Saturday, 15 February 2014

Essay Writing

Essay Writing

1. Introduction
2. Style
3. Thought requirement
    • Word choice
    • Phrases
    • Sentences
4. Paragraph writing
5. Process
6. Kinds


1. Introduction
It’s generally believed that without inspiration, without a magical source, writing is next to impossible. When we see an excellent piece of writing, we tend to attribute that excellence to inspiration or some superhuman guidance. We strongly believe, wrongly of course, that we are not blessed [inspired] and so we will not be able to write. But the truth of the matter is that even inspiration can achieve nothing without sustained perspiration.

It’s also generally believed that without an inborn talent, writing is next to impossible. When we see a remarkable piece of writing, we tend to attribute the remarkableness to the innate talent of the writer. We strongly believe, wrongly of course, that we are not blessed [talented] and so we will not be able to write. But the truth of the matter is that even talent can achieve nothing without hard work.

An invisible inspiration there may be, an inborn talent there may be in the case of Shakespeare, T. S. Eliot, Kalidasa, Kambar, Thiruvalluvar, Premchand, Bankim Chatterji, R. K. Narayan. But even they could not have been what they have been to this world and to themselves without sustained motivation and without sustained hard work.

All human beings, including you and me, do possess the ability to communicate. For this ability to flower and blossom and share its fragrance, motivation to communicate should draw it out and hard work through incessant practice should culminate in writing. All of us may desire to write but do we all possess motivation, that is, desire coupled with involvement? To write, we must feel involved, we must feel deeply. We must feel the joy and the pain of others, we must become part of their experience, their pain, their joy. And then put this pain and joy in writing. Keep writing, keep writing, keep writing, keep practising. Revise, edit, write, revise, edit, write. And you will feel satisfied with your writing sooner than later.

Motivation and practice then are the bases (requirements) for a piece of writing. Inspiration and talent are only supportive. With motivation and practice, it is possible to produce good pieces of writing. And with inspiration and talent, it will be possible to produce writing that will stand the test of time.

If writing were an impossible task, if people didn’t understand matter in print, there would be no literature, there would be no libraries—personal and public. As you know, thousands of books [including e-books] are being published every day, thousands of articles are appearing in journals and magazines every moment. What does this suggest? That you don’t have to lose heart if you are serious about writing or if you cannot escape from communicating in writing. Only you need to be as careful as you possibly can and leave the rest in the hands of the reader!

Jokes apart, it is possible to express your ideas clearly enough for others to read them and even enjoy them.

But first let us become good writers. For this, motivation [=desire+involvement] and practice [=non-stop hard work] are more than enough. And all of us are capable of being good writers.

Self doubt is self destructive. Let’s have faith in us, let’s be motivated, let’s practise.
The rest will follow soon enough.   

2. Style

Style means different things in different contexts. In ‘lifestyle’, it refers to the way we live or the way we lead our lives. ‘Style’, with reference to dress, talks about a particular design. When we say, “we won in style,” we mean we played elegantly and the standard of the game was very high. The word  also refers to the way a particular author or writer uses a language. Writers differ in their styles. There is no specific pattern that is common to all writers.

However, all writers should reflect in their writing certain features related to style.
1. clarity in thought and expression
    Writers should choose lexis and structure carefully so that readers are not confused and
     receive the messages as intended.

2. brevity in expression
    Writers should be able to say what they want to in the minimum number of words.

3. the audience and adaptability
    Of course, writers don’t write for their own satisfaction. They aim to reach a particular
    group of people. Writers cannot use technical jargon when they want the general public
    to read their articles. They should not turn philosophical when their audience are
    children. They should be formal in their expressions where formality is a necessity.
   
    As they write, they should thus bear in mind the intimacy level, the status, the
    knowledge level, the comprehension ability of the audience and adapt themselves to
    suit the audience.

3. Thought requirement
To express thoughts, ideas, doubts, feelings and emotions, we require words, phrases and sentences. With the help of right words, phrases and sentences we can achieve clarity and economy.

• Words and phrases
  · use words that most readers can understand without the help of  a
         Dictionary
   
   note: People wrongly think that using words that most readers do not understand is a sign of being
                knowledgeable [‘erudition’].
   Use
           ‘very careful’ for “fastidious”,
           ‘confused’ or ‘embarrassed’ instead of “disconcerted”,       
           ‘anxiety’, ‘shock’, ‘surprise’, not  “consternation
           ‘perfect’ in place of “ impeccable
           ‘reject’ for “repudiate
           ‘delay’ instead of “ procrastinate” 
           ‘destroy’ or ‘defeat’  for “annihilate” 
           ‘ disgusting’ instead of “loathsome
           ‘ negative’ in place of “adverse”
           ‘think carefully’ instead of ‘circumspect
            ‘inactive’ or ‘without enthusiasm’ for “torpid” 
            ‘wrongly think’ instead of ‘misplaced notion

   · use familiar words for jargons
      Again, professional people wrongly think that one way of showing their technical knowledge to the public
       is through using jargon.

Jargons are specific words used by people in a particular line of work. Hence when you write for a general audience it is better to avoid jargons as they might not be understood or they might be confusing.

For example, positioning in general may mean locating, spotting, placing. But when  marketing professionals use it they mean ‘deciding where your product fits in, and how it should be perceived, in relation to its competitors.’

Or
In the sentence ‘The new Industry has created several indirect jobs’, indirect job is a jargon, which refers to the jobs created in the rest of the economy as the result of  purchases of goods and services by the employees in a given industry and  companies in the industry. Unless readers know this meaning they my not understand the sentence correctly.

   · use euphemisms and slang only when you feel they are necessary
Euphemism is an expression that conveys an idea or message in an indirect manner and is used where politeness is necessary or where direct communication would offend.

When someone says ‘You’ve been a fool’, it is a direct or straightforward statement. When you hear ‘you’ve not been very wise’, it’s polite statement, which can also be thought of as a euphemism. ‘I’ll see that he bites the dust’ is a euphemism, meaning ‘I’ll see that he’s defeated or destroyed.’ The first sentence hides the emotion which is clearly revealed in the second.

‘Slang’ refers to expressions used more in speech than in writing. These expressions are special to specific groups of people having the same jobs, backgrounds or interests. They express strong emotions. ‘Why did you chicken out?’ contains a slang. ‘Croaked’ in ‘My old man croaked last night’ is a slang meaning ‘died’. ‘Booze’ in ‘I’ll get some booze for tonight’ is another slang expression for ‘alcohol’. Slang expressions are not generally used with those who do not form part of the group. When used with people who are outside the group, they might be thought to be offensive. As non-native users of English, we should avoid using slang expressions.

The word ‘euphemism’ comes from the Greek word euphemismos/ euphemizein. This Greek word is derived from ‘eu’ meaning ‘good’ or ‘well’ and ‘pheme’ meaning ‘speech/speaking’ and thus means “auspicious/good/fortunate/kind speech”. ‘Eupheme’ is the opposite of  ‘blaspheme’[=evil speaking]. It was believed that by speaking only words favourable to the gods or spirits, the speaker could receive good fortune. 

Euphemisms are very common in public relations or politics because people involved in these two professions can always defend their declarations and because making enemies will only ruin careers. However, they are also used in general English. They are often in the form of idioms. So, you’ll not find in dictionaries expressions specifically titled euphemisms. 

It’ll be interesting to know that there are several euphemistic expressions for death. ‘he’s at rest’, ‘she passed away’, ‘the deceased’, ‘the departed’ are a few euphemisms. People  believed that using the word ‘death’ would draw ‘Death’s attention’ and death would result. Instead of saying ‘one is dying’, ‘one is fading quickly’ or ‘the end is near’ is used. 
‘To give up the ghost’ is another euphemism for death. ‘Kick the bucket’ meaning ‘die’ is no longer in use. 

‘Terminate’, ‘waste’ or ‘do someone in’ are euphemisms for ‘killing’. ‘Find a friendly bush’, ‘answer the call of nature’, ‘spend a penny’ are euphemisms for urinating or defecating. ‘Donkey’ was once a euphemism for ‘ass’. The word ‘retarded’ is avoided and instead ‘mentally challenged’ or ‘special’ is used to refer to those unfortunate children. Similarly, ‘lame’ became ‘crippled’ which became ‘handicapped’ which was replaced by ‘disabled’ which is now referred to as ‘differently-abled’. ‘His clothes have seen better days’ is no longer preferred to ‘his clothes are shabby’.

   · use plain phrases for clichés 
A cliché is a phrase that has been so overused that it has lost much meaning and is no longer  interesting.

There are hundreds of clichés. Most of them can be found as idioms in a dictionary. Here are a few:
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
A lump in the throat
An eye for an eye,
A tooth for a tooth
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder
Bird's eye view
Bite the hand that feeds you
Butterflies in my stomach
Couldn't make head or tail of it
Don't look a gift horse in the mouth
Foot the bill
From the bottom of my heart
Hand to mouth
Head and shoulders above
All at sea
a dime a dozen
a good rule of thumb
a half-baked idea
a shot in the dark
ace up his sleeve
all talk and no action


   · use simple words instead of foreign words and phrases
There was a time when people thought that  using foreign words was a sign of education. But it is no longer so. Instead of “tete-a-tete”, use ‘private talk’. Replace ‘modus operandi’ with ‘the way the thief had operated’ in “The police could see in the evidence the modus operandi of the thief”.

   · Use Active voice
In general, active voice is preferred to the passive as it makes the sentence more direct and concise. Passive voice is used when the doing is the subject, when the does is obvious or when the doer is considered unimportant.

   · use specific and concrete words for elusive and vague words
Elusive and vague words will only confuse and bore the reader. Using specific words will give the reader a better picture of what you want to convey.

Avoid: A lady rushed into the room.
Use: A lady hurried into the room.

   · be brief and concise
The lesser the words, the better the clarity. Verbosity and duplication of words will only add to the length of the passage.

Avoid: The new tax law could cause losses for both the buyer and for those who sell.
Use: The new tax law could cause losses for both seller and buyer.

Avoid: Just because the dog was a pedigree, he bought it.
Use: He bought the dog because of its pedigree.

The following list contains some of the wordy phrases and equivalent words for substitutions:

          Avoid                                                            use
adequate number (of)                                           enough
adjacent to                                                            close to, near, next to, beside, by    
almost all                                                               most 
along the lines of                                                   close to, like, resembling, similar to, such
an estimated                                                          about, almost, around, close to, nearly, or so,
                                                                               roughly        
arrange to return                                                     return
as a consequence, as a result                                  so, then
as a consequence of, as a result of                          because, because of, since
as long as                                                                if, since                                                         
as regards                                                               about, as for, for, in, of, on, over, to, with
assuming that                                                          if
as well as                                                                 and, also
at all times                                                               always
at present, at the present tine,                                  now, today
at this point in time, as this time
at the end of                                                            after
because of the fact that                                           because, since
the fact of the matter is                                           actually
by the name of                                                         named, called

   · use abbreviations, initialisms, acronyms known to most people

1.An abbreviation is a shortening of a word or phrase:
   St. = Saint          Mr = Mister      Dr  = Doctor    e.g. = exempli gratia    esp.=especially
   i.e. = id est         NB=nota bene

2. An initialism is an abbreviation using first letters of each word in a phrase:
    ATM=automatic teller machine    UFO=unidentified flying object
    NRI  =non-resident Indian            SMS= short message service
    DNA=deoxirynucleic acid            ID   = identity document
    PC    =personal computer/police constable          CDs=compact disks
    ISO=international organization of standards      PTO=please turn over
    ESP=extra-sensory perception    FAQs=frequently asked questions
    MNCs=multi-national companies   RSVP=reply please [repondez s’il vous plait]
    GMT=Greenwich mean time       LCD=liquid crystal display

3. An acronym is an abbreviation that forms a word:
    RAM=Random Access Memory      WHO=World Health Organisaiton
    PIN  =personal identification number    VAT=value added tax
    BASIC=beginner’s all-purpose symbolic instruction code
    SAT=scholastic achievement/aptitude/assessment test
    COBOL=common business oriented language 
    ASEAN=Association of South East Asian Nations
    SAARC=South Asia Association for regional cooperation
    NATO[in British journals—Nato]=North Atlantic Treaty Organization
    AIDS=acquired immune deficiency syndrome
    ICQ =I seek you
    IOU =I owe you
    Sae=stamped/self-addressed envelope
    scuba=self-contained underwater breathing apparatus
    laser=light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation
    radar=radio detection and ranging
    snafu=situation normal; all fouled up
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 Some internet initialisms
BG=big grin,  AAMOF=as a matter of act,  ASAIR=as far as I remember,
AISI=as I see it,  ASAP=as soon as possible, B4=before, B4N=before now, BC=because,
BBL=be back later, BBS=be back soon, BTW=by the way, CUT=see you tomorrow,
CMIIW=correct me if I’m wrong, CYO=see you online, DL=download,
EOM=end of message, FYI= for your information, GF=girl friend, IOW=in other words,
IC=I see, LMK=let me know, NC=no comment, NN=nothing new, RO=read on,
SYS=see you soon, TA=thanks again, TIA=thanks in advance, TY=thank you,
TWIMC=to whom it may concern, U2=you too, YW=you’re welcome
121=one to one, ‘r’ for are

Avoid this in general writing.
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   · provide examples
Examples are excellent tools that develop and express ideas, support viewpoints, gaining and sustain readers attention. Your example may be an anecdote, or data or even be a personality. You may use anything that will help you to express your support your thoughts.

   · use details
By using details you may elaborate, explain, or support your views and make your writing vivid.
   · gender bias
It’s generally accepted now that words indicating gender [sex] should be avoided because they unnecessarily discriminate between a man and a woman in areas of activity that are common to both. Actor is used now as a common noun for both men and women who pursue ‘acting’ as a profession [Actress is no longer in use]. ‘Sports person’ has replaced ‘sportsman’ or ‘sports woman’. ‘Chair person’ or ‘chair’ has replaced ‘chairman’. We use ‘lay person’ for ‘layman’.

Look at these sentences:
1. Everyone thinks he has a right to decide his future. 
2. No one need blame himself for the incident.
3. Nobody in his senses will reject this offer.
4. Has anybody lost his camera?
5. Every parent must provide for his family.
6. The borrower needs two guarantors to support his application.
7. Either he or she will have to change his or her attitude.
8. If a student fails to submit his assignment today he will not be allowed to continue the
    course.

Except sentence 7, others use ‘male’ pronouns as substitutes for the ‘neuter’ subjects. Sentence 7 uses pronouns for both sexes to avoid gender bias. Today, however, ‘they’, ‘their’, ‘theirs’ are being used. 

  · Sentences
In the previous subsection, you learnt the need to choose words and phrases carefully so that your writing can be effective. We need to do one more thing. We need to take care how we construct our sentences to help readers understand without any difficulty.

Sentences are effective
     · when they are short
          ‘Gender bias is a sign of male domination’
is shorter and hence more effective than
          ‘It’s now understood that gender bias is a sign of male chauvinism.’

     · when they are broken into smaller ones
           ‘Terminator technology was a destructive technology because
             it not only deprived the farmer of fertile seeds for the next
             crop, not only because the seeds were self-terminated, but also
             because the neighbouring farmer also lost his seeds through 
             cross-pollination between the Genetically Modified Organism’s
             pollen with the eggs of his plants.’

This sentence is too long to comprehend. For easy comprehension it could be broken into shorter sentences:
            ‘Terminator technology was destructive. The GMOs
             [Genetically Modified Organism] were self-terminated.
             They also destroyed the eggs of the plants through cross-
             pollination. Thus farmers had no fertile seeds for the next
             crop.’ 
                                 
         · when you use minimum number of words
            See the tabulated list of phrases and words in a previous page.

         · when your message is directly conveyed
         
             The message is indirectly stated in
                  ‘It’s now understood that gender bias is a sign of male chauvinism.’
             But it’s preferable to be direct
                   ‘Gender bias is a sign of male domination.’
           
                   ‘he is a miser’ is always preferable to
                   ‘he’s been known to count his pennies.’

