English Composition Homework 1

Table of Contents

English Composition Homework

I have English composition homework I need done. There are Four multiple choices exams of 20 questions each And 5 small writing assignments. I have adobe files I need to send to someone to review and give me A sample of this work and then a price to finish. How do I submit the adobe file?

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There are 9 assignmentjs.  Lesson 1, 2, 3, & 9 are multiple choice exams which are attached.  Lessons 4,5,6,7,8 are short essays.  The content requirements are on pages.

English Composition Homework




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The paper requirements such as headings, margins, etc… are on pages 6-9.

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Study Guide

English Composition By

Robert G. Turner, Jr., Ph.D.

About the Author

Robert G. Turner, Jr., holds a B.S. in business and an M.S. and a Ph.D. in sociology. He has more than 20 years of teaching experience, mainly at the college level, and is currently serving as an adjunct professor at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg. Dr. Turner is primarily employed as a professional freelance writer. His literary credits include two stage plays, two novels, and two nonfiction works, along with an array of publications in academic and educational venues.

Copyright © 2012 by Penn Foster, Inc.

All rights reserved. No part of the material protected by this copyright may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to Copyright Permissions, Penn Foster, 925 Oak Street, Scranton, Pennsylvania 18515.

Printed in the United States of America


All terms mentioned in this text that are known to be trademarks or service marks have been appropriately capitalized. Use of a term in this text should not be regarded as affecting the validity of any trademark or service mark.


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INTRODUCTION Welcome to your course in English Composition. You may be surprised to find out that, even now, you’re already a writer. You’ve probably done a great deal of writing as a student and perhaps in other roles, as well. Maybe you’ve kept a diary, tried your hand at poetry, or written a short story. Maybe you have a job or a voluntary position that requires records, reports, or case notes. Even if you’ve never thought of such activities as writing experience, they are.

Thus, this course is designed not to make you a writer but to encourage your growth as one. Both the textbook and the instructors will guide you in developing the skills and tech- niques of effective writing through practice. You’ll learn to make conscious decisions using particular tools to communicate more effectively and efficiently to your reader.

OBJECTIVES You’ll learn to apply different writing strategies in varying arrangements to explore, develop, and refine written work according to your purpose and audience.

When you complete this course, you’ll be able to

n Produce high-quality academic papers in various modes

n Gather and organize thoughts

n Explore and narrow essay ideas using various prewriting techniques

n Synthesize the components of an essay so that the prewriting transforms into a logical pattern

n Apply established writing techniques in an interesting and logical style appropriate for your audience and purpose

n Apply the conventions of standard written American English while editing your writing

n Use critical-reading strategies to evaluate the content and organization of your writing

n Appropriately use different sources of evidence


English Composition Homework

Your primary text for this course is Successful College Writing, Brief Fifth Edition, by Kathleen T. McWhorter. Begin reviewing the text by reading the table of contents on pages xxiii–xxxix. Thereafter, follow the study guide for directions on what to read and when to read it. Note the following features of your text:

n The “To the Student” section starting on page xlv provides important tips on how to use the text.

n The “Quick Start” features at the beginning of each chapter are relatively short and are designed to help you get a head start on the material. Make sure you work through the exercises, even though they won’t be formally evaluated.

n Note the organization within the chapters. The major headings and subheadings break down each chapter’s content into manageable sections. Also, note that exercises and illustrative writing are important parts of every chapter.

n Your text includes a complete guide to documenting sources in MLA (Modern Language Association) and APA (American Psychological Association) styles, beginning on page 640 in Chapter 23.


Your grammar supplement for this course is The Little, Brown Essential Handbook, by Jane E. Aaron. Begin reviewing the handbook by reviewing the brief contents inside the front cover and the preface on pages v–viii. Thereafter, follow the study guide for directions on what to read and when to read it. Please note the following features of your grammar handbook:

n Your course assignments don’t begin in the beginning of the book. You jump to a late part for a review of grammar, spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure. You’ll be using the earlier parts of the handbook later in the course.

Instructions to Students2

n Note the organization of the handbook. The parts are divided by colors, and each initial page of a color lists what can be found within that part of the book.

n Near the back of the handbook is a glossary of usage, which provides notes on common words and phrases that often cause problems. There’s also a glossary of terms, which defines the main terms and concepts of English grammar. These can both be helpful when you’re working through the writing process.

Please also note that the index listings that refer to the glossaries of the Little, Brown Essential Handbook are incorrect. If you need to use the glossary, remember that any page number in the index that refers to page 239 or later is off by 32 pages. For example,

Absolute phrases comma with, 87 defined, 87, 249

In this example from the index, the references to page 87 are correct. However, the definition that’s listed to be on page 249 is actually on page 281. (249 + 32 = 281)

ONLINE SUPPLEMENTS There are three online supplements for this course. They will help you gain a better understanding of the material and prepare you for the objective exams. The supplements can be found on your My Courses page under English Composition. Be sure to review the supplements before completing the first objective exam, because material from the supplements will be tested on this and other exams. These supplements are

n The Parts of Speech

n Word Usage

n Sentence Skills

Instructions to Students 3

COURSE MATERIALS This course includes the following materials:

1. This study guide, which contains an introduction to your course, plus

n A lesson assignments page with a schedule of study assignments

n Assignment lessons emphasizing the main points in the textbook, including the text’s grammar handbook

n Self-checks and answers to help you assess your understanding of the material

2. Your course textbook, Successful College Writing, which contains the assigned reading material

3. A grammar supplement, The Little, Brown Essential Handbook

4. Online supplements, The Parts of Speech, World Usage, and Sentence Skills, which contain assigned reading, in addition to that of the textbook


Read this study guide carefully, and think of it as a blueprint for your course. Using the following procedures should help you receive maximum benefit from your studies:

1. Read the lesson in the study guide to introduce you to concepts that are discussed in the textbook and gram- mar supplement. The lesson emphasizes the important material and provides additional tips or examples.

2. Note the pages for each reading assignment. Read the assignment to get a general idea of its content. Then, study the assignment. Pay attention to all details, especially the main concepts.

Instructions to Students4

Instructions to Students

3. To review the material, answer the questions and problems provided in the self-checks in the study guide.

4. After answering the questions, check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement, which you can access on your My Courses page.

5. Complete each assignment in this way. If you miss any questions, review the pages of the textbook or grammar supplement covering those questions. The self-checks are designed to allow you to evaluate your understanding of the material and reveal weak points that you need to review. Do not submit self-check answers for grading.

6. After you’ve completed and corrected the self-checks for Lesson 1, complete the first exam.

7. Follow this procedure for all nine lessons. At any time, you can contact your instructor by e-mail or telephone for information regarding the materials.


Study pace. You have a study time limit for the semester, but not one specific to English Composition. You must pace yourself wisely through the semester’s courses. Allow sufficient time for reading, prewriting, drafting, revising, and grading. Generally, you should allot at least two weeks for each English lesson, with some taking longer than that, and you must complete each exam in order.


Remember to regularly check “My Courses” on your student homepage. Your instructor may post additional resources that you can access to enhance your learning experience. And of course, you always have access to the school’s library from your homepage using the links Student Library or Library Services. The Subject Guides, Reference Room, and Guidebook areas contain additional writing resources.

Instructions to Students

Because the course goal is to help you grow as a writer by using your strengths and improving weaknesses with each assignment, don’t submit the essays for Lessons 5 and 7 until you receive the previous lesson’s evaluation. You should, however, move ahead to work on the next lessons while waiting for an exam evaluation. (If you have other courses available for study, you may work on those and submit those exams while also working to complete this English course.)

Exam submissions. Use the following information for submitting your completed exams:

1. Multiple-choice examinations (Lessons 1, 2, 3, and 9): You’ll submit your answers for these exams online.

2. Written examinations (Lessons 4–8 and the final exam): Essays must be typed, double-spaced, using a standard 12-point font and left justification. Use 1-inch margins at the top and bottom and 1.25-inch margins for the left and right sides of the document. Each page must have a prop- erly formatted header containing your name, student number, exam number, page number, mailing address, and e-mail address, as in the following example.

Jane Doe 23456789 05017700 Page 2 987 Nice Street My Town, AZ 34567 janedoe@yahoo.com

Name each document using your student number first, then the six-digit lesson number, and finally your last name (for example, 23456789_050177 Doe). Save each as “File Type: Rich Text Format,” regardless of your word-processing program.

You should take care to check that the document you’ve uploaded is the one containing your final work for evaluation. To submit by regular postal mail, send your documents to

Penn Foster Student Service Center 925 Oak Street Scranton, PA 18515-0001

When it’s received, your written work will be coded as RCD with the date received. To receive e-mailed notification for an evaluated essay, you must type your e-mail address accurately and add edserv@pennfoster.edu to the accepted senders list in your e-mail browser.


The Penn Foster Student Service Center is under contract with Penn Foster College.

Instructions to Students 7

Evaluation. Evaluation usually occurs within seven business days of receipt (from the RCD date code). Exams are scored according to the parameters of the exam assignment using the associated evaluation chart, located in the study guide. Your instructors will apply the grading criteria, ensuring all essays are evaluated in the same way. They may also include feedback on both the essay and the evaluation chart. Evaluations are monitored by the department chairs of both the General Education Department and Exam Control Department to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Retakes. You’re required to complete all assigned work, including a retake for any first-time failing attempt. The eval- uation of any first-time failing exam for English Composition will include a Required Retake form. That form must then be included with your retake exam submission to ensure proper handling. If the assigned work isn’t provided, submissions will be evaluated according to the criteria, but points will be deducted for not following the instructions. Please review school policy about retakes in the Student Handbook.

Journal entries. Your journal is an ongoing assignment that will be evaluated at the end of the course. It will count as your final exam.

Plagiarism. Carefully review the academic policies outlined in your Student Handbook. The first submission that departs from this policy earns a grade of 1 percent. If it’s a first-time submission, the student may retake the exam (as per retake procedures). A second such submission on any subsequent exam results in failure of the English Composition course.

Grammar and mechanics. The focus of this course is to engage you in the writing process so you learn to make delib- erate decisions about which writing strategies will best help you accomplish your purpose for your audience.

Essay assignments require you to apply standard conventions of American English (which include correct and appropriate grammar, diction, punctuation, capitalization, sentence structure, and spelling. The course provides various revision exercises throughout the self-checks and lesson examinations so that you can apply these conventions during the editing and proofreading phases of your writing.

Instructions to Students8

If you don’t remember the basics of these conventions and wish to gain more skills than you’re provided through the course materials, you can investigate Internet sources like these:

n Daily Grammar http://www.dailygrammar.com/archive.shtml

n Guide to Grammar and Writing, sponsored by Capital Community College Foundation http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/index2.htm

n Blue Book of Grammar and Mechanics http://www.grammarbook.com/

n Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/

These resources and others are also available through your student portal using the school library link Library Services. Once in the library, click the following sequence of links: Subject Guides > Humanities & Literature > Writing & Grammar > Writing Resources. Other resources are avail- able by clicking Guidebooks and Tips.

Now you’re ready to begin Lesson 1.

Good luck!

Instructions to Students 9

Course Journal

The course journal is an extremely important file you’ll maintain throughout this course. The journal consists of 15 entries that are assigned throughout your study guide. You must keep these entries in one document, just as if it were a personal diary or journal. You’ll submit that one file at the end of the course as your final exam. Worth 33 percent of your final grade, the journal takes the place of a proctored exam for the course. You won’t take a proctored exam for English Composition at the end of the semester.

Read each entry assignment carefully. Some entries are based on textbook exercises, for which the pages are given. Most entries require multiple parts for a complete entry—for instance, both prewriting and a thesis. Assignments generally include a minimum length, a range, or a general format (such as one paragraph), while some allow you to choose the length and format to accomplish the required work. The guidelines list the minimum amount of work you may produce, but you should continue writing until you complete your thoughts. As you write the entry, provide sufficient response to show your thinking process.

Keep in mind that your entries will be evaluated for their unique reflections and depth of thought, not for correct sentence or paragraph structure. Points won’t be deducted for errors in grammar, spelling, or punctuation, so edit your entries only so that the instructors can understand what’s written. For complete scoring information, see the Course Journal Evaluation Rubric.

Use the exam submission instructions already given, except that you should single-space your journal. Use double spacing only between entries. First, type the date, tab once (one-half inch), and type in capital boldface letters the word ENTRY, followed by the number and name of that entry. Hit Enter once, and then type in and underline the first part label followed by your writing for that part. Then, do the same for any additional parts. Use this example as a guide:

January 19, 2012—ENTRY 1: ME, A WRITER? Attitude: I enjoy writing, but I hate being graded . . . Inventory: I am a social learner, so a distance education approach may be difficult for me . . .

January 25, 2012—ENTRY 2: PREWRITING Brainstorm: Ways computers affect my life

1. Keeping in touch with friends 2. Typing papers 3. Games 4. . . . 5. . . . 6. . . . [continue listing ideas]

Instructions to Students10



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Lesson 1: Basic Grammar For: Read in the Read in The Parts

study guide: of Speech online supplement:

Assignment 1 Pages 15–17 Pages iii–14, 18–22, 26–34, 38–48, 51–56, and 58–65

Read in The Little, Brown Essential Handbook:

Pages 63–76

Assignment 2 Pages 17–19 Read in the Sentence Skills online supplement:

Pages 1–5, 6–21, 25–31, 34–58, and 60–71

Read in The Little, Brown Essential Handbook:

Pages 77–81 and 85–102

Assignment 3 Pages 19–20 Read in the Word Usage online supplement:

Pages 1–13

Examination 050174 Material in Lesson 1

Lesson 2: The Reading and Writing Process For: Read in the Read in the Successful

study guide: College Writing textbook:

Assignment 4 Pages 22–26 Pages xlv–li and 1–21

Assignment 5 Pages 26–29 Pages 22–43 and 44–65

Assignment 6 Pages 30–33 Pages 66–98

Assignment 7 Pages 34–37 Pages 100–121

Assignment 8 Pages 38–41 Pages 122–139

Assignment 9 Pages 42–48 Pages 140–163

Assignment 10 Pages 49–52 Pages 164–179

Examination 050175 Material in Lesson 2

Lesson Assignments12

Lesson 3: Revising and Editing For: Read in the Read in the Successful

study guide: College Writing textbook:

Assignment 11 Pages 54–59 Pages 180–201

Assignment 12 Pages 60–64 Pages 202–224

Examination 050176 Material in Lesson 3

Lesson 4: Moving from Narration to Process Analysis For: Read in the Read in the Successful

study guide: College Writing textbook:

Assignment 13 Pages 65–70 Pages 226–265

Assignment 14 Pages 71–75 Pages 266–303

Assignment 15 Pages 75–78 Pages 304–335

Assignment 16 Pages 79–81 Pages 336–371

Examination 05017700 Process Analysis Essay Prewriting

Lesson 5: A Process Analysis Essay

Examination 05017800 Process Analysis Essay

Lesson 6: Moving from Comparison to Classification and Division

For: Read in the Read in the Successful study guide: College Writing textbook:

Assignment 17 Pages 96–101 Pages 372–407

Assignment 18 Pages 102–106 Pages 408–439

Examination 05017900 Classification and Division Essay Prewriting

Lesson 7: Classification and Division For: Read in the Read in the Successful

study guide: College Writing textbook:

Assignment 19 Pages 111–115 Pages 440–471

Assignment 20 Pages 116–118 Pages 472–509

Examination 05018000 Classification and Division Essay

Lesson 8: Writing Arguments For: Read in the Read in the Successful

study guide: College Writing textbook:

Assignment 21 Pages 124–131 Pages 512–541

Assignment 22 Pages 132–146 Pages 542–571

Examination 05018100 Argument Essay

Lesson 9: Research and MLA Citation For: Read in the Read in the Successful

study guide: College Writing textbook:

Assignment 23 Pages 152–155 Pages 574–593

Assignment 24 Pages 155–158 Pages 594–619

Assignment 25 Pages 159–161 Pages 620–662

Assignment 26 Pages 161–163 Pages 716–735

Examination 050182 Material in Lesson 9

Final Examination 05018300 Course Journal

Lesson Assignments 13

Note: To access and complete any of the examinations for this study guide, click on the appropriate Take Exam icon on your “My Courses” page. You should not have to enter the examination numbers. These numbers are for reference only if you have reason to contact Student Services.

Lesson Assignments14



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Understanding basic grammar can help in all walks of life, from everyday conversation, to e-mails, to formal reports. Correct grammar can help you personally, professionally, and academically.

To become an effective writer, you must first have a strong understanding of English Composition. You should know how words are pronounced, how they’re spelled, and how they fit into sentences. Knowing the basics will enable you to be more comfortable and confident when faced with any writing task.

The main topics discussed in this section are grammar, spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, and word usage.


When you complete this lesson, you’ll be able to

n Describe the parts of speech and how they work within sentence structure

n Develop effective, structured sentences

n Use a variety of words in your writing

n Discuss the need for a strong understanding of English Composition

ASSIGNMENT 1: GRAMMAR AND THE PARTS OF SPEECH Read the assignment in this study guide. Then, read pages iii–14, 18–22, 26–34, 38–48, 51–56, and 58–65 in The Parts of Speech online supplement and pages 63–76 in The Little, Brown Essential Handbook. Test your progress by completing the self-check.

English Composition16

This section covers the various parts of speech and how they work within the structure of a sentence.

Pages 8–14, The Parts of Speech. When we’re small children, nouns are generally the first words we learn. Any person, place, or thing is a noun. Nouns can be broken down into five cate- gories: common, proper, collective, abstract, and concrete. Understanding the various types of nouns and how they’re used in sentences can help you become a stronger writer.

Pages 18–22, The Parts of Speech, and pages 63–70, The Little, Brown Essential Handbook. Pronouns substitute for nouns. Like nouns, pronouns can serve many purposes in a sentence. There are six types of pronouns: personal, possessive, demonstrative, interrogative, relative, and indefinite.

Pages 38–48, The Parts of Speech. Verbs express action; they tell what the subject of a sentence is doing. Depending on the action and when it’s taking place, a verb can appear in many forms, and they can be more than one word. Pay special attention to the figures that give you examples of verbs in various tenses in both singular and plural forms.

In addition, The Little, Brown Essential Handbook provides further explanation of verbs. This reading isn’t required, but it can help you gain better understanding.

Pages 26–34 and 51–56, The Parts of Speech, and pages 70–76, The Little, Brown Essential Handbook. Adjectives describe nouns and pronouns, and they can make your speaking and writing more definite. Adjectives generally help answer a question (What kind? Which one? How many? How much?), and they can indicate color, size, or shape. An adverb is generally used to modify a verb, but it can also be used to describe an adjective or other adverb. Adverbs answer other questions: How? When? Where? Why? How much? How long? To what extent? In what direction?

Pages 58–62 and 62–65, The Parts of Speech. A preposition shows the logical relationship or placement of a noun or pro- noun in relation to another word in a sentence. Many prepositions show placement, but some refer to time or a relationship between two things. A conjunction joins words, groups of words, or sentences. There are three kinds of conjunctions: coordinating conjunctions, correlative conjunctions, and subjunctive conjunctions. An interjection expresses emotion. It

Lesson 1 17

doesn’t relate to the other words within the sentence, but it’s used to add an emotional element. A sentence with an inter- jection often ends in an exclamation point.

ASSIGNMENT 2: SENTENCE SKILLS Read the assignment in this study guide. Next, read pages 1–5, 6–21, 25–31, 34–58, and 60–71 of the Sentence Skills online supplement and pages 77–81 and 85–102 in The Little, Brown Essential Handbook. Then, complete the self-check.

Self-Check 1

At the end of each section of English Composition, you’ll be asked to pause and check your understanding of what you’ve just read by completing a “self-check” exercise. Answering these questions will help you review what you’ve studied so far. Please complete Self-Check 1 now.

1. Complete Practice Exercise 2 on pages 16–17 of The Parts of Speech.

2. Complete Practice Exercise 3 on pages 23–25 of The Parts of Speech.

3. Complete Practice Exercise 4, items 1–35, on pages 35–37 of The Parts of Speech.

4. Complete English in Action 6 on page 47 of The Parts of Speech.

5. Complete English in Action 7 on page 56 of The Parts of Speech.

6. Complete Practice Exercise 7, items 1–14, on page 61 of The Parts of Speech.

7. Complete Practice Exercise 8 on pages 66–67 of The Parts of Speech.

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.

English Composition18

This section covers how to effectively structure and develop sentences.

Pages 1–5, Sentence Skills. A sentence is a group of words combined in an organized manner to convey meaning or a message. Understanding what a sentence is, and the different patterns of sentences, can help you become a better reader and writer.

Pages 6–21, Sentence Skills. When writing sentences, you can combine groups of words to convey a single meaning. These groups of words can take on a function in a sentence, and they can act as a particular part of speech. If the group of words has a subject and a verb, it’s a clause. If the group of words does not have a subject and verb, it’s a phrase.

Pages 25–31, Sentence Skills. Now that you know the parts of speech and the roles words play within a sentence, it’s important to learn and understand how to properly structure sentences. There are three types of sentences: simple, compound, and complex.

Pages 34–43, Sentence Skills, and pages 77–81, The Little, Brown Essential Handbook. People often make mistakes when writing, especially when developing a rough draft. There are four main mistakes that most writers make (and which are easy to fix): run-ons, misplaced/dangling modifiers, fragments, and mixed constructions. Understanding what these are, and knowing how to fix them, can help you become more confident when proofreading and editing your work.

Pages 44–58, Sentence Skills, and pages 85–102, The Little, Brown Essential Handbook. Punctuation marks help refine a sentence and give the reader signs of how to read the words. Punctuation is referred to as the traffic signals of writ- ing because they alert your reader to pause or stop. They also convey emotion or inflection. When you speak, you naturally pause where a comma would be or stop where a period would be, and our voices are always our emotions. Now that you’ve learned the different parts of speech and how they work together to structure a sentence, you’re ready to gain a stronger understanding of how to refine your writing by using punctuation.

Lesson 1 19

Pages 60–71, Sentence Skills. You know how to structure and punctuate a sentence, but you also need to know how to think in terms of sentences. How does a sentence actually come to be? Most well-written sentences are the product of thought and revision. They have a solid beginning, middle, and end, contain the correct and required parts of speech (in the correct place), and come from a place of confidence.

ASSIGNMENT 3: WORD USAGE Read the assignment in this study guide. Next, read pages 1–13 of the online supplement Word Usage. Then, complete the self-check.

This section covers how to understand the meaning of words and use them effectively in your writing.

