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READING …………………………………….

Unit 4
Overview exercise ……………………………. 2
Article …………….……………………… 3
Close study exercise ……………………. 5

WRITING (Argument) ………………............... 7

Suitable Topics for an Argument ……………. 7
Elements of an Argument ……………………. 7
Rational or Emotional Appeal ……………. 10
Dealing with your Opponents ……………. 10
Discovering the Pros & Cons ……………. 11
Organization of an Argument ……………. 13
Strong Argument ……………………. 13
Writing tips ……………………………. 20
Being Concise ……………………………. 20
Using Specific Detail ……………………. 23

REMEDIAL WORK ………………………... 25

Review ……………………………………. 25

VOCABULARY ………………………............ 31
Academic Word List (AWL) 6 ……………. 31

PRESENTATIONS ……………………...… 32
Argument ……………………………………. 32

The article on the following pages is taken from the Science & Technology page of the BBC
website. Dated 19 July 2010, the article expresses one point of view in the continuing debate
about GM food, which is a significant part of the biotechnology industry. “GM” stands for
“genetically modified.”

Exercise 1 Overview
Answer the questions below to obtain an overview of the article.
Many questions can be answered by reference to the topic sentences.

1. What kind of science does Jonathan Jones specialize in?

2. He is writing in the BBC’s “Green Room.” What is that?
3. Read the article synopsis. What does Professor Jones think about GM food crops?
4. Read the whole of the introductory paragraph. What does the scientist do in the first half
of this paragraph? What does he do in the second half?
5. Read the first sentence of paragraph 2. What two conflicting goals does the scientist want
to achieve?
6. What connection with GM, if any, do the three photos have?
7. According to paragraph 4, how long has Jones been involved in genetic modification?
8. What is paragraph 5 about, according to the topic sentence?
9. What aspect of GM food crops does paragraph 6 deal with?
10. According to the heading, what is paragraph 7 about?
11. What part of the world does paragraph 8 deal with?
12. What aspect of the GM debate do paragraphs 9 and 10 attempt to present?
13. According to the concluding paragraph, is GM the only solution to the food problem?
14. Having skimmed the article, what do you think the title means?

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (4th ed.) T172 page 2

Fussy eaters - what's wrong with GM food?

Jonathan Jones
Professor Jonathan Jones is senior scientist for The Sainsbury Laboratory, based at the John Innes
Centre, a research centre in plant and microbial science. The Green Room is a series of opinion articles on
environmental topics running weekly on the BBC News website.

With the world's food security facing a looming "perfect storm", GM

food crops need to be part of the solution, argues Professor Jonathan
Jones. In this week's Green Room, he wonders why there is such a
fuss about biotechnology when it can help deliver a sustainable global
food system.

1. A billion humans do not have enough to

eat. Water resources are limited, energy costs
are rising, the cultivatable land is already
mostly cultivated, and climate change could hit
productive areas hard. We need a sustainable
intensification of agriculture to increase
production by 50% by 2030 - but how?
In the US or Europe, improved seeds could
increase yields by 10% or more, reduce
pesticide use and give "more crop per drop".

2. I want to reduce the environmental impact

of agriculture while maintaining food supply.
The best thing we can do is cultivate less land,
leaving more for wildlife. But if we are still to
produce enough food, yields must go up.
There are many contributors to yield: water,
fertiliser, farming practice, and choice of seed. In the US, where many pro-
cessed foods contain ingredients
'Simple method' derived from GM maize or soy, in
3. We can improve crop variety performance the most litigious society in
history, nobody has sued for a
by both plant breeding (which gets better GM health problem
every year), and by genetic modification (GM).
Ouch; yuck - GM. Did you recoil from those
letters? Why?

4. I started making GM plants in 1983, working at a long-defunct agbiotech

company in California called Advanced Genetic Sciences. In the early 80s, we
did wonder about "unknown unknowns—the unknowns we didn't know we
didn't know about", but 27 years later, nothing alarming has been seen.

5. The method (GM is a method not a thing) is simple. We take a plant, which
typically carries about 30,000 genes, and add a few additional genes that
confer insect resistance, or herbicide resistance, or disease resistance, or

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (4th ed.) T172 page 3

more efficient water use, or improved human
nutrition, or less polluting effluent from animals
that eat the grain, or more efficient fertiliser
uptake, or increased yield. We could even
(heck, why not?) do all of the above to the
same plant. The result is increased yield,
decreased agrochemical use and reduced
environmental impact of agriculture.

6. In commercial GM, many hundreds of

independent introductions of the desired new
gene (the "transgene") are made, each in a
different individual plant that is selected and
tested. Most are discarded. To be commercial-
ised, a line must carry a simple, stable and
well-defined gene insertion, and show effective
transgene function, with no negative effects on
the plant. Droughts caused wheat prices to
rocket as global harvests failed

Growing demand
7. GM is the most rapidly adopted, benign, effective new technology for
agriculture in my lifetime. Fourteen million
farmers grow GM crops on 135 million
hectares; these numbers increased by about
10% per year over the past decade, and this
rate of growth continues. More than 200,000
tonnes of insecticide have not been applied,
thanks to built-in insect resistance in Bt crops.
There are not enough fish in the sea to
provide us all with enough omega 3 fatty acids
in our diet, but we can now modify oilseeds to
make this nutrient in crops on land.
Researchers say GM potatoes will
drastically cut the use of fungi-
8. And yet in Europe, we seem stuck in a time cides
warp. Worldwide, 135 million hectares of GM
crops have been planted; yet in Norfolk, I
needed to spend £30,000 of taxpayers' money
to provide security for a field experiment with 192 potato plants, carrying one
or another of a disease-resistant gene from a wild relative of potato. It
boggles the mind.

'Wishful thinking'
9. What are people afraid of? Some fear GM food is bad for health. There are
no data that support this view. In the US, where many processed foods
contain ingredients derived from GM maize or soy, in the most litigious society
in history, nobody has sued for a GM health problem. Some fear GM is bad for
the environment. But in agriculture, idealism does not solve problems.
Farmers need "least bad" solutions; they do not have the luxury of insisting on
utopian solutions. It is less bad to control weeds with a rapidly inactivated
herbicide after the crop germinates than to apply more persistent chemicals
beforehand. It is less bad to have the plant make its own insecticidal protein,
than to spray insecticides. It is better to maximise the productivity of arable

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (4th ed.) T172 page 4

land via all kinds of sustainable intensification, than to require more land
under the plough because of reduced yields.

