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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

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

one is much closer to nature and can enjoy more peace and quiet. it must consist of a subject and a predicate. In fact. must meet three requirements. There are many advantages to living in a village. a topic sentence must also be limited: that is. Therefore. Fragment: Learning English Complete: Learning English is useful for everyone. It must be clearly limited in such a way that it is neither too broad nor too a narrow. In addition. and in the course of a single lifetime about 56 million gallons. C. 2. compare the following pair of topic sentences 6 . In conclusion. 3. 3. a topic sentence must be a complete sentence: that is. Fragment: If you know English Complete: If you know English. it must express one and only one controlling idea which will be expanded into a complete paragraph. A further advantage is that there is much less traffic. 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. whereas sentence B has two ideas ("have at least two learning habits" and "should be responsible in his studies"). in a single day it pumps 2. and as a result it is much safer place to bring up young children. Note that sentence A contains only one idea ("have at least two learning habits"). which defines the controlling idea clearly and precisely. In this way. It must be 1. Study the following: 1.200 gallons of blood. First of all. Here is an example of a paragraph with a topic sentence stated at the end. The heart of a man performs at about 60 to 80 beats a minute. At each beat it takes in nearly a quarter of a pint of blood. you will not have either too much or too little to write about. it can be seen that village life is suitable for retired and those who want to have more peace and less stress. In a year it beats some 40 million times.and Specific. Limited. 2. Compare the following sentences. 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.Here is an example of a paragraph with a topic sentence stated at the beginning. you will have many advantages. it is not a sentence at all. Being limited: In addition to being complete. Complete. Again. Being complete: Like any other sentence. The heart weighs about 11 ounces and is the size of a clenched fist. but rather a sentence fragment or a part of sentence.Characteristics of a good topic sentence A good topic sentence. life in the country is much slower and people tend to be more open and friendly. sentence A is a better topic sentence because sentence B has more than one idea and is not a good topic sentence.

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

5. Television Topic sentence: _______________________________________________________________________________ 3. FRIENDS . Finally. Try to add at least three or four ideas to each group.………… 3.MUSIC………………………………. Write a topic sentence for the following paragraphs.CLASSES – my best/worst class …… ……………. Animals Topic sentence: _______________________________________________________________________________ 2. and perhaps make friends all over the world.individual sports ……………………………………………………………. 1. in your home.DIVORCE–children……………………………….…………………………… PRACTICE 4: A. you can share your hobbies and special interests.. University Topic sentence: _______________________________________________________________________________ 4. 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. Technology Topic sentence: _______________________________________________________________________________ 5.. Getting married Topic sentence: _______________________________________________________________________________ 6. SPORTS . so you can save both time and money. ENTERTAINMENT-singers .my best friend…………………………………………………………….……………………………………. _____________________________________________________________________________________ PRACTICE 2: Write specific topic sentences for possible paragraphs on the following topics. 4.3.….. Television has enormous influence on politics.. Firstly.…………………………………….Madonna 1.…………… 6.. VACATIONS………………………………. Example: Teenagers and drugs Topic sentence: Drug addiction has caused a huge increase in crimes of violence which is committed/done by teenagers.…………….………….. By joining a newsgroup or chat group. 8 .rock singer – superstar . Topic: Using Internet _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______. all of the latest information is available to you. 1.………………………………….……………………………………. e-mail is popular because it is faster than sending a letter and cheaper than a telephone conversation. Also. on-line shopping makes it possible to search through catalogues to find exactly what you want at the best price. at any hour of the day or night..……… 2.

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

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


12 .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Concluding sentence No matter whether it is a comparison or contrast paragraph. The points or items to be compared or contrasted should be parallel or of the same category. 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. you must be sure to make your points of comparison clear and actually develop them. 23 . to develop in your paragraph. You couldn’t possibly develop all of the points in your brainstorming list in one paragraph. For instance. After deciding which points to cover. You can’t. transmission. if you were contrasting two new models of automobiles. too. 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.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. Emphasis in comparison or contrast Supporting sentences Items to be compared or contrasted should be comparable. Furthermore. you would not bother with comparing and contrasting their tastes in food. you must include a discussion of each thing being compared or contrasted with each point of comparison. For example. 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. suspension. it would be irrelevant. If you were comparing two politicians in order to show that one is more diplomatic. the writer may mention little of exceptions. probably no more than three or four. talk about the Ford’s engine without talking about the Toyota’s. you must organize your paragraph in such a way that your reader does not have to jump about from one point to another. otherwise. for example. to show a cautious attitude. Also. the items would be incomparable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

a place. and heard. The diamond itself is tiny and dull. one that was slightly damaged in shipping. 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 (". feel. providing specific details that describe the ring: its parts. slightly warped blond guitar--the first instrument I taught myself how to play. but I treasure it as a gift from my older sister. Whether we're describing a person. 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. 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. given to me last year by my sister Doris"). This kind of topic sentence is more interesting and revealing than a bare announcement. just a Madeira folk guitar. The ring is neither very attractive nor valuable. Just below the diamond are small air holes. its frets tarnished. the paragraph is unified--that is. like a sliver of glass found on the kitchen floor after a dishwashing accident.THE PARAGRAPH DESCRIPTIVE The purpose of descriptive writing is to make our readers see. . developing this idea with details in the rest of the paragraph. "The belonging I am about to describe is my pre-engagement ring. The body of the Madeira is shaped like an enormous yellow pear. a bit tarnished by time and neglect. The four prongs that anchor the diamond are separated by pockets of dust. our aim is to reveal a subject through vivid and carefully selected details. It's nothing fancy. The strings are stretched down a long. 43 . and hear what we have seen. The blond wood has been chipped and gouged to gray. slim neck. intended to let the diamond breathe. The 14-carat gold band. all of the supporting sentences relate directly to one another and to the topic introduced in the first sentence. . Once you have introduced a topic clearly. and condition. the wood worn by years of fingers pressing chords and picking notes. all scuffed and scratched and fingerprinted. a gift that I will pass along to my younger sister when I receive my own engagement ring this Christmas. each one hooked through the eye of a silver tuning key. As a result." Instead of announcing your topic in this way. color. felt. such as. size. At the top is a bramble of copper-wound strings. The model paragraph: My most valuable possession is an old. circles my finger and twists together at the top to encase a small white diamond. but now clogged with grime. or a thing. you should stick to it. The writer of "My Tiny Diamond Ring" has done just that.

