The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing: MLA Update Edition / Edition 5

The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing: MLA Update Edition / Edition 5

by John D. Ramage, John C. Bean, June Johnson

ISBN-10: 0205741754

ISBN-13: 9780205741755

Pub. Date: 06/19/2009

Publisher: Longman

Solidly grounded in current theory and research, yet eminently practical and teachable, The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing has set the standard for first-year composition courses in writing, reading, critical thinking, and inquiry.  See more details below


Solidly grounded in current theory and research, yet eminently practical and teachable, The Allyn & Bacon Guide to Writing has set the standard for first-year composition courses in writing, reading, critical thinking, and inquiry.

Product Details

Publication date:
Edition description:
Older Edition
Product dimensions:
7.90(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.60(d)

Table of Contents

Writing Projects

Thematic Contents



1. Thinking Rhetorically About Good Writing

Concept 1: Good Writing Can Vary from Closed to Open Forms

David Rockwood, “A Letter to the Editor”

Thomas Merton, “A Festival of Rain”

Distinctions between Closed and Open Forms of Writing

Where to Place Your Writing Along the Continuum

Concept 2: Good Writers Pose Questions about Their Subject Matter

Shared Problems Unite Writers and Readers

Posing Your Own Subject-Matter Questions

Brittany Tinker, “Can the World Sustain an American Standard of Living?”

Concept 3: Good Writers Write for a Purpose to an Audience within a Genre

How Writers Think about Purpose

How Writers Think about Audience

How Writers Think about Genre

Chapter Summary

Brief Writing Project 1: Posing a Good Subject-Matter Problem

Brief Writing Project 2: Understanding Rhetorical Context *

2. Thinking Rhetorically about Your Subject Matter

Concept 4: Professors Value “Wallowing in Complexity”

Learning to Wallow in Complexity

Seeing Each Academic Discipline as a Field of Inquiry and Argument

Concept 5: Good Writers Use Exploratory Strategies to Think Critically about Subject Matter Problems


Focused Freewriting

Idea Mapping

Dialectic Talk

Playing the Believing and Doubting Game

"Believing and Doubting Paul Theroux’s Negative View of Sports”

Concept 6: A Strong Thesis Surprises Readers with Something New or Challenging

Trying to Change Your Reader’s View of Your Subject

Giving Your Thesis Tension through “Surprising Reversal”

Concept 7: Thesis Statements in Closed-Form Prose Are Supported Hierarchically with Points and Particulars

How Points Convert Information to Meaning

How Removing Particulars Creates a Summary

How to Use Points and Particulars When You Revise

Chapter Summary

Brief Writing Project: Playing the Believing and Doubting Game

3. Thinking Rhetorically about How Messages Persuade

Concept 8: Messages Persuade through Their Angle of Vision

Recognizing the Angle of Vision in a Text

Analyzing Angle of Vision

Concept 9: Messages Persuade through Appeals to Logos, Ethos, and Pathos

Concept 10: Nonverbal Messages Persuade Through Visual Strategies That Can Be Analyzed Rhetorically

Visual Rhetoric

The Rhetoric of Clothing and Other Consumer Items

Chapter Summary

Brief Writing Project: Analyzing Angle of Vision in Two Passages about Nuclear Energy

4. Thinking Rhetorically about Style and Document Design

Concept 11: Good Writers Make Purposeful Stylistic Choices

Factors That Affect Style

Abstract Versus Concrete Words: Moving Up or Down the Scale of Abstraction

Wordy Versus Streamlined Sentences: Cutting Deadwood to Highlight Your Ideas

Coordination Versus Subordination: Using Sentence Structure to Control Emphasis

Inflated Voice Versus a Natural Speaking Voice: Creating a Persona

Concept 12: Good Writers Make Purposeful Document Design Choices

Using Type

Using Space and Laying Out Documents

Using Color

Using Graphics and Images

Examples of Different Document Designs

Chapter Summary

Brief Writing Project: Converting a Passage from Scientific to Popular Style


Writing to Learn

5. Seeing Rhetorically: The Writer as Observer

Exploring Rhetorical Observation

Understanding Observational Writing

Why “Seeing” Isn’t a Simple Matter

How to Analyze a Text Rhetorically

Writing Project: Descriptions of the Same Place and a Self-Reflection

Exploring Rationales and Details for Your Two Descriptions

Generating Details

Shaping and Drafting for Your Two Descriptions

Using Show Words Rather than Tell Words

Revising Your Two Descriptions

Generating and Exploring Ideas for Your Self-Reflection

Questions for Peer Review


Clash on the Congo: Two Eyewitness Accounts

Tamlyn Rogers (student), “Two Descriptions of the Same Classroom and a Self-Reflection” *