10. Some say GM is high risk, but they cannot tell you what the risk is. Some
say GM is causing deforestation in Brazil, even though, if yields were less,
more deforestation would be required to meet Chinese and European demand
for animal feed. Some say we do not need GM blight-resistant potatoes to
solve the £3.5bn per year problem of potato blight, because blight-resistant
varieties have been bred. But if these varieties are so wonderful, how come
farmers spend £500 per hectare on spraying to protect blight-sensitive

11. I used to be a member of a green campaign group. They still have

campaigns I support (sustainable fishing, save the rainforests, fight climate
change), but on GM, they are simply wrong. Even activists of impeccable
green credentials, such as Stewart Brand, see the benefits of GM. Wishful
thinking will not feed the planet without destroying it. Instead, we need smart,
sustainable, sensitive science and technology, and we need to use every tool
in our toolbox, including GM.

Exercise 2 Close Study

Study the article closely to answer the following questions.
Try to understand some of the argumentative techniques used
by the writer.

1. Dictionary work. Read the definition of “perfect storm” below:

With reference to the introductory paragraph, which “unique set of circumstances” does
the writer mean when he talks about a “perfect storm” in the world’s food security?
2. What does the writer mean by “more crop per drop”? (para. 1)
3. From your own knowledge, give some examples of the “environmental impact of
agriculture.” (para. 2, lines 1, 2)
4. What is another word for “yield”? Which of the four “contributors to yield” mentioned in
paragraph 2 is this article concerned with?
5. What are two ways to improve plant varieties? Which is an ancient technique and which is
a new one?
6. At the end of paragraph 3, what does the writer mean by “Ouch; yuck – GM”? What kind
of tone and language is this? Why would a scientist write this in a serious article?
7. How does the fourth paragraph strengthen the scientist’s argument?
8. “GM is a method not a thing.” (para. 5) Why does the scientist say this? Is he just stating a
fact or is there another reason? How do the words “simple” and “a few” help him get his
message across about GM?

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (4th ed.) T172 page 5

9. What does the writer list in para. 5? What three benefits do all these factors result in?
10. Before GM food can enter the market, what strict rules must be applied to it? (para. 6)
11. How widespread is GM crop production? (para. 7)
12. Identify one environmental benefit of using GM crops.
13. In what sense could a GM food replace a fish?
14. Dictionary work. Refer to the definitions of “time warp” below. Which one applies to
the expression as it is used in paragraph 8?

15. What point is the writer trying to make about Europe with his example of the Norfolk
(UK) GM field experiment?
16. Vocabulary. What is a more formal way of saying “It boggles the mind”?
17. In para. 9, the writer uses one American characteristic to support his argument that GM
food is not a health problem. What is this point? Is it an effective piece of evidence?
18. Paragraph 9 also deals with environmental fears about GM. How does he try to weaken
his opponents’ argument? Is this effective evidence?
19. In para. 10, the writer responds to two more concerns. What are they, and how effective
are his counter-arguments?
20. In the concluding paragraph, why does the writer mention his “green” credentials? In
what way does this help his argument?

Look at the two cartoons below about GM. Are they for or against?

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (4th ed.) T172 page 6

In formal academic writing, an argument is a reason or set of reasons given in support of an
idea, action or theory. The purpose—to convince—is what makes an argument different from
the kind of writing that you have done in the course so far: definition, causal analysis and
comparison. The writer’s purpose there was to inform his reader, rather than to convince him
to accept an opinion or to follow a certain course of action. For example, an extended
definition of the term ‘hybrid vehicle’ aims only to tell the reader about this subject.
However, a writer who claims that hybrid vehicles are better than petrol-powered cars aims
to convince the reader of this opinion.

At first glance, an informative piece of writing and an argumentative piece look very similar.
Both may make extensive use of the same methods of exposition like definition, description,
exemplification, causal analysis, and, especially, comparison; both will have an introduction
consisting of some background information and a thesis statement; both will have a body
consisting of several paragraphs, each with its own topic sentence; and both are likely to
include a conclusion which brings the composition to a satisfactory end. The essential
difference, however, is that each has a very different purpose: either to inform (for expository
writing) or to convince (for argumentative writing).

Suitable topics for argument

One obvious requirement for an argument is that the topic has to be arguable. Some topics
cannot be argued. For example, if you prefer Pepsi but your friend prefers Coke, you cannot
change your friend’s mind with a reasoned argument; such topics are personal to the
individual. At the other end of the spectrum from such subjective feelings are verifiable facts,
such as ‘the sun rises in the east and sets in the west’ or ‘Riyadh is the capital of Saudi
Arabia.’ Such facts cannot be argued, either: if you and your friend disagree about the weight
of a piece of lab equipment, you need to weigh it not debate it.

Suitable topics for argument, therefore, involve opinions about which there is disagreement
and for which supporting evidence can be presented by both sides. A topic such as ‘the
history of KFUPM’ is not arguable because the facts are already recorded. However, a topic
such as ‘KFUPM should use Arabic not English in all its courses’ can be argued. Some
people will disagree with the opinion, others will agree, and each side can bring its own
reasons and evidence to support its point of view. Argumentative topics are often formulated
using words like “should” or “must,” but not always. Study the list of topics below and
decide which are suitable for argument:

Exercise 1
Identify suitable topics for argument from the list below.

1. Social networking sites do more harm than good.

2. The difference between conduction and convection.
3. Pluto should not be classified as a planet.
4. Space exploration is a waste of money.
5. How a nuclear power plant works.

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (4th ed.) T172 page 7

6. Nuclear power is the best way to secure a country’s energy supplies.
7. The growth of Internet banking.
8. The Internet should be controlled by national governments.
9. A statistical analysis of Saudi Arabia’s water reserves.
10. Saudi Arabia should take action now to secure its future water supply.

The elements of an argument

An effective argument has three elements: your THESIS
thesis, the reasons that support your thesis, and the
evidence that supports each of your reasons. REASONS


The thesis is basically your opinion—the idea that you want to convince your audience to
accept. It is also sometimes referred to as your claim. As noted above, the thesis has to be an
arguable topic, something that you can provide good support for. It could be a subject of
some personal interest to you—for example, ‘Television is a waste of time’; ‘The University
should provide a better bus service for students’; or ‘Saudi Arabia should not allow fast food
restaurants’—or it could be a technical or semi-technical subject such as ‘GM foods should
be encouraged’; ‘Animal experimentation is necessary’; or ‘The Kingdom should make better
use of its solar energy resource’.


Whatever your thesis, you must be able to provide reasons why you believe it and why your
audience should believe it, too. Sometimes, these reasons are also opinions just like your
thesis. For example, reasons that support the solar energy thesis above are that solar energy is
clean and renewable. One of your reasons for disliking social networking sites could be that
people waste too much time there. A reason to support the GM crop thesis is that much
scientific evidence points to the benefits of GM crops. These are all good reasons but simply
stating them will not convince your reader; you must back them up with reliable evidence.


