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University of Kairouan Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences Department of English FIRST YEAR LICENCE FONDAMENTALE ET APPLIQUEE




Praragraph writing
1-What is a paragraph? A Paragraph is a basic unit of organization in writing in which a group of related, sentences develops one main idea. A paragraph can be as short as one sentence or as long as ten sentences. The number of sentences is unimportant; however, the paragraph should be long enough to develop the main idea clearly. A paragraph has three major structural parts: - a topic sentence - supporting sentences - a concluding sentence 2- Length of a paragraph Often there are questions from almost all students about how long a paragraph is and how many sentences a-paragraph contains.There are no appropriate answers for those questions. However,you should keep in mind. that a paragraph should be neither so short that the main idea of the paragraph is not developed and sufficiently expanded, nor so long that it tends to break down into so many sub-ideas that it would be better to organize them into separate paragraphs. In other words, how long a paragraphwill be depends on how clearly a topic sentence is discussed or explained. 3-parts of a paragraph A paragraph is made up of three kinds of sentences that develop the writer’s main idea, opinion, or feeling about a subject. These sentences are: a. A Topic sentence b. Supporting sentences c. A Concluding sentence


The first line of a paragraph is usually indented. This indentation of a paragraph indicates where the paragraph begins. In a composition that contains many paragraphs, there will be several indentations to make it easy for the reader to see where each new paragraph or idea in the composition begins. One paragraph, however, contains only one indentation because there is only one beginning point. Remember that you must capitalize the first word in each sentence and end each sentence with a punctuation mark, most often a period (.). The chart below shows how the example paragraph is organized.


PRACTICE Read the following paragraph and identify its three main parts as indicated below There are three reasons why I prefer jogging to other sports. One reason is that Jogging is a cheap sport. I can practise it anywhere at any time with no need for a ball or any other equipment. Another reason why I prefer jogging is that it is friendly to my heart. I don’t have to exhaust myself or do excessive efforts while jogging. Finally, I prefer this sport because it is safe. It isn’t as risky as other sports like gymnastics, racing or horseback riding. For all these reasons, I consider jogging the best sport of all. I. TOPIC SENTENCE: ........................................................................................................................... II. SUPPORTING DETAILS */ First one: .................................................................................................................. Example: ....................................................................................................................... */ Second one: ............................................................................................................. Example: ...................................................................................................................... */ Third one: ............................................................................................................... Example: ...................................................................................................................... III. CONCLUDING SENTENCE: ........................................................................................................................

A-what is a topic sentence? The topic sentence states the main idea of the paragraph. It not only names the topic of the paragraph, but also limits the topic to one or two areas that can be discussed completely in the space of a single paragraph. The specific area is called the controlling idea,or focus. Notice how the following topic sentence states both the topic and the controlling idea. 4

It helps readers save time as it tells them what the reset of the paragraph is all about. Therefore. parents can encourage them to study by buying story books with pictures. It gives them a broad view of what you are writing about because the topic sentence is meant to state the main idea of the paragraph. the common practice in writing a paragraph is to begin with the topic sentence and to follow it with supporting sentences. a sensible plan is to tell readers what the paragraph is intended to discuss before it is discussed. Artistic talent and mathematical ability are two qualities of a good architect. they need to pay attention to their children’s studies and encourage them. that is . that is. parents should take the responsibility to monitor their studying. Controlling idea Topic Readers most often greatly rely on what the topic sentence says so as they can decide if the paragraph is worth reading or not. the topic comes first and the controlling idea comes second in the topic sentence. As a child. A. Topic Controlling idea B. Children Topic Controlling idea usually enjoy playing games instead of studying. if not. The reader might ask the following questions and expect the paragraph to answer them: How can parents encourage their children? What specific things should parents do to encourage their children? How will this encouragement lead to success? B-Placement of the Topic Sentence In general. no information that cannot he summarized by the controlling idea can be included in a paragraph. However. I experienced this. That’s why your topic sentence should be a sort of clincher. Gold : topic two important characteristics : controlling idea The controlling idea is the central idea that is developed in a paragraph. In the paragraph above. Consider the following paragraph: Parents can help their children be successful in school by encouraging them. As result. Thus. the topic sentence is the following: Parents can help their children be successful in school by encouraging them. My parents gave me a gift when I got ‘A’ in my math lesson. or they can buy text books or tapes that help children learn to spell or read. however. you should place the topic sentence at the beginning of a paragraph. Thus. they will continue reading. it may be placed at the beginning. the controlling idea is a restricting idea because it limits the information that can be included in its paragraph. the topic sentence has given them guiding clues that help them be selective in their reading. The topic of the sentence is how parents can help children succeed in school. Consequently. if parents really want their children to succeed in school. The topic sentence in each paragraph is the short cut that helps the readers economize the amount of time and effort when they are skimming for gist or scanning for specific information. Moreover. the controlling idea is encouraging them. or at the end of a paragraph. If they are interested in the topic. However.Gold is prized for two important characteristics.a tempting statement that catches the readers’ attentions and entice them to carry on with the reading of the paragraph. The topic sentence serves the special purpose of announcing the paragraph's topic.The topic sentence. in the middle. Using this approach to placement of the topic sentence. Therefore. 5 . as a beginning writer. the controlling idea may come first. may be stated or placed anywhere in a paragraph. They should also remind their children to do their homework at home after school. Generally. the controlling idea is the summary of all the information contained in its paragraph. the reader can more easily identify the central point that the writer is making. A good architect is both an artist and a mathematician. I was very excited. The best way to encourage children to study efficiently is to reward them when they get an “A”.

but rather a sentence fragment or a part of sentence. Being complete: Like any other sentence. Study the following: 1. A: A good student must have Idea 1 idea 2 B: A good student must have at least two learning habits and he should be responsible for his studies. Complete. a topic sentence must also be limited: that is. and as a result it is much safer place to bring up young children. life in the country is much slower and people tend to be more open and friendly. A further advantage is that there is much less traffic.and Specific. Again. you will have many advantages.Characteristics of a good topic sentence A good topic sentence. must meet three requirements. In conclusion. There are many advantages to living in a village. C. one is much closer to nature and can enjoy more peace and quiet.Here is an example of a paragraph with a topic sentence stated at the beginning. it must consist of a subject and a predicate. you will not have either too much or too little to write about. It must be 1. it must express one and only one controlling idea which will be expanded into a complete paragraph. whereas sentence B has two ideas ("have at least two learning habits" and "should be responsible in his studies"). 3. sentence A is a better topic sentence because sentence B has more than one idea and is not a good topic sentence. It must be clearly limited in such a way that it is neither too broad nor too a narrow. In a year it beats some 40 million times. In fact. At each beat it takes in nearly a quarter of a pint of blood. In this way. 2. if it is not a complete sentence. Fragment: Ways to learn English Complete: There are many easy ways to learn English. Is there any other engine capable of carrying on such heavy work over such a long period of time without needing to be repaired? Obviously the human heart is a small yet highly efficient piece of equipment. In addition. Therefore. The heart of a man performs at about 60 to 80 beats a minute. 2. it is not a sentence at all. it can be seen that village life is suitable for retired and those who want to have more peace and less stress. Being limited: In addition to being complete. in a single day it pumps 2.200 gallons of blood. Here is an example of a paragraph with a topic sentence stated at the end. a topic sentence must be a complete sentence: that is. Limited. 3. Fragment: If you know English Complete: If you know English. Compare the following sentences. Note that sentence A contains only one idea ("have at least two learning habits"). compare the following pair of topic sentences 6 . The heart weighs about 11 ounces and is the size of a clenched fist. which defines the controlling idea clearly and precisely. Fragment: Learning English Complete: Learning English is useful for everyone. First of all. and in the course of a single lifetime about 56 million gallons.

Playing a musical instrument helps children to develop in discipline and self confidence. Topic Sentence: "Many television cartoons contain an unhealthy amount of violence. there are many specific things about university." Notice that this sentence clearly identifies that the key topic of the paragraph is violence in television cartoons. Topic Sentence: "An increasing number of people in the world are enjoying the benefits of organically grown fruits and vegetables. 2. University-dormitory living-roommates. A. and how/why this violence is unhealthy for viewers.Two controlling ideas A : Kairouan is famous for traditional artefacts and it has beautiful landscape. For example. vacations. You may narrow down the subject of college to the more specific subject of a roommate. Being specific: A topic sentence should not be too general. Computers are a necessary part of modern life. students. that you can discuss. Remember that a topic sentence must have one single controlling idea A-COMPUTERS 1. teachers. 2. 2. Too general: Sports are exciting. Much better: Watching the Tunis derby between CA and E. or nuclear power.T kept me on the edge of the chair. such as classes. you must narrow it down to a limited topic that can be discussed in one paragraph. _____________________________________________________________________________________ C-TELEVISION 1. Still too general: Watching a soccer game keeps me involved. Computers save us time and make our lives easier. Television advertising is far more effective than advertising in magazines or newspapers. Computers are unnecessary and make our life complicated. One controlling idea B: Kairouan is famous for its Islamic architecture.S. Music can teach children to understand their own culture. B.my roommates –Jane Samples: 1. Television gives free and interesting entertainment to people of all ages. You should narrow down your subject to be more specific. _____________________________________________________________________________________ B-MUSIC 1. 7 . such as university. It also indicates that the remainder of the paragraph will discuss how much violence cartoons typically contain. or too vague. and the campus. A good topic sentence: My neighborhood is fascinating because people from many countries live in it. Too general: My neighborhood is a nice place to live in. When you start to write about a very general topic. 2. 3. The reader can also expect learning more in this paragraph about the specific benefits of organic foods. PRACTICE 1: Read the following topic sentences and decide on the best topic sentence." This topic sentence indicates that the remainder of the paragraph will cover the trend in the world toward eating organic foods.

……………………………………. Also..………… 3.Madonna 1. Try to add at least three or four ideas to each group. VACATIONS………………………………. e-mail is popular because it is faster than sending a letter and cheaper than a telephone conversation. Getting married Topic sentence: _______________________________________________________________________________ 6. ENTERTAINMENT-singers . University Topic sentence: _______________________________________________________________________________ 4..CLASSES – my best/worst class …… ……………...my best friend……………………………………………………………. Topic: Using Internet _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______.………………………………….…………………………………….……… 2.……………. Example: Teenagers and drugs Topic sentence: Drug addiction has caused a huge increase in crimes of violence which is committed/done by teenagers. Television Topic sentence: _______________________________________________________________________________ 3. you can share your hobbies and special interests.……………………………………. Finally. Animals Topic sentence: _______________________________________________________________________________ 2..3. so you can save both time and money. 1. 5. By joining a newsgroup or chat group.. FRIENDS . on-line shopping makes it possible to search through catalogues to find exactly what you want at the best price. 4. SPORTS .…………… 6. 8 . Learning a foreign language Topic sentence: _______________________________________________________________________________ PRACTICE 3: Narrowing Subjects from General to Specific Fill in the space in each funnel until you arrive at a specific subject. 1. Technology Topic sentence: _______________________________________________________________________________ 5.individual sports ……………………………………………………………. at any hour of the day or night. and perhaps make friends all over the world.………….rock singer – superstar .…………………………… PRACTICE 4: A. Television has enormous influence on politics. _____________________________________________________________________________________ PRACTICE 2: Write specific topic sentences for possible paragraphs on the following topics. Firstly.MUSIC………………………………. in your home. Write a topic sentence for the following paragraphs..DIVORCE–children………………………………. all of the latest information is available to you.….

Furthermore. some special satellites register the earth’s resources and military information. I believed that with my father gone I was responsible for helping my mother with her chores. my loneliness was so great that I often dreamed that my father would miraculously return. Whenever my mother was away from home. Nowadays. the loss of my father caused me to develop a greater sense of responsibility. Couples do not tolerate a few mistakes.2. For the firs few months. In addition. We need tourists’ money in fact they provide more jobs for all of us. They hope to be free and stand without one’s help. there are many women working outside their homes and are independent. and then become accustomed to it eventually! Just like the addiction of taking drugs. some regard divorce as the best way to get this independence. They want to earn money and spend it as they wish. Thus the students are strongly advised to provide at least three strong details which can support the main idea. Topic: Teenagers Smoking _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______. For example. 3. Due to difficult life conditions. I was nervous until she returned. As a result. it will break the unity of the paragraph. upon tourism for their jobs. Scientists are working to develop space technology to use in different areas. First of all. Teenagers tent to be curious about new things. directly or indirectly. telecommunication satellites have greatly improved global communications. (mere: only. Finally. So there should at least be three supporting details because one or two make the paragraph less convincing and not worth the effort done to build it. Unfortunately. Firstly. The supporting sentences must give information that reinforces the main idea stated in the topic sentence. once they started to smoke their first cigarette. 4. examples. They smoke for the sake of knowing how it feels. If any of the supporting details doesn’t correlate with the main idea or does not support it. therefore. Topic: Divorce _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______. throughout the rest of my childhood. sake: cause) 5. frightened. and earns four as much money as agriculture. elaboration and exploration. Tourism employs twenty times as many people as the car industry. Topic: Tourism _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______. Nearly three million people depend. Being economically independent is the desire of many women. people are more aggressive towards each other. Meteorological satellites also provide advance information. Topic: Space Technology _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______. left me lonely. I felt great sadness and loneliness. In addition.2 THE SUPPORTING SENTENCES The body of every effective paragraph consists of ideas or details that support and explain the topic sentence. 7. The students can use all the writing techniques necessary to make the paragraph sustainable and eligible: descriptions. definitions. I was afraid of losing someone else whom I loved. Topic: My Father’s Death _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______. women think that life is always difficult unless they have their own economics independence. the third. 3. and responsible – a young child with adult feelings. 9 . The number of supporting details required in a paragraph depends on what the writer is trying to show. My father’s death. they would have the second.

My hometown is famous for several amazing natural features. It directly supports the controlling idea by making that idea more easily understood. First. This tree stands two hundred feet tall. This tree stands two hundred feet tall and is probably about six hundred years old. The third amazing feature is the Big Old Tree. climbing this hill is not dangerous. it is noted for the Wheaton River. Also.Supporting sentences may be classified into one of two groups: major support sentences or minor support sentences. In autumn the leaves of these trees fall and cover the riverbanks like golden snow. It directly support its major support sentence by making it more easily understood. These three landmarks are truly amazing and make my hometown a famous place. The third amazing feature is the Big Old Tree. on the other side of the town is Wheaton Hill. on the other side of the town is Wheaton Hill. which is unusual because it is very steep. which is very wide and beautiful. On either side of this river. because there are some firm rocks along the sides that can be used as stairs. MINOR SUPPORT SENTENCES A minor support sentence has two functions: (I) it develops its major support sentence by telling the reader something new or different about that sentence. There are no trees around this hill. so it stands clearly against the sky and can be seen from many miles away. It indirectly supports the controlling idea of the paragraph by helping its major support sentence make that idea more easily understood. First. Practice 10 . and (II) At the same time it helps its support sentence develop the controlling idea. are many willow trees which have long branches that can move gracefully in the wind. which is 175 feet wide. MAJOR SUPPORT SENTENCES A major support sentence has only one function: it develops the controlling idea of a paragraph by telling the reader something new or different about that idea. which is unusual because it is very steep. Even though it is steep. Therefore. These three landmarks are truly amazing and make my hometown a famous place. it is noted for the Wheaton River. Also. a minor support sentence must be closely related both to its major support sentence and the controlling idea of the paragraph. My hometown is famous for several amazing natural features. which is very wide and beautiful.


12 .

You can think of a concluding sentence as a sort of topic sentence in reverse. Both buns "hold" the meat. is like a TOPIC SENTENCE. and a bottom bun. onions. cheese. You can understand concluding sentences with this example. Similarly. and the bottom bun is like the CONCLUDING SENTENCE. The top bun. the topic sentence and 13 . A hamburger has a top bun (a kind of bread). Note how the top bun and the bottom bun are very similar. Consider a hamburger that you can buy at a fast-food restaurant. lettuce. in a way. This is the concluding sentence.THE CONCLUDING SENTENCE In formal paragraphs you will sometimes see a sentence at the end of the paragraph which summarizes the information that has been presented. and so on. meat. and other elements in the middle of the hamburger.

Gold. it has been used in hundreds of industrial applications. Another important characteristic of gold is its usefulness to industry and science. Similarly a person wants to be slender but not skinny. gold has a lustrous beauty that is resistant to corrosion. Therefore. There can be no doubt that The evidence suggests that The examples that follow demonstrate two different types of concluding sentences. gold is treasured not only for its beauty but also for its utility. to call a person stingy is an insult while the word frugal has a much more positive connotation. a Macedonian coin remains as untarnished today as the day it was minted twenty-three centuries ago. you should be careful in choosing words because many so-called synonyms are not really synonymous at all. words that have the same basic meaning. A concluding sentence serves three purposes: 1. 2. It gives a final comment on the topic and leaves the reader with the most important ideas to think about. that is. As a result.concluding sentence "hold" the supporting sentences in the paragraph. STEP 3 Add a good concluding sentence to each. the topic sentence. Notice also how the concluding sentence is similar to. but not exactly the same as. Canadian cities have many parks and lots of space for people to live. Finally. For example. Use one of the following end-of-paragraph signals to introduce your concluding sentence: END-OF-PARAGRAPH SIGNALS These are followed by a comma These are not followed by a comma Finally. Indeed . 3. It summarizes the main points of the paragraph. coins. The most recent use of gold is in astronauts' suits. Therefore. In conclusion. Synonyms. Canada has a high standard of education. Canada's cities are clean and efficiently managed. the concluding sentence repeats the main idea of the topic sentence in different words. Astronauts wear gold-plated heat shields for protection outside spaceships. Notice how the concluding sentence summarizes the information in the paragraph. STEP 2 Determine the main idea of each paragraph. Gold never needs to be polished and will remain beautiful forever. First of all. For many years. Practice STEP I Underline the topic sentence in each paragraph. the words stingy and frugal both mean "careful with money" However. and aggressive but not pushy. is prized for two important characteristics. which were not specifically stated in the topic sentence. You may either paraphrase the topic sentence or summarize the main points. do not always have the same emotional meaning. A concluding sentence is helpful to the reader because it signals the end of the paragraph and because it is a reminder of the important points. As a result. The first one paraphrases the topic sentence. Canada has an excellent health care system. For example. It is clear that In summary. In conclusion. Canada is a desirable place to live in . Let's see how a concluding sentence (in bold font) might look in our sample paragraph about Wheaton: There are three reasons why Canada is one of the best countries in the world. First. Students are taught by well-trained teachers and are encouraged to continue studying at university. and ornamental purposes. 14 . All Canadians have access to medical services at a reasonable price. These examples show that Thus. Second. We can see that Therefore. In brief. it is suitable for jewelry. a precious metal. It signals the end of the paragraph. The second example summarizes the two main points of the paragraph.

office workers receive dozens of E-mail and voice mail messages daily. it can affect your communication whether you are the speaker or the listener. in fact. Because they don't have enough time to respond to these messages during office hours. Be relaxed and bend your body slightly forward to show interest in the person and the conversation. For instance. _____________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ 15 . Paragraph I You can be a good conversationalist by being a good listener. They feel buried under the large number of messages they receive daily. don't interrupt while someone is speaking. Also. When you are conversing with someone. managers receive an average of 100 messages a day. watch your body language. pay close attention to the speaker's words while looking at his or her face. it is impolite to do so. it is common for them to do so in the evenings or on weekends at home. If you have a good story wait until-the speaker is finished. In one company. Furthermore. _____________________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ Paragraph 2 Modern communication technology is driving workers in the corporate world crazy. don't sit slumped in a chair or make nervous hand and foot movements. In addition to telephone calls.STEP 4 Begin each concluding sentence with an end-of-paragraph signal. Show your interest by smiling and/or nodding.

UNITY and COHERENCE in PARAGRAPHS: COHERENCE Another element of a good paragraph is coherence. Astronauts wear gold-plated heat shields for protection outside spaceships. it is suitable for jewelry. the movement from one sentence to the next and in longer essays. go gold has a lustrous beauty that is resistant to corrosion. and ornamental purposes. that is. Another important characteristic of gold is its usefulness to industry and science. Echo words are actually synonyms for the key word. You should have circled the noun gold seven times. The third amazing feature is the Big Old Tree. Each sentence should flow smoothly into the next one. On either side of this river. it has been used in hundreds of industrial applications. on the other side of the town is Wheaton Hill. There are four ways to achieve coherence. it is noted for the Wheaton River. climbing this hill is not dangerous. which is unusual because it is very steep. are many willow* trees which have long branches that can move gracefully in the wind. Key words are the words carrying most significance in a paragraph. In conclusion. so it stands clearly against the sky and can be seen from many miles away. A. from one paragraph to the next) must be logical and smooth. Circle gold pronouns that refer to it. The key noun in this paragraph is gold. Look at the model paragraph about gold to see how it uses this technique to achieve coherence. For many years. a precious metal. Gold. Second. the pronoun it twice. For example." In order to have coherence in writing the sentences must hold together. The fourth way to achieve coherence is to arrange your sentences in a logical order. First. This tree stands two hundred feet tall and is probably about six hundred years old. First of all. The Latin verb cohere means "hold together. coins. which is 175 feet wide. and the pronoun its three times. because there are some firm rocks along the sides that can be used as stairs. Repetition of Key words The easiest way to achieve coherence is to repeat key words frequently in your paragraph. a Macedonian coin remains as untarnished today as the day it was minted twenty-three centuries ago. In autumn the leaves of these trees fall and cover the riverbanks like golden snow. These three landmarks are truly amazing and make my hometown a famous place. Consider the echo words in the following paragraph about tourists and souvenirs: 16 . Consider the following paragraph: My hometown is famous for several amazing natural features. as too much repetition of the same words can be distracting and even irritating to a reader. which is very wide and beautiful. Echo Words & Phrases: Echo words and phrases allow writers to remind the reader of the topic being discussed without becoming repetitive. Gold never needs to be polished and will remain beautiful forever. gold is treasured not only for its beauty but also for its utility. is prized for two important characteristics. Therefore. There must be no sudden jumps. There are no trees around this hill. key words are those words a writer wants the reader to focus on as the paragraph progresses. Even though it is steep. The most recent use of gold is in astronauts' suits. The above paragraph is easy to read and understand because (1) the supporting sentences are in some kind of logical order and (2) all the ideas in the paragraph flow smoothly from one sentence to the next (3) appropriate transition signals are used to connect the different ideas. The third way is to use transition signals to show how one idea is related to the next. The first two ways involve repeating key nouns and using pronouns that refer back to key nouns. but they can also be phrases.

the pronouns are not consistent. however. in fact. the author uses substitutes: "objects" and "examples. but more countries have it as their official or unofficial second language. if you hope to compete in an Olympic sport. charm bracelets. the key noun is never repeated. Correct them to make this paragraph more coherent. it has displaced it throughout the world. In fact. Navy is training them to become underwater bomb disposal experts. Prices range from a few dollars to a few hundred. it is a useful language to know. tumblers." To avoid repetition of this word. Except for Chinese. During training. it sends out a message. B. English English has almost become an international language. First of all. make sure that you use the same person and number throughout your paragraph. For collectors. In the following paragraph. For example. it is used more than any other language. they squeal excitedly and race toward their trainer. they display the human emotions of joy and sadness. they help each other when they are in trouble. you must be physically strong Furthermore. and it is the language of airline pilots and air traffic controllers all over the world. Furthermore. They have also helped trapped or lost whales navigate their way safely out to the open sea.S. or from he to they (change of number). ashtrays. Use of Consistent Pronouns When you use pronouns instead of key nouns. using these general pronouns can often get developing writers into trouble with pronoun reference problems. Dolphins are interesting because they display almost human behavior at times. PRACTICE In the following paragraph." and "surviving examples. PRACTICE A-In the following passage about dolphins. More than 70 percent of the world's mail is written in it. they droop noticeably and mope around their pool. It is the primary language on the Internet. an aspiring Olympian must train 17 . as in "other objects from this period. too. They push it to the surface of the water so that it can breathe. however.Therefore. replace some of the pronouns with appropriate singular or plural nouns. so an echo word or phrase is a far better choice for a subject. If one is sick. although French used to be the language of diplomacy. They stay with it for clays or weeks-until it recovers or dies. snow globes. They are so intelligent and helpful. Don’t change from you to he or she (change of person). that the author adds adjectives and modifying phrases to the echo words to further clarify her meaning. The objects that have proved the most desirable in recent years are ones dating from the 1920s through the 1960s. In international business. Spanish is the official language of more countries in the world. with many falling between $20 and $40. the good news is that the tablecloths. Olympic athletes must be strong both physically and mentally." Echo words and phrases are far more desirable than general pronouns like "this" and "it" because they do add so much clarity to the sentence. The key word in this paragraph is "souvenirs.The steady production of souvenirs throughout the mid-20th century has created a well that collectors can tap. B. and other objects from this period were produced in such large quantities that surviving examples are still easy to find and affordable. unless you plan to spend your life alone on a desert island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. When they make a mistake. Moreover." Note. more people speak it than any other language. that the U. when they do something correctly. and others in the area swim to help it. Replace the pronoun it with the key noun English wherever you think doing so would make the paragraph more coherent.

Major Connectors Look at the words in bold font in the paragraph about my home town. in contrast). moreover. Save them for significant connections between ideas that you want to call special attention to. and however. next. yet. in brief. certainly. in conclusion. admittedly. in addition. however. Finally. slow down. eventually. plainly Be careful. and stop. Another way of saying this is that this paragraph has three main points which are indicated by the major connectors. differeniate ideas nevertheless. Using such major connectors is an important way of providing coherence in a paragraph. subsequently. next. although. so they must possess the inner strength to live with defeat. similarly first. likewise. five or six days a week for ten or more years. Think of transition signals as traffic signs that tell your reader when to go forward. finally. PRACTICE A-Compare paragraphs 1 and 2 that follow. Being mentally strong also means that he or she must be able to withstand the intense of international competition with its media coverage. therefore. or aconclusion (in conclusion). C. and The third amazing feature. in other words To conclude or sum up hence. of course. Minor connectors provide coherence to a paragraph by connecting sentences within each of the main parts of your paragraph. therefore. on the contrary To emphasize or confirm indeed. undoubtedly. and social life. Which paragraph contains transition signals and is more coherent? Circle all of the transition signals that you can identify. and as a result. That is. rather. ultimately. at the same time To add an illustration or explanation for example. Major connectors help organize the main parts of your paragraph. you can use minor connectors to link your details to each main point. thus. For the most demanding sports. furthermore. (2) a part about Wheaton Hill. yet one paragraph is easier to understand than the other because it contains transition signals to lead the reader from one idea to the next. Transition Signals Transition signals are words such as first. however. an opposite idea (on the other hand. often giving up a normal school family. consequently To connect two contrasting ideas. moreover. in addition). also. Do you see how they help guide the reader? For example. when you write about your main points. however. consider the words. nonetheless.rigorously* for many years. turn. to on the other hand. Second. meanwhile. In other words. Overuse can be distracting. they tell the reader when you are giving a similar idea (similarly. not everyone can win a medal. Here are some of the most commonly used connecting words and phrases and the purposes they serve. a result (as a result). 18 . finally. Purpose To add another idea To arrange ideas in order or time Connecting Word/Phrase furthermore. This means that you have to be dedicated to your sport.. they train several hours a day. In addition to being physically strong he or she must also be mentally tough. We can call these words major connectors. naturally. second. on the other hand.or phrases such as in conclusion. for instance. First. This paragraph has three main parts: (1) a part about the Wheaton River. Both paragraphs give the same information. and (3) a part about the Big Old Tree. Minor Connectors What about the other words in bold. not to overuse transitional expressions. conversely. an example (for example). such as those appearing in the phrases "these trees" and "this hill"? We can call these minor connectors. accordingly.

There are two reasons for this. as expensive as. you would find these expressions: similarity. for example) 4. In physics. unlike. Second the surrounding land is dry and. a fourth way to achieve coherence is to arrange your sentences in some kind of logical order. on the other hand water evaporates slowly. (in conclusion.000 miles from the Earth than when he is only 5. in a piece of writing using chronological order you would expect to find a lot of time expressions: first. and local taxes. next. The concentration of salt is greater. the runoff created by melting snow adds a considerable amount of fresh water to dilute the saline sea water. after 1990. before the last war. therefore. this means that the earth pulls him down with a force of 150 pounds. furthermore it suggested that the government reduce federal. In cold climate zones. consequently. they encounter friction because the water is shallow ____________the waves Increase in height and can cause considerable damage when they finally reach land. of course. therefore) 2. in 20 10. Each kind of order has its own special words and phrases to show the relation ships among the ideas. just as. (on the other hand. You may even combine two or more different logical orders in the same paragraph. (however. For example. Your choice of one kind of logical order over another will. however) 5. water evaporates slowly. The surrounding land is dry and does not contribute much fresh water to dilute the salty sea water. therefore. Paragraph 2 Another difference among the world's seas and oceans is that the salinity varies in different climate zones. The runoff created by melting snow adds a considerable amount of fresh water to dilute the saline sea water. for example) D. differ from In a paragraph showing similarities (comparison). on the other hand. in comparison. therefore. the less the gravitational force of the Earth _________a man weighs less when he is 50.Choose the transition signal that best shows the relationship between the sentences in each group from the choices given in parentheses. Era also suggested that rising wages were one of the primary causes of inflation _______________the government should take action to control wages. similarly. since then. finally. The farther away from the Earth a person is. The important point to remember is to arrange your ideas in some kind of order that is logical to a reader accustomed to the English way of writing. state.Paragraph 1 A difference among the world's seas and oceans is that the salinity varies in different climate zones. Example: A recent article in Era magazine suggested ways to reduce inflation. the concentration of salt is greater. just like. In a Paragraph describing differences (contrast). Furthermore. water evaporates rapidly. First of all.The waves are very long and low in open water. larger than. etc.Add punctuation and change capital letters to small letters if necessary. as a result. The Baltic Sea in Northern Europe is only one-fourth as saline as the Red Sea in the Middle East. in warm climate zones. Write the signal in the space. 19 . therefore. in contrast. Some common kinds of logical order in English are chronological order. In cold climate zones. The article suggested that the president reduce the federal budget.000 miles away. depend on your topic and on your purpose. B. water evaporates rapidly. Logical Order In addition to using transition signals and repeating key words and pronouns. while working on the project. There are reasons for this. (moreover. (however. you would find these expressions: the most noticeable difference. does not contribute much fresh water to dilute the salty sea water. for example) 3. for example. the Baltic Sea in North Europe is only one-fourth as saline as the Red Sea in the Middle East. The same article said that the causes of inflation were easy to find ________ the cure for inflation was not so easy to prescribe. the weight of an object is the gravitational force 2 with which the Earth attracts it_________ if a man weighs 150 pounds. but when they get close to land. logical division of ideas and comparison/contrast. A tsunami is a tidal wave produced by an earthquake on the ocean floor. For example. in contrast. compare with. In warm climates. (however. after that. furthermore) 1.

" Look at the following paragraph. and so the passage is coherent. This paragraph is generally good. the Voshkhod project was intended to find out whether people could work in the weightless environment of space. Though no transitional expression is used.the topic. does not have anything to do with the major goals of the various Russian space projects. For another example. Leonov's spacewalk was followed by that of U. then we say that the paragraph "lacks unity. If your paragraph contains a sentence or some sentences that are NOT related to the main topic. and (sometimes) the concluding sentence -. astronaut Ed White. A good way to test the coherence of your paragraph is to examine each sentence and ask yourself what your reader would expect you to say next based on that sentence. The cosmonaut to do this was Alexei Leonov. we should omit this sentence. the Soyuz project. You may use the transition signals suggested for each topic. practice Choose one of the topic sentences below and write a paragraph that develops it. but the sentence. Several weeks later. Leonov's spacewalk was followed by that of U. Skinned animals hang in windows of butcher shops here like clothes hang in the windows of suburban department stores. it is an "off-topic" sentence. with three cosmonauts. For example. Given the first sentence in the passage above. or you may use others not listed. had goals of testing spacecraft and space flight skills so that people could fly long missions in Earth orbit. Several weeks later.Consider the example below: Chinatown offers one of the largest Asian American grocery districts in the country. It is clear that the writer is continuing a discussion of grocery stores in Chinatown." or that the sentence is "off-topic. Use transition signals to connect the supporting sentences smoothly. the passage is coherent." That is.Unity is another very important characteristic of good paragraph writing. Does it have perfect unity? Try to find the sentence that is off-topic: Each of the Russian space exploration projects had specific major goals. Topic Suggestions Drinking laws  The effects of divorce  Working mothers  UNITY Like coherence.are all telling the reader about ONE main topic. astronaut Ed White. a reader might ask "What are these stores like?" or "What is distinctive about these stores that draws Asian-Americans?" The next sentence supplies an acceptable answer to that question. In order to improve the paragraph.S. which is similar to the paragraph that we have studied above. he floated in a spacesuit outside his Voshkhod spacecraft. PRACTICE 20 . the detail sentences. Unity means that you discuss only one main idea in a paragraph. the Vostok project was designed to test whether or not human beings could survive and function in outer space.S. One Voshkhod cosmonaut experimented with weightlessness by taking a "spacewalk. That is. Finally. even though it is historically accurate. connected to it by a tether. all the sentences -. offering an interesting an distinctive detail about these stores. That is. so we can say that the paragraph somewhat lacks unity.Often sentences have implicit logical connections that help the reader follow the thread of a discussion or argument. supporting sentences. Add other sentences without transitions if you need to in order to explain the topic completely.

If mountains block the passage of cold winds. 21 . for example. Another important factor is the height of a region above sea level. distance from the sea is important because although water absorbs heat more slowly than land. the nearby regions become cooler than other regions in the same latitude. Finally. If mountains cause rain to fall frequently. the warmer its climate will be. but other factors also have an influence on temperature. the less dense the air is. The higher you go up a mountain. This is why it takes longer to heat a pound of water through one degree Centigrade than it does to heat a pound of earth the same amount. nearby regions become warmer than unsheltered regions in the same latitude. throughout the cold months of winter the sea warms the nearby land just as a radiator warms a room. physical features such as high mountains influence the temperature of nearby regions.B-Study the following paragraph and decide whether there are irrelevant sentences and then revise it. Consequently. In general. the closer a region is to the equator. it retains it longer.

topic sentence 1 not only indicates the point to be contrasted but also reveals that the purpose of the writer is not just to show the difference but to reveal a source of amusement. a writer stresses how two or more things are alike or how they are different. it does not restrict the controlling ideas as to what points of the two cats to contrast. the ways they treat people. and then indicates the differences a s the focus of the paragraph. and the majority of elementary school teachers are women. topic sentence 1 acknowledges the obvious similarity of the two pet cats. Our two pet cats are quite different. The two do not even look alike. Unlike George. philosophies. If you were asked to compare and contrast two people. Second. Jack usually plods along silently. Jack is simply “skinny” with sunken cheeks and a sharp chin. 2. their intelligence. mathematics. supporting sentences. you could compare their looks. but most American children do not. Paragraph samples • Comparison paragraph The educational systems of Europe and the United States are similar in a number of ways. a well-organized paragraph consists of topic sentence. and art. their differences in temperament is constant source of amusement. the subjects which are taught at the elementary level are basically the same everywhere: reading and writing. The only major difference in the elementary curriculum is that most Europeans study a foreign language in elementary school. is a boy of few words and loves to read books in solitude rather than going out to enjoy parties. often too lost in deep thoughts to even return a greeting in time. Third. It is almost impossible for George to sit still for more than 30 minutes at a stretch and he is the chattiest person among his groups of friends. acknowledge the obvious similarities but focus on the differences. usually the topic introducer tells the two things to be compared or contrasted. Obviously. topic sentence 2 is too general to be developed in one paragraph. As a result. topic sentence 1 is better than topic sentence 2 for three reasons: First. their attitudes toward life. The topic sentence should also indicate the emphasis of the paragraph. George is a chubby looking boy on the verge of being overweight. In a comparison or contrast paragraph. His twin brother Jack. elementary school classes look the same everywhere. there is one teacher for all subjects for each grade (except in Scandinavia). The topic sentence In a comparison or contrast paragraph. in contrast. Then it is best to 22 . American and European educational systems differ in some ways You can hardly imagine George and Jack are actually twins. If you are comparing two obviously similar things. • Contrast paragraph PARAGRAPH STRUCTRE As you have learned in previous lessons. music. and so on. they fondly refer to Jack as the “absent-minded professor”. Even their parents can hardly understand why the two brothers are so different. There are about twenty to twenty-two pupils per class. The points to be compared or contrasted are usually indicated in the topic sentence. acknowledge the obvious differences but emphasize the similarities. sports. While relatives and family members call George a friendly “public relations officer”. In addition. the emphasis is usually on one or the other. and the topic sentence tells the controlling idea.Comparison and Contrast Paragraphs When writing comparison or contrast paragraphs. Compare the following two topic sentences and see which one is better. however. and the classes are coeducational. their lifestyles. Very commonly if you are comparing two rather dissimilar things. Comparison paragraphs explain how two or more things are similar or alike. Contrast paragraphs explain how two or more things are dissimilar or different. To begin with. either similarities or differences. and concluding sentence. who has a ready smile on his face and is quick to greet everybody he knows on his way. backgrounds. introductions to the sciences. Also. 1. Although both our pet cats look lovely.

You couldn’t possibly develop all of the points in your brainstorming list in one paragraph. The Concluding sentence No matter whether it is a comparison or contrast paragraph. You can’t. and brakes handling gas mileage color and upholstery choices You must then pick several of the points of comparison or contrast that seem most important. the writer may mention little of exceptions. transmission. For instance. suspension. The points or items to be compared or contrasted should be parallel or of the same category. you must include a discussion of each thing being compared or contrasted with each point of comparison. the concluding sentence is usually a restatement of the topic sentence or a summary of the points compared or contrasted in the development of the paragraph. you would not bother with comparing and contrasting their tastes in food. probably no more than three or four. you must organize your paragraph in such a way that your reader does not have to jump about from one point to another. you must be sure to make your points of comparison clear and actually develop them. If you were comparing two politicians in order to show that one is more diplomatic. 23 .restrict the points of comparison to two-four points and choose the most significant points for comparison or contrast that would support the controlling idea. the items would be incomparable. you might come up with the following points of comparison after brainstorming: Features to Be Contrasted exterior styling colors seats and interior comfort instrument panels sound systems tires navigation systems air bags and safety features cupholders and compartments price and discounts performance and handling options engine. for example. Also. Furthermore. too. Emphasis in comparison or contrast Supporting sentences Items to be compared or contrasted should be comparable. to show a cautious attitude. otherwise. talk about the Ford’s engine without talking about the Toyota’s. After deciding which points to cover. if you were contrasting two new models of automobiles. For example. it would be irrelevant. to develop in your paragraph.

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Helene was born and raised in Paris and I come from Yokohama. My wife devotes a lot of her free time to playing jazz piano. I feel _________. hers on July 10 and mine on July 20.B . I like to spend time after work strumming my guitar. For example. A more important similarity concerns our values. our hobbies are alike _________. Topic sentence Point 1 Detail A Detail B Point 2 Detail A 27 A -. _________. we are thirty-two years old. Our children should receive a good education and also have strong moral training. our birthdays are in the same month. Third. my wife and I are alike in several ways.PRACTICE CHOOSE an appropriate conjunction from those shown below to finish the paragraph. For one thing. in the same way likewise another similarity similarly whereas too while both however Even though we come from different cultures. In fact. Helene has strong opinions about educating our children and raising them to know right from wrong. _________ is that we both grew up in large cities.

B Details about Subtopic A Subtopic B Details about subtopic B 28 .Detail B Point 3 Detail A Detail B Conclusion Topic sentence Subtopic A A --.

For example. they begin with a topic sentence and this sentence is followed by specific supporting details. 2-STRUCTURE OF CAUSE/EFFECT PARAGRAPHS Cause/effect paragraphs generally follow basic paragraph format. These students may enter college expecting non stop fun or a series of fascinating courses.These students may have made decent grades in high school simply by showing up for class. Students drop out of college for many reasons.Also. the supporting sentences all describe causes. When they find out that college is often routine. Therefore. people should consider those effects before they start to watch television programs. The most important negative effect is that television may lead to violence. lonely. In college. they quickly lose interest. Younger students especially. The function of cause/effect is usually to answer the questions 'Why". belief or assertion. such as Why did it happen?" or"What". some students are bored in school. or the paragraph that points out the effect (or result) produced by a cause. These students may have problems with roommates. Consider the following example paragraphs.Cause and Effect Paragraphs 1-DEFINITION A cause and effect paragraph is a paragraph that indicates the cause (or reason) that produces an effect (or result). friends or girlfriends. to prove or disprove an idea. When children see terrible things on TV and sometimes act them out. For many types of students dropping out seems to be the only solution they can imagine.someone who buys a new computer even though his or her old computer works fine. but they never go camping. may be attending college at an age when they are also feeling confused. family. and so they drop out. Cause/effect models can be found in many kinds of writing and can be used for any of the writer's purposes: to justify or condemn some action. In conclusion. or to draw a conclusion. if the topic sentence introduces an effect. Someone who buys a new car but can't really afford it. Television negatively influences people's behavior in a number of ways. Students also drop out of college because the work is harder than they thought it would be . The hard work comes as a shock and students give up. They become too unhappy to deal with both hard academic work and emotional troubles. however they may have to prepare for two hour exams. to explain or to give an account of something or situation. That is. those who buy campingequipment. They do not want to take dull required courses or spend their nights studying. advertisements force people to buy things they may not need. Here is an example: 29 . First of all. write fifteen page term papers or make detailed presentations to a class. They may not be able to understand right from wrong and think that violence is ok. television influences everybody’s behavior in negative ways. Perhaps the most common reason students drop out is that they are having personal or emotional problems. For example. the cause/effect paragraph explains why a condition occurs or the effect that this condition brings about. First of all. or depressed. such as 'What are its causes?" or 'What are its effects?" In short. to convince.

it does not make sense because a person's opening or closing a window does not influence the weather.In recent decades. with their promise of a better material life. to help you understand the relationships better: EFFECT (Topic Sentence) Cities have grown very large. people established places of leisure. Finally. theaters. Better schools attracted families to move to the city. and therefore drew them away from rural communities. (Cities have grown very large. First. [There are several reasons for this. the conjunction because is correctly placed before the part of the sentence that expresses the cause. 30 . in the sentence Because the weather outside was cold. The conjunction because is placed in the correct position here. The promise of a better education persuaded many families to leave farming communities and move to the cities. Similarly. which is right before the cause. even though the subordinate clause because the room was cold is now at the beginning of the sentence. In the chart below are the main ideas of the above paragraph. and museums. First. There are several reasons for this occurrence. entertainment.) However. you must order the cause and the effect corerctly.) 3. there were many schools established to educate the children of the new factory laborers. and culture made city life appear more interesting. such as sports stadiums. These jobs. the CAUSE is the fact that the room was cold. the increasing industrialization of the nineteenth century resulted in the creation of many factory jobs. (Note that the first letter of the conjunction is now capitalized.Cause and Effect Conjunctions Here are some common conjunctions that can be used to express cause and effect: since because consequently as a result therefore for this reason because of + noun phrase due to + noun phrase so There are two things you must be careful of when using these conjunctions. For example. even though it is grammatical. in this sentence: ??The weather outside was cold because Sally closed the window. Second. these facilities made city life appear more interesting than life on the farm. as the cities grew. which tended to be located in cities.) CAUSES (Supporting Sentences) Factory jobs attracted people. and the EFFECT is Sally's closing the window. attracted many people from rural areas. entertainment. Places of leisure. and culture.] (Cities have grown very large. Sally closed the window. in the sentence Sally closed the window because the weather outside was cold. For many people. cities have grown so large that now about 50% of the Earth's population lives in urban areas. Notice how each supporting sentence is a cause that explains the effect mentioned in the topic sentence.

(too informal -. as in this sentence: The weather was warm. The weather was cold.avoid this usage) B/ 31 .Second. you should be careful when using commas. as in the example above. so may not be used at the beginning of a sentence (although you will often see it in informal writing): The weather was warm. As a result. Sally closed the window. The adverbial clause conjunctions since and because are exceptions. A blizzard hit the town. The coordinating conjunction so is also different from the ones above. and for this reason are usually followed by a comma. the schools were closed. Because the weather outside was cold. Consequently. The comma here is placed at the end of the subordinate clause. However. Conjunctions such as therefore. in formal academic writing. consequently. so Jim turned on the air conditioner. Sally closed the window. The weather was cold. therefore. Therefore. as in these examples: The weather was cold. Sally put on her scarf. So Jim turned on the air conditioner. as a result. This conjunction has a comma before it. Sally put on her coat. These are attached directly at the beginning of CAUSE-sentence without a comma.

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a night of celebration turned into a costly and embarrassing lesson on the dangers of drinking and driving. the police took me to jail. tipsy by midnight.THE NARRATIVE PARAGRAPH A narrative paragraph ‘tells a story’. Baggy Drawers. I was dead certain that I was sober enough to drive home safely. Read the following paragraph and answer the question that follow One Saturday last June. and the next--crash! I had plowed into the back of a big green Buick. I had a fake ID. and flat out soused by the time we shut the bars down at three. Of course. One minute there was not a soul on the road in front of me. When the police arrived--instantly. it seemed--they gave me a breath test even before asking to see my license. I had to pay a $2. Where and when did the events take place? Who is telling the story? Who are the characters in this story? What happened exactly? In what way did the story end? What message is the writer sending ? 1-Elements of a Narrative Paragraph Narrative paragraphs contain several regular elements:. fingerprinted. we made stops at such popular hangouts as Studebaker's. and Night Lights. or perhaps you’ll relate the story of the time you didn’t make the cut for the basketball team. as I hollered farewells to my friends and poured myself into the car.000 fine and attend driving school for three months. (Yes. you share with the reader some personal experience of your own in order to make a point or convey a message. It was there. that is. Whatever story you tell. In writing a narrative paragraph. Underline the topic sentence and the concluding sentence . that I made a promise not to drink and drive ever again. You may choose to tell how your grandfather influenced your desire to become an scientist. viewing gory films of accident victims with their bodies crunched under tires and heads wrapped inside bumpers. your purpose is to share with others some experience that has taught you something or changed you somehow. I weaved down Monroe Avenue. 33 . With one eye shut to keep the road from blurring. and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). After filling out pages of forms and checking to see that nobody was injured. where I was photographed.) I was giggly by 11:00. Out with a girlfriend for a wild night on the town. Naturally I registered drunk. it tells about a series of events that happened to the narrator. and at each of these spots I drank a margarita or two. just two days after my high school graduation.

Like the setting. characters. the emotional quality that the story gives to the reader. If the story begins in the midst of a hurricane. Without a specific narrative effect. Focus • Narrative effect is the main point of your story—the moral. Most personal narratives are written in first-person. This is where the events in the story become complicated and the problem in the story is revealed. Climax. this refers to the period of history. the message. if the story is set in the past. Refers to the beginning of the story where the characters and setting are presented. who play parts in the action of the story. This is the mood or feeling of the story. The setting of the story is usually responsible for creating the mood or feeling of the story.Setting. • • • Plot.e. The force with which the protagonist is in conflict is called the antagonist. you might ask yourself. Climate/Weather. If the story could happen now or at some recent unspecified time. By the middle of the story. and even time of day. 34 . • Organization of narrative paragraphs The narrative paragraph consists of three basic parts: The orientation. The force can be a person or persons. The setting refers to the background in which the story takes place. This is an aspect of setting which can be important to the novel. a story may begin in a particular city in England. but third-person can be effective as well. first-person or third-person. Time also refers to the season. First-person tends to be more subjective. You might say that a novel opens with a mysterious atmosphere. Point of view • Decide which point of view. robots. The plot is a synopsis of the storyline in chronological order. This usually refers to the geographical location of the story. two or even three main characters). it is significant to the story. Problem/Conflict. the character(s) may find themselves in other locations within England. it may be set in the future. For example. the insight you offer. establishes the setting. The basic plot is comprised of the following: • • • • Introduction. A novel can have more than one protagonist (e. your writing is merely a series of unconnected events. There are several components necessary to create a setting: • Place. we say that it is "contemporary.. society or an internal struggle within the main character. The complication (supporting sentences)involves rising conflict that leads up to the climax (the point of highest action in the story). The story may move from one place to another. a gloomy atmosphere. animal." If it is a science fiction story. If you are unsure what your main point is. Refers to people. • • • The protagonist is the main character throughout the novel. First. and other essential elements of the story. will the problem get solved or not?) Solution/Conclusion – This is the point in the story in which the problem is solved Characters. The plot usually arises out of the conflict in the story. you must decide whether to reveal your point explicitly (stated directly) or implicitly (suggested but not stated). the mood may change throughout the novel. This is the turning point in the story in which the reader wonders what will happen next (i. month. Atmosphere.. which eventually builds to a climatic moment. etc.g. “Why am I telling this story? Why should someone else be interested in reading about my experience?” In addition. the topic sentence at the beginning of the paragraph. Time. works best for your narrative.

Then. (concluding sentence)the conflict is resolved and the narrative effect is revealed or suggested. In chronological time. The order in which the events are presented in the narrative paragraph is very important to the overall unity of the paragraph. events are described in the order in which they happened. You must decide whether chronological time or psychological time best suits your story. Use flashback to recall an event from the past that has a significant impact on the present. 35 . The techniques of flashback and flashforward can also be part of your narrative’s time structure. events are described according to the connections between them. in the resolution. in psychological time. as they might be arranged in someone’s memory.

sensory detail is more likely to engage and effect the reader. Make the reader see. readers quickly grow uninterested.Using Dialogue 36 . feel. and taste the scene you’re writing. how the dew sparkled on the grass. If your paragraph consists merely of dry facts. can contribute greatly to the effectiveness of your narrative. evocative description to immerse the reader in the situation or place you describe. . smell. Also make use of sensory language (language that appeals to the senses). use clear.Use Sensory Details It is important to remember that human beings learn about the world through using the five senses. Use very detailed.when The most common transition words used in narrative writing is are: Time Relationship Transitions after afterwards before during eventually first in the meantime later meanwhile next now once second soon sooner then today until when Language and style Details add depth and color to your narrative. Your goal is to make the scene come alive for the reader.Use flashforward to jump to the future and show a possible outcome for the events in the present. Complete this paragraph using. They are our primary source of knowledge about the world. Don’t just tell us that spring was in the air—describe how the sun felt on your skin. especially when you are writing a highly detailed scene. Therefore.after. if used well. Both of these techniques.before. hear. In other words. how the birds sang in the trees. precise language that keeps your reader’s attention. writing which incorporates vivid. .