Sentence construction—requisites
requisite  1 --- words functioning as different parts of a sentence
We need words as the first requisite to form a sentence. We call these words 1. nouns [pronouns], 2.verbs, 3. adjectives, 4. adverbs, 5. connectives, 6. prepositions, 7. articles 
8. conjunctions.
                 
                The lawyer handled the available evidence skillfully to win the case.
                  7       1           2        7       3            1               4           2       7    1
                As soon as they realised that, the insults and the fights about Dana increased.
                         5        1        2         1     7      2      8    7      2        6       1        2

________________________________________________________________________  

requisite  2 ---sentence patterns

We use words [1 to 8] in a particular sequence to form sentences. This particular sequence is known as word order. The word order in the English language is as follows:
 1. SV[i]    2. SV[i]C    3. SV[i]A    4. SV[t]O   5. SV[t]OO    6. SV[t]OA   7.SV[t]OC

note: S=subject  V=verb [V[i] =verb intransitive   V[t] =verb transitive]  
         O=object   C= complement   A=adverbial   

Thus, a sentence generally begins with a subject followed by verb and then other words.
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requisite  3 ---sentence kind [meaning]
          
                1. statement  sentence     : He works here.
                2. question    sentence     : Does he work here?
                3. exclamation sentence  : What a worker!
                4. command    sentence   : Don’t talk!                                                                                                                                
                5. request sentence          : Please help me lift this box.
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requisite four ---sentence form [structure]
                                     
                  1. simple sentence        : The baby slept.
                                                            sentence
                                                         Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t succeed.
                                                                    phrase                       sentence
                                                         As a parent, I can’t accept your argument.
                                                              phrase                 sentence 
                  2. compound sentence : She opened the door and let the stranger in.
                                                                   sentence                         sentence
                                                        He tried hard but [he]was unsuccessful.
                                                            sentence                    sentence 
                                                         Accept the order or resign.
                                                                command         command   
                                                         It was getting dark, therefore we went home.
                                                                  sentence                              sentence

                  Here, two independent sentences are joined together with ‘and’, ‘but’, ‘or’,
                  ‘therefore’. There are several others.                                       
                                                                                                      
                  3. complex sentence    : When I reached home, I found the door locked.
                                                           subordinating clause         main clause  
                  
                                                         Though I tried hard, I failed to convince her.    
                                                         subordinating clause            main clause 
                 
                  4. compound-complex
                         sentence                 : Even though the government did its best to help,
                                                                           subordinating clause    
                                                          it reached only a few of those who survived, and
                                                          the rest are like a ship without a rudder.   
                                                                            main clause
                                                                        with two main clauses
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requisite five --- approrpiacy [choice of words]

Please refuse the following candidates. [wrong]      I refused the accusation.  [wrong]
Please reject the following candidates.  [right]         I denied the accusation.   [right] 
________________________________________________________________________         

requisite six--grammaticality       

        Joseph coming now. [wrong]       Joseph is coming now. [right]
        Everybody are coming. [wrong]  Everybody is coming.   [right]
________________________________________________________________________ 

requisite seven ---acceptability                                

     The table wanted to marry the chair.
This sentence is grammatically right but not acceptable because ‘inanimate things’ can not feel.
________________________________________________________________________

definition of sentence
A sentence is a string of words appropriate to the thought to be expressed in a grammatical and acceptable order.

4. Paragraph writing
Paragraph Development—components  
Learning to write a paragraph will help us to write good essays, articles, or papers. A paragraph can be defined as "a group of sentences or a single sentence that forms a unit" (Lunsford and Connors, 116). A paragraph may be a single sentence (as in media reporting) or a page or it may even be a word, especially in conversations.

The essential features of a paragraph are a) topic sentence, b) supporting sentences c) closing sentence, d) unity and coherence

What is a topic sentence?
Topic sentence is also known as a ‘thesis statement’ in American English. It is a sentence that that conveys or sums up the main idea of a paragraph. In other words, it informs the reader what the paragraph is about.

Where will a topic sentence be?
Usually the first sentence of a paragraph will be the topic sentence. But it can be in the middle or at the end of the paragraph or in both places. In some paragraphs the topic sentence will only be implied. (See samples 5 to 12 in the next few pages.)

How do we write a topic sentence?
If you have an essay topic, filter the theme into a question. For example, if your topic is ‘Write an essay on the possible benefits of computer aided language learning’ change this into a question, ‘What are the possible benefits of computer aided language learning?’ Once you have a question your essay should answer it. Now write a sentence that would answer the question.
   ‘The possible benefits of computer aided language learning are ….’
   Or you may write
   ‘There are several advantages in computer aided language learning.’

If you were to choose a topic for an essay it is always better to choose a topic that you are familiar with or one that would be of interest to the reader or a theme that is in vogue. Whatever your option is, you still need to frame a thesis statement or a topic sentence.

For example, you may wish to write an essay on ‘Jatropha plantations’. What you have decided is just a topic for an essay. It is broad and vague, you need to make it more focused. If you have some knowledge of the topic, you’ll know that planting Jatropha in agriculture lands or wastelands will not only get money to the farmers but it also leads to monoculture and shrinks biodiversity of the land. So you need to talk about both the positive and negative aspects.

Now you may write your thesis statement as
‘There are some negative and positive aspects to the Jetropha Planataions’.

But it is still a weak thesis statement because it fails to take a position and also the phrase “negative and positive aspects” is not specific.

You can make it focused by rewriting it as ‘Because Jetropha Planataions lead to  monoculture and loss in biodiversity, they pose a potential danger to our environment’. This statement takes a stand and also states the idea clearly.

Supporting sentences are sentences that follow the topic sentence. They develop and support the central idea of the paragraph with details, facts in the form of elaborations, explanations and examples.

Closing sentence, which appears as the last sentence in a paragraph, usually reiterates the main idea of the paragraph. In an essay, the end sentence of a paragraph should act as a link to the next paragraph. 

requisites of good paragraph writing 
requisite  1 --- paragraph size (length)
The size of a paragraph can be just one word, one phrase, one sentence or some or several
sentences. See the examples below:

sample 1
This is communication age. There is information explosion all around us. In the past, library books were
perhaps the only source of information or knowledge, besides the teacher. But today any number of source are
available. Books, magazines, journals, the television, video cassettes, the computer and CDROMs. Even newspapers which were till recently reporting only news have become carriers of specialized information and disseminate this through their supplements and magazines.

Sample 2
Let me begin with the conclusion. Success or failure is determined to a large extent by performers other than us in the human drama we are part of.
Learners, syllabus designers, examining bodies, to mention a few. Besides, success and failure express values and are hence relative terms. We have our own pet definitions and descriptions. However, perform we mu st for we are committed to a profession.                                                           

Sample 3
The computer can become a threat to man. It can endanger his survival and privacy. It also offers
excellent encouragement for unethical or criminal activities. It can worsen the unemployment problem
as employers prefer the computer and the computer controlled robots to humans for obvious reasons.
The information storage facility the computer provides has led to collection of personal information
about individuals and storage of this information in data banks by several employing agencies. If care
is not exercised during data gathering, data integrity may suffer. That is, questionable or imperfect
methods may be employed; as a result incorrect or incomplete data may be stored, and this may become
permanent source and used for any given purpose. Such use of defective information could affect an individual’s peace, happiness or career ambitions. Besides, no individual could have private life; his life
would be an open book for anyone to read. More importantly, there is this lurking danger that anyone,
with the right password, could enter the data bank, add, delete, or change the data to his liking to create
false or misleading data. Even money in banks is no longer safe from theft or manipulation. Anyone can
 add, delete or change monetary transactions and thus erase and rewrite the data; of course, such fraud
would be detected but only days after the theft has been committed. If this is criminal, an unethical
Activity  is the unscrupulous piracy of software. It is possible for anyone to make unlawful copying
and still escape  punishment.

Sample 4
I shouldn’t  be surprised. By feeding it, I merely postponed……If it hadn’t died                         
    today…
2 Tomorrow.
3 He bit his lip, grieving as he set the small corpse back on the floor. And felt guilty
   because he grieved. A Carthusian was supposed to shut out all worldly distractions.
   God alone mattered. The mouse had been temptation that he should have resisted.
   Now God was punishing him, teaching him why he shouldn’t become infatuated
   with transitory creatures.
4 Death.
5 Drew shuddered. No, I wouldn’t change anything. The mouse was fun to have
   around. I’m glad I took care of it.
6 His eyes stung, making him blink repeatedly as he stared down at his lifeless             
   friend.
7 Terrible thoughts occurred to him. What should he do with the body? For sure,
   he wasn’t going to have a custodian brother dispose of it, perhaps even dump it in
   the trash. The mouse deserved better. The dignity of burial.
8.But where? Through misted vision, he glanced toward his workroom window.
   Sunset had turned to dusk, casting his garden into a shadow.
9.A cedar bush grew in a corner in the wall. Yes, Drew thought. He’d bury Stuart
   Little beneath the shrub. An evergreen, it lived all year. Even in winter, its color
   would be a reminder.
10.His throat felt swollen, aching each time he swallowed. Thirsty, he reached for his
    cup of water, raised it toward his lips, glanced past it toward the thick slab of bread
    in his bowl.
11.And paused.
12.His spine began to tingle.

Sample 1 and sample 2 paragraphs have six sentences each. The third sample has 14 sentences. Sample 4 is an extract taken from “The Fraternity of the Stone” by David Morrell, New English Library [U.K. edition 1987]. You can see it contains twelve paragraphs. Paragraphs 2 and 4 are one word paragraphs. Paragraph 11 is a two word paragraph.
Paragraph 12 is one sentence paragraph.

So, whatever be the number of sentences, a paragraph is a physical expression of one unit of thought [in a word, in two words, in one sentence or in several sentences].
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requisite two --- organising the thought in the paragraph                                                                       

When you write an article or an essay, it will contain a lot of sentences. These sentences develop the topic by breaking it into some or several main thoughts and by breaking each of these main thoughts into several major and minor details.

An essay or article develops a topic into many paragraphs and each paragraph develops one main thought of the topic with major and minor details.

Topic:
introduction 
paragraph one
   • main thought (topic sentence)
   • major details (derived from topic sentence)
   • minor details (supporting major details)
paragraph two
paragraph three
paragraph four
conclusion

A paragraph generally has one main thought in one or two sentences followed by some or several sentences. The main idea sentence is known as topic sentence. This topic sentence tells us what the paragraph is about and is broken up conveniently in some or several sentences as major and minor details. These details are in the form of expansion, explanation, elaboration, repetition, examples, comparison and contrast.

The topic sentence is generally the first sentence of a paragraph. It can also be found in the middle of a paragraph. Or it may be the last sentence of a paragraph. Or again it may be implied. Let’s look at a few sample paragraph to understand all these:

Example one
1There are many different kinds of musical instruments. 2 They are divided into three main classes according to the way they are played. 3 Those that are played by blowing air into them are called wind instruments. 4 These are made of wood, brass and other materials. 5 The family of wood instruments includes the flute, the clarinet, the bassoon, the trumpet, the mouth organ and the bagpipe. 6 The instruments that are played by banging or striking them are known as percussion instruments.7An example is the drum. 8 Then there are stringed instruments which are played by plucking the strings or by drawing a bow across the strings. 9Examples of this are the the guitar, the violin and the cello.
[an adapted version of a passage on p.55 in Michael J. Wallace’s Study Skills in English, CUP 1988]

Statement of topic: main idea—1There are many different kinds of musical
                                                    instruments.
                                                 2 They are divided into three main classes
                                                    according to the way they are played.
Development of topic
   Extension of S.1:
     major detail— 3 Those that are played by blowing air into them are called wind
                              instruments.
     minor details—4 These are made of wood, brass and other materials.
      minor details                 
     of S.4              —5 The family of wood instruments includes the flute, the
                                   clarinet, the bassoon, the trumpet, the mouth organ and the
                                   bagpipe.
                            —6 The instruments that are played by banging or striking them
                                   are known as percussion instruments.
                            — 7An example is the drum.
                            —8 Then there are stringed instruments which are played by
                                   plucking the strings or by drawing a bow across the strings.
                                —9Examples of this are the the guitar, the violin and the cello.

Example two
1The computer can become a threat to man. 2 It can endanger his survival and
privacy. 3 It also offers excellent encouragement for unethical or criminal activities. 4 It can worsen the unemployment problem as employers prefer the computer and the computer-controlled robots to humans for obvious reasons. 5The information storage facility the computer provides has led to collection of personal information about individuals and storage of this information in data banks by several employing agencies. 6 If care is not exercised during data gathering, data integrity may suffer. 7 That is, questionable or imperfect methods may be employed; 8 as a result incorrect or incomplete data may be stored, and this may become permanent source and used for any given purpose. 9 Such use of defective information could affect an individual’s peace, happiness or career ambitions. 10 Besides, no individual could have private life; 11 his life would be an open book for anyone to read. 12 More importantly, there is this
lurking danger that anyone, with the right password, could enter the data bank, add, delete, or change the data to his liking to create false or misleading data. 13 Even money in banks is no longer safe from theft or manipulation. 14 Anyone can add, delete or change monetary transactions and thus erase and rewrite the data; 15 of course, such fraud would be detected but only days after the theft has been committed. 16 If this is criminal, an unethical activity is the unscrupulous piracy of software.17 It is possible for anyone to make unlawful copying and still escape punishment.

In this paragraph, S.2 and S.3 are extensions of S.1. S.4 and S.5 elaborate two parts of S.2. S.9 expands on the kind of danger expressed in S.2. S.10 and S.11 elaborations of the second part of S.2. S.6, S.7, S.8, S.12, S.16, and S.17 expand and elaborate the  ‘unethical’ aspect of S.3. S.13, S.14 and S.15 talk about the ‘criminal’ aspect of S.3.

Statement of topic: main idea—The computer can become a threat to man. S1
Development of topic
   Extension of S.1:
     major detail—It can endanger survival...S.2
                          —The information storage facility …led to collection of personal
                              information …y employing agencies.    S.5
     minor details—It can worsen the unemployment... S.4
                                          — Such use of defective information could affect an individual’s peace,
                               happiness or career ambitions. S.9                                    
     major detail— and privacy  S.2
     minor details—Besides, no individual could have private life; S.10
                          —his life would be an open book for anyone to read. S.11
      major  detail—It also offers excellent encouragement for unethical or criminal activities.
                                S.3
       minor details— If care is not exercised during data gathering, data integrity may suffer.
                                   S.6
                            —That is, questionable or imperfect methods may be employed;  S.7
                            —as a result incorrect or incomplete data may be stored, and this may
                                 become permanent source and used for any given purpose. S.8
                            —More importantly, there is this lurking danger that anyone, with the right
                                 password, could enter the data bank, add, delete, or change the data to
                                 his liking to create false or misleading data.  S.12
                             —If this is criminal, an unethical activity is the unscrupulous piracy of
                                  software. S.16
                             —It is possible for anyone to make unlawful copying and still escape
                                  punishment.  S.17
I hope that from these two examples, you’ve learnt how to support a main idea with major and minor details through expansion, elaboration and examples.
__________________________________________________________________________

Topic sentences at the beginning, the middle and the end

first sentence as topic sentence
Sample 5
 topic                1 A management control system in an organization has
sentence              three functions to perform. 2. Its overall functions                →         [elaboration of S.1]
                            relate to several areas of performance of workers.                                                                            
elaboration   ¬ 3 Any control system used by a management has, as one of
of S.2                   of  its functions, measurement of  performance of workers.
                          4It tries to understand and estimate how much  work[quantity]
                             has been done and  how well[quality] it has been done.         →        [expansion of S. 3]
precondition¬  5 Of course, it will need criteria to judge performance.                 
S.1                        judge performance. 6 Otherwise, it  cannot simply function.   →      [elaboration  of S.1] 
elaboration ¬    7. These criteria are prepared by an arm of the management
of S.5                    other than the control system. 8 Now, with the help of  the     →      [expansion of S. 2]
                              criteria, performance is measured  throughout a given period.         
Expands S. 8¬   9 Once the process of  measurement is complete, the process             
                               of evaluation begins. 10. Evaluation process matches
                               measured performance with the criteria and conclusions        →       [expands S. 9]
                               are drawn about how well or how poorly workers have performed.
elaboration         11 And depending on the nature of the conclusions, steps are
of S.10                     suggested to improve future performance. 12 In  other words,
                                workers are advised as to how they should improve their performance. [paraphrase of S.11]                                                  
                 
S.1 is the topic sentence and S.2 is an expansion or a major detail.
S.3 elaborates and is a minor detail of S.2. S.4 expands and is a
minor detail of S.3. S.5 is an elaboration and a major detail of
S.1. S.6 explains and is a minor detail of S.5. S.7 is a major detail
of S.1. S.8 is a minor detail of S.7. S.9 is a major details of S.1.
S.10 says more about S.9. S.11 is a major detail of S.1. S.12 is a
repetition or paraphrase of S.11.
           