Evidence consists of supporting information that gives credibility to your reasons.

Essentially, the success of your argument depends on the strength of your evidence, and the
more hostile the audience or the stronger the counter-argument, the greater is your need for
convincing evidence. Common sources of evidence include the following:

• Facts
• Statistics
• Examples
• Expert opinions
• Personal experience

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (4th ed.) T172 page 8

• The best evidence often consists of facts that are easily verifiable or that have been
scientifically or historically accepted by most people. For example, one reason why
Saudi Arabia should invest more in solar energy is that it has an abundant supply of
sunlight throughout the year. This is a fact that simple observation will confirm
though more persuasive evidence would come in the form of meteorological records
that measure the precise amount of solar energy received annually.

• Statistics—especially official statistics from the government or academia—can be

regarded as facts expressed in numerical form and they can also provide useful
evidence. However, the writer has to be aware that the same set of statistics can
sometimes be manipulated to produce different results. Also, one set of statistics may
not provide the complete picture. For example, statistics that show a 20% increase in
traffic accidents over a ten-year period appear to support the thesis that ‘There should
be more rigorous driving tests’; however, another set of statistics showing that the
number of drivers has increased by 40% in the same period suggests that the thesis
may be wrong.

• Examples are specific instances of situations and events that illustrate your thesis. In
the bus thesis above, the example of another university where better bus facilities
have brought about major improvements would be useful evidence for your side of
the argument. Similarly, in the animal experimentation thesis, the example of a health
cure that is clearly attributable to experiments on animals would strengthen your case.

• Using opinions from relatives, friends or ‘ordinary’ people as evidence will not usually
provide your thesis with adequate support. However, expert opinions—sometimes
presented as quotations—can be very useful. In our GM crop example above, a
statement by an eminent genetics scientist that ‘GM crops are harmless to humans
and the environment’ will help make your thesis more convincing than if the same
idea had been expressed by a non-specialist.

The kind of evidence you give depends on your

particular composition topic and on the availability
of supporting sources. Your composition topic, for
example, may refer to a source that you read and
discussed with your teacher in class and which may
therefore contain statistics and expert opinion that
you can use to support your argument. Other
composition topics may require you to draw on
your own ideas only, in which case you may have
to depend on known examples and on your own
personal experience.

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (4th ed.) T172 page 9

Rational or emotional appeal
The most convincing evidence usually appeals to
the audience’s mind (a rational appeal) rather than
to their feelings (an emotional appeal). The rational
approach—relying on factual evidence and expert
opinion aimed at reason and common sense—is the
preferred approach when dealing with a scientific or
technical topic. The scientific community is likely
to regard any emotional appeal that attempts to
evoke fear, anger, pity, amusement, and so on, as
the sort of ‘trickery’ that advertisers use to persuade
their customers to buy their products.

However, while no argument should rely only on an emotional

appeal, there are occasions when it can be used (alongside the
rational appeal) to make a more convincing argument. It all
depends on the topic and the target audience. For example, to
support a thesis such as ‘People should donate more money to
reduce African poverty,’ it would be appropriate—alongside
the various facts and figures of African poverty—to describe
the very harsh daily lives that many sub-Saharan Africans are
subjected to.

The aim here is to evoke pity that will help convince readers that they should take the
necessary action. Such emotional appeals can be effective but the writer needs great care. He
must be sure of his audience’s reaction to such an appeal, he must not exaggerate the
situation, and he must not inflame the reader’s passions to the extent that the rational appeal
is lost.

Dealing with your opponents

So far, the discussion has focused on
constructing your thesis, your supporting
reasons and your evidence, but there are at
least two sides to every argument. Your
opponents in the debate will have a counter-
argument that may include evidence that is
as strong as yours. For example, in the bus
argument (above), your opponents—the
University authorities—will argue against a
fleet of new buses for financial reasons.

They will produce evidence from the Finance, Maintenance and Payroll departments that a
fleet of new buses would cost several hundred thousand riyals in total (i.e., initial purchase of
the buses, resulting maintenance costs, increased fuel costs, additional bus drivers, and so on).
Further statements from experts will emphasize the difficulties in taking such a step at this
time. What should you do with this counter-argument?

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (4th ed.) T172 page 10

First of all, you cannot ignore a serious counter-argument such as this. If you did, and the
contrary evidence became known, it would seriously weaken your own case, which would be
seen as superficial. Second, including your opponent’s position could actually strengthen
your own argument because your honesty in dealing with it would add credibility to your
own argument. Finally, by including the counter-argument, you would also create for
yourself the opportunity of attacking—and hopefully weakening—your opponent’s position.
In short, writing about anticipated objections to your argument will strengthen your argument
and is a sign of a good academic essay.

Occasionally, opposing evidence may be so strong that it cannot be refuted (that is, ‘proven
false’) and so your only option is to concede it (‘accept it as true’) as generously as possible
and trust that your own argument will prove even stronger. However you approach the
counter-argument, it should never overshadow your argument, nor reach parity with it. That
is to say, an argument essay should not consist of 50% argument and 50% counter-argument.

Weakening a counter-argument

It is often possible to identify weaknesses in your opponent’s counter-argument. For

example, in the bus argument, you could try to show how the academic and environmental
benefits of a new fleet of buses would far outweigh the financial disadvantages; or you could
produce your own financial evidence showing that eliminating the huge maintenance costs of
the current old buses would make the new buses cost-effective.

Similarly, a counter-argument in the solar energy thesis

could be that electricity produced by solar power is much
more expensive now than that produced by conventional
fossil fuels. This argument could be weakened with expert
opinion and statistical projections showing the downward
financial trend of solar power in the coming decades.

The strength of the argument of the two sides depends both on the strength of the evidence
and on the writer’s skill in presenting it in a convincing way. In any argument, it is rare for
one side to possess the whole truth, so you should know not only your own position well but
also that of your opponents. Present their main arguments honestly and then—if you can—
identify the weaknesses in it that will convince the audience that your argument is superior.

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (4th ed.) T172 page 11

Discovering the pros and cons of an argument
When setting an argument composition, your teacher may decide if you should write for or
against a particular thesis, or he may leave it up to you to decide which side you are on. In
both cases, however, you must gather information about both sides of the argument. An
example follows.

At KFUPM, students living within about 30km of the campus must live at
home. Argue that all students should be allowed to live on campus.