" the voice was thick guttural. lady. B How to Finish . Real people do not use full sentences when they speak. when. furrowed her white brow.” Metaphors and similes can be very helpful in revealing your narrative effect to the reader. "Sir". why – to ensure reader understanding of what you have written. Make sure your characters talk like people in real life. Astonishment puckered his dimpled jowls to be replaced by a red infusion. which spread from the greyish collar of his neck. she enunciated clearly to the huge slurping hulk. Is this an adult. slowly gliding to the stark blinking eyes. do you sometimes smile at remembering what a person said or did. Who should clearly introduce the character. etc. serious intent. where. How to write narrative paragraphs A How to Start There are various ways to begin a narrative paragraph. Secretly I hoped she would do something to stop the obscene slurping coming from his fat lips. Figurative language can add to your narrative by suggesting to your reader how you felt in a particular situation. The most common method for ending a narrative paragraph is to refer back to your topic sentence. The lady at the next table to the slob could take it no longer. but she had his attention. There was a grunt in return from the grazer. Everest. "Appearances can be deceptive". the Queen of bloody Sheba?" .Finally. or even get angry over a remembered insult once hurled your way? When writing a narrative paragraph about one event in your life.? What introduces your event to the reader. For example. the use of dialogue will definitely make the event more vivid to your readers. what." Practice Practice1 37 . use it to tie up the loose ends of the paragraph. child. "Sir. to say that the police officer who gave you that first ticket was “really tall” doesn’t convey the sense of terror you felt as well as “he towered over me like Mt. you are inhaling your soup in such a manner as to distract your fellow diners. "who do you think ya are. This is your chance to use fragments. "Listen. Wherehelps establish the mood and atmosphere for thsetting of the event you are re-telling. Be sure to make the conversation lifelike by using slang. but one of the easiest is to use the 5W’s – who. and by rewording it. Another good method for starting the narrative paragraph is to use an anecdote. re-word the idea into something lik"That is how I learned that the outside does not always reflect the inside. use appropriate metaphors and similes.When you recall an experience that you had. and Why is a brief explanation of the circumstances leading up to the event. For exampleif the topic sentence is. like a soldier on a mission. a brief amusing or interesting story about a real person or event. Whenexpands on the time the event took place. interjections and other ‘real’ speech patterns. I watched her rise majestically from her seat." All activity stopped in the restaurant as we waited for his reply.

Use specific.when. Later I realised how foolish I had been to drive with the doors unlocked.__________ that day. "Darn light stuff".The following narrative paragraph lacks time transitions. When. and was stopped by the red light across from the York Hotel. it was discovered what had happened. she grabbed the old wooden pail. Fill in the blanks with the appropriate transitions to give the paragraph coherence. She decided she would have to walk into town to pick up some fresh spring water. – The 1.later. Next he leaned ominously into the car blowing toxic liquor fumes across my face.__________ went off to town for the spring water not knowing that Jack had gone tumbling down.after.first. During the rush hour one evening after work. to let him know she would be out of the area for the day. Jack. it hit Jack’s crown on its way down.afterwards Let me tell you the story about a woman named Jyll and a friend of hers called Jack. 2. Before I knew what had happened an old man had grabbed my door handle. Jyll 6. Using Connotative Language in Narrative Writing The language used in narrative writing helps the reader imagine himself in the events you tell about.__________ thing that happened was that Jyll was running out of fresh water at her cabin. 4. Example: Instead of.__________ she left the cabin. "It happened while I was standing in the shower. so I 38 .__________ she left she wanted to contact her neighbour. vivid words to relate your story instead of passive language.__________ was able to toss the pail up into the air and over the giant arbutus tree next to the cabin. but he hasn’t seemed the same fellow. Now I started to panic as his hands fumbled on the car seat because I thought he wasgrabbing for my purse. This danger became very real to me one summer evening. 12.__________ Jack has had his nob patched.__________ Jack and Jyll still play at being neighbours. and backed out othe car.__________ Jyll had gone to fetch the pail for water. Don’t just relate the series of events because this creates a boring list. 10. my sense of safety in Calgary was destroyed. Practice 2 Try to unscramble the following paragraph by numbering the sentences in the order they should appear. 3. He would know she was away from the cabin. After this experience. I drew back even further against the driver’s door.today.__________ she would use it as a signal to Jack that she was absent from the cabin. but Jack won’t go near the water pail. It seems that when Jyll threw the pail up in the tree. 8. 9. 11. After snarling. I was driving down Centre Street. and gingerly I extended the pack to him When he started muttering. This was a safety measure.__________ Jyll has been known to giggle at Jack’s disaster which sometimes gets her in trouble with his mother.__________ the doctor and police were able to reconstruct the scene of the crime.before.then .eventually. Then I realised all he wanted was a cigarette. he took two smokes and my lighter. She tied a rope around the handle of the pail and 5. High up there it could be seen by Jack while he stood on the porch of his cabin down the road.in the meantime. 7. she hadn’t noticed Jack coming around the bend in the forest path. Finally I was able to calm down long enough to understand what the man was saying _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ _______ In downtown Calgary it can sometimes seem quite dangerous when the sun goes down.then .

we heard a pop followed by a hissing of air escaping with great force. I was sweating and kept looking at my watch. and it was 1 p. 6. We started feeling the car jumping. Every two to three minutes I checked Answers 1. 2. 1. I looked at my watch. It became like a ritual. After all. I received a call from a staffing company. On that day. The man told me he had made an appointment for me with a potential employer and that my interview was at 1: 30 p. The front tire had popped and lost all of its air. The baby cried in her crib. after afterwards 39 . The child ran out the school doors. 4. my stomach was upset. 2004. by Elizabeth Alvarado (Fall 2005) The worst day in my life was July 21. By this time. first before 5. We left so we could have enough time to look for the address." The man walked down the street. 3. hiding the deadly hiss of gas.Write. I got ready and told my husband to drive me to the interview. As we were driving on the freeway. We pulled over to the side of the road onto the shoulder. My husband went to the trunk of the car and pulled out the carjack and the spare tire to fix the car.m. 10. eventually then 9. The girl hit her knee on the stairs. punctuality is something employers look for. 2.m. 5. The cowboy fell off his horse. couldn’t hear the gas leaking "The blast of water from the shower deadened the other house noises.

and bit his lip. She smelled of wet cigarettes and bacon. She smelled of wet cigarettes and bacon. vague receptacle. His mouth filled with the sweet. Randal looked ahead toward the winding spiral staircase. Randal looked ahead toward the winding spiral staircase. Details which appeal to our sense of sight ensure that the reader is able to give faces to characters. setting. through adding visual detail. breathing her hot breath on the damp hair at the base of his neck. Comment These are the beginning sentences of a paragraph which describes a boy helping an elderly woman up a flight of stairs. and bit his lip. For example. Example Text: Add Sound Grandmother Workman lurched over and grabbed the pale skin of Randal's thin forearm with her leathery hand. like the bloated. but it leaves the reader with many unanswered questions. The folds and creases beneath her skin coiled themselves out like electrical wiring. 40 . a room can become more than just a blank. A visual description allows readers to place themselves within a text. visual details help accomplish this through encouraging the reader to create a mental image of the characters. breathing her hot breath on the damp hair at the base of his neck. fidgeted with a small hole in his baseball jersey. like the bloated. It becomes a small. Without the inclusion of sensory detail. roughly-textured relief map of the world that his mother just posted above his bedside table. the writing seems vague and non-specific. Comment Visual details are often successfully incorporated into writing. How might the author use descriptive detail to make the scene more vivid? Example Text: Add Sight Gandmother Workman lurched over and grabbed the pale skin of Randal's thin forearm with her leathery hand. steep staircase. fidgeted with a small hole in his baseball jersey.3. roughly-textured relief map of the world that his mother just posted above his bedside table. later when 11. 12. coppery taste of blood as she leaned in closely toward him. the only sound was his grandmothers' labored breathing and the mournful creak of the wooden stairs. 8. coppery taste of blood as she leaned in closely toward him. the only sound was his grandmothers' labored breathing and the mournful creak of the wooden stairs. and action. He was nervous because the staircase was so steep. As they slowly climbed the long. The folds and creases beneath her skin coiled themselves out like electrical wiring. when then 7. The scene seems simple enough. In the sample text. His mouth filled with the sweet. in the meantime today Example Text: Paragraph Without Sensory Detail Grandmother Workman reached over and grabbed her grandson's arm. steep staircase. As they slowly climbed the long. 4. oblong room with peeling maroon wallpaper and cracked ceiling tiles. or add concrete details to a setting. but she leaned against him and they began to climb.

fidgeted with a small hole in his baseball jersey. breathing her hot breath on the damp hair at the base of his neck. the only sound was his grandmothers' labored breathing and the mournful creak of the wooden stairs. The addition of auditory details gives the writer the opportunity to create a more detailed. Haut du formulaire Bas du formulaire Example Text: Add Touch Grandmother Workman lurched over and grabbed the pale skin of Randal's thin forearm with her leathery hand. coppery taste of blood as she leaned in closely toward him. the addition of olfactory details helps set the mood of the paragraph by triggering our senses. Example Text: Add Smell Grandmother Workman lurched over and grabbed the pale skin of Randal's thin forearm with her leathery hand. texture. or can create images in our minds. but to experience it. She smelled of wet cigarettes and bacon. This is a sensory experience that most people have encountered. As they slowly climbed the long. roughly-textured relief map of the world that his mother just posted above his bedside table. The folds and creases beneath her skin coiled themselves out like electrical wiring. His mouth filled with the sweet. Example Text: Add Taste 41 . thoughts. coppery taste of blood as she leaned in closely toward him. The folds and creases beneath her skin coiled themselves out like electrical wiring. Sounds can remind us of personal memories. the sense of touch has been engaged through allowing the reader to recreate a primary sensation: the feel of a person's breath on the back of his or her neck. fidgeted with a small hole in his baseball jersey. Therefore. Because of this link. breathing her hot breath on the damp hair at the base of his neck. Sounds recreate personal. They allow a reader not only to visualize a scene. Tactile images can be powerful sensory triggers. Our sense of smell has an uncommonly strong power over our feelings. as well as the physical condition of the grandmother. the writer has incorporated references to sounds which allow the reader to infer the state of the old staircase. In the sample text. scents are able to cause vivid sensory re-creations of memories. However. Inclusion of the sense of touch prevents the reader from remaining distanced or detached from the writing. the only sound was his grandmothers' labored breathing and the mournful creak of the wooden stairs. and emotions. Next to visual details. Comment The sense of smell is commonly overlooked in writing. sensory experiences. steep staircase. The receptors in the brain which are responsible for processing smells are very close to the area of the brain responsible for the storage of memory. His mouth filled with the sweet. As they slowly climbed the long. For example. Comment The sense of touch encourages us to investigate the world around us by feeling it and learning the texture. or of a tour of duty in the military. auditory details are most commonly included in writing. Randal looked ahead toward the winding spiral staircase. roughly-textured relief map of the world that his mother just posted above his bedside table. like the bloated. She smelled of wet cigarettes and bacon. through recalling familiar tactile sensations the writer encourages the readers to put themselves in the place of the characters. like the bloated. it is the human sense of smell that is most closely linked to the brain. Randal looked ahead toward the winding spiral staircase. and bit his lip. steep staircase. In the sample text.Comment The human sense of hearing is an important means of communication. In the sample text. the sound of a ship's whistle might remind a person of a summer's night in New England. and size of things. This is because sounds give us a primary experience of the world. layered. shape. and bit his lip.

There are four familiar tastes: Sweet Salty Bitter Sour By appealing directly to any of these tastes. Memories.Grandmother Workman lurched over and grabbed the pale skin of Randal's thin forearm with her leathery hand. and bit his lip. Randal looked ahead toward the winding spiral staircase. the only sound was his grandmothers' labored breathing and the mournful creak of the wooden stairs. Comment The human sense of taste allows a person to do much more than simply select and enjoy food. coppery taste of blood as she leaned in closely toward him. feelings. people. roughly-textured relief map of the world that his mother just posted above his bedside table. a writer has the unique opportunity to affect a reader's senses. fidgeted with a small hole in his baseball jersey. As they slowly climbed the long. and places can all be suggested through the sense of taste. She smelled of wet cigarettes and bacon. His mouth filled with the sweet. 42 . like the bloated. The folds and creases beneath her skin coiled themselves out like electrical wiring. breathing her hot breath on the damp hair at the base of his neck. steep staircase.

you should stick to it. Once you have introduced a topic clearly. size. circles my finger and twists together at the top to encase a small white diamond. the wood worn by years of fingers pressing chords and picking notes. Whether we're describing a person. each one hooked through the eye of a silver tuning key. . The blond wood has been chipped and gouged to gray. and condition. 43 . but I treasure it as a gift from my older sister. such as. intended to let the diamond breathe. but now clogged with grime. This kind of topic sentence is more interesting and revealing than a bare announcement. It's nothing fancy. The strings are stretched down a long.THE PARAGRAPH DESCRIPTIVE The purpose of descriptive writing is to make our readers see. felt. and heard. and hear what we have seen. "The belonging I am about to describe is my pre-engagement ring. The writer of "My Tiny Diamond Ring" has done just that. like a sliver of glass found on the kitchen floor after a dishwashing accident. At the top is a bramble of copper-wound strings. developing this idea with details in the rest of the paragraph. feel. or a thing. The ring is neither very attractive nor valuable. color. focus your paragraph and gain the interest of your readers with a complete topic sentence: one that expresses an attitude or a reason as well as identifies the object you are about to describe. a place. Model Descriptive Paragraph On the third finger of my left hand is the pre-engagement ring given to me last year by my sister Doris. As a result. Analyzing the Model Description Notice that the topic sentence in this paragraph not only identifies the belonging (a "pre-engagement ring") but also implies why the writer treasures it (". just a Madeira folk guitar. . Just below the diamond are small air holes. The body of the Madeira is shaped like an enormous yellow pear. The four prongs that anchor the diamond are separated by pockets of dust. one that was slightly damaged in shipping. all of the supporting sentences relate directly to one another and to the topic introduced in the first sentence. a gift that I will pass along to my younger sister when I receive my own engagement ring this Christmas. our aim is to reveal a subject through vivid and carefully selected details. The 14-carat gold band. its frets tarnished. given to me last year by my sister Doris"). all scuffed and scratched and fingerprinted. slim neck. slightly warped blond guitar--the first instrument I taught myself how to play. the paragraph is unified--that is. The diamond itself is tiny and dull. providing specific details that describe the ring: its parts. The model paragraph: My most valuable possession is an old." Instead of announcing your topic in this way. a bit tarnished by time and neglect.

followed by supporting detail to develop the paragraph. but it still lets me make music. just a Madeira folk guitar. No. slightly warped. The body of the Madeira is shaped like an enormous yellow pear. all scuffed and scratched and finger-printed.The administration building. On a sheet of paper. Supporting detail: 1. The strings are stretched down a long. Then write out a paragraph beginning with the topic sentence below.The faculty offices.The library. slim neck.Underline the spatial transitions in this paragraph. . and for that I will always treasure it. blond guitar--the first instrument that I ever taught myself how to play. each one hooked through the eye of a silver tuning key. to the body (sentences five. 1. it's not a beautiful instrument. the wood worn by years of fingers pressing chords and picking notes. Notice also how the concluding sentence helps to tie the paragraph together by emphasizing the personal value of this gift. she saw many buildings.The refectory room.The student centre and cafeteria. Structure of a descriptive paragraph • The topic sentence for a this descriptive paragraph is: My most valuable possession is an old. locating each building where you think it belongs in relation to other buildings . 4. but it still lets me make music. Topic sentence: On Maria’s first visit to the college campus. 2. covers its ears but is parted above the 44 . made of yarn. sketch out a map of a college campus. Add spatial transitions to introduce each of the eight buildings according to their order of location. blond guitar") but also suggests why the writer values it ("the first instrument that I ever taught myself how to play").Identify the topic sentence. It's nothing fancy.The bookstore. 7. The blond wood has been chipped and gouged to gray. At the top is a bramble of copper-wound strings. 2. The clown's short yellow hair. three. • The supporting sentences support this topic sentence with specific descriptive details. In the following paragraph. 6. particularly where the pick guard fell off years ago • The concluding sentence concludes the paragraph and emphasizes the personal value of the item.particularly where the pick guard fell off years ago. and eight).The gymnasium and athletic fields. 1) A Friendly Clown On one corner of my dresser sits a smiling toy clown on a tiny unicycle--a gift I received last Christmas from a close friend. slightly warped. one that was slightly damaged in shipping.The classroom buildings 3. This sentence not only identifies the prized belonging ("an old.How are the details arranged. No. and for that I will always treasure it. Activities: 1. observe how the writer moves clearly from a description of the head of the clown (in sentences two. its frets tarnished.Below is a topic sentence for a spatial paragraph. it's not a beautiful instrument. 3. seven. 4. to the unicycle underneath (sentence nine). and four). six. 5.

His familiarity with cat food commercials has led him to reject generic brands of cat food in favor of only the most expensive brands. The clown and unicycle together stand about a foot high. You may move from the top of the item to the bottom. Essays can be a rewarding and challenging type of writing and are often assigned both in class—which requires previous planning and practice (and a bit of creativity) on the part of the student—and as homework. or go from right to left. You may start with the outside of the item and move in. habits. or from the bottom to the top. let’s begin with a basic definition of the essay. before delving into its various genres. Surrounding its ankles and disguising its long black shoes are big pink bows. The two colors merge in a dark line that runs down the center of the small outfit. After my guests have fled. Essays Essay Writing Overview The essay is a commonly assigned form of writing that every student will encounter while in academia. does not extend to his appearance. I look at the old fleabag snoozing and smiling to himself in front of the television set. His pride. and the right side is red. we are able to unearth the essence of the academic essay: to encourage students to test or examine their ideas concerning a particular topic. for he spends most of his time indoors watching television and growing fat. However. It has cherry-red cheeks. Gregory does not do this to establish his territory. however. Many poorly crafted essays have been produced on account of a lack of preparation and confidence. There are various ways to organize the details in a descriptive paragraph. dark lashes flowing from the brows. He may snuggle up against your ankle. which means ‘to examine. or (literally) to drive out’. You may start at the left side of the item and move right. Therefore. What is an Essay? Though the word ‘essay’ has come to be understood as a type of writing in Modern English. As a cherished gift from my good friend Tran. He walks with pride and grace. begging to be petted. 45 . students can avoid the discomfort often associated with essay writing by understanding some common genres within essay writing. but to humiliate me because he is jealous of my friends. performing a dance of disdain as he slowly lifts and lowers each paw with the delicacy of a ballet dancer. befriending some and repelling others. two-tone nylon costume. tracing it back further. He enjoys TV commercials. Choose the one pattern that seems best suited to your topic. The white spokes on the wheels of the unicycle gather in the center and expand to the black tire so that the wheel somewhat resembles the inner half of a grapefruit. However. this colorful figure greets me with a smile every time I enter my room. 3) Gregory Gregory is my beautiful gray Persian cat. we find that the French form of the word comes from the Latin verb exigere. or he may imitate a skunk and stain your favorite trousers. and its broad grin disappears into the wide. especially those for Meow Mix and 9 Lives. Gregory is as finicky about visitors as he is about what he eats. white ruffle around its neck. Through the excavation of this ancient word. The clown wears a fluffy. The blue eyes are outlined in black with thin. as many cat experts think. test. or go from inside to out. which likewise demands a certain amount of preparation. it is wise for the student to become capable and comfortable with this type of writing early on in her training. and lips. and I have to forgive him for his obnoxious.eyes. but endearing. and then stick to that pattern throughout the paragraph. its origins provide us with some useful insights. The left side of the outfit is light blue. The word comes into the English language through the French influence on Middle English. nose.

Brainstorm supporting ideas. persuasion. numbers.Essays are shorter pieces of writing that often require the student to hone a number of skills such as close reading. Think of a topic and a controlling idea that will narrow the topic enough to support it well in one paragraph. This means that there is no room for the student’s thoughts to wander or stray from her purpose. Compose your topic sentence. also known as the modes of discourse. names. Argumentation (EDNA) The four genres of essays (description. Exposition.6 supporting ideas that do a good job supporting your topic sentence. TIPS FOR WRITING A PARAGRAPH CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD PARAGRAPH Topic sentence. which includes the topic and a controlling idea. examples. Narration. and exposition. which leaves the reading with something to think about and may summarize the supporting ideas if the paragraph is long. exposition. Choose 2 . Contributors:Jack Summary: This resource begins with a general description of essay writing and moves to a discussion of common essay genres students may encounter across the curriculum. analysis. 46 • • • . clarity. the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these genres and students’ need to understand and produce these types of essays. which support the topic sentence Reasons. Note: The Modes of Discourse: Description. and argumentation) are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes.6). and senses give details for and further explain the supporting ideas. • Optional concluding sentence. there is much to be gained by the student who strives to succeed at essay writing. 2. narration. We hope these resources will help. This handout will include a brief introduction to the following genres of essay writing: • • • • The Expository Essay The Descriptive Essay The Narrative Essay The Argumentative (Persuasive) Essay Baker. and require clarity in purpose and direction. essays are (by nature) concise. comparison and contrast. Process of Writing a Paragraph: 1. Although these genres. o Coherenence. have been criticized by some composition scholars. Therefore. which means that all sentences in the paragraph directly support the topic sentence. The purpose of an essay is to encourage students to develop ideas and concepts in their writing with the direction of little more than their own thoughts (it may be helpful to view the essay as the converse of a research paper). Allen Brizee. she must be deliberate and interesting. logically ordered and easy to follow. Supporting ideas (usually 3 . conciseness. It is the purpose of this handout to help students become familiar and comfortable with the process of essay composition through the introduction of some common essay genres. which means that all the information of the paragraph is well-organized. As is evidenced by this list of attributes. • Unity.

3. Qualified professors B. Finally. Topic sentence: A. and senses that further explain the idea. 3. Supporting idea 3. 7. names. each supporting idea should have about the same amount of reasons. Good Location 1. Study environment 2. names. and senses for each supporting idea. Now we put this information into outline form and added some reasons. we wrote the paragraph using sentences and trying to make the paragraph coherent using different coherence strategies. Don't actually write sentences in the outline. Here is an example: We came up with a good topic sentence and supporting ideas: Topic sentence: Choosing a college or university can be difficult. For each supporting idea. 2. 6. 3. numbers. numbers. Topic sentence: Choosing a college or university can be difficult. 5. Write your paragraph in topic outline form as follows. CHOOSING A COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY Choosing a college or university can be difficult. In order to get a good job. 1. 3. 1. the curriculum that is taught must be 47 . names. Good preparation for major We decided to order these supporting ideas according to importance as shown in the outline below. examples. Think of a concluding sentence. examples. B. Write your paragraph using sentences. C. Supporting idea 1. A. Use the coherence strategies to make your paragraph easy to follow. Affordable 1. Good Location.3. numbers. Affordable. Put your supporting ideas in a logical order. be able to pay tuition and living expenses 2. Supporting ideas: 1. Supporting idea 2. Good preparation for your major 1. and senses. The most difficult part is finding a university that prepares you well for your future career. 1. except for the topic sentence. For balance. Possibility of scholarships C. Possibilities of part-time job in your major Concluding sentence: You should consider these points carefully so you can choose the most appropriate college or university for you. Concluding sentence: 4. Hard curriculum 2. think of reasons. examples.

6. It will likely make you more successful. 4. the professors must be highly qualified and respected in their fields. there should be possibilities near the school for parttime or summer jobs in your major. It will be something you can pass on to your children.thorough and up-to-date. It will give you more prestigious employment and greater job satisfaction 8. Some institutions might be able to offer you scholarships if you cannot afford the fees. Another difficulty in choosing a university or college is affordability. It provides you greater economic strength and security 7. It will give you greater knowledge of the world events 9. It will give you the power to change the world. PRACTICE 2: By using information. Note: You don’t need to use all notes A. The Value of a University Education _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ 48 . 5. It will give you more money and greater quality of lifer. Topic: The Value of a University Education Questioning whether you should go to university? Here are five ways that a college education will make you a better person: 1. please write a well-organized paragraph. Moreover. You should consider all of these points carefully so you can choose the most appropriate college or university for you. It will give you a better quality of life. 3. You need to be able to pay the tuition fees and living expenses. A good location is also very important when choosing a school. In addition. so you can get some practical work experience. It makes you a major contributor to the greatest nation on earth. 2. The environment should be safe and quiet to facilitate studying. It will give you more self-confidence 10.

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B. TOPIC: BASKETBALL Basketball is attractive. Basketball is fast, exciting, and unpredictable Basketball team has few members; you can become familiar with each player's personality. Basketball is a fast moving game that can be played on both indoor and outdoor courts. Basketball is an excellent conditioning sport that can be enjoyed by both boys and girls alike. Participation in athletic sports like basketball, improves physical fitness, coordination and selfdiscipline 7. Basketball gives children valuable opportunities to learn about teamwork. 8. Basketball games can be played on school playgrounds, home driveways, and indoor gyms. 9. One major advantage about basketball is that the skills needed for the game can be practiced individually. Many families purchase portable basketball nets for home use. 10. Jumping rope at home is another great way to prepare to play basketball. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.


PRACTICE 3: Choose three of the following topics and write well organized paragraphs. PARAGRAPH TOPICS 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Attending summer courses. Custom union Using mobile phones Being single Getting married Having a job while attending college Shopping by TV. Learning a foreign language Boys and girls should attend separate schools. 10. Tourism 11. Being wealthy 12. Using nuclear energy. 13. Computers in the workplace 14. Being a famous person 15. Technology 16. Credit cards 17. Benefits of being young 18. Benefits of watching TV 19. Owning a car

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MORE PARAGRAPH SAMPLES Copy and write… Read and copy the following paragraphs exactly… A. ADVANTAGES and DISADVANTAGES 1. Advantages Advantages of Using Computers There are several advantages of using a computer. First of all, it is especially beneficial in the workplace, where employees can do their work far faster that they could in the past. In addition to this, computers can be educational and fun. From a very young age, children can gain basic computer skills by the help of programs which help them to learn, draw, paint, and play. As a result, in today’s technological world, this knowledge can only help them in the future. To sum up, computers are useful for our fast-fast moving world of high technology. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ 51

_____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ 2. Disadvantages Disadvantages of Using Computers There are various negative aspects to using computers. Primarily, many jobs have been lost because computers can do a lot to tasks more efficiently than humans. This has led to high unemployment in many countries. What is more, computers can actually cause health problems. Endless hours in front of a screen can cause eyestrain and headaches. These are serious side effects. As a result, computers should be used carefully and they should not replace people. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ Advantages 7. Advantages of Living in a Village There are many advantages to living in a village. First of all, one is much closer to nature and can enjoy more peace and quiet. In addition, life in the country is much slower and people tend to be more open and friendly. A further advantage is that there is much less traffic, and as a result it is much safer place to bring up young children. In conclusion, it can be seen that village life is suitable for retired and those who want to have more peace and less stress. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ 52


Then they can decide if it is the car they want. As a result. Therefore. entertainment. they think about all this information about the Camry. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ 7. one has a smaller number of friends. how much they cost. because there are fewer people. The dealer’s ads will show the new Camry over and over again and tell the consumer that the Camry has power windows. one may have to travel long distances to work elsewhere. They let consumers know what products look like. In addition. the ads may compare the Camry with the Mercedes. particularly in the evening. is difficult to find. They may say that the Camry runs as well as the Mercedes but the Camry’s price is much cheaper. and where they are available. the fact that there are fewer shops and services often means that there are fewer employment opportunities. and so on. Disadvantages of Living in a Village There are certain drawbacks (disadvantage) to life outside the city. six cylinders. Disadvantages 53 . When consumers see these ads. a Toyota dealer wants to sell the Toyota Camry. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ 6. The ads may also tell where to buy the Camry. and this can be extremely expensive. Disadvantages 1. For example. Firstly._____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ 5. Furthermore. Advantages Advantages of TV Commercials Ads on television give consumers a lot of information.

when you watch a horror movie your psychology is affected by this movie badly. you may want to be a monster or a murder. Also. they think whatever they watched it could be in real life. As a result. When I was a high school student. When people watch this kind of movies. Almost in every American movie you can easily see a beautiful house which has a garden or it is constructed seashore. For that reason most countries life style can be changed by movies. Therefore. In conclusion nowadays. how to make delicious dishes. for example Sesame Street and Tarchın and his friends. What is more. They easily change an event which occurred in the past in the direction of their ideas. people use movies in order to change history. They do not have any eating culture. television teaches us all kinds of things. These are well-organized programs that teaches children to count and to say the alphabet. Advantages Advantages of Watching Television w TV is a good teacher for everyone for several reasons. television has programs for students. For example. most American movies. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ 9. Moreover. science fiction movies have full of imagination. Disadvantages Disadvantages of Watching Television w Watching movies especially American movies cause to change people’s life views and life styles for number of reasons. like foreign language and math education programs.Disadvantages of Watching Television w Watching movie can destroy human’s psychology and imagination in some ways. how to fix things around the house and so on.. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ 54 . Another example would be science fiction movies. you see that people eat simple food. Furthermore. it causes people’s eating habits. There are several programs for preschool children. because of its some bad effects people should choose movies carefully and they should never forget that they are not just watching a movie _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ 8. thedre are some programs for adults about how to garden. there were many kinds of learning programs. These programs help students with their studies. As we know. They also have interesting characters that they tell stories and sing songs. Mostly.

it makes the locals stay rather than leave to get jobs elsewhere. in many cases the natural beauty of a place can be spoilt. To begin with. Advantages Advantages of Tourism There are several advantages to tourism. Apart from this. Moreover. Primarily._____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ 10. identity and pride. uniforms give students equality. tourism helps people to learn about other cultures and ways of life. tourism brings a lot of money into a country and it also creates a lot of employment for people of the area. water and noise pollution. 55 . For example. uniforms make it more equal among the rich and poor students. sometimes people’s language can suffer. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ 11. Therefore. In addition. Firstly. As a result. Also. tourism often brings more air. uniforms give identity. student may want to wear designer clothes which some can afford but others can't. Disadvantages Disadvantages of tourism There are some disadvantages to tourism. All students do not have the same financial resources and can't afford expensive clothes. Lastly. it can be bad for a country. places sometimes lose their character and traditions. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ 2. Secondly. we should give enough importance to tourism. if there are a lot of tourists in the area. if tourism is not controlled properly. As a result. Advantages Advantages of Wearing the Same Uniform Wearing uniforms give all students equality.

Therefore. friends. Moreover. Alcoholics may become angry and argumentive. If a sports team does well. Others can tell which students are from which schools and if someone is not behaving well. the effects alcoholism can have on the different aspects of a person's life. Overall. The most important one is that there are always a lot of people around so you won't feel lonely. First of all. Alcoholism Alcoholism is a disease that affects many people in the world today. They may also feel more anxious. Students can tell who is from their school and who is not according to the uniform. In addition to this. Overall. I think wearing uniforms is a good thing. you don't have to cook for yourself. Students can feel equal to one an other. As a result. Advantages Advantages to Living at a Dorm I would prefer to live in an apartment for a number of reasons. Effect 1. but also their family. others will know which school that person is from. They can fee[ a sense of identity and pride that they wouldn't be able to feel as well if they didn't wear uniforms. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ B. the dormitory is usually very safe since almost all dormitories have security guards. we should help the number of alcoholics in Turkey and all over the world. I prefer to live at a dormitory because I do not need to cook and wash my clothes for myself and there will be a lot of people around me. tense.Students feel a sense of belonging when everyone has the same uniform. Moreover. Hence. if a student is a good musician. others can feel proud that they are his/her classmates. or quiet and withdrawn or depressed. CAUSE and EFFECT PARAGRAPH SAMPLES 1. and confused. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ 13. It not only affects the alcoholic. students can feel proud together of that accomplishment. students can "advertise" their school just by wearing their uniforms and be proud of the school they attend. and co-workers strangers. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ 56 . Furthermore. sad. uniforms give pride. there is usually a laundry room in the basement so you don’t have to go anywhere else to do laundry.

For example. so parents have to take the responsibility to monitor their studying and to remind them to do their homework at home after school. it is extremely important that whatever the reasons are we should avoid drinking alcohol. Cause Alcoholism There are some reasons of using alcohol. Some of them also want to reduce strong negative feelings. there is conflict between refusing and accepting the use of alcohol to be a social person. It can be related to emotional changeability. Parents should also encourage their children to study by buying story books with pictures. If parents are alcoholics._____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ 2. As a result. Effects Effects of Parents on Children Parents can help their children be successful in school by encouraging them. First of all. I experienced this. alcoholics often drink hoping to drown their depressed feelings. or they can buy text books or tapes that help children learn to spell or read. the cause of alcoholism can be biological. My parents gave me a gift if I had 57 . In some cultures. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ 3. Moreover. The best way to encourage children to study efficiently is to reward them when they get an “A”. As a child. Children usually enjoy playing games instead of studying their boring lessons. children may take alcohol later on. The second reason is alcoholism has psychological reasons. It is often associated with a family history of manic-depressive illness. social and cultural factors play important roles in development of alcoholism.

Furthermore.studied well. Moreover. they may pay less to study abroad and the programs can be better abroad. some students may get scholarships to study abroad. Most students get a good education wherever they go if they are strong-minded to achieve something in their studies. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ 58 . students may get more money in their job if they have a degree from outside the country. students study abroad for a number of reasons. they need to pay attention to their children’s studies and encourage them. if parents really want their children to succeed in school. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ 4. Therefore. So. 5. In short. Effects _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ Question: Why do some students study abroad? Use specific reasons and details to explain your answer. Causes Studying Outside There are many reasons students choose to do this why students choose to attend schools or universities outside their home countries. Many people think that students may get a better education outside their home country. To get a college degree from a university outside their home country may be prestigious for students. and then I was very excited.

There are thousands of species that live in forests and when the forests die. some people go to the movies to see how others live. Choose one resource that is disappearing and explain why it needs to be saved. First of all. If there is no theater. such as forests. 6. Use reasons and specific examples to support your answer. For that reason. To begin with. Moreover. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ 59 . Next. If you are poor._____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ Question: Movies are popular all over the world. you can take exciting photographs. animals. movies provide entertainment. birds. Because. Movie theaters can be found in almost every town. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ Question: Many parts of the world are losing important natural resources. 7. all over the world. In short. watching movie is one of the important activities of people. Finally. movies are available everywhere. Furthermore. walk through. As a result. Causes Watching Movies There are many reasons why people all over the world enjoy watching movies. there is usually a video store with movies. nature is a home for animals. or clean water. they die too. Finally. forests are beautiful to look at. such as forests. animals. it is a way to escape that life for a few hours. animals depend on it for survival. . they offer an escape. rain forests also are habitat of many insects. or dean water. and look at all the flowers. Explain why movies are so popular. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion. Causes World is in Danger Many parts of the world are losing important natural resources. they are fun to watch andlet you imagine what other people's lives are like. hike in the forest. forests are natural resources that must be saved because they provide so much good for so many people and animals.

In contrast. Although my teachers have these similarities. students respect their teachers. First. in my country students have the right to ask questions. both my English teachers with their similarities and differences are excellent teachers. Similarly. When a student is always troublesome in class. the way my two teachers teaching method of English is different. we are all responsible and had extra work. Likewise. Turkey. Then the counselor sends the students to the assistant principal and so on. my present if we need a rule we work it out from the examples. 60 . Both my teachers know their subject well. they can only ask questions at the end of the class. however. there is the student’s right to speak. In conclusion. there are both similarities and differences in the way students behave toward their teachers in the classroom. Compare and Contrast Two English Teachers There are both some similarities and differences between my old English teacher in high school and my present English teacher. my old teacher would go to the parents because my school is small and everybody would know each other in the city. For example. This makes the student unpopular (alone. They both make sure we know the rules of the language very well. In North America students look up to teachers and respect them. In conclusion. they also have differences on these same points. my present teacher sends the troublesome student to a counselor. If a student makes trouble in the classroom. However. My teacher back home would teach us a rule of grammar and then give examples. in my country._____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ C. Next. when the teacher asks them to speak they must look into the teacher’s eyes to show respect. COMPARE and CONTRAST PARAGRAPH SAMPLES 1. students can ask the teacher questions. students respect teachers. when a teacher asks us to speak we look down to show respect. We do not look into their eyes. teacher gives us examples first. They can even ask questions when the teacher is giving a lesson. Both my English teachers control the class well. without friend) and nobody wants to be unpopular. Turkey. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ 2. Similarity and Differences Classroom Behavior Rules There are some similarities and differences in the classroom behavior rules between North America and my country. In contrast. In North America. Also.

Finally. to attend for personal fulfillment and to make more money in the job market._____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ 3. In addition to this. Because. some attend in order to make more money in the job market. employers want employees who have very specific knowledge. Adults may attend university just for the joy of learning. Compare _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ C. ARGUMENTATIVE PARAGRAPH SAMPLES 1. some attend for personal achievement. In short. one can make more money in the job market. If one has specialized skills. First of all. They learn about a particular subject in depth there. personal fulfillment and financial rewards. _____________________________________________________________________________________ ________________ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ 61 . Secondly. people attend college for many reasons some of which include desire to prepare for a career. Argumentative Importance of University Education People attend university to prepare for a career. Students also may feel a sense of success by learning new things. some attend university in order to prepare for a career.

You see them. Moreover. such as letters. body language is more effective than spoken language. Seventy percent of communication is through gestures. Furthermore. Television often causes arguments. or telephone calls. Not only family members argue about what to watch on TV but also friends do. television has destroyed communication between family and friends. face-to-face communication is usually more effective because you can easily see the other people’s expression and feelings about a topic. television makes passive. Argumentative Face to Face Communication I believe that face-to-face communication is better than other forms of communication. In conclusion. 62 . When people watch television. When you talk to a person face-to-face. For example. It is more personal. they give less time to family and friends. but forget that communication is important. Television is such a passive activity that family and friends often forget what meaningful communication is. Although many people watch television in order to relax. 2. Moreover. In addition to this. children argue with their parents to buy them toys they see advertised on TV. e-mail. but you can see that he is in a bad mood or he is distracted. People spend less time with family and friends and more time with TV this is destructive. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ Question: Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Face-to-face communication is better than other types of communication. Use specific reasons and details to support your answer. Use specific reasons and examples to support your opinion. when you write a letter or email.._____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ Question: Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Television has destroyed communication among friends and family. That means you can change your conversation to fit the situation. Therefore. it is more personal. 3. and their feelings. Argumentative Enemy of Communication Communication between friends and family has been destroyed due to television.then you would wait for another time. Besides. People do not communicate in the same way as they did before television was invented. they do not talk with one another. their actions.. People also enjoy the relaxation of watching television. more effective and more honest. you want to ask your boss or a raise. you do not get this same kind of experience.

Example: There are three reasons why Canada is one of the best countries in the world. Canadian cities have many parks and lots of space for people to live. Second. Canada is a desirable place to live. face-to-face communication is better than other forms of communication. Most people have more personal. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ Example: There are three reasons why Canada is one of the best countries in the world. How do I write them? You should give supporting facts. letters and telephone conversations. Finally. Canada has a high standard of education. Canada has an excellent health care system. Second. As a result. Canadian cities have many parks and lots of space for people to live. Students are taught by well-trained teachers and are encouraged to continue studying at university. Canada's cities are clean and efficiently managed. and honest conversations when they meet face-to-face.You can't get this with email. Canada's cities are clean and efficiently managed. All Canadians have access to medical services at a reasonable price. As a result. making up the body of a paragraph. Canada has a high standard of education. What do they do? They give details to develop and support the main idea of the paragraph. First. Students are taught by well-trained teachers and are encouraged to continue studying at university. All Canadians have access to medical services at a reasonable price. Canada is a desirable place to live. In short. 63 . First. Canada has an excellent health care system. Finally. details. effective. Supporting Details What are supporting sentences? They come after the topic sentence. and examples.

Canada is a desirable place to live. Example: There are three reasons why Canada is one of the best countries in the world. Students are taught by well-trained teachers and are encouraged to continue studying at university. All Canadians have access to medical services at a reasonable price. As a result. Example: Write a paragraph comparing the weather in some cities in Turkey. Finally. things. too. places. both Example: Both Trabzon and Rize have rain in the spring. or ideas. Canadian cities have many parks and lots of space for people to live. also Example: Samsun also has a rainy spring season. How do I write one? Restate the main idea of the paragraph using different words. First. HELPER WORDS COMPARE AND CONTRAST PARAGRAPH In a compare and contrast paragraph. Second. as Example: As well. Canada has a high standard of education. Canada's cities are clean and efficiently managed.Conclusion Sentence What is the closing sentence? The closing sentence is the last sentence in a paragraph. The following words can help you to write a good compare and contrast paragraph: Helper Words: SIMILARITIES is similar to both also too as well DIFFERENCES On the other hand however but in contrast differs from while unlike to SIMILARITIES is similar Example: Spring weather in Trabzon is similar to spring weather in Rize. you write about the similarities and differences between two or more people. Sinop has rainy spring season. What does it do? It restates the main idea of your paragraph. too Example: Artvin has a rainy spring season. Canada has an excellent health care system. 64 well .

__________Japan is Importing eels (fish) from Taiwan. winter is much colder in Erzurum. New words have been added. but Erzurum has a cold one. In time. to address a woman when you don't know if she is married. __________ they enjoy fruit. Switzerland. and mangoes (fruit) from the Philippines. _______in the last decade or so. Erzurum has a cold winter. like beer drinks and "light" wines imported from England. mainly because they are very selective and will only purchase high-quality products. Not only Western countries but also Asian nations __________South Korea. Erzurum has a cold winter. the protein staples in Japan has been fish products. which will definitely be advantageous to many countries of the world.. Some of the new words such as Ms. annual per capita consumption is expected to be about seven kilos in the next decade. The greatest access into the Japanese market has been by the food Industry. According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal. I. asparagus (vegetable) from Thailand. who are very eager to purchase and enjoy products from countries around the world. Another new word is the title Ms. A chairman is now a chairperson (or sometimes simply chair). Fill in each blank with an appropriate transition signal from the list provided. and male chauvinist have become common during the past thirty-five years or so. the United States. English pronouns may also change as a result of women's desire for equality. and brantype cereals imported from the United States. Attempts to give equal treatment to masculine and feminine pronouns in English have led to the search for a new pronoun form to replace he (such as he/she or s/he) when referring to neutral nouns like student and manager. sexist. The lack of a clear neutral pronoun can lead to awkward sentence construction. and Thailand have been benefiting from the changing diet of the Japanese consumer. A change is that sexist titles of many occupations have been neutralized. In fact. 65 . are eating Western-style breakfasts. you can use Ms. however Example: However. Improve the coherence of the following] paragraph by adding transitions at key places Women’s Liberation and English The -women's lib' movement toward greater equality for women has produced some permanent changes in the vocabulary of English. and an airline stewardess is now a flight attendant. The words feminist. while Example: While Ankara has a mild winter. and Australia. Use each only once. Then use correct punctuation. but Example: Ankara has a mild winter. Lately ______the consumer market has been changing. in contrast to Example: In contrast to Ankara.________ young people. winter is much colder in Van. the Japanese have been consuming more beef. Germany." is influencing young Japanese consumers. both of the nonalcohol or low alcohol varieties. which is defined as "internationalization. for instance moreover furthermore in conclusion however but for example such as 38 International on of Japan For many years Japanese consumers have been very slow in accepting foreign goods. A mailman is now a mail carrier. H. Traditionally. and a high school or college freshman is now a first-year student. __________ they have acquired a taste for imported beverages. koku-saika. a waiter/waitress is now a waitperson. especially women who are aware of the Importance of health and fitness. ____________the Japanese trend toward internationalization should become even greater as we approach the twenty-first century. which is often used in place of both Miss and Mrs. Singapore. differs from Example: Erzurum differs from Van by having a cold winter. are quite useful. milk.DIFFERENCES on the other hand Example: On the other hand. Taiwan. It will certainly increase international trade.

Some people feel that it could have terrible consequences. CLASSIFICATION PARAGRAPH When writing a classification paragraph. In addition genetic engineers have created larger fish. Scientists are now able to create new forms of life in the laboratory due to the development of gene splicing. you group things or ideas into specific categories. a researcher at George Washington University Medical Center cloned human embryos' by splitting single embryos into twins and triplets. On the other hand not everyone is positive about gene-splicing technology. The following words can help you to write a good classification paragraph: Helper Words: is a kind of can be divided into is a type of falls under belongs to is a part of fits into is grouped with is related to is associated with is can a Coal is a kind of non-renewable resource. it could be possible for parents to have a child and then. Example: Write a paragraph discussing two types of energy resources. A laboratory accident for example might cause an epidemic of an unknown disease that could wipe out humanity. frozen embryo to give birth to its identical twin. scientists have now developed a way to manufacture it inexpensively in the laboratory. Genetic engineers have created a new tomato that doesn't spoil quickly. Because human embryos can be frozen and used at a later date. be Energy resources can be divided into two types. but through genetic research. Another beneficial application of gene splicing is in agriculture. flavorless tomatoes in grocery. These embryos did not develop into babies but it is possible that they could do so in the future.B-Circle all of the transition signals in the following paragraphs and punctuate the transition signals if necessary Genetic Engineering Genetic research has produced both exciting and frightening possibilities. years later. frost-resistant strawberries. Furthermore the ability to clone human beings is a possibility that frightens many people. to use a cloned. 66 kind divided of into . and more productive cows. In 1993. For example it is very expensive to obtain insulin from natural sources. Consequently tomato farmers can now let the tomatoes ripen on the plant and develop full flavor and color before they are picked-no more green. On the one hand the ability to create life in the laboratory could greatly benefit humankind.

basketball is more fun than football. Example: Write a paragraph stating whether you would prefer to play basketball or football. is associated Coal is associated with other non-renewable resources. idea. Often. 67 opinion .is falls a Coal is a type of non-renewable resource. you need to choose which object. is a part Coal is a part of the category of non-renewable resources. fits Coal fits into the category of non-renewable resources. is related Coal is related to other non-renewable resources. or action that you prefer. type of under to of into with to with Coal falls under the category of non-renewable resources. is grouped Coal is grouped with non-renewable resources. belongs Coal belongs to the category of non-renewable resources. CHOICE / OPINION PARAGRAPH In a paragraph where you have to make a choice. you will need to give your opinion on a choice of actions or events. The following words can help you to write a good choice paragraph: Helper Words: Point of View Personal Opinion in my opinion like/dislike belief hope idea feel understanding I think that I consider I believe it seems to me I prefer POINT OF VIEW in my In my opinion.

I I consider basketball to be more exciting than football. Example: Write a paragraph outlining how a person becomes the prime minister. you need to become a leader of a political party. 68 . understanding My understanding is that basketball is more fun than football. third. I think I think that I would prefer to play basketball and not football. it seems to It seems to me that basketball is more exciting than football. Helper Words: ORDER TIME first. PERSONAL OPINIONS like/dislike I like the sport of basketball because it is fast and exciting. feel I feel that basketball is my favorite sport. First. The following words can help you to write a good sequence paragraph. etc. you are writing to describe a series of events or a process in some sort of order. second. Third. Second. hope I hope that I can play basketball in the future. you need to win a seat in the House of Commons. Usually. this order is based on time. I I prefer basketball over football. that consider believe me prefer SEQUENCE PARAGRAPH In a sequencing paragraph. I I believe basketball is more exciting than lacrosse.belief My belief is that basketball is more fun than football. second. etc. recently in the beginning previously before afterwards then when after after finally at last subsequently ORDER first. idea My idea is that basketball is more fun than football. your party must have a majority of seats. third.

you must make sure you have a majority of seats in the House of Commons. you can call yourself the prime minister. at Example: At last. previously She is the new prime minister. you will be asked to explore causes and effects of certain events. she was still working as a lawyer. TIME recently She was recently elected prime minister. when Example: When she won the party leadership. The following words can help you to write a good explanation paragraph: Helper Words: Cause because since as a result of is due to Effect therefore thus consequently hence it follows that if . Before becoming the prime minister. EXPLANATION PARAGRAPH In an explanation paragraph. . finally Finally. you must make sure you have a majority of seats. you must make sure you have a majority of seats. you need to become a leader of a political party. she worked as a lawyer in Toronto. Afterwards. you need to explain how or why something happens. subsequently Subsequently. then last 69 . Example: Write a paragraph explaining why so many Europeans moved to Canada during the nineteenth century. Previously. after all these steps. she won the election. you can call yourself the prime minister. afterwards Example: She won the party leadership last year. . you must win a seat in the House of Commons.in before the In the beginning. beginning then Then. after After winning a seat in the House of Commons. after Example: After winning a seat in the House of Commons. you need to become the leader of a political party. Very often in social studies class.

