Writing First with Readings: Practice in Context / Edition 4

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Writing First: Practice in Context helps students master basic writing skills by providing them with clear instruction, engaging models, interesting and abundant exercises, and plenty of guidance for self-checking and revising their work. In addition, the unique "practice-in-context" method gets students writing immediately in every chapter and has them consistently applying what they learn to their own writing. The fourth edition goes further in helping students make important connections — between paragraph and essay writing skills, and between following step-by-step models of writing and composing their own work. Revised in consultation with an ESL specialist, this edition is a strong choice for classrooms with non-native speakers. With additional chapters on study skills and research, Writing First is an invaluable tool for students learning the essential skills of college reading and writing.

Writing First: Practice in Context and Foundations First: Sentences and Paragraphs are part of a two-book workbook series from experienced teachers and authors Laurie Kirszner and Stephen Mandell. Both books teach students basic writing and grammar skills in the context of their own writing — where students learn best.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312487584
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 12/15/2008
  • Edition description: Fourth Edition
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 720
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Laurie Kirszner and Stephen Mandell have taught college composition and basic writing for more than 25 years and have authored many widely adopted textbooks including Patterns for College Writing (2009), Foundations First: Sentences and Paragraphs (2008), and the new text Focus on Writing: Paragraphs and Essays (2008).

Laurie Kirszner teaches composition, literature, and creative writing at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. Stephen Mandell is the founder and former director of the basic writing program at Drexel University, where he teaches composition, literature, and technical and business writing.

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Table of Contents

Preface for Instructors

A Student's Guide to Using Writing First

Self-Assessment Checklists for Writing Paragraphs and Essays


UNIT 1 Focus on Paragraphs

CHAPTER 1 Writing a Paragraph

A Understanding Paragraph Structure

B Focusing on Your Assignment, Purpose, and Audience

C Finding Ideas

D Identifying Your Main Idea and Writing a Topic Sentence

E Choosing and Arranging Supporting Points

F Drafting Your Paragraph

G Revising and Editing Your Paragraph

Self-Assessment Checklist: Revising Your Paragraph

Review Checklist: Writing a Paragraph

CHAPTER 2 Fine-Tuning Your Paragraph

A Writing Unified Paragraphs

B Writing Well-Developed Paragraphs

C Writing Coherent Paragraphs

Chapter Review

Review Checklist: Fine-Tuning Your Paragraph

UNIT 2 Patterns of Paragraph Development

CHAPTER 3 Exemplification

A What is Exemplification?

B Writing an Exemplification Paragraph

Self-Assessment Checklist: Writing an Exemplification Paragraph

Moving from Paragraph to Essay: Exemplification

CHAPTER 4 Narration

CHAPTER 5 Description

CHAPTER 6 Process

CHAPTER 7 Cause and Effect

CHAPTER 8 Comparison and Contrast

CHAPTER 9 Classification

CHAPTER 1 Definition

CHAPTER 11 Argument

Note: Chapters 4 – 11 follow the same format as chapter 3 but details have been omitted to save space.

UNIT 3 Focus on Essays

CHAPTER 12 Writing an Essay

A Thinking about Paragraphs and Essays

B Deciding on a Topic

C Finding Ideas

D Stating Your Thesis

E Choosing Supporting Points

F Arranging Supporting Points

G Drafting Your Essay

H Revising Your Essay

Self-Assessment Checklist: Revising Your Essay

I Editing Your Essay

Self-Assessment Checklist: Editing Your Essay

Chapter Review

Review Checklist: Writing an Essay

CHAPTER 13 Introductions and Conclusions

A Introductions

B Conclusions

Chapter Review

Review Checklist: Introductions and Conclusions

Chapter 14 Patterns of Essay Development

A Exemplification

Self-Assessment Checklist: Writing an Exemplification Essay

B Narration

C Description

D Process

E Cause and Effect

F Comparison and Contrast

G Classification

H Definition

I Argument

Review Checklist: Patterns of Essay Development

Note: Sections B - I follow the same format as section A but details have been omitted to save space.


