Writing Talk: Paragraphs and Short Essays with Readings / Edition 5

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There are many different ways in which developing writers learn. Winkler and McCuen-Matherall have created a wiritng series that takes into account many of the known difficulties that developing writing students have with English language skills and strategies. Writing Talk: Paragraphs and Short Essays with Readings, 5/ereaches more students by providing the most varied practice exercises of any writing text. Every unit contains Practice Exercises, Unit Tests, Unit Talk-Write Exercises, Unit Collaborative Assignments, Unit Writing Assignments, and Photo Writing Assignments. These diverse exercises will help students of all types, including visual, audio, and collaborative learners learn and retain the material.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780135008775
  • Publisher: Longman
  • Publication date: 2/14/2008
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 624
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

* Every Unit ends with Unit Test, Unit Talk-Write Assignment, Unit Collaborative Assignment, Unit Writing Assignment, & Photo Writing Assignment for this reason it is only listed once in Unit 1

UNIT 1: The ESL Student and the Native Speaker

Differences Between a Native and an ESL Student

A General Note to Both the Native Speaker and ESL Student

  • Unit Test
  • Unit Talk-Write Assignment
  • Unit Collaborative Assignment
  • Unit Writing Assignment
  • Photo Writing Assignment

UNIT 2: Myths About Writing

Myths About Writing

Standard English

UNIT 3: Purpose and Audience



Computer Writing Assignment

UNIT 4: Gathering Ideas

Talking Writing




Journal Writing


Unit 5 The Sentence

Subject and Verb

Prepositional Phrases

Action Verbs and Linking Verbs

Helping Verbs


Compound Subjects and Verbs

Unit 6: Building Sentences

Dependent and Independent Clauses

Three Basic Sentence Types

The Statement, the Question, the Command, the Exclamation

Sentence Variety

Unit 7: The 20 Most Common Sentence Errors

Error No. 1 Sentence Fragments

Error No. 2 Run-On Sentences

Error No. 3 Lack of Subject-Verb Agreement

Error No. 4 Incorrect Verb Forms

Error No. 5 Incorrect Forms of Do, Be, and Have

Error No. 6 Passive Voice

Error No. 7 Shift in Tense

Error No. 8 Shift in Point of View

Error No. 9 Unclear or Missing Referent

Error No. 10 Lack of Pronoun Agreement and Sexism

Error No. 11 Trouble with Using Adverbs and Adjectives in Comparisons and Superlatives

Error No. 12 Dangling or Misplaced Modifiers

Error No. 13 Omitted Commas, Part I

Error No. 14 Omitted Commas, Part II

Error No. 15 Apostrophe Problems

Error No. 16 Trouble with Quotation Marks

Error No. 17 Incorrect Capitalization, Part I

Error No. 18 Incorrect Capitalization, Part II

Error No. 19 Misspelled Words, Part I

Error No. 20 Misspelled Words, Part II


Unit 8: The Paragraph and the Topic Sentence

Talking and the Paragraph

The Topic Sentence

Unit 9: Adding Details

Supporting Details

Unit 10: Sticking to the Point, Proving the Point, and Linking Sentences

Stick to the Point

Prove the Point, Don’t Merely Repeat It

Link the Sentences


Unit 11: Narrating

What Am I Trying to Do?

How Can I Do It?

What Do I Need to Look Out For?

Unit 12: Describing

What Am I Trying to Do?

How Can I Do It?

What Do I Need to Look Out For?

Unit 13: Illustrating

What Am I Trying to Do?

How Can I Do It?

What Do I Need to Look Out For?

Unit 14: Explaining a Process

What Am I Trying to Do?

How Can I Do It?

What Do I Need to Look Out For?

Unit 1 5: Defining a Term

What Am I Trying to Do?

How Can I Do It?

What Do I Need to Look Out For?

Unit 16: Classifying

What Am I Trying to Do?

How Can I Do It?

What Do I Need to Look Out For?

Unit 17: Comparing and Contrasting

What Am I Trying to Do?

How Can I Do It?

What Do I Need to Look Out For?

