What is wrong with the text below?
The biggest reason for insisting that international marketing has many bad sides is because it has a power of command which is very powerful. It could be reached everywhere and it means that every single people in the world easily being a target without concious.
Some errors are very obvious but there are also a few ways to improve it. Have a listen to discover how, and in the process learn:
How and when to use idiomatic expressions
Why a simple argument is better than a complex one
When to use a well known phrase
If it is OK to translate from your native language into English
After listening subscribe to get even more tips about passing the exam, and why not check out the changes made to the Sentence Guide (now includes a CRAZY amount of essay checks for the same price as before).Click to read transcript
Hello there. IELTS Essay Improvement podcast number 3 out of a 3-part series.
Let’s get straight to it. Grab a pen as we did in the last few episodes. Write down these 2 sentences, analyze them, and then after you’ve analyzed them listen again to the recording all the way through, and see if you have identified the same problems as I did. Let’s go.
“The biggest reason for insisting that international marketing has many bad sides is because of it has a power of command which is very powerful.”
“It could be reached everywhere and it means that every single person in the world easily being a target without conscious.”
Now we’ll just stop at those 2 sentences. Hopefully you wrote those down. If you didn’t just rewind and go back a little bit, write them down and then analyze them. And you’ll find a couple of mistakes there. Quite a few.
So quickly, the first ones would be the use of basic vocabulary “The biggest.” We could’ve substituted that for “The most serious reason for insisting that international marketing has many bad sides.” Well instead of saying “has many bad sides,” we could say “has numerous disadvantages.”
And that was just the first couple of words. The main problem here was that it didn’t make any sense. I think what the writer was trying to say was that maybe “The most serious reason for insisting that international marketing has numerous disadvantages is largely due to it’s power/ it’s because of the power it wields.”
And this way hopefully you would have identified we’d have got rid of the repetition of the word “power, powerful,” which not only does it show a lack of vocabulary but it also clouds what the writer is trying to communicate. It makes it difficult to understand.
The next sentence starts with “It could be reached everywhere.” Now, I don’t know what the subject is discussing. Are we talking about the consumers can be reached everywhere? We’ve also got like a repetition of an argument. It says “It could be reached everywhere,” and it means that every single person. So we don’t know who the subject pronoun “It” is referring to.
So maybe if we added this for clarity we could say “Consumers nowadays can be reached anywhere in the globe and this means they can be targeted without consciousness.” “Without being aware,” would be the more appropriate way to say this.
If they say in the first example, “…in the world easily being a target without conscious.” Is the person targeting? Is that the person who lacks conscious? Or are we talking about the consumer who’s being targeted without being aware of the fact they’re being targeted?
So first of all, that would need to be edited just to make it a clear and coherent thought. Now to improve it, we could say instead of “reached everywhere,” we can put and idiomatic expression and we could say “consumers can be reached in every corner of the world.”
And some of you might be saying “That doesn’t sound right. Every corner of the world/every corner of the globe?” Because the globe’s circular, the corners are rectangular… But that figure of speech comes from looking at the world as a map on the wall. In which sense we could say “Consumers from every corner of the world have been targeted/can be targeted.”
So we not have only (most importantly) improved the message and made it crystal clear with what we’re trying to say. But we’ve also managed to squeeze in an idiomatic expression.
Now be careful. Be careful because I read essays every single day where a writer has tried to force an idiomatic expression. And it doesn’t sound right. It doesn’t sound like a native speaker.
So my advice is that if you are going to use an idiomatic expression then make sure you are completely at ease and you know exactly the right place and time to use it. otherwise, it sounds odd and forced.
Now, the way to become aware of the correct time and place to use it is to get feedback. It’s to start incorporating it in your essays and getting feedback in your practice essays. And get feedback from a native speaker. Possibly get it proofread. Or you can even send it to me if you’ve got the sentence guide, and I can tell you. Okay?
But experiment in your practice essays and try to avoid experimenting when you’ve paid $300 or Euros or whatever for your exam. That’s not a wise idea.
By the way, from all corners of the world is a relatively easy idiomatic expression to use. And given the usual topics of IELTS it’s usually something to do with the global issue, or education, immigration, whatever. But it usually has a global feel to it because IELTS after all, is an international English language test. So using that figure of speech could be beneficial. But make sure you’ve experimented with it first.
Now the next piece of advice I want to give you relates to your paragraphs. Now, to improve the cohesiveness and the coherence of your argument, I’ve been recommending (for the last couple of years now) that students go for a simpler argument, where there is no risk of tripping up and falling over trying explain something complex.