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

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

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

be able to pay tuition and living expenses 2. 6. In order to get a good job. Possibility of scholarships C. examples. Topic sentence: Choosing a college or university can be difficult. and senses for each supporting idea. and senses that further explain the idea. Concluding sentence: 4. numbers. 3. 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. numbers. Topic sentence: A. 3.3. Now we put this information into outline form and added some reasons. Don't actually write sentences in the outline. examples. Finally. Good preparation for major We decided to order these supporting ideas according to importance as shown in the outline below. the curriculum that is taught must be 47 . examples. 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. 1. For each supporting idea. 5. 1. 2. except for the topic sentence. 3. numbers. names. Good Location. Qualified professors B. B. Think of a concluding sentence. names. C. Put your supporting ideas in a logical order. Write your paragraph in topic outline form as follows. 1. Affordable. names. we wrote the paragraph using sentences and trying to make the paragraph coherent using different coherence strategies. Write your paragraph using sentences. Hard curriculum 2. Supporting idea 2. Supporting ideas: 1. 7. For balance. Supporting idea 3. Good preparation for your major 1. Good Location 1. Study environment 2. A. and senses. 3. think of reasons. each supporting idea should have about the same amount of reasons. Use the coherence strategies to make your paragraph easy to follow. CHOOSING A COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY Choosing a college or university can be difficult. Affordable 1. Supporting idea 1. The most difficult part is finding a university that prepares you well for your future career.

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

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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


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

These programs help students with their studies. how to fix things around the house and so on. Therefore. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ 9. when you watch a horror movie your psychology is affected by this movie badly. 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. For example. you see that people eat simple food. most American movies. Furthermore. These are well-organized programs that teaches children to count and to say the alphabet. They also have interesting characters that they tell stories and sing songs. There are several programs for preschool children. As we know. In conclusion nowadays. it causes people’s eating habits. there were many kinds of learning programs. people use movies in order to change history. Moreover. Advantages Advantages of Watching Television w TV is a good teacher for everyone for several reasons. Almost in every American movie you can easily see a beautiful house which has a garden or it is constructed seashore. you may want to be a monster or a murder. television has programs for students.Disadvantages of Watching Television w Watching movie can destroy human’s psychology and imagination in some ways. 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. Also. thedre are some programs for adults about how to garden. As a result. how to make delicious dishes. science fiction movies have full of imagination. For that reason most countries life style can be changed by movies. When people watch this kind of movies. When I was a high school student. They do not have any eating culture.. they think whatever they watched it could be in real life. _____________________________________________________________________________________ _______ 54 . What is more. Another example would be science fiction movies. Mostly. television teaches us all kinds of things. for example Sesame Street and Tarchın and his friends. They easily change an event which occurred in the past in the direction of their ideas.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

but through genetic research. 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. In addition genetic engineers have created larger fish. Some people feel that it could have terrible consequences. On the one hand the ability to create life in the laboratory could greatly benefit humankind.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. scientists have now developed a way to manufacture it inexpensively in the laboratory. Scientists are now able to create new forms of life in the laboratory due to the development of gene splicing. a researcher at George Washington University Medical Center cloned human embryos' by splitting single embryos into twins and triplets. Example: Write a paragraph discussing two types of energy resources. 66 kind divided of into . 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. flavorless tomatoes in grocery. For example it is very expensive to obtain insulin from natural sources. it could be possible for parents to have a child and then. be Energy resources can be divided into two types. years later. Because human embryos can be frozen and used at a later date. On the other hand not everyone is positive about gene-splicing technology. you group things or ideas into specific categories. Furthermore the ability to clone human beings is a possibility that frightens many people. In 1993. and more productive cows. frost-resistant strawberries. to use a cloned. These embryos did not develop into babies but it is possible that they could do so in the future. Another beneficial application of gene splicing is in agriculture. CLASSIFICATION PARAGRAPH When writing a classification paragraph. Genetic engineers have created a new tomato that doesn't spoil quickly. frozen embryo to give birth to its identical twin. A laboratory accident for example might cause an epidemic of an unknown disease that could wipe out humanity.

Often. basketball is more fun than football. is related Coal is related to other non-renewable resources. 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. is a part Coal is a part of the category of non-renewable resources. or action that you prefer. idea. belongs Coal belongs to the category of non-renewable resources. is grouped Coal is grouped with non-renewable resources. CHOICE / OPINION PARAGRAPH In a paragraph where you have to make a choice. fits Coal fits into the category of non-renewable resources. you need to choose which object. 67 opinion .is falls a Coal is a type of non-renewable resource. you will need to give your opinion on a choice of actions or events. type of under to of into with to with Coal falls under the category of non-renewable resources. is associated Coal is associated with other non-renewable resources. Example: Write a paragraph stating whether you would prefer to play basketball or football.

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

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

CAUSE because Example: People moved to Canada from Europe during the nineteenth century because they had poor living conditions in Europe. It follows that many people moved to Canada. of to EFFECT therefore Example: Living conditions in Europe were terrible. is due to / was due Example: The large influx of people to Canada was due to economic pressures in Europe. many people moved to Canada for a better life. Examples: Write a paragraph describing what a polar bear looks like. since Example: Since living conditions in Europe were terrible.. many people moved to Canada. 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 . it follows that Example: Living conditions were terrible in Europe. Sometimes. you may describe where a place is located. Therefore. many people moved to Canada. then fewer people would have moved to Canada DESCRIPTION PARAGRAPH In a description paragraph. Consequently. then Example: If living conditions were better in Europe. Thus. Describe where Canada's industry is located.. many people moved to Canada. as a result People moved to Canada from Europe as a result of poor living conditions in Europe. consequently Example: Living conditions were terrible in Europe. place. or thing is like. hence Example: Living conditions were terrible in Europe. thus Example: Living conditions in Europe were terrible. Hence. if . you are writing about what a person. many people moved to Canada for a better life.