Unit 18: Cause and Effect

What Am I Trying to Do?

How Can I Do It?

What Do I Need to Look Out For?

Unit 19: Arguing

What Am I Trying to Do?

How Can I Do It?

What Do I Need to Look Out For?


Unit 20: Moving from Paragraphs to Essays

Moving from Paragraphs to an Essay

Tips for Writing Essays

Model Essay

Unit 21: The Thesis Statement

Common Faults of the Thesis Statement

The Good Thesis Statement

Unit 22: Organizing Your Essay, from Beginning to End

The Introduction

The Conclusion

The Whole Essay

The Title

Unit 23: Revising, Editing, and Proofreading




Student Essay in Progress


Help for Your Reading


*Santa With a Suntan: A Jamaican Christmas, Anthony C. Winkler

The Circuit, Francisco Jiminez


*A Different Sort of Time, Ian McDonald

*The Story of His Life , Bart Edelman


So Who Makes Up All Those Signs That Tell Us What We Mustn’t Do? Bailey White Long Live High School Rebels, Thomas French

Explaining a Process

How I Was Bathed, Michael Ondaatje

*Foot Binding, Lisa See


Bullying Broadly Defined, John Leo

“Both” or “Other”? It’s Not as Clear as Black and White, Pamela Swanigan


Wait Divisions, Tom Bodett

The Plot Against People, Russell Baker

Comparing and Contrasting

Doctor-as-God Is Dead, or Dying, Ellen Goodman

They Stole Our Childhood, Lee Goldberg

Cause and Effect

*The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Papa, The Teacher, Leo Buscaglia


Cure me If You Can, Michael Kingsley

If I Were a Carpenter, John Balzar

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The third edition of Writing Talk: Paragraphs and Short Essays with Readings, like its predecessors, takes as its starting point the assumption that grammar for the native speaker is a built-in skill, not an added-on one, and that the best sense for grammar in the native speaker is the ear. People speak the language they hear spoken around them from birth. An English infant raised in a genteel drawing room will emerge from it speaking like an Englishman raised in a genteel drawing room. Transplant that same infant to an urban area like Brooklyn, and he will grow up to speak like someone raised in Brooklyn. We have never seen an exception to this observation. We learn to speak our mother tongue not from a book, but from using our ears.

As English teachers, we know that many of our students neither speak nor write what we have been trained to call "good grammar." Students use fragments; they punctuate badly; they misplace modifiers and garble sentences; they use the wrong case or tense; they speak and write slang. How can we say that a speaker's ear is the best sense of grammar when all around us -we have evidence to the contrary?

The answer is simple: Much of the time these are not errors of bad grammar; instead, they are errors of inappropriate usage. If you are raised hearing ain't used everyday, you will grow using ain't in your speaking and writing. But because ain't is regarded as nonstandard and unacceptable usage in formal writing, it is our job as English teachers to wean students off that word when the circumstances demand the formality of standard English.

Usage variations aside, it is still a fact that all nativespeakers, as well as those who have spoken English for years, have within them an ear for grammar that students for whom English is a second language (ESL) do not share.

This assumption was thought by some to make previous editions of this book suitable only for native speakers and to-exclude ESL students. But regardless of the differences between native speakers and ESL students, some school systems—many because of budgetary pressures—freely mix both populations in the same classroom, making no distinction between them. The upshot is that many teachers have asked us to include both groups, ESL students as well as native speakers. That is exactly what we have done in this third edition of Writing Talk: Paragraphs and Short Essays with Readings.

In coping with both audiences, we take a dual approach. We begin with a candid admission that ESL students and native speakers have different strengths. For the native speaker, the advantage is an ear that is finely attuned to the mother tongue. On the other hand, ESL students, who come to English as adults or near adults, often bring to the table a solid grounding in the grammatical basics of their adopted tongue. Gradually, as they progress in fluency, they will acquire what to the native speaker is a birthright, namely, an ear.

