How to write an Article (Cambridge First, Advanced; Blogs)

hi welcome to right to top I’m Adam in today’s video we’re going to look at a slightly different style of writing than we’ve seen so far we’re going to look at how to write an article now this is especially for those of you taking the Cambridge exams first or advanced FCE CAE etc and we’re going to look at how to write the first part or your task one of the writing section okay now for those of you not taking this exam this is still a useful lesson because you may have a blog post that you keep and you want to write for maybe you’re going to write a newsletter for a company newsletter or a club so this style of writing is a little bit more fun it’s a little bit more interesting and it has a very particular style and anyways it’s good to know different styles of writing to improve your overall writing skills now before I begin I have to give you full disclosure I’m not a specialist with the Cambridge exams they’re not common at all here in North America I have helped some students with the writing section because writing is writing the essay is the essay so just so you know when it comes to the actual scoring that’s a little bit I’m still playing with that so anyway let’s get started and we’re going to look at our tasks first so I got this this sample task from the Cambridge website you can go there and download a couple of sample tests and this is the task for the article so you have to choose between a report review and article so this is the article I’ve had a few requests for a video about this so here it is I’m going to walk through it I’m going to show you basically how to approach the question what kind of language to use what kind of organization to use we’re going to talk about the title how to create a title for your article because you need one and basically how to put it all together now these articles are 140 to 190 words this examples from the first from FCE exam this is very short okay for me the difficult part was actually writing such a short article but I got two samples for you to show you two different approaches to these articles and again all of these all of the things we’re going to talk about in this video can apply to blogging as well if you’re going to write blog posts so let’s look at the task first you see this announcement on an english-language website so first of all you’re writing for a website so it has to be very engaging the most useful thing I have ever learned that your topics what is the most usable useful thing you have learned who did you learn it from why is it useful so this is you have to answer these three questions and you have to put it in a short article and it has to be interesting okay and the best article will be published so that’s your task now how are we going to approach this we’re going to start with the title an article must have a title if you don’t have a title you’re probably going to lose points for the test takers for the blog the title is what’s going to draw your viewers in if you don’t have a good catchy title nobody’s going to click on your blog post and come read what you have to say so the title is very important keep it short two to five words as soon as you get to long people get bored reading the title if they get bored reading the title they’re definitely not coming to read the article okay so keep it short two three four five words you do not need full sentences now not only do you not need a full complete grammatical sentence probably you shouldn’t have a full complete grammatical sentence keep your keywords make sure they’re all in there make sure that it’s clear and it’s on target in other words when I read the title I should already have an idea what the article is about okay don’t explain it to me don’t give me any details just capture the main idea and make it interesting in a way that I want to come and actually look at it so how how to do something how I did something how etc how to if you’re talking about an action numbers always work especially for you who are going to write blog posts people like to see numbers they know exactly how many points they’re going to deal with if they’re interested in a 2-3 minute read there’s five points to read yeah I can get through five points I’ll get in and I’ll do it five steps five ways five reasons or the main cause of global warming if your in global warming okay so let’s look at a few examples let’s look at our task again what is the most useful thing you’ve ever learned and who did you learn the film etc so the most useful thing I’ve ever learned don’t take the title that was given to you in the task okay so what are some other things to do the greatest thing of everything you can take the title they gave you and you don’t change it a little bit so the greatest thing of ever learn but a little bit boring cooking the colon a lifelong lesson okay so hey that’s a good example right away I know you’re talking about cooking back to the lesson the first one the greatest thing I’ve ever learned well what is that greatest thing you’ve ever learned right away tell me what is that topic going to be how about learning in the kitchen I’m talking about learning and talking about the kitchen I’m talking about cooking so this is going to be the topic of my article and obviously the greatest thing I’ve ever learned was how to cook okay or how cooking changed my life very simple very straightforward and it’s also a little bit catchy because you think how can cooking change anybody’s life right it’s just cooking well it makes you interested it makes you want to read the article it draws your reader in once you draw the reader in he or she will continue reading the article as long as it’s good now how do you make it good well organization organization is key it’s very very important because it has to be a very easy read unlike an essay where there’s argument because a point as an argument there’s an example there’s a something you’re trying to prove or in our argument you’re trying to convince someone of that’s a very different here you’re trying to entertain and that’s very a very important difference between article writing and essay writing an essay is academic an article is more fun it’s more entertaining it’s more interesting than an essay you can make it flow in several ways okay you can make the movement or they read much easier you can