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Categorisation

Aim:
This exercise introduces the vocabulary and grammar needed for the function of categorisation. For students taking the English for Academic Purposes course, this function is from Unit 3 of the EAP book and will help EAP students prepare for Assignment One. (Teachers: Click here for a printable version of this document.)

Instructions:
Read the 'Background' and 'Vocabulary and Grammar' sections, then complete the exercise.

Background

Categorisation is dividing a topic into sub-topics. Some topics can be divided into a small number of sub-topics that account for all of the topic. For example humans can be categorised as either male or female.

However, many other topics cannot be divided so easily. For example movies can be categorised as romances, horror, thrillers and comedies. The number of categories is uncertain, as some people may categorise computer animated films such as 'Shrek' as different from cartoons.

To deal with this problem, you should use a word such as 'main' or 'including'. For example, 'Movies can be categorised into a number of main types. There are comedies, horror, thrillers, musicals, and romances.' or 'Movies can be categorised into a number of types, including comedies, horror, thrillers, musicals, and romances.' The words 'main' or 'including' are used to show that there may be other types, but that these are not so important. For example, there may be experimental or art movies such as 'Dancer in the Dark' that do not fit into any of these categories. Also, some movies combine these types. You do not need to worry about exceptions to your categorisation system if you use the words 'main' or 'including'. See the Vocabulary and Grammar section for more examples.

Vocabulary and Grammar

Examples of introductions to categorisation:

- ' Students can be categorised in a number of ways, including as independent or dependent, collaborative or competitive and participant or avoidant.'
- ' Students can be categorised as isolated, social, alienated, phantom, dependent and task-orientated.'
- ' There are a number of different types of student, including independent or dependent, collaborative or competitive and participant or avoidant ones.'
- ' There are six main types of student: isolated, social, alienated, phantom, dependent and task-orientated.'

Describing a Category

After introducing a categorisation system the categories need to be explained. This can be done by describing the category and / or by giving examples:

- ' Comedy movies are designed to make the audience laugh. An example is 'Home Alone'.' (Available in CILL.)
- ' Horror movies are frightening for audiences. An example of a horror movie is 'The Sixth Sense'.' (Available in CILL.) (Language Note: NOT 'Horrible movies...' because this means that the movies are low quality.)
- ' Dependent students depend on their teachers for guidance, for instance in what books to use.'
- ' Social students like to work in groups, for example when cooperating on projects.'

 

Singular or plural can be used in descriptions of categories, although plural is more common and easier to understand. For example:

- ' A dependent student depends on his or her teacher for guidance, for instance in what books to use.'
- ' A social student  likes to work in groups, for example when cooperating on projects.'
- ' The dependent student depends on his or her teacher for guidance, for instance in what books to use.'
- ' The social student  likes to work in groups, for example when cooperating on projects.'
The descriptions of the categories can also be done using relative clauses, for example:
- ' Romance movies are movies which are for people who want to feel romantic.'
- ' A phantom student is a student who is quiet but attentive.'

Exercise

The following sentences have grammatical and meaning mistakes. Correct the grammatical ones and make write a comment about the meaning ones:

1.
2.
3.
4. Students can be categorised in a number of ways, including as independent or dependent, collaborative or competitive and participant or avoidant.
5. Movies can be categorised into a number of types, including comedies, horror, thrillers, musicals, and romances.
6. Students can be categorised in a number of ways, including as independent or dependent, collaborative or competitive and participant or avoidant.
7. Students can be categorised in a number of ways, including as independent or dependent, collaborative or competitive and participant or avoidant.
8. Movies can be categorised into a number of types, including comedies, horror, thrillers, musicals, and romances.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last updated on: Monday, March 26, 2012