Wordsmith: A Guide to College Writing / Edition 5

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Wordsmith was written to counter students’ objections to textbooks being too dry, too irrelevant, and too big, and is Pearson’s value-priced option that students will appreciate across the developmental writing curriculum.

Pamela Arlov wrote the Wordsmith series for instructors who genuinely want to connect with their students. To engage students and enable instructors to meet students where they are, Pam Arlov provides students with just the right balance of instruction and practice via relevant instruction, plenty of visuals, and an inviting writing style that students really respond to. Wordsmith covers the rhetorical modes, is realistic, and does not overwhelm students with too much information.

0205252001 / 9780205252008 Wordsmith: A Guide to College Writing (with MyWritingLab with Pearson eText Student Access Code Card)

Package consists of

0205251277 / 9780205251278 Wordsmith: A Guide to College Writing

0205752624 / 9780205752621 MyWritingLab with Pearson eText -- Valuepack Access Card

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Editorial Reviews

A textbook divided into sections on composition, grammar, and readings, and provided with more than enough material for one term so that instructors can mix and match as suits them best. Employs a conversational tone and a step-by-step approach. The pages are perforated so the worksheets and exercises can be removed easily. No bibliography is included. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205251278
  • Publisher: Longman
  • Publication date: 10/19/2011
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 624
  • Sales rank: 251,596
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents



Chapter 1 The Writing Process

The Writing Process

Review of the Paragraph

Writing Assignment 1: Writing and You

Writing Assignment 2: Reasons for Attending College

Chapter 2 Preparing to Write


Prewriting Methods

Progressive Writing Assignment

Chapter 3 Building a Framework: Thesis and Organization

The Structure of an Essay

Constructing the Thesis Statement

Organizing Your Essay

Progressive Writing Assignment

Chapter 4 Introducing the Essay

Purposes of an Introduction

Types of Introduction

Progressive Writing Assignment

Chapter 5 Developing Body Paragraphs

Characteristics of an Effective Body Paragraph

Progressive Writing Assignment

Chapter 6 Concluding the Essay

Methods of Conclusion

Traps to Avoid

Progressive Writing Assignment

Chapter 7 Revising, Proofreading, and Formatting




Progressive Writing Assignment

Chapter 8 Showing and Telling: Description, Narration, and Example

Description, Narration, and Example in Action


Elements of Descriptive Writing



Topics for Combining Methods of Development

Chapter 9 Limiting and Ordering: Definition, Classification, and Process

Definition, Classification, and Process in Action




Topics for Combining Methods of Development

Chapter 10 Examining Logical Connections: Comparison-Contrast, Cause-Effect, and Argument

Comparison-Contrast, Cause-Effect, and Argument in Action


Cause and Effect


Topics for Combining Methods of Development

Chapter 11 Writing a Summary

Writing a Summary

Five Steps in Writing a Summary

Paraphrasing: An Essential Skill

Brief Guide to APA (American Psychological Association) Style

Brief Guide to MLA (Modern Language Association) Style

Summary Report Assignments

Chapter 12 Writing a Research Paper

Five Steps in Writing a Research Paper

Paraphrasing and Summarizing: Essential Research Skills

Using Documentation Styles

Using Online Sources

Guide to APA (American Psychological Association) Style

Guide to MLA (Modern Language Association) Style

Assignments for Writing a Research Paper


Basic Grammar

Chapter 13 Verbs and Subjects

Action and Linking Verbs

Recognizing Verbs and Subjects

Regular and Irregular Verbs

Review Exercises

Chapter 14 Subject-Verb Agreement

The Basic Pattern

Problems in Subject-Verb Agreement

Review Exercises

Chapter 15 Coordination and Subordination

Writing Effective Sentences

Connecting Ideas through Coordination

Connecting Ideas through Subordination

Creating Emphasis through Subordination

Review Exercises

Chapter 16 Run-on Sentences

What Is a Run-on Sentence?

Correcting Run-ons

A Special Case: The Word That

Review Exercises

Chapter 17 Sentence Fragments

What Is a Sentence Fragment?

