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Checkpoint English Clare Constant, Steve Eddy, Naomi Hursthouse, Ian Kirby

Series Editors: Julia Burchell and Mike Gould

Stage 9: Student Book

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Contents Chapter 1 ● Writing to explore and reflect 1.1 What is travel writing? 1.2 Selecting and noting key information in travel texts 1.3 Comparing tone and register in travel texts 1.4 Responding to travel writing

1.5 Understanding grammatical choices in travel writing 1.6 Varying sentences for effect 1.7 Boost your vocabulary 1.8 Creating a travel account

Chapter 2 ● Writing to inform and explain 2.1 Matching informative texts to audience and purpose 2.2 Using formal and informal language in information texts 2.3 Comparing information texts 2.4 Using discussion to prepare for a ­written ­assignment 2.5 Planning information texts to suit ­different audiences

2.6 Shaping paragraphs to suit audience and purpose 2.7 Crafting sentences for a range of effects 2.8 Making explanations precise and ­concise 2.9 Writing encyclopedia entries

Chapter 3 ● Writing to argue and persuade 3.1 Reviewing persuasive techniques 3.2 Commenting on use of language to persuade 3.3 Exploring layers of persuasive language 3.4 Responding to the use of persuasive language 3.5 Adapting grammar choices to create effects in argument writing

3.6 Organising a whole argument ­effectively 3.7 Organising an argument within each paragraph 3.8 Presenting and responding to a ­question 3.9 Producing an argumentative essay

Chapter 4 ● Descriptive writing 4.1 Analysing how atmospheres are ­created 4.2 Developing analysis of a description 4.3 Analysing atmospheric descriptions 4.4 Using images to inspire description 4.5 Using language to develop an ­atmosphere

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4.6 Sustaining a cohesive atmosphere 4.7 Creating atmosphere through ­punctuation 4.8 Using structural devices to build up atmosphere 4.9 Producing a powerful description

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Chapter 5 ● Narrative writing 5.1 Understanding story openings 5.2 Exploring setting and atmosphere 5.3 Introducing characters in stories 5.4 Responding to powerful narrative 5.5 Pitching a story 5.6 Creating narrative suspense and climax

5.7 Creating character 5.8 Using tenses in narrative 5.9 Using pronouns and sentence order for effect 5.10 Creating a thriller

Chapter 6 ● Writing to analyse and compare 6.1 Analysing implicit meaning in non-fiction texts 6.2 Analysing how a play’s key elements create different effects 6.3 Using discussion skills to analyse carefully

6.4 Comparing effectively through punctuation and grammar 6.5 Analysing two texts

Chapter 7 ● Testing your skills 7.1 Reading and writing questions on non-fiction texts 7.2 Reading and writing questions on ­fiction texts

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7.3 Assessing your progress: non-fiction reading and writing 7.4 Assessing your progress: fiction reading and writing

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1 Chapter 1 Writing to explore and reflect

What’s it all about? This chapter looks at how writers use non-fiction texts to explore and reflect on different experiences. Taking travel writing as an example, it explores how to use register, tone and grammar to produce an effective piece of non-fiction. You will learn how to: • identify the key features of travel writing • select and note key information in a text • identify register and tone in writing • identify and comment on grammatical choices • vary sentences for effect • choose interesting vocabulary. You will: • compare the style features of different pieces of travel writing • create your own piece of literary travel writing.

Writing to explore and reflect

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Chapter 1 . Topic 1

What is travel writing?

You will learn how to: • understand features of non-fiction texts • identify features of travel writing.

Travel writing is a form of non-fiction that allows writers to explore and reflect on their experiences of different cultures. They use several techniques to bring the places they describe alive for their readers.

Introducing the skills 1

Look at the picture below. Why might you want to travel here? What details make it seem appealing?


Which of the following features could describe fiction, which could describe non-fiction and which might apply to both? a) written from the imagination b) based on facts c) may include narrative d) may include detailed description e) includes characters f) could include imaginative language choices g) written in the third person.


Key term third person: a narrative viewpoint in a story that describes events and characters using the pronouns ‘he’, ‘she’ and ‘they’

Writing to explore and reflect

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Read the following piece of travel writing, written in 1846.