As with all composition questions, your first task is to read the question carefully so you
fully understand what the argument involves and can decide which side of it you are on.
Next, gather the information that you need to write a persuasive answer. In our example
question, the student must argue for the proposition that all KFUPM students should be
allowed to live on campus. Because this is an argument, information about both sides of the
debate is needed. However, when considering the counter-arguments, think at the same time
how they could be weakened.

Brainstorming the question could lead to the following random ideas:

So, build up; make higher Home environment may be difficult for
residence blocks. studying: noise, family chores. Better on
campus: easier to focus; fewer distractions.

BUT: campus has

no space for
At home: Miss out on social life:
can’t always participate in clubs,
sports, etc.

FOR on-campus
for all students.
BUT: building new
will be v. Recent research in USA: on-
expensive. campus students get better grades.

Economic reasons not as

important as student’s well-
being. On-campus students have unfair advantage:
right next to facilities like Library, computer
labs; teachers are available.
On-campus students have room
mates who can help with studying
and social activities; make friends.

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (4th ed.) T172 page 12

After spending some time gathering as many points as possible for and against the thesis, you
may well find that you have written down a dozen or more points. Clearly, you cannot simply
write these down one after another in your composition.

These ideas need to be sorted and organized. Most of the points will be ideas that support
your point of view but some will be counter-arguments. First, therefore, separate your
position from the counter-argument. Then, examine the ideas carefully to see if you can
group them into two or three main points (your reasons).

For example, of the nine separate points above, five support the thesis, two are counter-
arguments, and two are ideas that weaken those counter-arguments. On closer examination,
the five supporting points appear to be concerned with two main areas: academic and social
matters. These will become the two main reasons that support your argument.

Having gathered your information and sorted it into points for and against, your next task is
to decide on the structure of the composition.

Organization of an argument

There are a number of methods for organizing an argument. One well-known one is the
strong argument; sometimes also referred to as the persuasive style.

1. The strong argument

With the strong argument, the writer adopts a clear position from the start, defends it with
evidence, and weakens his opponent’s argument at the same time. His point of view is
expressed forcefully and consistently throughout. The strong argument has an introduction, a
body that consists of at least three paragraphs, and a conclusion.

The introductory paragraph of an argument has two parts:
some brief background about the topic and a concise thesis INTRODUCTION
statement that clearly sets out the opinion that you want your BACKGROUND
audience to accept. The background should lead your audience
into the topic without giving specific details at this early stage. THESIS STATEMENT
It could, for example, provide a definition, some description,
or some historical or theoretical information.

The thesis statement is vital. With this organizational method, you must tell the reader at the
start of the argument precisely what your position is on the topic—he should not have to
guess. A thesis statement such as “Living on campus and living off campus both have
advantages and disadvantages” is unacceptable with this method because it fails to show the
writer’s point of view. A strong, clear thesis statement is required, such as “There are several
excellent reasons why all students should be allowed to live on campus.”

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (4th ed.) T172 page 13


The body of your argument is likely to consist of three or four paragraphs depending on the
number of separate points to discuss and the amount of time available to you.

In the body, you present—in the most convincing way possible—the reasons and
accompanying evidence that support your thesis. In addition, you mention any counter-
arguments, and, if you can, try to weaken them. Whether you are presenting your own
position or your opponent’s, you must do so as fairly as possible without exaggerating or
misrepresenting the evidence.
There are three organizational variations of this method: (1) you can place your opponent’s
argument first in the body; (2) you can ‘sandwich’ your opponent’s argument between your
own key points; or (3) you can place your opponent’s argument in the last in the body.


COUNTER-ARGUMENTS REASON 1 + evidence REASON 1 + evidence
—weaken them
REASON 1 + evidence —weaken them

REASON 2 + evidence REASON 2 + evidence COUNTER-ARGUMENTS

—weaken them

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (4th ed.) T172 page 14


Not all pieces of informative writing require a conclusion, but persuasive ones usually do.

The conclusion of a strong argument consists of at least

two elements. First, in a concise summary, the writer CONCLUSION
should remind his audience of the key points of the BRIEF SUMMARY
argument (including his opponent’s position). Second, REPEAT THE THESIS
he should end with a forceful reminder of the thesis STATEMENT
statement that appeared at the end of the introduction. RECOMMENDATION

While no new evidence should be introduced into a conclusion, it may be appropriate for the
writer to follow the re-iterated thesis statement with a recommendation that follows
logically from it.

Having decided on your organizational method, make an outline to guide your writing. The
two outlines below show the organizations of the two variations.

Variation 1 Variation 2

Lack of campus space On-campus students: 5-minute walk from all Uni facilities,
—build multi-storey blocks eg Library, computer labs, teachers Quieter environment;
Too expensive no family distractions
—University has big budget Statistics show that on-campus students
—student welfare comes before money do better than off-campus ones.

On-campus students: 5-minute walk from all Uni facilities, Lack of campus space
eg Library, computer labs, teachers —build multi-storey blocks
Quieter environment; no family distractions Too expensive
Statistics show that on-campus students —University has big budget
do better than off-campus ones. —Student welfare comes before money

On-campus: better social life, integration On-campus: better social life, integration
Participate in campus activities, Participate in campus activities,
like sports and join clubs. like sports and join clubs.
Roommate helps socially and academically. Roommate helps socially and academically.


An Introduction to Academic Discourse (4th ed.) T172 page 15

Variation 3

On-campus students: 5-minute walk from all Uni facilities,
eg Library, computer labs, teachers Quieter environment;
no family distractions
Statistics show that on-campus students
do better than off-campus ones.

On-campus: better social life, integration
Participate in campus activities,
like sports and join clubs.
Roommate helps socially and academically.

Lack of campus space
—build multi-storey blocks
Too expensive
—University has big budget
—Student welfare comes before money


The following videos, which were produced by the British Council, exemplify the strong
How to Write an Argumentative Essay - Planning

How to Write an Argumentative Essay - Thesis Statements and Paragraphs

How to Write an Argumentative Essay - Introduction and Conclusion

How to Write an Argumentative Essay - Counter Paragraph

How to Write an Argumentative Essay - Editing

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (5th ed.) T172 page 16

Your title should express your point of

On-campus Accommodation for All Students

According to University rules, on-campus accommodation Give some general background
information and then write a strong
can only be provided to students who live more than about thesis statement that clearly shows
30 kilometers from the University. Those living nearer your position.
must live at home. However, I strongly believe that all
VARIATION 1: Counter-argument is
students should be allowed to live on campus. placed first
There are many ways to introduce a
Opponents of this position have two basic objections, counter-argument:
Some people claim that …
namely that the campus is too small to accommodate all Opponents argue that …
students and, secondly, that construction is too costly. Their It is asserted that …
first argument can be overcome simply by building multi- If you can, try and weaken the counter-
argument with your own evidence.
storey apartment blocks. As for cost, the University has a
large budget for construction projects and could afford this
accommodation project. YOUR ARGUMENT
After dealing with the counter-
arguments, the following two or three
Allowing home students to live on campus will bring paragraphs set out your own argument.
academic benefits. On-campus students live just a 5- Introduce each new point with a topic
minute walk from academic facilities like the Library and sentence that states your reason.