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

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

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

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

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

Quick Comma Rules. word. to “get it. 76 . or phrase 5. Commas should be placed before and after a non-essential element in the middle of a sentence 4. use a comma to separate items in a series... use a comma after an opening clause. 2. use a comma with a coordinating conjunction to separate two independent clauses 3. five general rules for comma use will help students use commas correctly. citing sources. 1. 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. use a comma to set-off non-essential elements such as a phrase or clause. Commas cause the reader to pause and better understand the elements that make up the sentence. Lessons will cover rules for comma use and common comma mistakes.” It is easy to know when someone has finished a sentence: we see a period there. presenting addresses. Some special situations for comma use are discussed toward the end of this module.4. It is not as easy to know where a writer’s thoughts are going inside a sentence. commas are necessary for others to understand what we have said. Although you shouldn’t use a comma unless you know a rule for it. etc. use a comma to follow conventions of naming. In most situations. dates. In this module you will learn how to use commas correctly.

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

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

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

corrected: I told my boss that I was sick and that I would not be coming to work. they're a mighty ornery lot. Twain's short story "Hunting the Deceitful Turkey." "Twain argues." is wildly funny. It's the way they're raised. Rely instead on language and logic. Take a look at a parody of this kind of comma abuse by blogger fandomcommahate 80 . However. and an occasional well-placed comma to create voice. wrong: To err. corrected: I am not going to work today because I am sick. noun phrases. You feel mighty free and easy and comfortable on a raft. and started screaming about the grade on her essay. . not sad. or noun clauses in a compound subject or compound object. When introducing a quote with a short introductory phrase like "He said. Don't put a comma after the main clause when a dependent clause follows it. Commas used with quotations are a bit tricky." the phrase should be set off from the quote by a comma. furious even." 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. wrong: She walked out of the room. wrong: I am not going to work today. . . a colon should be used instead." 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. kings is kings. Ph. Don't place a comma between two nouns. because I am sick. wrong: I told my boss that I was sick.Professor Pete McSeed. is human. corrected: To err is human. . In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He was angry. Use a comma to emphasize a shift or to cause the reader to pause before an important contrast or point of emphasis. ." or "As Huck puts it. 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. Don't place a comma between two sentence verbs or verb phrases. . "All I say is. Other places do seem so cramped up and smothery. Take them all around. received his doctoral from Amherst College a year before taking a teaching job at Yale. but a raft don't. after an independent clause. You are going to make the cake for the party. Huck says. Don't use a comma to separate the subject from the verb.D. Don't sprinkle commas throughout your writing to try and imitate a speaking voice. after all. and that I would not be coming to work. Tears were streaming down her face because she was happy. corrected: She walked out of the room and started screaming about the grade on her essay. and you got to make allowances..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and a year revolution around the sun. 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. a colon is placed after the salutation rather than a comma (used in informal letters).pretentious. How is Dear Sir: the Dear Mr. The title-colonsubtitle format is very popular in newspapers and popular magazines. The earth has two motions-a daily rotation upon its axis. or even inappropriately humorous for the content of the essay that follows. decide whether the dash should be replaced with a colon or a semicolon. short sentence.com) Salutations In a business letter. semicolon 91 . How is the colon used in a sentence? For each sentence below. 3. To Whom it May Concern: 1. 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. Spiegler semicolon used in a sentence? 2.

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

The park was full of people. A starting sentence is provided for you. All you need to do is add sentences that illustrate or elaborate on that idea. When you complete your sentence. check out our version of the sentence. Contexts for Colon & Semicolon Use As mentioned in the lesson on colon use between independent clauses. a colon can be used to great effect when a writer wants to illustrate or elaborate on an idea. The colon can even set up a kind of mini-essay within your essay if after the first clause. try to connect several illustrations with semicolons. 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 .8. In at least one of the exercises. Try out this technique in the text boxes below. you connect several illustrations together with semicolons.

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

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

13.12. 96 . Use a colon to introduce an in-depth explanation or elaboration of something. Use a colon to introduce a list of activities you enjoy.

“They lived happily ever after” and the following quarter-century warning that they’ll be lucky to make it through the weekend. no matter how much you'd like to. (Nora Ephron) Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: correct 5. (Molly Ivins) Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: incorrect 6. a salad. (Molly Ivins) Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: incorrect 7. Women’s Wear Daily at least makes me feel dirty. You can't ignore politics. Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: correct 2. The gardener needs the following tools for regular garden maintenance: a trowel. stop digging. when you're in one. People makes me feel that I haven’t read or learned or seen anything at all. good garden gloves. I just want to be wonderful. Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: incorrect 3.14. Bring to the picnic: a blanket to sit on. 1. 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. and drinks. (Marilyn Monroe) Answer given: 97 . It struck me that the movies had spent more than half a century saying. and clippers. Correction Decide if semicolons and colons are used correctly in each quotation below. fertilizer. I don't want to make money. 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. The first rule of holes.

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

Periods are also used after numbers or letters in an outline.We should go to the party tonight. (Edwin Bryant. radio stations.D. where do I begin?" (Dr. use a question mark. .1. Please send her my congratulations on getting the promotion. M. No period is used when money is rounded to dollars: $45. (a) (iii) Ellipses An ellipses. Mr.D. Col. organizations. a period expresses this polite tone.2. . If a single word is ommitted. . 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. 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. If your voice goes up at the end of the sentence. other uses of the period Periods and Money A period is used between dollars and cents. . use brackets ([ ]) to indicate the ommission. 1. The Sierra Nevada range is of greater elevation than the Rocky Mountains. I wondered why she asked us if we had our bathing suits. or a series of three periods (with a space between the last word or the period at the end of a sentence). This and the coast range run nearly parallel with the shore of the Pacific.67 $1 Periods and Abbreviations Periods are not used in the abbreviations of familiar institutions. Little rise in your voice indicates a level of formality and polite hesitation. but is itself not a question.150. request: Would you please change the oil for me. Hilary asked us if we wanted to go swimming this afternoon.150 $1. 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.00 $. long terms. . . . Ph. unless the number or letter is enclosed in parentheses: I. M.A. is used to show an ommission of words in quote. A. 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.D. . Very well. Evil in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery) 99 . Walker . Ms.D.89 $45 $1. 1.

