20. How to Write Prefaces for your Papers

prefaceExplanation:  The students who wrote the family and travel essays below have also explained how they wrote them with a brief explanatory “preface.”  A preface can be one or more pages, or often just a paragraph (like the ones below). A preface introduces something you’ve written and describes how you came up with your topic.  Each student below has also written his short three-paragraph essay about a common saying about life experience, which you will notice in their titles.

Directions: The first essay below is missing commas, can you find where they’re needed?  The second essay is missing transitions and connecting words.  Can you fill in the blanks?

 Being Younger, the Pressure’s Off

PREFACE:  In this essay, I wanted to introduce a problem from my own culture and show how it is not always as bad as we might think.  I start with why people might probably think it is best to be the oldest child in a family.  Then I explain three ways being younger is not so bad.  In fact, in my conclusion I show my strongest reason why I’m glad I wasn’t the oldest.  Also, my title adds more weight to the thesis of my essay.

In Micronesia many families solve the problem of inheritance issues by simply giving the land and property to the oldest son. It is common then to think that being the oldest child in a family has the most privileges.

However there are several advantages to being the youngest child too.  First it is important to note that by the time the youngest child is born the parents have already had experience as parents.  They know how to care for a newborn and they tend to be more relaxed. Second the youngest child has the opportunity to learn how to stay out of trouble.  If the older children get into trouble it is easy for the youngest child to learn from the older children’s mistakes.  A third advantage of being the youngest child is that in many cases the youngest gets extra attention from the older siblings.  It is not unusual to see older siblings taking care of their younger siblings at school or protecting them from bullies.  Finally even though the oldest inherits everything he is supposed to divide it fairly among all his brothers and sisters.

I’m glad I don’t have that pressure when someday we have to say goodbye to our beloved parents.  Consequently, it’s important not only to respect our parents but also our older brothers and sisters.          –Nelson Eiuriunig, Micronesia

 Cross-Cultural Travel: Be Careful How You Do It!

PREFACE:  This is a fun short reflection about intercultural greetings.  It’s based on my own observations and experiences, as well as a little Google research from a website about intercultural body language.  So, who knows?  Maybe I didn’t get everything exactly right.  Read my examples and tell me what you think!

Greetings are the way  th_______ a person addresses or acknowledges another person ___________ the two meet. They are not as straightforward as you might think.  In fact, I’ve found greetings can be pretty tricky!

In Bosnia, we can sometimes be very demonstrative; for ________________, two  guys might kiss or brush one another’s cheeks, espe_____________ if they haven’t seen each other for a long time.  Obv_____________, types of greetings vary in different countries.  ___________ my own research and other people I’ve met, here are some things I’ve learned.  For example, people in Japan often prefer to greet each other nonverbally, _________ a bow and a smile.  Africans would likely greet fellow Africans with a handshake.  _________ Maori people of New Zealand, the most common greeting is called hongi, ____________ involves rubbing noses.  ________ Poland, a kiss on each cheek is possible, like in my country. Simi__________, Dutch people kiss the right cheek, then left, then rigbt again.

Travelers to other countries would be wise to learn the appropriate way to give a greeting according to the commonly expected ____  way people interact with one another in differentcountries.  Be careful how you do it!

–Drago Vujasinović