I have English composition homework I need done. There are Four multiple choices exams of 20 questions eachAnd 5 small…

I have English composition homework I need done. There are Four multiple choices exams of 20 questions each And 5 small writing assignments. I have adobe files I need to send to someone to review and give me A sample of thir work and then a price to finish. How do I submit the adobe file?


There are 9 assignmentjs.  Lesson 1, 2, 3, & 9 are multiple choice exams which are attached.  Lessons 4,5,6,7,8 are short essays.  The content requirements are on pages.






The paper requirements such as headings, margins, etc… are on pages 6-9.

Due next Friday. 

I am very new to this process as I am very accustomed to doing my own work.  I have a couple of classes that are basically “check of the box” classes to meet certain requirements and this is one of them.  You let me know how this will cost. What is your policy on correcting assignments you prepare if the instructor requires changes in order to get a passing grade? 


Thank you,



Study Guide

English Composition

Robert G. Turner, Jr., Ph.D.

About the Author

Robert G. Turner, Jr., holds a B.S. in business and an M.S. and
a Ph.D. in sociology. He has more than 20 years of teaching
experience, mainly at the college level, and is currently serving
as an adjunct professor at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg. Dr. Turner
is primarily employed as a professional freelance writer. His literary
credits include two stage plays, two novels, and two nonfiction
works, along with an array of publications in academic and
educational venues.

Copyright © 2012 by Penn Foster, Inc.

All rights reserved. No part of the material protected by this copyright may be
reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval
system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be
mailed to Copyright Permissions, Penn Foster, 925 Oak Street, Scranton,
Pennsylvania 18515.

Printed in the United States of America


All terms mentioned in this text that are known to be trademarks or service
marks have been appropriately capitalized. Use of a term in this text should not be
regarded as affecting the validity of any trademark or service mark.















































Welcome to your course in English Composition. You may be
surprised to find out that, even now, you’re already a writer.
You’ve probably done a great deal of writing as a student and
perhaps in other roles, as well. Maybe you’ve kept a diary,
tried your hand at poetry, or written a short story. Maybe
you have a job or a voluntary position that requires records,
reports, or case notes. Even if you’ve never thought of such
activities as writing experience, they are.

Thus, this course is designed not to make you a writer but
to encourage your growth as one. Both the textbook and the
instructors will guide you in developing the skills and tech-
niques of effective writing through practice. You’ll learn to make
conscious decisions using particular tools to communicate
more effectively and efficiently to your reader.


You’ll learn to apply different writing strategies in varying
arrangements to explore, develop, and refine written work
according to your purpose and audience.

When you complete this course, you’ll be able to

n Produce high-quality academic papers in various modes

n Gather and organize thoughts

n Explore and narrow essay ideas using various prewriting

n Synthesize the components of an essay so that the
prewriting transforms into a logical pattern

n Apply established writing techniques in an interesting and
logical style appropriate for your audience and purpose

n Apply the conventions of standard written American
English while editing your writing

n Use critical-reading strategies to evaluate the content
and organization of your writing

n Appropriately use different sources of evidence


Your primary text for this course is Successful College Writing,
Brief Fifth Edition, by Kathleen T. McWhorter. Begin
reviewing the text by reading the table of contents on
pages xxiii–xxxix. Thereafter, follow the study guide for
directions on what to read and when to read it. Note the
following features of your text:

n The “To the Student” section starting on page xlv
provides important tips on how to use the text.

n The “Quick Start” features at the beginning of each
chapter are relatively short and are designed to help
you get a head start on the material. Make sure you
work through the exercises, even though they won’t be
formally evaluated.

n Note the organization within the chapters. The major
headings and subheadings break down each chapter’s
content into manageable sections. Also, note that
exercises and illustrative writing are important parts
of every chapter.

n Your text includes a complete guide to documenting
sources in MLA (Modern Language Association) and
APA (American Psychological Association) styles,
beginning on page 640 in Chapter 23.


Your grammar supplement for this course is The Little, Brown
Essential Handbook, by Jane E. Aaron. Begin reviewing the
handbook by reviewing the brief contents inside the front cover
and the preface on pages v–viii. Thereafter, follow the study
guide for directions on what to read and when to read it.
Please note the following features of your grammar handbook:

n Your course assignments don’t begin in the beginning of
the book. You jump to a late part for a review of grammar,
spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure. You’ll be
using the earlier parts of the handbook later in the course.

Instructions to Students2

n Note the organization of the handbook. The parts are
divided by colors, and each initial page of a color lists
what can be found within that part of the book.

n Near the back of the handbook is a glossary of usage,
which provides notes on common words and phrases
that often cause problems. There’s also a glossary of
terms, which defines the main terms and concepts of
English grammar. These can both be helpful when you’re
working through the writing process.

Please also note that the index listings that refer to the
glossaries of the Little, Brown Essential Handbook are
incorrect. If you need to use the glossary, remember that
any page number in the index that refers to page 239 or
later is off by 32 pages. For example,

Absolute phrases
comma with, 87
defined, 87, 249

In this example from the index, the references to page 87
are correct. However, the definition that’s listed to be on
page 249 is actually on page 281. (249 + 32 = 281)

There are three online supplements for this course. They will
help you gain a better understanding of the material and
prepare you for the objective exams. The supplements can be
found on your My Courses page under English Composition.
Be sure to review the supplements before completing the first
objective exam, because material from the supplements will be
tested on this and other exams. These supplements are

n The Parts of Speech

n Word Usage

n Sentence Skills

Instructions to Students 3

This course includes the following materials:

1. This study guide, which contains an introduction to your
course, plus

n A lesson assignments page with a schedule of study

n Assignment lessons emphasizing the main points
in the textbook, including the text’s grammar

n Self-checks and answers to help you assess your
understanding of the material

2. Your course textbook, Successful College Writing, which
contains the assigned reading material

3. A grammar supplement, The Little, Brown Essential

4. Online supplements, The Parts of Speech, World Usage,
and Sentence Skills, which contain assigned reading, in
addition to that of the textbook


Read this study guide carefully, and think of it as a blueprint
for your course. Using the following procedures should help
you receive maximum benefit from your studies:

1. Read the lesson in the study guide to introduce you to
concepts that are discussed in the textbook and gram-
mar supplement. The lesson emphasizes the important
material and provides additional tips or examples.

2. Note the pages for each reading assignment. Read the
assignment to get a general idea of its content. Then, study
the assignment. Pay attention to all details, especially the
main concepts.

Instructions to Students4

Instructions to Students

3. To review the material, answer the questions and problems
provided in the self-checks in the study guide.

4. After answering the questions, check your answers with
those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement, which
you can access on your My Courses page.

5. Complete each assignment in this way. If you miss any
questions, review the pages of the textbook or grammar
supplement covering those questions. The self-checks are
designed to allow you to evaluate your understanding of
the material and reveal weak points that you need to
review. Do not submit self-check answers for grading.

6. After you’ve completed and corrected the self-checks for
Lesson 1, complete the first exam.

7. Follow this procedure for all nine lessons. At any time,
you can contact your instructor by e-mail or telephone
for information regarding the materials.


Study pace. You have a study time limit for the semester,
but not one specific to English Composition. You must pace
yourself wisely through the semester’s courses. Allow sufficient
time for reading, prewriting, drafting, revising, and grading.
Generally, you should allot at least two weeks for each
English lesson, with some taking longer than that, and you
must complete each exam in order.


Remember to regularly check “My Courses” on your student homepage.
Your instructor may post additional resources that you can access
to enhance your learning experience. And of course, you always
have access to the school’s library from your homepage using the
links Student Library or Library Services. The Subject Guides,
Reference Room, and Guidebook areas contain additional writing

Instructions to Students

Because the course goal is to help you grow as a writer by
using your strengths and improving weaknesses with each
assignment, don’t submit the essays for Lessons 5 and 7
until you receive the previous lesson’s evaluation. You should,
however, move ahead to work on the next lessons while
waiting for an exam evaluation. (If you have other courses
available for study, you may work on those and submit those
exams while also working to complete this English course.)

Exam submissions. Use the following information for
submitting your completed exams:

1. Multiple-choice examinations (Lessons 1, 2, 3, and 9):
You’ll submit your answers for these exams online.

2. Written examinations (Lessons 4–8 and the final exam):
Essays must be typed, double-spaced, using a standard
12-point font and left justification. Use 1-inch margins at
the top and bottom and 1.25-inch margins for the left and
right sides of the document. Each page must have a prop-
erly formatted header containing your name, student
number, exam number, page number, mailing address,
and e-mail address, as in the following example.

Jane Doe 2345


89 05017700 Page 2
987 Nice Street
My Town, AZ 34567

Name each document using your student number first, then
the six-digit lesson number, and finally your last name (for
example, 23456789_050177 Doe). Save each as “File Type:
Rich Text Format,” regardless of your word-processing

You should take care to check that the document you’ve
uploaded is the one containing your final work for evaluation.
To submit by regular postal mail, send your documents to

Penn Foster Student Service Center
925 Oak Street
Scranton, PA 18515-0001

When it’s received, your written work will be coded as RCD
with the date received. To receive e-mailed notification for an
evaluated essay, you must type your e-mail address accurately
and add edserv@pennfoster.edu to the accepted senders list
in your e-mail browser.


The Penn Foster Student
Service Center is under
contract with Penn
Foster College.

Instructions to Students 7

Evaluation. Evaluation usually occurs within seven business
days of receipt (from the RCD date code). Exams are scored
according to the parameters of the exam assignment using
the associated evaluation chart, located in the study guide.
Your instructors will apply the grading criteria, ensuring all
essays are evaluated in the same way. They may also include
feedback on both the essay and the evaluation chart. Evaluations
are monitored by the department chairs of both the General
Education Department and Exam Control Department to
ensure accuracy and reliability.

Retakes. You’re required to complete all assigned work,
including a retake for any first-time failing attempt. The eval-
uation of any first-time failing exam for English Composition
will include a Required Retake form. That form must then be
included with your retake exam submission to ensure proper
handling. If the assigned work isn’t provided, submissions
will be evaluated according to the criteria, but points will be
deducted for not following the instructions. Please review
school policy about retakes in the Student Handbook.

Journal entries. Your journal is an ongoing assignment that
will be evaluated at the end of the course. It will count as
your final exam.

Plagiarism. Carefully review the academic policies outlined
in your Student Handbook. The first submission that departs
from this policy earns a grade of 1 percent. If it’s a first-time
submission, the student may retake the exam (as per retake
procedures). A second such submission on any subsequent
exam results in failure of the English Composition course.

Grammar and mechanics. The focus of this course is to
engage you in the writing process so you learn to make delib-
erate decisions about which writing strategies will best help
you accomplish your purpose for your audience.

Essay assignments require you to apply standard conventions
of American English (which include correct and appropriate
grammar, diction, punctuation, capitalization, sentence
structure, and spelling. The course provides various revision
exercises throughout the self-checks and lesson examinations
so that you can apply these conventions during the editing
and proofreading phases of your writing.

Instructions to Students8

If you don’t remember the basics of these conventions and wish
to gain more skills than you’re provided through the course
materials, you can investigate Internet sources like these:

n Daily Grammar

n Guide to Grammar and Writing, sponsored by Capital
Community College Foundation

n Blue Book of Grammar and Mechanics

n Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab

These resources and others are also available through your
student portal using the school library link Library Services.
Once in the library, click the following sequence of links:
Subject Guides > Humanities & Literature > Writing &
Grammar > Writing Resources. Other resources are avail-
able by clicking Guidebooks and Tips.

Now you’re ready to begin Lesson 1.

Good luck!

Instructions to Students 9

Course Journal

The course journal is an extremely important file you’ll maintain throughout this course. The
journal consists of 15 entries that are assigned throughout your study guide. You must keep
these entries in one document, just as if it were a personal diary or journal. You’ll submit that
one file at the end of the course as your final exam. Worth 33 percent of your final grade, the
journal takes the place of a proctored exam for the course. You won’t take a proctored exam
for English Composition at the end of the semester.

Read each entry assignment carefully. Some entries are based on textbook exercises, for which
the pages are given. Most entries require multiple parts for a complete entry—for instance,
both prewriting and a thesis. Assignments generally include a minimum length, a range, or a
general format (such as one paragraph), while some allow you to choose the length and format
to accomplish the required work. The guidelines list the minimum amount of work you may
produce, but you should continue writing until you complete your thoughts. As you write the
entry, provide sufficient response to show your thinking process.

Keep in mind that your entries will be evaluated for their unique reflections and depth of thought,
not for correct sentence or paragraph structure. Points won’t be deducted for errors in grammar,
spelling, or punctuation, so edit your entries only so that the instructors can understand what’s
written. For complete scoring information, see the Course Journal Evaluation Rubric.

Use the exam submission instructions already given, except that you should single-space your
journal. Use double spacing only between entries. First, type the date, tab once (one-half inch),
and type in capital boldface letters the word ENTRY, followed by the number and name of that
entry. Hit Enter once, and then type in and underline the first part label followed by your writing
for that part. Then, do the same for any additional parts. Use this example as a guide:

January 19, 2012—ENTRY 1: ME, A WRITER?
Attitude: I enjoy writing, but I hate being graded . . .
Inventory: I am a social learner, so a distance education approach may be
difficult for me . . .

January 25, 2012—ENTRY 2: PREWRITING
Brainstorm: Ways computers affect my life

1. Keeping in touch with friends
2. Typing papers
3. Games
4. . . .
5. . . .
6. . . . [continue listing ideas]

Instructions to Students10












Lesson 1: Basic Grammar
For: Read in the Read in The Parts

study guide: of Speech online

Assignment 1 Pages 15–17 Pages iii–14, 18–22, 26–34,
38–48, 51–56, and 58–65

Read in The Little,
Brown Essential

Pages 63–76

Assignment 2 Pages 17–19 Read in the
Sentence Skills
online supplement:

Pages 1–5, 6–21, 25–31,
34–58, and 60–71

Read in The Little,
Brown Essential

Pages 77–81 and 85–102

Assignment 3 Pages 19–20 Read in the
Word Usage
online supplement:

Pages 1–13

Examination 050174 Material in Lesson 1

Lesson 2: The Reading and Writing


For: Read in the Read in the Successful

study guide: College Writing textbook:

Assignment 4 Pages 22–26 Pages xlv–li and 1–21

Assignment 5 Pages 26–29 Pages 22–43 and 44–65

Assignment 6 Pages 30–33 Pages 66–98

Assignment 7 Pages 34–37 Pages 100–121

Assignment 8 Pages 38–41 Pages 122–139

Assignment 9 Pages 42–48 Pages 140–163

Assignment 10 Pages 49–52 Pages 164–179

Examination 050175 Material in Lesson 2

Lesson Assignments12

Lesson 3:

Revising and Editing

For: Read in the Read in the Successful

study guide: College Writing textbook:

Assignment 11 Pages 54–59 Pages 180–201

Assignment 12 Pages 60–64 Pages 202–224

Examination 050176 Material in Lesson 3

Lesson 4: Moving from Narration to Process Analysis
For: Read in the Read in the Successful

study guide: College Writing textbook:

Assignment 13 Pages 65–70 Pages 226–265

Assignment 14 Pages 71–75 Pages 266–303

Assignment 15 Pages 75–78 Pages 304–335

Assignment 16 Pages 79–81 Pages 336–371

Examination 05017700

Process Analysis Essay


Lesson 5: A Process Analysis Essay

Examination 05017800 Process Analysis Essay

Lesson 6: Moving from Comparison to

Classification and Division

For: Read in the Read in the Successful
study guide: College Writing textbook:

Assignment 17 Pages 96–101 Pages 372–407

Assignment 18 Pages 102–106 Pages 408–439

Examination 05017900 Classification and Division
Essay Prewriting

Lesson 7: Classification and Division
For: Read in the Read in the Successful

study guide: College Writing textbook:

Assignment 19 Pages 111–115 Pages 440–471

Assignment 20 Pages 116–118 Pages 472–509

Examination 05018000

Classification and Division Essay

Lesson 8:

Writing Arguments

For: Read in the Read in the Successful

study guide: College Writing textbook:

Assignment 21 Pages 124–131 Pages 512–541

Assignment 22 Pages 132–146 Pages 542–571

Examination 05018100

Argument Essay

Lesson 9: Research and MLA Citation
For: Read in the Read in the Successful

study guide: College Writing textbook:

Assignment 23 Pages 152–155 Pages 574–593

Assignment 24 Pages 155–158 Pages 594–619

Assignment 25 Pages 159–161 Pages 620–662

Assignment 26 Pages 161–163 Pages 716–735

Examination 050182 Material in Lesson 9

Final Examination 05018300 Course Journal

Lesson Assignments 13

Note: To access and complete any of the examinations for this study
guide, click on the appropriate Take Exam icon on your “My Courses”
page. You should not have to enter the examination numbers. These
numbers are for reference only if you have reason to contact Student

Lesson Assignments14












Understanding basic grammar can help in all walks of life,
from everyday conversation, to e-mails, to formal reports.
Correct grammar can help you personally, professionally,
and academically.

To become an effective writer, you must first have a strong
understanding of English Composition. You should know
how words are pronounced, how they’re spelled, and how
they fit into sentences. Knowing the basics will enable you
to be more comfortable and confident when faced with any
writing task.

The main topics discussed in this section are grammar,
spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, and word usage.


When you complete this lesson, you’ll be able to

n Describe the parts of speech and how they work within
sentence structure

n Develop effective, structured sentences

n Use a variety of words in your writing

n Discuss the need for a strong understanding of English

Read the assignment in this study guide. Then, read
pages iii–14, 18–22, 26–34, 38–48, 51–56, and 58–65 in
The Parts of Speech online supplement and pages 63–76
in The Little, Brown Essential Handbook. Test your progress
by completing the self-check.

English Composition16

This section covers the various parts of speech and how they
work within the structure of a sentence.

Pages 8–14, The Parts of Speech. When we’re small children,
nouns are generally the first words we learn. Any person, place,
or thing is a noun. Nouns can be broken down into five cate-
gories: common, proper, collective, abstract, and concrete.
Understanding the various types of nouns and how they’re
used in sentences can help you become a stronger writer.

Pages 18–22, The Parts of Speech, and pages 63–70, The
Little, Brown Essential Handbook. Pronouns substitute for
nouns. Like nouns, pronouns can serve many purposes in a
sentence. There are six types of pronouns: personal, possessive,
demonstrative, interrogative, relative, and indefinite.

Pages 38–48, The Parts of Speech. Verbs express action;
they tell what the subject of a sentence is doing. Depending
on the action and when it’s taking place, a verb can appear
in many forms, and they can be more than one word. Pay
special attention to the figures that give you examples of
verbs in various tenses in both singular and plural forms.

In addition, The Little, Brown Essential Handbook provides
further explanation of verbs. This reading isn’t required, but
it can help you gain better understanding.

Pages 26–34 and 51–56, The Parts of Speech, and
pages 70–76, The Little, Brown Essential Handbook.
Adjectives describe nouns and pronouns, and they can make
your speaking and writing more definite. Adjectives generally
help answer a question (What kind? Which one? How many?
How much?), and they can indicate color, size, or shape. An
adverb is generally used to modify a verb, but it can also be
used to describe an adjective or other adverb. Adverbs
answer other questions: How? When? Where? Why? How
much? How long? To what extent? In what direction?

Pages 58–62 and 62–65, The Parts of Speech. A preposition
shows the logical relationship or placement of a noun or pro-
noun in relation to another word in a sentence. Many prepositions
show placement, but some refer to time or a relationship
between two things. A conjunction joins words, groups of
words, or sentences. There are three kinds of conjunctions:
coordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions, and
subjunctive conjunctions. An interjection expresses emotion. It

Lesson 1 17

doesn’t relate to the other words within the sentence, but it’s
used to add an emotional element. A sentence with an inter-
jection often ends in an exclamation point.

Read the assignment in this study guide. Next, read pages 1–5,
6–21, 25–31, 34–58, and 60–71 of the Sentence Skills online
supplement and pages 77–81 and 85–102 in The Little, Brown
Essential Handbook. Then, complete the self-check.

Self-Check 1

At the end of each section of English Composition, you’ll be asked to pause and check
your understanding of what you’ve just read by completing a “self-check” exercise.
Answering these questions will help you review what you’ve studied so far. Please
complete Self-Check 1 now.

1. Complete Practice Exercise 2 on pages 16–17 of The Parts of Speech.

2. Complete Practice Exercise 3 on pages 23–25 of The Parts of Speech.

3. Complete Practice Exercise 4, items 1–35, on pages 35–37 of The Parts of Speech.

4. Complete English in Action 6 on page 47 of The Parts of Speech.

5. Complete English in Action 7 on page 56 of The Parts of Speech.

6. Complete Practice Exercise 7, items 1–14, on page 61 of The Parts of Speech.

7. Complete Practice Exercise 8 on pages 66–67 of The Parts of Speech.

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.

English Composition18

This section covers how to effectively structure and develop

Pages 1–5, Sentence Skills. A sentence is a group of words
combined in an organized manner to convey meaning or a
message. Understanding what a sentence is, and the different
patterns of sentences, can help you become a better reader
and writer.

Pages 6–21, Sentence Skills. When writing sentences, you
can combine groups of words to convey a single meaning.
These groups of words can take on a function in a sentence,
and they can act as a particular part of speech. If the group
of words has a subject and a verb, it’s a clause. If the group of
words does not have a subject and verb, it’s a phrase.

Pages 25–31, Sentence Skills. Now that you know the parts
of speech and the roles words play within a sentence, it’s
important to learn and understand how to properly structure
sentences. There are three types of sentences: simple, compound,
and complex.

Pages 34–43, Sentence Skills, and pages 77–81, The Little,
Brown Essential Handbook. People often make mistakes
when writing, especially when developing a rough draft.
There are four main mistakes that most writers make (and
which are easy to fix): run-ons, misplaced/dangling modifiers,
fragments, and mixed constructions. Understanding what
these are, and knowing how to fix them, can help you become
more confident when proofreading and editing your work.

Pages 44–58, Sentence Skills, and pages 85–102, The
Little, Brown Essential Handbook. Punctuation marks help
refine a sentence and give the reader signs of how to read the
words. Punctuation is referred to as the traffic signals of writ-
ing because they alert your reader to pause or stop. They also
convey emotion or inflection. When you speak, you naturally
pause where a comma would be or stop where a period
would be, and our voices are always our emotions. Now that
you’ve learned the different parts of speech and how they
work together to structure a sentence, you’re ready to gain a
stronger understanding of how to refine your writing by using

Lesson 1 19

Pages 60–71, Sentence Skills. You know how to structure
and punctuate a sentence, but you also need to know how
to think in terms of sentences. How does a sentence actually
come to be? Most well-written sentences are the product of
thought and revision. They have a solid beginning, middle,
and end, contain the correct and required parts of speech
(in the correct place), and come from a place of confidence.

Read the assignment in this study guide. Next, read pages 1–13
of the online supplement Word Usage. Then, complete the

This section covers how to understand the meaning of words
and use them effectively in your writing.

Self-Check 2

1. Complete Practice Exercise 1 on pages 5–6 of Sentence Skills.

2. Complete Practice Exercise 2, items 1–16 and 39–61 on pages 21–24 of Sentence Skills.

3. Complete English in Action 3 on page 32 of Sentence Skills.

4. Complete Practice Exercise 4 on pages 43–44 of Sentence Skills.

5. Complete Practice Exercise 5 on pages 58–60 of Sentence Skills.

6. Complete Practice Exercise 6 on pages 72–73 of Sentence Skills.

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.

English Composition20

Pages 1–5, Word Usage. In your reading, you’ll occasionally
come across a word that you may not understand. At these
times, consulting a dictionary is helpful. A dictionary can
give you the word’s meaning, its proper pronunciation and
spelling, and knowledge of its background and history.
Knowing how to effectively use a dictionary is an important
part of being a good reader, and, consequently, a good writer.

Pages 6–13, Word Usage. A dictionary or a thesaurus can
help you find synonyms and antonyms of words. Synonyms
are words that have similar meanings. Antonyms are words
that have opposite meanings. You can use synonyms to
substitute a word you use frequently in the same piece of
writing. You can use antonyms to contrast people or ideas.

Although you are not required to read the remainder of the
Word Usage supplement as part of this assignment, you’ll
find that there’s further explanation of the ideas learned in
the previous assignments, which may help you gain a better
understanding of some of the material. You’ll want to read
the remainder of the supplement before you complete the
Lesson 3 exam, because material will be tested on that exam.

Self-Check 3

1. Complete Practice Exercise 1 on page 6 of Word Usage.

2. Complete Practice Exercise 2 on pages 14–15 of Word Usage.

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.

The Reading and
Writing Process


If you don’t particularly enjoy writing, you may ask yourself
why you should make the effort to improve your skills. The
simple answer is that you can’t avoid writing—as a student
or an employee, there will always be writing requirements.
Learning to write well will give you tools for success no matter
what career you choose. That’s because logical thinking and
effective communication are necessary for advancement,
whether you’re an accountant, nurse, or newspaper reporter.
The better your skills, the more choices you have and the
better your chances are for achievement and satisfaction.

When you complete this lesson, you’ll be able to

n Effectively use your textbook

n Discuss why writing is an important part of your
study program

n Understand your unique learning style

n Use active reading methods to understand and
analyze text

n Point out the importance of prewriting in developing a
piece of writing

n Apply narrowing strategies to focus your writing

n Develop effective thesis statements

n Support your thesis with appropriate evidence

n Use methods of organization in writing, including
topic sentences





English Composition22

Read the assignment in this study guide. Then, read “To the
Student” on pages xlv–li, and Chapter 1, “Succeeding in
College” on pages 1–21. Be sure to complete the self-check
before moving on to the next assignment.

To the Student

This section of your textbook is an introduction and includes
guidelines for the exercises and assignments in the book.
Don’t skip over it because you’ll miss valuable information on
how to effectively use your textbook. By taking a few minutes
now, you’ll save time later when you have to complete the

One of the best ways to be sure you understand and can
apply what you’ve read is by completing each assignment’s
self-check exercise. As you respond to the questions and
activities, you’ll accomplish the objectives of both the
assignment and the course. Don’t send your responses
to the school. The answers are provided in the online Self-
Check Answers supplement.

This study guide will direct you to write in various ways. To
keep your work organized, create clearly labeled files in your
word-processing program. First, create a primary file folder
named “English Composition.” Within that folder, create a file
for your course journal and a different file for your essays.
Other possible files to keep in the folder include a Notes file,
a Practice Writing file, and a self-check file. You must main-
tain the course journal and essays on a computer, but the
others can be done in separate notebooks, if you wish.
Establish a clear naming system for each file you add in the
Composition folder so that you don’t confuse your rough
drafts with your final version of each essay.

Lesson 2 23

Succeeding in College

People write for two basic reasons. The first is private and
personal. That is, some of us write to express ourselves, to
translate thoughts and feelings into words. One example in
this context is the poet Emily Dickinson. She wrote for herself
and one or two close friends—only a few of her poems were
published during her lifetime. Many people keep personal
journals that express their feelings and sometimes help them
to think through problems or opportunities. Still others find
that writing down ideas and rephrasing concepts helps them
study and learn.

The second reason people write is to convey feelings and
thoughts to others. This purpose covers most other types
of writing, from published novels to advertising, to blogs,
to essays for school. By sharing ideas through effective
language skills, we expand our experiences, make personal
connections, and sharpen our communication skills.

For writing to be effective, standard rules must be learned
and applied. You’ll practice using proper grammar, sentence
structure, and organized paragraphs to help you achieve this

You can practice good writing by paying close attention while
you’re reading. Pay attention to mistakes, too. If you come
across a sentence or headline in a newspaper that you have to
read several times before you understand it, try rewriting it to
make it clear on the first reading. It may need to be rearranged,
divided into two sentences, or have a comma or two added. If
you can, keep a file of the poor sentences and your improve-
ments. Note what the problem was and what it took to fix the
sentence. Also, when you write, try reading aloud from your
paper to see if there are any stumbling places.

The most agile of runners begins with baby steps. Likewise,
all learning proceeds in stages, step by step. For a student of
English Composition, here are some of the most important

1. Study the rules of effective sentence construction for all
types of sentences, so you’ll be better able to say what
you want to say clearly and concisely.

English Composition24

2. Learn to make your points directly and effectively. Back
up your statements with evidence that supports your
case and persuades your reader.

3. Keep your reader’s interest. Even the most boring
subjects can be improved with anecdotes, examples,
and clever word choices.

4. Approach different kinds of writing and different audi-
ences in appropriate ways. Letters, memos, academic
essays, instructions, and business reports each require
a different style of writing. Always consider your
audience before you begin writing.

5. Study the techniques used by skilled writers, including
brainstorming, free association, outlining, organizing,
revision, self-criticism, and editing.

Practical Applications of Writing
As noted earlier, regardless of the career you choose, commu-
nication is a key to success. Virtually all job descriptions
include some kind of paperwork—record keeping, summaries,
analyses—and the higher up the ladder you go, the more
communication will matter. The following examples reveal
the broad range in the types of writing different career fields
require, from using narration to persuasive analysis. Even if
your field of interest isn’t listed, you can see the importance
and variety of writing in any career.

Early Childhood Education

n Narration recording weekly observations of playground
behavior among first-grade students

n Case study in early childhood cognitive development
analyzing the concepts of Jean Piaget in light of the
observed behavior of selected subjects

Health Information Technology

n Process analysis to explain what’s involved in a specific
medical procedure

n Proposal and illustration of methods by which type-2
diabetes patients may be encouraged to pursue a
prescribed health regimen


n Analytical essay comparing and contrasting the American
double-entry bookkeeping system with the European
five-book system

n Comparison and analysis of corporate performance in
metals-refining industries based on financial statement
data derived from Moody’s Industrials


n Historical and analytical description of the evolution of
load-bearing theories in bridge construction

n Process analysis to describe technology and molecular
theory for detecting likely metal stress areas in an air-
craft prototype

Journal Entry

One of the ways you can hone your writing skills is to keep
a journal. In this course, your journal is not only a regular
writing activity, but it also counts as a large portion of your
course grade—33 percent. You’ll turn it in as your final grade
for the course.

Before you begin your first journal entry assignment, review
the Course Journal evaluation information at the end of this
study guide.

Required Journal Entry 1: Me, A Writer?

Attitude: Describe your attitude toward completing this course. As part of the description,
explore how your feelings about being required to take a composition course may affect your
performance in accomplishing the course objectives. (1 paragraph, 5 sentences)

Inventory: Explain what you learned about yourself as a writer working through the inventory
exercise. Discuss two ways you want to improve as a writer and why. (1 paragraph, 5 sentences)

Lesson 2 25

English Composition26

Self-Check 4

1. Complete Exercise 1.2 on page 5. Write a paragraph to describe your academic and
professional goals.

2. Complete Exercise 1.5 on page 10. Complete the Stress Mini Quiz.

3. Complete Exercise 1.7 on page 12. Rate your academic image.

There are no correct responses to these exercises. These answers are for practice
and personal use only.

Read the assignment in this study guide. Then, read Chapter 2,
“Writing in College,” on pages 22–43 and Chapter 3, “Reading
in College,” on pages 44–65. Test your progress by completing
the self-check.

Writing in College

Pages 24–34. Academic writing is distinctive from, say,
writing a letter (or e-mail) to a friend or expressing senti-
ments in a birthday card or keeping a personal diary. Here’s
a preview of your text’s view of academic writing:

n You can expect your writing to shift from a personal to
less personal. You’ll use your “left brain” to take an
objective—as opposed to subjective—point of view.

Lesson 2 27

n Academic writing takes different forms, generally
depending on particular college courses. Lab reports,
critical-analytical essays, book reports, and comparisons
of different cultures will call for different perspectives
and different writing styles. So, put simply, you’ll need to
adopt the language of particular disciplines, such as
world history, labor relation, art appreciation, social
psychology, or organic chemistry.

n In every case, you’ll be expected to us standard American
English. In many cases you’ll be expected to properly
document sources, conduct online research, and, quite
often, expect to collaborate with fellow students.

You’ll review all of the excellent reasons that you’ll want to
persistently strive to improve your writing skills. That process
will include developing strategies for writing. To that end, be
assured that you’ll get lots of useful tips, from how to make
the best use of a course syllabus to discovering the virtues of
keeping a writing journal.

TIP: Figure 2.2 on page 34 features “Starting Points for
Journal Writing.” Study it, and feel free to refer to it as you
work on your Course Journal.

Pages 35–43, Assessing Your Learning Style. Discovering
your learning style is a crucial part of this course. After you
respond to the Learning Style Inventory on pages 35–38,
your text will guide you through the scoring process. You’ll
discover where you stand in terms of five dichotomies:

n Independent or Social. Do you like to work alone, or
do you prefer collaborating within a group?

n Pragmatic or Creative. Do you like to line up your
ducks and follow clear rules or guidelines? Or do you
prefer open-ended problems that allow you to bend the
rules in interesting and innovative ways?

n Verbal or Spatial. Do you rely in language and
language skills to analyze a problem? Or do you
prefer gathering information from photo images,
graphs, charts, and graphic metaphors?

English Composition28

n Rational or Emotional. In writing an essay, do you
prefer a cool and objective weighing of facts and figures?
Or do you prefer finding the right words to express your
subjective intuitions and feelings?

n Concrete or Abstract. In a critical essay, would you
focus on observable facts and step-by-step analysis? Or
are you inclined to seek out underlying assumptions to
reveal the “big picture”?

After you’ve got a sense of your learning style, your text will
offer you some handy tips for applying your particular learn-
ing style to different kinds of writing challenges.

TIP: Figure 2.3 on page 43, “Your Strengths as a Writer,”
offers you a graphic you can use for assessing your
learning style.

Reading in College

Following some basic tips on critical reading skills, the heart
of this chapter is a guide to active reading. Obviously, active
is the opposite of passive. For example, you can stare blankly
at an historical landmark, or you can pose questions to
yourself. Who was John D. Rockefeller? Who designed this
monument? When? How? Why? A key to your active reading
guide is found in Figure 3.1 on page 49. You’ll notice a three
part framework:

n Before Reading—Check out the title and the author.
Scan the first paragraph, any headings that organize the
piece, and the conclusion.

n While Reading—Search for key elements. Highlight key
points. Annotate or record your impressions.

n After Reading—Review what you’ve read. Use a graphic
organizer to create a “map” of the author’s themes, ideas,
assumptions, and sources.

Two readings are included in this chapter. “American Jerk:
Be Civil, or I’ll Beat You to a Pulp” by Todd Schwartz is a
funny piece meant to characterize the attitudinal contradic-
tions in present-day American culture. Enjoy it, but force
yourself to crucially analyze the piece. Your text will guide
you through that process.

The best way to
improve your
singing is to sing.
The best way to
improve your writ-
ing is by writing.

Lesson 2 29

TIP: Spend all the time you need to study Table 3.1 on
page 59, and the graphics on pages 60–61 to understand
how to create a graphic organizer.

The second reading, “Combat High,” by Sebastian Junger
(author of The Perfect Storm), is gripping prose from an
accomplished writer. It will give you a challenging perspective
on the nature of war. It will also allow you to practice your
new-found skills in analyzing text.

Self-Check 5

1. Complete Exercise 3.1 on page 52. Answer the five questions as either true or false.

2. In Exercise 3.2 on page 56, reread “American Jerk.” Annotate and provide highlights as
you read.

Check your answers to item 1 with those on page 65 of your textbook. Check your answers
to item 2 with the sample annotations given on page 56.

English Composition30

Read the assignment in this study guide. Then, read Chapter 4,
“Responding Critically to Text and Images,” on pages 66–98 of
your textbook, Successful College Writing. Test your progress
using the self-check.

Pages 68–77, Strategies for Thinking and Reading. The
primary purpose of this section is sharpening your critical
thinking skills as you read and appraise texts. Consider
these basics:

Consider the source. Regardless of the medium—TV news,
newspapers, magazines, the Internet, or scholarly journals—
the same principle applies: Consider the source. We might
expect scholarly journals to be more rigorously edited than
popular magazine articles because they get published only
after they’ve met the standards of peer review. On the other
hand, a New Yorker article may offer us information scholars
have avoided, and often, we may find alternative news
sources via the Internet that are less biased than network
cable news.

Understand nuance. A denotative definition provides the
literal meaning of a word. For example, statuesque simply
means “similar in form to a statue.” However, a connotative
definition of that word in common speech typically refers
to someone’s physical attributes, especially in the context
of describing a woman’s figure. A euphemism is a word
or phrase that veils a more literal meaning. In the sentence,
“The CFO told our reporter that Caldwell appears to have
engaged in suspect behavior,” “suspect behavior” may veil
an assertion that Caldwell is a cheat and a liar.

Distinguish facts from opinions. We can usually distin-
guish a fact from an opinion in straight forward prose, but
not always. Sometimes an opinion is presented as a fact. In
other instances, selective approaches to gathering facts
(emphasizing the positive or the negative) can thinly veil an
opinion. The clearest expression of a fact will be an objective
statement that credits a reliable source. Opinions, on the
other hand, will tend to express subjective judgment that
may or may not be justified—depending on one’s point of

Lesson 2 31

view. In other cases, one may detect purposeful omissions.
That is often the case when particular points of view draws
on some facts and omits other facts that might weaken an

Reliability refers to the extent to which we feel we can count
on the validity of information. Sometimes personal, first per-
son accounts can act like the picture worth a thousand
words. They sway our opinion, usually by evoking emotional
responses in the reader—none of which may be reliable. In
other cases, the seemingly cold rational use of statistics may
actually be misleading. That is too often the case when the
statistical data is presented is based on flawed approaches to
gathering the data. Ultimately, the most reliable data may be
derived from the findings of properly conducted experiment.

An author’s tone refers to the affect (feelings) his or her writ-
ing may evoke in a reader. Sometimes we detect bitterness—a
sense that the author feels victimized. Sometimes we suspect
the author is wearing rose-tinted spectacles. In still other
cases, it can be hard to differentiate satire from unfounded

Pages 77–86, Interpreting Visuals and Graphics. This
section offers you some helpful tips on making sense of
visuals, such as photographs or computer-generated images,
as well as charts and graphs designed to illustrate relation-
ships between observable datasets. For most readers,
interpreting visuals poses two basic challenges. First, you
may get stuck on a particularly engaging image; you can get
distracted from the flow of the written text. Second, you may
simply tend to skip over or ignore the image. Instead, you
should stop, look, and reflect on the image consciously.
Then, as you study the image, reflect on its message and
how it relates to the text. Always assume that the image is
there to enhance the author’s narrative.

English Composition32

When it comes to graphics such as charts, graphs, or com-
plex tables and figures, readers may be inclined to scan the
graphic without analyzing it. That’s not a good idea. A better
idea can be illustrated by how you should read text material
related to mathematics. When you get to an equation, stop.
Study it until you actually understand what it means. Apply
that same principle to tables, charts, and graphs.

Pages 86–95, A Guide to Responding to Text. Your
instructor may ask you to write a response paper—your
response to a body of text. That’s your topic for this section
of the assigned chapter. Figure 4.3 on page 87 offers you a
clear graphic that shows you ideal steps for responding to a

1. You can summarize the piece as a way of checking out
your understanding of the author’s work.

2. You can link what you’ve read to your own personal
experiences. That is, you can anchor ideas in the text
to your own life experience.

3. Analyze the reading using one or more techniques that

n Devising critical questions

n Annotating comments directly onto the body of the

n Responding to the text in a journal

n Employing a reading response worksheet

In this context, you’ll want to apply your personal learning
style. Your text offers you some tips in that regard on
pages 93–94.

Pages 96–98. The concluding section of this chapter intro-
duces a “Students Write” essay. It’s a student response to the
“American Jerk” article. Just preceding this essay, be sure to
think about seven guidelines you’ll want to apply when read-
ing a student essay. Perhaps the first of these tips should be
emphasized. Namely, read an essay several times.

Lesson 1 33Lesson 2 33

Self-Check 6

1. Complete Exercise 4.1 on page 70. Respond to the 10 questions as you evaluate the reliability
of each of the information 10 sources.

2. Complete Exercise 4.2 on page 71. Follow the instructions to work with the concepts of
denotation and connotation.

3. Complete Exercise 4.4 on page 73. For two of the four topics, write one statement of fact and
one of opinion.

4. Complete Exercise 4.6 on pages 75–76. Read each of the five statements to define its tone

5. Complete Exercise 4.8 on page 77. Follow the instructions regarding each of the three
scenarios. Decide what information is being withheld, meaning what more you would
need to know to evaluate the situation.

6. Complete Exercise 4.10 on page 81. Using the guideline in pages 78–79, answer each of the
five questions.

7. In Exercise 4.13 on page 85, study the table on page 84 and answer each of the six

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.

English Composition34

Read the assignment in this study guide. Then, read Chapter 5,
“Prewriting: How to Find and Focus Ideas,” on pages 100–121.
When you’re done, be sure to check your progress by complet-
ing the self-check exercise.

Pages 102–106, Choosing and Narrowing a Topic. When
presented with the challenge of writing an essay, assuming
the topic hasn’t been established by your instructor, choosing
a topic often seems like a formidable obstruction. The author
of your text understands this very well and offers handy tips.
(1) Devote serious time to choosing your topic. Prethinking
should precede prewriting. (2) Search out ideas and ques-
tions as a path to discovering a topic that interests you. For
example, why do kids drop out of school? Are human beings
predisposed to violence? Why was Galileo punished by the
powers that be for revealing evidence that the Earth isn’t
at the center of the solar system?

TIPS: Figure 5.1 on page 103 offers an excellent graphic
overview of the writing process. You’ll want to study it care-
fully and use it for refreshing your memory. Table 5.1 on
page 104 will help you think about sources for essay topics.

Meanwhile, narrowing your topic is vital. For example,
regarding the effects of television exposure on young children,
you’ll find lots of approaches. So you might decide to narrow
your topic by asking specific questions. For example, how is
time watching TV related to obesity? Is time watching TV
related to academic performance? Does TV content depict
violence as a normal way to handle disputes?

Pages 106–109, Purpose, Audience, and Point of View.
You must determine the purpose of your essay, article, op-ed,
or bulletin. Do you want to persuade or simply inform your
readers? Do you want to argue for or against a public policy?
Do you want to disclose an interesting incident in the history
of the Civil War?

In any case, if you haven’t considered your audience, you
can’t expect to get your message across. To help you deal
with that vital concern, you text offers you a list of salient
questions. For example, what does your audience know (or

If you’re going to
be a writer, the
first essential is
just to write. Do
not wait for an
idea. Start writing
something and the
ideas will come.
You have to turn
the faucet on
before the water
starts to flow.

—Louis L’Amour

Lesson 2 35

not know) about your topic? What’s the general education or
likely back ground of your audience? An article on unions
will take a different slant if it’s directed to members of a trade
union as opposed to anti-union lobbyists. What opinions,
biases, or political sentiments are likely to be embraced by
your readers?

If you don’t have a point of view on a given topic, you’re not
likely to communicate effectively with your presumed audi-
ences. Indeed, even in deciding whether to write in first
person as opposed to third person, you’re choosing a point
of view.

Pages 110–119, Discovering Ideas to Write About. Here’s
a preview of this section.

Freewriting. At this point, you’ve probably grasped the idea
of freewriting. Basically, you write whatever comes to mind
for 5 to 10 minutes. As you do this, you don’t need to pay
attention to punctuation, spelling, and grammar. After com-
pleting a freewriting session, review it to underline or
comment on ideas that maybe useful.

Mapping. Mapping, also called clustering, is a visual tech-
nique for discovering ideas and how they’re related. Think
about a police detective drawing circles, boxes, and arrows
on a whiteboard, trying to link possible suspects to locations,
other suspects.

TIP: The best way to get the sense of this process is
devoting some time to studying Figure 5.2, “A Sample Map,”
on page 112.

Brainstorming. Brainstorming is different from freewriting
in that you write down any or all of the ideas that pop into
your head while focused on a specific topic. Also, brainstorm-
ing may involve a small group as opposed to a single
individual. Quite often, you’ll find that your ideas fall into
clusters. For example, let’s say you written down 12 possible
disadvantages of the war on drugs. You might find clusters
related to three narrowed topics: (1) the social and economic
costs of massive imprisonment of offenders, (2) the social and
monetary costs of deflecting law enforcement away from stop-
ping organized and white collar crime, and (3) the impacts on
children and families of those most often caught up in the
drug war.

English Composition36

Questioning. Questioning is a process of raising and writing
down all the questions one (or two) individuals may pose
related to some topic, such as charter schools or communal
vegetable gardening. Prefacing questions with “what if” can
be helpful. In any case, the idea is to pose questions that lead
to a narrowed topic.

Writing assertions. Writing assertions amounts to viewing a
general topic from as many perspectives as possible. Abstract
learning types may benefit from this approach because it helps
a writer divide a “big picture” frame of reference into limited,
manageable topics.

Patterns of development. There are nine approaches to
developing an essay: narration, description, illustration,
process analysis, comparison and contrast, classification and
division, definition, cause and effect, and argument. Each of
these can be called a pattern of development.

TIP: Table 5.2, “Using the Patterns of Development to Explore
a Topic,” on page 116 gives you a snapshot look at the kinds of
questions you might ask while seeking to narrow a topic under
specific patterns of development.

Visualizing or sketching. Imagine that you want to write a
descriptive essay on the architecture of the Pantheon in Rome.
To be sure, you’ll be adding in historical context. But you might
benefit greatly from making rough sketches of interior and exte-
rior views of this famous building. In another related approach,
say about your descriptive observations of a county fair, you
might close your eyes and visualize your impressions of people
you saw, kids on a merry-go-round, pie contests, and so on.

Research. It’s typically a good idea to do research. In the age
of the Internet and Google, that process can be greatly acceler-
ated. However, it’s also a good idea to conduct some research in
the old-fashioned way—in public or college libraries. You may
be amazed at how helpful librarians can be. Also, keep in mind
that direct fieldwork can be vital to a good essay. If you want to
understand the behavior of elementary school kids on play-
grounds, you’ll be wise to visit playgrounds and observe
children’s actual behavior.

The final two pages of the chapter will explain that, over the
following five chapters of your text, the “Students Write”
material will follow the work of Christine Lee, a first-year
writing student.

Lesson 2 37

Required Journal Entry 2: Prewriting

Brainstorming: Brainstorm about specific positive and negative effects computers have had on
your personal, professional, and academic life. Create a one-page list of your ideas.

Thesis: Based on your brainstorming, write a one-sentence working thesis statement that
focuses on the impact of computers related to a single area of your life (personal, professional,
or academic). The thesis should be one you could develop into an essay of about one page
(250–300 words), directed to readers of your local newspaper. Don’t draft the essay in your
journal, however. You need only your list from brainstorming and your working thesis statement.

See “Essay in Progress 1,” page 92, and “Essay in Progress 2,” page 94.

Self-Check 7

1. In Exercise 5.1, found on page 105, use branching diagrams to narrow three of the following
broad topics to more manageable topics suitable for a three to four-page essay.

2. In Exercise 5.2 on page 106, use questioning to narrow three of the five subjects to topics
suitable for a three to four-page essay.

3. In Exercise 5.4 on page 109 determine which point of view (first, second, or third person)
would work best for the three writing situations.

4. Turn to Exercise 5.7 on page 113. Select the first topic, “Values of Music.” Then, brainstorm
to generate ideas about how write about your topic.

5. For Exercise 5.10 on page 117, chose one of the five topics. Then, use the patterns of devel-
opment—narration, illustration, definition, and so on—to generate ideas about how to write
about the topic. Consult Table 5.2 on page 116 to form questions based on each pattern.

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.

