Эл. №ФС77-60625 от 20.01.2015
Методическое пособие по письменной речи
1. How to analyze articles
A few words about a newspaper in which you have read the article.
The author of the article.
The headline of the article.
Rendering of the article.
The main idea of the article.
Your opinion on the problem.
The newspaper can be: a daily, a weekly, published twice weekly, a gazette (офиц. правительственная газета), a wall newspaper (стенгазета), a leaflet (листовка), a tabloid (бульварная газета), an evening newspaper, a serious newspaper, a popular newspaper.
The article can be: an issues of the day (злободневный), supporting smb. or smth. (в поддержку кого-либо, чего-либо), condemning smb.’s action (осуждающая чьи-либо действия), enlightening(просвещающая), a critical essay, sarcastic, full of irony, praising (хвалебная), advertising (рекламирующая), made to order (сделанная по заказу), suggestive (наталкивающая на размышления).
Reading can be: editorial, leading-article (передовая статья), article, feature article (очерк), item (газетная заметка), a piece of news (сообщение)
News can be: diary news (текущие новости), hot news (непредвиденные новости), hard news (новости без комментариев), a report (репортаж), an interview, a feuilleton, an advertisement, a cartoon (карикатура), a crossword puzzle
The author can be called: a journalist, a reporter (корреспондент), an interviewer, a leader-writer (автор передовицы), editor-in-chief (главный редактор).
He is a permanent contributor to the newspaper (он – сотрудник этой газеты).
Circulation (тираж), headline (заголовок), steamer (заголовок- лозунг на всю ширину полосы), news items (хроника), column (столбец), correspondence column (для писем), to subscribe to a newspaper (подписываться на газету), to advertise in a paper (размещать объявление в газете).
The weekly has been published since 1930.
Its circulation is about…
It is very popular with people in our country and abroad.
On its pages we can find truthful information about events.
In addition to the news, the paper provides interesting articles on cinema, drama, new books, music, sports.
It also carries all kinds of useful information of housekeeping.
Useful phrases while speaking of the article:
The article is devoted to… (посвящена); deals with…; describes…; points out that…;
The editorial is concerned with (касается); dwells on (останавливается на); draws
Issue the readers’ attention to…; discusses the events; comments on; reviews the events (делает обзор); stresses (подчёркивает).
The first paragraph introduces the main idea of the article.
The article refers to the process of political reforms in Russia.
The article ends up with an appeal to… (статья заканчивается обращением к…)
The article suggests the plan to step up the reforms.
The article calls to putting an end to…
I’ve read the article in the daily The Moscow Times. The daily has been published since 1992. Its circulation is about 35000. It is very popular with people in our country. On its pages we can find truthful information about events. In addition to the news, the paper provides interesting articles on cinema, music and sports.
We don’t know the name of the author of this article. Perhaps he is a permanent contributor to this newspaper.
The headline of the article is Funny thrills. It is an advertisement of the film “Funny games” by Michael Haneke’s.
From the article we know that the film is about a couple and their young son who arrives at their lakeside holiday home which was invaded by two strange young men who turned out to be homicidal psychopaths.
The main idea of the article is just to advertise the film, to attract the readers’ attention to the film.
I think this advertisement is useful for us (readers). When we read such articles, we get an opportunity to spend our free time better. For example we can decide to see this or that film or not, to go to this or that place or stay at home.
Рекомендации по работе с газетными и журнальными статьями, взятыми из учебного пособия по английскому языку “Periscope”
Возьмите маркер или цветной карандаш приятного для вас цвета и аккуратно закрасьте им все незнакомые слова в тексте. Затем найдите эти же слова в словаре на следующей странице и проделайте то же самое. Не смущайтесь, что появилось много «цветных» слов, со временем их станет значительно меньше.
С помощью словаря тщательно проработайте содержание каждой статьи. Добивайтесь полного (стопроцентного) их понимания. Переходите к новому материалу после того, как хорошо усвоите предыдущий. Руководствуйтесь принципом «лучше меньше, да лучше».
Особый упор делайте на запоминание новой лексики. Не пропускайте ни одного незнакомого или «трудного» слова! Рано или поздно они все вам понадобятся. Имейте в виду, что слабое знание иностранного языка чаще всего проявляется в недостаточности словарного запаса.
По мнению специалистов, новая лексика лучше всего запоминается в конкретном тексте путём её многократного повторения. Поэтому вырабатывайте для себя правило: каждый раз, открыв пособие или принимаясь за новую статью, повторите весь новый лексический материал в предыдущих, путём быстрых пробежек по выделенным словам. Это положение носит принципиальный характер.
Для облегчения этой задачи рекомендуется объединить (путём подчеркивания ручкой по линейке) «цветные» слова с рядом стоящими так, чтобы образовывались короткие смысловые фразы (например, «провели переговоры с представителями…», «независимые эксперты в области…») и т.д.
Работать над текстами надо до тех пор, пока не появится та лёгкость, с которой вы читаете прессу на родном для вас языке (быстро, без напряжения, с одновременным, автоматическим пониманием содержания). Различий быть не должно!
Постоянно сверяйте правильность произношения английских слов с транскрипцией. Обращайте внимание на ударения и длительность звуков, от которых нередко меняются их значения.
Не забывайте на досуге повторять грамматику – это весьма полезное занятие!
Помните, что частота общения с изучаемым предметом имеет прямую связь с качеством ваших знаний. Поэтому старайтесь максимум свободного времени уделять иностранному языку.
