Tips for writing the Essay in the HF English Examination
1. Write only in complete sentences. Try to use complete sentences. Avoid using a "telegraphic" or "outline" style with colons (:). Colons are used much less frequently in English than in German.
Avoid: Some reasons for not going: no money, no car.
Better: Some reasons for not going are that we do not have any money and we do not have a car.
2. Word Order problems: In English statements, the subject will generally come before the verb, even when in german you would switch the order.
Wrong: In America drives nearly everyone a car to work.
Correct: In America nearly everyone drives a car to work.
3. Agreement of subject and verb. Always double check to make sure that the verb agrees with the subject.
Wrong: The pencils in the box has been used before.
Correct: The pencils in the box have been used before.
Many learners of English will leave out a subject when they want to state the existence of something. In English, the most common way of expressing existence is simply with "there is". Use of the verb to exist is rather uncommon in English. One can say, "God exists" or "How long has the Universe existed?" but "There exist many approaches to this problem" sounds quite strange.
Wrong: In Hawaii are lots of pineapple trees.
Wrong: In Hawaii lots of pineapple trees exist.
Better: In Hawaii there are lots of pineapple trees.
5. Tenses and time expressions. Check your work for possible problems with tense.
A very common problem is that we say "Has been eating" were many languages say "Eats". (AND we use "for" not since, if you are talking about a period, rather than a date ir fixed time.)
Wrong: This is a controversial issue since many years.
Correct: This has been a controversial issue FOR many years.
7. Run-on Sentences. A frequent error is writing run-on sentences. This is where two sentences are written as one, simply linking two complete sentences with a comma.
Avoid: Abraham Lincoln is remembered for his sense of humor, John Kennedy is too.
better: Abraham Lincoln is remembered for his sense of humor, and John Kennedy is too.
8. Sentence Fragments. A sentence fragment is a group of words which ends with a period but is not really a sentence, because it is missing either a subject or a predicate. The following group of words is not a sentence, because there is no verb to go with wrist watch, It is simply a noun followed by a long adjective clause.
Wrong: A wrist watch, which is a mechanical device used for telling time and is attached to the wrist.
To correct it, put a comma after time, and remove the and, thus making is attached the main verb:
Correct: A wristwatch, which is a mechanical device used for telling lime, is attached to the wrist.
Students sometimes accidentally create a sentence fragment when they use words siuch as although, since, because
Wrong: Even though the old man likes to eat cheese.
Correct: Even though the old man likes to eat cheese, he never does.
Wrong: Because he was hungry.
Correct: He went home because he was hungry.