Self-Check 2

1. Complete Practice Exercise 1 on pages 5–6 of Sentence Skills.

2. Complete Practice Exercise 2, items 1–16 and 39–61 on pages 21–24 of Sentence Skills.

3. Complete English in Action 3 on page 32 of Sentence Skills.

4. Complete Practice Exercise 4 on pages 43–44 of Sentence Skills.

5. Complete Practice Exercise 5 on pages 58–60 of Sentence Skills.

6. Complete Practice Exercise 6 on pages 72–73 of Sentence Skills.

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.

English Composition20

Pages 1–5, Word Usage. In your reading, you’ll occasionally come across a word that you may not understand. At these times, consulting a dictionary is helpful. A dictionary can give you the word’s meaning, its proper pronunciation and spelling, and knowledge of its background and history. Knowing how to effectively use a dictionary is an important part of being a good reader, and, consequently, a good writer.

Pages 6–13, Word Usage. A dictionary or a thesaurus can help you find synonyms and antonyms of words. Synonyms are words that have similar meanings. Antonyms are words that have opposite meanings. You can use synonyms to substitute a word you use frequently in the same piece of writing. You can use antonyms to contrast people or ideas.

Although you are not required to read the remainder of the Word Usage supplement as part of this assignment, you’ll find that there’s further explanation of the ideas learned in the previous assignments, which may help you gain a better understanding of some of the material. You’ll want to read the remainder of the supplement before you complete the Lesson 3 exam, because material will be tested on that exam.

Self-Check 3

1. Complete Practice Exercise 1 on page 6 of Word Usage.

2. Complete Practice Exercise 2 on pages 14–15 of Word Usage.

Check your answers with those in the online Self-Check Answers supplement.

The Reading and Writing Process


If you don’t particularly enjoy writing, you may ask yourself why you should make the effort to improve your skills. The simple answer is that you can’t avoid writing—as a student or an employee, there will always be writing requirements. Learning to write well will give you tools for success no matter what career you choose. That’s because logical thinking and effective communication are necessary for advancement, whether you’re an accountant, nurse, or newspaper reporter. The better your skills, the more choices you have and the better your chances are for achievement and satisfaction.


When you complete this lesson, you’ll be able to

n Effectively use your textbook

n Discuss why writing is an important part of your study program

n Understand your unique learning style

n Use active reading methods to understand and analyze text

n Point out the importance of prewriting in developing a piece of writing

n Apply narrowing strategies to focus your writing

n Develop effective thesis statements

n Support your thesis with appropriate evidence

n Use methods of organization in writing, including topic sentences


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English Composition22

ASSIGNMENT 4: GETTING STARTED Read the assignment in this study guide. Then, read “To the Student” on pages xlv–li, and Chapter 1, “Succeeding in College” on pages 1–21. Be sure to complete the self-check before moving on to the next assignment.

To the Student

This section of your textbook is an introduction and includes guidelines for the exercises and assignments in the book. Don’t skip over it because you’ll miss valuable information on how to effectively use your textbook. By taking a few minutes now, you’ll save time later when you have to complete the assignments.

One of the best ways to be sure you understand and can apply what you’ve read is by completing each assignment’s self-check exercise. As you respond to the questions and activities, you’ll accomplish the objectives of both the assignment and the course. Don’t send your responses to the school. The answers are provided in the online Self- Check Answers supplement.

This study guide will direct you to write in various ways. To keep your work organized, create clearly labeled files in your word-processing program. First, create a primary file folder named “English Composition.” Within that folder, create a file for your course journal and a different file for your essays. Other possible files to keep in the folder include a Notes file, a Practice Writing file, and a self-check file. You must main- tain the course journal and essays on a computer, but the others can be done in separate notebooks, if you wish. Establish a clear naming system for each file you add in the Composition folder so that you don’t confuse your rough drafts with your final version of each essay.

Lesson 2 23

Succeeding in College

People write for two basic reasons. The first is private and personal. That is, some of us write to express ourselves, to translate thoughts and feelings into words. One example in this context is the poet Emily Dickinson. She wrote for herself and one or two close friends—only a few of her poems were published during her lifetime. Many people keep personal journals that express their feelings and sometimes help them to think through problems or opportunities. Still others find that writing down ideas and rephrasing concepts helps them study and learn.

The second reason people write is to convey feelings and thoughts to others. This purpose covers most other types of writing, from published novels to advertising, to blogs, to essays for school. By sharing ideas through effective language skills, we expand our experiences, make personal connections, and sharpen our communication skills.

For writing to be effective, standard rules must be learned and applied. You’ll practice using proper grammar, sentence structure, and organized paragraphs to help you achieve this purpose.

You can practice good writing by paying close attention while you’re reading. Pay attention to mistakes, too. If you come across a sentence or headline in a newspaper that you have to read several times before you understand it, try rewriting it to make it clear on the first reading. It may need to be rearranged, divided into two sentences, or have a comma or two added. If you can, keep a file of the poor sentences and your improve- ments. Note what the problem was and what it took to fix the sentence. Also, when you write, try reading aloud from your paper to see if there are any stumbling places.

The most agile of runners begins with baby steps. Likewise, all learning proceeds in stages, step by step. For a student of English Composition, here are some of the most important principles:

1. Study the rules of effective sentence construction for all types of sentences, so you’ll be better able to say what you want to say clearly and concisely.

English Composition24

2. Learn to make your points directly and effectively. Back up your statements with evidence that supports your case and persuades your reader.

3. Keep your reader’s interest. Even the most boring subjects can be improved with anecdotes, examples, and clever word choices.

4. Approach different kinds of writing and different audi- ences in appropriate ways. Letters, memos, academic essays, instructions, and business reports each require a different style of writing. Always consider your audience before you begin writing.

5. Study the techniques used by skilled writers, including brainstorming, free association, outlining, organizing, revision, self-criticism, and editing.

Practical Applications of Writing As noted earlier, regardless of the career you choose, commu- nication is a key to success. Virtually all job descriptions include some kind of paperwork—record keeping, summaries, analyses—and the higher up the ladder you go, the more communication will matter. The following examples reveal the broad range in the types of writing different career fields require, from using narration to persuasive analysis. Even if your field of interest isn’t listed, you can see the importance and variety of writing in any career.

Early Childhood Education

n Narration recording weekly observations of playground behavior among first-grade students

n Case study in early childhood cognitive development analyzing the concepts of Jean Piaget in light of the observed behavior of selected subjects

Health Information Technology

n Process analysis to explain what’s involved in a specific medical procedure

n Proposal and illustration of methods by which type-2 diabetes patients may be encouraged to pursue a prescribed health regimen


n Analytical essay comparing and contrasting the American double-entry bookkeeping system with the European five-book system

n Comparison and analysis of corporate performance in metals-refining industries based on financial statement data derived from Moody’s Industrials


n Historical and analytical description of the evolution of load-bearing theories in bridge construction

n Process analysis to describe technology and molecular theory for detecting likely metal stress areas in an air- craft prototype

Student ID: 21772952


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Questions 1 to 20: Select the best answer to each question. Note that a question and its answers may be split across a page break, so be sure that you have seen the entire question and all the answers before choosing an answer.

1. Spotting errors as you proofread is easier if you A. handwrite your essay.

B. use a clean printed copy each time.

C. read your work from the computer screen.

D. reassess your marked-up copy.

2. A _______ can be used for both organizing and revising an essay. A. graphic organizer

B. topic sentence

C. flowchart

D. verbal sketch

3. A judicial decision handed down in court uses the _______ level of diction. A. colloquial

B. informal

C. formal

D. popular

4. Which of the following sentences is without any surface errors? A. Mr. Campbell gave copies of his novel to Ruth and me.

B. It’s up to Georgia and I who drives the car, whether Celine likes it or not.

C. I reluctantly gave the hamster to my cousin because I was afraid Teddy, my cat, would attack it.

D. The town is located near just a few miles from lake Ontario.

5. Which of the following sentences uses parallelism effectively? A. The report was good because it was factual and offered many details.

B. The large plant-eating dinosaurs were quite slow, rather stupid, and extremely hungry.

C. The Red Sox fans screamed, yelled, and were applauding wildly.

D. Laura spent all her time gardening and arranging flowers, when she wasn’t in a shoe store to shop.

6. While reviewing an essay, what should be your main purpose in applying questions of who, what, when, where, and why?

A. To be sure your evidence provides sufficient detail

B. To organize your evidence

C. To clarify your topic sentences

D. To compare your thesis statement with your conclusion

7. Which sentence should be edited to eliminate its cliché? A. The texture of the burlap was a cross between woven straw and a three-day beard.

B. I wanted to hire Dave, but a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.

C. The family was immensely relieved when Great-Aunt Martha’s condition progressed from “critical” to “it looks like she’ll live another 10 years.”

D. Striding toward the barn in her red coverall and bucket hat, Gloria–tall and round–gave the impression of a charging silo.

8. Which of the following is a compound sentence? A. Butterflies and hummingbirds feed on the nectar of flowering plants.

B. Because fraud is so common in some corporations, regulatory agencies are overworked.

C. Because Viceroy butterflies migrate over very great distances, tracking them is a challenge to entomologists.

D. Corporate fraud is becoming more common in the United States, and the civil courts are being stretched to their limits.

9. Which of the following correctly uses a transitional word or phrase? A. Kara has been happily trying lots of new activities lately. For example, she took up needlepoint on the advice of her counselor.

B. First impressions are so important in both personal and professional life. Addison shaved off his beard.

C. The floodwaters receded. The bridge could be inspected.

D. Sadly, Mark broke his leg during the performance. The director regretted casting him in the part.

10. Which of the following sentences contains a redundancy? A. Steve admired the partially completed stadium.

B. At no time did Tony indicate a willingness to admit defeat.

C. Emily’s sister gave birth to a pair of twins.

D. Chris had trouble working up even mild enthusiasm for Mike’s plan.

11. As you’re revising an essay, you write down several sentences to describe your intended readers. Why should you do this? A. To see if your essay is directed toward its intended audience

B. To ensure that your essay will entertain the audience

C. To make sure you’re writing what you know, not what you believe

D. To ensure that you’re instructing your audience adequately

12. Nathan argues that each paragraph in a narrative should support the author’s thesis. Nan says that paragraphs in a narrative should illuminate some part of the action. Which one is correct? A. Neither Nathan nor Nan is correct.

B. Only Nan is correct.

C. Both Nathan and Nan are correct.

D. Only Nathan is correct.

13. Which of the following is a good rule to follow when proofreading an essay? A. Scan the essay twice, once for organization and once for surface errors.

B. Ask your best friend to critique your essay.

C. Read the essay aloud to hear where words are missing or awkward phrasings or grammatical errors occur.

D. Use the computer’s spell-check and grammar-check functions to be sure you catch any errors.

14. Which statement about sentence lengths in a written piece is true? A. Short sentences tend to move ideas quickly.

B. Varying sentence type has no appreciable effect on relative sentence length.

C. Regardless of the sentence type, the audience tends to read at its own pace.

D. In spite of their name, compound-complex sentences are usually shorter than compound or complex sentences.

15. Which of the following sentences contains a dependent clause? A. Please clear the table and wash the dishes.

B. Jared eagerly climbed into the boxing ring; he was on his back and out for the count in less than ten seconds.

C. Kicking and leaping, the three deer behaved like rambunctious rabbits.

D. The red sports car that was parked under the tree belongs to Alan.

16. Which of the following sentences uses concrete language? A. When I saw Susan, she was reading a book.

B. I met Cathy at a store on a street near the bridge.

C. Jerry saw that the glass was really dirty.

D. Danny’s Labrador retriever eagerly chases tennis balls.

17. Which of the following sentences uses a coordinating conjunction in a compound sentence? A. The budget payment is much higher than we anticipated, but the price of heating oil has skyrocketed this year.

B. My aunt, who usually behaves like a queen, was suddenly asking–no, begging–for help.

C. We fired our old housekeeper, who we thought had stolen Grandma’s rings; we later regretted it.

D. Out in the yard, the children shouted loudly and threw silly insults at each other.

18. A student who regularly tracks mistakes in spelling, verb forms, and parallelism is probably A. using a flowchart.

B. analyzing the essays’ organization.

C. focusing on learning style.

D. keeping an error log.

19. Which of the following sentences contains an error in subject-verb agreement? A. Either Dennis or Susan is going to pick you up.

B. Each of the 14 groups are going to contribute an item to the auction.

C. Which one of these shirts is your favorite?

End of exam

D. Kristy, Molly, and Kate attend the same university and ride the bus together.

20. To compose strong, compelling sentences, avoid using A. short, simple sentences.

B. clauses as modifiers.

C. dependent clauses.

D. forms of the verb to be.

Student ID: 21772952

Exam: 050174RR – BASIC GRAMMAR

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Questions 1 to 20: Select the best answer to each question. Note that a question and its answers may be split across a page break, so be sure that you have seen the entire question and all the answers before choosing an answer.

1. Which of the following is an example of a third-person pronoun? A. Them

B. Yourselves

C. Us

D. Ourselves

2. What is the difference between a clause and a phrase? A. A phrase always contains a preposition.

B. A clause has a subject and a verb, but a phrase doesn’t.

C. A clause always contains a preposition.

D. A phrase has a subject and a verb, but a clause doesn’t.

3. Which of the following contains a correct, standard use of a comma? A. The warrior, ran to safety but the soldier stood and fought.

B. The warrior ran to safety, but the soldier stood and fought.

C. The warrior ran to safety but, the soldier stood and fought.

D. The warrior ran to safety but the soldier stood, and fought.

4. In which of the following sentences is an adverb used correctly? A. She is a beautifully singer.

B. She sang beautifully.

C. She sang a beautiful song.

D. She sang the song beautiful.

5. In the following sentence, identify the prepositional phrase, and tell whether it acts as an adjective or adverb. The children found the pictures in the book interesting. A. found the pictures; adverb

B. in the book; adjective

C. the pictures in; adjective

D. The children; adjective

6. Which of the following would you most often be able to find in a basic dictionary? A. An illustrated picture of a word you don’t already know

B. A list of newspapers that frequently use a word you don’t already know

C. A narrative story featuring a word you don’t already know

D. The pronunciation of a word you don’t already know

7. In the following sentence, which words are nouns? During their vacation, Sarah and Matthew read the same book. A. vacation, Sarah, Matthew, and book

B. vacation and book

C. their and book

D. Sarah, Matthew, the, and book

8. Which of the following is a correct statement about punctuation? A. Punctuation is usually an extra, unnecessary part of a sentence.

B. Each direct question should end with a period.

C. Punctuation marks show pauses, inflection, and emphasis.

D. The two types of punctuation are beginning and external.

9. Which of the following is an example of a proper noun? A. John G. Roberts, Jr.

B. Gavel

C. Him

D. Justice

10. Which of the following words has three syllables? A. Multiplication

B. Exponential

C. Division

D. Fraction

11. Which of the following is not a synonym of the word beautiful? A. Stunning

B. Gorgeous

C. Gritty

D. Attractive

12. In the following sentence, which words are used as adjectives? The golden rays of the bright sun reflected off the clear waters of the calm lake. A. The, of, in, clear, and calm

B. The, rays, the, sun, the, waters, the, and lake

C. The, golden, the, bright, the, clear, the, and calm

D. Golden, rays, clear, and waters

13. Which of the following is an example of an infinitive phrase? A. which had been running

B. having been running

C. running

D. to run

14. Three of the following statements about a verb are true. Which statement is false? A. A verb makes a statement about the subject of a sentence.

B. A verb can express a state of being.

C. A verb can express action.

D. A verb takes the place of adjectives.

15. Which of the following words would require the article a, instead of an? A. Igloo

B. Elderly

C. Honest

D. Hotel

16. Which of the following is a false statement about a basic dictionary? A. In a basic dictionary, pictures are provided of every word.

B. A basic dictionary is organized in alphabetical order.

C. The pronunciation of words is provided in a basic dictionary.

D. Various types of words are included a basic dictionary.

17. Of the following, which correctly describes the complete predicate of a sentence? A. The prepositional phrase

B. All of the sentence except the complete subject

C. All of the sentence except the simple subject

D. The verb

18. Which of the following is not a primary sentence pattern for asking questions in English? A. Subject, action verb, direct object, helping verb

B. Adjective/pronoun, subject, interrogative verb

C. Adverb, verb, subject

D. Helping verb, subject, main verb

19. What is the difference between abstract nouns and concrete nouns? A. Concrete nouns can be identified by the senses, but abstract nouns can’t.

B. Abstract nouns describe something, but concrete nouns don’t.

C. There is no difference.

D. Abstract nouns are specific, but concrete nouns aren’t.

End of exam

20. Which of the following is an antonym of the word happy? A. Jovial

B. Joyful

C. Miserable

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Questions 1 to 20: Select the best answer to each question. Note that a question and its answers may be split across a page break, so be sure that you have seen the entire question and all the answers before choosing an answer.

1. The principles for supplying evidence in support of a thesis could be represented by an acronym: RSVSRA. According to the information in your text, the two “Rs” could stand for A. representative and revealing.

B. revealing and relevant.

C. relevant and representative.

D. respectful and revealing.

2. Which of the following is a common error in composing a thesis statement? A. Your thesis statement contains two or more central points.

B. You offer an original perspective on a familiar theme.

C. Your thesis statement is specific as opposed to general.

D. You focus your thesis statement after you begin writing.

3. Please read the following excerpt from an essay, and answer the question that follows. I’ve never actually met a real live humorist. Well, not in person at any rate. However, one summer, having a lot of time on my hands, I discovered unexpected treasures lurking in the local public library. Among the nuggets I unearthed in those musty stacks was a book by humorist Robert Benchley. To this day I remember one of his quips. He wrote, “There are two kinds of people in this world; those who divide the world into two kinds of people and those who don’t.” After laughing out loud, I became pensive. I wondered why the quip was so funny. A year or so later, I formed a theory. Humor is based on the unexpected.(br)In the passage above, the topic sentence and the thesis are one and the same. In the paragraph about Robert Benchley, what types of evidence does the writer use to support his thesis, other than narration? A. Historical background

B. Comparison and contrast

C. Example

D. Classification

4. Please read the following excerpt from an essay, and answer the question that follows. In the passage, the sentences are numbered to help you respond to the question. (1) Biologically, adolescence is marked by hormonal changes that produce secondary sexual characteristics. (2) These include breast development in females and beard growth in males. (3) Psychologically, however, adolescence is a concept that applies only to modern industrial societies. (4) In fact, in most preliterate or tribal societies, the modern American idea of adolescence simply does not exist. (5) In such societies, the

social roles of adulthood are to be learned during childhood. (6) Then, around the time of biological puberty, a child becomes an adult through a ritual anthropologists call a rite of passage. (7) By contrast, in American society, adolescence amounts to a sort of social and cultural limbo. (8) Informally, the end of childhood is often marked by one’s thirteenth birthday. The child is now a “teenager.” (9) More formally, the end of adolescence is marked by legal strictures that vary irrationally. (10) In a given state the age of sexual consent may be 16 for girls and 18 for boys. (11) An 18-year-old may vote or enlist to die for his country, but, until he reaches age 21, he may not legally purchase alcoholic beverages. In the paragraph, the thesis is best suggested A. in sentences 3 and 4.

B. by what the reader decides about the actual nature of adolescence.

C. through an implied topic sentence.

D. in sentences 1 and 3.

5. Please read the following excerpt from an essay, and answer the question that follows. After Sean was arrested for breaking into a pawnshop, I began to wonder. Why did some kids from my neighborhood end up in trouble while most of us didn’t? I started out with a question: What causes young people to make bad choices? Now, after two years of research, I’ve arrived at the conclusion that there is no simple answer. There is no one reason why good kids go bad, but there are typical reasons. According to my research, teenagers are most likely to get into trouble if they hang out with a bad crowd. That’s because people learn their values from the people they associate with. So a very big reason for bad behavior is imitating one’s peers. But there are other important factors as well. Kids who get in trouble are often school dropouts. Also, kids being raised by a single mother are more likely to get in trouble than kids raised in an intact family. Substance abuse also plays a role, especially when it comes to alcohol and legal or illegal drugs. What method of organization is used by the writer? A. Most-to-least

B. Chronological

C. Least-to-most

D. Spatial

6. Lillian is looking for ideas to write about, and she decides to make a list of everything she can think of that relates to the topic of teenage romance. Which concept best describes Lillian’s strategy? A. Brainstorming

B. Mapping

C. Free association

D. Outlining

7. Which of the following titles is made more effective by alliteration? A. Ruby, the Rose of Roslyn

B. Guns: Our Lethal Heritage

C. Now You See It; Now You Don’t

D. What’s in a Name?

8. What is the dominant pattern of development in this passage? Having been raised on a dairy farm in rural Minnesota, Lorie Ann Kline was having trouble adjusting to life in the city and to Central High School. In a conference with her parents, the school guidance counselor explained that Lorie Ann avoided talking to her fellow students and sat by herself in the lunchroom.

Perhaps most disturbing, her grades were not what one would expect given her high scholastic aptitude scores. Mrs. Kline agreed that Lorie Ann was often shy around strangers. A solemn Mr. Kline explained that his daughter had been severely bullied by two older children who had lived at the farm for a short time. The guidance counselor nodded in understanding. A. Narration

B. Description

C. Process

D. Comparison and contrast

9. One of the benefits to highlighting key points is that A. it ensures active reading.

B. it sorts the good ideas from the bad ideas.

C. it eliminates note taking.

D. you can skim, rather than read every word.

10. As a general rule, where in your essay is it best to place your thesis statement? A. In the first, introductory paragraph of the essay

B. Anywhere at all, because the best thesis statement is implied, not specified

C. In the second or third paragraph of the body of the essay

D. At the end of the essay, as part of the conclusion

11. Please read the following excerpt from an essay. The sentences are numbered to help you respond to the question that follows. (1) After Sean was arrested for breaking into a pawnshop, I began to wonder. (2) Why did some kids from my neighborhood end up in trouble while most of us didn’t? (3) I started out with a question: What causes young people to make bad choices? (4) Now, after two years of research, I’ve arrived at the conclusion that there is no simple answer. (5) There is no one reason why good kids go bad, but there are typical reasons. (6) According to my research, teenagers are most likely to get into trouble if they hang out with a bad crowd. (7) That’s because people learn their values from the people they associate with. (8) So a very big reason for bad behavior is imitating one’s peers. (9) But there are other important factors as well. (10) Kids who get in trouble are often school dropouts. (11) Also, kids being raised by a single mother are more likely to get in trouble than kids raised in an intact family. (12) Substance abuse also plays a role, especially when it comes to alcohol and legal or illegal drugs. In which sentence or sentences do you find the thesis statement in this excerpt? A. 2

B. 3

C. 5

D. 4 and 5

12. Please read the following excerpt from an essay. The sentences are numbered to help you respond to the question that follows. (1) After Sean was arrested for breaking into a pawnshop, I began to wonder. (2) Why did some kids from my neighborhood end up in trouble while most of us didn’t? (3) I started out with a question: What causes young people to make bad choices? (4) Now, after two years of research, I’ve arrived at the conclusion that there is no simple answer. (5) There is no one reason why good kids go bad, but there are typical

reasons. (6) According to my research, teenagers are most likely to get into trouble if they hang out with a bad crowd. (7) That’s because people learn their values from the people they associate with. (8) So a very big reason for bad behavior is imitating one’s peers. (9) But there are other important factors as well. (10) Kids who get in trouble are often school dropouts. (11) Also, kids being raised by a single mother are more likely to get in trouble than kids raised in an intact family. (12) Substance abuse also plays a role, especially when it comes to alcohol and legal or illegal drugs. Sentence 7 of the excerpt is an example of A. an opinion.