Review Exercises

Chapter 18 Pronoun Case

Subject and Object Pronouns

Using Who and Whom

Intensive and Reflexive Pronouns

Review Exercises

Chapter 19 Pronoun Agreement, Reference, and Point of View

Pronoun Agreement

Pronoun Reference

Pronoun Point of View

Review Exercises

Editing Exercises: Basic Grammar

Advanced Grammar

Chapter 20 Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers

Misplaced Modifiers

Dangling Modifiers

Review Exercises

Chapter 21 Parallel Structure

Review Exercises

Chapter 22 Verb Shifts

Shifts in Tense

Active and Passive Voice

Review Exercises

Editing Exercises: Advanced Grammar

Chapter 23 Sentences with Style

Style Tip 1: Limit Your Use of the Verb “To Be”

Style Tip 2: Replace Ordinary Verbs with Vivid, Descriptive Verbs

Style Tip 3: Revise Sentences That Begin with “There is” or “It is”

Style Tip 4: Vary Sentence Openings

Style Tip 5: Vary Sentence Structure and Length

Punctuation, Word Choice, and Mechanics

Chapter 24 Commas

Commas to Set off Introductory Words, Phrases, and Clauses

Commas to Join Items in a Series

Commas to Join Independent Clauses

Commas Around Interrupters

Commas with Direct Quotations

Commas in Names and Dates

Review Exercises

Chapter 25 Other Punctuation

End Punctuation: Period, Question Mark, and Exclamation Point

The Semicolon

Colons and Dashes: Formal and Informal Punctuation

Parentheses: Tools of Understatement

Review Exercises

Chapter 26 Word Choice

Slang and Textspeak



Conversational Constructions

Review Exercises

Chapter 27 Words Commonly Confused

Words Commonly Confused

Review Exercises

Chapter 28 Capital Letters

Capital Letters to Begin Sentences

Capitalization of Words Referring to Individuals

Capitalization of Words Referring to Groups

Capitalization of Words Referring to Time and Place

Capitalization of Words Referring to Things and Activities

Review Exercises

Chapter 29 Apostrophes

Apostrophes in Contractions

Apostrophes to Show Possession

Review Exercises

Chapter 30 Quotation Marks, Underlining, and Italics

Quotation Marks to Signal Quotations

Quotation Marks, Underlining, or Italics to Set Off Titles

Review Exercises

Editing Exercises: Punctuation, Word Choice, and Mechanics

Part 3 Readings

Has the Internet Killed Privacy? Richard Woods

Growing Up Bilingual, Sara Gonzalez

The Game of My Life, Jeff Obafemi Carr

Why Chinese Mothers are Different, Amy Chua

When Words Get in the Way, Athlone G. Clarke

Letting in Light, Patricia Raybon

Coping with Procrastination, Roberta Moore, Barbara Baker, and Arnold H. Packer

After 20 Years, I Want to See My Abusive Dad for His Money, Tony Kelso

Date Rape: Exposing Dangerous Myths, John J. Macionis

Is National Service a Cure for America's Woes? Larry Fennelly



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Preface: Updates to the Second Edition

Several changes have been made in the second edition of Wordsmith: A Guide to College Writing.

Updates to Part 1: Composition

  • For the convenience of instructors, the new Instructor's Edition provides answers to exercises as an integral part of the text. The back pages of the Instructor's Edition contain icebreaker activities, suggestions on using the chapters and readings, an examination of grading issues, and model syllabi for ten-week and fifteen-week courses. Additional resources include a website and a separate manual that includes chapter tests, pretests, and posttests.
  • The second edition shifts its emphasis more strongly toward essays. Since most instructors who were surveyed indicated that they used the text only as an essay text, the chapter on single-paragraph compositions has been deleted. For instructors who want to review the paragraph before beginning essays, a section called "Review of the Paragraph," complete with paragraph assignments, has been added at the end of Chapter 1. Single-paragraph compositions are addressed at length in the other two books in the Wordsmith series, Wordsmith: A Guide to Paragraphs and Short Essays, Second Edition, and Wordsmith: Essentials of College English.
  • A chapter on writing research papers (Chapter 11) has been added to help students make the transition from personal essays to research-based essays. The chapter includes six strategies for successful academic writing, five steps in research, and a step-by-step guide to writing the research paper, from the formulation of a research question to the formatting of the workscited page. It also contains a section on paraphrasing and summarizing, a brief guide to MLA style, and a model student research paper.
  • The chapter "Revising and Proofreading" is now titled "Revising, Proofreading, and Formatting." A new section on formatting discusses various methods of formatting a paper and provides general instructions on formatting handwritten and word-processed documents.
  • A new Progressive Writing Assignment allows students to choose a topic and develop it as they move from prewriting in Chapter 2 to revised draft in Chapter 7. Each chapter's assignment guides students through one step of the essay. In Chapter 2, students focus on prewriting. In Chapter 3, they complete a thesis and outline, and in Chapter 4, they write an introduction. The Chapter 5 progressive assignment guides students through the process of writing body paragraphs and checking them for direction, unity, coherence, and support. In Chapter 6, students conclude the essay, and in Chapter 7, they revise and proofread. By the time they finish the chapters, they have completed the entire essay, step by step. I have used some form of the Progressive Writing Assignment in my own classes for years. Here are some of the advantages I have found in using the Progressive Writing Assignment:
    • It guides students through each step of the writing process and each part of the essay.
    • It allows students to progress step by step through the crucial and often confusing process of writing the first essay rather than having to produce the entire essay at once.
    • It promotes understanding of how each part of the essay relates to the other parts.
    • It provides the opportunity for instructor or peer feedback at each stage, resulting in a strong, carefully written essay.
    • It emphasizes process and careful crafting.
    • It allows instructors, if they wish, to assign some form of credit to each portion of the assignment, thus placing emphasis on the process as well as the product.
  • Chapters 8, 9, and 10 feature boxes that point out connections between methods of development. Optional "Mixed Methods" assignments at the end of each chapter allow students to mix methods of development in essays or in movie reviews, reports, or human interest stories. The assignments demonstrate the flexibility of the essay format and the application of methods of development beyond the classroom.

