Thursday, May 03, 2012

29. A Grasp of Reality (II)


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Developing text is no easy matter, as you are well aware by now. Looking at it the other way round, the question arises: what if someone asked you to write a summary of the text in the previous post? Where would you look for the essential information, and how reduced – or enlarged, for that matter – should it be?

Let’s take the basic information, the one that can readily be retrieved from the questions in the multiple choice exercise itself. It should be enough for someone to get an idea of what the text is about, but the problem is it should clarify understanding for someone who has already read and worked on the text. The reader of such a brief summary would find it quite difficult to really enjoy the savoury details of the story. What would your variant be of the following? What information would you add to the text to make it richer in information for someone who hasn't read the basic text?

“According to the passage, Elias Howe was the first person to design a sewing-machine that really worked. The problem Howe was trying to solve was how to stop the thread from getting caught around the needle. The solution to the problem came from something Howe noticed about the soldiers' weapons. Thomas Edison is mentioned because he got some of his ideas from dreams. Dreams are sometimes called 'secret messages to ourselves' because strange images are used to communicate ideas.”


So here we are again, challenging yet another myth: this time it has to do with small words; yes, really small words with big meanings.
[adapted from New Success at First Certificate,
by Robert O’Neill, Michael Duckworth & Kathy Gude]


A Explain the full meaning of the words in italics.
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1   Edison got a lot of ideas while he was asleep. So did Einstein.
2    Sigmund Freud was very interested in dreams. So was Carl Gustav Jung.
3   I don't know how to interpret dreams. Neither does anybody else here.
4    I haven't been sleeping very well lately. Neither has my wife.

B Rewrite the second sentence in each pair below, repeating as little of the first as possible. Begin with So or Neither.
Example: Freud was famous for his study of dreams. Jung was famous for his study of them, too.
So was Jung.

1   The Ancient Egyptians studied dreams. The ancient Chinese studied them, too.
2   Modern psychologists are very interested in dreams. The Ancient Greeks were interested in them, too.
3   As far as we know, spiders don't dream. Snakes don't dream, either.
4   Freud didn't know why only some animals dream. Jung didn't know this, either.
5   When human beings dream, they move their eyes about. Cats and dogs move their eyes about when they dream, too.
6   My cat has never had a dream. My dog has never had a dream, either.
7   If you take sleeping pills, they will interfere with your dreams. Alcohol will interfere with your dreams, too.
8   Eating too much isn't good for you. Drinking a lot of alcohol isn't good for you, either.
Revision transformations
 C Finish the second sentence without changing the meaning.
1   Few people in England speak Chinese.
Not ......................................................
2    Will you post this letter for me, please?
Do you mind .......................................
3    I was bored by the film on television.
I  thought
4    Please don't ask so many questions.
Please stop .........................................
5    You phoned someone yesterday. Who?
Who ....................................................
6    She doesn't intend to leave.
She has no ..........................................
7   Maria Elena doesn't know very many words in English.
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Maria Elena knows.............................
8    You don't have to pay duty on these goods.
These goods are..................................
9    Chris is a very fluent Spanish speaker.
Chris speaks........................................
10   She doesn't think that music is interesting.
She isn't..............................................