Read the assignment in this study guide. Then, read Chapter 6,
“Developing and Supporting a Thesis,” on pages 122–139.
Check your progress by completing the self-check.

A thesis statement is the main point of an essay. It tells you
what the essay is about and what the author’s position is on
the chosen topic.

TIP: Study Figure 6.1, “An Overview of the Writing Process,”
on page 124. Think about the six steps:

n Prewriting

n Developing your thesis statement

n Supporting your thesis statement with evidence

n Drafting

n Revising

n Editing and proofing

Refer back to this figure if you forget this sequence.

Pages 125–128, Developing Your Thesis Statement. A
guide to writing an effective thesis statement is found on
pages 126–127. Here’s a preview:

n Make an assertion. An assertion takes a position,
expresses a viewpoint, and often suggests your approach
to the topic. For example, the state college class registra-
tion procedures should be redesigned and simplified.

n Be specific. That means providing as much specific
information as you can. For example, growing up on the
south side of Chicago gave me firsthand experience of
the challenges faced by inner city youth.

n Focus on a central point. For example, job training
programs for single mothers are pointless if the few
available jobs don’t provide a living wage.

English Composition38

Lesson 2 39

n Offer an original perspective on your topic. Your
thesis should be designed to get your reader’s attention.
To do that, you should try to provide your readers with
an interesting angle or point of view on your topic. Often,
you can search your prewriting to come up with a
unique, engaging angle.

n Avoid making an announcement. Many college essays
falter at the outset with opening sentences like this: “The
subject of my essay is the minimum wage.” An alterna-
tive opening statement might look like this: “Raising the
minimum wage may seem like a good idea, but, in fact, a
higher minimum wage will reduce the number of avail-
able jobs.”

n Use the thesis to preview the organization of your
essay. For example, you can mention two or three key
concepts or ideas that will focus your essay.

Your thesis statement should appear in your opening para-
graph as part of your introduction.

Pages 128–133, Supporting Your Thesis Statement with
Evidence. Without evidence to support your thesis, you
efforts will be reduced to hazy clouds of unsupported surmise
and baseless opinion. No evidence means no substance. To
provide substance you can use a typical forms of evidence
that include examples, explanation of a process, advantages
and disadvantages, comparison and contrast, historical back-
ground, definitions, and explanation of causes and their
effects, among others.

TIP: Study Table 6.1 on page 129, which shows you the
types of evidence that can be used to support a specific work-
ing thesis. Namely, “Acupuncture, a form of alternative
medicine, is becoming more widely accepted in the United
States.” Figure 6.2, Worksheet for Collecting Evidence, on
pages 131–132 deserves your undivided attention. When
working on a thesis statement, you can use this sort of work-
sheet to think about and organize evidence for your thesis.

As you consider this section of your text you may want to
understand that the word evidence means different things in
different contexts. In the context of law, acceptable evidence
offered in a jury trial must conform strictly to statues and

legal precedents. Evidence is considered circumstantial or
hearsay if it’s not supported by empirical facts. In the
domains of science, evidence that supports a hypothesis
must be confirmable by other researchers who can repeat a
study or experiment under the same conditions. Even
Einstein’s theory of relativity wasn’t confirmed until it was
shown to be consistent with empirical studies. By contrast, a
college essay may indeed rely, at least in part, on eye-witness
reports, personal narratives, supported definitions, and
arguments that may have more than one side. In short,
techniques of persuasion and appeals to emotion aren’t
necessarily out of bounds.

Pages 133–139, Working with Text. Your challenge in this
section is reading and analyzing an essay by Greg Beato
titled, “Internet Addiction.” You’ll note that the author
addresses his fairly amusing piece from a libertarian perspec-
tive. Libertarians believe that people’s personal rights to do
what they wish with their private property shouldn’t be
abridged, as long as there’s no infringement on other people’s
private property rights. See if you can detect that philosophy
in this essay. Meanwhile, given that you or someone you
know may be “addicted” to virtual gaming or, at least, often
distracted by way of Internet surfing, you may find it inter-
esting to assert your own opinion of the author’s thesis. Do
you think there is, in fact, a behavioral profile related to elec-
tronic media that should be classified as “addictive” in the
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual frequented by mental
health experts?

English Composition40

Lesson 2 41

Self-Check 8

In your self-check file or notebook, complete the following exercises.

Thesis exercise: For each of the following sets of sentences, circle the letter of the one that
works best as the thesis for a two- to five-page college essay.

1. a. A recent trend in law enforcement known as “community policing” shows much
promise in deterring criminal activity.

b. “Community policing” is a recent trend in law enforcement used in many municipalities
across the country.

2. a. Because air pollution is of serious concern to people in the world today, many countries
have implemented a variety of plans to begin solving the problem.

b. So far, research suggestions that zero-emissions vehicles are not a sensible solution to
the problem of steadily rising air pollution.

3. a. Because it has become outdated, the Electoral College should be replaced by a system
that allows the U.S. president to be elected by direct popular vote.

b. Rather than voting for a presidential candidate, voters in a U.S. presidential election
merely choose their state’s Electoral College representatives, who actually vote for the
president; in most states, all of the electoral votes go to the candidate who wins the
popular vote in that state, no matter how close the outcome.

4. a. This paper presents the results of my investigation into electronic surveillance
in the workplace.

b. Though employers currently have a legal right to monitor workers’ e-mail and voice-
mail messages, this practice can have serious effects on employee morale.

5. a. Video games are not as mindless as most people think.
b. Although they are widely ignored and derided as mindlessly violent, video games are a

form of popular art that deserves to be evaluated as seriously as television and film.
6. a. Social workers in Metropolis leave much to be desired.

b. The social service system in Metropolis has broken down because today’s workers are
underpaid, poorly trained, and overworked.

Examining the reading: Having read (or reread) the Essay by Greg Beato, “Internet
Addiction,” turn to page 137 and respond to all four of the items under “Examining the

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.

Read the assignment in this study guide. Then, read Chapter 7,
“Drafting an Essay,” on pages 140–163. Check your progress by
answering the self-check exercise.

Pages 142–143, The Structure of an Essay. It’s not a bad
idea to store the basic structure in your memory. Your
mental notes could look a bit like this:

n Title—Announce your topic in a way that sparks your
readers’ interest.

n Introduction—Paragraph 1 (or maybe 1 and 2) intro-
duces your narrowed topic, presents your thesis,
provides background, and tries to engage your readers’

n Body—The body is four or more paragraphs that support
and explain your thesis using evidence.

n Conclusion—You emphasize your thesis without simply
repeating it. That is, you want to end with a flourish that
amplifies your thesis. Draw your essay to a close.

TIP: On page 142, Figure 7.1 reviews the writing process.
On the facing page, Figure 7.2 graphically illustrates the
structure of an essay, including its parts and functions. This
is a useful reference when you review an assigned essay.

Pages 142–150, Organizing Your Supporting Details. The
basic structure of a well-written essay already has three
parts—an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. But you’ll
have to make decisions about how organize supporting
details in the body of your essay.

In some cases, such as when you’re writing an argument,
you may want to follow either the “most-to-least” principle or
the “least-to-most” principle. So, if you have three main
pieces of supporting evidence you can rank your supporting
evidence in the order of its importance—1, 2, and 3. On the
other hand, if you want to end your essay with a bang, you
might organize your evidence so as to save the best for
last—3, 2, and 1.

English Composition42

Lesson 2 43

When your essay is a narrative, you’re likely to organize your
paragraphs in chronological order. First A happened, then B,
then C, and so on. However, for example, in a descriptive
essay, you might want to use a spatial order. Imagine you’re
writing an essay about the many wondrous features of the
Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC. Different “body
spaces” can be appointed to describe the Air and Space
Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the American
Historical Museum.

An outline or graphic organizer offers you a way to organize
your evidence after you’ve selected an organizing principle.
An informal outline or scratch outline is based on key words
and phrases that give you a shorthand summary of each of
your essay’s paragraphs.

Paragraph 1: I learn about the ghost of McBride
mansion. I get permission to spend the night in
the mansion.
Paragraph 2: Night falls and the house creaks.
Whispering in the upstairs bedroom. The piano
begins to play.

A formal outline is organized like this:

I. First Main


A. First sub-topic

B. Second sub-topic

a. First detail

b. Second detail

Once an outline has been completed you can proceed to
create a graphic organizer.

TIP: Figure 7.3 on page 151 provides you with a “Sample
Graphic Organizer.”

In any case, keep in mind that outlining and construction of
a graphic organizer isn’t simply tedious busy work. The work
you do in organizing your essay serves two key purposes:
(1) It helps you eliminate irrelevant material and stay on
topic, and (2) it can help you generate new ideas you
wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.

English Composition44

Pages 150–152, Using Transitions and Repetition to
Connect Your Ideas. Here are the main ideas. (1) To write
a readable and engaging essay, provide transitional words
or phrases to create smooth transitions between paragraphs.
(2) Remember to repeat key words or their synonyms to keep
your reader on topic. The following excerpt illustrates both of
these ideas. See if you can locate the transitional words or
phrases and instances of using key terms in different (syn-
onymous) language.

Pages 152–159. This section includes helpful tips for
writing a strong introduction, an effective conclusion, and a
strong, evocative title. These are excellent tips and worthy of
being consulted as you tackle the essay assignments that are
part of this course.

The “Students Write” section, on pages 158–159, is the first
draft of an essay by Christine Lee titled, “The Reality of Real
TV.” She prepared the draft based on her freewriting (covered
in Chapter 5) and her established working thesis (covered in
Chapter 6).

Regional Identities in a New Republic

By 1800, American expansion was creating distinct regional identities. Westerners, even in differ-
ent Western states, identified with ideals of independent self-reliance and toughness. New
Englanders saw themselves as sturdy, virtuous proponents of American values and masters of
America’s maritime trade with the world.

However, particularly in the west, expansion was continually obstructed by the presence of the
original occupants of North America. For their part, Native Americans had become dependent on
trade with the whites. And, in that context, native cultures were steadily eroded by exposure to
mercenary traders, alcohol, disease, and land predators.

At this point, some 84 percent of American made their living from the land. Cities, harboring
around 7 percent of the population, were mainly ports reliant on transshipping British and French
goods, mainly from the West Indies. This so-called carrying trade would be regularly disrupted by
war and hostility between France and England.

(R. Turner, U.S. History: With permission from Penn Foster)

Lesson 2 45

Pages 160–163, Working with Text. The concluding sec-
tion of your assigned chapter focuses on an essay by Brent
Staples called “Black Men and Public Space.” This is a chal-
lenging essay. If you’re African American or Hispanic, you
may recognize the bitter reality of this essay from personal
experience. If you’re white, you may find yourself a tad
embarrassed from recognizing the other side of this sad
underside of life in America. Finally, whatever your cultural
or racial perspective, you’ll recognize the power of a well-writ-
ten narrative.

In working with the text, you’ll be expected to underline the
author’s thesis, examine the reading to determine things like
his reference to “the ability to alter public space,” analyze the
writer’s technique, think critically about the reading, visual-
ize the reading, and, finally, react to the reading.

Required Journal Entry 3: Drafting

This entry builds on the brainstorming and thesis you developed for Journal Entry 2.

Evidence: Identify three different types of evidence you could use to develop your working the-
sis from Entry 2. Use specific information from your brainstorming list, and any other ideas that
come to you. (Length open)

Organization: Choose a method of organization for your evidence. Using that evidence, prepare
an outline or simulate a graphic organizer to show your organizational plan for the one-page
essay. Don’t draft the essay in your journal, however. (Length open)

See “Essay in Progress 3,” page 97, and “Essay in Progress 2,” page 118.

English Composition46

Self-Check 9

1. Turn to Exercise 7.1 on page 145. For each of the five narrowed topics, identify several quali-
ties or characteristics that you could use to organize details in either a most-to-least or
least-to-most order.

2. Turn to Exercise 7.2 on page 146. Study the four statements. Identify at least one of them
that could be used to organize an essay using chronologically ordered paragraphs.

3. Exercise 7.4 is on page 157. After reviewing your text’s treatment on writing a good title,
which offers five tips, study each of the five essay types to suggest a title. Try to use each of
the five suggestions at least once.

4. Having read or reread the essay by Brent Staples, turn to page 162. Under “Examining the
Reading,” respond to all four items.

5. For each set of two sentences, pick the one that would work best as the topic sentence
for a paragraph.

a. Mumia Abu-Jamal was convicted of murdering a police officer in Philadelphia in 1981.

b. Mumia Abu-Jamal’s murder conviction shows that the U.S. criminal justice system is not
always fair and impartial.

a. Broken and obsolete computers must be recycled so they don’t end up in landfills leaking
toxic substances into the soil

b. Many offices update their computer hardware on a regular basis, thus generating waste.

a. Cellular phones are dramatically improving lives in third-world countries.

b. In India, fishermen and farmers living in areas without phone lines are using cellular
phones to market their products.

a. Figures from the 2000 census indicate that Americans are willing to accept a commute of
an hour or more if moving to a distant area means that they can afford a larger house.

b. According to the 2000 census figures, the average amount of time an American spends
commuting to work is 24 minutes.


Lesson 2 47

Self-Check 9

6. Transition exercise: Circle the most logical transition for the context from each set given.

Environmental experts caution that water resources are finite, (a. but / so / for) they also
offer tips for doing your part to conserve. (b. Thus / For example / Besides), if you install
low-flow showerheads and water-saving toilets, your household can save dozens of gallons of
water a day. Many people resist such measures because they think that these inventions don’t
work as well as the old models. (c. Consequently / Therefore / On the contrary), because of
technological advances, today’s water-conserving showers and toilets work surprisingly well.
By purchasing newer, environmentally friendly clothes washers and dishwashers, you can also
conserve water. (d. As a result / In addition / Nevertheless), you can save more water by run-
ning loads only when they are full. Another way to conserve water is to replace your thirsty
lawn with drought-resistant native plants, grasses, and shrubs. If you can’t bear to give up
your lawn, (e. for instance / however / moreover), you can decide to water it early in the
morning or late in the evening when the weather is cooler and water loss from evaporation is
less likely. (f. Finally / That is / Thus), turn the water off instead of letting it run when brush-
ing your teeth or washing dishes by hand. If every American household takes these simple
steps, the country will save significant amounts of water.

7. Introduction exercise: Choose the better introduction from each pair given. The introduction
should engage the reader’s attention and clearly state a thesis for an essay of three to five pages.

a. In the eighteenth century, an English clockmaker named John Harrison received a prize for
a clever invention that allowed sailors to calculate longitude. He created a clock that
required no pendulum and contained different kinds of metal. This clock worked onboard a
ship at sea, and it worked in many different temperatures and climate.

b. Until the eighteenth century, ships at sea had no way of calculating longitude with any
accuracy. As a result, countless sailors died when their ships lost track of their position in
the ocean and ran aground or failed to find their way home. Great scientific minds tried to
solve the problem of longitude without success, but a self-taught English clockmaker, John
Harrison, invented a device that worked. Harrison’s invention must rank as one of the
greatest contributions to the field of navigation.

a. A summer job at a burger joint taught me lessons I might not otherwise have learned for
years. I discovered that many people treat workers in menial jobs with contempt, and I
learned how miserable it feels to be treated that way. Working with people I had always
despised in high school taught me that I had judged others too quickly. Finally, I learned
to question bad decisions made by my supervisors—even though I ended up unemployed
as a result. Though burger flipping paid only minimum wage, the job taught me invaluable
lessons about life.


English Composition48

Self-Check 9
b. After school let out for the summer in early June, I went straight to a local fast-food

restaurant and filled out an application. The manager called a few days later and asked
me to come in for an interview. Although one of my friends told me the work there was
hot and boring and the pay was poor, I took the position anyway when the manager
offered it to me. I didn’t like the job much in the beginning, but by the end of the
summer I was glad to have had the experience.

a. The reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park restores an important missing
piece from that ecosystem. Wolves, hunted to extinction in Wyoming and Montana in the
twentieth century, occupy a vital place in the natural cycle of the area. As predators,
wolves control the population of deer and other herbivores, which reproduce prolifically.
Returning wolves to the place where they once belonged will eventually reestablish the
natural balance in this wild, beautiful part of the United States.

b. Because every part of an ecosystem affects every other part, disturbing the natural cycle
can have devastating effects. In almost every type of environment, a variety of plants feed
a variety of small herbivores, which in turn feed a variety of predators. Wolves are a good
example of predators that should not be disturbed.

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.

Lesson 2 49

Read the assignment in this study guide. Then, read Chapter 8,
“Writing Effective Paragraphs,” on pages 164–179.

A sentence is to a paragraph as a cell is to an orgasm. Or put
another way, a paragraph is a set of interrelated sentences
that develop an idea or topic. In terms of essay writing, you
should assume that each of your paragraphs will develop
your reader’s understanding of what you have to say about
a specific idea. In short, one unfolded idea equals one para-
graph. If you find any sentence that’s drifting away from or
not relevant to a paragraph’s anchoring idea, that sentence
needs to find another home or simply deleted from your

Pages 166–170. This section introduces the structure of a
paragraph and the vital importance of topic sentences. A
properly crafted paragraph will include a finely focused topic
sentence; specific supporting details, such as examples,
evidence, or explanation; and well-placed transitions and
repetitions that weave your sentences into a coherent, engag-
ing, unified thought. A topic sentence is to a paragraph as a
thesis is to an essay.

TIP: Study Figure 8.1 on page 166 to get an overview of a
properly crafted paragraph.

There are basic guidelines for writing a topic sentence.

n Focus. A topic sentence should focus a reader’s atten-
tion on a topic. It should illuminate what the paragraph
is about. For example, this topic sentence is unfocused:
“Marijuana has medical applications.” This topic sen-
tence is focused: “Marijuana has been used to treat
patients suffering from glaucoma and also to reduce the
suffering of cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.”

n Previewing. A topic sentence may be used to preview
the organization of a paragraph. For example, if this
topic sentence reads: “Marijuana’s medical uses include
treatment for glaucoma, the alleviation of symptoms for
cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, and easing

English Composition50

the mental anguish of people suffering from posttrau-
matic stress disorders.” In this example, the paragraph’s
subtopics are presented in the order in which they’ll be
addressed in the paragraph, using evidence or examples
to illustrate the each point.

n Support your thesis. In a well-written screenplay or
short story, every sentence should move the plot forward.
In much the same way, your topic sentences should sup-
port your thesis as you move from your introduction to
your conclusion.

n Strategic placement. Most often, a topic sentence is
the first sentence of a paragraph. That makes sense
because you often want to lead a paragraph with a key
to your paragraph’s topic. On the other hand, good writ-
ing is a creative process. Slavish attention to typical
usages can lead to prosaic, flat, and uninspired prose.
Sometimes, placing a topic sentence just after your lead
sentence can better serve as the key to you your para-
graph. In still other cases, a paragraph can lead up to
a final, concluding topic sentence.

Pages 170–179. Through numerous examples and exer-
cises, several pages in this section will help you better
understand how supporting details can be woven together
to create well-developed, unified paragraphs. The best way
to get the most from this section is spending time studying
the examples.

In this context, you’ll learn that well-developed paragraphs
often depend on what writers call concreteness. Compare
these two passages. Which one best engages your

Passage 1: Entering the shop, I was fascinated by the
merchandise. Then I noticed the tall woman behind
the counter looking at me in a strange way.

Passage 2: Entering the shop, I looked around, wide-
eyed at the wild variety of merchandise. Between an
antique Victorian clock and what looked like a statue
of Isis was an African tribal mask that seemed to glare
at me. Tapestries with strange designs covering the
walls and the faint odor of incense made me feel like

Lesson 2 51

I’d been transported to a different time and place. And
then I noticed the tall woman behind the counter.
Raven colored hair spilled over her shoulders. A faint
smile shadowed her scarlet lips even as her dark,
luminous eyes seemed to look through me.

The descriptive detail in Passage 2 illustrates the idea of a
paragraph furnished with descriptive detail. The details, in
turn, illustrate the concreteness of images that engage the
imagination by way of the senses.

Once again, in a slightly different context you’ll revisit the
importance of using transitions and repetition to weave your
sentences into a unified whole.

TIP: Study the graphic on page 176. It shows you how differ-
ent kinds of transitions may be used in the context of logical,
spatial, and time connections.

NOTE: The reading on pages 177–178, a student essay by
Robin Fergusons titled “The Value of Volunteering,” was
written using the graphic organizer you encountered in
Chapter 7. That’s followed by the ongoing work of Christine
Lee, here featuring her first draft paragraph (on her thesis
about reality TV).

English Composition52

Self-Check 10

1. Turn to Exercise 8.1 on page 168. Revise each of the five topic sentences to make it specific
and focuses. At least two of your rewrites should also preview the organization of the para-

2. Exercise 8.2 on page 169 requires you to identify topic sentences for each of the two thesis
statements that don’t support the thesis.

3. Turn to Exercise 8.4 on page 173. Use Table 6.1 (on page 129) to suggest the type or types of
evidence you might use to develop a paragraph based on each of the five topic sentences.

4. In Exercise 8.5, also found on page 173, create a well-developed paragraph by adding details
to this paragraph, also provided in your text.

Although it is convenient, online shopping is a different experience than shopping in an actual
store. You don’t get the same opportunity to see and feel objects. Also, you can miss out on
other important information. There is much that you miss. If you enjoy shopping, turn off
your computer and support your local merchants.

5. Turn to Exercise 8.7 on page 177. After reading or rereading the essay by Robin Ferguson on
“The Value of Volunteering,” respond to each of the four items. Here, item 1 reads “Highlight
each of the topic sentences in the body of the essay (between the introduction and the con-
clusion). Evaluate how well each supports the thesis.”

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.





Revising and Editing

If you were a master carpenter, you would never show up for
a job without your tools. As a writer, you should never
undertake revision work without the tools you’ll find in this
lesson. The job of revision is to make your written interpreta-
tion of an idea, an image, or a scene easier for your reader to
understand and more pleasant to read.

One key to revision involves combining patience, persistence,
and objectivity. While patience is a virtue in every aspect of
life, in writing it’s especially important because a first effort
in drafting a report, a poem, or an essay is extremely unlikely
to be a final draft.

It takes time and practice to be able to see where improve-
ment is needed in your own work. (The American poet Walt
Whitman revised and expanded his Leaves of Grass through-
out his entire lifetime!) It’s best to schedule time over the
course of a week—or several weeks for a lengthy essay or
research project—so you can let each revision rest for at least
a day or two before you reread it and make corrections. The
resting phase allows you to read your work with fresh eyes—
as your reader will—and get to the root of revision, which is
presenting your ideas clearly.

Persistence is an extension of patience. It may be tempting to
think that a few quick changes will turn your initial draft into
polished prose. But unless you’re a professional editor, you’re
unlikely to catch every error and organizational problem the
first time around (and even professional editors use proof-
readers). To make your presentation better, stronger, and
more lucid, plan ahead and allow time for persistence.

English Composition54

Finally, the art of revision demands objectivity. Looking at
your own views with an impartial eye may be the hardest
part of revision. After letting your first draft rest, read your
work as though the ideas came from someone else. Look for
clear organization, well-developed paragraphs, and specific
examples to support your thesis. Make sure each detail is
relevant to both the topic of the paragraph and your thesis.
You’ll learn the value of patience, persistence, and objectivity
as you work through several versions of your paper and see
what a difference your revisions make.

When you complete this lesson, you’ll be able to

n Explain why revising content and organization is
important to the writing process

n Apply appropriate techniques of revision and organization
to your writing

n Apply the rules of standard written American English
for punctuation and spelling

Read the following assignment. Then, in the Successful College
Writing textbook, read Chapter 9, pages 180–201. To gauge
your progress, complete the self-check.

Pages 180–181. Read through the “Quick Start” exercise,
and study the photo. In your self-check file or notebook, list
everything you see from left to right. The point of your list is
to seek ways to make the picture more understandable. Then,
look and look again to revise your perception. Add details
interpreting that information. Consider questions like these:
What’s going on? Who’s coming home? What’s the predomi-
nant gender of the people in the picture and why? If you were
entertaining a visitor from Europe, how would you explain this
photo? Finally, write a paragraph describing and interpreting
a main idea about the photograph. The sentences you write

Mario Puzo, author
of The Godfather,
said, “Writing is

Lesson 3 55

should summarize the content of the image in ways that can
help people see things they wouldn’t see on their own. A pic-
ture may be worth a thousand words, but sometimes words
can make a picture more interesting and more revealing.

As you work through the chapter, pause after each section to
apply the suggested techniques and strategies toward analyz-
ing and revising your paragraph.

Pages 182–183. As you probably already know, revising is a
part of the process most student writers dread—and therefore
skip, condemning themselves to submitting unclear, unfocused
writing. Revising should account for at least 50 percent of the
process, because to this point you’ve been exploring your
ideas and the relationships among them. Your draft is merely
a tentative step to pull everything together, to make sense of
it all, to find your way. Revising requires you to step back
and examine your work as if you were the target audience,
seeing the writing for the first time. It involves looking at
the big picture—the forest of trees in connection with each
other, rather than individual trees, trunks, branches, or leaves.

Any time you revise, try to make changes on a printed or hand-
written copy of your writing. If, however, you have to work
solely on the computer, be sure that when you open your
draft—before you start revising—do a “Save as” and rename
the document with a title like “Revision 1” in case you delete
something you later decide you need.

Pages 183–184. Review the seven “Useful Techniques for
Revision.” You may want to flag this section for frequent review.

Page 185–187. Note the “Key Questions for Revision” heading.
Get in the habit of using these questions to find the weak-
nesses in your writing. For your next written project in any
of your courses, try using the graphic organizer, Figure 9.2
on page 184, to note needed changes. Study Figure 9.3, on
pages 186–187. It’s a flowchart for evaluating your thesis
statement, topic sentences, and evidence. Use this one to see
how it works in evaluating your work.

English Composition56

Pages 188–192. Although you have no classmates for peer
review, study this section to learn ways other reviewers, such
as a family member, friend, or boss, could help you revise your
work. If you can find a good reviewer for your work-in-progress,
this section will provide an excellent guide. Ask your reviewer
to answer the questions on page 191. To practice your skills,
use the flowchart in Figure 9.4 on page 189 to evaluate your
“Quick Start” paragraph.

Pages 192–195. Under the heading “Using Your Instructor’s
Comments,” read the illustrative essay “NFL Salary Gap.”
Note how the essay is critiqued, and apply the knowledge
when your reviewer analyzes your writing. For this course,
you won’t be able to resubmit an essay, but you can use the
feedback from a previous evaluation to guide your revision on
the next assignment.

Pages 195–201. Under the “Students Write” heading, note
that the work of Christine Lee is again used. This time, you’ll
be offered insights into how constructive criticism helps a
writer revise an essay. In particular, notice how the reviewer
focused on big-picture ideas—structure, organization, clarity
of explanation, and level of supporting detail—not the editing or
proofreading. As you can see from Lee’s revisions, she needs to
improve these areas first. After all, why spend time correcting
what you may delete? In addition, study the essay’s entire
process of development. Review pages 120–121, 133–134,
and 158–159.

Lesson 3 57

Required Journal Entry 4: Revising

This journal entry requires you to review the rough draft of the essay that follows. As you analyze
the draft according to each of the areas listed, identify what needs revision. For each area,
explain why and how you would change the draft. (4 paragraphs, 5 sentences each)

Analyze the essay’s

• Purpose and audience

• Thesis statement, topic sentences, and paragraphs

• Evidence

• Organization

Rough Draft: E-mail vs. Letters

Instead of using e-mails, mail a letter to your grandparents, an aunt or uncle, or another role
model who’s older than you are. We live in a fast-paced world. We use computers to send e-mails
and instant messages. Some, though, don’t live in that time zone. Forget all the fonts, emoticons,
and abbreviations like LOL. You point and click, but some people want to hold something, unwrap
a letter, and smell it. A crayoned picture smells and feels special; no scanner can do that. People’s
senses want to be used. We live in a physical world, not an invisible one. People can touch some-
thing that’s mailed. Sometimes it’s as if touching the ink or pencil on paper helps them touch the
writer. A picture can be held and used in so many ways. For example, I get to see how my grand-
kids’ handwriting is changing as they grow. I know how they feel just from the way they write the

A letter gives someone the real thing. A letter exists in time and space. Even if someone e-mails
you regularly, the surprise of a mailed letter provides something to cherish rather than to be
deleted. Of course, they may like getting through the Internet a photograph of you on the day of
a special event. However, a printed photograph can be put into an album or used for a bookmark
or posted on the refrigerator for regular review. They don’t have to worry about color cartridges
or paper because you’ve given them what they need in the mail. Though they may have a hard
time reading your handwriting, a letter is a tangible way to remind them that you care enough to
take the time and effort to communicate with them and them alone.

The convenience and efficiency of computers can’t be matched by regular postal service. However,
they sometimes bleep and blurp in a frustrating conversation, one that older persons can’t always
hear or understand. One wrong click here and another there can mean mass destruction. They
may get a paper cut from your letter, but even sucking on a finger while reading makes their
experience more memorable and satisfying. The cut heals; the letter remains alive.

To evaluate your essay in progress complete the following exercises: “Essay in Progress 1” on
page 185, “Essay in Progress 2” on page 187, and both “Essay in Progress” 3 and 4 on page 188.

English Composition58

Self-Check 11

1. “Analyzing the Revision” on page 201: Respond to all four items.

2. Reviewer response exercise: For the following pairs of reviewer responses, choose the
comment that’s more appropriate and helpful for revising a first draft.

a. I didn’t understand where you were headed with this essay until the middle of the second
page. Why not move your thesis to the first paragraph? By cutting the background
material about icebergs, you could get to the point faster.

b. You need a transition between the information about icebergs and your thesis in the mid-
dle of the second page. Also, I noticed that you misspelled separate and truly. Did you
forget to use your spell-checker?

a. This essay is great! I really liked it a lot, especially the examples.

b. The new examples really help me see your point. You might want to work on the example
about elephants’ emotions, though. I didn’t see what it had to do with your thesis. Can
you make the connection clearer?

a. You seem to be saying that the theory of evolution is right and creationism is wrong,
but last week I saw a television show that said evolution is just a theory, like creationism.
You should reconsider your thesis.

b. I think you need to spend more time explaining the concept of creationism, rather than
simply implying it’s wrong. What do creationists believe, and how do their beliefs differ
from those of evolutionists? I need to know that before I can figure out if you’ve made a
good case for your argument.

3. If you didn’t complete the “Quick Start” exercise, do so now. Be sure you work from the listing
stage through the drafting, reviewing, and revising stages. As you revise, ask yourself why
you’re making each change—what purpose does adding this detail or changing the place of a
sentence serve in clarifying the main idea of your paragraph? Then, create a final draft of the


Lesson 3 59

Self-Check 11
4. Paragraph revision exercise: Each of the following paragraphs contains a problem with

coherence. The sentences either don’t contain proper transitions or they contain information
that should be relocated to another place in the paragraph. Locate the problems and revise
the paragraphs as necessary (for example, add a transitional word, phrase, or clause; add
another sentence or combine sentences; delete words, phrases, or sentences; rewrite the
topic sentence).

a. Poor Louis seemed destined by nature to become the butt of every practical joke we
could devise that summer at camp. Whenever someone was chosen to go on some silly
errand, such as to get the keys to the oarlocks, find a can of striped paint, or get a
paper stretcher, Louis was inevitably the victim. We all considered it great fun. I regret
our youthful thoughtlessness. Who knows what deep psychological wounds we inflicted
on him by our teasing and ridicule?

b. There seem to be good grounds for making the assumption. Business plans for capital
spending this year are so strong that they may spill over into the coming year. The
increase in capital spending for the second half of the year may turn out to be a mainstay
of the economy. Investors have shown their interest in the capital-spending sector by
increased investment in business equipment, instruments and electronics, and movie and
recreational stocks. This could come as a welcome event, because many business analysts
are now predicting a recession in the latter part of this year or the beginning of next year.

c. Arson destroys neighborhoods as surely as mass bombing. Only a few people commit the
crime, but all residents must suffer the consequences. How could it be otherwise, given
the nature of the problem, with its tangle of social and economic issues? Decaying build-
ings are torched by their owners to collect insurance money. This is a despicable crime
and ought to be vigorously investigated and punished. Most arsonists escape punishment.
Burned-out structures are, in turn, a haven for gangs and drug traffickers, who cause
even more arson. Once several blocks have been gutted, a kind of collective hopelessness
grips those who can’t afford to move. The young may continue to set fires from hatred or
from despair of never escaping their crumbling prison. The end comes when the municipal
government gives up, curtails most services, and abandons the neighborhood.

d. In the eighteenth century, Englishmen had a reputation throughout Europe for their love
of eating. Visitors to England were amazed at the large quantity and fine quality of the
fish and meat consumed. However, they couldn’t understand the English attitude toward
vegetables, which were served only as trimmings to meat. English cooks seemed unable
to prepare an appetizing vegetable dish. Vegetables were abundant at the time and were
grown in the gardens of both the rich and poor.

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.

English Composition60

Read the assignment in this study guide. Then, read Chapter 10
on pages 202–224 in your textbook, Successful College Writing.


In this assignment, we’ll look at strategies for correcting
grammatical errors through the editing process. Proofreading
and editing are the last steps in the writing process, but
are just as necessary as addressing errors in organization
and content.

Here are a few tricks to help you with your editing:

n Let your work rest at least overnight so you can read it
with fresh eyes.

n Read the work aloud to hear how it flows. Does it keep
your interest? Is it presented in logical order? Are there
adequate transitions between ideas?

n Look at your wording with a cold eye. Even a well-written
sentence has to go if it breaks up the flow of your work
or leads anywhere but straight to your conclusion.

n As you proofread, make sure your punctuation supports
the meaning of each sentence. If, as you read aloud, you
stumble or have to reread passages, consider rewriting or
breaking long sentences into two to clarify your ideas.

On page 203, Read the instructions for the “Chapter Quick
Start.” Study the two cartoons on the facing page. What do
you think the cartoons suggest about writing, as well as
about editing sentences and words?

Pages 204–214. The main heading, “Analyzing Your
Sentences,” offers illustrations and specific techniques for
sentence analysis. Are your sentences concise or wordy?
Are your sentences varied? Think about music and rhythm.
One-note melodies are boring. In fact, melodies depend on
variation. The same goes for passages in an essay. Pay care-
ful attention to the concept of parallelism on pages 212–213.

It is better to write
a bad first draft
than to write no
first draft at all.

—Will Shetterly

Lesson 3 61

Study the examples. Also study the information on action
verbs, beginning on pages 213–214. Active verbs get the
reader’s attention and demand an emotional response.

Pages 215–220. The section “Analyzing Your Word Choice”
starts with a discussion of tone and the level of diction. The
tone of an essay, for example, might be grave and melan-
choly, flippant and sizzling with irony, or, perhaps, cool and
scientific. By contrast, the level of diction refers to grammar
and word choice. An academic essay or a legal contract uses
formal diction. Popular diction, found in newspapers or
popular magazines, sounds more like everyday speech.
Finally, informal diction is relaxed and not always technically
correct. Fiction writers may capture a character’s personality
through diction. Word connotations, concrete-specifics,
abstract language, and figures of speech all contribute to
tone and diction.

When you read, “Janet walked into the room,” what picture
comes to mind? The verb walk offers little sense of connota-
tion, emotion, or imagination. Yet strode, slunk, wandered,
bounced, sidled, tiptoed, and raced convey the same general
action with clear connotations. Strode suggests confidence
and purpose, whereas slunk indicates guilt or fear. Another
example is house and home. The first is more generic, with
home having a more positive connotation—it usually gives
people a feeling of warmth or sense of security. Did you ever
notice that real estate agents often use home in their sales
pitch instead of house?

Read through the following three sentences and, based on
the word choices, label each one positive, neutral, or nega-
tive, according to its connotative strength regarding the
organization MADD.

n The goals of the organization called Mothers against
Drunk Driving (MADD) are “to stop drunk driving,
support the victims of this violent crime and prevent
underage drinking.”

n After my daughter was brutally murdered when some
drunken teenager without a license mowed her down,
I joined MADD to help impose righteous laws on such
lawless people.

English Composition62

n Through Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD), I dis-
covered not only how to deal with my grief, but also how
to take action on the serious problem of drunk driving
that caused the death of my daughter.

As a simple, factual mission statement, the first sentence
is the most neutral of the three, even though the criminal-
oriented words victim and violent reveal the group’s negative
feelings about drunk driving. The second is quite critical
and negative as the writer forces readers to engage with her
emotional pain within a legal and moral framework through
the words impose, righteous, and lawless. The phrases brutally
murdered and mowed her down imply the driver made conscious
choices causing the death and, as a result, MADD is portrayed
as a group seeking retribution. The third sentence is more
positive, as it focuses on healing and on action to correct a
problem. The words indicate a favorable slant on the personal
benefits associated with MADD.

Sometimes, particularly if English isn’t your first language, you
may find it difficult to discern the connotations for words with
similar denotations. A dictionary or thesaurus can help, but
proceed with caution. Word choices that seem to work based
on their definition may have a completely different connotation
than the context requires. Read Exercise 10.7 on page 218,
and think about the connotations of each set of words.

Diction also includes choosing words that work best for the
purpose and audience. Take the term spaghetti. For most
people, it’s understood that the writer is talking about long,
thin pasta in marinara sauce. Writing for an Italian audience,
however, you would use “macaroni and gravy.”

Pages 221–222. Whenever you write, you want your readers
to understand and respect your ideas. But careless errors
or a poor presentation give the impression that your work is
at best unfinished and at worst second-rate. In other words,
to be respected as a writer, you must respect your reader.
“Suggestions for Proofreading” offers advice on checking your
work and keeping an error log to observe patterns so you can
keep your work error-free.

For refresher instruction in grammar and mechanics, visit
the websites given earlier in this guide and review the PDF
supplements available online under My Courses—English

Lesson 3 63

Pages 222–224. Under the “Students Write” section is a
revision of the essay by Christine Lee, which criticizes reality
television. Note the changes, and carefully consider the reasons
for the changes as given on pages 223–224.

Note: To ensure you’re comfortable with the material, you
should review your online supplements, The Parts of Speech,
Word Usage, and Sentence Skills, before completing your
examination for Lesson 3.

Required Journal Entry 5: Public Space

Reread Brent Staples’ essay “Black Men and Public Space” on pages 160–162. Explore the ways
you and individuals around you “alter public space.” Include specific examples from your life. You
may wish to describe a situation in which your intentions were misunderstood or when someone
made false assumptions about you. Another option is to discuss times when you’ve had to change
your behavior to accommodate someone else’s needs or expectations. (2 paragraphs, 5 sentences
for each)

Freewrite about the way errors in grammar, spelling, and punctuation can alter the public space
between writer and reader in an essay. (1 paragraph, 5 sentences)

Self-Check 12

1. Exercise 10.1, on page 206: Edit the five sentences to make them concise.

2. Exercise 10.2, on page 210: Combine the pairs of sentences into single, compound,
or complex sentences.

3. Exercise 10.3, on page 212: Add modifiers to create varied sentence patterns in the five

4. Exercise 10.4, on page 213: Edit the five sentences to eliminate problems with parallelism.


English Composition64

Self-Check 12

5. Exercise 10.5, on page 214: Edit the five sentences, changing passive verbs to active ones
and, where needed, adding a subject.

6. Exercise 10.8, on page 218: Revise the five sentences by adding concrete, specific details.

7. Exercise 10.9, on page 219: Invent fresh figures of speech to characterize items 1–3.

8. Revising and editing exercise: Revise, edit, and proofread each paragraph (taken from
student drafts).

a. I dashed out of my bed that morning, hasting toward the bathroom like a confused being
to wash my face only, I wasn’t going to shower that morning, because I was going to be
late for my first class in standard five.

b. “Good by.” I said angrily then payed the cashier and walked away from her. I say her
face colour changed right before my eyes from light brown to peach, I knew then that
she was angry. Tanishea was a short and stout in stachur with long flowing hair, great
smile,wonderful personality and a certain spark for life only describable only if you knew
her. I hurried home nervously,and hope Simone did not detected it.

c. I am sitting here coughing and can barley breathe. I am wandering why I haven’t left this
smoked field restaurant. I wish more places would ban smoking. In fact people in general
could enjoy closed environments that ban smoking. If they did this parents of today
wouldn’t have to worry as much for children developing asthma. As a mother I could see
why parents would fear children will want to try it when they get older because of all the
influences that surround them. That is why I support banning of smoking.

d. I am currently sitting on my bed in my two bedroom trailer. A dresser sits in front my
bed; next to the dresser is my TV stand which holds my TV. On the right side of my bed is
my desk and chair. Past the desk is the bathroom. These are just a few important things
in my room. The dresser that sits in front of my bed is plastic and white. This is important
because it holds my paperwork for school. It helps me stay organized so I will not lose my
mind. If not for my dresser, searching for paperwork would be like searching for a needle
in a haystack. Next to my dresser is my black TV stand. My TV stand holds my 19 inch
Curtis Mathis TV. I enjoy watching movies in my room.

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.





Moving from Narration
to Process Analysis

In this lesson, you’ll study several patterns of development
for writing, including narration, description, illustration, and
process analysis. Each technique applies to specific purposes.
Your assignments include readings that demonstrate the
effectiveness of each writing mode. You’ll use the ideas and
tools you’ve studied so far, and you’ll build on what you’ve
learned to further improve your approach to writing.


When you complete this lesson, you’ll be able to

n Describe and apply the elements of an effective narrative

n Explain and apply the principles of descriptive writing

n Define the characteristics of illustration and apply them
to writing projects

n Summarize the techniques of process analysis and apply
them to writing

Read the following assignment summary. Then, in the Successful
College Writing textbook, read Chapter 11, pages 226–265. To
gauge your progress, complete the self-check.

A narrative is a story that makes a point. Usually, we think of
a narrative as a short story, a novel, or a screenplay that has
a beginning, a middle, and an end. A nonfiction narrative,
such as an account of someone’s visit to the Grand Canyon,
the history of Connecticut, or an editorial, also follows some
kind of logical course from its opening to its conclusion.

English Composition66

Effective written narratives

n Make a point

n Relate action and detail

n Utilize tension and conflict

n Follow a sequence in time

n Often use dialogue

n Take a point of view

Historically, narratives have been shared orally. Literacy
wasn’t widespread in many cultures, including early
Western culture, so legends, epic poems, and story songs
communicated important information, as well as provided
entertainment. In ordinary modern life, narratives are still
often spoken. A joke is a narration that has a point called
a punch line. Explaining to a friend why you had a bad day
is a narrative. The “point” as well as the “point of view” often
amounts to a plea for sympathy. Today’s narratives may
include political rhetoric and advertising, as well as stories
or poems revisiting age-old themes.

The “Quick Start” feature on page 226 asks you to imagine a
series of events that may have led to this scene of mourning.
While you may be able to imagine various scenarios, focus on
a specific one and think through the sequence of experiences.

Pages 228–234. The chapter opens by explaining why a writer
might use the narrative pattern of development. It then pro-
vides an example of a narrative with the essay “Right Place,
Wrong Face.” Before you read it, however, take a moment to
scan over the “Characteristics of a Narrative” on pages 231–234.
Then, as you read the story, evaluate how well it reflects those
characteristics. In particular, identify the specific sequence
of events and the manner in which each event builds on the
previous one to increase the tension of the experience until
it reaches the climax. The tension reflects the conflict or
problem the writer is developing. Even as he shares the
story, he also chooses details that show the significance of
the problem (racial profiling).

“The best way to
have a good idea
is to have lots of

—Linus Pauling

Lesson 4

After reading the essay, closely review and study the narrative
characteristics on pages 231–234. Included in the discussion
is a sample “Quick Start” paragraph, which makes a clear
point about the homeless and about other people’s attitudes
about them. Read “The Lady in Red” on pages 235–238 if you
find graphic organizers useful and want to see the application
of one for narratives.

Page 239. Although most college or academic essays aren’t
literary narratives, narrative is often integrated into these
essays. The text discusses each pattern of development for
the overall structure of an essay and as a writing strategy to
be integrated within another, primary pattern. For instance,
you may use some narrative techniques in a persuasive essay.
In addition, as you develop the main point of the essay using
the primary pattern, any other pattern of development can
be applied to an individual paragraph to provide interest
and depth for that particular evidence or support. In fact,
your first writing assignment will require you to integrate
either narration or illustration with the required primary pat-
tern of development. As you study each pattern covered in
the textbook, remember to take notes listing its uses as an
overall structure and as a strategy.

Pages 240–248. For each pattern of development, the text-
book provides a “Guided Writing Assignment,” which takes you
through the writing process to produce that type of essay.
Depending on the pattern, you’ll skim through or carefully
study the instructions, even though you may not develop an
essay for each one. By doing so, you’ll gain a better under-
standing of the process and see how the concepts covered in
the first seven chapters fit in. In addition, the “Editing and
Proofreading” tips within each guided assignment apply to
other patterns of development. Because your next journal
entry refers to the narrative guided assignment and because
your first exam suggests you may want to use the narrative
as a supporting pattern of development, read through the
narrative assignment, but don’t develop an essay unless you
wish to do so on your own for practice. (If you do attempt
a draft, please don’t submit it to the school for review, but
keep it for your personal use.)


Pages 248–253. This section provides tips for thinking criti-
cally while you read. Although it’s aimed toward reading and
responding to someone else’s narrative, the questions can also
be useful when you’re revising your own writing. In fact,
the most painless way to improve your own writing is to read
others’ writing thoughtfully.

Pages 252–257. After carefully reading “Working with
Text” and “Thinking Critically about Narration,” read the
essay “Selling in Minnesota” by Barbara Ehrenreich on
pages 254–256. Ponder your impressions of the essay as
you take some time to analyze the reading. Does the topic
command your attention? Why?

Pages 258–263. To consider the possibilities of combining
narration with other patterns of development, read “Alien
World: How a Treacherous Border Crossing Became a Theme
Park” by freelance journalist Alexander Zaitchik. You’ll find
that this fascinating essay is made stronger with the photo
images. This essay demonstrates the way current social issues
related to illegal immigration can be illuminated by sharp-eyed,
creative writing.

English Composition68

Required Journal Entry 6: Narration

Outline one specific time in your life when you felt extremely stressed by the pressure to succeed
in your studies, perform on the job (if applicable), and spend time with family and friends. As
needed, prewrite on the topic in your notes file, but don’t submit that work. For this journal entry,
use the following labels to sketch out the details for your narrative of that time.


Key actions

Key participants

Key lines of dialogue


See pages 241–242, “Gathering Details about the Experience or Incident.”

Lesson 4 69

Self-Check 13

1. Exercise 11.1, on page 232: First complete the sentences as instructed for all five partial
sentences. Then, for item 5 only, write three or four sentences that build tension through
action or dialogue.

2. Exercise 11.2, on page 233: Complete the exercise using only scenario 2, about the dating

3. Review the essay, “Selling in Minnesota.” Respond in writing to items 1, 3, and 5 in
“Examining the Reading,” on page 256. Be sure to respond to specific questions within
particular items.

4. Proofreading and editing: The following are some basic writing tips collected by the “intre-
pid linguist” William Safire. Ironically—and purposely—each contains an error that relates to
the tip given. Identify the errors.

a. Verbs has to agree with their subject.

b. And don’t start a sentence with a coordinating conjunction.

c. Do not be redundant; do not use more words than necessary; it’s highly superfluous.

d. The passive voice is to be avoided.

e. Kill all exclamation points!!!

f. Use the apostrophe in it’s proper place and omit apostrophes’ when its not needed.

g. Proofread carefully to if you any words out.

h. Be sure your work contains no misspelled words.


