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Writing a Report

1- Write for the reader. Always bear in mind who you are writing for. If
youre writing for a magazine, think of the kind of people who read
that particular magazine. A book review is intended for people who
have not read the book, so dont assume that your readers already
know the story.
2- Dont talk about yourself. When giving your opinion, whether in a
review or elsewhere, be careful not to fall into the trap of talking
about yourself. Try to be objective. One way of testing for objectivity
is to check your writing for the words I, me, my, myself. Similarly,
phrases such as in my opinion, to my mind, I think should be used as
little as possible; any more than once in the first paragraph and once
in the last, and your review seems to focus on yourself, not your
3- Write in an impersonal style. Many students spoil their articles and
reviews by writing in a chatty, informal style as if they were talking to
a friend. On the contrary, essays, articles and
reviews should be relatively impersonal. Your readers are not
particularly interested in you: they need information, description and
narrative more than they need your opinion.
4- You dont know your reader, so be careful about using the word
5- Use precise, descriptive vocabulary. Generalizations such as This
book is boring communicate very little to the reader. Specific
observations and concrete facts, on the other hand, help the reader to
share your experience. If you have strong feelings about your subject,
this should make your writing more interesting but be careful!
Strong feelings must be given form and coldly translated into precise
What to include:
Reviews of books
main character
is set in
Fiction: science
fiction / thriller /
fantasy / mystery /
historical /
romance ...
Non-fiction: cook
book / travel book /
textbook / manual /
coffee-table book ...
atmosphere / plot

written by

/ drummer / soloist /
trio / orchestra
auditorium / hall /
venue / lyrics /
(catchy) tune / score
/ gig

Reviews of
artist / band /
musician /
guitarist /
(backing/lead) singer

Reviews of
painting / sculpture /
gallery / catalogue /

Reviews of films
lead role
star role
star actor/actress
secondary role
He plays a .
written by .
cast / director /
is set in ..
based on a true
story ..
true to life
not very believable
(As for fiction books
+): animation /
adaptation / comedy

Costumes / design /
photography /
script / special
effects / soundtrack
Reviews of TV
Chat shows / current
affairs programme /
debate /
documentary / series
/ soap opera/ sitcom
(situation comedy)
Host / presenter
Reviews of hotels,

attractive /
disappointing setting
owned by
run by
head chef
waiters (restaurant)
staff .
staff at reception
hotel facilities .
reasonable prices
value for money ..
(a bit/somehow)
not worth the money
always fully booked
book in advance

The script seemed rather conventional/predictable to me.
The plot struck me as completely bizarre/absurd/incomprehensible
The characters are appealing and true to life
The dancers were quite brilliant/amateurish
Judging from this CD / show ...
Overall, if you like ..., you'll love / you should ...
Although some of ... he/she/it's still a great...
You really must/should buy/see/read/visit ...
I would definitely recommend seeing/visiting/reading/having a look at ...
You see this notice in an English-language newspaper called TV Today:
Reviews wanted!
Are you a TV soap opera fan? Send us a review of your favourite soap opera or TV series describing the story
and characters and whether you would recommend it to other viewers.
The best reviews will be published in next months issue.
Write your review in 140-190 words in an appropriate style.

My favourite TV series


It seems fashionable these days to criticize imported American T.V. series as a load of rubbish,
but who doesnt watch them from time to time? I must admit I hardly ever miss an episode of
Navy in which special agent Gibbs leads a highly-trained team of investigators with one
mission in mind- Who killed the marine?
Gibbs is the main character in this popular series. Hes a tough guy with a heart of gold, who
never rests until he has found the criminal. His team of detectives is made up of: DiNozzo (the
self-obsessed clown), Ziva (the beautiful Israeli martial arts expert) and computer nerd McGee.
They combine their skills to find out who the murderer is. The rest of the team consists of: the
eccentric goth scientist, Abby, and the forensic genius, Doctor Mallard, also known as Ducky.
Even if youre not keen on American series, I would definitely recommend this one, with its
amusing comic touches, fast-moving action, well-written dialogues and great actors. The plot is
sometimes rather difficult to believe, but its 45 minutes of top-class entertainment.