Sometimes. then Example: If living conditions were better in Europe. place. consequently Example: Living conditions were terrible in Europe. is due to / was due Example: The large influx of people to Canada was due to economic pressures in Europe. It follows that many people moved to Canada. Examples: Write a paragraph describing what a polar bear looks like. as a result People moved to Canada from Europe as a result of poor living conditions in Europe. many people moved to Canada for a better life.. Hence. then fewer people would have moved to Canada DESCRIPTION PARAGRAPH In a description paragraph. Describe where Canada's industry is located. The following words can help you to write a good description paragraph: Helper Words: PROPERTIES MEASUREMENT ANALOGY LOCATION size length is like in colour width resembles above shape mass/weight below purpose speed beside 70 . thus Example: Living conditions in Europe were terrible. since Example: Since living conditions in Europe were terrible. many people moved to Canada. or thing is like. you are writing about what a person.CAUSE because Example: People moved to Canada from Europe during the nineteenth century because they had poor living conditions in Europe. it follows that Example: Living conditions were terrible in Europe. Therefore. many people moved to Canada for a better life. if . many people moved to Canada. many people moved to Canada. Consequently. Thus.. of to EFFECT therefore Example: Living conditions in Europe were terrible. you may describe where a place is located. hence Example: Living conditions were terrible in Europe.

shape Example: Polar bears have a special shape. width Example: The width of a polar bear's head is about 50 cm. north / east / south Example: Ontario is west of Quebec. you make judgments about people. You need to make your evaluation based on certain criteria that you develop. Example: Write a paragraph evaluating whether pesticides should be used on farms. beside Example: Quebec is located beside Ontario. MEASUREMENT length Example: The length of a polar bear's claws is 20 cm. mass / weight Example: Polar bears weigh up to 650 kg. above Example: The ceiling is above us. you will state your evaluation or recommendation and then support it by referring to your criteria. and possible actions. The following words can help you to write a good evaluation paragraph: Helper Words Criteria for Evaluation Recommendation good / bad suggest correct / incorrect recommend 71 . speed Example: Polar bears can swim at a speed of 40 km per hour. ideas. below Example: Most of Ontario is below Hudson Bay. ANALOGY is like Example: A polar bear is like other bears in shape. resembles Example: A polar bear resembles other bears in shape. colour Example: Polar bears are usually white in colour. near Example: Many companies are located near Toronto. purpose Example: The purpose of the polar bear's fur is to keep it warm. In the paragraph. / west EVALUATION PARAGRAPH In an evaluation paragraph. LOCATION in Example: Most of Canada's manufacturing is located in Ontario and Quebec.near north/east/south/west PROPERTIES size Example: Polar bears are big in size.

htm 4. on the other hand. Alice Oshima. important / Example: The issue of pesticides is an important one because it affects the environment. wrong trivial RECOMMENDATION suggest Example: I suggest that pesticides should not be used to control pests.ru/eng/1999/eng35-2.uottawa.ca/academic/arts/writcent/hypergrammar/partopic. SOURCE: 1. right / Example: It is wrong to use pesticides because they harm the environment. 1995. First Steps in Academic Writing. 5. but. advise Example: I would advise farmers not to use pesticides if possible.html 2.htm 3. The connection between sentences in a paragraph can be shown in several ways. such as for instance. Transitional words and phrases may be conjunctions. http://archive. http://www. Longman. bad incorrect moral / immoral Example: The use of pesticides to control pests is immoral because it harms the environment.com/inner/about_us. but principally by the use of transitional words and phrases. or explanatory expressions. Writing Academic English. Ann Hogue.1september. such as and. and however. Longman. Ann Hogue. recommend Example: I recommend that pesticides should not be used because they are harmful to the environment. 72 . http://www. correct / Example: The belief that pesticides must be used is incorrect. and so on.paragraphorganizer.moral / immoral right / wrong important / trivial advise argue CRITERIA good / Example: The use of pesticides such as DDT is bad for the environment. 1980. argue Example: I would argue that pesticides should not be used because they harm the environment. Connections Between Sentences A good paragraph has unity: All the sentences have a relationship to one another and to the main idea.

X and Y are both purple. transitional words and phrases also act to hold sentences together. The topic sentence makes a general claim: that school work tends not to be associated only with school." enumerated in the topic sentence. Finally. because. They are organised around the three categories. "environment. close observation reveals regional variations across this country. Y is little. and most important. finally. and schedules. Look at the following paragraph (you may have encountered it before): Work tends to be associated with non-work-specific environments. Paragraph Development by Comparison and Contrast You should consider developing your paragraph by comparison and contrast when you are describing two or more things which have something.) or subject by subject (X is big and purple. similarly. Some students work quickly and efficiently. consequently. Every sentence must contribute to the paragraph by explaining. the following paragraph: Although the interpretation of traffic signals may seem highly standardized. The rest of the sentences provide various illustrations of this argument. the lab or the library.Transitional words and phrases act as signals. Consider. for example. Being sedentary seems to inspire others. in common. In this sense. but not everything. and therefore. however. achieving unity. Order of importance may be emphasized with transitional words and expressions such as first. some students do their best work before the sun rises. and process. and schedules. while a very few can sit and not rise until their task is completed. or a place associated with thinking. a flashing red traffic light instructs drivers to careen even more wildly through intersections heavily populated 73 . and otherwise may be used to emphasize comparison or contrast. You may choose to compare either point by point (X is big. it will suggest that most paragraphs are built of a combination of development strategies. In Montreal. Although most classes are scheduled between 8:30 and 22:00. equally important. just as. the logical development chosen for the paragraph can be made very clear to the reader by the words used to connect one sentence to the next. They give directions. exemplifying. distinguishing the East Coast from Central Canada and the West as surely as dominant dialects or political inclinations. They tell where the paragraph is going. Developing Unified and Coherent Paragraphs A paragraph is unified when every sentence develops the point made in the topic sentence. furthermore. It must have a single focus and it must contain no irrelevant facts. some after it sets. least important. of major concern. What about the kitchen? The bedroom? In fact. In order to determine whether a paragraph is well developed or not. clear paragraphs. These words are often referred to as logical connectives because they make clear not only the order but also the meaning of the writing. Some people need to engage in sports or other physical activity before they can work successfully. comparison and contrast.). Paragraph Development by Detail This is the most common and easiest form of paragraph development: you simply expand on a general topic sentence using specific examples or illustrations. Logical Connectives Additionally. Each organizational pattern has its own logical connectives. any room in which a student habitually studies becomes a learning space. activities. If asked what space is reserved for learning. activities. despite. The details provide the concrete examples which your reader will use to evaluate the credibility of your topic sentence. ask yourself: "What main point am I trying to convey here?" (topic sentence) and then "Does every sentence clearly relate to this idea?" There are several ways in which you can build good. Y is small and purple. Transitional expressions such as equally. Words particularly suited to writing about causes and effects are as a result. while others cannot produce anything without much dust and heat. many students would suggest the classroom. Some need a less flexible schedule than others. or expanding the topic sentence. a second factor. on the other hand. This section will discuss three of the most common types of paragraph structure: development by detail.

People in these areas have in common the fact that they all drive." This paragraph is a good example of one which combines a comparison and contrast of contemporary notions of "manliness" and "womanliness" with an extended list of examples. womanish means "unsuitable to a man or to a strong character of either sex. but they are not. in contrast. Bob 74 . and folly. the little finger. process. My secretary. an amber light in Calgary warns drivers to scream to a halt on the off chance that there might be a pedestrian within 500 meters who might consider crossing at some unspecified time within the current day. which should be along the upper side of the handle and somewhere near the top of the grip. All four fingers are curved around the handle.with pedestrians and oncoming vehicles. with little abstraction. comparison and contrast. Process description often follows a chronological sequence: The first point to establish is the grip of the hand on the rod. for example. and in Calgary. were any observant Canadian dropped from an alien space vessel at an unspecified intersection anywhere in this vast land. never serves aces at me on the tennis court. he or she could almost certainly orient him-orherself according to the surrounding traffic patterns. but not tense or rigid. no negative attributes detract from the "courage. This should be about half-way up the cork handle. In my home town in New Brunswick." Among the "qualities considered distinctive of manhood" listed in the entry for man. or combination? 1. strength. which type of development best describes the following paragraphs: detail. and vigor" the definers associate with males. and move on to provide detailed descriptions of the subjects being compared. near the heel of the hand." Among the few true gentlemen extant. all terrain vehicles. she says. In startling contrast. A process analysis might include a brief history of the process in question. says a true gentleman "knows instinctively when I prefer to light my own cigarette. Many paragraphs include lists of examples: The broad range of positive characteristics used to define males could be used to define females too. Those of you in the sciences will recognise it as the formula followed in the "method" section of a lab experiment. It may begin with a brief comparison. finally. It contrasts the behaviour of drivers in the Maritimes. which together account for most vehicles on the road. In fact. It is important to note that the paragraph above considers only one aspect of driving (behaviour at traffic lights)." and this is exactly what he does. superficiality. in order to make a point about how attitudes in various places inform behaviour. This paragraph compares traffic patterns in three areas of Canada. The forefinger supports and steadies the grip but supplies its own firmness against the thumb. a single paragraph will contain development by a combination of methods. or pickup trucks. Review: Paragraph Development Although most paragraphs contain a combination of development techniques. (from Roderick HaigBrown. Paragraph Development by Process Paragraph development by process involves a straightforward step-by-step description. absolutely firm and solid. At its entry for woman Webster's Third provides a list of "qualities considered distinctive of womanhood": "Gentleness. If you wanted to consider two or more aspects. in Montreal. "Fly Casting") The topic sentence establishes that the author will use this paragraph to describe the process of establishing the "grip of the hand on the rod. point by point. and always removes his wristwatch. traffic lights (along with painted lines and posted speed limits) do not apply to tractors. they drive differently according to the area in which they live. affection. "Captain Horatio Hornblower. third finger and middle finger contributing most of the firmness by pressing the cork solidly into the fleshy part of the palm. you would probably need more than one paragraph. incorrigibly English. According to this dictionary. Paragraph Development by Combination Very often. and domesticity or on the other hand fickleness.

dugouts. Development by Detail 2. Development by Comparison and Contrast 3. Am I one of those geezers who's forever jawing about the fact that. To identify the species the wasp apparently must explore the spider with her antennae. The wasp crawls under it and walks over it without evoking any hostile response.Dylan and Pierre Elliott Trudeau come to mind. When I was young I often heard people say. but I will tell today's softball players that -with their fancy uniforms. so is Canada to the United States. Development by Comparison and Contrast 3. It may stand this way for several minutes. (from Hugh MacLennan. "The Wasp and the Spider") 1. Combination of Development Methods 3. in his day. Development by Process 4. Development by Detail 2. manicured diamonds. When I tell young softball players I played the game bare-handed. The tarantula shows an amazing tolerance to this exploration. Development by Detail 2. guys to announce who's at bat over public address systems and. and of this they were both inclined to boast. batters' helmets. Combination of Development Methods 2. As Scotland is the hard northern cap to the British island. Joe Namath and Front Page Tom don't. when hockey was an outdoor art rather than indoor mayhem and at decent yacht clubs.the game they play is more tarted-up and sissy than the one I knew. Development by Process 4. Both countries were gouged by the retreating glaciers. you had to walk through six miles of snowdrifts just to get to school? Will I tediously lament the passing of the standing broad jump. (from Alexander Petrunkevitch. Combination of Development Methods 4. It also gave them both a heritage of spectacular beauty uncrowded by cities and towns. "The Softball was Always Hard") 1. above all. Development by Comparison and Contrast 3. which left them on the subsistence level as far as good farmland was considered. Development by Process 4. "Scotland's Fate. "Canada is the Scotland of North America." Only recently did it occur to me that it might be worthwhile considering the extent to which this is true. men were gentlemen and women were persona non grata? No. Canada's Lesson" [edited]) 1. with the rich farmlands and cities of England just below her. Development by Detail 2. "What is a Gentleman") 1. as if it were on stilts." (from Allan Fotheringham. Development by Process 75 . The molestation is so great and so persistent that the tarantula often rises on all eight legs. Development by Comparison and Contrast 3. gloves for every fielder -. (from Harry Bruce. Richard Burton. they regard me warily. and the glorious old days when the only football in the Maritimes was English rugger.

In this module you will learn how to use commas correctly. etc. Quick Comma Rules. presenting addresses. use a comma to separate items in a series. It is not as easy to know where a writer’s thoughts are going inside a sentence. use a comma to follow conventions of naming. use a comma to set-off non-essential elements such as a phrase or clause. In most situations. five general rules for comma use will help students use commas correctly. 76 .” It is easy to know when someone has finished a sentence: we see a period there. Some special situations for comma use are discussed toward the end of this module. Lessons will cover rules for comma use and common comma mistakes.. to “get it. use a comma after an opening clause. Commas should be placed before and after a non-essential element in the middle of a sentence 4.4. or phrase 5. word.. Combination of Development Methods Written by Dorothy Turner punctuation Commas Students often place commas throughout their papers as if they are sprinkling raisins on their oatmeal. 2. citing sources. commas are necessary for others to understand what we have said. 1. use a comma with a coordinating conjunction to separate two independent clauses 3. dates. Although you shouldn’t use a comma unless you know a rule for it. Commas cause the reader to pause and better understand the elements that make up the sentence.

infinitive. then they are unlike items and should not be separated by commas. for. the error is a "comma splice" (for more detail. there is some debate Two or more about whether the last item in a list of three items should take a comma.Rule 1: separate items in a series Rule 2: use a comma to Separating items in a series signals to the reader that the items are "like" in separate two some respect. and I will be staying home flipping burgers and going to school. phrase. writers set these elements off 77 . nor does he like broccoli. We will be going to the mountains again this summer. or a comma and a Felix dislikes spinach. complete sentence. and brussels sprouts—any coordinating vegetable that's green. A series of two or more clauses items should be separated by commas. a series of things to pick up at the market. if the sentence makes sense. conjunction. Maya is going to travel throughout Southeast Asia for a year. green beans. but not really essential to understanding the basic assertion. or a series of adjective. then the items are like. or prepositional phrases. nor. independent Many grammarians would argue in this situation. she protected clauses her knee with a strong brace during the tennis match. the error is a "fused sentence. MLA format rules do require a comma together need before the last item in a series of three or more elements. but this time we will bring mosquito repellant. And the coordinating conjunctions—and. and so—also help writers identify the relationship between ideas and create coherence in their writing (take a look at the module on coordination and subordination for more information about using conjunctions effectively). if between ideas not. The series may be a series of adjectives describing independent something. but. Rule 3: use a comma to set off non-essential elements A non-essential element is information that is added to the core of a sentence to add further information— information that is useful. strong punctuation: a examples: semi-colon. washing the clothes. yet." if the coordinating conjunction is provided and the comma is omitted. or dependent clause is non-essential information. that the clause could stand on Note: Sometimes a series seems to be "like" when it is not. To signal the reader that a word. For example. ers join Haunted by the memory of last year's painful knee surgery. the sentence will be a "run-on sentence": if no punctuation is included between independent clauses. In this its own as a situation. Without adequate punctuation. explore the module on run-on sentences). examples: Felix does not like spinach. a comma should not be used between the items. However. leaving out the last clauses joined comma is acceptable. broccoli. Writ She left her beautiful black leather handbag on the bus. together to show a close A useful way to tell if items are "like" is to try placing the word "and" relationship between every item. Doing the dishes. however. After graduation. and to vary the rhythm in the sound of their sentences. appetizing fast food is difficult. and mopping the floor are the This chores I hate most. punctuation tells the reader Finding healthy.

Once upon a time. is fun to hang out with. if the names are essential to identifying the person. Maria. one should never separate a subject from the verb of the sentence: example: What she has always wanted is now within her reach. Consider how the meaning changes with the presence or absence of enclosing commas in the following sentences: My sister Maria is pretty fun to hang out with. Note: In the last example above. In the second sentence. pretty nervous about public speaking. 78 . the speaker could have more than one sister—this particular sister is fun to hang out with. only the comma separating the phrase from the rest of the sentence is needed. people read books for fun. by the way. because the name of the sister is included as necessary to the meaning of the sentence. because the name of the sister is non-essential information. construction of the new highschool will take an additional six months. examples: As you can see. is pretty fun to hang out with. home with him for Thanksgiving dinner. John and Alex. the names should not be set off from the sentence. however. as you can probably tell. If the phrase occurs at the beginning or end of the sentence. The information is thus enclosed by commas. Referring to what others have said shows that you are participating in an ongoing conversation about a topic. the problem is much bigger than we imagined. In the first sentence. However. Jake brought his best friends from school. the speaker must have only one sister—my sister. the names of Jake's friends are non-essential information: Jake has only two best friends. As you can probably tell. before television. I thought you were going to study tonight instead of come with us to the movies. My sister. examples: She is. a comma is typically necessary to signal the reader as to when the introductory phrase or clause is complete. is Maria.by commas before and after the addition. Rule 4: use a comma after an opening clause. Introductory words: Sometimes a sentence begins with a single word that needs to be set off from the rest of the sentence. for clauses used as the subject of a sentence. whose name. Watch out. Jake brought his best friends from school. home with him for Thanksgiving dinner. or phrase Introductory Clauses: When beginning a sentence with an introductory clause (as in this sentence). before computers. she is pretty nervous about public speaking. mild exclamations or interjections: Hey. John and Alex. Because we have had so much rain this year. word.

a name in a direct address: Miguel. Use a comma to separate a city from a state. Use a comma to separate the day of the month from the year. she has the flu and will have to skip the concert. All phrases should be set off from the rest of the sentence by a comma with two exceptions: short prepositional phrases do not need a comma unless it is necessary for clarity. Examples of sentence adverbs include moreover. frankly. Sadly. but these conventions allow us to quickly share and process information. or if they occur in the middle of a sentence. I cannot afford one. or "I am hoping. 1979. and after the state before continuing with the rest of the sentence: I have lived in San Francisco. they are enclosed by commas. . one month before my 30th birthday. she is the nicest person I have ever met. Never use a sentence adverb to connect two independent clauses unless you use a semi-colon before the sentence adverb. do you want another cup of coffee? a sentence adverb: these are special transition words that always take a comma. . . . In San Francisco one finds plenty of good restaurants. nevertheless. furthermore. examples: To help him understand how an internal combustion engine works. but unfortunately or fortunately (depending on how we look at it). California. and introductory appositive phrases that are essential to the sentence should never be separated from the subject by a comma. The acclaimed critic Roger Ebert has been ill recently. Most hate this construction. I drew a diagram. sadly. then show me how you do it. names. arguing that it is ambiguous—the writer could mean a hopeful prediction. At the restaurant we all ordered burgers and fries. Without a doubt. Troublesome they may be. I would love a new plasma television. Ebert & Roeper. I don't want pineapple on my pizza." Introductory Phrases: Introductory phrases add information to the sentence and create interest in and anticipation for the information to follow. for most of my life. times. many conventions for the presentation of dates. and mercifully. and after the year before continuing with the sentence: The twins were born in June. and quotations have risen up over time. citations.Ok. No. Use commas to surround titles or degrees: 79 . . however. Rule 5: use a comma to follow conventions What follows reads a bit like a laundry list of comma use rules. . . . . and unable to host his television program. Note: Grammarians disagree about the word "hopefully" used as a sentence adverb. however.

wrong: To err. Don't put a comma after the main clause when a dependent clause follows it. When introducing a quote with a short introductory phrase like "He said. corrected: To err is human. noun phrases. and started screaming about the grade on her essay." It is also important to note that a comma used after a quote to separate it from the rest of the sentence goes inside the closing quote. not sad. or noun clauses in a compound subject or compound object. . . kings is kings. ." "Twain argues." Huck embraces life in the wild to the extent that a raft moving down a river can provide all the home he really needs: "We said there warn't no home like a raft. and you got to make allowances. received his doctoral from Amherst College a year before taking a teaching job at Yale. corrected: I told my boss that I was sick and that I would not be coming to work. wrong: I am not going to work today. "All I say is. Use a comma to emphasize a shift or to cause the reader to pause before an important contrast or point of emphasis. because I am sick. .. wrong: She walked out of the room." is wildly funny.Professor Pete McSeed.D. aren't you? When Not to Use a Comma Here are some quick "don'ts" that may help you break any bad habits with comma use. wrong: I told my boss that I was sick. after an independent clause." the phrase should be set off from the quote by a comma. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. a colon should be used instead. corrected: She walked out of the room and started screaming about the grade on her essay. is human." or "As Huck puts it. Don't place a comma between two sentence verbs or verb phrases. . You are going to make the cake for the party. . However. Tears were streaming down her face because she was happy. Rely instead on language and logic. Twain's short story "Hunting the Deceitful Turkey. Ph. It's the way they're raised. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft. Take them all around. and an occasional well-placed comma to create voice. He was angry. furious even. Don't sprinkle commas throughout your writing to try and imitate a speaking voice. Take a look at a parody of this kind of comma abuse by blogger fandomcommahate 80 . and that I would not be coming to work. Don't place a comma between two nouns. they're a mighty ornery lot. but a raft don't. corrected: I am not going to work today because I am sick. Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery. after all. Don't use a comma to separate the subject from the verb. Commas used with quotations are a bit tricky. Huck says.

for being here! In this module. hate. the perpetrators. "And that's what I'm talking about!" Indirect quote: After she finished her chocolate sundae. who. However. the people. the people. the comma. hate. The rules governing the use of quotation marks are specific. 81 . though it is important to provide a citation letting the reader know the source of the information. double-spacing is maintained throughout the essay). she said that she wanted another one. quotation marks are not used. In an indirect quotation. seriously. love. and how to use quotation marks with direct quotes. students don't usually sit down and read about how to use quotation marks properly. which spawn them. them. So good for you. and hate. who. Quotes within the quote still take punctuation marks. it must be offset and indented (the way the examples on this page are offset and indented). Like. love them. Writers use quotation marks to signal the reader that the text within opeining and closing quotes is not the writer's original material. when the writer paraphrases another person's words. and question marks when they finish with a quote and move back to their own writing. whether or not it is Ok to use quotes to identify a new term. how to use quotation marks to express irony. fandoms. Also? Everyone else. there are rules that govern the placement of other punctuation with quotation marks. Direct quote: After finishing the entire sundae. do not use quotation marks with an offset quote as the offsetting substitutes for the punctuation. and you may well be driving your English instructor up the wall if your commas are out of place. Quotes & Quotation Marks Quotation marks are probably the most incorrectly used element of punctuation. however. however. who hate comma abuse. love comma abuse. and the. students will learn the rules governing the use of quotation marks in the situations outlined below: • • • • • with direct and indirect quotes for irony & emphasis to identify new terms to identify titles in dialogue Quotation Marks With Direct & Indirect Quotations Short Quotes: Quotation marks are important in an essay which uses sources as evidence. comma abuse. hate.I. who. the quote should be double-spaced (in MLA format. the people. If you are writing an essay in MLA format. Block Quotes: When the quoted material is longer than four lines of your own text. students are often confused about when to use single or a double quote. the people. however. she said. periods. Using Other Punctuation With Quotation Marks: Here is where things get tricky: students often just guess where to put commas.

She asks his mother to let her go alone to the lake to join her friends.Commas and periods after a quotation go INSIDE the closing quote: "I was so tired that I fell asleep in the library. but it also has thorns. You do not need to change a letter to or from a capital to fit it into the structure of your sentence. the author of the essay on the Novato Train Station might employ a statement Gertrude Stein made about Oakland: "There's no 'there' there. to choose her own clothes. . Then he made School Boards"? When omitting words in a quotation. . use a colon: An analogy helps explain something complex by way of comparison with something that is easier to understand. . Skip the additional punctuation: "What in the world were you thinking of?" I asked. . If the lead in is an independent clause. for example." For example. The Sierra Nevada range is of greater elevation than the Rocky Mountains. What is the context for Twain's comment." A Quote Within a Quote: 82 . "Nothing so needs reforming as other people's habits. "Love is like a rose: it blooms and grows and creates joy. if the sentence itself is a question or exclamation. or the addition of words to clarify meaning: In "Like a Fox. If the omitted material is after a complete sentence. for example. . where do I begin?" (Dr." A comma should be used before a quote begins to separate a lead-in phrase from the quotation. Brackets: Brackets are used within a quote when you need to change a word. What I Saw in California) Ellipses may also be used to indicate a pause or an unfinished thought: "The details of my life are quite inconsequential. "In the first place God made idiots. "The future of stem cell research [see definition] is in doubt. however. use ellipses (three periods with a space between each period. stick with the actual text of the quoted material. (Edwin Bryant. She argues that "nobody understands [her]" to anyone who will listen. Do not double up punctuation when using a question mark or exclamation point by adding in the usual comma or a period. and to walk to school rather than ride with her dad. Very well. and a space before beginning the ellipses). keep the period then add the ellipses: Walker . This was for practice." A question mark or exclamation point goes inside the closing quote if the quote is a question or exclamation. was picked up by the A's just three days before the regular season was to start. Brackets are also used to indicate a single word omission." said Donna. Mark Twain once said. One exception would be when you begin a sentence with a quotation: here you would capitalize the first letter of the sentence." the 10-year-old protoganist repeatedly tries to break away from her parents and childhood. . when you need to make the quote fit the grammatical structure of your own sentence. Evil in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery) Capital letters: Basically. . place the punctuation outside the closing quote. . This and the coast range run nearly parallel with the shore of the Pacific. Scientist Gail Monroe said.

" Dr." comes from the Old English word for "wimple. I handed over the amount to him. Free From School) Quotation Marks for Irony and Emphasis Irony: Ever seen someone use air quotes? People make air quotes when they want to express irony. Rahul Alvarez takes a year off from school to pursue an education of his own design. I had no idea what she meant. Slang: Quotation marks may be used around a word to indicate that a word is a slang term.' he demanded." (Weiner World Restaurant. Must have cash register experience and be "willing to work. I just love telephone solicitors. At sixteen. Emphasis: Most grammarians will tell you that using quotes to denote emphasis is incorrect. Ottawa.' he replied. Take a look at the following emphasis quotes taken from the hilarious Gallery of Misused Quotations: You'll "love" our food! (menu in a diner in Hattiesburg. which means "to be timid or cowardly. New terms should be placed in italics the first time they appear. '25 rupees. Often it is better to rely on the logic of the sentence to indicate the irony. I took a seat and he put my luggage on the overhead rack. the terms should appear as regular. Today. he is cheated by a man pretending to be a conductor when he takes a bus for the first time: "We both got into the bus. Those telephone solicitors are so kind and thoughtful to call during dinner time. Quotation Marks for Terms Before computers took the place of typewriters. around familiar terms like "laser." and so does Joey in a classic episode of Friends (click here to see this bit on YouTube).When quoting text that itself includes a quote. quotation marks were used around words and phrases meant to be read as words or terms rather than for their content. 'How much?' I asked. PA) It is probably best to avoid using quotes for emphasis in college writing. however. he is sometimes taken advantage of by strangers. but incorrectly. Ontario) You must be "21" to enter this bar! (a fan's local bar) "Parents" No candy sold on this aisle. The English word wimp. 'Ticket." (Rahul Alvarez. For example. but my guess is that she wasn't being kind. 83 . use single quotation marks to enclose the internal quote and distinguish it from the primary quote. In this case. Neither of the sentences below needs quotation marks to make the irony clear because the logic reveals the irony. thereafter. She called me a "garden tool". quotes can be construed as a sign of the author's laziness or inability to indicate irony in language. the use of italics is preferred. as in "I just 'love' waking up at 6:00 am to catch a plane. Using quotes to express irony is tricky. one is calling attention to the fact that the term is slang. (Weis Supermarket. Mississippi) Help Wanted. In his book Free From School. unitalicized text. PA) "Fresh" Fish (Byward Market. but people do it all the time. Pittsburgh." which refers to the cloth women wrapped around their heads in medieval times. Evil in the Austin Powers movies uses air quotes.

"The Present Hour. TV series. or a song or poem. such as an episode of a TV series. Bennet made no answer. Take a look at this dialogue from Jane Austen's novel. Bennet. Quotation Marks in Dialogue There are a few important rules for using quotations marks in dialogue.” Mr. Longer works include books. italics (or an underline. “for Mrs. The Writer. full-length records (or cds). 1862) correct incorrect 3. "pay me one hundred dollars.” returned she. full-length plays. (Robert Luce.Quotation Marks and Titles Quotation marks are used to set off the titles of short works." her appreciation of the vital importance of which is voiced in her poem. but not at the end of the paragraph until you reach the end of the quote.” This was invitation enough. A short work is a work within a work. “Do you not want to know who has taken it?” cried his wife impatiently. “have you heard that Netherfield Park is let at last?” Mr. Bennet replied that he had not. an article in a magazine. Alice Williams began her career with her first book of poems "Daughters of The West. He advised me by letter that he would." correct incorrect 4. then include the closing quote. Long has just been here. 2007. “You want to tell me. Pride and Prejudice: “My dear Mr. magazines and newspapers." correct incorrect 2. the writer must begin a new line. This was his written promise to me: "I agree to pay you one hundred dollars on the first day of June. a chapter in a book. use a quote at the beginning. She has long been interested in the "woman question. • • • The words of each speaker need to be enclosed in quotes In quotes that go on for more than a paragraph. Works of art are also italicized. when italics are not available) are used to identify longer works. 2007. and she told me all about it. films.” said his lady to him one day. “But it is. 1." 84 ." written for anre read before the Ohio State Council of Women. on the first day of June. Every time a new speaker talks. and I have no objection to hearing it.

" correct incorrect 8. "What's up. said "that he was angry at having to work a double shift." 1988) 85 ." correct incorrect 7. She ought to know. He correct incorrect 6. I just love surprise quizzes. The correct incorrect 9." 11. Sauer writes. 392-393). I just "love" surprise quizzes." by Pierce F. expression. . She said. (from "The Monument and the Bungalow. correct incorrect Add quotation marks where needed to the following paragraph. She said. "Is this the truth?" "Then I'd better tell my sister. correct incorrect 10. Lewis. the field of geography is always a reading of the face of the earth"(Sauer 1963b. dude?" makes me crazy. The geographic bent [for students] rests on seeing and thinking about what is in the landscape. In some manner. Geography is a science of observation.correct incorrect 5. . "Is this the truth? Then I must tell my sister." "She ought to know. .

The door opens. And there were no birds singing. she says. Mr. It's Mr. he does have scars. Would you believe it? Haha is smiling! Laughing. they've gone to warmer country. I knew it before I got out of bed. too. Haha. Our hearts overturn. he glowers at us through Satan-tilted eyes and demands to know: What you want with Haha? For a moment we are too paralyzed to tell. Help me find my hat. The courthouse bell sounded so cold and clear. yes indeed. His eyes tilt more. Mr." by Truman Capote. 1966) 13. Haha Jones himself! And he is a giant. We've thirty cakes to bake. Footsteps. Haha. Oh. we'd like a quart of your finest whiskey. stop stuffing biscuit and fetch our buggy. turning away from the window with a purposeful excitement in her eyes.12. Presently my friend half-finds her voice. No. 86 . Cooking. (from "A Christmas Memory. Which one of you is a drinkin' man? It's for making fruitcakes. Buddy. he doesn't smile. a whispery voice at best: If you please.

"The Present Hour. She said. She said." her appreciation of the vital importance of which is voiced in her poem. He advised me by letter that he would." by Truman Capote. She ought to know. (Robert Luce." Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: correct 8. 2007. "pay me one hundred dollars. She has long been interested in the "woman question." Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: incorrect 2. This was his written promise to me: "I agree to pay you one hundred dollars on the first day of June. Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: correct 87 . The expression." written for anre read before the Ohio State Council of Women." Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: incorrect 6. "What's up. The Writer. He said "that he was angry at having to work a double shift. "Is this the truth?" "Then I'd better tell my sister." "She ought to know.(from "A Christmas Memory." Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: correct 4. dude?" makes me crazy." Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: incorrect 7. 1966) Correction 1. 2007. Alice Williams began her career with her first book of poems "Daughters of The West. 1862) Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: correct 3. "Is this the truth? Then I must tell my sister. on the first day of June." Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: correct 5.

(from "The Monument and the Bungalow. the field of geography is always a reading of the face of the earth"(Sauer 1963b. Haha Jones himself! And he is a giant. and in emoticons : ). Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: correct Add quotation marks where needed to the following paragraph. Mr. Would you believe it? Haha is smiling! Laughing. Oh. In some manner. The geographic bent [for students] rests on seeing and thinking about what is in the landscape. I knew it before I got out of bed." by Pierce F. The rules governing semicolon and colon use in English writing are quite specific. Capote. Geography is a science of observation. His eyes tilt more. Lewis. No. Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: incorrect 10. they are also important symbols. he does have scars." 1988) Answer given: 12. The courthouse bell sounded so cold and clear. by Haha." by Truman Capote. 392-393). These symbols really get around. . we'd like a quart of your finest whiskey. he glowers at us through Satan-tilted eyes and demands to know: What you want with Haha? For a moment we are too paralyzed to tell. the semicolon is used to indicate a question? And the colon in Finnish and Swedish is used like the English apostrophe? The semicolon and colon are also used in mathematics. We've thirty cakes to bake. Our hearts overturn. Buddy. And there were no birds singing. a whispery voice at best: If you please.9. turning away from the window with a purposeful excitement in her eyes. he doesn't smile. ." Mr. Sauer writes. In this module students will learn these rules. they've gone to warmer country. Truman Cooking. Haha. 11. The door opens. 1966) (from "A Answer given: Total Total Total Percentage correct: 0 % Semicolon & Colon use questions: machine graded graded: correct: 13 10 0 Balloon: thing to take meteoric observations and commit suicide with. stop stuffing biscuit and fetch our buggy.—Mark Twain Did you know that in Greek. too. yes indeed. I just love surprise quizzes. 1966) Answer given: 13. Help me find my hat. (from "A Christmas Memory. Objectives: • learn to use semicolons and colons between independent clauses 88 . and have been since before the 17th century. Footsteps. in computer code. as well as how to use colons and semicolons effectively in their writing. . Which one of you is a drinkin' man? It's for making Christmas fruitcakes. I just "love" surprise quizzes. In the English language. Memory. Presently my friend half-finds her voice. It's Mr. she says.

For example. at least not to me. sometimes. partly. hence. besides. nevertheless. on the contrary. It is not acceptable to connect a phrase to a clause with a semicolon. A semicolon is stronger separation than a comma + coordinating conjunction.. moreover. also. on the other hand. Semicolon with Sentence Adverbs: A semi-colon (or a period) should also be used with sentence adverbs such as "however. semicolons are used to separate the items in the series. but not as strong as a period. as a result to indicate condition: otherwise Note: On either side of the semicolon. furthermore. soon. Sentence adverbs are transition words rather than conjunctions.. Maria made a big Italian dinner for the family. For example...• • • learn to use semi-colons with commas in a list learn to use colons with items in a list learn the other conventions of colon and semicolon use Semicolon Use Between Independent Clauses A semicolon is used between two independent clauses to indicate a close relationship between ideas. one the one hand.for another (thing). This party is really boring: the music is terrible. now." and "even so" to connect two sentences. meanwhile. thus. at least to indicate a result: consequently. however.at the next. then. Semi-Colon Use With Commas in a List Typically." "moreover. instead. sometimes she wakes up ready to bite my head off. so to speak. later. and so they cannot be used to connect clauses. she made the cannolis herself! Below is a list of words typically used as sentence adverbs: to indicate time: then. Using a quote also shows that you are informed." "at least. accordingly. still. for one thing . Usually she wakes up with a smile on her face.. nobody is talking. items in a list are separated by commas. then too. . when the items themselves require commas. rather. For example. afterward. and none of my good friends is here.. in addition.. therefore. henceforth.partly. who you quote says something about your point of view —great minds think alike.." "therefore.. . In this case. moreover. at one moment. exactly the opposite. the sentence must be an independent clause. 89 . what is more to indicate contrast or concession: however. however.then to indicate addition: likewise.. what each comma in the list is being used for can be unclear. Writers often use a semi-colon when they want to state an idea in more specific terms.sometimes.

bring the following items: pencils. In the first version. This mistake is corrected in the second version. a calculator. even if the list includes only a single item. . men with a lip long enough to cover their whole face. One could think of the first clause as a kind of overture." It is not acceptable to use a colon after an incomplete sentence to begin a list. woolly hens and sheep that grew on trees. 10:30 p. tortillas. many academics urge students to avoid creating titles in the "title colon subtitle" format because such titles can sound a bit 90 7:00 a. These days. I am going to the grocery store to buy the ingredients for fajitas: chicken. so be very careful to ensure that the clause is complete: incorrect: When you come to take the exam. onions.m. cumin. and hot sauce. North Dakota. 3:00 p. which takes up the entire paragraph. Illinois. illustrates the idea in that first clause: The seas were full of islands where spices grew and countless strange creatures lived: one-eyed men. and a dictionary. the independent clause lacks a direct object.m. New York. a pencil sharpener. Take a look at the following example. use a colon between the chapter and the verse.This summer on our road trip we will visit Fargo. but it can also be used to introduce another independent clause that illustrates or elaborates upon the idea in the first clause. The sentence begins with an independent clause. Chicago. New York. I agree with the statement Gertrude Stein made about Oakland: "There's no 'there' there. men with only one foot. bring the following: pencils. and so the sentence is incomplete. and the second clause as the movement(s) of a symphony. however. a pencil sharpener. men whose only food was snakes. "The seas were full of islands where spices grew and countless strange creatures lived. correct: When you come to take the exam. Massachusetts. green and red peppers." the rest of the sentence. and others whose favorite beverage was human blood.m. Madison. James Johonnot) Other Conventions of Colon Use Colon in Stating Time Use a colon between the hour and the minute. John 11:35 Job 3:2 Titles and Subtitles A colon is used between a title and subtitle of a book or article. (Ten Great Events in History. a calculator. Colon Use With Items in a List A colon is used after an independent clause to preface a list of items. and Boston. dragons and unicorns. Colon Use Between Independent Clauses A Colon can be used after an independent clause to introduce a list. two-headed men and men with no heads at all. Wisconsin. and a dictionary. but that so large that they held it over them like an umbrella when they lay down in the sun to rest. The Bible When referring to passages in the Bible. and in one island a valley where only devils dwelt.

Colons: Annoying Convention or Useful Tool? (just made this one up) Art/Sci Collision: Of Human-Robot Bondage (title of a new lecture series at the American Museum of Natural History) Smarts in a Bottle: UK Government Evaluates Cognition Enhancers (title of article at Wired. The earth has two motions-a daily rotation upon its axis.pretentious. however: this type of title enables the journalist to frame the subject and the angle the journalist will take on the subject in a single. decide whether the dash should be replaced with a colon or a semicolon. a colon is placed after the salutation rather than a comma (used in informal letters). semicolon 91 . or even inappropriately humorous for the content of the essay that follows. and a year revolution around the sun. To Whom it May Concern: 1. Spiegler semicolon used in a sentence? 2. How is Dear Sir: the Dear Mr. How is the colon used in a sentence? For each sentence below. The title-colonsubtitle format is very popular in newspapers and popular magazines.com) Salutations In a business letter. short sentence. 3.

liberty. Make sure that your choice reflects correct semicolon or colon use. semicolon colon For each sentence supplied below. semicolon colon 5. died without speaking—others spoke without dying. We hold these truths to be self-evident—that all men are created equal. that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights. devoid of color and sound—but. Helen Keller's world is built of touch sensations.colon 4. add a second sentence. that among these are life. I watched the sun pass below the horizon. 7. Some semicolon colon 6. joined to the first with either a semicolon or a colon. it throbs with life. without color and sound. and the pursuit of happiness. (Rabelais) 92 .

a colon can be used to great effect when a writer wants to illustrate or elaborate on an idea. Contexts for Colon & Semicolon Use As mentioned in the lesson on colon use between independent clauses. She w as a kind old w oman: See our version Having pets does not prepare a person for parenthood: See our version Money talks: See our version 93 . check out our version of the sentence. try to connect several illustrations with semicolons. When you complete your sentence. Try out this technique in the text boxes below. you connect several illustrations together with semicolons. The colon can even set up a kind of mini-essay within your essay if after the first clause. In at least one of the exercises. A starting sentence is provided for you. The park was full of people. All you need to do is add sentences that illustrate or elaborate on that idea.8.

See our version We acquire our highest ideas in childhood. 1. repeat structures and ideas. and there ain't any real difference between triplets and a insurrection. fertilizer. value. and clippers. Remember.” flourisheth. A cup of coffee w akes me up in the morning. It is also useful for creating balanced and smooth-flowing sentences since good balance comes from the repetition of similar structures or ideas. then we (Shakespeare: Much Ado about Nothing. See if you can think of a sentence to place on the other side of the semicolon that is closely related to the idea before the semicolon. Bring to the picnic: a blanket 94 to sit on. When you complete your sentence. prize but not being rack flower of the to lack’d the field so the and worth lost. Why. as a he Twins amount to a permanent riot. The gardener needs the following tools for regular garden maintenance: a trowel. See our version In America. (The Babies Speech. See our version Decide if semicolons and colons are used correctly in each quotation below. iv. and drinks. a starter sentence is provided for you. to create balance. 1. Mark Twain) Now give this technique a try yourself. check out our version of the sentence. . Psalm 103:15) as grass.) As for man his days are (Old Testament. w e hurry. a salad. good garden gloves. As in the colon exercise above. Consider the following balanced sentence: “What we have we Whiles we enjoy it.Semicolons in Context A semicolon is a useful tool for connecting two closely related ideas. correct incorrect 2.

(Joan Rivers) correct incorrect Write sentences demonstrating your understanding of correct semicolon and colon use according to the directions below. I don't want to make money. no matter how much you'd like to.correct incorrect 3. You correct incorrect 7. 11. 95 is architecture: it is a matter of proportions. Use a semicolon to connect two closely related ideas about places you like to visit. (Nora Ephron) correct incorrect 4. The correct incorrect 6. Fashion correct incorrect 9. Possibly now we are now entering a third era in which the movies will be sounding a note of cautious optimism: You know it just might work. I just want to be wonderful. People makes me feel that I haven’t read or learned or seen anything at all. It struck me that the movies had spent more than half a century saying. when you're in one. (Molly Ivins) first rule of holes. My mother could make anybody feel guilty: she used to get letters of apology from people she didn't even know. (Molly Ivins) . and let the air out of the tires. (Coco Chanel) can't ignore politics. stop digging. (Dorothy Parker) correct incorrect 10. “They lived happily ever after” and the following quarter-century warning that they’ll be lucky to make it through the weekend. (Marilyn Monroe) correct incorrect 8. (Nora Ephron) correct incorrect 5. The best way to keep children home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant. Women’s Wear Daily at least makes me feel dirty.

13. Use a colon to introduce an in-depth explanation or elaboration of something. Use a colon to introduce a list of activities you enjoy.12. 96 .

It struck me that the movies had spent more than half a century saying. (Molly Ivins) Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: incorrect 6.14. and clippers. I just want to be wonderful. when you're in one. Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: correct 2. (Nora Ephron) Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: correct 5. Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: incorrect 3. “They lived happily ever after” and the following quarter-century warning that they’ll be lucky to make it through the weekend. People makes me feel that I haven’t read or learned or seen anything at all. good garden gloves. You can't ignore politics. and drinks. stop digging. I don't want to make money. no matter how much you'd like to. Correction Decide if semicolons and colons are used correctly in each quotation below. The first rule of holes. (Molly Ivins) Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: incorrect 7. Women’s Wear Daily at least makes me feel dirty. Possibly now we are now entering a third era in which the movies will be sounding a note of cautious optimism: You know it just might work. fertilizer. (Marilyn Monroe) Answer given: 97 . Use a colon to introduce a list of items a student needs to be prepared for the first day of classes. (Nora Ephron) Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: correct 4. a salad. The gardener needs the following tools for regular garden maintenance: a trowel. Bring to the picnic: a blanket to sit on. 1.

(Dorothy Parker) Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: correct 10. (Coco Chanel) Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: correct 9. the period at the end of a sentence: A declarative sentence: a period is used to end a sentence that states a fact. and to use end punctuation correctly and effectively in writing.? ? ? The Period A period. A period. gives advice. . and placenames. . and let the air out of the tires. 98 ." An imperative sentence: a period is also used to conclude a sentence that issues an order. an exclamation mark. has many uses in addition to ending a sentence: for example. One almost never sees a question mark or an exclamation point in the middle of a sentence. on the other hand. such as "She laughed at my joke. one may choose instead to use a question mark. in these situations. My mother could make anybody feel guilty: she used to get letters of apology from people she didn't even know. . or makes a request—though with requests. . students will learn the rules for correct use of end punctuation. advice: You should not be swimming so soon after eating.Result: Incorrect Correct answer: correct 8. The best way to keep children home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant. ! ! ! . or a question mark. Fashion is architecture: it is a matter of proportions. (Joan Rivers) Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: correct End Punctuation T he end of a sentence is signalled by a period. also called a "full stop. and so." or an opinion. They will discover the problem for themselves. order: Children will stay within school grounds during recess. a period is used in titles. abbreviations. In this module. a period is seen in the middle of a sentence." is used to signal the end of most kinds of sentences . such as "I believe it will rain today.

or a series of three periods (with a space between the last word or the period at the end of a sentence). long terms.150 $1. 1. .D. but is itself not a question. Col. radio stations. The Sierra Nevada range is of greater elevation than the Rocky Mountains.89 $45 $1. . a period expresses this polite tone.D. A. Walker . use brackets ([ ]) to indicate the ommission. What I Saw in California) Ellipses may also be used to indicate a pause or an unfinished thought: "The details of my life are quite inconsequential. . Little rise in your voice indicates a level of formality and polite hesitation. Periods are also used after numbers or letters in an outline. .We should go to the party tonight. Note: a good way to determine whether a request should end with a period or a question mark is to say the sentence out loud. If a single word is ommitted. Please send her my congratulations on getting the promotion. .00 $. Ms.D.67 $1 Periods and Abbreviations Periods are not used in the abbreviations of familiar institutions. Mr. . I wondered why she asked us if we had our bathing suits. M. organizations. If your voice goes up at the end of the sentence. and states do not take periods: CIA FBI BBB AAA KFOG AIDS BART EBMUD CA Nor are periods used in abbreviations that have become widely accepted as replacment words for the full version: exam memo dorm web cell Periods are used in abbreviations used for titles and unfamliar institutions and organizations: Dr. 1. Very well.A. Hilary asked us if we wanted to go swimming this afternoon. other uses of the period Periods and Money A period is used between dollars and cents. use a question mark. . is used to show an ommission of words in quote. was picked up by the A's just three days before the regular season was to start. An indirect question: a period is used in a sentence that includes a question. M.D. unless the number or letter is enclosed in parentheses: I. No period is used when money is rounded to dollars: $45.1. (a) (iii) Ellipses An ellipses. where do I begin?" (Dr. (Edwin Bryant. request: Would you please change the oil for me. Ph.2. Evil in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery) 99 . This and the coast range run nearly parallel with the shore of the Pacific. .150.

Skip the additional punctuation: His doctor exclaimed. it is acceptable to abbreviate questions after the initial question if the structure is clear. Are you really coming? For two weeks? Really? The Exclamation Point The exclamation point is believed to have its origins in the Latin exclamation io." 100 . and died in 1854. "In the first place God made idiots. however. Be careful. There is a world of difference between "No. to use an exclamation mark for strong emotions. do not use question marks after indirect questions or polite requests. In the English language. overuse of exclamation marks make it seem as if a writer is relying on symbols rather than language to convey meaning. "Wow! It's lucky we caught this in time. Skip the additional punctuation: "What in the world were you thinking of?" I asked. or use it as a substitute for explanation when an explanation would be useful. But be careful not to overuse this technique. Do not double up punctuation when using a an exclamation point by adding in the usual comma or a period. I can't believe you got your nose pierced! Note: In a quotation." and "No!" for example. Will you have milk with your tea? Can I dance with your date? What is your problem? A question mark goes inside the closing quote if the quote is a question. an exclamation point goes inside a closing quote if the quote is an exclamation. This was for practice. place the punctuation outside the closing quote. The captain was born in 1799 (?).The Question Mark Use a question mark at the end of a direct question. exclamation points allow writers to quickly let a reader know that a statement is emphatic. if the sentence itself is a question. Wow! Did you really get an A+ on that exam? Let's take a road trip! Listen! I think I hear something. What is the context for Twain's comment. place the punctuation outside the closing quote. if the sentence itself is an exclamation. In a series of questions. a term used to express joy. Do not double up punctuation when using a question mark by adding in the usual comma or a period. As discussed above. Then he made School Boards"? Use a question mark in parentheses to express doubt or uncertainty.

þÿ What are all of these candy wrappers doing all over the floor 7. þÿ Don't forget to pick up your prescription 6. In this passage.) Did I forget closing punctuation altogether? (Seems unlikely. þÿ Mrs Henley brought me a basket of muffins when I was sick last week 4. þÿ end used punctuation to work wherever for the it is FBI. but sometimes this happens. Read through the passages and decide where you think the exclamation 101 . Twain uses many exclamation marks and question marks.) Did I over-do it with the exclamations? (Use exclamation marks sparingly. I haven't seen you for ages 9. mild exclamations do not take exclamation marks.) Supply 1. þÿ I am never going to get this project done on time 3. needed but (including now he in works abbreviations). þÿ Is there time to finish desert before we need to get to the movie 5.Fixing Common End Punctuation Mistakes If you discover the comment "EP" (for "faulty end punctuation") in the margin of a paper you have received back from your instructor. þÿ Jenny. Did I confuse a direct question with an indirect question? Did I forget about the rule against double end punctuation? (No expressions like"??!!?" are allowed. I can't believe I flunked English 10. asking yourself the following questions may help you quickly figure out where you went wrong. þÿ Please do not use cell phones in our restaurant 8. Will you have time to finish writing the memo about the new schedule before you leave The passage below is taken from Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court. but these have been replaced with periods. for NATO He 2.

what "let the dream go on. My first thought was. in his light-hearted way. I'll nap again till the whistle blows. "let the what dream go on. "What!" I said. my breath almost got away from me." But he only laughed in his light-hearted way and fell to making fun of my sorry plight. and then I'll go down to the arms factory and have it out with Hercules." I said resignedly. if you prefer." "What dream. 1. what an astonishing dream I've had! I reckon I've waked only just in time to keep from being hanged or drowned or burned or something. who are nothing but a work of the imagination.. I gasped with surprise. When I next came to myself. and that butterfly. Scatter. "All "Tell right. and that butterfly." -33"Oh.a person who never existed." "Prithee "What dream? Why. Clarence. copy and paste the text into the text box and do the editing there. "All right. la. Copy the passage into a word processor for revision and then paste your corrected version in the text box. I seemed to have been asleep a very long time.. Clarence. a light flashed in my eyes. and fell to making fun of my sorry plight. stood before me. the dream that I am in Arthur's court -. me. I'll nap again till the whistle blows. "you here yet? Go along with the rest of the dream! scatter!" But he only laughed. and then I'll go down to the arms factory and have it out with Hercules." But just then I heard the harsh music of rusty chains and bolts." But just then I heard the harsh music of rusty chains and bolts. the dream that I am in Arthur's court -. my breath almost got away from me. I reckon I've waked only just in time to keep from being hanged or drowned or burned or something. Go along with the rest of the dream. "Well. indeed! and is it a dream that you're to be burned to-morrow? Ho-ho -. who are nothing but a work of the imagination. My first thought was. a light flashed in my eyes. "Well.answer me that!" 102 .. Why. what an astonishing dream I've had. Or. stood before me! I gasped with surprise.a person who never existed." I said resignedly." I said. I'm in no hurry." Answer given: Total Total Total Percentage Correct questions: machine graded correct: versions of graded: correct: -text: 1 0 0 % When I next came to myself. and that I am talking to you." dream. "What. dream?" I'm in no hurry. and that I am talking to you. "Are you here yet. I seemed to have been asleep a very long time.points and question marks belong.