1 .1

Emerging from a low narrow corridor, we found ourselves in an open space, whose limits were lost in vapoury gloom; and spread out before us, cradled by majestic rocks, lay a beautiful little lake, its deep pure waters still and peaceful as those over which the sunbeams break, and the warm land-breezes sweep. A little boat lay floating on its breast, in which any enterprising person might cross to the other side, and proceed to explore yet farther the mysteries of the cave; but this is very rarely attempted, for the danger and difficulty are extreme, and many dismal stories are told of travellers who have entered the dark vault, and never again been seen, or who have been found dashed to pieces amongst the precipices. From ‘Adelsberg Grotto’ by Mary Ann Dwight


Find examples of the words or phrases in the extract that: a) describe the writer’s emotions/reactions b) appeal to the reader’s senses c) make the place seem exciting.

What is travel writing?

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Developing the skills Now read another example of travel writing. A man with wild grey hair, who turned out to be the driver, assured me that this was the Pershore bus, not a care home outing. Yet everyone knew everyone else and seemed in holiday mood. A spruce white-haired woman offered me a sweet. ‘Oh, no – you don’t like them, do you,’ she added, as if she knew me. The little single-decker visited every village for miles around. It didn’t just make minor detours – it set off on entirely new expeditions, and then returned to where it had branched off, only to take another route, as if in some whimsical experiment. From time to time the bus would pull up, and the driver would tenderly assist an appreciative old lady off the bus and across the road, carrying her bags to her door. Only when she’d found her key and gone inside would he return and drive on. At other times there were fond farewells, quips and kisses.

Vocabulary whimsical: unusual or playful quip: a witty comment

Once a red-faced man with one tooth got on, shook the driver’s hand, and greeted everyone in turn. Then, to my astonishment, he got back off, waving a cheery goodbye as we sped on our way.


Writing to explore and reflect

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1 .1

Consider the following points and make notes on: a) the effect this piece has on the reader (e.g. to amuse, inform, create a sense of wonder) b) descriptive words and phrases in the extract that show this effect c) the attitude of the writer.

Key term attitude: a way of thinking about something; a particular view

Applying the skills 5

Write two paragraphs comparing the extracts in this section. What features and aims do the two extracts share and how are they different?

Checklist for success: ✔ Identify and discuss the purpose of each extract. ✔ Show how details reflect this purpose. ✔ Comment on the attitude of the writer.

Check your progress: I can explain what travel writing is. I can identify some features of travel writing. I can identify the features of travel writing and their effect on the readers.

What is travel writing?

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Chapter 1 . Topic 2

Selecting and noting key information in travel texts

You will learn how to: • find information in nonfiction texts • select note-making methods.

When reading non-fiction texts, you may need to identify and note down particular pieces of information.

Introducing the skills 1

Remind yourself of the difference between these different reading methods. Note down what each one is used for. a) skimming b) scanning c) close reading.

Read the following extract, a description of train travel in Iraq. A one-way ticket to Basra was 1000 Iraqi dinars, the equivalent of about 50 US cents. The estimated trip time was 10 hours. The same 300-mile journey by taxi would have taken five hours and cost about US$12, an amount that few Iraqis could afford to pay.

Vocabulary dinars: Iraqi currency

‘Absolutely, this train is 100 per cent safe,’ the ticket agent assured us. So we boarded it and waited. And waited. The sun grew hotter and the temperature in the nonair-conditioned cars became unbearable. At noon we were ordered to disembark because the train had been cancelled – something about the tracks being sabotaged just south of Baghdad. Or maybe it was a mechanical problem. Different employees gave different answers. ‘Maybe tomorrow,’ a conductor told us, shrugging his shoulders. ‘Yes, come back tomorrow.’ From Baghdad to Basra, on the Wrong Side of the Tracks by César G. Soriano


Writing to explore and reflect

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One way to identify what is key information in a non-fiction text is to look for facts. For example, we do not know for sure whether the train is safe, but it is a fact that the ticket agent tells the author and his companion that it is. 2

1 .2

Select five facts given in the extract from the list below. a) It is 100 miles from Baghdad to Basra. b) The trip would cost more by taxi. c) The author takes advice before getting on the train. d) He finds an air-conditioned car (carriage). e) It is a very hot day. f) The train breaks down. g) The writer gets off the train at midday. h) A conductor thinks the train may leave the next day.


Find three more facts in the extract, then arrange all eight of your facts into positive and negative aspects of the train travel. Organise them in three different ways: a) a bulleted list b) a spider diagram c) a table. For example:


Train to Basra


Key terms

cheaper than a taxi 4

Which note-taking method do you prefer and why?

