Learn Good Composition Phrases in the FAST Category

When it comes to writing a good composition, most people think of  memorizing some good phrases (好词好句).  If pupils learn the right types of phrases, it will help a lot in creating good content.

Not all good phrases are created equal

When teachers mark pupils’ composition, we  look out for how well contents are developed. To improve the content, pupils should focus on the characters’ FAST.

FAST stands for:

  • F- Feelings (心情)

    • 看到这一幕,XX 有什么感受? 为什么?
    • 听了老师的话,XX 有什么感受? 为什么?
    • XX 觉得怎么样?
  • A- Actions (动作)

    • 看到眼前的一切,XX怎么做?
    • 想了很久后,XX决定怎么做?
  • S- Speech (对话)

    • 他对小明说了什么?
    • 小明怎么回答?
    • 他说话的语气/动作是什么?
  • T- Thoughts (感想)

    • 她心想什么?

For example:


How to make it better with FAST:

明华静悄悄地走向课室,左顾右盼 (A),确定没人之后,以迅雷不及掩耳的速度(A)把小安的手机放进自己地口袋。他装作若无其事的样子(A)走了出来,心却怦怦直跳(F)。

Pupils can learn to identify FAST by circling them in the planning stage of writing compositions.  Learning and using good phrases on FEELINGS & ACTION can also help pupils to express themselves better.

Good phrases from the following categories are highly recommended to learn:
  • 心情 Feelings:高兴、兴奋、生气、难过、着急、紧张、害怕、后悔、惭愧
  • 动作 Actions:跑、走、偷、说、看、受伤
  • 结尾 Ending:做错事

Types of Phrases to avoid Spending Too Much Time On



Writing about the weather usually has no relation to the composition at all, unless the weather is shown in the picture and affects the content.

When teachers come across such phrases or sentences, it is very obvious to us that pupils have memorized them and are eager to squeeze them into the composition.

Flashback Introduction


Flashback introductions are usually used in titled composition (命题作文). When pupils choose to write picture compositions, they are strongly encouraged to use a 3rd person view approach. Flashback introductions are used when written in 1st person view. If pupils really want to learn, 1 or 2 will be sufficient.

In conclusion

Pupils should focus on phrases that help to improve composition content. Start learning more good phrases on feelings and actions before anything else.

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Sk

    Hi Teacher Jingqi,

    Are you able to give an eg of applying FAST on a Chinese sentence ? Thanks.

    1. Chinese ALive

      Hello! Thank you for the feedback. I have added in an example. 🙂

  2. Jane

    Hi, may I know the reason for using 3rd person view approached in picture composition? My child’s teacher recommended 1st person instead. Thanks!

    1. Chinese ALive

      Hello! That is because if you use first person, you are imagining yourself as one of the characters in the picture and it limits you to describing the feelings and thoughts of other characters. Also, some pupils will use “I” and give themselves a name in the story. As they progress in their writing, they might get confused and both the given name and “I” will appear in their composition. They will be penalized for this.

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