Updates to Part 2: Grammar

  • The pronouns chapter has been split into two chapters: "Pronoun Case" and "Pronoun Agreement, Reference, and Point of View." The material on pronoun case has been expanded to include intensive and reflexive pronouns.
  • Practices in the grammar chapters now have titles to remind students exactly which principles are being discussed and practiced.
  • A chart that summarizes five methods of correcting run-on sentences has been added to Chapter 14, "Run-on Sentences."
  • Editing Exercises have been added at the end of three sections: Basic Grammar (Chapters 12 to 17), Advanced Grammar (Chapters 18, 19, and 20), and Punctuation, Word Choice, and Mechanics (Chapters 21 to 27).

Updates to Part 3: Readings

  • Three carefully chosen readings have been added and two old ones removed. The new essays round out the slate of readings, providing a little more diversity in subject matter and style. Maya Angelou's "Complaining" models description, narration, and example and reminds readers of the futility of whining. Mark Twain's classic "Two Ways of Seeing a River" models the comparison-contrast method of development and makes the point that knowing something well involves loss as well as gain. Norman Cousins' controversial argument, "The Right to Die," provides a relevant topic for discussion and writing--a topic that will move further to the forefront as the elderly population increases.

Preface To the Instructor

Thank you for choosing Wordsmith: A Guide to College Writing, Second Edition, as your textbook.

Like you, I am a teacher of writing. Like you, I struggle to find the best way to teach a subject that, on its surface, seems as simple as touching pen to paper. Yet writing is remarkably complex, incorporating the personality and experience of each writer and each reader. It requires adherence to agreed-upon rules of grammar, punctuation, and form. It is, in fact, a craft that might best be taught to a small group of students in a series of unhurried sessions and individual conferences over an extended period of time. But our reality is the fifty-minute hour, the class of twenty or more, the term that is measured in weeks. How best to handle that reality?

Most of us constantly refine our teaching methods, striving to make difficult concepts clear and tedious details interesting. Most of all, we try to ignite the spark that will help our students see writing as a meaningful, life-enriching activity. A good textbook should reinforce our efforts. I have spent considerable time trying to analyze what a good textbook should do, above and beyond presenting information in a given field. Here is what I have come up with: The book should be orderly and user-friendly, with a flexible format. Explanations should be clear and supported by numerous exercises and examples. The book should contain much more than is strictly necessary: it should be a smorgasbord, not just a meal. Finally, if it includes a little bit of fun, so much the better--for us and for our students. I have written Wordsmith with those principles in mind.

Features of Wordsmith: A Guide to College Writing

  • A three-part layout allows you the freedom to mix and match writing chapters, grammar chapters, and readings.
  • A structured yet flexible approach to writing encourages clarity and creativity.
  • A direct, conversational, student-friendly approach is used throughout.
  • Lighthearted chapter openings promote a positive and playful approach to learning.

