Wordsmith: A Guide to College Writing / Edition 4

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Giving readers the tools and know-how to confidently write an effective essay, this complete, step-by-step guide to the composition and grammar structure of an essay addresses all parts of the classic five-paragraph essay - thesis, introduction, body and conclusion - in separate sections, and includes myriad examples and practice exercises to help hone each element. Direct and conversational, it includes an entire section on grammar, and a selection of twenty readings - complete with reading comprehension questions and writing assignments. Presents the writing steps in the order in which writers use them; i.e., begins with a chapter on prewriting, moves on to individual chapters on the thesis, introduction, supporting paragraphs, and conclusion - then follows through chapters on revising and proofreading. Offers a clear, step-by-step presentation of grammar that is easily referenced. Provides a varied and relatively short selection of readings that can be used for comparison in structure and content. Adds levity and interest to the subject with lighthearted, fun and informative boxes, and motivates users to hone their writing skills with numerous journal, paragraph, and essay writing assignments throughout. For anyone wishing to develop their composition/developmental essay writing skills.
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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: 9780136050544
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 1/16/2009
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 606
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

To the Instructor xix
To the Student xxv
Part 1 Composition
Chapter 1 The Writing Process 3
The Writing Process 4
Prewriting 4
Planning 4
Drafting 4
Revising 5
Proofreading 6
An Important Point 6
The Writing Process: Carla's Essay 7
Chapter 2 Preparing to Write 20
Prewriting 21
Why Prewrite? 21
Prewriting Methods 22
Brainstorming 22
Freewriting 24
Invisible Writing: A Computer Technique 26
Clustering 27
Narrowing Your Topic: The Topic-Subtopic Method 28
Outlining 31
Journal Writing 32
Chapter 3 Writing Paragraphs 34
Characteristics of an Effective Paragraph 34
Direction: Shaping the Topic Sentence of a Paragraph 35
Unity: Sticking to the Point 39
Coherence: Holding the Paragraph Together 41
Support: Using Specific Detail 47
Chapter 4 Building a Framework: Thesis and Organization 56
Constructing the Thesis Statement 57
Types of Thesis Statements 57
Evaluating Your Thesis Points 63
Organizing Your Essay 67
Emphatic Order 67
Sandwich Order 69
Chronological Order 71
Chapter 5 Introducing the Essay 73
Purposes of an Introduction 73
Types of Introduction 74
Broad to Narrow 74
Narrow to Broad 75
Quotation 76
Anecdote 79
Contrasting Idea 80
Historical 82
Chapter 6 Developing Body Paragraphs 84
Characteristics of an Effective Body Paragraph 84
Direction: Shaping the Topic Sentences of Body Paragraphs 85
Unity: Sticking to the Point of the Essay 90
Coherence: Holding the Essay Together 93
Support: Using Specific Detail 96
Chapter 7 Concluding the Essay 107
Methods of Conclusions 107
Summary 108
Recommendation 108
Prediction 109
Full Circle 110
Quotation 112
Traps to Avoid 113
Sermonizing 113
Starched Prose 114
Chapter 8 Revising and Proofreading 115
Revising 115
Checklist for Revision 116
Proofreading 121
The Top-Down Technique 122
The Bottom-Up Technique 122
The Targeting Technique 122
Proofreading the World-Processed Essay 123
Chapter 9 Showing and Telling: Description, Narration, and Example 126
Description 126
Sense Impressions 127
Spatial Order 129
Establishing a Dominant Impression 130
Wordsmith's Corner: Examples of Descriptive Writing 132
Narration 139
Techniques for Successful Narration 140
Wordsmith's Corner: Examples of Narrative Writing 143
Example 149
Wordsmith's Corner: Examples of Writing Supported by Example 152
Chapter 10 Limiting and Ordering: Definition, Classification, and Process 160
Definition 160
Wordsmith's Corner: Examples of Writing Developed by Definition 162
Classification 168
Establishing a Basis for Classification 169
Wordsmith's Corner: Examples of Writing Developed through Classification 173
Process 180
Organizing the Process Essay 180
Introducing the Process Essay 181
Concluding the Process Essay 181
Wordsmith's Corner: Examples of Process Writing 182
Chapter 11 Examining Logical Connections: Comparison-Contrast, Cause-Effect, and Argument 189
Comparison-Contrast 190
Setting Up the Comparison-Contrast Paragraph 190
Wordsmith's Corner: Examples of Writing Using Comparison-Contrast 193