English Composition70

Self-Check 13

5. Sentence revision exercise: Reduce wordiness in the following sentences by reordering,
simplifying, and/or improving their construction. Also revise for correct and varied sentence

a. The small city of Wilkes-Barre was built next to the Susquehanna River and it was a fertile
farming area until coal became a very valuable natural resource and mining took over.

b. Jason hid Jared’s keys they were in the planter.

c. I asked Gwendolyn if there is a shop that sells gifts that are nice that is near the hotel.

d. Carlos went to college. He attended the University of Pittsburgh. He earned a degree in
marketing. He works for Allegheny Advertising, Ltd. He is a market analyst.

e. George Washington was born in 1732 in Virginia, he was raised on a farm established by
his great-grandfather.

f. Washington had a big nose and a pockmarked face, however he was still considered a
handsome man.

g. A wellness program for all employees makes sense for Allied Technical Services because
it reduces absenteeism among employees, improves employees’ overall health, improves
performance and productivity, and saves money on health care costs.

h. At 15, Washington became a surveyor his first job was to survey the six-million-acre
estate of his neighbor Lord Fairfax.

i. Among several goals discussed for the next fiscal year, the company’s executives agreed
that reducing production costs will be most important.

j. In the business world, both male and female workers put in long hours to get ahead then
they find it difficult to make time to raise a family.

k. Most people are familiar with chain letters, this type of correspondence requires a person
to copy a letter and send it on to five or more friends.

l. Today, electronic chain letters are very common almost anyone who uses e-mail has seen
at least one.

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.

Read the assignment in this study guide. Then, in the Successful
College Writing textbook, read Chapter 12, pages 266–303. To
test your progress, complete the self-check.

A description of a desert sunrise may touch your emotions
through the visual images you imagine. An effective descrip-
tion of a day in a coal mine may evoke surprising sights,
sounds, odors, and textures. A clear depiction of life on a
Gulf of Mexico shrimp boat may do the same. What do these
simple examples have in common? Effective description
appeals to our senses; it calls up specific sights, sounds,
tastes, and odors of people, places, and things. Why should a
writer use descriptions that appeal to the senses? Because
it’s a good way to quickly immerse the reader in the experi-
ence. For example, a well-designed food advertisement can
instantly bring to mind the sight, sound, and smell of grilling
hamburgers or the smooth, sweet taste of a milkshake. It
may trigger salivation and a sudden craving for the food, even
in the absence of hunger.

The “Writing Quick Start” for this chapter features a classic
Volkswagen Beatle transformed into a work of art with
wheels. Your mission is writing a new and improved,
enticingly descriptive ad because your first ad fell flat.

Pages 268–269. As you did with the narrative, turn
to page 270–271 and take a few moments to scan through
the characteristics of a descriptive essay before you read
MacClancy’s essay. (Whether you have or haven’t ever eaten
a chili pepper, you’ll certainly feel you’re having that experi-
ence as you read.)

Pages 270–275. After reading the story critically, study the
descriptive characteristics carefully and slowly. As the text
says, descriptive writing can be used as a primary pattern
of development, but is more often used to support another
primary pattern, such as narration or illustration. Use
description judiciously. Sometimes student writers fall in
love with overblown figurative descriptions which, instead
of providing a clear, concrete picture, actually obscure the
meaning they wish the reader to gain. Even when using
another pattern, writers must always consider the dominant

Lesson 4 71

Detail makes the
difference between
boring and terrific
writing. It’s the dif-
ference between a
pencil sketch and
a lush oil painting.
As a writer, words
are your paint. Use
all the colors.

—Rhys Alexander

English Composition72

impression of their word choices. Finally, notice how the
graphic organizer for a descriptive essay is quite similar in
its development to that of a narrative.

Pages 276–278. This essay provides an excellent example of
a Native American voice using diction appropriate for that
voice while naturally including explanations for the reader. If
you find that graphic organizers help you, then read the story
and review the organizer based on it.

Descriptive writing isn’t merely for creative or poetic writers.
It’s an essential skill for anyone. For example, technical writ-
ers preparing how-to manuals often include the sensory
details for a machine or product (color, size, texture, and
even odor). Preschool teachers include specific, concrete
descriptions of a child’s behavior to identify and track their
teaching techniques, as well as to offer parents or psycholo-
gists key information. Medical assistants must notice the
smallest details about their patients, including color, smell,
texture, and sound.

Pages 279–287. Although the guided writing assignment
isn’t required, skim over it to reinforce what you’ve been
learning, particularly as it applies to your thinking and
writing process.

Page 265. Be sure to review the proofreading tips offered.

Page 269–273. Read the information explained in terms of
how it can help you revise your work critically. Then, read
Amy Tan’s essay to enjoy and to analyze for the use of
descriptive elements.

Pages 287–291. The “Students Write” feature for this
assignment is an essay by a journalism student. Notice that
the topic of his essay, “Heatstroke with a Side of Burn
Cream,” appears only in the first sentence of the second
paragraph. Also, the author’s topic sentences are highlighted,
which allows you to see how well the essay follows the topic
sentence. Overall, this essay is made more informative
through lively description. But, as you take some time
to analyze the reading, you’ll need to draw your own

Lesson 4 73

Pages 291–297. The section, “Working with Text: Reading
a Descriptive Essays,” precedes an essay by a Pulitzer
Prize–winning author of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard.
In this essay, “The Deer at Providencia,” Dillard shows us
what a masterful command of descriptive writing can achieve.
Think of this essay as a fine example of literature as art—art
that dares to explore the deep mysteries of human experi-
ence. In any case, don’t skimp on time devoted to a analyzing
and critiquing the essay, including your sense of what the
photograph contributes to the essay,

Pages 298–303. To explore an example of how description
can be combined with other patterns of development, you’ll
want to read the essay by “Riverbend,” It will give you some
insight into the suffering delivered to millions courtesy of the
War on Iraq. Indeed, as you read this essay, you may gain
some insight into the effects of violent conflicts now raging
all across the Middle East, North Africa, and much of sub-
Saharan Africa.

Required Journal Entry 7: Description

Think of an experience in which you faced an important test (either in school, at work, or in a
personal situation). As needed, prewrite on the topic in your notes file or notebook, but don’t
submit that work.

Sensory details: For this journal entry, list two specific, concrete, original details for each sense
describing that particular testing event:

• Sight

• Sound

• Smell

• Taste

• Touch

Comparison: Write one fresh, creative comparison for one of your details (one simile or

Evaluation: For which of the five senses was it easiest to write sensory details? For which was it
most difficult? Why? (1 paragraph, 5 sentences)

See “Collecting Details That Describe Your Subject” on page 281 and the first paragraph of
“Finding Comparisons and Choosing a Vantage Point” on page 282.

English Composition74

Self-Check 14

1. Exercise 12.2, on page 273: You may cross out details directly in the text paragraph.

2. Exercise 12.3, on page 274: Write a paragraph describing a food you enjoy, focusing on
one sense.

3. Review the essay by Annie Dillard on pages 293–296. Under “Examining the Reading,”
respond to all five items.

4. Subject-verb agreement and passive/active voice: Correct the errors in both subject-
verb agreement and any shift between passive and active voice in the same sentence.

a. There is many things that the police and other crime-solvers do not know about death.

b. Martin drove his car too fast, and a speeding ticket was received by him.

c. Anyone who reads mysteries know that forensic technology often solves the crime.

d. New research at a unique laboratory in Tennessee are helping to reduce the possibility of
someone’s getting away with murder.

e. Experts in the field of forensic anthropology recognizes that the University of Tennessee’s
open-air cemetery is a remarkable teaching tool.

f. Not all of the bodies at this cemetery is buried; some is left on the ground, some is placed
in cars, and some is wrapped in plastic bags.

g. The boat lost its rudder, and it was towed to shore by the Coast Guard.

h. Learning what chemicals a decaying body leaves behind also allow the police to find places
where bodies have been hidden.

i. Every check and money order cost fifty cents.

j. My paper was nearly finished until my computer was walked on by my cat.


Lesson 4 75

Read the assignment in this study guide. Then, in the Successful
College Writing textbook, read Chapter 13, pages 304–335. To
gauge your progress, complete the self-check.

The purposes of illustration include making a general idea
specific, illuminating an unfamiliar concept, and engaging a
reader’s interest. Effective illustration should be very selective.
Appropriate examples must reinforce your argument or support
your thesis. However, rather than simply listing an example or
two as reinforcements of your statements, in this section, you’ll
see how to use illustration to help develop your essay, which
requires planning, good organization, and careful integration
of your examples as you write. Think through the “Chapter
Quick Start” exercise on page 305. Try to get a clear picture
in your mind of each example you would use and the scenes
you would use to support the topic sentence regarding envi-
ronmental pollution.

Self-Check 14

k. Learning how to navigate the Web and conduct searches do not take the place of develop-
ing critical thinking skills.

l. If rhythm and blues are your kind of music, try Mary Lou’s.

m. His merry disposition and his success in business makes him popular.

n. The vapors were a Victorian term for hypochondria.

o. Neither the lighting nor the frame display the painting well.

p. Most of the voters supports a reduction in nuclear weapons.

q. Her favorite thing in the whole world were horses.

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.

English Composition76

Pages 306–312. Before reading “Rambos of the Road,”
scan the characteristics of illustration (pages 309–313). After
reading the essay, study them more carefully. Illustration is
generally used to support a generalization. The text provides
a good explanation and examples. As you read, notice that
using a generalization by itself isn’t an appropriate writing
technique—a generalization must be developed using a pattern
of development, such as illustration, to provide specifics show-
ing how the generalization reflects your purpose.

Pages 313–316. “Sustainability on the Menu,” by editorial
intern Carl Pino, is an example of an illustration essay. The
essay focuses on the ways that select schools and universi-
ties have started programs that supply lunchrooms and
college cafeterias with locally grown organic produce. Other
localized food sustainability programs, like Princeton’s pro-
gram for distributing some excess food to local food shelters,
using other excess food as animal feed, and composting,
also get our attention.

TIP: You might want to spend some time with the graphic
organizer in Figure 13.2 to see how Pino’s essay can be

Pages 317–323. The guided writing assignment on these
pages isn’t required in this course, but you might benefit
from skimming through it.

Pages 323–326. The “Students Write” feature here takes
a critical look at present-day American “female body
obsessions.” You might find it interesting because so many
Americans, nearly all of them women and girls, have eating
disorders. However, be sure to read and analyze this essay
closely to gain its main advantage. Notice the placement of
the thesis statement, the character of the topic sentences,
and the location of a transitional sentence.

Pages 326–330. The section begins with “Reading an
Illustration Essay.” As usual, you’ll want to study this
material carefully before reading and analyzing the essay
by Bill Bryson, “Snoopers at Work.” The topic is disturbing
because the author’s thesis, that employees (and citizens)
are subject to widespread invasions of privacy, is heavily and
effectively illustrated by examples.

Lesson 4 77

Pages 331–335. To explore how illustration can be com-
bined with other patterns of development you’ll read and
analyze an essay by Cristina Rouvalis, “Hey Mom, Dad,
May I Have My Room Back?” It’s all about the sad topic of
“boomerangers.” In our present economic and political envi-
ronment, young people are finding it harder and harder to
find jobs that provide living wages. The sky-rocketing
increase in student loan debt often means that junior
will have to live at home long after graduation.

Required Journal Entry 8: Reflection

Attitude: Now that you’re halfway through your journal assignments, think back to when you
first picked up this study guide and looked at the list of assignments. Do you remember how you
felt? Do you still feel the same way? Describe how your feelings toward English have changed, or
what feelings have stayed the same. (1 paragraph, 5 sentences)

Inventory: Think back to those goals you made for yourself in that first reflective journal entry.
Now that you’ve submitted several assignments, do you feel that you’ve made any improvements
toward meeting them? If not, what goals do you still have to meet? Are there any new goals that
you might now want to make? (1 paragraph, 5 sentences)

Self-Check 15
1. Exercise 13.1, on page 310: Follow the instructions.

2. Exercise 13.3, on page 311: Respond to item 1 only.

3. Review the essay “Snoopers at Work” on pages 328–329. In “Examining the Reading,”
respond to items 1–5.


English Composition78

Self-Check 15
4. Diction and word choice exercise: Each sentence contains an error needing correction

because of misused words, weak diction, shifts in voice (person), or problematic connotation.
Rewrite each sentence correctly.

a. When Americans think of sports, you tend to think of the sports that you see on television
on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

b. In today’s modern world it’s very unusual to find someone who has never told a
deliberate lie.

c. Any reasonable person would recognize this scheme.

d. That lady in the public relations department seems smart, but she never changes her
mind once she says something.

e. The survey evaluated the attitudes of each guy in our department.

f. Swinging his lasso, the calf dived under the cowboy’s legs and escaped.

g. For instance, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) usually draws
over 100,000 people to your typical race.

h. One reason Jackson was elected president was because he was a popular general.

I. I have difficulty coping and dealing with pressure-type situations.

j. My boss was too cheap to fork over the dough for the new lab equipment.

k. Eying each other by the corral, the hats and boots showed years of wear and tear.

l. The supervisor divided the project between Joe, Dave, and I.

m. The incident was significant in several ways. One of the ways the incident was significant
is that it marked the first time I was totally and completely on my own.

n. In her speech at the department meeting, our supervisor inferred that if production didn’t
increase, a few workers may be dismissed.

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.

Lesson 4 79

Read the assignment in this study guide. Then, in the Successful
College Writing textbook, read Chapter 14, pages 336–371. To
gauge your progress, complete the self-check.

In the world of employment, you’ll find that the techniques
of process analysis are vital to achievement and success. For
example, if you’re an administrative assistant, a salesperson,
or a carpenter, you’ll receive instructions in some form that
tell you what to do and how to do it, whether in a memo, in
person, or in a blueprint. If you’re an office manager, a sales
manager, or a job foreman, you’ll be giving instructions to
others. To properly explain a job or understand what needs
to be done and in what order, you must understand process

There are two basic forms of process analysis. How-to writing is
intended for people who may need guidelines for doing some-
thing or learning something. Instructions for using an
appliance, step-by-step guidelines for responding to an emer-
gency, or tips for taking stains out of clothing illustrate this
kind of process analysis.

Informative process analyses explain how things work or how
they’re done for people who might like to know, even if they
don’t need that information in their everyday lives. A process
explanation of a surgical technique or an anthropologist’s
account of how Cheyenne youth prepare for a vision quest
are examples of this kind of process analysis.

First, read through the “Quick Start” exercise on pages 336–337
and think about how you would complete the exercise.

English Composition80

Pages 338–342. Read “What Is Process Analysis?” Then, read
the essay “How to Interview” provided by Monster.com. It’s an
example of process analysis of the “how-to” variety. Under
“Characteristics of Process Analysis,” on pages 341–342,
study the guidelines for writing a process analysis. Notice that
when a thesis statement is included in a process analysis, it’s
typically devoted to explaining how the process is valuable,
whether it’s a weight-loss diet, an exercise regimen, or an
approach to money management. It’s important to present the
steps or stages in chronological order, define technical terms,
provide detail, and warn of possible trouble spots.

Because your first writing assignment is a process analysis
essay, study each part of this chapter very carefully.

Pages 342–349. After spending some quality time studying
the characteristics of process analysis essays, read the essay
“Inside the Engine,” by Tom and Ray Magliozzi, formerly of
“Car Talk” radio. You’ll find lots of practical “how-to” tips on
auto maintenance presented in the engaging, often amusing
conversational style the “car guys” are famous for. The essay
is followed by a graphic organizer (Figure 14.2 on page 349).
Study it. Then study the section on integrating process
analysis into an essay.

Pages 351–358. Here’s your guided writing assignment for
this chapter. You can choose one of the suggested topics or
one of your choosing. But in either case, you’ll want to make
sure you truly understand what it takes to write a process
analysis essay.

Pages 359–362. An essay by Eric Michalski is featured in
the “Students Write” section for this chapter. It’s all about
how to make chili for a crowd. As you have before, take
advantage of the essay’s autopsy. Note the chronological
sequence of steps. Admire the author’s figures of speech.

Pages 362–367. Read about working with text while reading
a process analysis essay. Then read “Dater’s Remorse,” by
Cindy Chupack. Ms. Chupack is a writer who became the
executive producer of “Sex and the City.” That fact may give
you a hint as to the author’s angle on the precarious game of
dating while in search of an ideal relationship. Enjoy the
writer’s engaging and amusing style. Think about your own
relationships as you decide if the author’s points ring true.

Pages 367–371. To explore how process analysis may be
combined with other patterns of development, read Anne
Lamott’s piece, “Shitty First Drafts.” You may well benefit
from the author’s ideas about how a ragged and wretched
first draft may become a spring board to a “not bad” second
draft and even, in the end, an essay that captures and nails
a thesis in all the right ways.

Self-Check 16

1. Exercise 14.1, on page 343: Draft a working thesis statement for one of the five topics and a
chronological list of the steps on stages of the process.

2. Exercise 14.2, on page 344: List technical terms and definitions for one the three
process topics.

3. Read or reread the essay “Dater’s Remorse” on pages 364–366. On page 366, under
“Examining the Reading,” respond to all four items

4. Read or review the essay, “Shitty First Drafts” on pages 367–369. On page 370, under
“Examining the Reading,” respond to all five items.

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.

Lesson 4 81

English Composition82



Lesson 4 Examination:
Process Analysis
Essay Prewriting


To use the first-person pronoun I in an effective manner and
incorporate narrative and descriptive techniques. You’ll use
the process format to create a draft that will eventually be
developed into a lengthier essay.


The topic for this essay is balancing Penn Foster studies with
work and family demands.


This assignment contains two parts. Each part is one para-
graph of no less than 500 words.

Using the narrative or storytelling technique detailed in your
book, you’ll describe, in detail, the stresses you face in daily
life, and then you’ll detail the process of how you cope and
accomplish your schoolwork. You should use a paragraph
structure to plan the narration portion of what will eventually
become your essay in Lesson 5. This part of the assignment
should be at least 500 words.

Next, you’ll use process analysis to describe, through narration,
how you accomplish your weekly scheduling of family, work,
and school. You should again create a paragraph to accomplish
this, and this second paragraph should be at least 500 words.
When completed, you’ll have the two segments that will
eventually help to form your first essay.







Examination, Lesson 484

This is an example of what the description portion might look

My name is Jean. I am in my mid-forties, and I would
never have expected that I would one day have so many
different hats to wear. My husband thought it was a great
idea; he knew that I always wanted to be a real nurse and
that if we hadn’t gotten married so young and I hadn’t put
him through school that I would have been one. He was
so encouraging about it in the beginning. The boys thought
it was cool too; they both said it was going to be fun to
have to nag me to do my homework for a change. So finally,
with my family’s blessing, I decided to go back to school
to get a degree in nursing. When I made the decision,
everyone in my family agreed to do their part to make
sure I would have time to study and get through the
exams successfully. But now, a few months into school,
when I come home from my full-time job as a nurse’s
aide and take off that hat, it seems as though my day
has barely started. With two teenage children living at
home, I must put on my mother’s hat and enforce house-
hold rules, dispense of advice, help with homework, and
occasionally provide a shoulder to cry on. Before my
husband comes home from his job, I have to pop on my
chef’s hat and get dinner started; the maid’s hat will come
out later when I do the family’s laundry and clean the
bathrooms. As if all this weren’t enough, the responsibility
has also fallen to me for looking after my aging mother,
thanks to my sister who can’t even look after herself. Two
or three evenings a week I slip on my daughter’s hat and
make the trip across town to my mother’s house, where I
spend an hour or so paying bills, restocking the cupboards,
and helping with other household chores. At least all I have
to do is light dusting, sitting at the table, and listening to
her talk about her television programs. In between all of
these other pressures on my time, I need to study and
take a test because I got an e-mail and need to attend
another webinar! Sometimes I really don’t know where I
am going to find the time, energy, or money to do all of
this, and I wonder once again if this is really worth it.
When I finally get some time around 11:30 at night, I

Examination, Lesson 4 85

discover that the dog has chewed through my study
guide. Okay, I take a breath because I think I can
remember most of the material, and I log onto the Web
site to take the test. However, when I do I discover that
my son has gotten onto my account and taken the exam.
Of course he failed! The next day when I call the school,
no one there believes me at first, and then I get advise
not to leave my passwords out and that I can retake the
exam in 48 hours. My frustration level has hit a new
high! Once again I am wondering why I am putting
myself through all this.

Here’s an example of what the process portion might look like:

After the first time that rotten dog chewed one of my study
guides and my 13-year-old son took one of my exams
because he wished to be helpful, I realized I needed a better
strategy to accomplish this whole school thing. I mean, I
am organized at work. After all, I need to be because I am a
nurse’s aide and I can’t mess up people’s charts or else I
would get fired. I must be organized in paying my mother’s
bills and taking care of my home finances, or else the bill
collectors will come after me. I make decent meals and
make thought-out grocery lists for both houses because I
only want to go to the store once a week and don’t want to
track back and forth through the aisles and buy impulse
items like I know they want me to. However, I need to
get a plan in place to make this work because this is
important to me. First, I call a family meeting and remind
them about the conversation we had and all the promises
they made before I started school. Next, I decide to
change my password and not leave it lying around so that
my son won’t get at it when he thinks he is trying to help.
Then, I get all my books and put them in one place on a
shelf next to the dining room table. I cannot have my own
room because we can’t afford another computer, but now
everyone knows this is my stuff and no one is supposed
to touch it. I made that fact clear after I yelled at them
during my tirade over the destroyed book and exam my
son took. Next, I ask my husband if he could help with the
cooking or would mind pizza one night a week so I would
have more time to study. Then, I teach my oldest son how

Examination, Lesson 486

to run the washer and dryer; after all he is almost 16, and
if he thinks I am going to follow him to college and do his
laundry he has another thought coming! I cannot do any-
thing about the time I devote to my mom, and I will not
begrudge her that. However, my sister can help a bit more
and has agreed to at least do the shopping and spend one
night a week with her; I’ll still pay the bills because my
sister can’t manage her own finances. Honestly, now that
I have a plan and everyone has agreed to help out more, I
don’t feel so stressed and have a bit more time to study,
so I feel better and think I can accomplish this.


All the assigned readings you’ve been given to date, coupled
with the objective exams, have brought you to the point where
you’re about to submit your first writing assignment. Your
submission will be evaluated according to a predetermined

From this point on, each time you submit a writing assignment,
you’ll have a similar rubric. Working with these rubrics, both
you and your instructors will understand exactly what’s expected.
Therefore, you should have an understanding of what each
of the areas in the rubric mean.


Ideas and content. The essay’s content is clear, original,
and pertains to the assigned subject. In addition, you should
have a well developed thesis that fits the topic, audience, and
purpose of the assignment. There should be enough evidence
(which shouldn’t be researched unless this is part of the
assignment) to help the reader understand the point you’re
making and to keep the reader’s interest.

Organization. All essays need a clear beginning, middle,
and end. Consider each paragraph as a mini-essay, contain-
ing a thesis that’s related to the main purpose of the entire

Examination, Lesson 4 87

essay. Thinking this way can help your essay retain unity
and make sense. Use transitional phrases to ease the move-
ment and make connections between the paragraphs.

Voice. Use first person for personal essays. You want to
connect to your audience and demonstrate that you’re
present in your writing.

Word choice. Don’t, however, use slang, jargon, Internet
abbreviations, or profanity. Remember, these are college-level
essays; you aren’t texting your friends. However, you do
want to write from your heart—don’t use a thesaurus to
find awkward words that you would never use in normal con-

Sentence fluency. Mix your sentence styles. Readers often
dislike reading all short choppy sentences or one big run-on

Conventions. You’ve run a spell check and grammar check,
and you’ve proofread the essay. In addition, you’ve met the
length requirements.

Skill Levels

All these criteria are evaluated according to skill levels. here’s
an explanation of the skill levels:

Skill not evident. If the essay scored in this category, the
assignment either does not include this required element or
severely lacks this trait.

Skill emerging. If the assignment scored in this category,
the writing lacks the trait or is below average for a college-
level paper.

Skills developing. If the essay scored in this category, the
essay shows effort and competence but indicates a lack of
complete understanding or command in this area.

Skill realized. If the assignment scored in this category,
the writing demonstrates that you’re in command of the


To submit the assignment, follow these steps:

1. Type the essay.

2. Save the document.

3. Go to your Student Portal.

4. Go to My Courses.

5. Find the section for this project, and click on the Take
Exam icon.

6. That will bring up a Browse menu. You must then
find where you’ve saved your work in your computer.
The writing should have been saved under your student
number_exam number_last name_first name. Your exam
number for this assignment is 05017700.

7. Click on the exam, and then click on Open.

8. Enter a correct e-mail address.

9. Click on Upload file. There’s no need to worry about the
project sheet. The instructor will add one for you.

10. You’ll receive an e-mail within 24 hours that tells you
the exam has been received. You’ll notice a label indicat-
ing RCD on your record next to that exam until a grade
is posted. Exams are evaluated within five days of
receipt, although sometimes they’re evaluated sooner.
You’ll receive the evaluation and exam with comments
from an instructor by clicking on View Exam Results
once you see your grade posted.

Examination, Lesson 488

Essays must be typed, double-spaced, using a standard 12-point font and left justification. Use 1-
inch margins at the top and bottom and 1.25-inch margins for the left and right sides of the
document. Each page must have a properly formatted header containing your name, student
number, exam number, page number, mailing address, and e-mail address (see page 6 for an
example). Name each document using your student number first, then the six-digit lesson num-
ber, and finally your last name (for example, 23456789_050177 Doe). Save each as “File Type:
Rich Text Format,” regardless of your word-processing program.

Examination, Lesson 4 89

If you choose to mail the project, here’s the address:

Penn Foster
Attn: Student Service Center
925 Oak Street
Scranton, PA 18515-0001


Your instructor will evaluate your prewriting based on the
following criteria.

The Penn Foster
Student Service Center
is under contract with
Penn Foster College.

Examination, Lesson 490

Process Analysis Essay Prewriting

Traits of Good Writing

Review your study guide for an
explanation of the traits.




Skill Not

Ideas and Content
The writer covers the three assigned
areas of his or her life: home, work,
and school. The writer effectively
shows a plan for how he or she
copes with stress and accomplishes
all tasks in a given day.

30 28 26 24 22 15 0

All areas of the writer’s life are
addressed, with specific details for
each given area of his or her life.

25 23 22 21 19 12 0

The writer appropriately interacts
with the assigned audience using
consistent point of view, tone, and
enough evidence to build into a nar-
ration essay. Maintains a clear stance
on the topic.

10 9 8 7 6 4 0

Word Choice
The writer makes correct verb and
word choices, defines any terms that
may be unfamiliar, and conveys a
clear message. Transitional words are
present and used correctly.

10 9 8 7 6 4 0

Grammar and Sentences
The writer uses correct grammar,
spelling, punctuation, and sentence
structure. There are no typographical

10 9 8 7 6 4 0

There are two sections containing at
least 500 words in each section. The
writer uses a standard font and mar-
gins and includes all necessary
header information.

15 14 13 12 11 8 0

Exam number: Exam Grade:
Date of evaluation: Evaluated by:

Important note: Along the right-hand side of your evaluated exam, you should see marginal or “bubble”
comments from your instructor. You should also see a series of highlighted numbers in the evaluation chart
identifying the rating you earned on each trait. If you don’t see this feedback, click on the “View” tab and
“Print Layout,” or click on “Review” and the option “Final Showing Markup.” If you still cannot see the
feedback, please contact the school for the complete evaluation.

Lesson 5 Examination:
Process Analysis Essay


To prepare a process analysis essay of 1,000–1,200 words
incorporating narration and description, and using elements
from the Prewriting for Process Analysis Essay assignment.


The topic for this essay is the same as that of the prewriting
assignment: Balancing Penn Foster studies with work and
family demands.


Using your prewriting, merge your description and process into
an essay of 1,000–1,200 words (approximately five paragraphs)
that would help other students understand the stresses they
may face when taking online courses but also give them hope
that they can accomplish the task. Use the comments from
your instructor and your textbook information on editing and
transitions to merge the two segments into one document.


Examination, Lesson 592


To submit the assignment, follow these steps:
1. Type the essay.
2. Save the document.
3. Go to your Student Portal.
4. Go to My Courses.

5. Find the section for this project.

6. Click on the Take Exam icon.

7. That will bring up a Browse menu. You must then
find where you’ve saved your work in your computer.
The writing should have been saved under your student
number_exam number_last name_first name. Your exam
number for this assignment is 05017800.

8. Click on the exam.

9. Click on Open.

10. Enter a correct e-mail address.

11. Click on Upload file.

12. There’s no need to worry about the project sheet. The
instructor will add one for you.

13. You’ll receive an e-mail within 24 hours that tells you
the exam has been received. You’ll notice a label indicat-
ing RCD on your record next to that exam until a grade
is posted.

14. Exams are evaluated within five days of receipt, although
sometimes they’re evaluated sooner.

Essays must be typed, double-spaced, using a standard 12-point font and left justification. Use 1-
inch margins at the top and bottom and 1.25-inch margins for the left and right sides of the
document. Each page must have a properly formatted header containing your name, student
number, exam number, page number, mailing address, and e-mail address (see page 6 for an
example). Name each document using your student number first, then the six-digit lesson num-
ber, and finally your last name (for example, 23456789_050177 Doe). Save each as “File Type:
Rich Text Format,” regardless of your word-processing program.

Examination, Lesson 5 93

15. You’ll receive the evaluation and exam with comments
from an instructor by clicking on View Exam Results
once you see your grade posted.

If you choose to mail the project, here’s the address:

Penn Foster
Student Service Center
925 Oak Street
Scranton, PA 18515-0001

Your instructor will evaluate your prewriting based on the
following criteria.
The Penn Foster
Student Service Center
is under contract with
Penn Foster College.

Examination, Lesson 594

Traits of Good Writing
Review your study guide for an
explanation of the traits.
Skill Not

Ideas and Content
The writer applies the suggestions
from the prewriting exercise. There is
a clear combination of both narration
and process analysis.

30 28 26 24 22 15 0

There is a clear thesis statement and
introductory paragraph. There is a
clear beginning, middle, and conclu-
sion to the essay.

25 23 22 21 19 12 0

The writer addresses the audience
clearly and correctly. The writer
remains consistent in his or her point
of view and maintains the correct

10 9 8 7 6 4 0

Word Choice
The writer makes correct word and
verb choices. The writer defines any
terms that may have been unfamiliar.
The writer is precise in what he or
she is trying to say and conveys a
clear message.

10 9 8 7 6 4 0
Grammar and Sentences
The writer uses correct grammar,
spelling, punctuation, and sentence
structure. There are no typographical
10 9 8 7 6 4 0

The student meets the required
essay length of 1,000–1,200 words.
The student uses a standard font
and margins. All the required infor-
mation for the header is included.

15 14 13 12 11 8 0
Exam number: Exam Grade:
Date of evaluation: Evaluated by:

Important note: Along the right-hand side of your evaluated exam, you should see marginal or “bubble”
comments from your instructor. You should also see a series of highlighted numbers in the evaluation chart
identifying the rating you earned on each trait. If you don’t see this feedback, click on the “View” tab and
“Print Layout,” or click on “Review” and the option “Final Showing Markup.” If you still cannot see the
feedback, please contact the school for the complete evaluation.

Process Analysis Essay





Moving from Comparison to
Classification and Division


In this lesson, we’ll examine several more patterns of develop-
ment. You’ve probably been practicing writing and exploring
various approaches to writing since at least junior high, so
these techniques will no doubt look familiar. Our purpose is
to help you build on what you know and to improve your
writing in preparation for real-world communication
requirements, as well as college writing.

When you complete this lesson, you’ll be able to

n Define comparing and contrasting as a pattern
of development

n Apply the techniques of comparing and contrasting

n Explain the characteristics of classification and division

n Use classification and division in your writing

n Discuss the use of definition as a writing technique

n Employ simple and extended definitions in your essays

n Explain the use of causal analysis to show how one
action or event leads to another

English Composition96

Read the assignment in this study guide. Then, in the Successful
College Writing textbook, read Chapter 15, pages 372–407. To
gauge your progress, complete the self-check.

To compare is to point out similarities; to contrast is to point
out differences. As you approach a writing assignment, you
need to be able to do both. For instance, in an essay on
fruit production, you might recognize ways that oranges and
lemons are similar: both of them are citrus fruits that pro-
duce juice and have flavorful rinds. You could then contrast
them in terms of color, sweetness, and typical uses for each
in the American diet.

Comparing and contrasting should make a point. For example,
a comparison and contrast of two political parties may seek
to prove that one party is more progressive or conservative
than another. In a similar sense, comparing and contrasting
a vegetarian diet with one containing meat may be used to
support a thesis on the health benefits of one or the other.

The “Quick Start” for this chapter, on page 372, asks you to
compare and contrast the experience of actually playing golf
on an actual golf course and playing simulated golf using
Nintendo Wii. The exercise consists of making two lists—one
listing the similarities (comparisons) and one listing the dif-
ferences (contrasts) between the two kinds of experience.

Pages 374–381. While distinguishing between similarities
and differences isn’t difficult, writing effective comparisons
and contrasts requires discrimination, balance, flow, and all
the other characteristics of good writing. It also requires
organization, of which there are two types—point-by-point
and subject-by-subject.

For example, imagine you’re looking at two photographs
depicting a scene from a wedding. In one, you see the full
“Hollywood” church-wedding fantasy. The bride wears a
wedding gown. She is attended by bridesmaids while a
young girl holds the train of her dress. The groom wears a
tuxedo. The nuptial pair stands before an altar where a
priest or pastor stands ready to officiate. The second photo

When something
can be read with-
out effort, great
effort has gone
into its writing.

—Enrique Jardiel

Lesson 6 97

is of a couple standing before a justice of the peace. The
bride wears a tailored suit, as does the groom. The room
looks rather like an office, and there are no witnesses. You
could use a point-by-point approach to compare the attire
of the two brides, the attire of the bridesmaids, or the
nature of the audience, then contrast the settings of the two
wedding scenarios. Or you could use a subject-by subject
approach in which you would describe key facets of the first
photo, and then detail the contrast in the second photo.
You decide which approach to use based on your purpose
and on the parallelism of the shared characteristics—that
is, you may not be able to make a one-to-one correlation for
all the same points for each item. What if the justice of the
peace wedding photo remained as it is but the church wed-
ding photo depicted the reception for the newly married
pair? Although you would probably draw similar conclu-
sions about the similarities and differences, you would
describe each photo separately (subject-by-subject).

The text provides two essays that can help you understand
these organizational patterns. As you read, note how the
specific examples keep the reader’s attention and how the
transitional devices guide the reader from one point or sub-
ject to the next (from paragraph to paragraph). You may be
fascinated by “Amusing Ourselves to Depth: Is The Onion
Our Most Intelligent Newspaper?” by Greg Beato. The essay
explores the reasons why a newspaper spun of laugh-out-
loud satire and devoted to fake news (reflecting actual news)
remains both popular and financially solvent. If you con-
clude from this essay that humor is a missing ingredient in
present-day mainstream journalism, you’ve recognized one
of the author’s main points—especially if you’re a fan of
The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.

“Dearly Disconnected” uses subject-by-subject. In a person-
alized, nostalgic way, Ian Frazier first discusses his love of
pay phones. He then describes the loss of that romance
with the cell phone as its usurper.

Pages 382–384. As with any other pattern of development,
the comparison or contrast essay requires a clear purpose.
Just as important, however, is identifying the basis of com-
parison. If you were using the topic “means of transportation,”

English Composition98

you would first establish the specific items to be compared or
contrasted, such as rail travel with air travel. Then you would
determine the basis of comparison, such as differences in cost
or time.

Next, you must identify in a thesis the main point you want to
make through your comparison. Why do you want to contrast
rail versus air travel? Perhaps you’re trying to persuade readers
who are planning a vacation to choose air travel. You might
explain the cost and time benefits to convince your readers.
However, if you want to convince vacationers to consider rail,
you might describe its lively engagement with workers and
fellow travelers and the enjoyment of scenic beauty. A possible
thesis might be “Although air travel is touted as the most
efficient way to get to a destination, rail travel underscores the
beauty of the journey itself.” This thesis contains the subjects
of air and rail travel, identifies contrast through the use of
although, and suggests the main point of enjoying the travel
itself. Study the examples of thesis statements on page 381,
which make the contrast or comparison meaningful and

The student essay by Christine Lee, which you studied earlier
in your textbook, involved two types of television program-
ming. Initially, she began developing an essay trying to show
the differences between TV before reality shows with all reality
shows (excluding Survivor). As she worked through the writ-
ing process, she noticed that her purpose and basis for
comparison were unclear. She decided that she wanted to
describe the ways the reality show Survivor is one
of a kind, despite all the copycats. She used comparison/
contrast as a supporting pattern of development to prove
that idea, using a subject-by-subject pattern for most of her

Consider the subjects of situation comedies versus dramas.
Two possible bases of comparison could be the complexity
of plots and timeliness, with a possible thesis of “Situation
comedies and drama in popular television programming each
provide a break from the stresses of daily living, but situation
comedies deal with timeless human foibles and thus are a more
positive antidote to stress than drama.”

Lesson 6 99

Pages 382–383. Figure 12.1, on page 382, provides a graphic
organizer for point-by-point organization of an essay. Figure 12.2
on the next page charts a subject-by-subject design. Even if
your learning style isn’t spatial-visual, you’ll benefit from
studying the two kinds of graphic organizers. Notice that if
parallel comparisons/contrasts can’t be laid out in a point-by
point essay, it’s best to use a subject-by-subject approach.

Pages 384–385. Carefully study the guide for integrating com-
parison and contrast into an essay. The five points of this
development style will help you use these techniques in an
effective essay.

Pages 385–392. Take a moment to read through the “Guided
Writing Assignment,” because it reinforces the characteristics
of this pattern of development in terms of the writing choices
you must make, providing additional examples and explana-
tion. Carefully study the editing and proofreading tips on
pages 380 and 392.

Pages 393–395. Your “Students Write” feature for this
chapter is “Border Bites” by first-year writing student
Heather Glanakos. The analysis for this piece highlights
the author’s thesis, which appears as the final sentence
of her first paragraph. Note the highlighting of the prime
subjects of her essay—Mexican and Southwestern cuisine.

Pages 395–403. After carefully studying the “Working with
Text” material, read the comparison and contrast essay by
Daniel Golman, Ph.D., “His Marriage and Hers: Childhood
Roots.” Golman is probably best known as the author of
“Emotional Intelligence.” This essay explores research and
studies that inform us that girls and boys are literally
brought up in different cultures. You’ll see many points of
comparison that illustrate that assertion as you read the
essay. The point of the essay is that husbands and wives
live in different emotional realities. They speak different
emotional languages. That would explain a lot about the
“battle of the sexes.”

Pages 403–407. To explore how comparison and contrast
may be combined with other patterns of development, read,
“Defining a Doctor, with a Tear, a Shrug, and a Schedule,” by
Abigail Zuger. It gives some insight into the attitude changes
that accompany different stages in the training and expecta-
tions of medical students.

English Composition100

Required Journal Entry 9: Comparison and Contrast

Review Abigail Zuger’s “Defining a Doctor, with a Tear, a Shrug, and a Schedule” on pages
403–405. Describe an experience you’ve had with a doctor or other medical professional.
(1 paragraph, 5 sentences)

Compare/contrast: List the similarities and the differences of your own experience, showing
how they match up with the work of the two doctors described in Zuger’s article. (2 paragraphs, 5

Self-Check 17

1. Essay by Abigail Zuger on pages 403–405: “Examining the Reading”: Respond to items 1–4
in writing. Look up unfamiliar terms in item 5. “Analyzing the Reading”: Respond to all five

2. Comparison-contrast exercise: The table that follows on the next page compares and
contrasts the competence of the writer’s listening skills in two conversations, the first with
her good friend Kim and the second with a supervisor. The writer’s name is Jill.

n Establish a thesis informing Jill’s instructor about Jill’s competency in listening skills.
(Remember a good comparison-contrast thesis identifies the subjects; designates focus,
whether on similarities, differences, or both; and states the usefulness and/or interest of
the information.)

n Choose either point-by-point or subject-by-subject organization and explain your choice.

n Draft one or two paragraphs according to your organizational choice.


Lesson 6 101

Self-Check 17
Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.

Points of comparison—

listening skills
Conversation with Kim

Conversation with



Leaned forward most of
conversation without hunching
shoulders or slouching; nodded
my head several times

Began sitting straight up; most
of conversation leaning backward
though shoulders straight; shook
head no

Facial expressions

Smiling in response to joke;
frowning at unhappy remark;
eyes opened wide at a surpris-
ing statement

Frowned frequently; squinted
my eyes with uncertainty; fore-
head wrinkled

Eye contact

Generally held about eight sec-
onds before breaking slightly
and reengaging; couple times
did look at the clock in between.

First minute held about five
seconds before break-off but
rest of time only one-second
glances; looked mostly at wall
of photos above her left shoulder
or at my lap


Hands clapped with delight a
couple times; fidgeted with the
TV remote some of the time
(though I didn’t turn the TV on)

Twisted my hands together
several times; put hands in my
pocket briefly; crossed arms
over my chest for great deal
of time

English Composition102

Read the assignment in this study guide. Then, in the Successful
College Writing textbook, read Chapter 16, pages 408–439. To
test your progress, complete the self-check.

In general, classification sorts individual people, ideas, or things
into specific groups or categories, while division begins with
a single item and breaks it down into parts or subcategories.
For example, taxonomy, a classification system for identifying
organisms, was developed by Carolus Linnaeus in the 1700s.
Living things are grouped under major categories, from
kingdom to phylum, class, order, family, genus, and finally,
species. Humans belong to the phylum Chordata, animals
with backbones, and by genus and species are named Homo
sapiens. But how does classification and division apply to

People naturally divide their world and their experience into
parts in an effort to simplify and make sense of it. Such a
task often involves analysis, which takes the parts and con-
siders the relationship of each part to the others and to the
whole. When you revise, you analyze the parts of your essay
in this manner.

When you use classification and division, you divide your
information into parts to help your reader understand and
absorb it. For example, the first line in Julius Caesar’s
Commentaries on the Gallic War is “All Gaul is divided into
three parts.” With this type of opening, the reader immedi-
ately knows how the material will be presented and will look
for the breakdown of the material into three parts, as well.
Remember, the main purpose of classification and division is
to clarify subject matter. Both operations organize your ideas
so you can present them clearly.

Pages 408–409. Turn to the “Quick Start” exercise on page
409. The “Quick Start” exercise asks you to consider how you
would group categories in retail displays or on websites for
the convenience of customers or browsers. Interpret the
“Swiss Army” personalities; then apply the same idea to
yourself and several people you know well. This is a fun
way to begin classifying and dividing into categories.

Lesson 6 103

Pages 410–419. Read the textbook’s introduction to
classification and division. Skim through the identifying char-
acteristics and then read “My Secret Life on the McJob.” As
you read this essay, notice the one principle the author’s clas-
sification follows: managerial styles are applied to the category
managers. (For a division essay, an author might examine one
type of manager and break it into components.)

After reading the first essay, study the characteristics more
carefully. The most important step for using this pattern is
to narrow your topic to one principle under one category.
On pages 413–414, the text explains using “birds” as a topic.
One category under “birds” is their diet, of which there are
several types. The word types indicates that you’ll be using
classification, because you aren’t dividing the bird into its
parts. On the other hand, you could choose a single type of
diet and break that into its parts using division. You proba-
bly can see that if you don’t first identify one principle, you
could waste time exploring ideas and gathering information
you won’t be able to use.

Consider the topic of “sports teams.” If you brainstormed on
this topic, you might generate a list of football leagues,
hockey penalties, equestrian competitions, offensive versus
defensive basketball strategies, coaches, and baseball players’
RBIs. Any one of these represents a principle of organization.
How do you decide which one to use? Your choice must be
based on your purpose and the interests of your audience.
Suppose you wish to encourage more teenagers to try a
sport. Although you could describe each sport in general,
you would be merely tossing handfuls of information at your
readers—the teens—without their knowing why they should
care. Instead, identify the organizing principle underlying the
purpose and audience. If you determine that most teens
believe previous training in a sport is required, classify the
sports according to the skill level required to join each one.

If your topic is “fast-food restaurants,” one principle of classi-
fication could be “wait time,” for which you would establish
categories of wait times and sort the various restaurants into
one of those categories. (When classifying, you can assign each
item or person to only one category.) If you’re a shift manager
writing the owner of your franchise, you might classify a series
of shifts according to the wait time to persuade the supervisor
to approve hiring additional personnel for a particular shift.

English Composition104

(Notice that you could incorporate comparison-contrast
strategies to develop that purpose further.) If you were writing
a news article for the lunch-hour crowd, however, you would
classify several fast-food restaurants according to their wait
time during 11 A.M. to 1 P.M. to help readers choose the one
best meeting their needs. Other principles of organization on
the topic might be store layouts, nutrition, or service. Again,
the key is to focus your topic on one principle.

Pages 417–419. These pages present another example
of a classification/division essay, “A Brush with Reality:
Surprises in the Tube.” Study the graphic organizer for
this essay on page 419.

Pages 420–431. Skim through the “Guided Writing
Assignment” to reinforce what you’ve read, and note the edit-
ing tips on pages 425 and 428. Then read the student essay
“Immigration: Legal and Illegal.” Identify the basis or princi-
ple of classification, the categories used, and any other
patterns of development he integrates into his essay.

Pages 432–437. Read the material on reading a classifica-
tion or division essay. Then read “The Dog Ate my Flash
Drive, and Other Tales of Woe,” by Carolyn Foster Segal. As
you evaluate the essay, keep in mind that the English profes-
sor’s essay combines classification with description and
illustration. Take a look at the boxed display in page 437 to
see the types of support given for each of the five categories,
from “family” to “The Totally Bizarre.”

Lesson 6 105

Self-Check 18

1. Exercise 16.2, on page 415: For the topics “novels” and “academic subjects,” choose a
principle of classification or division.

2. Essay “Immigration: Legal and Illegal” on pages 429–431. Respond to all four items under
“Thinking Critically.”

3. Classification revision exercise: This exercise has been adapted from “Module 7:
Classification and Division Essay” by Camille Willingham of Kennedy-King College.

1. The thesis statement for the essay containing the following paragraph is “One attractive
way to have fun exists in the free-admission shopping mall.” What might be the organizing
principle and categories for this essay?

2. Identify the topic sentence of the following paragraph and reorganize its sentences into a
more coherent, logical order for that topic sentence. Delete any sentences that don’t fit
with the topic sentence.

They come to “pick up chicks,” to “meet guys,” and just to “hang out.” Mall
managers have obviously made a decision to attract all this teenage activity.
The guys saunter by in sneakers, T-shirts, and blue jeans, complete with a
package of cigarettes sticking out of a pocket. Traveling in a gang that
resembles a wolf pack, the teenagers make the shopping mall their hunting
ground. The girls stumble along in high-heeled shoes and daring tank tops,
with a hairbrush tucked snugly in the rear pocket of their tight-fitting
designer jeans. The kids’ raised voices, loud laughter, and occasional
shouted obscenities can be heard from as far as half a mall away.


English Composition106

Self-Check 18

3. Identify two sentences from the following which could be used as the topic sentences for
two supporting paragraphs that develop the thesis.

a. For many people, “fun” involves getting out of the house, seeing other people,
having something interesting to look at, and enjoying a choice of activities,
all at a reasonable price.

b. The mall provides something special for every member of the family.

c. Mall managers have obviously made a decision to attract all this teenage activity.

d. Couples find fun of another sort at shopping malls.

e. Mom walks through a fabric store, running her hand over the soft velvets
and slippery silks.

