Parapal Online English Exercises


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Model essays.

These essays and paragraphs use topic sentences and other features of Western academic writing. They are useful models for international students who are planning to take the IELTS test (International English Language Testing System), or study in a university in the USA, the UK, Australia or New Zealand. There are task 1 and task 2 style examples.

To do some exercises on these texts click here.

Argumentative paragraph about cars.

Private cars are becoming a very controversial issue these days but they are important in our modern lives for two main reasons, poor public transport and business. Many people in the world live in towns, villages and even cities that do not have good buses or trains. Without cars these people could not travel to work, to the shops or do many other important things. Also, in many towns and cities buses stop before midnight but in today's busy world people are busy twenty four hours a day. The next point is that cars help the economy in two ways. Firstly, the car industry gives many people in the world jobs and helps countries to develop. Secondly, many people today need cars in their work. Doctors need to visit patients, salespeople need to visit customers and computer technicians need to visit businesses. In conclusion, although cars can cause problems it is impossible to live without them in modern life.

The chart shows the fluctuations in the numbers of international students attending the Sydney International Language Centre in 2001.
At the start of the year numbers were quite high at 170, this was because there were a large number of students in University Preparation (UP) before the March intake. The student population remained the same until the end of February when 40 graduated from ELI and took up their offers in Bachelors and Masters courses. In both April and May, 15 extra students enrolled into ELI courses. There was a sharp increase in June when 20 new students entered UP courses. In July there was only an increase of five students as the Winter course intake was at the end of July and this was too late for students who were entering university in the second semester. In comparison to the first semester, there was a sharp drop in numbers as 50 students left, leaving only 135 students in ELI for August. From here until the end of the year there was a steady rise in student numbers to a peak of 180 in December.
Overall it shows steady growth when compared to the 2000 enrolments.

Argumentative essay about food

A recent theme in the popular media has been the decline in the quality and nutritional value of the food that we buy. Newspapers in particular warn us of the problems associated with convenience and take away food, whilst commenting on the spread of advertising aimed at children. The government and manufacturers are frequently cited as the sole cause of these problems. Although there are undoubtedly problems associated with current eating habits it can be seen that the blame rests mainly with the consumer because of the law of supply and demand. In short, modern shoppers value price and convenience over nutritional quality.

The most basic law of the market shows us that if a consumer does not need or desire a particular product, they will not buy it. When the sales of particular products are examined it is possible to see that sales of convenience foods are always increasing, whilst sales of basic ingredients are generally decreasing. People buy ready prepared food because it fits into the busy lives that they have chosen to live, where an extra foreign holiday or a new car has become more important than the health and welfare of families. This desire for the trappings of modern life also has other effects on shopping habits. Many families would prefer to have an up to date computer than to buy nutritional, healthy organic food. To have both is only possible for the affluent due to the high cost of organic food in developed nations.

To sum up it can be seen that convenience food has a double economic advantage. It is cheaper to buy in the first instance, and also allows parents to spend more time earning money at work. In the past people ate low quality food because they were poor, but now they do it so they can afford a certain lifestyle and that is not the fault of the manufacturers.

An essay comparing and contrasting University education in the USA and Australia

The Western style of education has gained popularity over the last decade. Many foreign students come to countries like Australia and the USA to study at university and improve their employment prospects. In this essay I will briefly compare and contrast these two countries in terms of their appeal to foreign students.
There are many similarities between the two countries. Firstly they both have a very multicultural population so it is possible to enjoy food from your own country when homesickness arises. Also, as they are both large countries it is possible to find an institution in an area with a climate that suits you. Another similarity is that their tertiary institutions have a reputation of quality and excellence in academia.
On the other hand there are some appreciable differences. The main one is that education in the USA is much more expensive than in Australia. However, many students think that it is worth paying the extra money as some American universities have a world-wide reputation. Furthermore, as the USA has a much larger population there are a wider range of institutions to choose from and naturally, a wider range of courses.
To sum up, America offers more choice and a more acknowledged reputation, but at a higher cost. Australia offers similar quality but is cheaper if you can find the course that you want.