Практически все значимые газеты в мире имеют свои web-страницы. Для того, чтобы узнать, где и какие существуют газеты, можно посетить страничку MEDIA LINKS (http://www.mediainfo.com/emedia), предлагающую ссылки ко множеству изданий.
Media сайты на английском языке:
1) The Washington Post (http://www.washingtonpost.com)
Все, о чем можно прочитать в газете, видно на первой странице - она представляет собой комбинацию рекламной афиши и содержания. Здесь представлены названия наиболее важных статей с выдержками из них, которые, по мнению авторов, должны привлечь внимание читателей, и основными положениями в них обсуждаемыми. Как любое издание периодической печати, web-газеты разделены на рубрики и подрубрики, т.е., имеют дружественный к пользователю интерфейс, позволяющим нажатием кнопки мыши перейти непосредственно к нужному разделу и интересующей статье. The Washington Post имеет 5 основных рубрик: новости (news), стиль жизни (style), спорт (sports), рекламные объявления (classifieds) и новости рынка (marketplace). Высказать свое мнение относительно прочитанного и лично побеседовать с автором определенной статьи можно благодаря разделу "сегодняшние журналисты" ("Today's Columnists"), где выбор определенной фамилии свяжет вас с ним непосредственно. Иногда может появляться экстра-связь с главным действующим лицом статьи.
CNN World News, ABC News, BBC World Service, The Washington Times (http://www.washtimes.com), The New York Times - все эти и другие новостные агентства имеют похожую удобную для пользователя структуру дерева ссылок. Название и количество рубрик может варьироваться от издательства к издательству, однако все они охватывают основные сферы жизнедеятельности человека.
2) ВВС World Service (http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice) предоставляют возможность не только прочитать, но и прослушать новости, на многих языках, причем можно даже выбрать для себя подходящий уровень владения английским и прослушать новости в режиме LEARNING ENGLISH. Интересной может показаться двойная классификация статей - по темам и по континентам. Обратная связь с издательством осуществляется с помощью ссылки CONTACT US.
3) ABC News (http://www.abcnews.go.com/index.html) сопровождает свои публикации помимо звукового еще и видео сопровождением. Возможна так же беседа на предложенную тему среди читателей в разделах CHAT.
4) CNN World News (http://cnn.com/world) также предоставляют информацию на нескольких языках и двойную классификацию статей. Возможно вызвать аудио и видео сопровождение. Интеракция читателей с редакцией и между собой возможна в рамках рубрики DISCUSSION (дискуссия), где есть своя доска объявлений (MESSAGE BOARDS), комната для беседы (CHAT) и связь с редколлегией (FEEDBACK).
5) The New York Times (http://www.newtimes.com) помимо вышеперечисленного предлагает своим читателям учебную версию газеты с готовыми поурочными разработками. Можно работать по двое или по трое, исследовать статьи, охватывающие все стороны жизни: передовицы, спорт, погоду, культуру.
2. Formal organization (essays and compositions)
Any essay or composition should meet definite requirements typical for English writing. Let us start with formal methods of organization.
Your composition must be clearly structured in paragraphs.
Three kinds of paragraphs make up every formal com";background: #ffffff; widows: 0; orphans: 0"> An introductory paragraph (introduction) begins the paper, stating what the paper is going to be about in the form of the thesis statement.
Body paragraphs develop the thesis statement.
A concluding paragraph (conclusion) restates the thesis, usually in different words, and shows briefly how the development relates to it.
Many writers use transitional phrases (transitions) between paragraphs to achieve logical relations.
The topic sentence of a paragraph tells what the paragraph is about and how the idea is developed. A topic sentence can be put any place in the paragraph.
Now let us consider formal methods of writing organization in detail.
I Have Three Days to Hear
I have frankly lived my entire life with very little appreciation for the essential senses, such as seeing, tasting, listening, feeling, and smelling. However, if I didn't have one of these, I am sure that I would be heartbroken. In fact, if someone tells me today that I have only three days to hear, I will immediately organize a plan to hear some things which I really want to hear and to keep in my mind before I fall into silence. Here is the plan I will follow during my last three days to hear.
In that situation, on the first day, I will try to hear the sounds which are made by nature. Walking into the mountains and forest, I can hear and feel the sounds of land from the wind, plants, and animals. Also, going out to the sea and river, I can hear and feel the sounds of water made by the waves and flowing water. The sounds of the first day will bring the most basic sounds, and it is useful to make out the sounds of God.
On the second day, I will go to the city and hear the sounds which are made by people. First, I will go to an instrument store and hear the sounds of the instruments, one by one. Then, I will attend a concert hall, listen to the music being played by a lot of instruments, and feel the harmony which is created by people with musical instruments. Next, I will walk around the city all day, and I will hear every sound of human society, such as cars honking, machines grinding, dogs scratching, and babies crying. The experiences on this second day will make it possible for me to remember human society.
When the last day comes, I want to stay home, for I want to hear the sounds in my house and the voices of my family and friends. Thus, staying home, I will hear every sound which is made there so that I can remember the sounds after becoming deaf. Also, during this last day, I will listen to the voices of my family and friends saying, " I love you so much." Then I will try to remember all of the voices of the loving people as they describe their affection for me.
