B2.2 – FCE Writing – Essay

This post summarises our class discussion which prepared the essay writing task about criminal sentences and the crime rate.  It also includes some extra vocabulary suggestions related to this topic.

Essay question:    Stronger criminal sentences would help reduce the crime rate.  Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of stronger criminal sentences and say whether you agree with the statement.

Topic vocabulary:

Categorize the following crime related verbs according to whether they talk about criminal activity or law and order:

to break the law        to arrest a criminal       to punish a criminal     to tackle crime    to convict someone for a crime    

to commit a crime/an offence         to combat crime            to reach a verdict        to appear in court           to act as a deterrent

to sentence someone to prison/4 years (in prison)/life imprisonment      to serve a four-year sentence      to enforce a law

to bring someone to justice

Adjectives:  The following adjectives talk about prison sentences.  Order them according to how strong the sentence is:

(The criminal was given…)            a tough sentence      a light sentence       a life sentence      a harsh sentence     (…by the judge).

 What kind of sentence is the criminal likely to get if they committed (a)  petty crime?   (b)  a serious crime?

Nouns:  some useful expressions:  crime figures / the crime rate (data which shows how many crimes are committed)  / a crime wave (to talk about a sudden increase in crime).

Essay plan:

Ideas generated in class (Essay plan):

Arguments in favour of stronger sentences Arguments against stronger sentences
They act as a deterrent and would make people think twice before committing a crime. Evidence does not always show that stronger sentences mean that crime rates fall.  Example – U.S.A.?
Longer sentences in prison would mean criminals spend more time in training, educational and rehabilitation programmes – helping them reintegrate into society in the long-term. Prisons would be more overcrowded
Stronger sentences for criminals would mean they would be off the streets for longer.  As a result they would not be able to commit more offences and people would feel safer on the streets. The cost of the prison service would go up – especially problematic during a period of financial crisis/recession etc.

Linking expressions to give your essay more cohesion:

Adding ideas Contrasting ideas… Ordering ideas… Explaining cause (what the reason is) Explaining result
In addition…

 Additionally…

 What is more…

Besides this…

Furthermore…

 On one hand…

On the other hand…

 In contrast…

 By way of contrast…

While some people think….others argue that…

 Although…

 However…

Firstly…

First of all…

First and foremost…*

To begin with…

Secondly…

Thirdly…

Finally…

This / That is why…

This/ That is because…

This is due to…

Therefore…

As a result…

Consequently…

As a consequence of this…

(* ‘foremost’ is used to say ‘this is the most important idea’)

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