Communicative English 1
An article review can be defined as a piece of writing where you summarize and assess someone else's article. The goal of assigning article reviews is to get the students acquainted with the works of the renowned specialists in a particular field. These specialists may also need to review each other’s articles on a regular basis. To summarize the article properly, one must comprehend the essence of the work, its argument, and its details. You are expected to assess the main theme, its supporting arguments, and the perspectives for further research in the given direction. An article review requires thorough preparation just as any other piece of writing. Therefore, the article review writing process comprises of two stages: preparation and writing.
STAGE 1: PREPARATION
Step 1. Define an article review
You write it not for the general public but for the readership accustomed to the sphere of information. This review is to summarize the essence of the article, its key arguments, and findings, and also the author's attitude towards the subject-matter. You also assess the new knowledge that the author has delivered to the discipline and its application potential.
Writing an article review isn't around expressing your opinion on the work. It is a fully-fledged evaluation of the author's ideas expressed within the article. As you analyze the article, you employ your own ideas and research experience. Your overall conclusions about the article base off on your own judgment backed up by your experience in this field and your common sense.
Step 2. Plan your work on the review
You should know exactly how you may be writing your article review before you even read the article in question. This is because you should know which points of the article are most important to your review in advance. The article review outline usually goes like this:
- Summary of the article. The most important point, facts, and claims
- Redeeming features. The author’s strong points and the most insightful parts of the article
- Drawbacks. Point out the possible gaps of information, logical inconsistencies, the contradiction of ideas, unanswered questions, etc. Pass your judgment as to whether the given facts are sufficient for supporting the author's main argument.
Step 3. Get a quick glimpse of the article
Browse through the article’s title, abstract, headings. Read the introduction, the conclusion, the primary sentences of every paragraph. Then read several opening paragraphs. This should be enough to get the initial grasp of the author’s main points and argument. Only then you should read the whole article. This presentation is merely for getting the general idea of the purpose that the author sought to create with this article.
- If you come across any notions or concepts that you don't fully understand or if any questions arise, make notes.
- Look up terms you are unfamiliar with, so you can fully understand the article.
Step 4. Read the article in all attention
Carefully read the article several more times. If you're reading it from a screen, use a highlighter for the meaningful parts. If you are using a print version, use a pen. The most meaningful parts here are the main points and the facts to support them. Don’t be tempted to just highlight every paragraph. Instead, make notes on the margins and draw connections between different parts of the article.
- Supplement what you read with what you already know about the subject-matter. This may be either something you may have discussed at school or something you may have read on your own. Does your existing knowledge support the ideas in the article or contradict them? What previous knowledge does the author refer to? Point out the similarities the article shares with what you already have read on the subject before, as well as the differences.
- If you come across a section that you do not fully understand, you should not leave it like this. You can only write a solid article review if you have made sure that you have read and understand everything there's to know in and about the article.
Step 5. Retell the article to yourself
It is best to perform it in written form, such as an overview or a chunk of free writing. Basically, you just put the information you have just read in your own words. This should include the author's claim, the conducted research, and also the argument(s). You need to be careful and accurate to not miss any important details.
This text is only for your use, so it does not need any editing or proofreading, but it needs to be clear so that you could return to it at any time and not spend time remembering what exactly you meant by this or that.
- If you choose to write an outline, it is better not to include your opinions here. Instead, you must better follow the central points of the article.
- Having retold the gist of the article, take some time and choose which parts are worth discussing within the review. While you typically need to discuss the major issues, it's also worth to concentrate certain aspects like the content, the interpretation of facts, the theoretical basis, the style of narration, etc. Sometimes, your tutor will specify on what you ought to focus.
- Re-read your summary to strike out the things that may be omitted. This can be repeated information or something not critical to your cause.
Step 6. Outline your review
Look at your summary to ascertain if the author was clear about each of them. Mark the points that might use some improvement, as well as the ones where the author was clear and accurate and where s/he discovered something innovative. Then put together the lists of strong points and disadvantages and summarize them. For example, a robust point could also be the introduction of latest information, and a drawback could also be the dearth of accuracy in representing the present knowledge on the subject. Add these outcomes to your study and back them up with evidence from the text of the article.
Answering these questions should facilitate your outline writing:
- What was the goal of the article?
- What theories does the author dwell upon?
- Is the author clear with definitions?
- Is the supportive evidence relevant?
- What is the place of the article in its field of knowledge?