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

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.) Did I over-do it with the exclamations? (Use exclamation marks sparingly. Read through the passages and decide where you think the exclamation 101 . 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. þÿ Mrs Henley brought me a basket of muffins when I was sick last week 4. but these have been replaced with periods. þÿ Please do not use cell phones in our restaurant 8.) Supply 1. þÿ end used punctuation to work wherever for the it is FBI. asking yourself the following questions may help you quickly figure out where you went wrong. þÿ Jenny. þÿ Don't forget to pick up your prescription 6. þÿ Is there time to finish desert before we need to get to the movie 5. þÿ What are all of these candy wrappers doing all over the floor 7. but sometimes this happens. I can't believe I flunked English 10. needed but (including now he in works abbreviations). þÿ I am never going to get this project done on time 3. I haven't seen you for ages 9. for NATO He 2. mild exclamations do not take exclamation marks. Twain uses many exclamation marks and question marks. 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. In this passage.) Did I forget closing punctuation altogether? (Seems unlikely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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). the punctuation is still inadequate. corrections: I ate the whole pizza. The theater alone is not what makes it so unique. I am going to get the new Gwen Stefani CD but you can borrow it any time. and they were the best days of the whole vacation. Answer given: 8. I'm going to see Gwen Stefani this weekend. 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. Answer given: 4. colorful fruit tarts. Answer given: 3. the friendly clerks behind these cases. Answer given: 6. Answer given: 7. but without an accompanying comma. Use the same techniques for correcting fused sentences as you would use to correct comma splices (as described in the previous section). we spent two days at Disneyland with the kids. 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 . too. I am going to get the new Gwen Stefani CD.corrected: This drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles takes six-to seven hours. Being located in a prime spot along Columbus Ave. On our trip to Los Angeles. 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. On our trip to Los Angeles. it was excellent. Two large display cases adorned with a variety of different pastries. this bakery hardly goes unnoticed and people from a variety of cultures stop in to experience what it is it has to offer. we spent two days at Disneyland with the kids and they were the best days of the whole vacation. it is the colors. Danielle is going. people. but you can borrow it any time. Correcting Fused Sentences Sentences are said to be "fused" when there is no punctuation connecting independent clauses. examples: fused sentences: I ate the whole pizza it was excellent. The Phoenix is more than just a performance center. some with subtle Italian accents. 1. this is a long and boring drive all by yourself. Answer given: 2. greet you and buzz around like honeybees to help you obtain whatever treat it is you are craving. A coordinating conjunction may be present in a fused sentence. and city surrounding the theater that are most important. Answer given: 5. it’s a whole community center.

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

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

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

error: Children feel insignificant when their parents are too busy to spend time with them. and ___ have always been good friends. This can cause them to withdraw into themselves and hinder other social relationships. 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. Make sure the pronoun is grammatically consistent with the antecedent and the rest of the sentence. (I/me) Answer given: 113 . stores can be very far away. Pronoun reference mistakes usually occur between sentences. and it requires planning and much consolidation when it comes to making trips to town. I will do ____. too. Experienced writers make pronoun reference mistakes. Supply a pronoun to go in place of the underline. Mary. though.Pronoun Reference Problems Pronoun reference problems are very common in the work of developing writers. Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: it 6. 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. Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: they 4. Whatever you ask of me. Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: he 2. stores can be very far away. though.(What does it refer to?) correct: When you live in a rural area. Every man who does wrong knows that _____ should suffer the penalty. (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. You and ___ shall go. and going to the store requires planning and much consolidation. This feeling can cause them to withdraw into themselves and hinder other social relationships. 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. 1. particularly when modifiers and clauses distance the antecedent from the pronoun. Take a look at the following sentences with pronoun reference problems: error: If I took that bug out of her hair. (I/me) Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: I 7. or when a sentence contains several nouns. The more people know about plants and flowers the more ____ enjoy ____ Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: they them 5.

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

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

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

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

or work of art is the subject of a sentence. Each þÿ to of the options be: _____ unacceptable. Word order is also inverted in questions. the number of the verb should correspond to the number of the subject and not the predicate nominative. to 118 need: . when a phrase is referred to in terms of the language itself. þÿ 4. Agreement When the Verb is a Linking Verb. there is little I can do to help them. film. Her dogs are her protection.. Often the subject appears between parts of a verb phrase. 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. 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.. Everyone þÿ to in the class _____ the find: video to be entertaining. even when there is a plural subject in the title: The Twin Towers was an important New York City landmark. 3. If Jenny and Mark won't listen. When linking two nouns with a linking verb. Her protection is her dogs. When a title of a book. to feel: All of the people at the party.. 2. 1. institution. with the exception of Tiffany.When your parents get home. as in "Has she arrived yet?" The subject must match the first auxilliary verb (first verb form) in number. building. Terms of Endearment is a sad film.. 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. In addition. there is going to be trouble over the broken vase. it should be treated as a singular subject. ______ it is a good idea.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

144 . where would you go and why? Answer given: Paragraphs Creating Unified Paragraphs In this module. students will learn to create unified paragraphs having strong topic sentences and supporting details that clearly relate to and develop the topic sentence." 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. 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. 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. he listens to his iPod. Thompson likes to knit when travelling on the train.Note also that with "while" and "when. as in the following sentences: While walking the dog.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

job-related documents.. Although they may experience the rest of that process in different ways. how to gather ideas to write about. Given the thesis below (or something similar).. identifying the purpose and audience is the first step in the writing process for most writers. 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. or as best you can. San Answer given: Francisco is a great city. significant idea). and how to focus on a central theme or thesis (a specific. Objectives By the end of this unit. given that you did not actually write the essay). 4. given that you did not actually write the essay). write a conclusion in which you look to the future or provide an analogy. 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). Answer given: 3. Thesis Development Discovering and Developing a thesis: Overview Love notes. e-mail to friends. The truth is. write a conclusion posing a question or challenging your reader to action. Remember to synthesize ideas in your essay (hypothetically. or the next Great American Novel. or as best you can. write an introduction using a short narrative or useful background material to draw the reader in. Relationships are a lot of work. Whatever the writing task. Relationships demand a lot of work.2. Given the thesis below (or something similar). 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. Remember to synthesize ideas in your essay (hypothetically. 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 . By learning how to discover a topic worth writing about. essays for class. 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. sooner or later.