Until that happens, foreign speakers learning English often make mistakes in phrasing that would rarely, if ever, be made by a native speaker. For example, recently we overheard a foreign student say to another student who was about to take a test, "Have a good luck." This sentence is not ungrammatical; it is unidiomatic. But it is also the sort of sentence no native speaker would use. People say to one another, "good luck," all the time. But they never say, "Have a good luck."

On the other hand, a native speaker might write, "The men at the baseball park was talking throughout the game," confusing the prepositional phrase "at the baseball park" for the subject and making a classic subject verb agreement error. In short, both groups commonly make mistakes in English usage. But they make different mistakes.

With these differences in mind, we have adapted the pedagogy of this book to take into account many of the known difficulties that ESL students have with English as well as many of the common errors that all students make. Where appropriate, we issue an "ESL Advice" notice, alerting students that this particular usage is one that often troubles ESL students.

This dual approach is aimed at both audiences whose superficial differences cannot alter the fact that they have a common goal that this book can help them reach: namely, mastery of English.

There are occasions when, no matter what the background of the student, the ear is at odds with the formal rule and of no help whatsoever in deciding what is right and appropriate. A case in point is the infamous between you and I. Although used by a surprising array of prominent men and women in the media, this construction is incorrect. Yet the right form, between you and me, often sounds wrong. We flag such cases with a unique feature of the Writing Talk series, namely, an Ear Alert warning. We first explain the formal rule to both the ESL and the native student; we then show how its practice in everyday speech varies from the rule. Finally, the Ear Alert distinctive icon in the margin warns everyone that this is a point of grammar on which no one's ear can be fully trusted.

Writing Talk: Paragraphs and Short Essays with Readings is the second book in a series of two, and it has the following features:

  • Common Myths and Standard Written English. We dispel some common and discouraging myths that students believe about writing. Writing is hard for everybody (no doubt rare exceptions exist, but we can't think of any offhand). We also know that the fumbling and revision that goes with writing is not a sign of ineptness, but a universal condition of the discipline. Many students do not understand how difficult writing is and tend to misinterpret the normal tedium of composing as a sign that they cannot write.
  • Paragraph Writing. We break down the paragraph into its principal parts, discussing at length the topic sentence and supporting details. We then discuss the importance of sticking to the point and linking sentences for coherence. A unique feature of this book, and one in keeping with its rationale, is its discussion of the paragraph and talking, where we show how a spoken paragraph differs from a written one and encourage students to use their "ear for language" to help their writing. The kind of advice we dispense is universal and applicable to everyone who wants to write English. In addition, for ESL students, we clarify potential problems either through an ESL Advice flag or in the textual explanation.
  • Rhetorical Strategies. The discussion of rhetorical strategy is presented under three headings: "What Am I Trying to Do?" "How Can I Do it?" and "What Do I Need to Look Out For?" To counter the negative attitude that students sometimes have regarding the practicality of English writing assignments, every unit in this section begins with an example of how the particular rhetorical strategy might be used in a real example.
  • The Whole Essay. Here we present the essay as a template, showing students exactly how an essay is written by breaking it down into three major parts—the introduction, the body, and the conclusion—with specific advice on the writing of each part, regardless of the topic.
  • The 20 Most Common Sentence Errors. This section reviews the errors we've seen students make most frequently in their writing—from fragments and run-ons to unnecessary commas and misspelled words. Our explanation of grammar in this section of the book (1) emphasizes functional problems, not descriptive grammar; (2) uses minimal terminology; (3) gives short, pointed explanations with a light touch; (4) is followed by immediate practice; and (5) includes abundant exercises.

New to This Edition

This edition begins with a new first chapter, "The ESL Student and the Native Speaker," which outlines the differences between these two groups and presents a blueprint of how this book addresses their respective needs. All the well-known features that users of earlier editions particularly liked have been kept: Every chapter still has a Talk-Write Assignment that gives students practice in translating oral dialogue into its written formal equivalent. Each assignment presents a dialogue that might be overheard in an informal discussion and then asks students to write the equivalent in a more formal style. The new edition ends most chapters with the following four types of exercises:

  • A Unit Test that tests mastery of the chapter. This is now a feature of virtually every unit.
  • A Unit Talk Write Assignment that reinforces the difference between spoken and written language.
  • A Collaborative Writing Assignment that gives students an opportunity to interact in group sessions and puts their ears to use in practicing the contents of the chapter.
  • A Unit Writing Assignment that gives students a chance to apply the writing principles they have just learned.
  • A Photo Writing Assignment that asks students to write on a topic suggested by a photograph.