But how many.don't fail me. come. is be need! a I man do -want speak to out. pure bosh. poor lad. a but good -" lad!" there's He hesitated. by any means. what is the matter? Why do you blench? Why do you tremble so?" "Oh. and was a thing to be avoided. they ones? say -oh. certainly a superior man like 103 . the silliest bosh in the world! Why. beware! These are awful words! Any moment these walls may crumble upon us if you say such things. I have told it! Ah. man. dream or no dream.The shock that went through me was distressing. even in a dream. One may not hope to escape. the corridors are in guard and keep of men-at-arms. fair or foul. I now began to reason that my situation was in the last degree serious. in sooth. they?" indeed daren't!" "Why. What but I are daren't. and he was like to go out of his mind with fright. pulled one way by desire. good boy. for I knew by past experience of the lifelike intensity of dreams. I hope?" "Full a score. Clarence. forsooth! That cheap old humbug. damn Merlin!" But Clarence had slumped to his knees before I had half finished. Clarence? Not many. has woven a spell about this dungeon. it does seem to me that of all the childish. and shouted: "Merlin has wrought a spell! merlin. and there bides not the man in these kingdoms that would be desperate enough to essay to cross its lines with you! Now God pity me." After a pause -. in his malice. So I said beseechingly: "Ah. that I could contrive. "Merlin. only friend I've got. and with all the cowering apprehension of one who was venturing upon awful ground and speaking of things whose very mention might be freighted with death." "No doubt. and finally crept close to me and put his mouth to my ear and told me his fearful news in -34a whisper. tell you. -. chuckleheaded. idiotic. help me to devise some way of escaping from this place!" "Now do but hear thyself! Escape? Why. that to be burned to death. that maundering old ass? Bosh.for you ARE my friend. chicken-livered superstitions that ev -oh. be there brave. "Oh. no doubt. aren't you? -. Oh call them back before it is too late!" Now this strange exhibition gave me a good idea and set me to thinking. "Come." "Other "Well. listening. for an thou betray me I am lost!" I laughed the only really refreshing laugh I had had for some time.hesitatingly: "and there be other reasons -and weightier. then he stole to the door and peeped out. If everybody about here was so honestly and sincerely afraid of Merlin's pretended magic as Clarence was. be merciful to a poor boy who means thee well. the other way by fear. be kind to me. would be very far from being a jest.

and worked out a plan. As a result. The arrangement of the words follows the rules of English grammar. Definition 2: A sentence is group of words that begins with a capital letter. Dependent clauses begin with subordinating words (relative pronouns. Groups of words that modify part or all of an independent clause are called dependent clauses. has a subject and a complete or finite verb. when writers are caught up in the flow of their ideas and are trying to capture those ideas on the page. By themselves. By the end of this module students should be able to • • • recognize sentence fragments and their causes correct sentence fragments by revision and sentence combining use sentence fragments intentionally for special effect What is a sentence? A sentence fragment? What is a sentence? Here are two definitions that may be useful: Definition 1: A sentence is a group of words arranged to express a complete thought." "Well. I'll tell you why I laughed. Complete sentences are also sometimes called independent clauses. look me in the eye. 104 . they do not always pay close attention to the stops and starts of thoughts. Pull yourself together. Then I said: -35"Get up." Grammatical sentences Correcting Sentence Fragments A sentence must be able to stand on its own as a completed thought. because it will help you tell the difference between sentence fragments and complete sentences. prepositions. Do you know why I laughed?" "No -but for our blessed Lady's sake. However. Keep the distinction between dependent and independent clauses in mind. In this module you will learn to spot fragments in your work and to turn those fragments into complete sentences. what professional writers do that many beginning writers do not is to carefully proofread their work to make sure that before publication. or adverbs). However. Because I'm a magician myself. do it no more.me ought to be shrewd enough to contrive some way to take advantage of such a state of things. writers often end up with sentences that are not complete—"fragments" of thought that need something more to stand on their own. dependent clauses form sentence fragments. and ends with a period. each sentence passes the test for completeness. I went on thinking.

(“After the Blue Fairy granted his wish” is a dependent clause. Sentence Fragments Caused by a Missing Verb: After years of searching for a cancer cure.. 105 . 1) Simple sentences. The clouds drifting in the sky. In the rest of this module. or After years of disappointment in her search for a cancer cure. This thought feels incomplete. My favorite flavor of ice cream. other examples . We wonder what the scientist finally did.It is useful to group sentences into 4 types. so that your reader can understand your thoughts. which join a dependent clause to an independent clause. students will learn how to correct sentence fragments. and he became a real boy. “hoped” is the verb. the word "when" turns the clause into a subordinate clause. the last sentence is a fragment. Below. The downtown takes you back to the time when there was a single sweet shop. and in the second paragraph. Pinocchio lived happily ever after. Note that the thought can be completed in a number of different ways: Corrected: After years of disappointment in her search for a cancer cure. Example: After Pinnochio saved Gepetto. the Blue Fairy granted his wish.) 4) Compound-Complex sentences. and post office in every city. Dependent clauses. . You need to fix them. 3) Complex sentences. the common sources of sentence fragments are identified. The last sentence in the first paragraph lacks a sentence verb. Consider the following passages to see if you can locate the sentence fragments: She didn't want to be on vacation anymore. It has a subject--“the scientist”--but not a verb. A sentence fragment is an incomplete sentence punctuated as if it were complete.. In each paragraph. Example: Pinnochio hoped to become a real boy. and the Blue Fairy granted his wish. ) 2) Compound sentences. which combine types 2 and 3. Think of them as broken or incomplete thoughts. Example: After the Blue Fairy granted his wish. which have one subject and one verb. the scientist finally gave up. and other groups of words that lack a subject or a verb. When people knew the shopkeeper by name and knew about each other’s lives. She wanted to be back with her things. Correcting Sentence Fragments. . in which a conjunction links two simple sentences. baker. the scientist finally made a breakthrough. Her things that meant so much to her. The two puppies. “After” is the subordinating word. Example: Pinnochio hoped to become a real boy. the scientist finally. are called sentence fragments. and examples are given to help you identify and correct fragments in your own writing. (“Pinnochio” is the subject.

“were” is the helping verb that completes “drifting. Corrected: I zoomed down the slope on my new snowboard. however. are not complete by themselves. Take a look at the paragraph below and see if you can spot the fragments: The “nuclear family” has been the model for American home life since at least the 1950s when shows such as Leave It to Beaver and Ozzie and Harriet were popular. They are often closely connected to a point in a previous sentence. (verb: “is”) The two puppies chased each other. a proper and demure mother. Who led the slaves to freedom. Goldilocks dreamed of flying. After I changed my fuel filter. fragments are sometimes quite difficult to spot. After I changed my fuel filter. In the last example above. At this point. my mother decided not to go skydiving with us. (verb: “chased”) The clouds were drifting in the sky. (subject: “Tess and her mom”) The slaves were hoping to be free. 106 . Hoping to be free. In each of these shows. you may be thinking these fragments are pretty easy to identify. While sleeping in Baby Bear’s bed. Corrected: Because she was pregnant with my baby brother. Moses was the prophet who led the slaves to freedom. (complete verb: “were drifting”) Verb forms that end in “ing. and so they seem like correct sentences even when they are not.” Sentence Fragments Caused by a Missing Subject: Zoomed down the slope on my new snowboard. a steadfast and masculine father. Went to the video store.” or participles. (subject: “I”) Tess and her mom went to the video store. (subject: “The slaves”) Sentence Fragments Made up of Dependent Clauses: Because she was pregnant with my baby brother.Corrected: My favorite flavor of ice cream is mint chocolate chip. a little rascally boy to take after the father. They need an auxiliary or “helping” verb. and/or a perfect princess girl to bake with the mother. my car’s gas mileage improved. In the real world. While sleeping in Baby Bear’s bed. all living in a quiet suburban home with a white picket fence.

and/or a perfect princess girl to bake with the mother. sentence a Especially fragment? for Why or Thai why food. so that the sentences can be seen more clearly . Baseball. long sentence is actually a fragment. if possible. A sentence fragment can also be used to express a strong emotion: Selma told her dad she finished her homework. To correct the sentence. the subject must be located. In each of these shows. be very careful here. For example. and the correct form of the verb provided: The “nuclear family” has been the model for American home life since at least the 1950s when shows such as Leave It to Beaver and Ozzie and Harriet were popular. Wow! I never knew that you could play soccer so well. eating. it is acceptable to use a sentence fragment for a special effect. as a worksheet. A fragment can be used to present an answer to a question: How did we win the tournament? Nerve. What must a sentence Answer given: 3.The last. If you live. Is either of the out following to eat. eating. you use a simple command to quickly separate each sentence onto its own line. not? There are many wonderful things to do in San Francisco.. and eating. Answer given: 4. a proper and demure mother.. The most American of sports is experiencing a real return to popularity. The initial assumptions and the definition of human nature being totally ambiguous. Is either of the following sentences a sentence have fragment? to Why be or why fragment? complete? not? I don't understand the basic details of the argument. a little rascally boy to take after the father. Listening. Occasionally. Your reader may assume the fragment is unintentional if the rest of your writing is not polished and free of errors. Answer each question below as best you can. What is a Answer given: 2. —Mark Twain You will not regret it. all live toether in a quiet suburban home with a white picket fence. She wants a home with a white picket fence. right! She didn't even open her math book. Ozzie & Harriet's house. Is either of the following sentences a fragment? Why or why not? I love going Answer given: 5. Yeah. With this technique. One technique for spotting fragments is to reformat your essay. Get a bicycle. Answer given: 107 . temporarily. A fragment can create emphasis on a single word or phrase: He stood stock still. The verb "living" is not complete. 1. Waiting for the sound of an approaching car. and so the sentence is a series of phrases. Using Sentence Fragments for Special Effect. a steadfast and masculine father. However.

Answer given: Run-on Sentences Run-on sentences are sentences with "signal" problems. If a writer wants to be heard. Rewriting the sentence to turn one independent clause into a dependent (or subordinate) clause is another option: corrected: There is time to finish the project although we won't finish it if we go to the beach. but we won't finish it if we go to the beach. however. so.6. as in the following sentence: comma splice: There is time to finish the project. this is a long and boring drive all by yourself. we won't finish it if we go to the beach. semi-colons. or else abandon the text altogether out of frustration. In this module students will learn • • to recognize and correct run-on sentences to use colons." "these. or yet) to connect two independent clauses. This is a good choice if the relationship between the clauses is unclear or needs emphasis: corrected: There is time to finish the project. or "comma splices. Make sure your paragraph is free of sentence fragments. Note. We won't finish it if we go to the beach. pay close attention to your sentence structure whenever you see these pronouns in your writing: comma splice: The drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles takes six-seven hours. we won't finish it if we go to the beach. Without appropriate punctuation readers are forced to determine the correct relationships. for. Separating the two clauses into two independent sentences with a period is always an option. Write a paragraph explaining what "freedom" means to you. 108 . Stronger punctuation is needed to connect two independent clauses. nor. Often comma splices occur when the second clause begins with "this. but. Readers look for punctuation to signal the end of one independent clause and the beginning of another." sentences without any punctuation at all connecting independent clauses." and sentences that are simply joined by coordinating conjunctions like "and. There are three variations of run-on sentences: sentences that use only a comma to join independent clauses. she must be able to tell the reader how her ideas go together. however. or. or "fused sentences. however." "that. however. corrected: There is time to finish the project. We can also use a comma and a coordinating conjunction (and. that a period creates stronger separation between ideas than the other options." or "those". coordinating conjunctions and sentence adverbs appropriately Correcting Comma Splices A comma splice occurs when a comma is used without a coordinating conjunction to join two independent clauses together." without a comma. We can use a semi-colon if the logical connection between the statements is clear: corrected: There is time to finish the project.

Answer given: 8. There is an “old world charm” about the café as you enter and it feels as if you are entering the home of an old friend or neighbor. examples: fused sentences: I ate the whole pizza it was excellent. the punctuation is still inadequate. On our trip to Los Angeles. I'm going to see Gwen Stefani this weekend. too. The Phoenix is more than just a performance center. we spent two days at Disneyland with the kids and they were the best days of the whole vacation. Being located in a prime spot along Columbus Ave. people. cakes and cookies sit proudly toward the back of the cafe and if its not terribly crowded (which about 99% of the time it is). we spent two days at Disneyland with the kids. Use the same techniques for correcting fused sentences as you would use to correct comma splices (as described in the previous section). Answer given: 7. Danielle is going. this is a long and boring drive all by yourself. Answer given: 5. A somewhat tattered vintage coat rack that looks like its on its last leg sits empty near the door and a combination of smells from freshly brewed coffee and pastries baking is enough to make you salivate the minute you step inside. and they were the best days of the whole vacation. I am going to get the new Gwen Stefani CD but you can borrow it any time. A coordinating conjunction may be present in a fused sentence. The theater alone is not what makes it so unique. On our trip to Los Angeles. Answer given: 4. greet you and buzz around like honeybees to help you obtain whatever treat it is you are craving. it’s a whole community center. the friendly clerks behind these cases. this bakery hardly goes unnoticed and people from a variety of cultures stop in to experience what it is it has to offer. Correcting Fused Sentences Sentences are said to be "fused" when there is no punctuation connecting independent clauses. Answer given: 6. I am going to get the new Gwen Stefani CD. Two large display cases adorned with a variety of different pastries. corrections: I ate the whole pizza. it was excellent. some with subtle Italian accents. but you can borrow it any time. and city surrounding the theater that are most important. it is the colors. colorful fruit tarts. Answer given: 2. Answer given: 3. 1.corrected: This drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles takes six-to seven hours. We don’t make the trek down to the city often enough but over the past couple of years but I have made it a point to start bringing my two children in to Stella’s to experience what this café has 109 . but without an accompanying comma.

put on her headphones. her. In this module you will learn the following • • • • to recognize different types of pronouns to identify and correct mismatched pronouns and antecedents as well as pronoun reference problems in written text. Helena went to the coffee shop. and opened her notebook. These include.) or with indefinite words (person. doctor. Simple to fix. you. and them. the issue gets more complicated when you are dealing with collective nouns (the crowd. we.to offer. etc. men. 110 . Stella’s is not just a place like Starbucks to stop in. Answer given: Problems with Pronouns Like Subject-Verb agreement. Answer given: 10. and they. what. Proofread to ensure that there are no run-on sentences." or "it" is used to refer to an idea in a previous sentence. as in John gave me the book. to write text free of pronoun-antecedent and pronoun reference mistakes. object pronouns are pronouns used as the target of a verb in a sentence. etc. right? However. This is the problem in the following sentence: "Everyone has their share." "this. example: Janet and I had a great dinner last night. the noun replaced by the pronoun is called the "antecedent" of the pronoun." where "their" (plural) is not matched in number with "Everyone" (singular). she. Answer given: 9. grab a muffin and coffee and run. it. Object pronouns include me.). Pronouns: A pronoun refers to or stands in for a noun. or two antecedents joined by "and" "or" or "nor. this is a place where locals (or anyone for that matter) can come to enjoy the delicious treats and delightful atmosphere that Stella’s has always been known for. I. you him. then she realized she had brought the wrong book. Write a paragraph about a favorite holiday memory. There are many different types of pronouns used in many different situations: subject pronouns are pronouns used as the subject of a sentence. to avoid gender bias when using pronouns. it. pronoun-antecedent agreeement is about parts of a sentence fitting together so that the reader does not stumble over mixed messages. problems arise when the antecedent for a pronoun is unclear. who. whom." In addition. got a large latte. Answer given: 1. A common problem in writing is that the writer does not always take care to match the pronoun to the antecedent (an "antecedent" is a fancy word for "the thing to which the pronoun is supposed to refer). us. These "pronoun reference" problems often arise between sentences when a general pronoun such as "that. he. students. Hoping to get some work done before school.

demonstrative pronouns are used to refer to ideas or objects rather than people. "You should always remember that heroes are made. The relative pronoun stands in the for the noun antecedent. his. Note: sometimes "they" and "you" are used as indefinite pronouns. not born. anybody. ours. as in "anyone. The interrogative pronouns are who. "Agreement" means that the pronoun is consistent with the "person" "number" and "gender" of the antecedent. its mine. Johnny. none. example: Who is up for game of football? Pronoun Antecedent Agreement Problems arise when the pronoun that is used in a sentence does not "agree" with its antecedent. or both singular. For example. who. her example: I believe that is his book. several. his." There are many different indefinite pronouns. example: Mediterranean dishes are good for your heart. anyone. and when possessive pronouns are used before a noun to establish ownership. or they. Be careful in academic writing with these pronouns. they take an adjective case: my. these. all. theirs. Gabe and I.possessive pronouns are used to indicate a state of ownership by a subject referenced in the possessive pronoun. She will be reimbursed for the pizza by the Club. but here are a few of the most common: one. we will let someone else do the annual clean-up. as in "The tan chihuahua is the dog that I want. These include pasta dishes. For example. agreement in person: the pronoun and antecedent have the same subject. Somebody in the Women's Club will have to bring the pizza to the party tonight. whom." or "some. relative pronouns are used to signal the beginning of a relative clause in the middle of a sentence. which." or "They say that Brittney Spears is crying out for help with her recent antics. sombody. yours. No invitation is required. your. Gabe. and I hauled three loads of trash from the fraternity to the dump yesterday. what. Possessive pronouns are mine. 111 . and that. if the antecedent is "Johnny. For example. No. however. interrogative pronouns are used to begin questions. Demonstrative pronouns include this. that." acceptable form: Anyone can come to the event this evening. everybody. Next year. or thing. either. fresh fish and seafood dishes. whom. Confusion often arises with indefinite pronouns. because they can create an unacceptable tone. and salads. each. indefinite pronouns are used to refer to an indefinite person. our. many. and those. hers. place. their. both." then the pronoun must be we or us." Relative pronouns include which. For example. as opposed to you. agreement in number: the pronoun and antecedent must both be plural.

Dickens shows that . . and so a pronoun cannot use it as an antecedent! Which or That? Students sometimes have trouble deciding whether to use "which" or "that" as a relative pronoun." 112 . "One. but this pronoun can sound a bit formal. For more on eliminating gender bias in writing. error: In Charles Dickens' novel Hard Times. because when a noun is in possessive case. which I really should not have done since I had so much work to do. he correct: In Charles Dickens' novel Hard Times. error: Every problem correct: Every problem has its solution. error: It is correct: It is you who is to blame. better: Students can enroll in classes in a couple of ways: they can enroll online or in person at the administration building. or (as a last resort): A student can enroll in classes in a couple of ways: she or he can enroll online or in person at the administration building.agreement in gender: the pronoun and antecedent. . . "Would you please pick up the flowers that I ordered today?" and "I watched Grey's Anatomy last night. . . or: Enroll in classes in one of two ways: online or in person at the administration building . third-person. . it is considered an adjective. blame. visit the module on shifts. can be used. . Note: Be careful when a noun is in possessive case. For example. Examples of Pronoun Antecedent Agreement: Take a look at the following sentences showing agreement problems and their corrections: error: Everybody correct: Everybody has faults. personal pronoun. or to use a plural pronoun: wrong: A student can enroll in classes in a couple of ways: she/he can enroll online or in person at the administration building. faults solution. use "which" when the relative clause is just a detail. should not promote a gender bias. Gender bias is often a problem in English because the English language has no genderneutral. . as in Dickens'. . you has has that is shows their their to that . . also Ok: One can enroll in classes in a couple of ways: one can enroll online or in person at the administration building . . The best course of action is to avoid pronouns altogether. ." an indefinite pronoun. even when made to agree. Use "that when the relative clause is essential to the meaning of the sentence (when the clause is "restrictive"). . .

1. Mary. Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: they 4. though. This can cause them to withdraw into themselves and hinder other social relationships. stores can be very far away. Aesop's fables are still read. though _____ were written many hundred years ago. but they know to proofread their work to check for such mistakes. (What does this refer to in the second sentence?) correct: Children feel insignificant when their parents are too busy to spend time with them. You. and going to the store requires planning and much consolidation. (I/me) Answer given: 113 . and ___ have always been good friends. The more people know about plants and flowers the more ____ enjoy ____ Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: they them 5. particularly when modifiers and clauses distance the antecedent from the pronoun. Pronoun reference mistakes usually occur between sentences. What a charm there is about great mountains! How the purple haze loves to envelop ____ on their snowy summits! Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: them 3. and it requires planning and much consolidation when it comes to making trips to town. Whatever you ask of me.Pronoun Reference Problems Pronoun reference problems are very common in the work of developing writers. too. Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: he 2. do you think she would find it embarrassing? (What does it refer to? the bug? the action of taking the bug out of her hair?) correct: Do you think she would find my removing that bug from her hair embarrassing? error: When you live in a rural area. though. stores can be very far away. or when a sentence contains several nouns. This feeling can cause them to withdraw into themselves and hinder other social relationships. Make sure the pronoun is grammatically consistent with the antecedent and the rest of the sentence. error: Children feel insignificant when their parents are too busy to spend time with them. Every man who does wrong knows that _____ should suffer the penalty. (I/me) Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: I 7. Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: it 6. You and ___ shall go. Experienced writers make pronoun reference mistakes. I will do ____.(What does it refer to?) correct: When you live in a rural area. Supply a pronoun to go in place of the underline. Take a look at the following sentences with pronoun reference problems: error: If I took that bug out of her hair.

He said that he saw you and ____ at the mall. Be careful to place each subordinate clause as near its anteccedent as possible. _____ began the argument? Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: Who 15. Answer given: 114 . From it we had a wonderful view. _____ do you think I met today? Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: Whom Join each of the following pairs of simple sentences by means of a relative pronoun (who. He wrote the Declaration of Independence. The Swiss revere the name of William Tell. Answer given: 20. Answer given: 19. 21. Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: me In the following sentences. whom. Thomas Jefferson was an intimate friend of Washington's." Write your answer in the text box. 11. supply the missing word: "who" or "whom.Result: Incorrect Correct answer: I 8. To _____ were you speaking? Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: whom 12. 16. It is full of floating ice. Spare the birds. Answer given: Find the antecedent for the relative pronoun used in each sentence below. which. _____ do you think I am? Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: Who 13. Goodness is the only thing that never fails. Were both you and (I/me) invited? Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: I 10. Everybody was invited except you and (I/me). You have read of him. that) so as to form complete sentences. Answer given: 18. (I/me) Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: me 9. The river is dangerous. Answer given: 17. They cheer us by their songs. We reached the mountain top. _____ did you see at the party? Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: Whom 14.

Time that is once lost is always lost. Answer given: 28. the subjects of the sentence must agree with the verb in the sentence in both number (singular with singular. the reader gets conflicting messages. 25. and a plural subject takes a plural verb form. or in "sync. Without this agreement. In this module we will cover the basic and the not so basic rules for creating sound subject-verb agreement. etc. but none whom he knew. Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: time 23. when people do not agree. No one knows what the future has in store for them.. and We enjoy soccer (not We enjoys soccer). Objectives: By the end of this module. Answer given: 30. certain sentence structures can lead to confusion about the actual subject of the sentence and cause a writer to choose an inapropriate verb form for that subject. and stumbles over the text rather than gleaning your message. a singular subject takes a singular verb form.. what constitutes a good book. Conversely. Marcos or Pete will give us their help. Answer given: 26. Neither of the children ate their carrots. who to elect for president—they are in accord. The administration is proud of their policies. Jack met a number of people. and overcame them by her great courage. and provides helpful strategies for locating the subject and choosing the appropriate verb form. She met each difficulty and danger. As he approached the village. However. Every person in the class made their complaints to me. 115 . This module covers these confusing situations." on some level anyway. Kindness is the golden chain by which society is bound together Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: chain 24. as in Kate dances well (not Kate dance well). you should be able to: • • write both simple and complex sentences showing agreement between subject and verbs proofread to find and correct errors in subject-verb agreement Agreement with Singular and Plural Subjects. Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: none Correct the pronoun antecedent error in each sentence or group of sentences below. the correct subject/verb combination is easy for writers to figure out.Result: Incorrect Correct answer: thing 22. Answer given: 29. Answer given: Subject-Verb Agreement When people agree about something—a movie to see. Answer given: 27. what to have for dinner. the individuals become aware of being at odds with others. Most of the time. or I hate okra (not I hates okra). In a sentence. plural with plural.) and in person (gender).

any. the subject is singular: Spaghetti and meatballs is the only thing Mary ever orders when we go out to eat. item or simultaneous action. Indefinite pronouns cause a lot of confusion." or "either/or" In most situations. in the second example "some" refers to an "uncountable" noun. Subjects joined by or or by either/or or neither/nor may take singular or plural verbs depending on the form of the subject. most. "cake. To determine the 116 . along with. Consider the following sentences: The mountain bike with the red frame and the fat tires is the one I want. was delivered to my house this morning... Agreement With Indefinite Pronouns.. and so the verb is plural. Watch out for modifying phrases that come between subject and verb! And especially be on the lookout for prepositional phrases. in addition to. or as well as: The new oak tree. "some" refers to individual persons. the verb will be singular. In the first example." and therefore. even if sometimes this structure feels counter-intuitive. it is not part of the subject." The phrase is there to tell us more about the mountain bike. such as all." "or. the verb will be plural. However.. Coffee and dessert were served in the living room. Rubbing your stomach and patting your head at the same time is almost impossible to do. Some of the cake is still on the table. Agreement When Subjects are Joined by "and. My best friend and confidante is always there for me when I need her. the verb is singular. none. if the subjects joined by "and" refer to a single person. If one subject is singular and the other is plural. along with three bags of planting mix and a box of fertilizer. Another source of trouble is a modifying phrase beginning with together with. it does not make the subject plural. are confusing because they can be singular or plural depending on the nouns to which they refer. An apple or a banana is a good afterschool snack. If both subjects are plural." These items are part of the prepositional phrase that begins with "with. Some indefinite pronouns. as the object of a preposition can easily be confused with the subject of the sentence. and so should not be considered when deciding on the appropriate verb form for the sentence." "neither/nor.Agreement When Words Come Between Subject and Verb. the verb agrees with subject it is closest to. subjects connected by "and" are going to be plural: David and Jesus are always late. not "the red frame and the fat tires. and some. "Mountain bike" is the subject of the sentence. if both subjects are singular. Because the phrase is non-restrictive (or not necessary to the sentence). Neither the teacher nor the students know how to solve this math problem. Some of us are going skiing this weekend.

. When the relative pronouns "which. few. squirrels and other small animals. In this sentence. Everything is going wrong today. Agreement With Collective Nouns as Subjects. word order is inverted and the subject is delayed. both. When word order is inverted. and many.. Some indefinite pronuns are always plural: for example. collective nouns will take a singular verb unless the writer wants to emphasize the individuals in a group: The group stands firm on this issue." "who. the antecedent is "one" (the phrase modifies "one" rather than "villains"). anybody. At a Rolling Stones concert the crowd always sings along to "Satisfaction. everybody. Most of the time the subject comes before the verb. the verb in the clause should agree in number with the subject of the sentence (the antecedent for the pronoun). it is easy to confuse a noun in an opening phrase with the true subject of the sentence.. The antecedent for the pronoun "that" is "trees." and so the verb in the phrase should be plural." so the verb in the adjective clause "that drop fruit" should be plural. Dorleen and Claire joined the volleyball team this semester. however. anything. and both are going to be starting players.. anyone. Generally. the antecedent for the pronoun "who" in the adjective phrase "who have come against James Bond. One signal of a delayed subject is the expletive "there" at the beginning of a sentence: 117 . Dr. several. Agreement With "Which" "Who" and "That" as Subjects. check to see if the noun is "countable" (made of up of individual elements that can be counted). Agreement When Subject-Verb Order is Inverted.. Trees that drop fruit will attract bugs. somebody. but occasionally. In this sentence. or "uncountable" (not countable by individual elements). each. as in the example above. and so the verb is singular.." and "that" are used in an adjective clause (relative clause). Some sit around and wait for happiness. and something.." The crew hope their grog won't run out before they reach port." is "villains. everything. nothing. nobody. Something is happening.. everyone. birds. "the crew members hope. someone. Oddjob is the only one of the villains who throws a razor-edged hat as a weapon. it is better to name a plural subject rather than use a collective noun as a plural.number for a verb used with these indefinite pronouns. many go out and find it. Usually. No is just one of the villains who have come up against James Bond. Each of the new interns is assigned to work a twenty-four hour shift this week. but you don't know what it is. Some indefinite pronouns are always singular: for example." sounds a bit better. Collective nouns used with a plural form of a verb tend to sound a bit awkward.

______ it is a good idea. to feel: All of the people at the party.. Word order is also inverted in questions. þÿ 4. When linking two nouns with a linking verb. there is little I can do to help them. when a phrase is referred to in terms of the language itself.. or work of art is the subject of a sentence. the phrase should be treated as singular subject: "Slowly I turned" is the key phrase in a famous vaudeville routine popularized by comedians Abbot and Costello. as in "Has she arrived yet?" The subject must match the first auxilliary verb (first verb form) in number. 2. with the exception of Tiffany. If Jenny and Mark won't listen. Make the subject and the verb in each sentence below agree by writing the correct form of the verb provided (in PRESENT tense) in the text box. institution. film. the number of the verb should correspond to the number of the subject and not the predicate nominative. Her dogs are her protection. it should be treated as a singular subject. 1. even when there is a plural subject in the title: The Twin Towers was an important New York City landmark. to 118 need: . Terms of Endearment is a sad film. Each þÿ to of the options be: _____ unacceptable. How many rides have you been on at Disneyland today? Are there going to be many people at the party tonight? Agreement When the Words are a Title. Her protection is her dogs. Agreement When the Verb is a Linking Verb.When your parents get home. building. Everyone þÿ to in the class _____ the find: video to be entertaining. In addition.. there is going to be trouble over the broken vase. Often the subject appears between parts of a verb phrase. 3. When a title of a book..

Two þÿ to bottles of wine be: ____ enough. Success þÿ to ________ reward: hard work. þÿ 5. 12. 7. Three-fourths þÿ to of the cake be: _____ gone. 10. Neither þÿ to of the hotel rooms be: _______ available. 14. 11. 8.Everyone. 9. ______ to do more to recycle. so be sure to strap heavy objects down. Time þÿ to _______ pass: quickly. Another þÿ to of my brothers live: ________ in Florida. to move: In an earthquake furniture ______ around. The þÿ to wind and fog _______ reduce: the mosquito problem. My þÿ to aunt as well as my be: cousin _______ single. The þÿ to team ___ going to be: play on Saturday. 119 . including the people of conservation-conscious California. 13. 6.


15. Enough

to time and enough money

make: _____ a great vacation!

16. Jenny

to or Audrey ________

know: where to find him.

17. The

to dog with the white spots and the pointy

sleep: ears _________ all the time.

18. The

to testimony that she gave before the

be: court _____ unbelievable.




The president, as well as the cabinet members, ______ no time for sleep these days.

20. The

to president and the cabinet members ________

have: no time for sleep these days.

Make the subject and the verb in each sentence below agree by writing the correct form of the verb provided (in PRESENT tense) in the text box. 1. to find: Everyone in the Answer Result: Correct answer: finds 2. Each of Answer Result: Correct answer: was 3. class _____ the given: video to be entertaining. Incorrect to the options given: be: _____ unacceptable. Incorrect to feel:

All of the people at the party, with the exception of Tiffany, ______ it is a good idea. Answer given: 120

Result: Correct answer: feel 4. to need:


Everyone, including the people of conservation-conscious California, ______ to do more to recycle. Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: needs 5. to reward: Success Answer Result: Correct answer: rewards 6. The wind and Answer Result: Correct answer: reduce 7. Neither of Answer Result: Correct answer: is 8. the ________ given: Incorrect to fog _______ given: reduce: the mosquito problem. Incorrect to hotel rooms given: be: be: _______ available. Incorrect to hard work.

My aunt as well as my cousin _______ single. Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: is Feedback for this answer: the answer is "is" because the subject of the sentence is "my aunt." The phrase "as well as my cousin" should be treated as a modifier, additional information, but not as an addition to the subject. 9. to be: Two bottles Answer Result: Correct answer: are 10. Another of Answer Result: Correct answer: lives 11. Three-fourths Answer Result: Correct answer: is of my of wine given: live: brothers given: Incorrect to the given: Incorrect cake be: _____ gone. ________ in Florida. ____ enough. Incorrect to


12. The team Answer Result: Correct answer: is 13. Time Answer Result: Correct answer: passes 14. ___

to going to given:

be: play on Saturday. Incorrect

to _______ given: to

pass: quickly. Incorrect move:

In an earthquake furniture ______ around, so be sure to strap heavy objects down. Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: moves 15. to make: Enough time and Answer Result: Correct answer: make 16. enough money given: _____ a great vacation! Incorrect to ________ given: Incorrect sleep: and the pointy given: ears _________ all the time. know: where to find him.

Jenny or Audrey Answer Result: Correct answer: knows 17. to The dog with the Answer Result: Correct answer: sleeps 18. The testimony Answer Result: Correct answer: is 19. white spots

Incorrect to she gave before the given: be: court _____ unbelievable. Incorrect to have:


The president, as well as the cabinet members, ______ no time for sleep these days. Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: has 20. to have: The president and Answer Result: Correct answer: have the cabinet members ________ given: no time for sleep these days.

Incorrect 122

Clear sentences Parallel Structure Lesson By the end of this unit, students should be able to do the following:
o o o o o

Recognize faulty parallels in their writing. Balance parallel items in a series using conjunctions Create parallel structure between phrases and clauses Use parallelism to create coherence and balance in writing Use the principles of parallel structure to organize an essay and develop a thesis

What is Parallel Structure? Parallelism means using the same pattern of words to show that two or more elements in the sentence have the same level of importance. A good writer uses parallelism to create clear and concise sentences, and also to reduce the work that the reader must do to understand the author's meaning. For example, Doris went shopping and bought a pair of high heels, a new CD and a new pair of glasses. Because each item on Doris' list is presented in the same form, the reader perceives that each item is of equal importance. If, on the other hand, the sentence were to read as follows, the reader would have difficulty following the writer's ideas: Doris went shopping and bought a pair of high heels, a new CD, and she found a new pair of glasses. Here, the balance is thrown off and the sentence becomes more difficult for the reader to process. Having parallel structure becomes even more significant when two or more ideas are to be presented as having equal importance; for example, Dorothy survived a tornado, crash-landed in a foreign land, travelled across a vast countryside, and defeated an evil witch. With parallel structure, the reader can quickly process information and see relationships between ideas. Strong writers use parallel structure to organize words, phrases, clauses, and even whole essays to guide readers through their ideas. 123

and fight for her affection while maintaining their disguises.. is to think of the core idea in the structure as the trunk of a tree. All items in a series should have the same structure to help the reader quickly process information. follow the trunk line to each of the branches directly. when all elements are nouns. if one element is a noun. nouns. and verbs) It is important to note that one need not make all elements in a series exactly parallel. and daring for its time. the band's ukulele player and vocalist. Joe and Jerry disguise themselves as women and join an all-girl band headed to Florida. frightened. (parallel elements are proper nouns) Broke.Revising to create parallel structure. Take a look at the examples below: The film Some Like it Hot is funny. and desperate. (parallel elements are adjectives. whether that structure is between words. clauses. Joe and Jerry (Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon). if one element is a verb. who are on the run from a Chicago gang after witnessing the Saint Valentine's Day massacre of 1929.. (adapted from Wikipedia. (all parallel elements are adjectives) Some Like It Hot tells the story of two musicians. An easy way to check for parallel structure in a piece of writing. Consider the following problematic sentences and their corrections: 124 . and each parallel item as a branch off that trunk.. or paragraphs in an essay. for instance. well-written. then all elements should be adjectives. checking to ensure that the trunk connects strongly (and correctly) to each branch as illustrated in the diagram below: Parallel Words. once you find the trunk. If one element is an adjective.org) Note that only one of the parallel nouns ("vocalist" and "player") is accompanied by an adjective ("ukulele"—an adjective here because it modifies the noun "player") When items in a series do not have the same form.. some of the elements might also be accompanied by other words to complete an idea as in this example: Joe and Jerry both fall for "Sugar" Kowalczyk (Marilyn Monroe). then all elements should be verbs. then all elements should be nouns. phrases. the sentence will sound awkward and out of balance. The reader is forced to do much more work to figure out the author's meaning than is fair. and so forth.

if one item is a relative clause. and modifiers with each item in a series: Be very careful to ensure that the preposition. Phrases and clauses also need to be parallel if the sentence is to be logical.Faulty Sugar is only interested in dating millionaires and security. and her favorite briefcase. Consider the following examples demonstrating good parallel structure: To escape the mob and to solve their financial problems. or auxialliary verb is appropriate to each item in a series. a captain's cap. to work. Parallel: Parallel: 125 . hat. look out for these common sources of trouble with parallel structure: shifts in type of phrase or clause: Be sure to stay consistent with the types of phrases you use. Corrected: Sugar is only interested in dating millionaires and finding security. shoes. unless you write the appropriate item into each phrase: Faulty On her first day at work. the sentence will be illogical. articles. then every item should be a relative clause. appropriate use of prepositions. Parallel: Faulty Parallel: Joe comes up with a second disguise to get Sugar's attention: He wears a white sportscoat. but because a greenish tint in Lemmon's and Curtis' heavy make-up could not be hidden on color film. Shifts in phrase type create confusion: Faulty She hates to study. mimics Cary Grant's accent. and going to school. otherwise. When revising your work. (parallel infinitive phrases) Director Billy Wilder filmed Some Like it Hot in black and white. Joe and Jerry join an all-girl band. each element begins with a verb. mimics Cary Grant. Thelma wore a new dress. Parallel structure is created by joining the first two wardrobe elements into a single element. but she loves partying.. working. and claims to be the heir of Shell Oil. then every item in the series should be a verbal phrase. modifier. Corrected: Joe comes up with a second disguise to get Sugar's atttention: He wears a white sport-coat and captain's cap. some elements began with verbs. if one item in a series is a verb phrase (beginning with an -ing or -ed verb). Corrected: She hates studying. but she loves partying. In the previous version.. article. balanced.. (In this version. then every item should be prepositional phrase. If one item in a series is a prepositional phrase. (parallel verbal phrases) Common Trouble Spots. and going to school. not because he wanted to be artistic.. and easy to read. while others began with nouns.) Parallel Phrases and Clauses. (parallel subordinate clauses) Marilyn Monroe had two big problems during filming: remembering her lines and hiding her pregnancy. and claims to be the heir of Shell Oil. The initial items are going to govern every item in the series.

Answer given: In the beginning of the novel. Answer given: At the carnival. fingers and their lengths. write a short paragraph with good parallel structure in the space provided. cut the cards. He then runs away with a traveling circus. or cheerful. Your reader looks at your writing to be dressed one way. Answer given: Some critics of fortune-telling suggest that trained psychologiests could also notice personal traits such as nervousness. or number. the protagonist kills people innocently. mood. but elements of the sentence just don't fit. Earthly laws are not understood by him. and mood. change. Michael Valentine Smith. verb tense. which would also let them make reasonable predictions about a client's future. Answer given: Shifts A shift is a confusing change in person. The key is consistency—of voice. You will have to add. and was laying out a selection of ten cards from which the client was supposed to choose three. and the prominence of the mounts. Answer given: The protagonist continues on his quest to understand human behavior by reading all of the books he can.Corrected: On her first day at work. Part 1 Using the topic below. Its plot is appealing. and carried her favorite briefcase. voice. Answer given: Palm readers examine lines on the palm. There may be more than one possible answer. 126 . delete. voice. interpreting dreams. —and proofreading your writing to ensure that this consistency is maintained. and they also look into crystal balls. and number in their writing. Answer given: Part 2 Combine each of the sets of sentences below into a single. Robert A. Answer given: Gypsies are famous for their traditions of fortune-telling by reading Tarot cards. Make a list of things you hate then transform the list into a short paragraph (or a couple of sentences). person. Thelma wore a new dress. . verb tense. that someone was lonely. Later in the novel he becomes a minister. adn rearrange words. concise sentence in which parallel elements appear in parallel structures. the gypsy shuffled the deck. shoes. Heinlein's classic Stranger in a Strange Land has captivating characters. it is kind of like wearing two different shoes. mood. But he is also considered Martian becaues his birthplace was on Mars. In this module students will learn to . person. . Answer given: The protagonist of the novel. identify and correct shifts in verb tense. and hat. is classified as a human by birth.

Occasionally. Active Voice A sentence is said to be in active voice when the subject performing the action is emphasized: John visited the Smithsonian Institute on his last trip to Washington D. humankind. (the suit continues not to fit) is too small. however. the choir will sing a few spirituals that they learned over the summer. Correct: The wind died down and the waves rolled gently. (I continue to admire her persistence) Incorrect: The wind died down and the waves roll gently. Consider the emphasis in these active and passive sentences: Passive: The Active: Marla made the cake. it Correct: The suit doesn't fit me. A sentence is in passive voice when the subject performing the action is de-emphasized: The Smithsonian Institute was visited by John on his last trip to Washington D. and readers are captivated from beginning to end. But sometimes. government. The way to avoid inappropriate shifts in verb tense is to visualize the actions described: Does one event really occur before another. I cannot tolerate her bad sportsmanship. Problems arise.Shifts in Verb Tense A verb tense shift is a shift in time.C. "And" suggests simultaneous actions) Incorrect: I liked him because he always says what Correct: I like him because he always says what he thinks. from present to past. (I continue to like him) Shifts in Voice: Passive vs. writers want to emphasize the object in a sentence rather than a subject's actions. Correct: Though I admire her persistence. I cannot tolerate her bad sportsmanship. as when one describes an event that takes place before another event: At the first Fall concert. 127 . Correct: Last semester. and is still improving. Incorrect: Last semester. I had more homework in math than in all my other classes combined. writers slip up and shift tense when there should be no shift.C. and is still improving. (Inadequate transition provided. I had more homework in math than I have in all my other classes combined. cake was by be made a by democratic tasted by all Marla. or are they simultaneous? Apply this technique in the following sentences: Incorrect: The suit didn't fit me. for example. or past to future tense. he thinks. Correct: The football team is good. Incorrect: Though I admired her persistence. as in the following sentence: Incorrect: The football team was good. and to make writing energetic. however. Sometimes such shifts make perfect sense. Most often writers use active voice in order to emphasize agency—a subject performing some action. it is too small. Passive: Equality is encouraged Active: Democratic governments encourage equality. Passive: The bitter cup of destiny must Active: All humankind must taste the bitter cup of destiny. when a writer shifts from active to passive or from passive to active voice within the same sentence: Incorrect: Patrick O'Brien writes exciting stories of life on board the tall sailing ships of the Royal navy in the early 19th century.

irritable. One source of shifts in number is an indefinite pronoun such as "anyone" or "none" or "all." "He. for example. or "If I was you . because in everyday speech. where it was discovered that the teacher had cancelled class." "She. These mistakes are considered shifts in mood. what might happen. A sentence in the subjunctive mood indicates that something is conditional. Shifts in Person There are three forms of narrative voice in writing: 1st person: "I" or "We" 2nd person: "You" or "You" (plural) 3rd person: "They.Correct: Patrick O'Brien writes exciting stories of life on board the tall sailing ships of the Royal navy in the early 19th century. "I was" becomes "I were. Incorrect: Jake was running late this morning and had to run to get to his first class. hypothetical. Shifts in Number A shift from singular to plural. it is very common to see an "if" clause. an assertion. I would buy a ranch far away from everybody. especially when these pronouns are followed by a prepositional phrase such as "of us" or "of the students. In addition. In a sentence in the subjunctive mood. It is not correct to write "If I was rich. but as you get older. I am getting wiser. etc." and "It was" becomes "it were." 128 . they would discover that the books are far better than the films. etc. such shifts are common. or vice versa is a definite no-no. they will discover that the books are far better than the films. Incorrect: I used to think school wasn't important. A sentence in the indicative mood is a statement of fact. Correct: If fans of the Harry Potter films would read the Harry Potter books. In writing. Shifts in Mood Mood in sentences is not like mood in people. I never would have made it this far. . there are two moods: indicative and subjunctive. Correct: Jake was running late this morning and had to run to get to his first class. If it were not for you. it is better to avoid "you" constructions altogether in academic writing. . or doubtful. but as I get older. It is common for students to shift person in written sentences. melancholy. Note: In general. therefore. If they were not so kind. The personal "you" is a bit too informal and too direct for academic writing. where he discovered that the teacher had cancelled class. in the subjunctive mood. Correct: I used to think school wasn't important." Take a look at the following sentences in the subjunctive mood: If I were rich. I would have been deeply embarrassed. . captivating readers from beginning to end. who have emotional moods—joyful. Incorrect: We had better arrive early because you never know Correct: We had better arrive early because we don't know what might happen. lazy." "One" "People" "Anyone" "Persons" etc. These shifts confuse the reader and break the coherence and unity of your writing. you get a lot wiser. Incorrect: If one reads The Harry Potter books. .

The deck is crowded with people. Incorrect: Every student Correct: All of the students are doing their best. however. while many other men may be said to possess scarcely any. Everybody was horror-stricken. the one she always carries." And "last" is an adjective describing "night. "Always" is an adverb describing the verb "carries." Most of the descriptive modifiers call the reader's attention to the handbag. The storm rages on furiously for about an hour. for example. When it quiets down a little the sailors look to see if the ship is damaged very badly. other men only in one particular channel. The sky is murky and the wind is blowing hard. letting readers know which one as well as how Ann felt about the bag. it becomes young men. Answer given: 4. to set about discovering in what direction such talent lies. The furious lightning tears the sky and the thunder roars. he may exhibit a greater aptitude than for others. Almost any man with the ordinary capacity for instruction can be taught to do certain things.Incorrect: Anyone is capable of being the next manager because they have had excellent training. Why did you choose to use or not use passive voice in your paragraph? Answer given: Disconnected Modifiers What is a modifier? A modifier is any word or phrase in a sentence that describes or “modifies” some other word in a sentence. 1901." The sentence also includes a descriptive appositive phrase: "the one she always carries. we find several modifiers: Ann's favorite black handbag. Review the paragraph you just wrote for any instances of passive voice. Correct: Anyone is capable of being the next manager because each of them has had excellent training. The tempestuous waves dash up on the side of the ship. "Ann's favorite black" is a cluster of adjectives describing the handbag (the possessive form of a proper name is an adjective because it describes a possession). Without modifiers our sentences would be pretty bare. For some of these." Now. have evidently "nothing in them. 2. The masts of the ship were down. and to all appearance. revise the verb tense shifts in the paragraph. They find out that the prow of the ship is damaged. All men are not alike endowed with natural talent and ability. was stolen last night. Write a paragraph about a time when you turned out to be wrong about someone or something. by Bernard Stuart. it is therefore saiad of such a man that he has a particular talent for such and such a trade. is doing their best. as we believe that every man endowed with reason at all has "something in him. Answer given: 3. 1." however latent the talent may be. Modifiers add descriptive information to a sentence and call the reader's attention to what the writer feels is important. In the distance I see the port. —some men possessing it in a very general way. or their parents for them. What is a disconnected modifier? Lets look at a few examples of sentences with disconnected modifiers: 129 . In the sentence below. Answer given: Revise the following paragraph so that it is free of gender bias. from How to Become a Successful Engineer. making sure your writing is free from shifts and does not contain any gender bias. unifying time as past or present. The storm was so bad that it is indescribable.