computer labs, and of course their teachers and advisers. The topic sentence is followed by your
evidence in the form of:
They have no family distractions so can focus on their Facts
work. In addition, research done at Washington State Statistics
Expert opinion
University showed that on-campus students scored almost Examples
one grade higher than those who lived at home and had to Personal experience
commute long distances. What kind of evidence has been used to
support the student’s academic, and
social reasons?
There are also important social benefits for a student
living on campus. He can join clubs and more easily ORDER OF INFORMATION
participate in campus activities like sports. In addition— Look carefully at your two or three
and I speak from personal experience—he shares his points and decide their most effective
accommodation with a room mate, who can help him both order. With this variation, points are
often arranged in increasing importance
academically and socially. so that the last reason is also your
strongest reason. This makes a bigger
impact on your reader.
From the above discussion, it is clear that allowing all
students to live on campus will bring academic and social
benefits. Building high blocks means that the campus can CONCLUSION
accommodate all students and any financial objections In your conclusion:
must take second place to the well-being of students. For • Briefly summarize your key
these reasons, I strongly believe that all students must be • Re-state your thesis statement in
allowed to live on campus and I recommend that the a strong way;
• If relevant, make a recommend-
University starts work to achieve this goal immediately. ation based on your thesis.

If you chose to use the other variation to write this composition, the counter-arguments paragraph
would be placed between the academic and social paragraphs. In this position, the counter-
argument is “hidden” and so exerts less power to persuade than if it were placed first or last.

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (5th ed.) T172 page 17

Checklist for Argument

The strong argument

1. Do you have a clear idea about your position on the issue—your thesis?
2. Have you thought carefully about the reasons why you believe that your thesis is right?
3. Are you familiar with the counter-arguments?
4. Can you find evidence that supports your argument and refutes your opponent’s?
Where will this evidence come from: your own thinking, your reading, your teacher?
5. What sort of appeal would best succeed with your audience (rational, emotional, both)?
6. Does your introduction have two elements: background and thesis statement?
Are the two elements logically connected in some way?
7. Is the background information helpful to the reader?
8. Does the thesis statement clearly and strongly state your position on the issue?
9. Have you divided the body of the argument into separate paragraphs?
Does each paragraph contain a reason + evidence or counter-arguments?
10. Does each paragraph of the body start with a topic sentence?
11. What type of evidence have you used? Is it convincing?
Facts, statistics, examples, expert opinion, personal experience?
12. Have you presented your own position, and that of your opponent, honestly and fairly?
13. Have you written a conclusion for your argument?
Does it summarize key points?
Does it forcefully re-state the thesis mentioned in the introduction?
Is it appropriate to add a recommendation, a warning or some other element?

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (5th ed.) T172 page 18

Exercise: Suggested topics for writing arguments
Study the following statements. Decide if you agree or disagree with them.
Then write a full academic composition on one of these topics using either
the strong argument method or the balanced argument method.

1. On leaving high school, it is better to get a job than to continue studying.

2. Smoking should be banned everywhere, even in people’s homes.
3. Students find it better to learn from a textbook than from materials posted online.
4. Telecommuting is the best way to work.
5. Saudi Arabia should do more to encourage foreign tourism, like Bahrain and Dubai.
6. For a KFUPM student, it is better to share a room than to live on your own.
7. The policy of Saudiisation should be implemented in all areas of the workforce.
8. It is better to study at an Arabic-medium university than at an English-medium one.
9. The Internet does more harm than good.
10. It is right that a successful sportsman should earn more money than a teacher or doctor.
11. The Saudi Arabia of a century ago is a better place than the Saudi Arabia of today.
12. Examinations are unfair. Final grades should be based on the work done during the
13. If you have to travel long distances in Saudi Arabia, it is always better to fly than to drive.
14. It is better to be an employee than a manager.
15. We need fast food restaurants.
16. Students should not be forced to attend class as long as they do the necessary work.
17. The most important aspect of a job is the money earned.
18. A university is for studying in and nothing else.
19. It is better to own your own business than to work for someone else.
20. It is better to study for a higher degree in Saudi Arabia than to go abroad to do it.
21. Distance learning is a bad idea: it is better to attend regular classes than to study
from home.
22. For a good job, an academic qualification is more useful than job experience.
23. Buying pirated films and computer software should not be illegal.
24. Social networking sites like Facebook are dangerous.
25. Television has become too powerful in our society.
26. The death penalty is always wrong.
27. Teenage crime: we should punish parents for the bad behaviour of their teenage children.
28. Ban all big gas-guzzling cars: they pollute the air and waste a natural resource.
29. Zoos are cruel: we should abolish them.
30. Corporal punishment for school children is the best way to control behaviour.
31. KFUPM students should not wear “western” clothes.
32. Students need more exercise: ban all student cars on campus and make them walk.

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (5th ed.) T172 page 19

Writing Tips: Being Concise
Conciseness is an important characteristic of formal academic English. In a concise piece of
writing, all necessary information is provided without wasting a single word. However, being
concise is not the same as simply being "brief": many concise pieces of writing are quite long
and many brief pieces are not concise. Brevity refers only to length whereas conciseness
refers both to completeness and to economy of expression. Achieving conciseness in the
first draft is often difficult because the writer's ideas may still not be fully developed and he
may be writing under pressure of time. Usually, therefore, writers focus on conciseness when
revising their work. To write concisely, a writer must avoid wordiness and needless

Avoiding Wordiness
A piece of writing is described as "wordy" when the
writer uses words which add nothing to the meaning Wordiness includes …
he is trying to convey. These empty words and • Empty words and phrases
phrases are not only useless; they can also interfere • Passive voice
with the clear communication of information.
• Abstract nouns
Writers should therefore eliminate them completely.

Avoid empty words and phrases. For example, "now" is usually preferable to "at this point
in time"; a simple "to" + infinitive is preferable to "for the purpose of"; "because" is
preferable to "due to the fact that"; "if" is preferable to "in the event that," and so on. In
addition, it is often possible to eliminate completely such "padding" phrases as "in my
opinion," "as far as I am concerned," and the conversational “as a matter of fact.” Finally, do
not overuse the expletive construction "There is/are." For example, "Three causes can be
identified" is generally preferable to "There are three causes which can be identified."