B. random evidence.

C. a supporting explanation.

D. a conclusion.

13. Please read the following excerpt from an essay, and answer the question that follows. Biologically, adolescence is marked by hormonal changes that produce secondary sexual characteristics. These include breast development in females and beard growth in males. Psychologically, however, adolescence is a concept that applies only to modern industrial societies. In fact, in most preliterate or tribal societies, the modern American idea of adolescence simply does not exist. In such societies, the social roles of adulthood are to be learned during childhood. Then, around the time of biological puberty, a child becomes an adult through a ritual anthropologists call a rite of passage. By contrast, in American society, adolescence amounts to a sort of social and cultural limbo. Informally, the end of childhood is often marked by one’s thirteenth birthday. The child is now a “teenager.” More formally, the end of adolescence is marked by legal strictures that vary irrationally. In a given state the age of sexual consent may be 16 for girls and 18 for boys. An 18-year-old may vote or enlist to die for his country, but, until he reaches age 21, he may not legally purchase alcoholic beverages. If the topic of this paragraph is adolescence, which of the following statements best captures or reiterates the thesis? A. Adolescence is defined differently in different societies.

B. Adolescence is an irrational concept.

C. Adolescence is an aspect of modern society.

D. Western society has no single concept of adolescence.

14. Which of the following types of figurative language can be used to make something that is unpleasant seem better? A. Euphemism

B. Denotation

C. Inference

D. Opinion

15. In searching out the key elements as you read an essay, you’re most likely to discover the author’s support for his or her claims or ideas in the A. conclusion.

B. title.

C. introductory paragraph.

D. body of the essay.

16. An active reader who is assigned an essay to read will begin by

End of exam

A. skimming the entire essay.

B. previewing specific parts of the essay.

C. researching the subject of the essay.

D. reading the entire essay.

17. To narrow a general topic you’ve selected, which pair of techniques is most likely to be effective? A. Questioning and choosing an issue that interests you

B. Freewriting and questioning

C. Branching diagram and questioning

D. Using a branching diagram and consulting your journal

18. Karen asserts that a thesis statement is best developed as part of the prewriting process. Kyle claims that a thesis statement should be completely developed before the writer is sure of the topic. Who is correct?

A. Neither Karen nor Kyle is correct.

B. Both Karen and Kyle are correct.

C. Only Kyle is correct.

D. Only Karen is correct.

19. Carmen asserts that a strong conclusion to an essay should look ahead and present a call for action. Carl agrees, except he insists that a strong conclusion should restate the thesis verbatim. Who is correct? A. Only Carl is correct.

B. Neither Carmen nor Carl is correct.

C. Both Carmen and Carl are correct.

D. Only Carmen is correct.

20. Your topic is courtesy, and you’re writing from the point of view of a caring mentor. Which of the following sentences is most persuasive for an audience of high school graduates from a working-class neighborhood? A. Courtesy yields profits to the impecunious as well as to the wealthy.

B. Courtesy is the oil that lubricates the machinery of discourse.

C. Remember that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

D. Courtesy to others shows self-respect as much as it does respect for others.

Student ID: 21772952


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Questions 1 to 20: Select the best answer to each question. Note that a question and its answers may be split across a page break, so be sure that you have seen the entire question and all the answers before choosing an answer.

1. Why is it helpful to search for a bibliography on a topic? A. A bibliography can provide you with a list of various sources on your topic.

B. A bibliography search normally isn’t helpful.

C. Once you complete the basic bibliography search, you’re finished finding sources.

D. A bibliography provides only books you can use as sources.

2. Which of the following is not a tip that can help you find good sources for a topic? A. Have a narrowed topic and working thesis.

B. Limit yourself to one source in the beginning.

C. Keep track of citation information for each source.

D. Have a clear system of notetaking.

3. Which of the following is not a generalization? A. On every college campus athletes get special treatment.

B. Nothing is made in America anymore.

C. Soccer is a sport that involves a ball.

D. Women mature faster than men.

4. Which of the following is an example of opinion? A. Abraham Lincoln presented the Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863.

B. The color blue sometimes signifies sadness or depression.

C. The Canadian men’s hockey team won the gold medal in the 2010 Winter Olympics.

D. Organic food should be made more affordable.

5. Prewriting can be helpful when trying to narrow a topic because it A. can reveal an idea that may become your thesis.

B. can usually be submitted as the final essay.

C. sorts good ideas from bad.

D. helps you eliminate ideas that would support your thesis.

6. What should you do if you can’t find all the needed elements for an MLA citation of an Internet source? A. List the information that you do find in the normal order and format.

B. Make up the missing information.

C. Omit a citation for the source.

D. Contact the website to get the missing information.

7. Which of the following is an example of a secondary source? A. Stephen King’s letters to his editor

B. A novel by Stephen King

C. A biography of Stephen King

D. An interview with Stephen King

8. Regarding the punctuation of quotations, which of the following sentences is correct? A. The decision was unequivocal: “The Constitution permits legislative review” (Quayle 128).

B. Leslie and Farmer, declared, “Life among the Lakota is in accord with nature (68).”

C. Grant and Farrell argue that “charges of Wall Street corruption are nothing new. (43)”

D. As Longstreet and Smyth report “There is no exception to the rule” (136).

9. Why is it better to rely on information from scholarly journals, not magazines, in academic writing? A. Scholarly journals are more entertaining, magazines are more reliable

B. Scholarly journals are more difficult to find.

C. Magazines are entertaining, which means they can’t be educational.

D. Authors in scholarly journals are generally specialists in their field.

10. Which of the following is a false statement about an APA References page? A. You should put the list on a separate page at the end of your paper.

B. You should organize the list according to publication date, with the oldest date first.

C. You should italicize titles of books and names of journals.

D. You should double-space the entire list.

11. In which of the following situations would paraphrasing be useful and ethical? A. You want to use an author’s idea but don’t wish to quote the author directly.

B. You want to change the author’s meaning.

C. You don’t fully understand what the author is saying.

D. You wish to make it seem as if the author’s ideas are yours.

12. In MLA style, how long must a quote be to be a block quotation? A. More than 8 lines

B. More than 2 lines

C. 50 words or more

D. More than 4 lines

13. Which of the following is a true statement about an MLA Works Cited page? A. The Works Cited page requires no special formatting.

B. The Works Cited page should immediately follow the conclusion and be on the same page.

C. The Works Cited page should contain any information you found when completing research.

D. The Works Cited page should be alphabetized.

14. Which of the following would not be considered plagiarism? A. Using graphs, tables, diagrams that someone else created, without citing them

B. Acknowledging a source when directly quoting but not including quotation marks

C. Summarizing source information and including a citation on the Works Cited page

D. Submitting an essay that a friend submitted several years ago

15. Why should academic writers use the third-person point of view for a research paper? A. This point of view allows you to be more objective in your writing.

B. When using this point of view, you can easily switch to a different point of view.

C. This point of view limits your credibility.

D. This point of view keeps your writing simple.

16. Which of the following do you not normally need to take into consideration when determining if an author is biased? A. The author’s background and its effects on the writing

B. The tone of the writing

C. The descriptive and connotative language used in the writing

D. Your age as a reader

17. Which of the following is an example of a primary source? A. Benjamin Franklin’s diary

B. A biography of Benjamin Franklin

C. A website that tells stories about Benjamin Franklin

D. A journal article that reviews various reports on Benjamin Franklin

18. Suppose that you’re going to interview someone in preparation for writing a research paper on teaching techniques for macroeconomics. For this topic, who would be the best person to interview? A. The president of a university

B. An economist

C. A professor of macroeconomics

D. A student in a macroeconomics course

19. It’s permissible to delete a word from a direct quotation as long as you don’t change the meaning of the quote. To indicate your deletion in the quote, you would A. use a hyphen in place of the deleted word or passage.

B. write the “deleted” in that space.

C. mark the deleted space with a comma before and after the deleted word.

D. use an ellipsis to designate a deletion.

End of exam

20. You’re preparing an essay on working conditions in a shirt factory. Which of the following tips does your text offer for doing that effectively? A. Skip taking notes since they can influence your opinion.

B. Finalize your thesis before beginning your research.

C. Evaluate your dominant first impressions.

D. Visit a different factory first so you can compare the two.

D. Blissful

Comparison and Contrast: Showing Similarities and Differences


the photograph on the opposite page showing someone using Wii to playing a game of golf. Think about how simulating the play of a sport

Wii is similar to and different from actually playing the sport. Make two lists-ways that playing the real sport and the Wii version are

and ways that the real and Wii versions are different. You might choose write about golf or select a different sport. In your lists, include details

the level of physical activity, types of skills required, interaction with players, the setting. and so on. Then write a paragraph comparing the

‘xnpripncp<; of playing the sport using Wii and playing the actual sport.




Your paragraph about playing the actual and the Wii versions of a Sport is an example of comparison-and-contrast writing. You may have written about the similarities and differences in equipment required, physical exertion involved, and so forth. In addi­ tion, you probably organized your paragraph in one of two ways: (1) by writing about playing the Wii version and then writing about playing the actual sport (or vice versa) or (2) by discussing each point of similarity or difference with examples from Wii and the actual sport. This chapter will show you how to write effective comparison or contrast essa}’5 as well as how to incorporate comparison and contrast into essays using orher patterns of development.

What Are Comparison and Contrast?

Using comparison and contrast involves looking at both similarities and differences. AnalYLing similarities and differences is a useful decision-making skill that daily. You make comparisons when you shop for a pair of jeans, select a sandwich in the cafeteria, Or choose a television program to watch. You also compare alternatives when you make important decisions about which college to attend, which field to ma­ jor in, and which person to date.

You will find many occasions to use comparison and contrast in the writing you do in college and on the job (see the accompanying box for a few examples). In most essays of this type you will use one of two primary methods of organization, as the following two readings illustrate. The first essay, “Amusing Ourselves to Depth: Is The Onion Out Most Intelligent Newspaper?” by Greg Beato, uses a point­ by-point organization. The writer moves back and form between his two subjects (The Onion and traditional newspapers), comparing them on me basis of several key points or characteristics. The second essay, Ian Frazier’s “Dearly Disconnected,” uses a subject­ by-subject organ.iza.tion. Here the author describes the key points or characteristics of one subject (pay phones) before moving on to those of his other subject (cell phones).

GREG 375


Amusing Ourselves to Depth: Is The Onion Our Most Intelligent Newspaper? Greg Beato

Greg Beato is a San Francisco-based writer who has written for such publications as Spin, Wired, Business 2.0, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He created the webzine Traff1c in 1995 and was a frequent contributor to the webzlne Suck. cam from 1996 to 2000. He also main­ tains a blog about media and culture, Soundbitten, which he started in 1997. This essay was published in Reason, a libertarian magazine, in 2007. As you read, notice how Beato uses comparison and contrast to make his case for the validity of “fake news••

In August 1988, college junior Tim Keck borrowed $7,000 from his mom, rented a Mac 1 Plus, and published a twelve-page newspaper. His ambition was hardly the stuff of future Journalism symposiums: He wanted to create a compelling way to deliver adver­ tising to his fellow students. Part of the first issue’s front page was devoted to a story about a monster running amok at a local lake; the rest was reserved for beer and pizza coupons.

Almost twenty years later, The Onion stands as one of the newspaper industry’s few 2 great success stories in the post-newspaper era. Currently, it prints 710,000 copies of each weekly edition, roughly 6,000 more than the Denver Post, the nation’s ninth. largest daily. Its syndicated radio dispatches reach a weekly audience of one million, and it recently started producing video clips too. Roughly three thousand local adver­ tisers keep The Onion afloat, and the paper plans to add 170 employees to its staff of 130 this year.

Online it attracts more than two million readers a week. Type onion into Google, and 3 The Onion pops up first. Type the into Google. and The Onion pops up first. But type “best practices for newspapers’ into Google, and The Onion is nowhere to be found. Maybe it should be. At a time when traditional newspapers are frantic to divest them. selves ortheir newsy, papery legacies, The Onion takes a surprisingly conservative approach to innovation. As much as it has used and benefited from the Web, it owes

ueh of its success to low-tech attributes readily available to any paper but ~onethe- in short supply: candor, irreverence, and a willingness to offend.

other newspapers desperately add gardening sections. ask readers to share 4 favorite bratwurst recipes, or throw their staffers to ravenous packs of bloggers for

question-and-answer sessions, The Onion has focused on reporting the news_ fake news, sure, but still the news. It doesn’t ask readers to post their comments

end of stories, altow them to rate stories on a scale of one to five, or encourage It makes no effort to convince readers that it realty does understand their

and exists only to serve them. The Onion’s journalists concentrate on writing and then getting them out there in a variety offormats. and this relatively old­

approach to newspapering has been tremendously successful.

any other newspapers that can boast a 60 percent increase in their print during the last three years? Yet as traditional newspapers fail to draw


readers, only industry mavericks like the New York Times’ Jayson Blair and USA Today’s Jack Kelley have looked to The Onion for inspiration.

One reason The Onion isn’t taken more seriously is that it’s actually fun to read. In 1985 the cultural critic Neil Postman published the influential Amusing Ourselves to Death, which warned of the fate that would befall us if public discourse were allowed to become substantially more entertaining than, say, a Neil Postman book. Today

newspapers are eager to entertain – in their Travel, Food, and Style sections, that is.

But even as scope creep has made the average big·city tree killer less portable than a

ten-year-old laptop, hard news invariably comes in a single flavor: Double Objectivity


Too many high priests of journalism still see humor as the enemy of seriousness: If the news goes down too easily, It can’t be very good foryott. But do The ctnion and its more fact-based acolytes, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report, monitor current events and the way the news media report on them any less rigorously than, say, the

Columbia Journalism Review or USA Today? During the last few years, multiple surveys by the Pew Research Center and the

Annenberg Public Policy Center have found that viewers of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are among America’s most informed citizens. Now, it may be that Jon Stewart isn’t making anyone smarter; perhaps America’s most informed citizens

simply prefer comedy over the stentorian drivel the network anchormannequins dis­

pense. But at the very least, such surveys suggest that news sharpened with satire

doesn’t cause the intellectual coronaries Postman predicted. Instead, it seems to

correlate with engagement.

It’s easy to see why readers connect with The Onion, and it’s not just the jokes: De­ 9 spite its “fake news” purview, it’s an extremely honest publication, Most dailies, espe·

ciallythose in monopoly or near-monopoly markets, operate as if they’re focused more

on not offending readers (or advertisers) than on expressing a worldview of any kind.

The Onion takes the opposite approach. It delights in crapping on pieties and regula~y publishes stories guaranteed to upset someone: “Christ Kills Two, Injures Seven, in

Abortion·Clinic Attack.” “Heroic PETA Commandos Kill 49, Save Rabbit.” “Gay Pride


Siegel once told a lecture audience that the paper was “very nearly sued out of

existence» after it ran a story with the headline “Dying Boy Gets Wish: To Pork Janet

Jackson,” But if this irreverence is sometimes economically inconvenient, it’s also a

major reason for the publication’s popularity. It’s a refreshing antidote to the he-said/ she·said balancing acts that leave so many dailies sounding mealy-mouthed. And

while The Onion may not adhere to the facts too strictly, it would no doubt place high if the Pew Research Center ever included it in a survey ranking America’s most trusted news sources.

During the last few years, big-city dailies have begun to introduce “commuter” pa­

pers that function as lite versions of their original fare. These publications share some

of The Onion’s attributes: They’re free, they’re tablOids, and most of their stories are l>ite-sized, But whik! they !!lay be less filling, they still taste bland_ You have to wonder: Why stop at price and paper size? Why not adopt the brutal frankness, the willingness

to pierce orthodoxies of all political and cultural stripes, and apply these attributes to a genuinely reported daily newspaper?

Today’s publishers give comic strips less and less space. Editorial cartoonists and

folksy syndicated humorists have been nearly eradicated. Such changes have helped

make newspapers more entertaining-or at least less dull-but they’re just a start,

Until today’s front pages can amuse our staunchest defenders of journalistic integrity to severe dyspepSia, if not death, they’re not trying hard enough.


Dearly Disconnected Ian Frazier

Ian Frazier is an American writer and humorist whose books include Great Plains (1989), family (1996), Travels In Siberia (2010), and several collections of columns he wrote for The New Yorker magazine both as a staff writer and independently. The following essay



Parade Sets Mainstream Acceptance of Gays Back 50 Years.” There’s no predictable

ideology running through those headlines, just a desire to express some rude, blunt

truth aboutthe world.

One common complaint about newspapers is that they’re too negative, too focused

on bad news, too obsessed with the most unpleasant aspects of life. The Onion shows how wrong this characterization is. how gingerly most newspapers dance around the

unrelenting awfulness of life and refuse to acknowledge the limits of our tolerance

and compassion. The perfunctory coverage that traditional newspapers give disasters

in countries cursed with relatability issues is reduced to its bare, dismal essence:

“15,000 Brown People Dead Somewhere.” Beggars aren’t grist for Pulitzers, just

lines: “Man Can’t Decide Whether to Give Sandwich to Homeless or Ducks.” of the human spirit are as rare as vegans at an NRA barbecue: “loved Ones Recall

Man’s Cowardly Battle with Cancer.” Such headlines come with a cost, of course. Outraged readers have convinced

advertisers to pull ads. Ginger Rogers and Denzel Washington, among other celebri­

ties, have objected to stories featuring their names, and former Onion editor Robert

was adapted from a column that appeared in MotherJones magazine in 2000. As you read, highlight the key points FraZier makes about pay phones and cell phones and his attitude toward each.

was living by myself in an A-frame cabin in northwestern Mon­ tana. The cabin’s interior was a Single high-ceilinged room, and at the center of the

mounted on the rough-hewn log that held up the ceiling beam, was a tele. phone. The woman I would marry was living in Sarasota, Florida, and the distance

between us suggests how well we were getting along at the time. We had not been in

for several months; she had no phone. One day she decided to call me from a phone. We talked for a while, and after her coins ran out I jotted the number on

wood beside my phone and called her back. A day or two later, thinking about the wanted to talk to her again. The only number I had for her was the pay phone

I’d written down.

pay phone was on the street some blocks from the apartment where she

. As it happened, though, she had just stepped out to do some errands a few


minutes before I called, and she was passing by on the sidewalk when the phone rang. She had no reason to think that a public phone ringing on a busy street would be for her. She stopped, listened to it ring again, and picked up the receiver. Love is pure luck; somehow I had known she would answer, and she had known it would he me.

Long afterwards, on a trip to Disney World in Orlando with our two kids, then aged six and two, we made a special detour to Sarasota to show them the pay phone. It didn’t impress them much. It’s just a nondescript Bell Atlantic pay phone on the ce­ ment wall of a building, by the vestibule. But its ordinariness and even boringness only make me like it more; ordinary places where extraordinary events have occurred are my favorite kind. On my mental map of Florida that pay phone is a landmark looming ahove the city it occupies, and a notable, if private, historic site.

I’m interested in pay phones in general these days, especially when I get the feel­ ing that they are about to go away. Technology, in the form of sleek little phones in our pockets, has swept on hythem and made them begin to seem antique. My lifelong en· tanglement with pay phones dates me; when I was young they were just there, a given, often as stuhhorn and uncongenial as the curbstone underfoot. They were instruments of torture sometimes. You had to feed them fistfuls of change in those pre-phone-card days, and the operator was a real person who stood maddeningly between you and whomever you were trying to call. And when the call went wrong, as communication often does, the pay phone gave you a focus for your rage. Pay phones were always getting smashed up, the receivers shattered to hits against the booth, the coin slots jammed with chewing gum, the cords yanked out and unraveled to the floor.

There was always a touch of seediness and sadness to pay phones, and a sense of transience. Drug dealers made calls from them, and shady types who did not want their whereahouts known, and otherwise respectable people planning assignations, and people too poorto have phones of their own. In the movies, any characterwho used a pay phone was either in trouble or contemplating a crime_ Mostly, pay phones evoked the mundane: UHoney, I’m just leaving. I’ll he there soon.” But you could teU that a lot of undifferentiated humanity had flowed through these places, and that in the muteness of each pay phone’s little space, wild emotion had howled.

The phone on the wall of the concession stand at Redwood Pool, where I used to stand dripping and call my mom to come and pick me up; the sweaty phones used almost only by men in the hallway outside the maternity ward at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York; the phone in the old wood-paneled phone booth with leaded glass windows in the drugstore in my Ohio hometown – each one is as specific as a birthmark, a point on earth unlike any other. Recently I went back to New York City after a long absence and tried to find a working pay phone. I picked up one receiver after the next with success. Meanwhile, as I scanned down the long hlock, I counted half a dozen or pedestrians talking on their cell phones_

It’s the cell phone, of course, that’s putting the pay phone out of business. The pay phone Is to the cell phone as the troubled and difficult older sibling is to the newborn_ You sometimes hear people yelling on their celt phones, hut almost ing at them. Cell phones are toylike, nearly magic, and we get a huge kick out of as often happens with technological advances until the new wears off. When I phone user gentlv push the little antenna and fit the phone back into its brusheo-vlnY’ carrying case and tuck the case inside his jacket beside his heart, I feel sonty for the beat-up pay phone standing in the rain.


People almost always talk on cell phones while in motion-driving, walking down 8 the street, riding on a commuter train. The celt phone took the transience the pay phone implied and turned it into VIP-style mobility and speed. Even sitting in a restaurant, the person on a cell phone seems importantly busy and on the move. Celt-phone conversa­ tions seem to be unlimited hy ordinary constraints of place and time, as if they repre­ sent an almost-perfect form of communication, whose perfect state would he telepathy.