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.


Lesson 6 Examination:
Classification and Division
Essay Prewriting


You’ll use a graphic organizer to prewrite a classification/
division assignment around a selected topic from the given
list. The prewriting will demonstrate an understating of this
method of categorization and arrangement. This information
should come from your own knowledge on the topic. No out-
side research should be used.

You will choose one of the following topic areas. Review the
graphic organizer on page 416. The graphic organizer that
you create doesn’t need to have boxed outlines or arrows,
but it should show your organization.

Choose one of the following topics, and divide it into classes.

n Sports, either general or types of fans

n Genres of movies, television shows, or video games

n Animals, either general or one specific breed

n Illnesses, either general or a specific illness

n Parenting styles

As an example, the following is a graphic organizer for the
topic “Types of Food.”

Essays must be typed, double-spaced, using a standard 12-point font
and left justification. Use 1-inch margins at the top and bottom and
1.25-inch margins for the left and right sides of the document. Each
page must have a properly formatted header containing your name,
student number, exam number, page number, mailing address, and
e-mail address (see page 6 for an example). Name each document
using your student number first, then the six-digit lesson number,
and finally your last name (for example, 23456789_050177 Doe).
Save each as “File Type: Rich Text Format,” regardless of your word-
processing program.

English Composition108

Submitting Your Assignment

To submit the assignment, follow these steps:

1. Type the graphic organizer.

2. Save the document.
3. Go to your Student Portal.

Title: Types of Food

Topic announcement: Restaurants

Introduction Background: Dieting is more difficult when eating out.

Thesis statement: Watching one’s diet is far more difficult when dining
out, especially when eating out more than eating at home.

Burger King and McDonald’s; Burgers and fries,
basic kind of chain everyone is familiar with; too
much sodium.

Taco Bell: Mexican and other cultural restaurants;
Drive-thru Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts: Coffee and donuts,

on-the-run convenience

Good things: Convenience, speed, consistency,
usually friendly, clean, and open most of the
time. Bad issues: Salt, fat, sometimes not clean,
sometimes staffed by teens or others that don’t

Body Paragraphs seem to really care.

Outback: Popular steak and potato chain

Olive Garden: Italian; Chinese: good food,
relatively inexpensive

Good things: Once again, chains are familiar,
consistent, and have standards to meet. Bad
issues: Often processed, microwaved food.
Portions are too large.

Silver diners or bowling alley: Family style and
greasy spoons, but when you want to spend time

Homestyle/fancy with friends, this is where you go.

Five-star dining: Has a reputation for special

Local hangouts are inexpensive but often serve large portions and fried
food. Expensive places may serve smaller portions but may add high-

Conclusion calorie sauces.

Every type of eating establishment has pitfalls for a dieter. There are
trade-offs for convenience, price, companionship, and enjoyment of special

Lesson 6 109

4. Go to My Courses.
5. Find the section for this project.
6. Click on the Take Exam icon.

7. That will bring up a Browse menu. You must then
find where you’ve saved your work in your computer.
The organizer should have been saved under your student
number_exam number_last name_first name. Your exam
number for this assignment is 05017900.

8. Click on the exam.
9. Click on Open.
10. Enter a correct e-mail address.
11. Click on Upload file.
12. There’s no need to worry about the project sheet. The
instructor will add one for you.
13. You’ll receive an e-mail within 24 hours that tells you
the exam has been received. You’ll notice a label indicat-
ing RCD on your record next to that exam until a grade
is posted.
14. Exams are evaluated within five days of receipt, although
sometimes they’re evaluated sooner.
15. You’ll receive the evaluation and exam with comments
from an instructor by clicking on View Exam Results
once you see your grade posted.
If you choose to mail the project, here’s the address:
Penn Foster
Student Service Center
925 Oak Street
Scranton, PA 18515-0001

Evaluation Rubric

Your instructor will evaluate your prewriting based on the
following criteria.
The Penn Foster
Student Service Center
is under contract with
Penn Foster College.

English Composition110

Traits of Good Writing
Review your study guide for an
explanation of the traits.
Skill Not

Ideas and Content
The writer has chosen one of the
assigned topics. The essay has at
least three categories with at least
three characteristics for each. The
writer provides content that can
effectively be worked into a classifi-
cation and division essay.

30 28 26 24 22 15 0

The writer fills in each of the boxes
with a phrase or sentence. A complete
thesis statement is present, and the
conclusion reworks the thesis.

25 23 22 21 19 12 0

The writer appropriately interacts
with the assigned audience by using
consistent point of view, tone, and
enough evidence to build into a clas-
sification and division essay. The
writer maintains a clear stance on
the topic.

10 9 8 7 6 4 0

Word Choice
The writer makes correct verb and
word choices, defines any terms that
may have been unfamiliar, and con-
veys a clear message. Transitional
words are present and used correctly.

10 9 8 7 6 4 0
Grammar and Sentences
The writer uses correct grammar,
spelling, punctuation, and sentence
structure. There are no typographical
10 9 8 7 6 4 0

The student uses an appropriate
graphic organizer. All the required
header information is present.

15 14 13 12 11 8 0
Exam number: Exam Grade:
Date of evaluation: Evaluated by:

Important note: Along the right-hand side of your evaluated exam, you should see marginal or “bubble”
comments from your instructor. You should also see a series of highlighted numbers in the evaluation chart
identifying the rating you earned on each trait. If you don’t see this feedback, click on the “View” tab and
“Print Layout,” or click on “Review” and the option “Final Showing Markup.” If you still cannot see the
feedback, please contact the school for the complete evaluation.

Classification and Division Prewriting





Classification and Division

In this lesson, we’ll examine still more patterns of development,
as we continue to help you build on what you know and to
improve your writing in preparation for college writing and
real-world communication.

When you complete this lesson, you’ll be able to

n Define cause-and-effect as a pattern of development,
and apply its techniques

n Effectively integrate definition into your writing

n Employ classification in a cause-and-effect essay

Read the assignment in this study guide. Then, in the Successful
College Writing textbook, read Chapter 17, pages 440–471.

American psychologist and philosopher William James said
our consciousness is always engaged in sorting out the “bloom-
ing, buzzing confusion” of the sensory world. Language is a
vital tool in this struggle to adapt to events and mental
impressions. Through language, we share a code that names
persons, places, and things and permits people to define
relationships among all of these. For example, in the

Required Journal Entry 10: Classification and Division

Review “Generating Ideas” on pages 421–423. Using either Method 1
or Method 2, explore the reasons students may be tempted to cheat
on one or more assignments in their college program. Whichever
method you choose, identify the principle of classification or division
and devise a set of categories or parts in which you list the exam-
ples, situations, or other details you would use to describe each
category or part. You may simulate a graphic organizer.

English Composition112

American kinship system, the word uncle is defined as the
brother of a person’s mother or father. Words like here or
there indicate places. Rose and anvil designate things.

In writing, language may be used to provide extended defini-
tions. An extended definition should follow a theme and
have a purpose. Consider, for example, the concept of the
freegans, which is the topic of one of your readings in this
chapter. A simple definition doesn’t suffice for a person who
has never heard of a freegan. An extended definition like the
one offered by Jan Goodwin in her essay, not only defines the
concept, but also describes freegans through extended exam-
ples, especially in the case of Leia MonDragon. A surprising
finding in the piece is that people who systematically live on
the food people throw away are generally quite healthy. As
you’ll see, definition is one more pattern of development that
may be used alone or in conjunction with others, such as
narration or comparing and contrasting.

Pages 440–441. As you can see from the “Quick Start”
exercise on page 463, definition requires interpretation. You
can’t define something you don’t understand. Because words
are our tools for both interpreting and defining things, defini-
tions require effective writing.

Pages 442–449. A formal definition (1) states the term, (2)
identifies the general nature of the term by placing it in a
class, and (3) differentiates the term from other terms in the
same class. Identifying the nature of a term and differentiat-
ing it may remind you of the classification and division pattern
of development. These strategies are part of writing a definition.
However, defining focuses on a specific term (instead of ana-
lyzing the entire category) and identifies the ways the term is
unique in that category. For example, while reviewing a student
draft, Jack found himself confused by the way Alana used the
term animal in her essay because she seemed to have a
more narrow view of the term than he had as a science
major. After discussing the matter, Alana decided to include
a definition in her essay so her readers would know what she
meant by animal whenever she used it: An animal is a living
creature that moves and ingests food through its mouth. The
term is animal; it’s placed in the class of living creature and
is differentiated from other living creatures according to

Lesson 7 113

movement and food ingestion. Although Jack felt her defini-
tion was unscientific, he agreed that once he knew what
Alana meant, he could better understand her essay.

A definition addresses the reader’s need for clarity. A definition
essay focuses solely on the class and differentiating character-
istics of the term and therefore is considered an “extended”
definition. Of course, your essay must have a point for
developing the definition, such as correcting misconceptions
some readers might have about the term. An extended-
definition essay almost always uses other patterns of develop-
ment that clarify the uniqueness and the specific nature of
the term, particularly through illustrations.

Review the text’s introduction to definition essays, and, before
reading the sample essay “Freegans: They Live on What We
Throw Away,” skim through the characteristics of this pattern.
(Then, study those more closely after reading the essay.)

Read pages 452–453, “Integrating Definitions into an Essay.”
Flag page 452 because the instructions establish four kinds of
terms you should define no matter what the essay’s purpose or
pattern of development is. The need to define technical and
abstract terms may be obvious, particularly for an audience
unaware of the jargon. Although defining judgmental and
controversial terms requires a bit more reflection, they’re
perhaps the more important ones to define. For example, if
you use the term slow learners in your writing, you need
to clarify your use of it because for most readers the term
implies a negative judgment. The same applies to words like
feminism, which carries different implications (and connota-
tions) for different readers.

By referring to these categories whenever you write something,
particularly for the other courses in your degree program, your
instructor will see that you understand the concepts and know
how to avoid misconceptions.

Pages 451–453. The essay by Mike Crissey, “Dude, Do You
Know What You Just Said?” is an amusing and fascinating
piece on the evolution of the “dude” concept as our culture
becomes increasingly youth centered. Following the essay,
be sure to think carefully about integrating definitions into an
essay. Think about the four tips on page 452 to differentiate
judgmental, technical, abstract, and controversial terms. Study
the graphic organizer for the “Dude” essay in Figure 17.2
on page 453.

English Composition114

Pages 454–461. Scan the “Guided Writing Assignment.” Look
through all of it but pay special attention to the editing and
proofreading tips on page 460–461.

Pages 461–471. The “Students Write” section for this chapter
features an essay by Kate Atkinson, “Guerilla Street Art: A
New Use of Public Space,” on pages 461–463. Note the high-
lighted words and passages in the essay while you analyze
the reading. Having done that, proceed to the section under
“Reading Definitions” before your read and analyze the rather
disturbing essay by Jessica Ramirez on pages 466–469, “The
Appeal—and Danger—of War Porn.” You’ll want to spend some
time thinking about the messages conveyed by the shocking
photo on page 468.

Required Journal Entry 11: Classification and Division

Think about the information you’ve read concerning definition, classification, and division. How
would you define or classify yourself? As you freewrite, consider all your aspects, including your
roles, personality, background, and experiences.

Self-Check 19

1. Exercise 17.1, on page 448: Define two of the five terms.

2. Exercise 17.2, on page 448: Based on Exercise 17.1, write an explanation for how you might
use other patterns of development in an extended definition.

3. Exercise 17.4, on page 449: Following the instructions for the exercise, respond to items 1
(dance) and 4 (a term related to an academic course), being sure you correct misconceptions
and use negation in an extended definition.


Lesson 7 115

Self-Check 19

4. After reviewing the essay by Jessica Ramirez on pages 467–469, turn to page 469. Respond
to all four items under “Examining the Reading.” Then turn to page 470 and respond to all six
items under “Thinking Critically about Text and Images.”

5. Word-choice revision exercise: In each of the following items, correct errors in word
choice, including everyday expressions, slang, and other informal terms.

a. My family lived in Trinidad for the first ten years of my life, and we went through a lot;
but when we came to America, we thought we had it made.

b. Only recently have ladies landed seats on the Supreme Court.

c. The Democrats are plotting and conspiring on a new education bill.

d. Last night, a group of firemen came into the emergency room with minor scrapes
and burns.

e. Every doctor in the emergency room performs his job under tremendous pressure.

f. The totally weird practice of trepanation, which involves drilling a hole in a person’s skull,
has found modern supporters in today’s society.

g. Ancient people may have used trepanation to relieve pressure from head injuries, or
perhaps it is possible that they thought it was a headache cure.

h. We’re not talking about accidents here; these holes were intentionally drilled.

i. Trepanation supporters are perhaps not playing with a full deck, but they insist that
having a hole drilled in one’s skull produces a permanent euphoria.

j. The International Trepanation Advocacy Group is aware of the fact that many people find
trepanation very uniquely disturbing.

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.

English Composition116

Read the assignment in this study guide. Then, in the Successful
College Writing textbook, read Chapter 18, pages 472–509. To
test your progress, complete the self-check.

Isaac Newton’s third law of motion, based on scientific princi-
ples, states that for every action, there’s an equal and
opposite reaction. “The price of Bride Electronics stock will
rise if the company merges with Canberra Enterprises.” This
statement is an opinion, probably based on research and prior
learning. “Whenever I watch The Wizard of Oz, I think of my
childhood in Kansas.” This statement refers to a subjective
response to a film and applies to only one individual. Each
statement, in its own way, is an example of cause and effect.

Pages 472–473. Imagination is among any writer’s most
valuable tools. In this “Quick Start” exercise, your assignment
is to imagine what led to the scene in the photo on page 472.
What could have been the cause, or sequence of causes,
that led to this apparent disaster? Consider several
possible scenarios.

Page 474. A cause-and-effect essay, also called a causal
analysis, is sometimes intended as an argument that supports
a set of observations, identifying a particular cause or sequence
of causes. In other cases, a causal analysis is intended to
inform readers. Read the information in this section as an
introduction to this pattern of development.

Pages 475–477. Read “Can Diet Help Stop Depression and
Violence” by Jurriaan Kamp.

Pages 477–482. The characteristics of properly written
cause-and-effect essays are explained. Note that effects
may have multiple causes. Poverty, for example, results from
factors (variables) that can include age, parent education,
quality of education, and racial discrimination, to name a
few. But apparent causes may be misleading. For example, if
ice cream consumption is statistically related to higher crime
rates, one could conclude that ice cream promotes criminal
behavior when, in fact, it’s warmer temperatures that are
among the causal factors leading to both higher crime rates
and higher levels of ice-cream consumption.

Lesson 7 117

There are three general approaches in a causal analysis. First,
a cause-and-effect essay may focus on one or more causes
with respect to an effect, or it may explore how a cause, such
as poor health in children, may produce multiple effects,
such as poor reading skills, absenteeism, and disruptive
behavior. Second, an essay may explore chains of events.
For example, low self-esteem in a child may produce asocial
behavior. Asocial behavior, in turn, may lead to delinquency,
and so on. A third approach may explore multiple causes and
effects. Figures 18.1, 18.2, and 18.3 are graphic organizers
for cause-and-effect essays.

Pages 496–498. Read the “Students Write” essay, “An Early
Start,” by Harley Tong. The author specifies the causes for his
decision to leave high school and move on to community college.
Be sure to appraise the essay following the steps on page 498.

Pages 498–509. Under the heading “Reading Cause-and-
Effect Essays,” you’ll encounter two essays. After working
through the material on “Working with Text” and “Thinking
Critically about Cause and Effect,” read the causal analysis
essay by Courtney E. Martin on pages 500–502. “Why Class
Matters in Campus Activism” raises thorny questions. The
springboard question is this: Why is student activism so
much more robust in the United Kingdom than it is in the
United States? In partial response to that question, you’ll be
challenged to think about the role of social class in either
country. And you may wonder why British student are more
tuned into basic economic and social inequality issues.

The second essay, “Hitting the ‘Granite Wall,’” by Gary M.
Stern, raises another social issue. Why is it the case that
white Americans are disproportionately represented in cor-
porate management? What factors are involved that work
against blacks, Hispanics, and Asians? You’ll have an
opportunity to explore those questions as you examine and
analyze the essay.

English Composition118

Self-Check 20

1. Exercise 18.1, on page 478: List one or more causes for each of the five events.

2. Exercise 18.2, on page 478: List one or more possible effects for each of the five events.

3. Exercise 18.3, on page 485: Draw a graphic organizer for “Can Diet Help Stop Depression
and Violence,” on pages 475–477. Use Figure 18.3 on page 482 as a model, listing various
research studies as causes and then outcomes as effects.

4. After reviewing the “Students Write” essay by Harley Tong on pages 496–497, turn to
page 498. Respond to all three items under “Thinking Critically about Cause and Effect.”

5. After reviewing “Hitting the ‘Granite Wall’” on pages 503–506, turn to page 507 and
respond to all three items under “Reacting to the Reading.”

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.


Lesson 7 Examination:
Classification and
Division Essay


To prepare a classification and division essay of 1,200 to
1,500 words using either method 1 or method 2.

Topic: Use your topic from the previous classification and
division assignment. Your topic should be one of these:

n Sports, either general or types of fans
n Genres of movies, television shows, or video games
n Animals, either general or one specific breed
n Illnesses, either general or a specific illness
n Parenting styles

Pattern of Development

Using your prewriting and the feedback you received
from your instructor, expand on your ideas from the
classification/division from your graphic organizer into an
essay of 1,200–1,500 words (approximately five paragraphs).


Examination, Lesson 7120

Submitting Your Assignment
To submit the assignment, follow these steps:

1. Type the assignment.

2. Save the document.
3. Go to your Student Portal.
4. Go to My Courses.
5. Find the section for this project.
6. Click on the Take Exam icon.

7. That will bring up a Browse menu. You must then
find where you’ve saved your work in your computer.
The writing should have been saved under your student
number_exam number_last name_first name. Your exam
number for this assignment is 05018000.

8. Click on the exam.
9. Click on Open.
10. Enter a correct e-mail address.
11. Click on Upload file.
12. There’s no need to worry about the project sheet. The
instructor will add one for you.
13. You’ll receive an e-mail within 24 hours that tells you
the exam has been received. You’ll notice a label indicat-
ing RCD on your record next to that exam until a grade
is posted.
14. Exams are evaluated within five days of receipt, although
sometimes they’re evaluated sooner.
Essays must be typed, double-spaced, using a standard 12-point font and left justification. Use 1-
inch margins at the top and bottom and 1.25-inch margins for the left and right sides of the
document. Each page must have a properly formatted header containing your name, student
number, exam number, page number, mailing address, and e-mail address (see page 6 for an
example). Name each document using your student number first, then the six-digit lesson num-
ber, and finally your last name (for example, 23456789_050177 Doe). Save each as “File Type:
Rich Text Format,” regardless of your word-processing program.

Examination, Lesson 7 121

15. You’ll receive the evaluation and exam with comments
from an instructor by clicking on View Exam Results
once you see your grade posted.
If you choose to mail the project, here’s the address:
Penn Foster
Student Service Center
925 Oak Street
Scranton, PA 18515-0001
Evaluation Rubric
Your instructor will evaluate your prewriting based on the
following criteria.
The Penn Foster
Student Service Center
is under contract with
Penn Foster College.

Examination, Lesson 7122

Traits of Good Writing
Review your study guide for an
explanation of the traits.
Skill Not

Ideas and Content
The writer provides suggestions from
the prewriting exercise and identifies
a clear cause and effect scenario.
Use of classification and division is
present throughout the whole essay.

30 28 26 24 22 15 0

There is a clear introduction with a
thesis, body, and conclusion. The
body paragraphs incorporate other
patterns of development coherently.
The conclusion restates the findings.

25 23 22 21 19 12 0

The writer interacts with the assigned
audience by using appropriate, con-
sistent point of view, tone, and
evidence. The essay maintains a
clear stance on the topic.

10 9 8 7 6 4 0

Word Choice
The writer makes correct verb and
word choices, defines any terms that
may have been unfamiliar, and con-
veys a clear message.

10 9 8 7 6 4 0
Grammar and Sentences
The writer uses correct grammar,
spelling, punctuation, and sentence
structure. There are no typographical
10 9 8 7 6 4 0

The writer meets the required length
(1,200–1,500 words), and uses a
standard font and margins. All the
required header information is

15 14 13 12 11 8 0
Exam number: Exam Grade:
Date of evaluation: Evaluated by:
Important note: Along the right-hand side of your evaluated exam, you should see marginal or “bubble”
comments from your instructor. You should also see a series of highlighted numbers in the evaluation chart
identifying the rating you earned on each trait. If you don’t see this feedback, click on the “View” tab and
“Print Layout,” or click on “Review” and the option “Final Showing Markup.” If you still cannot see the
feedback, please contact the school for the complete evaluation.
Classification and Division Essay





Writing Arguments

If you’re a student of civil engineering, you may be assigned
to write reports in favor of particular construction techniques
or materials. As a student in health care services, you might
have to present your opinion on scheduling, staff organization,
or the approach to public relations. If you’re planning on law
school, your education will revolve around mastering the art
of clearly communicating a point of view. Even if you merely
want to write a letter to the editor, you have to know how to
present an effective argument.

That’s why you need to understand not only how to appraise
and criticize an argument, but also create one of your own.
Mastering the art of argument is a challenge that’s not only
worthwhile, but necessary in today’s world. Additionally, it’s
sometimes important to be able to refute someone else’s logic
and present effective evidence for your own side.

When you complete this lesson, you’ll be able to

n Explain the structure of a sound argument

n Analyze and evaluate an argument

n Effectively use techniques of drafting, evaluating,
and creating a sound written argument

English Composition124

Read the assignment in this study guide. Then, in the Successful
College Writing textbook, read Chapter 19, pages 512–541. To
test your progress, complete the self-check.

To evaluate an argument, clear thinking is essential. You
have to recognize whether the logic is sound and whether
examples provide valid support. You’ll also look for emotional
appeals, which, while effective, add another element to the
presentation. In this assignment, you’ll first learn what to
look for when reading or appraising an argument. There are
five basic dimensions to an effective argument: a specific
issue with two or more opposing viewpoints, a clear claim
designating one viewpoint, logical support, definitive refuta-
tion of other viewpoints, and a reinforcing conclusion.
Consider the following example outlining a sample argument:

n An issue: Neutering family pets

n A claim or assertion with respect to the issue: With
exceptions, such as breeding desirable animals for
potential customers, family pets should be neutered.

n Support for the claim: Animal control personnel are forced
to euthanize thousands of cats and dogs due to the
behavior of irresponsible pet owners. Also, discarded
and uncared for animals create a public health hazard.

n Anticipating likely rebuttals or refutations of the claim:
Some people can’t afford the veterinary bills.

n A conclusion that’s consistent with the claim: Neutering
family pets prevents the birth of unwanted animals,
which may suffer a cruel fate (based on values); or,
unwanted cats and dogs create a tax burden for
responsible citizens (based on economics).

Argumentation is an art that most of us start developing as
soon as we learn to speak. We usually argue not because
we’re angry, but because argumentation causes us to care-
fully examine our own and others’ ideas. We weigh conflicting
claims; make judgments about the nature of evidence and
the procedures of investigation; state our ideas clearly, accu-
rately, and honestly; and listen respectfully and critically to

The time to begin
writing an article
is when you have
finished it to your
satisfaction. By
that time you
begin to clearly
and logically per-
ceive what it is
you really want
to say.

—Mark Twain

Lesson 8 125

other people’s ideas. Whether speaking, thinking, or writing,
we all use argumentation on a daily basis, so you probably
already have some skill at crafting an argument. The more
you improve your skills in this area, the better you’ll be at
thinking critically, reasoning, and weighing evidence—neces-
sary skills for all parts of your life.

Like other types of writing, arguments respond to specific
situations: a need isn’t being met, a person is being treated
unfairly, an important idea is misunderstood, or an outdated
policy needs to be reexamined. Therefore, you need to spend
time thinking about the underlying situation on which an
issue is based as well as thoughtfully examining any
assumptions you and your reader might hold.

The text will address the following questions to equip you as
both reader and writer when facing an argument:

n What are the best strategies for reading an argument?

n What are the best strategies for analyzing and evaluating
an argument?

n How can one best appraise an emotional appeal used to
support an argument?

n What are the basic rules of logic and sound reasoning?

Pages 512–513. Your “Writing Quick Start” exercise asks
you think critically about the photo of a student protest
against tuition increases. With your critique and analysis in
mind, you’re invited to write a paragraph that identifies
some other issue that may evoke a student protest.

Pages 515–516. As you read “When Volunteerism Isn’t
Noble,” the essay by Lynn Steirer, look for the author’s thesis
and the basic parts of the argument. Has she presented a
well-supported claim on an issue, considered rebuttals, and
reached a conclusion? (You may note Steirer’s paragraphs
are much shorter than paragraphs in other essays. Such
brief paragraphs are common for newspaper articles but are
rarely appropriate for academic essays.)

Pages 516–520. Carefully study this section because it
comprises the basic information you need to know about
arguments. Note that a claim is generally what the writer
wants to prove, but there are three kinds of claims—claims of
fact, claims of value, and claims of policy.

English Composition126

You may wonder how a fact could be the claim of an argu-
ment—if something is a fact, how can it have an opposing
viewpoint? The claim of fact is also known as substantiation,
because it requires asserting that some new or previously
unconsidered bit of information is real and true. For a long
time, the average citizen of Western Europe “knew” the earth
was flat. Then someone made a claim of fact that the earth is
round and provided sufficient support (substantiated the
claim), so we now know the earth isn’t flat.

Claims of fact usually defend or refute someone else’s inter-
pretation of the facts. Think about the controversy between
those who believe evolution (Darwinism) is a fact and those
who say creationism is a fact. Each side evidently works with
the same facts, but each provides a different argument to
support its claim. Sometimes the change in interpretation
involves reclassifying information.

Another claim of fact could involve clarifying a definition of
a term. The issue of abortion hinges in part on the factual
definitions of baby and life. Some say a baby is alive at the
moment of conception, while others assert that life begins at
the moment of birth. You’ll find that you need to incorporate
other strategies, particularly definition, in your argument’s
pattern of development.

Another kind of claim is that of value or evaluation (asserting
that something has a specific value). These claims ask, Is
something right or wrong, beneficial or harmful? Who says it’s
beneficial and on what principle, value, or moral do they base
that claim? Here’s an example of this kind of claim: The movie
The Princess Bride more clearly presents a spoof of chivalry in
its varied components than the novel does.

The third category is claim of policy, in which the writer calls for
a specific action. Thesis statements establish claims in answer
to questions like, What should we do? How are we to act?
What policy should we take? What course of action should we
take to solve this problem? Note the use of should as part of
the verb, a common occurrence in claims of policy.

Review the following three thesis statements. Which contains
a claim that can be developed into an appropriate argument?

Lesson 8 127

1. Parents are often too busy to watch television shows with
their families, but can monitor their children’s viewing
habits with the aid of the V-chip.

2. To help parents monitor their children’s viewing habits,
the V-chip should be a required feature for television
sets sold in the United States.

3. This paper will describe a V-chip and examine the uses
of the V-chip in American-made television sets.

The first thesis offers a general factual statement rather than a
claim of fact that needs to be proven (substantiated)—no one
will argue that parents have this option. The third example
also fails to provide an effective claim about the value of the
V-chip and leans toward an informative classification essay.
The second sentence is the strongest argumentative thesis
because it presents a claim of policy; it clearly states the
writer’s position on the issue and suggests that the writer
will proceed to prove the necessity of this action.

Support for an argument can be based on reasons; evidence,
in the form of facts, statistics, and expert opinion; and emo-
tional appeals, which are based on either needs or values. Be
sure you understand the differences in the types of support.
The refutation, or rebuttal, recognizes that there are other
points of view and seeks to disprove or dismiss them. The
conclusion makes a final appeal for the original claim.

Pages 520–527. Under the heading, “General Strategies for
Reading Arguments,” study the six points for prereading or
scanning an essay. These range from appraising the title and
checking the author’s credentials to previewing the publication.
Apply these to the sample essay. Study the “While You Read”
tips, and use them as you read the student essay about
organ donation.

Pages 524–529. Among strategies for following the structure
of an argument, a graphic organizer works well for following
the structure of an argument, and it’s a useful writing tech-
nique. Figure 19.1 shows a general graphic organizer for an
argument essay. Figure 19.2, on pages 528–529, shows you
a graphic organizer for the essay on organ donation.

An alternative to a graphic organizer is a written summary,
which you may find more useful depending on your learning

English Composition128

Pages 530–541. Strategies for analyzing and evaluating an
argument begin on page 530. Study the points, which include
the writer’s purpose, the intended audience, definitions of key
terms, the writer’s credibility, and the quality of the support,
based on the reasons and evidence provided. The information
on pages 531–534, including Figure 19.1, is important in
recognizing faulty reasoning, whether you’re reading someone
else’s argument or constructing your own.

The following are examples of the fallacies the text discusses:

1. Circular reasoning, sometimes known as “begging the
question”: Because women are so emotional, they express
their emotions more quickly than men. (You may not use
the same premise for both the cause and its effect—emo-
tions cause emotions.)

2. Hasty or faulty generalization: I’ve talked to several peo-
ple in Minnesota and thereby discovered that Minnesota is in
favor of handgun laws. (This judgment or conclusion about
the views of an entire state is based on insufficient or
inadequate evidence.)

3. Sweeping generalization: All Italians like pasta and drink
Chianti. (Without sufficient evidence, this assertion illogi-
cally applies a characteristic of some Italians to the entire
ethnic group.)

4. False analogy: Just as the British Empire depended on
their colonies, modern corporations depend on trade with
different nations. (Comparison of things that have little or
nothing in common, particularly no significant common
points: The structure of British colonialism isn’t compara-
ble to international corporate trade.)

5. Non sequitur: Because Marianne likes dining out, she’s
an accomplished cook. (Asserting that Marianne can cook
merely because she like dining out incorrectly assumes
that the one causes the other. Indeed, one reason she
likes dining out might be that she can’t cook well.)

6. Red herring: Some say that violence on television promotes
violence, but what little boy doesn’t like to play cops and
robbers? (This premise begins by pointing out the effect of
watching TV violence but then switches to a completely
different idea, raising a side issue about what boys like to
do. The switch distracts the audience from the actual point.)

Lesson 8 129

7. Post hoc fallacy, also known as faulty cause-and-effect:
“After President Jones raised taxes, the rate of violent
crime went up, so he’s responsible for the rise in crime.”
(This fallacy applies whenever the writer assumes that
events in a given sequence are related in some signifi-
cant way, merely because one immediately followed the
other. Here the writer concludes without evidence that
the first event caused the second event [raising taxes
caused the increased crime rate].)

8. Either-or-fallacy: If you don’t support Second Amendment
rights to gun ownership, you’re opposed to the Constitution.
(The writer assumes there are only two choices applicable
to the complex situation—if you want to prove you
support the Constitution, you must support the Second
Amendment—as if there were no other options.)

Clearly, fallacies are assertions that contain some defect in
reasoning, thereby weakening the argument and calling the
credibility of the writer into question. Sometimes you may
find it difficult to identify a specific kind of fallacy, but you’ll
know that something doesn’t quite add up. For this course,
don’t spend too much time trying to differentiate each kind.
Instead, work on spotting statements that don’t make sense,
lack sufficient support, or don’t clearly connect to the claim.

Once you’re familiar with these fallacies, look for faulty reason-
ing when you read. Television or radio advertisements, political
columns, Internet discussion boards, and letters to the editor
in the newspaper are good places to find examples. Keep the
list handy as you read, and write down some examples.

Page 533. Study the checklist shown in Table 19.2 care-
fully, and refer to it as you read the essays that follow it. You
may want to flag this page—it will be helpful after you draft
an argument. You may already be familiar with the process of
synthesizing ideas from various sources. Study the list of
questions presented, and plan to use it as you read the
opposing arguments in the essay assignment.

Pages 534–541. Read the two essays for and against multi-
tasking, and use all your skills to sort through the tactics
used in each. Check the writers’ credentials and watch for
sound logic, emotional language, and any of the common
fallacies you’ve studied.

English Composition130

To apply your hard-earned skills, you’ll read two essays. The
first of these is “How (and Why) to Stop Multitasking,” by lead-
ership consultant Peter Bregman. Using humor and a light
touch, Bergman argues against multitasking. He lists six dis-
tinct advantages he reaped from his (nearly complete) escape
from compulsive multitasking, claiming in his sixth point that
there was no downside. Some 10 days later, in a different
venue, David Silverman wrote “In Defense of Multitasking.” In
an essay that set out to refute Bregman, he denied the charge
that multitasking reduced IQs and attentions spans. In sup-
port of his thesis, he listed four pro-multitasking arguments.
While analyzing both essays, you may find it interesting to
consider what you’ve learned about learning styles, including
your own. In the Bregman-Silverman debate, where would
your sentiments lie?

Required Journal Entry 12: Argument

Analyze: Review the essay by Peter Bregman on pages 534–536 and the essay by David
Silverman on pages 537–539. Respond to the two viewpoints using either the compare/
contrast or the classify/divide pattern of development. Review Chapters 12 and 13 if
necessary. (Open, list)

React: React to this thesis: “Reducing multitasking to a minimum reduces the stressful dehu-
manizing effects of compulsive multitasking.” Don’t immediately choose to agree or disagree.
Instead, explore in the entry your feelings and beliefs, both agreement and disagreement, until
you reach a point of conviction, showing yourself coming to a place where you strongly agree or
disagree. (3 paragraphs, 5 sentences each)

Lesson 8 131

Self-Check 21

1. Exercise 19.1, on page 517: Write two different claims for two of the five issues.

2. Exercise 19.2, on pag 519: Choose two items and write a justification for their
purchase, explaining the benefit to the children.

3. Review the essay by Peter Bregman on pages 534–536. Under “Examining the Reading,”
respond to all four items. Under “Analyzing the Writer’s Technique” on page 536, respond to
all three items. Under “Reacting to the Reading” on page 537, respond to all four items.

4. Review the essay by David Silverman on pages 537–539. Under “Examining the Reading” on
page 539, respond to all four items. Under “Thinking Critically about Text and Visuals” on
page 540, respond to all seven items.

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.

English Composition132

Read the assignment in this study guide. Then, in the Successful
College Writing textbook, read Chapter 20, pages 542–571. To
test your progress, complete the self-check.

In this assignment, you’ll learn the art of argument by prac-
ticing it. A properly conceived argument makes a point, and
the sharper the point, the better the argument. An effective
argument provides logical, coherent, evidence-based support
for a specific claim.

Pages 542–543. The “Quick Start” exercise on page 542
establishes the groundwork for writing an argument. Study
the image of an ad on page 542, and then create a thesis
for a brief argument that would use evidence and emotional
appeals to support it.

Pages 544–567. This section defines the nature and char-
acteristics of a sound argument. Read the argument by
writer-columnist William Safire, “Abolish the Penny.” While
the piece is cleverly written and laced with humor, don’t
think Safire isn’t serious about his thesis. When you assess
his argument, ask yourself if his claims seem to be fact-
based and if they support a sound argument in favor of
abolishing the penny.

Again, your text describes the characteristics of argument
essays, but in more detail for the writer (not the reader) of
the argument.

n The thesis defines the scope of the argument—its topic
and claim. A claim states the writer’s position on the
issue. State your claim in your thesis at the outset of
the essay.

n An effective argument is designed for a specific audience.
Be sure you know who your audience is.

n Provide convincing support.

n Use logical reasoning in your argument. Show that you
understand the difference between inductive and deduc-
tive reasoning.

Lesson 8 133

n Use emotional appeals carefully, particularly by address-
ing the audience’s needs and values.

n Recognize the opposing views. It will not only address your
opponents’ concerns, but also strengthen your argument.

Take time to review “The Basic Parts of an Argument,” on
pages 514–520 in Chapter 19 before reading further. As
mentioned, the parts you sought to identify when reading
arguments are also the foundation for writing arguments.
Then return to the summary outline here.

The following is an in-depth look at each part of an argument
and the thinking involved in it for the writer.

Thesis: Establishing a definitive claim in a thesis statement
is essential for a successful argument. But, you may ask,
what exactly should a writer consider when developing one?

1. For an argument, the thesis must be debatable. To be
sure there’s an opposing view for your thesis (someone
with whom you’ll argue), you should write both a thesis
and an antithesis. An antithesis is a statement that
takes a position opposite of your thesis. You play the
devil’s advocate to your own claim. If you can create an
antithesis, your thesis statement is debatable because it
takes a stand on one side of an issue. However, if you
can’t create an antithesis, then your thesis needs further
revision to make it argumentative. Here’s an example:

Thesis statement: Term limits would improve
Congress by bringing people with fresh ideas
into office every few years.

Antithesis: Term limits would harm Congress because
elected officials would always be inexperienced and
less informed.

2. Your thesis must be properly narrowed, containing a
focused purpose appropriate for the length of the writing.
A claim that’s too broad or vague allows the paper to run
in too many different directions and makes it difficult for
you to keep control of it and for your readers to make
sense of your discussion. If a reader’s first response is,
“So what?” or “How do you figure that?” or “Why?” then
your thesis doesn’t make a significant point. You need
to clarify the issue, establish a relationship between
the claim and the issue, or connect to a larger issue.

English Composition134

If a reader’s first response is “how?” or “why?” your thesis
may be too open-ended without enough guidance for the
reader. You then need to give the reader a better take on
your position right from the beginning.

For example, the thesis “Drug use is detrimental to society”
lacks focus for a three-to-five page essay because it doesn’t
identify what kind of drug use is detrimental (does it
include prescription drugs?), how and why that use is
detrimental (health or socioeconomics?), or who’s affected
(every person?). A better focused thesis would be “Illegal
drug use is detrimental to teenagers because it encour-
ages gang violence.”

To focus your thesis, ask yourself questions like, What do
I hope to accomplish? Why are the issue and my claim
important? What benefits would be realized? What prob-
lems would be eliminated? What questions would be
answered? How would other people be affected? What
obstacles must be overcome? Of course, you must decide
on only one type of question your argument answers and
how. If you try to cover more than one of these questions,
your thesis will be too broad. Here’s an example of a
vague thesis and what a narrowed focus might look like:

Vague: Censorship of the Internet would be wrong.

Clear: Censorship of Internet chat rooms would
unfairly limit free speech.

3. Your thesis statement must be precise. This characteristic
is related to ensuring a focused purpose, but now you
examine each word. If your thesis contains vague words
like good or successful, work on the answer to why some-
thing is “good,” what specifically makes something
“successful,” and how you as the writer define good or
successful. Avoid judgmental words, such as wrong,
right, good, bad, and immoral. Although you’ll use emo-
tional appeal later in your argument, your thesis must
be as objectively stated as possible, particularly if you’re
writing to a negative audience. You don’t want your read-
ers to reject your idea before they’ve read more than your
introductory paragraph.

Lesson 8 135

For instance, the statement “Pollution is bad for the
environment” isn’t debatable because it lacks focus and
precision. First, the word pollution connotes that some-
thing is bad or negative. Further, all studies agree that
pollution is a problem; the disagreement isn’t about its
“badness” but about the impact and scope of the pollu-
tion problem. Two possible, debatable theses for this
issue are “At least 25 percent of the federal budget
should be spent on limiting pollution” and “America’s
antipollution efforts should focus on privately owned cars.”

4. The thesis must be audience-driven. Knowing your
audience for an argument is more important than in
any other pattern of development. (Note that there are
three possible types of audience for any argument.) You
must be aware of the audience in terms of what they
need to know about you. Once again, apply a questioning
approach for this aspect of preparing a thesis: What is
my authority or experience in arguing this issue? How
well do my reader and I know each other? What is my
reader’s age, educational background, occupation, marital
status, political preference? How does it apply to my issue?
What might the reader stand to gain or lose? What’s
the reader’s impression of me, especially my integrity,
knowledge, and reliability? How well does the reader
understand the issue?

Here are three problematic thesis statements. Each needs
rewriting—do you know why?

n Since the digital age came to be, many people consider
themselves photographers only because they own a
nice camera.

n While police entrapment has been somewhat helpful in
making our community a safer place to live, it actually
does more harm than good.

n I’m going to tell you the truth about the disgusting thing
called cigarettes: some can’t live with them, and some
think they can’t live without them!

In the first, the writer needs to clarify the type of camera and
provide a more concrete designation than nice. In addition,
which type of people and how many people consider them-
selves photographers? What is the definition of photographer
for the purpose of this essay? What does came to be mean?

English Composition136

The second thesis is also too vague, although it’s more objec-
tive than the first one. The reader, however, is probably
asking what the writer means by “police entrapment,” which
community or type of community is involved, and to whom
the harm was done.

Although the passion is strong, the third statement is hostile
(“I’m going to tell you”) and negative (“disgusting”). The writer
doesn’t appear to consider the other side in a serious manner
and virtually eliminates the possibility of debate by implying
that this way of thinking is the only right way to think. Finally,
the thesis’s “truth” is that some need cigarettes and others
won’t have anything to do with them. However, this isn’t a
debatable issue; society already accepts the addiction of some
and the distaste of others as fact.

Return to Chapter 6 if you need to brush up on additional
techniques for developing a focused thesis containing a
specific point about an issue. Remember that even after your
questioning, you’ll have a “working thesis,” which represents
the argument that you currently think you can support with
evidence. It won’t be until you put your ideas in writing and
explain to a reader the relationships of your support to your
thesis that you’ll gain a better understanding of what you
want to prove and what you want the reader to understand
and do. Frequently writers reach the end of their draft and
only then realize exactly what they want to say. So don’t be
surprised if you finish your essay draft and find it doesn’t
seem to go with the thesis. You’ll refine your thesis several
times before reaching a final product.

The strength of your support, and your use of it, can make
or break your argument. Without it, your argument doesn’t
carry much weight. The text identifies support here as a mix
of reasons, evidence, and emotional appeal.

Reasons: premises or assertions. The first level of support
involves establishing statements that will make up your argu-
ment. Although the textbook refers to these statements as
reasons, they’re also called assertions or premises. Each
premise develops one reason or point you’ll use to defend
your thesis. Based on the purpose or claim in your thesis,
you should prepare a list of premises for which you have
relevant evidence or for which you believe you can gather
such support—before drafting your argument.

The more assertions you can brainstorm at the beginning of
the process, the more likely you are to identify and clarify your
thinking and rationale. You’ll return to these after writing a

Lesson 8 137

first draft once your line of reasoning is clearer to you.
Remember to include a few assertions that appeal to your
audience’s needs and values. Choose the premises which
address the most important aspects of the one issue. You
won’t be able to argue each possible point, however, so pick
what you’re certain will convince your audience and what you
can support. Generally, each assertion acts as the topic sen-
tence for a paragraph in your argument. By keeping this fact
in mind, you can avoid the fallacy of sweeping generalizations
which you won’t be able to support adequately.

Logical order. Once you’ve chosen the most important and
significant arguments, decide on your line of reasoning. Part
of that decision includes choosing an order of organization:
general to specific, most to least important (or vice versa), or
weakest to strongest. You’ll also consider when and where
you’ll use inductive or deductive reasoning. You can choose
to follow one type as your overall structure for the argument
or apply it to the development of a single paragraph.

Inductive reasoning moves from specific observations to a
broader premise or theory; consequently, we sometimes call
this a “bottoms up” approach. It tends to be open-ended and
exploratory, particularly when identifying observations and a
pattern. The TV drama House features a doctor who is a
master of inductive reasoning when diagnosing the causes of
a patient’s illness.

Deductive reasoning is a more narrow or focused approach,
which works in the opposite order, from the general to the
specific, using a “top-down” approach. It begins with a theory
(the claim or premise). That theory is then narrowed into more
specific hypotheses (assertions) that can be tested. In testing
those assertions, observations or specific data are collected.
The goal of the process is to confirm (or not confirm) the
writer’s theory. Continuing the House application, the team
of interns generally applies deductive reasoning to the theory
the doctor has inductively reached.

Evidence. Up to this point in the process, you’ll have established
a working thesis and a set of logically sequenced arguments.
You now make decisions about the support for each argument.
Be careful not to allow your excitement about a particular
fact or reason to guide your choice of evidence, but instead
support the thesis and its arguments. If you start with the
support, it’s easy to fall into the trap of writing an essay that
mostly summarizes what other people think instead of proving
your position on the issue.

English Composition138

Your purpose and audience are the primary considerations
guiding your choice of support. Although some of the support
can be facts, most arguments need other kinds, as well, to
persuade the reader. After all, if an issue could be resolved
simply by looking at “the facts,” people wouldn’t be arguing
about it. Support for your claim can come in many different
forms, including stories to illustrate the point, definitions for
clarity, statistics and expert testimony, and appeals to the
audience’s needs or values. You must choose from your
evidence the most relevant and most persuasive material.
Remember that your goal is to be seen as a credible writer—
one the reader believes is objectively presenting a position
using straightforward evidence.

n Provide the reader with support appropriate to each
argument. If you’re developing a claim about the benefits
of changing game-attendance policies at a local university’s
gymnasium and you start a paragraph with “Moving the
student section closer to the court will raise player perform-
ance,” you must choose support developing that argument.
You wouldn’t develop it with evidence about how much
more money the school could raise by letting more
students attend games for free. Instead, you could
support this argument with information about how fan
support raises player morale, which then results in bet-
ter play.

n Use reasons, evidence, and emotional appeals in a bal-
anced manner. If you use emotionally charged language
or examples simply to upset or anger an audience, you’re
using emotion illegitimately. Carefully review Chapter 16
regarding emotional appeals. Remember what you’ve
learned about connotations, because word choice influ-
ences an argument’s emotional appeal. You want the
reader to argue against your ideas and thinking, not
your word choice. Here are some example considerations:

â Should I speak of “drunk” or “intoxicated” drivers?

â Should I call them a “menace” or a “concern”?

â Should they be “thrown into jail” or “incarcerated”?

â Do we need to “teach them a lesson” or “make them
aware of the consequences of their actions”?

The first term or phrase suggests a negative connation, whereas
the second is the more objective phrasing you should use.

Lesson 8 139

Explanation. A good argument explains how each piece of
evidence relates to the claim and shows its value and relevance.
That means that each paragraph of your argument makes
explicit the connection or relationship between the evidence
and argument, as well as the argument and the claim. After
you introduce evidence into your writing, you must explain
its significance and function. What turns a fact or piece of
information into evidence is the connection it has with a
larger claim or argument. Evidence is always for or against
something, and you have to make that link clear.

Don’t expect your audience to read your mind or figure out
what you mean. You must clearly spell out the connections
you made when you chose your evidence and decided where
to place it in your paper. After all, if your readers are confused,
you’re not going to convince them to agree with you. They’ll
just stop reading. Here’s where you apply the art of connec-
tive discussion, organization, transitions, and strategies from
other patterns of development, including definition of terms,
classification and division, and causal analysis.

However, how do you make sure the connections are clear
to your reader? Ask yourself questions like those below.
Answering them can help you explain how your evidence is
related to each assertion and to your overall argument.

1. But so what? Why is it interesting? Why should anyone

2. What does this information imply?

3. What are the consequences of thinking this way or looking
at a problem this way?

4. I’ve just described what something is like or how I see it,
but why is it like that?

5. I’ve just said that something happens—so how does it
happen? How does it come to be the way it is? Why does
it happen?

6. Why is this information important? Why does it matter?

7. What example could illustrate this point?

When moving from one premise or type of support to the next,
use transitions that indicate addition of information to what
is already present: equally important, further, furthermore, in
addition, moreover, and then.

English Composition140

Finally, before beginning your first draft, create an outline to
guide you. The following is one example. Your textbook will
also provide some guidance.

