Top 5 books

The Master and Margarita- M.A. Bulgakov

Crime and Punishment- F.M. Dostoevskij

Hearth of Darkness- J.Conrad

Suite Française- I. Némirovsky

Angela's ashes- F. McCourt


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Padua, Veneto, Italy
Hi guys,my name is Anna,I'm Italian and I'm studying foreign languages at the University of Padua. This is supposed to be my last year of studies,or so I hope,and I'm trying my best to finish asap,'coz it's really high time I were under way! I have many loves in my life,my Luv,my cats,books,violets and apples (but this is an old and long story to tell!). I don't want to bother you now,I'm going to tell you more in depht later! I'm waiting for you on my blog,read it,love it,hate it and feel free to leave any comments. This is the place I stay and it can be yours too!

Thursday, April 23

Auto da fé

This is a short reflective post on Handout2.
I want it to be short because I realized that my posts are always incredibly long winded, so this time I'm trying to cut words off!!
And I want it to be reflective 'coz I believe that a little more of thinking about the readability of an article, be it taken from a paper, from a blog or from a website, can be good for improving our writing skills. I want to talk about what I learned reading the handout our professor gave us because I found it extremely useful and ispiring. Since in a few months we'll start to write our final thesis it would be nice to refresh our memory with a brief summary of the rules to follow in order to write a good and effective paper. A well-written text is thus a text which is well-structured, logical, cohesive, clear and coherent. These are the basic features of a successful text; although they are mainly aimed at simplifying our life, like all simple things they need to be carefully monitored and blended within a text.
Today I'll be focusing on the structure of a text. As the name itself says, it is the basis and the pillars of a set of ideas, from which depends the whole readability of a text. Text structure is made up of three parts: the introduction, the body and the conclusion.
  • When is a text well-structured? When the arguments are presented in a logical way, providing contextual or background information and giving enough details to be immediately understandable.

A text like this is said to have an "hourglass" shape since the information is broad and generalized at the beginning and at the end, while it narrows in the middle, as it focuses precisely on specific issues. This is typical of a deductive approach, where all the information is given little by little as the text unfolds. On the contrary, in an inductive approach all information is given at the beginning and the knowing process is reverse: we start from proofs and then go back up to solutions. In both the cases,but especially in the latter, we should avoid to use obscure or complicated words, trying on the contrary to give explanations.Surfin' up and down the Web I found a website which gives some useful tips on the subject. Although it is mainly concerned with web texts, I think it is worth dropping in! This is what it says (in brief!!):

  1. Explain abbreviations and acronyms the first time you use them (never let markup alone);
  2. Try to keep sentences short (I'm not alone!!);
  3. Avoid complicated words and symbolic language, use instead paraphrases and try to explain the subject with you own words;
  4. Always consider the audience to which you are addressing: use an appropriate vocabulary and register.

This is another useful website I suggest you to take a look at! Oh no, I'm crossing my imaginary line to stop!

About blogs. Well, I believe they should follow the 5 features of any readable text (see above). They are texts, aren't they? So their authors should try to be as much comprehensible as they can if they want that their messages are conveyed and understood by their audience. About my blog..looking back to my old posts I must admit that, besides being a bit too long, sometimes they lack structure too. I always have lots of things to say, my brain is continually churning out ideas but then I don't know how to arrange them on paper/screen! I'm going to dig out the old good "skeleton" (not that locked up in my closet!) and eventually learn how to use it!

Now, a special thank to: my blog peers for their moral and technical support. I sometimes feel like I wanna give up with posting, feel that my creativity has definitely exhausted, but then I read the comments they leave and immediately feel pretty more relieved. Thanks again for boosting my confidence!




Sara said...

Hi Anna!
Your post is very well-written, clear and full of ideas! I agree with you when you say that a well-structure text is really important to make our message to be completely understood by the readers. I think I'll have to pay more attention too when drafting my confused amount of ideas in blog posts!

Even though it is difficult to trace linguistic mistakes in your writing.. I'll try!
First of all, I would like to ask you about this structure you used: "I'm to trying". You used the modal "to be to", right? But why did you put the -ing form afterwards? Sorry for the stupid question but I have still some problems with English verb constructions!
In this clause: "I found extremely useful and ispiring", you missed the pronoun "it" after "found".
Then, reading this sentence: "These are the basic features of a successful text, mainly aimed at simplifying our life, but like all simple things they need to be carefully monitored and blended within a text." I realized that there was something strange and I think it is the subordination; "mainly aimed" appears to be linked to the word "text" in the main clause, but I imagine this was not your intention! You probably meant to refer to the "features", thus it would be better to say "These are the basic features of a successful text; even though they are mainly aimed at simplifying our life, like all simple things they need to be carefully monitored and blended within a text."
In this question you forgot to respect the order of the interrogatives: "When a text is well-structured?". The correct version is "When is a text well-structured?"
You also forgot the comma here: "This is typical of a deductive approach where all the information is given little by little as the text unfolds." Actually, the relative starting with "where" is a non-defining.
Here: "This is another useful website, I suggest you to take a look at it too!" you linked two main clauses by a comma; I would better put a semi-colon or a colon, or otherwise I would change the sentence making a relative subordinate, like this: "This is another useful website I suggest you to take a look at!"
Another suggestion: why did you put more here: "as much more comprehensible as they can"? I would eliminate it; I think "as" is enough.
I don't know if I'm wrong, but I would replace "have to" with MUST here: "I have to admit" because you mean an internal obligation.
I think that's all!
Hope being useful!

Kitty Violet said...

Hi Sara,
thank you very much for your feedback!I see that I made a lot of stupid mistakes (sorry, it was late in the night and I was going almost blind!). The first mistake you highlighted,that is "I'm to trying",is a real bull..t, so don't worry,you perfectly know english, it's just me that sometimes go crazy and put words where I shouldn't put them(I still don't know how come it slipped out!)The second mistake,then,was again an "inattention". I must ;-)admit that MUST is always creating me a lot of troubles, especially now that we've been told not to use it, but to replace it with "softer" constructions like "to have to". In the past I had few problems with it, but now..I'm growing more and more puzzled every time I run up against it! Is there any other alternative to it? Maybe not using it at all would be the best solution! Well, another thorn in my side is the comparative form..and the superlatives as well..I tend to use them as little as possible because the 90% of the times I get wrong! I know, I need to study again those rules, I forgot a lot of things in these few months!
Thank again for your corrections, go and change what needed!

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