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Overview

The Eighth Edition of this classic rhetoric, reader, and handbook helps students to write effective college essays. Because college writing is a process that includes both reading and critical thinking. The Practical Guide to Writing offers more than 50 essays-by students and by professional writers-that provide not only subjects for analysis but also examples of effective writing.

New Features in the English Edition:

  • An extensively revised Chapter 2, "Drafting and Revising," provides a series of drafts and revisions by the journalist and historian Frances FitzGerald
  • .
  • A new chapter, Chapter 7, "The Writer's Voice," not only offers advice on developing style but also discusses stylistic differences among the academic disciplines
  • .
  • A thoroughly revised and updated Chapter 16, "The Research Essay," offers up-to-date coverage of online research strategies, including guidance on evaluating Internet material; it also includes the latest MLA guidelines for documenting electronic sources
  • .
  • Chapter 17, "Writing About Literature," includes stories by Isabel Allende and Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a new series of drafts and revisions by a student writer, and a brief discussion of current critical approaches to literature
  • .
  • New essays on topics students are likely to encounter in other courses (the Internet, plagiarism, Vietnam), as well as new work by such writers as Steve Martin, Robert B. Reich, Debra Dickerson, and Patricia J. Williams
  • .
  • A list of Frequently Asked Questions, on the inside front cover, to help students and instructors quickly locate answers to their most important writing questions
  • .
Other Important Features
  • An opening chapter, "Discovering Ideas," that addresses students' anxiety about writing and shows them how to begin
  • .
  • An effective and often-imitated chapter on analysis, Chapter 8, "Analytic Thinking and Writing."
  • .
  • Three engaging (and thorough) chapters on sentence-level revision
  • .
  • Detailed practical advice on writing essay examinations, writing book reviews, and writing essays based on interviews
  • .
  • A concise, readable handbook
  • .
  • Visual material, including drawings, photographs, and cartoons
  • .
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780321023919
  • Publisher: Longman
  • Publication date: 10/13/1999
  • Edition description: Subsequent
  • Edition number: 8
  • Pages: 588
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Preface

The book is designed for college courses in which students write essays, instructors read them, and students and instructors together discuss them. We hope we offer a practical guide to all three activities. The student, looking for information about choosing a topic, writing an analysis, constructing a paragraph, using a semicolon, can use the text as a guide to the week's writing assignment. The instructor can suggest chapters or passages the student should consult in revising a draft or in starting the next assignment. Students and instructors together can discuss the exercises, the techniques used in the reprinted essays, the assumptions we make, and the suggestions we offer.

Although we include discussions and examples of description and narration, we emphasize analysis, exposition, and argument because those are the chief activities, usually rolled into one, that we all engage in, both in school and later. When students write papers, or professors write articles, or social workers write case studies, most of what they write explains ideas and how the writers arrived at them. Because they want to be believed, they present their ideas and evidence persuasively.

In addition to including many examples from the writing of our students, we have included more than fifty short essays—a third of them new to this edition— as well as numerous paragraphs from books and essays, the work for the most part of first-rate contemporary writers, both academic and popular. There are also a sample book review, a sample music review, a summary, two essays based on interviews, and two research papers. We include all these readings both to illustrate ways ofwriting and to provide students with something to write about. The suggested topics for writing often require the students to write about something outside of themselves. Some writing topics do present opportunities for introspection, and all of them in fact require it, but we think that much of a student's writing should be directed outward, not solely a look into the heart but a look around— at people, at places, and especially at ideas.

We have tried therefore to balance the advice "Trust your feelings," "Ask yourself questions," with prescriptions: "Keep your reader in mind," "Avoid cliches." We have tried to increase the student's awareness that writing is both an exploration of self ("Choose a topic you can write about honestly") and a communication with others "Revise for clarity").

Chapter 1 includes three essays by students, a brief article by Philip Roth, and some informal exercises. Chapter 2 focuses on revision; it includes an example of peer review and a case history of a student paper from assignment through several revisions; it also offers a series of notes, drafts, and revisions by a professional writer. Instructors may find these chapters useful for the first few class meetings. During the first week of the semester, we commonly suggest that students browse through the book from beginning to end, reading what interests them, skimming the rest, and generally familiarizing themselves with the book's contents and organization. But because each chapter can stand by itself, the instructor can assign chapters for study in whatever seems a suitable order. Similarly the student can consult whatever passages seem most relevant to drafting, revising, or editing a particular essay.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

(*Notes new to edition.)

Preface.

I. AN OVERVIEW OF THE WRITING PROCESS.

1. Discovering Ideas.

Starting.

How to Write: Writing as a Physical Act.

Why Write? Writing as Thinking.

Some Ideas about Ideas: Invention.