In the sentence above.To make sure there would be enough for everyone. And for this reason. with delicate legs and pink faces in which their mis-matched eyes rolled wild and subdued. The matador stared at the bull. three pizzas were ordered. deadly as rattlesnakes. How do problems with modifiers arise? Typically. the subject. Matt is coming with us to the movies along with Allison. as can sentences with limiters like "only" and "sometimes. there was a traffic accident right in front of me. i. Revised to connect the modifiers to their logical subjects. too. Paul ordered three pizzas. Each sentence above has a similar problem: each sentence is unclear because of a problem with the connection between a modifier and the word the modifier is supposed to apply to." 130 . Such disconnects cause the reader to stumble a bit trying to follow the logic of the sentence. I saw a traffic accident right in front of me. the sentence verb(s). wild as deer. though occasionally modifiers add information to other modifiers rather than to the core (see note below). small-bodied. your reader will. modifiers in a sentence add information to one of the elements in the core sentence. While waiting for the bus. these sentences are much easier to follow: To make sure there would be enough for everyone.” Typically. The sentence verb is “wants” (what the subject is doing). Matt and Allison are coming with us to the movies. they huddled. the writer calls our attention to what Amanda wants to watch by adding several modifiers: the adjectives that and new to modify "show. calling attention to what the writer thinks is important or needs further description. gaudy motionless and alert. The sweat pouring down his face. Give it a try in the following sentence: Amanda wants to watch that new show on TV tonight. is to be suspicious of your own writing.. assume that faulty sentences are hidden there in the text.e. to get stuck. and to lose track of the overall meaning of the writer’s text.. also to modify "show" (telling us when the show is on). Sentences written in passive voice can be a source of trouble. quiet as doves. We will look at all of these scenarios next. the sweat pouring down his face. While I was waiting for the bus.e. Don't assume that because you understand your ideas. “Amanda” is the subject in this sentence." or sentences that begin with long modifiers. Scan each sentence to locate the core of the sentence: i. the matador stared at the bull. or worse. the one who performs the action of the sentence (Amanda “wants”)." and the phrase on TV tonight. and any direct or indirect objects so that any modifiers in the sentence become easy to identify. How does one identify and correct a disconnected modifier? The first step in finding disconnected modifiers. However. The direct object of the sentence is actually the whole phrase “to watch that new show on TV tonight. as with finding most any sentence level mistake. disconnected modifiers happen because when writers put their ideas on paper or a computer screen. experienced writers assume that their prose is going to need to be revised for correctness and that revision is a necessary part of writing. (William Faulkner is renowned for layering modifiers in his sentences to produce great depth of meaning with little forward movement in the action of the story. and that you will need to engage in a seek-and-destroy mission to find them out. They also know where to look for mistakes. even experienced writers make sentence mistakes. Instead. they are concerned with organizing their thoughts and developing their ideas rather than with correct grammatical expression of those ideas. Consider the following sentence: "Calico-coated.

I don’t know when I will be coming to visit. Typical Trouble Spots • tapes. but much more logical.Misplaced modifiers Things go wrong when modifiers are not well connected to their subjects. many factors should be considered. the reader expects writers to follow the rule. concert in in the my mile car. One source of trouble is misplacement of a modifier. Such modifiers are said to be “dangling” because like a dangling thread in a blanket. General transitional phrases like “in conclusion. I have to say that I am not sure when I can come. the subject of the modifier in this sentence is “many factors.” The sentence is longer. The rule is that modifiers should be placed next to the word they modify. in the sentence “In terms of your letter.” “from what I can see. are often used improperly. Dangling modifiers Another problem with modifiers arises when the modifier refers to a subject that is not actually named in the sentence. A better sentence. the modifier implies a person who makes a response. Amanda wants to watch that new show. The sentence needs to be revised so that the modifier and the rest of the sentence fit together logically: corrected: When buying a new cell phone. however. it appears as if the writer is saying Amanda is on TV tonight. Take a look at the following example: When buying a new cell phone. consumers should consider many factors." That combination is not logical: factors do not buy cell phones.” “thus. Rochelle almost beat everyone in the class corrected: Rochelle beat almost everyone in the class in the mile race. you pass under two main towers. under. Here are a few more examples of sentences with dangling modifiers and their possible solutions: My French improved dramatically by listening to the French language corrected: My French improved dramatically after I listened to the French language tapes. 131 • . For example. and confusion results when modifiers are in another place in the sentence. they are not woven into the fabric of the sentence. The modifier should be next to “new show” to make the sentence logical. if not. Consider the above sentence with a modifier presented out of place: On TV tonight. correcting this disconnect is “In response to your question about my coming to visit.” “regarding. get rid of the phrase (often these phrases are unnecessary anyway) and rewrite the sentence another way. Watch out for shifts from active to passive voice between an opening modifier and the rest of the sentence. Not so clear. you pass Use of passive voice can lead to modifier problems (as in the last example in the previous section).” the introductory phrase points vaguely to a letter. Make sure that the phrase actually modifies the word next to it. As you come across the bridge.” “in terms of. right? With placement of the modifier “on TV tonight” next to Amanda.” etc. Here are a few more examples of misplaced modifiers: Isaac went to the REM corrected: Isaac went in my car to the REM concert. and the subject of the sentence is a person. The opening modifier "when buying a new cell phone" suggests a person as the subject (people buy cell phones). race. there are two main towers corrected: As you come across the bridge. and the rest of the sentence points to the writer’s thoughts about that letter.

Seattle is the most active. Be sure to check the subject implied by the modifier against the actual subject the modifier refers to. 132 . When I wake up in the morning. after having been in the heat in the city just a few hours earlier. Gerhard Richard. After we rise and have coffee and eggs. Consider the ambiguity in the sentence below: Wrong: Maria only wants Right: Only Maria wants a salad. Dickens' father was sent to prison for debt. When doing the same work. Passing through the different cities. the first thing we see is the Patterson Diner. Answer given: 7. Answer given: 2. Answer given: Rewrite the following paragraph. Approaching the town from the ocean. When sleeping at night. 1914. 1. the family moved to Chatham. revised paragraph into the text box. When a boy. till the sun is well above the horizon. Wash out your shirt with soap and cold water. Answer given: 5. or Maria wants only a salad. 11. The ocean breeze chilled us through. you will not even be able to tell that the stain was there. Our mule brays out in the pen. correcting any dangling or misplaced modifiers. I often lie in bed for an hour. restaurant. doing nothing except enjoying the peace of the morning. Out of the dryer. Justin likes to go to a really expensive restaurant. Last summer while spending a few weeks in Wyoming. Answer given: 8. Dickens always remembered this time as the happiest days of his life. Answer given: 9. Rewrite each sentence below to correct any dangling or misplaced modifiers. We cut down some of the trees making a path through the woods and built our cabin in a clearing about one mile from the main road. The birds sing somewhere deep in the forest. my fears went away. a busy scene meets our eyes. Answer given: 10. When tucked into bed. the kids laughing as they help their mother with the dishes are noticed for the first time. When a few years old. The cabin is snug and sound. You may prefer to copy and paste the paragraph into a word processor for editing and then paste the finished. so many striking things about the forest are seen that it is difficult to determine what to attend to. Wrong: Justin occasionally likes to go to a really Right: Occasionally. A rug adds to the warmth of the cabin and also deadens the sound when walking around the room. a expensive salad. Going out through the front door. Answer given: 6. the salaries should be identical. The Study and Practice of Writing English. Answer given: 3. And paying attention to the sounds immediately inside the house. Houghton Mifflin. the annual rodeo was held. the breeze gently enters through the numerous open windows.• Problems can arise with placement of limiting modifiers between subject and verb. then run it through the dryer. • Long modifiers at the beginning or end of a sentence can be a source of trouble. Answer given: Adapted from Lomer. Answer given: 4.

To reflect this variety of thought. and of hearing that he was universally liked. who took her so much by surprise in his application for her hand. Take a look at the following passage by Nathanial Hawthorne from "Tanglewood Porch. can be quick and inspired. and into the nooks of the many-colored woods. that. and was in conversation with her. Darcy. and to use sentence variety effectively to communicate their thoughts to a reader: • • • • • coordination and subordination cumulative sentences length transitional expressions colons & semicolons Hawthorne. was assembled a merry party of little folks. Charlotte tried to console her. compound sentences. with a tall youth in the midst of them. rambling and reflective. He walked away again immediately. When those dances were over she returned to Charlotte Lucas. As yet. the morning mist filled up the whole length and breadth of the valley. on a gently sloping eminence. when she found herself suddenly addressed by Mr. In this module. however." A Wonder-Book for Girls and Boys. drawing the reader into the scene. complex sentences. our sentences should also be varied." Notice how he varies his sentences to create a distinctive mood: BENEATH the porch of the country-seat called Tanglewood. and she was left to fret over her own want of presence of mind. Nathanial. one fine autumnal morning." allows writers to show thoughts or actions which follow one another. for example with the coordinating conjunctions "and" and "so. students will learn to use the techniques below to create sentence variety in their writing. to show a quick succession of events: She danced next with an officer.Sentence Variety Objectives: Our thoughts. or terse and even irritable. without knowing what she did. "Tanglewood Porch. one by one. They had planned a nutting expedition. and were impatiently waiting for the mists to roll up the hill-slopes. Using sentence structures effectively to reflect our thoughts and feelings takes practice and and appreciation of how form relates to perception. (Hawthorne) Hawthorne uses a variety of sentence forms in this paragraph— periodic and loose sentences. Subordination: 133 . There was a prospect of as fine a day as ever gladdened the aspect of this beautiful and comfortable world. His thoughts ebb and flow. the mansion stood. Coordination and Subordination Coordination: Coordination between clauses and between sentence verbs. she accepted him. above which. inquisitive and full of wonder. and for the sun to pour the warmth of the Indian summer over the fields and pastures. Notice how coordination is used in the following passage from Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice. and had the refreshment of talking of Wickham. 1852. and the mood behind our thoughts.

or set the stage for an action to occur. being about the length of a paragraph. Adding phrases and/or subordinate clauses to the front of a sentence allows us to create this effect. He walked away again immediately. How to Use Coordination and Subordination for Variety: For more information on writing sentences using coordination and subordination. and so periodic sentences stand out in your writing. having long ago lost its handle. —he felt a hand on his shoulder . 134 Prejudice. greatly irate at his downfall in the waltz. Pen.Allows writers to show the connections between thoughts and events. as English speakers typically prefer the loose sentence style. They are rarely used in speech. who took her so much by surprise in his application for her hand. please read the lesson in the Coordination & Subordination module. was so much the fitter for a flower-vase. A chair and plate for Hepzibah. was endeavoring to get some coolness of body and temper by looking out of the window towards the sea. There were chairs and plates for three. Pride and Hawthorne. possessing either scent or beauty. (Thackeray) The second sentence is an extreme example. and by Miss Amory's behavior to him. and owning to himself. Take a look at the same passage from Pride and Prejudice used above. as in the following sentences: Without hesitating or looking back at his mom. The House of Seven Gables. she accepted him. All was now ready. 1813. Charlotte tried to console her. and arranged them in a glass pitcher. Darcy. . and of hearing that he was universally liked. general and specific versions of experience. Nathanial. but it is still correct grammar. The reader looks forward to the fulfillment of an expectation. how to use phrases is discussed in the sections on periodic and loose sentences. for example. or the relationships of events in time. and was in conversation with her. Phoebe gathered some roses and a few other flowers. while she and Adam sat at breakfast there--came twinkling through the branches of the peartree. . Austen. Periodic Sentences: Sometimes writers want to create suspense in writing.—whilst he was really trying to compose himself. and had the refreshment of talking of Wickham. which made him look ridiculous in the eyes of the nation.--the same for Phoebe. the twists and turns of cause and effect. Jason got on the bus. and she was left to fret over her own want of presence of mind." Use periodic sentences infrequently in your writing. which was sparkling in the distance. They ask a reader to reflect on an idea or even in greater depth before moving on.--but what other guest did her cousin look for? (Hawthorne) In addition to subordinate clauses. 1851. without knowing what she did. The sentence begins with a series of subordinate clauses and phrases that create the background information—the frame of mind of the main character—for the action that will occur:f "he felt a hand on his shoulder. The early sunshine--as fresh as that which peeped into Eve's bower. and fell quite across the table. and murmuring in a wonderful calm. Consider the following description of breakfast preparations in Nathanial Hawthorne's The House of Seven Gables. that. which had still further insulted his dignity. and whilst Mr. Shortly after Strong had quitted the room. . perhaps that he had acted in a very absurd and peevish manner during the night. Hawthorne uses phrases to elaborate on the scene and slow the forward action. this time noticing the subordinating conjunctions Austen uses to show the way events and thoughts are interconnected: She danced next with an officer. (Austen) Subordinate clauses tend to slow down the forward momentum of actions or a sequence of ideas. When those dances were over she returned to Charlotte Lucas. when she found herself suddenly addressed by Mr. noticing how the subordinate clauses slow down the actions and elaborate on the scene: By way of contributing what grace she could. Jane. which.

She walked out the front door. a round. blue eyes. and then modifying phrases and clauses are tacked onto the end of the sentence. light-colored frock-coats. etc. and so in written texts. It is useful to note that "ing" verbals indicate an action that is being performed by the subject. it is important to vary your patterns. William Makepeace. like an exorcised spirit that had been driven from its old haunts. verbal phrases add detail about what is happening during this action. Penney.—any store that ever received a penny of our money. perhaps. idea 3: use a verbal phrase. Once you learn the techniques. can get boring." These techniques are the same for modifiers used at the beginning of a sentence. The sentence verb in the main clause declares the action of the sentence. indulging in flowered waistcoats. Garnet Hill. Below are examples of loose sentences: I betook myself away. Thackeray. so that sometimes I would not get that she was telling a joke until a minute or two after she told it. For example. a memory. long. and wandered up and down. Too many loose sentences in a row. Gabe walked up to the front of the class to give his presentation. The Financier) How to Create a Loose Sentence: idea 1: repeat a word that was mentioned in the main clause as the beginning of a modifying phrase. and the invariable (for a fairly prosperous man) high hat. and what little hair he had of a sandy hue. haunted by the memory of his last. Cowperwood's—Seneca Davis by name—solid. idea 2: use a noun phrase to rename something discussed in the main clause and begin a modifier with this phrase. ruddy complexion." We use verbal phrases to indicate simultaneous actions. causing the reader to refer back to the main point. Loose Sentences Loose sentences are the opposite of periodic sentences: the main clause appears at the beginning of the sentence." for example. (Dreiser. unctuous. Hold Everything. The History of Pendennis. however. as in the following sentence: Slowly. five feet ten in height. after a mighty struggle. humiliating speech when he forgot half the material. for example. hoping that today would be a better day than yesterday. 1848. "running very fast" or "confused by the instructions. 135 . loose sentences are easy for readers to follow. We receive dozens of catalogs every week from companies like Pottery Barn. for example. a clear. "Haunted. J. Loose sentences are common in speech in English. She had a wonderful sense of humor. "Hoping" happens while she walks out the door. For example. so as always. A verbal phrase includes a verb form—a verb ending in -ing or -ed that is not the sentence verb.C. round body. you can decide on the most effective placement. a humor that was a bit satirical and a bit dry at times. suggests that some outside force is acting upon the subject. with a big. and "ed" verbals indicate an action that happens to the subject. smooth head rather bald. He was exceedingly well dressed according to standards prevailing in those days. A Blithedale Romance) He was a brother of Mrs.How to Write a Periodic Sentence: Several techniques for creating modifiers are discussed in the next section on "Loose Sentences. Bed Bath and Beyond. (Hawthorne.

His mood took a turn for the worse.m. Prepositions such as "without. providing background information. Also note that the repetition is of a key word in the first modifying phrase rather than the main clause. . either showing the subject's thoughts. the more you tell your reader that it is important. the universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed--love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice.m. 1912. as a drummer punctuates a drum rhythm. the meeting that would decide if the company died or became successful beyond imagination. The Hawthorne. he summoned his courage and went to work. Nathanial. They can also help writers vary the opening structures of sentences." "with. that the more space you devote to a topic. Notice that Faulkner uses a verbal phrase ("leaving . Just remember." punctuate the sentence. ") to begin a phrase. The modifying phrases allow the author to add information that fills in the scene. . he remembered that today was the day of his big meeting. as when one gets sleepy driving down an unvarying freeway late at night. forget it forever.idea 4: use a prepositional phrase. Compare the above paragraph with the following one that uses a variety of sentence styles and sentence length: John woke at 6:00 a." "after. his heart full of dread. . and the repetition of a key word ("truths . Suddenly. 1852 Vary Length & Style Financier. Dreiser. or suggesting simultaneous actions. explore the module on subordination. The second paragraph ebbs and flows. One pattern in particular—the simple sentence presented with few (or no) modifying phrases—can get really boring. Some useful transitional expressions are shown below." and "before" establish spatial. He remembered that today was the day of his big meeting. It is easy for readers get familiar with a sentence pattern. Varying the length and style of sentences keeps readers awake. The Blithedale Romance. We cleaned the house before picking up mom at the airport. John dressed slowly. He walked out the front door without looking back. And the short sentences. For more information. such as "John woke at 6:00 a. Here is an example of a loose sentence by Faulkner from his Nobel Prize acceptance speech: [A writer] must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid: and. This technique is very effective for refining ideas. Theodore. so familiar that they start falling asleep. however. temporal. He dressed slowly and ate breakfast without any appetite. He ate breakfast without appetite. teaching himself that. Hesitating at the door. leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart. Do not feel that you need to stop at one phrase if you have more to say. Subordinating Conjunctions: 136 . His mood took a turn for the worse. as in the following example: John woke up at 6:00 a.m. For example. idea 5: use a combination of phrases. Use Transitional Expressions Transitional expressions signify the relation between ideas. or logical relationships between ideas. . He went to work full of dread. "). She believed in being honest above all else.

Answer given: 137 . however. indeed. Answer given: 2. as if it were not his practice to vouchsafe any great warmth of greeting. the matador stared at the bull. Nathanial. "Chiefly About War Matters") Hawthorne. in the same way.cause: because. Jason took out the trash. "Chiefly About War Matters by a Reasonable Man. but only reserved). eventually. white with snow. The crowd hurries toward home along the streets. consequently. similarity: accordingly. when Sentence Adverbs: effect: consequently. and Leutze allowed us to gaze at the cartoon of his great fresco. (Hawthorne. as only a man of true genius can speak of his own works. firstly. amplification: what is more. "The matador. though. although. shortly. Meanwhile the noble design spoke for itself upon the wall. so that concession: although. Megan blacked out. Answer given: 5. on the whole time: meanwhile. 6. even though. provided that. Answer given: 3. if. Use at least one prepositional phrase. afterward. as long as. since. exception: however. thus exemplification: for instance. as soon as. though outvoted. His detractors. Answer given: 9. stared at the bull. unless time: after." Relocate the modifying phrase(s) in each sentence. Answer given: 4. moreover summary: in sum. before. have not been silenced. Brian loved to sail. while. after all. whenever. Because she is loyal and brave." might become "Hoping to end the fight quickly. The conversation ended. on the other hand. his look grew kindly and genial (not that it had ever been in the least degree repulsive. in the first place Consider the way subordinating conjunctions and sentences adverbs break up the subject first pattern in the following paragraph: He looked at us. though. second. for example. despite. Deep red through the fog. one verbal phrase. nevertheless. the sun sets. It is by his poetry that Milton is best known. Answer given: Add a modifying phrase or subordinate clause to the beginning of each of the following 5 sentences. regardless addition: in addition. similarly. and one subordinate clause. we admire Ariella. except upon sure ground of observation. Soon. first. even though. and talked about it unaffectedly. in the first place. as. with keen and somewhat guarded eyes." 1. Answer given: 7. For example. as though condition: even though. Answer given: 8. as. hoping to end the fight quickly. as long as. even if.

10. Dorothy dropped her iPod. Answer given: Add a modifying phrase or subordinate clause to the end of each of the following 5 sentences. Use at least one phrase beginning with the repetition of a key word from the main clause, one noun phrase renaming a subject or idea in the main clause, one verbal phrase, and one subordinate clause 11. She became angry. Answer given: 12. There was something else mingled with his pain. Answer given: 13. Our dreams do not really die. Answer given: 14. Fear can overcome the senses. Answer given: 15. The President spoke privately to the Vice President. Answer given: 7. Write a paragraph using good sentence variety on the following topic: Coping with Answer given: pain (or hardship, if you prefer).

Coordination & Subordination Objectives: To learn appropriate and effective use of coordinating and subordinating conjunctions to combine sentences, phrases, and words. To learn how to revise paragraphs for coherence, rhythm, and movement by combining sentences using coordination and subordination. Coordination and coordinating conjunctions... Coordinating conjunctions allow us to connect independent clauses of the same level of importance in a single sentence and avoid paragraphs composed of many short, repetitive simple sentences. Seven different coordinating conjunctions allow us to create distinct relationships between clauses: and (the most common coordinating conjunction), is used to combine two similar ideas together: The mechanic fixed the broken tail-light, and he replaced the brakes, too. Note that the above sentence could also be written as a single clause by leaving out the pronoun "he" and using the coordinating conjunction "and" to connect, or coordinate, the two verbs in the sentence as follows "The mechanic fixed the broken tail-light and replaced the brakes, too." A coordinating conjunction can connect words, phrases, and clauses. but is used to join two contrasting ideas together: I thought my tail-light was broken, but it was simply disconnected from the plug. yet is similar to "but," in that it is used to join two contrasting ideas; however, "yet" is used instead of "but" to really emphasize a contrast: She finally booked a trip to Paris, France, yet she only plans to stay four days. or joins two alternative ideas together: We can go out to dinner with my parents, or we can go to the movies with Mike and Sumi. 138

nor joins two negative alternatives together: My boyfriend does not want to go out to dinner with my parents, nor does he want to go the movies with Mike and Sumi. so is used to join clauses in a cause and effect relationship, and is similar in meaning to the subordinating conjunction "hence." Both words indicate an effect or result of something. However, "hence" has a more formal tone and subordinates one idea to the other, while "so" is more casual in tone and maintains equal importance of the clauses. At the ticket counter, Manny discovered he had forgotten our concert tickets, so we had to miss half the show while we went home to get them. for is also used to join clauses in a cause and effect relationship and indicates a reason why something happens. Thus, "for" is similar in meaning to "because," "as," or "since." However, "because," usually suggests that the reason is the most important part of the idea: "I got rid of my television because it was destroying my brain cells." "As" and "since" are usually used to show that the reason why something happened is not as important as the main clause, or that the reason is well-known already: "As you have a television and I don't, how about I come to your house to watch the NBA playoffs?" "For" is usually used to indicate that the reason is an afterthought, an idea that emerges once the first idea is stated. I hated listening to her talk, for she spoke in a high nasal voice. She refuses to admit she hates her boss, for she dislikes conflict with anyone. Coordination creates rhythm and balance, and improves coherence in a writer's sentences. Compare the following paragraphs to see how coordination improves the writing: The realities of the land and its inhabitants obviously color the fiction of any area, but there is also a literary style that thrives on exaggeration. The exaggerations of the Texan comprise a distinct body of folk material, but nowhere has exaggeration been more artfully cultivated than in contemporary fiction. (Max Apple, from his Introduction to Southwest Fiction, 1980). Without coordination: The realities of the land obviously color the fiction of any area. The realities of the people color the fiction as well. There is also a literary style that thrives on exaggeration. The exaggerations of the Texan comprise a distinct body of folk material. Nowhere has exaggeration been more artfully cultivated than in contemporary fiction. Coordination in a series... Coordinating conjunctions are also used to connect items in a series. These items can be phrases or single words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs). In any series the items must be parallel, or coordinate (like) items. For example, Mark brought steak, lettuce, tomatoes, and charcoal to our bar-b-que. To surprise her mom, Nellie washed the dishes, took out the trash, and vacuumed the living room. Michelle liked to eat well but hated to exercise. Coordination shows that each item in a series is of equal importance and similar structure. Coordination also makes the writing easy to follow; having read the first one or two items in a series, a reader assumes the writer will follow the established pattern until the conclusion of the sentence. Notice how coordination makes the sentences below easy to follow: Whether the chase involves a car, a horse, a wife, or a fortune, the quest itself often sbustitutes in Southwestern literature for the close observation of manners that is characteristic of a more settled society. And in the following example, notice how coordination is used effectively throughout the paragraph to develop the main idea that Southwestern fiction has its own peculiar "rhythms and cadences" influenced by Spanish culture: 139

The story is told in repetitious rhythms and cadences that are peculiar to the area. There is a touch of the Southern in this rhythm but the Southwest is, on the whole, remarkably separate from the literary territory of the South. The South has the Civil War and slavery as its unique heritage; the Southwestern motif is distinctly Spanish. The Indian occupies the tragic center of Southwestern history and fiction, but it is the Spanish culture that marks the area with its particular regionalism. Spanish words are a part of Southwestern language; Mexican food is almost as pervasive as pizza and hamburgers. "Remember the Alamo" is still the ringing phrase of the Southwest, and school children in Texas celebrate the victory over Mexico on San Jacinto Day, but the Mexican culture has not been destroyed. . . .(Max Apple, from his Introduction to Southwest Fiction, 1980). Subordination... A subordinate clause depends upon another clause, the independent clause, to complete its meaning. For this reason, the subordinate clause is sometimes called a "dependent" clause. The subordinate clause is identifiable by the presence of a subordinating conjunction such as after, although, before, once, and whenever, although there are many more to choose from. Each subordinating conjunction establishes a specific relationship between the clauses, often with subtle and important distinction. In addition, a subordinate clause can create movement and style in a piece of writing by directing the reader's attention ahead in anticipation of the main clause, as in the following sentence: Once Simone finishes the final exam, she will join us at the graduation party A subordinate clause can also direct the reader's attention backwards, as in this sentence: I ate the Col. Sanders Kentucky Fried Chicken, extra crispy, for lunch, although my doctor recommends that I avoid fried food. This ebb and flow movement adds variety and emphasis, helping a writer get away from repetitive and boring sentences. Common subordinating conjunctions... Some common subordinating conjunctions are shown below and on the next few tabs, along a description of how they are used: Cause "Because," "as" and "since," can all be used to begin a clause giving the reason for something happening. However, subtle differences between these words should shape how you use them: "Because" should be used when the reason is the most important part of the sentence: I arrived late because I had a flat tire and had to call AAA to come and fix it. "As" and "since" are used when the reason has already been established: Since you don't like scary movies, then you probably shouldn't come with us to see Sawz. "So that" is used to indicate the effect or outcome of something: So that she wouldn't be late for work, she set her alarm clock for 6:00 a.m., giving her an extra half hour to get ready. 140

because, as, since

so that

Subordinating conjunctions: concession and comparison...

Concession and Comparison "Though" is the most casual of these terms used to show contrast. Use "even though" when you want to show strong surprise (the word "even" adds emphasis and is used in combination with subordinators like "when," and "if") although, though, Even though the particular causes of global warming even though, as are not clear to me, I do understand the consequences. though "As though" is used to suggest that something is highly unlikely to happen, or should not even be considered reasonable. It is used in casual rather than formal writing: Gabriel asked me out last night, as though I had shown any interest in him at all. "As" is used to show similarities between things: as As sand falls through an hourglass, so fall the days of our lives. As a thesis is the controlling idea of an essay, a topic sentence is the controlling idea of a paragraph. "While"and "whereas" can both be used to show contrast, but not contradiction. For example, I have always liked the Rolling Stones, whereas T.J. only likes their old stuff. while, whereas While white wine is good with fish and chicken, red wine is better with meat. versus Though I like to go out to eat, I don't like to go to crowded restaurants. Subordinating conjunctions: condition

Condition even though, Each of these three subordinating conjunctions is used to though, indicate a contrasting condition. "Though" is the least although formal of the three. "Even though" means "despite that fact that" and is stronger than "though" and "although" in emphasizing a condition for something. 141

"Even if" points to particular conditions and means "whether or not. "Unless" is used to specify a negative condition. in other words. It is usually used with verbs in the present tense to discuss a future conditional: We will meet at the soccer field. as rules.means no matter where: "Wherever we went." This subordinator is interesting in that it suggests a hypothetical situation as a condition. for something happening: as long as As long as you pay your own way. Even if you were rich. 142 "Where" identifies the place .Even though I am exhausted. I would not go out with you." Both subordinators are used to indicate a condition provided that. unless at the beginning of a clause describes a condition that would prevent something from happening. After Angela took the ibuprofen. we could find a MacDonald's. you may have desert. even if unless Place where wherever Time "After refers to an event or action that occurs after another event or action has occured. her head felt much better." . you are under arrest. "As long as" is a slightly less formal version of "provided that. you are welcome to come along.." then "b"): after After you arrive in Hawaii. "as long as" is used to emphasize a particular duration of time: As long as you live in this house. (after "a. be sure and call to let me know you have arrived safely.. Subordinating conjunctions: place and time if. I have to study for my biology exam tonight. long as "As soon as" is used to point to something that will happen upon the completion of something else: As soon as you finish your dinner. Unless you can provide an alibi for your actions at 10:15 last night. unless it is raining. you will abide by my as soon as.

I will be sure to visit you. whenever When I am in Berkeley. I will be sure and call you." is used to indicate a repeated occurence of something when certain conditions arise. "While" is used to emphasize long duration: While you were out celebrating. If I need advice." and "when" indicate that things are happening simultaneously. or until a certain event has taken place. (before "a" happens. When you called. I was in the tub. It is not often used in introductory clauses: Bush said today that we will stay in Iraq till the war is won. "Till" is similar to "until. We also use "as" to show that one thing is the consequence of another: As you get older. you get wiser. until. I get a headache. 143 . As I was printing out my notes for the meeting. you had better stop delivery on your newspaper. till I didn't know who the bad guy was until the last scene of the movie." though less formal. "As" and "when" are used to describe short events: The phone rang as I was on my way out the door. We often use "just" in combination with "when" and "as" to describe events happening simultaneously." "as. Whenever I drink red wine. "Whenever." and also sometimes "if" and "when. "Until" means up to the time.before "Before" refers to an event or action that must occur before another event or action can take place. "While. when as. or almost simultaneously: Just as she turned to yell at him for knocking her groceries out of her arms. while. he apologized profusely. "b" must occur) Before you leave for Hawaii. I was home cleaning the house. For example. You cannot watch television until you clean your room. my boss called to tell me the meeting was cancelled.

he listens to his iPod. where would you go and why? Answer given: Paragraphs Creating Unified Paragraphs In this module.Note also that with "while" and "when. students will learn to create unified paragraphs having strong topic sentences and supporting details that clearly relate to and develop the topic sentence. as in the following sentences: While walking the dog. Thompson likes to knit when travelling on the train. Why are you in college? Answer given: What would you like to do after you finish school? Answer given: If you could go anywhere for summer vacation this year." it is perfectly correct to leave out the subject and the "to be" verb form. Mrs. Assignment Write a paragraph or two answering each question below using coordination and subordination to connect ideas effectively and create good rhythm in your writing. 144 . Proofread your paragraphs before you press the "submit" button to ensure that you have used coordination and subordination to good advantage. Students will also learn to revise their work to improve paragraph unity.

comparison and contrast. This controlling idea is usually declared in a topic sentence. etc. A small hallway connects the dining room to a laundry room and one car garage where I occasionally notice my aunt loading laundry into the washer or dryer. In a literature analysis essay. a descriptive paragraph that needs work for unity (the controlling idea is underlined): 145 . with enough detail or explanation to make that thought clear to a reader. In narrative paragraphs. and what logic controls the clustering of sentences together in a paragraph. then this" of the story being analyzed. you may wish to complete the Paragraph Coherence Module. For further instruction on paragraph development. I go into a small living room with a fireplace which almost always is vacant. This paragraph lacks a controlling idea. such as comparison and contrast. Like the living room. then this" structure without any real point or purpose other than moving through events. However. the problem is similar: a writer may get caught up in describing aspects of something without having a sense of purpose. Transitional expressions and patterns of development. In brief. They are unsure how long a paragraph should be. or viewing movies in the family room. recounting the "this. What should the reader pay attention to? What is important here? It is the writer's job to create clear direction. For further instruction on paragraph coherence. when one paragraph should end and the next one begin. In descriptive paragraphs. but it is difficult to tell what we are to make of these observations. and describes what he observes there. Peanut. you may wish to complete the Paragraph Development Module. A kitchen and large formal dining room are adjacent to the family room. Supporting sentences contribute information to help the reader see the validity of the controlling idea. Unity in descriptive and narrative paragraphs Creating unity in descriptive and narrative paragraphs can be difficult. and a new thought begins. the dining room rarely is used. wherein the writer focuses on a "this. it is easy to slip into plot summary. The family’s Jack Russell Terrier. Completeness: (or development) Enough specific supporting detail should be provided in the paragraph to make the controlling idea convincing. Every night the family eats dinner at the round wooden kitchen table where I usually notice a lingering scent of vanilla candles. A new paragraph begins when one thought is fully developed. a paragraph is the communication of a single assertion or thought. watching MTV. Coherence: Sentences in a paragraph should progress logically to develop the controlling idea. it is easy to fall into the sequence trap. Rules govern the organization and development of paragraphs and provide useful checkpoints for revision: Unity: All sentences in a paragraph must be unified around a central point or controlling idea. in the adjacent family room. I also regularly find my cousins playing computer games. for example. Writers should select the type of details—description. help create coherence. I frequently notice my aunt and uncle seated on one of their tan leather couches watching the news or Comedy Central. cause and effect.What is a paragraph? Many beginning writers are not exactly sure what a paragraph should look like. Coherence must also be created between paragraphs to help the reader make the transition from one paragraph to the next. The writer narrates his entry into his aunt and uncle's home. instead of focusing on how aspects of the story support an interpretation. often is perched on the couch begging for food or running around. narration.—that best illustrates the controlling idea. Take a look at an example of a narrative and a descriptive paragraph that need work for unity: a narrative paragraph that needs work for unity: As I enter my aunt and uncle’s house. or paragraphs in which a writer tells the story of events.

” the train station is far from being rebuilt. Sentence Unfortunately. the train station would be refurbished.” the train station is far from being rebuilt.The City of Novato has done little to preserve or even commemorate the old Novato Train Station. The historical significance of this sight is immense and needs to be preserved for future generations. The historical significance of this sight is immense and needs to be preserved for future generations. The writer focuses on a rationale for why the City of Novato should preserve the site. The building lies behind a chain-link fence with no warning signs or notices to discourage vandals or warn off curious children from trouble. The author describes the neglected site. however. Practice this process of analyzing each and every sentence in a paragraph to help you identify sentences that break the unity of your own paragraphs. in this paragraph. Maybe if passenger train service were to be implemented on the Northwestern Pacific Railroad track lines. this idea does not fit. take a look at a few strong. each supporting sentence is analyzed in detail for how it does (or does not) support the controlling idea of the paragraph. the City of Novato has done little to preserve or even commemorate the old Novato Train Station. and have a museum added. Maybe if passenger train service were to be implemented on the Northwestern Pacific Railroad track lines. With the recent failure of “Measure R. Speculating about what might bring about change is probably a worthwhile thing to do in this essay. and so meets the reader's expectations. The topic sentence does not really lead the reader to expect this content. doesn't quite meet the expectations created by the topic sentence. but as is. The building lies behind a chain-link fence with no warning signs or notices to discourage vandals or warn off curious children from trouble. unified narrative and descriptive paragraphs. Even though the idea here is closely related to the controlling idea of the paragraph this sentence does not belong in this paragraph. In the table below. Now. it is beyond the scope of the controlling idea. the reader would expect the rest of the paragraph to be about what (little) the City of Novato has done to preserve the old Novato train station. and have a museum added. the train station would be refurbished. The writer may choose to write another paragraph about why the site should be preserved. With the recent failure of “Measure R. This second supporting sentence. The first supporting sentence does support the main idea. Discussion Given the controlling idea as stated in the topic sentence. the paragraph is not unified. However. or reshape the controlling idea here. a description of the state of disrepair of the train station would also be appropriate. 146 .

Assignment Use the techniques for creating good paragraph unity that you have learned in this module to write paragraphs on the topics below. Fill out your meal card when you sit down in the dining car. as Ward Cleaver did. If the student does not master this portion of the essay. downtown street scene. expound on the idea. and defined thesis statement that occurs in the first paragraph of the essay. definition. And so forth. The reduction in income caused the sale of my first home and initiated the cycle of unrest in my father. Find out what is free in your car (drinks. You may choose to write the paragraphs on a word processor and then copy and paste your finished work into the text boxes below.) Wear shoes or lose a toe. etc. You learn behavior by experience—like don’t fool around with the ticket packet—let them do it. Please note: This genre is commonly assigned as a tool for classroom evaluation and is often found in various exam formats. Everyone has an address. and baggage cars. example. It is essential that this thesis statement be appropriately narrowed to follow the guidelines set forth in the assignment. lounge cars. it is your seat or compartment number. Write a unified descriptive paragraph about a local park. concise. Answer given: 2. the analysis of cause and effect. Answer given: 1. Clear and logical transitions between the introduction. or a scene at a local event. and conclusion. Write a unified paragraph about the problems caused by giving kids cell phones before they are teenagers. sleeper cars. engines. it will be quite difficult to compose an effective or persuasive essay. Figure out who you can ask for what. the stress and strain of running two companies and trying to have a family caused him to sell the businesses and return to retail. etc. Instead. This can be accomplished through comparison and contrast. Transitions are the mortar that holds the foundation of the essay together. evaluate evidence. pillows. The train has its own culture and rules. dining cars. a unified descriptive paragraph: The train is like a small town on wheels. He had no time to be with his family. Answer given: The Expository Essay What is an Expository Essay? The expository essay is a genre of essay that requires the student to investigate an idea. Alternatively. The structure of the expository essay is held together by the following: A clear. Without logical progression of thought. body. His home was a place he stored his stuff. you may choose to write a paragraph about why Spring Break should remain a part of the Spring semester schedule in college (assume you are writing to a school board that would like to do away with Spring Break). such as a farmer's market. 1. There is a hierarchy of staffing—just like a government.a unified narrative paragraph: The home [my father] provided his family was not truly his. my father found himself sleeping through the moments he was home. 147 . Always tip. and set forth an argument concerning that idea in a clear and concise manner. towels. The cars are the city blocks. Eventually. and the structure will collapse. newspapers. Write a unified narrative paragraph about a time you turned out to be wrong about someone. the reader is unable to follow the essay’s argument. a place he went when he wasn’t working.

such conciseness creates an ease of readability for one’s audience. and argumentation) are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. This is. or anecdotal). leaving no doubt as to its intent or argument. Argumentation (EDNA) The four genres of essays (description. three evidentiary body paragraphs 3. We hope these resources will help. such essays do not typically allow for a great deal of statistical or factual evidence. the method consists of: 1. What is more. It is important to note that each paragraph in the body of the essay must have some logical connection to the thesis statement in the opening paragraph. 148 . if I were to end the exposition in the middle of my second point. however. Remember. though you may not be crafting the next great novel. synthesize and come to a conclusion concerning the information presented in the body of the essay. middle. A bit of creativity! Though creativity and artfulness are not always associated with essay writing. there would be a beginning. statistical. narration. the expository essay must be complete.Body paragraphs that include evidential support. the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these genres and students’ need to understand and produce these types of essays. a conclusion Contributors:Jack Summary: Baker. A Complete Argument Perhaps it is helpful to think of an essay in terms of a conversation or debate with a classmate. you are attempting to leave a lasting impression on the people evaluating your essay. The Five-Paragraph Essay A common method for writing an expository essay is the five-paragraph approach. logical. Try not to get stuck on the formulaic nature of expository writing at the expense of writing something interesting. and logically so. rather. It is at this point of the essay that students will inevitably begin to struggle. that is because it is. Therefore. This is the portion of the essay that will leave the most immediate impression on the mind of the reader. Although these genres. Note: The Modes of Discourse: Description. Do not introduce any new information into the conclusion. exposition. Narration. questions would arise concerning the current effects on those who lived through the Depression. by no means the only formula for writing such essays. A conclusion that does not simply restate the thesis. also known as the modes of discourse. therefore. Exposition. have been criticized by some composition scholars. Evidential support (whether factual. Allen Brizee. If I were to discuss the cause of the Great Depression and its current effect on those who lived through the tumultuous time. This will allow for clarity and direction throughout the essay. If it sounds straightforward. in fact. Therefore. an introductory paragraph 2. students are required to write expository essays with little or no preparation. Each paragraph should be limited to the exposition of one general idea. and end to the conversation. This resource begins with a general description of essay writing and moves to a discussion of common essay genres students may encounter across the curriculum. In fact. it must be effective and logical. it is an art form nonetheless. but readdresses it in light of the evidence provided. Often times.

Sample argumentative essay A few decades ago, many families had half a dozen or more children.Nowadays,more and more families are choosing to have only one or two children. Are smaller families better than larger ones? Why or why not? State your position and support it with specific reasons and examples. I grew up in a large family—I am the oldest of six—and I have many wonderful memories from my childhood. I am very close to most of my siblings and I treasure my relationships with them. But when I have my own family someday, it won’t be as big as the one I grew up in. As much as my large family was full of love, and as much as I learned about sharing, giving, and patience, I think having too many kids puts too much pressure on the parents, both in terms of time and money, and on the oldest children. When I think back on my childhood, I remember playing with my siblings or grandparents. I don’t remember spending a whole lot of time with my mother and father. They were always around, but they were always busy. My mother was always cooking, cleaning, nursing, changing a diaper, shopping, or taking someone to baseball practice, and my father was always working. He needed overtime whenever he could get it, and weekends were always full of projects around the house. Money was also a constant worry for my family. With so many children, our budget was always tight. Back-to-school shopping was always a stressful time; we all wanted the latest fashions, but we could only get a few things. My younger siblings lived in hand-me-downs. We shopped at bargain stores and often got clothes that we didn’t really like because they were on sale. Our house always needed repairs, and there was never enough money to keep up. Another problem with large families is that the older siblings always end up being babysitters. Like it or not (and most of the time I didn’t like it), I had to watch my younger brothers and sisters. At age six, I could change a diaper like a pro. I was getting my brothers and sisters dressed, giving them breakfast, helping them get ready for bed. I don’t want to give the impression that I didn’t have a happy childhood. I most definitely did; I was loved as much as my parents could love me, and I had wonderful fun with my brothers and sisters. But I always wanted a little more time with Mom and Dad, and I often resented having so much responsibility. I wished my mom wasn’t always so tired and my dad didn’t have to work so much. Because I want to be there more for my kids, because I want them to be kids throughout their childhood, I plan to have a much smaller family.

The Descriptive Essay What is a Descriptive Essay? The descriptive essay is a genre of essay that asks the student to describe an object, person, place, experience, emotion, situation, etc. This genre encourages the student’s ability to create a written account of a particular experience. What is more, this genre allows for a great deal of artistic freedom (the goal of which is to paint an image that is vivid and moving in the mind of the reader). One might benefit from keeping in mind this simple maxim: If the reader is unable to clearly form an impression of the thing that you are describing, try, try again! Here are some guidelines for writing a descriptive essay: Take time to brainstorm 149

If your instructor asks you to describe your favorite food, make sure that you jot down some ideas before you begin describing it. For instance, if you choose pizza, you might start by writing down a few words: sauce, cheese, crust, pepperoni, sausage, spices, hot, melted, etc. Once you have written down some words, you can begin by compiling descriptive lists for each one. Use clear and concise language. This means that words are chosen carefully, particularly for their relevancy in relation to that which you are intending to describe. Choose vivid language. Why use ‘horse’ when you can choose ‘stallion’? Why not use ‘tempestuous’ instead of ‘violent’? Or why not ‘miserly’ in place of ‘cheap’? Such choices form a firmer image in the mind of the reader and often times offer nuanced meanings that serve better one’s purpose. Use your senses! Remember, if you are describing something, you need to be appealing to the senses of the reader. Explain how the thing smelled, felt, sounded, tasted, or looked. Embellish the moment with senses. What were you thinking?! If you can describe emotions or feelings related to your topic, you will connect with the reader on a deeper level. Many have felt crushing loss in their lives, or ecstatic joy, or mild complacency. Tap into this emotional reservoir in order to achieve your full descriptive potential. Leave the reader with a clear impression. One of your goals is to evoke a strong sense of familiarity and appreciation in the reader. If your reader can walk away from the essay craving the very pizza you just described, you are on your way to writing effective descriptive essays. Be organized! It is easy to fall into an incoherent rambling of emotions and senses when writing a descriptive essay. However, you must strive to present an organized and logical description if the reader is to come away from the essay with a cogent sense of what it is you are attempting to describe. Contributors:Jack Summary: Baker, Allen Brizee.

This resource begins with a general description of essay writing and moves to a discussion of common essay genres students may encounter across the curriculum. Note: The Modes of Discourse: Description, Narration, Exposition, Argumentation (EDNA) The four genres of essays (description, narration, exposition, and argumentation) are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres, also known as the modes of discourse, have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these genres and students’ need to understand and produce these types of essays. We hope these resources will help. The Narrative Essay What is a Narrative Essay? When writing a narrative essay, one might think of it as telling a story. These essays are often anecdotal, experiential, and personal—allowing the student to express herself in a creative and, quite often, moving way. Here are some guidelines for writing a narrative essay: 150

If written as a story, the essay should include all the parts of a story. This means that you must include an introduction, plot, characters, setting, climax, and conclusion. When would a narrative essay not be written as a story? A good example of this is when an instructor asks a student to write a book report. Obviously, this would not necessarily follow the pattern of a story and would focus on providing an informative narrative for the reader. The essay should have a purpose. Make a point! Think of this as the thesis of your story. If there is not point to what you are narrating, why narrate it at all? The essay should be written from a clear point of view. It is quite common for narrative essays to be written from the standpoint of the author; however, this is not the sole perspective to be considered. Creativity in narrative essays often times manifests itself in the form of authorial perspective. Use clear and concise language throughout the essay. Much like the descriptive essay, narrative essays are effective when the language is carefully, particularly, and artfully chosen. Use specific language to evoke specific emotions and senses in the reader. The use of the first person pronoun ‘I’ is welcomed. Do not abuse this guideline! Though it is welcomed it is not necessary—nor should it be overused for lack of clearer diction. As always, be organized! Have a clear introduction that sets the tone for the remainder of the essay. Do not leave the reader guessing about the purpose of your narrative. Remember, you are in control of the essay, so guide it where you desire (just make sure your audience can follow your lead). Contributors:Jack Summary: Baker, Allen Brizee.

This resource begins with a general description of essay writing and moves to a discussion of common essay genres students may encounter across the curriculum. Note: The Modes of Discourse: Description, Narration, Exposition, Argumentation (EDNA) The four genres of essays (description, narration, exposition, and argumentation) are common paper assignments you may encounter in your writing classes. Although these genres, also known as the modes of discourse, have been criticized by some composition scholars, the Purdue OWL recognizes the wide spread use of these genres and students’ need to understand and produce these types of essays. We hope these resources will help. The Argumentative Essay What is an Argumentative Essay? The argumentative essay is a genre of writing that requires the student to investigate a topic, collect, generate, and evaluate evidence, and establish a position on the topic in a concise manner. Please note: Some confusion may occur between the argumentative essay and the expository essay. These two genres are similar, but the argumentative essay differs from the expository essay in the amount of pre-writing (invention) and research involved. The argumentative essay is commonly assigned as a capstone or final project in first year writing or advanced composition courses and involves lengthy, 151

detailed research. Expository essays involve less research and are shorter in length. Expository essays are often used for in-class writing exercises or tests, such as the GED or GRE. Argumentative essay assignments generally call for extensive research of literature or previously published material. Argumentative assignments may also require empirical research where the student collects data through interviews, surveys, observations, or experiments. Detailed research allows the student to learn about the topic and to understand different points of view regarding the topic so that s/he may choose a position and support it with the evidence collected during research. Regardless of the amount or type of research involved, argumentative essays must establish a clear thesis and follow sound reasoning. The structure of the argumentative essay is held together by the following: A clear, concise, and defined thesis statement that occurs in the first paragraph of the essay. In the first paragraph of an argument essay, students should set the context by reviewing the topic in a general way. Next the author should explain why the topic is important (exigence) or why readers should care about the issue. Lastly, students should present the thesis statement. It is essential that this thesis statement be appropriately narrowed to follow the guidelines set forth in the assignment. If the student does not master this portion of the essay, it will be quite difficult to compose an effective or persuasive essay. Clear and logical transitions between the introduction, body, and conclusion. Transitions are the mortar that holds the foundation of the essay together. Without logical progression of thought, the reader is unable to follow the essay’s argument, and the structure will collapse. Transitions should wrap up the idea from the previous section and introduce the idea that is to follow in the next section. Body paragraphs that include evidential support. Each paragraph should be limited to the discussion of one general idea. This will allow for clarity and direction throughout the essay. In addition, such conciseness creates an ease of readability for one’s audience. It is important to note that each paragraph in the body of the essay must have some logical connection to the thesis statement in the opening paragraph. Some paragraphs will directly support the thesis statement with evidence collected during research. It is also important to explain how and why the evidence supports the thesis (warrant). However, argumentative essays should also consider and explain differing points of view regarding the topic. Depending on the length of the assignment, students should dedicate one or two paragraphs of an argumentative essay to discussing conflicting opinions on the topic. Rather than explaining how these differing opinions are wrong outright, students should note how opinions that do not align with their thesis might not be well informed or how they might be out of date. Evidential support (whether factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal). The argumentative essay requires well-researched, accurate, detailed, and current information to support the thesis statement and consider other points of view. Some factual, logical, statistical, or anecdotal evidence should support the thesis. However, students must consider multiple points of view when collecting evidence. As noted in the paragraph above, a successful and well-rounded argumentative essay will also discuss opinions not aligning with the thesis. It is unethical to exclude evidence that may not support the thesis. It is not the student’s job to point out how other positions are wrong outright, but rather to explain how other positions may not be well informed or up to date on the topic. A conclusion that does not simply restate the thesis, but readdresses it in light of the evidence provided. It is at this point of the essay that students may begin to struggle. This is the portion of the essay that will leave the most immediate impression on the mind of the reader. Therefore, it must be effective and 152

questions would arise concerning the current effects on those who lived through the conflict. Argumentative essays discussing a number of research sources or empirical research will most certainly be longer than five paragraphs. synthesize the information presented in the body of the essay. a vast array of wildlife. the argumentative essay must be complete. and so are called upon to engage deeply with the topic at hand. Without a concrete image or idea. Which lines do the best job of capturing your interest? The tropical islands of Hawaii are known for beautiful sandy beaches. The Five-Paragraph Essay A common method for writing an argumentative essay is the five-paragraph approach. Restate why the topic is important. perfect weather. leaving no doubt as to its intent or argument. rather. A Complete Argument Perhaps it is helpful to think of an essay in terms of a conversation or debate with a classmate. 153 . İntroductions Opening Lines. The first introduction is the least interesting because it offers so many broad generalizations. and a mixture of cultures. The very first job before you in an essay is to capture your reader's interest and attention. the method consists of 1) an introductory paragraph 2) three evidentiary body paragraphs that may include discussion of opposing views and 3) a conclusion. Consider these openings lines from three different essays about Hawaii. The reader is engaged by the promise of unexpected and surprising information in the essay to follow. middle. In the case of Hawaii. if I were to end the argument in the middle of my second point. however. the sun warming your weightless body. but then surprises the reader by suggesting that in spite of this problem.. palm trees. Hawaii truly is a paradise. by no means the only formula for writing such essays. Do not introduce any new information into the conclusion. it is still possible to experience paradise in Hawaii. Hawaii can still be paradise. In fact. and review your thesis. The second introduction is far more effective at creating interest because of the numerous sensory and concrete details. that is because it is. sources of information and their credibility. The third introduction is also effective because of the element of surprise: the author provides a concrete and interesting statistic about the level of tourism that suggests one conclusion. no sound but the waves gently crashing against the shore and the soft rustling of the palm trees. and end to the conversation. But this is not the case.. the travel brochures do not lie: Hawaii is paradise. Many of these factors will be determined by the assignment. Imagine yourself lying on a white sand beach before a vast. readers will rarely make a strong connection with the topic. Therefore. You may also want to include a short discussion of more research that should be completed in light of your work. Authors may have to discuss the context surrounding the topic. If I were to discuss the cause of World War II and its current effect on those who lived through the tumultuous time. Readers are asked to picture themselves in the scene. This is. the scent of the sea and of coconut oil tanning lotion floating on the breeze. tropical fruits. that Hawaii would be too crowded for a satisfying vacation. review the main points. in fact. Longer Argumentative Essays Complex issues and detailed research call for complex and detailed essays. as well as a number of different opinions on the issue before concluding the essay. sparkling sea. More than 6 million people visit Hawaii each year.logical. it would seem that any pleasures to be had at Hawaii's beautiful beaches and luxurious resorts would be spoiled by overcrowding. there would be a beginning. and logically so. If it sounds straightforward. This is the picture of a typical day in Hawaii. With so many tourists on such a small land mass.