6. Reading Rhetorically: The Writer as Strong Reader

Exploring Rhetorical Reading

Andrés Martin, “On Teenagers and Tattoos”

Understanding Rhetorical Reading

What Makes College-Level Reading Difficult?

Using the Reading Strategies of Experts

Reading with the Grain and Against the Grain

Understanding Summary Writing

Sean Barry (student), “Summary of Martin’s Article”

Understanding Strong Response Writing

Strong Response as Rhetorical Critique*

Strong Response as Ideas Critique*

Strong Response as Reflection*

Strong Response as a Blend*

Sean Barry (student), “Why Do Teenagers Get Tattoos? A Response to Andrés Martin”

Writing a Summary/Strong Response of a Visual-Verbal Text

Writing Project: A Summary

Generating Ideas: Reading for Structure and Content

Drafting and Revising

Questions for Peer Review

Writing Project: A Summary/Strong Response Essay

Exploring Ideas for Your Strong Response

Writing a Thesis for a Strong Response Essay

Shaping and Drafting


Questions for Peer Review


Thomas L. Friedman, “30 Little Turtles” *

Stephanie Malinowski (student), “Questioning Thomas L. Friedman’s Optimism in ’30 Little Turtles’” *

David Horsey, “Today’s Economic Indicator” (editorial cartoon)*

Mike Lane, “Labor Day Blues” (editorial cartoon)*

Froma Harrop, “New Threat to Skilled U.S. Workers” *

Writing to Explore

7. Writing an Autobiographical Narrative

Exploring Autobiographical Narrative

Understanding Autobiographical Writing

Autobiographical Tension: The Opposition of Contraries

How Literary Elements Work in Autobiographical Narratives

Writing Project: Autobiographical Narrative

Generating and Exploring Ideas

Shaping and Drafting Your Narrative


Questions for Peer Review

Writing Project: Literacy Narrative*

What Is a Literacy Narrative?

Typical Features of a Literacy Narrative

Generating and Exploring Ideas

Shaping and Drafting Your Literacy Narrative


Questions for Peer Review


Kris Saknussemm, “Phantom Limb Pain”

Patrick Jose (student), “No Cats in America?”

Anonymous (student), “Masks”

Jennifer Ching (student), “Once Upon a Time” *

8. Writing an Exploratory Essay or Annotated Bibliography

Exploring Exploratory Writing

Understanding Exploratory Writing

Writing Project: An Exploratory Essay

Generating and Exploring Ideas

Taking “Double Entry” Research Notes

Shaping and Drafting


Questions for Peer Review

Writing Project: An Annotated Bibliography*

What Is an Annotated Bibliography?

Features of Annotated Bibliography Entries

Examples of Annotation Entries

Writing a Critical Preface for Your Annotated Bibliography

Shaping, Drafting, and Revising

Questions for Peer Review


James Gardiner (student), “How Do Online Social Networks Affect Communication?” *

James Gardiner (student), “The Effect of Online Social Networks on Communication Skills? An Annotated Bibliography” *

Jane Tompkins, “’Indians’: Textualism, Morality, and the Problem of History” *

Writing to Inform

9. Writing an Informative Essay or Report

Exploring Informative (and Surprising) Writing, “Tarantulas”

Rod Crawford, “Myths about ‘Dangerous’ Spiders”

Understanding Informative Writing

Need-to-Know Informative Prose*

Informative Reports

Informative Magazine Articles

Writing Project: A Set of Instructions*

Generating and Exploring Ideas

Shaping and Drafting


Questions for Peer Review

Writing Project: Informative Workplace Report*

Generating and Exploring Ideas

Shaping and Drafting


Questions for Peer Review

Writing Project: Informative Magazine Article

Generating and Exploring Ideas

Shaping, Drafting, and Revising

Questions for Peer Review


Kerry Norton, “Winery Yeast Preparation Instructions” *

Pew Research Center, “Muslim Americans: Middle Class and Mostly Mainstream” *

Kerri Ann Matsumoto (student), “How Much Does It Cost to Go Organic?”