An Exercise in Critical Reading.

Reflections on the Death of a Library, Philip Roth.

An Essay by a Student: On Philip Roth's Reflections.

Keeping a Journal.

Focusing.

What to Write About: Subject, Topic, Thesis.

Developing Ideas.

Thinking About Audience and Purpose.

Writing from Experience: Two Essays by Students.

An Overview: from Subject to Essay.

Exercises.

Suggestions for Writing.

2. Drafting and Revising.

Reading Drafts.

Imagining Your Audience and Asking Questions.

Peer Review: The Benefits of Having a Real Audience.

From Assignment to Essay: A Case History.

Two Sides of a Story (student essay), Suki Hudson.

Notes, Drafts, Revisions: An Historian Revises Her Work.

*Prospero's Army, Frances FitzGerald.

Suggestions for Writing.

3. Shaping Paragraphs.

Paragraph Form and Substance.

Paragraph Unity: Topic Sentences, Topic Ideas.

Examples of Topic Sentences at Beginning and at End, and of Topic Ideas.

Unifying Ideas into Paragraphs.

Organization in Paragraphs.

Coherence in Paragraphs.

Transitions.

Repetition.

Linking Paragraphs Together.

*The Story Behind the Gestures (student essay), Cheryl Lee.

Paragraph Length.

The Use and Abuse of Short Paragraphs.

Introductory Paragraphs.

Concluding Paragraphs.

A Checklist for Revising Paragraphs.

Exercises.

4. Revising Sentences for Conciseness.

Instant Prose (Zonkers).

How to Avoid Instant Prose.

Extra Words and Empty Words.

Weak Intensifiers and Qualifiers.

Circumlocutions.

Wordy Beginnings.

Empty Conclusions.

Wordy Uses of the Verbs To Be, To Have, and To Make.

Redundancy.

Negative Constructions.

Extra Sentences, Extra Clauses: Subordination

Some Concluding Remarks About Conciseness.

Exercises.

5. Revising Sentences for Clarity.

Clarity.

Clarity and Exactness: Using the Right Word.

Denotation.

Connotation.

Quotation Marks as Apologies.

Being Specific.

Using Examples.

Jargon and Technical Language.

Clichés.

Metaphors and Mixed Metaphors.

Euphemisms.

A Digression on Public Lying.

Passive or Active Voice?

The Writer's “I”.

Clarity and Coherence.

Cats Are Dogs.

Items in a Series.

Modifiers.

Reference of Pronouns.

Agreement.

Three Additional Points.

Repetition and Variation.

Euphony.

Transitions.

Clarity and Sentence Structure: Parallelism.

Love Poem, Robert Bly.

Exercises.

6. Revising Sentences for Emphasis.

Emphasis by Position.

Emphasis by Brevity and Length: Short and Long Sentences.

Emphasis by Repetition.

Emphasis by Subordination.

Five Kinds of Sentences.

Subordination.

Exercises.

7. The Writer's Voice.

Defining Style.

Style and Tone.

Acquiring Style.

Clarity and Texture.

Originality and Imitation.

Practice in Acquiring Style.

Academic Styles, Academic Audiences.

The Writer's Voice: Six Examples.

Camille Paglia, William F. Buckley, Alfred North Whitehead, Terry Castle, Thomas R. Edwards, Patricia J. Williams.

II. THE WRITER'S MATERIALS AND STRATEGIES.

8. Analytical Thinking and Writing.

Analyzing a Drawing.

Analyzing Texts.

Classifying and Thinking.

Examples of Classifying.

Cause and Effect.

*Advertising, Pornography, and Public Space, Dolores Hayden.

Analysis and Description.

Description at Work in the Analytic Essay.

A Note on the Use of Summary in the Analytic Essay.

Comparing.

Organizing Short Comparisons.

Longer Comparisons.

Ways of Organizing an Essay Devoted to a Comparison.

A Checklist for Revising Comparisons.

Analyzing a Process.

Two Essays Analyzing a Process.

Tennis Tips to a Beginning Player (student essay), Susan Pope.

It's the Portly Penguin That Gets the Girl, French Biologist Claims, Anne Hebald Mandelbaum.

Explaining an Analysis.

The Science of Deduction, Arthur Conan Doyle.

Analysis at Work.

*My Father's Photograph, Samantha Campbell.

Columbo Knows the Butler Didn't Do It, Jeff Greenfield.

The Endless Autumn, Nicolaus Mills.

*The Word and the Web, Edward Mendelson.

9. Narrating.

The Uses of Narrative.

Narrative Introductions.

Narratives in Other Positions in an Essay.

Inventing Stories.

Narrative Pace: Scene and Summary.

