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TOEFL essay: The automobile is destroying our quality of life.


answers: 8
please,guy, check my essay and tell me your opinion on its essence and structure, as well as grammar and vocabulary.

From the very moment of construction and release to masses an automobile became one of the most popular and demanded invention of twentieth century and acquired wide use all over the world. Although it has few advantages, such as the ability to deliver people and cargo to the point of destination for relatively little amount of time, disadvantages outnumber positive characteristics of an automobile. For that reason I consider it to destroy the quality of the human life.
One of the problems is the constant and disproportionate to population increase in number of automobiles on streets and roads of big cities, the natural consequence of which are long lines of traffic jams. They slow down traffic movement and significantly hinder the speed of automobiles, in fact minimizing the sole advantage of last to deliver people timely and rapidly to the point of destination. For example, very often I was late to lectures and once to very important meeting, because of traffic jams, that become frequent in my city during the last ten years. Many of world's largest metropolises, such as Moscow, London and New York suffer from traffic jams, as well as my home city.
But the main disadvantage of automobiles is that they are considered to be one of the primary sources of the air pollution. Gases that exhaust from automobiles engines spread over big territories and come into reaction with other gases in the air, the result of which is the formation of smog, which is poisonous to human health. For example, when people wait in traffic jams and breathe gases that release from engines of cars in front of them, it could result in various deceases from irritation to eyes to lung cancer. Moreover, it prevents the exchange of heat between the Earth and the atmosphere, causing greenhouse effect, which leads to huge change in climate and destroys the biosphere. What makes things worse is that damage caused could not be seen at once, but reveals itself after long period of time when it becomes too late.
Therefore, I thing that negative impacts of automobiles far more exceed positive ones and surely decrease the quality of life of population, especially those living in cities.

Apr 5, 2010, 10:54am   #2
I'd like to draw out some points:
"For example, when people wait in traffic jams and breathe gases that release ( I guess passive form is expected here-> are released) from engines of cars in front of them, it could result in various deceases ( I'm not quite sure about the use of decreases here. Do you wanna write diseases? ) from irritation to eyes to lung cancer." Probably you missed these point when proofreading the essay :P
From the very moment of construction and release to the masses, the automobile became has been one of the most popular and demanded inventions of twentieth century and acquired wide use all over the world. Although it has a few advantages, such as the ability to deliver people and cargo to the point of destination for in a relatively little amount of time, disadvantages outnumber ...

For example, very often I was late to lectures and once to very important meeting, because of traffic jams, which have become frequent in my city during the last ten years. Many of world's largest ...

Gases that exhaust Emissions from automobiles' engines spread over big territories and come into reaction with other gases in the air, the result of which is the formation of smog, which is poisonous to human health. ---- very good sentence!!


Therefore, I thing that negative impacts of automobiles far more exceed positive ones and surely decrease the quality of life of for much of the population, especially those people living in cities.
Apr 5, 2010, 11:51pm   #5
Hi everyone,

Another point you could talk about is the lack of exercise and it's harmful effects to human health because of the excessive use of vehicals.
Apr 6, 2010, 02:01pm   #6
Hello Azeri

Sentence Length
The first thing that strikes me is your average sentence length - it's over 28 words per sentence. I think you should aim for about 20, and try to have a mix of short (6-10 word) and long (15-25) sentences.

Your clauses and sentence structures are very good, but the essay overall is a little hard to read because of the long sentences.

Include more ideas
Although you have over 350 words, you have only two main points. One is that cars
Azeri:
slow down traffic movement

which is a dangerously circular argument (they "significantly hinder the speed of automobiles") and the other is that cars cause pollution.

As Sudharaka suggests, you could add the lack of exercise in our lives because of our dependence on cars, and other ideas could include
  • the physical, psychological and social distance a car places between us and our neighbours

  • the number of people killed in accidents

  • the size and dominance of the car industry and the road lobby in our economies

  • urban sprawl and the changed shape of cities due to cars

  • the massive time spent in commuting

  • the physical and psychological separation or compartmentalization of work and personal life (this applies to all transport, of course)

  • the damage to the environment caused by road building, lighting

  • the political and economic consequences created by dependence on oil from a few countries

  • the growth of impersonal suburbs and selfish individualism fostered by the availability of cars which allow individual rather than collective housing and movement

  • the environmental cost of disposing of or failing to recycle cars, tires and car parts

  • the potentially explosive growth of car ownership in China, India and other countries

  • ...
- and these are just a few ideas on the negative side. You could of course look at the positive side of cars as well!

Be ruthless!
Be ruthless within sentences: see where you can leave out words and phrases.
Azeri:
For example, when people wait in traffic jams and breathe gases that release from engines of cars in front of them, it could result in various deceases from irritation to eyes to lung cancer.
(34 words)
  • Car emissions can cause a range of conditions from eye irritation to lung cancer.
(14 words)

Regards

Enda
thanks Enda.

My short sentences make the whole essay look simple, primitive. Because I currently improving my vocabulary and grammar I try to use more sophisticated word and form longers sentences. with short sentences my essay does not resemble the academic one and as you, probably, know toefl essay is an academic essay.

As you mention I have only two main points for, because all books about toefl essays advise to choose two or maximum three main ideas and develop them, so that total number of paragraphes must not exceed five.Also, I should say, that when writing essay few ideas come into my mind. This is my main problem. I cannot manage to write for 30 minutes

But, neverthless, I appreciate your input and looking forward for your further comments!
Apr 6, 2010, 11:40pm   #8
Hi Azeri

You are right that shorter sentences can seem simple, but they aren't easy to write! You have good control over your clauses and sentence structure: don't be afraid to try a mix of short and long sentences, whether in academic or other writing.

A good place for shorter sentence length is the topic sentence for each paragraph. Have one crystal clear idea in it, and then develop the idea in the longer sentences following it.

Looking forward to your next essay!

Regards

Enda

Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts.
William Strunk, Elements of Style, http://www.crockford.com/wrrrld/style3.html#13



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