Some information in the extract is straightforward, such as the price of a train ticket to Basra. However, you need to infer other pieces of information. To do this, think about what a particular phrase implies.

infer: to work out what someone is implying through their choice of words imply: to suggest something through your choice of words, rather than saying it directly

Selecting and noting key information in travel texts

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Match the phrases in the grid with what each one implies.


What it implies

1 ‘The ticket agent assured us’

A There is no polite apology.

2 ‘we were ordered to disembark’

B The information is unclear.

3 ‘something about the tracks being sabotaged’

C There are conflicting explanations.

4 ‘Or maybe it was ...’

D The conductor does not know, and perhaps does not care.

5 ‘shrugging his shoulders’

E They were worried.

Developing the skills 6

Using your notes from Question 3, summarise the positive and negative aspects of the writer’s experience. Write five or six sentences, using your own words where possible. For example:

On the positive side, they check that the train... Remember to provide evidence for the meaning you infer from the extract about the writer’s feelings. For example:

The sentence ‘Different employees gave different answers’ implies that the people working for the railway were giving different reasons or excuses. Applying the skills Read this extract from later in the same text. Travelling on Iraqi Railways was not exactly the Orient Express. The old train had few amenities. There were no lights. Most of the seats were missing armrests.


Vocabulary Orient Express: a famous luxury train amenities: useful features

Writing to explore and reflect

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The toilets were simple holes in the floor that dumped directly onto the tracks below. There were no platforms between cars, so passengers had to carefully hop across an empty void, risking ending up on the tracks. There were no couchettes, no cafe and definitely no bar. I had only brought a small bottle of water and no food with me. Clearly, I had not planned well. Luckily, one of the train attendants was making a few dinars on the side by selling tea to passengers. He carried a teapot and a bucket of filthy water, which he used to wash the three teacups that were shared by all the passengers. He heated his teapot on a rusting kerosene stove and tank, dangerously perched in the aisle of a crowded passenger car. By noon my stomach was growling and I had become increasingly cranky. An old man across from me happily offered half his sandwich, but I felt guilty about accepting food from someone with so little.

1 .2 Vocabulary couchettes: bunks to sleep on cranky: irritable

From Baghdad to Basra, on the Wrong Side of the Tracks by César G. Soriano


Scan the extract and list the main pieces of information the writer gives about his experience.


Using your preferred note-making method, combine your notes on both extracts.


Use the information you have from both extracts to write a ‘Helpful Guide to Train Travel in Iraq’. In the guide, sum up what conditions readers can expect and give tips on how to prepare for their journey. For example:

How best to get from A to B on Iraqi trains Always book your ticket ahead

Choose a snappy title using ‘How to’ or a question. Vary the way you start your pieces of advice. Use the command or imperative form of the verb. Keep each piece of advice short.

Be prepared for delays

Check your progress:

Checklist for success: ✔ Find and briefly note down key information from the extracts. ✔ Summarise the information in your own words. ✔ Include details from both extracts.

I can find and list the main facts in a text. I can select the best method for making notes on a text. I can summarise information and reproduce it in a different format.

Selecting and noting key information in travel texts

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Chapter 1 . Topic 3

Comparing tone and register in travel texts Using different registers and tones in reflective texts such as travel writing can change the effect they have on a reader.

Introducing the skills Register means the style of language used. It particularly relates to how formal the language is. 1

Match each sentence in the left-hand column of the grid to the correct tone and register.


Tone and register

1 Let’s just stuff ourselves with sweets – we wouldn’t want to harm sugar producers’ profits, would we?

A serious tone; formal register

2 The Centre is a monstrous blot on the landscape, a shameful monument to greed.

B ironic tone; informal register

3 Climate change is a grave threat to continued human survival.

C angry tone; formal register

You will learn how to: • identify register and tone in writing.

Key terms register: the style of language used in a piece of writing, especially how formal it is formal: suitable for a serious occasion or purpose

Developing the skills Read this extract about an Inuit birthday party in Greenland. A large trestle table groaned with the weight of food outside the house; it was a celebratory feast, and the family were making sure that no one would go hungry. It was more than an act of generosity, it was a tradition, and not only that, it was an indication of the status of the hunter, and generosity is one of the most respected traits in any person. A small knot of people had gathered around the food, amicably chatting and eating. Slabs of fresh mattak – whale blubber – slick with oil, shone in the sunlight next to withered pieces of dried narwhal meat, which looked suspiciously like fibrous tree. From The Explorer’s Daughter by Kari Herbert


Writing to explore and reflect

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Which phrase best describes the tone of this extract? a) fast-paced and exciting

1 .3

b) warm and personal c) sad and reflective. 3

Note the effect of each of the following phrases. a) ‘groaned with the weight of food’ b) ‘an indication of the status of the hunter’ c) ‘a small knot of people’.

