Trove: Find and get Australian resources. Books, images, historic newspapers, maps, archives and more. Editions for Steps to Writing Well: (Paperback published in ), (Paperback published in ), (Paperback. Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Jean Wyrick is Professor Emerita of English at Colorado.
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is because few writers, even experienced ones, can do a good job when sis statement and rough drafts, here are some steps you may wish to follow: 1. First. On Writing Well, The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction, 6e () Handbook, Third Edition A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Copy That ayofoto.info This books (Steps to Writing Well [PDF]) Made by Jean Wyrick About Books Reliable and straightforward, this text has helped thousands of.
This evolution happened when these pictorial scripts gave way to writing in which the symbols came to stand for words themselves, rather than the things the words represented. To, by, over, in, and from are prepositions. Theme I Spy: In this chapter, you'll explore why writing is so important, no matter who you are or what you do. Take a Letter People have been putting pen to paper make that stone to cave wall since the days of the real Flintstones. Want to write boffo business letters? Virgil took 10 years to write the Aeneid and believed it still needed about three years' work when he died.
She has been praised by critics around the world as tops in her genre USA Today and the reigning champion of the medical thriller San Jose Mercury. She lives in Maine. I'll master writing when pigs fly. Hold on to your hats, ladies and gentlemen, because there will be pork in the treetops by the time you finish this book. Mastering the types of writing you need in your daily life isn't as hard as you think.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Well will help you learn the skills you need to write fine essays, letters, e-mail, and reports. You'll also learn how to express yourself in personal narratives, stories, letters of evaluation, recommendations, and journals.
Writing can change your lifeand the lives of others around you. Writing can Help you understand yourself more fully. Achieve the goals you've set for yourself. Enable you to sort the information that's thrown at you every day. Present ideas so other people will take your ideas more seriously. Move you up the ladder of success and prestige. Record your feelings and deepest thoughts in creative ways. Writing can broaden your vistas by enabling you to communicate more effectively with people you may never have even met.
Despite the immense possibilities that writing offers, many people convince themselves that they can never learn to write because they think that when writing talent was handed out, they were at the back of the line. Unfortunately, it's all too easy to talk yourself into something that isn't true.
It is true that some people write more easily than others because they have been encouraged by their teachers, parents, or peers. It's also true that some people seem to have a greater facility with words than others. But this is most true of all: Writing is a skill that can be learned by anyone who is willing to take the time and trouble.
Learning any new skill takes hard work, determination, and time, but this is one investment that's a sure thing. You probably know a great deal more about writing well than you realize. However, you may not know how to use what you know to accomplish the many different kinds of writing you need. Perhaps you're a bit shaky on grammar, usage, and mechanicsall those commas, semicolons, and dangling modifiers. If so, then this book is for you. Four be the things I am wiser to know: Idleness, sorrow, a friend, and a foe.
Four be the things I'd be better without: Love, curiosity, freckles, and doubt. I'll leave the decision about love, curiosity, freckles to you, if you'll let me have doubt. By the time you've finished reading this book, you'll have no doubt that you can be a good writer. You'll be writing with skill, confidence, and even pleasure. Together, they help you grasp each specific type of writing and the entire writing process.
By the end of this book, you'll be sure of yourself as a writer. Part, Write Now, first explains why mastering the basics of good writing is important in you job and life. You'll also learn how writing developed, starting with the alphabet. I'll prove that writing is a skill that can be acquired, not an inborn trait. Next, I introduce the four types of writing: Later in this part, you'll explore the essential elements of effective writing: We'll review phrases, clauses, sentences, and paragraphs, too.
There's also a section on dealing with writer's block. Next, you'll explore the different ways that you can organize the information in your writing. After you learn how to write great introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusions, you'll discover how to make your writing shine.
Part 3, Write for Success, covers exposition, narration, persuasion, and description in detail.
You'll also learn how to write for different subject areas, including natural sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. Part 4, Just Shoot Me Now: Research Papers and Term Papers, covers everything you need to know about research papers, from soup to nuts. This part opens with a chapter on generating subjects, narrowing them into suitable topics, and writing thesis statements.
Then you'll enter basic training to review research methods. I'll also teach you how to evaluate and track your sources. The part concludes with a chapter on parenthetical documentation, endmatter, and frontmatter.
