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Writing Original Themes 

All the writing exercises you have done until now were the building blocks to get to this kind of writing: original themes. In this chapter you will create entire stories in your own words and using your own English skills. Don’t be afraid to experiment or to try something unusual or fun. You should enjoy your writing. 

With each exercise theme you will find suggestions for using certain grammatical structures or certain vocabulary. They are meant to guide you to writing a good theme. Naturally, you are the author of the themes and can add other kinds of structures and vocabulary and omit the suggested ones. You can decide what is most appropriate for your theme. 

After you have written a theme, you can look at a sample theme of the same title in the Answer Key. That might give you some ideas for improving your theme. 

Directions: Set a time limit for yourself of about thirty to fifty minutes. Try to use the same amount of time for each exercise. That will help you follow your progress more objectively. Look at the suggested structures and, if you wish, use them anywhere in your theme. You should write at least three paragraphs on each theme. 

Exercise

Exercise 1 The Car I’ve Always Wanted 

Include these structures: 

two comparatives and three superlatives (such as bigger, biggest) one irregular verb in the past tense (example: “I saw the accident.”) 

Some helpful ideas for the theme: 

What are the make, model, and color of the car? 

How much does it cost, and how do you get the money? 

Why do you need a car? 

What happened to your last car? 

Some helpful vocabulary words: 

brakes, tires, car dealership, car loan, tune- up, convertible 

Exercise 2 Death Came for a Visit 

Include these structures: 

two possessive adjectives (such as my, your, his, her) three relative pronouns (such as that, who, which) 

Some helpful ideas for the theme: 

Who was dying? 

What happened to this person? 

What is your relationship to this person? 

How do you feel about death? 

Some helpful vocabulary words: 

illness, tragedy, sadness, comforting words, condolences 

Exercise 3 The Most Unforgettable Day 

Include these structures: 

two irregular verbs in the present perfect tense (example: “He has taken swimming lessons before.”) two reflexive pronouns (such as myself, yourself, himself) one use of the preposition because of 

Some helpful ideas for the theme: 

Where were you on this day? 

What happened? 

Why was it so unforgettable? 

Whom were you with? 

Some helpful vocabulary words: 

excitement, surprise, good fortune, amazing, happiness 

Exercise 4 Peace or War 

Include these structures: 

two passive voice verbs in the past tense (example: “She was found alive.”) three irregular verbs 

Some helpful ideas for the theme: 

What nations were in conflict? 

Why was there the possibility of war? 

Who wanted war and who wanted peace? 

Is war always bad? 

Some helpful vocabulary words: 

army, military, negotiations, tension, attack, diplomacy 

Exercise 5 A Wedding 

Include these structures: 

two uses of the preposition instead of 

two elliptical relative pronouns (example: “The man I spoke about is here.”) 

one future perfect tense verb (example: “He will have been found.”) 

Some helpful ideas for the theme: 

Who was getting married? 

Were the two families happy about the wedding? 

Where did the wedding take place? 

What was the celebration like? 

Some helpful vocabulary words: 

bride and groom, wedding ceremony, exchange of vows, in-laws, reception 

Exercise 6 Credit Cards 

Include these structures: 

two subjunctives following if (example: “If he were here, I would be happy.”) 

three compound sentences combined by and 

Some helpful ideas for the theme: 

Why does someone need a credit card? 

How do you use a credit card? 

Why are credit cards sometimes bad? 

What happens if you can’t pay your bills? 

Some helpful vocabulary words: 

ATM, shopping spree, emergencies, good (bad) credit, interest rate 

Exercise 7 I Need a Vacation 

Include these structures: 

three possessive nouns formed with -’s (example: “Bill’s house”) two future tense phrases formed from going to (example: “I am going to buy that.”) 

Some helpful ideas for the theme: 

What are some popular vacation spots? 

Why does someone need a vacation? 

What does a vacation cost? 

What can you do on a vacation? 

Who goes along? 

Some helpful vocabulary words:

 travel agent, airline, beach, hotels and motels, sightseeing, dinner and dancing 

Exercise 8 The Person I Love Most 

Include these structures: 

two statements following the conjunction that (example: “I know that you have my money.”) two relative clauses beginning with that (example: “Is she the girl that took the book?”) one use of the adjective that (example: “That man is a thief.”) 

Some helpful ideas for the theme: 

Who is this loved person? 

Why do you love him or her? 

What is the difference between family love and romantic love? 

How does this person feel about you? 

Some helpful vocabulary words: 

adore, respect, personality, companionship, soul mate, engagement 

Exercise 9 Your Autobiography 

Make this final exercise creative and challenging by writing the story of your own life. You will likely use all of the structures mentioned previously and you should use a wide variety of vocabulary words.

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