After I hear and experience the sounds of nature, humans and society, and my home and family, I will willingly accept my situation not to hear more. After the three days of concentrating on the sounds around me, I will try to be satisfied with my really good experiences to hear a lot of sounds. I will never forget these sounds; they will remain in my heart forever.
EXERCISE 1. Answer the following discussion questions.
1. What is the general topic of this essay? What is the thesis statement? Where is it located?
Find the topic sentences in the second, third, and fourth paragraphs. Does the author adequately support these ideas? How?
Underline the transitions used in this essay. Would you change any of them? Would you add transitions anywhere?
How does the author conclude the essay? Does he summarize the main ideas? Does he make a recommendation or prediction? Do you think it is well written?
What are some good points about this essay? What changes would you make?
Beginning the Writing Process
KEY CONCEPT: TOPIС
The topic of an essay or a paper is the subject. It is usually a noun or a short noun phrase. The topic must be limited so that it can be discussed adequately. Beginning writers often make the mistake of not limiting their topics.
HERE IS AN EXAMPLE OF A TOPIC
THAT IS TOO GENERAL:
To narrow our topic, we ask ourselves questions. Which country? What can we say about this country that can be covered in one essay? We might come up with new topics like:
Marriage customs in my country
Characteristics of a good wife in my country
EXERCISE 2. Narrow the following topics:
A. Automobiles _______________________________________
B. Exercise __________________________________________
С. Happiness _________________________________________
KEY CONCEPT: THESIS
After we have narrowed our topic, we need a thesis statement. A thesis is one sentence that states the main idea of an essay.
In order to write a thesis statement, we have to address three questions:
I. Why are we writing?
II. Who is our audience?
III. What is the main point we want our readers to know?
The first question is usually answered by an infinitive, such as to show, to explain, to prove, to inform, or to persuade. When we answer the second question, we decide if our audience knows much about the topic. If they know very little about it, more details will have to be given. It also tells us how formal or informal our writing should be. If we are writing a paper for a professor, the tone will be more formal than if we are writing to entertain our peers.
THE FOLLOWING IS AN EXAMPLE
OF GOOD THESIS STATEMENT
Meeting a girlfriend is not difficult to do if you follow these three steps.
A good thesis statement has several characteristics a thesis
states a narrowed subject.
has a controlling idea, which expresses the writer's attitude or belief about the topic.
often suggests a method of organization.
may include a modal auxiliary such as should, could, would, or might.
is always a sentence — NOT a question.
is not a simple statement of fact.
does not "announce" the writer's intention.
begins with a real subject.
In the thesis sentences below, the controlling ideas are underlined.
To find an apartment, follow these three steps.
The serious economic situation can be seen as a result of three primary factors.
3. Registration day is a confusing experience for most university students.
Now circle the words that can be used as controlling ideas:
environment ways kinds differences
causes because problems friends
EXERCISE 3. Thesis: Go back to Exercise 2 and write a thesis sentence for each of the three topics you narrowed there.
EXERCISE 4. Look at the thesis statement for the model composition. Does it meet each of the 8 characteristics listed?
EXERCISE 5. Below are proposed thesis statements. Using the guidelines above, decide if each one is a good thesis, a weak thesis, or not a thesis. Then explain the reason for your answer.
What unique problems do married students face?
Two interesting new movies have been released this year.
The two most popular science fiction movies this year offer two very different views of the future.
Studying in another country is becoming a common experience for students all around the world.
Living in a foreign country provides many unique opportunities, for example, the chance to become independent, learn about other cultures, and see one's own culture from a new perspective.
The purpose of this essay is to show three important examples of Eastern influence on the West.
Although people often speak of the "westernization" of the East, there are three important examples of how the East has influenced the West.
Although we often talk about the West's influence on the East, the East has influenced the West.
9. In this paper I will explain the importance of choosing the right major.
KEY EXPRESSIONS: Certain nouns often appear in the thesis statement in an example essay. The following nouns are commonly used as controlling ideas.
characteristics examples illustrations traits
Look at the list of possible thesis statements above and choose those that would be appropriate for example compositions.
KEY CONCEPT: PARAGRAPH
A paragraph is a unit of thought that has several or many sentences in it.
The length of a paragraph varies according to the purpose of the writing. Academic writing, business writing, journalism, technical writing have different purposes. They may, therefore, require paragraphs of different lengths.
A well-written paragraph usually consists of (1) a topic sentence which expresses the main idea, (2) supporting sentences which relate directly to the central idea, and (3) a concluding sentence.
1. Topic sentence:
Ford developed the assembly line.
2. Supporting sentence:
Before, each car was built by hand.
Work was slow.
Therefore cars were expensive.
In Ford’s system, each worker has a special job.
For example, one person made parts of wheels.
Another placed the wheels on the cars.
A third worker inserted bolts.
3. Concluding sentence:
Each worker needed to learn only one or two routine tasks.
What Surprised Me About the U.S.
Until I came to the U.S. sometime ago, I had never taken an overseas trip. So I had always wondered what foreign countries were like, especially the U.S., because most of the time, it was the most attractive country to me. I knew about this country only by reading books, watching TV, or meeting a few Americans who were visiting in my country. Now that I am in the U.S., I have realized this country has three things that have surprised me.
The first thing that has surprised me is the characteristics of the American people. Compared to people in my country, they have substantial energy at all times. The reason is that most of the people I have met talk loudly, laugh with a wide-open mouth, and always look cheerful. Especially when I first came here, I used to wonder why people talked unnecessarily loudly and why girls laughed like men. I have become used to this characteristic and have even come to like this quality of Americans throughout the country.