1. Claim: Distance learning allows the students, rather
than the institution, to fit college studies into their

2. Premises: Students who are parents appreciate the flexi-
bility in completing required activities. Students who are
disabled or without transportation can earn credit from
home. Online instruction suits different learning styles.
Reduced travel means cost savings.

3. Evidence: The evidence can include quotes from students,
personal experiences, and descriptions of how distance-
learning programs are set up.

4. Explanation of the value of the evidence: This can include
information on the people you’re quoting, comments about
the increasing number of nontraditional students, and
explanation of how distance learning is more convenient.

You may wonder why you write your first draft without wor-
rying about opposing views. First, remember that the writing
process is circular. You’ve already considered the opposing
side in a general way when developing your thesis. Also, you
write the first draft to develop your line of reasoning so you’re
clear about your reasons and evidence supporting your claim.
Once you know that, you’re better able to anticipate and over-
come objections specific to that line of reasoning.

Both kinds of development are essential. You must show that
your own ideas are clear, reasonable, and solid. You must
also show how your opposition’s case is weak. If you can
show that your case is strong and the opposition’s is weak,
chances are excellent that the reader will be on your side at
the end—and that’s your goal.

Refutation. Refutation shows that you’ve thought through the
ramifications of your claim and aren’t blindly arguing just to
disagree. Rather than just saying your opponents are wrong,
take on their opposing ideas yourself. Refute the other side’s
thinking by pointing out errors in the opposition’s logic, assump-
tions, and/or interpretation. What they claim isn’t necessarily
wrong—usually, in fact, it’s their supporting ideas that are
wrong, irrelevant, or insufficient. Connotations and clarity are
key factors guiding your word choice.

Lesson 8 141

Here are two examples:

n Poor, negative rebuttal: Some people may say that adoles-
cents shouldn’t leave university education; however, they’re
wrong. (The people themselves aren’t wrong; examine the
underlying assumptions instead.)

n Strong, convincing rebuttal: Some people may say that
adolescents should remain in university education
because they’re not physically and psychologically
mature enough to cope with the problems of the real
world. However, they neglect the fact that adolescents are
mature enough to vote, drive, and hold a job. That shows
that adolescents are considered physically and psycho-
logically mature at the same time they’re in college.

Recognizing opposition: Recognizing the other side’s view
is different from refuting in that you don’t focus on the weak-
nesses in reasoning. Instead, you show that you understand
your audience’s possible objections by either acknowledging
the existence of another viewpoint or by accommodating one
of your premises to incorporate correct reasoning from the
other side. In other words, acknowledging usually involves
pointing out that the opposition’s argument is irrelevant to
the topic—that what you’re discussing isn’t what they’re trying
to prove. Accommodating can be considered a compromise—
to a certain extent, the opposition has a basis for thinking
the way they do and you include something of that basis in
your discussion.

Look at the first claim in Exercise 20.3 on page 549, which is
a claim of policy: “Public school sex education classes should
be mandatory because they help students make important
decisions about their lives.” What are some of the views
opposing this claim? How can you recognize that opposition?

1. Possible opposing argument: Sex education may expose
children to information that parents may wish to with-
hold until the children are older.

n You could accommodate the opposition by propos-
ing parental waivers or identifying a specific age for
the sex education.

n You could refute the opposition by showing that
educators can’t know what parents have already told
their children and at what age they do so. Or you
could provide evidence showing that most children
already know more than their parents have told them.

English Composition142

2. Possible opposing argument: Sex education sends the
signal that sex is acceptable behavior for teens.

n Acknowledge the position by saying that that may
be a danger but isn’t the intent of the education; no
one can determine how teens might actually perceive
such education.

n Accommodate it by noting that parents have the
authority to tell their teens whether it’s acceptable
or not.

n Refute it by using statistics that show most teens
experiment with sex. Then include the statistics on
the resulting disease and pregnancy, and explain
that teens need to learn how to protect themselves
against disease and pregnancy.

Usually, you don’t refute, acknowledge, and accommodate
each opposing view, but use one type per premise.

One problem common to student writing is that the readers
can’t clearly see the places where it switches from supporting
to addressing the opposition. Instead they’re puzzled because
it seems the writing is now arguing against itself. As with all
writing, the logical flow of information is very important. The
way you phrase your disagreement must enable your readers
to follow your argument even as you clearly indicate you’re
now discussing the other side. Some of the phrases and words
commonly used to accomplish this purpose are

n Opponents of this idea claim / maintain that . . .

n Those who disagree / are against these ideas may say
that . . .

n Some people may disagree with this idea because /
such as . . .

n They put forward this idea because . . .

n They claim that . . . since . . .

As you move from the opposing view back to your argument,
use transitions that indicate contrast or exception, such as
however, but, nevertheless, nonetheless, notwithstanding, in
contrast, on the contrary, still, yet, and on the other hand.

Lesson 8 143

Review Chapter 7 for the characteristics of strong introduc-
tions and conclusions, the bridges readers use to enter and
leave your argument. The introduction entices them, and the
conclusion helps them step away from it with a sense of com-
pletion. In an argument, these can be the most difficult parts
of the paper to write, because you’re constructing the framing
around your reasoning.

The conclusion. Writers of arguments frequently begin the
first draft with a brief, sterile introduction, often just the
thesis. Only after the draft and conclusion are written do
they clearly see why and how their analysis and information
should matter to the readers. Consequently, we’ll first look at
the conclusion, which will then guide us into developing an
appropriate introduction.

The conclusion is your chance to have the last word on the
subject, the final say on the issues you’ve raised in your paper.
It’s also your opportunity to make a good final impression
and to end on a positive note. Here are some strategies for a
strong close for your argument in the concluding paragraph:

n Open with a strong clause moving logically from the
previous paragraph, your last premise, rather than begin
with an unnecessary, overused phrase such as “in con-
clusion,” “in summary,” or “in closing.” Although these
phrases can work in speeches, they come across as
wooden and trite in writing. Let the force of your writing
logically flow into the closing.

n Reemphasize your thesis (which you first stated in the
introduction). Although you may like keeping your read-
ers in the dark until the end and then wowing them with
your main point, readers expect an analytical closing
reinforcing the thesis stated up front (not a mystery).
Don’t end with the same or a slightly revised thesis
statement that says, “That’s my story and I’m sticking to
it.” Your goal is to give the same claim but in a different
way, more creative or reflective than the phrasing used
in the introduction, so you push your ideas forward.

n Summarize the key points of your argument with confi-
dence and help the reader make a connection from the
argument to the issue by showing the significance, impact,
or broader implications of your thinking. The conclusion
isn’t the place to make a last-ditch appeal by introducing
a new assertion or more evidence, which just creates
confusion. Use the conclusion to wrap up your thoughts,
demonstrate the importance of your ideas, and propel
your reader to a new view of the issue.

English Composition144

n Be your readers are glad they read your argument by
showing the issue in some personally relevant way that
enriches their lives. Avoid descending into sentimental,
emotional appeals that are out of character with the rest
of your analytical argument.

The introduction. The introduction of your argument con-
tains your first words to the readers—their first impression of
your argument, your writing style, and the overall quality of
your work. Your introduction must engage your readers in
the issue and impress them with your competence, so they’ll
continue reading. A vague, disorganized, error-filled, off-the-
wall, or boring introduction doesn’t deserve their attention,
and it won’t get it.

Chapter 7 offers many ways to charm your reader with your
opening lines. Opening with a compelling story, a fascinating
quotation, an interesting question, or a stirring example can
help your readers see why this issue matters and can serve
as an invitation for them to join you for an interesting intel-
lectual conversation.

To ensure you make a good impression and build the readers’
confidence in you, the introduction should reveal the issue,
your position on the issue, the importance of your position,
and the general structure of your argument. Introductions
for arguments often give brief background on the issue to
show the nature of the controversy or an example to show
its significance. Introductions also provide the readers with a
general road map for the argument you’ve developed.

Pages 553–557. In the context of visualizing an argument
essay, you’ll read a piece by writer-photographer Lisa M.
Hamilton, “Eating Meat for the Environment.” In what
appears at first to be a paradoxical assertion, the author
states that while we should eat less meat, we should (at
the same time) eat more of it. In support of this idea, her
argument goes like this: Factory farming is environmentally
destructive. No doubt about it. However, eating pasture-
raised meat is a worthy ideal since animal waste ends up
as fertilizer that sustains soils and adds little or nothing
to greenhouse gas emissions. So what is her actual thesis?
That’s for you to figure out. You can do that by studying
Figure 20.1, which is a graphic organizer for the Hamilton

Lesson 8 145

Pages 556–567. Here’s your guided writing assignment.
Appraise it in terms of the material already presented in the
extended overview provided in this part of your guide. Keep
in mind that all of this is aimed at helping your write an
“A-list” argument essay.

Pages 568–571. A “Students Write” feature concludes this
chapter assignment. Read “Pull the Plug on Explicit Lyrics”
by James Sturm. You may well find the topic interesting, if
only because it wrestles with a controversial thesis. As usual,
the highlights should be helpful. Note Sturm’s thesis state-
ment. Note that after accommodating possible refutations
of his thesis, he gets specific in paragraph 7. There he sets
us up to consider three opposing viewpoints, on which he
elaborates in paragraphs 8 and 9.

English Composition146

Self-Check 22

1. Exercise 20.1, on page 547: Choose two of the five issues for your response.

2. Exercise 20.2, on page 548: Choose two of the five issues for your response and complete the
exercise as instructed.

3. Exercise 20.3, on page 549: Choose one of the three claims and discuss arguing it before the
three kinds of audiences.

4. Exercise 20.4, on page 553: Follow the instructions, making sure you address both claims 2
and 3 from 20.3.

5. Review the “Student’s Write” essay by James Sturm on pages 568–570. Respond to all three
items under “Analyzing the Writer’s Technique.” Under “Thinking Critically about Argument,”
respond to all five items. Under “Reacting to the Reading,” respond to all three items.

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.


Lesson 8 Examination:
Argument Essay


To prepare an argument essay of 1,200 to 1,500 words that
also uses another pattern of development.


Choose one of the following:

n Persuade your employer that you deserve a raise.

n Persuade a family member that the world today is better
than it was 50 years ago. Alternatively, you may choose
the opposite stance of persuading a family member that
the world was better 50 years ago than it is today.

Patterns of Development

Argument in combination with at least one other pattern of


The purpose is twofold:

n Persuade the reader to agree with the writer’s position
(primary purpose)

n Express the writer’s feelings about the reader taking
action on the topic (secondary purpose)


As designated with topic, but write to a disagreeing audience.
(Do not write to an agreeing audience or to a neutral or
wavering audience.)


Examination, Lesson 8148


1. Applying the requirements given, work through pages 558
to the middle of 560 in the section “Generating Ideas
and Writing Your Thesis.” Skip the section titled
“Researching the Issue.” Narrow your focus appropri-
ately for the assigned length before attempting to
develop the essay.

2. Continue the “Guided Writing Assignment” with “Developing
Your Thesis and Making a Claim” on pages 560–565.
Incorporate at least one other pattern of development to
explain some type of support for your argument. Also use
strategies from other patterns of development as needed
to accomplish your purpose.

CAUTION: The essay requires evidence only from your
experience, not evidence from outside sources. See the
Plagiarism Policy, which will apply to any student using
information irresponsibly.

3. As part of the revising and editing analysis, you must
make any necessary changes to your work to meet the
assigned requirements.

4. Prepare the final draft of the essay according to the exam
submission format from the Course Information section.
Submit only the final, polished draft for grading.

Submitting Your Assignment
To submit the assignment, follow these steps:
1. Type the assignment.
2. Save the document.
3. Go to your Student Portal.
Essays must be typed, double-spaced, using a standard 12-point font and left justification. Use 1-
inch margins at the top and bottom and 1.25-inch margins for the left and right sides of the
document. Each page must have a properly formatted header containing your name, student
number, exam number, page number, mailing address, and e-mail address (see page 6 for an
example). Name each document using your student number first, then the six-digit lesson num-
ber, and finally your last name (for example, 23456789_050177 Doe). Save each as “File Type:
Rich Text Format,” regardless of your word-processing program.

Examination, Lesson 8 149

4. Go to My Courses.
5. Find the section for this project.
6. Click on the Take Exam icon.

7. That will bring up a Browse menu. You must then
find where you’ve saved your work in your computer.
The writing should have been saved under your student
number_exam number_last name_first name. Your exam
number for this assignment is 05018100.

8. Click on the exam.

9. Click on Open.
10. Enter a correct e-mail address.
11. Click on Upload file.
12. There’s no need to worry about the project sheet. The
instructor will add one for you.
13. You’ll receive an e-mail within 24 hours that tells you
the exam has been received. You’ll notice a label indicat-
ing RCD on your record next to that exam until a grade
is posted.
14. Exams are evaluated within five days of receipt, although
sometimes they’re evaluated sooner.
15. You’ll receive the evaluation and exam with comments
from an instructor by clicking on View Exam Results
once you see your grade posted.
If you choose to mail the project, here’s the address:
Penn Foster
Student Service Center
925 Oak Street
Scranton, PA 18515-0001
Evaluation Rubric

The following rubric will be used to evaluate your work.

The Penn Foster
Student Service Center
is under contract with
Penn Foster College.

Examination, Lesson 8150

Traits of Good Writing
Review your study guide for an
explanation of the traits.
Skill Not

Ideas and Content
The writer provides a clear thesis
statement and has a clear stance on
one side of the issue. The argument
is a clear, with appropriate support-
ing details and evidence provided.

30 28 26 24 22 15 0

There is a clear introduction, with a
thesis, body, and conclusion. Body
paragraphs incorporate other pat-
terns of development coherently.

25 23 22 21 19 12 0
The writer interacts with the assigned
audience by using appropriate, con-
sistent point of view, tone, and
evidence. The essay maintains a
clear stance on the topic.
10 9 8 7 6 4 0
Word Choice
The writer makes correct verb and
word choices, defines any terms that
may have been unfamiliar, and con-
veys a clear message.
10 9 8 7 6 4 0
Grammar and Sentences
The writer uses correct grammar,
spelling, punctuation, and sentence
structure. There are no typographical
10 9 8 7 6 4 0

The writer meets the required length
(1,000–1,200 words), and uses a
standard font and margins. All the
required header information is

15 14 13 12 11 8 0
Exam number: Exam Grade:
Date of evaluation: Evaluated by:
Important note: Along the right-hand side of your evaluated exam, you should see marginal or “bubble”
comments from your instructor. You should also see a series of highlighted numbers in the evaluation chart
identifying the rating you earned on each trait. If you don’t see this feedback, click on the “View” tab and
“Print Layout,” or click on “Review” and the option “Final Showing Markup.” If you still cannot see the
feedback, please contact the school for the complete evaluation.
Argument Essay





Research and MLA Citation


The approach to writing a paper that requires research is
roughly the same as the procedures you’ve already learned in
this course. You need a thesis that states your point of view,
a pattern of development that organizes and presents your
topic effectively, solid examples to support the thesis, and a
conclusion that wraps up your overall presentation.

However, some essays, even opinion pieces, need support that
you can’t supply from your own memory or the experiences
of friends. Because your topic needs facts, you need to look
things up, using reliable sources. When you do that, you also
have to give credit to the sources you use, both in the text of
your essay and in a complete listing at the end of your paper.

When you complete this lesson, you’ll be able to

n Prepare a list of research questions

n Locate and utilize print and Internet sources

n Use critical-thinking skills to evaluate sources

n Extract useful information from sources

n Integrate source material into your writing

n Properly document sources to avoid plagiarism

n Apply MLA or APA style to document sources

n Employ your skills for timed writings and exams

English Composition152

Read the assignment in this study guide. Then, in your text, read
Chapter 21 on pages 574–593. Use the self-check to evaluate your

Chris and Maddie are arguing about which of their favorite
singers has been more important to popular music. Chris
says her brother and her cousin both agree with her. Maddie
says Rolling Stone magazine called her favorite artist one of the
most influential artists of the decade. Who wins? Probably
Maddie—her source is more reliable in this instance, unless
Chris’s brother has strong credentials in the music business.

Appropriate sources are vital to supporting an argument.
However, they may be just as important in the context of
other development patterns, such as comparison and contrast,
definition, or causal analysis. In this section, we’ll look at ways
to use sources to support a thesis. We’ll learn when to use
them, how to locate them, how to evaluate them, and how to
integrate them into your writing.

Pages 574–575. Your “Quick Start” exercise emphasizes
that you must identify what you know and what you don’t
know about a topic. You may have some knowledge of the
Vietnam War and its veterans. Maybe you’ve visited the
memorial in Washington, DC, or you’ve seen one of the
Moving Wall exhibits. But if you were to write about it, you
would need specific facts and details.

Pages 576–578. When should you use sources to find
information you don’t know? The simple answer is when they
help you achieve your purpose with your audience. In most
cases, making a point and drawing a conclusion require infor-
mation and examples. Even if we think we know what we’re
talking about, it’s wise to check dates and spellings to be sure.
Correct information can only improve your essay and increase
your credibility, while one wrong date can cause your reader
to doubt everything you’ve said. In this section, study the list of
suggestions for adding detail to your essay.

Pages 578–579. Planning your paper begins with defining
the nature and purpose of your assignment. Study Figure 21.1,
“Locating and Using Sources: An Overview,” and Figure 21.2,
“Writing a Paper Using Sources,” on pages 578–579.

Lesson 9 153

When you select a topic, be sure it’s something that actually
interests you. Your curiosity will help you ask the right ques-
tions and follow up on leads. Additionally, be sure your
topic is focused and that there’s sufficient information avail-
able to allow you to offer something fresh and new on the
subject. First, develop a working thesis and list some essen-
tial research questions. For example, if your tentative topic is
attention deficit disorder, you might want to probe its relation-
ship to age, social class, or family history.

Pages 583–587. Using unreliable or substandard sources
spoils the purpose of writing a paper. Be sure you choose arti-
cles and publications suited to your subject and written by a
credible author. A source is relevant if it’s specific to your
needs and timely if it provides accurate information. While
some topics, such as computer games or banking technology,
demand the most up-to-date information, a paper on the Great
Depression or the life of Henry VIII could benefit from old
sources—writings produced during that period in history.
Also, when checking the writer’s credentials, look for a satis-
factory reputation, academic style, and expertise in the field.
Look for evidence that the author provides a fair, objective
handling of the subject matter.

Be particularly careful with Internet sources. For basic guide-
lines, consult Table 21.1 on evaluating Internet sources. Also
review the tips provided in the school’s library through your
student portal. Note each site’s purpose, how recent the infor-
mation is, and how accurate it’s likely to be. Sites sponsored
by colleges and universities (.edu), state and federal govern-
ments (.gov), and reputable organizations (.org) are likely to
provide high-quality information, often containing references
to other sources to verify the credibility of the information,
although in some cases the point of view may not serve your
purpose. If a site is out of date, is full of spelling and punctu-
ation errors, or contains generalizations or strong opinions, it
shouldn’t be used as an objective source, although it could be
useful for other purposes.

Pages 587–592. To use sources effectively, you need to
separate fact from opinions and identify the source’s view-
point. Watch for bias, which may not be initially apparent.
Generalizations often contain logical fallacies, such as

English Composition154

applying the characteristics of a few cases to an entire group.
To be a critical thinker, you also must search out assump-
tions, tacit or explicit, within any source you plan to use
and assess the validity of those assumptions.

Pages 592–593. Using the three-phase method of reading
saves time and makes your search for sources more efficient.
Scan a source to see how it’s organized and whether it con-
tains key terms related to your topic. If your scan indicates
the article is related to your topic, then skim the article to get
an overall impression of its content, starting with the title, fol-
lowed by the introductory paragraph and the headings. Finally,
read closely those sections that apply to your topic.

Four points are offered for assessing Internet sources. Notice
that the Internet permits research for varying learning styles,
because websites can have sound, color, animation, and
interaction features.

Required Journal Entry 13: Website Evaluation

First, identify or make up a particular career need you’ve faced or might face, such as earning a
promotion at your current job, switching jobs, or entering the job market. Then, reread “Choosing
and Evaluating Useful Sources,” pages 583–587, and “Evaluating Internet Sources,” pages
585–586. Next, examine each of the following two websites:

• http://www.careerbuilder.com

• http://www.rileyguide.com

Argue in favor of the site you believe is most relevant for your career need and most reliable. As
you discuss specific reasons to support your thesis, use the terminology and criteria for electronic
sources discussed in the textbook. Include with your evidence why the other site isn’t as satisfac-
tory for your purpose. (5 paragraphs, 5 sentences each)

Lesson 9 155

Read the assignment in this study guide. Then, in the Successful
College Writing textbook, read Chapter 22, pages 594–619. To
test your progress, complete the self-check.

Begin with the “Quick Start” exercise on page 594. Think
about where you could find more information on the subject.

This assignment focuses on how to locate and acquire print
or electronic sources through libraries or Internet search
engines. Read the material carefully, and spend as much time
as you can exploring library databases and various Internet
resources to see the possibilities. Remember that when you

Self-Check 23

1. Exercise 21.1, on page 581: Narrow each of the five topics.

2. Exercise 21.2, on page 583: Write a thesis and four or more research questions for
item 1 or 3.

3. Exercise 21.3, on page 585: Note reasons why any of the listed sources would be either
relevant or irrelevant, reliable or unreliable.

4. Exercise 21.4, on page 589: Use what you’ve learned to sort out the facts, opinions,
and expert opinions.

5. Exercise 21.5, on page 590: Determine why the four cited sources would be considered
objective, somewhat biased, or heavily biased.

6. Exercise 21.6, on page 591: Complete the exercise as instructed.

7. Exercise 21.7, on page 592: Identify the assumption as directed.

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.

English Composition156

go to a library, your best resource is the reference librarian.
Asking that person to help you locate the information you’re
looking for will save hours of time and may introduce sources
you didn’t know existed.

Note: The Penn Foster Virtual Library provides access to aca-
demic journals through the EDSeek Periodical database. The
“Ask a Librarian” feature offers assistance in locating and using
the resources. To access the school library, use the Library
Services or School Library link on your student portal after you
log into the school site.

A variety of print and electronic sources are available. Being
able to distinguish between the various types, such as refer-
ence works, books, and periodicals, helps you find relevant
research for your paper. Keyword searches offer a starting
point and help you find other ideas related to your topic.

Pages 596–603. The ultimate resource for serious writers,
particularly those researching scholarly and academic top-
ics, is the library. Today, most college libraries are linked
electronically with many data resources, including academic
journals, the holdings of other college libraries, and the Library
of Congress.

Learning to use keyword searches is vital for efficient Internet
research. Under “Locating Useful Library Sources,” you’ll find
information on how to locate sources from electronic data-
bases. Note the “Suggestions for Conducting Keyword
Searches” in the box on page 598. Finding books involves
using the library’s catalog. Don’t forget to ask the reference
librarian for help if you’re unfamiliar with the catalog system
or if you aren’t sure where to start looking for information on
your topic. For the EDSeek Gale Databases at the Penn Foster
library, click on Help for more detailed search strategies.

The Internet has revolutionized the world of information. You
can Google almost anything imaginable and receive sources,
although you may have to sort through a long list of unre-
lated topics to find what you’re looking for. As you work with
the text material, check some of the URLs and Internet
sources listed, including Listserv and news groups. Study
Table 22.2 on page 605 for web sources for academic
research, and explore a few of the sites related to your
degree program.

Lesson 9 157

Pages 606–607. One of the most important parts of aca-
demic research is keeping track of your sources so you can
properly cite them in your work. Extracting information from
sources can involve several techniques. Your notes can be
stored and organized on note cards or within computer files.
If you use index cards, make a separate bibliography card for
each source and include on it all the information listed in
Figure 22.4. You may want to give each source a code letter
or number; then you can just write the code and the page
numbers on each note card, instead of taking time to recopy
the information or risking the confusion of two authors with
the same last name. If you use computer files and cut and
paste sections from online sources into your note pages, be
especially careful in labeling them with the source and
including quotation marks to remind you the words are writ-
ten by someone else.

Pages 608–613. When writing summary notes and para-
phrasing, you must be systematic about citing or annotating
such information from any source. If a direct quotation serves
your purposes, ensure you write the quote verbatim, put
quotation marks around it, and cite it accurately. In most
cases, paraphrasing is a preferable option. Both paraphrasing
and summary notes must also be cited just as you would
cite a direct quote. Study the text discussions and illustra-
tions of proper paraphrasing, citation, and recording a
modified quote.

In addition to understanding the difference between summary,
paraphrase, and direct quotation, you should also know how
to effectively introduce, interpret, and incorporate material in
your writing. Without proper word choice, source information
can boldly stand out and make your writing difficult to read.

Pages 613–615. Plagiarism is stealing. It’s using another
person’s work and passing it off as your own. Intentional pla-
giarism may actually be prosecuted under certain national and
international intellectual-property statutes. In school, even
careless mistakes can get you into a great deal of trouble. At
the least, plagiarism cab cause you to fail the assignment,
and it can be a cause for failure of the course. Repeated
incidents result in dismissal from school.

English Composition158

To ensure you don’t accidentally plagiarize, the first rule is
simple: Frame direct quotes in quotation marks, properly
introduce paraphrases and summaries, and cite the source
in a proper format. The second rule is also simple: Be sure
material in the public domain, such as quotes from books or
articles written in the nineteenth century, is also properly
cited. Beyond the ethics of academic courtesy, it’s better to
be safe than sorry.

Pages 615–618. For many writers, field research yields
results that can’t be found in published sources. The proper
techniques of conducting interviews, carrying out survey
research, and direct field observation are offered in this

Pages 618–619. If you need help locating sources for a
chosen topic, this section will help. Review the guidelines
covered in this assignment and the previous one.

Self-Check 24

1. Exercise 22.1, on page 613: Practice paraphrasing, using the excerpt provided.

2. Exercise 22.2, on page 615: Evaluate the sample paraphrase and rewrite it if necessary.

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.

Lesson 9 159

Read the assignment in this study guide. Then, in the Successful
College Writing textbook, read Chapter 23, pages 620–679. To
test your progress, complete the self-check.

Now it’s time to see how all that you’ve learned comes
together. It can be demanding and challenging to write a
research paper. First, your initial thesis may be derailed as
you begin your research. For instance, if you decide to write
about homicide trends across the nation, you might assume
that homicide rates in rural areas are lower than in large
cities and focus your thesis accordingly. As you read, one
source leading to another, you may discover that homicide
rates are actually higher in some rural areas than they are
in urban areas like Detroit or Washington, DC. That’s why
flexibility and an open mind are necessary as you do your
preliminary research. Use this assignment to learn all you
can about locating sources, taking notes, and applying the
citation procedures appropriate to your field of study.

When you conduct research for a paper, one of the things
you must do is categorize the information you find. The
“Quick Start” exercise on page 621 shows how to get started.

Pages 622–630. Before you begin the first draft of a research
paper, you must evaluate and organize your sources, much
like you did for your argument. That means breaking the
information down according to purpose, such as providing
background, supporting your thesis, or adding detail. Also,
note any that conflict with another source. You may decide
to discard some information that either doesn’t support your
thesis or simply doesn’t work with the rest of your sources.
Study Figure 23.2 on page 626, which is a sample graphic
organizer for the topic “Voluntary Simplicity.”

Pages 630–636. Carefully study the information on documen-
tation and plagiarism. Using transitions and introductory
phrases helps to integrate the material into your writing
style. (Be sure to cite that material, of course.) Exact words
are always included in direct quotes to clarify that they’re
not your work, but you should also try to blend the material
together smoothly. Pay attention to the proper punctuation
of quotations.

English Composition160

As you revise your paper, be prepared to cut any material
that doesn’t provide support and evidence for your thesis and
lead to a clear conclusion. Remember to let your writing rest
between revisions so you’ll see what it actually says, and not
what you intended it to mean.

Pages 637–640. As you prepare your final draft, pay special
attention to

n Formatting: Note the seven criteria listed on page 637.

n The flowchart: See Figure 23.3 on pages 638–639.

n Editing and proofreading: A list of tips is on pages 639–640.

When completing a writing assignment for a course in English,
a foreign-language, or another humanities field, you’ll need to
use documentation style of the Modern Language Association,
(also called MLA style). Pages 157–199 of The Little, Brown
Essential Handbook explain the purpose of MLA style and
provides detailed information on creating correct citations
for most types of sources. Pay special attention to the differ-
ences between online and print sources.

Pages 640–662. This is a reference section to use in
completing your research paper in the Modern Language
Association (MLA) style for citing sources. This is a vital
reference resource for completing your essay assignment.

When completing a research paper for a course in psychology
or another social sciences, you’ll need to use documentation
style of the American Psychological Association (APA style).
Pages 200–219 of The Little, Brown Essential Handbook
explain the purpose of APA style and provides you with
detailed information on creating correct citations for various
types of sources.

Pages 663–681. This reference section provides American
Psychological Association (APA) conventions for citing sources
in research papers. Study the “Students Write” feature, which
is an example of a properly documented research paper. Pay
close attention to the margin notes.

Lesson 9 161

Read the assignment in this study guide. Then, in the Successful
College Writing textbook, read Chapter 25, pages 716–735. To
test your progress, complete the self-check.

Please note that your text’s Chapter 25, “Essay Examinations
and Portfolios,” ends on page 735. However, your required read-
ing for this chapter ends on page 728. Your focus should be on
the excellent advice and guidelines you’ll find for responding to
essay exam questions. Feel free to skim over the material on
creating a portfolio. However, none of this material will appear
on your exam for Lesson 9.

Required Journal Entry 14: Notes and Citations

Reread “Writing Summary Notes,” “Writing Paraphrases,” and “Avoiding Plagiarism” on pages
611–614 of the textbook. Also review both the MLA and APA formats for citing Internet sources
on textbook pages 652–655 and 673–674. Then, go to http://www.careerbuilder.com. Scroll
to the Job Search Tools section. Click Career Advice from the bulleted list. From the list pro-
vided, choose any article related to a job search. Actively read and reread that article several

Summary: Summarize the article. (1 paragraph, 3–5 sentences)

MLA format: Write an accurate citation for the article using MLA format.

APA format: Write an accurate citation for the article using APA format.

Self-Check 25

1. Exercise 23.1, on page 625: Follow the instructions for one of the three listed topics.

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.

English Composition162

Why do many colleges require students to write essays or essay-
type answers within time limits? Time limits assess the extent to
which students understand ideas or concepts, and their critical-
thinking and writing skills. Because proctored exams are part
of your program requirements, this chapter can help you deal
with time limits while still writing at a college level.

The “Quick Start” exercise is explained on page 717. After
you’ve studied the cartoon, limit your response time to 15
minutes. The exercise will help you prepare for time-limited
writing responses.

Pages 719–722. In this section, you’ll consider four ways to
prepare for essay exams:

n Write out study sheets to organize and/or visualize a
response to an essay or essay question.

n Learn to predict essay exam questions by studying
previous exams and grouping topics into categories.

n Draft possible answers in an outline form based on your

n Reduce your essay outline to an informal key-word outline.

Pages 725–727. The art of taking an essay exam involves
applying all the skills you’ve learned in this course. In addition,
you’re expected read the directions carefully and preview the
exam so you can budget your time for each question. By
following a few guidelines, you can score higher on your exam,
even if you don’t actually know more about the subject
matter than you did before.

When you analyze an exam question, look for the key verbs,
such as identify, explain, or discuss. If the requirement is to
explain, you can probably limit your approach to one point
of view; however, if you’re told to discuss, you must consider
opposing points of view as well as specific examples. Study
Figure 25.1 on page 725, which presents a guide to identify-
ing and understanding the key words found in essay exam
items. Then approach your answer as you would any essay—
compose a thesis statement, develop supporting details, and
proof your answer for obvious errors.

Lesson 9 163

Pages 727–728. Study the sample essay exam question and
the student response. Does the student adequately distinguish
between fads and fashions? Where’s the thesis statement?
What is the five-phase process?

Required Journal Entry 15: Course Reflection

Reflect: Reread what you wrote for Journal Entry 1: “Me, a Writer?” Compare and contrast your
attitude then with your attitude now. Reflect on how knowing who you are as a learner has helped
you with the course activities. Reflect on ways you’ve changed as a writer, reader, and/or thinker
throughout the course. (3 paragraphs, 5 sentences each)

Evaluate: Evaluate this English Composition course. Explain what you found most helpful, least
understandable, and/or least helpful. Suggest ways to improve the course so it better accom-
plishes its objectives for college students. (2 paragraphs, 5 sentences each)

Self-Check 26

1. Exercise 25.1, on page 720: Prepare a study sheet for a topic from one of your semester
courses for use on your proctored exam

2. Exercise 25.2, on pages 720–721: As instructed, use the guidelines for predicting essay
exams and key verbs to create three possible questions.

3. Exercise 25.3, on page 726: Write thesis statements for two of the four essay
exam questions.

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.

English Composition164


The remainder of this course consists of two examinations.
First, you’ll complete the Lesson 9 exam on research and MLA
citation. After the Lesson 9 exam, you’ll complete your final
examination by preparing your course journal for submission.

Now that you’ve spent significant time learning the material
for this course, it’s time to show both what you’ve done and
what you can now do!


Final Examination:
Course Journal
Your course journal should be completed already, because it
was assigned as part of each lesson. Before you prepare the
file and turn in your journal, read through it and make sure
it’s presented in a way that will be easily understood by your
instructor. Remember, the emphasis is on its content (your
thought processes and ideas, rather than structure and con-
ventions), but it still must be understandable.

Review the Course Journal Evaluation Chart, which will be used
to grade your exam. Because the journal counts as 33 percent
of your final grade, it’s important to make sure you include
all 15 entries in the required format and with the necessary

The journal assignments require you to think on paper rather
than demonstrate polished writing. Each entry is rated for the
completeness of the assigned task, as well as the depth and
breadth of thought. Your goal is to demonstrate quality of
thinking, rather than to produce a certain quantity of words
(never write words just to have words). Consider your journal
the place where you interact with yourself in an animated,
thought-provoking written conversation (on which the
instructor then eavesdrops).

Six Levels of Intellectual Thinking

To become familiar with the kinds of thinking that show
learning, study the types of thinking below. They’re based on
Bloom’s revised taxonomy, which defines six levels of intellec-
tual thinking. The levels begin with the lowest or easiest type
of thinking and move to the highest or most complex level.
Your assignments will concentrate on the higher levels of

Remembering. Recall or recognize relevant information.

Understanding. Explain the meaning of what you’ve learned.

Applying. Use what you’ve learned in a different context.


Final Examination166

Analyzing. Break what you’ve learned into parts, and relate
each part to the others and to an overall purpose.

Evaluating. Justify your decision or choice according to
certain criteria (either your own or some specified set).

Creating. Develop something original; put together what
you’ve learned in a new way.

Submitting Your Assignment
To submit the assignment, follow these steps:
1. Type the assignment.
2. Save the document.
3. Go to your Student Portal.
4. Go to My Courses.
5. Find the section for this project.
6. Click on the Take Exam icon.

7. That will bring up a Browse menu. You must then
find where you’ve saved your work in your computer.
The journal should have been saved under your student
number_exam number_last name_first name. Your exam
number for this assignment is 05018300.

8. Click on the exam.
9. Click on Open.
10. Enter a correct e-mail address.
11. Click on Upload file.
12. There’s no need to worry about the project sheet. The
instructor will add one for you.

Essays must be typed, using a standard 12-point font and left justification. Use 1-inch margins at
the top and bottom and 1.25-inch margins for the left and right sides of the document. Single-
space your journal entries, using double-spacing only between entries. (See page 9 of your study
guide for more instructions.) Each page must have a properly formatted header containing your
name, student number, exam number, page number, mailing address, and e-mail address (see
page 6 for an example). Name each document using your student number first, then the six-digit
lesson number, and finally your last name (for example, 23456789_050177 Doe). Save each as
“File Type: Rich Text Format,” regardless of your word-processing program.

Final Examination 167

13. You’ll receive an e-mail within 24 hours that tells you
the exam has been received. You’ll notice a label indicat-
ing RCD on your record next to that exam until a grade
is posted.
14. Exams are evaluated within five days of receipt, although
sometimes they’re evaluated sooner.
15. You’ll receive the evaluation and exam with comments
from an instructor by clicking on View Exam Results
once you see your grade posted.
If you choose to mail the project, here’s the address:
Penn Foster
Student Service Center
925 Oak Street
Scranton, PA 18515-0001

Evaluation Criteria

As noted, your journal takes the place of a final examination
for the course and is worth 33 percent of your course grade.
Your writing will be graded according to the following criteria.

A-level: Your entry shows fresh insight into yourself and the
writing process. You include appropriately specific details to
support what you say as you explore the assignment from
different perspectives or possibilities. You think primarily at
the Analyzing, Evaluating, and Creating levels.

B-level: Although your entry shows a good attempt at the
Creating level, your content is mostly Analyzing and Evaluating.
The entry tends toward a general explanation of the thinking
process leading to the conclusions you give, rather than con-
sidering a different angle on the topic. Your voice seems lost
or mechanical at times, so the conversation sounds a little
forced or stilted instead of naturally flowing from within you.

C-level: You refer to the assignment, but your approach is more
general than specific, superficial or commonplace, instead of
insightful. Your writing lacks depth and complexity or profound
thought. Your discussion is usually at the Understanding,
Applying, and Analyzing levels, rarely moving into Evaluating
or Creating.

The Penn Foster
Student Service Center
is under contract with
Penn Foster College.

Final Examination168

D-level: Your entry is short and perfunctory, merely skimming
the assignment, providing bits and pieces of information about
yourself but with distant or general feeling. Your writing is
too broad and tends to cover areas only loosely related to the
assignment. Specific details are inadequate and without clear
connection to the assignment focus. You, as an individual,
don’t seem to be present because you’re mostly going through
the motions. Your thinking is primarily Remembering and
Understanding with some Applying and perhaps a small
amount of Analyzing.

F-level: Either you don’t write the entry or what you write is
off topic and so general that you shed little or no light on the
assignment’s focus. Few specifics, if any, are given. It’s clear
that you’re merely putting words down for the sake of filling
space rather than interacting with the topic to produce new
and deeper thinking.

Evaluation Rubric

The following table shows the specific criteria for the evaluation
of the journal entries.

Final Examination 169

Course Journal Evaluation Chart

Required Entries A B C D F

Me, a Writer?
Attitude / Inventory

5 4.5 4 3.5 3-2-0

Brainstorm / Thesis 5 4.5 4 3.5 3-2-0

Evidence / Method and organization 5 4.5 4 3.5 3-2-0

Purpose and audience / Thesis, topic sentences,
and paragraphs / Organization / Evidence

10 9 8 7.5 7-5-0

Public Space
Explore / Freewrite 5 4.5 4 3.5 3-2-0

Scene / Actions / Participants / Dialogue /

5 4.5 4 3.5 3-2-0

Sensory details / Comparison / Evaluation 5 4.5 4 3.5 3-2-0

Attitude / Inventory 5 4.5 4 3.5 3-2-0

Comparison and Contrast
Experience / Compare and contrast 5 4.5 4 3.5 3-2-0

Classification and Division
Categories or parts 5 4.5 4 3.5 3-2-0

Classification / Division 5 4.5 4 3.5 3-2-0

Analyze / React 10 9 8 7.5 7-5-0

Web Site Evaluation
Riley / USA 10 9 8 7.5 7-5-0

Notes and Citations
Summary / MLA citation / APA citation 5 4.5 4 3.5 3-2-0

Course Reflection
Reflect / Evaluate 10 9 8 7.5 7-5-0

Date / Heading / Part label / Student information 5 4.5 4 3.5 3-2-0

Student ID: 21772952


When you have completed your exam and reviewed your answers, click Submit Exam. Answers will not be recorded until you
hit Submit Exam. If you need to exit before completing the exam, click Cancel Exam.

Questions 1 to 20: Select the best answer to each question. Note that a question and its answers may be split across a page
break, so be sure that you have seen the entire question and all the answers before choosing an answer.

1. Spotting errors as you proofread is easier if you
A. handwrite your essay.

B. use a clean printed copy each time.

C. read your work from the computer screen.

D. reassess your marked-up copy.

2. A _______ can be used for both organizing and revising an essay.
A. graphic organizer

B. topic sentence

C. flowchart

D. verbal sketch

3. A judicial decision handed down in court uses the _______ level of diction.
A. colloquial

B. informal

C. formal

D. popular

4. Which of the following sentences is without any surface errors?
A. Mr. Campbell gave copies of his novel to Ruth and me.

B. It’s up to Georgia and I who drives the car, whether Celine likes it or not.

C. I reluctantly gave the hamster to my cousin because I was afraid Teddy, my cat, would attack it.

D. The town is located near just a few miles from lake Ontario.

5. Which of the following sentences uses parallelism effectively?
A. The report was good because it was factual and offered many details.

B. The large plant-eating dinosaurs were quite slow, rather stupid, and extremely hungry.

C. The Red Sox fans screamed, yelled, and were applauding wildly.

D. Laura spent all her time gardening and arranging flowers, when she wasn’t in a shoe store to shop.

6. While reviewing an essay, what should be your main purpose in applying questions of who, what, when,
where, and why?

A. To be sure your evidence provides sufficient detail

B. To organize your evidence

C. To clarify your topic sentences

D. To compare your thesis statement with your conclusion

7. Which sentence should be edited to eliminate its cliché?
A. The texture of the burlap was a cross between woven straw and a three-day beard.

B. I wanted to hire Dave, but a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

C. The family was immensely relieved when Great-Aunt Martha’s condition progressed from “critical” to “it looks like she’ll live
another 10 years.”

D. Striding toward the barn in her red coverall and bucket hat, Gloria–tall and round–gave the impression of a charging silo.

8. Which of the following is a compound sentence?
A. Butterflies and hummingbirds feed on the nectar of flowering plants.

B. Because fraud is so common in some corporations, regulatory agencies are overworked.

C. Because Viceroy butterflies migrate over very great distances, tracking them is a challenge to entomologists.

D. Corporate fraud is becoming more common in the United States, and the civil courts are being stretched to their limits.

9. Which of the following correctly uses a transitional word or phrase?
A. Kara has been happily trying lots of new activities lately. For example, she took up needlepoint on the advice of her

B. First impressions are so important in both personal and professional life. Addison shaved off his beard.

C. The floodwaters receded. The bridge could be inspected.

D. Sadly, Mark broke his leg during the performance. The director regretted casting him in the part.

10. Which of the following sentences contains a redundancy?
A. Steve admired the partially completed stadium.

B. At no time did Tony indicate a willingness to admit defeat.

C. Emily’s sister gave birth to a pair of twins.

D. Chris had trouble working up even mild enthusiasm for Mike’s plan.

11. As you’re revising an essay, you write down several sentences to describe your intended readers. Why
should you do this?
A. To see if your essay is directed toward its intended audience

B. To ensure that your essay will entertain the audience

C. To make sure you’re writing what you know, not what you believe

D. To ensure that you’re instructing your audience adequately

12. Nathan argues that each paragraph in a narrative should support the author’s thesis. Nan says that
paragraphs in a narrative should illuminate some part of the action. Which one is correct?
A. Neither Nathan nor Nan is correct.

B. Only Nan is correct.

C. Both Nathan and Nan are correct.

D. Only Nathan is correct.

13. Which of the following is a good rule to follow when proofreading an essay?
A. Scan the essay twice, once for organization and once for surface errors.

B. Ask your best friend to critique your essay.

C. Read the essay aloud to hear where words are missing or awkward phrasings or grammatical errors occur.

D. Use the computer’s spell-check and grammar-check functions to be sure you catch any errors.

14. Which statement about sentence lengths in a written piece is true?
A. Short sentences tend to move ideas quickly.

B. Varying sentence type has no appreciable effect on relative sentence length.

C. Regardless of the sentence type, the audience tends to read at its own pace.

D. In spite of their name, compound-complex sentences are usually shorter than compound or complex sentences.

15. Which of the following sentences contains a dependent clause?
A. Please clear the table and wash the dishes.

B. Jared eagerly climbed into the boxing ring; he was on his back and out for the count in less than ten seconds.

C. Kicking and leaping, the three deer behaved like rambunctious rabbits.

D. The red sports car that was parked under the tree belongs to Alan.

16. Which of the following sentences uses concrete language?
A. When I saw Susan, she was reading a book.

B. I met Cathy at a store on a street near the bridge.

C. Jerry saw that the glass was really dirty.

D. Danny’s Labrador retriever eagerly chases tennis balls.

17. Which of the following sentences uses a coordinating conjunction in a compound sentence?
A. The budget payment is much higher than we anticipated, but the price of heating oil has skyrocketed this year.

B. My aunt, who usually behaves like a queen, was suddenly asking–no, begging–for help.

C. We fired our old housekeeper, who we thought had stolen Grandma’s rings; we later regretted it.

D. Out in the yard, the children shouted loudly and threw silly insults at each other.

18. A student who regularly tracks mistakes in spelling, verb forms, and parallelism is probably
A. using a flowchart.

B. analyzing the essays’ organization.

C. focusing on learning style.

D. keeping an error log.

19. Which of the following sentences contains an error in subject-verb agreement?
A. Either Dennis or Susan is going to pick you up.

B. Each of the 14 groups are going to contribute an item to the auction.

C. Which one of these shirts is your favorite?

End of exam

D. Kristy, Molly, and Kate attend the same university and ride the bus together.

20. To compose strong, compelling sentences, avoid using
A. short, simple sentences.

B. clauses as modifiers.

C. dependent clauses.

D. forms of the verb to be.

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Exam: 050174RR – BASIC GRAMMAR

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Questions 1 to 20: Select the best answer to each question. Note that a question and its answers may be split across a page
break, so be sure that you have seen the entire question and all the answers before choosing an answer.

1. Which of the following is an example of a third-person pronoun?
A. Them

B. Yourselves

C. Us

D. Ourselves

2. What is the difference between a clause and a phrase?
A. A phrase always contains a preposition.

B. A clause has a subject and a verb, but a phrase doesn’t.

C. A clause always contains a preposition.

D. A phrase has a subject and a verb, but a clause doesn’t.

3. Which of the following contains a correct, standard use of a comma?
A. The warrior, ran to safety but the soldier stood and fought.

B. The warrior ran to safety, but the soldier stood and fought.

C. The warrior ran to safety but, the soldier stood and fought.

D. The warrior ran to safety but the soldier stood, and fought.

4. In which of the following sentences is an adverb used correctly?
A. She is a beautifully singer.

B. She sang beautifully.

C. She sang a beautiful song.

D. She sang the song beautiful.

5. In the following sentence, identify the prepositional phrase, and tell whether it acts as an adjective or
The children found the pictures in the book interesting.
A. found the pictures; adverb

B. in the book; adjective

C. the pictures in; adjective

D. The children; adjective

6. Which of the following would you most often be able to find in a basic dictionary?
A. An illustrated picture of a word you don’t already know

B. A list of newspapers that frequently use a word you don’t already know

C. A narrative story featuring a word you don’t already know

D. The pronunciation of a word you don’t already know

7. In the following sentence, which words are nouns?
During their vacation, Sarah and Matthew read the same book.
A. vacation, Sarah, Matthew, and book

B. vacation and book

C. their and book

D. Sarah, Matthew, the, and book

8. Which of the following is a correct statement about punctuation?
A. Punctuation is usually an extra, unnecessary part of a sentence.