Sample 6
1. Marie Curie was a loving mother. 2.In midst of her laboratory work, she found
time for her daughter, Irene. 3. She watched Irene grow; she watched every moment
of this growth. 4. She recorded Irene’s weight day by day and the appearance of her
first tooth. 5. She records: “ Irene says ‘thanks’ with her hand. She can walk well on
fours. She says, ‘Gogli, gogli, go’…….She can roll, pick herself up and sit down.”
... 6.Not even a visit to their shed where Marie conducted her experiments could
detract her from being a mother. 7 “When Irene did not feel her mother near her at
night would call out for her incessantly….and Marie yielding to the implacability
of the four-year-old baby, climbed the stairs, seated herself beside the child and
stayed there in the darkness until the young voice gave way to light, regular breathing…

In sample 6, S.1 is the topic sentence. S.2 is an expansion and a major detail. S.3 elaborates S.2. S.4 and S.5 are examples for S.3. Thus S.3, 4 and 5 are minor or supporting details. S.6 is another major detail and expansion of S.1. S.7 provides an example for S.6.
___________________________________________________________________________ 

topic sentence in the middle
sample 7                                                           
A paragraph may contain just one word. Take a look at paragraphs 2 and 4 in sample 4. A
paragraph may contain just one sentence. Take a look at paragraph 12 of sample 4. It’s also
possible to have a phrase as a paragraph. Such paragraphs are, however, exceptions; they
rarely occur, and when they do, they have specific communicative intents. For instance,
 in sample 4, paragraphing intimately follows the line of thinking by Drew, very carefully
reacting to the dead body of Stuart Little, the mouse. A paragraph usually contains more
than one sentence. You’ve read several paragraphs in your English textbooks, why, even
in this coursebook. You know that most paragraphs contain several sentences. There is no
limit to the size of a paragraph. This paragraph you are now reading contains 12 sentences,
including this one.

In Sample 7, the topic sentence is in the middle: A paragraph usually contains more than one sentence. 

 sample 8
One of the mistaken ideas held by too many programmers is that the documentation for a program should be written only after the program is ‘finished’. That is a very dangerous point of view! It will certainly lead to inadequate documentation and might very well result in an incomplete or incorrect program. Documentation is continuous process. It starts when we first begin to formulate a clear problem statement, and continues as we devise a solution, express the solution algorithmically and code the algorithm as a computer program. The proper point of view is that documentation is an inherent part of a program. It is therefore meaningless to assert that documentation should be written after the program is finished.
[an excerpt from An Introduction to Programming and Problem Solving with
  Pascal  by G. Micheal Schenider et al, Wiley Eastern Limited, 2nd edition]

 In Sample 8, the topic sentence is in the middle: Documentation is a continuous                                                                            process.
________________________________________________________________________ 

topic sentence at the end
sample 9   
The succession of seed-time harvest, which our earliest forefathers
learned to recognise, is one of the great blessings of man; but it also
imposes on him certain duties and cares. A man living in the temperate
zones cannot have, with his best efforts at agriculture, a perpetual table
spread before him. He must have daily bread; but the fruits and grains
and other products of the earth come only at  certain seasons. As the
squirrel stores away nuts in the hollow of a tree in anticipation of the
time when there will be no food at hand, so man must preserve the
products of the season of plenty for his use in the lean season of the year. 
[Marion Florence Lansing’s “Science through the Ages”, p,50 Harrap & Company Ltd. 1949]

In sample 9, the topic sentence is at the end of the paragraph: ….man must preserve the products of  the season of plenty for his use in the lean season of the year.    

Sample 10
Let me begin with the conclusion. Success or failure is determined to
a large extent by performers other than us in the human drama we
are part of. Learners, syllabus designers, examining bodies, to mention
a few. Besides, success and failure express values and are hence relative
terms. We have our own pet definitions and descriptions. However, perform
we must for we are committed to a profession.

In sample 10, the topic sentence is at the end: However, perform we must for we are committed to a profession.
___________________________________________________________________________

no topic sentence  
sample 11                                  
The two horses had just lain down when a brood of ducklings, which had
lost their mother, filed into the barn, cheeping feebly and wandering from
side to side to find some place where they would not be trodded on. Clover
made a sort of wall round them with her great foreleg, and the ducklings
nestled down inside it, and promptly fell asleep. At the last moment, Mollie,
the foolish, pretty white mare who drew Mr Jones’ trap, came mincing daintily
in, chewing at a lump of sugar. She took a place near the front and began
flirting her white mane, hoping to draw attention to the red ribbons it was
plaited with. Last of all came the cat, who looked round, as usual, for the
warmest place, and finally squeezed herself in between Boxer and Clover;
there, she purred contendtedly throughout Major’s speech without listening
to a word of what he was saying.
[an extract from Animal Farm by George]

Sample 11 has no topic sentence. The main idea is implied here. It is that the animals were gathering and settling themselves comfortably in the barn to listen to Major’s speech.

Sample 12
A humble servant of mankind is the tin can. We destroy it in the
opening and cast it aside without a look of respect or a thought
of gratitude for its services. Yet the great Napolean was so eager
for an article which should perform in some slight measure the
services it renders that he and the French Government offered in the year 1800 or thereabouts a prize of 12000 francs to the man who should invent a successful container for preserving foods in war-time.
[Marion Florence’s “Science through Ages”]
The writer shares information and convictions about tin can. No sentence states the topic sentence. It is the contrast in the our attitude and Napolean’s, hidden in the paragraph, that is the topic.
________________________________________________________________________

Paragraph sequencing
Paragraph sequencing can be done in several ways. That is, sentences can arranged in a particular fashion: a. from specific statements to a general statement
                              b. from a general statement to specific statements
                              c. spatially       d. linearly         e. chronologically  

a. from specific statements to a general statement:
sample 13 
Now, Comrades, what is the nature of this life of ours?
Let us face it: our lives are miserable, laborious, and short.
We are born, we are given just so much food as will keep
the breath in our bodies, and those of us who are capable
of it are forced to work to the last atom of strength; and the
very instant that our usefulness has come to an end we are
slaughtered with hideous cruelty. No animal in England is free.
The life of an animal is misery: this is the  plain truth.
[Animal Farm by George Orwell]

Sample14
In the village in which I live, there is a pleasant doctor who is a little deaf. He is not shy about it and he wears a hearing aid. My young daughter has known him and his aid since she was a baby. When at the age of two she first met another man wearing a hearing aid, she simply said, “That man is a doctor.” Of course she was mistaken. Yet if both men had not worn hearing aids but stethoscope we should have been delighted by her generalisation. …But she would have been then……on the path to human knowledge which goes by way of the making and correcting of concepts.
From J Brownski’s Science and Human Values

Sample 15
As teachers, we are part of the teaching-learning situation.
But we are not the only people involved in this situation.
There are others like learners, syllabus designers, examining
bodies. These people have a say in our success or failure because
it all depends on how they discharge their assigned duties. We may
work hard, they may not, and failure will result. There is one more
problem. Is there one definition of success or failure for that matter?
Learners, for instance, may look at the end result from a point of view
that is very different from ours. While we may think we are successful,
learners may not think we are. As a result, we might lose motivation
and become mechanical. But we should not lose heart  nor should we
give in. Because we committed ourselves to the ideals of teaching when
we entered the profession. This commitment, more than anything else,
is a moral one. Whatever the odds, we must teach to the very best of
our abilities and not bother about success or failure.

Sample 16
One of the mistaken ideas held by too many programmers is that the documentation for a program should be written only after the program is ‘finished’. That is a very dangerous point of view! It will certainly lead to inadequate documentation and might very well result in an incomplete or incorrect program. Documentation is continuous process. It starts when we first begin to formulate a clear problem statement, and continues as we devise a solution, express the solution algorithmically and code the algorithm as a computer program. The proper point of view is that documentation is an inherent part of a program. It is therefore meaningless to assert that documentation should be written after the program is finished.
[an excerpt from An Introduction to Programming and Problem Solving with Pascal  by G. Micheal Schenider et al, Wiley Eastern Limited, 2nd edition]

In all these four samples, you can see the writers move from specific statements related to the main idea in the form of argument and then lead us to the central idea or topic of these paragraphs. They are in inductive order.
________________________________________________________________________

b. from a general statement to specific ones
sample 17  
Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does
not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough,
he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is the lord of all the
animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare minimum
that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps for himself.
Our labour tills the soil, our dung fertilizes it, and yet there is not one of
 us that owns more than his bare skin. You cows that I see before me, how
many thousands of gallons of milk have you given during this last year?
And what has happened to the milk which should have been breeding up
sturdy calves? Every drop of it has gone down the throats of our enemies.
And you hens, how many eggs have you laid this year, and how many of
those eggs ever hatched into chickens? The rest have all gone to market to
bring money for Jones and his men…
[from Animal Farm]

Sample 18
There are many ways of communicating without using speech. Signals, signs,
symbols and gestures may be found in every culture. The basic function of a
signal is to impinge upon the environment in such a way that it attracts attention,
as, for example, the dots and the dashes of a telegraph circuit. Coded to refer to
speech, the potential for communication is very great. While less adaptable to the
codification of words, signs contain greater meaning in and of themselves. A stop
sign or a barber pole conveys meaning quickly and conveniently. Symbols are more
difficult to describe than either signals or signs because of their intricate relationship
with the receiver’s cultural perceptions. In some cultures, applauding in a theatre
provides performers with an auditory symbol of approval. Gestures such as waving
 and hand shaking also communicate certain cultural messages.

You can see that in these two samples the writers move from a general statement to specific
statements in support of the topic.

sample 19 
The computer can become a threat to man. It can endanger his survival
and privacy. It also offers excellent encouragement for unethical or criminal
activities. It can worsen the unemployment problem as employers prefer the
computer and the computer controlled robots to humans for obvious reasons.
The information storage facility the computer provides has led to collection of
personal information about individuals and storage of this information in data
banks by several employing agencies. If care is not exercised during data gathering,
data integrity may suffer. That is, questionable or imperfect methods may be
employed; as a result, incorrect or incomplete data may be stored, and this may
 become permanent source and used for any given purpose. Such use of defective
information could affect an individual’s peace, happiness or career ambitions.
Besides, no individual could have private life; his life would be an open book for
anyone to read. More importantly, there is this lurking danger that anyone, with
the right password, could enter the data bank, add, delete, or change the data to
his liking to create false or misleading data. Even money in banks is no longer safe
from theft or manipulation. Anyone can add, delete or change monetary transactions
and thus erase and rewrite the data; of course, such fraud would be detected but only
days after the theft has been committed. If this is criminal, an unethical activity is the
unscrupulous piracy of software. It is possible for anyone to make unlawful copying
and still escape punishment.

sample 20
Let me tell you this project is going to be a failure. It’s no exaggeration,
I tell you. First, the project is too ambitious. How can this project hope
to satisfy every section of the society? Next, the money allocated for this
is too little to see through even one fourth of this project. Besides, can
politics be kept out of it? Because, has there ever been serving the public
the motive of any activity? But what takes the cake is the composition of
the committee to supervise the completion of the project. The members
are too young and too inexperienced to be able to see the project to
completion. Any advantages? I see none.  

Like the previous two samples, these two samples are in deductive order because the writers make a point to start with and then proceed to prove or deduce it.
________________________________________________________________________

c. spatially
A paragraph is in spatial order when the writer describes a particular place, a building, a location or a person and arranges the details from [1] left to right, [2] right to left, [3] the point of view of importance, that is, most prominent to the least prominent, [4] one part to another and so on.
Let’s say you visit a zoo or a museum or a place of historical importance. When you describe your visit to others, you’ll be using spatial organisation of information.

Or let’s say you go on a tour. You normally engage a guide to help you understand and appreciate the importance or the beauty of the places you visit during your tour. The guide’s description will be spatial in organisation.

Below you’ll find a spatial description of an old ship:
sample 21
She was small , old, ugly, dirty cantankerous bitch.

Rust bloomed like a skin rash in  great orange blotches
all over her hull. If there had even been any paint on her
upper-works it had long ago been peeled away and blasted
off and dissolved by the wind and the rain and the sea. Her
starboard gunwale had been badly buckled just aft of the
prow in an old collision, and nobody had ever bothered to
straighten it out. Her funnel bore a layer of grime ten years
thick. Her deck was scored and dented and stained; and a
lthough it was swabbed often, it was never swabbed thoroughly,
so that there were traces of past cargoes---grains of corn, splinters
of timber, bits of rotting vegetation and fragments of sacking---hidden
behind lifeboats and under coils of rope and inside cracks and joints
and holes. On a warm day she smelled foul.

She was some 2,500 tons, 200 feet long and a little over 30 feet broad.
There was a tall radio mast in her blunt prow. Most of her deck was taken
up by two large hatches opening into the main cargo holds. There were
three cranes on deck: one forward of the hatches, one aft and one in between.
The wheelhouse, officers’ cabins, galley and crew’s quarters were in the stern,
clustered around the funnel. She had a single screw driven by a six-cylinder diesel engine theoretically capable of developing 2,450 b.h.p. and maintaining a service
speed of thirteen knots.

Fully loaded, she would pitch badly. In ballast she would yaw like the very devil.
Either way she would roll through seventy degrees of arc at the slightest provocation. The quarters were cramped and poorly ventilated, the galley was often flooded and
the engine room had been designed by Hieronymous Bosch.

She was crewed by thirty-one officers and men, not one of whom had a good word to say for her.

The only passengers were a colony of cockroaches in the galley, a few mice and several hundred rats.

Nobody loved her, and her name was Coparelli.

The description has six paragraphs. They describe the the ship in spatial order. When
 you look at the paragraphs, the first two paragraphs describe the ship spatially. The writer
 moves from one part to another:
     paragraph 1: hull, to starboard, to funnel, to deck
     paragraph 2:  a. weight, length, width  b. mast c. stern   d. engine
     paragraph 3: ship’s behaviour on sea in terms of movement
     paragraph 4: employees and their attitude
     paragraph 5: no human passengers
     paragraph 6 : ship’s name
You probably have only a vague idea of a cargo ship. This passage will introduce you to some new ship-related vocabulary.
This passage is an extract from Ken Follet’s “Triple”.
_______________________________________________________________________

d. linearly                                                                                                                     
    A passage is in linear order when the writer goes from one thing to another in a single
   series of stages.
   The topic is to be stated in the first sentence and the rest of the sentences should
   develop the topic stating different aspects of the topic in stages.
   The structure should look like this:
    a. topic    b. develop point one  c. develop point two [and so on] d. conclusion.

Sample 22
 The animal kingdom can be divided into four categories. The first
category comprises diurnal animals which are active during the day.
Next, we have the nocturnal animals which move about at night.
Then we have first of two less known variety, the crepuscular animals
which are active during twilight hours. The arrhythmic animals that
move about during and night are a less known variety. Probably such
a division began when simple and weak animals began to come out in
the dark to escape from diurnal predators.
______________________________________________________________________ 

e. chronologically
Sample 23
When activities or events are described in order of their occurrence of time, the  passage is in chronological order. That is, earlier events come first, followed by more recent events.