The next thing is the food they eat. The first time I had lunch in the cafeteria was a nightmare. I remember that the food they served on the day was greasy pizzas, hamburgers, and oily fresh fries, which were very different from the foods I used to eat in my country. Looking at people around me, I got double shock. I saw them eating huge pieces of cake, a cup of ice cream, or a cone of soft cream even after they ate greasy foods. Americans have surprising diets.
Finally, after staying in the U.S. a little while, I took some trips and was extremely surprised to realize how large this country is. My first trip was to Alaska to visit my friend. At that time, I was in Washington State, and I decided to go there by car. I had to drive through the big mountains in Canada, and while driving for miles and miles, all I saw was just a bunch of trees. In addition, here in Texas, driving is even more boring because of this infinitely widespread horizontal land. If Christopher Columbus had not found that the earth is round, I would probably believe the theory that the earth is rectangular and that people who reach the edge fall off.
These three interesting things surprised me and, at the same time, fascinated me about this country. It is always fun to be surprised. The more surprised I am, the more I like this country.
EXERCISE 6. After reading the essay "What Surprised Me About the U.S." answer the following questions.
How many paragraphs are there in the essay?
What is the thesis statement?
What are the topic sentences in paragraphs 2,3 and 4?
How is each supporting paragraph developed? (examples, details, etc.)
What is the author's conclusion?
What transition words are used between the paragraphs?
KEY CONCEPT: INTRODUCTION
The first paragraph of a composition is typically the introduction. The purpose of the introduction is to capture the interest of the readers and make them want to read the composition. In addition, the introduction usually contains the thesis statement, the main idea sentence for the paper.
Beginning seems to be the hardest part of any activity. Writing compositions is no different from washing dishes, paying the phone bill, or coming to the U.S. to study. It is hard to take the first step. Below are some first steps you might want to use when you begin your composition.
Ways to Begin
1. By recounting a story that leads into the main idea
The foreign student and her American friend were finished talking. They agreed to meet that night to study together. As Elise was walking away she turned and saw her American friend waving. She was puzzled, but she walked back to her friend. The American looked surprised. "What's wrong?" she asked. "You waved me to come back," Elise replied. "No, I was waving good-bye!" The two girls began laughing when they realized they had just become victims of cultural misunderstanding. We usually think of cultural differences as differences in dress, food, traditions, or spoken language. But body language is perhaps the most surprising example of cultural differences.
2. By giving an appropriate quotation
"I never made a mistake," said the humorist Will Rogers, "partly because I never made a decision." That sentiment accurately reflects life. If you never make a decision, you never have to say that you have made a mistake. But for students, decision-making is an important part of life. The most important decision a student has to make is what his or her major will be. When making this decision, there are several factors to consider.
3. By making a prediction
Today we see increased use of technology in entertainment, education, and business. The need for technical knowledge used to be regarded as knowledge for specialists, but our everyday experience contradicts that old attitude. Educators are beginning to realize that technical knowledge must be incorporated into our educational system; without that knowledge, students will be unprepared for the future jobs.
4. By defining a term
Success is a word defined in different ways by different people. However, one definition that suits everyone is "the achievement of your goals." But how do people go about setting those goals? The following steps will help to answer that question.
EXERCISE 7. Working in pairs or small groups, write an introductory paragraph on one of the topics: "My First Day at the University", "A Friend is a Present You Give Yourself". Share your introductions with the class.
KEY CONCEPT: CONCLUSION
The last paragraph of a composition is usually the conclusion. The purpose of the conclusion is to summarize the importance of the composition, to be sure that the readers have gotten the point, and to show the broader implications of the thesis.
If we have done our work, written a good thesis statement, and then supported it with an adequate number of details (data, examples, narrations, and so on), the conclusion should almost "write itself." Nevertheless, there are some common ways to vary our endings. The conclusions below were written to go with the corresponding beginnings given to you earlier.
Ways to End
1. By restating the thesis
Thus, as these anecdotes illustrate, people go to a foreign country anticipating differences in dress and food. Even cultural traditions present few unexpected problems and are greeted with genuine curiosity. Certainly the visitor expects to have to cope with language problems. One example of this is the increasing number of short foreign language courses for travelers of all kinds, from the casual tourist to the businessman. Surprisingly, it is the subtle and unspoken language, body language, that most reminds us of how deep cultural differences can be.
2.By making a prediction
In September, thousands and thousands of new university students will arrive at campuses all over the country. Of those, virtually 100% will have declared majors. But within three years those who have not considered the factors outlined above will have changed their majors, perhaps more than once.
3. By asking a question
Few, if any, deny the increasing need for technical knowledge in our educational system. But given the bureaucracy of most school systems, the unwillingness of the taxpayer to finance more expenditures for new teachers or equipment, and the lack of areal plan on the part of supporters of technical education, we have to ask not only when but how this incorporation will ever take place.
4. By quoting
Once your goals are set, no matter how humble or how grandiose they are, and once they are attained or are in the process of being attained, success is attained. Success is not a stationary goal or a concrete thing to possess. Success is "being able to spend your life in your own way", as Christopher Morley tells us.
5. By narrating a relevant incident
A new semester has begun, and last week Tom was seen carrying his briefcase and an armload of books toward the library. He must have been headed for an evening of research and study. But unlike most of the younger people milling around him, Tom had a smile on his face and seemed to be headed in the right direction.