Part 6, Picture Perfect, puts the finishing touches on your writing, starting with a crash course in grammar and usage. Then we'll review spelling rules, contractions, possessives, plurals, punctuation, and capitalization. Last, there's an appendix of sample term papers and one of research paper documentation. In addition to all the explanation and teaching, this book contains other types of information to make it even easier for you to learn how to write well.
Heres how you can recognize these features: Love and thanks to Charles Rozakis for his paper on Felix Mendelssohn. Jessica and Charles, in addition to being fine writers, you two are fine people. Special Thanks to the Technical Reviewer The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Well was reviewed by an expert who double-checked the accuracy of what you'll learn here, to help us ensure that this book gives you everything you need to know about writing well.
Special thanks are extended to Sharon Sorenson. Trademarks All terms mentioned in this book that are known to be are suspected of being trademarks or service marks have been appropriately capitalized.
Use of a term in this book should not be regarded as affecting the validity of any trademark or service mark. Polar bears are left-handed. The electric chair was invented by a dentist.
Banging your head against a wall uses calories an hour. You have the ability, intelligence, and determination to become a competent writer. In the following chapters, you'll learn how to get yourself in the write frame of mind. I'll also explain the four different kinds of writing, cover the essential information all writers need to know, and help you select the exact word you wantnot its first cousin.
In addition, you'll review the building blocks of all powerful poetry and prose: Without doubt, words are the lifeblood of all modern societies. And English is becoming the international language of technology, science, diplomacy, and business. About million people speak and write English as their native language. An additional million people speak and write English as their second language. More than half the world's books are published in English.
About 80 percent of the world's computer text is in English. Therefore, knowing how to express yourself in clear, concise, and correct written English is a key factor for success in the twenty-first century. Writing with confidence and skill allows you to communicate your feelings, ideas, hopes, and fears.
In this chapter, you'll explore why writing is so important, no matter who you are or what you do. There are still a few rotary phones plugged in, too. I have one! And let's not forget beepers.
In a worst-case scenario, we can always hop in the car and speak to someone face to face. So why bother writing? Why can't we just say what we mean? Why does writing matter in an age of constant electronic yakking? Take this quiz to see whether you recognize writing's advantages. Create contracts and other legal documents. Reports scientific and technological findings.
Make guarantees that people can trust. Sell products and services to a vast audienceeven internationally! Professionally state our qualifications for a position in a professional manner. Convince someone to hire us when talking just won't do the trick. Persuade someone to love us. Protect our reputations. Express our feelings fully. Record the story of our lives. Entertain others with our wit, humor, and descriptions.
Help others through the power of our prose. Publish our opinions for others to share. Create convincing, entertaining, or persuasive speeches that can live through the ages. Express our thanks, sorrow, or appreciation in a way that people can read and reread.
Communicate electronically via e-mail. Record the proceedings of a meeting. Acknowledge life's milestones such as births, weddings, and funerals. Want to know your score? Every item is true. And that's only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the power of writing.
Consider the following: More information has been produced in the last 50 years than in the previous 5, years. Currently, there are more than million volumes in the Library of Congress. Fifty thousand books are published in the United States every year. Ten thousand magazines are currently published in the United States every year. Seven thousand scientific studies are written daily worldwide. Today, the amount of writing produced doubles every five years.
Writing allows you to communicate with others efficiently, hold a responsible position, and earn a good salary. Companies want employees who can write clear memos and letters; telecommuters, freelancers, and other lone eagles must be able to sell their services in writing. Writing helps you Get it right. Putting down your thoughts on paper helps you say what you want the way you want.
Because writing lets you think more carefully before you communicate, you can convey complex information in more detail. Writing has another great advantage over speech: It can be revised.
Because you can go over and over your written words before you pass them on, you can polish your prose until it shines. This helps you say exactly what you mean. Clear writing helps you avoid miscommunication, because your words are down on paper rather than floating through the air where they can be misheard. Do well in school. Increasingly, your mastery of all subjects is being assessed in writing. With the tough new state education mandates sweeping the nation, multiple-choice tests have gone the way of the horse-and-buggy.
If you can write clearly and well, you'll be in a better position to ace your testswhether you're in high school, college, or graduate school. Get a good job. Writing is one of the key skills for gettingand keepingthe plum jobs. That's because employers want people who can write, since they because people who can write help sell products, bring in clients, create goodwill, and make points clearly.
Less than 5 percent of our reading time is spent moving our eyes across the page; the rest of the time is spent trying to understand what we're reading. Inarticulate, confusing writing takes longer to read and understand than clear writing.