Use the active instead of the passive wherever possible. It is more concise to write "The topic
sentence identifies the main idea" than "The main idea is identified by the topic sentence."
Apart from needing fewer words, the active voice also makes your writing more direct, more
forceful and, often, more readable. There are of course occasions, especially in technical and
scientific writing, when the passive is preferable, but you should avoid habitual use of the

In general, verbs are preferable to abstract noun constructions. For example, "decision,"
"recommendation" and "examination" are all noun forms of their respective verbs "decide,"
"recommend" and "examine." As with passive verbs, ideas expressed as nouns are usually
wordier than those expressed with active verbs. In addition, placing the action in an abstract
noun rather than in the verb can make your writing seem dull. Compare the following pairs of

• He made a recommendation that we stay. He recommended we stay.

• He has the intention of leaving. He intends to leave.
• They had an argument. They argued.
• It produced an adverse effect on them. It affected them adversely.
• They came to the conclusion that it was bad. They concluded that it was bad.

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (5th ed.) T172 page 20

Abstract nouns are of course necessary on numerous occasions. However, whenever writers
can choose between placing the action in an abstract noun or in a verb, the latter is almost
always better.

Avoiding Needless Repetition

Repetition, for example in the form of parallel

Avoiding Needless Repetition structure or the repeating of key words, is useful
to the writer as a means of achieving emphasis
• Lack of appropriate cohesion and cohesion. (See Cohesion in unit 3.) However,
• Tautology needless repetition contributes nothing to the
discussion. The repeated words do not clarify the
meaning; they slow the reader down and make
the writing uninteresting

Many instances of needless repetition result from a lack of appropriate cohesion; they can
often be corrected with pronoun reference. Compare the following pair of sentences:

The result of the survey was a good result for the sales manager because the
result showed the sales manager that he had been right all the time.
The result of the survey was good for the sales manager because it showed
him that he had been right all the time.

Other instances of repetition—often referred to as tautology—result from using different

words to say the same thing. This occurs for a variety of different reasons (tautology!). The
writer, for example, may not realize that the repeated words and phrases have the same
meaning; he may be attempting, needlessly, to clarify a term; or, worst of all, his intention
may simply be to "pad out" his writing to conceal his lack of ideas. The italicized phrases
below are all redundant:

• Several benefits and advantages resulted from his decision.

• Alexander Graham Bell is generally referred to as the inventor and
originator of the telephone.
• Action must be taken immediately, without any further delay.
• Many of the unemployed, who had no job at all, were excluded from the
government statistics.
• Forty percent of the exports leaving the country are petroleum products.

Other common examples of tautology include "large in size," "oval in shape," "blue in color,"
"cooperate together," "true facts," "basic essentials," "disappear from sight," "compete with
each other," and "final completion."

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (5th ed.) T172 page 21

Exercise Being Concise
Make the following sentences more concise.


Empty words: “it was a known fact” = “knew”

“generally” =
“the majority of” Empty words: “the majority of” = “most”

It was a generally known fact among the majority

Empty words
of employees that the company’s new branch, which and needless
was a branch located in the city center, involved repetition

costs in the region of 100 million dollars.

Empty words:
Empty words: “in the region of” = “around” “involved costs” = “cost”

More concise:

Most employees knew that the company’s new city-center

branch cost around 100 million dollars.

1. The principal cause or reason for the ozone hole is thought by scientists to be CFCs.
2. There were three scientists who disagreed with the findings of the committee.
3. The experiment was canceled owing to the fact that the weather was very bad.
4. The researcher had to return back to the laboratory because the researcher had left his
notes in the laboratory.
5. The reason for the failure of the experiment was because the equipment used in the
experiment was damaged equipment.
6. The majority of people are of the opinion that nuclear energy should not be used
for the purpose of providing electrical energy.
7. The interwar years, the period between the First and Second World Wars, were for the
most part characterized by a general sense of dissatisfaction which was widespread.
8. The matter will be given thorough and complete consideration by the committee.
9. Quite a few students entered the room during the course of the professor’s lecture but the
professor was writing on the blackboard and so he didn’t notice the students who came
into the room.
10. The chairman took into consideration the proposal that had been put forward by his
committee but in the end he reached the decision that the proposal should be rejected.

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (5th ed.) T172 page 22

Writing Tips: Using Specific Detail
A "good" paragraph is not simply a paragraph which provides "a lot" of support for the topic
sentence; it must provide the right kind of support. Quality, in other words, is preferable to
quantity. In formal academic writing, specific detail—in the form of concrete examples,
exact descriptions, precise historical facts, or statistical information—provides strong support
for your main ideas because it gives the reader the complete information he needs.

Specific detail contrasts with generalities and broad abstract terms, which are often so vague
and imprecise that your reader remains uninformed after reading them. Some examples of
this are "inadequate facilities" to describe how poorly equipped a department is; "quite a lot"
to explain how many students dropped Mathematics last semester; and "terrible damage" to
explain the effects of a hurricane on a small town. Using specific, concrete vocabulary, the
writer can inform the reader much more precisely. Using specific detail, the above examples
could be changed to "The department has only two computer terminals and two colour
printers for every 10 teachers"; "Sixty-four students, very nearly one quarter of the total
number, withdrew from Mathematics last semester"; "The hurricane destroyed 150 homes,
blew down two bridges, and injured 58 people."

General and abstract terms are, of course, sometimes essential. Most topic sentences, for
example, are generalizations which may contain abstractions, for example "Success in
examinations depends mainly on hard work." However, the writer must aim to support these
general ideas with specific, concrete detail. Whether the required support is taken from a
reading source or from your own thinking, always make the extra effort to inform your reader
as fully as necessary. Compare the amount of specific detail in the two paragraphs below.

Automobiles powered by gasoline are Automobiles powered by gasoline are very inefficient
very inefficient machines. Most of the machines. Approximately two thirds of the energy
energy available from the fuel is lost available from the fuel is lost in the engine through the
somewhere in the engine. Some is exhaust and cooling systems. About 10% of the
lost in the drive-train mechanism, available energy is lost in the drive-train mechanism,
some is lost by friction in certain mainly through friction in the transmission and drive
moving parts, and some is lost to shaft. A further 6% of energy is lost in other moving
operate some of the car’s accessories. parts such as the motor, while 4% of the available
The remaining energy, very little energy is used to operate fuel and oil pumps and
compared with the total available certain accessories like power steering, air-
energy, is used to propel the vehicle. conditioning, and power brakes. The remaining energy,
a mere 14% of the total, is used to propel the vehicle.