EXERCISE 8. Using the introduction you wrote in Exercise 7, write an essay on the topic. In writing your conclusion, choose the kind of ending that is both appropriate and interesting.
KEY CONCEPT: TOPIC SENTENCE
A topic sentence is the main idea sentence of a paragraph. Often it is the first sentence in a paragraph.
We have talked about the thesis statement and its importance as the main idea sentence of an essay. In fact, we might think of the thesis statement as an umbrella that covers everything we write about in a composition. If the thesis statement is an umbrella, then the topic sentences are the ribs that hold the umbrella up.
HERE IS AN EXAMPLE
THAT ILLUSTRATES THIS IDEA:
THESIS: The success of most businesses is due to three primary factors.
The first factor is a clearly defined need in the market.
Next, a business must have a well-defined plan to meet that need.
The final, and perhaps most important, factor is the ability of the business, its managers and workforce, and its technology to adjust its plan to meet the changing needs of the market.
Does this example look familiar? We can see that it could be an outline. Each of the topic sentences would be the main idea sentence for a different part of the composition. If this is a five-paragraph essay, these topic sentences will begin a new paragraph.
Thus, every paragraph should have a topic sentence that refers us back to the thesis AND supports the thesis. The details, examples, or story that follows the topic sentence, in turn, support it. This method of organization and development does not change. It is the same for every kind of academic writing. The result of this organization creates a unified, logical essay.
EXERCISE 9. Write topic sentences for the following thesis statement.
1. THESIS: For many people, earning a university degree provides a number of professional benefits.
The Perfect Job
A job is very important to everybody because it is a part of life. In fact, a job helps determine whether people have a happy life or not. Therefore, it is very important that people find the perfect Job. The perfect job should provide three benefits.
First of all, the perfect job should provide good pay. Also, there has to be family health insurance, some savings for retirement and scholarships for children. For instance, when I worked at the Academy Company, I had a good salary. Therefore, I was encouraged to do my work projects, and I was proud of where I worked and what I worked for. Therefore, a good salary is like good nutrition and is a challenge for working people. If there is enough salary for people, they will work harder to keep their job so that the company can make a profit and grow as a company.
Second, if people like their jobs, most likely they will work harder, invent things, and create new ideas for projects. Consequently, the job can give satisfaction to the employees, the company, society, and the nation. However, if people do not like their jobs, they will not be happy, creative, or productive. For instance, I like to teach children, so when I worked at a school, Г went to school early, prepared many things for the children, and thought about many ideas for new projects. As a result, during the class, children were not bored, learned easily, and had fun. Not everyone liked to teach, but I did. What if people do not like to teach but have to teach? It is important for people to like their jobs.
Third, people should like the people they work with. In other words, people have to get along with their co-workers. For example, when I worked at the Academy Company, there were many people in the same office. In the office, a nephew of one of the men was my boss. Our company and my boss's uncle used the same office. The uncle was around 60 years old. Korean people respect their elders. One day this old man called me and asked me to get him a cigarette. At first, I hesitated, but I did it. Moreover, he asked me to bring him one more cigarette and coffee. Not only did he drop the coffee on the floor on purpose, but also he lied about his business matters and acted as though he owned that office. He kept bothering me while I was trying to work. People in the same office should help each other, feel good about each other, and make each other comfortable so that they can have a good time when they work together. What if people are like my boss's Uncle? A good relationship is very important because people should Work like good team. That is characteristic of the perfect job.
Finally, a job is important to everyone. When people choose a job, not only should they consider the salary and benefits, but they also should enjoy that job and like the people they work with. If the job provides these benefits, it is the perfect job.
KEY CONCEPT: TRANSITIONS
Good writers use transition words and transition sentences. Transitions are bridges, or links, between ideas or sentences that make the reader follow the line of thought smoothly.
Each method of organization has certain transitional expressions which are commonly used to underline the relationships between the Itntences or ideas. The following list shows common transition words often associated with examples:
first, second, etc.
in addition (to)
EXERCISE 10. Writing: Take ten minutes and list the things that make your life worth living. You might include receiving a phone call from a friend, talking to your family, or playing your favorite sport. Then, from your list, choose three,
Write a thesis statement telling what makes your life worth living.
Write an introduction for that thesis.
Now write three supporting paragraphs for your thesis statement and a concluding paragraph. Don't forget to use appropriate transitions.
KEY CONCEPT: THE OUTLINE
Before we begin writing a formal composition, we need to write an outline. This is a basic skeleton or plan for our ideas. We must organize our thoughts to emphasize their importance, to identify their relationship, and to order them in logical pattern.
This organization is necessary whether we are writing a paragraph, a five-paragraph essay, or a research paper. We usually prefer to organize our material in an informal manner; however, at the university level, we are often required to submit a formal outline along with our essay or research paper. First, we should prepare a preliminary, or working, outline, which may change as our paper takes shape. After we have finished our writing process, we may then revise this outline to reflect the final organization of our composition. An outline may be very broad, indicating the main ideas and major supporting details, or it may be very specific, indicating not only the main ideas but also minor details. The type of outline we write is often determined by the length of the paper we are writing.
Sample of a Working Outline
THESIS: Soap operas are popular among viewers of all ages for several reasons.