And by the 1940's. Paradise for many of us in the 21st century is having freedom from care and worry. like the freedom Adam and Eve enjoyed before the Fall. if only temporarily. In the early days. try to capture for your reader what drew you in and made you passionate about this topic. the scent of the sea and of coconut oil tanning lotion floating on the breeze. the sun warming your weightless body. put yourself in the place of your reader. And since you know your own idea intimately. drew thousands more tourists to the growing number of hotels along Waikiki Beach. An analogy: 154 . Hollywood films like "Waikiki Wedding" featuring scenes shot on location. Don't include background material that does not have a direct bearing on your topic. Ask yourself. and then assert a new approach or direction for your essay. Hawaii is the number one American tourist destination. but also distractions. A question or several questions to be answered in the essay: Why would anyone want to spend their hard-earned money on a Hawaiian vacation? Definition of a key term in your essay: Avoid dictionary dictionary definitions! This method is over-used in the college essay. no sound but the waves gently crashing against the shore and the soft rustling of the palm trees." He was wrong. there are a few specific strategies that you may adopt. Our first journeys discover to us the indifference of places. shaping them to your own purposes: A short anecdote: Ralph Waldo Emerson once said. That said. "Traveling is a fool's paradise. Imagine yourself lying on a white sand beach before a vast. such as laundry needing to be done. in a short trip to Hawaii. You need to break through these distractions by providing a compelling reason to read.How do you go about writing an introduction that is going to get your reader's attention? To start." or "Throughout American history") Hawaii has been a popular tourist destination since the 1920's. it is possible to go to Hawaii and feel like you are way off the beaten path. under what conditions will my reader pick up this essay? Imagine your reader having a general interest in your topic. A short narrative: This technique is also used above. "Since the beginning of time. sparkling sea. An interesting fact or statistic: This technique is used above. Hawaii is anything but indifferent. Try for a more extended definition that is keyed into your essay topic. Today. Broad generalities merely distract the reader and postpone what is really important in the essay (for example. Relevant background material: Be careful here. A concession: Start with a commonly held belief or opinion. More than 6 million tourists visit Hawaii every year. Paradise can be found. or loud music next door. or kids arguing. Although 6 million tourists visit Hawaii every year. tourists travelled to Hawaii aboard steamships to experience first hand the romantic beauty that had been popularized in Hawaiian songs of the teens. and nothing to do but to enjoy the beauty and bounty of life and each other.

What not to do." detrract from your topic by redirecting the emphasis to you and your methods. full of excitement with a new thrill around every turn. show me. The argument is typically captured in a single sentence we call the "thesis sentence. you could compare Hawaii to other destinations as family vacation spots. between you and the reader. Moving into your thesis. The reader takes in your words in the thesis and says. be sure to turn that question into a statement in your final draft.. you still have options for development with any thesis. "It is still possible to experience paradise in Hawaii... ." You will have to take too many steps to get from such a broad generalization to your specific argument. "Why is their such an obesity epidemic in America?" The answer to this question makes a much stronger thesis: "The obesity epidemic in this country has several causes.. . Given the thesis below (or something similar). showing why Hawaii is the better choice. ...g. "There are three good methods for strengthening the body after muscle injury"). stay within your topic area. Others prefer their vacations to be more like the ride on a ferris wheel. but I will do the best I can. . the introduction should focus the reader's attention on what you will be arguing in the essay itself about your topic. or within a theme tightly connected to your thesis. If you like working with rhetorical questions to help you stay focused.Don't over use rhetorical questions. but you could not include a discussion of why Hawaii is a paradise in this essay because such a discussion is outside the scope of the thesis. or contract. Some writers find a clear question keeps them focused as they are developing their ideas.. If you say. examine it carefully for the language in your thesis statement because the language will determine what you can do in your essay from here on out. instead of going the extra distance to figure out what the argument actually is. but others do not (e. Of course.. the writer settles on a focusing question. "Life without my husband was going to be difficult. for example... and/or you could describe the many different activities for families on the Hawaiian Islands. Once you have your thesis." The diagram (right) helps illustrate the way an introduction should focus the reader's thought: The thesis as a promise. your thesis is "Hawaii is a wonderful place for a family vacation. for example.....Don't describe your writing or thinking process. where the joy of the ride comes more from the scenery and new vistas. San Answer given: Francisco is 155 a great city. but the worst is our fast-food culture." "I am no expert on . ok.. Instead. with this second thesis....Don't feel you must describe the structure of your essay in your thesis (unless your instructor requires such description). than from heart-pounding new experiences." On the other hand a rhetorical question is actually a good focusing device for a draft. write an introduction using an interesting quote to draw the reader in." or "Words are not enough to really explain.Don't begin with a huge generalization like "Throughout history civilizations have grown and died.g. Some essays naturally fall into clear and equal divisions (e. ." the reader will expect to be shown why Hawaii is a great place for families to take a vacation. In addition to capturing the reader's interest and establishing the topic of your essay. and little time to catch one's breath. A thesis is a promise. If." the reader will expect to be shown how one can experience paradise in Hawaii. Statements like "As I was exploring ideas for this topic.Some people desire a vacation to be like a non-stop rollercoaster ride. on the other hand. Instructors don't much like them because they are a often a kind of cop out. for example.") Assignment 1.

job-related documents. Thesis Development Discovering and Developing a thesis: Overview Love notes.. Relationships demand a lot of work. Objectives By the end of this unit. write a conclusion in which you look to the future or provide an analogy. you should be able to do the following: • • • analyze writing assignments for meaning use prewriting techniques and other strategies to discover and shape a topic generate and revise thesis statements for effectiveness 156 . virtually all writers encounter these kinds of questions: What will I write about? How can I get past my “writer’s block”? What can I do when I’ve run out of things to say How should I organize my ideas? What’s the best way to get my point across? As writers gain experience in working through such questions. Relationships are a lot of work. identifying the purpose and audience is the first step in the writing process for most writers. write a conclusion posing a question or challenging your reader to action. essays for class. Given the thesis below (or something similar).. sooner or later. The truth is. how to gather ideas to write about. significant idea).2. By learning how to discover a topic worth writing about. most come to recognize this activity as part of the process of finding and shaping their ideas—not as evidence that they can’t write. given that you did not actually write the essay). 4. Given the thesis below (or something similar). given that you did not actually write the essay). Remember to synthesize ideas in your essay (hypothetically. Remember to synthesize ideas in your essay (hypothetically. even successful writers often use these kinds of questions as a strategy for guiding and evaluating their progress at various points in the writing process. Although they may experience the rest of that process in different ways. write an introduction using a short narrative or useful background material to draw the reader in. Answer given: 3. e-mail to friends. or the next Great American Novel. San Answer given: Francisco is a great city. you’ll gain confidence in your ability to handle the writing tasks that come your way in college and in the rest of your life. Given the thesis below (or something similar). or as best you can. or as best you can. and how to focus on a central theme or thesis (a specific. Whatever the writing task.

places. and who pay close attention to the language of the assignment. These authors have different takes on the severity of the problem. what the teacher most often wants is to hear what the student has learned." William Faulkner uses many techniques of characterization to paint a portrait of the title character. or We have read several essays on global warming by various scientists and global leaders.. the causes. Support your thesis by discussing examples of Faulkner's characterization techniques. and how the student's thinking has evolved based on the reading. After receiving assignments like these." as well as "support" the argument with evidence." for example." and "give examples. the instructor asks students to "take a stand." In the second essay assignment. describe Emily's character. Action verbs are key in writing assignments: what the instructor actually wants a student to do is carried in the verbs. will generally write better essays. In a 1000 word essay. "support. Support your argument with evidence from the readings. etc. analogies demonstrate to make clear through reasoning recommend to present as worthy of acceptance analyze synthesize to separate into constituent parts in order to determine the critical features of the whole to combine elements into a meaningful whole 157 ." Frankly. etc. to talk over to hold up to make something clear to make clear the meaning of a word or term to examine two or more objects (people.) in terms of their likenesses to examine two or more objects (people. those students who have paid close attention to the ideas and language in the reading. and the solutions. There is almost never a "right" answer a teacher is looking for in an essay. Below are typical action verbs used in writing assignments and their definitions: describe narrate discuss support explain define compare contrast argue illustrate to represent by providing a picture (with language) to tell a story to consider or examine. Where do you stand? Write an essay of 1500 words in which you define the problem of global warming and recommend solutions. A typical assignment in an English class looks something like this: In his short story "A Rose for Emily." "discuss.Analyzing Writing Assignments for Meaning . on the other hand. students often worry about "what the teacher wants. places..) in terms of their differences to present reasons for or against something to make clear through examples. In the above assignment on "A Rose for Emily. the actions are "describe. giving examples from the story. Most students write their first essays in response to an instructor's assignment." "define a problem" and "recommend solutions.

I didn't have a functioning pen with me. After clustering. For students who are trying to decide the angle to take on a particular topic. but little idea about what it all means. clustering. getting unstuck: freewriting." Try brainstorming about an assignment when you have nothing else to occupy your mind: in a waiting line. These prewriting techniques are described in detail below: brainstorming: Simply tossing around ideas. for four (delayed train) hours. And so. is the same: to let words flow freely on the assumption that out of this unpressured writing will come an idea. . and I was too shy to ask anybody if I could borrow one. There's nothing to writing. To my immense frustration. And one of the most difficult parts of writing is finding what you want to say. In a brief biography on her website . But feeling stuck is a normal part of the writing process. There is even a term for a severe form of being stuck: writer's block. Focused freewriting is effective when one has a topic but is unsure about what one wants to say about that topic. Given the assignment on global warming above. on the computer or on paper. Many writers use this technique for developing ideas. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. K. until you find a groove and ideas start to flow. I think. black-haired. —Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith It isn't easy to write an essay. . Write a tentative thesis on a piece of paper and run it by your instructor during office hours.. and this scrawny. how much of what I imagined on that journey I had forgotten by the time I actually got my hands on a pen). now. a student might use clustering to compare the readings on particular topics of discussion.com) freewriting: Writing non-stop about whatever comes to mind. on a long car ride. you may have a pretty good sense at the outset of how Faulkner describes Emily. these ideas having arrived when they were just musing about things. and all the details bubbled up in my brain. I think that perhaps if I had had to slow down the ideas so that I could capture them on paper I might have stifled some of them (although sometimes I do wonder. clustering: Clustering emphasizes the relationships between ideas and is useful in exploring various angles on a topic. Also be sure that your thesis is narrow enough or broad enough to develop in an essay that fits the instructor's word count requirement. then jotting down a few key ideas that may be useful. J.. brainstorming.rowling. The search engine "clusty. one ends up with categories of information on a particular topic. Focused freewriting is similar to freewriting. and more connected to one's own voice. bespectacled boy who didn't know he was a wizard became more and more real to me. You may be surprised at the ideas you come up with. that this was probably a good thing. and often say that they end up jotting down their best ideas on gum wrappers and napkins.apply to put to use Take the time to reflect on the language in the assignment itself to determine what it is your instructor actually wants you to do. The point of all of the strategies.com" will even cluster most any topic for you. What can you do about it? There are several techniques for getting going. in traffic. Plus. Using Prewriting Techniques and Other Strategies to Discover and Shape a Topic. idly. Rowling tells of how a long. either in one's head. whether you are a beginner or a professional writer. because I simply sat and thought. Make sure that you understand how much freedom you really have. etc. but the topic is defined. 158 . (j. boring train ride led her to develop the story of Harry Potter: I had been writing almost continuously since the age of six but I had never been so excited about an idea before. Given the "Rose for Emily" assignment above. listing. you're stuck. When the topic is up to you . however. clustering is quite useful. Freewriting is particularly effective in making writing seem more natural and familiar. or in discussion with a friend.k. rather than sitting down at a desk "to write. in that one writes non-stop. you may end up with some material that you can actually use in the essay itself.

in an unordered list.".. this topic may be defined for you by your instructor. Generating and Revising Thesis Statements for Effectiveness.com. finding one that works for you is just a matter of analyzing your evidence and your assignment. ought to have been followed by an asterisk. December 26. But satellite measurements show that our local star dims and brightens slightly in concert with sunspot cycles. Gore is referring to? Is there really a scientific community 159 . Generating a thesis statement: The first step in developing a thesis is defining a topic. which range from nine to 14 years. Take a look at the variety of angles on global warming that professional writers have come up with. It is a bit like shorthand freewriting and is quite useful to students having trouble putting pen to paper. Also important is the language of the assignment: if your instructor asks you to "describe. Gore made in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC.For example. Could such tiny fluctuations be responsible for changes in climate? from "Don't Believe the Hype: Al Gore is wrong. Gore assures us that "the debate in the scientific community is over. some of them a bit odd: • • • • • • • children recipes plantains tropics plants film comedy listing: is simply writing down key words and phrases on a topic. Lindzen. It's time to lay that misapprehension to rest." your thesis should reflect this purpose. There's no "consensus" on global warming. and determining where the truth. Washington Post. Many angles on a given topic are possible. As mentioned above. WSJ. which Mr. or you may have the freedom to define a topic for yourself." Richard S. What exactly is this debate that Mr. . Thesis statements are underlined: from "Undeniable Global Warming." "illustrate. The next step is to decide what you will say about your topic. as you see it. . We need to stop repeating nonsense about the uncertainty of global warming and start talking seriously about the right approach to address it. lies. Mr. 2006." Naomi Oreskes. a search on "bananas" brings up the following clusters—some of them useful." or "explain.. There is a scientific consensus on the fact that Earth's climate is heating up and human activities are part of the reason. 2004: Many people have the impression that there is significant scientific disagreement about global climate change. 2005: In the debate over global warming. at least one thing seems constant: the sun. July 2. October 9. That statement.) from "Setting the Record Straight: Blame the sun?" Seattle Times. and the prewriting techniques described in the previous section will help you here.

development problems." And Naomi Oreskes. .that is debating all these issues and then somehow agreeing in unison? Far from such a thing being over. but after living on the ship for three years. but don't worry too much about the exact sentence structure until you revise your essay. A working thesis: You do not need to worry about finding the perfect langauge for your thesis before you begin writing your essay. Unfortunately. no argument: A thesis that states a topic without an angle on that topic is just information. problems with a thesis lead to big problems in the essay: lack of focus. it has never been clear to me what this "debate" actually is in the first place. and circumstances of the times they grew up in. but the connection between these topics is not clear: TV families often confront issues such as gender. the content suffers on all levels." may well have started with a working thesis like "Contrary to what Al Gore says." A working thesis is not a perfectly refined piece of writing. and these 160 . thesis as a question: Instructors frown on this strategy for beginning an essay. "Don't believe the hype. A reader wonders what is the point? What does the writer want me to think about this situation? The qualities and the atmosphere of the two households can be very different based on various factors like age of kids. and even sentence-level problems. there has been no debate among scientists about global warming. Every good essay begins with an argument: something the author believes to be true and worth proving. ready to be read by a reader. because when a writer is unsure about direction. Some of the most common problems are described below: weak argument: When the argument is weak. unity problems. A much stronger tactic is to turn that question into a statement (though the question may work quite well as working thesis. Richard Lindzen. age of parents. and is that price worth it? Revising Your Thesis: When your thesis lacks clarity. helping you to focus on your reader's needs). race and ethnic stereotypes but do not often reflect the lives and hardships of real American families. in drafting his article. multiple directions: The language of the thesis suggests that the writer will explore several topics. and a list of subordinating conjunctions). but a statement of what you will argue in the essay. one that does not need more than a paragraph of support: It was hard to call a ship home. nor do you need to write your introduction. . the thesis focuses on a seemingly insignificant or minor point. and not with the specific content of the argument. But is the “American Dream” really such a dream? What does it really cost us to achieve that dream. it became difficult to think of it as anything else. in drafting her article. which is really concerned with drawing the reader into the argument. The key words should be there which focus your work. Subordinate clauses are attached to the main clause via a subordinating conjunction. may well have begun with "scientists do agree that global warming is occurring. rewriting the sentence to include a subordinate clause might help (see our module on coordination/subordination for more detail. Common Thesis Statement Problems: A solid thesis is the foundation of a good essay.

Argumentative essays When Though May The Whose Where Who And blithe to argument I armed with facts. they do not reflect the real day to day problems American families face. Consider the revision of the problematic thesis below: original thesis: TV families often confront issues such as gender. and in writing for a popular audience. the reader will not be able to follow you (you probably won't stay focused as you write the essay either). . . the subordinator "because" suggests the writer will be concerned with the causes for something. repairing these mapping statements is easy. Providence protect me from fool as adversary. See if the content of your thesis might actually fit under a broader umbrella." actually takes attention away from the argument itself and weakens your voice in the essay. for the most part. In such moments. we feel there is no justice in the universe. for example. If the thesis appears to be going in many directions. our belief that something is true or right is not proof that it is right. don't draw a map for development unless your teacher requires it. . calls conviction prejudice prejudice —Phyllis McGinley come. mind to him a kingdom is reason lacks dominion. 161 . An argument is an attempt to convince others of a truth as we perceive it. Sometimes. the subordinator can give you a sense of what you want to do in the essay. particularly in the biological or social sciences. and so today. opinion. designed so that information can be processed quickly. In the revision. In these disciplines. As much as we would have it be otherwise. you can just cut them out. and merry. we expect arguments to have particular features: a claim. Some instructors will ask for a map. and so we must argue. essay structures are often pragmatic. revised thesis: Even though contemporary TV sitcoms try to be real by confronting social problems such as ethnic stereotyping and gender inequality. . A thesis that begins with a phrase like "In this essay I will argue. Arugments in written form have been around since ancient Greece. do not necessarily see truth and righteousness as we do. a common thread is found between the seemingly disparate topics of the original version: the topic becomes "how well TV sitcoms succeed at being real. however. or no God to ensure that there is good in the world." "I will first. it is the angle on the content that shifts—how the writer spins the content. the subordinator "if" suggess the writer will be concerned with conditions for something happening. Other human beings. and then. such as for a newspaper or magazine. . Revise your thesis so that you are proving just one thing. say one thing. prove to others that our truths are valid truths. but in the humanities. however. Fortunately. . " or "I hope to show that. race and ethnic stereotypes but do not often reflect the lives and hardships of real American families. All of us have had an encounter with a policy or practice that seems to go dead against what we know to be right." The content of the essay will not need to be dramatically altered. a more subtle approach is called for.conjunctions identify specific relationships between ideas. and not three or four things.

Still others could argue that corporations. Example of a non-debatable thesis statement: Pollution is bad for the environment. Your thesis or claim must be supported by evidence. First. Some people might think that this is how we should spend the nation's money. the more evidence you will need to convince readers that your position is right. In this module. Example of a debatable thesis statement: At least twenty-five percent of the federal budget should be spent on limiting pollution. This thesis statement is not debatable. students will learn to construct a strong argument that has these features. generally the narrower the thesis the more effective your argument will be. what does the author mean by "society"? Is the author referring only to America or to the global population? Does 162 . should be paying to limit pollution. This is an example of a debatable thesis because reasonable people could disagree with it.evidence to support a claim. the word pollution means that something is bad or negative in some way. all studies agree that pollution is a problem. Another example of a debatable thesis statement: America's anti-pollution efforts should focus on privately owned cars. or all uses of medication in general? Second. Others might feel that we should be spending more money on education. what is included in the category "drugs"? Is the author talking about illegal drug use. they simply disagree on the impact it will have or the scope of the problem. a refutation of opposing arguments. not the government. Example of a thesis that is too broad: Drug use is detrimental to society. There are several reasons this statement is too broad to argue. Further. Objectives: In this module students will learn to • • • • state a clear claim provide convincing evidence to support a claim refute opposing arguments write a strong conclusion Developing Strong Thesis Statements The Thesis statement or main claim must be debatable An argumentative or persuasive piece of writing must begin with a debatable thesis or claim. Some citizens might think focusing on recycling programs rather than private automobiles is the most effective strategy. In this example there is also room for disagreement between rational individuals. If your thesis is something that is generally agreed upon or accepted as fact then there is no reason to try to persuade people. recreational drug use (which might include alcohol and cigarettes). in what ways are drugs detrimental? Is drug use causing deaths (and is the author equating deaths from overdoses and deaths from drug related violence)? Is drug use changing the moral climate or causing the economy to decline? Finally. In other words. and a conclusion. The thesis needs to be narrow Although the scope of your paper might seem overwhelming at the start. No one could reasonably argue that pollution is good. First. The broader your claim is. the thesis must be something that people could reasonably have differing opinions on.

the author make any distinction between the effects on children and adults? There are just too many questions that the claim leaves open. how we would rate or categorize something. such as researching renewable energy sources. This thesis narrows the scope of the argument by specifying not just the amount of money used but also how the money could actually help to control pollution. In this example the the topic of drugs has been narrowed down to illegal drugs and the detriment has been narrowed down to gang violence. Thinking about how you want to approach your topic. Example of a narrow or focused thesis: Illegal drug use is detrimental because it encourages gang violence. Claims of fact or definition: These claims argue about what the definition of something is or whether something is a settled fact. Claims of cause and effect: These claims argue that one person. researching renewable energy sources. Claims about solutions or policies: These are claims that argue for or against a certain solution or policy approach to a problem. Example: The popularity of SUV's in America has caused pollution to increase. is one way to focus your thesis on one particular aspect of you broader topic. your audience. Example: What some people refer to as global warming is actually nothing more than normal." or "on average" also help to limit the scope of your claim by allowing for the almost inevitable exception to the rule. This thesis narrows the scope of the argument by specifying not just what the focus of a national antipollution campaign should be but also why this is the appropriate focus. Which type of claim is right for your argument? Which type of thesis or claim you use for your argument will depend on your position and knowledge on the topic. Example: Global warming is the most pressing challenge facing the world today." "usually. Example: Instead of drilling for oil in Alaska we should be focusing on ways to reduce oil consumption. and planting more trees in order to control or eliminate pollution. whether we value it or not. The author could not cover all of the topics listed above. You might want to think about where you imagine your audience to be on this topic and pinpoint where you think the biggest difference in viewpoints might be. We could narrow each debatable thesis from the previous examples in the following way: Narrowed debatable thesis 1: At least twenty-five percent of the federal budget should be spent on helping upgrade business to clean technologies." "generally. thing. and the context of your paper. Narrowed debatable thesis 2: America's anti-pollution efforts should focus on privately owned cars because it would allow most citizens to contribute to national efforts and care about the outcome. Even if you start with one type of claim you probably will be using several within the paper. in other words what type of claim you want to make. Qualifiers such as "typically. Types of Claims Claims typically fall into one of four categories. Regardless of the type of claim you choose to 163 . long-term cycles of climate change. Claims about value: These are claims made about what something is worth. This is a much more manageable topic. or event caused another thing or event to occur. yet the generality of the claim leaves all of these possibilities open to debate.

or personal experience and anecdotes. If you are writing for a group of residents in your hometown. however. and websites. Second hand research is research you are getting from various texts that has been supplied and compiled by others such as books. Beware of using sites like Wikipedia. Karl Stolley. Regardless of what type of sources you use. Because anyone can add or change content. (This is also a good way to find more sources for your own research. These OWL resources will help you develop and refine the arguments in your writing. or well-known non-governmental organizations. Weida. surveys. or other areas that are experiencing rapid changes. Karl Stolley. credible authors will cite their sources so that you can check the accuracy of and support for what they've written. These OWL resources will help you develop and refine the arguments in your writing. How do I know if a source is credible? You can ask the following questions to determine if a source is credible: Who is the author? Credible sources are written by authors respected their fields of study. 164 . Contributors:Stacy Summary: Weida. What type of sources does your audience value? If you are writing for a professional or academic audience.) How recent is the source? The choice to seek recent sources depends on your topic. Responsible. What is the author's purpose? When deciding which sources to use. objective view of a topic? Or is the author advocating one specific view of a topic? Who is funding the research or writing of this source? A source written from a particular point of view may be credible. government program or department. need to be much more current. periodicals. your sources must be reliable. you should take the purpose or point of view of the author into consideration. a credible media outlet. they may value peer-reviewed journals as the most credible sources of information. they must be credible. the validity of information on such sites may not meet the standards for academic research. Be especially careful when evaluating Internet sources! Never use Web sites where an author cannot be determined. they might be more comfortable with mainstream sources.utilize it is key to identify the controversy or debate you are addressing and to define your position early on in the paper! Contributors:Stacy Summary: Using Research and Evidence What type of evidence should I use? There are two types of evidence: First hand research is research you have conducted yourself such as interviews. While sources on the American Civil War may be decades old and still contain accurate information. unless the site is associated with a reputable institution such as a respected university. Is the author presenting a neutral. and trustworthy. In other words. sources on information technologies. A younger audience may be more accepting of information found on the Internet than an older audience might be. which are collaboratively developed by users. experiments. accurate. you need to be careful that your sources don't limit your coverage of a topic to one side of a debate. such as Time or Newsweek.

Example: Claim: Hybrid cars are an effective strategy to fight pollution. made by Toyota. This is important so that the audience is not swayed by weak. Don't avoid the opposing side of an argument. arguments. as opposed to industry produced. the nation should focus on building and encouraging use of mass transit systems. Warrant (also referred to as a bridge): Explanation of why or how the data supports the claim. Rebuttal: While mass transit is an environmentally sound idea that should be encouraged. 165 . Warrant 2: Cars generally have a long lifespan. Backing (also referred to as the foundation): Additional logic or reasoning that may be necessary to support the warrant. Including a well thought out warrant or bridge is essential to writing a good argumentative essay or paper.org "the hybrid engine of the Prius. include the opposing side as a counterclaim. it is not feasible in many rural and suburban areas. Find out what the other side is saying and respond to it within your own argument. According to ineedtoknow. Data 2: Each vehicle produced is going to stay on the road for roughly 12 to 15 years. Counterclaim: A claim that negates or disagrees with the thesis/claim. You may want to include several counterclaims to show that you have thoroughly researched the topic. thus hybrid cars are a better solution for much of the nation's population. Instead. Including counterclaims allows you to find common ground with more of your readers. meaning that a decision to switch to a hybrid car will make a long-term impact on pollution levels. Data: Evidence gathered to support the claim. Rebuttal: Evidence that negates or disagrees with the counterclaim. the underlying assumption that connects your data to your claim. Warrant 1:Because cars are the largest source of private.Organizing Your Argument How can I effectively present my argument? Use an organizational structure that arranges the argument in a way that will make sense to the reader." Counterclaim: Instead of focusing on cars. but unrefuted. air pollution switching to hybrid cars should have an impact on fighting pollution. Warrant 3: This combination of technologies means that less pollution is produced. If you present data to your audience without explaining how it supports your thesis they may not make a connection between the two or they may draw different conclusions. The Toulmin Method of logic is a common and easy to use formula for organizing an argument. It also makes you look more credible because you appear to be knowledgeable about the entirety of the debate rather than just being biased or uniformed. Data1:Driving a private car is a typical citizen's most air polluting activity. produces 90 percent fewer harmful emissions than a comparable gasoline engine. The basic format for the Toulmin Method is as follows: Claim: The overall thesis the writer will argue for. or for people who must commute to work. which still encourages a culture of driving even if it cuts down on pollution. Data 3: Hybrid cars combine a gasoline engine with a battery-powered electric motor.

if we don't want Z to occur A must not be allowed to occur either. In this example the author is basing their evaluation of the entire course on only one class. Y. Inductive reasoning takes a specific representative case or facts and then draws generalizations or conclusions from them. Z will happen.. In other words. Hasty Generalization: This is a conclusion based on insufficient or biased evidence. and possibly even examine the textbook. then eventually through a series of small steps. Logos often depends on the use of inductive or deductive reasoning. These OWL resources will help you develop and refine the arguments in your writing. used in arguments to support claims and respond to opposing arguments. Karl Stolley. and a decline in bio-diversity everywhere they have been introduced. so fair trade agreements could be used to help other farmers as well. Slippery slope: This is a conclusion based on the premise that if A happens. So. which is not the same thing. Deductive reasoning begins with a generalization and then applies it to a specific case. too. Inductive reasoning must be based on a sufficient amount of reliable evidence. through B. so there is no reason the same thing will not occur when genetically modified corn seeds are introduced in Mexico. Because these agreements have worked the author concludes that it could work for other farmers as well. or talk to others who have previously finished the course in order to have sufficient evidence to base a conclusion on. X. talk to the professor. Using Rhetorical Strategies for Persuasion There are three types of rhetorical appeals. watch out for these slips in other people's arguments. In this example the specific case of fair trade agreements with coffee producers is being used as the starting point for the claim. Example: Even though it's only the first day. Also. Example: If we ban Hummers because they are bad for the environment eventually the government will ban all cars.Contributors:Stacy Summary: Weida.Example: Genetically modified seeds have caused poverty. To make a fair and reasonable evaluation the author must attend several classes.. Example: Fair trade agreements have raised the quality of life for coffee producers. A good argument will generally use a combination of all three appeals to make its case. In other words. the facts you draw on must fairly represent the larger situation or population. Avoid Logical Fallacies These are some common errors in reasoning that will undermine the logic of your argument. I can tell this is going to be a boring course. C. and on the first day which is notoriously boring and full of housekeeping tasks for most courses. In this example the author is equating banning Hummers with banning all cars. Logos Logos or the appeal to reason relies on logic or reason. that genetically modified seeds have been problematic everywhere. The generalization you start with must have been based on a sufficient amount of reliable evidence. and from this draws the more localized or specific conclusion that Mexico will be affected in the same way... 166 . basically equating A and Z. so we should not ban Hummers. In this example the author starts with a large claim. you are rushing to a conclusion before you have all the relevant facts. hunger. or persuasive strategies.

" Circular Argument: This restates the argument rather than actually proving it. Ad populum: This is an emotional appeal that speaks to positive (such as patriotism. Begging the Claim: The conclusion that the writer should prove is validated within the claim. or a chemical spill across campus. a flu bug that had been working on the body for days. idea. In this example the author doesn't even name particular strategies Green Peace has suggested.' Example: I drank bottled water and now I am sick. Example: The Volkswagen Beetle is an evil car because it was originally designed by Hitler's army. 167 . Example: Green Peace's strategies aren't effective because they are all dirty. or illustrating his points with humorous stories would be needed to prove either half of the sentence. is already assumed in the claim by referring to it as "filthy and polluting. Either/or: This is a conclusion that oversimplifies the argument by reducing it to only two sides or choices. democracy) or negative (such as terrorism or fascism) concepts rather than the real issue at hand. Example: We can either stop using cars or destroy the earth. lazy hippies. car sharing systems for necessities and emergencies. Example: Filthy and polluting coal should be banned. to assume the water caused the person to be sick. Specific evidence such as using everyday language. or worth. with allowing people to buy any vehicle they want even though there is no inherent connection between the two." a concept that people want to be associated with. Example: George Bush is a good communicator because he speaks effectively. Arguing that coal pollutes the earth and thus should be banned would be logical. religion. There is no reason. nature. But the very conclusion that should be proved.Post hoc ergo propter hoc: This is a conclusion that assumes that if 'A' occurred after 'B' then 'B' must have caused 'A. that coal causes enough pollution to warrant banning its use. particularly in a time of war. Ad hominem: This is an attack on the character of a person rather than their opinions or arguments. so the water must have made me sick. In this example the author equates being a "true American. But the illness could have been caused by the burrito the night before. In this example where two choices are presented as the only options. institute. or theory determine its character. much less evaluate those strategies on their merits. Instead. In this example the author is equating the character of a car with the character of the people who built the car. Example: If you were a true American you would support the rights of people to choose whatever vehicle they want. without more evidence. or better community planning to discourage daily driving. breaking down complex problems. In this example the conclusion that Bush is a "good communicator" and the evidence used to prove it "he speaks effectively" are basically the same idea. In this example the author assumes that if one event chronologically follows another the first event must have caused the second. yet the author ignores a range of choices in between such as developing cleaner technology. Genetic Fallacy: A conclusion is based on an argument that the origins of a person. the author attacks the characters of the individuals in the group.

Only use an emotional appeal if it truly supports the claim you are making. values. An argument should never use emotion to misrepresent the topic or frighten people. not as a way to distract from the real issues of debate. Establish common ground with your audience. easy to follow manner. reliable sources to build your argument and cite those sources properly. Emotional appeals can use sources such as interviews and individual stories to paint a more legitimate and moving picture of reality or illuminate the truth. Example: The level of mercury in seafood may be unsafe. it does not mean we should ignore possible safety issues because of possible economic consequences to a few individuals. Proofread the argument. but used properly there is often a place for emotion as well. There are many ways to establish good character and credibility as an author: • • • • • Use only credible. earliest to most recent example. appeals to an audience's needs.Red Herring: This is a diversionary tactic that avoids the key issues. While one issue may effect the other. Making a Claim A "claim" is like a thesis for an essay in that it is a promise to the reader about what will be supported or proved in the essay. Argument emphasizes reason. however. Too many careless grammar mistakes cast doubt on your character as a writer. a claim is usually a stronger and often more emotional proposition that a thesis in an expository essay. most general to most detailed example. often by avoiding opposing arguments rather than addressing them. the livelihood of those catching fish. the writer is 168 . "The difference between exposition and argument is the difference between peace and war. credibility. telling the story of a single child who has been abused may make for a more persuasive argument than simply the number of children abused each year because it would give a human face to the numbers. For example. In this example the author switches the discussion away from the safety of the food and talks instead about an economic issue. Organize your argument in a logical. this can be done by acknowledging values and beliefs shared by those on both sides of the argument. As Arlo Bates writes in Talks on Writing English (1894). If appropriate for the assignment. disclose why you are interested in this topic or what personal experiences you have had with the topic. but what will fishers do to support their families. • Pathos Pathos. Respect the reader by stating the opposing position accurately. or emotional appeal. You can use the Toulmin method of logic or a simple pattern such as chronological order. Ethos Ethos or the ethical appeal is based on the character. etc. or reliability of the writer. and emotional sensibilities. Most of the time." In an argument.

.. In an essay on Parkinson's Disease and the importance of stem cell research to find a cure. .. Evidence In argument. is true. there are many problems with this position. . A good way to handle opposing arguments is to look for what makes sense in the argument—find something you can agree with—and then find where the position falls apart. Without solid support. you show that you have done your research and that you are able to distinguish expert from amateur authorities. They work especially well as a complement to anecdotal or narrative examples to support an argument. . Similarly. Cite statistics or research: Often solid research findings or statistics can complement a more theoretical argument.". " thoughts. With this clarity established up front. on real lives. which Mr. In each of these essays. the author makes a strong and clear claim at the beginning of the essay. however. . well explained. If you let others speak for you. there is an opposition that must be dealt with. articles by medical groups that promote stem cell research are not helpful.generally ready for disagreement. because it does not deal with his fundamental belief that human personhood begins at conception. Mr." etc. That statement. . but . Be very careful. we must debate when 169 . . however. because they do not touch on their fundamental belief that embryos are not human persons. ought to have been followed by an asterisk. Otherwise. the reader knows what to expect in the essay that will follow. your opposition will come away from the essay with a lot of "Yes. the reader will never accept the writer's claim. Then. a student might write a case study of an individual with Parkinson's to show how devastating the disease is. Refuting Opposing Arguments If one fights a battle in an argument. or fails to be substantial enough to support a particular position. Take a look at the following arguments for an against stem cell research. and writes to convince those who disagree to change their minds. evidence is key. Read the module on Working with Sources for more help with using sources in your writing. It is not effective to write an argument without acknowledging opposing arguments and showing why those arguments are not valid. Cite authority on a topic: quotations from experts used to back up (not replace) your points work very well. Below are examples of the kinds of evidence that you might use to build a strong argument. Take a look at the following claims that set up argument essays: We need to stop repeating nonsense about the uncertainty of global warming and start talking seriously about the right approach to address it." or "X would seem like the answer.is not particularly useful. in your own writing you can discuss these arguments with phrases like "While . If there is to be any hope of resolving these issues. . great or small. What exactly is this debate that Mr. . In using quotes and paraphrase effectively. such studies can be very effective in showing readers the way more abstract or general principles have an effect in the real world. Gore is referring to? Is there really a scientific community that is debating all these issues and then somehow agreeing in unison? Far from such a thing being over. not to hide behind these quotes. . . it has never been clear to me what this "debate" actually is in the first place. you risk appearing unsure of yourself. however. Sometimes writers like to "do away with the opposition" right away after the opening paragraph and then get into the position that the writer wants the reader to adopt in the rest of the essay. Gore made in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC. Note the way the authors respond to opposing arguments: Cal Thomas' article against stem cell research. Anecdotal evidence & Case Studies: Though case studies are not very effective if a study is the only evidence one has (not a large enough sample to be valid). Gore assures us that "the debate in the scientific community is over. Who you side with can go a long way to establishing the validity of your argument.

then abortion. to understand the reader's biases and concerns. to avoid using too many terms the reader does not understand.. Would an objective." Hasty Generalization: occurs when a general conclusion is drawn from too small a sample: "Margaret is over eighty and she hates going to the movies now. man. In addition." Post Hoc: means "after this. generally. a bit of humor. we all should do it (believe it). Logical Fallacies Logical fallacies are logical mistakes that fall into particular categories. and also to check the arguments made by others for errors in logic.it is ridiculous for people who have already decided that it is moral to kill babies in the womb to show some squeamishness about destroying human embryos in a petri dish. Tone is a factor as well with readers: Would the reader respond to a more lighthearted tone. Damnation of your soul is completed with the first one. it is the assumption becuase B follows A." (Religious Tolerance) Audience It is very important to understand one's audience when making an argument. genetically modified foods. I think old people. immigration policies. is true. particular when the issue. B was caused by A. passionate angle.. stem cell research. such as abortion rights. scholarly tone work best? The answer depends largely on who one is writing to. in-vitro fertilization." 170 . Appeal to Emotion: This is an attempt to persuade by soliciting an emotional response such as pity or sympathy rather than evidence. everything he has to say about anything. I will not be eating there anymore. don't like to go to the movies. or conversely. even a topic outside of the field of expertise. Or the numbers. For example. Begging the Question: A fallacy in which the conclusion is claimed as being true in the premise: "God exists because the bible says he exists and the bible was written by God." False Dilemma: Occurs when two options are suggested. stem cell research and other debates will neatly resolve themselves. therefore. or we die tomorrow. once you decide to become a child-killer. or a more serious. their ages no longer matter. Hell. "Brittney got sick right after eating at the Bon Thai. when others may be available: "Either we do away with the automobile now. in order to know how to talk to the reader. It is obvious he feels devastated by what he has done. Ad Hominem: "against the man" or "against the person. A writer needs to try and empathize with the reader. is controversial." Appeal to Authority: Suggests that because someone is an expert (or claims to be) on something. Since person A is doing it (believes it). For example. It might be useful to print these out and have them handy when checking your work. and what it would be best to talk about. because of this." In other words. If we can reach a near consensus on this. "Just look at this poor man. Below is a list of the most common logical fallacies.human personhood begins. It is useful to know what these fallacies are so that you can check your own work to ensure that it is free from logical fallacies. (Religious Tolerance) ". it is important to know the knowledge level of one's audience in order to not waste time defining terms the reader already knows. Why should we punish him unfairly?" Bandwagon Appeal: Peer pressure.

keep the following conventions in mind." or "it") can also be used. 3. More information on sensory details is available.Slippery Slope Argument: Assumes that doing one thing will automatically lead to doing other things: "If you get a credit card. that is. Comparison/Contrast Essays Though there are many little. Remember that although the main component of a narrative is the story. 1. men. almost unnoticeable earthquakes that happen all the time. This is the only way the writer's personal experience will take on meaning for readers. In this stage. We all have experiences lodged in our memories which are worthy of sharing with readers. Narratives. offers writers a chance to think and write about themselves. sensory details to convey their point. very 171 . using "I." "she. and enhance the story. explain. women. Finally. as stories. This generalization does not have to encompass humanity as a whole. the writer should keep three principles in mind. writers might ask themselves what about the incident provided new insights or awareness." However. Remember to involve readers in the story. writers first need to select an incident worthy of writing about and. To do this. Yet sometimes they are so fused with other memories that a lot of the time spent in writing narrative is in the prewriting stage. more than any other. 2. should include these story conventions: a plot. third person ("he. second. a climax. Principles of Writing Narrative Essays Once an incident is chosen. writers must dredge up details which will make the incident real for readers. details must be carefully selected to support. you are going to end up in debt!" Narrative Essays As a mode of expository writing. Narratives rely on concrete. there are also major ones that destroy vast areas and take many lives. or children of various ages and backgrounds. Find a generalization which the story supports. These details should create a unified. Conventions of Narrative Essays In writing your narrative essay. to find relevance in that incident. in the United States. It is much more interesting to actually recreate an incident for readers than to simply tell about it. a dominant impression. it can concern the writer. and an ending. including setting and characters. • • • Narratives are generally written in the first person. forceful effect. Two of them happened here. the narrative approach.

Both earthquakes toppled buildings and houses. there is also some good that came out of this. The name of this fault line is the San Andreas Fault line. use comparison and contrast to describe things. lasted under a minute.25 magnitude. You can. The San Francisco earthquake and the Loma Prieta earthquake have may differences. 172 . Both of them very destructive and had major impacts on society. on which both the earthquakes occurred. It was very costly to pay for the repairs that were to be made due to the damage. you can never be too prepared. Now scientists have more education about how to build earthquake proof buildings and bridges.to do. These types of earthquakes are life changing. Both of these earthquakes also had subsequent fires. buildings and lives. along with the obvious ones like the date and location. these earthquakes are similar in some ways that you may not have known. the San Francisco earthquake happened in 1906. you show their differences. The San Francisco earthquake was around a 7. Even though they both happened on the same fault. Both of these even though caused major damage.1.close to each other. their magnitudes are different. the dates are different. In the Loma Prieta earthquake. When you compare things. When they are comparing and contrasting. two ideas. but the Loma Prieta earthquake was weaker. almost any kind of writing. but the San Francisco earthquake might have taken a little less money to repair. to define things. runs across different parts of California.000 people were killed and about 225. over 3. This is because the fault line. and around 7 billion dollars to repair the Loma Prieta quake. there are also some not as well-know differences. to make an argument -. We can really understand only those things that are familiar to us or similar to things we already understand. and the Loma Prieta Earthquake happened in 1989. The epicenter for both of these earthquakes was the Northern segment of the San Andreas Fault line. to analyze things. most writers structure their essays one of four ways.000 injured. the number of people killed was also different. and probably do. for example. But. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake are two of these majorly destructive earthquakes. First off. only about 63 people were killed. properties. Most earthquakes in the United States tend to occur in California. Both of these powerful earthquakes happened in California. in fact. In the San Francisco earthquake. They destroyed many houses.757 injured. through the Santa Cruz Mountains. usually not for the better. and about 3. and are caused by the San Andreas Fault line. so comparing and contrasting the unfamiliar with the familiar is one of the most important techniques for writing. It took 6. Obviously. It taught people how to be prepared when there is a major earthquake. they also have many surprising similarities. Though these quakes are both very different. These were very life changing events to anyone that was in either one of them or that had family in them. when you contrast things. like corsets and footbinding. Along with the strength of the earthquakes.7. This segment runs from Hollister.5 billion dollars to make repairs for the San Francisco quake. you show their similarities. Both of these earthquakes are horrible disasters. at about 7.8.

and then go to the parallel point about B. but more often than not. both comparison and contrast is used.Use specific and relevant examples for support. First A: point 1 (plus support) Then B: point 1 (plus support) Then A: point 2 (plus support) Then B: point 2 (plus support) Then A: point 3 (plus support) Then B: point 3 (plus support) ►Guidelines for a Successful Comparison-Contrast Essay: . . . . Move to the next point. Present one point about A. . First do one idea. ►Outlines of Sample Essays: 173 . . This pattern tends to work better for shorter papers. then contrast (or vice versa). .Choose items that are related in some way so they can be compared or contrasted. Only compare or only contrast. Present all the information about A.1. Review the two patterns below carefully. 3. 2. and do the same thing.Compare according to a single organized idea. then do the other.Give equal treatment to both elements that you are discussing . ►Pattern B: The Point-by-Point Method. and then present parallel information about B.Each subtopic in Part I must also be discussed in Part II. and give the reader the final ‘so what’ of the major similarities and/or differences that you discussed. summarizing the main points. First compare. Comparison and Contrast Essays A comparison and contrast essay may discuss only similarities. The essay may be organised in one of two patterns.Subtopics should be discussed in the same order in both parts. This pattern tends to work better for long papers and those with many subtopics. only differences. First: All of A: Second: All of B: point 1 (plus support) point 1 (plus support) point 2 (plus support) point 2 (plus support) point 3 (plus support) point 3 (plus support) The danger built into Pattern A is that the writer can end up with two separate essays instead of one unified comparison and contrast essay.Use transitional words or phrases to help the reader understand the similarities and differences in your subject. Write only about the comparable and contrastable elements of each idea.Choose a method of development that works well with your organizing idea.Conclude your paper by restating your thesis. 4. and those with few subtopics It can be used when you have three or more principal similarities or differences. noting the differences in structure that each presents.Subtopics in Part II should generally include reminders of the point made about the same subtopic in Part I. Use this pattern when you have only two principal similarities or differences. Either is acceptable. take note of the following guidelines: . To insure unity. ►Pattern A: The Block Method. but mixing patterns is not. .

5 Cats do not require training. Point 2: Para. see the Transition Signals handout in the Writing Centre. conclusion A quick outline comparing and then contrasting corsets and footbinding shows one way that such a paper might be structured. 1: Cats can clean themselves. Para. dogs must be trained. Point 3: Whereas cats need no training. III. II. Point 2: Unlike cats. then contrast (or vice versa). Note that the transitions used in each outline (in contrast to. then they move to a description of the ways in which the two ideas are different. 174 .Thesis: Although dogs are often called man’s best friend. dogs need baths. Para. This structure focuses on the comparison and contrast instead of on the two ideas (e. 4 Unlike cats. This method is probably the one used most commonly. cats make more convenient pets.. IV. introduction Corsets and footbinding are similar. Point-by-Point Method Outline: Point 1: Para. Point 3: Cats do not require training. unlike. whereas) emphasise the distinction being made between cats and dogs. 3 Cats can exercise by themselves. 6 Whereas cats need no training. corsetry and footbinding) being compared and contrasted. I. dogs need baths. Block Method Outline: Part A Point 1: Cats can clean themselves. For a more detailed list of transitions.g. First compare. 2: In contrast to cats. Part B Point 1: In contrast to cats. Para. Writers using a comparison/contrast structure might begin by discussing the ways in which corsets are similar to footbinding. dogs must be walked regularly. dogs must be trained. Point 2: Cats can exercise by themselves. Point 3: Para. Corsets and footbinding are different. dogs must be walked regularly.