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

In a brief biography on her website . you may have a pretty good sense at the outset of how Faulkner describes Emily. but the topic is defined. until you find a groove and ideas start to flow. a student might use clustering to compare the readings on particular topics of discussion. Given the "Rose for Emily" assignment above. Focused freewriting is similar to freewriting. You may be surprised at the ideas you come up with. Focused freewriting is effective when one has a topic but is unsure about what one wants to say about that topic. that this was probably a good thing. These prewriting techniques are described in detail below: brainstorming: Simply tossing around ideas. whether you are a beginner or a professional writer. I didn't have a functioning pen with me. idly. and more connected to one's own voice. rather than sitting down at a desk "to write. brainstorming.. but little idea about what it all means.rowling. When the topic is up to you . how much of what I imagined on that journey I had forgotten by the time I actually got my hands on a pen). There's nothing to writing. I think. Make sure that you understand how much freedom you really have. (j. 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. getting unstuck: freewriting. Given the assignment on global warming above. 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. and all the details bubbled up in my brain. clustering: Clustering emphasizes the relationships between ideas and is useful in exploring various angles on a topic. Rowling tells of how a long. But feeling stuck is a normal part of the writing process. black-haired. because I simply sat and thought. in traffic. The point of all of the strategies. What can you do about it? There are several techniques for getting going. Freewriting is particularly effective in making writing seem more natural and familiar. Plus. one ends up with categories of information on a particular topic. Many writers use this technique for developing ideas. Using Prewriting Techniques and Other Strategies to Discover and Shape a Topic. And so. you may end up with some material that you can actually use in the essay itself. 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. . . —Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith It isn't easy to write an essay. you're stuck. 158 .com" will even cluster most any topic for you. then jotting down a few key ideas that may be useful. K. in that one writes non-stop. for four (delayed train) hours. etc. To my immense frustration. however. on the computer or on paper. either in one's head. Write a tentative thesis on a piece of paper and run it by your instructor during office hours.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. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. these ideas having arrived when they were just musing about things. J.k. There is even a term for a severe form of being stuck: writer's block. clustering is quite useful. For students who are trying to decide the angle to take on a particular topic. now. and this scrawny." Try brainstorming about an assignment when you have nothing else to occupy your mind: in a waiting line. is the same: to let words flow freely on the assumption that out of this unpressured writing will come an idea. on a long car ride. or in discussion with a friend.. clustering. and often say that they end up jotting down their best ideas on gum wrappers and napkins. And one of the most difficult parts of writing is finding what you want to say. and I was too shy to ask anybody if I could borrow one. After clustering.com) freewriting: Writing non-stop about whatever comes to mind. listing. The search engine "clusty. bespectacled boy who didn't know he was a wizard became more and more real to me.

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

" may well have started with a working thesis like "Contrary to what Al Gore says. "Don't believe the hype. in drafting her article. multiple directions: The language of the thesis suggests that the writer will explore several topics." A working thesis is not a perfectly refined piece of writing. Every good essay begins with an argument: something the author believes to be true and worth proving. there has been no debate among scientists about global warming. thesis as a question: Instructors frown on this strategy for beginning an essay. may well have begun with "scientists do agree that global warming is occurring. unity problems. age of parents. Subordinate clauses are attached to the main clause via a subordinating conjunction.that is debating all these issues and then somehow agreeing in unison? Far from such a thing being over. . ready to be read by a reader. development problems. and these 160 . in drafting his article. Common Thesis Statement Problems: A solid thesis is the foundation of a good essay. A working thesis: You do not need to worry about finding the perfect langauge for your thesis before you begin writing your essay." And Naomi Oreskes. and even sentence-level problems. The key words should be there which focus your work. Unfortunately. but after living on the ship for three years. 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. the thesis focuses on a seemingly insignificant or minor point. . it became difficult to think of it as anything else. 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. A much stronger tactic is to turn that question into a statement (though the question may work quite well as working thesis. race and ethnic stereotypes but do not often reflect the lives and hardships of real American families. Richard Lindzen. because when a writer is unsure about direction. which is really concerned with drawing the reader into the argument. and a list of subordinating conjunctions). but the connection between these topics is not clear: TV families often confront issues such as gender. and circumstances of the times they grew up in. Some of the most common problems are described below: weak argument: When the argument is weak. one that does not need more than a paragraph of support: It was hard to call a ship home. but a statement of what you will argue in the essay. but don't worry too much about the exact sentence structure until you revise your essay. But is the “American Dream” really such a dream? What does it really cost us to achieve that dream. helping you to focus on your reader's needs). nor do you need to write your introduction. the content suffers on all levels. and not with the specific content of the argument. and is that price worth it? Revising Your Thesis: When your thesis lacks clarity. rewriting the sentence to include a subordinate clause might help (see our module on coordination/subordination for more detail. no argument: A thesis that states a topic without an angle on that topic is just information.

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

Example of a thesis that is too broad: Drug use is detrimental to society. Further. 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. not the government. the word pollution means that something is bad or negative in some way. all studies agree that pollution is a problem. Some citizens might think focusing on recycling programs rather than private automobiles is the most effective strategy. Some people might think that this is how we should spend the nation's money. recreational drug use (which might include alcohol and cigarettes). what is included in the category "drugs"? Is the author talking about illegal drug use. and a conclusion. students will learn to construct a strong argument that has these features. Others might feel that we should be spending more money on education. or all uses of medication in general? Second. a refutation of opposing arguments. what does the author mean by "society"? Is the author referring only to America or to the global population? Does 162 . No one could reasonably argue that pollution is good. Another example of a debatable thesis statement: America's anti-pollution efforts should focus on privately owned cars. First. This thesis statement is not debatable. Example of a non-debatable thesis statement: Pollution is bad for the environment. they simply disagree on the impact it will have or the scope of the problem. Still others could argue that corporations. Example of a debatable thesis statement: At least twenty-five percent of the federal budget should be spent on limiting pollution. There are several reasons this statement is too broad to argue. First. In this module. 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. the more evidence you will need to convince readers that your position is right. Your thesis or claim must be supported by evidence. generally the narrower the thesis the more effective your argument will be. This is an example of a debatable thesis because reasonable people could disagree with it.evidence to support a claim. 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. The thesis needs to be narrow Although the scope of your paper might seem overwhelming at the start. the thesis must be something that people could reasonably have differing opinions on. In other words. should be paying to limit pollution. The broader your claim is.