use subheadings you can use bullets you know like dot and this is the thing dot dot dot and then you can use numbers numbers are also very easy because they know exactly where they are how many more they have to get if you use the number in your title use those numbers back in the body of your article now you can just go straight with straight paragraphs as well you still need an introduction you still need an ending well I won’t call it a conclusion and has to be an ending you definitely do not write in conclusion nobody want to see that okay we’ll talk about language in a second now these paragraphs you can put tons of information in them but still have a general focus to the paragraph don’t put unrelated ideas in your paragraph because then the reader can’t follow your train of thought can’t follow your logic and there’s no organization okay again ideally you’re ending your last sentence ties back to your first sentence or your introduction paragraph that way you have a complete circle and it ties it all together and it’s a little bit more fun and interesting as well good let’s move on to the language now here you notice I wrote language voice tone register so what they’re going to be marking you on is the register but it’s all the same thing the kind of language you’re using reflects what it is you’re actually writing and the voice the voice has to be your voice it has to be a very particular person speaking it has to be consistent that’s very very important now when you’re writing an article unlike an essay so this is not an essay very important to remember do not use academic language use casual use informal again there’s a fine line between too casual and too formal you have to be somewhere in the middle you don’t want to be using like slang that not many people will know definitely donate you don’t want to be using swear words etc you want to use idioms so make your language idiomatic colloquial use collocations make it playful now what are what is colloquial so there are a few examples for one for example nobody says I want to or I’m going to they say Ghana Ghana is a colloquialism colloquialisms are things that are very informal language that are very common in spoken language when you’re writing you have to be careful not to be too much like speaking language but not too formerly they right so again a fine line between so for example a colloquialism is like do the heavy lifting so the managers they don’t want to do the tedious work they’re going to let their underlings do it or the managers let the staff do the heavy lifting okay that’s sort of an example of colloquialism collocation these are words that naturally go together and they’re go together all the time phrasal verbs are examples of collocations keep a promise that’s an example of a collocation keep promise to go together you don’t do a promise you don’t you can make a promise but then you have to keep the promise as well make the language playful have fun with it let the reader have fun reading it okay make sure it’s geared to your target audience if you’re writing to a website make sure it’s quick it’s easy simple language not too overly complicated make it conversational it’s okay to use I me we my etc it’s okay to say you you’re addressing the reader directly it’s like you’re having a conversation but it’s written and instead of spoken okay and again don’t be stiff don’t be academic don’t use however use but however in the essay but in the article don’t use consequently or as a result to say so okay don’t make the reader feel like he or she is reading like a university paper they’re reading an article they’re doing it on the website they want to have fun they want to be entertained okay now for those of you who are going to be taking the test make sure you understand what they’re looking for they’re looking they’re marking you on content communicative achievement organization and language if you go to the Cambridge site you can read all these things what they’re looking for how they’re scoring you again they have their little details more or less I can tell you what they’re looking for but the details are not that familiar with at the moment content basically did you answer the question that you fulfill the requirements of the task okay communicative achievement that you have the right register are you writing for a website reader are you writing for an up appropriate register that’s the language you’re using okay the vocab you’re using organization that is slow is it well-organized is it easy to follow the ideas and the language are you using idioms are using variety of language are you making your is your language fun or is it a little bit stiff for example all these things keep all this in mind as you’re writing now here is one sample I’m going to show you two ways this is the one about cooking and I’ll show you another one about music if you notice I have subheadings on this one but the subheadings have a very clear purpose so let’s read the whole thing they say variety is the spice of life well actually spices are the spice of life since I learned how to cook my life has become a smorgasbord of interesting tales so the variety of the spice of life is a common expression I’m twisting and playing with that expression and I’m setting that spices on the spice of life because I use spices in my cooking smorgasbord this is actually a Swedish word it basically means buffet so it’s like a table full of like all kinds of hot and cold dishes but we use smorgasbord to mean something that is full of variety so a variety of interesting tales now tales spelled ta le s means stories but I I took basically my subheadings to talk about and set it up like stories except the first subheading I played with the word tale and I use the other spelling of tale the lobster tail because I’m talking about cooking since I was a kid I liked experimenting in the kitchen okay so right away I’m giving you some background it started with easy omelets my mother taught me and quickly evolved to pot roasts so I went from basic to more sophisticated right away who taught me my mother eventually I enrolled in culinary school and learned to create sophisticated dishes like lobster bisque and souffles so I learned from my mother I learned in culinary school cooking school I’m giving you very specific examples omelets rose bisque souffle etc next a Tale of Two Cities