Cheryl Carp (student), “Behind Stone Walls”

Shannon King (student), “How Clean and Green are Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Cars?”

Eugene Robinson, “You Have the Right to Remain a Target of Racial Profiling” *

Writing to Analyze and Synthesize

10. Analyzing Field Research Data

Exploring the Analysis of Field Research Data

Understanding the Analysis of Field Research Data

The Structure of an Empirical Research Report

How Readers Typically Read a Research Report

Posing Your Research Question

Collecting Data Through Observation, Interviews, or Questionnaires

Reporting Your Results in Text, Tables, and Graphs

Analyzing Your Results

Following Ethical Standards

Writing Project: An Empirical Research Report

Generating Ideas for Your Empirical Research Report

Designing Your Empirical Study and Drafting the Introduction and Method Sections

Doing the Research and Writing the Rest of the Report

Revising Your Report

Questions for Peer Review

Writing in Teams

Writing Project: A Scientific Poster*

What Is a Scientific Poster?

Content of a Poster

Features of an Effective Poster

Designing, Creating, and Revising Your Poster

Questions for Peer Review


Gina Escamilla, Angie L. Cradock, and Ichiro Kawachi, “Women and Smoking in Hollywood Movies: A Content Analysis”

Lauren Campbell, Charlie Bourain, and Tyler Nishida (students), “A Comparison of Gender Stereotypes in Spongebob Squarepants and a 1930’s Mickey Mouse

Cartoon” (APA-Style Research Paper)*

Lauren Campbell, Charlie Bourain, and Tyler Nishida (students), “Spongebob Squarepants Has Fewer Gender Stereotypes than Mickey Mouse” (scientific poster)*

11. Analyzing Images

Exploring Image Analysis*

Understanding Image Analysis

How Images Create a Rhetorical Effect

How to Analyze an Advertisement

How Advertisers Target Specific Audiences

Sample Analysis of an Advertisement

Cultural Perspectives on Advertisements

Writing Project: Analysis of Two Visual Texts*

Exploring and Generating Ideas for Your Analysis

Shaping and Drafting Your Analysis


Questions for Peer Review


Paul Messaris, Excerpt from Visual Persuasion

Stephen Bean (student), How Cigarette Advertisers Address the Stigma Against Smoking

12. Analyzing a Short Story

Exploring Literary Analysis

Evelyn Dahl Reed, “The Medicine Man”

Understanding Literary Analysis

The Truth of Literary Events

Writing (About) Literature

Writing Project: An Analysis of a Short Story

Reading the Story and Using Reading Logs

Generating and Exploring Ideas

Shaping, Drafting, and Revising

Questions for Peer Review


Alice Walker, “Everyday Use (For Your Grandmama)”

Sherman Alexie, “The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven” *

Betsy Weiler (student), “Who Do You Want to Be? Finding Heritage in Walker’s 'Everyday Use'"

13. Analyzing and Synthesizing Ideas

Exploring the Analysis and Synthesis of Ideas

Nikki Swartz, “Mobile Phone Tracking Scrutinized” *

Terry J. Allen, “Reach Out and Track Someone” *

Understanding Analysis and Synthesis

Posing a Synthesis Question

Synthesis Writing as an Extension of Summary/Strong Response*

Student Example of a Synthesis Essay

Kate MacAuley (student), “Technology’s Peril and Potential”