- Does it contribute to the progress in this field?
- Does the author convey his or her thoughts clearly?
It is crucial that you must provide a non-biased judgment, so you need to be concise and steer clear from being judgmental and giving an excessive amount of personal opinion.
STAGE 2. WRITING
Step 1. Think of a title for your writing
The title of your review should hint on its focus that you may have have chosen in one of the previous steps. A title can be descriptive, declarative or interrogative.
Step 2. Cite the article that you are reviewing
This should be placed under the title. Remember to use the required citation style. The main body the article review must start right after this citation.
For instance, here is how you cite a piece of writing in Chicago / Turabian format style:
Smith, John, and Jane Doe. “Studies in pop rocks and Coke.” Weird Science 12 (2009)
Step3. Provide the overall information about the article that you are reviewing.
Start your review with mentioning the title of the article under review, its author(s), also because the title of the journal and therefore the year of publication.
For instance: The article, "Studies in pop rocks and Coke" was written by pop-art enthusiasts John Smith and Jane Doe.
Step 4. Write your introduction
Here, you state the author's thesis. If the thesis isn't stated within the article, it's up to you to work it out yourself. The introduction should also include article main theme and also the author's main claim.
- Use the formal style and narrate impersonally or from the third person, it is essential to avoid the first person while writing an article review.
- Usually, the introduction should comprise about 10-15% of your review, but not more than 25%
- The introduction is summed up by your own thesis, here you must also briefly mention the article's strongest point and main drawback. For instance, “The author draws a transparent correlation between pop and coke, but the evidence about rock is quite obviously misinterpreted.”
Step 5. Give an overview of the article
Use your own words to elucidate the article’s main claim, details, and research results. Your summary should be of help here. Demonstrate how the evidence supports the argument in the article. Mention the conclusions drawn by the author.
Be as laconic as you can and include as much information as possible. For this purpose, avoid mentioning the data that your reader is already acquainted with.
- Drop one or two direct quotes
- Your introduction must accurately reflect the article.
Step 6. Write the main body of your review
This is the core of the review. Check with your summary and describe how well the subject is covered within the article. Usually, you will be required to talk about each of the article's main points separately and describe how well the given evidence supports them. If you have spotted any bias, you must mention it. Finally, you pass the judgment on how the author contributes to the understanding of the subject-matter and, hence, the article's overall importance. Also, you agree or disagree with the author and ground your opinion. You conclude the main body of your review by suggesting your reader what exactly they will bring out from reading the article.
Remember to stick to the point and make sure that there is no unrelated information. It should be about the article’s strong points and drawbacks with their descriptions ultimately interconnected to form your own reviewer’s thesis.
- Your judgments should be backed by other writings on the topic.
- Make sure that your summary of the article is logically connected to the section where you assess it.
- It is worth repeating that a review isn't where you share your personal opinion.
Step 7. Write your conclusion
The conclusion is typically one paragraph long and takes no more than 10% of your article review. This is where you briefly restate the most important points of the article, as well as your judgment on how well-written and important the article is. You can also suggest on the direction for further research on the subject.
Step 8. Give your article review a final proofread
If possible, put your draft aside for a couple of days or at least hours, after which provides it a fresh look. Pay special attention to typing and spelling errors, grammar and punctuation, and – of course – the factual data. Additionally, double-check if all the information is to the point and exclude everything that is not so relevant, but don’t get too fanatic about it: a review has to talk about no less (and, preferably, no more) than 3-4 most noteworthy issues.
Note Making is a way of recording important details from a source. This source can be any book, article, meeting or any oral discussion. In note making, the writer records the essence of the information. It helps us to understand and clarify thinking. Note making saves a lot of time by going through the notes made. One can get a glimpse of a lot of information from a short note.
Below are the most widely used note-making methods:
The Cornell Method for note-making was formulated at Cornell University in the 1950's, and has been useful for many individuals in making their notes more organized. When taking notes using this method, you divide your paper into two columns: the narrower left column (called the "cue" column) contains keywords, important terminology, or major concepts, and the wider right column (called the "outline" column) contains notes or descriptions associated with those terms. At the bottom of the page, you should also include a summary section, in which you restate the main ideas of the lesson in your own words.
The outline method uses numbers, letters, or even Roman numerals to identify and classify information based on levels of importance. The most important pieces of information are categorized as headings, and then supporting or less significant information is listed beneath that particular heading in order of importance or relationship.