B. Each direct question should end with a period.

C. Punctuation marks show pauses, inflection, and emphasis.

D. The two types of punctuation are beginning and external.

9. Which of the following is an example of a proper noun?
A. John G. Roberts, Jr.

B. Gavel

C. Him

D. Justice

10. Which of the following words has three syllables?
A. Multiplication

B. Exponential

C. Division

D. Fraction

11. Which of the following is not a synonym of the word beautiful?
A. Stunning

B. Gorgeous

C. Gritty

D. Attractive

12. In the following sentence, which words are used as adjectives?
The golden rays of the bright sun reflected off the clear waters of the calm lake.
A. The, of, in, clear, and calm

B. The, rays, the, sun, the, waters, the, and lake

C. The, golden, the, bright, the, clear, the, and calm

D. Golden, rays, clear, and waters

13. Which of the following is an example of an infinitive phrase?
A. which had been running

B. having been running

C. running

D. to run

14. Three of the following statements about a verb are true. Which statement is false?
A. A verb makes a statement about the subject of a sentence.

B. A verb can express a state of being.

C. A verb can express action.

D. A verb takes the place of adjectives.

15. Which of the following words would require the article a, instead of an?
A. Igloo

B. Elderly

C. Honest

D. Hotel

16. Which of the following is a false statement about a basic dictionary?
A. In a basic dictionary, pictures are provided of every word.

B. A basic dictionary is organized in alphabetical order.

C. The pronunciation of words is provided in a basic dictionary.

D. Various types of words are included a basic dictionary.

17. Of the following, which correctly describes the complete predicate of a sentence?
A. The prepositional phrase

B. All of the sentence except the complete subject

C. All of the sentence except the simple subject

D. The verb

18. Which of the following is not a primary sentence pattern for asking questions in English?
A. Subject, action verb, direct object, helping verb

B. Adjective/pronoun, subject, interrogative verb

C. Adverb, verb, subject

D. Helping verb, subject, main verb

19. What is the difference between abstract nouns and concrete nouns?
A. Concrete nouns can be identified by the senses, but abstract nouns can’t.

B. Abstract nouns describe something, but concrete nouns don’t.

C. There is no difference.

D. Abstract nouns are specific, but concrete nouns aren’t.

End of exam

20. Which of the following is an antonym of the word happy?
A. Jovial

B. Joyful

C. Miserable

D. Blissful

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Questions 1 to 20: Select the best answer to each question. Note that a question and its answers may be split across a page
break, so be sure that you have seen the entire question and all the answers before choosing an answer.

1. The principles for supplying evidence in support of a thesis could be represented
by an acronym: RSVSRA. According to the information in your text, the two “Rs”
could stand for
A. representative and revealing.

B. revealing and relevant.

C. relevant and representative.

D. respectful and revealing.

2. Which of the following is a common error in composing a thesis statement?
A. Your thesis statement contains two or more central points.

B. You offer an original perspective on a familiar theme.

C. Your thesis statement is specific as opposed to general.

D. You focus your thesis statement after you begin writing.

3. Please read the following excerpt from an essay, and answer the question that follows.
I’ve never actually met a real live humorist. Well, not in person at any rate. However, one summer, having
a lot of time on my hands, I discovered unexpected treasures lurking in the local public library. Among the
nuggets I unearthed in those musty stacks was a book by humorist Robert Benchley. To this day I
remember one of his quips. He wrote, “There are two kinds of people in this world; those who divide the
world into two kinds of people and those who don’t.” After laughing out loud, I became pensive. I
wondered why the quip was so funny. A year or so later, I formed a theory. Humor is based on the
unexpected.(br)In the passage above, the topic sentence and the thesis are one and the same.
In the paragraph about Robert Benchley, what types of evidence does the writer use to support his thesis,
other than narration?
A. Historical background

B. Comparison and contrast

C. Example

D. Classification

4. Please read the following excerpt from an essay, and answer the question that follows. In the
passage, the sentences are numbered to help you respond to the question.
(1) Biologically, adolescence is marked by hormonal changes that produce secondary sexual characteristics.
(2) These include breast development in females and beard growth in males. (3) Psychologically, however,
adolescence is a concept that applies only to modern industrial societies. (4) In fact, in most preliterate or
tribal societies, the modern American idea of adolescence simply does not exist. (5) In such societies, the

social roles of adulthood are to be learned during childhood. (6) Then, around the time of biological
puberty, a child becomes an adult through a ritual anthropologists call a rite of passage. (7) By contrast, in
American society, adolescence amounts to a sort of social and cultural limbo. (8) Informally, the end of
childhood is often marked by one’s thirteenth birthday. The child is now a “teenager.” (9) More formally,
the end of adolescence is marked by legal strictures that vary irrationally. (10) In a given state the age of
sexual consent may be 16 for girls and 18 for boys. (11) An 18-year-old may vote or enlist to die for his
country, but, until he reaches age 21, he may not legally purchase alcoholic beverages.
In the paragraph, the thesis is best suggested
A. in sentences 3 and 4.

B. by what the reader decides about the actual nature of adolescence.

C. through an implied topic sentence.

D. in sentences 1 and 3.

5. Please read the following excerpt from an essay, and answer the question that follows.
After Sean was arrested for breaking into a pawnshop, I began to wonder. Why did some kids from my
neighborhood end up in trouble while most of us didn’t? I started out with a question: What causes young
people to make bad choices? Now, after two years of research, I’ve arrived at the conclusion that there is
no simple answer. There is no one reason why good kids go bad, but there are typical reasons.
According to my research, teenagers are most likely to get into trouble if they hang out with a bad crowd.
That’s because people learn their values from the people they associate with. So a very big reason for bad
behavior is imitating one’s peers. But there are other important factors as well. Kids who get in trouble are
often school dropouts. Also, kids being raised by a single mother are more likely to get in trouble than kids
raised in an intact family. Substance abuse also plays a role, especially when it comes to alcohol and legal
or illegal drugs.
What method of organization is used by the writer?
A. Most-to-least

B. Chronological

C. Least-to-most

D. Spatial

6. Lillian is looking for ideas to write about, and she decides to make a list of everything she can think of
that relates to the topic of teenage romance. Which concept best describes Lillian’s strategy?
A. Brainstorming

B. Mapping

C. Free association

D. Outlining

7. Which of the following titles is made more effective by alliteration?
A. Ruby, the Rose of Roslyn

B. Guns: Our Lethal Heritage

C. Now You See It; Now You Don’t

D. What’s in a Name?

8. What is the dominant pattern of development in this passage?
Having been raised on a dairy farm in rural Minnesota, Lorie Ann Kline was having trouble adjusting to life
in the city and to Central High School. In a conference with her parents, the school guidance counselor
explained that Lorie Ann avoided talking to her fellow students and sat by herself in the lunchroom.

Perhaps most disturbing, her grades were not what one would expect given her high scholastic aptitude
scores. Mrs. Kline agreed that Lorie Ann was often shy around strangers. A solemn Mr. Kline explained
that his daughter had been severely bullied by two older children who had lived at the farm for a short time.
The guidance counselor nodded in understanding.
A. Narration

B. Description

C. Process

D. Comparison and contrast

9. One of the benefits to highlighting key points is that
A. it ensures active reading.

B. it sorts the good ideas from the bad ideas.

C. it eliminates note taking.

D. you can skim, rather than read every word.

10. As a general rule, where in your essay is it best to place your thesis statement?
A. In the first, introductory paragraph of the essay

B. Anywhere at all, because the best thesis statement is implied, not specified

C. In the second or third paragraph of the body of the essay

D. At the end of the essay, as part of the conclusion

11. Please read the following excerpt from an essay. The sentences are numbered to help you
respond to the question that follows.
(1) After Sean was arrested for breaking into a pawnshop, I began to wonder. (2) Why did some kids from
my neighborhood end up in trouble while most of us didn’t? (3) I started out with a question: What causes
young people to make bad choices? (4) Now, after two years of research, I’ve arrived at the conclusion
that there is no simple answer. (5) There is no one reason why good kids go bad, but there are typical
(6) According to my research, teenagers are most likely to get into trouble if they hang out with a bad
crowd. (7) That’s because people learn their values from the people they associate with. (8) So a very big
reason for bad behavior is imitating one’s peers. (9) But there are other important factors as well. (10) Kids
who get in trouble are often school dropouts. (11) Also, kids being raised by a single mother are more likely
to get in trouble than kids raised in an intact family. (12) Substance abuse also plays a role, especially when
it comes to alcohol and legal or illegal drugs.
In which sentence or sentences do you find the thesis statement in this excerpt?
A. 2

B. 3

C. 5

D. 4 and 5

12. Please read the following excerpt from an essay. The sentences are numbered to help you
respond to the question that follows.
(1) After Sean was arrested for breaking into a pawnshop, I began to wonder. (2) Why did some kids from
my neighborhood end up in trouble while most of us didn’t? (3) I started out with a question: What causes
young people to make bad choices? (4) Now, after two years of research, I’ve arrived at the conclusion
that there is no simple answer. (5) There is no one reason why good kids go bad, but there are typical

(6) According to my research, teenagers are most likely to get into trouble if they hang out with a bad
crowd. (7) That’s because people learn their values from the people they associate with. (8) So a very big
reason for bad behavior is imitating one’s peers. (9) But there are other important factors as well. (10) Kids
who get in trouble are often school dropouts. (11) Also, kids being raised by a single mother are more likely
to get in trouble than kids raised in an intact family. (12) Substance abuse also plays a role, especially when
it comes to alcohol and legal or illegal drugs.
Sentence 7 of the excerpt is an example of
A. an opinion.

B. random evidence.

C. a supporting explanation.

D. a conclusion.

13. Please read the following excerpt from an essay, and answer the question that follows.
Biologically, adolescence is marked by hormonal changes that produce secondary sexual characteristics.
These include breast development in females and beard growth in males. Psychologically, however,
adolescence is a concept that applies only to modern industrial societies. In fact, in most preliterate or tribal
societies, the modern American idea of adolescence simply does not exist. In such societies, the social roles
of adulthood are to be learned during childhood. Then, around the time of biological puberty, a child
becomes an adult through a ritual anthropologists call a rite of passage. By contrast, in American society,
adolescence amounts to a sort of social and cultural limbo. Informally, the end of childhood is often
marked by one’s thirteenth birthday. The child is now a “teenager.” More formally, the end of adolescence
is marked by legal strictures that vary irrationally. In a given state the age of sexual consent may be 16 for
girls and 18 for boys. An 18-year-old may vote or enlist to die for his country, but, until he reaches age 21,
he may not legally purchase alcoholic beverages.
If the topic of this paragraph is adolescence, which of the following statements best captures or reiterates
the thesis?
A. Adolescence is defined differently in different societies.

B. Adolescence is an irrational concept.

C. Adolescence is an aspect of modern society.

D. Western society has no single concept of adolescence.

14. Which of the following types of figurative language can be used to make something that is unpleasant
seem better?
A. Euphemism

B. Denotation

C. Inference

D. Opinion

15. In searching out the key elements as you read an essay, you’re most likely to discover the author’s
support for his or her claims or ideas in the
A. conclusion.

B. title.

C. introductory paragraph.

D. body of the essay.

16. An active reader who is assigned an essay to read will begin by

End of exam

A. skimming the entire essay.

B. previewing specific parts of the essay.

C. researching the subject of the essay.

D. reading the entire essay.

17. To narrow a general topic you’ve selected, which pair of techniques is most likely to be effective?
A. Questioning and choosing an issue that interests you

B. Freewriting and questioning

C. Branching diagram and questioning

D. Using a branching diagram and consulting your journal

18. Karen asserts that a thesis statement is best developed as part of the prewriting process. Kyle claims
that a thesis statement should be completely developed before the writer is sure of the topic. Who is

A. Neither Karen nor Kyle is correct.

B. Both Karen and Kyle are correct.

C. Only Kyle is correct.

D. Only Karen is correct.

19. Carmen asserts that a strong conclusion to an essay should look ahead and present a call for action.
Carl agrees, except he insists that a strong conclusion should restate the thesis verbatim. Who is correct?
A. Only Carl is correct.

B. Neither Carmen nor Carl is correct.

C. Both Carmen and Carl are correct.

D. Only Carmen is correct.

20. Your topic is courtesy, and you’re writing from the point of view of a caring mentor. Which of the
following sentences is most persuasive for an audience of high school graduates from a working-class
A. Courtesy yields profits to the impecunious as well as to the wealthy.

B. Courtesy is the oil that lubricates the machinery of discourse.

C. Remember that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

D. Courtesy to others shows self-respect as much as it does respect for others.

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Questions 1 to 20: Select the best answer to each question. Note that a question and its answers may be split across a page
break, so be sure that you have seen the entire question and all the answers before choosing an answer.

1. Why is it helpful to search for a bibliography on a topic?
A. A bibliography can provide you with a list of various sources on your topic.

B. A bibliography search normally isn’t helpful.

C. Once you complete the basic bibliography search, you’re finished finding sources.

D. A bibliography provides only books you can use as sources.

2. Which of the following is not a tip that can help you find good sources for a topic?
A. Have a narrowed topic and working thesis.

B. Limit yourself to one source in the beginning.

C. Keep track of citation information for each source.

D. Have a clear system of notetaking.

3. Which of the following is not a generalization?
A. On every college campus athletes get special treatment.

B. Nothing is made in America anymore.

C. Soccer is a sport that involves a ball.

D. Women mature faster than men.

4. Which of the following is an example of opinion?
A. Abraham Lincoln presented the Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863.

B. The color blue sometimes signifies sadness or depression.

C. The Canadian men’s hockey team won the gold medal in the 2010 Winter Olympics.

D. Organic food should be made more affordable.

5. Prewriting can be helpful when trying to narrow a topic because it
A. can reveal an idea that may become your thesis.

B. can usually be submitted as the final essay.

C. sorts good ideas from bad.

D. helps you eliminate ideas that would support your thesis.

6. What should you do if you can’t find all the needed elements for an MLA citation of an Internet source?
A. List the information that you do find in the normal order and format.

B. Make up the missing information.

C. Omit a citation for the source.

D. Contact the website to get the missing information.

7. Which of the following is an example of a secondary source?
A. Stephen King’s letters to his editor

B. A novel by Stephen King

C. A biography of Stephen King

D. An interview with Stephen King

8. Regarding the punctuation of quotations, which of the following sentences is correct?
A. The decision was unequivocal: “The Constitution permits legislative review” (Quayle 128).

B. Leslie and Farmer, declared, “Life among the Lakota is in accord with nature (68).”

C. Grant and Farrell argue that “charges of Wall Street corruption are nothing new. (43)”

D. As Longstreet and Smyth report “There is no exception to the rule” (136).

9. Why is it better to rely on information from scholarly journals, not magazines, in academic writing?
A. Scholarly journals are more entertaining, magazines are more reliable

B. Scholarly journals are more difficult to find.

C. Magazines are entertaining, which means they can’t be educational.

D. Authors in scholarly journals are generally specialists in their field.

10. Which of the following is a false statement about an APA References page?
A. You should put the list on a separate page at the end of your paper.

B. You should organize the list according to publication date, with the oldest date first.

C. You should italicize titles of books and names of journals.

D. You should double-space the entire list.

11. In which of the following situations would paraphrasing be useful and ethical?
A. You want to use an author’s idea but don’t wish to quote the author directly.

B. You want to change the author’s meaning.

C. You don’t fully understand what the author is saying.

D. You wish to make it seem as if the author’s ideas are yours.

12. In MLA style, how long must a quote be to be a block quotation?
A. More than 8 lines

B. More than 2 lines

C. 50 words or more

D. More than 4 lines

13. Which of the following is a true statement about an MLA Works Cited page?
A. The Works Cited page requires no special formatting.

B. The Works Cited page should immediately follow the conclusion and be on the same page.

C. The Works Cited page should contain any information you found when completing research.

D. The Works Cited page should be alphabetized.

14. Which of the following would not be considered plagiarism?
A. Using graphs, tables, diagrams that someone else created, without citing them

B. Acknowledging a source when directly quoting but not including quotation marks

C. Summarizing source information and including a citation on the Works Cited page

D. Submitting an essay that a friend submitted several years ago

15. Why should academic writers use the third-person point of view for a research paper?
A. This point of view allows you to be more objective in your writing.

B. When using this point of view, you can easily switch to a different point of view.

C. This point of view limits your credibility.

D. This point of view keeps your writing simple.

16. Which of the following do you not normally need to take into consideration when determining if an
author is biased?
A. The author’s background and its effects on the writing

B. The tone of the writing

C. The descriptive and connotative language used in the writing

D. Your age as a reader

17. Which of the following is an example of a primary source?
A. Benjamin Franklin’s diary

B. A biography of Benjamin Franklin

C. A website that tells stories about Benjamin Franklin

D. A journal article that reviews various reports on Benjamin Franklin

18. Suppose that you’re going to interview someone in preparation for writing a research paper on teaching
techniques for macroeconomics. For this topic, who would be the best person to interview?
A. The president of a university

B. An economist

C. A professor of macroeconomics

D. A student in a macroeconomics course

19. It’s permissible to delete a word from a direct quotation as long as you don’t change the meaning of the
quote. To indicate your deletion in the quote, you would
A. use a hyphen in place of the deleted word or passage.

B. write the “deleted” in that space.

C. mark the deleted space with a comma before and after the deleted word.

D. use an ellipsis to designate a deletion.

End of exam

20. You’re preparing an essay on working conditions in a shirt factory. Which of the following tips does
your text offer for doing that effectively?
A. Skip taking notes since they can influence your opinion.

B. Finalize your thesis before beginning your research.

C. Evaluate your dominant first impressions.

D. Visit a different factory first so you can compare the two.

Comparison and Contrast:
Showing Similarities
and Differences


the photograph on the opposite page showing someone using Wii to
playing a game of golf. Think about how simulating the play of a sport

Wii is similar to and different from actually playing the sport.
Make two lists-ways that playing the real sport and the Wii version are

and ways that the real and Wii versions are different. You might choose
write about golf or select a different sport. In your lists, include details

the level of physical activity, types of skills required, interaction with
players, the setting. and so on. Then write a paragraph comparing the

‘xnpripncp<; of playing the sport using Wii and playing the actual sport.


374 CHAPTER 16



Your paragraph about playing the actual and the Wii versions of a Sport is an example
of comparison-and-contrast writing. You may have written about the similarities and
differences in equipment required, physical exertion involved, and so forth. In addi­
tion, you probably organized your paragraph in one of two ways: (1) by writing about
playing the Wii version and then writing about playing the actual sport (or vice versa)
or (2) by discussing each point of similarity or difference with examples from Wi


and the actual sport. This chapter will show you how to write effective comparison or
contrast essa}’5 as well as how to incorporate comparison and contrast into essays using
orher patterns of development.

What Are Comparison and Contrast?

Using comparison and contrast involves looking at both similarities and differences.
AnalYLing similarities and differences is a useful decision-making skill that
daily. You make comparisons when you shop for a pair of jeans, select a sandwich in
the cafeteria, Or choose a television program to watch. You also compare alternatives
when you make important decisions about which college to attend, which field to ma­
jor in, and which person to date.

You will find many occasions to use comparison and contrast in the writing you
do in college and on the job (see the accompanying box for a few examples). In most
essays of this type you will use one of two primary methods of organization, as the
following two readings illustrate. The first essay, “Amusing Ourselves to Depth:
Is The Onion Out Most Intelligent Newspaper?” by Greg Beato, uses a point­
by-point organization. The writer moves back and form between his two subjects (The
Onion and traditional newspapers), comparing them on me basis of several key points
or characteristics. The second essay, Ian Frazier’s “Dearly Disconnected,” uses a subject­
by-subject organ.iza.tion. Here the author describes the key points or characteristics of
one subject (pay phones) before moving on to those of his other subject (cell phones).

GREG 375


Amusing Ourselves to Depth: Is The Onion
Our Most Intelligent Newspaper?
Greg Beato

Greg Beato is a San Francisco-based writer who has written for such publications as Spin


Wired, Business 2.0, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He created the webzine Traff1c in 1995
and was a frequent contributor to the webzlne Suck. cam from 1996 to 2000. He also main­
tains a blog about media and culture, Soundbitten, which he started in 1997. This essay was
published in Reason, a libertarian magazine, in 2007. As you read, notice how Beato uses
comparison and contrast to make his case for the validity of “fake news••

In August 1988, college junior Tim Keck borrowed $7,000 from his mom, rented a Mac


Plus, and published a twelve-page newspaper. His ambition was hardly the stuff of
future Journalism symposiums: He wanted to create a compelling way to deliver adver­
tising to his fellow students. Part of the first issue’s front page was devoted to a story
about a monster running amok at a local lake; the rest was reserved for beer and pizza

Almost twenty years later, The Onion stands as one of the newspaper industry’s few 2
great success stories in the post-newspaper era. Currently, it prints 710,000 copies
of each weekly edition, roughly 6,000 more than the Denver Post, the nation’s ninth.
largest daily. Its syndicated radio dispatches reach a weekly audience of one million,
and it recently started producing video clips too. Roughly three thousand local adver­
tisers keep The Onion afloat, and the paper plans to add 170 employees to its staff of
130 this year.

Online it attracts more than two million readers a week. Type onion into Google, and 3
The Onion pops up first. Type the into Google. and The Onion pops up first. But type
“best practices for newspapers’ into Google, and The Onion is nowhere to be found.
Maybe it should be. At a time when traditional newspapers are frantic to divest them.
selves ortheir newsy, papery legacies, The Onion takes a surprisingly conservative
approach to innovation. As much as it has used and benefited from the Web, it owes

ueh of its success to low-tech attributes readily available to any paper but ~onethe-
in short supply: candor, irreverence, and a willingness to offend.

other newspapers desperately add gardening sections. ask readers to share 4
favorite bratwurst recipes, or throw their staffers to ravenous packs of bloggers for

question-and-answer sessions, The Onion has focused on reporting the news_
fake news, sure, but still the news. It doesn’t ask readers to post their comments

end of stories, altow them to rate stories on a scale of one to five, or encourage
It makes no effort to convince readers that it realty does understand their

and exists only to serve them. The Onion’s journalists concentrate on writing
and then getting them out there in a variety offormats. and this relatively old­

approach to newspapering has been tremendously successful.

any other newspapers that can boast a 60 percent increase in their print
during the last three years? Yet as traditional newspapers fail to draw


readers, only industry mavericks like the New York Times’ Jayson Blair and USA Today’s
Jack Kelley have looked to The Onion for inspiration.

One reason The Onion isn’t taken more seriously is that it’s actually fun to read. In
1985 the cultural critic Neil Postman published the influential Amusing Ourselves to
Death, which warned of the fate that would befall us if public discourse were allowed
to become substantially more entertaining than, say, a Neil Postman book. Today

newspapers are eager to entertain – in their Travel, Food, and Style sections, that is.

But even as scope creep has made the average big·city tree killer less portable than a

ten-year-old laptop, hard news invariably comes in a single flavor: Double Objectivity


Too many high priests of journalism still see humor as the enemy of seriousness:
If the news goes down too easily, It can’t be very good foryott. But do The ctnion and
its more fact-based acolytes, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, monitor current
events and the way the news media report on them any less rigorously than, say, the

Columbia Journalism Review or USA Today?
During the last few years, multiple surveys by the Pew Research Center and the

Annenberg Public Policy Center have found that viewers of The Daily Show and The
Colbert Report are among America’s most informed citizens. Now, it may be that Jon
Stewart isn’t making anyone smarter; perhaps America’s most informed citizens

simply prefer comedy over the stentorian drivel the network anchormannequins dis­

pense. But at the very least, such surveys suggest that news sharpened with satire

doesn’t cause the intellectual coronaries Postman predicted. Instead, it seems to

correlate with engagement.

It’s easy to see why readers connect with The Onion, and it’s not just the jokes: De­ 9
spite its “fake news” purview, it’s an extremely honest publication, Most dailies, espe·

ciallythose in monopoly or near-monopoly markets, operate as if they’re focused more

on not offending readers (or advertisers) than on expressing a worldview of any kind.

The Onion takes the opposite approach. It delights in crapping on pieties and regula~y
publishes stories guaranteed to upset someone: “Christ Kills Two, Injures Seven, in

Abortion·Clinic Attack.” “Heroic PETA Commandos Kill 49, Save Rabbit.” “Gay Pride


Siegel once told a lecture audience that the paper was “very nearly sued out of

existence» after it ran a story with the headline “Dying Boy Gets Wish: To Pork Janet

Jackson,” But if this irreverence is sometimes economically inconvenient, it’s also a

major reason for the publication’s popularity. It’s a refreshing antidote to the he-said/
she·said balancing acts that leave so many dailies sounding mealy-mouthed. And

while The Onion may not adhere to the facts too strictly, it would no doubt place high
if the Pew Research Center ever included it in a survey ranking America’s most trusted
news sources.

During the last few years, big-city dailies have begun to introduce “commuter” pa­

pers that function as lite versions of their original fare. These publications share some

of The Onion’s attributes: They’re free, they’re tablOids, and most of their stories are
l>ite-sized, But whik! they !!lay be less filling, they still taste bland_ You have to wonder:
Why stop at price and paper size? Why not adopt the brutal frankness, the willingness

to pierce orthodoxies of all political and cultural stripes, and apply these attributes to
a genuinely reported daily newspaper?

Today’s publishers give comic strips less and less space. Editorial cartoonists and

folksy syndicated humorists have been nearly eradicated. Such changes have helped

make newspapers more entertaining-or at least less dull-but they’re just a start,

Until today’s front pages can amuse our staunchest defenders of journalistic integrity
to severe dyspepSia, if not death, they’re not trying hard enough.


Dearly Disconnected
Ian Frazier

Ian Frazier is an American writer and humorist whose books include Great Plains (1989),
family (1996), Travels In Siberia (2010), and several collections of columns he wrote for
The New Yorker magazine both as a staff writer and independently. The following essay



Parade Sets Mainstream Acceptance of Gays Back 50 Years.” There’s no predictable

ideology running through those headlines, just a desire to express some rude, blunt

truth aboutthe world.

One common complaint about newspapers is that they’re too negative, too focused

on bad news, too obsessed with the most unpleasant aspects of life. The Onion shows
how wrong this characterization is. how gingerly most newspapers dance around the

unrelenting awfulness of life and refuse to acknowledge the limits of our tolerance

and compassion. The perfunctory coverage that traditional newspapers give disasters

in countries cursed with relatability issues is reduced to its bare, dismal essence:

“15,000 Brown People Dead Somewhere.” Beggars aren’t grist for Pulitzers, just

lines: “Man Can’t Decide Whether to Give Sandwich to Homeless or Ducks.”
of the human spirit are as rare as vegans at an NRA barbecue: “loved Ones Recall

Man’s Cowardly Battle with Cancer.”
Such headlines come with a cost, of course. Outraged readers have convinced

advertisers to pull ads. Ginger Rogers and Denzel Washington, among other celebri­

ties, have objected to stories featuring their names, and former Onion editor Robert

was adapted from a column that appeared in MotherJones magazine in 2000. As you read,
highlight the key points FraZier makes about pay phones and cell phones and his attitude
toward each.

was living by myself in an A-frame cabin in northwestern Mon­
tana. The cabin’s interior was a Single high-ceilinged room, and at the center of the

mounted on the rough-hewn log that held up the ceiling beam, was a tele.
phone. The woman I would marry was living in Sarasota, Florida, and the distance

between us suggests how well we were getting along at the time. We had not been in

for several months; she had no phone. One day she decided to call me from a
phone. We talked for a while, and after her coins ran out I jotted the number on

wood beside my phone and called her back. A day or two later, thinking about the
wanted to talk to her again. The only number I had for her was the pay phone

I’d written down.

pay phone was on the street some blocks from the apartment where she

. As it happened, though, she had just stepped out to do some errands a few



minutes before I called, and she was passing by on the sidewalk when the phone rang.
She had no reason to think that a public phone ringing on a busy street would be for
her. She stopped, listened to it ring again, and picked up the receiver. Love is pure
luck; somehow I had known she would answer, and she had known it would he me.

Long afterwards, on a trip to Disney World in Orlando with our two kids, then aged
six and two, we made a special detour to Sarasota to show them the pay phone. It
didn’t impress them much. It’s just a nondescript Bell Atlantic pay phone on the ce­
ment wall of a building, by the vestibule. But its ordinariness and even boringness only
make me like it more; ordinary places where extraordinary events have occurred are
my favorite kind. On my mental map of Florida that pay phone is a landmark looming
ahove the city it occupies, and a notable, if private, historic site.

I’m interested in pay phones in general these days, especially when I get the feel­
ing that they are about to go away. Technology, in the form of sleek little phones in our
pockets, has swept on hythem and made them begin to seem antique. My lifelong en·
tanglement with pay phones dates me; when I was young they were just there, a given,
often as stuhhorn and uncongenial as the curbstone underfoot. They were instruments
of torture sometimes. You had to feed them fistfuls of change in those pre-phone-card
days, and the operator was a real person who stood maddeningly between you and
whomever you were trying to call. And when the call went wrong, as communication
often does, the pay phone gave you a focus for your rage. Pay phones were always
getting smashed up, the receivers shattered to hits against the booth, the coin slots
jammed with chewing gum, the cords yanked out and unraveled to the floor.

There was always a touch of seediness and sadness to pay phones, and a sense
of transience. Drug dealers made calls from them, and shady types who did not want
their whereahouts known, and otherwise respectable people planning assignations,
and people too poorto have phones of their own. In the movies, any characterwho
used a pay phone was either in trouble or contemplating a crime_ Mostly, pay phones
evoked the mundane: UHoney, I’m just leaving. I’ll he there soon.” But you could teU
that a lot of undifferentiated humanity had flowed through these places, and that in
the muteness of each pay phone’s little space, wild emotion had howled.

The phone on the wall of the concession stand at Redwood Pool, where I used to
stand dripping and call my mom to come and pick me up; the sweaty phones used
almost only by men in the hallway outside the maternity ward at Lenox Hill Hospital in
New York; the phone in the old wood-paneled phone booth with leaded glass windows
in the drugstore in my Ohio hometown – each one is as specific as a birthmark, a point
on earth unlike any other. Recently I went back to New York City after a long absence
and tried to find a working pay phone. I picked up one receiver after the next with
success. Meanwhile, as I scanned down the long hlock, I counted half a dozen or
pedestrians talking on their cell phones_

It’s the cell phone, of course, that’s putting the pay phone out of business. The pay
phone Is to the cell phone as the troubled and difficult older sibling is to the
newborn_ You sometimes hear people yelling on their celt phones, hut almost
ing at them. Cell phones are toylike, nearly magic, and we get a huge kick out of
as often happens with technological advances until the new wears off. When


phone user gentlv push the little antenna and fit the phone back into its brusheo-vlnY’
carrying case and tuck the case inside his jacket beside his heart, I feel sonty for the
beat-up pay phone standing in the rain.


People almost always talk on cell phones while in motion-driving, walking down 8
the street, riding on a commuter train. The celt phone took the transience the pay phone
implied and turned it into VIP-style mobility and speed. Even sitting in a restaurant, the
person on a cell phone seems importantly busy and on the move. Celt-phone conversa­
tions seem to be unlimited hy ordinary constraints of place and time, as if they repre­
sent an almost-perfect form of communication, whose perfect state would he telepathy.

And yet no matter how we factor the world away, it remains. I think this is what 9
drives me so nuts when a person sitting next to me on a bus makes a call from her cell
phone. Yes, this husy and important caller is at no fixed point in space, but neverthe­
less I happen to be beside her_ The job of providing physical context falls on me; I
become her caU’s surroundings, as if I’m the phone booth wall. For me to lean over and
comment on her celi-phone conversation would be as unseemly and unexpected as jf J
were in fact a wall; and yet I have no choice, as a sentient person, but to hear what my
chatty fellow traveler has to say.

I don’t think that pay phones will completely disappear_ Probably they will survive 10
for a long while as clumsy old technology still of some use to those lagging behind, and
as a hackup if ever the superior systems should temporarily fail. Before pay phones
became endangered I never thought of them as puhlic spaces, which of course they are_
They suggested a human average; they belonged to anybody who had a couple of coins.
Now I see that, like public schools and public transportation, pay phones helong to a
former commonality our culture is no longer quite so sure it needs.

I have a weakness for places-for old battlefields, car-crash sites, houses where 11
famous authors lived_ Bygone passions should always have an address, it seems to
me. Ideally, the world would he covered with plaques and markers listing the notable
events that occurred at each particular spot. A sign on every pay phone would describe
how awoman hroke up with her fiance here, how a young ballplayer learned that he
had made the team_ Unfortunately, the world itself is fluid, and changes out from
under us_ Eventually pay phones will become relics of an almost-vanished landscape,
and of a time when there were fewer of us and our stories were on an earlier page.
Romantics like me will have to reimagine our passions as they are-unmoored to
earth, like an infinitude of cell-phone messages flying through the atmosphere.

Characteristics of Comparison or Contrast Essays

writers use comparison and contrast, they consider subjects with characteristics
lltc.ommon, examining similarities, differences, or both. Whether used as the primary

of development or alongside another pattern, comparison and contrast can be
for various purposes to make a point about a subject.

moarison or Contrast Has a Clear Purpose
and contrast essay usually has one of three purposes- to express itiet1S, to

Of to persuade. In an essay about playing sports, Wii and actual, the purpose
be to express your ideas about playing sports, based on your experiences with

actual sports. Alternatively, the purpose could be to inform readers who are
either form of the SPOft, explaining what to expect in each casc_ Fi­

purpose could be to persuade readers that playing the Wii form of a sport is
accessible, and entertaining. In “Dearly Disconnected” (pp. 377-78), for


the author expresses his nostalgia for the in “Amusing Ourselves
,” the author tries to persuade readers frankness” may have a

news reponing.

Comparison or Contrast Considers Shared Characteristics

You cannot compare two things unless they have something in common. When mak­
ing a comparison, a writer needs to choose a basis of comparison-a fairly broad
common characteristic on which to base the essay. For an essay comparing baseball
and football, for example, a basis ofcomparison might be the athletic skills required or
the rules and logistics of each sport. To develop the essay, the writer examines the two
subjects points of comparison-characteristics relating to the basis of com­
parison. In an essay using athletic skills as a basis of comparison, fot example, points
of comparison might be heigbt and weight requirements, running skills, and hand-eye
coordination. In an essay based on rules and logistics, points of comparison might in­


Comparison or Contrast Makes a Point
Whatever the purpose of a comparison or contrast essay, its main point abour its sub­
jects should spark readers’ interest rather than bore them with a mechanical listing of
similarities or differences. This main point can serve as the thesis for the essay, or the
thesis can be implied in the writer’s choice ofdetails. In “Amusing Ourselves to
for example, the thesis statement is implied in paragraphs 3 and 13: In comparison to
the brutal honesty of The Onion, traditional newspapers seem timid and dull.

An explicit thesis has three functions:

1. It identifies the subjects being compared or contrasted.
2. It suggests whether the focus is on similarities, diJJimmces, or both.
3. It states the _inpD’int of the comparison or contrast.

Notice how the following three sample theses meet the above criteria. Note, too, that each
clude scoring. equipment. and olavine: fields.

Exercise 16.1

For three items in the following list, identifY two possible bases ofcomparison you clJUid use
to compare each pair oftopics:

1. Two means of travel or transportation

2. Two means of communication (emails. telephone calls. postal letters, text messages)

3. Two pieces of equipment

4. Two magazines or books

5. Two types of television programming

A Comparison or Contrast Essay Fairly Examines
Similarities, Differences, or Both
Depending on their purpose, writers using comparison and contrast may focus on
similarities. differences, or both. In an essay intended to persuade readers that
ers Beyonce Knowles and Jennifer Lopez have much in common in terms
and cultural influence, the writer would focus on similarities-hit records, millions
of fans, and parts in movies. However, an essay intended to inform readers about the
singers would probably cover both similarities and differences, discussing the
different childhoods or singing styles.

An essay focusing on similarities often mentions a few differences, usually in the
introduction, to let readers know the writer is aware of the differences. Conversely, an

that focuses on differences migbt mention a few similarities.
you cover similarities, differences. or both in an essay, you should

to treat your subjects fairly. Relevant information should not be purposely
to show one subject in a more favorable light. In an essay about Knowles and
for instance, you should not leave out information about Lopez’s charity
an effort to make Knowles appear to be a nicer person. In “Dearly Disconnecte
Frazier regrets the demise of the pay phone but admits that cell phones are
nearly magic.»

thesis suggests why the comparison or contra.~t is meaningful and worth reading about.

• Similar appeals in commercials for three popular break:f.:lst cereals reveal

America’s obsession with fimess and health.

• Although different in prnpose, weddings and funerals each draw families

together and confirm family values.

• The two cities Niagara Falls. Ontario, and Niagara Falls, New York, demorultrate

two different approaches to appreciating nature and preserving the environment.

For one ofthe topic pairs you worked on in Exercise 15.1 (p. 380). select the basis ofcom­
that seems most promising. Then write a thesis statement that identifies the subjects,
(similarities, diffirences. or both), and the mJlin point.

JiQmparison or Contrast Considers a Sufficient Number
Significant Characteristics and Details

comparison or contrast essay considers characteristics that arc ‘lgmm:am
relevant to the essay’s purpose and thesis. In ‘l\musing Outselves to

Beato considers such significant characteristics as circulation, type
presented, degree of seriousness. and honesty.

the number of details can vary by topic, usually at least thtee or four
characteristics are needed to support a thesis. Each characteristic should be

described or explained so that readers can gra.p the main point of the comparison
A writer may use sensory details, dialogue, examples, expert testimony,

kinds ofdetail in a comparison or contrast essay. In “Dearly Disconnected, ”
supports his points by using anecdotes and vivid descriptions.


Visualizing a Comparison or Contrast Essay: Subject-by-Subject Organization
Two Graphic Organizers In a subject-by-subject organization, you first discuss all points about house A-its layout,

size, building materials, and landscaping. Then you do the same for house B. This pat­For more on graphk organizers, Suppose you want to compare two houses (house A and house B) built by the same
tern is shown in the !!taohic organizer in Figure 15.2. “et’ Chapter 3, pp. 59–61. architect for the purpose of evaluating how the architect’s style has changed over time.

After brainstorming ideas, you decide to base your essay on these points ofcomparison-
size, building materials, and landscaping. You can organize your essay in one of

two ways-point by point or subject by subject.

Point-by-Point Organization
In a point-by-point organization, you go back and forth between the twO houses, noting
similarities and differences between them on each of the four points of comparison, as
shown in the graphic organizer in Figure 15.1.


Body: Points of
Comparison I-­
or Contrast

Background information

Subjects: A comparisonl
contrast of houses A and B

Thesis statement

Summarizes main points
Disconnected” uses a subject-by-subject organization. Review the essay,

study the graphic organizer shown in Figure 15.3, on page 384.


Anecdote about the pay phone the authors wife called him from
before they were married

Seem pathetic and unsavory –=-:=]

Retain a sense of human emotion because ofth~
i many people who use them for different rea:onsJ

Body: Points of
Contrast or Comparison

as and places I
in the author’s life I,

Are very popular now

Do not make users angry

Seem toylike and magical

Give a sense of movement, timelessness,’-‘,

1and placeiessness ~ __.-l

Exercise 15.3

Draw a graphic organizer for ‘/lmusing Ourselves to Depth” (pp. 375· 77).

Integrating Comparison and
Contrast into an Essay

Although you will write some essays using comparison and contrast as the primary
pattern ofdevelopment, in most cases you will integrate comparisons or contrastS
essays that on other patterns, such as description, process analysis. or
Comparisons or contrasts can be particularly


have occasion to use is an analogy,
wmemtng lIntamiJiar by it to something

the evolution by compar­

incofDorate comparison or contrast into essays based on

1. Detennine the purpose of the comparison or contrast. What will it contribute
to your essay?

2. Introduce the comparison or contrast clearly. Tell your readers how it sup­
pom the main point of the essay. Do not leave it to them to figure OUt why the
comparison is included.

3. Keep the comparison or contrast short and to the point. An extended compari­
son will distract readers from the overall point ofyour essay.

4. Organize the points of the comparison or contrast. Even though it is part of a
larger essay; the comparison or contrast should follow a poim-by-point or subject­
by-subject organization.

5. Use transitions. Transitional words and expressions are
the flow into the comparison or contrast and then

In a Doctot, with a Tear, a Shrug, and a Schedule” on pages 403-5, Abi-
Zuger uses comparison and contrast along with other patterns ofdevelopment.


The following guide will lead you through the process of writing a comparison or
Although you will focus on comparing or contrasting your subjects, you

one or more other patterns of development in your essay.

The ASSignment

Write a comparison or COntrast essay on one of the
own’ pairs or one

1. lwo public figures

2. Two forms of entertainment (movies, concerts, radio, music videos) or one form
of entertainment as it is used today and as it was used ten Ot more years ago

.3. Two styles of communication, dress, or teaching
4. The right and wrong ways of doing something
5. Your views versus your parents’ or grandparents’ views on an issue

,. 6. Two different cultures’ approaches to a rite of passage, such as birth, puberty,
or death

cultures’ views on the roles that should be played by men and

two different eras

386 CHAPTER 15

Learning Style Option$


Depending on the topic pair you choose, you may need to usc Internet or library
sources to develop and support your ideas about the subjects. Your audience is your
classmates. As you develop your comparison or contrast essay, consider using one or
more other patterns of development. For example, you might use process analysis to
explain the right and wrong ways of doing something or cause and effect to show the
results of two teaching styles on learners.

Generating Ideas

Generating ideas involves first choosing subjects to compare and then prewriting to
discover similarities, differences, and other details about the subjects.

Choosing Subjects to Compare
Take your time selecting the assignment option and identifying specific subjects for it.
Use the following guidelines to get started:

1. Some of the options listed on page 385 are concrete (comparing two public fig­
ures); others are more abstract (comparing communication styles or views on an
issue). Consider your learning style and choose the option with which you are
most comfortable.

2. If you are a social learner, choose subjects that classmates are familiar with so
that you can discuss your subjects with them. group brainstorming about vari­
ous possible subjects.

3. Choose subjects with which you have some firsthand experience or that you are
to research. You might try questioning or writing assertions to help you

generate ideas.
4. Choose subjects that interest you. You will have more fun writing about them, and

your enthusiasm will enliven your essay. Tty mapping or sketching to come up
wi th interestine: subjects.

Et,~~ay ($rog:ress ~

Using the preceding suggestions, choose an assignment option from the list on
page 385 or an option you think of on your own. Then do some prewriting to help you
select two specific subjects lor your comparison or contrast essay.

Choosing a Basis of Comparison and a Purpose
Suppose you want to compare or contrast twO well-known football players-a quar­
terback and a linebacker. If you merely present the various similarities and differences
between the two players, your essay will lack direction. To avoid this problem, you
need to choose a basis of comparison and a purpose for writing. You could compare
the players on the basis of the positions they play, using the height, weight, skills,
training needed for each position as points of comparison. Your purpose would
inform readers about the two positions. Alternatively, you could base your
on their performances on the field; in this case, your purpose might be to
readers to accept your evaluation of both players. Other bases of comparison
the players’ media images, contributions to their teams, or service to the communlLY·


Once you have a basis of comparison and a purpose ill mind, try to state them
clearly in a few sentences. Refer to these sentences as you work to keep your essay
on track.

Ess,;;.lY in Progress 2

For the assignment option and subjects you selected in Essay in Progress 1, decide on
a basis of companson and a purpose for your essay. Describe both clearly in a few sen­
tences. Keep in mind that you may revise your basis of comparison and purpose as your
essay develops.

Ccnsidering Your Audience and Point of View

As you develop your comparison or contrast essay, keep your audience in mind. ror more 011 ovdierl(“c and point of
Choose points of comparison that will interest your readers. For this chapter’s assign­ view; .see Chapter 5,


ment, your audience is made up ofyour classmates. You also need to think about point
ofview, or how you should address your readers. Most comparison or contrast essays
are written in the third person. However, the first person may be appropriate when
)’Ou use comparison and contrast to express personal thoughts or feelings.

Discovering Similarities and Differences and Generating Details

Your next step is to discover how your two subjects are similar, how they are different,
or both. Depending on your learning style, you can approach this task in a

number of

different ways:

1. On paper or on your computer. create a two-column list of similarities and IMming Styk Optioll$
differences. Jot down ideas in the appropriate column.

2. Ask a dassmate to help you brainstonn aloud by mentioning only similarities;
then counter each similarity with a difference. Write notes on the brainstorming.

3. For concrete subjects. try visualizing them. Take notes on what you see, or draw For more On de5crfption,
a sketch ofyour subjects. .see Chapter 12.

4. Create a scenario in which your subjects interact. For example,
is automobiles of today and eighty-five years ago, imagine taking your great­
grandfather, who owned a Model T Ford, for a drive in a 20121uxuty car. How
would he react? What would he say? .

5. Do research on your two subjects at the library or on the Internet. For more on library and Internet
research, see Chapter 22.

Your readers will need plenty of details to grasp the similarities and differences be­
tween your subjects. Use description, examples, and facts to make your subjects seem
real to your readers.

to maintain an even balance between your two subjects; gather roughly the
c53DIe amount of detail for each. This guideline is especially important if your purpose

:15 to demonstrate that subject A is preferable to or better than subject R Your readets
:~l become suspicious if you provide plellty of detail for subject A and only sketchy
~rnformation for subject R

if} Progress 3

Use the preceding suggestions and one or more prewriting strategies to discover simi­
larities and differences and to generate details about your two subjects.



388 CHAPTER 15

! I , l

For mOT’2 on rhesis statements,

Chapter 6


., ,


Developing Your Thesis

The thesis statement for a comparison or contrast essay needs to fulfill the three cri­
teria noted earlier: It should identifY the subjects; suggest whether you will focus on
similarities, differences, or both; and state your main point. In addition, your thesis
should tell readers why your comparison or contrast of the rwo subjects is important
or useful to them. Look at the following sample thesis statements:

WEAK The books by Robert B. Parker and Sue Grafton are similar.

REVISED The novels of Robert B. Parker and Sue Grafton are popular
because readers are fascinated by the intrigues ofwitty, inde­
pendent private detectives.

The first thesis is weak because it does not place the comparison within a context or give
the reader a reason to care about it. The second thesis is more detailed and specific. It
provides a basis for comparison and indicates why the similarity is worth reading about

r£3S:,;lY ih P1″ef;;”‘£’~’;~!

Using the preceding suggestions, write a thesis statement for this chapter’s essay as·
signment. The thesis should identify the two subjects of your comparison; tell whether
you Will focus on similarities, differences, or both; and convey your main point to readers.

Evaluating Your Ideas and Thesis

With your thesis in mind, review your prewriting by underlining or highlighting ideas
that pertain to your thesis and eliminating those that do not. If you are working on a
computer, highlight these key ideas in bold type or move them to a separate file. Try
to identifY the points or characteristics by which you can best compare your subjects.
For example, if your thesis is about evaluating the performance of rwo football players,
you would probably select various facts and details about their training, the plays they
make, and their records. Think of points of comparison as the main similarities or dif­
ferences that support your thesis.

Take a few minures to evaluate your ideas and thesis. Make sure you have enough
points ofcomparison to support your thesis and enough details to develop those points.
If necessary, do additional prewriting to generate sufficient support for your thesis.

~~,Sf-“ay in Pr’:)f.;fr”f:3’S 5

Using the preceding suggestions and comments from your classmates, list the points
comparison you plan to use in your essay and evaluate your ideas and thesis. Refer to
the list of characteristics on pages 379-81 to help you with your evaluation.

Trying Out Your Ideas on Others

Working in a group of two or three students, discuss your ideas and thesis for this

chapter’s assignment. Each writer should state his or her topic, thesis, and points of
comparison. Then, as a group, evaluate each writer’s work.


Organizing and Drafting

Once you have evaluated your thesis, points of comparison, and details, you are ready
to organize your ideas and draft your essay.

