【明報專訊】THE detail paragraphs should show your ability to select data and make comparisons. In this issue, let us put that into practice.
As we have learned in the last issue, we will write two detail paragraphs to expand the two observations we have made in the overview sentence. The first observation is that ''During the two-decade period, the overweight rates in Countries A and C rose, while that in Country B fluctuated.''
Instead of copying the numbers from the chart for each country separately, you should give a combined description. You can, for example, write about Country A and C together using words such as ''while'', ''whereas'', ''compared with'' or ''in contrast with''. With them you can remind the examiner that you are making comparisons. Please take a look at the image.
There are several points here that are worth noting:
(1) In the first sentence, it is acceptable to say ''around 1% of Country A's population was (or were) overweight''.
(2) We have not mentioned the figures for Countries A and C in the year 2000 as they are not important — they are merely halfway points in upward trends. For Country B, however, we have included the figures for all years. Without them it would be impossible to illustrate how the figures ''fluctuated''.
(3) We have built on the overview sentence to differentiate between the situations in Countries A and C, describing in detail how the growth rates in the countries compare with each other.
(4) We have varied our language. To describe an upward trend, for example, we have used ''rose'', ''grew'' and ''went up''.
Let us move on to the second detail paragraph, which should be about the country with the greatest overweight rate. First, you need to talk about the fact that Country C had the biggest overweight rate with more details such as how high it is compared with the other two countries. Second, you need to illustrate whether each country's situation relative to the others changed over the years.
How will you do that? Take your time to think about it before I share my thoughts in the next issue.
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Terence Yip (葉凱楓) is passionate about English more than anything else. Never has he studied or worked in an English-speaking country, but he scored 8.5 in IELTS nevertheless, and is ceaselessly honing his skills as a test taker with the aspiration to score 9 someday.