With this method, you create a matrix or spreadsheet; identify descriptors for each of the columns and/or rows; and begin filling in information accordingly. This method may allow you to write less, and is especially helpful in courses that emphasize relationships between bodies of information.
This method emphasizes writing down complete sentences during a lecture, so that you are retaining the specific terminology or wording used by your professor. If the information is very specific or specialized, writing down individual sentences can be helpful - although we recommend pairing this method with another, more visual, form of note-taking to provide balance.
The sentence method is the most conventional method. It can encourage a more passive approach, so to make your notes as effective as possible:
- Use headings, underlining and capitals to organise notes on the page
- Use symbols or abbreviations to keep it brief
- Use bullet points or numbering
- Leave good margins so you can add additional notes later
- Use quotation marks to show direct quotes from your lecturers or the source you are using
- Identify your own ideas e.g. Within square brackets or using a different colour.
Visually representing information - by using bubbles, lines, boxes, or other visual markers to represent relationships, sequence, and importance - can also be an effective note-taking tool.
Mind maps allow you to make associations, form links and group similar topics together.
To draw a mind map, take a black piece of paper and start the subject of the presentation at the centre. After that think of all the ideas and concepts associated with the subject and start writing it around the central idea. Try to be as inclusive as possible at this stage. Don't try to edit the list down, just write down everything that occurs to you and don't worry about where to begin, it doesn't matter.
Note taking does not only refer to writing down everything you hear or read. It consists of a number of processes including reviewing, connecting and synthesizing ideas from lectures or reading.
Importance of Note Taking
Taking notes helps you to:
Listen actively and attentively and be engaged during your lectures, reading and revision
- Comprehend what is being learned and clarify your thinking
- Identify key ideas and be selective
- Remember the material
- Organise your ideas and make connections
- Plan and structure written assignments
- Review and revise before exams.
What your notes should contain
All good notes should contain:
- Source information (title, author, date etc.)
- Headings to help you identify the key topics
- Key points, examples, names, new ideas
- Triggers which will help you make your notes more memorable – such as mnemonics, colour or drawings
- Further reading and ideas to follow up later.
Consider developing a system of symbols and abbreviations to assist you speed up your note taking. Common abbreviations in notes include “poss.” for possibly, “esp.” for “especially”, and “govt.” the government, but you may create an inventory that works for you.
Sometimes poor note taking can result in unintentional plagiarism. In order to avoid this, one should make quotes, paraphrases and summaries look different from their own ideas in your notes. One could also use quotation marks or square brackets, or highlight other people’s ideas using a different colour.
It is imperative to set up a system to record complete bibliographic details, including:
- Name of the author, editor, lecturer or organisation
- Date of lecture, publication, or access (for websites)
- Title of lecture or source
- Page numbers where applicable
- Other bibliographical details that may require reference.
Three stages of note taking
Note taking doesn’t only happen once you are reading or attending lectures. There are three stages to effecting note taking: before, during, and after.
Before: Prepare by looking for what you would like to understand and what the aim of the reading or lecture is.
During: Note down main ideas and keywords. Find techniques that work for you.
After: Reflect and review then organise your notes.
Conversion of Notes into Texts
Steps for converting notes into texts:
Step 1: Read the essential question, standard or objective at the top of your notes which may be below the title.
Step 2: Respond to first essential question, standard or objective in one sentence - this is the introductory sentence to the text. Always remember to use your own words in writing your texts.
Step 3: If you have used the Cornell method for taking notes, thoroughly review the first chunk of notes on the right side. Write the answer to the questions in the first chunk in a few sentences.
Step 4: If you have used the outline method, Make separate paragraphs for columns such as advantages and disadvantages etc. Note down each point in short and coherent sentences.
Step 5: For mind maps, start with the central bubble which is your main subject and write a few introductory sentences related to it.
Step 6: Now find the bubble consisting of the next central idea and formulate sentences including key words contained in the bubble. Repeat the process until all topics are covered.
Step 7: Summarize you notes at the end of the text while formulating a conclusion. The conclusion should not be more than 2 or 3 sentences. Reread your summary for clarity and accuracy, adding transitions, when possible.
Step 8: Review your summary to study for tests/quizzes, writing essays whenever necessary.