Applying the skills Read this opening to another piece of travel writing. While the majority of foreigners find the taste particularly nauseating, yak butter tea forms the staple diet of the Tibetans, together with tsampa (ground barley). It is an essential part of Tibetan cuisine and any Tibetan will tell you that it is not wise to start the day without a good bowl full of yak butter tea. It has been claimed that Tibetans can drink up to 50 cups a day. Such facts matter little when you are confronted with a freshly poured bowl and an eager host who is beaming a beautiful smile and beckoning you to take a drink. From The Hotel on the Roof of the World by Alec Le Sueur


Write two paragraphs about the content, tone and register of this extract.

Check your progress: I can identify the register of a text.

Checklist for success: ✔ Identify language revealing register and tone. ✔ Analyse the effect of register and tone on readers.

I can comment on the effect of tone in a text. I can comment on register and tone in different texts.

Comparing tone and register in travel texts

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Chapter 1 . Topic 4

Responding to travel writing

You will learn how to: • combine the reading skills you have learned when responding to travel writing • understand what makes a high-level response to travel writing.

Your task Make notes on the subject matter, register, tone and other style features of two pieces of travel writing, then write a comparison of them. Text A Explorer Ernest Shackleton describes a 16-day voyage undertaken in 1912 by six men in a 20-foot (6-metre) boat in the Antarctic to fetch help for his expedition. Cramped in our narrow quarters and continually wet by the spray, we suffered severely from cold throughout the journey. We fought the seas and the winds and at the same time had a daily struggle to keep ourselves alive. At times we were in dire peril. Generally we were upheld by the knowledge that we were making progress towards the land where we would be, but there were days and nights when we lay hove to, drifting across the storm-whitened seas and watching, with eyes interested rather than apprehensive, the uprearing masses of water, flung to and fro by Nature in the pride of her strength. Deep seemed the valleys when we lay between the reeling seas. High were the hills when we perched momentarily on the tops of giant combers. Nearly always there were gales. So small was our boat and so great were the seas that often our sail flapped idly in the calm between the crests of two waves. Then we would climb the next slope and catch the full fury of the gale where the wool-like whiteness of the breaking water surged around us.

Vocabulary hove to: with the sail set so that the boat is in a ‘resting’ position, making little progress but not needing to be steered apprehensive: anxious, worried combers: long, curling waves

From South by Ernest Shackleton


Writing to explore and reflect

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Text B

1 .4

An American woman describes a trip up the Nile in Egypt in the late nineteenth century. The mooring ropes are loosened – the sailors pole the boat off from the bank – bang go the guns, six from the Phila and six from the Bagstones, and away we go, our huge sail filling as it takes the wind! Happy are the Nile travellers who start thus with a fair breeze on a brilliant afternoon. The good boat cleaves her way swiftly and steadily. Waterside palaces and gardens glide by and are left behind. The domes and minarets of Cairo drop quickly out of sight. The mosque of the citadel and the ruined fort that looks down upon it from the mountain ridge above diminish in the distance. The pyramids stand up sharp and clear. We sit on the high upper deck, which is furnished with lounge-chairs, tables and foreign rugs, like a drawingroom in the open air, and enjoy the prospect at our ease. The valley is wide here and the banks are flat, showing a steep verge of crumbling alluvial mud next to the river. Long belts of palm groves, tracts of young corn only an inch or two above the surface, and clusters of mud huts, relieved now and then by a little white-washed cupola or a stumpy minaret, succeed each other on both sides of the river, while the horizon is bounded to right and left by long ranges of yellow limestone mountains.

Vocabulary cleaves: slices through the water minaret: the tower on a mosque alluvial: deposited by the river tracts: stretches

From A Thousand Miles up the Nile by Amelia B. Edwards

cupola: dome

Approaching the task 1

Decide which note-making method you will use. You might create a three-column table, with the different features in column 1 and example phrases and comments for each passage in columns 2 and 3. Or you could make each aspect (such as register) the main branch of a spider diagram, then deal with each passage in separate sub-branches.