Writing Project: A Synthesis Essay

Ideas for Synthesis Questions and Readings

Using Learning Logs

Exploring Your Texts Through Summary Writing

Exploring Your Texts’ Rhetorical Strategies

Exploring Main Themes and Similarities and Differences in Your Texts’ Ideas

Generating Ideas of Your Own

Taking Your Position in the Conversation: Your Synthesis

Shaping and Drafting

Writing a Thesis for a Synthesis Essay

Organizing a Synthesis Essay


Questions for Peer Review


Dee, “Comprehensive Immigration Reform: PROs and ANTIs” *

Shirah, “The Real–and Unspoken–Immigration Issue” *

Byron Williams, “Immigration Frenzy Points Out Need for Policy Debate” *

Victor Davis Hanson, “The Global Immigration Problem” *

Mike Crapo, “Immigration Policy Must Help Economy While Preserving Ideals” *

Trapper John, “The Progressive Case Against the Immigration Bill” *

Writing to Persuade

14. Writing a Classical Argument

Exploring Classical Argument

Understanding Classical Argument

Stages of Development: Your Growth as an Arguer

Creating an Argument Frame: A Claim with Reasons

Articulating Reasons

Articulating Unstated Assumptions

Using Evidence Effectively

Evaluating Evidence: The STAR Criteria*

Addressing Objections and Counterarguments

Responding to Objections, Counterarguments, and Alternative Views

Appealing to Ethos and Pathos

A Brief Primer on Informal Fallacies

Writing Project: A Classical Argument

Generating and Exploring Ideas

Shaping and Drafting


Questions for Peer Review


Ross Taylor (student), “Paintball: Promoter of Violence or Healthy Fun?”

William Sweet, “Why Uranium Is the New Green” *

Stan Eales, “Welcome to Sellafield” (editorial cartoon)*

Los Angeles Times, “No Nukes” *

Leonard Pitts, Jr., “Spare the Rod, Spoil the Parenting”

A. J. Chavez, “The Case for (Gay) Marriage”

15. Making an Evaluation

Exploring Evaluative Writing*

Understanding Evaluation Arguments

The Criteria-Match Process

The Role of Purpose and Context in Determining Criteria

Other Considerations in Establishing Criteria

Using a Planning Schema to Develop Evaluation Arguments

Conducting an Evaluation Argument: Evaluating a Museum

Writing Project: An Evaluation Argument

Generating and Exploring Ideas

Shaping and Drafting


Questions for Peer Review


Jackie Wyngaard (student), “EMP: Music History or Music Trivia?”

Diane Helman and Phyllis Bookspan, “Sesame Street: Brought to You by the Letters M-A-L-E”

Teresa Filice (student), “Parents, The Anti-Drug: A Useful Site” *

16. Proposing a Solution

Exploring Proposal Writing

Understanding Proposal Writing

Special Demands of Proposal Arguments

Developing an Effective Justification Section

Proposals as Visual Arguments and PowerPoint Presentations*

Writing Project: A Proposal Argument

Generating and Exploring Ideas

Shaping and Drafting


Questions for Peer Review

Writing Project: Advocacy Ad or Poster

Using Document Design Features

Exploring and Generating Ideas

Shaping and Drafting


Questions for Peer Review

Writing Project: Proposal Speech with Visual Aids*

Developing, Shaping, and Outlining Your Proposal Speech

Designing Your Visual Aids

Delivering Your Speech


Questions for Peer Review


Jane Kester (student), “Visual Aids for a Proposal to Reduce High-Risk Drinking Through Student Awareness Workshops” *

Rebekah Taylor (student), “A Proposal to Provide Cruelty-Free Products on Campus”

Jennifer Allen, “The Athlete on the Sidelines”

Dylan Fujitani (student), "'The Hardest of the Hardcore': Let’s Outlaw Hired Guns”