Summary Paragraph Template:
Essential question/ standard/ objective introductory sentence:
Response to the question for the 1st chunk of notes (and so on):
Paragraph containing advantages, disadvantages, uses, importance etc.:
Response to questions for all additional chunks of notes:
Summarize in two or three sentences:
Tenses determine whether something has happened, is happening, or will happen. The tense of a verb describes its position in time.
Tenses can be divided into 3 main types and further sub dived into 4 types:
1. SIMPLE PRESENT TENSE: In this type of tense the action is still taking place, there is no mention of its completeness.
Example: I sleep.
She studies vocabulary every day.
2. PRESENT CONTINUOUS TENSE: In this type of tense the action is still in progress, therefore the use of the word ‘continuous’.
Example:I am sleeping.
I am eating lunch, I will call you later.
3. PRESENT PERFECT TENSE: In this type of tense the action has already been completed, hence the use of the word ‘perfect’.
Example:I have slept.
I have eaten Chinese food a few times already.
4. PRESENT PERFECT CONTINUOUS TENSE: In this type of tense, the action has started taking place beforehand and is still ongoing.
Example:I have been sleeping.
I have been eating a lot of vegetables lately.
1. SIMPLE PAST TENSE: In this type of tense the action which is mentioned has already taken place in the past, there is no continuity.
Example: I got some sleep yesterday.
2. PAST CONTINUOUS TENSE: This type of tense describes an on-going action that took place in the past.
Example: I was having lunch when u called yesterday.
3. PAST PERFECT TENSE: This type of tense describes a completed action which took place in the past.
Examples: I had slept.
I had already eaten when my doorbell rang.
4. PAST PERFECT CONTINUOUS TENSE: This type of tense describes an action which started in the past and continued until another point in time, still in the past.
Example: I had been sleeping for two hours before my friend arrived.
1. SIMPLE FUTURE TENSE: This type of tense describes an action taking place in the future; there is no mention of its continuity.
Example:I will sleep.
I shall finish my project by tomorrow morning.
2. FUTURE CONTINUOUS TENSE: This type of tense describes an action that will take place in the future but will still be ongoing.
Example: I will be sleeping at 11p.m.
I’ll be staying at my parents’ house for a few weeks.
3. FUTURE PERFECT TENSE: This type of tense describes an action that will occur in the future before another action in the future.
Example: I will have slept before you arrive.
4. FUTURE PERFECT CONTINUOUS TENSE: This type of tense describes an on-going action in the future before a completed action in a specific point in time.
Example: I will have been sleeping for seven hours by 9 a.m. Tomorrow morning.
I will have been studying for two hours by the time my parents arrive.
Below are some basic rules regarding the sequencing of tenses:
A past tense in the independent clause is always followed by a past tense in the subordinate clause.
Example: I found out that she was out of town.
However, there is an exception to this rule. When the independent clause in the past tense, the subordinate clause can be in the present tense if a universal truth is being stated by it.
Example: The children were taught that honesty is the best policy.
Another exception to this rule is when the word ‘than’ is used in the sentence to introduce the subordinate clause. In this case, the subordinate clause can be used in any tense irrespective of the tense of the independent clause.
If the tense used with the independent clause is in the present or future tense, the tense of the subordinate clause can be in any tense based on what needs to be conveyed.
Example: She is saying that she is alright. She says she is fine.
If the independent clause is in the future tense, the subordinate clause is not used in the future tense instead a subordinating clause beginning with when, until, before, after etc. is used.
Example: I will call you when dinner is ready. I shall wait until you return.
When the subordinate clause is introduced with the conjunction ‘that’, the following rules must be followed
- ‘May’ should be used in the subordinate clause when the independent clause is in the present tense.
- ‘Might’ should be used in the subordinate clause when the independent clause is in the past tense.
Example: We eat that we may live. She tried to live so that he might have a chance at life.
When some phrases such as If only, wish that, what if, it is time are used, the clauses that follow it are always in the past tense.
Example: I wish I could eat another ice cream.
Synonyms are words that carry a similar or same meaning to another word. Sometimes even though the synonym of a word has an identical meaning the word and the synonym may not be interchangeable.For example, "blow up" and "explode" have the same meaning, but "blow up" is informal (used more in speech) and "explode" is more formal (used more in writing and careful speech). Synonyms also provide variety to speech and writing.