As a result, bad writing wastes a tremendous amount of time. If a document is clear, at least people can spend their time arguing whether they should adopt it, rather than wasting time trying to understand it. Earn a good salary. Being able to write well can help you get promoted. The higher you move up the ladder, the more money you're going to earn. If not, you're on the wrong ladder. At promotion time, the ability to write well can tip the scales in your favor.
Change the world. As James Baldwin said, Writing is a political instrument a way to describe and control your circumstances. If you write well, you can draft letters and petitions to improve conditions in your neighborhood, state, or even country. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are just two of the documents that have changed the world.
Express your ideas, plans, and feelings. When North America was first settled, beavers grew to the size of bears. Like beaver size, some things change, but others remain constant. One of the constants is the usefulness of expressing yourself in writing. Writing comes in handy for winning sweethearts as well as sweet deals. A very wise woman I know once said, Don't start no mess, won't be no mess.
Bad writing can make a big mess by causing hard feelings. Sticks and stones can break bones, but words can be equally powerful weaponsif not more so. Insulting expressions, misused words, and biased terms can shatter a relationship. Writing well, in contrast, can cement a personal friendship, family tie, business association, or civic alliance. Protect your reputation.
Two kids were trying to figure out what game to play. One said, Let's play doctor. Good idea, said the other. You operate, and I'll sue. We live in a litigious society.
Unless your associates tape-record all your utterances, speech doesn't allow you to document events, players, and blunders. And if they do get it all down on tape, you could end up doing a Watergatenot a pretty picture. Writing, however, enables you to build a paper trail. This trail can serve as protection in case a touchy situation escalates to a nasty one and ends up in a court of law. If you've kept pertinent documents, you'll be less open to litigation.
If a lawsuit does develop, you'll have the documentation you need to prove your side of the case. Connect with others. As you'll learn in Part 3, Write for Success, people write for different purposes. For example, you can write to persuade others that your point of view deserves serious consideration. Or you might write to explain a process, trace a series of events, or express your feelings. In so doing, you're forging connections with others. Writing is a powerful means of discourse, especially for people who have been traditionally excluded from the mainstream.
Be all that you can be. James Van Allen said, The mere process of writing is one of the most powerful tools we have for clarifying our own thinking. I am never so clear about any matter as when I have just finished writing about it.
Writing encourages us to be organized, logical, and creative because it invites us to ask questions and to look critically at what other people say as well as what we ourselves believe.
Just the act of writing can help you learn. When you arrange words in a logical order, you're developing ideas and making judgments. Further, writing helps you learn to analyze and evaluate what you experience firsthand and learn from others. Writing helps you to think with accuracy and order. Now that you know why it's so important to write well, let's take a stroll down memory lane to see how this wonderful thing we call writing developed.
Take a Letter People have been putting pen to paper make that stone to cave wall since the days of the real Flintstones. Pictures are the basis of the earliest known examples of writing. This writing was comprised of simplified pictures of objects, animals, and people, such as bison and hunters. People learned to write when they first understood that they could communicate by means of visible signs that were understood not only by the writer but also by others savvy to the system.
But writing as we know it is such a specialized form of human communication that it evolved relatively late in the evolutionary game. This evolution happened when these pictorial scripts gave way to writing in which the symbols came to stand for words themselves, rather than the things the words represented.
It all had to do with goods and servicessome of the same reasons why we need to write well today. If an ancient merchant sold a pile of wheat or a peck of pomegranates, it would be in his or her best interests to record the transaction.
The first people to create a workable written language were the Sumerians of Mesopotamia, around B. Their solution was a wordand-picture combination, much like rebus puzzles today.
This type of writing has been found on clay tablets in parts of the Middle East and southeastern Europe. The pictures, such as a foot to show the concept of walking, were drawn on soft clay. The tablets were then baked in the sun to harden them.
And what did people write about in this fashion? Tax accounts, land sales, and other business deals. After all, nothing is permanent but death and taxes. Egyptian hieroglyphic writing developed about years later. But writing as we know it didn't develop until the alphabet was created. And it was a good thing, too, because picture writing has its downsides, as the following story illustrates. The Scythians' message included a mouse, a frog, a bird, and an arrow.