17. Writing as a Problem-Solving Process

Skill 1: Understand Why Expert Writers Use Multiple Drafts

Why Expert Writers Revise So Extensively

An Expert’s Writing Processes Are Recursive

Skill 2: Revise Globally as Well as Locally

Skill 3: Develop Ten Expert Habits to Improve Your Writing Processes

Skill 4: Use Peer Reviews to Help You Think Like an Expert

Become a Helpful Reader of Classmates’ Drafts

Use a Generic Peer Review Guide

Participate in Peer Review Workshops

Respond to Peer Reviews

Chapter Summary

18. Composing and Revising Closed-Form Prose

Skill 5: Understand Reader Expectations

Unity and Coherence

Old before New

Forecasting and Fulfillment

Skill 6: Convert Loose Structures into Thesis/Support Structures

And Then Writing, or Chronological Structure

All About Writing, or Encyclopedic Structure

Engfish Writing, or Structure without Surprise

Skill 7: Plan and Visualize Your Structure

Use Scratch Outlines Early in the Writing Process

Before Making a Detailed Outline, “Nutshell” Your Argument

Articulate a Working Thesis and Main Points

Sketch Your Structure Using an Outline, Tree Diagram, or Flowchart

Let the Structure Evolve

Skill 8: Create Effective Titles

Skill 9: Create Effective Introductions

What Not to Do: The “Funnel” Introduction

From Old to New: The General Principle of Closed-Form Introductions

Typical Elements of a Closed-Form Introduction

Forecast the Whole with a Thesis Statement, Purpose Statement, or Blueprint Statement

Skill 10: Create Effective Topic Sentences for Paragraphs

Place Topic Sentences at the Beginning of Paragraphs

Revise Paragraphs for Unity

Add Particulars to Support Points

Skill 11: Guide Your Reader with Transitions and Other Signposts

Use Common Transition Words to Signal Relationships

Write Major Transitions between Parts

Signal Transitions with Headings and Subheadings

Skill 12: Bind Sentences Together by Placing Old Information Before New Information

The Old/New Contract in Sentences

How to Make Links to the “Old”

Avoid Ambiguous Use of “This” to Fulfill the Old/New Contract

How the Old/New Contract Modifies the Rule “Avoid Weak Repetition”

How the Old/New Contract Modifies the Rule “Prefer Active over Passive Voice”

Skill 13: Use Four Expert Moves for Organizing and Developing Ideas

The For Example Move

The Summary/However Move

The Division-into-Parallel Parts Move

The Comparison/Contrast Move

Skill 14: Write Effective Conclusions

19. Composing and Revising Open-Form Prose

Skill 15: Make Your Narrative a Story, not an And Then Chronology

Patrick Klein (student), “Berkeley Blues”

Depiction of Events Through Time


Tension or Conflict

Resolution, Recognition, or Retrospective Interpretation

Skill 16: Write Low on the Ladder of Abstraction

Concrete Words Evoke Images and Sensations

Use Revelatory Words and Memory-Soaked Words

Skill 17: Disrupt Your Reader’s Desire for Direction and Clarity

Disrupt Predictions and Make Odd Juxtapositions

Leave Gaps

Skill 18: Tap the Power of Figurative Language

Skill 19: Expand Your Repertoire of Styles

Skill 20: Use Open-Form Elements to Create “Voice” in Closed-Form Prose

Introduce Some Humor

Use Techniques from Popular Magazines


Annie Dillard, “Living Like Weasels”


20. Asking Questions, Finding Sources

An Overview of Research Writing

Skill 21: Argue Your Own Thesis in Response to a Research Question

Formulating a Research Question

Establishing Your Role as a Researcher

A Case Study: James Gardiner’s Research on Online Social Networks*

Skill 22: Understand Differences Among Kinds of Sources

Looking at Sources Rhetorically

Skill 23: Use Purposeful Strategies for Searching Libraries, Databases, and Web Sites

Checking Your Library’s Homepage

Finding Books: Searching Your Library’s Online Catalog

Finding Print Articles: Searching a Licensed Database

Finding Cyberspace Sources: Searching the World Wide Web

21. Evaluating Sources

Skill 24: Read Sources Rhetorically and Take Purposeful Notes

Read with Your Own Goals in Mind

Read Your Sources Rhetorically

Take Purposeful Notes

Skill 25: Evaluate Sources for Reliability, Credibility, Angle of Vision, and Degree of Advocacy



Angle of Vision and Political Stance

Degree of Advocacy

Skill 26: Use Your Rhetorical Knowledge to Evaluate Web Sources

The Web as a Unique Rhetorical Environment

Criteria for Evaluating a Web Source

Analyzing Your Own Purposes for Using a Web Source

22. Incorporating Sources Into Your Own Writing

Roger D. McGrath, “The Myth of Violence in the Old West”

