Look at this task:
An English friend of yours is working on a series of articles called “Young and Old Around the World” which looks at different towns and cities through the eyes of teenagers and senior citizens. She has written asking for your help and this is an extract from her letter.
What I want is some first-hand information about what it’s like to live in your town from the point of view of the two different age groups. You would need to interview, say, ten people in each category on the main topics of public transport, entertainment, and shopping and write me a brief report. Could you also include a short introduction about your town and give a little summing up at the end?
Write your report in about 250 words.
A report is a formal document prepared by one person or a group of people who have been studying a particular subject. There are two basic kinds of reports:
- The first simply provides information on a topic and gives a brief conclusion or summary at the end. Example: a report on the educational system in a particular country, written to help someone research the subject.
- The second sets out to identify strengths and weaknesses in a particular situation and make recommendations for improvement. Example: a report on the library facilities in a college written at the request of the principal.
Language and register
Reports are the most impersonal kind of writing and it is usually best to avoid expressing personal opinions or feelings, except, perhaps, in the conclusion. Instead of I think that … or I found that… for example, you can use the impersonal “It” construction and a passive, eg It seems that… It was found that …
It is also advisable to avoid making very definite statements unless you’re absolutely sure they’re true. Instead of saying It is for example, you can use a modal verb eg It could/may/might be or a more tentative expression such as It seems to be or It tends to be.
Layout and organisation
Reports should have a clear factual heading and may also have subheadings which divide the writing into shorter sections. The information should be organised and presented as clearly and logically as possible, with a short introduction explaining the aims of the report and how the information was obtained and a suitable conclusion, summing up the information and making recommendations if necessary.
Introduction: The aim of this report is to.. It is based on…
This report is intended to.. It draws on
This report looks at / describes.. It uses..
observation: It seems/appears that.. It was found that..
The majority / minority of … It was felt that ..
Quoting: According to … As X said… In the words of …
Speculating: It may / could / might (well) be that ..
Generalising: In general On the whole In the main
Commenting: Interestingly Curiously Oddly Strangely
As might be (have been) expected It is interesting that
Making a recommendation: It is recommended that ..
(Perhaps) it would be advisable for X to (do)
(Perhaps) X might /should consider
Summing up: To sum up / To summarise On balance In short
Study the following example carefully:
Leisure Facilities in Grimthorpe
The aim of this report is to describe and assess the leisure facilities available in Grimthorpe. It is based on information made available by the Grimthorpe Tourist Office, and on views expressed by local people who were interviewed.
Grimthorpe has a wide range of sports facilities, both public and private. There is a large modern leisure centre in the High Street and facilities include a swimming pool, a sports hall for judo, fencing and other activities, and tennis courts. The centre runs courses in all these sports and these tend to be very popular. Membership costs £150 a year, which was felt to be rather expensive, but a special temporary membership is available to visitors. The public swimming pool on the outskirts of the town is older, less attractive and often overcrowded, but entry is only £1.50.
There are two theatres in town, the Kings Theatre in
Bee Street, which
offers mainly “serious” drama and has a good reputation for its productions of
Shakespeare, and the Little Theatre in Sea Street which specialises in lighter
entertainment and the occasional pop concert. In general, it seems that the
Kings Theatre is more popular with the older members of the community while the
Little appeals more to people in their teens and twenties.
has an extensive
collection of maps, pottery and other articles connected with Grimthorpe’s
history. The attendants are said to be very friendly and helpful, and there is
also a small café with reasonably priced home-made snacks. Interestingly, few
of the local people interviewed had ever been to the museum but it was
recommended highly by several tourists. City
Grimthorpe is well provided with leisure facilities for a town of its size and these are well used by the townspeople on the whole. Sport seems to be the most popular leisure activity, while cultural activities like visiting the museum or art gallery appeared to be the least popular among the Grimthorpians who were interviewed. Perhaps the City Council should consider launching a publicity campaign to show how much these facilities have to offer.
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