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English Writing The Structure of a Paper--Abstract I. Reciting NCE Book 3—Unit 41 Lesson 41: Illusions of Pastoral peace  宁静田园生活的遐想        

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The Structure of a Paper--Abstract

I. Reciting NCE Book 3—Unit 41


Lesson 41: Illusions of Pastoral peace  宁静田园生活的遐想        

The quiet life of the country has never appealed to me. City born and city bred. I have always regarded the country as something you look at through a train window, or something you occasional visit during the weekend. Most of my friends live in the city, yet they always go into raptures at the mere mention of the country. Though they extol the virtues of the peaceful life, only one of them has ever gone to live in the country and he was back in town within six months. Even he still lives under the illusion that country life is somehow superior to town life. He is forever talking about the friendly people, the clean atmosphere, the closeness to nature and the gentle pace of living. Nothing can be compared, he maintains, with the first cockcrow, the twittering of birds at dawn, the sight of the rising sun glinting on the trees and pastures. This idyllic pastoral scene is only part of the picture. My friend fails to mention the long and friendless winter evenings in front of the TV -- virtually the only form of entertainment. He says nothing about the poor selection of goods in the shops, or about those unfortunate people who have to travel from the country to the city every day to get to work. Why people are prepared to tolerate a four-hour journey each day for the dubious privilege of living in the country is beyond me. They could be saved so much misery and expense if they chose to live in the city where they rightly belong.


If you can do without the few pastoral pleasures of the country, you will find the city can provide you with the best that life can offer. You never have to travel miles to see your friends. They invariably lie nearby and are always available for an informal chat or an evening's entertainment. Some of my acquaintances in the country come up to town once or twice a year to visit the theatre as a special treat. For them this is a major operation which involves considerable planning. As the play draws to its close, they wonder whether they will ever catch that last train home. The city dweller never experiences anxieties of this sort. The latest exhibitions, films, or plays are only a short bus ride away. Shopping, too, is always a pleasure. There is so much variety that you never have to make do with second best. Country people run wild when they go shopping in the city and stagger home loaded with as many of the exotic items as they can carry. Nor is the city without its moments of beauty. There is something comforting about the warm glow shed by advertisements on cold wet winter nights. Few things could be more impressive than the peace that descends on deserted city streets at weekends when the thousands that travel to work every day are tucked away in their homes in the country. It has always been a mystery to me who city dwellers, who appreciate all these things, obstinately pretend that they would prefer to live in the country.


Follow-up exercise:

1.Oral presentation based on the topic

2.Question: How is the essay –lesson 41 developed? How does the author argue?

Which do you prefer: life in the country or life in the city? By living in the country, we may enjoy fresh air and better environment. Unlike the cities, there is almost no pollution in the country. What's more, we are much closer to nature. Green trees and grass are everywhere. Life in the countryside is simple and peaceful. People in the rural area are much closely related with each other, and they seldom feel lonely. Whenever one is in trouble, others will lend a hand.


It's good for your health to live in country. However it also causes lots of inconvenience. You have to take long distance to go to work. When you get home from work, you will soon get tired and feel sleepy. And you will also find it is getting dark. The only thing you can do is to go to bed. If you are young people, you could not enjoy the modern life, no bars, no amusement... nowadays people have developed their environment protecting conception, and have been trying to work on the city environments. City traffic is so well developed that people can go anywhere easily and quickly. It is also convenient to do shopping because many shops and markets are just round the corner. In addition, urban people can enjoy more leisure and entertainment. Cinemas, bars, restaurants and parks are everywhere and some are open day and night. In a word, city people can always have fun if they have time and money.


There are both advantages and disadvantages for people either living in the rural or urban areas. We can't have both at the same time. As for myself I would prefer to work in the city and live in the country. Maybe, the suburban area is the best choice if I have a villa and a car of my own.


Question: How is the essay –lesson 41 developed? How does the author argue?

This text compares country life with city life. So it is an essay of comparison and contrast. The author’s view is quite clear. He prefers the city life. And what’s more, he is against those city dwellers who always claim to love the country life. So he presents his friend’s view first. And then asks the negative side of country life to it. And then he describes the advantages of city life and he emphasizes that these advantages are not available for the country dwellers.

Write an essay based on the topic: Which do you prefer: life in the country or life in the city?


II. Abstract

What is an abstract?

Providing an abstract for your thesis is part of an academic tradition followed internationally and hence reflects a high degree of academic credibility. “Abstract” is needed as an essential part of a substantial academic paper to be published. Your term papers(学期论文), research reports(研究报告), project proposals(项目申请), and degree papers(学位论文)like theses or dissertations all belong to this type of writing. It is a very brief summary of the paper’s content, a presentation of its central ideas or focal points in a few sentences or in 100—300 words (some are longer).


Today is an information explosion and electronic period, how to get quick access to needed information becomes all important. In an epoch like this, abstract databases (文摘数据库) can help you get fast access to what you want in your information search. Abstract indexing has also become an important and popular information source for scientific research and academic evaluation. The popularity and acceptance of some internationally known abstract databases such as SCI (Sciences Citation Index) and SSCI (Social Sciences Citation Index) are good examples.