Example: Instead of drilling for oil in Alaska we should be focusing on ways to reduce oil consumption. 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. and planting more trees in order to control or eliminate pollution. Qualifiers such as "typically. This is a much more manageable topic. Types of Claims Claims typically fall into one of four categories. Regardless of the type of claim you choose to 163 . and the context of your paper. Claims about value: These are claims made about what something is worth. yet the generality of the claim leaves all of these possibilities open to debate. is one way to focus your thesis on one particular aspect of you broader topic. The author could not cover all of the topics listed above. 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. Claims of fact or definition: These claims argue about what the definition of something is or whether something is a settled fact. 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. in other words what type of claim you want to make. 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 of a narrow or focused thesis: Illegal drug use is detrimental because it encourages gang violence. Claims of cause and effect: These claims argue that one person." 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. researching renewable energy sources." "generally. Example: What some people refer to as global warming is actually nothing more than normal. long-term cycles of climate change. Example: The popularity of SUV's in America has caused pollution to increase. Even if you start with one type of claim you probably will be using several within the paper. Example: Global warming is the most pressing challenge facing the world today. whether we value it or not. thing. Thinking about how you want to approach your topic." "usually. Claims about solutions or policies: These are claims that argue for or against a certain solution or policy approach to a problem. how we would rate or categorize something. or event caused another thing or event to occur. 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. 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. such as researching renewable energy sources.the author make any distinction between the effects on children and adults? There are just too many questions that the claim leaves open. your audience.

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

Including a well thought out warrant or bridge is essential to writing a good argumentative essay or paper. meaning that a decision to switch to a hybrid car will make a long-term impact on pollution levels. as opposed to industry produced. Backing (also referred to as the foundation): Additional logic or reasoning that may be necessary to support the warrant. You may want to include several counterclaims to show that you have thoroughly researched the topic. but unrefuted. 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. Counterclaim: A claim that negates or disagrees with the thesis/claim. Find out what the other side is saying and respond to it within your own argument. Instead. Rebuttal: Evidence that negates or disagrees with the counterclaim. Don't avoid the opposing side of an argument. include the opposing side as a counterclaim. 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. According to ineedtoknow. it is not feasible in many rural and suburban areas. Data 2: Each vehicle produced is going to stay on the road for roughly 12 to 15 years. Warrant 2: Cars generally have a long lifespan. thus hybrid cars are a better solution for much of the nation's population. 165 .org "the hybrid engine of the Prius. or for people who must commute to work." Counterclaim: Instead of focusing on cars. Example: Claim: Hybrid cars are an effective strategy to fight pollution. which still encourages a culture of driving even if it cuts down on pollution. the nation should focus on building and encouraging use of mass transit systems. Rebuttal: While mass transit is an environmentally sound idea that should be encouraged.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. Warrant 3: This combination of technologies means that less pollution is produced. arguments. Data1:Driving a private car is a typical citizen's most air polluting activity. The basic format for the Toulmin Method is as follows: Claim: The overall thesis the writer will argue for. This is important so that the audience is not swayed by weak. Warrant 1:Because cars are the largest source of private. Data 3: Hybrid cars combine a gasoline engine with a battery-powered electric motor. Including counterclaims allows you to find common ground with more of your readers. made by Toyota. Data: Evidence gathered to support the claim. produces 90 percent fewer harmful emissions than a comparable gasoline engine. Warrant (also referred to as a bridge): Explanation of why or how the data supports the claim. air pollution switching to hybrid cars should have an impact on fighting pollution. The Toulmin Method of logic is a common and easy to use formula for organizing an argument. the underlying assumption that connects your data to your claim.

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

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

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

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

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

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

only about 63 people were killed. Though these quakes are both very different. Both of them very destructive and had major impacts on society. These types of earthquakes are life changing. lasted under a minute. along with the obvious ones like the date and location. The San Francisco earthquake and the Loma Prieta earthquake have may differences. The 1906 San Francisco earthquake and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake are two of these majorly destructive earthquakes. Both of these earthquakes also had subsequent fires. In the San Francisco earthquake. through the Santa Cruz Mountains. you show their differences.1. you can never be too prepared. in fact. 172 . Even though they both happened on the same fault. Most earthquakes in the United States tend to occur in California.757 injured. they also have many surprising similarities. The name of this fault line is the San Andreas Fault line. most writers structure their essays one of four ways.to do.8. the San Francisco earthquake happened in 1906. These were very life changing events to anyone that was in either one of them or that had family in them.7. two ideas. Both of these powerful earthquakes happened in California. to define things. This is because the fault line. buildings and lives. Along with the strength of the earthquakes. use comparison and contrast to describe things. In the Loma Prieta earthquake.close to each other. for example. It was very costly to pay for the repairs that were to be made due to the damage. so comparing and contrasting the unfamiliar with the familiar is one of the most important techniques for writing. When they are comparing and contrasting. there is also some good that came out of this.5 billion dollars to make repairs for the San Francisco quake. to make an argument -. But. Both of these even though caused major damage. First off. usually not for the better.25 magnitude. The San Francisco earthquake was around a 7. They destroyed many houses. at about 7. runs across different parts of California. you show their similarities.000 people were killed and about 225. to analyze things. Both of these earthquakes are horrible disasters. when you contrast things. and around 7 billion dollars to repair the Loma Prieta quake. Both earthquakes toppled buildings and houses. The epicenter for both of these earthquakes was the Northern segment of the San Andreas Fault line. but the San Francisco earthquake might have taken a little less money to repair. and are caused by the San Andreas Fault line. almost any kind of writing. Obviously. It taught people how to be prepared when there is a major earthquake. and the Loma Prieta Earthquake happened in 1989. properties. We can really understand only those things that are familiar to us or similar to things we already understand. This segment runs from Hollister. It took 6. the dates are different.000 injured. but the Loma Prieta earthquake was weaker. like corsets and footbinding. their magnitudes are different. You can. these earthquakes are similar in some ways that you may not have known. there are also some not as well-know differences. the number of people killed was also different. over 3. Now scientists have more education about how to build earthquake proof buildings and bridges. and probably do. on which both the earthquakes occurred. When you compare things. and about 3.