Although each of you will use the book in a different way and adapt to your own students' needs, the following overview of each section may give you some ideas. To give you more choices, I include more material than can comfortably be covered in one term. Use what you need and what your students need, and leave the rest. If you don't like "leftovers," look at the suggestions in the Instructor's Manual for making use of the whole book.

Part 1: Composition

Part 1, Composition, begins with an overview of the writing process and a review of the paragraph (Chapter 1), followed by a chapter on prewriting (Chapter 2). Planning and drafting, the next two steps in the writing process, are addressed in Chapters 3 through 6. Finally, Chapter 7 addresses revising and proofreading.

Chapters 8 through 10 address methods of development. I have sacrificed some flexibility by grouping the methods, so let me explain why. The first reason is philosophical. I believe it is more realistic to group the modes, since they are seldom used in isolation in "real-world" writing. Modes with a similar purpose are grouped together, and the optional "Mixed Methods" assignments at the end of the chapter show how the modes can be used together in a single piece of writing. The second reason for grouping modes is more practical. No matter how hard I try, I can never cover nine rhetorical modes in one term. Grouping them allows me to assign a chapter containing three modes and address only one or two in depth. If all three rhetorical modes chapters are- assigned, students are ex

Chapter 11 provides a step-by-step guide to writing a research paper, including locating and evaluating sources, paraphrasing effectively, and formatting a paper in MLA style.

Special Features of Part 1: Composition

  • A student essay is presented in all drafts and stages along with a transcript of a student writing group's discussion of the work in progress. (Chapter 1)
  • A section called "If you hate the thought of a step-by-step approach . . ." gives tips to right-brained students who tend to think in terms of the whole. (Chapter 1)
  • The parts of the essay are presented in the order in which most writers write them and in which readers see them: introduction, body, conclusion. (Chapters 4, 5, and 6)
  • The five steps in the writing process are presented in the order in which most writers address them: prewriting, planning, drafting, revising, and proofreading. (Chapters 2-7)
  • One entire chapter and numerous exercises are devoted to writing a thesis statement and planning the essay. (Chapter 3)
  • Methods of development are grouped into three chapters to highlight their relationship to one another and to allow students to read about all methods even if they use only a few. (Chapters 8, 9, and 10)
  • Two full-length essays and one paragraph provide models for each method of development. (Chapters 8, 9, and 10)
  • Topics for essay, paragraph, and journal writing provide a basis for assignments and encourage further practice. (Chapters 17)
  • A chapter on writing a research paper (Chapter 11) helps students make the transition from personal to academic writing.

Part 2: Grammar

Part 2, Grammar, can be used in a variety of ways: with direct, in-class instruction, in a lab setting, as a supplement to lab assignments, or for independent study. It also, works well for instructors who want to combine methods by addressing more difficult topics in class while assigning easier material or review material for independent study.

In the grammar chapters, explanations are clear and each topic is taken one skill at a time, with numerous practice exercises for each skill. At the end of each chapter are review exercises in increasing order of difficulty, ending with a paragraph-length editing exercise.

Special Features of Part 2: Grammar

  • Explanations are clear, logical, and user-friendly.
  • Step-by-step, easy-to-understand presentation is suitable for classroom discussion or independent study.
  • An abundance of practice exercises allows instructors to assign as much or as little as they wish, without having to hunt for supplemental exercises.
  • Text boxes--Real-World Writing, Building Connections, Grammar Alert, and Punctuation Pointers--add liveliness and interest.
  • Practice exercises allow immediate review of each skill, while review exercises at the end of each chapter allow practice on increasing levels of difficulty.

Part 3: Readings

Part 3, Readings, offers essays by professional writers. In any craft, the works of accomplished artisans can inspire the apprentice. These essays model writing at its best: entertaining, challenging, and thought-provoking. Each reading is followed by a comprehension exercise that includes questions about content, questions about the writer's techniques, and related topics for discussion and writing. Diversity in authorship, subject matter, and rhetorical method is emphasized.

Special Features of Part 3: Readings

  • High-interest readings provide professional models, reinforce reading skills, and serve as springboards for discussion and assignments.
  • Questions help students understand both the content of the essays and the writer's techniques.
  • Suggested topics for journal and essay writing connect students' writing to ideas they have explored in the readings.

Preface To the Student

A Peek into the Future

The interview for your first postcollege job has gone well. You have dressed for success, researched the company, asked intelligent questions, and--you hope--given intelligent answers. As the interviewer shakes your hand, you feel optimistic.