Darius interpreted this to mean the Scythians would surrender in the morning: Convinced he had read the message correctly, Darius headed for bed. During the night, the Scythians sacked the camp. As they loaded the prisoners, the Scythians explained how they coded the message: The bird meant the Persians would never escape unless they could fly, the mice and frog meant that the only way they could escape was to burrow under the ground or hide in the swamps, and the arrows meant they would never escape the Scythians' sharp weapons.
Okay, I'll admit that this is an extreme example, but it does show that clear writing is essential. Picture writing just doesn't cut it, especially when lives are at stake. Sometime around the eighth or ninth century B. When the Greeks adopted this writing system, some symbols didn't correspond to any sound used in spoken Greek.
The Greeks, a clever bunch, used the leftover symbols for the vowel sounds they needed for Greek. The rest of the letters were kept as consonants. The Greeks also standardized the direction of the lines to read from left to right. A real alphabet was born, circa B. The Romans knew a good thing when they saw it, and decided to use this writing system as well. By C. The Greek alphabet also gave rise to the Cyrillic alphabet, devised by two Greek missionaries, St. Cyril and St. Methodius, in the ninth century C.
This alphabet is still used in Eastern Europe and Russia. The North Semitic alphabet also gave rise to the Aramaic alphabet, which spread eastward to develop into the Asian alphabets, such as Hindi.
The creation of the alphabet revolutionized writing. Why was the alphabet such a great thing for writing? The alphabet was much easier to learn. The alphabet was much simpler to use than picture systems. The alphabet helped standardize written communication. The alphabet helped prevent tragic miscommunication. People feel strongly about their alphabets. Any attempt to change the alphabet or our writing system in general has always met with great outcry; even today, attempts to reform spelling or eliminate inconsistencies in writing conventions meets strong resistance.
Break the Code How good are your code-breaking skills? Although the same letter can look very different in different alphabets, every form can be traced back to a common ancestor. Here are the different ways the same letter is formed in different alphabets. See whether you can figure out what letter is being shown. Write this way? All writing is a kind of code, a system agreed upon by the writer and reader. The writer sends a message in a series of agreed-upon symbols.
The reader interprets the symbols to decode the message. The process looks like this: Most people learn to speak from their mothers, fathers, siblings, and other relatives as a way of communicating with them. We often learn the basics of reading at home as well but acquire the foundation of writing in school.
However, the way we speak may be different because we grew up in a different part of the country, or we may be from another country and grew up speaking a different language. Further, we may have picked up words from television or radio, as well as from books. This pattern of language makes communication possible and meaningful.
The connection between words and their meaning is always a symbolic one. And because symbols are always open to interpretation, words signify different meanings to different people. Your task as a writer is to find the words that convey your exact shade of meaning to best transmit your message.
As you write, consider all elements of communication: It's not something most people would say. Many people don't write unless they have to. When was the last time you looked forward to writing? If you're not wild about writing, don't worryyou have plenty of company. It's natural to shy away from something we perceive as hard or tedious. Writing can also be time-consuming, and who has time to spare nowadays? However, writing doesn't have to be difficult, boring, or time-consuming. Writing can be enjoyable, exciting, and even easy.
In this chapter, you'll discover ways to make writing something you might even anticipate with pleasure. I promise! First, you'll explore some myths and realities about writing to see what other people think about it. Then, I'll teach you how to approach writing to maximize your chances for success. Next, I'll show you the advantages of using writing models and how being a reader can help you be a good writer. Trick or Treat Writing, unlike many other important life skills, has become shrouded in mystery.
It's not uncommon to find people who think writers have secret handshakes, mystical amulets, and odd habits. Okay, so maybe I'll give you the odd habits, but wouldn't you eat Chunky Monkey with pastrami and mustard if you could get away with it? Here are just a few of these writing-related these myths: Writing is only for transmitting information.
Writing does indeed communicate facts and ideas, but it also entertains, expresses feelings, and persuades. The different types of writing are introduced later in this chapter and covered in depth in Part 3, Write for Success. Writing is an inborn trait, like the ability to curl your tongue or wiggle your eyebrows independently.
Writing is an acquired skill. Like any other skill, it can be taught and learned. Learning to write well takes time and much effort, but it can be done. If you don't write brilliantly from the get-go, you'll never learn to write. Research has shown that writers improve with practice. Although some people may seem to have a gift for writing, virtually anyone can learn to write confidently enough to handle the writing tasks required in school, on the job, and in daily life.