And yet no matter how we factor the world away, it remains. I think this is what 9 drives me so nuts when a person sitting next to me on a bus makes a call from her cell phone. Yes, this husy and important caller is at no fixed point in space, but neverthe­ less I happen to be beside her_ The job of providing physical context falls on me; I become her caU’s surroundings, as if I’m the phone booth wall. For me to lean over and comment on her celi-phone conversation would be as unseemly and unexpected as jf J were in fact a wall; and yet I have no choice, as a sentient person, but to hear what my chatty fellow traveler has to say.

I don’t think that pay phones will completely disappear_ Probably they will survive 10 for a long while as clumsy old technology still of some use to those lagging behind, and as a hackup if ever the superior systems should temporarily fail. Before pay phones became endangered I never thought of them as puhlic spaces, which of course they are_ They suggested a human average; they belonged to anybody who had a couple of coins. Now I see that, like public schools and public transportation, pay phones helong to a former commonality our culture is no longer quite so sure it needs.

I have a weakness for places-for old battlefields, car-crash sites, houses where 11 famous authors lived_ Bygone passions should always have an address, it seems to me. Ideally, the world would he covered with plaques and markers listing the notable events that occurred at each particular spot. A sign on every pay phone would describe how awoman hroke up with her fiance here, how a young ballplayer learned that he had made the team_ Unfortunately, the world itself is fluid, and changes out from under us_ Eventually pay phones will become relics of an almost-vanished landscape, and of a time when there were fewer of us and our stories were on an earlier page. Romantics like me will have to reimagine our passions as they are-unmoored to earth, like an infinitude of cell-phone messages flying through the atmosphere.

Characteristics of Comparison or Contrast Essays 0,~;

writers use comparison and contrast, they consider subjects with characteristics lltc.ommon, examining similarities, differences, or both. Whether used as the primary

of development or alongside another pattern, comparison and contrast can be for various purposes to make a point about a subject.

moarison or Contrast Has a Clear Purpose and contrast essay usually has one of three purposes- to express itiet1S, to

Of to persuade. In an essay about playing sports, Wii and actual, the purpose be to express your ideas about playing sports, based on your experiences with

actual sports. Alternatively, the purpose could be to inform readers who are either form of the SPOft, explaining what to expect in each casc_ Fi­

purpose could be to persuade readers that playing the Wii form of a sport is accessible, and entertaining. In “Dearly Disconnected” (pp. 377-78), for


the author expresses his nostalgia for the in “Amusing Ourselves ,” the author tries to persuade readers frankness” may have a

news reponing.

Comparison or Contrast Considers Shared Characteristics

You cannot compare two things unless they have something in common. When mak­ ing a comparison, a writer needs to choose a basis of comparison-a fairly broad common characteristic on which to base the essay. For an essay comparing baseball and football, for example, a basis ofcomparison might be the athletic skills required or the rules and logistics of each sport. To develop the essay, the writer examines the two subjects points of comparison-characteristics relating to the basis of com­ parison. In an essay using athletic skills as a basis of comparison, fot example, points of comparison might be heigbt and weight requirements, running skills, and hand-eye coordination. In an essay based on rules and logistics, points of comparison might in­


Comparison or Contrast Makes a Point Whatever the purpose of a comparison or contrast essay, its main point abour its sub­ jects should spark readers’ interest rather than bore them with a mechanical listing of similarities or differences. This main point can serve as the thesis for the essay, or the thesis can be implied in the writer’s choice ofdetails. In “Amusing Ourselves to for example, the thesis statement is implied in paragraphs 3 and 13: In comparison to the brutal honesty of The Onion, traditional newspapers seem timid and dull.

An explicit thesis has three functions:

1. It identifies the subjects being compared or contrasted. 2. It suggests whether the focus is on similarities, diJJimmces, or both. 3. It states the _inpD’int of the comparison or contrast.

Notice how the following three sample theses meet the above criteria. Note, too, that each clude scoring. equipment. and olavine: fields.

Exercise 16.1

For three items in the following list, identifY two possible bases ofcomparison you clJUid use to compare each pair oftopics:

1. Two means of travel or transportation

2. Two means of communication (emails. telephone calls. postal letters, text messages)

3. Two pieces of equipment

4. Two magazines or books

5. Two types of television programming

A Comparison or Contrast Essay Fairly Examines Similarities, Differences, or Both Depending on their purpose, writers using comparison and contrast may focus on similarities. differences, or both. In an essay intended to persuade readers that ers Beyonce Knowles and Jennifer Lopez have much in common in terms and cultural influence, the writer would focus on similarities-hit records, millions of fans, and parts in movies. However, an essay intended to inform readers about the singers would probably cover both similarities and differences, discussing the different childhoods or singing styles.

An essay focusing on similarities often mentions a few differences, usually in the introduction, to let readers know the writer is aware of the differences. Conversely, an

that focuses on differences migbt mention a few similarities. you cover similarities, differences. or both in an essay, you should

to treat your subjects fairly. Relevant information should not be purposely to show one subject in a more favorable light. In an essay about Knowles and for instance, you should not leave out information about Lopez’s charity an effort to make Knowles appear to be a nicer person. In “Dearly Disconnecte Frazier regrets the demise of the pay phone but admits that cell phones are nearly magic.»

thesis suggests why the comparison or contra.~t is meaningful and worth reading about.

• Similar appeals in commercials for three popular break:f.:lst cereals reveal

America’s obsession with fimess and health.

• Although different in prnpose, weddings and funerals each draw families r-ma;hpojnt~

together and confirm family values.

• The two cities Niagara Falls. Ontario, and Niagara Falls, New York, demorultrate ,——–mainpoint——–,

two different approaches to appreciating nature and preserving the environment.

For one ofthe topic pairs you worked on in Exercise 15.1 (p. 380). select the basis ofcom­ that seems most promising. Then write a thesis statement that identifies the subjects, (similarities, diffirences. or both), and the mJlin point.

JiQmparison or Contrast Considers a Sufficient Number Significant Characteristics and Details

comparison or contrast essay considers characteristics that arc ‘lgmm:am relevant to the essay’s purpose and thesis. In ‘l\musing Outselves to

Beato considers such significant characteristics as circulation, type presented, degree of seriousness. and honesty.

the number of details can vary by topic, usually at least thtee or four characteristics are needed to support a thesis. Each characteristic should be

described or explained so that readers can gra.p the main point of the comparison A writer may use sensory details, dialogue, examples, expert testimony,

kinds ofdetail in a comparison or contrast essay. In “Dearly Disconnected, ” supports his points by using anecdotes and vivid descriptions.


Visualizing a Comparison or Contrast Essay: Subject-by-Subject Organization Two Graphic Organizers In a subject-by-subject organization, you first discuss all points about house A-its layout,

size, building materials, and landscaping. Then you do the same for house B. This pat­For more on graphk organizers, Suppose you want to compare two houses (house A and house B) built by the same tern is shown in the !!taohic organizer in Figure 15.2. “et’ Chapter 3, pp. 59–61. architect for the purpose of evaluating how the architect’s style has changed over time.

After brainstorming ideas, you decide to base your essay on these points ofcomparison- size, building materials, and landscaping. You can organize your essay in one of

two ways-point by point or subject by subject.

Point-by-Point Organization In a point-by-point organization, you go back and forth between the twO houses, noting similarities and differences between them on each of the four points of comparison, as shown in the graphic organizer in Figure 15.1.


Body: Points of Comparison I-­ or Contrast

Background information

Subjects: A comparisonl contrast of houses A and B

Thesis statement

Summarizes main points Disconnected” uses a subject-by-subject organization. Review the essay,

study the graphic organizer shown in Figure 15.3, on page 384.


Anecdote about the pay phone the authors wife called him from before they were married

Seem pathetic and unsavory –=-:=]

Retain a sense of human emotion because ofth~ i many people who use them for different rea:onsJ

Body: Points of Contrast or Comparison

as and places I in the author’s life I,

Are very popular now

Do not make users angry

Seem toylike and magical

Give a sense of movement, timelessness,’-‘,

1and placeiessness ~ __.-l

Exercise 15.3

Draw a graphic organizer for ‘/lmusing Ourselves to Depth” (pp. 375· 77).

Integrating Comparison and Contrast into an Essay

Although you will write some essays using comparison and contrast as the primary pattern ofdevelopment, in most cases you will integrate comparisons or contrastS essays that on other patterns, such as description, process analysis. or Comparisons or contrasts can be particularly


have occasion to use is an analogy, wmemtng lIntamiJiar by it to something

the evolution by compar­

incofDorate comparison or contrast into essays based on

1. Detennine the purpose of the comparison or contrast. What will it contribute to your essay?

2. Introduce the comparison or contrast clearly. Tell your readers how it sup­ pom the main point of the essay. Do not leave it to them to figure OUt why the comparison is included.

3. Keep the comparison or contrast short and to the point. An extended compari­ son will distract readers from the overall point ofyour essay.

4. Organize the points of the comparison or contrast. Even though it is part of a larger essay; the comparison or contrast should follow a poim-by-point or subject­ by-subject organization.

5. Use transitions. Transitional words and expressions are the flow into the comparison or contrast and then

In a Doctot, with a Tear, a Shrug, and a Schedule” on pages 403-5, Abi- Zuger uses comparison and contrast along with other patterns ofdevelopment.


The following guide will lead you through the process of writing a comparison or Although you will focus on comparing or contrasting your subjects, you

one or more other patterns of development in your essay.

The ASSignment

Write a comparison or COntrast essay on one of the own’ pairs or one

1. lwo public figures

2. Two forms of entertainment (movies, concerts, radio, music videos) or one form of entertainment as it is used today and as it was used ten Ot more years ago

.3. Two styles of communication, dress, or teaching 4. The right and wrong ways of doing something 5. Your views versus your parents’ or grandparents’ views on an issue

,. 6. Two different cultures’ approaches to a rite of passage, such as birth, puberty, or death

cultures’ views on the roles that should be played by men and

two different eras

386 CHAPTER 15

Learning Style Option$


Depending on the topic pair you choose, you may need to usc Internet or library sources to develop and support your ideas about the subjects. Your audience is your classmates. As you develop your comparison or contrast essay, consider using one or more other patterns of development. For example, you might use process analysis to explain the right and wrong ways of doing something or cause and effect to show the results of two teaching styles on learners.

Generating Ideas

Generating ideas involves first choosing subjects to compare and then prewriting to discover similarities, differences, and other details about the subjects.

Choosing Subjects to Compare Take your time selecting the assignment option and identifying specific subjects for it. Use the following guidelines to get started:

1. Some of the options listed on page 385 are concrete (comparing two public fig­ ures); others are more abstract (comparing communication styles or views on an issue). Consider your learning style and choose the option with which you are most comfortable.

2. If you are a social learner, choose subjects that classmates are familiar with so that you can discuss your subjects with them. group brainstorming about vari­ ous possible subjects.

3. Choose subjects with which you have some firsthand experience or that you are to research. You might try questioning or writing assertions to help you

generate ideas. 4. Choose subjects that interest you. You will have more fun writing about them, and

your enthusiasm will enliven your essay. Tty mapping or sketching to come up wi th interestine: subjects.

Et,~~ay ($rog:ress ~

Using the preceding suggestions, choose an assignment option from the list on page 385 or an option you think of on your own. Then do some prewriting to help you select two specific subjects lor your comparison or contrast essay.

Choosing a Basis of Comparison and a Purpose Suppose you want to compare or contrast twO well-known football players-a quar­ terback and a linebacker. If you merely present the various similarities and differences between the two players, your essay will lack direction. To avoid this problem, you need to choose a basis of comparison and a purpose for writing. You could compare the players on the basis of the positions they play, using the height, weight, skills, training needed for each position as points of comparison. Your purpose would inform readers about the two positions. Alternatively, you could base your on their performances on the field; in this case, your purpose might be to readers to accept your evaluation of both players. Other bases of comparison the players’ media images, contributions to their teams, or service to the communlLY·


Once you have a basis of comparison and a purpose ill mind, try to state them clearly in a few sentences. Refer to these sentences as you work to keep your essay on track.

Ess,;;.lY in Progress 2

For the assignment option and subjects you selected in Essay in Progress 1, decide on a basis of companson and a purpose for your essay. Describe both clearly in a few sen­ tences. Keep in mind that you may revise your basis of comparison and purpose as your essay develops.

Ccnsidering Your Audience and Point of View

As you develop your comparison or contrast essay, keep your audience in mind. ror more 011 ovdierl(“c and point of Choose points of comparison that will interest your readers. For this chapter’s assign­ view; .see Chapter 5, pp. ment, your audience is made up ofyour classmates. You also need to think about point ofview, or how you should address your readers. Most comparison or contrast essays are written in the third person. However, the first person may be appropriate when )’Ou use comparison and contrast to express personal thoughts or feelings.

Discovering Similarities and Differences and Generating Details

Your next step is to discover how your two subjects are similar, how they are different, or both. Depending on your learning style, you can approach this task in a number of different ways:

1. On paper or on your computer. create a two-column list of similarities and IMming Styk Optioll$ differences. Jot down ideas in the appropriate column.

2. Ask a dassmate to help you brainstonn aloud by mentioning only similarities; then counter each similarity with a difference. Write notes on the brainstorming.

3. For concrete subjects. try visualizing them. Take notes on what you see, or draw For more On de5crfption, a sketch ofyour subjects. .see Chapter 12.

4. Create a scenario in which your subjects interact. For example, is automobiles of today and eighty-five years ago, imagine taking your great­ grandfather, who owned a Model T Ford, for a drive in a 20121uxuty car. How would he react? What would he say? .

5. Do research on your two subjects at the library or on the Internet. For more on library and Internet research, see Chapter 22.

Your readers will need plenty of details to grasp the similarities and differences be­ tween your subjects. Use description, examples, and facts to make your subjects seem real to your readers.

to maintain an even balance between your two subjects; gather roughly the c53DIe amount of detail for each. This guideline is especially important if your purpose

:15 to demonstrate that subject A is preferable to or better than subject R Your readets :~l become suspicious if you provide plellty of detail for subject A and only sketchy ~rnformation for subject R

if} Progress 3

Use the preceding suggestions and one or more prewriting strategies to discover simi­ larities and differences and to generate details about your two subjects.http:Ess,;;.lY


388 CHAPTER 15

! I , l

For mOT’2 on rhesis statements,

Chapter 6




., ,


Developing Your Thesis

The thesis statement for a comparison or contrast essay needs to fulfill the three cri­ teria noted earlier: It should identifY the subjects; suggest whether you will focus on similarities, differences, or both; and state your main point. In addition, your thesis should tell readers why your comparison or contrast of the rwo subjects is important or useful to them. Look at the following sample thesis statements:

WEAK The books by Robert B. Parker and Sue Grafton are similar.

REVISED The novels of Robert B. Parker and Sue Grafton are popular because readers are fascinated by the intrigues ofwitty, inde­ pendent private detectives.

The first thesis is weak because it does not place the comparison within a context or give the reader a reason to care about it. The second thesis is more detailed and specific. It provides a basis for comparison and indicates why the similarity is worth reading about

r£3S:,;lY ih P1″ef;;”‘£’~’;~!

Using the preceding suggestions, write a thesis statement for this chapter’s essay as· signment. The thesis should identify the two subjects of your comparison; tell whether you Will focus on similarities, differences, or both; and convey your main point to readers.

Evaluating Your Ideas and Thesis

With your thesis in mind, review your prewriting by underlining or highlighting ideas that pertain to your thesis and eliminating those that do not. If you are working on a computer, highlight these key ideas in bold type or move them to a separate file. Try to identifY the points or characteristics by which you can best compare your subjects. For example, if your thesis is about evaluating the performance of rwo football players, you would probably select various facts and details about their training, the plays they make, and their records. Think of points of comparison as the main similarities or dif­ ferences that support your thesis.

Take a few minures to evaluate your ideas and thesis. Make sure you have enough points ofcomparison to support your thesis and enough details to develop those points. If necessary, do additional prewriting to generate sufficient support for your thesis.

~~,Sf-“ay in Pr’:)f.;fr”f:3’S 5

Using the preceding suggestions and comments from your classmates, list the points comparison you plan to use in your essay and evaluate your ideas and thesis. Refer to the list of characteristics on pages 379-81 to help you with your evaluation.

Trying Out Your Ideas on Others

Working in a group of two or three students, discuss your ideas and thesis for this chapter’s assignment. Each writer should state his or her topic, thesis, and points of comparison. Then, as a group, evaluate each writer’s work.


Organizing and Drafting

Once you have evaluated your thesis, points of comparison, and details, you are ready to organize your ideas and draft your essay.

For morc on drafting an e.llo/, ‘iee Choptcr 7

Choosing a Method of Organization Before you begin writing, decide whether you will use a point-by-point or a subject-by­ subject organization (review Figures 15.1 and 15.2, pp. 382-83). To select a method of organization, consider the complexity of your subjects and the length of your essay. You may also need to experiment with the rwo approaches to see which works better. It is a good idea to make an outline or draw a graphic organizer at this stage.

Here are a few other guidelines to consider:

1. The subject-by-subject method tends to emphasize the larger picture, whereas the point-by-point method emphasizes details and specifics.

2. The point-by-point method often works better for lengthy essays because it keeps both subjects current in your reader’s mind.

3. The point-by-point method is often preferable for complicated or technical subjects. For example, if you compare rwo computer systems, it would be easier to explain the function of a memory card once and then describe the memory cards in each of the rwo systems.

E.·say in Progress 6

Choose a method of organization-point by point or subject by subject-and organize the points of comparison you generated in Essay in Progress 5.

Drafting the Essay

Use the following guidelines when writing your first draft:

1. Ifyou are using point-by-point organization, keep the following suggestions in mind.

• Work back and forth berween your rwo subjects, generally discussing the subjects in the same order for each point. If both subjects share a particular characteristic, then you may want to mention them together.

• Use a separate paragraph for each point of comparison, in most cases. • Arrange your points of comparison carefully. You might, for example, start with

the clearest, simplest points and then move on to more complex ones.

2. Ifyou are using a subject-by-subject organization, keep the following lsuggestions in mind.

• Be sure to cover the same points for both subjects. • Cover the points of comparison in the same order in both halves ofyour essay. • Write a clear statement of transition wherever you switch from one subject to

the other.

3. Use transitions. Transitions are especially important in helping readers follow For /nore on ‘rom’t,ons, see you make in a comparison or contrast essay. Transitions alert readers to C!wpter 7, pp. 150-52

subjects or to new points of comparison. An essay that lacks transitions choppy and unconnected. Use transitional words and phrases such as similarly,

On the one hand, on the other hand, and not only . .. but also.

leaming Style Optiom

Far more on the benefi15 ofpeer reView, see Chapter 9, pp. 188-9J.

For more on keeping on error log,

see Chapter 10. pp. 221-22.

lines for drafting, wr~e a first draft of your comparison or contrast essay.

Analyzing and Revising

If possible, set your draft aside for a day or two before rereading and revising it. As you reread, concentrate on ideas and not on grammar or punctuation. Use one or more of the following suggestions to an.IrLe your draft:

1. Reread your essay aloud, or ask a friend or classmate (0 do so as you listen. 2. Draw a I!raohic organizer, make an outline, or update the organizer or outline you

A graphic organizer or outline will indicate whether your org-ani­ contains inconsisrencies or gaps.

3. Read each paragraph with this question in mind: So what? If any paragraph does not answer that question, revise or ddete it.

Use Figure 15.4 to your an.Iysis of the strengths and weaknesses in your draft You might .Iso a classmate to review your draft essay lIsing the questions flowchart. Your reviewer should consider each question listed in the flowchart,

cXlmllning each “No” answer.

Essay in Progress 8

Revise your draft using Figure 15.4 and any comments you received from peer reviewers.

Editing and Proofreading

The last step is to check your revised essay for errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation, and mechanics. Be sure to check your error log for the types of errors you tend to make.

As you edit and proofread your comparison or contrast essay, watch out for the following rypes of errors:

1. Make sure to USe the right forms of adjectives and adverbs when compar­ ing two items (comparative) and three or more items (superlative). The following

show how adjectives and adverbs change forms.

Adjectives Adverbs

Positive sharp early Comparative sharper earlier

Superlative sharpest earliest

purpose (to express ideas, inform, or persuade)?


2. Write the basis of comparison at the top of your paper. Is your basis of com· parison dear? Does it clearly relate to your thesis?


3. List your points of comparison. Place a checkmark v next to the sentences that focus on similarities between the subjects. Mark an X next to the sen­ tences that focus on differences. Have you included all significant points of comparison? Do you fairly examine similarities and differences? Is each similarity or difference significant, and does each support your thesis?

4. Underline the topic sentence of each paragraph. Does each paragraph have a clear topic sentence? If you are us­ ing point-by-point comparison, is each paragraph focused on a separate pOint or shared characteristic?

ing reason your purpose.

• Ask a friend or classmate to help you think of a clear or new basis for comparison.

• Delete any discussion of similarities or differences that are not significant or that do not support your thesis.

• Review your prewriting to see if you over­ looked any Significant points of compari­ son. If so, revise to add them.

• If you have trouble thinking of points of comparison, conduct research or ask a classmate to suggest ideas.

• Follow the guidelines for writing clear topic sentences (pp. 167-70).

• Consider splitting paragraphs that focus on more than one point or characteristic and combining paragraphs that focus on the same one.

(continued on next page)

390 CHAPTER 15

ro! more on wfiting effective paragraphs, induding

introductions ana COtldusiOflS, see Chapier 7.


4. Write an effective introduction. The introduction should spark your readers’ interest, present your subjects, state your thesis, and include any background informa­ tion your readers may need.

5. Write a satisfYing conclusion. Your conclusion should offer a final comment QUESTIONS REVISION STRATEGIES on your comparison or contrast, reminding readers of your thesis. For a lenl!thv or

essay, you might want (0 summariz.e your main points as well. 1. Mfilhtillnf your thesis statement. Does • Revise your thesis using the suggestions the subjects being compared on p. 388.

Essay Pro~~rcs~~ and state your main point? Does it or “NO • Brainstorm a list of reasons for making Using the organization you developed in Essay in Progress 6 and the preceding guide’ do nearby sentences express a clear the comparison. Make the most promis­


(Figure 15.4 contirHu:td)


5. Draw a waV’f underline under the con­ crete details ineach paragraph. Do you include enough details to make your comparisons vivid and interesting? Have you provided roughly the same amount of detail for both subjects?