this is a famous novel written by Charles Dickens that happens in London and Paris which also has to be where I learned to cook equipped with the basics I went to Paris the gourmet is paradise again groom a I’m playing with a little bit Paris paradise to delve deeper into the world of gastronomy so I have cooking I have culinary I have gourmet and I have gastronomy four good words that go with cooking after working in several kitchens under the tutelage of some hot tempered chef’s tutelage means like under the education of or the teaching of my turn to take the helm take the helm this is a good expression means take command take the lead finally arrived at a new restaurant in London so that’s your two cities Paris and London now all good stories and and they lived happily ever after so that’s my next heading happily ever after cooking open the world to me so why was it the greatest thing I ever learned why was it useful it let me travel it let me work let me pursue my passion it also gave me the chance to meet great people including my girlfriend who works in my kitchen I can honestly say cooking has been the most useful skill I’ve ever learned so I’m tying it up back up making sure I answered the question after all everybody’s got to eat okay so the main reason to cook is everybody has to eat it can change your life you’re going to meet people you’re going to always have a job you can travel with it okay now let’s look at another question I got this from the same site they gave you two they give you two samples sample tests on the Cambridge site when do you listen to music how do you choose what to listen to at different times and write the article it will be on the website so again you’re writing for a website now this sample doesn’t have subheadings doesn’t have bullets anything just paragraphs but it still does it now here’s my title music moods and memories I have three nouns of a conjunction I don’t have a full sentence I have four words I’m going to talk about music I’m going to say how it affects my moods and what how it brings back memories for example have you ever heard a song somewhere and we’re instantly transported back in time now starting your article with a question is always a good idea because it can if it’s an interesting question you will draw the reader into the article because most people will probably say yeah sure of course this song takes me to this time in place this song takes me to that time in place or you listen to a sad piece of music and ended up smiling for no reason sure music affects people in different ways but it does affect people because music has that power so right away I’m setting up the I guess the message or the focus of the article talking about music and how it is a powerful thing okay and then I get into more specific details and I answer the questions I don’t listen to music as often as I used to in my younger days I would listen to music for hours on end nowadays I’m too busy with real life to follow the music scene though I still appreciate a live concert now and then but this hasn’t lessened that the magical spells music casts over me whenever I feel down music is my go to mood therapy so if you look at the language here it’s very casual but not too casual I have some good expressions I’m using the quotation marks around real life to show that it has a slightly different meaning I have some expressions like now and then this is a good collocation might go to mood therapy so go-to is a colloquialism okay I listen to music for hours on end when I worry about the future I take a stroll through memory lane with old bands that seem to make the future seem brighter a stroll through memory lane basically means being nostalgic looking back and remembering things so there’s your idiom when I’m happy I make the feeling last with a catchy beat and sunny lyrics I don’t say with a fast beat or with a good lyrics catchy sunny good adjectives make they let the reader get more involved in the writing okay when depressed I wallow in satins wallow means I like I sink into the sadness into the music and let myself be sad like blues or jazz because music has the capacity to share and alleviate bad feelings don’t don’t be afraid to throw in a big word and they’re like alleviate once and well it’s not too big of a word but it’s different right as long as it fits and it flows with the rest of the article though to be fair I always chase these with something fun and funky to cheer myself up fun and funky you have the s and FA a little bit more lyrical it’s a little bit more musical chase some of you might drink alcohol you have a shot of whiskey and you chase it with a beer so that’s the same chase follow something with something else and then who could ask for a better friend because music shares takes away my sorrow makes me happy changes my mood makes me remember good things makes me optimistic it’s like a good friend so I tie it all up it has a power and the power is actually like friendship okay so there you go that’s basically all there is to it very straightforward make it fun make it playful use a lot of different elements if you can now both of these samples that I showed you are exactly 190 words I had to cut down a little bit because they were too long before but again it doesn’t have to be exactly perfect but make sure it’s not an essay don’t be too formal don’t be stiff make sure that you the reader wants to continue reading first of all make sure you catch the reader with that title to get them in in the first place now if you’re writing a blog again you’re obviously going to write the longer than that try to keep it under a thousand words 500 to 750 that’s a good size blog make it easy to read get to your points quickly make it interesting make it entertaining you’ll have lots of readers so I hope this was helpful for those of you taking the test I hope this helped you a bit for those of you just want to write better I hope this helped you as well if you have any questions please ask below in YouTube in the comment section if you like this video please give me a like please subscribe to my channel you can also go to my website right to top calm and subscribe there I send out an occasional newsletter for news and information and come back soon and watch some more good videos I don’t I’ll see you then bye bye

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