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

READING AND WRITING

2010-2011

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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

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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.

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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: ........................................................................................................................

3.1 The TOPIC 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

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

and Specific. it can be seen that village life is suitable for retired and those who want to have more peace and less stress. 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. and as a result it is much safer place to bring up young children. In this way. C. It must be clearly limited in such a way that it is neither too broad nor too a narrow. 3. A further advantage is that there is much less traffic.Here is an example of a paragraph with a topic sentence stated at the beginning. 2.200 gallons of blood. 3. a topic sentence must also be limited: that is. must meet three requirements. Fragment: If you know English Complete: If you know English. whereas sentence B has two ideas ("have at least two learning habits" and "should be responsible in his studies"). Note that sentence A contains only one idea ("have at least two learning habits"). sentence A is a better topic sentence because sentence B has more than one idea and is not a good topic sentence. Compare the following sentences. in a single day it pumps 2.Characteristics of a good topic sentence A good topic sentence. The heart of a man performs at about 60 to 80 beats a minute. Here is an example of a paragraph with a topic sentence stated at the end. but rather a sentence fragment or a part of sentence. a topic sentence must be a complete sentence: that is. it must consist of a subject and a predicate. In conclusion. life in the country is much slower and people tend to be more open and friendly. 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. Fragment: Learning English Complete: Learning English is useful for everyone. Study the following: 1. Complete. At each beat it takes in nearly a quarter of a pint of blood. Limited. Fragment: Ways to learn English Complete: There are many easy ways to learn English. it is not a sentence at all. Being complete: Like any other sentence. 2. compare the following pair of topic sentences 6 . First of all. and in the course of a single lifetime about 56 million gallons. In a year it beats some 40 million times. There are many advantages to living in a village. Being limited: In addition to being complete. In fact. The heart weighs about 11 ounces and is the size of a clenched fist. it must express one and only one controlling idea which will be expanded into a complete paragraph. you will not have either too much or too little to write about. In addition. Again. one is much closer to nature and can enjoy more peace and quiet. It must be 1. you will have many advantages. Therefore. if it is not a complete sentence. which defines the controlling idea clearly and precisely.

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

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

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

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

PRACTICE 11 .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 .

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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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

6.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Molly Ivins) Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: incorrect 6. 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. Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: correct 2. Use a colon to introduce a list of items a student needs to be prepared for the first day of classes. It struck me that the movies had spent more than half a century saying. and drinks. a salad. stop digging. no matter how much you'd like to. Correction Decide if semicolons and colons are used correctly in each quotation below. (Nora Ephron) Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: correct 4. You can't ignore politics. People makes me feel that I haven’t read or learned or seen anything at all. (Nora Ephron) Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: correct 5. The first rule of holes. and clippers. Women’s Wear Daily at least makes me feel dirty.14. Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: incorrect 3. good garden gloves. (Molly Ivins) Answer given: Result: Incorrect Correct answer: incorrect 7. fertilizer. 1. I don't want to make money. “They lived happily ever after” and the following quarter-century warning that they’ll be lucky to make it through the weekend. The gardener needs the following tools for regular garden maintenance: a trowel. when you're in one. Bring to the picnic: a blanket to sit on. (Marilyn Monroe) Answer given: 97 . I just want to be wonderful.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

þÿ

15. Enough
þÿ

to time and enough money

make: _____ a great vacation!

16. Jenny
þÿ

to or Audrey ________

know: where to find him.

17. The
þÿ

to dog with the white spots and the pointy

sleep: ears _________ all the time.

18. The
þÿ

to testimony that she gave before the

be: court _____ unbelievable.

19.

to

have:

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

20. The
þÿ

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:

Incorrect

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

121

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:

that

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

where would you go and why? Answer given: Paragraphs Creating Unified Paragraphs In this module." it is perfectly correct to leave out the subject and the "to be" verb form.Note also that with "while" and "when. 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. Thompson likes to knit when travelling on the train. Mrs. he listens to his iPod. Students will also learn to revise their work to improve paragraph unity. 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. as in the following sentences: While walking the dog. 144 . Proofread your paragraphs before you press the "submit" button to ensure that you have used coordination and subordination to good advantage. students will learn to create unified paragraphs having strong topic sentences and supporting details that clearly relate to and develop the topic sentence.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

first describing what people shouldn't do and then ending . but besides its value in organizing an essay. o Comparison/contrast is useful for more than an essay topic.with a bang! . 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. Writers who only contrast ideas sometimes briefly summarize similarities in the conclusion so they don't leave the impression that they are thinking in opposites.o 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. o o Other. Many teachers assign topics that ask writers to write an essay comparing and contrasting two or more ideas. related concepts to think about and places to look Analogical and metaphorical language: like and as Using lists in your writing: parallelism An Overview of the Writing Process Developing an Introduction Conclusions Essay Organization: The Flow Chart Approach Paragraph Development When Do I Begin a New Paragraph Cohesion Brainstorming Focused Freewriting Invention Questions for Argument and Persuasion Invention Questions for Writing about Cause and Effect Invention Questions for Comparing and Contrasting The various rhetorical modes and types of writing Narrative Description Definition Process Description Reaction Papers 176 .with what they should.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