6. Draw a graphic organizer of your es­ say, or review the one you did earlier. Did you use either point-by-point or subject-by-subject organization con­ sistently throughout the essay? Is your organization clear to your reader?


7. Reread your introduction and conclu­ sion. Does the introduction provide a context for your comparison? Is the conclusion satisfying and relevant to the comparison?





• Add or delete details as necessary. • Review your prewriting to see if you

overlooked any significant details. • Research your subjects to come up with

additional details. (See Chapters 21 and 22.)

• Study your graphic organizer to find inconsistencies or gaps.

• Reorganize your essay using one method of organization consistently.

• Add transitions if necessary.

• Revise your introduction and conclusion to meet the guidelines in Chapter 7, pages 153-56 and 156-57.

• Consider proposing an action orway of thinking that is appropriate in light of the comparison.

II Both No Country for Old Men and True Grit were suspenseful, but I liked True


Grit &est-. worst

” George, Casey, and Bob are all bad at basketball, but Bob’s game is,~

2. Make sure that items in a pair linked by correlative conjunctions (either . .. or, neither . .. nor, not only . .. but also) are in the same grammatical form.

.. The Grand Canyon is not only a spectacular tourist attraction but also

“,cient~er-~ a useful geological

Essay in Progress 9 Edit and proofread your essay, paying particular attention both to adjectives and adverbs used to compare and to items linked by correlative conjunctions.


Students Write

Heather Gianakos was a first-year student when she wrote the following comparison­ and-contrast essay for her composition course. Although she has always enjoyed both

of cooking that she discusses, she needed to do some research in the library and on the Internet to learn more about their history. As you read the essay, consider the writer’s thesis and points of comparison.

Border Bites

Heather Gianakos

Chili ~rs, tortillas, tacOS! All these roods belong to the styles of cooking known as

Mexican, Tex-Mex, and southwestern. These internationally popular styles often overlap; some­

times it can be hard to tell which style a particular dish belongs to. Two particular traditions of

(!laking, however, play an especially important role in the kitchens of Mexico and the American

Southwest– native-derived Mexican cooking (“Mexican”), and ~n~t9dgif~’~1;\~~~4,,~!~~~.~r,f\

particularly from Texas (“southwestern”).

Many of the traditions of~,utl1i1\Jl~ten:t cooki ng grew out of difficult situations–cowboys

and ranchers cooking over open fires, fur example. Chili, which can contain beans, beef,

tomatoes, corn, and many other ingredients, was a good dish to cook over a campfire because

everything could be combined in one pot. Dry foods, such as beef jerky, were a convenient

way to solve food storage problems and could be easily tucked into saddlebags. In Mexico,

fruits and vegetables such as avocados and tomatoes were widely

available and did not need to be dried or stored. They could be made into spicy salsa and

guacamole. Mexicans living in coastal areas could also enjoy fish and lobster dishes

llJ!,mison and Jamison 5).

;t1j!\”‘li:I~fi~i,p~!~!ittlji~ and Mexico since the time of the

who made tortillas (ft.at, unleavened bread, originally made from stone-ground corn and

ilften of European descent, adopted the tortilla but often prepared it with wheat ft.our. which was

cooking, but corn is usually the primary grain in dishes with precolonial origins.

whose name derives from a word in Nahuatl, the Aztec group of languages) are a deli­

example: Ahunk of cornmeal dough, sometimes combined with ground meat, is wrapped in

$~!~,t.IJ!~~,t(~rt, cooking, com is often used fur leavened com bread,

is made with com flour rather than cornmeal and can be ft.avored with jalapenos or back

Introduction indicates Glanakos wlll examine both similarities and diRerences but will focus on differences. Her II1II _gives a basis of comparison of her two subject.. Mexican and southwdjl!’rp cooking: the tradition, and geographic locations of the people who developed them. It also makes a point: that these differences have led to the diRerence, in the food.

Subject A: sOOt~terft

Subject B: Mexican

Point of comparison .1: the physical conditions in which the two styles developed, Notice that Gianakos IJses point~ by~point comparison, discussing both subjects in each paragraph and often using,~ between them. She also cites sources for her information.

Point of comparison -2: the use of corn and wheat

394 CHAPTER 15 -~- ..-,-~-“.~”,,,,-~-~.=~.’

PoInt ofcomparison #3: the uS1:! of chicken

Subject B: M~xican

Conclusion: Gianakos returns to the idea of overlap mentioned in the introduction and makes dear her purpose­ to inform readers about the differences between the two cUisines.

Gianakoslists her sources at the end of her paper, following MlAstyle.

dency to become rancid, pork ribs were often marinated in vinegar and spices and then hung

to dry. Later the ribs were basted with the same sauce and grilled (Campa 278). The resulting

dish has become a favorite both north and south of the border, although in Mexican cooking,

where beef is somewhat less important than in southwestern cooking, pork is equally popular

in many other forms, such as chorizo sausage.

Cooks in San Antonio or Albuquerque would probably tell you that the food they cook is as 1

much Mexican as it is southwestern. Regional cuisines in such areas of the Southwest as New

Mexico, Southern California, and Arizona feature elements of both traditions; chimichangas-­

deep-fried burritos–actually originated in Arizona (Jamison and Jamison 11). Food lovers who

sample regional specialties, however, will note–and savor–the contrast between the spicy, fried

or grilled, beef-heavy style of southwestern food and the richly seasoned, corn- and tomato­

heavy style of Mexican food.

Works Cited

Campa, Arthur L Hispanic Culture in the Southwest. Norman: Uof Oklahoma P, 1979. Print.

Central Texas Barbecue Association. “CTSA Rules.” Central Texas Barbecue Association. CTBA, 16 Aug.

2004. Web. 6 May 2005.

Jamison, Cheryl Alters, and Bill Jamison. The Border Cookbook. Boston: Harvard

Common, 1995. Print.

1. What other regional cuisines might make effective topics for a comparison and contrast essay?

2. Gianakos compares the cuisines of the American Southwest and Mexico using the traditions and geographic locations of the people who lived there as the basis of comparison. In your journal, explore several other possible bases of comparison that could be used to compare these cuisines.

3. Write an essay comparing foods of two other regional cuisines.

The following section provides advice fOr reading comparison and contrast essays. Two model essays illustrate the characteristics ofcomparison and contrast covered in this chap­ ter and provide opportunities to examine, analyze, and react to the writer’s ideas. The =od essay uses comparison and contrast along with other methods of development.

Working with Text: Reading Comparison or Contrast Essays

Reading a comparison and contrast essay is somewhat different from reading other kinds of essays. First, the essay contains two or more subjects instead of just one. Sec­ ond, the subjects are being compared, contrasted, or both, so you must follow the

For more on reading strategies. see Chapter 3,

Subject A: sou\llwestel1’l

Subject B: Mexican

Point of comparison #4: the use of beef

Subject A:s<itlthl’i”$~m

SUbject B:.~·

Point ofcomparison #5: the use of pork

Subject A: SoUtltVil;!j\.rn


Meat of various kinds is often the centerpiece of both Mexican and southwestern tables.

However, although chicken. beef, and pork are staples in both traditions, they are often pre­

pared quite differently. Fried chicken rolled in flour and dunked into sizzling oil or fat is a popu­

lar dish throughout the American Southwest. In traditional Mexican cooking, hOWever,

chicken is often cooked more slowly, in stews or baked dishes, with a variety of seasonings, in­

cluding ancho chiles, garlk, and onions.

Ever since cattle farming began in Texas with the early Spanish missions, beef has been

eaten both north and south of the border. In southwestern cooking, steak–flank, rib eye, or

sirloin–grilled quickly and served rare is often a chef’s crowning glory. In Mexican cooking,

beef may be combined wtt:Ir vegetables and spices and rolled into a fajita or served ground in a

taco. For a Mexican food purist, in fact, the only true fajita is made from skirt steak, although

Mexican food as it is served in the United States often features chicken fajitas.

In Texas and the Southwest United States, barbecued pork ribs are often prepared in bar­

becue cook-offs, similar to chili-cooking competitions. Such competitions have strict rules for

the preparation and presentation of the food and for sanitation (Central Texas).

while the BBO is seen as a southwestern specialty, barbecue ribs as they are served in

southwestern-themed restaurants today actually come from a Hispanic and Southwest Mexican

tradition dating from the days before refrigeration: Since pork fat, unlike beef fat, has a ten­

.•_____J…WO ~~~’iVIT~_ TEXT: RE…. 01~~c;.~M P!,.R~_O~.!!~O_NTR!,~!,,~,!,!~

Analyzing the Writer’s Technique

1. Evaluate Gianakos’s title and introduction. Do they provide the reader with enough background on her topic?

2. Using a point-by-point organi7Ation, Gianakos presents her two subjects in the same order – first southwestern cuisine, then Mexican cuisine-for each point of comparison except in paragraph 3. Why do you think she discusses the two cui­ sines together in this paragraph?

3. How does Gianakos’s use ofsources contribute to her essay?

Thinking Critically about Comparison and Contrast

1. Reread the first sentence of the essay. What type of cooking is mentioned here and never discussed again in the essay? How does this decision by Gianakos affect your response to the first paragraph and to the essay as a whole?

2. Describe Gianakos’s tone. Is it effective in this essay? 3. What do phrases such as «subtle, flavorful differences” (para. 1), “Food lovers’ (7),

and “richly seasoned” (7) contribute to the essay? If Gianakos had included more phrases like these, how would the essay be changed?

4_ What comparisons did Gianakos not make that she could have made?

Reacting to the Essayhttp:SoUtltVil;!j\.rn

396 CHAPTER 15

For more on preYlewing,

see Chap”’ 3, pp. 48-50.

For more on discovering ideas Jor

a re~ponse paper, see Chapter 4,

pp. 86~95.


author’s points of comparison between or among them, Use the guidelines below to read comparison-and-comrast essays cf’f:ectively.

What to Look For, Highlight, and Annotate

1. As you preview the essay, determine whether it uses the point-by-point or by-subject organization, Knowing the method of otganization will help you move through the essay more easily.

2. IdentifY and highlight the thesis statement, ifit is stated explicitly. What does it tell you about the essay’s purpose, direction, and organization?

3. Read the essay once to get an overall sense ofhow it develops. As you read, highlight each point of romparison the writer makes.

4. Review the essay by drawing a graphic organizer (see Figures 15.1 and 15.2). Doing so will help you Jearn and recall the key points of the essay,

How to Find Ideas to Write About

To tespond to or write about a comparison and contrast essay, consider the following strategies:

• Compare the subjects using a different basis of comparison. If, for example, an essay compares or contrasts athletes in various spons on the basis ofsalary, you could com­ pare them according to the training required for each sport. For an essay that emphasi’.cs differences, consider writing about similarities, and vice versa.

• To write an essay that looks at one of comparison in more depth, you might do research or interview an expert on topic.

Thinking Critically about Comparison and Contrast

Comparison and contrast writing can be quite straightfurward when the writer’s pur­ pose is only to inform. However, when the writer’s putpose is also to persuade, you need to ask the critical questions below.

1. Does the Author Treat Each Subject Fairly?

Examine whether the author gives equal and objective coverage to each subject. If one of the subjects seems to be favored or given special consideration (or if one seems not to be treated fairly, fully, or adequately), the author might be biased-that is, introducing his or her own values or attitudes into the comparison. The lack of balance may not be intentional, and even a biased piece of wtiting is not necessarily unteliable, bur you should be aware that other points of view may not have been presented. In “Dearly Disconnected,” Frazier devotes more covetage to pay phones than to cell phones and appears nostalgic abour pay phones but somewhat annoyed by cell phones.


2. How Does the Organization Affect Meaning?

In thinking about the question of fairness, notice especially whether and how the au­ thor uses a point-by-point or subject-by-subject otganization. These twO organizations provide different emphases. Point by point tends to maintain a steady balance, keep­ ing the reader focused on both subjects simultaneously, while subject by subject rends to allow in-depth consideration of each subject separately. If a writer wants to present one subject more favorably than the other, he Ot she may present that subject and all its characteristics first, thereby shaping the reader’s attitude toward it in a positive way before the reader encounters the second subject. Alternatively, a writer may present all the faults of the Jess favored subject first and then leave the reader with a final impres­ sion of the more favored subject. Even in point-by-point organization, the order in which the subjects are discussed fot each point may suggest rhe writer’s preference for one or the other. As you consider the method of org-anization, ask yourself how the essay would be different if the other method had been used or if the order of the two subjects had been reversed.

The choice oforganization may also depend on factors other than fairness or bias. In “Dearly Disconnected,” if Frazier had used a point-by-point rather than subject­ by-subject organization, he would have found it more difficult to include his personal reflections on the meaning of the pay phone in his life.

3. What Points of Comparison Are Omitted?

As you evaluate comparison or contrast essays, be sure to consider the other compari­ sons or contrasts that the author could have made. In “Amusing Ourselves to Depth,” Beato could have discussed the type of audience that would be drawn to each type of publication, but he did not. “In Dearly Disconnected,” Frazier could have compared the convenience ofcell phones versus pay phones, bur he did not.


As you read the following essay by psychologist Daniel Goleman, notice how the writer uses the elements ofcomparison and contrast discussed in this chapter,

His Marriage and Hers: Childhood Roots

Daniel Goleman holds a PhD In behavioral and brain sciences and has published a num­

ber of books on psychology, including, Destructive Emotions: A Scientific Dia/ogue with the

Dalai Lama (2003), Social Intelligence: The New Science ofHuman Relationships (2006),

” and Ec%gica/lntelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts ofWhat We Buy Can Change Everything (2009). Goleman reported on the brain and behavioral sciences for the New

.York Times for many years and was elected a fellow of the American Association for the

Advancement of Science for his efforts to bring psychology to the publiC, I n his book Emo­

tiona/Intelligence (1995), from which the following selection was laken, Goleman describes

emotional skills required for daily living and explains how to develop those skitts. Ashttp:emphasi’.cs


you read the selection, notice how the writer uses comparison and contrast to explore his subject-differences between the sexes-and highlight his key points of comparison.

As I was entering a restaurant on a recent evening, a young man stalked out the door, his face set in an expression both stony and sullen. Close on his heels a young woman came running, her fists desperately pummeling his back while she yelled, “Goddamn you! Come back here and be nice to me!” That poignant, impossibly self’contradictory plea aimed at a retreating back epitomizes the pattern most commonly seen in couples whose relationship is distressed: She seeks to engage, he withdraws. Marital therapists have long noted that by the time a couple finds their way to the therapy office, they are in this pattern of engage-withdraw, with his complaint about her ·unreasonable” de· mands and outbursts, and her lamenting his indifference to what she is saying.

This marital endgame reflects the fact that there are, in effect, two emotional reali­ ties in a couple, his and hers. The roots of these emotional differences, while they may be partly biological, also can be traced back to childhood and to the separate emotional worlds boys and girls inhabit while growing up. There is a vast amount of research on these separate worlds, their barriers reinforced not just by the different games boys and girls prefer but by young children’s fear of being teased for having a “girlfriend” or “boy­ friend.”‘ One study of children’S friendships found that three·year·olds say about half their friends are of the opposite sex; for five·year·olds it’s about 20 percent, and by age seven almost no boys or girls say they have a best friend of the opposite sex.’ These separate social universes intersect little until teenagers start dating.

Meanwhile, boys and girls are taught very different lessons about handling emotions. 1 Parents, in general, discuss emotions-with the exception of anger-more with their daughters than their sons.1 Girls are exposed to more information about emotions than are boys: when parents make up stories to tell their preschool children, they use more emotion words when talking to daughters than to sons; when mothers play with their infants, they display a wider range of emotions to daughters than to sons; when mothers talk to daughters about feelings, they discuss in more detail the emotional state itself than they do with their sons-though with the sons they go into more detail about the causes and consequences of emotions like anger (probably as a cautionary tale).

Leslie Brody and Judith Hall, who have summarized the research on differences in emotions between the sexes, propose that because girls develop facility with language more quickly than do boys, this leads them to be more expelienced at artic· ulating their feelings and more skilled than boys at using words to explore and substi· tute for emotional reactions such as physical fights; in contrast, they note, “boys, for whom the verbalization of affects is de·emphasized, may become largely unconscious of their emotional states, both in themselves and others.”‘

At age ten, roughly the same percent of girls as boys ale overtly aggressive, given to open confrontation when angered. But by age thirteen, a telling difference between the sexes emerges: Girls become more adept than boys at artful aggressive tactics like ostracism, vicious gossip, and indirect vendettas. Boys, by and large, simply continue being confrontational when angered, oblivious to these more covert strategies.sThis is just one of many ways that boys-and later, men-are less sophisticated than the opposite sex in the byways of emotional life.

When girls play together, they do so in small, intimate groups, with an emphasis on minimizing hostility and maximizing cooperation, while boys’ games are in larger

DANIEL GOLEMAN HIS MARRIAGE AND HERS, CHILDHOOD ROOTS 399 —–.~.-“‘——.~–~,~-“-“.,~~.~,–~~—–~.——–~—~.

groups, with an emphasis on competition. One key difference can be seen in what hap· pens when games boys or girls are playing get disrupted by someone getting hurt. If a boy who has gotten hurt gets upset, he is expected to get out of the way and stop crying so the game can go on. If the same happens among a group of girls who are playing, the game stops while everyone gathers around to help the girl who is crying. This difference between boys and girls at play epitomizes what Harvard’s Carol Gilligan points to as

400 CHAPTER 15 ~–~——–~—


a key disparity between the sexes: boys take pride in a lone, tough·minded indepen’

dence and autonomy, while girls see themselves as part of a web of connectedness.

Thus boys are threatened by anything that might challenge their independence, while

girls are more threatened by a rupture in their relationships. And, as Deborah Tannen

has pointed out in her book You Just Don’t Understand, these differing perspectives mean that men and women want and expect very different things out of a conversation,

with men content to talk about “things,” while women seek emotional connection.

In short, these contrasts in schooling in the emotions foster very different skills, with 7

girls becoming “adept at reading both verbal and nonverbal emotional signals, at ex·

pressing and communicating their feelings,” and boys becoming adept at “minimizing

emotions having to do with vulnerability, guilt, fear, and hurt.'” Evidence for these dif·

ferent sl~nees is ~ry strong in IRe scientific literalur~. Hundreds of studies have fOood,

for example, that on average women are more empathic than men, at least as measured

by the ability to read someone else’s unstated feelings from facial expression, tone of

voice, and other nonverbal cues. Likewise, it is generally easier to read feelings from

a woman’s face than a man’s; while there is no difference in facial expressiveness

among very young boys and girts, as they go through the elementary·school grades boys

become less expressive, girls more so. This may partly reflect another key difference:

women, on average, experience the entire range of emotions with greater intensity and

more volatility than men-in this sense, women are more “emotional” than men?

All of this means that, in general, women come into a marriage groomed for the

role of emotional manager, while men arrive with much less appreciation of the im·

portance of this task for helping a relationship survive. Indeed, the most important

element forwomen-but not for men -in satisfaction with their relationship reported

in a study of 264 couples was the sense that the couple has “good communication.”‘

Ted Huston, a psychologist at the University ofTexas who has studied couples in

depth, observes, “For the wives, intimacy means talking things over, especially talk·

ing about the relationship itself. The men, by and large, don’t understand what the

wives want from them. They say, ‘I want to do things with her, and all she wants to do

is talk.'” During courtship, Huston found, men were much more willing to spend time

talking in ways that suited the wish for intimacy of their wives·to·be. But once mar·

ried, as time went on the men-especially in more traditional couples-spent less

and less time talking in this way with their wives, finding a sense of closeness simply

in doing things like gardening together rather than talking things over.

This growing silence on the part of husbands may be partly due to the fact that, if

anything, men are a bit Pollyannaish about the state of their marriage, while their wives

are attuned to the trouble spots: in one study of marriages, men had a rosier view than

their wives of just about everything in their relationship -lovemaking, finances, ties

with in·laws, how well they listened to each other, how much their flaws mattered.’

Wives, in general, are more vocal about their complaints than are their husbands, par·

ticularly among unhappy couples. Combine men’s rosy view of marriage with their

sian to emotional confrontations, and it is clear why wives so often complain that

husbands try to wiggle out of discussing the troubling things about their relationship.

(Of course this gender difference is a generalization and is not true in every case; a

psychiatrist friend complained that in his marriage his wife is reluctant to discuss

tional matters between them and he is the one who is left to bring them up.)

DANIEL QOI.EMAN HIS MARRIAGE AND HERS: CHILDHOOD ROOTS 401 ¢———–~–…-~—~,’~–“”—–.,~”——“,.-“‘——–.–.—–~- ,—_. ­

The slowness of men to bring up problems in a relationship is no doubt compounded 10

by their relative lack of skill when it comes to reading facial expressions of emotions. Women, for example, are more sensitive to a sad expression on a man’s face than are

men in detecting sadness from a woman’s expression.,o Thus a woman has to be all the sadder for a man to notice her feelings in the first place,let alone for him to raise the

question ofwhat is making her so sad.

Consider the implications of this emotional gender gap for how couples handle the 11

grievances and disagreements that any intimate relationship inevitably spawns. In

fact, specific issues such as how often a couple has sex, how to discipline the children,

or how much debt and savings a couple feels comfortable with are not what make or

break a marriage. Rather, it is how a couple discusses such sore points that matters more for the fate of their marriage. Simply having reached an agreement about how

to disagree is key to marital survival; men and women have to overcome the innate

gender differences in approaching rocky emotions. Failing this, couples are vulnerable

to emotional rifts that eventually can tear their relationship apart …. mhese rifts are

far more likely to develop if one or both partners have certain deficits in emotional


Nons 1. The separate worlds of boys and girls: Eleanor Maccoby and C. N.lacklin, “Gender Segregation in

Childhood,’ in H. Reese, ed., Advances in Child Development and Behavior (New York: Academic Press, 1987).

2. Same·sex playmates: John Gottman, “Same and Cross Sex Friendship in Young Children.” in I. Gottman and J. Parl<er. eds., Conversation ofFriends (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986).

3. This and the following summary of sexdTfferences in socialization of emotions are based on the excelient review in leslie R. Brody and Judith A. Hall, “Gender and Emotion,” in Michael Lewis and leannette Haviland, eds., Handbook ofEmotions (New Yorl<: Guilford Press, 1993).

4. Brody and Hall, “Gender and Emotion,” 456. 5. Girts and the arts of aggression: Robert B. Cairns and Beverlev D. Cairns, Lifelines and Risks (New York:

Cambridge University Press, 1994). 6. Brody and Hall, “Gender and Emotion,” 454. 7. The findings about gender differences in emotion are reviewed in Brodv and Hall. “Gender and

Emotion/’ B. The importance of good communication for women was reported in Mark H. Davis and H. Alan Oathout,

“Maintenance of Satisfaction in Romantic Relationships: Empathy and Relational Competence,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 53, no. 2 (1987): 397-410.

