Learn English with Teacher Joe!

Learn English Writing

"Don't just learn from your own mistakes, learn from others' too!" - Teacher Joe
Return to
Joe's Home

Return to
Compositions Page

Return to
Writing Page

Student Composition 5:
Where is my cheese?

This booklet of 90 pages Who Moved My Cheese? is a (1) child's story but (2) also for everyone, and the problem I face to is: What is my cheese?

Life is a labyrinth, and cheese is a symbol of what we must to find, pursue in (3) it. From primary school, my cheese is test marks, now, I (4) admitted the college, and gone through my self-examination I paid too much for this cheese. But as the booklet said, (5) none of any cheese was exactly belongs to us; it disappeared when we (6) found it out. That means the marks are not a cheese for my whole life, and the next cheese is my means of livelihood, and when I get it, the next is my work achievement. There is a series of cheeses in front of me, and I don't know what to do with (7) it.

I wonder if I can make myself change into the roles of mice "Xiuxiu" and "Congcong", because they can smell varieties of flavor in advance and pull themselves in action, so I did some odd jobs all around myself such as washing clothes and home works in my vocation, and even want to try hire out for work, so that I can get some (8) perceptions, but (9) the social life is (10) just so simple?

In fact, I am the roles of pygmy like "Hengheng" and "Jiji" which are (11) changed into complicated by life that means there is (12) no any simple and straight ways (13) here. If you were learned some skills in need that's not enough, and to deal with the intricate interpersonal relationships would more difficult than specific working problems, and to (14) grab a social status would more difficult than to create any achievements. For example, many people who studied lectures (15) behind me but went so far as to become "tutors", but I had to (16) feel ashamed of their inferiority.

People can learn from mice but can't change themselves into mice, however, we can do and must do is to exploit (17) something which maybe rebuild us to (18) Somebody. At last, I (19)picked on "Jiji" as my model and prepare for a (20) new marching. I didn't care for "Hengheng", because he never took a step again and got nothing at last.

"(21) Owned the related ways before you get the cheeses", that is my conclusion.

Joe's Comments:

One of the basic principles of writing is to think of your reader as you write. In several different ways, this writer failed to keep his audience in mind. First, when you mention names, you must explain who the people are. Maybe Chinese readers know who Xiuxiu, Congcong, Hengheng and Jiji are. If all of the readers are Chinese, then the writer should write in Chinese! However, if the writer writes in English, maybe someone from another country will read it. The writer must describe the mice and pygmies clearly or there will be misunderstandings.

The second way that the writer fails to help the audience is by misusing pronounds and adverbs. For example, in number (3), what is "it"? I am not sure if "it" refers to cheese or life. In number (7), does the writer mean cheese, the series, or work achievement? In number (13), where is "here", and in number (15), why are there people studying "behind" him? I have no idea what number (17), "something" maybe be, or who number (18), "somebody" maybe be. All of these mistakes leave the reader confused.

The third way that the writer fails to help the audience is by creating expressions that are unclear. Perhaps expressions such as (5 ) "none of any cheese", (10) "just so simple", (11) "changed into complicated", (12) "no any simple", (14) "grab a social status", (20) "new marching", and (21) "Owned the related ways", are clear to the writer, but I have no idea what these words mean! Every writer must be sure to use words and expressions that the readers can understand. Be clear in your writing at all times.

The writer also made some basic mistakes that distract from the meaning of the sentences. Number (1) should be "children's story". It is not for one child only, nor was it written by one child. Number (2) is missing a verb. Perhaps the writer wanted to write "it can also be enjoyed by everyone". Number (4), "I admitted the university" sounds very funny, as though the writer let the university come into his home! Of course, it should be "I was admitted to the university". Number (6), "found it out" is a common problem for many students. "Find" and "find out" are very different. We use "find" when we search for something and then we remember where it is. On the other hand, "find out" is to learn something new, without looking for something that we lost. So in this case, the writer is talking about "finding his cheese", not "finding out (learning) about cheese".

Numbers (8) and (9) are both too vague. We perceive every minute that we are awake. What "perceptions" are these? And what kind of "social life" does the writer mean? Whose social life? Number (16), "feel ashamed of their inferiority" needs to be explained. Why should the writer feel ashamed of other people working? Perhaps they could have done better, or maybe they are of a higher social class than average tutors. Unless the writer explains, the reader will never know. Number (19) is another commone mistake. The expression "pick on" means to tease somebody. The writer should write "pick", which means "choose".

Joe's Revised Composition:

(Note: Since I have not read the book "Where is my cheese?", and I cannot understand the writer's ideas, this revised composition is a very rough approximation of what the writer could have written.)

Where, or WHAT, is my cheese?

There is a popular little book of only 90 pages called, Who Moved My Cheese? Although it seems like a children's story, it is meant for adults. The problem I face in my life is not, "Where is my cheese?". The problem I face is "WHAT is my cheese?".

In the book, cheese is a symbol of what we are trying to find in life. As a student my cheese was always high test scores. Now as a worker, the next cheese seems to be to find a way to make a living. After I get that cheese, I will probably pursue the cheese of achievement. There will be a whole series of cheeses during my life, and I don't know what to do or how to focus my attention on one goal.

I wonder if I can become like the two mice in the book. Mice can smell different varieties of cheese which motivates them to act. Or maybe I can be like the two pygmies in the book who changed their lives from complex to simple. If, like them, I could develop basic skills that help me deal with intricate interpersonal relationships then perhaps I could increase my social status. That may be more valuable than any achievements at work.

Of course, I can't change myself into mice or pygmies. Instead, I will have to reread the book "Who Moved My Cheese?", so that I can understand the meaning behind the symbols. Then, perhaps, I will not only know where my cheese is, I will also know WHAT my cheese is. Wish me good luck!

Learn English Idioms Listen to English Language Exchange
Learn English Grammar Learn English Vocabulary Learn Business English

Copyright 2005, Learn English with Teacher Joe