I. Portrayal of family problems
II. Reflection of cultural values
III. Emphasis on romance
Rules for Preparing an Outline
Roman numerals indicate the main ideas: I, II, III., etc. Indented capital letters indicate supporting ideas: А, В, С, etc. Indented Arabic numerals indicate details: 1, 2, 3, etc. Indented small letters indicate even smaller details:a, b, c, etc.
If you have A, you must have B. If you have I, you must have 2, and so on.
Use parallel structure. For example, use sentences for every item, or, as is most commonly done, use phrases and words with the same grammatical form.
Capitalize the first word of every item.
Follow each number and letter with a period.
Indent parallel items the same distance from the ; background: #ffffff; widows: 0; orphans: 0">
EXERCISE 11. Outline the model essay at the beginning of this chapter.
I Have Three Days to Hear
(See the Sample above).
3. Practice of essay writing
Writing to communicate
Since the purpose of writing is communication, ask yourself these questions before you begin. What is the purpose of the essay and who is the audience (reader)? In college, of course, the reader is an instructor, and the purpose is usually to fulfill some assignment and to earn the highest possible grade. In fact, many courses besides English require that students write essays. According to an international student studying engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, "The (engineering) professor doesn't want students just to take out their calculators and work the problem mathematically because they forget it in a few weeks. Instead, students have to write essays that show they understand the problem and explain how to solve it. Then they remember the information for years. So tell your students that even for engineering courses they have to write clearly." But good writing is demanded in most businesses and professions, too, and when you finish college you т.iv be required to write proposals for funding, arguments for or against a method of business operation or a new project, justifications for major equipment expenditures, reports to stockholders, technical evaluations, letters, etc. In business, the "grade" for a particularly well-written assignment may be a promotion to a higher position or a substantial increase in salary, so it is important to be able to present the necessary information to complement your purpose.
Is the essay an argument? Then use serious examples that include facts, figures, and data calculated to prove the point and convince the reader.
Is the essay a narration of an interesting experience or an explanation of some process like painting the kitchen or learning to ride a horse? Here the purpose may be very different. You may want to touch the reader's emotions by relating anecdotes that describe the funny or frustrating moments of that experience.
Is the essay an explanation of a difficult concept? Then an analogy, similar to that comparing writing with photography, might be useful.
There are three major forms of writing: exposition, narration, description. Let us consider them in details.
Ex"; background: #ffffff; widows: 0; orphans: 0"> Explaining the Meaning or the Purpose
An expository essay presents information on a specific topic; its purpose is to explain. For example, you might want to explain your qualifications for a job, describe how to operate a microscope, or trace your family tree. For all of these topics, you want to focus clearly on facts and objective detail. Expository writing usually does not include opinions, judgments, or arguments. It contains an introductory paragraph with a thesis statement, supporting paragraphs, and a concluding paragraph. You generate ideas and organize them as you do for other types of essays.
Much of the writing you do in college and at work will be expository. In college, essay exams, class assignments, and term papers all demand expository writing skills. The reports, memos, and summaries at work should present information clearly and effectively.
Depending on your topic, you may need to obtain additional information about your topic through reading or research. Although you may have general information about your topic, you may need to locate specifics — facts, statistics, or examples to support your main points. Here is a brief expository essay that a student wrote for an assignment for her interpersonal communication class. Her essay is based on her own observations and on an article by Desmond Morris.
How to Spot a Liar
If you suspected a friend were lying to you, what would you do to confirm your suspicions? Most of us would listen more carefully to what the person says, and try to "catch" him or her saying a slip or something contradictory. Most liars are experienced — they've been practicing for a long time. They are very careful about what they say; therefore they seldom make a slip. To spot a liar stop paying attention to what is said. Instead, pay attention to the person's voice, face, and body.
How a person speaks reveals more than what he or she says. While choice of words is easy to control, the voice often betrays one's emotions. Because areas of the brain involved with emotion control the voice, the voice tends to reveal emotion. When a person lies, the voice tend to be higher pitched and the rate of speech tends to slow down.
Even more revealing than voice is a person's face. The face is the primary place we display emotions. We use different facial expressions to convey fear, anger, happiness, or guilt. Facial expressions are harder to fake than words because you can rehearse or practice what you will say, but you cannot practice how you will feel. Liars tend to make exaggerated expressions — a smile that is drawn out too long or a frown that is too severe. Eyes are especially revealing. Liars' eyes lack the genuine warm twinkle when they smile, and they make less eye contact with the other person.
The body is the most revealing of all. While many liars try to control their voice and face, many do not know that their body has its own language. Posture and gestures reveal a person's feelings. Liars tend to mike less enthusiastic gestures. At times, the gesture may not fit with what is being said. Liars tend to hold themselves at a greater distance from other people. They also have a less relaxed body position. You may notice, too, nervous behaviors such as twisting a ring or toying with a button.
Spotting a liar is never easy, but you will have the most success if you watch rather than listen. As we all know, actions are more important than words.
(Desmond Morris. "Nonverbal Leakage: How You Can Tell if Someone is Lying." Man watching. New York: Abrams, 1977.)
Notice that this essay is factual. The author does not include opinions about or personal experience with liars. The introductory paragraph interests the reader by posing a hypothetical question. The next sentence tells us that what we frequently assume is wrong and explains why. The last sentence states the author's thesis. The next three paragraphs explain how voice, face, and body can be used to spot liars. The concluding paragraph restates the thesis in more general terms and ends with a widely accepted expression.