Organizing a Narrative.

A Letter to the Editor (student writing).

Topics for Critical Thinking and Writing.

Narration at Work.

A Conflict of Interest, Zora Neale Hurston.

The Girls' Room, Laura Cunningham.

*Anorexia: The Cheating Disorder, Richard Murphy.

Zen and the Art of Burglary, Wu-tsu Fa-yen.

10. Describing.

Observing Details.

Organizing a Description.

Establishing the Observer's Position.

Establishing the Observer's Point of View.

Describing an Action.

Description at Work.

Observing Mrs. Taylor (student essay), Gina Men.

Los Angeles Notebook, Joan Didion.

Education, E. B. White.

*From At the Buffalo Bill Museum—June 1988, Jane Tompkins.

11. Defining.

The Need for Definition.

Kinds of Definitions.

Inclusive/Exclusive Definitions.

Stipulative Definitions.

Definition by Origin or History.

The Limits of Definition by Synonym.

A Note on Using the Dictionary.

A Checklist for Revising Definitions.

Definition at Work.

*The Plight of the Politically Correct (student essay), Lena Flora.

Country Just Ain't What It Used to Be, Billy Altman.

A Question of Language, Gloria Naylor.

Four-Letter Words Can Hurt You, Barbara Lawrence.

*Darwin's Disgust, William Ian Miller.

12. Persuading.

Making Reasonable Arguments.

Making Reasonable Claims.

Claims of Fact.

Claims of Value.

Claims of Policy.

Three Kinds of Evidence: Examples, Testimony, Statistics.

Examples.

Testimony.

Statistics.

How Much Evidence Is Enough?

Avoiding Fallacies.

Wit.

Avoiding Sarcasm.

Organizing an Argument.

A Checklist for Revising Drafts of Persuasive Essays.

Persuasion at Work.

Death and Justice: How Capital Punishment Affirms Life, Edward Koch.

The Death Penalty, David Bruck.

*The True Terror is in the Card, Robert Ellis Smith.

*Radio Hoods, Patricia J. Williams.

III. SOME FORMS OF ACADEMIC WRITING.

13. Outlining and Summarizing.

Outlining.

Scratch Outline.

Paragraph Outline.

Formal Outline.

Summarizing.

What a Summary Is.

How to Write a Summary.

How Much Summary Is Enough?

Exercises.

14. Reviewing.

Writing a Book Review.

*Review of The Hidden Writer: Diaries and the Creative Life, Jane Brox.

Writing Other Reviews.

*Deconstructing Pop: The Halo Benders (student essay), Joshua Derman.

15. Interviewing.

Writing an Essay Based on an Interview.

*The Einstein of Happiness, Patricia Freeman.

*Ethnobotanists Race Against Time to Save Useful Plants, Eileen Garred.

Guidelines for Conducting the Interview and Writing the Essay.

16. The Research Essay.

What Research Is.

Primary and Secondary Materials.

Developing a Research Topic.

Getting Started.

The Library's Central Information System.

The Online Catalog.

Scanning Books and Book Reviews.

Finding Articles in Periodicals.

Finding Bibliographies.

A Word on the Internet.

Reading and Taking Notes on Secondary Sources.

A Guide to Note Taking.

Acknowledging Sources.

Borrowing Without Plagiarizing.

Fair Use of Common Knowledge.

“But How Else Can I Put It?”

Writing the Essay.

A Checklist for Reading Drafts.

Documentation.

MLA Format.

APA Format.

A Note on Other Systems of Documentation.

Two Sample Research Essays.

MLA Style.

Politics and Psychology in the Awakening (student essay), Beatrice Cody.

APA Style.

*Nitrite: Preservative or Carcinogen? (student essay), Jacob Alexander.

Exercises.

17. Writing About Literature.

Responding to Literary Texts.

Reading Fiction.

Muddy Road, Anonymous.

*The Yellow Wallpaper, Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

A Student's Response to “The Yellow Wallpaper”: Aviva Geiger's Preliminary Exercises and Final Draft.

Getting Ideas for Writing about Fiction.

Checklist: Asking Questions about Fiction.

Reading Poetry.

Harlem, Langston Hughes.

A Student Thinks About “Harlem”: Richard Taub's Annotations, Journal Entries, Notes, and Final Draft.

Getting Ideas for Writing about Poetry.

Checklist: Asking Questions about Poems.

A Range of Critical Approaches.

Three Short Works of Fiction.

Cat in the Rain, Ernest Hemingway.

Girl, Jamaica Kincaid.

*If You Touched My Heart, Isabel Allende.

Three Poems.

Sonnet 73, William Shakespeare.

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost.

Immigrants, Pat Mora.

18. Writing Essay Examinations.

What Examinations Are.