Responding to travel writing

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Decide which elements of the extracts you will compare. For example: where or what is described

descriptive language such as imagery

how the experiences compare Compare...

register and tone

details included

Reflecting on your progress Response 1 Shackleton’s passage is about a rough sea journey. He tells us this in words like ‘Cramped...narrow...suffered severely from cold’, which show their discomfort. ‘Fought’ and ‘struggle’ show how hard it was to survive. They were often in great danger (‘dire peril’). Edwards, on the other hand, describes an enjoyable tourist trip, shown in the language. ‘Bang go the guns’ gives a sense of excitement. The second paragraph starts with ‘Happy’, emphasising the happy mood. Other phrases suggest everything being easy: ‘fair breeze on a brilliant afternoon...good boat...swiftly and steadily’.

Identifies a key idea. Uses well-chosen quotations and offers some explanation. Shows clear comparison. Analyses the effect of language.

Comment on Response 1 The student selects appropriate evidence, makes some good points and offers a personal response to the character in this answer. However, overall the evidence is not explained in enough depth and sometimes it is not analysed at all. 3


Using the comments above and progress points 1b–3b in the ‘Check your progress’ section at the end of this chapter, rewrite this response to improve it.

Writing to explore and reflect

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Response 2

1 .4

Shackleton’s register reflects the serious situation in ‘suffered severely’ and ‘dire peril’, emphasising difficulty and danger. He gives a very visual account, especially in ‘stormwhitened seas’ and ‘wool-like whiteness’. He also uses contrast in the metaphor ‘Deep seemed the valleys ... High were the hills’, as if the sea is a mountain range. Edwards describes a very different journey: a Nile pleasure cruise. The tone reveals enjoyment and ease, with the passengers being passive, shown by ‘Waterside palaces and gardens glide by’. The holiday mood is emphasised by the second paragraph starting with ‘Happy’. This uses word order like Shackleton in ‘Deep seemed ...’ but with an opposite effect.

Analyses tone and register. Comments on the effect of description. Identifies a figure of speech and ­analyses its effect. Makes a clear comparison, showing ­differences and similarities.

Comment on Response 2 This response selects appropriate evidence and makes some good points, for example about viewpoint and individual word choices, with some reasonable analysis of implied meaning. The evidence could be explained in more depth, making more connections. 4

Using the comments above and progress points 1c–3c in the ‘Check your progress’ section at the end of this chapter, rewrite this response to improve it.

Responding to travel writing

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Chapter 1 . Topic 5

Understanding grammatical choices in travel writing

You will learn how to: • analyse how travel texts are shaped by readers’ preferences • identify and comment on the effect of a travel writer’s grammatical choices.

Readers may be drawn to different styles and content in a piece of travel writing. For this reason, thinking carefully about the way you craft your sentences in such writing can shape the effect you have on your reader.

Introducing the skills Read this short travel text by the American author Mark Twain. He has just met an Englishman on his voyage, who has provided him with information. I already knew a good deal about the rabbits in Australasia and their marvelous fecundity, but in my talks with him I found that my estimate of the great hindrance and obstruction inflicted by the rabbit pest upon traffic and travel was far short of the facts. He told me that the first pair of rabbits imported into Australasia bred so wonderfully that within six months rabbits were so thick in the land that people had to dig trenches through them to get from town to town. He told me a great deal about worms, and the kangaroo, and other coleoptera, and said he knew the history and ways of all such pachydermata. He said the kangaroo had pockets, and carried its young in them when it couldn’t get apples. And he said that the emu was as big as an ostrich, and looked like one, and had an amorphous appetite and would eat bricks. From Following the Equator: A Journey Around the World by Mark Twain



Which of the following readers do you think would enjoy reading this text? Think about the content (the information in it) and the style (vocabulary, grammar, etc.).

Writing to explore and reflect

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a) A young person today who is about to travel around the world and wants to know about Australian wildlife.

1 .5

b) Someone in Mark Twain’s time, who has a sense of humour and who does not know about Australasian animals. 2

The writer uses long sentences but they are quite simple to understand. What do you notice about how the last four sentences start?


Now look at the first sentence of another travel text. Who do you think would enjoy reading this text?

You will need your wits about you if you’re driving inland from the South African coast to the ‘little karoo’ area. The beautiful route cuts through hills and steep ravines and is filled with imperious creatures who definitely rule the road. Yes, watch out for baboons!


How clear is the information in the extract? How is it different in style to the first text?