An abstract text consists of the three parts: 1. Abstract labeling(文摘标示) 2. Abstract body(文摘正文) 3. Key words(关键词语)


Ⅰ.Nuclear Weapons

Abstract body(文摘正文)

A well-written abstract helps readers understand the purpose of the study and value of the research work. It provides information concerning the following aspects: an introductory statement /problem statement ( the purpose of the study, the research questions to be addressed, the subjects involved), methodology consideration (the instruments used to collect the data, the procedures for selecting and analyzing the data), the findings and concluding remarks (研究目的、研究方法、研究结果、研究的主要结论。). It should contain the most important words referring to method and content of the paper,and usually uses one or more well developed paragraphs which are unified, coherent, concise, and able to stand alone.

Use the following as a checklist for your abstract.



What is your study about?

What are your research motives for conducting this study?

What problem are you trying to solve? What is the scope of your work?


How did you go about solving or making progress on the problem?


What’s the answer?

What are your findings and conclusions?

Be concrete and specific with the results. Avoid vague results such as “very,” “small,” or “significant.”

Conclusions and Recommendations

What are the implications of your answer?

Key words

What key words do you want to use to summarize your study?

Key words(关键词语)


Key words are important words that you want to use to describe, explain, and summarize your study. The focus of your study, the methods of your investigation, and the research perspectives of your thesis could all be your key words.

An abstract should contain the most important words referring to method and content of the paper. The practice of using key words in an abstract is vital because of today's electronic information retrieval systems. Titles and abstracts are filed electronically, and key words are put in electronic storage. When people search for information, they enter key words related to the subject, and the computer prints out the titles of articles, papers, and reports containing those key words. Thus, an abstract must contain key words about what is essential in an article, paper, or report so that someone else can retrieve information from it.


Case study



(From TEACHING ENGLISH IN CHINA---Vol.30 No.6 2007)

Sample 1.


Self-concept is an important theory in psycholinguistics, meaningful not only to the development of psychological health, but also to English study. This thesis, based on experiments, analyzes the correlation between self-concept and English study. The comparisons include self-concept and English listening, self-concept and English speaking, self-concept and English reading, and self-concept and English writing. Emphasis is especially put on the comparison between self-concept and English speaking. By recorded spoken English test, scores are given first according to the evaluation of College English Test Spoken English Test. Then, the voice is processed through PRAAT. Finally, Spoken English Test scores and result of voice analysis are analyzed by SPSS. The experiment results show that those who score high in Self-concept Test have better achievement than others in English listening, speaking, reading and writing. In other words, self-concept corresponds to English performance.

Key words

Self; self-concept; English study correlation; comparison

(From TEACHING ENGLISH IN CHINA---Vol.30 No.6 2007)




Sample 2. 


This paper investigates the developmental feature of Chinese-speaking learner’s use of noun colligation on the basis of tagged corpora. Three sub-corpora of CLEC are employed along with PowerGREP. In this study colligation is classified into grammatical colligation and lexical colligation. The data showed that the learners across three proficiency levels made remarkable progress in terms of grammatical colligation, but no obvious development was found regarding lexical colligation. It is argued that Chinese learners follow the pattern of “ Lexicalizaton-Syntacticalization-Relecicalization” with respect to their use of noun colligation. The trace of mother tongue is revealed in their behavior of colligation.(外语教学与研究,2006-4, p272)

Key words: tagged corpora; noun; colligation;


Some rules and principles should be followed when you write an abstract

An effective abstract has the following qualities:

Diction: formal

Style: formal

Content: concise (but the basic elements: purpose, results, conclusions, and recommendations are needed); one or more well developed paragraphs: (unified, coherent, concise, and able to stand alone); avoiding overstatement and unreliable prediction, and new information;. Grammar: 1) present tense, past tense sometimes, present perfect tense if necessary.

2) pronouns: the third person not “We、I”

3) voice: both

Sentence patterns: Declarative

The author of this article reviews/discusses/describes/summarizes/examines…

This article is about/concerns/tells of/deals with/focuses on the topics of /presents the knowledge that/discusses/analyzes/provides an overview of /elaborates on/gives an overview of/covers the role of…in…/addresses important topics including…/touches upon…

The purpose of this article is to determine…

The problem of ….is discussed….

The author suggests (recommends, concludes) that…

The author finds it necessary to…


Linguistic features: formal style, longer noun phrases, more uses of the passive voice, and academic words

In general, the content of the abstract in Chinese should be the same as that in English. But a literal translation of the English version is definitely unsatisfactory. To ensure the readability of the abstract, an abstract in Chinese should also be well written. Some English majors seem to be weak in writing in Chinese .Try to improve your Chinese from now on.


This paper introduces process writing approach, and theories of learner motivation and learner autonomy. A fieldwork experiment is conducted on the comparison of on-line learning and traditional face-to-face learning to find out whether on-line learning can improve learners’ writing ability and learners motivation in EFL writing. The results show that on-line learning with its distinctive advantages where process writing approach can be carried out relatively easily can arouse learners’ intrinsic motivation and enhance learner autonomy, thus improving learners’ writing ability significantly.



1.Write an essay based on the topic:Which do you prefer: life in the country or life in the city?

2.Write an abstract for the paper given.