Writing Essay Answers.

Questions on Literature.

Questions on the Social Sciences.

Questions on the Physical Sciences and Mathematics.

IV. A WRITER'S HANDBOOK.

19. Punctuation.

A Word on Computer Grammar and Punctuation Checks.

Three Common Errors: Fragments, Comma Splices, and Run-on Sentences.

Fragments and How to Correct Them.

Comma Splices and Run-on Sentences, and How to Correct Them.

The Period.

The Question Mark.

The Colon.

The Semicolon.

The Comma.

The Dash.

Parentheses.

Italics.

Capital Letters.

The Hyphen.

The Apostrophe.

Abbreviations.

Numbers.

Exercises.

20. Usage.

A Note on Idioms.

Glossary.

21. Manuscript Form.

Basic Manuscript Form.

Using Quotations (and Punctuating Quotations Correctly).

Corrections in the Final Copy.

V. READINGS.

Graduation, Maya Angelou.

Nine Beginnings, Margaret Atwood.

High Horse's Courting, Black Elk.

To Lie or Not to Lie?—The Doctor's Dilemma, Sissela Bok.

*Who Shot Johnny? Debra Dickerson.

On Keeping a Notebook, Joan Didion.

*Malcolm, the Aardvark and Me, Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Women's Brains, Stephen Jay Gould.

Talking Back, Bell Hooks.

*Texas, 1961, Mary Karr.

Nonviolent Resistance, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Why We Crave Horror Movies, Stephen King.

Vivisection, C. S. Lewis.

*Studies in the New Causality, Steve Martin.

Being Asynchronous, Nicholas Negropponte.

Total Effect and the Eighth Grade, Flannery O'Connor.

Shooting an Elephant, George Orwell.

Rape and the Modern Sex War, Camille Paglia.

*Why Boys Don't Play with Dolls, Katha Pollitt.

*The Future of Work, Robert B. Reich.

Conversational Ballgames, Nancy Sakamoto.

*Just Walk On By: A Black Man Ponders His Power to Alter Public Space, Brent Staples.

A Modest Proposal, Jonathan Swift.

Stephen Cruz, Studs Terkel.

Professions for Women, Virginia Woolf.

Last Words.

Literary Credits.

Photo Credits.

Index.

Read More Show Less

Preface

Preface

The book is designed for college courses in which students write essays, instructors read them, and students and instructors together discuss them. We hope we offer a practical guide to all three activities. The student, looking for information about choosing a topic, writing an analysis, constructing a paragraph, using a semicolon, can use the text as a guide to the week's writing assignment. The instructor can suggest chapters or passages the student should consult in revising a draft or in starting the next assignment. Students and instructors together can discuss the exercises, the techniques used in the reprinted essays, the assumptions we make, and the suggestions we offer.

Although we include discussions and examples of description and narration, we emphasize analysis, exposition, and argument because those are the chief activities, usually rolled into one, that we all engage in, both in school and later. When students write papers, or professors write articles, or social workers write case studies, most of what they write explains ideas and how the writers arrived at them. Because they want to be believed, they present their ideas and evidence persuasively.

In addition to including many examples from the writing of our students, we have included more than fifty short essays—a third of them new to this edition— as well as numerous paragraphs from books and essays, the work for the most part of first-rate contemporary writers, both academic and popular. There are also a sample book review, a sample music review, a summary, two essays based on interviews, and two research papers. We include all these readings both to illustrate ways of writing and to provide students with something to write about. The suggested topics for writing often require the students to write about something outside of themselves. Some writing topics do present opportunities for introspection, and all of them in fact require it, but we think that much of a student's writing should be directed outward, not solely a look into the heart but a look around— at people, at places, and especially at ideas.

We have tried therefore to balance the advice "Trust your feelings," "Ask yourself questions," with prescriptions: "Keep your reader in mind," "Avoid cliches." We have tried to increase the student's awareness that writing is both an exploration of self ("Choose a topic you can write about honestly") and a communication with others "Revise for clarity").

Chapter 1 includes three essays by students, a brief article by Philip Roth, and some informal exercises. Chapter 2 focuses on revision; it includes an example of peer review and a case history of a student paper from assignment through several revisions; it also offers a series of notes, drafts, and revisions by a professional writer. Instructors may find these chapters useful for the first few class meetings. During the first week of the semester, we commonly suggest that students browse through the book from beginning to end, reading what interests them, skimming the rest, and generally familiarizing themselves with the book's contents and organization. But because each chapter can stand by itself, the instructor can assign chapters for study in whatever seems a suitable order. Similarly the student can consult whatever passages seem most relevant to drafting, revising, or editing a particular essay.

Read More Show Less

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