Skill 27: Keep Your Focus on Your Own Argument

Writer 1: An Analytical Paper on Causes of Violence in Contemporary Society

Writer 2: A Persuasive Paper Supporting Gun Control

Writer 3: An Informative Paper Showing Shifting Definitions of Crime

Skill 28: Know When and How to Use Summary, Paraphrase, Quotation, and Attributive Tags

Effective Use of Summary, Paraphrase, or Quotation

Creating Rhetorically Effective Attributive Tags

Skill 29: Understand the Mechanics of Quoting

Quoting a Complete Sentence Introduced by an Attributive Tag

Inserting Quoted Words and Phrases into Your Own Sentences

Using Brackets to Modify a Quotation

Using Ellipses to Indicate Omissions from a Quotation

Using Single and Double Quotation Marks for a Quotation Within a Quotation

Using Block Indentation for Quotations More Than Four Lines Long

Skill 30: Understand and Avoid Plagiarism

23. Citing and Documenting Sources

Skill 31: Understand How Parenthetical Citations Work

Connect the Body of the Paper to the Bibliography with Citations

Citation Problems with Database and Web Sources

Skill 32: Cite and Document Sources Using MLA Style

Cite from an Indirect Source

Cite Page Numbers for Downloaded Material

Document Sources in a “Works Cited” List

MLA Citation Models

James Gardiner (student), “Why Facebook Might Not Be Good For You” (MLA-Style Research Paper)

Skill 33: Cite and Document Sources Using APA Style

APA Formatting for In-Text Citations

Cite from an Indirect Source

Document Sources in a “References” List

APA Citation Models

Student Example of an APA-Style Paper


24. Essay Examinations: Writing Well Under Pressure

How Essay Exams Differ from Other Essays

Preparing for an Exam: Learning Subject Matter

Identifying and Learning Main Ideas

Applying Your Knowledge

Making a Study Plan

Analyzing Exam Questions

Understanding the Use of Outside Quotations

Recognizing Organizational Cues

Interpreting Key Terms

Dealing with the Limits of the Test Situation

Producing an “A” Response

Chapter Summary

25. Assembling a Portfolio and Writing a Reflective Essay

Understanding Portfolios

Collecting Work for Paper and Electronic Portfolios

Selecting Work for Your Portfolio

Understanding Reflective Writing

Why Is Reflective Writing Important?

Reflective Writing Assignments

Single Reflection Assignments

Guidelines for Writing a Single Reflection

Comprehensive Reflection Assignments

Guidelines for Writing a Comprehensive Reflection

Guidelines for Writing a Comprehensive Reflective Letter


Jaime Finger (student), “A Single Reflection on an Exploratory Essay”

Bruce Urbanik (student), “A Comprehensive Reflective Letter”


Handbook 1. Improving Your Editing Skills

Why Editing Is Important

Overview of This Guide to Editing

Improving Your Editing and Proofreading Processes

Microtheme Projects on Editing

Handbook 2. Understanding Sentence Structure

The Concept of the Sentence

Basic Sentence Patterns

Parts of Speech

Types of Phrases

Types of Clauses

Types of Sentences

Handbook 3. Punctuating Boundaries of Sentences, Clauses, and Phrases

Why Readers Need Punctuation

Rules for Punctuating Clauses and Phrases Within a Sentence

Identifying and Correcting Sentence Fragments

Identifying and Correcting Run-Ons and Comma Splices

Overview of Methods for Joining Clauses

Handbook 4. Editing for Standard English Usage

Fixing Grammatical Tangles

Maintaining Consistency

Maintaining Agreement

Maintaining Parallel Structure

Avoiding Dangling or Misplaced Modifiers

Choosing Correct Pronoun Cases

Choosing Correct Verb Forms

Choosing Correct Adjective and Adverb Forms

Handbook 5. Editing for Style

Pruning Your Prose

Enlivening Your Prose

Avoiding Broad or Unclear Pronoun Reference

Putting Old Information Before New Information

Deciding Between Active and Passive Voice

Using Inclusive Language

Handbook 6. Editing for Punctuation and Mechanics

Periods, Question Marks, and Exclamation Points



Colons, Dashes, and Parentheses


Quotation Marks

Underlining (Italics)

Brackets, Ellipses, and Slashes

Capital Letters



Manuscript Form

A Guide to Avoiding Plagiarism



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