses. The classrooms must be large enough and properly equipped. Libraries should have enough books and materials to accomodate the courses being taught. Since learning tasks take considerable time in a day, there also must be enough restrooms and cafeterias.

A good university, like any large organization, must have good management. There must be enough employees to handle administrative tasks. Facilities must be maintained so they can function properly, In addition, there must be adequate security to ensure the safety of university property, employees and students. And the most importance, garbage must be collected and disposed properly to prevent diseases.

In conclusion, the above paragraphs explain the characteristics of a good university. That is, it must have enough qualified instructors, enough facilities and good management. Students should become familiar with these characteristics so they can choose a good university. By selecting a good university, the learning process will be facilitated and this will help students achieve their learning goals.

One of the first important lessons a writer learns is that writing is a process, a series of steps that take an idea from concept to completed work. This is true whether the work is an article, a poem, a report, a short story or a book. Understanding this process -- and the role a writer plays in it -- is crucial to their success.

One of the most important steps in this process is learning to look at one's own work objectively. To focus on the intended message and ensure that it is delivered properly. While that may seem obvious enough, as the work progresses, it can become blurred. As the old song goes, "I have so much to say; but the words get in my way." To clarify that 'blurring' effect, it is essential to be able to edit your own work. But how does a writer edit their own work? While the process may vary depending on the writer, there are six steps that are integral to editing.


Novice writers should not attempt to edit as they write. Even experienced writers, who learn to smoothe over the copy as they go, know this is not editing and must wait for that separate step later on. The most important point of a first draft is to simply get the idea on paper, in whatever fashion that's comfortable for the writer. An outline is helpful and can serve as a rough draft for smaller projects. But if that format seems too limiting, just write out the first draft, understanding it is only the first go-around.


Even if it's only for a long enough period of time to get a glass of water. With longer projects, try to lengthen the time to a few days or weeks. This step allows the writer to gain perspective by "stepping back". Mostly, it allows the writer time for the subject to settle in their mind, plus it gives them time to mentally shift gears from writer to editor.


While reading over the copy, the writer must learn to view it as a reader. One should be neither overly critical, nor overly attached to certain pet phrases or side remarks, but simply read it as if reading it for the first time. When done earnestly, this will make any errors, flaws or awkward points more apparent.


This is the most difficult step, especially for the young or insecure writer. Heck, it's tough for the pros. Think of the classic image of an editor-- from the old Superman comics, for instance, wielding his red-ink pen with flourish, only interested in the facts. Especially when writing articles or in business, this is your best ally. With this image in mind, really look at what is necessary to make a logical progression. One trick is to put yourself under an artificial word restriction. Nothing helps cut unneccesary copy better than a specific word limit.


These are the "3-C's" of good writing. While each writer has his/her own way of expressing themselves (and, in the case of fiction, more latitude is acceptable), these three points are integral parts of any successful writing.

CRISP - A fresh or meaningful viewpoint. Take a stand. The purpose of writing is to say something-- so say it!

CONCISE - Do not wander from the point. At least, not without a reason that directly relates to the original idea.

CLEAR - Make a steady progression from beginning to end. Don't leave major gaps in the progression.

Whether a report, a novel, an essay or an article -- even in poetry or song -- this rule applies. While editing, a writer must ask themself if the work succeeds in these three areas. If it doesn't, WHY? Analyze when and where it strays, even if that means working backward to the beginning.


Just as an athlete must learn to be aware of any physical weakness and compensate for it, so a writer must familiarze themself with their own bad habits or tendencies. A classic example is when a young writer masks their insecurity with a flourish of fancy words. But each writer has their own faults and must learn to guard against them. For example, when I was young, I had a nasty habit of using at least three adjectives whenever I described something. Eventually I saw this as the annoying flaw it was, and learned to choose the very best adjective and commit to it. Seeing this habit as a flaw was difficult. But it made me a stronger writer.

Restaurants provide food services to customers. People who have no time to cook are forced to eat at restaurants. They are also meeting places for these customers who want to arrange their special occasions in the restaurants, such as marriage's or birthday's parties. They are becoming more important to the society nowadays. However, restaurants do not provide the same level of services. Some provide poor services to customers. The others provide high level of services. Therefore, in my view, a good restaurant must be clean, have good services, and have reasonable prices of food.

The first characteristic of a good restaurant is cleanness since it can provide good impression to the customers. A good restaurant must have its areas kept clean. This includes the front area where food is served and the customers sit and eat. It also includes the areas that are not visible to customers like the kitchen. Special care must be given to eating utensils, tools and materials used for preparing food and serving food. The restaurants that have restrooms is not kept clean, it may cause illness to its customers. Thus, cleanness is the most important thing for a good restaurant.

The second characteristic of a good restaurant is to provide good service since it will attract many customers to revisit again. As most customers are hungry when they reach a restaurant and many of them are stressful from hard work, a good restaurant must provide a high level of service. They want the restaurant must provide a high level of service. They want the restaurant to process orders very accurately and quickly. Moreover, they want the restaurant to prepare them delicious food. Therefore, a good restaurant should have a good cook and offer any varieties of menu. Finally, employees should be trained in order to be courteous and willing to serve the customers. All of these will certainly make a good restaurant popular.

The last characteristic of a good restaurant is to charge reasonable prices of food in order to satisfy customers. Customers normally have a reasonable price in their mind for the food they ordered and the level of service they received. Therefore, a good restaurant should also set prices based on the type of food and the level of service as well. Price that are too high will upset the customers feel suspicious about the quality of the food. These problems may cause the customers not to visit again.

