The following is not strictly an exercise – more an invitation to ‘reflection’ about styles of written expression.

Read these two versions of the same (true) story

Which is the best title for the story?

  1. The strangest road accident
  2. How accidents happen
  3. Driving styles
  4. An insignificant occurrence
Version 1    
Many years ago I was at the scene of a strange accident. I was living in Thessaloniki, Greece, at the time.    
One day, I went cycling in the suburbs. These suburbs were not interesting at all. Some young men were racing on motor cycles. Perhaps they were bored. Their races were fast and noisy, and they rode like stuntmen in a film.   Je me suis baladé en vélobanlieue

ils s’ennuyaient



I decided to return to the city because I had nothing to see. There was plenty of time, so I cycled very slowly.   Beaucoup de
I noticed two vehicles. Both were moving extremely slowly. One was a car. It was approaching along a road at right angles to mine. The other was a motorcycle approaching me from in front. The motorcycle was very old and carried an entire family of three.   à angle droit avecarrivant droit vers moi

une famille entière

I passed the motorcycle. Seconds later, I heard a soft impact. I turned round and saw the motorcycle lying on its side. Its front wheel was turning slowly. The father had sprained his wrist. The mother was agitated. The little girl was crying. I don’t remember the driver of the car. People were coming out of the houses. Most of the adults were shouting and gesturing with their arms.   Je me suis retournécouché sur le coté

roue avant

I understood how accidents happen: not paying attention is more dangerous than driving fast.    
Version 2    
Let me tell you about a strange accident I witnessed many years ago. I was living in Greece at the time, in Thessaloniki precisely, and on that particular day I’d decided to go cycling in the suburbs. There was little of interest and, possibly for that reason, some young fellows were racing each other on their motorcycles. They not only drove very fast – and noisily – but they often rode stuntman style – lying flat on the saddle, with their legs and feet in the air behind them.   dont j’étais témoinjeunes (gars)

couché à plat


However, there really was nothing else to see, and the races were strictly private affairs, so I turned back towards the town, cycling very slowly because I had time to kill. It was the early afternoon – the time when most decent Greeks are asleep or keeping still. I was, therefore, not in the least surprised to see a car moving towards me even more slowly than I was, along an adjoining road. Coming towards me was an ancient motorcycle carrying a man, woman and child. I deduced they were father, mother and daughter. They were moving just as slowly as the car, possibly more so.   du temps à tuerrestant immobile

encore plus lentement

encore plus

I took no notice of either vehicle. I just cycled on.Then I heard the barely audible sound of the impact.   continuais mon chemin (à vélo)à peine
I turned round to behold a tableau of minor damage, slight injury and high drama. Despite their low speed, the two vehicles had collided. The ‘father’ was sitting on the ground, he looked stunned and his wrist seemed to be sprained. The ‘daughter’ was also sitting, and crying protestingly. The mother was running around appealing for help from the local residents who had left their houses with glasses of water, advice, and opinions of whose fault it was. There was much shouting and gesticulation, as there often is in Greece.Meanwhile, further on, the motorcycle daredevils were still racing, oblivious to the drama, concentrating on their driving.   abasourdipoignet… foulé



What are the differences between the two versions?

Which version do you think is better?

Which style is better for non English speakers to use in exams?

Apologies for the crazy onscreen page layout

WRITING STYLES (not strictly an exercise)
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