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Explanation of Functions

Introduction:
The first step in writing an essay or an assignment is to make sure you understand the topic question. When you understand clearly what you are being asked to do, you will be able to plan your response to the topic question. The following functions (which describe what you have to do) are commonly used in assignments, tests and examinations.

Instructions:
Read the following explanations of the different functions, then try the exercise.

Function Verb
(click for a English/Chinese definition)

Explanation

(Click here for a printable matching exercise based on this table in MS Word format)

Explain the reasons for, giving an indication of all relevant circumstances. This is very different from "give an account of", which asks only for a detailed description.

Consider carefully and in detail by breaking the problem down into its constituent parts, identifying and describing in detail the main characteristics, and recognizing the relationships between them.

Make use of given or known information to solve other problems either through generalization or theorizing.

State clearly, and in a moderate fashion, your opinion on the material in question. Support your views with references to suitable evidence or with explanations as appropriate.

Look for qualities or characteristics that resemble each other. Emphasize similarities, but be aware of points of difference.

Stress the dissimilarities and differences between the items in question, but do not ignore points of similarity.

Give concise, clear and authoritative meanings. Do not give too many details, but be sure to state the limits of the definition. Show how the things you are defining differ from things in other categories.

Give a detailed or graphic account presenting all aspects or parts.

Investigate or examine carefully by argument and debate, giving pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages. Be complete and give details. Consider all sides of the issue and reach a balanced conclusion.

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Give Examples

Provide evidence for a point or claim by describing an example and explaining its relevance.

Make an appraisal of the worth of something, in the light of its truth or utility, including both advantages and limitations. Emphasize the views of authorities as well as your personal opinion. Also: ‘assess’.

Clarify, interpret and account for the material you present. Give reasons for important features or developments, and try to analyze causes.

Given a set of instances, pick out a particular subset.

Use a figure or diagram to explain or clarify a problem, situation or view, or make clear by the use of concrete examples.

Explain the meaning of; make clear and explicit; give your own judgement.

Prove, make out a case or give reasons for decisions and conclusions. Be convincing, show adequate grounds.

Write an itemized series of concise statements. Also: ‘enumerate’.

Provide a framework description of the main features or general principles of a subject, omitting minor details, and emphasizing structure, arrangement or classification of the material.

Establish that something is true by citing factual evidence or giving clear logical reasons.

Show how things are connected to each other, how one causes another, correlates with another, and to what extent they are alike, or affect each other.

Make a survey of, examining the subject critically, analysing and commenting on the important points or stages of development.

Present in brief, clear form.

Give a concise account of the main points or facts of a matter, omitting details and examples.

Follow the history, progress or development of a topic or a sequence of events from the point of origin.

Exercise

The following are a collection of topic questions from different university courses. While the content differs, the functions are common to all university courses.

For each of the following topic questions, decide what you are being asked to do. Choose from the list the functions next to each topic question. More than one function is possible (by holding down the Ctrl key while choosing the second option). Note that all topic questions ask you to do more than one thing.

 

Example:

"Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of adopting franchising operations in the Hong Kong hotel industry."

< choose answers from this box

Answers:

  1. Discuss - this is the first word of the question!
  2. Define - you need to explain what franchising is.

  1. Define the term 'system'. Give an example of a business system and identify for this example the boundary, environment, inputs and outputs.

     

    Answers:

    1. Define - this is the first word of the question!
    2. Exemplify - the question says "Give an example..."
    3. Identify - it's in the question!

    Link: systems, boundary, environment, inputs and outputs.

  2. Explain the importance of image segmentation in the analysis of images. Describe the two basic methods of segmentation: thresholding and edge detection.

     

    Answers:

    1. Explain - this is the first word of the question!
    2. Describe - this is the first word of the second sentence of the question!

    Link: segmentation: thresholding and edge detection.
    .

  3. What is Graeco-Latin Square design? Explain why a three-level Graeco-Latin Square is not a feasible design.

     

    Answers:

    1. Define - define a Graeco-Latin Square design.
    2. Explain - this is the first word of the second sentence of the question!

    Link: Graeco-Latin Square designs

  4. Describe the distinguishing characteristics of wide area networks (WANS), local area networks (LANS) and metropolitan area networks (MANS). Under what circumstances do companies employ a particular type of network?

     

    Answers:

    1. Describe - this is the first word of the question!
    2. Compare - LANS with MANS and WANS
    3. Contrast - LANS with MANS and WANS
    4. Explain - under what circumstances companies employ a particular type of network.

    Link: LANS, MANS and WANS

  5. Explain and illustrate with examples the formation process of language attitudes.

     

    Answers:

    1. Define - define 'language attitudes'
    2. Explain - the first word of the question!
    3. Exemplify - "illustrate with examples"

     

  6. The Internet is a worldwide network that has emerged as the enabling technology for global electronic business. Discuss four applications of the Internet for business.

     

    Answers:

    1. Define - the Internet (e.g. does it include e-mail or phone text messaging?)
    2. Identify - four applications of the Internet for business
    3. Discuss - the first word of the second sentence!

     

  7. Describe the four major types of motion control systems used in the following robots: axis-limited, point-to-point playback, contour path playback and intelligent robots.

     

    Answers:

    1. Define - define axis-limited, point-to-point playback, contour path playback and intelligent robots
    2. Discuss - the four major types of motion control systems
    3. Compare - the four major types of motion control systems - how are they similar?
    4. Contrast - the four major types of motion control systems - how are they different?


    .

  8. Explain the Kubelka-Munk relationship between the measured reflectance values and the dye concentration in the fibre.

     

    Answers:

    1. Explain - it's the first word!
    2. Define - define the Kubelka-Munk relationship
    3. Relate - relate the reflectance values and the dye concentration


  9. Discuss the statement: 'The healing processes of different types of tissue are similar.'

     

    Answers:

    1. Define - define 'the healing process' and 'different types of tissue'
    2. Discuss - it's the first word of the question!


  10. Discuss the major factors for a fashion retailer to consider when choosing a store location.
    1. Identify and describe the characteristics of different stages of the product life cycle (PLC).
    2. Explain how marketing strategy changes during a product's life cycle (PLC) with examples from a particular industry.

     

    Answers:

    1. Discuss - it's the first word of the question!
    2. Define - define the product life cycle
    3. Identify - it's in the question!
    4. Explain - it's in the question!


Your total score is:

 

Last updated on: Friday, March 23, 2012