Key words definitions and examples - EAL Nexus

Report
This project and its actions were made possible due to co-financing by the European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals
EAL Nexus resource
Explanation writing
Key words, definitions and examples
Subject:
English
Age groups:
8 – 11, 12 – 14, 15 – 16, 17 - 18
Topic:
Non-fiction writing
Licence information | This resource is free to use for educational purposes.
Source | This resource was originally developed by Charlotte Hurley and has been adapted by EAL Nexus.
©British Council 2014
Key term
Topic sentence
Definition
The first sentence of a
paragraph that introduces the
topic or subject of that
paragraph
Examples
 After a plant’s fruit is ripened,
its seeds are spread
 Motorcycle engines work in
the same way that car
engines do
Key term
Technical language
Definition
Language relating to the
subject of the explanation
paragraph
Examples
 piston, cylinder block, engine;
 Petals, stem, stamen
Key term
Causal words and phrases
Definition
Words and phrases used to
connect two things that
happen where the second part
happens as a result of the first
Examples
This causes… when… therefore…
because… so… as a result…
Key term
Definition
Example
Paragraph
A part of a piece of writing that
usually deals with one subject,
that begins on a new line, and
that is made up of one or more
sentences.
Butterflies go through several changes… ___
___________________________________________
___________________________________________
The female lays an eggs…_________________
___________________________________________
___________________________________________
Larvae emerge from the egg… ____________
___________________________________________
___________________________________________
The caterpillar makes a … _________________
___________________________________________
___________________________________________
Key term
Logical steps
Definition
Clear stages of the process
ordered in a sensible way
Examples
1…………………
2 ………………...
3 …………………
Key term
Formal language
Definition
Language used when
conversational language (such
as slang) isn’t suitable. Standard
English is used, with correct
grammar and punctuation.
Examples
 ‘is placed’ rather than ‘put’
 ‘elevate’ rather than ‘lift’
 ‘manufacture’ rather than ‘make’
Key term
Passive voice
Definition
Used when the focus is on the
action. It is not important or not
known who or what is
performing the action
Examples
 The wheel is turned
 The oxygen is carried
 The engine is started
Key term
Time words and phrases
Definition
Words and phrases to show
when and in what order events
happen
Examples
At first… initially… before… during…
at the same time … later on…after…
finally… eventually…
Key term
Present tense
Definition
A verb tense used to show an
action that is happening now
Examples
 The heart pumps…
 The plant grows …
Key term
Past tense
Definition
A verb tense used to show an
action that is happening now
Examples
 This caused the food supply to run
out.
 When the volcano erupted…
Key term
Definition
Example
Diagram
A drawing that accompanies
writing to help understanding often labelled and showing
how something works
Key term
Definition
Example
Illustration
Drawings or pictures that show
items mentioned in the text
Key term
Components
Definition
Smaller parts of a larger
machine or electrical item
Examples
Bike: pedal, chain, spokes, wheels,
handlebars, seat.
Key term
Phases
Definition
The separate stages of a
process / explanation
Example
Life cycle of a frog:
egg-laying, fertilisation, tadpoles
form, hatching, limbs develop…
Key term
Process
Definition
A series of actions, changes or
steps that lead to a result
Example
 Build-up of pressure
 Magma moves towards the
surface of the volcano
 Gases in the magma froth
 Magma and gases are released
suddenly
 A volcanic eruption occurs

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