If you haven't shown that you have the write stuff by the time you're in your 20s, odds are good that you'll never learn to write well. The beloved children's book writer Laura Ingalls Wilder didn't put pen to paper until she was middle-aged when she wrote newspaper articles on raising chickens and growing apples. Wilder published the first of her Little House books when she was in her mids.
You have to be very well-educated to be a good writer. It is to say that you can still be a fine writer if you haven't had a chance to get as much education as you might want. I'm not a real writer. Everyone who has ever been to school has a history as a writer; perhaps you have also written reports or letters on your job. If you write, you're a writer. Good writers can dash off a good paper in one try. No way. Professional writers the people who are paid for their words prepare draft after draft after draft of their writing.
Plato is said to have rewritten the first sentence of The Republic 50 times; Hemingway rewrote the last page of A Farewell to Arms 39 times. Virgil took 10 years to write the Aeneid and believed it still needed about three years' work when he died.
And you think it's taking you a long time to finish the memo on the Schmendrick deal? Writers work in a vacuum, in total silence, friendless and isolated.
Maybe they have a cat, but it's a solitary creature, too. Writers aren't hermits. As the famous writer Truman Capote advised: My point to young writers is to socialize. Don't just go up to a pine cabin all alone and brood. You reach that stage soon enough anyway. Writing is a magical process. Writing is the hardest job you can do that doesn't involve heavy lifting, but there's nothing magical about it. Writing cannot be done to order.
You can learn to write when you need to, even if you're not feeling especially inspired. That's because writing is a skill, not a mystical form of divine inspiration.
You can produce the document you need when you need it, with a little bit of training and practice. Hey, that's why you bought this book. Cop an Attitude Attitude is everything, especially when it comes to writing. With that in mind, let's take a closer look at your attitude toward writing.
When you have to sit down and write, are you terrified or merely nervous? Would you describe yourself as untaught or traumatized? Are you convinced that writing is somewhere between an IRS tax audit and root canalthat is, excruciatingly painful and horribly unfair? Answer each of the following questions to analyze your attitude toward writing. And don't worry; even if your eleventh-grade English teacher did a number on your head What is this thing you call a paper?
Come to my office and we'll burn it , you can still be a fine writer. What are your most memorable writing experiences good as well as not-so-good? What specific teachers come to mind when you think about your experiences as a writer? What makes you remember those teachers? What specific details do you recall about them?
What was your most successful writing? What made it a hit? What was your most disastrous writing? Which writing gave you the most trouble? What aspects of writing do you enjoy the most? What aspects of writing do you enjoy the least for example: What types of writing do you like to write the most for example: What types of writing do you like to write the least for example: What aspect of writing do you most want to improve for example: If you're terrified or traumatized, sit back and relax.
Improving your writing won't hurt at all. If you're eager and enthusiastic, you have half the battle won already. That, like it or not, is the way to learn to write. Sedulous, from the Latin word sedulus, meaning to be careful, means diligent attention to detail, so the phrase sedulous ape describes someone who slavishly imitates somebody else.
Stevenson claimed that he learned how to write by studying the best writing available. Think back, way back. How did you learn to ride a bike, throw a ball, and cook a meal? How did you learn to talk? To swim? To get that hole in one? You copied someone else, and then you practiced, practiced, and practiced some more. The same process works just as brilliantly when it comes to learning how to write well. By studying the world's finest writers and then trying your hand at copying their style, you'll learn how to develop your own style.
Here's what else this method can teach you: Your aim is to use models to help you form your own style. More on this later. Reading to Write I always thought that if you want to be a writer, you've got literature; literature is all you need. Larry McMurtry, novelist Each kind of writing has its own conventions and its distinctive features and content. Biographies, for example, tell a story, usually in chronological order.
Business letters, in contrast, often present information in order of importance, from most to least important. To learn the conventions of a specific genre, you need to read examples of that genre. At the same time, you should also practice writing in that genre. Want to write boffo business letters? Read a lot of them. Use the good ones as models of what you should do and the bad ones as models of what you should not do. In Chapter 24, The Professional Edge: Writing on the Job, I've provided some good ones to make your job easier.
Interested in penning a poem? Read as many poems as you can. See which ones appeal to you and which ones don't. This process will help you decide whether you wish to express your thoughts and feelings in conventional form or in free verse, for example. Study models of successful papers. Have an urge to set the story of your life down in words? Read as many autobiographies as you can find.
Study their form as well as content. You get the idea: Good writers are avid readers. Read, read, read. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master.