We have made other changes and improvements as well. We have added more exercises throughout the book, but selectively, based on feedback from users. Instructors know the value of repetitive exercises as a learning technique—in this book we call them practicings, but also understand that exercises and drills walk a fine line between usefulness and tedium. Each chapter now has more numerous and varied exercises that reinforce every concept taught. We have tried to write exercises that are interesting to do and require a variety of responses. Every chapter now ends in a Unit Test, which asks students questions about the major concepts they have learned from the unit.

We have also changed our textual explanations, broadening them to take into account ESL students and their particular needs in learning English. Always, we've tried to be simpler and more direct, and where the opportunity presents itself, to add some humor to what might otherwise seem to the student to be a typically grim exposition of grammatical principles. Teaching grammar is a serious enterprise, but it does not deserve the graveyard sobriety of tone it is so often given.

The readings in this second book, Writing Talk: Paragraphs and Short Essays with Readings, unlike the first, are arranged rhetorically to give students authentic examples of how writers actually use the strategies. Grouped under the eight rhetorical strategies taught in the book—"Narrating," "Describing," "Illustrating," "Explaining a Process," "Defining," "Classifying," "Comparing and Contrasting," and "Arguing," the readings are, as before, multicultural and multiethnic. This section begins with an introduction, "Help for Your Reading," giving practical, nuts-and-bolts advice on the techniques of reading. The readings range from a funny process piece—"How I Was Bathed" by Sri Lankan writer Michael Ondaatje—to "Daddy Tucked the Blanket," a wrenching narration by an African-American writer who observed the painful unraveling of his parents' marriage. Three of these readings are new to this edition, each selected because of its appeal to this audience of students.

Each essay is prefaced by a headnote and followed by comprehension questions (Understanding What You Have Read) and thought-provoking questions (Thinking About What You Have Read). Finally, two Writing Assignments are included for each reading.

Throughout both books, we have tried to make our explanations simple and concise, to explain everything step-by-step, to provide exercises immediately after the introduction of any rule or principle, and to respect and encourage the student's innate "ear" for grammar while clearly explaining the underlying rule for those ESL students who are still struggling with the perplexities of idiomatic English. Instructors who use both books in sequence should note that there are no overlapping exercises between them, that each book, even in its coverage of the same topic, contains entirely different exercises. Students who work through the first book will therefore find the second one just as challenging.

Our thanks to Craig Campanella, senior acquisition editor at Prentice Hall, who oversaw this revision, and to the production and manufacturing staff at Prentice Hall.

We would also like to thank the following reviewers: Beverly Burch, Vincennes University; Joseph Booker, Palo Alto College; Toria Norman, Black Hawk College; Karen Jorgensen, Five Town College; John Panza, Cuyahoga Community College; and Kathleen Winter, Morehead State University.

Every writer needs an editor, and over the years it has been our good fortune to have assigned to us editors of sensitivity and insight, who have helped us every step of the way. In this edition, our good shepherd was Sylvia Weber, who stood diligent watch over everything we did and kept at bay the wolves of complacency and carelessness. She guided us in the revision with humor and thoroughness and was there to steady us at every misstep. We gratefully acknowledge her help. Because of her efforts, this new edition is a better book.

Instructor's Teaching Package:

  • Instructor's Edition – ISBN 0-13-045270-X. For the first time WRITING TALK has an Instructor's Edition. The IE contains in text answers and to help instructors best prepare for class, and a 48-page built-in instructor's guide bound directly into the back of the Instructor's Edition. The Instructor's Guide provides sample syllabi, teaching tips, additional chapter-specific assignments, and selected answers to in-depth exercises from the text. Free to adopters.
  • Test Bank – ISBN 0-13-045281-5. The WRITING TALK: PARAGRAPHS AND SHORT ESSAYS 3E Test Bank provides additional chapter-specific tests for instructors. Available in print or downloadable format. Free to adopters.