Cause and Effect 198
Identifying Causes and Effects 199
Wordsmith's Corner: Examples of Writing Using Cause and Effect 200
Argument 206
Taking Sides 206
Introducing an Argument Essay 206
Will You Change Anyone's Mind? 207
Wordsmith's Corner: Examples of Writing Using Argument 207
Part 2 Grammar
Basic Grammar
Chapter 12 Subjects and Verbs 217
Action and Linking Verbs 217
Action Verbs 218
Linking Verbs 218
Recognizing Subjects and Verbs 220
Finding the Verb 220
Finding the Subject 222
Recognizing Prepositional Phrases 224
Regular and Irregular Verbs 225
Puzzling Pairs 229
Chapter 13 Subject-Verb Agreement 236
The Basic Pattern 236
Problems in Subject-Verb Agreement 240
Prepositional Phrase between Subject and Verb 240
Indefinite Pronouns as Subjects 241
Subject Following the Verb 242
Compound Subjects 243
Chapter 14 Run-On Sentences 250
What Is a Run-On Sentence? 250
Correcting Run-Ons 252
Method 1 Period and Capital Letter 252
Method 2 Comma and FANBOYS Conjunction 253
Method 3 Semicolon 254
Method 4 Semicolon and Transitional Expression 255
Method 5 Dependent Word 256
A Special Case: The Word That 258
Chapter 15 Sentence Fragments 265
What Is a Sentence Fragment? 265
Dependent Clause Fragments 266
Verbal Phrase Fragments (to, -ing, and -ed) 267
Missing-Subject Fragments 271
Example and Exception Fragments 272
Prepositional-Phrase Fragments 274
Chapter 16 Pronouns 280
Subject and Object Pronouns 280
Subject Pronouns 281
Object Pronouns 283
Pronoun Agreement, Reference, and Point of View 286
Pronoun Agreement 286
Pronoun Reference 291
Pronoun Point of View 296
Advanced Grammar
Chapter 17 Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers 303
Misplaced Modifiers 304
Single-Word Modifiers 305
Dangling Modifiers 308
Chapter 18 Parallel Structure 317
Chapter 19 Verb Shifts 326
Shifts in Tense 326
Avoiding Unnecessary Tense Shifts 327
Providing Necessary Tense Shifts 329
Active and Passive Voice 330
Uses of Active and Passive Voice 332
Writing Sentences in Active and Passive Voice 333
Correcting Shifts in Voice 335
Punctuation, Word Choice, and Mechanics
Chapter 20 Commas 343
Commas to Set Off Introductory Words, Phrases, and Clauses 343
Commas to Join Items in a Series 344
Commas to Join Independent Clauses 345
Commas Around Interrupters 347
Commas with Direct Quotations 347
Commas in Names and Dates 348
Chapter 21 Other Punctuation 354
End Punctuation: Period, Question Mark, and Exclamation Point 354
The Period 354
The Question Mark 355
The Exclamation Point 355
The Semicolon 356
Semicolon to Join Independent Clauses 356
Semicolon to Join Items in a List 357
Colons and Dashes: Formal and Informal Punctuation 358
The Colon 358
The Dash 358
Parentheses: Tools of Understatement 359
Chapter 22 Word Choice 365
Slang 365
Cliches 367
Wordiness 368
Pretentious Writing 370
Chapter 23 Words Commonly Confused 380
Words Commonly Confused 380
Chapter 24 Capital Letters 389
Capital Letters to Begin Sentences 389
Capitalization of Words Referring to Individuals 390
Names and the Pronoun I 390
Family Relationships 390
Professional Titles 391
Capitalization of Words Referring to Groups 391
Religions, Geographic Locations, Races, and Nationalities 391
Organizations, Businesses, and Agencies 392
Capitalization of Words Referring to Time and Place 393
Dates, Days, Holidays, and Seasons 393
Place Names 393
Compass Points 394
Capitalization of Words Referring to Things and Activities 395
School Subjects 395
Titles 395
Consumer Products 396
Abbreviations 396
Chapter 25 Apostrophes 400
Apostrophes in Contractions 400
Apostrophes to Show Possession 402
Making Nouns Possessive 402
Distinguishing Possessives from Simple Plurals 405
Possessive Forms of Pronouns 406
Proofreading for Apostrophe Errors 407
Chapter 26 Quotation Marks, Underlining, and Italics 414
Quotation Marks to Signal Quotations 414
Direct Quotations 414
Indirect Quotations 417
Quotation Marks, Italics, or Underlining to Set Off Titles 418
Quotation Marks 418
Italics and Underlining 419
Part 3 Readings
1 Babies Suck 427
2 The Brutal Business of Boxing 433
3 Growing Up Bilingual 439
4 The Game of My Life 446
5 Rebel with a Dye Job 452
6 Coping with Procrastination 458
7 Migraine Blues 464
8 When Words Get in the Way 471
9 Letting in Light 477
10 Date Rape: Exposing Dangerous Myths 484
11 That Lean and Hungry Look 491
12 Education Unplugged 498
13 Should College Athletes Be Paid? 504
14 The Fears That Save Us 511
15 Reading, Writing, and...Ethics? 519
Acknowledgments 526
Index 527
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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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