What's in a Story?
Purpose of the narrative:
entertainment or information?
Most students know that narration, or storytelling, is used extensively in various forms of entertainment — short stories, novels, films, and television. However, the narrative is also used to give a factual account of a single experience or a series of related events in historical, biographical, or expository writing. For example, newspaper reporters use narration almost exclusively in their news and feature stories to answer the questions: Who? What? When? Where? and How? Editorial and opinion writers must answer these questions and also explore the "why" of actions, issues, and ideas in their articles. Of the three classes of writing (exposition, narration, and description), narration is the easiest to produce because it is the closest to oral communication. All we have to do is "tell what happened," something we have been trained to do since we learned to talk. This instruction was reinforced when we learned to read, and our books were full of short, simple narratives about the lives of fictional families.
The relationship between plot
and time order
The plot is the plan used by the author to select and relate the events of a story, just as the outline is used by the nonfiction writer to decide the major and minor points of an essay. Traditional plot development in a short story follows this order: (1) The characters, their surroundings, and the situation are introduced right away. (2) Something happens to start the action and provide the basis for the conflict or problem in the story. (3) The conflict is developed by a series of actions or events that complicate the story or provide suspense. (4) The final action or event, which is of greatest interest to the reader because it brings the story to a point where matters have to be settled and some resolution made, is the climax. (5) If the final action does not satisfactorily conclude the story (that is, explain the "why" of it), then an unraveling or clarification, a denouement (from the French verb denouer, to untie), is included.
Not all plot development is traditional. Many stories omit one or more of these five points or change them around because of the way lime is shown. We ourselves most often relate an incident as a simple chronology; that is, from beginning to end, without interruption. However, sometimes we stop to include things that happened before the incident occurred so that listeners understand it better. When earlier events interrupt the present in a short story, novel, or movie, the technique is called a flashback. For instance, a mother who is punishing her child for eating candy just before dinner might suddenly have a flashback of her own mother scolding her for doing exactly the same thing. As she looks back at herself (in her mind's eye), for just a moment she is again a naughty child and feels everything her own child is feeling. His result is that her anger toward her child vanishes, but some kind of explanation is needed to explain the abrupt change in her attitude. ! he flashback provides this special insight. However, a flashback is never bed to supply information that the author just forgot to include. Time order, then, is important to establish what happened, and when.
Reading for Writing
The Night the President Met the Burglar
Richard C. Garvey
The author uses narration to recount a news story that was suppressed for over fifty years. The story is now noteworthy more from a human interest than from a news standpoint. The author uses both direct and reported speech in the article. Although character development is not extensive, Garvey includes sufficient details to explain the actions of the President, Mrs. Coolidge, and the burglar so that we understand the reasons for their behavior.
A cat burglar invaded the bedroom of the President of the United States, who confronted him, struck a deal with him and helped him escape. The President and First Lady — she slept through the encounter never notified the Secret Service and he enjoined a journalist friend not to print the story.
The journalist kept his word, and this is the first time the incident Jill been reported.
The event occurred in the early morning hours in one of the first time of the presidency of Calvin Coolidge, late in August, 1923. He and his family were living in the same third-floor suite at the Willard Hotel in Washington that they had occupied during his vice presidency. President Warren G. Harding's widow still was living in the White House.
Coolidge awoke to see an intruder go through his clothes, remove a wallet and unhook a watch chain.
Coolidge spoke: "I wish you wouldn’t take that."
The intruder, gaining his voice, said: "Why?"
"I don’t mean the watch and chain, only the charm. Take it near the window and read what is engraved on the back of it," the President said.
The burglar read: "Presented to Calvin Coolidge, Speaker of the House, by the Massachusetts General Court."
"Are you President Coolidge?" he asked.
The President answered, "Yes, and the Legislature gave me that watch charm. I'm fond of it. It would do you no good. You want money. Let's talk this over."
Holding up the wallet, the intruder bargained: "I'll take this and leave everything else."
Coolidge, knowing there was $80 in the billfold, persuaded the intruder to sit down and talk. The young man said he and his college roommate had overspent during their vacation and did not have enough money to pay their hotel bill.
Coolidge added up the room rate and two rail tickets back to the campus. Then he counted out $32 and said it was a loan.
He then told the intruder that there probably would be a Secret Service agent patrolling the hotel corridor and asked if an escape could be made by going back along the hotel ledge. The man left through the same window he had entered.
The President told his wife, Grace, about the event. Later, he confided in two friends, Judge Walter L. Stevens, the family lawyer, and Frank MacCarthy, a free-lance writer and photographer.
The President held MacCarthy to silence and never told him the intruder's name. As the 25th anniversary of the event approached, 15 years after Coolidge's death, MacCarthy, by then working for the Springfield Union, asked Mrs. Coolidge to let him use the story.
She declined, saying, "There is already too much publicity given to acts of vandalism and violence."
MacCarthy honored her request, asking only that she review the story for accuracy and allow him to use it after her death.
Mrs. Coolidge died July 8, 1957, and MacCarthy died less than four months later without publishing his article.
MacCarthy had shared the story with me when we worked together. Because all reasons for secrecy have vanished, this report has been constructed from MacCarthy's own article.
I have called the young man a burglar because MacCarthy's article so identifies him, but his notes show that Coolidge said the young man repaid the $32 loan in full.
1. When did the President meet the burglar? Where? How did the intruder get in? Why wasn't the President living in the White House?