Because if you’re trying to explain a complex argument then you’re going to be using a very large range of grammar structures and possibly even longer sentences, and therefore increasing the risk of making an error. And also, it’s more difficult to try and communicate what’s in your head onto the paper in front of you.
Whereas; if you just keep it a relatively basic argument… And remember, we’re not getting points for ideas. We’re getting points for our grammar, for our language, for writing a coherent argument. And a basic argument is much easier expressed in a coherent way than a complex argument.
Let me say that again because it’s important. A basic argument, a simple argument is much easier to communicate and transmit than a complex argument. And the reason is because you’re using more solid, basic grammar… well, not basic grammar but it’s just an easier argument to communicate. So bear that in mind.
Let me give you an example. If I wanted to say that crime rates are increasing because of the lack of opportunities or because of the weakness of the employment market. I could just say that “Crime has become an increasingly attractive option due to the lack of attractive employment opportunities offered in certain regions of the U.K.”
Now, that’s fine. That’s fine. That’s quite a basic argument and it’s like a general truth as well, but it’s believable. However, if I went a step further and then just try to explain this point a little bit further then I don’t think that level of detail is necessary and I’m setting myself for a mistake.
For example, if I started to say that “Employment opportunities have become less attractive since the introduction of zero-hour contracts, and the gradual reduction of labor rights and employment rights, largely thanks to successive torrid governments…” Even though it may sound clear now, but if you’re trying to put this down in writing in your exam, in exam conditions, it’s going to be rather a complex task which you don’t want. And it’s just going to make the examiner’s job even more difficult.
So moving on to another point. This is similar to what we’re saying before about the idiomatic expressions or figure of speeches. Apply the same rules. Be very very cautious if you decide to quote a well-known phrase.
Make sure, first of all, that you know this quote/this phrase word for word, perfectly. And secondly, make sure that it is a world-renowned phrase. And do not try and translate one from your own language into English because, as the world known expression goes, lost in translation. The expression will be lost in translation and it won’t make that much sense.
These kinds of things you could do maybe if you were talking, and you’ve got time, and you could sort of like guard or you could judge the listener’s response. But with writing, you’re not there to strengthen it and you cannot adapt if somebody doesn’t understand it. So you better not take in the risk, personally.
It’s rather difficult as well to memorize a phrase word for word, and use it in the appropriate option, and (like we said before) judge whether it is well known enough or not. So avoid doing that.
Another tip is we should really avoid using informal phrases. Informal phrases are okay in your spoken English. And you will hear them on American soaps, American sitcoms, and British ones as well, Australian ones of course as well.
But I’ll just give you an idea. If you are using something like “The pollution has gone into a stage where it is so crazy.” “So crazy,” that’s not an academic phrase at all. So avoid using that.
Also, avoid using words that come into fashion like “epic.” “Epic” is a word that’s in fashion at the moment and people are using it incorrectly. And it definitely doesn’t have a place in academic writing.
One final point. Make sure you understand the question. This means at least reading it twice or three times. And the importance of this cannot be understated. Because over the last couple of weeks, sometimes I give students an exercise to write an essay about international marketing. And maybe about 8 out of 10 students usually respond with an essay about international trade.
Knowing the difference between international marketing and international trade is important. It is important in this respect. But what’s more important… what I’m trying to say is that knowing the differences between small nuances like that. Because if you get the question wrong then you’re going to write the whole of your essay wrong. And you’re going to finish off wrong as well. This is basically going to crucify your task response points. So bear this in mind and make sure that you do have a god understanding.
One way to get around this would be to have a look at 250 Questions. If you go to dichvugiadinh.info/250, there you can download a PDF with lots of sample essays. And 250 Task 2 questions. And you can start getting into the habit of getting ideas, identifying the question, and then checking on the internet if you have identified the question correctly. And doing this as a part of your practice will help you a lot. So you don’t make the same mistakes when it comes to the $300 exam day.
Just a small notice. With the Sentence Guide, it’s now checking (I’m now checking) the Academic Task 1 and General Task 1 as well. So you’re basically going to be writing in total 10 essays and 7 of those are checked, and you get feedback, you get the video, outlining where you went wrong, how to improve it, what vocabulary to use. So now is a good time to have a look at that. And that’s available at dichvugiadinh.info/sg.
Okay. All the best and I hope you keep going. And next week there is a good podcast. All about motivation and strategies to prepare for the exam. All the best.