Many words in the English language contain more than one synonym. Some examples of Synonyms:
Shallow - superficial
Stop – cease
Spontaneous - capricious
Gloomy – sad - unhappy
House - home - abode
Evil - bad - wicked
Garbage - trash - junk - waste
Present – gift – reward – award
Sniff – smell – inhale
Little – small – tiny
Under – below – beneath
Short list of synonyms in English, listed by the part of speech:
- Belly / stomach
- Children / kids
- Disaster / catastrophe
- Earth / soil
- Father / dad
- Happiness / joy
- Instinct / intuition/ understanding
- Mother / mom
- Present / gift
- Sunrise / dawn
- Answer / reply
- Beat / defeat
- Behave / act
- Begin / start
- Close / shut/ turn on/turn off
- Leave / exit
- Provide / supply/ distribution
- Select / choose
- Shout / yell
- Speak / talk
- Big / large
- Complete / total/number
- Correct / right
- Crazy / mad
- Foolish / silly /fool/ stupid
- Happy / glad
- Hard / difficult
- Ill / sick
- Last / final
- Near / close
- Sad / unhappy
- Stable / steady/ strong
- Abroad / overseas
- Almost / nearly/ about / approx.
- Bad / poorly
- Fast / quickly
- Intentionally / purposefully
- Out / outside
- Rarely / seldom/ not common
- Sometimes / occasionally/ periodically
- Surely / for sure/ definetly
- Very / highly / extremely/too much
- Above / over/ more
- About / regarding / concerning
- Against / versus
- Below / beneath / under
- By / via
- Despite / in spite of
- In / into/ to
- Off / away
- Until / till
- With / including
- And / plus
- Because / since
- But / yet/for now
- If / provided
- Once / as soon as possible/ and
- Hello / hi
- Gee / gosh
- Goodness / goodness me / my goodness
- No / nope
- Oh Lord / oh good Lord
- Thanks / thank you
- Whoopee / yahoo / hooray
- Yes / yeah
Antonyms are words that carry the opposite meaning to another word. They can be used to show contrast between two things or emphasize a point. Antonyms can be totally different words from their counterparts or can also be formed by adding prefixes to some words.
Below are some examples of antonyms that are commonly used in the English language:
Antonyms formed by changing entire words
Love – hate
Beginning – ending
Ugly – beautiful
Wild – tame
Extrovert – introvert
Antonyms formed by adding prefix –un
Acceptable - unacceptable
Able - unable
Do - undo
Certain – uncertain
Seen – Unseen
Antonyms formed by adding the prefix –in
Decent – indecent
Tolerant – intolerant
Human – inhuman
Curable – incurable
Expressible – inexpressible
Antonyms formed by adding the prefix –non
Sense – nonsense
Essential – nonessential
Flammable – non-flammable
Renewable – non-renewable
Entity – nonentity
Other prefixes used to form antonyms of words are –anti (Thesis - Antithesis), -ill (Literate – Illiterate), -mis (Informed – Misinformed), -dis (Assemble – Disassemble) etc.
Short list of antonyms in English, listed by the part of speech:
- Day / night
- East / west
- The enemy / friend
- Failure / success
- Guest / host
- Health / disease
- Question / answer
- Speaker / listener
- Summer / winter
- Top / bottom/ up / down
- Agree / disagree/accept
- Arrive / leave/ come / go
- Begin / end/ start
- Fall asleep / wakefulness/sleep
- Find / lose/ gain
- Lend / borrowing
- Love / hate
- Open / close/turn on /turn off
- Remember / forget
- Start / stop
- Is asleep / awake
- Beautiful / ugly /good/ bad
- Big / small
- Black / white
- Cheap / expensive
- Dead / alive
- It is dry / wet
- Easy / difficult
- Full / empty
- Good / bad
- Hot / cold
- Intelligent / stupid/you are smart
- Sad / happy/ exciting
- Sick / living healthy
- Thin / fat
- Always / never
- With anger / happily/ excitement
- Fast / slowly
- Here / there
- Inside / outside/ indoors/ outdoors
- Likely / unlikely/possible/ impossible
- Near / far
- Partly / fully
- Seemingly / actually/ visually
- Yesterday / tomorrow
- Above / below
- Against / for / because
- Before / after
- In / out/ indoors/ outdoors
- Like / unlike/ love / contrast
- On / off
- Plus / minus
- To / from
- Towards / away/remote
- With / without
- And / or
- Therefore / nevertheless /or so
- Bravo / boo
- Hello / goodbye
- Holy cow / duh
- Phew / oops
- Thanks / no thanks
- Yes / no
- Yippee / oh my/ oh