The Stone Age began in approximately 2 million B.C. and lasted till 3000 B.C.
Its name was derived from the stone tools and weapons made. This period was
divided into the Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic ages. During the first
period, that is, between 2 million B.C. and 8000B.C. man learnt to use fire
for heating and cooking. During the Mesolithic age, that is, from 8000 to
6000 B.C. people made crude pottery, the first hooks, took dogs for hunting
and developed the bow and the arrow. During the Neolithic period, that is,
from 6000 to 3000 B.C. man domesticated animals useful to him and established
permanent settlements. _____________________________________________________________________ 
                                     
three characteristics of a paragraph: unity cohesion and coherence
We have so far talked, in some detail, about size, shape, sequencing. There are two more important aspects of a paragraph.

You now know that a paragraph contains several sentences. When these sentences express a main idea and elaborate it with extensions, elaborations, explanations in the form of major and minor details that are intimately linked to each other and to the main idea, we say the paragraph has unity. When these sentences are linked logically at the structure and thought levels, we say the paragraph has cohesion and coherence. And when a paragraph has all these, we say the paragraph is well-written or well-developed.

Unity
Unity is concerned with singleness of thought.
Read this paragrpah
                          
sample 24
1There are many different kinds of musical instruments.
2They are divided into three main classes according to
the way they are played. 3Those that are played by blowing
air into them are called wind instruments. 4These are made
of wood, brass and other materials. 5The family of wood
instruments includes the flute, the clarinet, the bassoon,
the trumpet, the mouthorgan and the bagpipe. 6The instruments
that are played by banging or striking them are known as percussion
instruments.7An example is the drum. 8Then there are stringed
instruments which are played by plucking the strings or by drawing
a bow across the strings. 9Examples of this are the violin and the cello.

[an adapted version of a passage on p.55 in Michael J. Wallace’s Study Skills in English, CUP 1988]

The main idea of this paragraph is in the first and second sentences. They both form the topic sentence. The major details are in sentences 3, 6 and 8. The minor details are in 4, 5 and 7, second half of 8 and 9.
This paragraph shares information. S1 introduces the topic. S2 informs what                                                               exactly the writer is going to say. S 3, 4, 6 and 8 name and define instruments and
thus elaborate the topic. S5,7 and 9 provide examples.

As you can see, the main idea and the details are properly linked and so the
paragraph has unity.

cohesion and coherence
These are concerned with relatedness at sentence and thought levels.

Besides unity, a paragraph needs cohesion and coherence. These are achieved when the reader is able to follow what the writer is thinking and can anticipate the next thought as being logically continuous to the previous. To say it in the reverse order, minor details flow from major details and major details from the main idea.

The logical sequencing can take place with the help of several language devices. The most common one is the use of [1] pronouns [he, she, it, they] to avoid monotonous repetition of nouns. Can you at random identify pronouns for nouns in the 21 samples? Another one is [2] substitution. For example, ‘the main idea’ can be substituted with ‘the central idea’ or ‘the most important idea’ or ‘the topic’. Next one is known as [3] consistency. This is achieved using appropriate tense, concord, number and gender. Then we have [4] referring expressions such as ‘this’, ‘that’, ‘these’, ‘those, ‘here’, ‘there’, ‘now’. ‘then’. We use [5] ellipses to achieve coherence. That is, we connect two sentences by not repeating in the next sentences parts of the previous sentence. Look at this pair:
                          Success or failure is determined to a large
 sample 25          extent by performers other than us in the
                          human drama we are part of. Learners,
                          syllabus designers, examining bodies, for
                          instance.
Here, the second sentence provides examples of ‘performers other than us’. Such ellipse helps avoid unnecessary repetition.

We also use [6] ‘linking words’ to connect one sentence with another. ‘Linking words’ are also known as ‘connectives’, ‘sentence connectors’, ‘transition words’ or ‘cohesion markers’. ‘For instance’ in the above example is a linking expression. We can divide these connectives into two groups: 1. coordinating   2. subordinating. Here is a list:

1. coordinating
[These link two independent sentences]
    indicating
1.1  addition [of information]
      also, and, and then, besides, further, furthermore, moreover, additionally,
      in addition, not only….. but also, both ….. and  ……., similarly, likewise, so, therefore, too
1.2 sequence [the order in which things take place or should occur]
      first, in the first place, next, second, last but not least, last, finally, ultimately,
      in the end
1.3 explanation
      hence, namely, that is [to say], thus, for instance, for example, indeed, regardless,
      it is true, in fact, of course, after all, specifically 
1.4 result
      therefore, hence, consequently, for that reason
1.5 choice
      or
1.6 condition, exception
      under these/such conditions, or else, with this condition/exception, otherwise
1.7 comparison
      in the same way, likewise, similarly
1.8 contrast 
      but, still, however, and yet,  nevertheless, conversely, on the contrary, by contrast,
      on the other hand, otherwise, regardless, even then, even so 

2.  subordinating                                                             
      [These convert a main clause into a subordinating clause]
2.1 spatial
      where, wherever,
2.2 temporal
      after, before, since, till, until, when, while, as soon as, as long as, by the time,
      no sooner……than…….
2.3 condition
      if, only if, unless, provided that, on the provision that
2.4 concession
      though, although, even though, despite [the fact that], in spite of, even if
2.5 causal
      because, so, since, in that, in as much as
2.6 purpose
      so that, in order that, for fear that
2.7 manner
      as, as though, as if
2.8 comparison
      more…..than, as…….as , so…..as  
List of more transitional phrases from another perspective:

Illustration     
Thus, for example, for instance, namely, to illustrate, in other words, in particular, specifically, such as.

Contrast
On the contrary, contrarily, notwithstanding, but, however, nevertheless, in spite of, in contrast, yet, on one hand, on the other hand, rather, or, nor, conversely, at the same time, while this may be true.

Addition
And, in addition to, furthermore, moreover, besides, than, too, also, both-and, another, equally important, first, second, etc., again, further, last, finally, not only-but also, as well as, in the second place, next, likewise, similarly, in fact, as a result, consequently, in the same way, for example, for instance, however, thus, therefore, otherwise.

Time
After, afterward, before, then, once, next, last, at last, at length, first, second, etc., at first, formerly, rarely, usually, another, finally, soon, meanwhile, at the same time, for a minute, hour, day, etc., during the morning, day, week, etc., most important, later, ordinarily, to begin with, afterwards, generally, in order to, subsequently, previously, in the meantime, immediately, eventually, concurrently, simultaneously.
Space
At the left, at the right, in the center, on the side, along the edge, on top, below, beneath, under, around, above, over, straight ahead, at the top, at the bottom, surrounding, opposite, at the rear, at the front, in front of, beside, behind, next to, nearby, in the distance, beyond, in the forefront, in the foreground, within sight, out of sight, across, under, nearer, adjacent, in the background.

Compromise
Although, at any rate, at least, still, thought, even though, granted that, while it may be true, in spite of, of course.

Similarity / Comparison
Similarly, likewise, in like fashion, in like manner, analogous to.

Emphasis
Above all, indeed, truly, of course, certainly, surely, in fact, really, in truth, again, besides, also, furthermore, in addition.

Details
Specifically, especially, in particular, to explain, to list, to enumerate, in detail, namely, including.

Examples
For example, for instance, to illustrate, thus, in other words, as an illustration, in particular.

Consequence or Result
So that, with the result that, thus, consequently, hence, accordingly, for this reason, therefore, so, because, since, due to, as a result, in other words, then.

Summary
Therefore, finally, consequently, thus, in short, in conclusion, in brief, as a result, accordingly. 

Suggestion
For this purpose, to this end, with this in mind, with this purpose in mind, therefore.

We can and do achieve coherence through [7] implications of the writer. As readers go through the written material, they can follow the thought process of the writer and make logical inferences. Go back to sample 22 in the previous page. The second sentence gives examples of ‘a few’ but does not say who the ‘few’ are because the writer expects the reader to infer who these few are from the previous sentence. Thus, the coherence is at the thought level. Again, look at this:
                         A humble servant of mankind is the tin can. We
sample 26         destroy it in the opening and cast it aside without
                           of respect or a thought of gratitude for its services.      

Here, the link between these two sentences is in the irony between the usefulness of the tin can and our disrespectful treatment of it.

We use yet another device known as [8] parallelism. We repeat certain structures and phrases to heighten the effect of the thought. Such use achieves balance and gives equal importance to two or more ideas. Here is a sample:
                       The power you acquire in this way is much greater and much more
                        reliable than that formerly supposed to be acquired by prayer,
                        because you never could tell whether your prayer would be
sample 27         favourably heard in heaven. The power of prayer, moreover,
                        had recognized limits; it would have been to ask too much. But
                        the power of science has no known limits. We were told that faith
                        could move mountains but no one believed it. We are now told that
                        the atomic bomb can remove mountains, and everyone believes it.  
                            [Bertrand Russell’s “The Impact of Science on Society”]

sample 28
            Life is about managing. Life is about managing people in social
            contexts or in workplaces. Managing others around us. Managing
            family members, neighbours,  colleagues, superiors, strangers. Life
            can be pleasant, if we can handle or tackle people helping them,
            encouraging them, motivating them, enabling them so that they are
            able to draw on their own strengths. Life can be worth living if we can
            offer friendship, affection or love to people so that they feel they are
            not all alone in this ‘cruel’ world but do ‘belong’ and evince interest
            in themselves and others. Life can be rewarding if we can help others
            achieve recognition, attain status so that they grow in self-esteem. Life
            can be accomplishing if we can help others develop their ‘selfs’ so that
            they reach their final destination of self-realization.

In the following example, parallelism occurs between paragraphs:
sample 29
            It’s generally believed that without inspiration, without a magical
          source, writing is next to impossible. When we see an excellent
          piece of writing, we tend to attribute that excellence to inspiration
          or some superhuman guidance. We strongly believe, wrongly of course,
          that we are not blessed [inspired] and so we will not be able to write. But
          the truth of the matter is that even inspiration can achieve nothing without
          sustained perspiration.

          It’s also generally believed that without an inborn talent, writing is next
          to impossible. When we see a remarkable piece of writing, we tend to
          attribute the remarkableness to the innate talent of the writer. We strongly
          believe, wrongly of course, that we are not blessed [talented] and so we
          will not be able to write. But the truth of the matter is that even talent can
          achieve nothing without hard work.
____________________________________________________________________

requisites of paragraph writing
1. The size of a paragraph should be appropriate to the thought
    it is expected to express.
2. A paragraph generally has a topic sentence and a few more
    sentences related to it.
3. A paragraph should have sequencing ideal to the treatment
    of the topic.
4. A paragraph should have unity of thought.
5. A paragraph should be coherent.
________________________________________________________________________

Paragraph Length
A paragraph may be long or short. It may contain just one word. It’s also possible to have a phrase as a paragraph. However, one word or one phrase paragraphs are exceptions; they rarely occur, and when they do, they have specific communicative intents [See the passage sample 4 under paragraph ‘size’ in an earlier page, you’ll understand what I mean here]. The length of a paragraph depends on what and how much the writer wants to say.

Sometimes a paragraph may grow long because you start with an idea and instead of completing the paragraph with that idea, you tend to move on to another idea in the same paragraph. This not only increases the length but it also shifts focus and strays away. Hence to make the paragraph effective and short it is better to focus on one idea and complete the paragraph and discuss another thought in the next paragraph. However you need to ensure that the paragraphs are linked.

indenting

In the previous page, paragraphs have been set apart from each other by leaving an extra line of space between them. The other way of separating paragraphs is to indent the first line of every paragraph; that is, we start the first line five spaces away from the margin on the left of a page:

       It’s generally believed that without inspiration, without a magical source, writing is next to impossible. When we see an excellent piece of writing, we tend to attribute that excellence to inspiration or some superhuman guidance. We strongly believe, wrongly of course, that we are not blessed [inspired] and so we will not be able to write. But the truth is that even inspiration can achieve nothing without sustained perspiration.
       It’s also generally believed that without an inborn talent, writing is next to impossible. When we see a remarkable piece of writing, we tend to attribute the remarkableness to the innate talent. We strongly believe, wrongly of course, that we are not blessed [talented] and so we will not be able to write. But the truth of the matter is that even talent can achieve nothing without hard work.

Here you can see that the first line of each paragraph begins five spaces away from the margin; this is known as indentation. If this is done, there is no need to leave space between paragraphs.
________________________________________________________________________

Paragraph Development—techniques

We’ve already seen in through examples 13—23 how we can organize or sequence our ideas through sentences and thus develop a paragraph.

Here are a few more ways:
       · illustrations
Examples:
        Some of you may have reading problems. You may be in the habit
         of going back to where you started before continuing to read; you
         may be using your finger to continue to read; you may be mouthing
         the words or moving the lips. You may also be reading word by word.

        Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does
        not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough,
        he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is the lord of all
        the animals. He sets them to work, he gives back to them the bare
        minimum that will prevent them from starving, and the rest he keeps
        for himself. Our labour tills the soil, our dung fertilizes it, and yet there
        is not one of us that owns more than his bare skin. You cows that I see
        before me, how many thousands of gallons of milk have you given during
        this last year? And what has happened to the milk which should have been
        breeding up sturdy calves? Every drop of it has gone down the throats of
        our enemies. And you hens, how many eggs have you laid this year, and how
        many those eggs every hatched into chickens? The rest have all gone to market 
         to bring money for Jones and his men….
          [Animal Farm]

          Madam Curie was an extraordinary person. She
       was not only an untiring and passionate researcher
       and scientist but was also a devoted wife and a loving
       mother. She had to work under most difficult and
       discouraging circumstances. Yet she didn’t lose her
       composure, direction and patience. She didn’t spend
       her time cursing others. She loved her work, didn’t lose
       heart and proceeded towards her goal steadily. And she
       had enough time for her life partner, Pierrie Curie and
       her daughter, Irene.

       · comparison and contrast
          Like paper presentation, seminar is an oral act. A paper may go
         beyond the curriculum. A seminar topic is within the boundaries
         of the curriculum. Unlike paper presentation, a seminar has a
         small audience. In the former, you will be facing a group of strangers.
         In the latter, you will be among known  faces. In the first, you need
         to be extremely careful about what you say and how you say it. Here 
         evaluation takes precedence over learning. In the second, learning is
         more important than evaluation. You can expect sympathy and 
         understanding in the second, but not necessarily in the first. For the
         former, you need to do a lot of reading while for the second, the area
         you will cover will be small. Seminar is a practice session whereas
         paper presentation is judgement session. There are no prizes to be
         won in seminar. Paper presentation ends with a question hour but
         seminar ends with a discussion. In the former, respect for you depends
         on how well you handle the questions. But in the latter, no respect is    
         involved. Only exchange of information  is important.

         Ultrasonic welding differs from resistance welding, which requires a
         generation of heat by electrical resistance at a strategic point of the
         weld, in that it does not depend upon the similar melting points of two
         metal work pieces. Although ultrasonic welding requires two metals of
         similar hardness, vastly different metals in a variety of thickness can be
         joined with a minimum of heat. As an example, ultrasonic welding is
         used to seal containers filled with reactive chemicals, such as nitroglycerin,
         and produces practically no heat; whereas, resistance welding would involve
         more than enough heat to cause combustion.
          
       · cause and effect
          In fact, he realized painfully, he couldn’t even be sure of Karen. She
          was a legitimate computer expert, a fact that was apparent in their
          conversations and which he had verified in his trip back t the United
          States. And she had certainly been recruited by Cobb from an important
          position with a major American computer company. But for what mission?
          The one that Cobb had presented to him of scuttling Japan’s new technical
          wonder? Or perhaps simply to learn as much as she could about Fuiji’s work?
          Was the whole plot simply a device to use Toole as a cover for Karen? If it
          was, did Karen know about it? Had he simply played into a trap by refusing
          to escape and leave her behind.

       · claassification
          1There are many different kinds of musical instruments.
         2They are divided into three main classes according to
         the way they are played. 3Those that are played by
         blowing air into them are called wind instruments.
         4These are made of wood, brass and other materials.
         5The family of wood instruments includes the flute,
         the clarinet, the bassoon, the trumpet, the mouthorgan
         and the bagpipe. 6The instruments that are played by
         banging or striking them are known as percussion
         instruments.7An example is the drum. 8Then there
         are stringed instruments which are played by plucking
         the strings or by drawing a bow across the strings. 9Examples
         of this are the violin and the cello.