It is always possible. This method requires real control over your subject. then do the other. conclusion A quick outline that compares and contrasts only relevant aspects of corsets and footbinding shows one way that such a paper might be structured. 175 . A structure like this one seems more focused on the ideas being compared and contrasted than on the comparison and contrast itself. 2. It is as if the writer is comparing and contrasting (for example) footbinding to corsetry.. but many evolve past it into something more flexible. 3. then the contrast will get emphasis . instead of corsetry and footbinding to each other. the sequence is important. The similarities and differences between the ideas do not begin to emerge until the writer gets to the second idea. If you begin with the comparison.the logical movement is from thinking about similarities to thinking about differences. A comparison/contrast essay like this one would probably focus only on those elements of the ideas that are explicitly comparable or contrasting. of course. the similarities get emphasis. Only compare or only contrast. introduction element #1 element #2 element #3 . First do one idea.Clearly. introduction similarities (or differences) differences (or similarities) conclusion A quick outline that treats first corsets and then footbinding shows one way that such a paper might be structured. Writers might compare and contrast ideas by taking important specific elements and looking at their similarities and differences. If you begin by contrasting the ideas (and then move toward a comparison). Write only about the comparable and contrastable elements of each idea. to write an essay that treats only the similarities or differences between ideas. 1. Writers might compare and contrast ideas by treating one idea thoroughly before taking up the second one. This method is probably the one most students try first..

first describing what people shouldn't do and then ending . but besides its value in organizing an essay. o o Other.with a bang! . Writers who only contrast ideas sometimes briefly summarize similarities in the conclusion so they don't leave the impression that they are thinking in opposites. o Comparison/contrast is useful for more than an essay topic.o Writers who only compare two ideas sometimes briefly mention the contrast in the introduction and then move on so that they don't lead readers to think they can't make relevant distinctions. comparison/contrast is also useful as a technique • • to structure a paragraph to work within other techniques or modes o to define a complex idea (by comparing to something similar and contrasting it with its opposite) to think about one thing in terms of another (like the present in terms of the past or the past in terms of the future or humans in terms of primates) to make an argument. Many teachers assign topics that ask writers to write an essay comparing and contrasting two or more ideas. related concepts to think about and places to look Analogical and metaphorical language: like and as Using lists in your writing: parallelism An Overview of the Writing Process Developing an Introduction Conclusions Essay Organization: The Flow Chart Approach Paragraph Development When Do I Begin a New Paragraph Cohesion Brainstorming Focused Freewriting Invention Questions for Argument and Persuasion Invention Questions for Writing about Cause and Effect Invention Questions for Comparing and Contrasting The various rhetorical modes and types of writing Narrative Description Definition Process Description Reaction Papers 176 .with what they should.

Introduction 2. Women laced corsets. only most extreme cases of tightlacing did permanent damage. Effects on health: tight-lacing vs stays. Both restrict women's movement and impair health. Introduction 2. through the 19th century. o o 3. Dress Reform movement. Crete. Corsetry not exactly the same as tight-lacing. 3.Abstract of a report or an article Summary of an article or a book Literary Essay Return to the discussion of how comparison and contrast can be used beyond structure for an essay. Corsets and footbinding are different o o Chinese culture is radically different from that of western Europe and America. 1. Footbinding o o o Earliest references. when women were looking at the possibilities of real contributions to the political debate. Corsets and footbinding are similar o o o Both practiced in the far past. 177 . both enhance man's value in the culture to be responsible for women who were too delicate to work.women plowing fields in mud up to their ankles. Both practiced by women of all classes. o 4. To use Veblen's argument. A quick outline of how a paper comparing and then contrasting corsets and footbinding might look. women bound feet. focus in Western world. Henri II's queen: 15-inch waist with the help of the King's armorer. Corsets trivialized by everybody since the end of the dress reform movement. Corsetry o o o o o o Practiced in Sumaria. Conclusion Return to the discussion of comparison/contrast essays. Both practiced by women on women. 1880s and 1890s. Every Chinese woman so bound was deformed for life. Survival rates and the effects on health. though most people imagine tight-lacing and footbinding were limited to the upper class. A quick outline of how a paper treating one topic and then the other might look. 1. and into the 20th. millennia ago. Our misconceptions about class -.

When the government made it illegal. o o 4. 7. he limped out the back door. mounted a waiting horse. Booth and his companion arrived at the home of Samuel Mudd. Conclusion Narrative essays The Story of Dr. 8. Women's contributions to their own weakening. and disappeared into the night with a fellow conspirator. 9. 5. 178 . how women whose feet had been bound couldn't really unbind. Effects on women's health. Economic and cultural value of a helpless female to a powerful male. Also. 1865—five days after the Civil War ended—President Abraham Lincoln was attending the theater in Washington. Before anybody could stop him. an actor named John Wilkes Booth. Eastern and western cultures.o Any girl whose female relatives thought she might be able to marry up would bind her feet. Simone de Beauvior saw some. 11. a doctor living in southern Maryland. Five hours later. Mudd knew nothing about the assassination of the president. Acting as any doctor would with a stranger in distress.C. slipped into the presidential box and shot the president. Dr. Conclusion Return to the discussion of comparison/contrast essays. Life magazine's photos. 3. A quick outline of how a paper treating only comparable and contrasting elements might look. seeking to avenge the defeat of the South. D. Introduction 2. 1. most women. In the middle of the performance. but broke his leg when he leaped from the president’s box seat to the stage. at four o’clock in the morning. 6. Mudd On the night of April 14. Extreme cases vs. Lasting into 20th century. Socio-economic class and tight-lacing and footbinding. Cultural movements against tight-lacing and footbinding. Booth escaped the theater. 10. 4. Restrictions on women's movements.

d. After a four-year struggle. Fort Jefferson was abandoned. Dr. humid climate was a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. d. because he was the only doctor on the island. An alternative title for this passage might be a. Booth and his friend. Today. c. his wife was working heroically back in Washington for her husband’s cause. What was the cause of Dr. The military courts wanted someone to pay for Lincoln’s death. The warm. When the fever struck. But the military courts.he set the leg and persuaded the two travelers to stay in his house for the rest of the night. He helped Booth assassinate Lincoln. Dr. In spite of the fact that the guards and other inmates called him “that Lincoln murderer. Questions 4. sentenced the unfortunate doctor to life imprisonment. c. Mudd returned to Maryland to pick up the pieces of his shattered life. Good Doc Gone Bad. Again and again. the one-time prison is accessible to visitors as part of Dry Tortugas National Park. and tried on the charge that he was a friend of Booth’s and therefore helped plan the assassination. these pests spread yellow fever germs to prisoners and guards alike. b. paid the bill and departed. Lincoln’s Assassination. Mudd’s conviction? a. taken to Washington. A Prison Abandoned. b. Mudd volunteered his services.” and treated him very badly. he worked hard to fight the disease. He had to fight the disease. An Unfair Trial for a Fair Man. Soon after Dr. angry at the president’s death. Mudd? 179 . Dr. He lied to the military courts. Mudd’s release. Mudd was imprisoned at Fort Jefferson. The next morning. He helped Booth get away. Dr. Dr. Mudd was arrested. an island fortress about 120 miles west of the southern tip of Florida. 5. a greater plight lurked at Fort Jefferson. she secured a pardon for him—for a crime he never committed. 6. What sort of doctor was Dr. –PRETEST– 5 Because of this merciful act. As horrible and unjust as this punishment must have been. even after he was infected himself. Mudd insisted that he knew nothing of the plot. using false names. Meanwhile.

We often introduce examples of illustrations by using expressions like for example. When a writer gives examples he helps the I reader to understand a rather difficult and abstract generalization which may be contained in the topic sentence. sloppy b. b. greedy. This can be done in a number of ways. for instance. I 1 Giving examples is one of the easiest ways of developing of topic. depending on your purpose. Now. comparison and contrast: The method of development that you choose shou!cl be the one that will most effectively put across the point that you want to make. 8. e. unfeeling 7. Let's first look at this illustration. ILLUSTRATION In order to develop the central theme of a paragraph. Summing up: This is done by stating that there is a common bond between man and other creatures. 1.e. It must be realized. and cause and effect. You will notice that this paragraph is developed mainly by adding examples.g. The different meihods of paragraph developme~lt can be considered in terms of two broad categories: i) those which stay strictly within the scope of the topic. although some topics lend themselves more readily to certain kin$ of development than they do to other kinds. There are no rules about the kind of development to be adopted in any writing situation. that you can combine more than one technique in composing a paragraph. It is an example of the development of a paragraph by using the technique of illustration. a greater plight lurked at Fort Jefferson.a. Now look at the paragraph given under example 1 again. Examples given to develop the paragraph: i) the hunter ii) the farmer iii) ihe fisherman iv) the city-dweller 3. cold-hearted. He is also able to persuade the reader that the generalization is correct'because there are examples to support it. As horrible and unjust as this punishment must have been. read example 3 given below. c.g. ii) techniques which itlvolve a second topic: e. careless. Dr. 2. Let us analyse the paragraph. illustration. there was no one else to treat the sick prisoners. you have to expand the idea contained in the topic sentence. description. i. he thought it would help get him a pardon. the topic and the kind of reader you have in view. come in contact with animals in one way or another and have to deal with them. Topic sentence: The vast majority of people. generous. he was forced to by the prison warden. d. Examples also add to the reader's interest. definition. Example 3 (Development of a paragraph by illustration) 180 . wherever they live and whatever their occupation. however. the point you have stated in your topic sentence. Read this sentence from the essay. Mudd fought the yellow fever outbreak at Fort Jefferson because a. an example. caring c. by the technique of illiustration. etc. money-hungry d. he didn’t want to get sick himself.

........ Thousands'of yeung seals and young sea lions are drowned every year..): highly skilled hindrance (n): something that prevents an activity reflex: an action or movement of the body which happens by itself when one sees. Ir?c............. ..) :able to keep the temperature of the body rather high whetner the outside temperature is high or low in credible : to a degree that is difficult to believe I seal: a large fish-eating animal living mostly on cool seacoasts and floating ice sea lion: a type of seal found in the Pacific Ocean and having large ears flipper: a limp of certain large sea animals with a flat edge used for swimming adept (adj.... but they do not sing well unless they have had an opportunity of hearing older and more adept members of their species.. a bird flies by instinct... for they improve their talents with practice...... indeed seem to start life completely equipped with all necessary reflexes... Base yourself on the analysis done for Example I in 10 lines..g....... Ana!yse this paragraph....................... Insects.................g columns in the manner shown here: Names of Animals Skills to be developed i) Young birds and bats learn to fly....... It is said that the young elephant does not seem to know at first what his trunk is for. For example.......... for example. it gets in his way and seems more of a hindrance than a help until his parents show him what to do with it. . and older spiders..... and only attain perfection in their art in course oftime"........... When you write a paragraph where you have to give examples to support your topic sentence.......... iv ' .... ii) ... the mother has to take them out under her flipper and show them how birds sing without instruction.. What are the topic sentences in this paragraph? 2.. vi> .. v) .......ed) The Natural Hisrocl of Nonsense...... ...... I.. "begin by making quite primitive little webs......... They never learn to swim naturally...... Paragraphs (From Evans.... .... modification: change web: a net of thin threads spun by the spider spinneret: an organ of certain spiders which produces a silky thread used in spinning a web Check Your Progress 3 This exercise will help you to understand how the paragraph has been developed............. Older harvest mice build better nests than beginners....... but even there the concept of "instinct" seems to require some modification........ B..... .......... Alfred A Knopf. will take to Development of hunting.. iii) .... hears or touches something....) ! i ..... instinct: ways of behaviour which are not based on learning or thinking....................... Read the paragraph again and fill in the fo1lowi1........ you should keep in mind that there should be enough examples to support your point............ Young birds and young bats must be taught to fly.............! Glossary warm-blooded(adj...... e. but are there from birth.......... you remove your finger on touching something hot.. each example should be logically related to your main idea........................... 181 ........ Young spiders....All warm-blooded animals are incredibly helpless at first......................... if deprived of their spinnerets.

you can follow any of these patterns. The choice between one cause and several causes is often not a free option. for instance. of deforestation. Erosion takes place everywhere on Earth.. you face the problem of arranging them in a significant order. Usually your topic will determine it.. and to write about all the causes or reasons with details. that soften rocks. to account for all the links in the sequence of causes. If the reasons follow a logical pattern. and A in turn by B. however. but tells us in what way each of these animals is helpless. By far the greatest cause of erosion. Cause Analysing the cause can be quite a complex task. frost which causes small cracks on rock sides. and so on. There are several forces of erosion: glaciers which cany rocks weighing \ thousands of tons. i. strong winds which wear away exposed rocks in desert. to consider multiple causes. I When developing a topic which is supported by reasons or causes. 11 Example 4 (Development of a paragraph by listing the causes) Hills. which causes D. But sometimes the reasons or causes may be parallel. You may. You may discuss one or more causal connections between events. For example. a daughter's rebelling against her father and leaving home may have an apparent immediate cause. Then.. Millions of years in the future. or of a bus accident. This softening is the first stage of erosion called weathering. or the effects or consequence of taking drugs.?' and then try to find the cause or effect of an event. Thus. and mountains are slowly worn away over thousands of years by the process of erosion. etc. 6. want to know the cause of your poor grades. a direct cause or an indirect cause. You may trace a chain of events in which A is the cause oPB.4 CAUSE AND EFFECT Besides using illustration to develop the topic of your paragraph you may in some cases need to use the technique of cause and effect. the organization is predetermined.) the examples should represent a reasonable cross section of the group you are dealing with. there are likely to be many causes. We often have occasions in our lives to ask "Why did it happen" or "What will happen if.each example should be developed with interesting details. remember to make it clear whether you are dealing with an immediate cause or an earlier cause. your favourite hills will have been worn completely away by erosion. (Adapted from Geogrpl~yby Dougal Dixon. the results of' their helplessness and how they become self-sufficient. all contributing to the same result. When you write. but there may also be a chain of causes going back into the past. if the main event is caused by A. Rainwater fallin: on hills runs into streams and rivers and these carry the weathered rock away. not just one.(Note that the writer of the paragraph above does not merely list the examples. a good strategy is to begin with the least important cause and conclude with the most important. Franklin Watts in Science World) Glossary worn away: caused to disappear erosion: the action of wearing away 182 . which is the cause of C. Water carries chemicals dissolved in it. is the action of water on rocks. When you work with several causes or reasons. and B by C.e.

Whtn it does. huge tidal waves sweep inland.. It follows a sequence where the less important causes are mentioned first... avalanches roar down into the valleys. Effects Effects or consequences can be handled in much the same way as reasons or causes.. one must be careful to distinguish between the major and the minor ones..... If it strikes in mountain regions... / 2. the houses and building gaping caves: wide openings or cracks tidal waves: very large ocean waves avalanches: large masses of snow and ice...( ii) . For instance..i t causes. If several consequences are listed.. dams burst...... (i) .... Example 5 (Developing a paragraph by listing effect) An earthquake strikes without warning.. Summing up: In a million years. Bridges fall. The paragraph may deal with only a single effect or refer to several effects. its power is immense... You have just read and analysed a paragraph.. capital of Portugal--the city destroyed entirely and 450 killed: 1970: Peru --50.... If it strikes a modern city.... a) Causes of Erosion: glaciers frost strong wilds water b) Process of erosion by water 3.. Fill in the blanks.......glaciers: masses of ice which move vely slowly down a nio~rntain valley frost: a white powdery substance formed on outside surfaces from very small drops of water when the temperature of air is below freezing point Analysis of the paragraph: I 1 . Now. even your favourite hills will be worn away by erosion. In the year 1755: Lisbon... Consider the terrifying statistics from the past. what were thp_ reasons which led you to join the IGNOU Computer Programme? Jot down your reasons. Gas mains burst. Cause: The power of .. On land 183 . which lists the causes of erosion. Check Your Progress 4 1 .. Topic sentence: "Hills and mountain are-slowly worn away over thousands of years by the process of erosion"... If the quake strikes at sea..000 killed.. Gaping caves appear in busy streets. whole buildings collapse... (From Can We Stop Earthquakes? in World of Wonder) Glossary Development of Paragraphs warning : the act of giving earlier info~mationo f danger immense : very great gasmains: pipes bringing gas from the source of supply to.... sliding down a mountain side terrifying: filling with terror In earlier sections we analysed some of the paragraphs for you. think of your own life...... The following exercise will help you understand the organization of the paragraph abcve. followed by the most important cause. Main effect: The great .. But now the main idea is regarded as causing the consequences discussed in the rest c?f the paragraph. Underground railways are wrecked.... the damage it causes is as great as if it has struck a primitive village.... explosions are caused and fires are started......

.. Cause and Effect We have discussed a paragraph which gives reasons to support a topic..... together with sunlight........ B is both a consequence of A and the cause of C. I 1 Gas mains burst Summing up: Reinforcing the idea of the damage caused by an earthquake by quoting statistics from the past and the present............ Now write down what you think will be'the results. IX Effect the sun Man's ....i..Effect.. ..... and a paragraph which deals with effects.. cause and effect are more closely related. Often however. and plants provide food for inan and also for animals... In such a link. forming a chain where A gives rise to B.n.... blain Cause Main Effect Indirect effect : .. by its light and warmth the sun directly creates rhe necessary conditions for man's survival.......... One result of rainfall is the formation of lakes and rivers..] Glossary ultimately: in the end survival: the fact of continuing to live high altitude: great height Check Your Progress 7 Development of Paragraphs in ~xample5 ... you will be able to understand the organization of the paragraph.... Secondly the sun indirectly provides man with water.. of .. Effect Cause ... Cause Effect . which are themselves another source of food for man. By filling in the gaps below. for the heat of the sun causes the damp air over the seas to rise and form clouds which cool at a high altitude and consequently fall as rain....... In Check Your Progress 4 you noted the reasons foi joining the IGNOU Computers programra. from which man takes his water supply and which can be used for hydroelectric power.. of consequences of your joining this program... B to C and to C and so on... and ..... 184 ... iv .. rain.. [from Anita Debska: IJpgrade your English.... At the same time....... Oxford University Press.. the paragraph has been developed by stating the cause and the effect...... I1 .v . . Jtainfall Rainfall formatio. The paragraph below illustrates such a chain.. 111 .. . Example 6 (Paragraph developed by stating cause and effect) Without sunlight there could be no form of life as we know it and all man's basic needs can be ultimately traced back to the sun. Check Your Progress 6 1.... In the first place... enables plants to grow..

This is done by adding details like uses....... which relates to concepts such as "freedom". This generally happens when we use technical terns or when we want to give our own meaning to an ordinary word. Composition and Sopetimes a definition is used in the rnjdst of other forms of writing....... and sometimes the definition itself Study Skills becomes the focus of a piece of writing.........C. ............... .... viii.v. i Example 7 (Paragraph developed by definition) A map is a representation of anarea of land.............. xi ... For example.... "democracy" etc. drawn by Eskimo people. Occasionally maps show not only the roads.... for man and .. and explorers find that they are used in rather primitive societies at the present time by people who are accustomed to travelling. Plants . need the support of specific examples... both in our thinking and writing........ The concept "bride" cannot be defined in such a manner..... Maps have been used since the earliest civilisations.. Rain + . we often require extended definitions. i ......... we need to explain what something is or means...... or sky....... Topic sentence............... and stating what it is not.. Arctic explorers have obtained considerable help from maps of the coast lines showing settlements.v ii ........ .. and a canal with crocodiles and a bridge over the canal. ... examples.. xii . Now write a paragraph of about 150 words combining both'the reasons and the consequences of your joining IGNOU..ay find some of the following words/phrases useful in developing your paragraph: because (of) Resulting in Since Leading to on account of Causing thanks to Consequently With the result that 6...... It shows not only roads.. and for this purpose extended definitions are useful..... especially if we feel that our readers may not be familiar with it.. You have already noted the reasons for your joining the JGNOU Computers-programme and the effect it will have on your future career........ component parts. You Ir. For example Term Class Ilifferentiation Widow surgeon a woman Whose husband has died a doctor Who performs medical operations Such definitions are rather formal in style and are generally found in dictionaries.. Check Your Progress 8 1.... being similar to something else......... This is somewhat similar to 185 ........ In fact......... sea... but also lakes with fish.Lakes and rivers water and .. The simplest way to define a term is by giving a synonym or by placing the word in a general class and then distinguishing it from others in that class.... being different from something else.... .5 DEFINITION Often when we write..... but pictures of other features..x. One of the earliest such maps dates from about 1400 B. ....

C.): animals which have a backbone secreted: produced varied: of different kinds shrew: a very small mouse-like animal with a long pointed nose 6. V) Mammals are an extremely varied group. the food served at different restaurants. Use the sentences given beiow to write a paragraph on Mammals." Example: Arctic explorers Generalisation: Occasionally maps show not only the roads. mainly because we tend to think that way. For instance. sea or sky. the cities we have been to. You will need. to replace some of the nouns with pronouns and avoid unnecessary repetitions. Hence comparison and contrast are a continuous process in our 186 . when we choose a career or a job. for example. which weigh only a few grams. but pictures of other features Example: Maps of both ancient and modern times Check Your Progress 9 1. In fact comparison and contrast are common devices in writing. who are accustomed to travelling. ranging in size from the largest mammal. (C. the blue Whale which is 150 tons.. Glossary vertebrates (n.. Wylie) Glossary representation: a picture civilisation: stage of human social development accustomed to: used to explore: one who travels in unknown in lands for the purpose of discovery Analysis of the Paragraph Definition: "A ]nap is a representation of an area of land.the modem maps of a state which show for each large town some feature of interest or the chief products of 'that town. to shrews. Sometimes a topic can be developed by showing how two things are alike or how they are different. ii) The young mammals are protected within the mother's body I iii) After birth the young mammals are nourished with milk secreted by the milk glands of the mother. We often compare our teachers. our neighbors. and so on. I I I I i) Mammals differ from the other vertebrates in their system of reproduction. Our decisions are often based on comparison and contrast.6 COMPARISON AND CONTRAST So far we have been discussing ways of developing paragraphs which deal with only one topic. comparison and contrast dominate our thoughts when we decide to join a particular college or university. and even when we buy a particular brand of tooth paste." Generalisation: "Maps have been used . The paragraph should be arranged in the following order: Definition Generalization by differentiation Examples (2 examples) 4 i Generalisation iI I You may make any changes in the language and introduce any connectives you feel are required to write a smoothly flowing passage. iv) A mammals is a warm-blooded vertebrate that has four limbs and a hairy skin.

Personlthing I Personlthing 2 I Point 1 I The other way is to take each point in turn and to compare the two things in respect of each point like this: Personlthing I Personlthing 2 Point 1 . Glossary Study Skills hierarchy (n.. and De Vors. predators: animals that live by killing and eating other animals infighting: fighting or disagreement within the group Analysis of the Paragraph Topic sentence: The existence of a hierarchy helps to assure order and discipline. S. The points to develop the paragraph are given below.): the organisation of a system into higher and lower ranks foreman: the leader of the 12 people (jury) appointed to decide whether a person on trial is guilty or not. ! There are a lot of similarities between an infant and a very old person's dependence on others. Like all the planets the Earth rotates on its 187 . Summing up: 'Sorne form of leadership is essential .. The same is true of monkeys. They permit. iii) We wish to show the superiority of one thing over another when we compare two cars. and these things are important among monkeys just as they are among humans. Time-life Series) Con~positiona nd. Example 9 (Developing a paragraph by contrast) We live on the planet Earth. I. which direction it shall follow. every cricket team needs a captain. a ball of rock 12. Whenever. You may ! develop these points and add any others that you wish.lives. Both are extremely dependent on others. Reason: Subject I : People Subject 2: Monkeys . consequence of total equality. Every jury needs its foreman.. Some forin of leadership is essential if action is to be taken quickly. they will only be able to reach decisions quickly if some kind of hierarchy is established. what action it shall take to avoid predators.Point 1 7 Point 2 -b Point 2 Developruent of Paragraphs + Point 3 -b Point 3 Example 8 (Paragraph developed by comparison) The existence of a hierarchy helps to assure order and discipline.people are brought together. ii) We wish to clarify the unfamiliar by comparing it with the familiar. first.750 km in diameter. the making of quick decisions. Some animal in the group has to decide when the group shall move. for example There are two ways of arranging information when comparing or contrasting things. and these things are important among monkeys just as they are among humans. Check Your Progress 10 Write a paragraph on the following topic. (Adapted form "The Primates" by Eimerl. We generally compare or contrast two items for three basic purpose: i) We wish to point out distinctions in order to give information about the two things. and hierarchy has come into existence to avoid continual infighting which could be the consequence of total equality. One is to write down all the main points about one of the things to be compared or contrasted and then to take all the main points about the other.

... Its surface is heated to 105 C during its day.plants... 5 very hot during th'e day..155 C at night. very cold during the night First sentence: The northern and southern poles are different in many ways.... 3 airless... The Moon is a dead planet........ .... geological activity: activity which relates to the physical changes in the structure of the earth... and which also keeps the temperature quite constant....... orbits: goes round volcanoes: mountains with large openings at the top through which melting rock. Glossary rotates: turns around a fixed point axis: an imaginary line around which a spinning body moves.. etc lush: thickly and healthily growing (especially plants) erupting: expleding and pouring out fire 4 Check Your Progress 11 Unlike Example 8. steam................... I 1 lush and fertile 1.. The first sentence and some points describing the two regions are given below. animals and human beings...... .. insects......here mzy also help you in developing the paragraph.... is lush and fertile.. It has a companion on its travels . the Eaith is covered by an atmosphere. But the earth is not alone. But the two worlds are very different... on the other hand. The moon. etc..... What is the topic sentence? 2......... Northern (Arctic) region Southern (Antarctic) region Ice-covered sea surrounded huge continent-surrounded by ocean by land Varied climate climate less varied: cold throughout the year.. The moon Check Your Progress 12 The earth 1 ... waterless and lifeless. especially relating to rock... birds. The Earth....... 4 has atmosphere 5 ....... 2 ...... it is airless.. The expressions of contrast 1isted...which orbits the Earth once a month.. . soil. More rainful less rainfall 188 ..........axis and orbits the sun... and cools to . Write a paragraph of your own contrasting the Arctic and the Antarctic regions......!........... waterless and lifeless 4 . the paragraph in Example 9 has been organized by talking about the earth and contrasting it with the moon. gases... Fill in the gips in the following table to show the contrast between the moon and the earth..... 2 has volcanoes 3 ... escape from time to tinie with great force from inside the earth.. This exercise is to help you analyse the paragraph... on the other hand has fascinating erupting volcanoes since it has no atmosphere to protect it............... It supports millions of living things ...the moon ... It has no volcanoes or geological activity.. In contrast.. Analysis of the Paragraph: 1 .. which we can breathe..

om. yet. etc. effect illustration the most southern part of the world the most northern part of the world something that produces an effect examining one thing against another to show the points of likeness or difference comparing two things or people to make the differences clear giving the meaning giving a picture in words a result giving examples paragraph a division of a written piece made up of one or more sentences topic a subject for talk. although. You i should now be able to use these techniques in writing paragraphs on iifferent'topics. ! i b KEY woms Antarctic Arctic cause comparison contrast definition description .Much plant life empty desert. such as the topic sentence and the development of the topic. can be distiiiguished from. writing.. but. Development of Paragraphs Expressions of contrast: different ti. . on the other hand. .ld contrast. while. . such as illustration. despite the fact that. We have also discussed different techniques of developing paragraphs. 189 . LET US SUM UP In Unit 6 we have introduced you to the elements that go into the organisation of a good paragraph. . whereas. Exploited for trade no trade at all . definition. and comparison a. cause and effect.

3. or things in a sentence. C-ADVERBS 190 . Correct: When a person comes to class. These words. the focus of this chapter is on those errors that occur most frequently. (What isn’t good for him? Reading. The rules of mechanics are complex. adjectives. Agree in number A singular pronoun must be used for a singular noun. Too few adjectives will make a personal statement a boring play-byplay that doesn’t tell the reader anything about the writer. Adjectives add information by describing people. Following are the four most challenging ones as they pertain to your writing: pronouns. her. A-PRONOUNS Pronouns refer back to or take the place of nouns. them Incorrect: When a person comes to class. it). me. 1-PARTS OF SPEECH Some parts of speech are more difficult than others. Incorrect: Kim spends all his time reading and playing soccer. and we took her laptop. he/she should have his/her homework ready. make your essay a unique piece. she. No matter how original an idea you come up with. your writing will greatly improve. they. with usage explanations and examples. They should: 1. we. Correct: If the student passes this course. objects. him. more than any others. you do not need to become a strict grammarian in order to write well. they will graduate. and we took Nancy’s laptop. If you learn these common errors and how to avoid or correct them. and prepositions. 41 B-ADJECTIVES Adjectives describe or modify nouns or pronouns. they sometimes confuse even professional writers. 2. Incorrect: If the student passes this course. punctuation. Who is they? Correct: It has been years since the school board spent money on new textbooks. Incorrect: I went on the trip with Emily and Nancy. First person pronouns: I. Therefore. he should play some basketball. Too much soccer isn’t good for him. (Whose laptop?) Correct: I went on the trip with Emily and Nancy. Incorrect: It has been years since they spent money on new textbooks. in fact. she. Use them to describe people. Agree in person Do not switch back and forth in your writing from the first person (I) to the second (you) or third (he. us Second: you Third: he.Mechanics 39 The majority of grammar. and situations to make the reader understand your point of view and see things the way you have seen them. and capitalization mistakes are just a few dozen common ones. or both?) Correct: Kim spends all his time reading and playing soccer. you should have your homework ready. playing soccer. they. Be a specific reference to a noun It should be obvious to your reader to which noun the pronoun refers. However. adverbs. she will graduate. places. but it isn’t good for him. too. the inability to express yourself clearly and accurately through the written word will hinder the success of your essay.

The meal consists of eight separate courses. In the following sentence. Using them unnecessarily Because it is so important in your essay to get to the point concisely. Common Prepositions aboard about above after among around at before behind below beneath beside between by except for from in inside into like of off on outside over to under up upon until with within 42 The two most common problems with prepositions are: 1. the sentence would read. abruptly. In the following sentence. However. 2. quickly. The first sentence uses the preposition on to describe the spatial relationship between the box and the desk. Common prepositional phrases: account for agree upon angry with argue about compare to correspond with differ from different than identical to independent of interested in speak with Alternate Endings Of all the rules governing prepositions. it is not an absolute. As an adjective. good describes the verb played. the adverb that causes the most errors is not a typical-ly form. Poor form: They looked outside of the house for the lost cat.” 191 . Good form: She likes all sports except soccer. it sounds much more natural to say “That’s all I can think of” than “That’s all of which I can think. which describe verbs. Below are two examples of required prepositions—the preposition is in italics and the supported word is underlined. On your desk and after your birthday are prepositional phrases. For example. These necessary prepositions are always used in combination with their respective supported words. Poor form: She likes all sports except for soccer. in popular speech. The second sentence uses the preposition after to describe the time relationship between holiday and birthday. Confusing prepositional phrases Certain words must always be followed by certain prepositions. Good form: I cleaned under the kitchen cabinets. good. are easily spotted because most of them end in -ly. Well is commonly confused with its adjective counterpart. It is perfectly acceptable to end a sentence with a preposition. which s incorrect: I played good in the basketball game. chances are at least one is unnecessary. “I played well in the basketball game. such as slowly.” PREPOSITIONS Prepositions are connecting words that link a noun or pronoun to another word in a sentence. The correct word to use in such instances is the adverb well. They are often used to show a relationship of space or time. Good form: They looked outside the house for the lost cat. The holiday that follows immediately after your birthday is Valentine’s Day. It is important to remember that they must always be used together: You must account for every item in your club’s budget. good describes the noun pasta: The pasta ume last night was good. Remember that when two or more prepositions are used together. good is used to describe nouns. Examples The box on your desk is your birthday present. unnecessary prepositions should be avoided. if it makes the sentence flow better. Written correctly. none is more famous than: Never end a sentence with preposition!While this rule holds true for many situations.Adverbs. especially in your essay. Poor form: I cleaned up under the kitchen cabinets.

(Was the computer working on the assignment?) • Correct: While Tony was working on his English assignment. NOUN AND VERB AGREEMENT Nouns and verbs must agree in number. he was distracted by the noisy construction job. It isn’t dangling. the noisy construction job distracted Jim. • Incorrect:While working on his English assignment. Incorrect: I had to have the cafeteria unlocked meeting with student government this morning.What would the statement sound like if you kept—or dropped—the preposition? Does it sound like you. dangling modifiers (and indeed any ambiguous language) must be avoided. his computer crashed. though sometimes difficult to recognize. Incorrect: Tim and Fran is a great couple. Good Form Does he have anything to worry about? What did you use to make it with? What is the report comprised of ? Poor Form Is the extra-credit project over with? Where is the stadium at? Where do you want to go to? • _ DANGLING PARTICIPLES AND MISPLACED MODIFIERS Dangling participles and misplaced modifiers. and then pair it with the correct verb form. Did the cafeteria meet with student government? To say exactly what is meant. Correct: Tim and Fran are a great couple. no extra words are needed. but is in the wrong place in the sentence. Mechanics CHAPTER 4 HOW TO WRITE GREAT ESSAYS _ 43 Many times short questions are ended in prepositions. • Incorrect:While practicing outside with the soccer team. I had to have the cafeteria unlocked. Correct: Meeting with student government this morning. the modifier is just in the wrong place. are easily fixed by rearranging word order.The best technique for deciding to keep or remove prepositions at the end of sentences is to use your ear. The danger of misplaced modifiers. To achieve subject-verb agreement. meaning a singular noun takes a singular verb. or does it sound like a college professor? Prepositions should not be used in an attempt to add importance or weight to your writing. Since it is so critical that your reader understand your point easily and exactly. Note that correcting a dangling participle involves adding and/or rearranging the words in a sentence to make the meaning clear. as with dangling modifiers. the modifying phrase “meeting with student government” should be moved to the beginning of the sentence. and a plural noun takes a plural verb.Tony’s computer crashed. Note that the unacceptable sentences could be improved simply by dropping the preposition at the end. Correct: While Jim was practicing outside with the soccer team. Here are some acceptable and unacceptable examples. A dangling participle is a phrase or clause with a verb ending in -ing that does not refer to the subject of the sentence it modifies. first determine whether your subject is singular or plural. (plural subject takes plural verb) 192 . 44 A misplaced modifier is a word or phrase that describes something. OR The noisy construction job distracted Jim while he was practicing outside with the soccer team. is that they confuse meaning.

and then match it to the correct verb. The two most common mistakes at the sentence level are extremes.Incorrect: One of my friends are going to your school. Correct: One of my friends is going to yourt school. SENTENCE FRAGMENTS A sentence fragment is a group of words that.) _ ACTIVE VERSUS PASSIVE VOICE The active voice is much more effective in conveying your personality through your essay. the subject (most often you) is acted upon. Mechanics CHAPTER 4 HOW TO WRITE GREAT ESSAYS _ 45 NOUN AND VERB AGREEMENT CHECKLIST The more complex the sentence.Run-on sentences don’t stop soon enough. Fragments are often missing a subject or verb. although punctuated as a sentence. Active: I misplaced my wallet.Common examples include sentences that begin with there is and there are. Can’t go to the store. and expresses a fully developed thought. singular subject is connected by or or nor. Passive: Another helping was asked for by my friend. you literally become the source. written in the passive voice.) ✔ If a compound. are clunky and noticeably longer. Incorrect: Here are the report you asked me to write. The good news is that passive-voice errors are easy to omit from your writing. _ SENTENCE STRUCTURE A complete sentence requires a noun and verb. the verb agrees with the closest subject. Compare these sentences: Active: My friend asked for another helping. In the passive voice. Cried a lot.) ✔ If one plural and one singular subject are connected by or or nor. the verb must be plural. Fragments also can be phrases or parts of other sentences. they include two complete clauses or sentences. Incorrect: There is too many meetings scheduled on Tuesday morning. Not only is the active voice clearer and more direct. When we finished the game. or cause. of the action. Sentences written in the passive voice tend to be too wordy. Here are some guidelines that may help you: ✔ If a compound. they are phrases that are not whole thoughts. (Neither the 10-speed nor the hybrid is appropriate for a trail race. the more difficult it is to determine noun/verb agreement. and may be dependent clauses. For these reasons. (Both the 10-speed and the hybrid are appropriate for the bike race. Examples At the zoo. Active: The administration has selected three finalists for the open position. however. Correct: Here is the report you asked me to write. (singular subject takes singular verb) Agreement may be difficult to determine when the noun follows the verb. the verb must be singular. Passive:My wallet was misplaced by me. Passive: Three finalists for the open position have been selected by the administration. (Neither a fast bike nor perfect trails are going to help you to win if you do not train. does not express a complete thought. or lack focus. Sentence fragments stop too quickly. and here is and here are. RUN-ON SENTENCES A run-on sentence is made up of two or more independent clauses or complete sentences 193 .The second sentences. singular subject is connected by and. it should be used only when necessary. but it conveys your meaning more easily. Note the simplicity and directness of the first sentence in each pair. In the active voice. remember to first determine whether your subject is singular or plural. Correct:There are too many meetings scheduled on Tuesday morning.When editing your work.

Remember that hardly and barely are negatives. 48 HOW TO WRITE GREAT ESSAYS _ CHAPTER 4 Mechanics _ PUNCTUATION There are dozens of different punctuation marks in the English language. Incorrect: Mary doesn’t like neither of those books. 5. Correct: There aren’t any tickets left. Correct: Vegans don’t eat dairy products or meat. Here are a few ways to correct run-on sentences.placed together into one sentence without proper punctuation. 2. THE APOSTROPHE Apostrophes (’) are used to indicate ownership and to form contractions. 3. OR Last year the governor said he was campaigning for our candidate. If you are using those words. and will convey your voice more directly. not. Use a dash to separate parts of the sentence. since. and obscures meaning. This seems like an obvious point. we decide to take a walk. never. Incorrect: There aren’t no tickets left. For instance. and has been taught to you numerous times during your education.While the information may seem simple. when describing an event in the past. TAKE NOTE There are more negatives than just the obvious no. Add a dependent clause (use words such as because. Correct: Last year the governor said he would campaign for our candidate. Break up the run-on sentence into two or more complete sentences. Correct: Mary doesn’t like either of those books. but. you have a negative. Break up the sentence by inserting a semi colon between two clauses.With proper punctuation your writing will be more polished and technically correct. Eight rules cover 194 . Examples Incorrect: When we finished our lunch. Examples We were hungry and John was tired so we had to stop at the first rest area that we saw. Incorrect:We hardly never see movies. but tense shifts account for a large share of grammatical errors. 1. so. and nor. Use a comma and a conjunction (and. nor. _ DOUBLE NEGATIVES The use of double negatives is unnecessary and incorrect. it pays to review it. or. Kim studied hard for the test that’s why he got an A. so you do not need to double up. As with verb tense shifts.  46 HOW TO WRITE GREAT ESSAYS _ CHAPTER 4 Mechanics Mechanics CHAPTER 4 HOW TO WRITE GREAT ESSAYS _ 47 _ VERB TENSE SHIFTS Unnecessary shifts from one tense to another sound unskilled. 4. we decided to take a walk. yet) to set apart an independent clause. Patty took flying lessons every Saturday so she couldn’t go to the picnic and she couldn’t go to the graduation party either but she has already signed up for another group of flying lessons because she likes it so much. Incorrect: Vegans don’t eat dairy products nor meat. the use of two negatives (such as “I won’t never give up”) in a sentence sounds incompetent. and while). those covered in this section are the ones that present the most challenges to their users. and may obscure meaning. for. after. Eliminate them from your writing. Incorrect: Last year the governor said he is campaigning for our candidate. too. Correct:We hardly ever see movies. Correct: When we finished our lunch. neither. all verbs should be in the past tense.

) is not as critical to the meaning of your sentences as it is with other punctuation marks. Poor form: My supervisor was in the class of ’89. Your garden is beautiful. The students’ grades improved each semester.However. I went to visit my great-grandfather’s alma mater. and numbers used as words. Apostrophes form contractions by taking the place of the missing letter or number. THE COMMA Correct usage of commas (. The project was the result of a year’s worth of work. Mr. Good form: My supervisor was in the class of 1989. A few plurals not ending in s also form the possessive by adding ’s: The children’s toys were found in every room of the house. He packed a week’s worth of clothing. Consider the difference in tone of the following example: Sentence A: During my junior year. figures. If they don’t. its does not contain an apostrophe. you need the possessive form. you should be using the contraction. and in joint ownership: Sam and Janet’s graduation was three months ago. 3. 6. 2. My street address contains three 5’s. Show possession in the last word when using names of organizations and businesses. Good form: We are going out of town next week. and replaced by an apostrophe. The expressions of time and money do not indicate ownership in the usual sense: Mechanics CHAPTER 4 HOW TO WRITE GREAT ESSAYS _ 49 She has a hard time pronouncing s’s. The flight attendants’ uniforms were blue and white. in hyphenated words. If they make sense. Do not use contractions in highly formal written presentations. even when the noun ends in s: The school’s lunchroom needs to be cleaned. ITS VERSUS IT’S Unlike most possessives. The Future Farmers of America’s meeting was moved to Monday. 4. Indefinite pronouns show ownership by the addition of ’s: Everyone’s hearts were in the right place. 5. The word it’s is instead a contraction of the words it is. 195 . they can be used to convey your voice as they speed up or slow down the pace of your sentences. It was no one’s fault that we lost the game. 8. Possessive pronouns never have apostrophes.all of the situations in which they may appear. say the words it is when you come across it’s or its. The line for the women’s restroom was too long. Use an ’s to form the plurals of letters. Good form: She is going to write the next proposal. Poor form: We’re going out of town next week. 1. Add ’s to form the singular possessive. Poor form: She’s going to write the next proposal. 7. even though some may end in s: Our car is up for sale. The drummer’s solo received a standing ovation. without an apostrophe. I attended a conference in Washington. as well as certain expressions of time and money. its. Men’s shirts come in a variety of neck sizes. Perkins’s persuasive essay was very convincing. When revising your writing. Possessive plural nouns already ending in s need only the apostrophe added: The customers’ access codes are confidential. His handwriting is difficult to read. The second i is removed. Somebody’s dog was barking all night.

Ann. Therefore. and religion.C. Incorrect:My teacher wasn’t in class today: he graduated Summa Cum Laude. Corrected sentence: Our school received an award. because. and oranges. In addition to helping to convey your voice and personality.we raised the most money for the local charity. physics. the serial comma clarifies the meaning of sentences. Cindy. The lack of a serial comma can cause confusion. Correct: He signed up for four classes: geometry.. For instance. commas are often misused. and the serial comma. in the following example. Correct:My teacher wasn’t in class today: he had to fly to Houston to present a paper. 196 . where student delegates from every state presented their ideas. To correct a comma splice. forming two sentences ■ replace the comma with a semicolon ■ join the two clauses with a conjunction such as and. But if the serial comma is dropped. physics. Sentence B reads quicker. apples. where student delegates from every state presented their ideas. OR Our school received an award because we raised the most money for the local charity. or so Comma splice: Our school received an award. Serial Comma A serial comma is the one used last in a list of items. ■ A restatement or elaboration of the previous clause Incorrect: Shari is a talented hairdresser: she is also the mother of two children. D. Mechanics CHAPTER 4 HOW TO WRITE GREAT ESSAYS _ 51 While its use has been debated for centuries. it could be understood as Cindy being told that Ann and Sally were hired.D. conveying the information faster and with equal weight on each part. 50 HOW TO WRITE GREAT ESSAYS _ CHAPTER 4 Mechanics Sentence B: During my junior year I attended a conference in Washington. giving a little more information with each clause. and Sally were hired to work in the college counselor’s office.C. Cindy. There are two common errors that all college-bound students should be aware of: the comma splice. In the sentence. the comma after apples is the serial comma: At the store. I bought bananas. We raised the most money for the local charity. American literature. Ann and Sally were hired to work in the college counselor’s office. It creates a run-on sentence. you can either: ■ replace the comma with a period. Correct: Shari is a talented hairdresser: she attends a seminar each month and has been a professional for over twenty years. American literature. we raised the most money for the local charity. THE COLON Colons (:) appear at the end of a clause and can introduce: ■ A list when the clause before the colon can stand as a complete sentence on its own Incorrect: The classes he signed up for include: geometry. and religion. after the word and. OR Our school received an award. you should use it consistently whenever writing a list. the message is straightforward. Sentence A sounds more deliberate. Comma Splice A comma splice is the incorrect use of a comma to connect two complete sentences.

Examples: The dates for our meetings are Monday. ■ Use semicolons to separate items in a series that contain commas. but is in the wrong place in the sentence. using a verb ending in -ing that does not refer to the subject of the sentence it modifies. Example: Victoria was absent frequently. she received a low grade.However. and prepositions are the most challenging parts of speech. so she adopted them all. and any contractions made with it _ FOR YOUR REVIEW ■ Pronouns.“I know why this happened. Case: Use a semicolon to separate independent clauses joined without a conjunction. Consider the following: My teacher wasn’t in class today: he had to fly to Houston to present a paper. 52 HOW TO WRITE GREAT ESSAYS _ CHAPTER 4 Mechanics ■ Use semicolons to separate independent clauses. Nebraska. Use it instead of the passive voice whenever possible. and I am going to tell you. This can be effective in your essay.) may be used in two ways: to separate independent clauses. dirty. Learn the common errors to eliminate them from your writing. Case: Use a semicolon to separate independent clauses that are connected with a conjunctive adverb that expresses a relationship between clauses. and a plural noun takes a plural verb. ■ Avoid the two most common mistakes at the sentence level: sentence fragments 197 . Example: The strays were malnourished. even if the clauses are joined by a conjunction. has the tone that conveys. therefore. The first example. A misplaced modifier is a word or phrase that describes something. and ill. Nutley. meaning a singular noun takes a singular verb. New Jersey.and to separate the items in a list when those items contain commas. ■ Nouns and verbs must agree in number. She has lived in Omaha. adverbs. July 7. adjectives. Example: Four people worked on the project. and things) 3. _ CAPITALIZATION Capitalization is necessary both for specific words and to start sentences and quotes. Case: Use a semicolon to separate independent clauses that contain commas. but it conveys your meaning more easily. it should be used sparingly. but not a partial quotation 4. places. the first word of a complete quotation. and Pensacola. Florida.Colons have the effect of sounding authoritative. only one received credit for it. October 11. many writers overuse it. and any other important words of a title 5. but Liz had a weakness for kittens. the pronoun I.Monday. Case: Use a semicolon to show which sets of items go together. proper nouns (names of people.with the colon. Amherst. but because you never want to appear pompous.Massachusetts. He had to fly to Houston to present a paper. ■ The active voice is not only clearer and more direct. THE SEMICOLON Semicolons (. My teacher wasn’t in class today.” It sounds more authoritative. and thus appear overly casual. They present information more confidently and forcefully than if the sentence were divided in two other types of punctuation marks. Both create ambiguity and can change the meaning of a sentence. January 10. and Tuesday. April 14. ■ A dangling participle is a phrase or clause. last. accounting for a majority of usage errors. the first word of a sentence 2. languages 6. There are just six occasions that require capitalization: 1. the first. Tuesday.

When visiting the area they will be inundated with shops. is made interesting by details like "[a parking lot] is a place where you drive your car in and drop it off for a stay while you go about your business. With the main idea established. You would never look at a parking lot and think to yourself that maybe it is a park or a playground or an airstrip. whether that idea is declared in a topic sentence in the beginning. the use of two negatives (such as “I won’t never give up”) in a sentence sounds incompetent and can obscure meaning. A seemingly empty topic. etc. or Mediterranean cooking is healthy. Everything else in the paragraph is there to show the reader the validity and significance of that idea.—taking a general concept and making it real. Do not shift from one tense to another unless it is necessary. parking lots. such as determining when and where more development is needed. Using capitalization in any other way can make your writing appear too casual. everyone who has a car will inevitably use a parking lot. To see the difference good development makes. definition. The thoughtful detail in the first paragraph shows a much more engaged writer than the writer of the second paragraph. middle. exemplification. one welldeveloped and the other not so well-developed: At one time or another. The parking lot always has a prominent place right in front of an establishment and sometimes even surrounds the building. like "Volleyball is a great sport”. similar to the way a cowboy in the old west would tether his horse outside the saloon. or end of the paragraph. and it helps to convey your voice. It isn’t like anyone would mistake a parking lot for anything else. below the traditional Chinese arch. Rows upon rows of boundaries for individual driving units lined up one after another. A parking lot is a parking lot.and run-on sentences. or whether the idea is implied. The tourist will eat lunch or dinner in one of several Chinese Cuisine restaurants. similar to the way a cowboy in the old west would tether his horse outside the saloon. Rich 198 . yellow or white lines glowing on a background of blacktop. Paragraph Development Good paragraph development is a mark of a writer's investment in a topic." become concrete and specific in the well-developed paragraph. ■ Proper punctuation makes your essay more polished and technically correct. ■ Be consistent with verb tenses. What does a well-developed paragraph look like? A well-developed paragraph is a complete paragraph. students will learn techniques of good paragraph development. ■ The use of double negatives is unnecessary and redundant. General statements. And more than likely the vacation photos will include a picture of them standing at entrance to China Town. a place where you drive your car in and drop it off for a stay while you go about your business. They’ll probably notice the area is crowded and dirty. ■ There are six occasions that require capitalization." The author. and when to add more evidence versus greater depth of explanation or detail. As with verb tense shifts. In this module. explanation. or even sloppy. The reader learns why the writer believes in an idea. Be certain each sentence contains one complete thought. The features of most parking lots are not so different. It has a controlling idea. the writer then explores the significance of that topic through one or more methods of development—reflection. just take a look at these example paragraphs. Most visitors to San Francisco will list Chinatown as a must-see “tourist” destination.

another of his family's German Shepherd. etc. and we can agree on what dogs are generally like. if we stay at a general level. as in this example. in his influential book Language in Thought and Action. A well-developed paragraph has a clear controlling idea. In addition. and supporting sentences having more specific and/or concrete development. they learn nothing new. a politican might (quite intentionally) say "If elected.. or if there is already enough information to make the controlling idea seem valid and interesting. With the word "dog. and no sense of a writer's mind and voice behind the words. and detail that brings that idea to life. "A Pie chart help us see where company money is going". another individual may associate all dogs with the vicious Dachsund that bit his ankle. On the other hand. and an 199 . dogs as descendents of wolves. Examine every sentence to see if it might deserve further explanation or exemplification. talks about a "ladder of abstraction" as a tool for thinking about good communication. A useful way to think about developing paragraphs is to think about levels of detail. two paragraphs with identical arguments can have radically different development plans if the audiences are different: A paragraph discussing the ways massage therapy can help a person recover from muscle injuries will have one kind of development for patients. I. we would have a hard time sharing ideas: for example. How much development is enough? How does a writer know when development is complete? A writer's decision about completeness will depend on the audience and on the controlling idea for the paragraph. Brutus. Some ideas are complex and will need extensive explanation and/or exemplification. When trying to decide on length. Ask yourself if a reader would benefit from hearing more about a particular point. without ever getting specific or concrete. The politician relies on such abstract statements. In making decisions about development. San Francisco. receive no insight. Who knows what the politician is really thinking of in terms of concrete actions? Perhaps the candidate intends to increase Medi-care coverage for prescription drugs. each of us has our own image of "dog" in our minds. providing cliché generalizations about what the tourist will find to do in Chinatown. a good writer asks. Bandit. we need the word "dog" in order to communicate and to find common ground... in the abstract statement. or make emergency care free to everyone over 65." Health care benefits is a phrase at a fairly high level of abstraction: it can refer to anything from coverage of hospital expenses. and another for massage therapy professionals. what the candidate is thinking is anyone's guess. readers are only reminded of what they already know. even before people had cars! The author of the second paragraph. "How much does my audience know about this topic?" "Am I introducing new terms that will be unfamiliar to my audience? The audience will need to have unfamiliar terms defined and new concepts explained in enough detail so that the concepts become clear. Without abstractions and generalizations. the controlling idea "Democracy is the foundation of a good community" will need extensive explanation and exemplification to be a convincing point. But other ideas can be developed in a sentence or two. for example. stays at the surface of the topic. Hayakawa. one person may think of her Chihuahua. while some paragraphs are up to a page long. a quick break-down of the chart to explain distribution of funds is all that is really needed here. to co-pay expenses. helps readers re-see a familiar space in passages like this one where he gets readers to realize that we have always needed parking. we risk leaving our communications wide open for interpretation. on the other hand. we need both abstract and concrete language for communication. the controlling idea determines how much development is needed and how long the paragraph is going to be. And so. Brutus. General to Specific & Abstract to Concrete Development. even if the word causes the particularities of Bandit. dogs as pack animals. Some paragraphs are composed of only a single sentence." we can talk about dogs as companions. A welldeveloped paragraph also reflects the mind of the author who is engaged by the topic and who is concerned with communicating his or her own unique way of seeing to the reader. and the biting Dachsund to drop away. A paragraph should include sentences at varying levels—the topic sentence or controlling idea being the most general or abstract. As Hayakawa points out. S. As a result. to coverage of prescription drugs. For example. And so. I will increase health care benefits for seniors.Motherwell. Try and think like your reader.