"Here's some paperwork to fill out," she says. "Just leave it with my assistant as you go." You fill out the first sheet, which seems pretty standard. Then you flip the page. There is a blank sheet, with one question at the top: "Where do you see yourself, personally and professionally, in five years? Please answer as completely as possible."

What kind of cruel trick is this? You thought you had left essay questions behind in college. Couldn't the interviewer have asked that question during the interview?

Surprise, surprise. Your writing ability is being tested. Companies like to hire people who write clearly, concisely, and correctly. If you have good writing skills, you have a good chance at the job. If your writing skills are poor, you'll probably lose out, no matter how well your interview seemed to go.

No Time Like the Present

Writing is not the only skill you will need in your future, but it's one of the more important ones. Writing can help you develop the skills needed to get ahead: thinking logically, considering all the possibilities, and communicating clearly.

In any field, those who stand out are usually good writers. They write clearly, they state their ideas completely, and they don't embarrass themselves with poor grammar or misspelled words.

You may feel like you are already a pretty good writer. Or maybe you have some distance to go to meet your future employer's standards-and your own. Maybe you realize that your grammar is not up to par. Or perhaps you go blank when you see an empty page in front of you, waiting to be filled.

But there's good news. Whether you are a good writer already or need a bit--or even a lot--of work, you can be a better writer. Writing is not a talent bestowed by fate. It is a skill, like driving a car, playing a guitar, or designing a Web page on the computer. It is built through your own hard work and improved by practice.

How can you become a better writer? You're in the right place, enrolled in a writing course, and you are holding the right object in your hand--this textbook. But the real key is not the course, the textbook, or even your instructor. The key is you. If you take guitar lessons but never practice, how well will you play? Or think of weight training--if you buy a book about it but never exercise your muscles, how much change will occur? You have a book on writing and a "personal trainer"--your instructor--ready to help you, so exercise your writing muscles as much as possible. If you work at it, you will amaze yourself.

There's no time like the present to shape your future.

How This Textbook Can Help

Wordsmith: A Guide to College Writing, Second Edition, is designed to help you on your journey to becoming the writer you want to be, the writer your future demands. Read on to find out how each section can help you develop your writing skills.

Part 1: Composition

Part 1, Composition, gives you an overview of the writing process and provides step-by-step instructions for writing a five-paragraph essay. The five-paragraph essay is a flexible tool. It's not just for use in your English class. Shrink it down a bit and you can use it to answer a question on an essay test. Expand it and you can use it to write a research paper, a term paper, or even a master's thesis.

In addition to introducing the essay, Part 1 presents nine methods of development: description, narration, example, definition, classification, process, comparison-contrast, cause-effect, and argument. You may not write each of the nine essay types this term, but this section provides a handy reference when you need it.

Finally, Part 1 provides a step-by-step guide to writing a research paper, including locating and evaluating sources, paraphrasing effectively, and formatting a paper in MLA style.

Part 2: Grammar

Part 2, Grammar, provides wide coverage of grammar and punctuation. Some of the concepts covered are probably review for you while others are new. The chapters are user-friendly and take a step-by-step approach, so you can work with them in class or on your own.

Feel free to use the chapters in this section as a reference. If you aren't sure of a comma rule, look it up in Chapter 21, "Commas." If you aren't sure of your subject-verb agreement, check it out in Chapter 13, "Subject-Verb Agreement." You will gain knowledge as you improve your writing.

You can also use the chapters as a way to improve your grammar. If your instructor marks several sentence fragments on your paper, don't wait until the topic is covered in class. Work through Chapter 15, "Sentence Fragments," on your own so that you can correct the problem now.

Part 3: Readings

Part 3, Readings, contains readings from professional writers. You will notice differences between the journalistic writing of these professionals and the academic form you are encouraged to use. The journalistic essays are longer and don't necessarily have an overtly stated thesis. The language is often informal. But these are merely differences of place--essays written in the academic world and for an academic audience are expected to be more formal than journalistic essays written for a general audience. You will see similarities, too. The essays have many of the qualities you are encouraged to incorporate in your essays--direction, unity, coherence, and support--and the writers use some of the same introductory and concluding techniques that you will find in this book.

Good readers make good writers. The more you read, the better your writing becomes.

Just the Beginning

Writing is hard work. But it is also worthwhile. The more, you write, the more skilled you become. This process is a lifelong one. Whatever your vocation, writing will serve you well. May this book mark just the beginning of your journey as a writer.

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