[an adapted version of a passage on p.55 in Michael J. Wallace’s Study Skills in English, CUP 1988]

        You write reports for two basic purposes. You’ll want to store information.
        Such information storage will help easy and accurate recall whenever necessary.
        This is a routine affair. The other purpose is to get action. You want to improve
        performance efficiency within your department or organization. You want to
        recommend steps that will improve public relations. You want your organization
        to form new associations. Or you wish your organization to introduce a new product.

· problem and solution
      It’s generally believed that without inspiration, without a magical source,
      writing is next to impossible. When we see an excellent piece of writing,
      we tend to attribute that excellence to inspiration or some superhuman
      guidance. We strongly believe, wrongly of course, that we are not blessed
      [inspired] and so we will not be able to write. But the truth is that even
      inspiration can achieve nothing without sustained perspiration.

      As we already know from the passage on water, fresh water supply is
     insufficient to meet the demand for it. How do we solve this acute
     shortage of water? The immediate reaction is to buy water. Another
     reaction is to dig deep into the earth sometimes as deep as 400 feet to
     locate water source that can last until the next rains. But how many of us
     think in practical terms and into the future? You’re doing this if you do
     rain water harvesting. It’s economical, sensible and durable. Roof top
     rain water, which generally goes waste, can be channeled to an existing
     open well or bore well.

     _____________________________________________________________________

4. Process
steps: 1. select topic 
              2. narrow the topic [making topic as specific as possible]
              3. decide the title
              4. gather related thoughts in ‘note’ form, with the help of
                   [a] mind roaming [using knowledge you already have about the topic]
                   [b] reading or listening sources [for new, latest knowledge]
              5. organise information collected
                    [a] convert into main thoughts, major and minor details
                    [b] eliminate extra fat---information distracting focus 
              6. format or organise them into : introduction, body with subtitles, conclusion
              7. edit
                   [a] self
                          remove loose ends: spelling, grammar errors, incomplete sentences
                          ensure unity and coherence
                   [b] others [friends, relatives]
                           tighten thought and expression
                           look for further improvements
These are the normal steps when you’re penning your thoughts. But in a test or an examination, the topic is given to you. Then use 4 [a], 5, 6 and 7 [a].
______________________________________________________________________   

Select topic 
Let’s say you want to write an article for publication. The first step is you need to select a topic. What are you interested in? Let’s say you’re interested in education, science, environment, for instance. These three are very broad topics. They are also very vague. They are broad and vague because each one has so many related aspects. It will be difficult to deal with all aspects in an essay of a few pages.  
________________________________________________________________________

Narrow the topic
If we want our writing to be meaningful to readers, we need to be more specific in defining the topic before we start writing.
  education                                       science                                 environment 
·in India or overseas?           · inventions or discoveries? · in India or the world?
·school, colleges                  · medical, engineering,         · forests, dams, air, water,                                        
·elementary, high school        electronic, space                 ·deforestation, dam height
  medicine, engineering        · specific area                          pollution: air, land, water
·formal /distance education · drugs/treatment/products   · processes, problems, causes,
·govt./self-financing               research                                solutions
· processes, problems,          · processes, problems, causes,
   causes, solutions                   solutions
While the three titles are too broad for an article or an essay, the expressions that follow below each title help you to narrow down the area of thinking and writing.

Now that specificity is achieved it is easy to select a title. Most specific would be to look at the titles even from recent activities [at the time of writing] in one of these areas. For instance, ‘reservation for women’, ‘quota on caste basis’,  ‘the death of Prof. Sabarhwal during students union elections’.


The process can be looked at from another angle:
The reader
    It’s readers who decide what writers will write about. Because they are not writing to
    please themselves but to share their thoughts, views, concepts, philosophy with others. 
    Naturally they should choose topics that would engage the attention of their readers.
Writer’s purpose
   topic (choice)
    preparation
    writing
    editing

Readers are of two kinds: specialists and non-specialists
Writer’s purpose is to inform, convince, share
Topic involves selection and scope
Preparation refers to reading, discussing, thinking, taking notes
Writing requires
        content—thoughts, views, concepts, theories, findings
        language—regional or English
        organisation—introduction, body (middle), conclusion
                                in paragraphs with topic sentences, major and minor details
        tone—formal, informal
Editing—improvement by self and others

Topic
The topic you choose to write about should be limited in its scope; in other words, you need to contexutalise it or lend it specificity. How do you do this? Well, let’s look at an example.

Let’s take ‘education’.
You can think about it in several ways:
     geography, type, level, knowledge areas, teaching/learning components

education
geography
  world, national, state, district, town/villages, home
Now you have to think of the type of education
education
type
  formal   
    institutional
    distance             
  informal
    self learning
      books
      newspapers
      magazines
      films
      speeches
      radio, TV, video

education
levels
 class 1—12 (school)}
 diploma                   }private, aided, government
 (post)graduate         }autonomous, deemed university
 PG Diploma            }

education
knowledge  arts and science subjects, specialist, professional

education
related components
  syllabus writing→experts, teachers, professionals from other fields
  staffing             →teachers, supporting staff
  evluation          →internal--institutional
                           →external--university
  teaching           → teachers, theories, methodology, activities
  learning            → learners, theories, activities
  infrastructure    → class, laboratory, library, sports, tours,
  facilities for      →staff→salary, perks, research

You can see from these titles and subtitles the degree of specificity increase with each of them though the scope and range and the depth as presented here are not exhaustive. For instance, theories in the fields of linguistics, sociolinguistics or pragmatics for instance  related to teaching can narrow the topic further. This attempt is only to show you how you can achieve topic specificity. Depending on the reader and the purpose, you can generate any number of topics.  

For both the processes suggested above the rest of the process is common.

5. Kinds
1. Narrative
2. Descriptive
3. Argumentative
4. Expository

Narrative essays contain as content a sequence of events or incidents. The content may be factual or fictional. All these narrate: short stories, novels, resports (auto)biographies

Descriptive essays describe; they contain details about a person, place, action or activity that appeals to the senses. They provide mental images or pictures that come alive as we read. All these describe: diaries, technical/scientific/travel writings, (auto)biographies.

Argumentative essays state, create or expect opinions with evidence looking at the pros and cons of an issue, a problem, a behaviour, an event. They try to persuade or influence the reader. They expect the reader to appreciate and if possible accept the opinion expressed.

Expository essays explain. They describe, narrate or analyse or also argue; however, their intention is not to convince the reader but just expose the reader to information.

Please remember that
       these four kinds are only for the sake of
       convenience or for the purpose of focus
       rather than anything else
and
       despite the distinctions brought about in
       the kinds of essays, no essay or writing
       is or will be purely narrative, descriptive,
       argumentative or expository.
In other words most or several of them is or will be a (good) mixture.


Samples of narrative essay
Sample 1
an excerpt from James A. Michener’s Centennial :
On a hot summer’s day a female eagle flying lazily in the sky watched
as a herd of bison left the shadows of the twin pillars and headed north
for rendezvous on the far side of the North Platte. The eagle watched with
unconcern as the great beasts moved out in a single file, for there wan nothing
of advantage to her in the movement of bison or even in the congregation in
large numbers. All they produced was dust.

But as the bison moved north she noticed that at a certain spot each animal
shied to the left, even the most aggressive bulls and this was worth inspecting,
so she hovered for some minutes to confirm her observation, then flew in lazy
circles till the herd had passed.

As soon as the last straggler had come to this spot, looked down and veered,
she dropped like an arrow from aloft, keeping her eye on the sport and noticing
with pleasure that her deduction had beenright. Below her in the dust beside a
rock was food.

Increasing her speed, she swooped to earth, almost touching the sand with her
wings. At the last moment she extended her talons and grabbed at the object
which had attracted her—an enormous rattlesnake some five feet long and
very in the middle. It had a flat, triangular head and on the its tail a curious
set nine hornlike knots.

The eagle miscalculated slightly, for its talons did not strike the snake squarely.
Only one claw of the right foot caught the rattler, well toward the tail, and
although the eagles tried to carry the snake aloft so as to drop it on rocks and
perhaps kill it, she failed, for the snake, with a violent twisting effort tore free,
and with blood flowing from the wound, immediately coiled itself to repel the attack.

Seeing that the rattler was in a position to strike, the eagles realized that she
could  not swoop down and take it by surprise, so she landed some distance away,
her feet and wings throwing up a cloud of dust, and with wary, high-stepping
movements, approached to give battle.

The snake watched her come and adjusted his position to match hers, but
he was not prepared for the kind of attack she made. Uttering a wild cry,
she ran directly at the snake, raised her wings, encouraging it to strike at
the feathers, then brought the edge of her wing sharply across at the snake’s
backbone. It was a staggering blow, delivered with all the force the eagle
could muster, and it flattened the rattlesnake.

Instantly she leaped upon it, catching it squarely in the middle so that her
claws dug all the way through that part of the snake’s body.  With a flap
of her extended wings she soared high into the air, but she did not rise to
the highest heavens, for she was working on a plan of calculated cunning.
Searching not for rocks but for a terrain quite different, she found what she
wanted. She flew with her eyes into the wind to assure herself that it was not
strong enough to blow the snake off target when she dropped him. Satisfied,
she disengaged the serpent and watched as it plummeted into the middle of a
cactus thicket, whose needle-sharp spines jutted upward.

With a thud the rattlesnake fell onto the cactus, impaling itself in a score of
places. As it writhed, the jagged edges of the spines cut deep and held fast.
There was no way the snake could tear itself loose, and death became inevitable.

Had the eagle realized that exposure to the sun and loss of blood must soon
kill the snake, it could merely have waited, then hauled the dead carcass off
to its young. But the bird was driven by deep inner compulsion and felt obliged
to its enemy, so it flopped its great wings slowly and hovered above the cactus
spines lowering itself until the curved talons could catch the serpent again.

The time the eagle flew in wide circles, searching for an area of jagged rocks
on which to drop the rattler. Locating what she wanted, she flapped her wings
and rose to a great height and shook the snake free, watching with satisfaction
as it crashed onto the rocks. The fall did great damage, and the snake should
have been dead, but like all rattlers he had a terrible determination to survive,
so as soon as he struck the rocks he marshaled his remaining strength and took
the coiled position.

The eagle had made a sad miscalculation in dropping the snake onto the rocks,
for she had counted upon the fall to kill him outright, but this it had not done,
so now she was forced to leave the flat, sandy terrain where she had an advantage
and go among the rocks, where the advantage was his. However, since the snake
was obviously close to death, she judged that she could quickly finish him off.

But when she sought to deliver the culminating blow with the edge of her wing,
he somehow thrust himself about her body and enclosed it in a constricting embrace,
fighting desperately to bring his lethal head into contact with some vital part.

She was too clever to permit this. Keeping his head at a disadvantage, she strained
and clawed and bit until he had to release his hold. For the moment he was defenseless,
and she took this opportunity to pierce him for the third time, and now she carried him
very high, kicking him free over the rocks again, and once more he crashed on to them.

He should have been dead, and he feigned that he was, lying stretched out and
avoiding the coil. Sorely shattered by this last fall and bleeding from numerous
wounds, he made no sound, for rattles were broken.

The eagle was fooled. She inspected him from the air, then landed on the rocks
and walked unsteadily over to carry him aloft the last time, but as she neared,
the snake coiled and struck with what force he had left and plunged his fangs
into the unprotected spot where her thin neck joined her torso. The fangs held
there for only a moment, but in that brief instant the muscles in neck contracted,
sending a jet of lethal poison deep into her bloodstream. Easily so easily the fangs
withdrew and the snake fell back upon the rocks.

The startled eagle made no motion. She merely stared with unbelieving eye at the
snake while he stared back at her with a basilisk gaze. She felt a tremor across her
chest and the vast constriction. She took two halting steps and then fell dead.

The rattlesnake lay motionless for a long time, one wing of the eagle across his
wounded body. The sun started to go down and he felt the coldness of the night
approaching. Finally he bestirred himself, but he was too damaged to move far.

For a long period it seemed that he would die, there on the rock with the eagle,
but just before sundown he mustered enough strength to drag himself into a
crevice where there would be some protection from the night cold. He stayed
there for three days, slowly regaining his strength and the end of this time he
started his painful trip home.
___________________________________________________________________________

Sample 2
South African Safari on Foot
Peter Aiken

At 5 am the sky was black. I packed camera gear and binoculars. I slipped
my knife in a pocket where I could find the blade. I calculated it to be about
the length of one lion’s fang. By 6 am the sky was lightening and we walked
in close single file behind tracker and ranger.

Impala sprang from the undergrowth and monkeys shook the treetops. Bird life
was colorful and abundant, but we were after bigger game. Abednigo Masuku,
our tracker, pointed out leopard claw marks and elephant rubbings on a single
Transvaal Saffron Tree. He then spotted fresh tracks of a white rhino with calf.
With silence emphasized, we followed. Rhino have poor eyesight but good hearing.

Abednigo and Gavin knelt and filtered clods of rhino dung between their fingers.
They felt for moisture content and pointed out the baby dung neatly deposited beside mother’s. “Passed through about half an hour ago,” Gavin said. “Are we up for pursuit?”
We were.

The white rhino (acceptably short for rhinoceros) eats grass and therefore
holds its head lower, mouth near the ground. The head is longer and heavier,
with massive shoulders and a big hump to carry the weight. It also has a wide,
square shaped mouth, if you can see this. There is nothing in the color to
distinguish it from the black rhino: the “white” comes from the Afrikaans word
for “wide” mouthed rhino. The black rhino carries its head higher because it eats
leaves instead of grass. It has smaller, lighter head with a pointed “prehensile” lip
for gripping leaves. Also, black rhino calves follow the mother, white rhino calves
run in front.

After much circling, we found the rhino with baby in a grassland interlaced
with acacia trees, termite mounds, and aardvark burrows. We hid behind a
mound and glanced the mother rhino who, with head lowered, looked a bit
like a black boulder left by a retreating glacier. Other black boulders lay to
left and right. Slowly they moved and Gavin whispered, “We’ve found Rhino
City! There’s five more over there. Keep low and follow us—the wind’s blowing
from their direction.”

Back at the lodge I read about our quarry: “Neither the strength nor the temper
Of a rhino when he is annoyed should be underestimated. He is the extrovert
of the animal kingdom, prepared to charge headlong into incoming trains.”

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Narrative essay (Analytical essay)

Drew and his decision
It was autumn again, October, his sixth year in the monastery.  The ruddy glow of sunset tinted the brilliant maples on the hill. He heard the rattle of the serving hatch, then the familiar scrape and thump of a cup and bowl being set on the shelf beside his door.

He glanced toward the tiny hole at the base of the workman wall where Stuart Little suddenly appeared. The mouse sat on his haunches, raising its forearms /to brush his whiskers.

All you need is a knife, fork and bib, Drew silently joked, amused at how the rattle of the serving hatch had become Stuart Little’s dinner bell.

The mouse scurried over as Drew brought the meal to the workbench. Bread and water; another fast-day. His stomach rumbling, he noticed Stuart trying to climb up his robe, and with a sigh of feigned disgust, he tore a piece of bread, tossing it down to the mouse./He sat at the bench and bowed his head, /pressing his hands together praying.

You know, Stuart, /he thought as he finished, /you’re getting greedy. I ought to make you wait to eat/ till grace is finished. A little religion wouldn’t hurt you. How would you feel about that, huh?

He glanced toward the mouse on the floor.

And frowned. The mouse lay on its side, unmoving. Drew stared in surprise, not moving either. His chest tensed. Shocked, he held his breath, then blinked and inhaling slowly, bent down to touch Stuart’s side.

It remained inert.

Drew gently nudged it, feeling the soft sleek fur, but got no response. His throat seemed line with sand. As he swallowed painfully, he picked Stuart up. The mouse lay still in his palm. It weighed almost nothing. But the weight was dead.