When you show someone how to make an omelette. think in terms of levels of detail. Students sometimes have the mistaken idea that to develop a paragraph they just need to keep adding more examples when what they really need is to take an existing idea to greater depth. you already use patterns of development to express yourself. however. The figure to the right demonstrates how one might go down the ladder of abstraction and provide such references in a discussion of music. when you describe what your roomate looks like when she gets up in the morning you are using "description"." and "Bad Reputation. a more humorous and satirical version of punk. To write well-developed paragraphs. when you offer several reasons why you are late for an appointment. as Hayakawa points out. 80's rock included real extremes: big-hair metal bands like Van Halen and Joan Jett & the Blackhearts arrived on the scene." "New Wave" also emerged as a kind of toned down. and B52's songs like "Planet Clare.K. Some of it was great. synthesized version of punk music. 1. take a look at a paragraph that goes down through all of the levels of abstraction above: As a teenager in the eighties. Whether you are aware of it or not. Now." and "Lost in the Supermarket. you are 200 . Write a paragraph that is complete and developed with concrete detail on the following topic: why cell phones are so popular 2." were played at every party. and this voice comes out in the details rather than in the broad generalization. to win elections. Write a paragraph that is complete and developed with concrete detail on the following topic: a holiday memory Patterns of Development A pattern of development in writing refers to the particular strategy writers use to develop ideas. Yet there was some pretty bad new-wave music as well (at least I see that now." and "Psycho Killer. In an abstract statement. in hindsight) by "Haircut" bands like Flock of Seagulls ("I ran") and the Thompson Twins ("Lies"). and The Clash pruducing amazing off-the-radio tracks like "Blitzkrieg Bop. radio-acceptable.unquestioning public." And edgy. and to hear a person's unique voice. I was exposed to exciting new movements in rock music. you are using a pattern of development called "process analysis". headbanging punk music took off with bands like the Ramones. or change a tire. Everyone knew the words to "Burning Down the House." "Anarchy in the U. doing great numbers like "Jump. a reader will rarely accept a series of generalizations as text worth reading." by the Talking Heads. the Sex Pistols. A good paragraph goes down the ladder of abstraction to provide these references. a reader expects to get concrete information and a new perspective or new insight. In a written text. words should be "referable" to lower levels of abstraction." and "Rock Lobster.

Learning to use these patterns of development in writing is not difficult: you will need to familiarize yourself with key transitional expressions that send a signal to the reader that a particular pattern is being used. you are using narration.using cause and effect. and you will need to make conscious decisions about which strategies best develops your ideas. and when you tell the story of your first date. Objectives: By the end of this module students should be able to • • Identify common patterns of development used in written works. 201 . Use common patterns of development effectively in their own writing.

concise writing. description. In most writing.net/ggrow/ list. the following paragraphs are narration. Reviewing any good high classification. description. 202 . May be used by teachers fortraditional methods by which writing is developed.Seven Types of ParagraphIn their pursuit of clear. journalism Development students sometimes develop the habit of writing Annotated examples of narration. by Gerald Grow. Available at: analysis paragraph has been broken into a bulleted http://www. definition. classification.everything in short.unrelated to one another. definition. for example. these modes are mixed in natural combinations. narration frequently includes description. choppy paragraphs that are exposition. andconsiderable thought has been given to how longer persuasion. reprinted elsewhere withoutexposition. In nonprofit educational use.school writing handbook will remind you that process analysis.) Contact. The result is somewhat artificial--you would not normally write an article containing one each of seven types of paragraphs!--but I hope it is more memorable than a series of unrelated illustrations. The following paragraphs have been devised in an attempt to emphasize the characteristics of each mode of writing.longleaf. May not besuccession. and persuasion. process analysis. PhD Division of Journalism Florida A&M University presentations of single units of thought. in typical "how to" style. (The process permission. paragraphs can be developed into well focused What follows is an (imaginary) article invented to illustrate many of the "modes of discourse"--the © 1999.

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crickets sang. He heard his wife. and a resolution. the nights are filled with the busy. Something felt wrong. It was then he decided to pack up and move to a motel.Narration Around 2 a. At home in New Jersey. It was gone. was outside in the darkness also breathed. as he felt the pockets for a box of matches. Comments on narration: • • • Normally chronological (though sometimes uses flashbacks) A sequential presentation of the events that add up to a story. And much too dark. too. she was awake. you point them in the direction of a story. Specific details always help a story. tree-frogs chirruped. Time and place and person are normally established. Across the distant forest floated two muffled hoots from a barred owl. stifling them. Wanda. This narrative serves as the opening anecdote that illustrates the topic of the story • • Top 204 . comforting sounds of traffic. hold her breath. the "story" components are: a protagonist (Hanson). You always have the comforting knowledge that other people are all around you. He found where his pants were hanging and. Outside.m. a goal (to camp). It was the darkest dark he had ever seen. and a resolution (leaving). Then. something rustled in the leaves right outside the window. He lay in the dark listening. a conflict. He felt for the flashlight beside his bunk. Even starlight failed to penetrate the 80-foot canopy of trees the camper was parked beneath. It was too quiet. It was too quiet. A narrative differs from a mere listing of events. Narration usually contains characters. something woke Charles Hanson up. but so does interpretive language. and the huge silence of the night seemed to come inside the camper. And light: At home he can read in bed by the glow of the streetlight. an obstacle (nature). a setting. a climax (his panic). whatever. inches from his face. In this paragraph. a setting (the park). You don't just lay the words on the page.

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"Several times a month. If they had known about the different kinds of parks in Florida. hundreds of visitors suffer each year." Those people picked the wrong kind of park to visit. "people get scared and leave the park in the middle of the night. Comments on exposition: • • Exposition is explanatory writing Exposition can be an incidental part of a description or a narration.Exposition This family was a victim of a problem they could have avoided-a problem that. the key problem with exposition is credibility. after an indirect opening." ranger Rod Torres of O'Leno State Park said. This paragraph also happens to serve as the justifier or "nut graf" for the little article: the paragraph that. and what is to come. Not that there was anything wrong with the park: The hikers camped next to them loved the wild isolation of it. What makes your explanation believable? Normally. why it is important. specifies the topic of the article. But it just wasn't the kind of place the couple from New Jersey had in mind when they decided to camp out on this trip through Florida. • • Top 206 . according to Florida park rangers. they might have stayed in a place they loved. writers solve this problem by citing authorities who have good credentials and good reason to be experts in the subject. or it can be the heart of an article Aside from clarity.

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ranging from acres of RVs ringed around recreation halls. not all of them are called "parks. and. Comments on definition: • Never define anything by the "according to Webster's" method. to impenetrable mangrove wilderness. but make a strong effort to say what it IS. picnic. because there are so many kinds of parks. play tennis. camp. a park is a place to go for outdoor recreation-to swim. Saying what something is NOT can help readers.Definition "Park" is difficult to define in Florida." and even the ones called "parks" come in several varieties. To make things more complicated. Florida has a rich variety of parks. paddle your canoe. in some places take rides in miniature trains or swish down a waterslide. hike. • 208 . Bring the world into your story and use it to define your terms. Basically. walk the dog. Meaning is found in the world. not in the dictionary.

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Go light on adjectives and adverbs. Description requires you to record a series of detailed observations. to give your description a natural flow. The success of a description lies in the difference between what a reader can imagine and what you actually saw and recorded. person. walls of dense river swamp rise before you. object. A diving platform marks a good place to swim in the soft. tree-lined pool. The key problem in description is to avoid being static or flat. shaded woods of a beautiful hardwood forest. Pay special attention to the sound and rhythm of words. from that gap arises a spark of engagement. the Santa Fe River disappears in a large. Think of description as a little narrative in which the visual characteristics unfold in a natural. Surrounded by the tall. expanses of longleaf pinelands stretch across rolling hills. Think that your language is not so much describing a thing as describing a frame around the thing--a frame so vivid that your reader can pour his or her imagination into it and "see" the thing--even though you never showed it. dramatic order. Use sensory language. Be especially careful to make real observations. Also evoke. and canoeing up this dark river is like traveling backwards in time in the direction of original Florida. use these when you can. Think of what pieces readers need. left to right. Portray. as in this example. to construct a scene. etc. sudden sinkholes open in the woodlands-rich with cool ferns and mosses. down a river. old to new. Adopt a strategy that makes your description into a little story: move from far to near. stands of cypress mirror themselves in the still waters. Comments on description: • Description is not what you saw. Try making the description a little dramatic revelation. but what readers need to see in order to imagine the scene. and a pavilion for group meetings.Description O'Leno is a good example of a state park in Florida. like watching an actor put on a 210 • • • • • . the river rises three miles downstream in a big boil. Farther from the river. then continues on to meet the Suwannee and the sea. or. Nearby. interesting. slowly swirling. 18 rustic cabins. After appearing intermittently in scattered sinkholes. you find 65 campsites. In the midst of this lovely setting. cool waters of the Santa Fe. in what order. Look for ways to describe action.

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list the two items being compared. Before writing a comparison. By contrast. O'Leno wraps itself with the silence of crickets and owls. and browning bodies. Where O'Leno gives you so much quiet you can hear the leaves whispering. O'Leno Lloyd Beach quiet noisy solitude busy crowds available river to swim Atlantic beach and canoe forest abundant. to make certain you have all the elements necessary to write a comparison. near Fort Lauderdale. and so on "across the rows. At night. Lloyd Beach is the place to go. But if you want to stand at the edge of civilization and look across time into an older natural world. Lloyd Beach is a place of boisterous activity. O'Leno is the park to visit. As in the model below. your comparisons will benefit. "noise" and compare the two parks in terms of it. When you walk at Lloyd Beach. or dive into the busy bustle of an urban beach. Comments on comparison: • There is a helpful technique for writing a comparison. and the criteria by which they will be compared. jam boxes. stick with it till the end of the comparison. 212 • Top . there is a chance you will have a hole in your comparison." Once you commit to a "down" or "across" strategy. or take the first category. Lloyd Beach State Recreation Area. If you do not make such a chart. then the next category. You can walk a few yards in O'Leno and pass beyond every sign of human civilization. Lloyd Beach is busy with fishermen till well past midnight. is dominated by the oily bodies of sun-worshippers who crowd into it every summer weekend. umbrellas.Comparison Forest and river dominate O'Leno State Park. If you follow it. forest type beach fish and seabirds • Criteria noise people water resources natural features wildlife • Then choose whether to to "down the columns" or "across the rows" in writing your description. draw up a chart and fill it in. Either describe all of O'Leno and compare it to all of Lloyd Beach by working "down" columns two and three. If you want to fish near town. you have to be careful to step over the picnic baskets.

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clear a 9 by 9 foot area of snags. Put the steps into sequence. yet almost impossible with three or more. fit it into the upper end of the standing pole before securing its guywire. Next. Then isolate the steps: number then. snAP Test. While holding the pole up. One person can set up the FamilyProof Tent.] When you find the park you are looking for. always think of your readers: can they follow this? Analyze the process into a series of steps. lift one of the poles. Unfold the tent so that the corners of the waterproof bottom form a square. For the next paragraph. Prop up the awning with the two remaining poles and secure them with guyropes. Comments on process analysis: • In describing how a process happens or how to perform a series of actions. Peg down the corners of the bottom. put them in separate paragraphs Use illustrations keyed to the steps when appropriate: people can often read diagrams better than they can read lists of steps Always 214 an outsider to read your process ask • • • • . • • • • • • Now you are ready to move in. unroll the front flAP Test. limbs. Lift the pole on the opposite side of the tent in the same way. pull its guyrope tight and peg the guyrope down. Here's how: • First. but this time. Thread each pole through the two loops leading toward the top of the tent. though it is easier with two. After you have all four poles in place. you will need to make camp. use bullets.Process Analysis [Note: I couldn't think of a way to write the following paragraphs that followed naturally from the previous material. Together all four external tentpoles (they are held together by shock cords to ake sure you get the pieces matched up). pretend you are reading an article on how to put up a particular brand of tent. and anything that might pierce the bottom of the tent. Assemble the two remaining tent poles in a similar manner. so that the pole is held up by the guyrope and the pegs on opposing sides of the tent bottom. To form an awning. Finally. Place a pole near each of the pegs.

as she had been half afffectionately termed by the family. Find out what parks are available. helps us imagine what people are like. "OK. It was nevertheless. or Sister Carrie. make their own judgments. and it uses a direct. This can make all the difference in the quality of your vacation. but not strong." or "The mountains loomed above them. If you can help them formulate and deepen that opinion. and don't wind up on a concrete RV pad when you really want the forest primeval. Warm with the fancies of youth. and take action. was possessed of a mind rudimentary in its power of observation and analysis. Get good information on what to expect. and what they are like.Persuasion Before you go camping in Florida.longleaf. plan ahead. mannerisms. • • • Top Gerald Grow's Homepage at <http://www. Self-interest with her was high. Description of characters. and what your options are. as in this description of Caroline Meeber by Theodore Dreiser in his novel Sister Carrie: Caroline. pretty with the insipid 215 . exhortatory approach: Believe Me and Do It! This persuasive paragraph also serves as the ending to this little article and brings a sense of closure in the form of. and utterances. Comments on persuasion: • This paragraph is but a small example of the kind of writing used widely in editorials and columns." Description of time and place draws readers into other worlds and sets the stage where a story can unfold. her guiding characteristic. analysis. they will be glad they read your article. their appearance. Don't wind up in the wilds when you want to be near Disney World. You need to supply them with the information. and context they need to form their own opinions. more is needed than your opinion or sense of conviction. Remember: Readers are interested in only one opinion--their own.net/ggrow> Description Subjective Description: Writers use descriptive paragraphs most often in fiction. now get up and act!" To persuade people to change their minds or take an action. Just think of lines like "It was a dark and stormy night.

she was a fair example of the middle American class . Also. tapering to the tip." In an objective description. is being aware of one's own biases. unlike those of red maple (Acer rubrum) which are sharply Vshaped. and will tune in to a story when their eyes glaze over at other styles of writing. What is described is subjective: the reader experiences the world as it appears to the author or the narrator in a story and learns what is important to the person recording the description. In subjective description. ethnic and cultural background. The leaf sinuses are rounded. Narration A narrative is a story. possessed of a figure promising eventual shapeliness and an eye alight with certain native intelligence. Writing Description: Whether your goal is to write objective or subjective description. your paragraph should have a clear controlling idea so that your reader knows what to do with your descriptive details. . as in the following example: The Acer barbatum is a small to medium-sized. Leaves are opposite and shallowly to deeply palmately lobed. You may experience a scene or a person as a holistic impression. with a few blunt teeth but no serrations. while those of red maple are widest at the base. scene. As a method of development. a narrative paragraph can be effective at drawing the reader in and establishing your voice in the essay. In these writing situations. organizing details around clear controlling ideas is essential. the details must be organized in a meaningful way on the page. . as a video camera records a scene. storytelling can be very effective for the simple reason that people love to hear stories. People huddled inside their coats. part of writing good objective description. For instance. Supporting details should help the reader understand the dominant impression. the writer attempts to stay away from emotional impressions or responses. . 216 . that controlling idea should be a dominant impression of a particular scene or person. (50–80 ft. " (Dreiser 1) In this type of description. deciduous tree usually ranging from 15–25 m.prettiness of the formative period. Nothing should be included in the paragraph that does not support the controlling idea. the author is describing an impression of what is observed. analyze or argue. Bark is light gray and smooth on younger trees. or other writing in which the goal is to present an objective picture of an object or scene. and instead report what is seen. however. and gender. a writer might tell a brief story about the limited options she had for socializing outside of school in the 1970's to illustrate how substantially socializing patterns have changed. the writer's age. if your reader is to understand what your observations mean.) tall when mature. at the beginning of an essay on the problems caused by excessive instant messaging by young teens. . too. cultural contexts for writing. In both subjective and objective description. (Sieberling) It is important to note that while being objective may be a writer's goal. getting past biases can be difficult. or person to be described as objectively as possible and the descriptive details of the paragraph should add substance to the main point." is an example of a dominant impression. Objective Description: Description is also used in reportorial and scientific writing. the controlling idea should identify the object. Even when your purpose is to write an essay that is primarily to inform. Good supporting details could include "The morning air felt damp and cold. how the writer feels about the subject. becoming ridged and furrowed with age. the sides of terminal leaf lobes are more or less parallel. Therefore. For example. . What a writer notices and chooses to describe as well as what a writer leaves out of a description is influenced by many factors: the purpose for writing. "It was a gloomy morning.

and the controlling idea as a kind of wide angle shot on the scene. even in a narrative paragraph. and watched. For example. too These phrases do call attention to themselves. For the most part. Consider the folllowing narrative paragraph from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. therefore. then. Details help readers to connect to the world the author envisions. second. here and there. a controlling idea is important. logical sequence of actions supplies the narrative sequence: "I took off. paying particular attention to the action verbs and transitional expressions to show sequence: I took up the river road as hard as I could put. soon. the reader assumes the actions take place in sequence. In a narrative paragraph it is useful to think of paragraphs as scenes. By and by I begin to hear guns a good ways off. furthermore. The Controlling Idea in Narrative Paragraphs: The controlling idea in a narrative paragraph presents some difficulty for developing writers in that they think of a story as a series of events without natural breaks. I heard guns . There was a wood-rank four foot high a little ways in front of the tree. in the previous paragraph from Huckleberry Finn. and abstract and concrete expressions below to see what a difference the right words can make: Specific / General blue hamster / pet banana squash / vegetable red and white umbrella with a broken spoke / rain gear Concrete / Abstract He kissed her and smiled into her eyes. talking. but maybe it was luckier I didn't. so it is wise to use logic most of the time to show sequence. Therefore. Further shots take the reader into the scene emphasizing details and actions that will take place in that scene. choosing concrete and specific expressions. finally. . When I came in sight of the log store and the woodpile where the steamboats lands I worked along under the trees and brush till I got to a good place." By virtue of the linear arrangement of these sentences on the page. also. Consider the difference between the general and specific. the controlling idea for the scene is "I took up the river road as hard as I could put. eventually. first. . However. later. or when our attention is directed toward a new event —which in the case of Huckleberry Finn is the arrival of the men with guns. 217 . . Good writers. I worked along under the trees. running. Concrete and Specific Detail: Descriptive details in a narrative paragraph are essential to a good story. etc. because it gives the reader information about what to do with the details that follow. besides." Below are some of the common transitional expressions used in narrative writing: meanwhile. and then I clumb up into the forks of a cottonwood that was out of reach. However. ." What follows is what happened when he took off and went up the river road—he hides in a tree from the men with guns. / He loved her. narrative paragraphs are characterized by words that show action and words that show sequence. rather than abstract or general ones.Writing a Narrative Paragraph: Action Verbs and Transitional Expressions: A story takes place over a period of time and is built around people doing things—thinking. as in the phrase "by and by. spend a lot of time trying to find the right words for their meaning. A new paragraph will begin when the scene changes. in addition. moreover. and first I was going to hide behind that. transitions are needed to emphasize important time relationships.

Asking questions before beginning writing is key: What does my audience already know about this topic? Which key terms and concepts might they already be familiar with? Which terms will I need to define? Consider the difference in these two descriptions of how to build a web page: Example 1: Hello. what to leave out. how technical to be. and how to rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. the steps in the process being described happen in sequence over time. The writer must have a clear sense of the audience in order to know what to include. for example. the reader reads such texts for understanding as well as instruction. A reader can imagine specific things far more readily than general concepts. Process analysis paragraphs also depend on transitional expressions such as "first." to indicate the sequence in which steps are to be taken. (If you are unclear about this file extension stuff. Some process analysis writing is intended for an audience that needs to learn how to perform a process themselves. and so are presented in chronological order. and how formal or informal to be. It's called HTML because web page documents have the file extension . a discussion about how to respond to global warming will probably be both instructional and informative: individuals can take many steps to control global warming. The concrete and specific expressions get a reader's attention far more effectively than the abstract and general expressions do.." and "finally. examples of this type include how to resolve the healthcare crisis.html or . finding a good job. Some process analyses work on both levels.. HTML stands for Hyper Text Mark-up Language. this is for "all wet behinda ears" Newbies. quitting smoking. a HTML file to be exact. A web page is nothing more than a file. you'll probably find this tutorial a bit of a yawner. for example. fixing a bent bicycle wheel. Audience: Audience awareness is extremely important in process analysis writing. and rays of brighter gold fanned across the sky into the high clouds above. / She was scared. I must warn you though. You'll be happy to learn that it's really pretty simple. As the sun passed under the horizon. but other steps must be taken by corporations and governments as well. Other process analysis writing is informative rather than instructional." "then. then you really are newbie!! Take a quick detour for a few ramblings on the subject). If you're at all experienced at this sort of thing. (Barta) Example 2: 218 . / It was a beautiful sunset.Her hands were shaking and she was afraid her knees would not support her. the sky turned hot pink and gold. Part of your revision process should included finding concrete and specific expressions for your ideas. The basic idea is this." "second. My name is Joe and I'm going to give you a few simple lessons on how to make a Web Page. Writing a Process Analysis Sequence: Typically.htm. Process Analysis A process analysis is a discussion of the steps one must take to achieve a particular end.

and by looking at different groups suffering from poverty—for example. For example. If you are asked to write a classification paragraph or essay. We understand that Garth Brooks recordings will be in the country music category because we know that Garth Brooks' music shares certain characteristics with other music in the group: a guitar as the main instrument. if you have one. country life. be sure to examine the writing prompt to see if your instructor is looking for you to develop a complete classification system that allows one to evaluate items according to specific criteria. you must first have a strong sense of purpose. and write for that audience. etc.There are basically two ways to make a web page. noise. if you pack for a camping trip without taking the context of your trip in mind. Without this sense of purpose. crime rate. trash." "Telnet. your system for dividing and/or classifying information may not meet your needs. by dividing cancer into more than 100 different types. we develop criteria for the items in a subcategory based on relationships between the items. the second author is formal and more detached. and cell phones as a cause of accidents and physical 219 . In writing an essay involving division and/or classification. The second way is to create your web page(s) online using a Telnet program by accessing your UNIX account. If you are creating your web page(s) offline. the authors take different tones with the reader. classical. for this student. The first author is very informal and friendly (even including a smiling cartoon of himself). do so in any text editing or word processing document. jazz. hip-hop. but the author of the second example assumes his audience has a great deal more starting knowledge on the topic than the author of the first example. Consider your favorite music store: the compact discs are organized into many subcategories such as country. etc. knowing your goal is also important. For example. the sick. dividing these problems into categories—cell phones as a social problem. and those who are unable to find work—we are better able to combat the crisis. dance music. "There are three main problems associated with living across from a highschool: noise." and "server. homesickness. or uncomfortable street shoes to hike in rather than hiking boots. The first way is to create the page(s) offline and then upload them to your Internet Service Provider (ISP) via FTP. etc. Otherwise it will not be read properly by a web browser." The first author assumes his audience has no knowledge of key terms. themes of heartache. you could end up with all the wrong things. Neighborhoods are ranked by prospective home buyers according to criteria such as schools. In addition. medical professionals are better able to analyze the disease. "plain text" or "text only" document. and traffic congestion. For example. you will need to contact your ISP about how to go about uploading them to your server." In classification. you save it as a "text". (Web Page) Both examples show how to build a web page. In division. rock. we divide a general category of things into smaller subcategories. Using Division and Classification in Your Writing: To use division and classification successfullly. Make sure that when you save your document. soundtracks. but these organizational methods are also useful for understanding complex problems or issues: For example. For example. take the time to decide who you think your audience is going to be. Classification sometimes refers to a ranking system by which things or persons are evaluated. world music. and hotels are ranked and classified according to quality. The second author assumes the reader is familiar with terms like "FTP. a student might write an essay about the problems created in society by the cell phone. When writing your own process analysis paragraph. Division and classification make it easy for individuals to locate what they are looking for. you could have sleepwear suited for a warm bed rather than a cold forest floor. Division & Classification Division and classification are related methods for organizing objects or information. cleanliness. Once you have created your page(s). the elderly. a classification system is used in the military to rank officers. a country twang in his vocals. and other features.

) Illustration You may associated the word "illustration" with images that accompany a story in a picture book. or the criteria that chacterize items in a group. an anecdote. an adorable pancreas? (Jean Kerr) Using illustration in your writing: Once you have a clear sense of an idea you want to illustrate. The illustration may be one long. mouthwash and bathroom cleaners. extended example. Yet as Einstein says. the topic sentence might also involve enumeration. convenience. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. as in the following example. Topic sentence in division and classification paragraphs: Typically. That's deep enough. It feels clean and right. who never lets her hair down. only adds to the joy and glory of the climb. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening.and equally foolish. Modern humans are bacteria-killing machines. are the categories of the same kind and at the same level of generality? (See our module on Parallel Structure and the page on using coordination to outline an essay in the module on Coordination and Subordination for more information. ever-ascending. in the topic sentence of a division paragraph (or in the thesis of an essay that relies on division as the primary method of development) writers will use enumeration to prepare the reader for the content. Every step may be fruitful. as in "There are two main problems associated with . but the emphasis is likely to be on the ranking of the different divisions. Classifying cell phones according to size. ever-improving path. . the picture helps to illuminate or clarify the meaning in the text. you need to decide on the form of illustration you will use: A series of examples or statistical information can be persuasive. "Before God we are all equally wise ." Every day you may make progress. . got so crazy last night." In a classification paragraph. What do you want. in illustrated books. We assassinate microbes with hand soap. But this. however.injury—will help the student develop a clear argument. " or "We can proceed in one of three ways. Illustration also refers more generally to clarification through exemplification." or "Ponds have several characteristics that differentiate them from lakes. Consider the following examples: I am surprised that Margot. The key to a good illustration. 220 ." Checklist for division and classification paragraphs: • • • • Have you clearly identified your purpose for writing and using the division and / or classification techniques of development? Do the categories suit your topic sentence or thesis? Is each category distinct and separate from the other categories? Are you using parallel structure to create categories? That is. or it may be several short examples. no matter which form it takes. so far from discouraging. for example. a quotation. Writers use examples to make a general idea clear—to illustrate an idea. "Most states recognize two types of murder. price. (Winston Churchill) I'm tired of all this nonsense about beauty being only skin-deep. It may be a story. or a statistic. and appearance would not be an effective system for this argument. is that it sheds light on the general idea.

election staff or even hackers if the county server were connected to a phone line -. Racism. such as the mouth and upper respiratory system. Bacteremia is common after many invasive procedures. (Zetter) You may also choose to use quotations to illustrate an idea. "Kindness and compassion towards all living beings is a mark of a civilized society. Compare the following scientific definition with a highly subjective definition: Scientific Definition: Bacterial endocarditis occurs when bacteria in the bloodstream (bacteremia) lodge on abnormal heart valves or other damaged heart tissue. thanks to Harris' discovery." or "democracy" in a personal way. In the humanities. . dog fighting and cock fighting.could change votes and alter the log to erase the evidence. He stated. It was my dog Boycott who led me to question the right of humans to eat other sentient beings." He also said. where the terminology is extensive and discipline-specific.and change votes without leaving a trace. A single. (Keim) In each paragraph. Diebold hadn't password-protected the file or secured the audit log. "There was a lot of stuff that shouldn't have been there. irritable bowel syndrome and even diabetes. economic deprival.a standard program often bundled with Microsoft Office -. doubts about the accuracy and integrity of e-voting equipment have been growing." Over the past year. . . "It was getting scarier and scarier. . . definitions can be more subjective. long illustration allows you to get in depth and explore facets of an idea. Only when we have become nonviolent towards all life will we have learned to live well ourselves. a writer should be as objective as possible. on the other hand. and the skin. This technique is useful if you are exploring a complex idea. The answer. or a biography. Certain bacteria normally live on parts of your body. is counterintuitive: Feed patients bacteria." Harris said. making the idea clear and real.Diebold employees. the writer's goal is to help the reader understand new terms or concepts. Washington. as in the following illustration from an essay on e-voting." (Wikipedia) Definition In a definition paragraph. . or to come to new understanding of terms they may be familiar with. the intestinal and urinary tracts. ("Bacterial") 221 ." "luck." Harris said. Some surgical and dental procedures cause a brief bacteremia. the writer should strive to use analogies and impressions that the reader can readily identify with. "I was thinking we have an immense problem here that's much bigger than me. the main idea is developed through a list of concrete examples. In defining scientific terms. they say. and when impressions are essential. All this killing may actually cause diseases like eczema.But some scientists say we're overdoing it. "I feel very deeply about vegetarianism and the animal kingdom. This technique is useful when you are writing a literary analysis. Harris discovered that she could enter the vote database using Microsoft Access -. bullfighting and rodeos are all cut from the same defective fabric: violence. so anyone with access to the tabulation program during an election -. Consider this paragraph about Caeser Chavez from Wikipedia: Chávez was an ethical vegan and vocal advocate of animal rights. voting activist Bev Harris was holed up in the basement of her three-story house in Renton. The writer uses the story of Bev Harris' discovery of easy vote database access to illustrate how hackable computer vote databases can be: In January 2003. Definition is very important in the sciences. A writer may wish to define complex terms such as "heartache. searching the Internet for an electronic voting machine manual. when she made a startling discovery. . but only certain bacteria commonly cause endocarditis.

in a particular paragraph. we can get a pretty good sense of what something is like. A definition can be developed in a number of ways. I would like it known that I am not an “idiot. Nobody knows what it is like to deal with crippling bouts of idiocy while trying to lead a normal life." By its origins: Providing a history of what a term has meant can help us understand its current meaning. By what it is similar to: Comparison and analogy help us understand things that are unfamiliar to us. Physical features as well as behaviors (as in animal or cell behavior) may be a part of this type of definition. or what it does can be an important part of definition. So. . . However. Cause & Effect A cause and effect development techniques are typically discussed together. By what it is not: Ironically. and then provide clear detail to support the definition. He goes on to give examples of his idiocy and then conclude that his idiocy is just not his fault. the purpose of the paragraph is to explore how that effect came to be—to show what caused it. and I find myself asking. “Have you no sense of decency. 222 . Below are some common methods of definition: By characteristics or features: Scientific definitions typically rely on this type of definition. as in the above definition of "idiocy. provide a basic or general definition. Welch did of Senator Joseph McCarthy. a definition of CO2 emissions emphasizing the consequences of these emissions to the environment would be important. I have had to struggle to keep from thinking of myself in the limiting way that word implies. A paragraph emphasizing the causes of something typically begins with an effect. (Frazer) The second paragraph is taken from an essay-length definition of "idiocy" by Ian Frazer. in an essay on global warming. “[I]diot” is not a nice word to call somebody. Writing Definitions: To write a definition paragraph (or essay). By function: how something works." which refers to a head scarf women wore in mediaeval Europe. one or the other will be emphasized. By example: Giving examples illustrating what the term means can be highly effective. a writer begins with a particular cause. By its effect: Discussing what effects the subject produces is important with certain subjects or in certain contexts. or what it is lacking. as Mr. for the record.Subjective Definition: . by learning what it is not. For example. In a paragraph emphasizing the effects of something. for now he is really in trouble. For example. The last thing I need is for somebody to make it harder by pointing out what an “idiot” I am. a writer must identify the term being defined. then explores the consequences or effects of this cause.” I am a person who suffers from idiocy. Exploring the evolution of the term could yield interesting insight into the connotations of the contemporary term. The method(s) you choose should be determined by the term you are defining. the slang term "wimp" comes from the term "wimple. sir?” Throughout my life. Look at the examples below: paragraph emphasizing causes: Several factors contributed to the instability of the economy today. paragraph emphasizing effect: Jack should never have quit his job.

Once a writer has developed an interpretation of or conclusion about a subject. the goal is to understand a subject by examining its parts.Writing a cause & effect paragraph or essay: In a cause and/or effect paragraph. and the smoke from the chimneys is like coiled serpents. "Coketown. consequently. To get to this point of confidence takes hard work: rereading a text or examining a subject several times to become familiar with the contents. mad elephants. if one chooses to emphasize the thorns of the rose. . dismal factory town. lumbering up and down are melancholy. it is delicate and beautiful. The author analyzes scenes from the text to support an interpretation of their significance in the larger context of the novel: In Hard Times. The writer presents several examples as evidence for this interpretation. is caused by Words and phrases showing consequence: as a result. a writer might analyze the setting in a short story to better understand the theme of the story. The overall argument here is that Charles Dickens wants readers to see 19th century factory towns as strange. . disorienting places. in the moonlight the steam-engines cast shadows on the walls which seem like the shadows of the Titans. and why it is important to discuss a cause and effect relationship in the first place. Using transition words to emphasize cause and effect relationships between ideas is useful. it follows. a rare beauty in nature. all analogies break down at some point. no purpose has been identified for discussing the cause and effect relationship. Writing an Analysis Paragraph: Strong analysis depends on a clear sense of purpose. evidence must be selected that best supports the interpretation or conclusion. There are no perfect analogies. the steam engines themselves. Analysis In an analysis paragraph. for this reason. the writer needs to present the evidence in an orderly way and provide enough explanation of the evidence for the reader to understand how it relates to and supports the writer's idea. analogies are quite 223 . Analogy Analogy can be highly effective for extended definitions because in analogy. of course. however. doing research. Charles Dickens suggests that everything in the sooty." is severely workful and practical. The first thing a writer must do in writing the analytical paragraph is develop a sense of confidence about what should be asserted about a subject. and then deciding what the evidence suggests. For example. since. or a student in an anthropology class might write an analysis of broken pottery shards found on the site of an 18th century dwelling to support conclusions about the wealth and status of the family who lived on the site. and eventually dies. the writer needs to know which factor to emphasize: causes or effects. taking notes. is due to. Yet. and. Words and phrases showing cause: because. then. in spite of this fact. Rather a cynical view of love in the end. and careful explanation of the significance of the evidence. therefore. there are moments when the city becomes fantastic and disorienting. the stuff of strange dreams: the lights of factories make the factories seem like fantastic fairy palaces. solid evidence. Finally. one explains something that is difficult to understand through comparison with something that is more readily understood. but it also has thorns. " A controlling idea like this merely establishes a fact. a complex experience like falling in love might be explained in a rose analogy. For example. A rose blooms. It is not Ok to write "There are several causes and effects for . the looms in the factories seem a forest. Take a look at the following example of an analysis of setting in the novel Hard Times. mythological giants. or a detective might write an analysis of evidence found at a crime scene to support a conclusion about the perpetrator of the crime.

sneers with cold contempt. but it can be entered only on two conditions. Take a look at the famous analogies below to see how the process works . Being born is like being kidnapped. and he forgives her with an adoring smile. it 224 . as for example in all sanitary napkin. In some parables. and announces to all within hearing the nature of his transgression. every analogy eventually breaks down. for she is the source of his shame. a middle. we should draw the proper conclusion. when developing your analogy. in turn. assumes an expression of self-loathing mixed with a touch of self-pity. although she is. Answer given: 3. . if your paragraph is about the advantages of owning a compact car. But then a waitress approaches their table. or the analogy won't work. but this time they are free of the waitress's probing eyes and bitter social chastisement. and a vision of Heaven": The narrative structure of the Parable of the Ring around the Collar is. we are shown the couple in the restaurant once again. The parable is highly useful in explaining the stress such television commercials cause the viewer. which means that only one main idea is discussed. Answer given: Another important element of a good paragraph is unity. there is a path to redemption. . discuss only that. And then sold into slavery. like a barreling freight train that he didn't hear or see coming. the advisers are amiable and sympathetic. . notices that the man has a dirty collar. say—in which they are enjoying each other's company and generally having a wonderful time. A married couple is depicted in some relaxed setting—a restaurant. Consider Neil Postman's analogy between a certain kind of preachy television commercial and religious parables that "put forward a concept of sin. The first requires that you be open to advice or social criticism from those who are more enlightened. Writing an analogy: Writing analogy is one of the more difficult forms of writing. 1. As mentioned earlier. This is the parable's middle: the solution of the problem. Answer given: 2. indeed. For example. the exegeses. exacting and very close to unforgiving.useful. to be sure. he missed the Internet. and aspirin commercials. . comfortably traditional. stares at it boldly. In the Ring parable. The man is humiliated and glares at his wife with scorn. but key features of the items being compared should be present in both subjects. —Jim Clark Finally. . —Andy Warhol No matter how much Bill Gates may claim otherwise. This is the parable's beginning: the presentation of the problem. intimations of the way to redemption. . Finally. She. mouthwash. shampoo. and that is to be expected. The story has a beginning. Do not discuss the disadvantages. Write a paragraph on the topic of your choice using analogy to develop your idea. A good way to get started is to use the phrase (subject) is like . Write a paragraph on the topic of your choice using narration to develop your idea. Search your brain for the features of your subject and see if you can think of other subjects that share these features. and an end. Every good paragraph has a unity. . The parable continues by showing the wife at home using a detergent that never fails to eliminate dirt around the collars of men's shirts. the adviser is rather more sarcastic than severe. But in lost parables. Write a paragraph on the topic of your choice using illustration to develop your idea. the explication. As demonstrated in the Ring Parable. This is the parable's end: the moral. She proudly shows her husband what she is doing. Furthermore. but it can also be a lot of fun. the waitress serves the function of counselor. From this. perhaps all too aware of their own vulnerability on other matters. make sure that there are no key features of the items being compared that are obviously incompatible.

the HIV/AIDS epidemic rages on. 10 percent of the women visiting postnatal clinics in urban areas are infected with HIV. There is evidence that in the United States. The main method of transmission is. HIV infection rates are skyrocketing among sex workers. The virus is also transmitted through blood and blood products." These are called irrelevant sentences For example. Rwanda. such as gas economy. 10 percent of the women visiting postnatal clinics in urban areas are infected with HIV. and this total grew ten-fold. Tanzania. you could mention inflation' as a factor. Rwanda. and this total grew ten-fold. there were an estimated 10. and New Zealand. 23 B. Sometimes students write supporting sentences that are "off the topic.000. by the end of 1995. if you write several sentences about inflation. Zambia. the United Kingdom. the HIV/AIDS epidemic rages on.' In Nairobi. you are getting off the topic. Although there is no cure for HIV/AIDS. you could discuss gas economy and low maintenance costs in the same paragraph because they are closely related." In Kenya. 10 percent of the women visiting postnatal clinics in urban areas are infected with HIV and in some areas. The following short essay has not been divided into paragraphs. All of them discuss the same topic in which paragraph has unity and which two do not? Which paragraph discusses more than one topic? Which paragraph has irrelevant sentences? Paragraph 1 The HIV/AIDS epidemic is still growing explosively in most parts of the world. Tanzania. the rate of infection climbed from 9 percent to 38 percent between 1992 and 1995. In China. drug users who share needles may become infected. Paragraph 2 The HIV/AIDS epidemic is still growing explosively in most parts of the world. Sometimes it is possible to discuss two or even three aspects of the same idea in one paragraph if they are closely related to each other. in each paragraph. In Central and Eastern Europe. If you begin to discuss another advantage. to 100. by the end of 1995. and Zimbabwe. the rate is 40 percent. Around the world. HIV is spreading rapidly in countries that had almost no cases a few years ago. In the countries of sub Saharan Africa. Kenya. Australia. This is a result of a combination of prevention methods. In the countries of sub-Saharan Africa. In China. new medicines are available that prolong the lives of people with HIV. Uganda. Malawi. In Kenya. Uganda. Do not include any information that does not directly support the topic sentence. HIV is spreading rapidly in countries that had almost no cases a few years ago. but 225 . 80 percent of sex workers are infected. In the countries of sub-Saharan Africa. and in some areas. virus to their children during pregnancy and childbirth or when breast-feeding.000 HIV IV infected persons at the end of 1993. Zambia. In Central and Eastern Europe. the rate is 40 percent.000. and in Vietnam. Study the three paragraphs that follow. to 100. Zambia. For example. to 100. Malawi. Paragraph 3 The HIV/AIDS epidemic is still growing explosively in most parts of the world. PRACTICE A. For example. the rate is 40 percent. and this total grew ten-fold. HIV is spreading rapidly in countries that had almost no cases a few years ago. but you should not discuss both gas economy and easier parking in the same paragraph because they are not closely related. unprotected sex.is a good idea for beginning academic writer to discuss only one advantage. of course. by the end of 1995. at least among males. Mothers can give the HIV. and Zimbabwe. and Zimbabwe. Tanzania. However. These statistics illustrate with frightening clarity that HIV/AIDS is still a major health problem in most areas of the world. Malawi.000 HIV-infected persons at the end of 1993. and your paragraph will not have unity. the HIV/AIDS epidemic rages on. there were an estimated 10. Uganda. Rwanda. start a new paragraph. if you are writing a paragraph about the high cost of college tuition.000 HIV infected persons at the end of 1993. II.000. The second part of unity is that every supporting sentence must directly explain or prove the main idea that is stated in the topic sentence. In Kenya. In China. and in some areas. there were an estimated 10. which accounts for 75 to 85 percent of infections. HIV infection rates are declining. In Central and Eastern Europe.

C. hiking through steamy rain forests. in which people jump out of airplanes with graphite boards attached to their feet. or high-speed skateboarding. but it is different. four body paragraphs. therefore. the student may have difficulty reading an essay written by the rules of English rhetoric unless he/she understands the "logical" differences from those of his/her own native tongue. which are based on Anglo-European cultural patterns. Arabic and Persian writers tend to construct a paragraph in a parallel sequence using many coordinators such as and and but. Again. People of all ages axe choosing educational study tours for their vacations. the Arabic and Persian styles of writing. D Both of the following paragraphs have not only two or more topics. Logic. English logic and English rhetoric. on the other hand. Spanish rhetoric differs from English rhetoric in still another way.it should contain six: an introductory paragraph. While the rules of English rhetoric require that every sentence in a paragraph relate directly to the central idea. Young people especially are increasingly willing to risk life and limb while mountain biking. Paragraph I Adventure travel is the hot trend in the tourism industry. Paragraph 2 Daredevil sports are also becoming popular. STEP I Locate and underline the topic sentence of each paragraph. the flow of ideas occurs in a straight line from the opening sentence to the last sentence. comes from culture. Whereas English writers use a linear sequence. STEP 1 Read the entire essay once or twice. a student who has mastered the grammar of English may still write poor papers unless he/she has also mastered the rhetoric of English. does not follow the English rule of paragraph-unity. therefore. they axe choosing to spend their vacations rafting down wild rivers. STEP 2 Find the irrelevant sentence(s) and cross them out. Soccer is also becoming popular in the United States. use an indirect approach. One of the riskiest new sports is skysurfing. In this kind of writing. Therefore. In English. or traversing slippery glaciers. are linear . Although a Spanish paragraph may begin and end on the same topic. STEP I Decide where each paragraph should be divided into two or more paragraphs. maturity of style is often judged by the degree of subordination rather than by the degree of coordination. Ordinary people axe no longer content to spend their two weeks away from the office resting on a sunny beach in Hawaii. but also irrelevant sentences. the writer often digresses into areas that are not directly related to the topic. A type of construction found in Arabic and Persian writing is very different. In summary. with their emphasis on coordination. climbing the world's highest mountains. it is referred to only indirectly. which is basis of rhetoric. a Spanish-speaking writer loves to fill a paragraph with interesting digressions. Also. The rhetorical system of one language is neither better nor worse than the rhetorical system of another language. Some Asian writers. Rhetoric. Culture. 226 . and Rhetoric Logic. seem awkward and immature to an English reader. is not universal either but varies from culture to culture. such a development in an English paragraph is awkward and unnecessarily vogue to an English reader. however.(Where does the author begin to discuss a different topic?) STEP 3 Underline the first sentence of each paragraph. it is not universal.that is. backcountry snowboarding. In either case. a good English paragraph begins with a general statement of its content and then carefully develops that statement with a series of specific illustrations.and risk. Furthermore. the topic is viewed from a variety of angles. There is nothing that does not belong to the paragraph and nothing that does not support the topic sentence. A good English paragraph may also use just the reverse sequence: It may state a whole series of examples and then summarize those examples in a single statement at the end of the paragraph. More and more often. Both of the following paragraphs break the rule of unity because they contain one -or more irrelevant sentences-sentences that do not directly support the topic sentence. STEP 2 Decide where each new paragraph should begin. a well-structured English paragraph is never digressive. The topic is never analyzed directly. and a concluding paragraph. Spanish rhetoric. Skysurfing rivals skydiving and bungee jumping for the amount of thrills. where it was not well known until recently.

Contrast focuses on differences. if you are trying to negotiate a contract or discuss a scientific subject where details are important. PLAN A Feature 1 — Describe X. when someone offers you food or a beverage in America. Microsoft's president. thank you" because it is polite to decline the first one or two offers in your culture. describe Y — identify similarities and differences Feature 2 — Describe X. "Please drop by sometime. An American thinks that "no" means "no" and will usually not offer again.” In some areas of the United States. For example. and the times of meals may be different. however. That day is decades away. American meals are usually more informal than meals in other countries. Comparison focuses on similarities." Someday. Bill Gates. STEP 2 Find the irrelevant sentence(s) and cross them out. In other areas of the United States. believes that English will remain valuable for a long time as a common language for international communication. "dropping by" is a friendly. machine translation is totally useless. 24 Paragraph I Because the Internet makes the world a smaller place. Software that does crude' translations already exists. However. Your clue that this may not be a real invitation is the word "sometime. It is useful if all you are trying to do is understand the general idea of something you see on your computer screen. Support Sentences describe and compare features. Computer spelling checkers also exist for various languages. He says. the largest percent. there are a few occasions when they are not. the value of having a common language is greatly increased. 227 . it's easy to do the wrong thing inadvertently in a new culture. you could become very hungry and thirsty. however. Although Americans are usually very direct in social matters. you miss out on some of the Internet experience. "Unless you read English passably well. accept it the first time it is offered. age of its content is now in English. Paragraph 2 Even when you try to be polite. Teaching & Learning Centre Fact Sheets The University of New England Paragraph types: Comparison and/or contrast A comparison and/or contrast paragraph is required if you are asked to examine similarities and/or differences. His company spends $200 million a year translating software into other languages. describe Y — identify similarities and differences. If an American says. comments on the degree of similarity or difference. If you say "No. software may be available to instantly translate both written and spoken language so well that the need for any common language could decline. Americans do not expect you to visit them unless you have an invitation for a specific day and time." he may or may not want you to visit him in his home. because flawless machine translation is a very tough problem. neighborly gesture idioms are often difficult for newcomers to understand.Underline the topic sentence of each. Topic Sentence identifies the topic and the intention to compare and/or contrast X and Y. The question is-which language? Because the Internet grew up in the United States.

Concluding Sentence summarises and interprets differences and similarities.php 228 . again. while. PLAN B Describe X — features 1–n Describe Y — features 1–n Describe and discuss points of similarity and/or difference. in contrast. Homeopathy. unlike. but Teaching & Learning Centre Fact Sheets The University of New England Examples of questions requiring a compare and/or contrast paragraph Compare and contrast the grain characteristics which determine quality in wheat and barley. in the same way. on the other hand. describe Y — identify similarities and differences. however.une. also.au/interactive/workshops/writing/index. It is sometimes incorrectly used as a name for orthodox medicine. see http://tlc. like.edu. What characteristics distinguish plants from animals? What is the difference between allopathy and homeopathy? Notice that the words compare and/or contrast do not always appear in the question. too For contrast in contrast. For more information and practice in paragraph types. different from. whereas. equally. similarly.Feature n — Describe X. Sample paragraph 1 (using Plan A) Sample paragraph 2 (using Plan B) What is the difference between allopathy and homeopathy? Allopathy and homeopathy are quite different. Allopathy is the treatment of disease of one kind by exciting a disease of another kind or in another part. is a system of medicine based on the treatment of a given disease by administering small quantities of a drug which produces the symptoms of that disease in a healthy person. Useful transitional words and phrases For comparison similar to.

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