Argumentative essay on computer games

Computer games have been popular for decades now and many households have at least one. However it can be seen that playing these games causes social, educational and personal problems of several kinds both to youngsters and society.
Firstly, youngsters who spend a great deal of time in front of a monitor are not studying, playing sport, socialising or learning about life. The skills which they need in order to interact with others and succeed in the real world are not being nurtured. Moreover, studies have shown that this generation of young males is actually growing less than previous generations due to lack of exercise. Following from this, they are more likely to be overweight and less healthy, so more prone to diseases such as diabetes.
In addition, the games themselves are often quite violent and dangerously sexist. For example, there are games which show graphic fighting scenes where the most brutal is most applauded. Women are shown as either sexy, but weak, or as improbable amazons. Violence against women is often part of these games which encourages misogynistic behaviour. The language tends to be violent and sexist which further adds to the problems of the lack of interaction and social skills.
It is easy to imagine the effects of such games on young minds. If we wish children to grow up to become well-adjusted members of society, these games should be more tightly controlled.

A Cause and Effect Essay on Australian Private Schools

European history in Australia is very short and as a result it can be interesting to look into the development of its educational system in relation to similar societies. When compared to the USA and Britain, the most striking aspect of Australian education is the incredibly high proportion of private schools and the number of students attending them. Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (August 1996) show that 29.3 percent of the school population attends privately run institutions compared to approximately 10 percent in the UK and USA.
As this strange situation has evolved over the past 150 years it is relatively easy to trace the most important causes. Australia was primarily settled by the English, Scottish, Irish and Welsh who all followed different churches of Christianity. They argued as to which was to be taught in schools which led to the adoption of government schools with no religious affiliations. This action led to the removal of funding to church schools which in turn meant that Catholic schools had to find alternative funding and also work harder to attract students. Parents had to pay for their choice of school and this set a precedent. Now more and more immigrants of diverse cultures and religions come to Australia and decide to set up schools which will protect their children's identities. As Australian society has diversified it has become advantageous for politicians to improve their popularity with powerful groups by supporting these schools financially, improving their quality and appeal to prospective students.
Unfortunately this seems to have created a vicious circle as public schools are now receiving less from the government, so have trouble providing an adequate service. This then makes the private, fee-paying schools more popular with parents, which allows politicians to justify giving more financial support to them. The future of good quality public education therefore seems in doubt.

Descriptive paragraph about English

English is widely accepted as being the pre-eminent global language. As well as the countries that have it as their mother tongue there are others where it is an official second language and still more where it is taught as a compulsory language in schools. When you go further to consider the use of the language in media and technology the strength of it is completely undeniable. This fact, and the reasons for it, makes the question of when, how, and why to present culture to English students especially complicated.

Percentage of consumer goods in UK homes

The table shows the percentage of household consumer durables sold in the UK from 1972 to 1983. It can be divided into three groups.
Firstly, a number of appliances were in a high percentage of homes for the entire period. These included TVs, vacuum cleaners, refrigerators and washing machines. TV ownership was the highest, growing from 93% to 98% over the eleven-year period, while washing machine ownership, the lowest of this group, increased from 66% to 80%.
The second group included central heating and the telephone and these showed the most dramatic rise with increases of 27% for central heating and 35% for telephones. At the beginning of the period these appliances had been present in 37% and 42% of homes respectively.
The final group shows appliances that were only introduced onto the market during the period shown. The video recorder was quickly accepted into households, achieving 18% ownership by 1983. The dishwasher had less impact, with its ownership slowly rising from 3% to 5% between 1978 and 1983.
In all it shows that British households enjoyed an ever-increasing ownership of consumer durables from 1972 to 1983.