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

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

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

with what they should. o Comparison/contrast is useful for more than an essay topic. first describing what people shouldn't do and then ending .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. 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.with a bang! . o o Other. 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 . but besides its value in organizing an essay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

. In such a link. 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. .... from which man takes his water supply and which can be used for hydroelectric power.. together with sunlight. I1 .... you will be able to understand the organization of the paragraph...... cause and effect are more closely related.. Jtainfall Rainfall formatio..v ...... 111 ..i..... which are themselves another source of food for man... [from Anita Debska: IJpgrade your English..... The paragraph below illustrates such a chain.. 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...... and plants provide food for inan and also for animals. Often however......... 184 .. Oxford University Press.... At the same time. iv ....... IX Effect the sun Man's . Check Your Progress 6 1.... and a paragraph which deals with effects... of . Secondly the sun indirectly provides man with water.... In the first place.... and .... One result of rainfall is the formation of lakes and rivers.Effect.... . In Check Your Progress 4 you noted the reasons foi joining the IGNOU Computers programra. forming a chain where A gives rise to B.. of consequences of your joining this program. B is both a consequence of A and the cause of C....... the paragraph has been developed by stating the cause and the effect. blain Cause Main Effect Indirect effect : . By filling in the gaps below...... B to C and to C and so on.. Effect Cause . rain.. by its light and warmth the sun directly creates rhe necessary conditions for man's survival. Cause Effect ..n.. Now write down what you think will be'the results.. 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.....] 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 ... enables plants to grow.. Cause and Effect We have discussed a paragraph which gives reasons to support a topic..... ..

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

We often compare our teachers. to shrews.6 COMPARISON AND CONTRAST So far we have been discussing ways of developing paragraphs which deal with only one topic. but pictures of other features Example: Maps of both ancient and modern times Check Your Progress 9 1. You will need. who are accustomed to travelling. iv) A mammals is a warm-blooded vertebrate that has four limbs and a hairy skin. 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. and so on. Our decisions are often based on comparison and contrast. the cities we have been to. and even when we buy a particular brand of tooth paste." Generalisation: "Maps have been used . I I I I i) Mammals differ from the other vertebrates in their system of reproduction..C. 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. Sometimes a topic can be developed by showing how two things are alike or how they are different." Example: Arctic explorers Generalisation: Occasionally maps show not only the roads. 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. In fact comparison and contrast are common devices in writing. (C. the food served at different restaurants.. Use the sentences given beiow to write a paragraph on Mammals. for example. V) Mammals are an extremely varied group. Hence comparison and contrast are a continuous process in our 186 . to replace some of the nouns with pronouns and avoid unnecessary repetitions. mainly because we tend to think that way. the blue Whale which is 150 tons.): animals which have a backbone secreted: produced varied: of different kinds shrew: a very small mouse-like animal with a long pointed nose 6. comparison and contrast dominate our thoughts when we decide to join a particular college or university.the modem maps of a state which show for each large town some feature of interest or the chief products of 'that town. when we choose a career or a job. our neighbors. which weigh only a few grams. ranging in size from the largest mammal. For instance. Glossary vertebrates (n. sea or sky.

Reason: Subject I : People Subject 2: Monkeys . 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. and these things are important among monkeys just as they are among humans. and hierarchy has come into existence to avoid continual infighting which could be the consequence of total equality. and these things are important among monkeys just as they are among humans. 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 . Like all the planets the Earth rotates on its 187 . ! There are a lot of similarities between an infant and a very old person's dependence on others. consequence of total equality. every cricket team needs a captain.750 km in diameter. iii) We wish to show the superiority of one thing over another when we compare two cars. they will only be able to reach decisions quickly if some kind of hierarchy is established. Every jury needs its foreman. I. S. Whenever. which direction it shall follow. for example There are two ways of arranging information when comparing or contrasting things. a ball of rock 12.): 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. Summing up: 'Sorne form of leadership is essential . Some forin of leadership is essential if action is to be taken quickly.. You may ! develop these points and add any others that you wish. (Adapted form "The Primates" by Eimerl. Check Your Progress 10 Write a paragraph on the following topic. They permit. Time-life Series) Con~positiona nd.. ii) We wish to clarify the unfamiliar by comparing it with the familiar. 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. The points to develop the paragraph are given below. 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. Glossary Study Skills hierarchy (n. Some animal in the group has to decide when the group shall move. what action it shall take to avoid predators. Example 9 (Developing a paragraph by contrast) We live on the planet Earth. the making of quick decisions.lives.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.. first. and De Vors. The same is true of monkeys.people are brought together. Both are extremely dependent on others.

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

on the other hand. but. 189 . Exploited for trade no trade at all . . writing.ld contrast. such as the topic sentence and the development of the topic. .om. whereas.. definition. . etc. .Much plant life empty desert. You i should now be able to use these techniques in writing paragraphs on iifferent'topics. despite the fact that. can be distiiiguished from. ! i b KEY woms Antarctic Arctic cause comparison contrast definition description . such as illustration. and comparison a. 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. We have also discussed different techniques of developing paragraphs. cause and effect. Development of Paragraphs Expressions of contrast: different ti. LET US SUM UP In Unit 6 we have introduced you to the elements that go into the organisation of a good paragraph. yet. although. while.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and when you tell the story of your first date. 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. 201 . you are using narration. and you will need to make conscious decisions about which strategies best develops your ideas. Objectives: By the end of this module students should be able to • • Identify common patterns of development used in written works.using cause and effect. Use common patterns of development effectively in their own writing.