Understanding grammatical choices in travel writing

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Developing the skills A complex sentence adds information to the main clause by including one or more subordinate clauses (sub-clauses). Look at this sentence: We sit on the high upper deck, which is furnished with lounge-chairs, tables and foreign rugs, like a drawing-room in the open air. You could add to the main clause by finishing the sentence with ‘and enjoy the prospect at our ease’. 5

Write three more ways that you could add subordinate clauses to enrich the main clause and then complete the sentence. For example:

We sit on the high upper deck, which is fanned by breezes, and read the newspaper.

main clause sub-clause sub-clause

Key terms complex sentence: a sentence that contains a supporting idea (subordinate clause), which adds to the information in the main idea (main clause) clause: part of a sentence containing a subject and a predicate subordinate clause: a clause that depends on a main clause to make sense


Writing to explore and reflect

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1 .5

Applying the skills Read this extract about walking in Scotland. We passed through crags to reach the ridge, where a thin trail revealed itself. In the distance were the spiky volcanic peaks of the Cuillins on Skye. But perhaps the most remarkable view, an almost sheer 300 metres below us, was of a plateau broken by spidery black ribbons of peat and occasional dark pools – from this height resembling an ink-splattered pancake.


Write about the effect of sentence types in this passage. Notice especially which sentence has the most subordinate clauses. How does this enrich the meaning for the reader and anticipate their preferences?

Check your progress: I can identify different sentence types.

Checklist for success: ✔ Identify different types of sentence. ✔ Comment on the effectiveness of the different sentence types in meeting readers’ preferences.

I can identify and use different sentences. I can craft and comment on the effect of sentence types in appealing to readers’ preferences.

Understanding grammatical choices in travel writing

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Chapter 1 . Topic 6

Varying sentences for effect

You will learn how to: • order parts of a sentence for effect • use punctuation to express meaning.

Varying word order in sentences can create and affect meaning in travel writing. Punctuation can enhance this.

Introducing the skills You can use word order to create or emphasise meaning. Look at the two descriptions below. The first is from Ernest Shackleton’s account that you read in Topic 1.4. The second is a different version of the same text. Deep seemed the valleys when we lay between the reeling seas. High were the hills when we perched momentarily on the tops of giant combers.

When we lay between the reeling seas, the valleys seemed deep. The hills were high when we perched momentarily on the tops of giant combers.


Which version do you find more powerful? Why?


Shackleton starts each sentence with an adjective. How do the adjectives emphasise the contrast?

Shackleton’s sentences create even more of a contrast by echoing each other’s grammar: Deep seemed the valleys when we lay between the reeling seas. 3

Copy out this sentence. Then write the second sentence below it so that the matching sections are aligned. Identify the adjectives, verbs, nouns and prepositions to show the similarities in the grammar.

Developing the skills In complex sentences, you can choose the order of the main and subordinate clause. For example: •


I paddled like mad for the shore, with the crocodile gaining on me by the second. Writing to explore and reflect

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With the crocodile gaining on me by the second, I paddled like mad for the shore.


Which of the sentences creates a greater sense of urgency?


Complete the following sentences by adding subordinate clauses. Aim to create suspense and excitement. Remember to use commas.

1 .6

a) Knowing that my life depended on it, ... b) Remembering what we had heard about avalanches, ... 6

Now create exciting sentences by adding a subordinate clause before these main clauses. For example you could begin your subordinate clause with ‘Hoping that...’ or ‘Desperate to...’. a) ...we kept to the north bank of the river. b) ...I stumbled on through the deepening snow. c) ...we cooked the last of our provisions.

Using a dash (–) before a subordinate clause can make it seem more dramatic or surprising. For example:

Our canoe hurtled down the rapids – which constantly threatened to swamp us. 7

Write new subordinate clauses to come after the main clauses in Question 6. This time, make them dramatic or surprising and use a dash instead of a comma.

Applying the skills 8

Write two paragraphs in which you describe an interesting place or an exciting journey or experience. Use what you have learned about word order and punctuation to vary your sentences for effect.

Checklist for success: ✔ Vary your sentence types. ✔ Use word and clause order within a sentence for impact.

Check your progress: I can add a subordinate clause to a main clause. I can vary sentences by using subordinate and main clauses I can vary sentences and use punctuation for effect.

Varying sentences for effect

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Chapter 1 . Topic 7

Boost your vocabulary

You will learn how to: • express meaning using precise vocabulary • select the most appropriate text format, layout and presentation to create impact and engage the reader.

However varied and interesting your vocabulary is, if you want someone to read your own travel account you need to think carefully about the format and layout of your writing.

