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  1. #1
    enydia is offline Member
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    Is this essay off-topic?

    Hello, Teachers.

    Here is a task description in a writing test and an answer example written by a native speaker. Do you think it is off-topic?

    -----------------------
    Write about the following topic:
    Food can be produced much more cheaply today because of improved facilities and better machinery. However, some of the methods may be dangerous to human health, and may have negative effects on local community. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
    Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.

    -----------------------
    Answer Example:

    Food can be produced much more cheaply today because of improved techniques and facilities and better machinery. Some of these methods however may be dangerous to human health and may have negative effects on local communities. The importance of this impact has been debated by many but not enough has been done to address these emerging problems.

    When the issue of food production management is first raised, many will immediately point out the legions of starving nations in the world, the lack of sufficient food, the poverty induced starvation and such. This seems to imply some justification for the adoption of new methods of food production and the sacrifice of high standards of safety and quality. Bringing food to those who need it is a noble cause, and indeed should be one of the primary concerns of so-called developed and developing countries. Food management and distribution are however much greater issues than new methods of food production.

    There is no lack of food in the world. Food that would feed those who are starving goes instead in to the bellies of cows and other livestock that consume enough in their lifetimes to feed hundreds. Restaurants prepare more food than their customers could ever consume, food in one part of the world goes into the garbage while people in another starve to death. The primary drive behind new methods of food production is not service of the public, but comes from private companies and farmers hoping to secure larger profits by adopting more efficient and less expensive methods.

    Like death and taxes, food is the great leveler of all mankind. Everyone needs to eat, and the quality and safety of that food determines the quality of our lives. Steps must be taken to ensure that standards are created and rigorously enforced.

    --------------------------
    In my opinion, the author focused on why measures should be taken to deal with the problems, but not on whether and why he/she agree or disagree with the view expressed in the task description. Did he/she digress or run within permissible area? How to understand the task description correctly?

    Thank you in advance.

    Enydia

  2. #2
    Raymott's Avatar
    Raymott is offline VIP Member
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    Re: Is this essay off-topic?

    Quote Originally Posted by enydia View Post
    hello, teachers.

    here is a task description in a writing test and an answer example written by a native speaker. Do you think it is off-topic?

    -----------------------
    write about the following topic:
    food can be produced much more cheaply today because of improved facilities and better machinery. However, some of the methods may be dangerous to human health, and may have negative effects on local community. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
    it's a strange question. The two statements are trivially true, so there's not much scope to disagree. A better question would be "given these facts, to what extent do you agree that these new methods should be used", or something of the sort.

    give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.


    -----------------------
    answer example:

    food can be produced much more cheaply today because of improved techniques and facilities and better machinery. Some of these methods however may be dangerous to human health and may have negative effects on local communities.
    this copying of the title as part of the essay would normally be considered unacceptable. It's not in the spirit of writing an original essay. Doing this could be regarded as evidence that the author cannot write an introduction. However, it does mean that the author agrees with the proposition. So the question has at least been answered.

    the importance of this impact has been debated by many but not enough has been done to address these emerging problems.


    when the issue of food production management is first raised, many will immediately point out the legions of starving nations in the world, the lack of sufficient food, the poverty induced starvation and such. this seems to imply some justification for the adoption of new methods of food production and the sacrifice of high standards of safety and quality. bringing food to those who need it is a noble cause, and indeed should be one of the primary concerns of so-called developed and developing countries. Food management and distribution are however much greater issues than new methods of food production.
    in the sentence in red, the author restates his agreement with the two propositions. He gives no evidence for the claim that high standards of safety and quality are sacrificed though.

    there is no lack of food in the world. Food that would feed those who are starving goes instead in to the bellies of cows and other livestock that consume enough in their lifetimes to feed hundreds. Restaurants prepare more food than their customers could ever consume, food in one part of the world goes into the garbage while people in another starve to death. the primary drive behind new methods of food production is not service of the public, but comes from private companies and farmers hoping to secure larger profits by adopting more efficient and less expensive methods.

    like death and taxes, food is the great leveler of all mankind. Everyone needs to eat, and the quality and safety of that food determines the quality of our lives. Steps must be taken to ensure that standards are created and rigorously enforced.

    --------------------------
    in my opinion, the author focused on why measures should be taken to deal with the problems, but not on whether and why he/she agree or disagree with the view expressed in the task description. Did he/she digress or run within permissible area?
    he has given no
    "reasons for his answer", nor has he included "relevant examples from [his] own knowledge or experience" to explain why he agrees with the propositions.

    The important point is that he has not given his reasons for agreeing either that i)
    food can be produced much more cheaply today because of improved facilities and better machinery, or that ii) "some of the methods may be dangerous to human health, and may have negative effects on local community".

    how to understand the task description correctly?

    the task description is defective in my opinion, as i've written above.
    nevertheless, i'd have to fail this essay.
    What do you think?
    r.

  3. #3
    enydia is offline Member
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    Re: Is this essay off-topic?

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    r.
    Thank your for your help, Raymott. ^_^

    That is a question from IELTS, and the answer is written by an native-speaker teacher as an example awarded full marks. I was very confused by this score.

    Now I have two question:

    1 How to deal with the question having such a ‘trivially true’ conclusion?

    2 How about the wording of that essay? Is it valuable for a learner (like me) to recite and borrow some expressions from?

    Enydia

  4. #4
    Raymott's Avatar
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    Re: Is this essay off-topic?

    Quote Originally Posted by enydia View Post
    thank your for your help, raymott. ^_^

    that is a question from ielts, and the answer is written by an native-speaker teacher as an example awarded full marks. I was very confused by this score.
    so am i. It was obviously given for the level of correct english expression, with no attention to whether it answered the question.

    now i have two question:

    1 how to deal with the question having such a ‘trivially true’ conclusion?
    write something about the topic in your best english. If it's an ielts exam, they are apparently not interested in the logic of the answer, but simply in the correctness of the english used.

    2 how about the wording of that essay? Is it valuable for a learner (like me) to recite and borrow some expressions from?
    yes, the wording is quite good.

    enydia
    r.

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