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How to write an article? | C2 Proficient (CPE)

Level: C2
How to write an article? | C2 Proficient (CPE)

An article is written on a particular theme in a style which makes it suitable for publication in an English-language newspaper, magazine or newsletter.

The purpose of an article is to convey information; it may contain some description and/or narrative, and you should bear in mind the need to engage the interest of their readers.

In some cases, a personal angle will be appropriate and a catchy title will attract the reader’s attention.

However,  there are many different types of articles, and You should check carefully to see what kind of publication You are being asked to write for. An article in an academic publication will have a very different style and choice of language from one in an international magazine.

How to write a CPE article?

1. Keep in mind where will the article appear
– a newspaper,  magazine or website?

2. Who is the target group?
Discover your audience. Are you writing for beginner, intermediate or advanced readers?

Having a good grasp on who will be reading your article can help you orient the information and the tone so that it’s as useful as possible.

3. What is the purpose of the article
– to advise, suggest, inform, compare, contrast describe, etc.?

4. Organise your ideas carefully in paragraphs.
– each paragraph should provide a clear topic sentence.

An attractive title
Drawing the attention of readers and indicating the article’s theme.
An introduction
Clarifying the theme and attracting the reader’s attention.
The main body paragraph
Articles may also have subheadings for each paragraph.
The main body paragraph
Articles may also have subheadings for each paragraph.
Conclusion
Either a summary of the theme or a final opinion, recommendation or comment.

The CPE article may be formal, semi-formal or informal, depending on the target group.  Use a descriptive vocabulary and language relevant to the article.

Combining words and expressions with a variety of vocabulary will only improve your work and make it more interesting.

CPE Article: Titles

The title is essential when creating an article.

It should be a concise summary of the information presented in the article. Shortly speaking, the main topic of the article should be concluded in the title.

For example, if you are writing a description of a place, using adjectives can enhance the attractiveness of the place, before the reader begins reading the article, e.g.

If the task involves proposing a solution to a problem or your opinion, and so on, you can address your audience directly, e.g.

The title should not be too long and ideally reflect the style of the article – both formal or informal.

CPE Article: Topic sentences…

To provide consistency in one paragraph, it is essential to group sentences according to the main idea.

Therefore, it is required to start either by setting a theme or a topic sentence that sums up the main idea of the whole paragraph. Such a sentence usually appears at the beginning of the paragraph.

Sample topics:

Occasionally there is no topic sentence, merely the topic or main idea. However, to help the reader quickly understand the topic of the whole paragraph and to minimize the chance of completely missing the theme, we recommend placing the Topic Sentence at the beginning of the article.

CPE Article: Examples

Green: Correct use of language.
Blue: Could be improved.
Red: Incorrect, can affect negatively your grade

Article subject:

An international travel magazine is running a series of articles on alternatives to travelling by plane. The magazine has invited readers to send in articles briefly describing a memorable long-distance train or bus journey they have made. The article should explain the advantages of travelling a long distance by train or bus and consider whether in general travelling to your destination more slowly may result in a more satisfying travel experience.

Student’s CPE Article Answer:

Long-distance Travel

With the rapid pace in which technology has been developing over the last decades, air travel has become more and more affordable to the hoi polloi. This is particularly true since the spread of the ‘no-frills’ airlines which have taken over Europe by storm. Air travel offers relatively cheap and fast journey to its passengers, which explains its recent rise. But are these journeys pleasant ones? Recent opinion polls show they are not. People are unhappy about the weight and size limits on luggage, numerous changes, stress related to queues to check-in, security and then to the gate . … The largest ache for air passengers, however, seems to be the lack of human interaction amid the ‘de-humanising feel’ of the airports.

I recently had an opportunity – and a pleasure – to travel by train to a family wedding in Germany. Despite the fact the journey took 6 hours longer than it would by plane, it was a truly enjoyable experience. The rail track passed through beautiful, green mountain valleys, offering amazing views of numerous castles perched on the mountain sides and the views of medieval towns. I have also met a few very nice local people who entertained me during the journey with interesting and funny stories of their family weddings.