The precise amount of specific detail you give to support your ideas depends on your
particular purpose and on the needs of your readers. In the above examples, the text on the
left could be suitable for a high school student with a low-level interest in fuel efficiency. By
contrast, the text containing specific detail would satisfy a freshman ME student who needs,
and is able to understand, a more in-depth analysis of the same topic.

Providing specific detail for your audience is a feature of all good writing but is particularly
relevant in persuasive writing. When you are arguing your case, the reader will seldom be
convinced by generalizations and unsupported opinions; you must provide him whenever
possible with specific detail in the form of verifiable facts, concrete examples, expert opinion
and relevant personal experience.

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (5th ed.) T172 page 23

Compare the two paragraphs below which both argue against abolishing the death penalty.
Which paragraph is the more persuasive? Why?

Abolishing the death penalty increases the Abolishing the death penalty increases the
murder rate. It is a fact that many countries murder rate. For example, in Britain, the death
which have abolished the death penalty have penalty was abolished in 1964 and in the
seen the number of murders increase since following 40 years, the rate of unlawful killing
abolition. This clearly shows that the threat of increased from 0.68 per 100,000 of the
the death penalty is a strong deterrent. In population to 1.42 per 100,000. In addition, a
addition to this, a number of murderers who number of murderers released from prison
have been released from prison after serving a after serving a “life sentence” went on to
“life sentence” then went on to commit murder commit murder again. In that same 40-year
again. Obviously, this could not have period, 76 murders were committed by
happened if there had been a death penalty in convicted murderers who had been released.
existence in their country. It is very clear from Obviously, these murders could not have been
this evidence that having the death penalty will committed if there had been a death penalty.
significantly reduce a country’s murder rate All this evidence suggests that abolishing
and bring about a much safer country where capital punishment will result in a higher
the people can live in peace and security. murder rate.
123 words 108 words

Notice that the paragraph on the left is longer than the other paragraph even though it
contains much less specific detail. The writer has “padded out” his small amount of
information to make it seem that he has a lot of relevant ideas; he has also included wordy
expressions of certainty (such as “it is a fact,” “this clearly shows” and “it is very clear”) to
make his argument appear to be much stronger than it actually is. His paragraph therefore is
neither as convincing nor as concise as the other paragraph.

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (5th ed.) T172 page 24

During the semester, remedial work on grammar and sentence structure has focused on the
following areas:

1. Relative clauses in formal sentence definitions (unit 1)

2. Subject – Verb agreement (unit 2)
3. Pronoun – antecedent agreement (unit 2)
4. Sentence fragments (unit 3)
5. Run-on sentences (unit 3)
The following questions also deal with grammar and structures from:
6. Definition
7. Causal analysis
8. Comparison

The grammar and sentence structure questions on the following page can be worked through
individually in class or completed as a 30-item quiz testing the semester’s remedial work. No
more than 25 minutes should be allocated.

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (5th ed.) T172 page 25


The quiz has 30 questions. Write A, B, C or D in the Answer Box on the last page of the quiz.

Part A. Choose the correct answer

1. The research group has delayed _____ decision until tomorrow.

A. its
B. his
C. their
D. her

2. A stethoscope is an instrument _______ to listen to a patient’s heart or breathing.

A. which used by doctors
B. doctors use it
C. which doctors use it
D. doctors use

3. The chairman, together with all the board members, _______ to arrive early for the meeting.
A. were required
B. was required

4. Ali was five minutes late for _______ had already started.
A. class, the lesson
B. class the lesson
C. class; the lesson
D. class, however, the lesson

5. _______ Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Jordan are ruled by kings.

A. Unlike
B. Same
C. Like
D. Similar

6. If the sides of a cube _______ 2 centimeters long, _____ volume will be 8 cm3.
A. are ..... their
B. is ..... its
C. are ..... its
D. is ..... their

7. One important difference between seif sand dunes and barchan sand dunes _______ that
the former _______ usually much higher.
A. are ..... is
B. is ..... are
C. is ..... is
D. are ..... are

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (5th ed.) T172 page 26

8. Dammam, the largest city in the Eastern Province, _______ a population of around three-
quarters of a million people.
A. have
B. it has
C. has
D. having

9. A parallelogram is a geometrical shape _______ opposite sides are parallel and of equal length.
A. which its
B. who’s
C. which
D. whose

10. Everybody attended the meeting; one of its aims _______ the new chairman.
A. was to elect
B. to elect
C. were to elect
D. elect

11. His car broke down on the _______ three hours for a tow truck to arrive.
A. highway because it took
B. highway, it took
C. highway and it took
D. highway it took

12. One of the most famous women authors _______ Agatha Christie. ________ wrote
mystery novels.
A. was ..... He
B. were ..... She
C. was ..... Who
D. was ..... She

13. _______ Bahrain Airport is easily accessible from Saudi Arabia, many travellers from the
Kingdom fly from there rather than from Dammam Airport.
A. Because of
B. However,
C. Since
D. So,

14. Statistics _______ defined as a branch of mathematics _______ with the collection,
arrangement and interpretation of numerical data.
A. is ..... it deals
B. are ..... dealing
C. is ..... which deals
D. are ..... which deal

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (5th ed.) T172 page 27

15. Any KFUPM student interested in working in the Library this summer should
send _______ details to the Dean as soon as possible.
A. its
B. her
C. their
D. his

16. The family usually _______ their vacations in Egypt but next year _______ going to Turkey.
A. spends ..... it is
B. spend ..... they are
C. spends ..... he is
D. spend ..... it is

17. Galen, one of the most famous Ancient Greek scientists, _______ an expert on
anatomy and physiology.
A. were
B. he was
C. was
D. they were

18. An amphibian can be defined simply as a species of animal _______ both on land and in water.
A. that lives
B. that live
C. it lives
D. they live

19. Traditional energy sources include finite fossil fuel pollutants like coal and petroleum.
_______ alternative sources like solar, tidal and wind power are clean and renewable.
_______ the energy they produce is more expensive.
A. Similarly, ..... However,
B. Likewise, ..... So,
C. In contrast, ..... However,
D. In addition, ..... Likewise,

20. The process of researching, writing and publishing a book _______ several years of work
but the financial reward obtained rarely _______ the effort.
A. involves ..... justifies
B. involve ..... justify
C. involves ..... justify
D. involve ..... justifies

Part B. Identify the error

Choose A, B, C or D.

A. B.
21. Statistics covering the past decade show that the number of students graduating from
KFUPM have shown a steady increase every year. However, some colleges have lost
students while others have gained them over this period.