UNIT 4 Writing Effective Sentences

Chapter 15 Writing Simple Sentences

A Subjects

B Prepositional Phrases

C Verbs

Chapter Review

Review Checklist: Writing Simple Sentences

Chapter 16 Writing Compound Sentences

A Using Coordinating Conjunctions

B Using Semicolons

C Using Transitional Words and Phrases

Chapter Review

Review Checklist: Writing Compound Sentences

Chapter 17 Writing Complex Sentences

A Identifying Complex Sentences

B Using Subordinating Conjunctions

C Using Relative Pronouns

D Punctuating with Relative Pronouns

Chapter Review

Review Checklist: Writing Complex Sentences

Chapter 18 Achieving Sentence Variety

A Varying Sentence Types

B Varying Sentence Openings

C Combining Sentences
D Mixing Long and Short Sentences

Chapter Review

Review Checklist: Achieving Sentence Variety

Chapter 19 Using Parallelism

A Recognizing Parallel Structure

B Using Parallel Structure

Chapter Review

Review Checklist: Using Parallelism

Chapter 2 Using Words Effectively

A Using Specific Words

B Using Concise Language

C Avoiding Slang

D Avoiding Clichés

D Using Similes and Metaphors

E Avoiding Sexist Language

Chapter Review

Review Checklist: Using Words Effectively

Unit Review

UNIT 5 Solving Common Sentence Problems

Chapter 21 Run-Ons

A Recognizing Run-Ons

B Correcting Run-Ons

Chapter Review

Review Checklist: Run-Ons and Comma Splices

Chapter 22 Sentence Fragments

A Recognizing Sentence Fragments

B Missing-Subject Fragments

C Phrase Fragments

D -ing Fragments

E Dependent Clause Fragments

Chapter Review

Review Checklist: Sentence Fragments

Chapter 23 Subject-Verb Agreement

A Understanding Subject-Verb Agreement

B Compound Subjects

C Be, Have, and Do

C Words Between the Subject and the Verb

D Avoiding Agreement Problems with Indefinite Pronouns as Subjects

E Collective Noun Subjects

F Indefinite Pronoun Subjects

G Verbs Before Subjects

Chapter Review

Review Checklist: Subject-Verb Agreement

Chapter 24 Illogical Shifts

A Shifts in Tense

B Shifts in Person

C Shifts in Voice

Chapter Review

Review Checklist: Illogical Shifts

Chapter 25 Dangling and Misplaced Modifiers

A Correcting Misplaced Modifiers

B Correcting Dangling Modifiers

Chapter Review

Review Checklist: Dangling and Misplaced Modifiers

Unit Review

UNIT 6 Understanding Basic Grammar

Chapter 26 Verbs: Past Tense

A Regular Verbs

B Irregular Verbs

C Problem Verbs: Be

D Problem Verbs: Can/Could and Will/Would

Chapter Review

Review Checklist: Verbs: Past Tense

Chapter 27 Verbs: Past Participles

A Regular Past Participles

B Irregular Past Participles

C The Present Perfect Tense

D The Past Perfect Tense

E Past Participles as Adjectives

Chapter Review

Review Checklist: Verbs: Past Participles

Chapter 28 Nouns and Pronouns

A Identifying Nouns

B Forming Plural Nouns

C Identifying Pronouns

D Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement

E Special Problems with Agreement

F Vague and Unneccessary Pronouns

G Pronoun Case

H Special Problems with Case

I Reflexive and Intensive Pronouns

Chapter Review

Review Checklist: Noun and Pronouns

Chapter 29 Adjectives and Adverbs

A Identifying Adjectives and Adverbs

B Comparatives and Superlatives

Chapter Review

Review Checklist: Adjectives and Adverbs

Chapter 3 Grammar and Usage for ESL Writers

A Subjects in Sentences

B Plural Nouns

C Count and Noncount Nouns

D Determiners with Count and Noncount Nouns

E Articles

F Negative Statements and Questions

G Verb Tense

H Stative Verbs

I Modal Auxiliaries

J Gerunds

K Placing Modifiers in Order

L Choosing Prepositions

M Prepositions in Familiar Expressions

N Prepositions in Phrasal Verbs

Chapter Review

Review Checklist: Grammar and Usage for ESL Writers

Unit Review

UNIT 7 Understanding Punctuation, Mechanics, and Spelling

Chapter 31 Using Commas

A Commas in a Series

B Commas with Introductory Phrases and Transitional Words and Phrases

C Commas with Appositives

D Commas with Nonrestrictive Clauses

E Commas in Dates and Addresses

F Unnecessary Commas

Chapter Review

Review Checklist: Using Commas

Chapter 32 Using Apostrophes

A Apostrophes in Contractions

B Apostrophes in Possessives

C Incorrect Use of Apostrophes

Chapter Review

Review Checklist: Using Apostrophes

Chapter 33 Understanding Mechanics

A Capitalizing Proper Nouns

B Punctuating Direct Quotations

C Setting Off Titles

D Using Minor Punctuation Marks

Chapter Review

Review Checklist: Understanding Mechanics

Chapter 34 Understanding Spelling

A Becoming a Better Speller

B ie and ei

C Prefixes

D Suffixes

E Commonly Confused Words

Chapter Review

Review Checklist: Understanding Spelling

Unit Review


Unit Eight Reading Essays

Chapter 35 Reading for College

A Previewing

B Highlighting

C Annotating

D Outlining

E Summarizing

F Writing a Response Paragraph

G Reading In the Classroom, In the Community, and In the Workplace

Chapter 36 Readings for Writers

A Exemplification

Judith Ortiz Cofer, "Don't Call Me a Hot Tamale"

Ellen Goodman, "The Suspected Shopper"

B Narration

Lynda Barry, "The Sanctuary of School"

Martin Gansberg, "Thirty-Eight Who Saw Murder Didn't Call the Police"

C Description

Amy Tan, "Fish Cheeks"

Esmeralda Santiago, "Guavas"

D Process

Russell Baker, "Slice of Life"

Malcolm X, "My First Conk"

E Cause and Effect

John Schwartz, "The Poncho Bearer"

Lawrence Otis Graham, "The 'Black Table' Is Still There"

F Comparison and Contrast

Indira Ganesan, "Resisting My Family History"

John Gray, "Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus"

G Classification

Jo-Ellan Dimitrius and Mark Mazzarella, "Liars"

Scott Russell Sanders, "The Men We Carry In Our Minds"

H Definition

Gayle Rosenwald Smith, "The Wife-Beater"

Judy Brady, "Why I Want a Wife"

I Argument

Edwidge Danticat, "Impounded Fathers"

Ji-Yeon Yuh, "Let's Tell the Story of All America's Cultures"

Dave Eggers, "Serve or Fail"

APPENDIX A Strategies for College Success

APPENDIX B Using Research in Your Writing

APPENDIX C Taking Standardized Assessment Tests

APPENDIX D Job-Hunting Strategies

Answers to Odd-Numbered Exercise Items


Correction Symbols (last book page)

Parts of Speech (inside back cover)

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