In order to write well in English, we should first understand how English speakers usually arrange their ideas. The arrangement of ideas is called a "thought pattern" in this unit. Based on Robert B. Kaplan in 1966, the thought patterns of Chinese and English can be graphically presented as follow:
The difference implies the reason why Chinese students usually fall on the organization of English composition.
Q 2. What are some general rules found in English paragraphs?
a. The movement is often from general to specific.
(8 to 12 sentences and less than 200 words are recommended to well develop a theme. )
b. A central idea is usually stated in a topic sentence.
(The topic sentence is usually stated in the first sentence and it well limits the scope of the theme.)
c. The thesis is followed by at least two supporting ideas, and each supporting
idea is also developed or back up with necessary illustrations or explanations.
(In English, there are some typical types of paragraph skeleton structures as listed in Sample Set)
d. Each part of a paragraph must be clearly connected to what goes on before
and after it.
(Different types of connectors and signals are used in different types of writing.
For example: first, next, then, finally.....most essential, ............
therefore, consequently, moreover, so, ...................
meanwhile, after that, following that.............
similarly, likewise, in the same way,.......
for example, for instance, ...............
however, on the other hand, in contrast, ....
Q 3. What else should we know about improving writing?
The best way to learn English writing is to first read a good piece of writing.
Then, to analyze the sentence structure is strongly suggested.
The last step is to trace the movement of the ideas and look for the connectors used in a paragraph.
After constant practice, you will find the right way to write a good English paragraph.