In summary, the above paragraphs should explain the three major characteristics of a good restaurant. The first characteristic is that it must be kept clean to impress customers. The second characteristic is that it must provide the high level of service to satisfy customers. The last characteristic is that it must charge a reasonable price in order to avoid displeasure and cause them to visit again.

This article on the 10 (no, 11... yes, 11) tips for newbies is not written from the catbird seat point of view of the article host or database manager. Rather it is by and from the perspective of an author who remembers the early misgivings. It is written especially for the beginning article writer. The Tennessee Mountain Man has written and submitted hundreds of articles for publication to thousands of article hosts and database managers and still finds article writing his nemesis.

1. Necessity vs. Desire:

Articles and Blogs are necessary in today's scheme of search engine indexing. Not what the newbie wants to hear. Just remember what the Bible says, "there has nothing over taken you that is not common to man". That's right! All of us hate article and Blog writing at times, and some of us dread the journey to pen and paper (or keyboard as the case may be) all the time. Many a web master would call them "a necessary evil" as they are not generally anyone's best liked house keeping chores.

2. Just Start, It Gets Easier:

First it is sometimes difficult to get a subject or theme and to get the first couple of lines scribbled down. The Tennessee Mountain Man knows authors who literally get sick thinking about the process. Lighten up. Once an author has a starting point and gets passed the initial thoughts, article and Blog writing usually goes fairly smoothly.

The main thing is that you get started. Pick a subject you know something about and just start. You will be pleasantly surprised at just how easily ideas flow. Don't assume everyone knows what you know. They don't. Will Rogers once said, "all men are ignorant, just on different subjects". And, so it is!

3. Good vs. Perfection:

Your old English comp professor is not looking over your shoulder. This paper does not have to be perfect. That is not to say it does not have to be on point or to say that it does not have to be correct. It does or at least it should be. But, perfection is not the goal and is, in fact, seldom possible. Too much detail and you run the risk of losing your reader on several levels. Too long and most readers simply don't have the time or interest to wade through the material regardless of how important it is.

4. Blog Length vs. Article Length:

Most publishers want a minimum of six hundred (600) words per article - some will let you slide with four hundred (400) words. Blogs can be much smaller. Blogs can and maybe should support appropriate pictures and embedded links. Just don't over do it.
Too gaudy or too slow to load and you have wasted your time, ticked off a potential reader, and probably upset a host who can ban you from their publications. Articles, on the other hand, typically cannot carry these extra touches according to the requirements of most publishers.

5. Format:

Prepare your article in American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) format. There are many tools from which to choose to get the job done. A search for 'free ascii editor' or for 'free plain text editors' will provide one with a multitude of free options. Word Press is a popular choice. If all else fails simply use notepad to turn out your masterpiece.

6. Spelling and Grammar:

Once you have your article or Blog run it through a good spell checker and a good grammar checker. Microsoft Word works well for these purposes. Just don't use the MS Word copy for publication of your article. Rather use it's suggestions to make any necessary corrections to your plain text copy. The MS Word copy will work for Blogs although the Computerman prefers other editors.

Just like the days when you were pushed by Profs, you will find Article and Blog writing skills become easier with time and practice.

7. Publish and Announce:

Once your Blog is ready you may want to use some automatic tools to publish and announce it. First do a search for Blog hosts and select those which best suit your needs. Join one or more and publish your Blog there. Then search for Blog announcers and rss announcers and use them to get your Blog noticed.

Now that you have that out of the way find an article wizard that will post your Articles to free publishers. You can post them one at a time by hand if you are really bored and have absolutely nothing else in life to do. Using an automatic poster you can publish to hundreds of hosts in an hour or so. The only way to go.

8. Patience:

Now, have some patience. Here is where you lose control. Many of the men and women who host articles are timely and your articles will be reviewed within twenty-four (24) to forty-eight (48) hours. But, many others will be days and weeks down the road therefore never date an article - a sure way to get rejected.

9. Rejection - "sorry your article has been declined":

Be prepared for most hosts to reject your articles. Do not take it personally. It usually has little to do with you or your article.
Some data bases routinely reject articles for spelling errors when there are none or where there is more than way to spell a word. And, just as in any other endeavor some hosts are simply too lazy and get so far behind, the easiest and fastest thing to do (and perhaps the only alternative) is to reject everything. You will learn who these are over time.

Then there are those who run your articles through the sausage grinder and if they find certain words, irrespective of how they are used, your article gets no farther. These are the people who can't publish the Holy Bible because it contains words that offend them or their readers. Don't worry about these folks who are so heavenly minded they are of no earthly use.

Remember, just as in everything else in life, for every rule there is an exception.

10. Keep the faith, and keep cranking out articles:

Since most authors, especially newbies, prepare only one copy of an article against the advice of most seasoned authors it is important that the newbie keep his chin up - keep the faith. That will be easier as more and more of your articles are accepted and published driving visitors to your website while creating those all important back links.

It is not necessary that every host to accept everything submitted to them. After one or two hosts publish your article on any given subject, the search engines tend to penalize you anyway by ignoring additional postings. This is close to spamming and while it could help someone find you, it probably won't. It is not necessarily, the more the merrier. The additional listings will not increase your page rankings or links reported by the search engines. It is more important to get published by host with the highest Google page rank possible.

Now, one BONUS TIP for you: Along with "the rejection slip" will usually come a suggestion on how to "fix" your article and a request that you resubmit it. Don't waste your time. While trying comply with one database manager's request you could have written a new article from which you get much more punch. Enough publishers will pick your article up so move on and save yourself some time and heartburn.

Everybody has a thought or idea at least once a day usually at the most inopportune time. How many good ideas have you lost because of waiting? Don't procrastinate! Go! Capture that thought before it is gone forever.