9. The study of husbands’ and wives’ complaints: Robert I. Sternberg, “Triangulating love,” Rober! Sternberg and Michael Barnes, eds., The Psychology of Love (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988).

10. Reading sad faces: The research is bV Dr. Ruben C Gur at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

ining the Reading

Summarize the differences that Goleman claims exist between men’s and wom­ en’s ways of expressing emotion. Accotding to Goleman, what are the root causes of the differences between how men and women express emotion? How can the emotional differences between spouses cause marital difficulties, according to the writer?


intern and keep working, often talking to patients’ relatives long into the night. “I am now breaking the law,” she would announce cheerfully to no one in particular, then trot off to do just a few final chores.

The man had a strict definition of what it meant to be a doctor. He did not, for instance, “do nurses’ work” (his phrase). When one of his patients needed a specimen sent to the lab and the nurse didn’t get around to it, neither did he. No matter how important the job was, no matter how hard I pressed him, he never gave in. If I spoke sternly to him, he would tum around and speak just as sternly to the nurse. The woman did everyone’s work. She would weigh her patients if necessary (nurses’ work). feed them (aides’ work). find salt­ free pickles for them (dietitians’ work), and wheel them to X-ray (transporters’ work).

The man was cheerful, serene, and well rested. The woman was overtired, hyper­ emotional, and constantly late. The man was interested in his patkmts, but they never kept him up at night. The woman occasionally called the hospital from home to check on hers. The man played tennis on his days off. The woman read medical articles. At least, she read the beginnings; she tended to fall asleep halfway through.

t telt as it Iwas in a medieval morality play’ that month, living with two costumed symbols of opposing philosophies in medical education. The woman was working the way interns used to: total immersion seasoned with exhaustion and adrenaline. As far as she was concerned, her patients were her exclusive responsibility_ The man was an intern of the new millennium. His hours and duties were delimited; he saw himself as part of a health-care team, and his patients’ welfare as a shared responsibility.

This new model of medical internship got some important validation in the New England Journal ofMedicine last week, when Harvard researchers reported the effects of reducing interns’ work hours to 60 per week from 80 (now the mandated national maximum). The shorter workweek required a larger staff of interns to spell one another at more frequent intervals. With shorter hours, the interns got more sleep at home, dozed off less at work, and made considerably fewer bad mistakes in patient care.

Why should such an obvious finding need an elaborate controlled study to estab· lish? Why should it generate not only two long articles in the world’s most prestigious medical journal but also three long, passionate editorials? Because the issue here is bigger than just scheduling and manpower.

The progressive shortening of residents’ work hours spells nothing less than a change in the ethos of medicine itself. It means the end of Dr. Kildare, Superstar-thaI lone, heroic healer, omniscient, omnipotent, and ever-present. It means a revolution in the complex medical hierarchy that sustained him. Willy-nilly, medicine is becoming. democratized, a team sport_

We can only hope the revolution witt be bloodless. Everything will have to change. Doctors will have to learn to work well with others. They will have to learn to write and speak with enough clarity and precision so that the patient’s story remains accurate as care passes from hand to hand. They will have to stop saying “my patient” and begin to say ·our patient” instead.


1moroJityplay: a type of play performed in the Middle Ages in which characters represent abstractions (love. death, peace, and so on); irs purpose is to teach a tesson about right and wrong.

DEFINING AABIGAIL ,—~–.”‘~,.-.—..—-~—“,.–

It may be, when the dust settles, that the system will be more functional, less error· 11 prone. It may be that we will simply have substituted one set of problems for another. We may even find that nothing much has changed. Even in the Harvard data, there was an impressive range in the hours that the interns under study worked. Some logged in over 90 hours in their SO-hour workweek. Some put in 75 instead. Medicine has always attracted a wide spectrum of individuals, from the lazy and disaffected to the deeply committed. Even draconian scheduling policies may not change basiC personality traits or the kind of doctors that interns grow up to be.

My month with the intern of the past and the intern of the future certainly argues 12 for the power of the individual work ethic. Try as I might, it was not within my power to modify the way either of them functioned_ The woman cared too much. The man tared too little. She worked too hard, and he could not be Pf~d into working hard enough. They both made careless mistakes. When patients died, the man shrugged and the woman cried.lffor no other reason than that one, let us hope that the medi· cine of the future still has room for people like her.

Examining the Reading

I, How do the two interns differ in cheir approach to medicine? 2. What different philosophies of medicine do the two interns represent? 3, Describe the working condirions of interns. 4. What do we learn about the author and her philosophy of medical practice? 5. Explain the meaning of each of the following words as it is used in the reading: de­

limited (para. 6), ethos (9), omniscient (9), omnipotent (9), and draconian (11).

Analyzing the Writer’s Technique

1. Highlight Zugds thesis and evaluate its placement. 2. Identify the points of comparison on which the essay is based. 3. What other patterns of development does the author use? Give one exanlple and

explain how it contributes to the essay. . 4. Evaluate the effectiveness of the point-by-point organization. How would the

essay diffi:r if it had been written using a subject-by-subject organization? 5. Evaluate the essay’s conclusion. How does it reflect the rhesis and organization of

the essay?

Visualizing the Reading

Analyze Zuger’s use of point-by-point organization by first identifying the different ofcomparison in her essay in the box on page 406. The first one has been done

you. Add additional rOWS to the box as needed.

DOCTOR 406.–_.. _­


.,.. CHAPTER 15

For mare on locating and

documenting 5curCe,t see Part 5.


Points of Comparison The Man The Woman

Organizational styles Efficient (Palm Pilot) Disorganized (overstuffed pockets and notebook)

Thinking Critically about Text

1. In her final sentence, Zuger reveals a bias toward one of the models of medical in­ ternship she is comparing. Is bias apparent anywhere else? Explain.

2. What is the connotation of “nurses’ work” (para. 4)? 3. What other types of sources and information could the author have included to

make this essay more comprehensive?

Reacting to the Reading

1. Discuss an experience of visiting a doctor or hospital. Within which philosophy of medical care did your treatment fall?

2. Discuss the training and education you will need for a career you are interested in pursuing. What knowledge and skills will you need to succeed in the field, and how will the training provide them?

3. Write a journal entry el<.ploring whether medical care has become depersonalized. Give Cl<.amples from your el<.perience.

4. Write an essay comparing or contrasting males and females in another profession (teachers, police officers, nurses).

Applying Your Skills: Additional Essay Assignments

Write a comparison or contrast essay on one of the topics below, using what you have learned in this chapter. Depending on the topic you choose, you may need to conduct library or Internet research.

To Express Your Ideas

1. Compare I wo families that you know or are part o£ Include points of compari­ son that reveal what is valuable and important in family life.

.__.___._’___’____’_…__ –‘.:~.;…;c:..;..:..N_’_’G_.”y”CO:_,UCCR,_,_S.,–K,:..I.c:L:.;L;.:S::.:…’:.:.:~_-:~:.:,_:: E 6 SAY ASS I G N M E N T S 407

2. Compare your values and priorities today with those you held when you were in high school.

3. Compare your lifesryle today with the lifestyle you intend to follow after you graduate from college.

To Inform Your Reader

4. Compare library resources with those available on the Internet. 5. Compare twO sources of information or communication as Beato does in “Amus­

ing Ourselves to Depth” (p. 375).

To Persuade Your Reader

6. Choose a technological change that has occurred in recent years, as Frazier does in “Dearly Disconnected” (p. 377), and argue either that it is beneficial or that its drawbacks outweigh its usefulness compared with the old technology.

7. Compare two views on a controversial issue, arguing in favor of one of them. 8. Compare twO methods ofdoing something (such as disciplining a child or train­

ing a pet), arguing that one method is more effective than the other.

Cases Using Comparison and Contrast

9. You are taking a course in photography and have becn asked to write a papet comparing and contrasting the advantages and uses of black-and-white versus color film. Your instructor is your audience.

10. You are working in the advertising department ofa company that manufactures in-line skates. Your manager has asked you to evaluate twO periodicals and rec­ ommend which one the company should use to run its advertisements.

Classification and Division: Explaining Categories and Parts


photograph on the opposite page shows fruits and vegetables on display at

arm market. Notice that they are arranged according to type of produce. Can

imagine how difficult it would be to find what you need if all produce were

piled onto a table or shelf, with broccoli, pears. peppers, and bananas

mixed together? Most stores and markets arrange or group their products for

convenience of their customers. like a few minutes to brainstorm other ways a particular store or Web site

or could group its products for customer convenience. You may propose a

method or construct a humorous one. Then write a paragraph describing

system. Come up with a title for each group and describe what products

in it. Include the characteristics of each product group.




Whoever arranged the fruits and vegetables in the market used a process called classifica­ tion-grouping things into categories based on specific characteristics. ‘This chapter will show you how to write effective classification and division essays as well as how to incor­ porate classification and division into essays using other patterns ofdevdopment.

What Are Classification and Division?

You use dassi6ca:tion to organize things and ideas daily. Your dresser drawers are prob­ organized by categories, with socks and sweatshirts in different drawers. Grocery

stores, phone directories, libraries, and even restaurant menus arrange items in groups according to similar characreristics.

Classification. then, is a process of sorting people, things, or ideas into groups or categories to help make them more understandable. For example, your college caralog classifies its course offerings by school. division, and department.

Division, similar to classification, begins with one item and breaks it down into pam. Thus, for example. the humanities department at your college may be divided … into English, modern languages, and philosophy, and the modern language courses might be further divided into Spanish, French, Chinese, and Russian. Division is closely related to process analysis, which is covered in Chapter 14.

A classification or division essay explains a topic by describing rypes or parts. For example, a classification essay might explore rypes of advertising-direct mail. radio, television, newspaper, Internet, and so forth. A division essay might describe the pans of an art museum-exhibit areas, museum store, visitor services desk, and the like.

You will find many occasions to use classification and division in the writing do in college and the workplace (see the accompanying box for a few examples). In following essay, Jerry Newman classifies the kinds of managers he round in fast-food restaurants. An example of a division essay, “A Brush with Realiry: Surprises in the Tube” by David Bodanis, appears on page 417-18.

_,______. ____•______.____ JERRY NEWMAN MY SECRET LI

My Secret Life on the McJob: Fast Food Managers Jerry Newman

Jerry Newman is a professor of management at the State University of New York- Buffalo

and coauthor of the textbook Compensation, tenth edition (2010). He has also worked as a business consultant at AT&T, Hewlett·Packard, RJR Nabisco, and McDonald’s. This selection is from My Secret Life on the McJob: Lessons In Leadership Guaranteed to Supersize Any Management Style (200n, which Newman wrote after working at various fast·food restau­ rants to learn about their operation and management. As you read, highlight each category

ohna!lagef that Newman estabtlshes.

I thought aU my fast food stores would be pretty similar. They weren’t. Some stores 1

made employees wear name tags, going as far as sending people home if they repeatedly didn’t wear their name tags, while other stores didn’t seem to care. In

some stores crews socialized after work, but in others they barely talked to each

other, even during work. Even though every chain had strict rules about every facet

of food production and customer interaction, how employees were treated was part of an individual store culture, and this varied from store to store. These differences

could often be traced to the managers’ values and practices and how consistently

they were applied both by the managers and by their sensei,’ much more so than any edicts from headquarters. The best·run store I worked at was [a] Burger King;

the worst-run store was also a Burger King. If corporate rules had a controlling

impact, shouldn’t stores have been much more similar? At one McDonald’s the

employees were extremely friendly; at another the tension between groups was

palpable. The differences, I think, can be traced to the managers. The following

is a sampler of the types of managers I encountered. Only the last group, perfor­

mance managers, was good at finding a sensei and developing consistent people


THE TOXIC MANAGER Most new employees learn through feedback. When you’re first learning a job, there’s 2

relatively little ego involvement in feedback; good managers seem to know this and

in early days of employment are quick to point out better ways of doing a task. [Toxic]

managers, though, use sarcasm or disrespectful comments to indicate when they are unhappy with your work. One of the worst offenders I ran into was the store manager at

Arby’s, who admitted that the main reason he was hiring me was to change the store

culture. He said he was tired of employees who were vulgar and disrespectful, but it

“didn’t take long for me to realize that the role model for their behavior was actually the manager himself-Oon. His attitude and style set the tone for everyone else in his

store. Almost as bad, the key individual with the necessary attributes to be a sensei •shared Don’s disregard for the feelings of others. Don, in particular. didn’t confine

Japanese word for “teacher” or “master.” Newman uses it to mean an employee who is not a manager but who is both highly skilled at his or her job al1d sociallyinfiuential among fellow employees.

McJOB 411


his wrath to “bad” employees. Bill, a diligent long-timer, messed up a coupon order.

A customer had an entertainment book coupon for one Value Meal free with the pur­

chase of another. There was a labyrinth of steps to complete some of the discounts

correctly. When Bill made the error, it was right before the end of Don’s shift, and Don

tore into him, saying loudly enough for everyone to hear, ·Well, I’m leaving before BiU

can make my life any more miserable,” It didn’t take long to infect others with this lack

of respect for employees.


The most common type of manager I encountered was the Mechanical Manager, who 1

was for the most part either an assistant manager or a shift manager, not a full store

manager. You could spot the Mechanical Managers from across the room-they

did their jobs, day after day, as if fast food was slow death. They didn’t wall! to bl!’

there, and they were just going through the motions. They typically had gotten their

jobs because they were reliable crew members and had put in enough time that

some reward was needed to keep them working. A promotion has a certain finality,

though-it makes you confront reality: 15 this what I want out of life? Most say “No,”

and that’s probably why I didn’t see very many store managers who were mechani­

cal. Before most store managers had reached that level (one store manager told me

it was a ten·year journey), those who weren’t interested in fast food as a lifetime

career had moved on to other career pursuits. While looking for other opportunities,

though, they did what was necessary to get by. Luis at McDonald’s was the perfect


In my first McDonald’s experience I made myself a grid showing all of the sand- ,

wiches and their ingredients. After a day of having instructions blasted at me, I needed

a visual training aid to finally put things together. ! shared this grid with Luis on my

third day, expecting he might already have training materials like this (<ilS was the case at Wendy’s) or that he could use it to train other visual learners. As I ha~ded Luis the Excel spreadsheet,! watched his face and saw no reaction. None. He tdld me he’d

.”_._••_ .._….~__ .”’_.__J:,,E::..R,C.RY NEWMAN MY LIFE ON THE McJOB 413

way James responded to my quitting was refreshing. With my back problems becoming

increasingly worse,’ called James to tell him that’ was quitting and dreaded leaving

him in the lurch. But he was amazingly kind, telling me to take care of myself and force·

fully telling me to pick up my check.


It’s easy to spot the Performance Manager. Here relationships are still important, but

now they serve as a means to ensure performance. Through word or deed she very

quickly lets you know what is expected. I like this. No ambiguity, no doubt about what

it takes to make the grade. The best at this was Kris, who, it seemed to me, watched

for slackers much more closely than did the managers at other fast food places. She

told me during the interview that I would be watching DVDs rny first day. She also

mentioned that one of the new people had taken three to four bathroom breaks while

watching the videos, which was an excessive number, she thought. She also com­

mented that she rnight be losing some people because she thought they were slower

than they should be. ‘got the message: She would be watching my work and looking

to see if’ was going to goof off. My experience in other places was that you got fired for

only two things: not showing up and insubordinate behavior. Clearly she was adding a

third reason-poor performance. Good for her! Kris’s watchful eye extended beyond bathroom breaks. I found out the hard way

that taking breaks, even unpaid ones, wasn’t allowed unless legally required. Ap­

parently in New York State, you’re not entitled to a break until after five hours of

work. So when I asked Kris for a break before the appointed time, she answered with

an emphatic “No.” Kris’s message was clearly that we do our jobs by the book, no

exceptions. Over time at this Burger King I began to notice that Kris wasn’t a taskmaster all the 8

time. Sure, during busy times she was prone to exhort the staff to work faster. And

she didn’t tolerate leaning (remember, “If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to

dean”). But this attitude relaxed a bit during slower times, and it especially relaxed for

leave it for Kris, the store manager. Clearly he saw the value in it-he didn’t toss it,

after all-but a reinforcing response for my initiative required a level of involvement he

didn’t or couldn’t muster.


The Relationship Manager was a relatively rare breed in my experience. james was \

the prototype. He led by building relationships and demonstrating that he cared about

our destinies-hard to do when it seemed like every week someone was leaving and another person was coming on board. From the first day, james was very different from

what! was used to. When I first met him for my job interview, he was fifteen minutes

late because he was out picking up an employee whose car had broken down. I never

saw any other manager pick up or take home a crew member who had transportation

problems. In fact, at one store I watched Mary, an older worker teetering on the edge

of poverty, sit in a booth out front for two hours waiting for her husband to pick her up after his shift at a Sam’s Club. As , came to learn, this kindness wasn’t unusual for

James. And in being kind, james created a culture that was much rnore friendly and

supportive than that in many of the other fast food places’ had experienced. Even the

the better workers like Daniel, Eric, and Craig, three of the fastest guns on the sand­

wich assembly board.

Characteristics of Classification and Division Essays

A successful classification or division essay is meaningful to its audience. The writer uses one principle of classification or division, with exclusive categories or parts that are broad enough to include all of the members of me group.

Classification Groups and Division Divides Ideas According to One Principle

items into groups, a writer needs to decide on what basis to do so. For example, could be classified in terms of their size, habitat, or diet. For a division essay, the must decide into what parts to divide the topic. A journalist writing about a

aquarium could divide me topic according to type of fish displayed, suitability for of different ages, or quality of the exhibits.


To develop an effective set ofcategories or parts, a writer needs to choose one dple of classification or division and IJ-IC it consistently throughout the essay or piece of writing. In “My Secret Life on the McJob: Fast Food Managers,” classifies managers according to their management style.

Once a writer chooses a principle of classification or division, the next step is identify a manageable number ofcategories or parts. An essay dassiJYing birds ing to dict, for example, might use five or six types ofdiet, not twenty.

Classification or Division Follows a Principle Determined by the Writer’s Purpose and Audience

Because several different principles can be used to categorize any group, the er’s purpose and audience sh<luld detennine the principle of classification. personnel director of a college might classiJY professors by age in preparing nancial report for trustees that projects upcoming retirements, whereas a writing a humor column for the campus newspaper might categorize professors teaching style.

To develop a meaningful classification, therefore, choose a principle that will interest your readers and fulfill your purpose. If, for instance, you want to parents about the types of day-care facilities in your town, you could dassiJY Gay­ centers according to the services they offer because your readers would be looking that information. A journalist writing to persuade readers ofhis newspaper that a aquariwn is designed for children might divide the exhibits according to their ity for children ofdifferent ages.

~ Brainstorm three diffrrent prindpks ofclassification Or division you could use for each following topics:

1. Sports teams

2. Fast-food restaurants

3. Internet access

4. Academic subjects 5. Novels

ClaSSification Uses Categories and Division Uses Parts That Are Exclusive and Comprehensive

The categories or parts you choose should not overlap. In other words, a lar item should fit in no more than one category. A familiar example is categories 25 to 30 and 30 to 35 are not mutually exclusive since someone thirty would fit into both. In an essay about the nutritional value ofpizza, you divide your topic into carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, but you should not


separate category for saturated fat, since saturated fat is already contained in the futs category.

The categories or parts you choose should also be comprehensive. In a division essay, all the major parts of an item should be included. In a classification essay, each member of the group should fit into one category or another. For example, an essay categorizing fast-food restaurants according to the type of food they serve would have to include a category for pizza.

Choose aprinciple ofclassification or division for two ofthe topics listed in Exercise 16.1. Then 11UIke ” list ofthe ctmgories in which eJU;h item could be included orparts into which each item could be divided.

Classification or Division Fully Explains Each Category or Part

A classification or division essay contains adequate detail so that each category or part can be understood by readers. In “My Secret Life on the McJob: Fast Food Managers,» Newman dearly presents the four types of managers, using personal experience, exam­ ples, and description. Details such as these enable readers to “see” the writer’s categories or parts in a classification or division essay.

Classification or Division Develops a Thesis The thesis statement in a classification or division essay identifies the topic and may reveal the principle used to dassiJY or divide the topic. In most cases it also suggests why the classification or division is relevant or important.

Here are two exanlples of thesis statements:

Most people consider videos a form of entertainment; however, videos can also serve educational, commercial, and political functions.

The Grand Canyon is divided into two distinct geographical areas-the North Rim and the South Rim-each ofwhich offers different views, facilities, and climatic amditions.

Visualizing a Classification or Division Essay: A Graphic Organizer

The graphic organizer shown in Figure 16.1 outlines the basic organization of a clas­ sification or division essay. The introduction announces the topic, gives background information, and states the thesis. The body paragraphs explain the categories or parts and their characteristics. The conclusion brings the essay to a satisJYing dose by rein­ IOrcing the thesis and offering a new insight on the topic.

Read the division essay on page 417 and then study the graphic organizer for it in 16.2 (on p. 419).

For more on graphic orgonizers. see Chapter 3, W. 59-61.


…———:–,–, r Topic announcement Introduction r-t Background information

Thesis statement


Category 1or Part 1 Characteristic



Category 2 or Part 2 Characteristic

Characteristic Bocly~Categories or Parts- ., –


” Category 3 or Part 3 Characteristic



Category 4 or Part 4 CtJaracteristic


I r Reinforce thesis “”‘—-Co'”””-‘n-c:::-W”’s7’o”n”C’·–“””C’7h Offer new insight or perspective

seams are splayed, pressure waves are generated inside, and the paste begins to flow.

But what’s in this toothpaste, so carefully being extruded out?

Water mostly, 30 to 45 percent in most brands: ordinary, everyday simple tap water. 2 It’s there because people like to have a big gob of toothpaste to spread on the brush,

and water is the cheapest stuff there is when it comes to making big gobs. Dripping a bit from the tap onto your brush would costvlrtuaUy nothing; whipped in with the rest

of the toothpaste, the manufacturers can seU it at a neat and accountant-pleasing $2 per pound equivalent. Toothpaste manufacture is a very lucrative occupation.

Second to water in quantity is chalk: exactly the same material that schoolteachers

use to write on blackboards. It is collected from the crushed remains of long-dead

ocean creatures. In the Cretaceous seas chalk particles served as part of the wickedly

sharp outer skeleton that these creatures had to wrap around themselves to keep from

getting chomped by all the slightly larger other ocean creatures they met. Their massed

graves are our present chalk deposits.