For morc on drafting an e.llo/,
‘iee Choptcr 7

Choosing a Method of Organization
Before you begin writing, decide whether you will use a point-by-point or a subject-by­
subject organization (review Figures 15.1 and 15.2, pp. 382-83). To select a method
of organization, consider the complexity of your subjects and the length of your essay.
You may also need to experiment with the rwo approaches to see which works better.
It is a good idea to make an outline or draw a graphic organizer at this stage.

Here are a few other guidelines to consider:

1. The subject-by-subject method tends to emphasize the larger picture, whereas
the point-by-point method emphasizes details and specifics.

2. The point-by-point method often works better for lengthy essays because it
keeps both subjects current in your reader’s mind.

3. The point-by-point method is often preferable for complicated or technical
subjects. For example, if you compare rwo computer systems, it would be easier to
explain the function of a memory card once and then describe the memory cards
in each of the rwo systems.

E.·say in Progress 6

Choose a method of organization-point by point or subject by subject-and organize the
points of comparison you generated in Essay in Progress 5.

Drafting the Essay

Use the following guidelines when writing your first draft:

1. Ifyou are using point-by-point organization, keep the following
suggestions in mind.

• Work back and forth berween your rwo subjects, generally discussing the
subjects in the same order for each point. If both subjects share a particular
characteristic, then you may want to mention them together.

• Use a separate paragraph for each point of comparison, in most cases.
• Arrange your points of comparison carefully. You might, for example, start with

the clearest, simplest points and then move on to more complex ones.

2. Ifyou are using a subject-by-subject organization, keep the following
lsuggestions in mind.

• Be sure to cover the same points for both subjects.
• Cover the points of comparison in the same order in both halves ofyour essay.
• Write a clear statement of transition wherever you switch from one subject to

the other.

3. Use transitions. Transitions are especially important in helping readers follow For /nore on ‘rom’t,ons, see
you make in a comparison or contrast essay. Transitions alert readers to C!wpter 7, pp. 150-52

subjects or to new points of comparison. An essay that lacks transitions
choppy and unconnected. Use transitional words and phrases such as similarly,

On the one hand, on the other hand, and not only . .. but also.

leaming Style Optiom

Far more on the benefi15 ofpeer
reView, see Chapter 9, pp. 188-9J.

For more on keeping on error log,

see Chapter 10. pp. 221-22.

lines for drafting, wr~e a first draft of your comparison or contrast essay.

Analyzing and Revising

If possible, set your draft aside for a day or two before rereading and revising it. As you
reread, concentrate on ideas and not on grammar or punctuation. Use one or more of
the following suggestions to an.IrLe your draft:

1. Reread your essay aloud, or ask a friend or classmate (0 do so as you listen.
2. Draw a I!raohic organizer, make an outline, or update the organizer or outline you

A graphic organizer or outline will indicate whether your org-ani­
contains inconsisrencies or gaps.

3. Read each paragraph with this question in mind: So what? If any paragraph does
not answer that question, revise or ddete it.

Use Figure 15.4 to your an.Iysis of the strengths and weaknesses in your draft
You might .Iso a classmate to review your draft essay lIsing the questions
flowchart. Your reviewer should consider each question listed in the flowchart,

cXlmllning each “No” answer.

Essay in Progress 8

Revise your draft using Figure 15.4 and any comments you received from peer reviewers.

Editing and Proofreading

The last step is to check your revised essay for errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation,
and mechanics. Be sure to check your error log for the types of errors you tend to make.

As you edit and proofread your comparison or contrast essay, watch out for the
following rypes of errors:

1. Make sure to USe the right forms of adjectives and adverbs when compar­
ing two items (comparative) and three or more items (superlative). The following

show how adjectives and adverbs change forms.

Adjectives Adverbs

Positive sharp early
Comparative sharper earlier

Superlative sharpest earliest

purpose (to express ideas, inform, or


2. Write the basis of comparison at the
top of your paper. Is your basis of com·
parison dear? Does it clearly relate to
your thesis?


3. List your points of comparison. Place
a checkmark v next to the sentences
that focus on similarities between the
subjects. Mark an X next to the sen­
tences that focus on differences. Have
you included all significant points of
comparison? Do you fairly examine
similarities and differences? Is each
similarity or difference significant, and
does each support your thesis?

4. Underline the topic sentence of each
paragraph. Does each paragraph have
a clear topic sentence? If you are us­
ing point-by-point comparison, is each
paragraph focused on a separate pOint
or shared characteristic?

ing reason your purpose.

• Ask a friend or classmate to help
you think of a clear or new basis for

• Delete any discussion of similarities or
differences that are not significant or
that do not support your thesis.

• Review your prewriting to see if you over­
looked any Significant points of compari­
son. If so, revise to add them.

• If you have trouble thinking of points of
comparison, conduct research or ask a
classmate to suggest ideas.

• Follow the guidelines for writing clear
topic sentences (pp. 167-70).

• Consider splitting paragraphs that focus
on more than one point or characteristic
and combining paragraphs that focus on
the same one.

(continued on next page)

390 CHAPTER 15

ro! more on wfiting effective
paragraphs, induding

introductions ana COtldusiOflS, see
Chapier 7.


4. Write an effective introduction. The introduction should spark your readers’
interest, present your subjects, state your thesis, and include any background informa­
tion your readers may need.

5. Write a satisfYing conclusion. Your conclusion should offer a final comment QUESTIONS


on your comparison or contrast, reminding readers of your thesis. For a lenl!thv or

essay, you might want (0 summariz.e your main points as well. 1. Mfilhtillnf your thesis statement. Does • Revise your thesis using the suggestions
the subjects being compared on p. 388.

Essay Pro~~rcs~~ and state your main point? Does it or “NO • Brainstorm a list of reasons for making
Using the organization you developed in Essay in Progress 6 and the preceding guide’ do nearby sentences express a clear the comparison. Make the most promis­


(Figure 15.4 contirHu:td)


5. Draw a waV’f underline under the con­
crete details ineach paragraph. Do you
include enough details to make your
comparisons vivid and interesting?
Have you provided roughly the same
amount of detail for both subjects?

6. Draw a graphic organizer of your es­
say, or review the one you did earlier.
Did you use either point-by-point or
subject-by-subject organization con­
sistently throughout the essay? Is your
organization clear to your reader?


7. Reread your introduction and conclu­
sion. Does the introduction provide
a context for your comparison? Is the
conclusion satisfying and relevant to
the comparison?



• Add or delete details as necessary.
• Review your prewriting to see if you

overlooked any significant details.
• Research your subjects to come up with

additional details. (See Chapters 21
and 22.)

• Study your graphic organizer to find
inconsistencies or gaps.

• Reorganize your essay using one method
of organization consistently.

• Add transitions if necessary.

• Revise your introduction and conclusion
to meet the guidelines in Chapter 7,
pages 153-56 and 156-57.

• Consider proposing an action orway of
thinking that is appropriate in light of the

II Both No Country for Old Men and True Grit were suspenseful, but I liked True


Grit &est-.

” George, Casey, and Bob are all bad at basketball, but Bob’s game is,~

2. Make sure that items in a pair linked by correlative conjunctions (either . ..
or, neither . .. nor, not only . .. but also) are in the same grammatical form.

.. The Grand Canyon is not only a spectacular tourist attraction but also

“,cient~er-~ a useful geological

Essay in Progress 9
Edit and proofread your essay, paying particular attention both to adjectives and
adverbs used to compare and to items linked by correlative conjunctions.


Students Write

Heather Gianakos was a first-year student when she wrote the following comparison­
and-contrast essay for her composition course. Although she has always enjoyed both

of cooking that she discusses, she needed to do some research in the library and
on the Internet to learn more about their history. As you read the essay, consider the
writer’s thesis and points of comparison.

Border Bites

Heather Gianakos

Chili ~rs, tortillas, tacOS! All these roods belong to the styles of cooking known as

Mexican, Tex-Mex, and southwestern. These internationally popular styles often overlap; some­

times it can be hard to tell which style a particular dish belongs to. Two particular traditions of

(!laking, however, play an especially important role in the kitchens of Mexico and the American

Southwest– native-derived Mexican cooking (“Mexican”), and ~n~t9dgif~’~1;\~~~4,,~!~~~.~r,f\

particularly from Texas (“southwestern”).

Many of the traditions of~,utl1i1\Jl~ten:t cooki ng grew out of difficult situations–cowboys

and ranchers cooking over open fires, fur example. Chili, which can contain beans, beef,

tomatoes, corn, and many other ingredients, was a good dish to cook over a campfire because

everything could be combined in one pot. Dry foods, such as beef jerky, were a convenient

way to solve food storage problems and could be easily tucked into saddlebags. In Mexico,

fruits and vegetables such as avocados and tomatoes were widely

available and did not need to be dried or stored. They could be made into spicy salsa and

guacamole. Mexicans living in coastal areas could also enjoy fish and lobster dishes

llJ!,mison and Jamison 5).

;t1j!\”‘li:I~fi~i,p~!~!ittlji~ and Mexico since the time of the

who made tortillas (ft.at, unleavened bread, originally made from stone-ground corn and

ilften of European descent, adopted the tortilla but often prepared it with wheat ft.our. which was

cooking, but corn is usually the primary grain in dishes with precolonial origins.

whose name derives from a word in Nahuatl, the Aztec group of languages) are a deli­

example: Ahunk of cornmeal dough, sometimes combined with ground meat, is wrapped in

$~!~,t.IJ!~~,t(~rt, cooking, com is often used fur leavened com bread,

is made with com flour rather than cornmeal and can be ft.avored with jalapenos or back

Introduction indicates
Glanakos wlll examine
both similarities and
diRerences but will focus
on differences. Her II1II
_gives a basis of
comparison of her two
subject.. Mexican and
southwdjl!’rp cooking: the
tradition, and geographic
locations of the people
who developed them. It
also makes a point: that
these differences have led
to the diRerence, in the

Subject A: sOOt~terft

Subject B: Mexican

Point of comparison .1:
the physical conditions
in which the two styles
developed, Notice that
Gianakos IJses point~
by~point comparison,
discussing both subjects
in each paragraph and
often using,~
between them. She also
cites sources for her

Point of comparison -2:
the use of corn and wheat

394 CHAPTER 15
-~- ..-,-~-“.~”,,,,-~-~.=~.’

PoInt ofcomparison #3: the
uS1:! of chicken

Subject B: M~xican

Conclusion: Gianakos
returns to the idea of overlap
mentioned in the introduction
and makes dear her purpose­
to inform readers about the
differences between the two

Gianakoslists her sources at
the end of her paper, following

dency to become rancid, pork ribs were often marinated in vinegar and spices and then hung

to dry. Later the ribs were basted with the same sauce and grilled (Campa 278). The resulting

dish has become a favorite both north and south of the border, although in Mexican cooking,

where beef is somewhat less important than in southwestern cooking, pork is equally popular

in many other forms, such as chorizo sausage.

Cooks in San Antonio or Albuquerque would probably tell you that the food they cook is as 1

much Mexican as it is southwestern. Regional cuisines in such areas of the Southwest as New

Mexico, Southern California, and Arizona feature elements of both traditions; chimichangas-­

deep-fried burritos–actually originated in Arizona (Jamison and Jamison 11). Food lovers who

sample regional specialties, however, will note–and savor–the contrast between the spicy, fried

or grilled, beef-heavy style of southwestern food and the richly seasoned, corn- and tomato­

heavy style of Mexican food.

Works Cited

Campa, Arthur L Hispanic Culture in the Southwest. Norman: Uof Oklahoma P, 1979. Print.

Central Texas Barbecue Association. “CTSA Rules.” Central Texas Barbecue Association. CTBA, 16 Aug.

2004. Web. 6 May 2005.

Jamison, Cheryl Alters, and Bill Jamison. The Border Cookbook. Boston: Harvard

Common, 1995. Print.

1. What other regional cuisines might make effective topics for a comparison and
contrast essay?

2. Gianakos compares the cuisines of the American Southwest and Mexico using the
traditions and geographic locations of the people who lived there as the basis of
comparison. In your journal, explore several other possible bases of comparison
that could be used to compare these cuisines.

3. Write an essay comparing foods of two other regional cuisines.

The following section provides advice fOr reading comparison and contrast essays. Two
model essays illustrate the characteristics ofcomparison and contrast covered in this chap­
ter and provide opportunities to examine, analyze, and react to the writer’s ideas. The
=od essay uses comparison and contrast along with other methods of development.

Working with Text: Reading Comparison
or Contrast Essays

Reading a comparison and contrast essay is somewhat different from reading other
kinds of essays. First, the essay contains two or more subjects instead of just one. Sec­
ond, the subjects are being compared, contrasted, or both, so you must follow the

For more on reading strategies.
see Chapter 3,

Subject A: sou\llwestel1’l

Subject B: Mexican

Point of comparison #4: the
use of beef

Subject A:s

SUbject B:.~·

Point ofcomparison #5: the
use of pork

Subject A: SoUtltVil;!j\.rn


Meat of various kinds is often the centerpiece of both Mexican and southwestern tables.

However, although chicken. beef, and pork are staples in both traditions, they are often pre­

pared quite differently. Fried chicken rolled in flour and dunked into sizzling oil or fat is a popu­

lar dish throughout the American Southwest. In traditional Mexican cooking, hOWever,

chicken is often cooked more slowly, in stews or baked dishes, with a variety of seasonings, in­

cluding ancho chiles, garlk, and onions.

Ever since cattle farming began in Texas with the early Spanish missions, beef has been

eaten both north and south of the border. In southwestern cooking, steak–flank, rib eye, or

sirloin–grilled quickly and served rare is often a chef’s crowning glory. In Mexican cooking,

beef may be combined wtt:Ir vegetables and spices and rolled into a fajita or served ground in a

taco. For a Mexican food purist, in fact, the only true fajita is made from skirt steak, although

Mexican food as it is served in the United States often features chicken fajitas.

In Texas and the Southwest United States, barbecued pork ribs are often prepared in bar­

becue cook-offs, similar to chili-cooking competitions. Such competitions have strict rules for

the preparation and presentation of the food and for sanitation (Central Texas).

while the BBO is seen as a southwestern specialty, barbecue ribs as they are served in

southwestern-themed restaurants today actually come from a Hispanic and Southwest Mexican

tradition dating from the days before refrigeration: Since pork fat, unlike beef fat, has a ten­

.•_____J…WO ~~~’iVIT~_ TEXT: RE…. 01~~c;.~M P!,.R~_O~.!!~O_NTR!,~!,,~,!,!~

Analyzing the Writer’s Technique

1. Evaluate Gianakos’s title and introduction. Do they provide the reader with
enough background on her topic?

2. Using a point-by-point organi7Ation, Gianakos presents her two subjects in the
same order – first southwestern cuisine, then Mexican cuisine-for each point of
comparison except in paragraph 3. Why do you think she discusses the two cui­
sines together in this paragraph?

3. How does Gianakos’s use ofsources contribute to her essay?

Thinking Critically about Comparison and Contrast

1. Reread the first sentence of the essay. What type of cooking is mentioned here and
never discussed again in the essay? How does this decision by Gianakos affect your
response to the first paragraph and to the essay as a whole?

2. Describe Gianakos’s tone. Is it effective in this essay?
3. What do phrases such as «subtle, flavorful differences” (para. 1), “Food lovers’ (7),

and “richly seasoned” (7) contribute to the essay? If Gianakos had included more
phrases like these, how would the essay be changed?

4_ What comparisons did Gianakos not make that she could have made?

Reacting to the Essay


396 CHAPTER 15

For more on preYlewing,

see Chap”’ 3, pp. 48-50.

For more on discovering ideas Jor

a re~ponse paper, see Chapter 4,

pp. 86~95.


author’s points of comparison between or among them, Use the guidelines below to
read comparison-and-comrast essays cf’f:ectively.

What to Look For, Highlight, and Annotate

1. As you preview the essay, determine whether it uses the point-by-point or
by-subject organization, Knowing the method of otganization will help you move
through the essay more easily.

2. IdentifY and highlight the thesis statement, ifit is stated explicitly. What does it
tell you about the essay’s purpose, direction, and organization?

3. Read the essay once to get an overall sense ofhow it develops. As you read,
highlight each point of romparison the writer makes.

4. Review the essay by drawing a graphic organizer (see Figures 15.1 and 15.2).
Doing so will help you Jearn and recall the key points of the essay,

How to Find Ideas to Write About

To tespond to or write about a comparison and contrast essay, consider the following

• Compare the subjects using a different basis of comparison. If, for example, an essay
compares or contrasts athletes in various spons on the basis ofsalary, you could com­
pare them according to the training required for each sport.
For an essay that emphasi’.cs differences, consider writing about similarities, and
vice versa.

• To write an essay that looks at one of comparison in more depth, you might
do research or interview an expert on topic.

Thinking Critically about Comparison
and Contrast

Comparison and contrast writing can be quite straightfurward when the writer’s pur­
pose is only to inform. However, when the writer’s putpose is also to persuade, you
need to ask the critical questions below.

1. Does the Author Treat Each Subject Fairly?

Examine whether the author gives equal and objective coverage to each subject. If
one of the subjects seems to be favored or given special consideration (or if one
seems not to be treated fairly, fully, or adequately), the author might be biased-that
is, introducing his or her own values or attitudes into the comparison. The lack of
balance may not be intentional, and even a biased piece of wtiting is not necessarily
unteliable, bur you should be aware that other points of view may not have been
presented. In “Dearly Disconnected,” Frazier devotes more covetage to pay phones
than to cell phones and appears nostalgic abour pay phones but somewhat annoyed
by cell phones.

–~~– ,’~’—-~-~’–“-

2. How Does the Organization Affect Meaning?

In thinking about the question of fairness, notice especially whether and how the au­
thor uses a point-by-point or subject-by-subject otganization. These twO organizations
provide different emphases. Point by point tends to maintain a steady balance, keep­
ing the reader focused on both subjects simultaneously, while subject by subject rends
to allow in-depth consideration of each subject separately. If a writer wants to present
one subject more favorably than the other, he Ot she may present that subject and all
its characteristics first, thereby shaping the reader’s attitude toward it in a positive way
before the reader encounters the second subject. Alternatively, a writer may present all
the faults of the Jess favored subject first and then leave the reader with a final impres­
sion of the more favored subject. Even in point-by-point organization, the order in
which the subjects are discussed fot each point may suggest rhe writer’s preference for
one or the other. As you consider the method of org-anization, ask yourself how the
essay would be different if the other method had been used or if the order of the two
subjects had been reversed.

The choice oforganization may also depend on factors other than fairness or bias.
In “Dearly Disconnected,” if Frazier had used a point-by-point rather than subject­
by-subject organization, he would have found it more difficult to include his personal
reflections on the meaning of the pay phone in his life.

3. What Points of Comparison Are Omitted?

As you evaluate comparison or contrast essays, be sure to consider the other compari­
sons or contrasts that the author could have made. In “Amusing Ourselves to Depth,”
Beato could have discussed the type of audience that would be drawn to each type of
publication, but he did not. “In Dearly Disconnected,” Frazier could have compared
the convenience ofcell phones versus pay phones, bur he did not.


As you read the following essay by psychologist Daniel Goleman, notice how the
writer uses the elements ofcomparison and contrast discussed in this chapter,

His Marriage and Hers: Childhood Roots

Daniel Goleman holds a PhD In behavioral and brain sciences and has published a num­

ber of books on psychology, including, Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dia/ogue with the

Dalai Lama (2003), Social Intelligence: The New Science ofHuman Relationships (2006),

” and Ec%gica/lntelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts ofWhat We Buy Can Change
Everything (2009). Goleman reported on the brain and behavioral sciences for the New

.York Times for many years and was elected a fellow of the American Association for the

Advancement of Science for his efforts to bring psychology to the publiC, I n his book Emo­

tiona/Intelligence (1995), from which the following selection was laken, Goleman describes

emotional skills required for daily living and explains how to develop those skitts. As



you read the selection, notice how the writer uses comparison and contrast to explore his
subject-differences between the sexes-and highlight his key points of comparison.

As I was entering a restaurant on a recent evening, a young man stalked out the door,
his face set in an expression both stony and sullen. Close on his heels a young woman
came running, her fists desperately pummeling his back while she yelled, “Goddamn
you! Come back here and be nice to me!” That poignant, impossibly self’contradictory
plea aimed at a retreating back epitomizes the pattern most commonly seen in couples
whose relationship is distressed: She seeks to engage, he withdraws. Marital therapists
have long noted that by the time a couple finds their way to the therapy office, they are
in this pattern of engage-withdraw, with his complaint about her ·unreasonable” de·
mands and outbursts, and her lamenting his indifference to what she is saying.

This marital endgame reflects the fact that there are, in effect, two emotional reali­
ties in a couple, his and hers. The roots of these emotional differences, while they may
be partly biological, also can be traced back to childhood and to the separate emotional
worlds boys and girls inhabit while growing up. There is a vast amount of research on
these separate worlds, their barriers reinforced not just by the different games boys and
girls prefer but by young children’s fear of being teased for having a “girlfriend” or “boy­
friend.”‘ One study of children’S friendships found that three·year·olds say about half
their friends are of the opposite sex; for five·year·olds it’s about 20 percent, and by age
seven almost no boys or girls say they have a best friend of the opposite sex.’ These
separate social universes intersect little until teenagers start dating.

Meanwhile, boys and girls are taught very different lessons about handling emotions. 1
Parents, in general, discuss emotions-with the exception of anger-more with their
daughters than their sons.1 Girls are exposed to more information about emotions than
are boys: when parents make up stories to tell their preschool children, they use more
emotion words when talking to daughters than to sons; when mothers play with their
infants, they display a wider range of emotions to daughters than to sons; when mothers
talk to daughters about feelings, they discuss in more detail the emotional state itself
than they do with their sons-though with the sons they go into more detail about the
causes and consequences of emotions like anger (probably as a cautionary tale).

Leslie Brody and Judith Hall, who have summarized the research on differences
in emotions between the sexes, propose that because girls develop facility with
language more quickly than do boys, this leads them to be more expelienced at artic·
ulating their feelings and more skilled than boys at using words to explore and substi·
tute for emotional reactions such as physical fights; in contrast, they note, “boys, for
whom the verbalization of affects is de·emphasized, may become largely unconscious
of their emotional states, both in themselves and others.”‘

At age ten, roughly the same percent of girls as boys ale overtly aggressive, given
to open confrontation when angered. But by age thirteen, a telling difference between
the sexes emerges: Girls become more adept than boys at artful aggressive tactics like
ostracism, vicious gossip, and indirect vendettas. Boys, by and large, simply continue
being confrontational when angered, oblivious to these more covert strategies.sThis
is just one of many ways that boys-and later, men-are less sophisticated than the
opposite sex in the byways of emotional life.

When girls play together, they do so in small, intimate groups, with an emphasis
on minimizing hostility and maximizing cooperation, while boys’ games are in larger


groups, with an emphasis on competition. One key difference can be seen in what hap·
pens when games boys or girls are playing get disrupted by someone getting hurt. If a
boy who has gotten hurt gets upset, he is expected to get out of the way and stop crying
so the game can go on. If the same happens among a group of girls who are playing, the
game stops while everyone gathers around to help the girl who is crying. This difference
between boys and girls at play epitomizes what Harvard’s Carol Gilligan points to as

400 CHAPTER 15


a key disparity between the sexes: boys take pride in a lone, tough·minded indepen’

dence and autonomy, while girls see themselves as part of a web of connectedness.

Thus boys are threatened by anything that might challenge their independence, while

girls are more threatened by a rupture in their relationships. And, as Deborah Tannen

has pointed out in her book You Just Don’t Understand, these differing perspectives
mean that men and women want and expect very different things out of a conversation,

with men content to talk about “things,” while women seek emotional connection.

In short, these contrasts in schooling in the emotions foster very different skills, with 7

girls becoming “adept at reading both verbal and nonverbal emotional signals, at ex·

pressing and communicating their feelings,” and boys becoming adept at “minimizing

emotions having to do with vulnerability, guilt, fear, and hurt.'” Evidence for these dif·

ferent sl~nees is ~ry strong in IRe scientific literalur~. Hundreds of studies have fOood,

for example, that on average women are more empathic than men, at least as measured

by the ability to read someone else’s unstated feelings from facial expression, tone of

voice, and other nonverbal cues. Likewise, it is generally easier to read feelings from

a woman’s face than a man’s; while there is no difference in facial expressiveness

among very young boys and girts, as they go through the elementary·school grades boys

become less expressive, girls more so. This may partly reflect another key difference:

women, on average, experience the entire range of emotions with greater intensity and

more volatility than men-in this sense, women are more “emotional” than men?

All of this means that, in general, women come into a marriage groomed for the

role of emotional manager, while men arrive with much less appreciation of the im·

portance of this task for helping a relationship survive. Indeed, the most important

element forwomen-but not for men -in satisfaction with their relationship reported

in a study of 264 couples was the sense that the couple has “good communication.”‘

Ted Huston, a psychologist at the University ofTexas who has studied couples in

depth, observes, “For the wives, intimacy means talking things over, especially talk·

ing about the relationship itself. The men, by and large, don’t understand what the

wives want from them. They say, ‘I want to do things with her, and all she wants to do

is talk.'” During courtship, Huston found, men were much more willing to spend time

talking in ways that suited the wish for intimacy of their wives·to·be. But once mar·

ried, as time went on the men-especially in more traditional couples-spent less

and less time talking in this way with their wives, finding a sense of closeness simply

in doing things like gardening together rather than talking things over.

This growing silence on the part of husbands may be partly due to the fact that, if

anything, men are a bit Pollyannaish about the state of their marriage, while their wives

are attuned to the trouble spots: in one study of marriages, men had a rosier view than

their wives of just about everything in their relationship -lovemaking, finances, ties

with in·laws, how well they listened to each other, how much their flaws mattered.’

Wives, in general, are more vocal about their complaints than are their husbands, par·

ticularly among unhappy couples. Combine men’s rosy view of marriage with their

sian to emotional confrontations, and it is clear why wives so often complain that

husbands try to wiggle out of discussing the troubling things about their relationship.

(Of course this gender difference is a generalization and is not true in every case; a

psychiatrist friend complained that in his marriage his wife is reluctant to discuss

tional matters between them and he is the one who is left to bring them up.)

¢———–~–…-~—~,’~–“”—–.,~”——“,.-“‘——–.–.—–~- ,—_. ­

The slowness of men to bring up problems in a relationship is no doubt compounded 10

by their relative lack of skill when it comes to reading facial expressions of emotions.
Women, for example, are more sensitive to a sad expression on a man’s face than are

men in detecting sadness from a woman’s expression.,o Thus a woman has to be all the
sadder for a man to notice her feelings in the first place,let alone for him to raise the

question ofwhat is making her so sad.

Consider the implications of this emotional gender gap for how couples handle the 11

grievances and disagreements that any intimate relationship inevitably spawns. In

fact, specific issues such as how often a couple has sex, how to discipline the children,

or how much debt and savings a couple feels comfortable with are not what make or

break a marriage. Rather, it is how a couple discusses such sore points that matters
more for the fate of their marriage. Simply having reached an agreement about how

to disagree is key to marital survival; men and women have to overcome the innate

gender differences in approaching rocky emotions. Failing this, couples are vulnerable

to emotional rifts that eventually can tear their relationship apart …. mhese rifts are

far more likely to develop if one or both partners have certain deficits in emotional


1. The separate worlds of boys and girls: Eleanor Maccoby and C. N.lacklin, “Gender Segregation in

Childhood,’ in H. Reese, ed., Advances in Child Development and Behavior (New York: Academic
Press, 1987).

2. Same·sex playmates: John Gottman, “Same and Cross Sex Friendship in Young Children.” in I. Gottman
and J. Parl

3. This and the following summary of sexdTfferences in socialization of emotions are based on the
excelient review in leslie R. Brody and Judith A. Hall, “Gender and Emotion,” in Michael Lewis and
leannette Haviland, eds., Handbook ofEmotions (New Yorl<: Guilford Press, 1993).

4. Brody and Hall, “Gender and Emotion,” 456.
5. Girts and the arts of aggression: Robert B. Cairns and Beverlev D. Cairns, Lifelines and Risks (New York:

Cambridge University Press, 1994).
6. Brody and Hall, “Gender and Emotion,” 454.
7. The findings about gender differences in emotion are reviewed in Brodv and Hall. “Gender and

B. The importance of good communication for women was reported in Mark H. Davis and H. Alan Oathout,

“Maintenance of Satisfaction in Romantic Relationships: Empathy and Relational Competence,”
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 53, no. 2 (1987): 397-410.

9. The study of husbands’ and wives’ complaints: Robert I. Sternberg, “Triangulating love,”
Rober! Sternberg and Michael Barnes, eds., The Psychology of Love (New Haven: Yale University
Press, 1988).

10. Reading sad faces: The research is bV Dr. Ruben C Gur at the University of Pennsylvania School of

ining the Reading

Summarize the differences that Goleman claims exist between men’s and wom­
en’s ways of expressing emotion.
Accotding to Goleman, what are the root causes of the differences between how
men and women express emotion?
How can the emotional differences between spouses cause marital difficulties,
according to the writer?


intern and keep working, often talking to patients’ relatives long into the night. “I am
now breaking the law,” she would announce cheerfully to no one in particular, then
trot off to do just a few final chores.

The man had a strict definition of what it meant to be a doctor. He did not, for instance,
“do nurses’ work” (his phrase). When one of his patients needed a specimen sent to the
lab and the nurse didn’t get around to it, neither did he. No matter how important the job
was, no matter how hard I pressed him, he never gave in. If I spoke sternly to him, he would
tum around and speak just as sternly to the nurse. The woman did everyone’s work. She
would weigh her patients if necessary (nurses’ work). feed them (aides’ work). find salt­
free pickles for them (dietitians’ work), and wheel them to X-ray (transporters’ work).

The man was cheerful, serene, and well rested. The woman was overtired, hyper­
emotional, and constantly late. The man was interested in his patkmts, but they never
kept him up at night. The woman occasionally called the hospital from home to check
on hers. The man played tennis on his days off. The woman read medical articles. At
least, she read the beginnings; she tended to fall asleep halfway through.

t telt as it Iwas in a medieval morality play’ that month, living with two costumed
symbols of opposing philosophies in medical education. The woman was working the
way interns used to: total immersion seasoned with exhaustion and adrenaline. As far
as she was concerned, her patients were her exclusive responsibility_ The man was an
intern of the new millennium. His hours and duties were delimited; he saw himself as
part of a health-care team, and his patients’ welfare as a shared responsibility.

This new model of medical internship got some important validation in the New
England Journal ofMedicine last week, when Harvard researchers reported the effects
of reducing interns’ work hours to 60 per week from 80 (now the mandated national
maximum). The shorter workweek required a larger staff of interns to spell one another
at more frequent intervals. With shorter hours, the interns got more sleep at home,
dozed off less at work, and made considerably fewer bad mistakes in patient care.

Why should such an obvious finding need an elaborate controlled study to estab·
lish? Why should it generate not only two long articles in the world’s most prestigious
medical journal but also three long, passionate editorials? Because the issue here is
bigger than just scheduling and manpower.

The progressive shortening of residents’ work hours spells nothing less than a
change in the ethos of medicine itself. It means the end of Dr. Kildare, Superstar-thaI
lone, heroic healer, omniscient, omnipotent, and ever-present. It means a revolution
in the complex medical hierarchy that sustained him. Willy-nilly, medicine is becoming.
democratized, a team sport_

We can only hope the revolution witt be bloodless. Everything will have to change.
Doctors will have to learn to work well with others. They will have to learn to write and
speak with enough clarity and precision so that the patient’s story remains accurate as
care passes from hand to hand. They will have to stop saying “my patient” and begin
to say ·our patient” instead.


1moroJityplay: a type of play performed in the Middle Ages in which characters represent abstractions (love.
death, peace, and so on); irs purpose is to teach a tesson about right and wrong.


It may be, when the dust settles, that the system will be more functional, less error· 11
prone. It may be that we will simply have substituted one set of problems for another.
We may even find that nothing much has changed. Even in the Harvard data, there was
an impressive range in the hours that the interns under study worked. Some logged in
over 90 hours in their SO-hour workweek. Some put in 75 instead. Medicine has always
attracted a wide spectrum of individuals, from the lazy and disaffected to the deeply
committed. Even draconian scheduling policies may not change basiC personality traits
or the kind of doctors that interns grow up to be.

My month with the intern of the past and the intern of the future certainly argues 12
for the power of the individual work ethic. Try as I might, it was not within my power
to modify the way either of them functioned_ The woman cared too much. The man
tared too little. She worked too hard, and he could not be Pf~d into working hard
enough. They both made careless mistakes. When patients died, the man shrugged
and the woman cried.lffor no other reason than that one, let us hope that the medi·
cine of the future still has room for people like her.

Examining the Reading

I, How do the two interns differ in cheir approach to medicine?
2. What different philosophies of medicine do the two interns represent?
3, Describe the working condirions of interns.
4. What do we learn about the author and her philosophy of medical practice?
5. Explain the meaning of each of the following words as it is used in the reading: de­

limited (para. 6), ethos (9), omniscient (9), omnipotent (9), and draconian (11).

Analyzing the Writer’s Technique

1. Highlight Zugds thesis and evaluate its placement.
2. Identify the points of comparison on which the essay is based.
3. What other patterns of development does the author use? Give one exanlple and

explain how it contributes to the essay. .
4. Evaluate the effectiveness of the point-by-point organization. How would the

essay diffi:r if it had been written using a subject-by-subject organization?
5. Evaluate the essay’s conclusion. How does it reflect the rhesis and organization of

the essay?

Visualizing the Reading

Analyze Zuger’s use of point-by-point organization by first identifying the different
ofcomparison in her essay in the box on page 406. The first one has been done

you. Add additional rOWS to the box as needed.

DOCTOR 406.–_.. _­



For mare on locating and

documenting 5curCe,t
see Part 5.


Points of Comparison The Man The Woman

Organizational styles Efficient (Palm Pilot) Disorganized (overstuffed
pockets and notebook)

Thinking Critically about Text

1. In her final sentence, Zuger reveals a bias toward one of the models of medical in­
ternship she is comparing. Is bias apparent anywhere else? Explain.

2. What is the connotation of “nurses’ work” (para. 4)?
3. What other types of sources and information could the author have included to

make this essay more comprehensive?

Reacting to the Reading

1. Discuss an experience of visiting a doctor or hospital. Within which philosophy of
medical care did your treatment fall?

2. Discuss the training and education you will need for a career you are interested
in pursuing. What knowledge and skills will you need to succeed in the field, and
how will the training provide them?

3. Write a journal entry el<.ploring whether medical care has become depersonalized. Give Cl<.amples from your el<.perience.

4. Write an essay comparing or contrasting males and females in another profession
(teachers, police officers, nurses).

Applying Your Skills: Additional
Essay Assignments

Write a comparison or contrast essay on one of the topics below, using what you have
learned in this chapter. Depending on the topic you choose, you may need to conduct
library or Internet research.

To Express Your Ideas

1. Compare I wo families that you know or are part o£ Include points of compari­
son that reveal what is valuable and important in family life.

.__.___._’___’____’_…__ –‘.:~.;…;c:..;..:..N_’_’G_.”y”CO:_,UCCR,_,_S.,–K,:..I.c:L:.;L;.:S::.:…’:.:.:~_-:~:.:,_:: E 6 SAY ASS I G N M E N T S 407

2. Compare your values and priorities today with those you held when you were in
high school.

3. Compare your lifesryle today with the lifestyle you intend to follow after you
graduate from college.

To Inform Your Reader

4. Compare library resources with those available on the Internet.
5. Compare twO sources of information or communication as Beato does in “Amus­

ing Ourselves to Depth” (p. 375).

To Persuade Your Reader

6. Choose a technological change that has occurred in recent years, as Frazier does
in “Dearly Disconnected” (p. 377), and argue either that it is beneficial or that
its drawbacks outweigh its usefulness compared with the old technology.

7. Compare two views on a controversial issue, arguing in favor of one of them.
8. Compare twO methods ofdoing something (such as disciplining a child or train­

ing a pet), arguing that one method is more effective than the other.

Cases Using Comparison and Contrast

9. You are taking a course in photography and have becn asked to write a papet
comparing and contrasting the advantages and uses of black-and-white versus
color film. Your instructor is your audience.

10. You are working in the advertising department ofa company that manufactures
in-line skates. Your manager has asked you to evaluate twO periodicals and rec­
ommend which one the company should use to run its advertisements.

Classification and Division:
Explaining Categories
and Parts


photograph on the opposite page shows fruits and vegetables on display at

arm market. Notice that they are arranged according to type of produce. Can

imagine how difficult it would be to find what you need if all produce were

piled onto a table or shelf, with broccoli, pears. peppers, and bananas

mixed together? Most stores and markets arrange or group their products for

convenience of their customers.
like a few minutes to brainstorm other ways a particular store or Web site

or could group its products for customer convenience. You may propose a

method or construct a humorous one. Then write a paragraph describing

system. Come up with a title for each group and describe what products

in it. Include the characteristics of each product group.




Whoever arranged the fruits and vegetables in the market used a process called classifica­
tion-grouping things into categories based on specific characteristics. ‘This chapter will
show you how to write effective classification and division essays as well as how to incor­
porate classification and division into essays using other patterns ofdevdopment.

What Are Classification and Division?

You use dassi6ca:tion to organize things and ideas daily. Your dresser drawers are prob­
organized by categories, with socks and sweatshirts in different drawers. Grocery

stores, phone directories, libraries, and even restaurant menus arrange items in groups
according to similar characreristics.

Classification. then, is a process of sorting people, things, or ideas into groups or
categories to help make them more understandable. For example, your college caralog
classifies its course offerings by school. division, and department.

Division, similar to classification, begins with one item and breaks it down into
pam. Thus, for example. the humanities department at your college may be divided …
into English, modern languages, and philosophy, and the modern language courses
might be further divided into Spanish, French, Chinese, and Russian. Division is
closely related to process analysis, which is covered in Chapter 14.

A classification or division essay explains a topic by describing rypes or parts. For
example, a classification essay might explore rypes of advertising-direct mail. radio,
television, newspaper, Internet, and so forth. A division essay might describe the pans
of an art museum-exhibit areas, museum store, visitor services desk, and the like.

You will find many occasions to use classification and division in the writing
do in college and the workplace (see the accompanying box for a few examples). In
following essay, Jerry Newman classifies the kinds of managers he round in fast-food
restaurants. An example of a division essay, “A Brush with Realiry: Surprises in the
Tube” by David Bodanis, appears on page 417-18.

_,______. ____•______.____ JERRY NEWMAN MY SECRET LI

My Secret Life on the McJob:
Fast Food Managers
Jerry Newman

Jerry Newman is a professor of management at the State University of New York- Buffalo

and coauthor of the textbook Compensation, tenth edition (2010). He has also worked as a
business consultant at AT&T, Hewlett·Packard, RJR Nabisco, and McDonald’s. This selection
is from My Secret Life on the McJob: Lessons In Leadership Guaranteed to Supersize Any
Management Style (200n, which Newman wrote after working at various fast·food restau­
rants to learn about their operation and management. As you read, highlight each category

ohna!lagef that Newman estabtlshes.

I thought aU my fast food stores would be pretty similar. They weren’t. Some stores 1

made employees wear name tags, going as far as sending people home if they
repeatedly didn’t wear their name tags, while other stores didn’t seem to care. In

some stores crews socialized after work, but in others they barely talked to each

other, even during work. Even though every chain had strict rules about every facet

of food production and customer interaction, how employees were treated was part
of an individual store culture, and this varied from store to store. These differences

could often be traced to the managers’ values and practices and how consistently

they were applied both by the managers and by their sensei,’ much more so than
any edicts from headquarters. The best·run store I worked at was [a] Burger King;

the worst-run store was also a Burger King. If corporate rules had a controlling

impact, shouldn’t stores have been much more similar? At one McDonald’s the

employees were extremely friendly; at another the tension between groups was

palpable. The differences, I think, can be traced to the managers. The following

is a sampler of the types of managers I encountered. Only the last group, perfor­

mance managers, was good at finding a sensei and developing consistent people


Most new employees learn through feedback. When you’re first learning a job, there’s 2

relatively little ego involvement in feedback; good managers seem to know this and

in early days of employment are quick to point out better ways of doing a task. [Toxic]

managers, though, use sarcasm or disrespectful comments to indicate when they are
unhappy with your work. One of the worst offenders I ran into was the store manager at

Arby’s, who admitted that the main reason he was hiring me was to change the store

culture. He said he was tired of employees who were vulgar and disrespectful, but it

“didn’t take long for me to realize that the role model for their behavior was actually
the manager himself-Oon. His attitude and style set the tone for everyone else in his

store. Almost as bad, the key individual with the necessary attributes to be a sensei
•shared Don’s disregard for the feelings of others. Don, in particular. didn’t confine

Japanese word for “teacher” or “master.” Newman uses it to mean an employee who is not a manager
but who is both highly skilled at his or her job al1d sociallyinfiuential among fellow employees.

McJOB 411

412 CHAPTER 16


his wrath to “bad” employees. Bill, a diligent long-timer, messed up a coupon order.

A customer had an entertainment book coupon for one Value Meal free with the pur­

chase of another. There was a labyrinth of steps to complete some of the discounts

correctly. When Bill made the error, it was right before the end of Don’s shift, and Don

tore into him, saying loudly enough for everyone to hear, ·Well, I’m leaving before BiU

can make my life any more miserable,” It didn’t take long to infect others with this lack

of respect for employees.


The most common type of manager I encountered was the Mechanical Manager, who 1

was for the most part either an assistant manager or a shift manager, not a full store

manager. You could spot the Mechanical Managers from across the room-they

did their jobs, day after day, as if fast food was slow death. They didn’t wall! to bl!’

there, and they were just going through the motions. They typically had gotten their

jobs because they were reliable crew members and had put in enough time that

some reward was needed to keep them working. A promotion has a certain finality,

though-it makes you confront reality: 15 this what I want out of life? Most say “No,”

and that’s probably why I didn’t see very many store managers who were mechani­

cal. Before most store managers had reached that level (one store manager told me

it was a ten·year journey), those who weren’t interested in fast food as a lifetime

career had moved on to other career pursuits. While looking for other opportunities,

though, they did what was necessary to get by. Luis at McDonald’s was the perfect


In my first McDonald’s experience I made myself a grid showing all of the sand- ,

wiches and their ingredients. After a day of having instructions blasted at me, I needed

a visual training aid to finally put things together. ! shared this grid with Luis on my

third day, expecting he might already have training materials like this (

.”_._••_ .._….~__ .”’_.__J:,,E::..R,C.RY NEWMAN MY LIFE ON THE McJOB 413

way James responded to my quitting was refreshing. With my back problems becoming

increasingly worse,’ called James to tell him that’ was quitting and dreaded leaving

him in the lurch. But he was amazingly kind, telling me to take care of myself and force·

fully telling me to pick up my check.


It’s easy to spot the Performance Manager. Here relationships are still important, but

now they serve as a means to ensure performance. Through word or deed she very

quickly lets you know what is expected. I like this. No ambiguity, no doubt about what

it takes to make the grade. The best at this was Kris, who, it seemed to me, watched

for slackers much more closely than did the managers at other fast food places. She

told me during the interview that I would be watching DVDs rny first day. She also

mentioned that one of the new people had taken three to four bathroom breaks while

watching the videos, which was an excessive number, she thought. She also com­

mented that she rnight be losing some people because she thought they were slower

than they should be. ‘got the message: She would be watching my work and looking

to see if’ was going to goof off. My experience in other places was that you got fired for

only two things: not showing up and insubordinate behavior. Clearly she was adding a

third reason-poor performance. Good for her!
Kris’s watchful eye extended beyond bathroom breaks. I found out the hard way

that taking breaks, even unpaid ones, wasn’t allowed unless legally required. Ap­

parently in New York State, you’re not entitled to a break until after five hours of

work. So when I asked Kris for a break before the appointed time, she answered with

an emphatic “No.” Kris’s message was clearly that we do our jobs by the book, no

Over time at this Burger King I began to notice that Kris wasn’t a taskmaster all the 8

time. Sure, during busy times she was prone to exhort the staff to work faster. And

she didn’t tolerate leaning (remember, “If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to

dean”). But this attitude relaxed a bit during slower times, and it especially relaxed for

leave it for Kris, the store manager. Clearly he saw the value in it-he didn’t toss it,

after all-but a reinforcing response for my initiative required a level of involvement he

didn’t or couldn’t muster.


The Relationship Manager was a relatively rare breed in my experience. james was \

the prototype. He led by building relationships and demonstrating that he cared about

our destinies-hard to do when it seemed like every week someone was leaving and
another person was coming on board. From the first day, james was very different from

what! was used to. When I first met him for my job interview, he was fifteen minutes

late because he was out picking up an employee whose car had broken down. I never

saw any other manager pick up or take home a crew member who had transportation

problems. In fact, at one store I watched Mary, an older worker teetering on the edge

of poverty, sit in a booth out front for two hours waiting for her husband to pick her
up after his shift at a Sam’s Club. As , came to learn, this kindness wasn’t unusual for

James. And in being kind, james created a culture that was much rnore friendly and

supportive than that in many of the other fast food places’ had experienced. Even the

the better workers like Daniel, Eric, and Craig, three of the fastest guns on the sand­

wich assembly board.

Characteristics of Classification and Division Essays

A successful classification or division essay is meaningful to its audience. The writer
uses one principle of classification or division, with exclusive categories or parts that
are broad enough to include all of the members of me group.

Classification Groups and Division Divides Ideas
According to One Principle

items into groups, a writer needs to decide on what basis to do so. For example,
could be classified in terms of their size, habitat, or diet. For a division essay, the
must decide into what parts to divide the topic. A journalist writing about a

aquarium could divide me topic according to type of fish displayed, suitability for
of different ages, or quality of the exhibits.


To develop an effective set ofcategories or parts, a writer needs to choose one
dple of classification or division and IJ-IC it consistently throughout the essay or
piece of writing. In “My Secret Life on the McJob: Fast Food Managers,”
classifies managers according to their management style.

Once a writer chooses a principle of classification or division, the next step is
identify a manageable number ofcategories or parts. An essay dassiJYing birds
ing to dict, for example, might use five or six types ofdiet, not twenty.

Classification or Division Follows a Principle
Determined by the Writer’s Purpose and Audience

Because several different principles can be used to categorize any group, the
er’s purpose and audience sh

To develop a meaningful classification, therefore, choose a principle that will
interest your readers and fulfill your purpose. If, for instance, you want to
parents about the types of day-care facilities in your town, you could dassiJY Gay­
centers according to the services they offer because your readers would be looking
that information. A journalist writing to persuade readers ofhis newspaper that a
aquariwn is designed for children might divide the exhibits according to their
ity for children ofdifferent ages.

Brainstorm three diffrrent prindpks ofclassification Or division you could use for each
following topics:

1. Sports teams

2. Fast-food restaurants

3. Internet access

4. Academic subjects
5. Novels

ClaSSification Uses Categories and Division Uses Parts
That Are Exclusive and Comprehensive

The categories or parts you choose should not overlap. In other words, a
lar item should fit in no more than one category. A familiar example is
categories 25 to 30 and 30 to 35 are not mutually exclusive since someone
thirty would fit into both. In an essay about the nutritional value ofpizza, you
divide your topic into carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, but you should not


separate category for saturated fat, since saturated fat is already contained in the futs

The categories or parts you choose should also be comprehensive. In a division
essay, all the major parts of an item should be included. In a classification essay, each
member of the group should fit into one category or another. For example, an essay
categorizing fast-food restaurants according to the type of food they serve would have
to include a category for pizza.

