"Most people would agree that buildings represent a valuable record of any society's past, but controversy arises when old buildings stand on ground that modern planners feel could be better used for modern purposes. In such situations, modern development should be given precedence over the preservation of historic buildings so that contemporary needs can be served."

The speaker concedes that buildings represent a valuable record of any society’s past, but when the preservation of historic buildings conflicts with modern development, he/she suggests that it should give way to modern development in order to serve contemporary needs. However, I found the speaker’s suggestion failed to take all things into consideration. Such situations are determined on case-by-case basis. It is desirable and even imperative to protect historic buildings since they have the aesthetic, cultural, and historic value. In contrast, if the advantage of demolishing old buildings for modern development purpose outweighs the disadvantage, we should consider serving contemporary needs.

(In the following paragraph, I'm going to describe the significance of preserving of historic buildings to support my point that it is desirable to preserve old buildings.

In the third paragraph, I'm going to give certain examples to support under some situation, the advantage of demolishing old buidings for modern development does outgo the disavantage. )

Please help me revise the first paragraph, and gimme some advices on how to make it more attractive.

Thanks so much for you time.
Hi Jeff,

Your first paragraph is rather attractive already. I would make an effort to discover the quote author's gender, in order to avoid the 'he/she' awkwardness.

Here are some other words or phrases that need work:

speaker (I'd change to 'writer' since it is not obviously from a speech)
suggests that it (the referent for 'it' is a little vague)
needs. However (two spaces always after a period or a colon)
on case-by-case basis ('basis' is countable and singular)
buildings since (comma needed)
the aesthetic, cultural, and historic value (value is a generalized concept-- no article)

Your final sentence of the paragraph is too strongly opposed to the preceding opinion. The paragraph's beginning suggests that you support preservation, yet the concluding sentence suggests you support modernization. While it may be necessary in an essay to at least give lip service to opposing views, I find that students write better, stronger and clearer essays if they choose one side or the other to support, rather than trying to represent both sides. I don't know whether you have that option in this assigment, though.
Thank you so much, Mr. Micawber. But what if we are unable to identify the quote author's gender? Could I just use "he" for all of them? hehe


Mr. Micawber wrote:
I find that students write better, stronger and clearer essays if they choose one side or the other to support, rather than trying to represent both sides.

Even though we know that the other side is right under certain situation, we still have to support just one side and give just lip service to the other side if necessary?

Thank you! I'll try to follow your advice.
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Yes, I would use 'he' and let my teacher possibly object; to me 'he' is still much cleaner and less distractive than 'he/she'. (Although, I often use 's/he', which I am rather fond of.

In essay writing classes, I encourage my students to choose the side that they feel they can most effectively defend, irrespective of which viewpoint is 'correct'. Before beginning to write, I ask them to create a table that lists in note form the arguments and counter-arguments for each viewpoint, and then choose the one that they think they can write about most clearly and strongly.

There are limits to this general approach: the essay should not defend socially unacceptable positions like murder, etc; and as I said before, some assignments may want the student to present both sides 'equally'.
Thank you Mr. Micawber. Sometimes, I prefer to present both sides 'equally' if I could, since it will be easier for me to write. But I think I better work on my wording and tune in order not to be caught in embarrassment that reader don't even know what my position is. hehe