Drew’s stomach felt cold. In dismay, he shook his head, baffled. A minute ago, the mouse had practically been dancing for its supper.

Was it old age, he wondered. A heart attack? Or a stroke? He didn’t know much about mice, but he vaguely recalled having read somewhere that they didn’t live long. A year or two.

But that was in the wild, exposed to predators, disease, and cold. What about here, in the cell? He strained to think, telling himself that even with warmth and good care, Stuart Little had been bound to die. There wasn’t any way to know how old it had been when it showed up last autumn, but in human terms by now it might have been ninety.

I shouldn’t be surprised. By feeding it, I merely postponed...If it hadn’t died today...

Tomorrow.

He bit his lip, grieving as he set the small corpse back on the floor. And felt guilty because he grieved. A Carthusian was supposed to shut all worldly distractions. God alone mattered. The mouse had been temptation that he should have resisted. Now God was punishing him, teaching him why he shouldn’t become infatuated with transitory creatures.

Death.

Drew shuddered. No. I wouldn’t change anything. The mouse was fun to have around. I’m glad I took care of it.

His eyes stung, making him blink repeatedly as stared down at his lifeless friend. Terrible thoughts occurred to him. What should he do with the body? For sure, he wasn’t going to have a custodian brother dispose of it, perhaps even dump it in the trash. The mouse deserved better. The dignity of burial.

But where? Through misted vision, he glanced toward his workroom window. Sunset had turned to dusk, casting his garden into shadow.

A cedar bush grew in a corner of the wall. Yes, Drew thought. He’d bury Stuart Little beneath the shrub. An evergreen, it lived all year. Even in winter, it color would be a reminder.

His throat felt swollen, aching each time he swallowed. Thirsty, he reached for his cup of water, raised it toward his lips, glanced past it toward the thick slab of bread in his bowl.

And paused.

His spine began to tingle.

He peered down at the bread on the floor, the chunk he’d thrown to Stuart Little. He stared at the water in the cup he held. And slowly, cautiously, making sure that no liquid spilled over the top, he eased the container back down on the table. Reflexively, he wiped his hands on the front of his robe.

No, he thought. It couldn’t be.

But what if you’re not imagining?

His suspicion filled him with same. In his sixth stern year of penance, did he still retain the habit of thinking as he had in his former life? Had his training been that effective?
Were his instincts that resistant to change?

But just supposing. You know, for the sake of argument. What kind might it be? Did it kill on contact?

Tensing, he stared at his hands. No, he ‘d touched the mouse. And the bread. Just a minute ago. But the mouse had died quickly. In the time Drew had taken to close his eyes and say grace. If it’s poison and it kills on contact, even with my greater size, I ought to be dead, too.

He breathed.
All right, then, it had to be ingested. (You’ve got to stop thinking this way.)

And it’s powerful. Almost instantaneous.

Assuming it’s poison.

Besides, he was merely guessing. The only way to know for sure if the bread had been poisoned was to...

Taste it? Hardly.

Have it tested? That would take too long.

But there was another way. He could investigate the monastery. He stiffened with doubt. The notion repelled him.

But under the circumstances...

He stared at the door. In the six years he’d  been here, he’d left his quarters seldom, only to convene with the other monks for mandatory communal rituals. Those ventures outside had been keenly disturbing to him, nerve-racking intrusions on his peace of mind.

But under the circumstances...

He wiped his sweaty lip. His years of disciplined regimen told him to wait a short while longer until he normally left for vespers. Yes. The decision calmed him. Avoiding extremes, it appealed to his common sense.

The vespers bell stayed silent, but in rhythm with his daily cycle, he knew that it should have struck by now. He told himself that the mouse’s death had disturbed his judgement. Time was passing with exaggerated slowness, that was all.

He counted to one hundred. Waited. Started to count again. And stopped.

With a painful sign, he repressed his inhibitions, broke six years of habit, and opened the door.

This passage will help you understand what a hypothesis is, analyse it and
come to conclusions. This is a long passage. The length doesn’t matter because it’s about the
sudden death of a mouse, what caused its death and what this means for Drew.

Note: This passage is a good sample to discuss paragraph structure. You may discuss the
          writer’s selection and intention of the way he’s structured the paragraphs.
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Narrative essay (analytical)
Toole, Karen and Cobb

It should be obvious. But it wasn’t. They were being used. But he didn’t know how and he wasn’t sure by whom.

It was time for Toole to begin constructing the pyramids to learn whom he was dealing with and what they were really upto. He was working for John Cobb, a top agent of the secret government involved in a plot of national survival. But who was John Cobb? Was he really part of the U.S. Government, or had Toole committed a cardinal error—believing what he had been told? Cobb had demonstrated his divine authority by opening the gates of a gederal prison. But Mafia chieftains had walked in and out of federal prisons. And, as Watergate had demonstrated all too clearly, not everyone employed by the government had the country’s interest at heart.

Who was Yamagata Fuijii? A top computer theorist, of course. But whose side was he on? He was turning over Japan’s most closely guarded industrial secrets with  no more urging than a transparent threat and no more reward than a suitcase of money? And he could scarcely contain his joy in the process. Was he the victim? Or was he part of the plot?

Then there was this Signet Corporation, described by Cobb as simply a shell that served as a mailing address for stolen information. But who owned Signet? What was its connection to Cobb or Fuijii? And was it going to do with the computer code that only a dozen people or so in the world could even begin to understand.

He needed answers. He needed to know who was scheming, and who was being victimised. And he needed to know how. Otherwise he was simply one cog in the machine, and cogs tended to heat up and break when the machine was running at top speed.

He gut told him he was being used. But how? As a washing machine to launder money that Signet was paying to Fuijii? As a watchman, to keep Karen from inadvertently compromising a scheme she didn’t understand? Or as a victim to take the fall if Cobb’s house of cards should suddenly become top-heavy and unstable?

Some things seemed clear. From what he had learned on his trip to the United States, it was apparent that Cobb had set him up to be the obvious culprit if the scheme were discovered. The perpetrator of record was not the United States government, but rather Signet Corporation, which had already been caught with its hand in the cookie jar. Cobb had claimed that Signet was nothing more than a small drop. But the records indicated that it was a legitimate corporation with assets, activities and employees. So if the Japanese were to discover that someone was stealing their computer secrets, they would have to look no further than Toole and Karen. There would be no reason to search Cobb and his secret government associates.

‘Fair enough’ Toole thought to himself. If the U.S. government were planning an operation against a friendly country it would be essential that it take steps to cover its tracks. What better cover than to create a much more obvious group of plotters who could shoulder all the blame? Who could fault Cobb for not letting him and Karen in on the real reason they had been sent to Japan? Toole had never bothered to brief his marks on the full nature of the schemes in which he was involving them.

Then there was Fuijii. Had he known what Tooole was up to the first time they had sat down together at a card table? If he did, then why had he been such a willing victim? What had he turned over authentic records? Clearly the Japanese computer expert had no intention of handing over his great invention for money. From Karen’s meetings with him, Fuijii still thought his supercomputer was going to sink the American fleet of technology. That meant he was certain Karen and Toole were going to be stopped before they could put his secrets to use. But who did he think he was going to stop them? It seemed certain that he had inside information on their activities, but where was he getting it? How was he managing to spy on them while they thought they were spying on him?

In fact, he realised painfully, he couldn’t even be sure of Karen. She was legitimate computer expert, a fact that was apparent in their conversations and which he had verified in his trip back to the United States. And she had certainly been recruited by Cobb from an important position with a major American Computer company. But for what mission? The one that Cobb had presented to him of scuttling Japan’s new technical wonder? Or perhaps simply to learn as much as she could about Fuijii’s work? Was the whole plot simply a device to use Toole as a cover for Karen? If it was, did Karen know about it? Had he simply played into a trap by refusing to escape and leave her behind.

Toole kicked the mat and bedding aside to give himself room to pace the floor. Suppose none of them were what they appeared to be? Suppose Cobb had nothing to do with the government. Suppose Cobb and Karen and possibly even Fuijii were working together to move Japanese technology out of the country for their own private use? Could Toole simply be a cover to protect Fuijii? That would explain why handing over his secrets hadn’t caused him a moment of anxiety. He would have known that he was simply handing them over to himself. But they had the code months ago. Why would Fuijii have waited so long  to put the police on Toole’s tail? And if they had been watching him, why would they have let him leave the country when they had no reason to think he planned to return?

Everywhere he looked he found a new maze with convolutions just as puzzling as the heaps of historical data he had left at Karen’s house. And yet he was sure there was no obvious answer just as he was sure that Fujii’s password was buried somewhere in his long list of names and dates.

He thought back to the very beginning, to the briefing that Cobb had given to Karen and him by the side of the swimming pool in California. Had Cobb really needed his skills to get the code away from Fujii? Or had Cobb simply need his reputation as a convicted computer thief to serve as a cover for other activities? Or had the plan been exactly as represented? And if it had been, what had changed suddenly to cast him from the  role of a schemer to the role of a victim? Perhaps it was the password the original plan had become inoperative. Maybe Cobb—and perhaps Karen—were simply closing the door on a futile failed venture. Or perhaps Fujii had thrown in with them, and now they were disposing of useless baggage. In any event, he had no choice. His only chance was to run. But suppose Karen was as much a victim as he was? Could he simply leave her behind? It was unprofessional to care about someone else, but he knew that he cared. He knew from the rage he felt every time she was alone with Fujii and the fear he felt when she was late returning.

But why did he care? Why not simply fall back on one of the alternatives he had considered on his first flight to Boston? He could run. He could dial up the computers at his banks and transfer the funds he had kept from the Citibank settlement into other accounts at other banks. He could move money to where Cobb would never find it. Write himself a new identity, and simply disappear. Let them work out their complex schemes, and let losers pay the price of failure. He would get out of it if he moved quicky before anyone was even aware that he had left Japan.

Or he could use the second alternative. No matter who was scheming or who was being victimised, the ultimate loser was going to be Fujii’s company. He could take what he knew directly to the company and sell it for a handsome price. Then he would emerge the hero—the one honest man in a network of thieves—who had brought down a plot of international piracy. And he’d probably have a generous reward to go with the acclamation.

His problem was Karen. Toole had violated the first rule of his profession. He had become involved. Instead of using Karen, he found himself caring about her safety. His concern hung from him like an anchor taking away his freedom to move with the currents. Run and he would leave her behind, an obvious victim, since she was one of the few people in the world who could make use of the code that Fujii was providing. Expose the plot to the Japanese and she would be one of the people he was exposing. That was why he had urged her to finish her work quickly and leave the country before Cobb’s scheme reached its moment of climax. If the intricate fabric of intrigue should suddenly become unravelled, Toole thought that he might be able to take care of himself. But not if he had someone else to worry about.

By why should he worry about her? Why was Karen so important to him? He had worked with dozens of women before, pretending to be involved while carefully keeping a cold separation. They had all been decent people, all honest, all talented. Most had been beautiful. Some even affectionate. It had made no difference to him. He had used them shamelessly to get information he needed about a mark. To get access to hidden computers. To make introductions that were essential to his schemes. They were simply pieces in the game board, significantly only so long as they helped him to advance to the winner’s circle. Why shouldn’t he discard Karen thoughtlessly as he had discarded all the others?

He wasn’t captivated by her looks. Granted, she was a very attractive woman, but there had been others who were stunning beauties. Besides, physical appearance held no great interest for him. He had learned in his boyhood that sexual attraction had less to do with physical dimension or the color of the eyes than it did with an openness of emotions or as a pattern of thoughts.

Nor was he returning any obvious expression of concern and affection on her part. She had made it clear from the first moment he had seen her from the protection of her closet that their relationship was all business. In fact, she was a purposefully distant person, almost afraid to open herself to another person. She seemed comfortable only when sharing herself with her infernal machines.

He wasn’t even enthralled by her brilliance. True, she was one of the leading thinkers in civilization’s most cerebral technology. But her mind lived in kingdoms that held no interest for him. They had nothing in common, no areas of mutual involvement that could generate even the most feeble magnetic field between them. Yet, Toole was concerned for her welfare. So concerned that he was putting his own person at risk to protect her. And he didn’t know why. His every instinct told him that it was time to cut his losses and run.

His arrest was unceremonious...

”Admit it,” he told himself, “you’re nothing but a con man who finally met his match.” Cobb had conned him and then Fujii had conned him. He had been beaten by amateurs, and he deserved whatever awaited him. He hadn’t been totally gullible. He had suspected that Cobb might be setting him up and he had taken steps to build his defense while he was in the United States—some creative changes in the computer records in case Cobb tried to turn him in as the sole plotter in the scheme to steal the Japanese supercomputer secret. But he had been totally wrong. Cobb hadn’t been the enemy. It had been Fujii. And Fujii had taken the simplest course open to anyone who suspected they were the victims of a sham. He had called the cops.

At last he had the whole thing figured out. But as the two Japanese pushed him through the door into the back seat of the car, all his doubts came crashing down on top of him like the falling window that had given him away.

The man seated beside him wasn’t a Japanese policeman. It was Cobb.

[an excerpt from The Masakdo Lesson by William P Kennedy, Gold Eagle, 1988]
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Samples of descriptive essays
1.
Mr C had hung his coat on the chair he was sitting in, his tie had been loosened and sleeves rolled up. He held his head in such an angle that it looked as though he had a stiff neck. He had a knack of expressing himself with his eyebrows. His lips were curved in and in spite of it his cheeks wouldn’t balloon up. His chest was held high, the cigarette smoking itself away. When he felt my presence, he winked me good morning. In doing so, he lost track of the rhythm he was trying to work into his typing and cursed himself (perhaps me!). As I passed on to the next, he mouthed a foul word so loudly almost all looked up. Some were annoyed at the interruption. Some liked the distraction, which allowed their muscles to relax, to force themselves from the grip of tension. “What went wrong?” Mr C, with a worried look, said absently: “Traffic jam!”

His presence always filled the atmosphere with humour and mirth. He affected the company in his characteristic fashion. He would crack jokes, narrate genuine stories, weave stories or punctuate the conversation with interesting anecdotes. He had a knack of having others listen to him. He always had something to say on every topic. He thought himself a logician and considered his views a shade better than others’ (if not right!). He would go on arguing and consider himself the victor when say Mr M quit. He wouldn’t know that Mr M had left because he had something better to do! If any agreed with him without argument, he would become suspicious, for the other person might be flattering him or having a good laugh! And if anybody fell into the trap, he would try to show in all earnestness how illogical the other one was. To do that he would even go to the extent of forgetting the topic!
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2. Globally renowned for its shore temples, Mahabalipuram was the second capital of the Pallava kings of Kanchipuram. 58 kilometres from Madras on the Bay of Bengal, this tiny sea – side village of Mahabalipuram, is set in a boulder – strewn landscape. Tourists are drawn to this place by its miles of unspoiled beach and rock-cut art. The sculpture, here, is particularly interesting because it shows scenes of day-to- day life, in contrast with the rest of the state of Tamil Nadu, where the carvings generally depict gods and goddesses

Mahabalipuram art can be divided into four categories : open air bas – relief, structured temples, man-made caves and rathas (‘chariots’ carved from single boulders, to resemble temples or chariots used in temple processions). The famous Arjuna’s Penance and the Krishna Mandapa, adorn massive rocks near the centre of the village. The beautiful Shore Temple towers over the waves, behind a protective breakwater. Sixteen man-made caves in different stages of completion are also seen, scattered through the area.
History
The temples of Mamallapuram, built largely during the reigns of Narasimhavarman and his successor Rajasimhavarman, showcase the movement from rock-cut architecture to structural building. The mandapas or pavilions and the rathas or shrines shaped as temple chariots are hewn from the granite rock face, while the famed Shore Temple, erected half a century later, is built from dressed what makes Mamallapuram so culturally resonant are the influences it absorbs and disseminates.
All but one of the rathas from the first phase of Pallava architecture are modelled on the Budhist viharas or monasteries and chaitya halls with several cells arranged around a courtyard. Art historian Percy Brown, in fact, traces the possible roots of the Pallavan Mandapas to the similar rock-cut caves of Ajanta and Ellora. Referring to Narasimhavarman’s victory in AD 642 over the Chalukyan king Pulakesin II, Brown says the Pallavan king may have brought the sculptors and artisans back to Kanchi and Mamallapuram as ‘spoils of war’.
Temples in Mahabalipuram
There are, or rather were, two low hills in Mahabalipuram, about 400m from the sea. In the larger one, on both sides, there are eleven excavated temples, called Mandapas, two “open air bas reliefs”, one of which is unfinished, and a third enclosed one. Out of a big rock standing free nearby there is a “cut out” temple, called a “Ratha”. This type is unique to Mahabalipuram.
Out of the other hill, much smaller and standing about 200m to the south, are fashioned five more rathas, and three big sculptures of a Nandi, a Loin and an Elephant. On the top of the bigger hill there is a structural temple, and a little distance the magnificent beginnings of a Vijayanagar Gopura and also survivals of what is believed to be a palace.
Shore Temple
Perched on a rocky outcrop, it presides over the shoreline, serving, as Percy Brown puts its,
‘a landmark by day and a beacon by night’. Designed to catch the first rays of the rising sun
and to illuminate the waters after dark, the temple ended up with an unusual lay-out. As the
main shrine faces the sea on the east, the gateway, the fore count and the assembly hall of
the Shore Temple all lie behind the sanctum.