The individual chalk particles-the size of the smallest mud particles in your

garden-have kept their toughness over the aeons, and now on the toothbrush

they’ll need it. The enamel outer coating of the tooth they’ll have to face is the

hardest substance in the body-tougher than skull, or bone, or nail. Only the chalk

particles in toothpaste can successfully grind into the teeth during brushing, ripping

off the surface layers like an abrading wheel grinding down a boulder in a qu.arry.

The craters, slashes, and channels that the chalk tears into the teeth will also

remove a certain amount of built-up yellow in the carnage, and it is for that polishing function that it’s there. A certain amount of unduly enlarged extra-abrasive chalk frag­

ments tear such cavernous pits into the teeth that future decay bacteria will be able to

bunker down there and thrive; the quality control people find it almost impossible to

screen out these errant super-chalk pieces, and government regulations allow them to stay In.

In case even the gouging doesn’t get all the yellow off, another substance is worked 6 into the toothpaste cream. This is titanium dioxide. It comes in tiny spheres, and it’s

the stuff bobbing around in white wall paint to make it come out white. Splashed around onto your teeth during the brushing it coats much of the yellow that remains.

Being water SOluble it leaks off in the next few hours and is swallowed, but at least for

the quick glance up in the mirror after finishing it wil\ make the user think his teeth


A Brush with Reality: Surprises in the Tube David Bodanis

David Bodanis is a journalist and the author of several books, including The Body Book (1984), The Secret Garden (1992), The Secret Family (1997), Electric Universe: The Shocking True Story ofElectricity (2005), and Passionate Minds: The Great Love Affair ofthe Enlighten­ ment (2006). The following essay is from The Secret House (1986), a book that traces a family of five through a day, analyzing foods they eat and products they use_ As you read the selec­ tion, highlight the writer’s thesis and the sections where he divides his topic into parts.

-“”—–“- —,~—- — —, ­ Into the bathroom goes our male resident, and after the most pressing need is satis­

fied, it’s time to brush the teeth. The tube of toothpaste is squeezed, its pinched metal

__ _

.- __~~~~~~!.F~~ND DIVISION? 419 418 CHAPTER 16 CLASSIFICATION AND DIVISION ____.,.~_____.~_”_”.’~.”,.__•. .–.,,,_._”~~”_~.__.~ ‘.. ~ ··_,.h ~””‘_,~~_,_, _~”_ ~ .,,_””

are trUly white. Some manufacturers add optical whitening dyes-the stuff more com· monly found in washing machine bleach-to make extra sure that that glance in the mirror shows reassuring white.

These ingredients alone would not make a very attractive concoction. They would stick in the tube like a sloppy white plastic lump, hard to squeeze out as well as revolt­ ing to the touch. Few consumers would savor rubbing in a mixture of water, ground-up blackboard chalk, and the whitener from latex paint first thing in the morning. To get around that finicky distaste the manufacturers have mixed in a host of other goodies.

To keep the glop from drying out, a mixture including glycerine glycol-related to the most common car antifreeze ingredient-iS whipped in with the chalk and water, and to give that concoction a bit of substance (all we really have so far is wet colored chalk), a large helping is added of gummy molecules from the seaweed Chondrus crispus. This seaweed ooze spreads in among the chalk, paint, and antifreeze, then stretches itself in all directions to hold the whole mass together. A bit of paraffin oil (the fuel that flickers in camping lamps) is pumped in with itto help the moss ooze keep the whole substance smooth.

With the glycol, ooze, and paraffin we’re almost there. Only two major chemicals left to make the refreshing, cleansing substance we know as toothpaste. The ingredi· ents so far are fine for cleaning, but they WOUldn’t make much of the satisfying foam we have come to expect in the morning brushing.

To remedy that, every toothpaste on the market has a big dollop of detergent too. You’ve seen the suds detergent will make in a washing machine. The same sub­ stance added here will duplicate that inside the mouth. It’s not particularly necessary, but it sells.

The only problem is that by itself this ingredient tastes, well, too like detergent. It’s horribly bitter and harsh. The chalk put in toothpaste is pretty foul·tasting too, for that matter. It’s to get around that gustatory discomfort that the manufacturers put in the ingredient they tout perhaps the most of all. This is the flavoring, and it has to be strong. Double rectified peppermint oil is used-a flavorer so powerful that chemists know better than to sniff it in the raw state in the laboratory. Menthol crys· tals and saccharin or other sugar simulators are added to complete the camouflage operation.

Is that it? Chalk, water, paint, seaweed, antifreeze, paraffin oil, detergent, and pep­ permint? Not quite. A mix like that would be irresistible to the hundreds of thousands of individual bacteria lying on the surface of even an immaculately cleaned bathroom sink. They would get in, float in the water bubbles, ingest the ooze and paraffin, maybe even spray out enzymes to break down the chalk. The result would be an uninviting mess. The way manufacturers avoid that final obstacle is by putting something in to kill the bacteria. Something good and strong is needed, something that will zap any aCCidentally intrudant bacteria into oblivion. And that something is formaldehyde-the disinfectant used in anatomy labs.

So it’s chalk, water, paint, seaweed, antifreeze, paraffin oil, detergent, peppermint, formaldehyde, and fluoride (which can go some way towards preserving children’s teeth)-that’s the usual mixture raised to the mouth on the toothbrush for a fresh morning’s clean.lfit sounds too unfortunate, take heart. Studies show that thorough brushing with just plain water will often do as good a job.


2. State the prindple of classification. Do so briefly but make sure it is clear to your readers.

3. Name the categories or parts. In the sentence that introduces the classification or division, name the categories or parts to focus your readers’ attention on the expla­ nation that follows.

In “The Dog Ate My Flash Drive, and Other Tales ofWoe” on page 433, Carolyo Foster Segal uses classification along with other patterns of development to develop her thesis about student excuses.


The following guide will lead you through the process division essay. Note that you may need to integrate one or more velopment in your essay to develop your thesis or make a learning sryle, you may choose various ways of generating

a classification or patterns ofde­

Depending on yoU! organizing ideas.

The Assignment

Write a classification or division essay on a one of the followin!! lisrs:


1. Types of pets 2. Types of sPOtts fans

ofyour own choosing or on a


Generating Ideas

There are tWO primary methods for generating ideas and for classifying or those ideas. With method 1, you first generare details and then group the details into categories or parts. With method 2, you first generate categories or parts and then generate details that support them. Here is how both methods apply to classification

essays and division essays:


Method 1: First think ofderails that de.<cribe the group. Then use the details to categorize group members.

Method 2: First identify categories. Then think of details that describe each category.


Method 1: Brainstorm details about your topic and then group the details into partS or seccions.

Method 2: Think about how yOUt rhink of details that

can be divided into easy-to-understand partS. Then

each part.

toMethod 1 is effective when you approach the classification or division from __ identifying details and then grouping the details. Depending on your

slyle and your topic, it may be casier to start by creating categories or parts and filling in details about each one. In this case, use method 2.

420 CHAPTER 16

To draw detafled graphh::

orgamzer5 using a computer. visl! www.bed[ord$tmortins. .com/slJ((fmfulcollege.


Exercise 16.3

Draw a graphic organizer for “My Secret Lifo on the McJob: Fast 411-13). Note that because this is an excerptfoam a book, it does not

Integrating Classification or Division into an Essay

Classification or division is often used along with one or more other patterns of opment. For example, an essay that argues for stricter gun control may categorize in terms of their firepower, use, or availability. A narrative aboU( a writer’s frustrat-. ing experien= in a crowded international airport terminal may describe the A;f.l’~rpn’ parts or areas of the airport.

Use the following tips to incorporate classification or division into an essay based on another pattern of development:

1. Avoid focusing on why the classification or division is meaningful. When used as a secondary pattern, its significance should be dear from the context in which the classification or division is presented.

3. lypes of movies 4. Types of classmates 5. Types ofshoppers 6. Types of television dramas


1, Your family 2. A machine or a piece of equipment 3. An organization 4. A sports team or an extracurricular dub 5. Apublic place (building, stadium, department store, or theme 6. Your college

Depending on the topic you seiect, you may need to use Internet or library sources to develop and suppott your ideas about it. You may also need to narrow the topic. Your audience consists of readers ofyour local newspaper.

Ali. you develop your classification or division essay, consider using one or more other patterns of development. For example, in a classification essay, you might compare and contrast rypes of sportS fans or give examples of types of movies. In a division essay, you might describe the partS of a theme park or another public

For more on descnpt/On,

ifhutration, and compari.’iOn and

contrast, ,See Chapters 12, 13,

ond 15,www.bed[ord$tmortins

422 CHAPTER 16

Fot more Oil purpo!>e, Qudience,

and point of view, see Chapter 5,


For more on prewriting !>trate-ies, see Chapter 5, pp” 110-18,

For more on oblervotfon, see

Chapter 22.pp. 617~78.

leoming Style OptJOIIS

For mote 0″ fibrary end Internp.t research, see Chaptet 22. pp,597-606,


Your principle of I ‘fi’ d’ .. ‘ WConSidering Your Purpose, Audience and Point of Vie c asSl catton or d’ lV1SIon ‘ vn’J ~ur categories or parts, and your detail must aU fit your purp d

users about the comr::se an ~u lence. ~ your purpose is to inform novice compute be straightforward dnents 0 ha ~erslon computer (PC), your parts and details mus

an nontee mea How’f’puter technicians to rch I .ever, I your purpose IS to persuade com > • • . p~ ,a~e a parttcu ar kind of PC, your parts and details Idmore techmcal. For this GUIded Writing Assignment you d’ . wfou

of your local newspaper. ‘ r au lenee consists 0 reade

As. you work on your classification or division essay k If h £ II’ uesno ns. . ,as yourse t e 10 owm

q • Is my principle ofcl ‘fi’ . . ..

audience? assl cation or divlSlon appropn<1te for my purpose and • Do my categories d .

Will my readers o~parts :; h my detatls advance the purpose of the essay? What point of un er:’ltlaben t e .categones or parts?

View WI st SUit my purpo d d’ fi third person? The Ii I se an au lencc- rst, second, or; in informal writ’ ~t person ( , we) ~r second person (you) may be appropriate ence with the to;g 1 you or t~r ~udlence have personal knowledge ofor experi­ they) is appropria:~ you are ~assl~lflg.o.r dividing. T~e third person (he, she, it, your audience. m more orma wrmng or for tOpiCS less familiar to you or

Generating Details and Grouping Them into Categories or Parts

Work through the following tasks in whatever order suits your topic and your style, using either method 1 or method 2 (p. 421).

Generat:ing tiet4i1s. For each category or part, you need to supply specific details will make it clear and understandable to your readers. As you work on your then, write down examples, situations, or sensory details that illustrate each categorlll


and worthwhile to your audience. Experiment with several principles of classification d’lVlSlon. . untt you find one that fits your purpose an d .or ‘1 audience.

Choosing categorics or part.. Use the following suggestions to determine your

‘ categoncs or parts: ‘ . .1. In a classificatr.on essay, make sure most or all members of the group fit mto one of

. . .r .. b’ Idyour categones. For example, m an essay about unsare dnvmg ha Its, you wou

include the most common bad habits. In a division essay, no essential parts should be e out. For example, III an essay about partS of a baseball stadIUm, you would 1ft’ ‘

not exclude the infield or bleachers. 2. In a classification essay, be sure the categories are exclusive; each group member

should fit into one category only. In the essay about unsafe driving habits, the categories of reckless drivers and aggressive drivers would overlap, so exclusive categories should be used instead. In a division essay, make sure the partS do not

I .” .over ap. In the essay about the parts of a baseball stadIUm, the parts playmg field” and “infield” would overlap, so it would be better to use three distinct

parts of the field – infield, outfield, and foul-ball area. 3. Create specific categories or parts that will engage your readers. In a classifica­

tion essay, categorizing drivers by their annoying driving habits would be more interesting than simply distinguishing between “good” and “bad” drivers. A division essay on players’ facilitieS in a baseball stadium-dugout, locker room, and bullpen _ might be more interesting to sports fans than an essay

describing different seating sections of the stadium. Choose descriptive names that emphasize the distinguishing feature of the category or part. In a classification essay, you might categorize highway drivers as “I-own-the-road” drivers, “I’m-in-no-hurry” drivers, and “I’m-daydreaming” drivers. In a division essay about the parts of a baseball stadium, you might use

“home-tun heaven” to name one part.

Do not hesitate to create, combine, or eliminate categories or partS, as needed.

or part. Use one or more of the following strategies:

1. Visit a place where you can observe your topic or the people associated with it. example, to generate details about pets, visit a pet store or an animal shelter. notes on what you see and hear. Record conversations, physical chara<.1:eristics, haviors, and so forth.

2. Discuss your topic with a classmate or friend. Focus your talk on the qualities characteristics ofyour topic.

3. Brainstorm a list of aU the features or characteristics ofyour topic that come to mind.

4. Draw a map or diagram that illustrates your topic’s features and characteristics. 5. Conduct library or Internet research to discover facts, examples, and other details

about your topic.

Choosing a principle ofclassification or division. Look for shared features or teristics. Your principle ofclassification or division should be interesting, meanmgtID,

Essay in Progress 1 Choose a topic for your classification or division essay from the list of assignmen~ op­ tions on pages 420-21, or choose one on your own. Then use the preceding guidelines for method 1 or method 2 to generate details about your topic, choose a principle of classification or division, and devise a set of (‘.categories or parts. Whatever method you use, list the examples, situations, or other details that you will use to describe each cat­ egory or part. You might try drawing a graphic organizer.

Developing Your Thesis nee you choose categories or parts and are satisfied with your details, you are ready develop a thesis for your essay. Remember that your thesis statement should iden­

topic and reveal your principle of division or classification. In most cases, it also suggest why your classification or division is useful or important. Notice

following weak theses have been strengthened by showing both what the cat-

are and why they are important.

For mon:: on thesis statements,

see Chapter 6http:classificatr.on

424 CHAPTER 16

SR~,’ Chapter 7.






There arc four types of insurance that most people can

If you understand the four common types of insurance, be able to make sure that you, your family members, property arc protected.

Conventional stores are only one type becoming more

other types are

conventional stores are still where most people pur­ chase products, three new types of shopping are becoming increasingly popular -face-co-face sales conducted in a home, sales via telephone or computer, and sales from automatic vend­ ing machines.

Draft your thesis and then check your prewriting to make sure you have details to support the thesis. If necessary, do some additional prewriting.

Essay in Progress 2

Using the preceding guidelines, develop a thesis for your classification Or division essay.

Evaluating Your Ideas and Thesis

Take a few minures to evaluate your ideas and thesis. Start by rereading everythIng you have written with a critical Highlight the most useful details and delete mose that are repetitious or irrelevant. are working on a computer, highlight useful details in bold type or move them to a separate file. As you review your work, add useful ideas that come to mind.

Trying Out Your Ideas on Others

Working in a group of two or three students, discuss your ideas and thesis for this

chapter’S assignment. Each writer should describe to the group his or her topic, prin·

ciple of classification or division, and categories or parts. Then, as a group, evaluate

each writer’s work and suggest recommendations for improvement.

Essay in Progress 3 Using the preceding suggestions and comments from your classmates, evaluate your

thesis, your categories or parts, and the details you plan to use in your essay. Refer to

the list of characteristics on pages 413-15 to help you with your evaluation.

Organizing and Drafting

Once the

have evaluated your categories or parts, reviewed your thesis, and considered ofyour classmates, you are ready to otganize your ideas and draft your essay.


Choosing a Method of Organization Choose the method of organization that best suits your purpose. One method that works well in classification essays is the least-co-most or most-to-Ieast arrangement. You might arrange your categories in increasing order of importance or from most to least common, difficult, or frequent. Other possible sequences include chronologi­ cal order (when one category occurs or is observable before another) or spatial order

you classifY physical objects). Spatial order often works well in division essays, as does order of importance. In

describing the parts of a baseball stadium, you might move from stands to playing field order). In writing about the parts of a hospital, you might describe the most

important areas first (operating rooms and emergency department) and then move to less importantiiKililies (waiting rooms and visitor cafeteria).

Drafting the Classification or Division Essay Once you decide how to organize your categories or parts, your next step is to write a

first draft. Use the following guidelines CO draft your essay:

1. Explain each category or part. Begin by defining each one, taking into account the complexity of your topic and the background knowledge of your audience. Define any unfamiliar terms. Then pcovide details that describe each category or part, and show how each is distinct from the omers. Include a wide range of details-sensory details, personal experiences, examples, and comparisons and

contrasts. 2. Provide roughly the same amount and kind of detail and description for

each of your categories or parts. For instance, if you give an example of one type of mental disorder, you should give an example for every other type dis­ cussed in the essay. Generally, allow one or more paragraphs for each category

or part. 3. Consider using headings or lists. Presenting me

numbered list or in sections wim headings can tinct. Headings or lists can be especially useful

or within a make them clear and dis­

number of

categories or parts. . 4. Use transitions. You need transitions to keep your reader on track as you move

from one category or part to anomer. In addition, transitions help distinguish key

featutes between and within categories or parts. 5. Consider using a visual. Diagrams, charts, or other visuals can make your system

of classification or division clearer for your rcaders. 6. Write an effective introduction. Your introduction usually includes your thesis

statement and suggests why the classification or division is usefuL It also should provide background information and explain further, if needed, your principle of

classification or division. 7. Write a satisfying conclusion. Your conclusion should bring your essay ro a

close, reemphasizing your thesis or offering a new insight or oCI:solective

For more on methods of organization, see Chapter 7,

pp- 144-4r

For mOle on tramitiom,

see Chapter 7, pp. 150–52.

For mon? on writing effective paragtapns, including introdwction;. and wne/usions,

For more on keepmg an error log, sep Chapter 10, rP. 221-22.

[-or more on combmmg sentem:.e5 and varying sentence patterns, see Chapter JO, pp. 206–12.

Essay’ ~n Pr,,;:.gc(‘1SS 5 Revise your draft using Figure 16.3 and any comments you received from peer review”­

Editing and Proofreading

The last step is to check your revised essay for errors in grammar, spelling, punctuation. I and mechanics. Watch for the types oferrors you tend to make (refer to your error log).

When editing a classification or division essay, pay specific attention to two par· ticular kinds ofgrammatical error-choppy sentences and omitted commas followio~. introductory elements.

1. Avoid short, choppy sentences, which can make a classification or division essay sound dull and mechanical. 11-y combining a series of shorr sentences and varying sentence patterns and lengths.

,sliCh as German sheph?rds end sheephprding dogs

.. Working dogs”””, another one of the American Kennel Club’s breed

categories. The.e iRelud. German “”_pheM. aad sheeph<!rtling.lag … 1he jo:unMln pen, one

.. ,.Qne standard type ofwriting instrumen; is the c….”taifl pen.-It-is some­ times messy and inconvenient to use.

3. Underline the categories or parts. Do they cover all or most members of the group or all major parts of the topic? Are your categories or parts eJ<c1usive [not overlapping}?


4. Place checkmarksV beside the details that explain each category or part. Does your essay fully explain each one? [If it reads like a list, answer “No.”)


• Brainstorm or do research to add categories or parts.

• Revise your categories or parts so that each item fits into one group only.

• Brainstorm or do research to discover more details. Add eJ<amples. definitions, facts, and expert testimony to improve your eJ<planations.

(continued on next page)



426 CHAPTER 16

For more on the benefit5 ofpeer revIew; see Chapter 9, pp.


If you have trouble finding an appropriate way to conclude your essay, return to statement about why the classification or division is useful and imporrant, and try extend or elaborate on that statement.

tjiS’;:Vy 1r. f~fQ$!:t<-::~s 4 Draft your classification or division essay, using an appropriate method of organization and the preceding guidelines for drafting.

Analyzing and Revising

As you review your dran, remember that your goal is to revise your classification or vision essay to make it dearer and more effeai”e. Focus on content and ideas and on grammar, punctuation, or mechanics. Use one or more of the following to analyze your draft:

I. Reread your essay aloud. You may “hear” parts that need revision. 2. Ask a friend or classmate to read your draft and to give you his or her impressicl

ofyour categories of classification or division. Compare your reader’s impressions with what you intend to convey, and revise your draft accordingly.

3. Draw a graphic organizer, make an oudine, or update the organizer or you drew or made earlier. In particular, look for any categories or parts that sufficient details, and revise to include them.

Use Figure 16.3 to guide your analysis of the strengths and weaknesses in your essay. You might also ask a classmate to review your draft using the questions in flowchart. For each “No” response, ask your reviewer to explain his or her answer.

=:;;;;—___ ·,FIg:ut~.1~.·a:t


1. tlfg\j'(i~ht your thesis statement. Do it and the rest of your introduction NO eJ<plain your principle of classifica­ tion or division and suggest why it is important?


2. Write the principle of classification you used at the top of your paper. Do you use this principle consistently through· out the essay? Does it fit your audience and purpose? Does it dearly relate to your thesis?



• Revise your thesis to make your justifica· tion stronger or more appa rent. Add explanatory information to your introduction.

• Review or brainstorm other possible principles of classification of your topic, and decide if one of them better fits your audience and purpose .

• Revise your categories and parts to fit ei­ ther your existing principle or a new one.

• Rewrite your thesiS to relied your principle of classification.

(Figure 16.3 continued)


S. Write the method of organization you o Refer to Chapter 7 to discover a moreused at the top of your essay. Is the or.

appropriate organizing plan. ganization clear? Does this method suit your audience and purpose? Have you o Revise the order of your categories or

parts.followed it consistently? o Add transitions to make your organiza.

tion clear.

6. ~ the top.ic sentel’tce of each paragraph. Is each paragraph focused o Consider combining paragraphs that on a separate category or part? cover a Single category or part and

splitting paragraphs that cover more than one.

7. Reread your conclusion. Does it offer o Ask yourself: ·So what? What does this a new insight or perspective On the

topic? mean?” Build your answers into the conclusion.

which he was asked to address the national debate about immigration. As

2. Add a comma after opening phrases or clauses tb:at are longer than four

,. When describing types of college studen~ be sure to consider variations in

II Although there are many types of camera~ most are easy to operate.

Essay in Progress 6

Edit and proofread your essay, paying particular attention to sentence variety and as well as comma usage.

Students Write

Sunny Desai was a student at the University of Maryland at College Park he wrote the following essay in response to an assignment for his writing

etiqibility to enter, but with particular constraints, including purpose of visit and length of stay.