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

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

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

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

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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. or. stands of cypress mirror themselves in the still waters. The key problem in description is to avoid being static or flat. from that gap arises a spark of engagement. Pay special attention to the sound and rhythm of words. A diving platform marks a good place to swim in the soft. Use sensory language. object. 18 rustic cabins. old to new. expanses of longleaf pinelands stretch across rolling hills. in what order. Try making the description a little dramatic revelation. Portray. cool waters of the Santa Fe. to construct a scene. sudden sinkholes open in the woodlands-rich with cool ferns and mosses. as in this example. interesting. Farther from the river. Think of description as a little narrative in which the visual characteristics unfold in a natural. the river rises three miles downstream in a big boil. Also evoke. In the midst of this lovely setting. but what readers need to see in order to imagine the scene. Look for ways to describe action. Comments on description: • Description is not what you saw. Go light on adjectives and adverbs. shaded woods of a beautiful hardwood forest. Surrounded by the tall. then continues on to meet the Suwannee and the sea. The success of a description lies in the difference between what a reader can imagine and what you actually saw and recorded. etc. you find 65 campsites. to give your description a natural flow. down a river. use these when you can. person. tree-lined pool. left to right. and canoeing up this dark river is like traveling backwards in time in the direction of original Florida. dramatic order. Adopt a strategy that makes your description into a little story: move from far to near. After appearing intermittently in scattered sinkholes. Think of what pieces readers need. Be especially careful to make real observations. Description requires you to record a series of detailed observations. the Santa Fe River disappears in a large.Description O'Leno is a good example of a state park in Florida. like watching an actor put on a 210 • • • • • . walls of dense river swamp rise before you. slowly swirling. Nearby. and a pavilion for group meetings.

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

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

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

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

By and by I begin to hear guns a good ways off. transitions are needed to emphasize important time relationships. also. Further shots take the reader into the scene emphasizing details and actions that will take place in that scene. the controlling idea for the scene is "I took up the river road as hard as I could put. / He loved her. There was a wood-rank four foot high a little ways in front of the tree. running. so it is wise to use logic most of the time to show sequence. 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. Details help readers to connect to the world the author envisions. 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 . For example. Consider the folllowing narrative paragraph from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. For the most part. logical sequence of actions supplies the narrative sequence: "I took off. choosing concrete and specific expressions. However. a controlling idea is important. too These phrases do call attention to themselves." Below are some of the common transitional expressions used in narrative writing: meanwhile.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. Concrete and Specific Detail: Descriptive details in a narrative paragraph are essential to a good story. In a narrative paragraph it is useful to think of paragraphs as scenes. Therefore. 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. then. first." 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. as in the phrase "by and by. because it gives the reader information about what to do with the details that follow. 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. spend a lot of time trying to find the right words for their meaning. even in a narrative paragraph. . in the previous paragraph from Huckleberry Finn. Consider the difference between the general and specific. I heard guns . therefore. moreover. eventually. . but maybe it was luckier I didn't. 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. furthermore. and first I was going to hide behind that. etc. . A new paragraph will begin when the scene changes. in addition. narrative paragraphs are characterized by words that show action and words that show sequence. Good writers. and watched. talking. the reader assumes the actions take place in sequence. rather than abstract or general ones. and the controlling idea as a kind of wide angle shot on the scene. soon. finally. besides. here and there. However. second. I worked along under the trees. later. and then I clumb up into the forks of a cottonwood that was out of reach.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The first requires that you be open to advice or social criticism from those who are more enlightened. and he forgives her with an adoring smile. —Jim Clark Finally. . although she is. Writing an analogy: Writing analogy is one of the more difficult forms of writing. This is the parable's beginning: the presentation of the problem. . Every good paragraph has a unity. A married couple is depicted in some relaxed setting—a restaurant. Take a look at the famous analogies below to see how the process works . discuss only that. say—in which they are enjoying each other's company and generally having a wonderful time. and that is to be expected. mouthwash. Answer given: 3. but key features of the items being compared should be present in both subjects. but it can also be a lot of fun. A good way to get started is to use the phrase (subject) is like . This is the parable's end: the moral. —Andy Warhol No matter how much Bill Gates may claim otherwise. to be sure. But then a waitress approaches their table. the advisers are amiable and sympathetic. but it can be entered only on two conditions. every analogy eventually breaks down. As mentioned earlier. and announces to all within hearing the nature of his transgression.useful. The man is humiliated and glares at his wife with scorn. a middle. comfortably traditional. In the Ring parable. She proudly shows her husband what she is doing. stares at it boldly. From this. as for example in all sanitary napkin. . . Finally. sneers with cold contempt. Search your brain for the features of your subject and see if you can think of other subjects that share these features. Being born is like being kidnapped. As demonstrated in the Ring Parable. Consider Neil Postman's analogy between a certain kind of preachy television commercial and religious parables that "put forward a concept of sin. Do not discuss the disadvantages. Furthermore. and an end. Write a paragraph on the topic of your choice using analogy to develop your idea. in turn. Write a paragraph on the topic of your choice using narration to develop your idea. 1. it 224 . 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. And then sold into slavery. we are shown the couple in the restaurant once again. and a vision of Heaven": The narrative structure of the Parable of the Ring around the Collar is. or the analogy won't work. The parable is highly useful in explaining the stress such television commercials cause the viewer. when developing your analogy. In some parables. notices that the man has a dirty collar. The story has a beginning. which means that only one main idea is discussed. and aspirin commercials. . there is a path to redemption. make sure that there are no key features of the items being compared that are obviously incompatible. but this time they are free of the waitress's probing eyes and bitter social chastisement. intimations of the way to redemption. exacting and very close to unforgiving. . we should draw the proper conclusion. She. the exegeses. This is the parable's middle: the solution of the problem. But in lost parables. Write a paragraph on the topic of your choice using illustration to develop your idea. Answer given: 2. Answer given: Another important element of a good paragraph is unity. assumes an expression of self-loathing mixed with a touch of self-pity. the waitress serves the function of counselor. . the adviser is rather more sarcastic than severe. For example. shampoo. perhaps all too aware of their own vulnerability on other matters. if your paragraph is about the advantages of owning a compact car. like a barreling freight train that he didn't hear or see coming. indeed. for she is the source of his shame. the explication. he missed the Internet.

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

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

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

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. Useful transitional words and phrases For comparison similar to. 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.php 228 . 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. see http://tlc. like. equally. whereas. in contrast. different from. Concluding Sentence summarises and interprets differences and similarities. while. also.edu. on the other hand. describe Y — identify similarities and differences. Allopathy is the treatment of disease of one kind by exciting a disease of another kind or in another part. Homeopathy. It is sometimes incorrectly used as a name for orthodox medicine. unlike.une. 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. however. For more information and practice in paragraph types. PLAN B Describe X — features 1–n Describe Y — features 1–n Describe and discuss points of similarity and/or difference. in the same way.au/interactive/workshops/writing/index.Feature n — Describe X. again. similarly. too For contrast in contrast.

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