Unusual, too, is the fact that the temple has shrine to both Shiva and Vishnu. The main sanctum
and one of the two lesser ones on the west are dedicated to Shiva. The enclosing wall has a
series of Nandi bulls on it.

Interconnected cisterns around the temple meant that the sea could be let in to transform the
temple into a water shrine. But, in recent times, a stone wall as been added to protect the
shrine from the rising seas and further erosion.

Mandapas
The main hill at Mamallapuram is dotted with pillared halls carved into the rock face. These
mandapas, with their graceful columns and intricate figure sculptures bear witness to the
artistry of the Pallavan rock cutter. The ten pavilions at Mamallapuram, of which two are
unfinished, were designed as shrine, with a sanctum and on outer hall. The shallow porticoes
are adorned with exquisite sculptures of gods, goddesses and mythological figures.

The Ganesh mandapa is an active shrine even today, with the idol of the elephant-god being
revered by the faithful, fourteen centuries after it was first consecrated.

Beyond the circular rock called Krishna’s Butterball is the Varaha mandapa dedicated to
the two avatars of Vishnu as Varaha the boar and Vamana the dwarf. The pillars of this
pavilion are perhaps the earliest to display a motif that became the signature of southern
architecture-the lion pilaster, where a heraldic lion support ornamental pillar. The
Mahishasuramardini mandapa has the goddess Durga in bas relief, slaying a buffalo-headed
demon, and the Vishnu Sayana Mandapa shows Lord Vishnu lying under the protective hood
of the seven-headed serpent Adishesha.

Of the other mandapas, the Panch Pandava mandapa, that is unfinished, has a more elaborate
facade. Its pillars are adorned with rearing lions springing from the capital, and the shrine is
the only one surrounded by a passage which allows circumvolutions.

Rathas
The eight rathas are monolithic temples fashioned as chariots. They remain an architectural
mystery, for each is apparently a faithful reproduction of a structure built of wood. In fact,
even the grain of the timber beams and rafters has been simulated in stone.

Of the eight rathas, five have been named for the Pandava brothers, the heroes of the epic
Mahabharata, and their shared wife, Draupadi. The largest is the Dharmaraja ratha and it
sets the tone for the others. Modelled on a Buddhist vihara or monastery, it sports a square
hall topped by a vaulting roof. The Bhima, Arjuna and Nakula-Sahdeva rathas are lesser copies
of the Dharmaraja ratha.

The Draupadi ratha is the smallest and the quaintest. It is simple structure, fashioned as a
thatched hut borned on the backs of elephants and lions. It was probably the fascimile of
a portable village shrine.

The fact that many of the temples and sculptures of Mamallapuram are unfinished, points
to the sudden withdrawal of patronage from rock-cut temples when King Rajasimhavarman
came to power.

Source: www.pilgrimage-india.com/…dia.../mahabalipuram.html                                                                

Samples of argumentative essay
In an argumentative essay you use your reasoning ability and logic to present points with evidence for an issue or a problem that seems to strongly affect the world in general or a society or community in particular. You may take a stand or position and favour one side of the issue rather than the other. You can reason in three different ways:
     1. use deductive  reasoning: make a point and use your writing to prove or
         Deduce the that point.
         arrive at a conclusion or the point you wish to make.
     2. use inductive reasoning: first start by presenting some key points and then
         arrive at a conclusion or the point you wish to  make.
     3. use persuasive reasoning: make someone do something or dissuade someone
         from doing something by giving them good reasons.

Deductive 
Yes to Human Cloning
Genetic engineering applies the knowledge obtained from genetic investigations. One of its concerns is improvement of species. Cloning is a procedure in genetic engineering yielding clones. A clone is a group of plants or animals produced artificially from the cell of a single ancestor and therefore containing exactly the same genetic material [same DNA=
deoxyribonucleic acid] and RNA [=ribonucleic acid]. Scientists have so far produced animal clones. The next obvious step is cloning humans. Heated debate has been going on for some time now. I would say yes to human cloning.

Clones form naturally when identical twin or other genetically identical multiple births occur. Single celled organisms, like bacteria, protozoa or yeast, produce, through asexual reproduction, genetically identical offspring which are considered clones. Even in vegetative propagation, a root or stem can generate a new plant that is genetically identical to the donor plant.

Another argument in favour is that couples who are infertile can have children of their own. If this isn’t a blessing, what else is it?

Besides, heart transplants and test-tube babies are now accepted. Likewise, in time, clones would receive recognition.

Genetic defects could be identified and removed so healthy children could be produced. Isn’t this an opportunity to make healthy beings?

Those who are not for cloning say that doctors might use clones as sources of organs for transplants. But laws could be made to guard against such use.

They say that cloning is against God’s will. How sure are they? What evidence is there? In fact, there is evidence to the contrary. Cloning is a process that exists around us. We have come to a stage of human history when cloning can occur in a major way.

Man cannot assume the role of God, they say. But if man is a miniature God, as some of them believe, why not man play the role of God for the good of humanity?

We can always argue for and against a proposition, a statement or a thesis. A decision to act or not depends on how strong arguments are either way. In the case of human cloning, the arguments for human cloning are better for the welfare of humanity as a whole.
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Inductive
I was reading a novel. I had been absorbed in the flowing style and the gripping story. Suddenly I heard a piercing cry. The face of my son had a deep cut. I cleaned and dressed the wound. As I did the first aid, my wife told me my neighbour’s son had thrown a stone. Without loss of time I gave my neighbour a bit of my mind. In return he warned me of dire consequences if ever my son played with his. Between us, the thread of cordiality snapped and we were no more on talking terms. But to my consternation, I found my son playing with the neighbour’s as though nothing had happened between them. My sealed lips and angry stare stopped his explanation: ‘But daddy….’ He ran home genuinely perplexed.

Another day, my daughter broke the flower vase to pieces while attempting to tuck a rose in. The vase, besides being an expensive one, was dear to me. It was one of those pieces that reflected my artistic turn of mind. And when it broke I felt my heart broke too. It was too much to bear. I beat up my daughter, and she was laid up for a week.

The silent sobbing in her slumber, the jerky fall and rise of her chest set me thinking. All past events rushed to occupy my mind. I, a professor, was no better than my children. I, an educated man, worried for trifles while my children behaved better. I, a civilized man, was ‘smaller’ and ‘meaner’. A sense of shame crept in me.

“Child is the father of man!” How right Wordsworth was! I had so much to learn from my little ones. I had the haughtiness to think that my child was a gem while others’ weren’t whereas he didn’t. I had the cheekiness to keep ‘my artistic’ loss foremost in my thoughts whereas my daughter’s act was only well-intentioned. I forgot my education and fought with my neighbour while my son continued his relation with his playmate. How vain I’ve been!

The child has little part in the human melodrama enacted with a plethora of exaggerated emotions—jealousy, hatred, ambition or revenge. He takes no event to heart. Of course, he quarrels, fights, feels jealous. But he doesn’t make much of petty emotions. He forgets. He never drags the past into the present or future.

When I look at my children lost in their innocent little worlds, when I observe them whiling away their time without any prolonged ‘selfish’ attachment, when I hear their merry laughter, when I see their eyes twinkling with delight, when I listen to their cheerful, guileless talk I feel I should never have grown. At least not the way I have. I have been childish. How I wish I were child-like!
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Persuasive
A case for Indian grammar of English 
I presented this paper on 23 January 2006 at an International Conference organized by Sona College of Technology, Salem, Thamizhnadu.
In the next few moments, if I don’t shock you, should I be pleasantly surprised? If your thoughts ran parallel, should I be pleased? If you think my this communication ‘thinkable’, should I be happy? You tell me. I’ll thank you even for your silence. For silence can be louder than words.

the Quake 
When I say, “she described about her bizarre experiences,” I’m corrected. When I say, “did you discuss about my promotion?” I get a lesson. When I ask, “What’s your good name, please?” I’m told the enquiry should do without the adjective. When I pronounce “walked” as “walked”, you may look at me pityingly. When I say, “he went, no?” or “he saw you, isn’t it?” you may be tempted to teach me the right tag. When I say ‘I also’ as a short response to ‘I like Sania Mirza’, you may raise your eye brows. Don’t draw any inferences other than those within the context, please! When I say, “he has come yesterday”, your face may wear a worried look.

the aftershocks 
When I say any of these or other similar ones, ELT experts—both the brown ones and the White ones—might patiently but knowingly declare: “Well, these result from mother tongue interferences.” They might also take a step forward, lay their arm across my shoulders and soothe me placatingly: “Now, now, not to worry. There’s the bilingual method and there is the Communicative Language Teaching!”

But there is no pity, no condescension, no pain, there’s only nodding, understanding when the educated British pronounce cut as /kut/, when the educated Americans say ‘laboratory’ or ‘secretary’ very differently from their British cousins, when Americans utter “figure eight” instead of “figure of eight”, “be in difficulty” for “be in difficulties” or “speak with” in place of “speak to” or “interfere with” instead of “interfere between”, or when they deviate from “different from” and say “different than”, or when they quantify “a half dozen” instead of “half a dozen” or when the former hear “meet with” from the latter. Or when an Australian counts /seventai/, if I’m not misinformed.

What has caused such variations? What interference has brought about these acceptably distinctive features? Is it because a few Britishers a few centuries ago and a few Europeans later chose, for whatever reason, another land as their homeland? Wasn’t it a strong desire to be just different that caused the ‘interference’? So that they could twiddle with English and make it distinctively different? Here I’m not questioning, I’m doing some loud thinking.

the construct           
The English language is as much yours and mine as it is the Britishers’, the Americans’ or the Australians’. It’s no longer the sole property of those communities or nationalities. History has seen to that, hasn’t it? This is not a tall claim, only a tall fact.
You might shake your heads yet. You might think India is not England, nor America, nor Australia nor for that matter New Zealand. You know the majority of these nations are as multilingual as we are. In their case, unilinguality with distinctive flavours happened naturally as a matter of history. In our case, English with distinctive flavour should happen as a matter of intent. For after all, the very multiplicity in using English argues for a model. We hear ‘school’ pronounced as /isku:l/ and /saku:l/. Should we, then, going by tradition, continue with the British? Or should we, going by today’s youth, go with the Americans? If the Americans can roll their r’s and if the British can silence them, can’t we pronounce them? Shouldn’t we put our heads together and come up with an Indian model?

If you’re hard to please, I’ll have another try. A language can be a meaningful means of communication only to the extent that it contains in it and reflects the thinking and the expressing of its users. There can’t be or at least shouldn’t be ‘nativeness’ or ‘nonnativeness’ about it. Anyway as we all know, if English is what it is today it’s because innumerable words, inflections, affixes foreign to it have become English.

Let’s not construe ‘Indianisms’ as mother tongue interferences but see them as meaningful mother tongue influences. I repeat: Let’s not construe ‘Indianisms’ as mother tongue interferences but see them as meaningful mother tongue influences. 

If you thought me mad, you could be right. From your perspective. If you thought me mouthful, you could be right. Again from your perspective. And if you thought me meaningful [sensible], you’d be right from my perspective. Could we at least leave this as a legacy to posterity? I rest my case. Thank you for your time.

A note: On one occasion, I did talk to a faculty at the D.C.C. at CIEFL during my  
             stay in 1990 at the Campus about the Institute initiating an attempt to  
             formulate a standardized grammar and pronunciation for learners in India
             for after all the Institute is the premier institution in the country.
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3.
A two-minute silence on the demise of our beloved Principal
Our Principal had passed away peacefully in sleep last night. He had loved peace, of course. Everything he had done pointed to the contrary. He, in his own quiet way, believed only war led to peace. There was a lot of activity while he was around. Now that he is gone (May God rest his soul in peace!), I don’t know what would happen to us, teachers (lecturers?). He was a highly irritable man, easily excited and easily subdued. Suddenly I remembered. I started looking for the piece of paper on which my wife had me write down this morning this evening’s shopping list. I have a weakness for forgetting things, she believes. I had kept it in my shirt pocket; it wasn’t there. I grew panicky. Just then I caught the Vice Principal’s eye. He was a bull. He was known for fist fights. I was neither in the mood for it nor was the place right. He wouldn’t have minded the place, had I been willing. He was a simple man. He simply loved his fists and fights. I checked my movements and closed my eyes solemnly (how does one do it?) and began not to think of anything and observe silence mentally and thus pay my last respects to the departed soul. But it just wouldn’t work. Could my son have removed it? I like his pranks. As a parent, I must, I suppose. Not this one. No, not this one. After this blessed silence, I must look for the list. The hell with the next lecture! My students would understand. I know they know. They know I know. I’m not a very communicative teacher. I have such a rapport with them. Right now, the VP didn’t matter. But what could I tell my wife? The thought was frightening. What were the items on the list? A recent incident came to my mind. The Principal—how do I call him now?—had given me a list of SC/ST students for scholarship or was it another list? Oh, yes, the list. I tried to restructure the list. I beamed with delight. I’m not such a bad husband after all. She had asked me to buy a kilo of ‘lady’s finger’ (‘okro’, that is) after checking for the tenderness. For this, she had taught me a trick or two. Here I score over other husbands, yes. Yes, she had cautioned me about the price, too. I’m of the firm opinion that unless we paid what the vendor quoted, how would he survive? She had different ideas, though. Right. What was the next item? Success eluded my grasp. Was it coconut oil or groundnut? I knew it was some oil. What oil? Oh God! What better occasion could you get to help!
Someone shook me by the shoulders. The peon was visibly exasperated. All had left and I was alone.
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Expository essays
1. Jagdish Chandra Bose
There was wonder all around. Astonishment on all faces. Disbelief in the eyes. It was Paris in 1900.
An Indian-made crescograph was on view in the Congress of Science. An instrument that could measure the growth of plants, that showed that plants have hearts and are capable of feeling, that can record the electric shock a plant may experience.

To whom did this astounding discovery belong? Who did the world owe such unique knowledge to? To an Indian, to none other than Jagdish Chandra Bose.

Jagdish was born in Bengal. He had his education in Calcutta [now, Kolkotta]. Due to ill health he abandoned the study of medicine in London and entered the famous Cavendish Laboratory. He returned to India with a Cambridge degree.

Though he was appointed as professor of physics, he was to receive as salary two thirds of the pay for a European Professor.  Jagdish rebelled and for three years refused to receive salary. Ultimately success was his.

If Science took some ‘bold’ steps, the credit should go to JC Bose. He firmly believed that animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms had much in common. He proved that plants are as sensitive as humans. He used physical laboratory to conduct biological experiments for the study of plant behaviour.