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (5th ed.) T172 page 28

A. B.
22. A student slipped on the workshop floor this morning. Because he had not seen the
small patch of oil that had spilled from a leaky container. He hit his head on a chair leg
and was taken to the clinic for medical attention.

A. B.
23. Three materials are typically used to manufacture pipes. These are metal, rubber and
plastic. They differ from one another according to strength, weight and flexibility, with
metal generally being stronger, heavier and less flexible as the other two.

24. People have always been fascinated by the idea of space travel, that’s why so many
TV sets were tuned into the moon landing in July 1969. Since then, space travel
C. D.
has advanced a great deal but no man has yet landed on a planet.

A. B.
25. As the temperature rises, air increases in volume so, for example, a cubic meter of cold
C. D.
air is heavier than the same volume of warm air. As a result, the warm air rise and cold air

moves in to take its place.

A. B.
26. Because the helicopter is capable of hovering above the ground in the same position,
C. D.
they are particularly useful in rescue missions such as saving people from sinking ships

or burning buildings.

27. DNA is the basic genetic material of most living organisms. Although the DNA
B. C.
molecule is large and apparently complex, but it is in fact very simple. A single DNA
molecule, for example, consists of just two strands wound around each other.

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (5th ed.) T172 page 29

28. Greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, produced by burning fossil fuels like coal
B. C.
and petroleum, is increasing in the atmosphere. Scientists believe that these gases trap heat
that would otherwise escape into space.

A. B.
29. The crust and the mantle comprise two of the three layers that make up the earth. While
the crust has an average thickness of less than 10 kilometers. The mantle, located between
crust and core, reaches a depth of almost 3000 kms.

30. In the context of railways, the term “gauge” can be defined as the distance between the
B. C.
two rails. There are three basic gauges, they are the standard, narrow and broad gauges.

In addition, to accommodate trains with different gauges, a third rail is sometimes laid,
and this is referred to as a mixed gauge.


1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30


An Introduction to Academic Discourse (5th ed.) T172 page 30

In this unit, you must also study English Vocabulary in Use, chs. 28 and 63.

300. abstract 320. exceed 340. migration

301. accurate 321. expert 341. minimum
302. acknowledged 322. explicit 342. ministry
303. aggregate 323. federal 343. motivation
304. allocation 324. fees 344. neutral
305. assigned 325. flexibility 345. nevertheless
306. attached 326. furthermore 346. overseas
307. author 327. gender 347. preceding
308. bond 328. ignored 348. presumption
309. brief 329. incentive 349. rational
310. capable 330. incidence 350. recovery
311. cited 331. incorporated 351. revealed
312. cooperative 332. index 352. scope
313. discrimination 333. inhibition 353. subsidiary
314. display 334. initiatives 354. tapes
315. diversity 335. input 355. trace
316. domain 336. instructions 356. transformation
317. edition 337. intelligence 357. transport
318. enhanced 338. interval 358. underlying
319. estate 339. lecture 359. utility

For the vocabulary section of your final exam, you should review the following vocabulary:

Academic Word Lists 1 – 6

English Vocabulary in Use chapters 8, 9, 10, 23, 25, 26, 28, 63.

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (5th ed.) T172 page 31


Unit 4 presentations on argument could be made individually or in pairs. For individual

presentations, using the “balanced argument” method is recommended. For pairs of students,
the “strong argument” method could be more suitable with one student arguing for and the
other against a proposition. Students may choose their own argument topic or the teacher
could assign it. Some example topics, taken from this unit’s composition component are
listed below:

1. On leaving high school, it is better to get a job than to continuing studying.

2. Smoking should be banned everywhere, even in people’s homes.
3. Students find it better to learn from a textbook than from materials posted online.
4. Telecommuting is the best way to do a job.
5. Saudi Arabia should do more to encourage foreign tourism, like Bahrain and Dubai.
6. For a KFUPM student, it is better to share a room than to live on your own.
7. The policy of Saudiisation should be implemented in all areas of the workforce.
8. It is better to study at an Arabic-medium university than at an English-medium one like KFUPM.
9. The Internet does more harm than good.
10. It is right that a successful sportsman should earn more money than a teacher or doctor.
11. The Saudi Arabia of a century ago is a better place than the Saudi Arabia of today.
12. Examinations are unfair. Final grades should be based on the work done during the semester.
13. If you have to travel long distances in Saudi Arabia, it is always better to fly than to drive.
14. It is better to be an employee than a manager.
15. Fast food restaurants serve a useful purpose.
16. Students should not be forced to attend class as long as they do the necessary work.
17. The most important aspect of a job is the money earned.
18. A university is for studying in and nothing else.
19. It is better to own your own business than to work for someone else.
20. It is better to study for a higher degree in Saudi Arabia than to go abroad to do it.
21. Distance learning is a bad idea: it is better to attend regular classes than to study from home.
22. For a good job, an academic qualification is more useful than job experience.
23. Buying pirated films and computer software should not be illegal.
24. Social networking sites like Facebook are dangerous.
25. Television has become too powerful in our society.
26. The death penalty is always wrong.
27. Teenage crime: we should punish parents for the bad behaviour of their teenage children.
28. All big gas-guzzling cars pollute the air and waste a natural resource. They should be banned.
29. Zoos are cruel: we should abolish them.
30. Corporal punishment at home and at school.
31. KFUPM students should not wear “western” clothes.
32. Students need more exercise: ban all student cars on campus and make them walk.

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (5th ed.) T172 page 32

Checklist for English 101 oral presentations

Does the student give his presentation within the set time limits?
Does he introduce himself and identify the topic?
Does he show clear divisions between different parts of his speech?
Does he speak loudly, slowly and clearly enough to be easily understood?
Does he pronounce his words, especially key words, correctly?
Does he use grammar correctly?
Does his voice sound natural and relaxed?
Does he sound interested and enthusiastic?
Is his delivery confident and authoritative?
Does he occasionally use Arabic without realising it (shismuh)?
Does he have any voice mannerisms that need eliminating (coughs, “okay?”, “errr”, “right”)?
Is he dependent on reading his presentation?
Does any memorisation sound unnatural?
Does he position himself correctly at the front of the class?
Does he move and make appropriate gestures that support his speech?
Does he maintain eye contact with his audience?
Does he end his speech effectively?

A marking sheet

A simple marking sheet is given below. Teachers are free to modify it or use their own.

English 101 Oral Presentation Marking Form

Name: ID#: SEC/SN:

Presentation topic:

1. Delivery:

2. Body language:

3. Content:

4. Organization:

5. Overall impression:

Additional comments: Grade:

An Introduction to Academic Discourse (5th ed.) T172 page 33