Part 2
You must answer this question.
An international arts website is looking for reviews of novels for a new
section called A Reader Writes. You have decided to write a review of a
novel youve recently read for this section. Describe the novel and say
what you think about it. Would you recommend this novel to other people?
Write your review in 140- 190 words in an appropriate style on the separate answer
Sample answer:
I really enjoyed the film version of The Bourne Identity starring Matt
Damon, but I thought the original novel by Robert Ludlum was even
better. This book is so well-written, I did not want to finish it!
Paragraph 1- Introduction
In the introduction you :
- make your review more interesting with personal comments
- mention the title, the type of the book/ play/ film/etc, the setting (when/where),
the theme, the main characters, etc
Phrases you can use in the introduction:
* This well-written/ informative / fascinatng/ thought-provoking book is
* The film/ book/ play/ etc. is set in.. / tells the story of../ is based on..
* The film/ play starts ../ is directed by../ is the sequel to..
Comparing and contrasting
* is even better than
* is (not) nearly as good as
* is twice as good as
* is the best I have ever seen / read / been to. in comparison with
*One of the strongest / weakest things about
*In contrast, / On the other hand,
REMEMBER: A review is a special type of article written for publication in a
magazine, newspaper, etc. giving a brief description and evaluation of the film,
book, play, TV/ radio programme, etc . It may be formal or semi-formal in style,
depending on its intended readership, and is usually written using present tenses.
The plot is gripping right from the start. When we first meet the lead
character, Jason Bourne, he is being rescued from the sea. His identity is a
mystery to everyone, including himself! Over the course of the novel we
gradually find out who Bourne is, and follow him through a series of
exciting adventures.
In the 2nd and 3rd Paragraph you :
- include the main points of the plot (without revealing the ending), and evaluate
such features as the acting, writing style, directions, characters etc.
- you can also add what you learnt, found out from the book, etc
Phrases you can use to in the 2nd and 3rd paragraph:
Describing a book / film / TV programme
* is set in
* The main character is
* It tells the story of

* The plot / dialogue / acting / characterisation is

Giving an opinion
* The only criticism I would make is that
* What I really loved about is
*To me, seemed
* was from start to finish.
+ exceptional / good value / gripping / lively / memorable / perfect / realistic /
stunning / superb / well-written / -acted / -cooked etc.
disappointing / dreadful / dull / inadequate / poor / predictable / sub-standard /
unconvincing / unimaginative / uninteresting
As well as a highly original plot line, the novel includes a number of
fascinating characters, especially the villains! I only have one negative
-comment: in my view, the novel is strong on action but weaker on
description. However, this is a small criticism of an otherwise excellent
Phrases you can use to in the 2nd and 3rd paragraph:
To explain the plot:
* The plot revolves around involves /focuses on /has an unexpected twist.
* The story begins with /unfolds / reaches a dramatic climax when
Evaluating various features:
* The play/film/series has a strong/star-studded/mediocre cast.
* The acting is moving/powerful/excellent/weak/disappointing/unconvincing.
* The plot is gripping/dramatic/fascinating/suspense-filled/fast-moving. farfetched/predictable/ confusing/dull /unimaginative.
* The script/dialogue is touching/witty/hilarious/boring/mundane.
* It is beautifully/brilliantly/sensitively written/directed.
I would highly recommend The Bourne Identity to anyone who enjoys
action or crime stories. However, if you prefer more descriptive or
romantic novels, then you should give it a miss. Personally, I cant wait to
start reading the sequel!
In the last paragraph you :
- include an overall assessment of the work and/or a recommendation, usually with
- you may also be asked to give reasons why someone should see the film/ play or
read the book, how it has influenced you, etc.
Phrases you can use to end the letter
Making a recommendation
*I would highly / strongly recommend
* I certainly wouldnt recommend
* I strongly advise you (not) to
* Everyone should see / do / read this immediately!
* is not to be missed!
* You should give a miss!
* Dont bother reading / seeing / going
* It is a classic of its kind/ It is sure to be a hit/ best seller