JC Bose devised several ingenious instruments. He invented a small compact instrument that could record the radiation of radio waves much shorter than Hertz’s. He made electric waves travel from a radiator in a lecture hall to another room 75 feet away and provide enough energy to ring a bell and fire a pistol. He produced Babbler to measure the rate of photosynthesis in plants and to record the amount of oxygen released from plants. He developed Resonant Recorder and Oscillating Recorder. He proved that metals are sensitive to changes in temperatures and react to external stimuli. He discovered microwaves. He foresaw the possibility of storing solar energy by photosynthesis. His mechanism to store information is a forerunner to cybernetics.

But the crowning glory came when he founded an institute where students devote themselves to a disinterested search for knowledge and truth and which now bears his name. If Father Lafont’s collection of scientific instruments made Bose think in terms of having his own instruments for research, Lord Raleigh’s Cavendish Laboratory made him dream of an institute in India that could compare with Cavendish. Tagore composed a song specially for the inauguration.

In essence, JC Bose had a profound vision of the basic unity of life. In his thought and methods, he was a rebel and far ahead of his time. He deliberately rejected offers of patenting his inventions. He was a scientist, not a businessman. That was his strength. A weakness in today’s perception?
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2.
Thinking you’re drinking enough water?
Lerroy R. Perry
If you’re not, you could end up with excess body fat, poor muscle tone, digestive complications, muscle soreness—even water-retention problems.

Next to air, water is the element most necessary for survival. A normal adult is 60 to 70 percent water. We can go without food for almost two months but without water only a few days. Yet most people have no idea how much water they should drink. In fact, many live in a dehydrated state.

Without water, we’d be poisoned to death with our own waste products. When the kidneys remove uric acid and urea, these must be dissolved in water. If there isn’t enough water, wastes are not removed as effectively and may build up as kidney stones. Water is also vital for chemical reactions in digestion and metabolism. It carries nutrients and oxygen to cells through the blood and helps to cool the body through perspiration. Water also lubricates the joints.

We even need water to breathe: our lungs must be moist to take in oxygen and excrete carbon dioxide. It is possible to lose a pint of liquid each day by exhaling.

So if you don’t drink sufficient water, you can impair every aspect of your physiology. Dr. Howard Flaks, a bariatric (obesity) specialist in Beverley Hills, Calif, says: “By not drinking enough water, many people incur excess body fat, poor muscle tone and size, decreased digestive efficiency and organ function, increased toxicity in the body, joint and muscle soreness and water retention.”

Water retention? If you’re not drinking enough, your body may retain water to compensate. Paradoxically, fluid retention can sometimes be eliminated by drinking more water, not less.

“Proper water intake is a key to weight loss,” says Dr. Donald Robertson, medical director of the Southwest Bariatric Nutrition Center in Scottsdale, Arizona. “If people who are trying to lose weight don’t drink enough water, the body can’t metabolize the fat adequately. Retaining fluid also keeps weight up.”

The minimum for a healthy person is eight to ten eight-ounce glasses a day,” says Dr. Flaks. “You need more if you exercise a lot or live in a hot climate. And overweight people should drink in an extra glass for every 25 pounds they exceed their ideal weight. Consult your own physician for their recommendations.”

At the International Sports Medicine Institute, we have a formula for daily water intake: ½ ounce per pound of body weight if you’re not active (that is ten eight-ounce glasses if you weigh 160 pounds), and 2/3 ounce per pound if you’re athletic (13 to 14 glasses a day, at the same weight).

Your intake should be spread throughout the day and evening. You may wonder: If I drink too much, won’t I constantly be running to the bathroom? Yes. But after a few weeks, your bladder tends to adjust and you urinate less frequently but in larger amounts.

And by consuming those eight to ten glasses of water throughout the day, you could be on your way to a healthier, leaner body.

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3.
self-esteem  
All of us would like to think that we are able to think, decide, act and succeed in life. It’s only natural. So when we admire ourselves for the way they think, for the way we act, we have self-esteem. When we have confidence in ourselves, when we are sure about how we think, how we act, we have self-confidence. When we respect ourselves for our beliefs and actions, we have self-respect. When we have a good opinion and are happy about ourselves and our actions, we have self-esteem and this leads to self- confidence and self-respect.

But it’s not uncommon for us to have self-doubts because others around us may feel differently about us from what we feel about ourselves. Then we come under the influence of pressure because of judgements passed by others.

judgements

What happens in law courts? Judgements are delivered. Some win cases and are happy. Some lose cases and are unhappy. What happens in society? Judgements occur around us and within us. They make us happy or unhappy.

We judge others. When your dad presses the accelerator and the speedometer jumps to 120, you scream, “Dad!” When your mother cries, “I give up!” because you don’t stop speeding, you wail, “Have a heart, Mom!” When a bus driver squeezes past between the vehicles on his left and on his right, you blow your top.

Others judge us. You clock 12 seconds in the 100 meter dash and the crowd claps. You come out of water after a three-minute stay under it and your friends hug you. You receive a gift voucher for answering a question rightly and your family is all smiles. On all these occasions, your self-esteem goes up a notch.

Others judge us. You skid and land on your back after stepping on a banana peel and people laugh. Your teacher punishes you for a wrong-doing and your classmates pity you. You score low marks and your father hollers at you. On all these occasions, your self-esteem takes a dive.

We judge ourselves. You stop right on the line as amber turns to red and you pat yourself. You snatch a child from the speeding four wheels and you feel proud. You can’t speak English like your peers and you feel awful. Your maths teacher turns round from the board and fear grips you. And your self-esteem gets affected.

Such judgements of others by us, us by others, us by ourselves go on all the time.

what do we judge?
What we think of ourselves is important to us—as good or bad persons, as weak or strong persons, as logical or illogical persons. What we think or don’t think, how we think or don’t think, what we do or don’t do, what we believe or don’t believe in are important to us. What others think of us is also very important to us.

why do we judge?
Judging is like breathing. It’s constant and a basic human need. More often than not, it happens in spite of us and it happens whether we like it or not. However, it’s essential for normal and healthy development.

how do we judge?
To judge others and ourselves, we use certain values our parents and our society have provided. We see ourselves and others in terms of thinking, behaviour, beliefs in comparison with these values and with those of others.

Such incessant judgements improve or worsen our self-esteem. When judgements are positive and favourable, self-esteem is high. When judgements are negative and unfavourable, self-esteem is low. Awards, acceptance, encouragement, appreciation, praise improve self-esteem. So we feel more good about ourselves. Indifference, rejection, insults, criticism, mockery, punishment worsen self-esteem. So we feel more bad about ourselves.

Suggestions
Our self-esteem graph may soar or dip. If it soars, it’s good. If it dips, what do we do?

1. It’s natural or normal to feel low. But we should continue to
    believe in ourselves .
2. We should remember we’re not alone. There are several others,
    even famous people, who have low or poor self-esteem.
3. We should realise everyone of us is unique. [Stop comparing
    yourself  with others.]
    We have abilities that others don’t have.
4. Avoid those who laugh at your weaknesses.
5. We should identify our strengths and weaknesses.
    Let’s ignore weaknesses unless they hinder growth.
6. We should exercise our right to decide, define, describe our
     weaknesses.
7. We should take steps to eliminate one weakness at a time.
8. We should listen to others but only we should decide what to do
    and what not to do.
9. We should own up our failures.
    We shouldn’t blame them on somebody else.
10. No one succeeds all the time; failures are part of life.
11. Analyse failure. Identify the source. Next time round, make it a
      success.
12. We should always remember we are the architects of our
      successes and failures.
13. Stay with those who support you by telling you your strengths.
Finally, our thinking is based on events. But events are not facts.
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4.
The Game of Chess
Introduction
Chess, as we know it today, involves intricately skillful interplay of varied abilities of the mind. It also requires extremely careful planning of your moves in anticipation of how your opponent plans moves, and readjustment of your planned moves in case of a surprise move or two by your opponent.

Origin
Here is an interesting story related to chess.

In the sixth century A.D., an Indian King, Balhait, was disturbed by the prevalence of gambling and the addiction with the games of pure luck. He summoned Sissa and requested the wise man to create a game, which would require pure mental qualities of prudence, foresight, valour, judgement, endurance, circumspection and analytical and reasoning ability, to oppose the teaching of games in which chance (luck) decides the outcome by the throw of dice.

Sissa returned to the court of the King with a board (Ashtapada) consisting of 8x8=64 squares with rules not much different from the ones we use today. There were two armies of different colours consisting of 32 men each in which the object was to capture or slay the king of the opposing army.

However, Chess is believed to have existed much earlier in India.

In his ‘The History of Chess’ published in 1860 by Wm. H. Allen & Co, Duncan Forbes, (Professor of Oriental Languages in King’s College London) says in his Preface, ‘I think I have proved that the GAME OF CHESS was invented in India, and nowhere else, in very remote times; and from that source I have endeavoured to trace its diffusion throughout the various regions of the Old World.’ He further states that the present game of chess had its origins in Chaturanga and that ‘It claims an antiquity of nearly 5000 years; and, with every allowance for poetic license, there is margin enough left to prove that it was known and practised in India long before it found its way to any other region, not excepting the very ancient empire of China—even on the showing of the Celestials themselves.’(ibid)  Chaturanga, ‘familiarly spoken of in the Puranas’ (ibid), had by the time of Mahabharata become popular enough for Yudhistira, the eldest of the Pandavas, to wish to learn it and so requested Vyasa to explain to him in detail how the game was played. Vyasa then explained the game in all its details.

Chaturanga means ‘four members’. It consisted of four divisions [of the military]infantry, cavalry, elephants, and chariotry, represented by the pieces that would evolve into the modern pawn, knight, bishop, and rook, respectively). It was then played by either four or two players with the throw of dice and was thought of as gambling. In his ‘View of the History &C’ Vol.iv, p.433, Ward says, ‘…Yudhistira again encounters Shakuni at Chess, and again loses all.’(ibid) In his Smrithi, Manu, the law-giver, prohibited two types of ‘gaming’: Dyuta (playing with inanimate things) and Samahwaya (playing with animate things). Chaturanga was considered to be a Dyuta gambling game. Therefore chaturanga began to be played without turning or rolling the dice.  

Other parts of the world
The game was introduced into Persia from India during the reign of Kisra Naushivawan
and was known as ‘chatrang’. And after the Islamic conquest of Persia, it came to be known as ‘shatranj’. This new name was imported into India through the Muslim rule. As a strategy board game played in China, chess is believed to have been derived from the Indian chaturanga. This was transformed and assimilated into the game xiangqi where the pieces are placed on the intersection of the lines of the board rather than within the squares. The object of the Chinese variation is similar to chaturanga, that is, to render helpless the opponent's king, sometimes known as general. A prominent variant of chess in East Asia is the game of Shogi, transmitted from India to China and Korea before it finally reached Japan. The two distinguishing features of Shogi are: 1) the captured pieces may be reused by the captor and played as part of the captor's forces, and 2) pawns capture as they move, one square straight ahead.

Shatranj made its way via the expanding Islamic Arabian empire to Europe and the Byzantine empire. Chess appeared in Southern Europe during the end of the first millennium, often introduced to new lands by conquering armies, such as the Norman Conquest of England. Chess remained largely unpopular in Northern Europe but started gaining popularity as soon as figure pieces were introduced.

Chess in Russia goes back more than a thousand years to the Byliny, the ancient heroic epic poem period. It seems to have been introduced from the East, as distinct from the Arabic influence in Western Europe. In the former Soviet Union Chess was supported by the government. During Stalin’s time victories in international Chess tournaments were used to propagandize the notion that the best minds flourished under the Communist system. Top players had the assistance of 40, sometimes 50 aides. They analyzed positions, performed physical therapy and provided sophisticated psychological profiles of opponents.

By the fifteen century, books began to be written on the theory of playing chess. The game was played in coffee houses. In the nineteenth century, chess clubs were formed and competitions were held between cities in England. Chess problems became part of newspapers.

Competitive chess
Competitive chess became visible in 1834, and the 1851 London Chess tournament raised concerns about the time taken by the players to deliberate their moves. On recording time it was found that players often took hours to analyze moves, and one player took as much as two hours and 20 minutes to think over a single move at the London tournament. The following years saw the development of speed chess, five-minute chess and the most popular variant, a version allowing a bank of time to each player in which to play a previously agreed number of moves, e.g. two hours for 30 moves. In the final variant, the player who made the predetermined number of moves in the agreed time received additional time budget for his next moves. Penalties for exceeding a time limit came in form of fines and forfeiture. Since fines were easy to bear for professional players, forfeiture became the only effective penalty; this added "lost on time" to the traditional means of losing such as checkmate and resigning.

The first modern chess tournament was held in London in 1851. Deeper insight into the nature of chess came with two younger players. Paul Morphy, an American and an extraordinary chess prodigy, won against all important competitors, including Anderssen, during his short chess career between 1857 and 1863. Morphy's success stemmed from a combination of brilliant attacks and sound strategy; he intuitively knew how to prepare attacks. Prague-born Wilhelm Steinitz later described how to avoid weaknesses in one's own position and how to create and exploit such weaknesses in the opponent's position. In addition to his theoretical achievements, Steinitz founded an important tradition: his triumph over the leading German master Johannes Zukertort in 1886 is regarded as the first official World Chess Championship. Steinitz lost his crown in 1894 to a much younger German mathematician Emanuel Lasker, who maintained this title for 27 years, the longest tenure of all World Champions.

FIDE, the world chess federation, was started in 1924 in Paris. After the death of Alekhine, Russian-French, in 1946, a new World Champion was sought in a tournament of elite players ruled by FIDE, who have controlled the title since then, with one interruption. The winner of the 1948 tournament, Russian Mikhail Botvinnik, started an era of Soviet dominance in the chess world. Until the end of the Soviet Union, there was only one non-Soviet champion, American Bobby Fischer (champion 1972–1975).

FIDE set up a new system of qualifying tournaments and matches. The world's strongest players were seeded into "Interzonal tournaments", where they were joined by players who had qualified from "Zonal tournaments". The leading finishers in these Interzonals would go on the "Candidates" stage, which was initially a tournament, later a series of knock-out matches. The winner of the Candidates would then play the reigning champion for the title. A champion defeated in a match had a right to play a rematch a year later. This system worked on a three-year cycle. Later it abolished the automatic right of a deposed champion to a rematch.
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5.
being organised (a life core skill)

No one including you likes to spend more energy, time and effort in doing one activity. But more often than not, this is what happens. Because lethargy (laziness) controls you, because you’re not in the mood (tendency to postpone an activity), because you are indifferent to consequences (you don’t see any meaning or purpose in doing an activity), because you give priority to an activity that appeals to your senses or that gives you immediate pleasure (like spending time on SMS, chatting on the net, playing games on the net, chatting on the phone, sleeping overtime) and so you don’t bother (even though you may be realising it) how such activity eats into time meant for other activities.

You are unorganised if you do things as and when you feel like doing them; it doesn’t matter to you when you do them as long as you do them. You are disorganised if you mix up your priorities; that is, either you shift priorities or it doesn’t matter to you if you do one instead of another.

When you organise something, you arrange it to happen; when you organise something, you arrange the parts of something into a particular order or structure. When you are organised,
you avoid wasting your physical movements, mental energy, you gain confidence in your ability to perform. Planning and implementing becomes then that much easier.

When you’re organised, you prepare a performance time table. This implies you become disciplined, efficient and effective. And as a result you get results. Naturally!

To get results, you, as a student, need to have a day time table, a week time table, a semester time table.

In your day time table, you need to apportion (allocate) time for waking up, getting ready for college (dressing up and completing work you need to present in class or to lecturer), for a little rest and a bite after your return home from college, for home work, for reading or revising the day’s lessons, for internet activity related to home work or knowing more about a matter related to the day’s lesson, for watching TV, for supper, for sleep.

You achieve efficiency when you have a clear mental picture of (1) what you want to do (2) performance criteria (to judge level of success) (3) a rough estimate of the time needed and (4) break up of subtasks in sequence 

You can be effective when you act on what and how you’ve planned, and be flexible to make a few necessary changes in the plan of action. Stick to the schedule, and as you perform step by step, keep judging the activity process.

Being organised makes you reliable, trustworthy, competent, consistent, proactive and in all probability successful.  
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