Introducing the skills When writing, it is important to choose interesting words – think about whether the word or phrase you are using has the impact you want. If it doesn’t, then replace it. You might need to replace a phrase with a single word. Key term 1

Write down all the synonyms you can think of for the following adjectives: nice, horrible, big, small.

Read the following extract about climbing a mountain.

We made for a dry ravine beyond [a sticky-out rock], while an [out of sight] cuckoo’s call [came] up from the glen. From here it was a straightforward [climb] to Mas Garbh. On the map, this is a [clearly separate] and relatively level area with several small lochans. From a distance, too, it forms a clear saddle before the [top]. However, by the time we reached it, cloud hung [gloomily] all around, and we had to [get] round minibus-sized boulders, only occasionally [seeing] rising ground ahead.


synonym: a word that is identical or close in meaning to another one, e.g. wet/damp Vocabulary lochans: small lochs (highland lakes)

Replace the words and phrases in brackets with alternatives from the list below. an outcrop eerily invisible

ascent final peak legend

confirmed floated navigate

distinct glimpsing shroudlike

You may need to choose your vocabulary from a number of options. Consider which one:


best expresses what you want to say

is in the right register and tone. Writing to explore and reflect

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You may find it useful to use a thesaurus – either in book form or online. 3

Read the following extract, then replace the underlined words with an alternative from the list below. Caribia is a nice place. The scenery is beautiful, the climate is lovely, and the range of wildlife is amazing. The people are friendly though often poor.

1 .7 Key term thesaurus: book or website giving alternative words of similar meaning

a) nice: pleasant, delightful, agreeable, charming b) place: area, region, part of the world, location, district c) beautiful: attractive, stunning, spectacular, captivating d) lovely: appealing, balmy, benign, mild e) range: multiplicity, variety, diversity, spread f) amazing: extraordinary, staggering, astonishing g) poor: penniless, impoverished, destitute, povertystricken.

Developing the skills Read the extract below.

Checklist for success: The last long slog up the rocky spine of the mountain was tiring but pretty. After a bit of a climb over really big boulders we reached the top and sat under a blue sky looking down into the far valley.


Think of more interesting words or phrases for each of the underlined words in the extract. Compare your answers with a partner’s. Did you think of the same ones? If not, decide which are the most effective.

Applying the skills 5

Write your own description of a real or imagined experience for a blog, perhaps based on a holiday location or where you live, making it interesting for your reader. You can include images if you wish.

✔ Choose interesting and appropriate words. ✔ Choose words that fit the extract’s mood and context.

Check your progress: I can choose some interesting vocabulary. I can choose words and phrases for precision and impact. I can express meaning using precise and interesting vocabulary.

Boost your vocabulary

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Chapter 1 . Topic 8

Creating a travel account

You will learn how to: • combine the non-fiction writing skills you have learned in one text • write a high-level piece of travel writing.

Your task Use the facts in the extract below to create an interesting piece of writing for a travel magazine that will appeal to teenagers. For your own piece, imagine that you visited the same place to go hiking. Badlands National Park is a protected area of 950 square kilometres in South Dakota, USA. Much of it consists of jagged ridges and peaks, deep canyons, and dried-up stream beds. Geologically, much of the area is soft sandstone, so there are few peaks. It is also difficult to climb the ridges, because of the crumbling soil and rock. It is easy to get lost because there are no paths, and few landmarks or linear features to follow, so it is hard to get a perspective on the area. The Badlands climate is mostly very dry, and summer temperatures can exceed 38 degrees C, so much of the area is almost desert. However, small drought-resistant trees and bushes, and low vegetation such as sage, help to support wildlife. This includes buffalo, usually seen singly because of the sparse grazing, prairie dogs, bobcats, foxes, coyotes, antelope, mule deer, swifts and eagles. Snakes include bull snakes, yellow-bellied racers, and highly venomous prairie rattlesnakes. At one time the area was used by the US Air Force for bombing practice.


A sign warns that there may still be unexploded bombs. There are also large fossils: another sign warns that taking them is illegal. One way to approach the Badlands is on Route 2, a dirt road passing the Cuny Table Café. This is run by the Cuny family, partly descended from the local Native American tribe, the Lakota. This part of the park is within the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The café is a tin building set in a wide-open treeless area. It serves basic food. It is possible to camp outside. Cuny Table is a high plateau nearby. From here a steep descent leads to the Badlands. Locals suggest that if you park your car right on the edge, you will be able to see it from a distance and find your way back.

Writing to explore and reflect

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1 .8

Approaching the task 1

Use your note-making skills to create bullet points, a spider diagram or a table summarising the key facts from the extract.