Thanks to excellent views and the people I travelled with, the journey felt unbelievably short. There are many advantages of travelling long distances by train, most of which overweight the largest disadvantage to some – namely the length of the journey. First of all – one is able to meet interesting people and engage in long conversations – a train journey seems to be a more welcoming environment for social interaction than a quick flight is. Secondly, whilst passing through the towns and villages rather than flying over them one is able to better experience the culture. There are also practical advantages – like the lack of strict luggage restrictions, less queues and the ability to open the window to get some fresh air. There are also less problems with the leg
space and a possibility to stretch them by strolling to the restaurant carriage or up and down the train. (This paragraph could have been divided into two for greater clarity)

To conclude, train travel could lead to a better travel experience comparing to the aircraft, under the condition that the passenger is open to experiencing the journey and is able to sacrifice a bit more time travelling.

Article subject:

(Same as above) An international travel magazine is running a series of articles on alternatives to travelling by plane. The magazine has invited readers to send in articles briefly describing a memorable long-distance train or bus journey they have made. The article should explain the advantages of travelling a long distance by train or bus and consider whether in general travelling to your destination more slowly may result in a more satisfying travel experience.

Student’s CPE Article Answer:

Long-distance Travel

The Scottish writer, Robert Louis Stevenson, used to say that he travelled ‘not to go anywhere but to go.’ In other words, he loved travelling for its own sake. Although I enjoy being at a new destination, I agree that the journey there can be the most exciting and rewarding part of any holiday.

Some years ago I studied Russian at university and used to travel frequently to Russia. I usually went by train, by far the cheapest way to get there then. This involved a three-day train journey across the Channel and then over the North European Plain through Belgium, Germany, Poland and Byelorus to Moscow. The train from Ostend was a Russian one and once on board you felt as if you were already in Russia, especially as you poured yourself a glass of tea from the samovar at the end of each carriage and made yourself comfortable for the two nights you’d spend in your sleeping compartment.

I loved the sense of gradually making my way into a different world. Towns and villages became less frequent and fields turned into forests as we chugged eastwards. The children who waved at the train as it passed began to have high Slav cheekbones. Travelling slowly gives you time to savour the gradual changes, to think about where you’re going or where you’ve just been, to adapt to a new way of being. This opportunity to reflect is immensely enriching.

These days it’s cheaper to hop on a plane than a train and you can now get to Russia in three hours instead of three days. Lunch in London and dinner in Moscow has become possible thanks to the jet engine. In many ways the journey could be seen as easier now. But in my opinion, travelling by rail is still much more satisfying, providing a real sense of distance – both geographical and social – between different countries.

(The text is organised very well and is coherent throughout, using a good range of cohesive devices and
organisational patterns with flexibility.  A wide range of vocabulary including less common lexis is used effectively, precisely and with style. Well done!)


In conclusion…

  • It is a text generally intended to publish in a newspaper, journal or magazine
  • It is written for a wide spectrum of audience, therefore it is important to attract and hold
    the attention of the readers
  • It may contain funny stories, reported speech, and descriptions
  • It may be formal or informal, depending on the target group
  • It should be written in an interesting or funny style
  • It should express opinions and thoughts, as well as facts
  • It has a less formal style than a report

 

Language

You must use a wide range of vocabulary, including less common lexis, with fluency, precision, sophistication and style.

Use of grammar must be sophisticated, fully controlled and completely natural.

Communication

You must demonstrate complete command of the conventions of the communicative task.

Communicate complex ideas in an effective and convincing way, holding the target reader’s attention with ease, fulfilling all communicative purposes

Organization

Your text must be organised impressively and
coherently using a wide range of cohesive devices and organisational patterns with complete flexibility.

Content

Every sentence in the text should refer to the topic of the assignment, and all the tasks specified in it should be fulfilled.

Target reader ought to be fully informed.

Useful phrases and expressions

We will finish it with some useful vocabulary mostly used to organize information. Although it is taking a shortcut, if you learn several expressions for each paragraph in each type of text that could be on your exam, you will certainly be able to create a very consistent and well-organized text.

Agreeing partially

This is partly true…
To (an) (certain) / (some) extent…

In some cases …
Up to a point …
While it can not be denied that …
While it is true that…

Qualifying Statements

There is a tendency to…
A large number of the times…
Usually, they are inclined to…
Generally speaking…
Sometimes/Usually/Often/Generally… 
Things appear to be…
In a large number of cases…
In some instances…

Summary / Repetition / Exemplification

In brief…
On the whole…
Overall…
In short…
In other words…
To be sure…
For instance…
In fact…
In any event…

Purpose

Therefore…
With this object in view/mind…
To this end…
For this purpose….

Place and Location

Beyond…
Nearby…
On the opposite side…
Adjacent to…
Over head…
To/on the right…
In the centre…
Over to the left/right….
In the same area….
In the neighbouring town….

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