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What is the most important plant in your country?

This essay was written by Erin Billy, your TOEFL coach in the USA.

I have written this essay as if I were from Korea so that my students would be able to imitate the essay better. I'm not really from Korea, though--I was born in Washington, D.C., the capital of the US!!

Remember: This essay was written by me, Erin Billy.

This essay has 462 words.

TestMagic estimated score: 6.0/6.0


Plants are vital to the survival of all life on Earth--plants transform the light of the sun into energy that is usable to other life on Earth. Without plants, animals would not be able to use the energy of the Sun that reaches the Earth. The removal of one plant from the ecosystem can cause many unforeseen changes, sometimes irreversibly damaging an ecosystem. However, some plants are more important than others, either for biological or cultural reasons. In my country, Korea, I would say that the grass that produces rice has come to be the most important plant, not just because rice is a staple food, but also for other cultural reasons.

Virtually every Korean eats rice at least twice a day. I, for example, had rice at breakfast, lunch, and dinner yesterday. For most Koreans, rice is an integral part of a meal, as expected in a meal as ink is to a pen or wheels are to a car--a meal without rice is not a meal. In fact, if I have dinner with my American friends and do not eat rice, I actually feel hungry even if I have filled myself with potatoes or other food while eating with them. Many of my friends have made similar comments to me. So, I believe that rice is as much a part of our daily lives as work or talking on the telephone is.

However, rice is much more than just a staple food to most Koreans--it represents the very sustenance of much of our culture. Our history teachers tell us that the development of rice as an agricultural product was largely responsible for the advancement of Korean culture--since rice was portable and had a long storage time, people had more freedom to move and were less susceptible to changes in the weather. In many ways, rice has come to be considered the perfect food, so ingrained is it in the minds of many Koreans, and many Asians for that matter, as food that we often say "have you had your rice" instead of saying " have you had your meal." In fact, I have made this translation error many times while I have been in the United States. I have wanted to ask my American friends whether they have eaten, and I ask, "Have you eaten your rice?" Naturally, they often respond "no," leading to much miscommunication. For me, then, rice is more than just food--it is the very sustenance of most Koreans.

In short, rice is by far the most important plant in Korea. Were it removed from Korean society, Korea would change drastically, perhaps even have a famine much like the Irish Potato Famine of the 1800's. Rice is the very lifeblood of Korea.

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