Color My World Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. Richard Steele, essayist Reading is essential to writing. As you read examples of different kinds of writing, you begin to recognize the predictable patterns as well as possibilities for innovation. This is education, not imitation. Working with a specific genre or type of writing doesn't mean that your writing will be a word version of connect-the-dots or paint-by-numbers.
Each type of writing follows a broad set of reader expectations, but working within the framework will actually allow you to be more creative rather than less so. That's because once you know where the lines are, you'll be free to color inside them or outside them, depending on your audience, purpose, and tone.
These considerations are covered in Chapter 3, Pack the Essentials. Four Play I know what you're thinking: Okay, Doc, you've convinced me that if I discard common writing myths, get the write attitude, and read widely, I can learn to write well.
But haven't you forgotten something? What about all the different kinds of writing that I have to do? How can I possibly learn all of them? Good point, Gentle Reader. Circle the best answer: That's all! They are exposition, narration, argumentation, and description. Let's look at them now. Writing That Explains: Exposition Exposition is writing that explains. The word exposition comes from the Latin word exponere, which means to place out. When you write exposition, you try to place out or set forth specific information.
Exposition shows and tells by giving information about a specific topic. The topic can be anything: Different examples of expository writing that you may already be composing include: How to essays, such as recipes and other instructions Business letters Personal letters News stories Press releases Reports Scientific reports Term papers Textbooks Wills Most of the writing you do in school and in life will be expository.
Narration Scheherazade, the legendary queen of Samarkand, told her husband, Schariar, a story each night to keep him from killing her. By ending each story before the climax and thereby keeping his interest, Scheherazade won a delay of execution for 1, nights. On the 1,st night, the king relented and granted her a pardon. And you thought storytelling didn't have a practical purpose! Narration is storytellingwriting that contains plot, characters, setting, and point of view. Here are some different forms that narration can take: Argumentation Persuasion is writing that appeals to reason, emotion, or ethics the sense of right and wrong.
Writing that appeals specifically to reason is often called argumentation. The Declaration of Independence is a persuasive essay; so is the letter to the editor you read this morning in the daily newspaper. Here are some other forms that persuasion can take: Writing That Describes: Description Hells Canyon Hells Canyon is one of America's most dramatically beautiful places, a ,acre scenic area extending for 22 miles along the Snake River.
The Snake River writhes its way north, majestically separating the states of Oregon and Idaho. For some distance, this river flows through the deepest gorge on the North American continent, Hells Canyon. To the east, the Seven Devils Range in Idaho, volcanic in origin, towers 8, feet above the river.
The western side of the canyon formed by the flat-topped ridge between the Imnaha and Snake Rivers rises a stunning 5, feet. Jutting out into the canyon are circular rock benches that give a spectacular observation point.
From the crest of the ridges, a person can look for miles into Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana, across a soft grassy plateau country and tumbling masses of mountains.
On a clear day, a person can see into nine national forests. Higher up, the grass gives way to magnificent clear lakes and roaring waterfalls. How does this writer help you visualize Hells Canyon?
The writer uses description, which is details drawn from the five senses: The second sentenceThe Snake River writhes its way north, majestically separating the states of Oregon and Idahoappeals to sight.
The phrase a soft grassy plateau appeals to touch; the phrase roaring waterfalls sparks the sense of hearing. See how many more descriptive details you can find in this passage. Journals 2. Poems However, description is the only mode of discourse that's found in every other mode: Nonetheless, you'll often find elements of narration in exposition and persuasion, as when you open an explanation with a brief story.
As a result, you'll often see that you incorporate more than one type of writing in your work. What do you call a boomerang that doesn't work? A stick. What do you call writing that doesn't work?
Boring, confusing, and annoying. You know what makes a great boomerang, a great vacation, and a great date. No matter what the specific object or person, the essentials are the same. The same is true when it comes to writing. All four types of writingexposition, narration, description, and argumentationare distinguished by the same benchmarks. Therefore, no matter what you write, it must share these same qualities: In this chapter, you'll learn what makes a great piece of writing, so you can make your writing great!
They walk alike, they talk alike, but they're not at all alike. Why not? Because one is much better than the other one. Decide which one you like better and why. Exhibit A: In conclusion, too official reference books on medicine oficialy recognized the medical value of allot of Native American drugs and plants.
That's why everyone should use herbs today. Only really stupid people ignore herbs; I mean you gotta be a jerk to not take this stuff.
