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Unit 1: Planning your essayUnit 2: Structuring paragraphsUnit 3: Introductions & conclusionsUnit 4: Writing persuasivelyUnit 5: Writing cohesively

Practice – Vocabulary choices

Read the following text on energy. It contains several instances of repetition, synonyms and opposites.

The impact of global warming and the need for energy conservation have been controversial issues over the past decade. But researchers, politicians and environmentalists now agree that meeting the expected increase in global energy demands in the 21st century will require a broad range of energy options. While hydrocarbon fuels – and more particularly oil and gas – are likely to remain the primary energy source through to the middle of the century, it has become increasingly clear that our supplies of coal, gas and oil cannot provide long-term solutions to global energy needs. In addition, research (Reynolds, 2001, pp105-111; Biggs 2003) predicts dire consequences through pollution and global warming if rising demands for food, housing and basic services are met by continued use of fossil fuel.

While nuclear energy is a possible alternative energy source, it generates dangerous waste materials which are difficult and costly to dispose of safely. More viable long-term solutions will come from renewable energy sources, including ethanol, electricity for cars, wind power and solar power. At this stage, the power generated by the sun seems the most promising since it is clean, free, virtually unlimited and can be generated in a number ways.

This paper evaluates the comparative benefits of the three main methods by which solar energy is generated: low temperature, medium temperature and high temperature collectors.

In the practice text, the writer uses the categories and sub-categories as the basis for building her argument about the superiority of solar power over both traditional fossilised energy sources and nuclear energy. She contrasts these by using evaluative language as well as synonyms and opposites to add the features of each one into her text. She uses the categories she has identified as the pivot for building her arguments. In this way, she shapes the reader’s view of the advantages or disadvantages of each type of energy.

To find out more about Evaluative Language, go to Module 2, Unit 4.

Want to learn more about the function of vocabulary choices in cohesive writing?