Structuring a Discursive Essay
Your task is to help structure a discursive essay about the advantages and disadvantages of car use. You will be given the various arguments both in favour of and against car use. Your first task will be to organise these arguments.
Read the following notes.
Identify all the points in favour of car use and mark them with a tick. Identify all the points against car use and mark them with a cross. …………………………………………………………………………. Not restricted by schedules as you are with public transport. Comfortable (spacious, cool, CD’s etc)
They cause air pollution (eg. exhaust emissions contribute to global warming.) Roads deface the natural landscape and destroy/disturb wildlife habitats. Fast, less time-consuming than public transport.
Car parks take up valuable space in city centres (could be used for public gardens instead?) Fairly cheap to run?
Car accidents result in many deaths and injuries.
Modern fuels are lead free and getting “cleaner.”
Traffic jams lead to stress and “road rage.” (angry drivers attacking others) Car use contributes to a faster, les natural pace of life that often results in high blood pressure and heart disease.
Now that you have sorted your points into two groups , you will be able to divide the main body of your essay into two sections: advantages and disadvantages. However, each of these two sections still needs to be divided further – into topics. Each topic will then become a paragraph in the essay.
Take the “advantages” above and arrange under the topic headings of “Convenient” and “Efficient” Take the “disadvantages” and arrange them under the topic headings of “Bad for the environment”, “Dangerous” and “Stressful”
A well structured paragraph usually starts with a topic sentence. This contains the main idea or argument of the paragraph. It is followed by a few illustrations or examples that support it. In the case of your essay on car use, the topic sentences in the body of the essay will cover the points in task 2.
* Write topic sentences based on each of the headings in Task 2. (ie. Efficient, Convenient etc) Here is an example :
“Cars are extremely popular because they are so convenient.”
Do not be satisfied with the first thing you write. Rewrite it; share it with a classmate or your teacher; aim for a more effective sentence.
Task 4 INTRODUCTIONS
You need to plan your introduction carefully. Basically, for this particular essay, you will need to state that there are both advantages and disadvantages to car use. However, it would sound rather weak if you simply wrote:
“There are both advantages and disadvantages to car use.”
It will make a stronger impact if you start with a bold or surprising statement, or perhaps a striking statistic. For example :
“We have become extremely dependent on cars: there were 580 million worldwide in 1991 and it is estimated that this figure will grow to 816 million by the end of 2011.”
You can follow this with a summary of the main arguments contained in the body of the essay. You should present these in the order they will appear later.
Continue this opening paragraph by adding sentences from the jumbled list below. Present them in the same order as your plan above.
Thirdly, some people argue that they contribute to the frantic, unhealthy pace of modern life.
On the other hand, there are powerful arguments against car use.
Firstly, they damage the environment.
Clearly cars are so popular because they are both convenient and efficient.
Secondly, they kill and maim large numbers of people.
If you were to continue writing this essay you would now be looking at how to structure the main body of the essay. Each paragraph already has a topic sentence. (see your notes from task 3) The challenge now is to support each one with illustrations or examples. For example, paragraph 2 might look...
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