) 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. 4. say the words it is when you come across it’s or its. without an apostrophe.all of the situations in which they may appear. you need the possessive form. 2. Poor form: We’re going out of town next week. Perkins’s persuasive essay was very convincing. If they don’t. Your garden is beautiful. and in joint ownership: Sam and Janet’s graduation was three months ago.However. in hyphenated words. If they make sense. The line for the women’s restroom was too long. The students’ grades improved each semester. Apostrophes form contractions by taking the place of the missing letter or number. I attended a conference in Washington. Poor form: My supervisor was in the class of ’89. THE COMMA Correct usage of commas (. 1. Add ’s to form the singular possessive. 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. Mr. His handwriting is difficult to read. He packed a week’s worth of clothing. Good form: My supervisor was in the class of 1989. 3. Possessive plural nouns already ending in s need only the apostrophe added: The customers’ access codes are confidential. My street address contains three 5’s. Possessive pronouns never have apostrophes. its does not contain an apostrophe. The flight attendants’ uniforms were blue and white. 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. I went to visit my great-grandfather’s alma mater. The project was the result of a year’s worth of work. they can be used to convey your voice as they speed up or slow down the pace of your sentences. Somebody’s dog was barking all night. 8. as well as certain expressions of time and money. even when the noun ends in s: The school’s lunchroom needs to be cleaned. 195 . Indefinite pronouns show ownership by the addition of ’s: Everyone’s hearts were in the right place. 5. Poor form: She’s going to write the next proposal. Do not use contractions in highly formal written presentations. Consider the difference in tone of the following example: Sentence A: During my junior year. figures. you should be using the contraction. Good form: She is going to write the next proposal. The Future Farmers of America’s meeting was moved to Monday. its. even though some may end in s: Our car is up for sale. The drummer’s solo received a standing ovation. ITS VERSUS IT’S Unlike most possessives. The word it’s is instead a contraction of the words it is. and replaced by an apostrophe. When revising your writing. Good form: We are going out of town next week. and numbers used as words. 6. Use an ’s to form the plurals of letters. 7. Show possession in the last word when using names of organizations and businesses. Men’s shirts come in a variety of neck sizes. The second i is removed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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the key problem with exposition is credibility. after an indirect opening." ranger Rod Torres of O'Leno State Park said.Exposition This family was a victim of a problem they could have avoided-a problem that. specifies the topic of the article. Comments on exposition: • • Exposition is explanatory writing Exposition can be an incidental part of a description or a narration." Those people picked the wrong kind of park to visit. "people get scared and leave the park in the middle of the night. according to Florida park rangers. they might have stayed in a place they loved. writers solve this problem by citing authorities who have good credentials and good reason to be experts in the subject. or it can be the heart of an article Aside from clarity. If they had known about the different kinds of parks in Florida. • • Top 206 . hundreds of visitors suffer each year. "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. This paragraph also happens to serve as the justifier or "nut graf" for the little article: the paragraph that. What makes your explanation believable? Normally. 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. and what is to come.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I worked along under the trees. second. too These phrases do call attention to themselves. because it gives the reader information about what to do with the details that follow. a controlling idea is important." 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. spend a lot of time trying to find the right words for their meaning. furthermore.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. . . However. There was a wood-rank four foot high a little ways in front of the tree. as in the phrase "by and by. For the most part. therefore. Concrete and Specific Detail: Descriptive details in a narrative paragraph are essential to a good story. the reader assumes the actions take place in sequence. 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. later. eventually." Below are some of the common transitional expressions used in narrative writing: meanwhile. and the controlling idea as a kind of wide angle shot on the scene. However. 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. Consider the folllowing narrative paragraph from The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. in the previous paragraph from Huckleberry Finn. also. moreover. besides. I heard guns . narrative paragraphs are characterized by words that show action and words that show sequence. then. 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. and watched. In a narrative paragraph it is useful to think of paragraphs as scenes. finally. here and there. even in a narrative paragraph. 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. in addition. By and by I begin to hear guns a good ways off. Therefore. For example. rather than abstract or general ones. logical sequence of actions supplies the narrative sequence: "I took off. . paying particular attention to the action verbs and transitional expressions to show sequence: I took up the river road as hard as I could put. talking. choosing concrete and specific expressions. and first I was going to hide behind that. / He loved her. A new paragraph will begin when the scene changes. running. Good writers. so it is wise to use logic most of the time to show sequence." By virtue of the linear arrangement of these sentences on the page. . 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. and then I clumb up into the forks of a cottonwood that was out of reach. first. soon. but maybe it was luckier I didn't. 217 . transitions are needed to emphasize important time relationships. Consider the difference between the general and specific. etc.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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