The Web site of the Department of State points out that when the holder of a visa arrives at

acheckpoint for entry into the United States, an immigration officer will determine whether

he or she is actuali1l allowed in, There are many types of visas; in fact, according to the

Department of Homeland Security (DHS), there are over seventy types altogether (Immigration

Oassijlcations). The OVerwhelming majority of visa holders, however, fall into four inain groups.

The most common one is i:l1elotlllst·’lis~; which allows a person to remain in the countrY only temporarily, for a variable length of time. Applicants must pass a security clearance and show

that they have enough money to cover their visit.

~.~I1~,i~~I~!\V~~ of visa is .th~’ f{1~ irisa, for those seeking temporary residence for work·related reasons. The visa is mostly used by outsourcing firms and technology companies.

In 2007, Microsoft and Intel were among the ten highest receivers of H1S visas; the rest of

,the top ten were outsourcing companies, mostly based in India (Herbst 63). However, many

doctors and nurses also arrive in the United States in this way. As explained on the Web site

.,e U.s. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a DHS agency, the HIS visa is used mostly by

professional workers, since a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent is often an eligibility require­

Even where this is not the case, unskilled laborers are often excluded because of the

country legally, most commonly through holding visas. He cites sources for his information, as he continues to do throughout the essay.

DesaI indicates that his c1asslfkation is comprehensive. induding all major categories, and introduces the fi~t sub<:ategOl)’ of the legal category: people on tourist visas.

rhe second subcategory: those on H1B visas.. Notice that at the beginning of this paragraph and the next four. Desai uses a l!!if\i<!~, to signal the next category or subcategory .

Desai provides details to expl3in this type of visa.

read the essay, notice how Desai uses classification as his primary method of organization.

Immigration: Legal and Illegal

Sunny Desai

The immigration debate in the United States has raged on for a number of years without

much movement toward an agreement on how to deal with the issue. Some Americans

believe immigration needs to be curtailed; they argue that immigrants are draining our

economy and social services. and take jobs that citizens coold I!()ld. Others believe that

immigration is beneficial and maintains America’s identity as a melting pot of cultures.

Reflecting the views of the public, lawmakers and political candidates are also sharply

divided on the immigration issue. From the standpoint of legal status, there are many types

and subtypes of people who are currently in the United States but not American citizens,

Understanding thes.edistlrtctions i~ the key to good policy decisions and to informed choices

by voters.

For the millions ofdt1~4!n~ of ottler,c:oliritrie, w~o are Int!JeUni\:~ SU!~~ le9~lly,.. the most common method of entry is through a visa–a document that demonstrates a person’s

Title: Desai identifies the subject and its two primary classifications,

Introduction: Desai describes the controversy over immigration, identifies legality as his principle of classification, and explains the Importance of classifying_henondtizens. In identif1esthe hisIII two major categories he will discuss.

Desai introduces the fi,rst <ategory of noncitize~~­ people who are !n the


limited number of visas available. For those who are eligible, the H1B visa is a desirable path to

naturalization–the process that leads to U.S. citizenship. Typically, it is issued for three years,

. STUDENTS WRITE.——-_.._—–_._—–_.._— ._…………… _.__…_—_.._._—_.__.. program in place, it would not be too difficult to add new categories to cover other kinds of “guest

workers.” Currently, illegal immigrants are doing mostly jobs Americans do not want to do. But if we

make them leave, the economy would suffer. Therefore, creating a program that allows laborers to

find seasonal work and then return home is a plausible solution to the immigration debate.

Works Cited

Herbst, Moira. “Guess Who’s Getting the Most Work Visas.” Business Week 6 Mar. 2008: 62-64. Print.

Pew Research Center. “Estimates of the Unauthorized Migrant Population for States Based on the

March 200S CPS.” Pew Hisponic CeM!r, 2006. Web. 16 May 2011.

United States. Dept. of Homeland Security. Office of Immig ration Statistics. u.s. Legal Permanent

with the option to renew it once. However, the employer can decide to apply for fewer years

(Employment Authorization).

Apart from tourists and H1B workers, the other two major categories of noncitizens with

temporary legal status in the United States are holders of student visas and business visas.

Temporary entrance is allowed for those seeking to study in the country or having some sort of

business to conduct, whether they are employees of a multinational corporation or foreign

entertainers touring America. The duration of these visas varies greatly, ranging from months to

years. The rules of entry also differ: Some visas allow for mUltiple entries whereas others only

allow one entry.

The :M:O~.iIDcll!!!8ory: permanent legal residents

presence is illegal) and the :~t$~li<li!!~~g of this group (those who entered illegally)

Theiei:?i!ii~t:Ii~ of illegal residents: visa overstays

Conclusion: DesaI proposes a solution to the immigration debate.

Ihisidi5 these 9’OU ps who are allowed tov1~h th e States temporarily, some

people maintain permanent legal residency here but remain citizens of other nations.

Permanent legal residents have identification cards generally called “green cards,” also known

as permanent resident cards. Most people who get green cards already live in the United

States and had some sort of family relationship that helped them obtain it. According to the

DHS’s Office of Immigration Statistics, other factors that may enhance a person’s ability to

become a permanent legal resident are employment-based skills, birth in a country with a low

rate of immigration to the United States, and status as a refugee or seeker of political asylum.

For many, hoLding a green card is the first step toward becoming a citizen. Unlike a visa, it

allows someone to travel abroad for up to a year without losing permanent residency status.

The card is valid for ten years, after which it can be renewed (Office of Immigration


and,~~!laYi$as, there are a large number of

noncitizens living illegally in the United States. By one estimate, up to twelve million illegal

immigrants were in the country as of 2006, the vast majority from latin America (“Estimates’ 2).

AU of these people are committing a crime under the Immigration and Nationality Act. The phrase

“illegal immigrants” may conjure up images of people secretly crossing the U.S.-Mexico border,

and certainly many do enter by hiding in trucks, walking through the desert, or swimming across a

border river. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, more than half of illegal immigrants ente(

the country without a visa. Many enter for seasonal employment opportunities and return back

home; however, such immigration is also deemed illegal.

l!\lt!leoR~¥il\if~dt~d~he; ~oun~fyil\egal(y.are1’iottheollty<)tl~·Wl19sepresen~ ~” iis Rle9~t. The other type of illegal “immigrants” is the visa ovarstays. Members of this group

entered the country legally, using a visa, but have stayed beyond its exPiration date. When they

past their allotted time, they, like those who have entered without a visa, are subject to deportation.

Many immigrants, legal or illegal, are in the country because they want to work here. The

temporary-work visa program is now fairly limited and restrictive, but since we already have

Residents: 2006. U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, 2006. Web. 16 Mar. 2011.

—.—.U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Employment Authorization. Dept. of Homeland

Security, 2008. Web. 16 Mar. 2011.

……-.-.. Immigration Classifications and Visa Categories. Dept. of Homeland Security, 2008.

Web. 12 Mar. 201l.

-. Dept. of State. What Is a U.S. Visa? Dept. of State, 2008. Web. 16 Mar. 2011.

Analyzing the Writer’s Technique

1. According to Desai, why is it important to understand the classification of immigrants?

2. What types of evidence does Desai use ro develop his essay? :\, Evaluate Desai’s introduction and conclusion. How successful are they at engaging

readers’ interest?

Critically about Classification and Division

is the connotation of the phrase “melting pot” (para. 1)1 the second sentence ofparagraph 8. Is this fact or opinion? How can you

Desai’s sources. What additional kinds of sources might have been useful?

Desai’s tone. What kind of audience does he address?

other reasons could Desai have used to establish the importance ofhis

other principles of classification that might be used to c1a.ssifjr noncitizens. a journal entry describing Desai’s attitude toward noncitizens.

• ;r:;, 432 4 ———~~=”::-.-:·-‘:–~=—~~~’~~~~~!’~~~-p-I·~~-‘I-~~——-___.______~.____.~_____ . ____””_________ CAROLYN FOSTER SEGAL THE DOG ATE MY FLASH DRIVE 433

For more on reading ~trategies, see Chapter 3.

For more on discovering

ideos for a re~ponse paper, see Chapter 4.

READING A CLASSIFICATION OR DIVISION ESSAY downsized and those who lack skills for employment-because many people are

– ” to work due to illness; those who were fired for personal reasons, such as incompetence;

J jnemPIoyed for other reasons. This classification fuils to consider those who are unable

The following section provides advic C d’ I’ . and those who choose not to work while they raise children or pursue an education. II e ror rea lllg a c asslficaoo d” . d'”‘c h – “. h kwe as two model essays The first es’ll h n or IVISlOn essay When rea lllg My Secret lire on t e McJob: Fast Food Managers, you mig t as’. . sa I ustrates t . . ‘. . ‘

covered In thiS chapter. The second ess: uses la ‘fi e <;haractenstlcs of ciasslficatlo whether there are other £)’pes ofmanagers that Newman did not observe or recogruze. of development. Both essays provide y C. 551 cation ~Iong With other meth( the writers’ ideas. opportunities to examllle, analyze, and react

Working with Text: Reading a ClaSSification or Division Essay

A classification or division essay is usually tightly organized and relatively easy to low. Use the suggestions below to read classification essays, division essays, or any lng that uses classification or division.

What to Look For, Highlight, and Annotate

1. Highlight the thesis statement, the principle ofclassification, and the name or ofeach category or parr.

2. Use a different color highlighter (or another marking method, such as asterisks numbers) to identify the key details ofeach category.

3. Mark important definitions and vivid examples for later reference. 4. Add annotations indicating where you find a category or part confUsing or

you think more detail is needed.

How to Find Ideas to Write About

To gain a different perspective on the reading, think of other ways of classifYing dividing the topic. for example, consider an essay that classilies types of exercise grams at health clubs according to the benefits th~”Y offer for cardiovascular Such exercise programs could also be classilied according to their cost, degree uousness, type ofexercise, and so forth.

Thinking Critically about ClaSSification and DiVision

When reading classification or division, particularly if its purpose ‘is to persuade, on both the comprehensiveness and the level ofd<.’tail by asking the follOwing

1. Does the ClaSSification or DiviSion Cover All Significant Categories or Parts?

To be fair and honest, a writer should discuss aU the significant categories or parts which a subject can be classified or divided. It would be misleading, for example, writer to classifY unemployed workers into only two groups-those who have been

2. Does the Writer Provide Sufficient Detail about Each Category?

An objective and fair classification or division analysis requires that each category be treated with the same level ofdetail. To provide many details for some categories and just a lew for others suggests a bias. For example, if a writer classifYing how high school students spend their time goes into great detail about leisure activities and offers little derail on part-time jobs or volunteer work, the writer may create a &lse impression that students care only about having fun and make few meaningful contributions to society.

3. Is the Principle of Classification Appropriate for the Writer’s Purpose?

When evaluating a classification or division essay, determine whether the subject is classi­ fied or divided in a way that fits the writer’s purpose. Newman, in “My Secret Life on the McJob: Fast Food Managers,” classifies managers according to management style. It would be possible, however, to compare managers according to other criteria such as productiv­ ity, experience, training, or location. Newman’s purpose is to comment on relationships between employees and managers and to explore his experience as a fust-food worker, so his decision to use management style was appropriate. However, ifhis purpose had been ro ex­ amine why some McDonald’s fianchises are more profitable than others, then classification of managers by financial profitability might have been a more appropriate choice.

In “A Brush with Reality: Sutprises in the Tube,” Bodanis devotes several para­ graphs to chalk and gives far less coverage to detergent, for example. This discrepancy may be justified because chalk is, in terms of quantity, the second most important ingredient in toothpaste.


In the fullowing essay, Carolyn Foster SegaJ combines classification with other patterns of development to support a thesis about student excuses.

The Dog Ate My Flash Drive, and Other Tales ofWoe Carolyn Foster Segal

Carolyn Foster Segal Is professor of English at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where she specializes in American literature, poetry, creative writing, and women’s film. She has published poems in Buffalo Spree magazine, Phoebe: Alournal ofFeminist Scholarship, Theory, and Aesthetics, and the Bucks County Writer, as well as many essays in the Chronicle

after week, semester after semester, year after year, in offering excuses aoout why their woti<: is not ready. Those reasons fall into several broad categories: the family, the best friend, the evils of dorm life, the evils of technology, and the totally bizarre.

The Family. The death of the grandfather/grandmother is, of course, the grandmother 2 of all excuses. What heartless teacher would dare to question a student’s grief or ve· racity? What heartless student would lie, wishing death on a revered family member, just to avoid a deadline? Creative students may win extra extensions (and days off) with a little careful planning and fuller plot development, as in the sequence of “My grandfather/grandmother is sickn; “Now my grandfather/grandmother is in the haspi· taln; and finally, “We could all see it coming-my grandfather/grandmother is dead.n

Another favorite excuse is “the family emergency, n which (always) goes like this: “There was an emergency at home, and I had to help my family.” It’s a lovely senti· ment, one that conjures up images of louisa May Alcott’s little women rushing off with

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\:’: ‘.,~~~. • ~ ~ ,” .. \. ,”” ~~ .. t’l l,.” .”~~”” ;~.

‘. ~~…….——- . ,,”‘” ” ……….—­’.;:~ .’ :.~.: , …. I …..~_ • .’ .’~. \l, f .,.t _ ~

“”:”” ‘ . . . – ~E~

the prime of her life has allegedly committed suicide, and no professor can prove other· wise! And I admit I was moved, until finally I had to point out to my students that it was amazing how the simple act of my assigning a topic for a paper seemed to drive large numbers of otherwise happy and healthy middle·aged women to their deaths. I was care· ful to make that point during an offweek, duringwhkh no deaths were reported.

The Evils ofDorm Life. These stories are usually fairly predictaole; almost always fea· 6 ture the evil roommate or hallmate, with my student in the role of the innocent victim; and can oe summed up as foHows: My roommate, who is a horriole person, likes to party, and I, who am a good person, cannot concentrate on my work when he or she is partying, Variations include stories about the two people next door who were running around and crying loudly last night because (a) one ofthem had ooyfriend/girlfriend proolems; (0) one of them was throwing up blood; or (c) someone, somewhere, died. A friend of mine in graduate school had a student who claimed that his roommate at· tacked him with a hammer. That, in fact, was a true story; it came out in court when the bad roommate was tried for killing his grandfather.

The Evils ofTechnology. The computer age has revolutionized the student story, in· spiring almost as many new excuses as it has Internet ousinesses, Here are just a few electronically enhanced explanations:

• The computer wouldn’t let me save my work. • The printer wouldn’t print. • The printer wouldn’t print this file. • The printer wouldn’t give me time to proofread. • The printer made a olack line run through all my words, and I know you can’t read

this, out do you still want it, or wait. here, take my flash drive. File name? I don’t know what you mean.

• I swear I attached it. • It’s my roommate’s computer, and she usually helps me, but she had to go to the

hospital because she was throwing up blood • • ‘did write to the Ustserv, out all my messages came back to me. • I just found out that all my other listserv messages came up under a diferent

name. I just want you to know that its really me who wrote all those messages, you can tel which ones our mine oecause t didnt use the spelcheck! But it was yours truely:) Anyway, justin case you missed those messages or don’t belief its my writ· ting, I’ll repeat what I sad: I thought the last movie we watched in clas was oorring.

tad/unct: A part-time instructor.


ofHigher Education, aweekly newspaper for college faculty and administrators. The following essay appeared In the Chronicle in 2000. With the author’s permission, It has been revised slightly to update some technological references. As you read, notice how Segal’s classification essay also uses description and illustration to fully explain each category she identifies.

Taped to the door of my office is a cartoon that features a cat explaining to his feline teacher. “The dog ate my homework.n It is intended as a gently humorous reminder to my students that I will not accept excuses for late work, and it, like the lengthy warning on my syllabus, has had absolutely no effect. With a show of energy and creativity that would be admiraole if applied to the (miSSing) assignments in question. my students persist, week


oaskets of food and copies of Pilgrim’s Progress, but I do not understand why anyone would turn to my most irresponsiole students in times of trouble.

The Best Friend. This heartwarming concern for others extends beyond the family to friends, as in, “My best friend was up all night and I had to (a) stay up with her in the dorm, (0) drive her to the hospital, or (e) drive to her college oecause (1) her boyfriend oroke up with her, (2) she was throwing up olood [no one catches a cold anymore; everyone throws up oloodl, or (3) her grandfather/grandmother died.”

At one private university where I worked as an adjunct,’ I heard an interesting spin that incorporated the motifs of ooth oest friend and dead relative: “My oest friend’s mother killed herself.” One has to admire the cleverness here: A mysterious woman in


The Totally Bizarre. Icall the flrst story “The Pennsylvania Chain Saw Episode.” A com· muter student called to explain why she had missed my morning class. She had gotten up early so that she would be wide awake for class. Having a bit of extra time, she walked outside to see her neighbor, who was cutting some wood. She caHed out to him, and he waved back to her with the saw. Wouldn’t you know it, the safety catch wasn’t on orwas broken, and the blade flew right out of the saw and across his lawn and over her fence and across her yard and severed a tendon in her right hand. So she was calling me from the hospital. where she was wailing for surgery. Luckily, she reassured me, she had remem· bered to bring her paper and a stamped envelope (in a plastic bag, to avoid bloodstains) along with herin the ambulance, and a nurse was mailing everything to me even as we spoke.

That wasn’t her first absence. In fact, this student had missed most of the class meet­ Ings, and I had atreacly recommended that she withdlllw from the course. N6W ! suggested again that it might be best if she dropped the class. I didn’t harp on the absences (what if even some ofthis story were true?). Idid mention that she would need time to recuperate


Category Types of Support



and that making up so much missed work might be difficult. ·Oh, no,· she said, “I can’t drop this course. Ihad been planning to go on to medical school and become a surgeon, but since 1 won’t be able to operate because of my accident, I’ll have to major in English, and this course is more importantthan ever to me.” She did come to the next class, wearing-as evidence of her recent trauma-a bedraggled Ace bandage on her left hand.

You may be thinking that nothing could top that excuse, but in fact I have one more 10 story, provided by the same student, who sent me a letter to explain why her final assign· ment would be late. While recuperating from her surgery, she had begun corresponding on the Internet with a man who lived in Germany. After a one·week, whirlwind Web roo mance, they had agreed to meetin Rome, to rendezvous (her phrase) atthe papal Easter Mass. Regrettably, the time of her flight made it impossible for her to attend class, but she trusted that I-just this once-would accept late work if the pope wrote a note.

Examining the Reading

1. Identify the categories ofstudent excuses that identifies. 2. Do some student excuses turn out to be an example from the

reading. 3. What obvious mistake was made by the student who offered the chain-saw

excuse? . 4. Explain the meaning of each of the following words as it is used in the reading:

bizarre (para. 1). veracity (2), conjures (3), motifi (5), and harp (9). Refer to your dlcltion:arv as needed.

Analyzing the Writer’s Technique

1. Is it helpful or for Segal to list her five categories in her mesis? 2. What is the function essay’s title? 3. Who is Segal’s audience? How can you tell? 4, What other patterns of development does Segal use in the essay?

Visualizing the Reading

What types ofsupporting information does Segal supply to make her categories seem real and believable? Review the and complete me chart above by filling in at least one type of support for each category. The first one has been done for you.

Thinking Critically about Text and Visuals

1. What other categories could be included in mis essay? 2. What is me connotation of “an interesting spin” (para. 5)? 3. Other than students, what sources does Segal use? Explain why me essay would or

would not benefit from more sources. 4. Does Segal provide sufficient detail in each category? What other kinds of details

might she have included? 5. Is the classification appropriate for Segal’s purpose? Why or why not? 6. Describe the tone of me essay. What does it reveal about Segal’s attitude toward

students? 7. What does me inclusion of the cartoon add to me essay? Why is the boy selling

“Homework Done” frowning and the boy selling “Homework Eaten” smiling? What is the implied message? What omer visual differences do you visual differ­ ences do you notice becween the cwo

Reacting to the Reading

1. As a student, how do you react (0 me essay? Have you observed these excuses being made (or perhaps even made them yourself)? Do you agree that they are overused? Or did you find the essay inaccurate, unfair, or even upsetting?

2. Write a journal entry exploring how you think instructors should handle students who make false excuses.

3. Write an essay classifying the excuses you have seen coworkers or mnt’I’Vu”,,,, make in the workplace to cover up or JUStifY their poor performance, tardiness, Or irresponsibility.


For more on locating and

documenting SOU((es, see Part 5,

Applying Your Skills: Additional Essay Assignments

Write a classification or division learned about classification and choose, you may need to conduct

To Express Your Ideas

using what you Depending on the topic you

1. Explain whether you are proud of or frustrated with your to budget money. For example. you might classify budget categories that are easy to master versus those that cause problems.

2. Explain why you chose your career or major. the job opportunities or benefits ofyour chosen field, and indicate why

3. Divide a store-such as a media shop. departments. Describe where you are most

To Inform Your Reader

4. Write an essay for the readers of your college newspaper classifYing college in­ structors’ teaching styles.

5. Explain the parts ofa ceremony or an event you have attended or participated in. 6. Divide a familiar substance into its components, as Bodanis does in “A Brush

with Reality: Surprises in the Tube” (pp. 417-18).


~Q§,~.NECTIONS) The Workplace

Both “My Secret Life on the McJob: Fast Food Managers’ (pp. 411-13) and ‘Sell ­ ing in Minnesota” (pp. 254-56) deal with employment in low-level service jobs. As you answer the following questions, keep in mind that both authors are professionals

who were working under the guise of learning the habits, characteristics, and prob­

lems that everyday workers face in such jobs.

Analyzing the Readings

1. What workplace problems did both Ehrenreich and Newman observe? 2. Write a journal entry exploring the differences and/or similarities that exist be­

tween working at Wal-Mart and working at fast-food restaurants.

Essay Idea

Write an essay in which you explore attitudes toward and expectations about work.

You might consider its value, besides a weekly paycheck, Or you might examine what type of work is rewarding.


To Persuade Your Reader

7. Categorize types of television violence (0 develop the argument that violence on television is either harmful to children or not harmful to children.

8. In an essay that categorizes types of parenting skills and demonstrates how they arc learned, dL-velop the argument that efkctive parenting skills can be acquired through practice, training, or observation.

Cases Using Classification or Division

9. Write an essay for an introductoty education class identifying a problem have experienced or observed in the public education system. Divide education into parts to bener explain your problem.

10. You oversee the development of the annual catalog for a large community col­ lege, including the section deseribing the services ofkred to students. Decide how that section of the catalog should be organized. and then list the cat:egc,n”, it should include. Finally, write a description of the services in one categoty.

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