Student's Learning Package:

PH WORDS: An internet-based assessment tool like no other in the Basic Writing market, PH WORDS provides students with summary instruction and practice on each element of` basic writing. PH WORDS includes over 100 learning modules covering the writing process, paragraph and essay development, and grammar. For each module, students have access to:

  • Watch Screens, which provide an audio and animated summary of the content.
  • Recall Questions, which test student's comprehension of the concept.
  • Apply Questions, which test student's ability to identify the concepts in existing writing.
  • Write Questions, which prompt students to demonstrate their knowledge of the concept in their own writing.

    This technology solution frees up class time by allowing students to work on their areas of weakness on their own. The software measures and tracks student's progress through the course with an easy to use management system. PH WORDS is available at a discount when packaged with the text.

Student Answer Key – ISBN 0-13-045282-3. For. the first time WRITING TALK will have a student answer key available. This answer key will provide answer to selected exercises in the text, and is available free when packaged to the textbook. Contact your local Prentice Hall representative for a package ISBN.

Companion Website The Companion Website allows students to gain a richer perspective and a deeper understanding of the concepts and issues discussed in WRITING TALK: PARAGRAPHS AND SHORT ESSAYS 3E. This site is free to all students. Features of this site include:

  • Chapter objectives that help students organize concepts.
  • Online quizzes which include instant scoring and coaching.
  • Essay questions that test students' critical thinking skills.
  • Built-in routing that gives students the ability to forward essay responses and graded quizzes to their instructors.

The New American Webster Handy College Dictionary, Third Edition – ISBN 0-13-032870-7. Your students can receive a free New American Webster Handy College Dictionary packaged with their text when you adopt WRITING TALK: PARAGRAPHS AND SHORT ESSAYS 3E. This dictionary has over 1.5 million Signet copies in print and over 115,000 definitions, including current phrases, slang, and scientific terms. It offers more than 1,500 new words, with over 200 not found in any competing dictionary and features boxed inserts on etymologies and language. Ask your Prentice Hall sales representative package ISBN.

English: Evaluating Online Sources – ISBN 0-13-049620-0. This completely revised guide, available summer 2002, helps students develop the critical thinking skills needed to evaluate online sources critically. This supplement is available FREE when packaged with the text.

The Prentice Hall ESL Workbook – ISBN 0-13-092323-0: This 138-page workbook is designed for use with a developmental English textbook to improve English grammar skills. Divided into seven major units, this workbook provides thorough explanations and exercises in the most challenging grammar topics for non-native speakers. With over 80 exercise sets, this guide provides ample instruction and practice in: Nouns, Articles, Verbs, Modifiers, Pronouns, Prepositions, and Sentence Structures. The PH ESL WORKBOOK also contains: an annotated listing of key ESL internet sites for further study and practice, an answer key to all the exercises so students may study at their own pace, and a glossary for students to look up difficult words and phrases.

The Prentice Hall Grammar Workbook – ISBN 0-13-042188-X: This 21-chapter workbook will be a comprehensive source of instruction for students who need additional grammar, punctuation and mechanics instruction. Covering topics like subject-verb agreement, conjunctions, modifiers, capital letters, and vocabulary, each chapter provides ample explanation, examples, and exercise sets. The exercises contain enough variety to ensure student's mastery of each concept. Available to students stand alone or packaged with the text at a discount. Available Fall 2002.

The Prentice Hall TASP Writing Study Guide – ISBN 0-13041585-5: Designed for students studying for the Texas Academic Skills Program test this guide prepares students for the TASP by familiarizing them with the elements of the test and giving them strategies for success. The authors provide practice exercises for each element of the writing and multiple choice portions of exam, and the guide ends with a full-length practice test with answer key so students can judge their own progress.

Ask your local Prentice Hall representative for information about ever-growing list of supplements for both instructors and students.

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