Imagine your expedition to the Badlands. Plan what you want to include in your own account. For example: breakfast at café


getting to Badlands Badlands hike




Turn your notes into a paragraph plan, showing what you will focus on in each of four or five paragraphs. Write an opening topic sentence for each paragraph.


Now write your account, selecting engaging details and using effective vocabulary. Use the first person (e.g. ‘I scrambled down the crumbling cliff ...’)


When you have finished, read through your account, asking the following questions.

Key term first person: a type of narration that uses ‘I’ and ‘me’ and tells the story from one character’s viewpoint

a) Does anything need further explanation? b) Are there interesting details you could add or dull ones you could remove? c) Have you varied your sentences enough? d) Have you repeated yourself or overused certain words? e) Are there words or phrases you could replace with more effective ones? f) Have you used punctuation effectively – for example, with clauses?

Creating a travel account

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Consider the layout that you would use for this article. How would you use the following features to make your article appeal to a teenage audience? a) headings and sub-headings b) images and captions.

Reflecting on your progress Response 1 1


I was excited as I set off into the Badlands. I had heard about its jagged ridges and deep canyons. I knew it had 2 loads of wildlife. Most of all, I thought it would be great to see some buffalo. I parked my car on the edge of the plateau,, where I would be able to see it from a long way off, and began the steep descent into the dusty bowl below me. It was 5 already very hot, and the air was still, with no breeze. A lizard ran away into the brush, and overhead I could see 6 an eagle flying on the air currents.



Offers a personal response using the facts appropriately.


Provides some reasons for visiting.


Needs to consider audience – more dramatic way of getting to location.


Varies sentences and uses good vocabulary.


Gives a sense of setting and atmosphere.


Includes some effective details.

Comment on Response 1 This is a well-sequenced introduction to an article, making use of the facts in the account, together with a personal response, a sense of setting and some effective selection of descriptive details. However, while there is some variety of sentence construction, some of the details and the register are not consistent or entirely appropriate for a teenage audience.


Writing to explore and reflect

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1 .8

Using the comments above and progress points 4b–6b in the ‘Check your progress’ section at the end of this chapter, rewrite this response to improve it.

Response 2 1


I had seen pictures of the craggy and rugged landscape of the Badlands, so I was keen to see it in person. I scrambled down the steep, dusty slope and was hit by the heat rising up from below. I thought the wildlife would be under cover 3 till the evening. But I was wrong. As I came over the edge of a hill, I saw, just fifty metres away, my first buffalo. It was a lone bull. His dark eye looked at me with menace. I edged away, and was startled by a green lizard running under a rock.


Offers some personal feeling, with well-chosen adjectives.


Makes effective verb and adjective choices.


Prepares the reader for the buffalo.


Creates suspense with a subordinate clause.


Dramatic sighting will appeal to teenage audience.


Includes effective and engaging choice of details.


4 6

Comment on Response 2 This is a good personal response, with consistently appropriate register for the teenage audience and some effective vocabulary, including adjectives and nouns – although this could be improved on. There is some variety of sentence types, but some simple sentences could be joined to provide further variety. 8

Using the comments above and progress points 4c–6c in the ‘Check your progress’ section at the end of this chapter, rewrite this response to improve it.

Key term simple sentence: a sentence that contains one subject and one verb (e.g. ‘The bell rang.’)

Creating a travel account

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Check your progress 1a  I can identify some of the stylistic points of non-fiction. 2a  I can take notes on a passage. 3a  I can identify formal and informal register in a text. 4a  I can identify some types of sentence in a text. 5a  I can use some different sentence types and punctuation. 6a  I can choose particular words for effect. 1b  I can identify some of the features of travel writing and comment on them. 2b  I can select from a range of note-making options. 3b  I can explain how the register of a piece of writing suits its purpose and audience. 4b  I can identify how writers use some grammatical features for effect. 5b  I can use a range of appropriate sentence types and punctuation. 6b  I can use a range of precise and appropriate vocabulary. 1c I can identify the features of literary non-fiction and write about why they are effective. 2c  I can summarise information and use it in a different form. 3c  I can comment on the effect of register and tone in a variety of texts. 4c  I can identify and comment on effective uses of grammar and sentence ordering. 5c  I can use a range of appropriate and effective sentence types and punctuation. 6c  I can use a wide range of appropriate and effective vocabulary.


Writing to explore and reflect

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Cambridge Checkpoint English: Stage 9 Student Book  
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