Choose aprinciple ofclassification or division for two ofthe topics listed in Exercise 16.1.
Then 11UIke ” list ofthe ctmgories in which eJU;h item could be included orparts into which
each item could be divided.

Classification or Division Fully Explains Each Category or Part

A classification or division essay contains adequate detail so that each category or part
can be understood by readers. In “My Secret Life on the McJob: Fast Food Managers,»
Newman dearly presents the four types of managers, using personal experience, exam­
ples, and description. Details such as these enable readers to “see” the writer’s categories
or parts in a classification or division essay.

Classification or Division Develops a Thesis
The thesis statement in a classification or division essay identifies the topic and may
reveal the principle used to dassiJY or divide the topic. In most cases it also suggests
why the classification or division is relevant or important.

Here are two exanlples of thesis statements:

Most people consider videos a form of entertainment; however, videos can also serve
educational, commercial, and political functions.

The Grand Canyon is divided into two distinct geographical areas-the North Rim and
the South Rim-each ofwhich offers different views, facilities, and climatic amditions.

Visualizing a Classification or Division Essay:
A Graphic Organizer

The graphic organizer shown in Figure 16.1 outlines the basic organization of a clas­
sification or division essay. The introduction announces the topic, gives background
information, and states the thesis. The body paragraphs explain the categories or parts
and their characteristics. The conclusion brings the essay to a satisJYing dose by rein­
IOrcing the thesis and offering a new insight on the topic.

Read the division essay on page 417 and then study the graphic organizer for it in
16.2 (on p. 419).

For more on graphic orgonizers.
see Chapter 3, W. 59-61.


…———:–,–, r Topic announcement
Introduction r-t Background information

Thesis statement


Category 1or Part 1


Category 2 or Part 2

Bocly~Categories or Parts- ., –


” Category 3 or Part 3


Category 4 or Part 4


I r Reinforce thesis “”‘—-Co'”””-‘n-c:::-W”’s7’o”n”C’·–“””C’7h Offer new insight or perspective

seams are splayed, pressure waves are generated inside, and the paste begins to flow.

But what’s in this toothpaste, so carefully being extruded out?

Water mostly, 30 to 45 percent in most brands: ordinary, everyday simple tap water. 2
It’s there because people like to have a big gob of toothpaste to spread on the brush,

and water is the cheapest stuff there is when it comes to making big gobs. Dripping a
bit from the tap onto your brush would costvlrtuaUy nothing; whipped in with the rest

of the toothpaste, the manufacturers can seU it at a neat and accountant-pleasing $2
per pound equivalent. Toothpaste manufacture is a very lucrative occupation.

Second to water in quantity is chalk: exactly the same material that schoolteachers

use to write on blackboards. It is collected from the crushed remains of long-dead

ocean creatures. In the Cretaceous seas chalk particles served as part of the wickedly

sharp outer skeleton that these creatures had to wrap around themselves to keep from

getting chomped by all the slightly larger other ocean creatures they met. Their massed

graves are our present chalk deposits.

The individual chalk particles-the size of the smallest mud particles in your

garden-have kept their toughness over the aeons, and now on the toothbrush

they’ll need it. The enamel outer coating of the tooth they’ll have to face is the

hardest substance in the body-tougher than skull, or bone, or nail. Only the chalk

particles in toothpaste can successfully grind into the teeth during brushing, ripping

off the surface layers like an abrading wheel grinding down a boulder in a qu.arry.

The craters, slashes, and channels that the chalk tears into the teeth will also

remove a certain amount of built-up yellow in the carnage, and it is for that polishing
function that it’s there. A certain amount of unduly enlarged extra-abrasive chalk frag­

ments tear such cavernous pits into the teeth that future decay bacteria will be able to

bunker down there and thrive; the quality control people find it almost impossible to

screen out these errant super-chalk pieces, and government regulations allow them to
stay In.

In case even the gouging doesn’t get all the yellow off, another substance is worked 6
into the toothpaste cream. This is titanium dioxide. It comes in tiny spheres, and it’s

the stuff bobbing around in white wall paint to make it come out white. Splashed
around onto your teeth during the brushing it coats much of the yellow that remains.

Being water SOluble it leaks off in the next few hours and is swallowed, but at least for

the quick glance up in the mirror after finishing it wil\ make the user think his teeth


A Brush with Reality: Surprises in the Tube
David Bodanis

David Bodanis is a journalist and the author of several books, including The Body Book
(1984), The Secret Garden (1992), The Secret Family (1997), Electric Universe: The Shocking
True Story ofElectricity (2005), and Passionate Minds: The Great Love Affair ofthe Enlighten­
ment (2006). The following essay is from The Secret House (1986), a book that traces a family
of five through a day, analyzing foods they eat and products they use_ As you read the selec­
tion, highlight the writer’s thesis and the sections where he divides his topic into parts.

-“”—–“- —,~—- — —, ­
Into the bathroom goes our male resident, and after the most pressing need is satis­

fied, it’s time to brush the teeth. The tube of toothpaste is squeezed, its pinched metal

__ _

.- __~~~~~~!.F~~ND DIVISION? 419
418 CHAPTER 16 CLASSIFICATION AND DIVISION ____.,.~_____.~_”_”.’~.”,.__•. .–.,,,_._”~~”_~.__.~ ‘.. ~ ··_,.h ~””‘_,~~_,_, _~”_ ~ .,,_””

are trUly white. Some manufacturers add optical whitening dyes-the stuff more com·
monly found in washing machine bleach-to make extra sure that that glance in the
mirror shows reassuring white.

These ingredients alone would not make a very attractive concoction. They would
stick in the tube like a sloppy white plastic lump, hard to squeeze out as well as revolt­
ing to the touch. Few consumers would savor rubbing in a mixture of water, ground-up
blackboard chalk, and the whitener from latex paint first thing in the morning. To get
around that finicky distaste the manufacturers have mixed in a host of other goodies.

To keep the glop from drying out, a mixture including glycerine glycol-related to
the most common car antifreeze ingredient-iS whipped in with the chalk and water,
and to give that concoction a bit of substance (all we really have so far is wet colored
chalk), a large helping is added of gummy molecules from the seaweed Chondrus
crispus. This seaweed ooze spreads in among the chalk, paint, and antifreeze, then
stretches itself in all directions to hold the whole mass together. A bit of paraffin oil
(the fuel that flickers in camping lamps) is pumped in with itto help the moss ooze
keep the whole substance smooth.

With the glycol, ooze, and paraffin we’re almost there. Only two major chemicals
left to make the refreshing, cleansing substance we know as toothpaste. The ingredi·
ents so far are fine for cleaning, but they WOUldn’t make much of the satisfying foam
we have come to expect in the morning brushing.

To remedy that, every toothpaste on the market has a big dollop of detergent
too. You’ve seen the suds detergent will make in a washing machine. The same sub­
stance added here will duplicate that inside the mouth. It’s not particularly necessary,
but it sells.

The only problem is that by itself this ingredient tastes, well, too like detergent.
It’s horribly bitter and harsh. The chalk put in toothpaste is pretty foul·tasting too,
for that matter. It’s to get around that gustatory discomfort that the manufacturers
put in the ingredient they tout perhaps the most of all. This is the flavoring, and it
has to be strong. Double rectified peppermint oil is used-a flavorer so powerful that
chemists know better than to sniff it in the raw state in the laboratory. Menthol crys·
tals and saccharin or other sugar simulators are added to complete the camouflage

Is that it? Chalk, water, paint, seaweed, antifreeze, paraffin oil, detergent, and pep­
permint? Not quite. A mix like that would be irresistible to the hundreds of thousands
of individual bacteria lying on the surface of even an immaculately cleaned bathroom
sink. They would get in, float in the water bubbles, ingest the ooze and paraffin, maybe
even spray out enzymes to break down the chalk. The result would be an uninviting
mess. The way manufacturers avoid that final obstacle is by putting something in to
kill the bacteria. Something good and strong is needed, something that will zap any
aCCidentally intrudant bacteria into oblivion. And that something is formaldehyde-the
disinfectant used in anatomy labs.

So it’s chalk, water, paint, seaweed, antifreeze, paraffin oil, detergent, peppermint,
formaldehyde, and fluoride (which can go some way towards preserving children’s
teeth)-that’s the usual mixture raised to the mouth on the toothbrush for a fresh
morning’s clean.lfit sounds too unfortunate, take heart. Studies show that thorough
brushing with just plain water will often do as good a job.



2. State the prindple of classification. Do so briefly but make sure it is clear to
your readers.

3. Name the categories or parts. In the sentence that introduces the classification or
division, name the categories or parts to focus your readers’ attention on the expla­
nation that follows.

In “The Dog Ate My Flash Drive, and Other Tales ofWoe” on page 433, Carolyo
Foster Segal uses classification along with other patterns of development to develop
her thesis about student excuses.


The following guide will lead you through the process
division essay. Note that you may need to integrate one or more
velopment in your essay to develop your thesis or make a
learning sryle, you may choose various ways of generating

a classification or
patterns ofde­

Depending on yoU!
organizing ideas.

The Assignment

Write a classification or division essay on a
one of the followin!! lisrs:


1. Types of pets
2. Types of sPOtts fans

ofyour own choosing or on a


Generating Ideas

There are tWO primary methods for generating ideas and for classifying or
those ideas. With method 1, you first generare details and then group the details into
categories or parts. With method 2, you first generate categories or parts and then
generate details that support them. Here is how both methods apply to classification

essays and division essays:


Method 1: First think ofderails that de.

Method 2: First identify categories. Then think of details that describe each category.


Method 1: Brainstorm details about your topic and then group the details into partS or

Method 2: Think about how yOUt
rhink of details that

can be divided into easy-to-understand partS. Then

each part.

toMethod 1 is effective when you approach the classification or division from
__ identifying details and then grouping the details. Depending on your

slyle and your topic, it may be casier to start by creating categories or parts and
filling in details about each one. In this case, use method 2.

420 CHAPTER 16

To draw detafled graphh::

orgamzer5 using a computer.
visl! www.bed[ord$tmortins.


Exercise 16.3

Draw a graphic organizer for “My Secret Lifo on the McJob: Fast
411-13). Note that because this is an excerptfoam a book, it does not

Integrating Classification or


into an Essay

Classification or division is often used along with one or more other patterns of
opment. For example, an essay that argues for stricter gun control may categorize
in terms of their firepower, use, or availability. A narrative aboU( a writer’s frustrat-.
ing experien= in a crowded international airport terminal may describe the A;f.l’~rpn’
parts or areas of the airport.

Use the following tips to incorporate classification or division into an essay based
on another pattern of development:

1. Avoid focusing on why the classification or division is meaningful. When used
as a secondary pattern, its significance should be dear from the context in which
the classification or division is presented.

3. lypes of movies
4. Types of classmates
5. Types ofshoppers
6. Types of television dramas


1, Your family
2. A machine or a piece of equipment
3. An organization
4. A sports team or an extracurricular dub
5. Apublic place (building, stadium, department store, or theme
6. Your college

Depending on the topic you seiect, you may need to use Internet or library sources
to develop and suppott your ideas about it. You may also need to narrow the topic.
Your audience consists of readers ofyour local newspaper.

Ali. you develop your classification or division essay, consider using one or more
other patterns of development. For example, in a classification essay, you might
compare and contrast rypes of sportS fans or give examples of types of movies. In
a division essay, you might describe the partS of a theme park or another public

For more on descnpt/On,

ifhutration, and compari.’iOn and

contrast, ,See Chapters 12, 13,

ond 15,


422 CHAPTER 16

Fot more Oil purpo!>e, Qudience,

and point of view, see Chapter 5,


For more on prewriting !>trate-ies,
see Chapter 5, pp” 110-18,

For more on oblervotfon, see

Chapter 22.pp. 617~78.

leoming Style OptJOIIS

For mote 0″ fibrary end Internp.t
research, see Chaptet 22.


Your principle of I ‘fi’ d’ .. ‘ WConSidering Your Purpose, Audience and Point of Vie
c asSl catton or d’ lV1SIon ‘ vn’J ~ur categories or parts, and your detail must aU fit your purp d

users about the comr::se an ~u lence. ~ your purpose is to inform novice compute
be straightforward dnents 0 ha ~erslon computer (PC), your parts and details mus

an nontee mea How’f’puter technicians to rch I .ever, I your purpose IS to persuade com > • •
. p~ ,a~e a parttcu ar kind of PC, your parts and details Idmore techmcal. For this GUIded Writing Assignment you d’ . wfou

of your local newspaper. ‘ r au lenee consists 0 reade

As. you work on your classification or division essay k If h £ II’
uesno ns. . ,as yourse t e 10 owm

• Is my principle ofcl ‘fi’ . . ..

audience? assl cation or divlSlon appropn<1te for my purpose and • Do my categories d .

Will my readers o~parts :; h my detatls advance the purpose of the essay?
What point of un er:’ltlaben t e .categones or parts?

View WI st SUit my purpo d d’ fi
third person? The Ii I se an au lencc- rst, second, or;
in informal writ’ ~t person ( , we) ~r second person (you) may be appropriate
ence with the to;g 1 you or t~r ~udlence have personal knowledge ofor experi­
they) is appropria:~ you are ~assl~lflg.o.r dividing. T~e third person (he, she, it,
your audience. m more orma wrmng or for tOpiCS less familiar to you or

Generating Details and Grouping Them into Categories or Parts

Work through the following tasks in whatever order suits your topic and your
style, using either method 1 or method 2 (p. 421).

Generat:ing tiet4i1s. For each category or part, you need to supply specific details
will make it clear and understandable to your readers. As you work on your
then, write down examples, situations, or sensory details that illustrate each categorlll


and worthwhile to your audience. Experiment with several principles of classification
d’lVlSlon. . untt you find one that fits your purpose an d .or ‘1 audience.

Choosing categorics or part.. Use the following suggestions to determine your

‘ categoncs or parts:
‘ . .1. In a classificatr.on essay, make sure most or all members of the group fit mto one of

. . .r .. b’ Idyour categones. For example, m an essay about unsare dnvmg ha Its, you wou

include the most common bad habits. In a division essay, no essential parts should
be e out. For example, III an essay about partS of a baseball stadIUm, you would 1ft’ ‘

not exclude the infield or bleachers.
2. In a classification essay, be sure the categories are exclusive; each group member

should fit into one category only. In the essay about unsafe driving habits, the
categories of reckless drivers and aggressive drivers would overlap, so exclusive
categories should be used instead. In a division essay, make sure the partS do not

I .” .over ap. In the essay about the parts of a baseball stadIUm, the parts playmg
field” and “infield” would overlap, so it would be better to use three distinct

parts of the field – infield, outfield, and foul-ball area.
3. Create specific categories or parts that will engage your readers. In a classifica­

tion essay, categorizing drivers by their annoying driving habits would be more
interesting than simply distinguishing between “good” and “bad” drivers.
A division essay on players’ facilitieS in a baseball stadium-dugout, locker
room, and bullpen _ might be more interesting to sports fans than an essay

describing different seating sections of the stadium.
Choose descriptive names that emphasize the distinguishing feature of the
category or part. In a classification essay, you might categorize highway drivers
as “I-own-the-road” drivers, “I’m-in-no-hurry” drivers, and “I’m-daydreaming”
drivers. In a division essay about the parts of a baseball stadium, you might use

“home-tun heaven” to name one part.

Do not hesitate to create, combine, or eliminate categories or partS, as needed.

or part. Use one or more of the following strategies:

1. Visit a place where you can observe your topic or the people associated with it.
example, to generate details about pets, visit a pet store or an animal shelter.
notes on what you see and hear. Record conversations, physical chara<.1:eristics, haviors, and so forth.

2. Discuss your topic with a classmate or friend. Focus your talk on the qualities
characteristics ofyour topic.

3. Brainstorm a list of aU the features or characteristics ofyour topic that come to

4. Draw a map or diagram that illustrates your topic’s features and characteristics.
5. Conduct library or Internet research to discover facts, examples, and other details

about your topic.

Choosing a principle ofclassification or division. Look for shared features or
teristics. Your principle ofclassification or division should be interesting, meanmgtID,

Essay in Progress 1
Choose a topic for your classification or division essay from the list of assignmen~ op­
tions on pages 420-21, or choose one on your own. Then use the preceding guidelines
for method 1 or method 2 to generate details about your topic, choose a principle of
classification or division, and devise a set of (‘.categories or parts. Whatever method you
use, list the examples, situations, or other details that you will use to describe each cat­
egory or part. You might try drawing a graphic organizer.

Developing Your Thesis
nee you choose categories or parts and are satisfied with your details, you are ready
develop a thesis for your essay. Remember that your thesis statement should iden­

topic and reveal your principle of division or classification. In most cases, it
also suggest why your classification or division is useful or important. Notice

following weak theses have been strengthened by showing both what the cat-

are and why they are important.

For mon:: on thesis statements,

see Chapter 6


424 CHAPTER 16

SR~,’ Chapter 7.






There arc four types of insurance that most people can

If you understand the four common types of insurance,
be able to make sure that you, your family members,
property arc protected.

Conventional stores are only one type
becoming more

other types are

conventional stores are still where most people pur­
chase products, three new types of shopping are becoming
increasingly popular -face-co-face sales conducted in a home,
sales via telephone or computer, and sales from automatic vend­
ing machines.

Draft your thesis and then check your prewriting to make sure you have
details to support the thesis. If necessary, do some additional prewriting.

Essay in Progress 2

Using the preceding guidelines, develop a thesis for your classification Or division essay.

Evaluating Your Ideas and Thesis

Take a few minures to evaluate your ideas and thesis. Start by rereading everythIng you
have written with a critical Highlight the most useful details and delete mose that
are repetitious or irrelevant. are working on a computer, highlight useful details
in bold type or move them to a separate file. As you review your work, add useful ideas
that come to mind.

Trying Out Your Ideas on Others
Working in a group of two or three students, discuss your ideas and thesis for this

chapter’S assignment. Each writer should describe to the group his or her topic, prin·

ciple of classification or division, and categories or parts. Then, as a group, evaluate

each writer’s work and suggest recommendations for improvement.

Essay in Progress 3
Using the preceding suggestions and comments from your classmates, evaluate your

thesis, your categories or parts, and the details you plan to use in your essay. Refer to

the list of characteristics on pages 413-15 to help you with your evaluation.

Organizing and Drafting


have evaluated your categories or parts, reviewed your thesis, and considered
ofyour classmates, you are ready to otganize your ideas and draft your essay.


Choosing a Method of Organization
Choose the method of organization that best suits your purpose. One method that
works well in classification essays is the least-co-most or most-to-Ieast arrangement.
You might arrange your categories in increasing order of importance or from most
to least common, difficult, or frequent. Other possible sequences include chronologi­
cal order (when one category occurs or is observable before another) or spatial order

you classifY physical objects).
Spatial order often works well in division essays, as does order of importance. In

describing the parts of a baseball stadium, you might move from stands to playing field
order). In writing about the parts of a hospital, you might describe the most

important areas first (operating rooms and emergency department) and then move to
less importantiiKililies (waiting rooms and visitor cafeteria).

Drafting the Classification or Division Essay
Once you decide how to organize your categories or parts, your next step is to write a

first draft. Use the following guidelines CO draft your essay:

1. Explain each category or part. Begin by defining each one, taking into account
the complexity of your topic and the background knowledge of your audience.
Define any unfamiliar terms. Then pcovide details that describe each category
or part, and show how each is distinct from the omers. Include a wide range of
details-sensory details, personal experiences, examples, and comparisons and

2. Provide roughly the same amount and kind of detail and description for

each of your categories or parts. For instance, if you give an example of one
type of mental disorder, you should give an example for every other type dis­
cussed in the essay. Generally, allow one or more paragraphs for each category

or part.
3. Consider using headings or lists. Presenting me

numbered list or in sections wim headings can
tinct. Headings or lists can be especially useful

or within a
make them clear and dis­

number of

categories or parts. .
4. Use transitions. You need transitions to keep your reader on track as you move

from one category or part to anomer. In addition, transitions help distinguish key

featutes between and within categories or parts.
5. Consider using a visual. Diagrams, charts, or other visuals can make your system

of classification or division clearer for your rcaders.
6. Write an effective introduction. Your introduction usually includes your thesis

statement and suggests why the classification or division is usefuL It also should
provide background information and explain further, if needed, your principle of

classification or division.
7. Write a satisfying conclusion. Your conclusion should bring your essay ro a

close, reemphasizing your thesis or offering a new insight or oCI:solective

For more on methods of
organization, see Chapter 7,

pp- 144-4r

For mOle on tramitiom,

see Chapter 7, pp. 150–52.

For mon? on writing effective
paragtapns, including
introdwction;. and wne/usions,

For more on keepmg an error log,
sep Chapter 10, rP. 221-22.

[-or more on combmmg sentem:.e5
and varying sentence patterns,
see Chapter JO, pp. 206–12.

Essay’ ~n Pr,,;:.gc(‘1SS 5
Revise your draft using Figure 16.3 and any comments you received from peer review”­

Editing and Proofreading

The last step is to check your revised essay for errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation. I
and mechanics. Watch for the types oferrors you tend to make (refer to your error log).

When editing a classification or division essay, pay specific attention to two par·
ticular kinds ofgrammatical error-choppy sentences and omitted commas followio~.
introductory elements.

1. Avoid short, choppy sentences, which can make a classification or division
essay sound dull and mechanical. 11-y combining a series of shorr sentences and
varying sentence patterns and lengths.

,sliCh as German sheph?rds end sheephprding dogs

.. Working dogs”””, another one of the American Kennel Club’s breed

categories. The.e iRelud. German “”_pheM. aad sheeph

.. ,.Qne standard type ofwriting instrumen; is the c….”taifl pen.-It-is some­
times messy and inconvenient to use.

3. Underline the categories or parts. Do
they cover all or most members of the
group or all major parts of the topic?
Are your categories or parts eJ


4. Place checkmarksV beside the details
that explain each category or part.
Does your essay fully explain each one?
[If it reads like a list, answer “No.”)


• Brainstorm or do research to add
categories or parts.

• Revise your categories or parts so that
each item fits into one group only.

• Brainstorm or do research to discover
more details.
Add eJ

(continued on next page)


426 CHAPTER 16

For more on the benefit5 ofpeer
revIew; see Chapter 9, pp.


If you have trouble finding an appropriate way to conclude your essay, return to
statement about why the classification or division is useful and imporrant, and try
extend or elaborate on that statement.

tjiS’;:Vy 1r. f~fQ$!:t<-::~s 4 Draft your classification or division essay, using an appropriate method of organization and the preceding guidelines for drafting.

Analyzing and Revising

As you review your dran, remember that your goal is to revise your classification or
vision essay to make it dearer and more effeai”e. Focus on content and ideas and
on grammar, punctuation, or mechanics. Use one or more of the following
to analyze your draft:

I. Reread your essay aloud. You may “hear” parts that need revision.
2. Ask a friend or classmate to read your draft and to give you his or her impressicl

ofyour categories of classification or division. Compare your reader’s impressions
with what you intend to convey, and revise your draft accordingly.

3. Draw a graphic organizer, make an oudine, or update the organizer or
you drew or made earlier. In particular, look for any categories or parts that
sufficient details, and revise to include them.

Use Figure 16.3 to guide your analysis of the strengths and weaknesses in your
essay. You might also ask a classmate to review your draft using the questions in
flowchart. For each “No” response, ask your reviewer to explain his or her answer.



1. tlfg\j'(i~ht your thesis statement.
Do it and the rest of your introduction NO


2. Write the principle of classification you
used at the top of your paper. Do you
use this principle consistently through·
out the essay? Does it fit your audience
and purpose? Does it dearly relate to
your thesis?


• Revise your thesis to make your justifica·
tion stronger or more appa rent.
Add explanatory information to your

• Review or brainstorm other possible
principles of classification of your topic,
and decide if one of them better fits your
audience and purpose .

• Revise your categories and parts to fit ei­
ther your existing principle or a new one.

• Rewrite your thesiS to relied your
principle of classification.

(Figure 16.3 continued)


S. Write the method of organization you
o Refer to Chapter 7 to discover a moreused at the top of your essay. Is the or.

appropriate organizing plan. ganization clear? Does this method suit
your audience and purpose? Have you o Revise the order of your categories or

parts.followed it consistently?
o Add transitions to make your organiza.

tion clear.

6. ~ the top.ic sentel’tce of each
paragraph. Is each paragraph focused
o Consider combining paragraphs that
on a separate category or part? cover a Single category or part and

splitting paragraphs that cover more
than one.

7. Reread your conclusion. Does it offer
o Ask yourself: ·So what? What does this a new insight or perspective On the

topic? mean?” Build your answers into the

which he was asked to address the national debate about immigration. As

2. Add a comma after opening phrases or clauses tb:at are longer than four

,. When describing types of college studen~ be sure to consider variations in

II Although there are many types of camera~ most are easy to operate.

Essay in Progress 6

Edit and proofread your essay, paying particular attention to sentence variety and
as well as comma usage.

Students Write

Sunny Desai was a student at the University of Maryland at College Park
he wrote the following essay in response to an assignment for his writing

etiqibility to enter, but with particular constraints, including purpose of visit and length of stay.

The Web site of the Department of State points out that when the holder of a visa arrives at

acheckpoint for entry into the United States, an immigration officer will determine whether

he or she is actuali1l allowed in, There are many types of visas; in fact, according to the

Department of Homeland Security (DHS), there are over seventy types altogether (Immigration

Oassijlcations). The OVerwhelming majority of visa holders, however, fall into four inain groups.

The most common one is i:l1elotlllst·’lis~; which allows a person to remain in the countrY only
temporarily, for a variable length of time. Applicants must pass a security clearance and show

that they have enough money to cover their visit.

~.~I1~,i~~I~!\V~~ of visa is .th~’ f{1~ irisa, for those seeking temporary residence for
work·related reasons. The visa is mostly used by outsourcing firms and technology companies.

In 2007, Microsoft and Intel were among the ten highest receivers of H1S visas; the rest of

,the top ten were outsourcing companies, mostly based in India (Herbst 63). However, many

doctors and nurses also arrive in the United States in this way. As explained on the Web site

.,e U.s. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a DHS agency, the HIS visa is used mostly by

professional workers, since a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent is often an eligibility require­

Even where this is not the case, unskilled laborers are often excluded because of the

country legally, most
commonly through holding
visas. He cites sources for
his information, as he
continues to do
throughout the essay.

DesaI indicates that
his c1asslfkation is
comprehensive. induding
all major categories, and
introduces the fi~t
sub<:ategOl)' of the legal category: people on tourist visas.

rhe second subcategory:
those on H1B visas.. Notice
that at the beginning of
this paragraph and the
next four. Desai uses a

Desai provides details to
expl3in this type of visa.

read the essay, notice how Desai uses classification as his primary method of

Immigration: Legal and Illegal

Sunny Desai

The immigration debate in the United States has raged on for a number of years without

much movement toward an agreement on how to deal with the issue. Some Americans

believe immigration needs to be curtailed; they argue that immigrants are draining our

economy and social services. and take jobs that citizens coold I!()ld. Others believe that

immigration is beneficial and maintains America’s identity as a melting pot of cultures.

Reflecting the views of the public, lawmakers and political candidates are also sharply

divided on the immigration issue. From the standpoint of legal status, there are many types

and subtypes of people who are currently in the United States but not American citizens,

Understanding thes.edistlrtctions i~ the key to good policy decisions and to informed choices

by voters.

For the millions ofdt1~4!n~ of ottler,c:oliritrie, w~o are Int!JeUni\:~ SU!~~ le9~lly,.. the
most common method of entry is through a visa–a document that demonstrates a person’s

Title: Desai identifies the
subject and its two primary

Introduction: Desai
describes the controversy
over immigration, identifies
legality as his principle of
classification, and explains
the Importance of classifying_henondtizens. In identif1esthe hisIII
two major categories he will

Desai introduces the fi,rst


limited number of visas available. For those who are eligible, the H1B visa is a desirable path to

naturalization–the process that leads to U.S. citizenship. Typically, it is issued for three years,

. STUDENTS WRITE.——-_.._—–_._—–_.._— ._…………… _.__…_—_.._._—_.__..
program in place, it would not be too difficult to add new categories to cover other kinds of “guest

workers.” Currently, illegal immigrants are doing mostly jobs Americans do not want to do. But if we

make them leave, the economy would suffer. Therefore, creating a program that allows laborers to

find seasonal work and then return home is a plausible solution to the immigration debate.

Works Cited

Herbst, Moira. “Guess Who’s Getting the Most Work Visas.” Business Week 6 Mar. 2008: 62-64. Print.

Pew Research Center. “Estimates of the Unauthorized Migrant Population for States Based on the

March 200S CPS.” Pew Hisponic CeM!r, 2006. Web. 16 May 2011.

United States. Dept. of Homeland Security. Office of Immig ration Statistics. u.s. Legal Permanent

with the option to renew it once. However, the employer can decide to apply for fewer years

(Employment Authorization).

Apart from tourists and H1B workers, the other two major categories of noncitizens with

temporary legal status in the United States are holders of student visas and business visas.

Temporary entrance is allowed for those seeking to study in the country or having some sort of

business to conduct, whether they are employees of a multinational corporation or foreign

entertainers touring America. The duration of these visas varies greatly, ranging from months to

years. The rules of entry also differ: Some visas allow for mUltiple entries whereas others only

allow one entry.

The :M:O~.iIDcll!!!8ory:
permanent legal residents

presence is illegal) and the

Theiei:?i!ii~t:Ii~ of
illegal residents: visa overstays

Conclusion: DesaI
proposes a solution to
the immigration debate.

Ihisidi5 these 9’OU ps who are allowed tov1~h th e States temporarily, some

people maintain permanent legal residency here but remain citizens of other nations.

Permanent legal residents have identification cards generally called “green cards,” also known

as permanent resident cards. Most people who get green cards already live in the United

States and had some sort of family relationship that helped them obtain it. According to the

DHS’s Office of Immigration Statistics, other factors that may enhance a person’s ability to

become a permanent legal resident are employment-based skills, birth in a country with a low

rate of immigration to the United States, and status as a refugee or seeker of political asylum.

For many, hoLding a green card is the first step toward becoming a citizen. Unlike a visa, it

allows someone to travel abroad for up to a year without losing permanent residency status.

The card is valid for ten years, after which it can be renewed (Office of Immigration


and,~~!laYi$as, there are a large number of

noncitizens living illegally in the United States. By one estimate, up to twelve million illegal

immigrants were in the country as of 2006, the vast majority from latin America (“Estimates’ 2).

AU of these people are committing a crime under the Immigration and Nationality Act. The phrase

“illegal immigrants” may conjure up images of people secretly crossing the U.S.-Mexico border,

and certainly many do enter by hiding in trucks, walking through the desert, or swimming across a

border river. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, more than half of illegal immigrants ente(

the country without a visa. Many enter for seasonal employment opportunities and return back

home; however, such immigration is also deemed illegal.

l!\lt!leoR~¥il\if~dt~d~he; ~oun~fyil\egal(y.are1’iottheollty<)tl~·Wl19sepresen~ ~" iis Rle9~t. The other type of illegal "immigrants" is the visa ovarstays. Members of this group

entered the country legally, using a visa, but have stayed beyond its exPiration date. When they

past their allotted time, they, like those who have entered without a visa, are subject to deportation.

Many immigrants, legal or illegal, are in the country because they want to work here. The

temporary-work visa program is now fairly limited and restrictive, but since we already have

Residents: 2006. U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, 2006. Web. 16 Mar. 2011.

—.—.U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Employment Authorization. Dept. of Homeland

Security, 2008. Web. 16 Mar. 2011.

……-.-.. Immigration Classifications and Visa Categories. Dept. of Homeland Security, 2008.

Web. 12 Mar. 201l.

-. Dept. of State. What Is a U.S. Visa? Dept. of State, 2008. Web. 16 Mar. 2011.

Analyzing the Writer’s Technique

1. According to Desai, why is it important to understand the classification of

2. What types of evidence does Desai use ro develop his essay?
:\, Evaluate Desai’s introduction and conclusion. How successful are they at engaging

readers’ interest?

Critically about Classification and Division

is the connotation of the phrase “melting pot” (para. 1)1
the second sentence ofparagraph 8. Is this fact or opinion? How can you

Desai’s sources. What additional kinds of sources might have been useful?

Desai’s tone. What kind of audience does he address?

other reasons could Desai have used to establish the importance ofhis

other principles of classification that might be used to c1a.ssifjr noncitizens.
a journal entry describing Desai’s attitude toward noncitizens.

• ;r:;, 432
4 ———~~=”::-.-:·-‘:–~=—~~~’~~~~~!’~~~-p-I·~~-‘I-~~——-___.______~.____.~_____ . ____””_________ CAROLYN FOSTER SEGAL THE DOG ATE MY FLASH DRIVE 433

For more on reading ~trategies,
see Chapter 3.

For more on discovering

ideos for a re~ponse paper,
see Chapter 4.

READING A CLASSIFICATION OR DIVISION ESSAY downsized and those who lack skills for employment-because many people are

– ” to work due to illness; those who were fired for personal reasons, such as incompetence;

jnemPIoyed for other reasons. This classification fuils to consider those who are unable

The following section provides advic C d’ I’ . and those who choose not to work while they raise children or pursue an education.
II e ror rea lllg a c asslficaoo d” . d'”‘c h – “. h kwe as two model essays The first es’ll h n or IVISlOn essay When rea lllg My Secret lire on t e McJob: Fast Food Managers, you mig t as’. . sa I ustrates t . . ‘. . ‘

covered In thiS chapter. The second ess: uses la ‘fi e <;haractenstlcs of ciasslficatlo whether there are other £)'pes ofmanagers that Newman did not observe or recogruze. of development. Both essays provide y C. 551 cation ~Iong With other meth( the writers' ideas. opportunities to examllle, analyze, and react

Working with Text: Reading a ClaSSification
or Division Essay

A classification or division essay is usually tightly organized and relatively easy to
low. Use the suggestions below to read classification essays, division essays, or any
lng that uses classification or division.

What to Look For, Highlight, and Annotate

1. Highlight the thesis statement, the principle ofclassification, and the name or
ofeach category or parr.

2. Use a different color highlighter (or another marking method, such as asterisks
numbers) to identify the key details ofeach category.

3. Mark important definitions and vivid examples for later reference.
4. Add annotations indicating where you find a category or part confUsing or

you think more detail is needed.

How to Find Ideas to Write About

To gain a different perspective on the reading, think of other ways of classifYing
dividing the topic. for example, consider an essay that classilies types of exercise
grams at health clubs according to the benefits th~”Y offer for cardiovascular
Such exercise programs could also be classilied according to their cost, degree
uousness, type ofexercise, and so forth.

Thinking Critically about ClaSSification
and DiVision

When reading classification or division, particularly if its purpose ‘is to persuade,
on both the comprehensiveness and the level ofd<.'tail by asking the follOwing

1. Does the ClaSSification or DiviSion Cover
All Significant Categories or Parts?

To be fair and honest, a writer should discuss aU the significant categories or parts
which a subject can be classified or divided. It would be misleading, for example,
writer to classifY unemployed workers into only two groups-those who have been

2. Does the Writer Provide Sufficient Detail
about Each Category?

An objective and fair classification or division analysis requires that each category be
treated with the same level ofdetail. To provide many details for some categories and
just a lew for others suggests a bias. For example, if a writer classifYing how high school
students spend their time goes into great detail about leisure activities and offers little
derail on part-time jobs or volunteer work, the writer may create a &lse impression that
students care only about having fun and make few meaningful contributions to society.

3. Is the Principle of Classification Appropriate
for the Writer’s Purpose?

When evaluating a classification or division essay, determine whether the subject is classi­
fied or divided in a way that fits the writer’s purpose. Newman, in “My Secret Life on the
McJob: Fast Food Managers,” classifies managers according to management style. It would
be possible, however, to compare managers according to other criteria such as productiv­
ity, experience, training, or location. Newman’s purpose is to comment on relationships
between employees and managers and to explore his experience as a fust-food worker, so his
decision to use management style was appropriate. However, ifhis purpose had been ro ex­
amine why some McDonald’s fianchises are more profitable than others, then classification
of managers by financial profitability might have been a more appropriate choice.

In “A Brush with Reality: Sutprises in the Tube,” Bodanis devotes several para­
graphs to chalk and gives far less coverage to detergent, for example. This discrepancy
may be justified because chalk is, in terms of quantity, the second most important
ingredient in toothpaste.


In the fullowing essay, Carolyn Foster SegaJ combines classification with other patterns
of development to support a thesis about student excuses.

The Dog Ate My Flash Drive, and Other
Tales ofWoe
Carolyn Foster Segal

Carolyn Foster Segal Is professor of English at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pennsylvania,
where she specializes in American literature, poetry, creative writing, and women’s film. She
has published poems in Buffalo Spree magazine, Phoebe: Alournal ofFeminist Scholarship,
Theory, and Aesthetics, and the Bucks County Writer, as well as many essays in the Chronicle

after week, semester after semester, year after year, in offering excuses aoout why their
woti<: is not ready. Those reasons fall into several broad categories: the family, the best friend, the evils of dorm life, the evils of technology, and the totally bizarre.

The Family. The death of the grandfather/grandmother is, of course, the grandmother 2
of all excuses. What heartless teacher would dare to question a student’s grief or ve·
racity? What heartless student would lie, wishing death on a revered family member,
just to avoid a deadline? Creative students may win extra extensions (and days off)
with a little careful planning and fuller plot development, as in the sequence of “My
grandfather/grandmother is sickn; “Now my grandfather/grandmother is in the haspi·
taln; and finally, “We could all see it coming-my grandfather/grandmother is dead.n

Another favorite excuse is “the family emergency, n which (always) goes like this:
“There was an emergency at home, and I had to help my family.” It’s a lovely senti·
ment, one that conjures up images of louisa May Alcott’s little women rushing off with

~ ~/~O

~ 50~

\:’: ‘.,~~~.
• ~ ~ ,” .. \. ,”” ~~ .. t’l l,.” .”~~”” ;~.

‘. ~~…….——- . ,,”‘” ” ……….—­’.;:~ .’ :.~.: , …. I …..~_ •
.’ .’~. \l, f .,.t _ ~

“”:”” ‘ . .
. –

the prime of her life has allegedly committed suicide, and no professor can prove other·
wise! And I admit I was moved, until finally I had to point out to my students that it was
amazing how the simple act of my assigning a topic for a paper seemed to drive large
numbers of otherwise happy and healthy middle·aged women to their deaths. I was care·
ful to make that point during an offweek, duringwhkh no deaths were reported.

The Evils ofDorm Life. These stories are usually fairly predictaole; almost always fea· 6
ture the evil roommate or hallmate, with my student in the role of the innocent victim;
and can oe summed up as foHows: My roommate, who is a horriole person, likes to
party, and I, who am a good person, cannot concentrate on my work when he or she is
partying, Variations include stories about the two people next door who were running
around and crying loudly last night because (a) one ofthem had ooyfriend/girlfriend
proolems; (0) one of them was throwing up blood; or (c) someone, somewhere, died.
A friend of mine in graduate school had a student who claimed that his roommate at·
tacked him with a hammer. That, in fact, was a true story; it came out in court when the
bad roommate was tried for killing his grandfather.

The Evils ofTechnology. The computer age has revolutionized the student story, in·
spiring almost as many new excuses as it has Internet ousinesses, Here are just a few
electronically enhanced explanations:

• The computer wouldn’t let me save my work.
• The printer wouldn’t print.
• The printer wouldn’t print this file.
• The printer wouldn’t give me time to proofread.
• The printer made a olack line run through all my words, and I know you can’t read

this, out do you still want it, or wait. here, take my flash drive. File name? I don’t
know what you mean.

• I swear I attached it.
• It’s my roommate’s computer, and she usually helps me, but she had to go to the

hospital because she was throwing up blood •
• ‘did write to the Ustserv, out all my messages came back to me.
• I just found out that all my other listserv messages came up under a diferent

name. I just want you to know that its really me who wrote all those messages, you
can tel which ones our mine oecause t didnt use the spelcheck! But it was yours
truely:) Anyway, justin case you missed those messages or don’t belief its my writ·
ting, I’ll repeat what I sad: I thought the last movie we watched in clas was oorring.

tad/unct: A part-time instructor.


ofHigher Education, aweekly newspaper for college faculty and administrators. The following
essay appeared In the Chronicle in 2000. With the author’s permission, It has been revised
slightly to update some technological references. As you read, notice how Segal’s classification
essay also uses description and illustration to fully explain each category she identifies.

Taped to the door of my office is a cartoon that features a cat explaining to his feline
teacher. “The dog ate my homework.n It is intended as a gently humorous reminder to my
students that I will not accept excuses for late work, and it, like the lengthy warning on my
syllabus, has had absolutely no effect. With a show of energy and creativity that would be
admiraole if applied to the (miSSing) assignments in question. my students persist, week


oaskets of food and copies of Pilgrim’s Progress, but I do not understand why anyone
would turn to my most irresponsiole students in times of trouble.

The Best Friend. This heartwarming concern for others extends beyond the family to
friends, as in, “My best friend was up all night and I had to (a) stay up with her in the
dorm, (0) drive her to the hospital, or (e) drive to her college oecause (1) her boyfriend
oroke up with her, (2) she was throwing up olood [no one catches a cold anymore;
everyone throws up oloodl, or (3) her grandfather/grandmother died.”

At one private university where I worked as an adjunct,’ I heard an interesting spin
that incorporated the motifs of ooth oest friend and dead relative: “My oest friend’s
mother killed herself.” One has to admire the cleverness here: A mysterious woman in


The Totally Bizarre. Icall the flrst story “The Pennsylvania Chain Saw Episode.” A com·
muter student called to explain why she had missed my morning class. She had gotten
up early so that she would be wide awake for class. Having a bit of extra time, she walked
outside to see her neighbor, who was cutting some wood. She caHed out to him, and he
waved back to her with the saw. Wouldn’t you know it, the safety catch wasn’t on orwas
broken, and the blade flew right out of the saw and across his lawn and over her fence and
across her yard and severed a tendon in her right hand. So she was calling me from the
hospital. where she was wailing for surgery. Luckily, she reassured me, she had remem·
bered to bring her paper and a stamped envelope (in a plastic bag, to avoid bloodstains)
along with herin the ambulance, and a nurse was mailing everything to me even as we spoke.

That wasn’t her first absence. In fact, this student had missed most of the class meet­
Ings, and I had atreacly recommended that she withdlllw from the course. N6W ! suggested
again that it might be best if she dropped the class. I didn’t harp on the absences (what if
even some ofthis story were true?). Idid mention that she would need time to recuperate


Category Types of Support



and that making up so much missed work might be difficult. ·Oh, no,· she said, “I can’t
drop this course. Ihad been planning to go on to medical school and become a surgeon,
but since 1 won’t be able to operate because of my accident, I’ll have to major in English,
and this course is more importantthan ever to me.” She did come to the next class,
wearing-as evidence of her recent trauma-a bedraggled Ace bandage on her left hand.

You may be thinking that nothing could top that excuse, but in fact I have one more 10
story, provided by the same student, who sent me a letter to explain why her final assign·
ment would be late. While recuperating from her surgery, she had begun corresponding
on the Internet with a man who lived in Germany. After a one·week, whirlwind Web roo
mance, they had agreed to meetin Rome, to rendezvous (her phrase) atthe papal Easter
Mass. Regrettably, the time of her flight made it impossible for her to attend class, but
she trusted that I-just this once-would accept late work if the pope wrote a note.

Examining the Reading

1. Identify the categories ofstudent excuses that identifies.
2. Do some student excuses turn out to be an example from the

3. What obvious mistake was made by the student who offered the chain-saw

excuse? .
4. Explain the meaning of each of the following words as it is used in the reading:

bizarre (para. 1). veracity (2), conjures (3), motifi (5), and harp (9). Refer to your
dlcltion:arv as needed.

Analyzing the Writer’s Technique

1. Is it helpful or for Segal to list her five categories in her mesis?
2. What is the function essay’s title?
3. Who is Segal’s audience? How can you tell?
4, What other patterns of development does Segal use in the essay?

Visualizing the Reading

What types ofsupporting information does Segal supply to make her categories seem
real and believable? Review the and complete me chart above by filling in at
least one type of support for each category. The first one has been done for you.

Thinking Critically about Text and Visuals

1. What other categories could be included in mis essay?
2. What is me connotation of “an interesting spin” (para. 5)?
3. Other than students, what sources does Segal use? Explain why me essay would or

would not benefit from more sources.
4. Does Segal provide sufficient detail in each category? What other kinds of details

might she have included?
5. Is the classification appropriate for Segal’s purpose? Why or why not?
6. Describe the tone of me essay. What does it reveal about Segal’s attitude toward

7. What does me inclusion of the cartoon add to me essay? Why is the boy selling

“Homework Done” frowning and the boy selling “Homework Eaten” smiling?
What is the implied message? What omer visual differences do you visual differ­
ences do you notice becween the cwo

Reacting to the Reading

1. As a student, how do you react (0 me essay? Have you observed these excuses
being made (or perhaps even made them yourself)? Do you agree that they are
overused? Or did you find the essay inaccurate, unfair, or even upsetting?

2. Write a journal entry exploring how you think instructors should handle students
who make false excuses.

3. Write an essay classifying the excuses you have seen coworkers or mnt’I’Vu”,,,,
make in the workplace to cover up or JUStifY their poor performance, tardiness, Or


For more on locating and

documenting SOU((es, see Part 5,

Applying Your Skills: Additional
Essay Assignments

Write a classification or division
learned about classification and
choose, you may need to conduct

To Express Your Ideas

using what you
Depending on the topic you

1. Explain whether you are proud of or frustrated with your to budget
money. For example. you might classify budget categories that are easy to master
versus those that cause problems.

2. Explain why you chose your career or major. the job opportunities or
benefits ofyour chosen field, and indicate why

3. Divide a store-such as a media shop.
departments. Describe where you are most

To Inform Your Reader

4. Write an essay for the readers of your college newspaper classifYing college in­
structors’ teaching styles.

5. Explain the parts ofa ceremony or an event you have attended or participated in.
6. Divide a familiar substance into its components, as Bodanis does in “A Brush

with Reality: Surprises in the Tube” (pp. 417-18).


The Workplace

Both “My Secret Life on the McJob: Fast Food Managers’ (pp. 411-13) and ‘Sell ­
ing in Minnesota” (pp. 254-56) deal with employment in low-level service jobs. As
you answer the following questions, keep in mind that both authors are professionals

who were working under the guise of learning the habits, characteristics, and prob­

lems that everyday workers face in such jobs.

Analyzing the Readings

1. What workplace problems did both Ehrenreich and Newman observe?
2. Write a journal entry exploring the differences and/or similarities that exist be­

tween working at Wal-Mart and working at fast-food restaurants.

Essay Idea

Write an essay in which you explore attitudes toward and expectations about work.

You might consider its value, besides a weekly paycheck, Or you might examine what
type of work is rewarding.


To Persuade Your Reader

7. Categorize types of television violence (0 develop the argument that violence on
television is either harmful to children or not harmful to children.

8. In an essay that categorizes types of parenting skills and demonstrates how they
arc learned, dL-velop the argument that efkctive parenting skills can be acquired
through practice, training, or observation.

Cases Using Classification or Division

9. Write an essay for an introductoty education class identifying a problem
have experienced or observed in the public education system. Divide
education into parts to bener explain your problem.

10. You oversee the development of the annual catalog for a large community col­
lege, including the section deseribing the services ofkred to students. Decide
how that section of the catalog should be organized. and then list the cat:egc,n”,
it should include. Finally, write a description of the services in one categoty.

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