Like the Indians theirselves, some white guys owed their life to a medicine mans neat stuff in many Native American tribes, the medicine man acted like an ceremonial preist, in other tribes, however, the medicine mans' job was to help any one of his people whom got real sick.
As a doctor, the medicine man carried a bag of real cool things to help you. I read in this book that a prince were cured of some real bad stuff buy the Indians.
Exhibit B: In many Native American tribes, the shaman, or medicine man, acted as a ceremonial priest. In other tribes, however, the medicine man's job was to treat any one of his people who became ill. In his role as a healer, the medicine man carried a bag of secret herbs and charms to rid the patient of his sickness. Among the tools of his trade were dried fingers, deer tails, drums, rattles, and tiny sacks of herbs.
Different tribes used different herbs, depending on what was available in the area and through trading. The Dakotas, for example, relieved asthma with the powdered root of skunk cabbage; the Kiowas controlled dandruff with a shampoo made from the soaproot plant.
The Cheyenne drank boiled mint to settle upset stomachs, and the Cree chewed the tiny cones of spruce trees to soothe a sore throat. Like the Native Americans themselves, some white frontiersmen owed their life to a medicine man's cure. In , for example, Prince Maximilian was cured of scurvy by the Native American remedy, eating raw bulbs of garlic. Ultimately, two official reference books on medicine, the U. Pharmacopoeia and the National Formulary, officially recognized the medicinal value of Native American drugs, including mint, yarrow, Indian turnip, and skunk cabbage.
Did you find yourself scratching your head as you read the first passage? Perhaps you had trouble following the ideas. Maybe you didn't know for whom the passage was written. Perhaps you were confused as the writer veered from informal language to formal language and back again.
The ideas are also more fully developed with details and facts. The words are spelled correctly, the sentences are complete, and the punctuation helps link related ideas.
Let's look at each specific element of effective writing. How's That Again? Logic As you learned in Chapter 1, Why Writing Matters, all writing is a kind of code, a system agreed upon by the writer and reader. The reader then interprets the symbols the letters and words to decode the message.
When the symbols aren't used correctly, the code cannot be read. The reader becomes confused and frustrated at the writer's lack of logic.
All writing must be logical, with examples that follow sensibly from one to another. Logical reasoning is sound reasoning.
You can tell that an essay, letter, memo, or other writing is logical if it Uses evidence to back up assertions. Distinguishes between facts and opinions. Analyzes cause and effect correctly. Makes sense. Doctors take as their prime directive the oath, First, do no harm. As a writer, take this as your prime directive: First, make sense. Logical writing is characterized by a clear pattern of organization and unity.
Let's turn to those two qualities now. Organization Organizing your writing involves coming up with a plan for arranging the information logically. Here are some of the main ones: Order of time or chronological order Order of space up to down, down to up, inside out, and so on Order of importance most to least important, least to most important Order of impression the order in which the details catch the writer's attention Questions and answers Unity and Coherence People work together on teams, in classes, and in committees to get things done.
When people cooperate with each other, they can achieve their goal more easily. In the same way, when all the sentences in a paragraph are on the same topic, the paragraph achieves its purpose.
A paragraph has unity if all of its sentences support the same main idea. Unity is lost if the paragraph goes off the topic by including sentences that do not relate to the main idea.
The writer of the following paragraph achieved unity by linking every detail in the paragraph to the topic sentence, the first sentence in the passage: The writer states the topic, lightning bolts, in the first sentence. Then, the writer gives three details to support the topic: Purpose Imagine that you're going to write two very different pieces on the same topic: The first piece is a memo to recruit employees for the office softball team.
The other piece is an article for the local newspaper on the standings of the high school softball teams. How would the two pieces differ? The memo would have an upbeat, positive tone to convince people that playing softball on the company team would be jolly fun. You'd use your facts and details to convince your readers that joining the team would help improve their health and be great for company morale and camaraderie. The newspaper article, in contrast, would have a direct, informative tone and be filled with statistics about hits, runs, and errors.
Your purpose for writing is your reason for writing. The four main purposes for writing are the same as the four types of writing you learned about in Chapter 2, The Write Way: The primary purpose of Exhibit B, the writing sample that opened this chapter, is to explain.
It also entertains by using vivid details and examples. Sometimes your purpose is defined by the task: A resume, for example, always tries to persuade. A short story, however, would be designed to entertain. Keeping your purpose firmly in mind as you write helps you achieve your desired aim.
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