Writing Matters

Overview

Many students dread writing essays because no one has bothered to break down the process in a clear, down-to-earth fashion. Writing Matters is the remedy. This revised second edition improves on the first by presenting actual student essays for classroom discussion and by expanding the section on editing. Award-winning English Professor Peter G. Beidler offers solid advice that includes, in part: how to find a topic, what constitutes a bold thesis, how to select and organize evidence, what to include in an ...
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Overview

Many students dread writing essays because no one has bothered to break down the process in a clear, down-to-earth fashion. Writing Matters is the remedy. This revised second edition improves on the first by presenting actual student essays for classroom discussion and by expanding the section on editing. Award-winning English Professor Peter G. Beidler offers solid advice that includes, in part: how to find a topic, what constitutes a bold thesis, how to select and organize evidence, what to include in an introduction, how to develop a voice, and how to doctor a sickly paragraph. Although originally written for first-year university students learning composition, Writing Matters has also been invaluable to ESL students and those in high school preparing for the SATs.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"What I like most about Writing Matters is that it really speaks to my students. Beidler's refreshing strategy of giving the rudiments of essay writing in twenty-six mini-essays which exemplify the very precepts he is advancing is particularly helpful. After all, some students learn better by precept, other by example.… I have recommended Writing Matters to various colleagues and have yet to hear a negative word." --Professor John de Oliveira e Silva, CUNY: LaGuardia Community College, New York City, NY

"I have been using Peter G. Beidler's Writing Matters for fifteen years because I prefer it to all other how-to writing textbooks that cross my desk. Writing Matters is far more accessible to students than the typical composition text…. Although Beidler's book is simple, direct, and sometimes humorous, it does not condescend." --Professor Kathleen Mayberry, Lehigh Carbon Community College, Schnecksville, PA

"Although he wrote this book for college writing classes, the simple, direct advice it contains would help anyone in the business world. Writing Matters should be in the desk drawer of every manager and executive." --Charlie Liekweg, recently retired President & CEO of AAA Washington and former Vice President, Operations, GTE Corporation

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781603811743
  • Publisher: Coffeetown Enterprises, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/15/2013
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 230
  • Sales rank: 1,478,344
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.52 (d)

Meet the Author


PETER G. BEIDLER has recently retired from the English department at Lehigh University. He has published widely and has won many teaching awards. He was named National Professor of the Year by CASE--Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.
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Read an Excerpt


The first nervous grumbling is, "I just can't write. I've been taking English for years, and I even got good grades a few times, but writing is still a mystery. Some people are born knowing how to write, but I was born untalented, I guess." Nonsense. To be sure, some people write with greater grace and ease than others, but not because they were born that way. The chances are that they write with grace and ease now in part because their parents read to them when they were very young and in part because as they grew up they spent many hours reading. Just as it is easier to learn French at a young age when surrounded by French-speaking people, so it is easier to learn to write if, at a young age, we read, and read, and read. Still, many men and women have learned French by studying it in college, and a far greater number of men and women have learned to write good, solid English prose in college. With hard work, concentration, and receptivity to criticism, you can learn to be a good writer. You will discover, of course, that when you have something that you want to write about, something you need to communicate to a real audience, you will automatically be a better writer than if you are writing exercises and examples just to fill an academic course requirement. Within the context of a college course, however, you can learn the basics of effective writing.

The second nervous grumbling is, "I don't have a big enough vocabulary to write well." Nonsense. You have a big enough vocabulary to read the daily newspaper and college-level math, science, and history textbooks. If you did not, you would never have been admitted to college in the first place. If your vocabulary is big enough for those activities, it is big enough for you to write well. Good writing does not depend on a big vocabulary. Indeed, a vocabulary that is too big can be a greater impediment to effective communication than one that is too small. Clear communication is often impeded by big words, because by using such words you run the risk that your audience will not know what the words mean. The amazing thing about your vocabulary is that it develops along with you. As you expand your interests to include subjects requiring a larger vocabulary, you automatically develop the vocabulary to communicate about those subjects. If your Uncle Harry gave you a thesaurus for a high school graduation present so you could use it in college, I advise you to throw it away. It will only get you into trouble. You already know the words you need to write well what you have to say.

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Table of Contents

About the Authors
Preface
To the Student
1 Writing in the Professional World 1
2 Nervous Grumblings About Writing 5
3 What Is an Acceptable Essay? 9
4 Your Thesis Sentence 15
5 Finding Your Writing Process 20
6 Building a Strong Essay 23
7 Writing to Discover 29
8 The Parts of an Essay 34
9 Introductions Are Not All the Same 37
10 Something of Substance to Say 43
11 Speaking of Voice 48
12 Organizing Your Essay 54
13 The Chronological Approach 59
14 Comparing and Contrasting 65
15 Dealing with the Opposition 70
16 Look at Your Audience 75
17 Writing with Others 80
18 Standing above Our Defenses 85
19 A Healthy Body Paragraph 89
20 Doctoring a Sickly Body Paragraph 93
21 Good Writing Is Good Thinking 99
22 Good Writing Is Good Development 103
23 Finding the Right Word 109
24 Writing Concretely 114
25 Mephobia: An Eye for a Ewe 118
26 Moving Out 123
Editing Matters 125
Index 156
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