Which of his possessions was Mr. Coolidge most worried about losing? Why?
Why did the young man commit the robbery?
How did the President handle the situation? What kind of deal did he make with the thief?
How did he help the burglar escape?
6. Whom did Mr. Coolidge tell about the incident?
7. What reason did Mrs. Coolidge give for refusing to allow publication of the story fifteen years after her husband's death?
8. How did the author learn about the story, and why was he able to publish it?
Tasks for Critical Analysis, Discussion, and Writing
1. In Garvey's story, the President of the United States awakened to find an intruder going through his clothes with the intention of robbing him. Why didn't Mr. Coolidge summon the Secret Service guards just outside the room? Why did he bargain with the young man? Wouldn't it have been a good example for other thieves if Mr. Coolidge had had the burglar arrested?
2. How do you suppose this incident affected the burglar's life? What did Mr. Coolidge do for this young man that was far more important than not having him arrested or helping him to escape? Was the President's faith in the youth justified?
3. Write a narrative about this incident from the point of view of the young man. Discuss his reasons for committing the burglary and his feelings before and after he was caught. Was it in his best interests to make a "deal" with the President? Would the youth have learned more if he had been punished by the law?
How would you handle it if you awoke in the middle of the night to find someone methodically searching your clothes and room for valuables? Would you try to dissuade the thief? If so, how? If not, why not?
Are burglars today any different from those of fifty years ago? Explain.
Using the Senses and the Imagination
Description, the last of the three major forms of writing, sometimes is used to make the other two — exposition and narration — more lively and interesting. In fact, each of the three types is frequently dependent upon the others to ensure the reader's understanding and enjoyment. Most expository writing includes some narration or description; straight narration relies heavily on description and often employs exposition; description is regularly enhanced by narration and exposition. Therefore, don't feel that you must totally separate the three forms in your own essays.
to the Thesis-Development-Conclusion Format
1. Proving the Thesis
Your reason for writing the essay must be stated in the thesis, and all descriptive information should support it. For instance, if you state that children reflect their parents' behavior and values, don't concentrate on the parents' physical appearances. It doesn't matter whether they are beautiful or handsome, have blue or brown eyes or are tall or short. Instead, give and discuss examples of the altitudes or special qualities, such as kindness, honesty, and dependability (or the reverse), that make these parents good (or bad) role models for their children.
2. Ordering and Discussing Developmental Details
A descriptive essay that ignores order can be confusing and can stray from the stated purpose. Imagine that you are writing a descriptive paper explaining how you conquered a great fear. Suppose that just after you were licensed to drive, you were in a serious auto accident. Afterward, you were so afraid of driving or even riding in automobiles that you always took the bus or walked. Then, one day your favorite friends, James and Martha, convinced you to drive to the beach with them. You felt nervous and upset during the thirty-mile trip although you were somewhat relieved to be firmly safety belted to the back seat, the safest place in the car. The day passed happily — swimming, sunning, and picnicking. You stopped worrying about the long ride home. James and Martha went for a last swim, and you dozed in the warm sunshine. Frantic cries for help abruptly awoke you. Martha, caught in an undertow, was drowning. You ran for the lifeguard; James swam to help her. Martha was saved, but neither she nor James was able to drive home. The task fell to you.
How did this emergency help you conquer your fear of driving? You may order the experience chronologically — from start to finish-by describing each part of it. Did your hands perspire when James handed you the car keys? How did you feel when you slid in behind the wheel, backed the car out of the parking lot, merged into the heavy Sunday traffic, and braked violently for the first sudden stop? What thoughts ran through your mind when you saw a serious accident blocking traffic on the other side of the highway? How did you react when you finally drove into your friends' garage? On the other hand, you may choose to describe the situation spatially. Perhaps the calm, pleasant country — rolling hills, grassy meadows, and neatly planted fields — outside the car was in sharp contrast to the mood inside. Your fear and your friends' near tragedy may have combined to produce an unbearable tension that kept anyone from speaking; you were terrified of having an accident, Martha was in shock, and James was worried about you both. Another spatially organized essay might describe only your own sensations from head to toe — your head spinning, your arms feeling limp and numb, your heart pounding, your stomach churning, your legs weak, and your feet unable to respond to your brain's commands to step on the accelerator or the brakes.
Once you have established an orderly means of presenting your material, be sure that you explain or discuss it. Try to intermingle details and your analyses of them. Sometimes, you may give several details before you state their importance. There is no set rule for the amount of explanation needed for each example.
3. Concluding a Description
Use the conclusion to test the effectiveness of your evidence. This is especially important in a descriptive essay because sometimes writers get so involved in the details that they forget the purpose of the paper. If, after finishing the essay, the reader's reaction is "Nice description, but what's the point?", then something is missing. Double check the following:
1. Is the thesis clear?
2. Are descriptive details and anecdotes well chosen and their meanings thoroughly discussed?
3. Does every bit of information included support the thesis?
If your answer to all three is "yes," the conclusion probably needs rewriting to include some kind of judgment about the evidence given.
Reading for Writing
The Rainbow City
 New York is the rainbow city. All the colors and the races of the world are here, all languages, religions, and dreams. Our triumph is plural, and throughout our history, the New York rainbow has drawn the adventurous and the brilliant, the mad, the brave, and the ambitious. For many, of course, there was no pot of gold at the foot of the rainbow; New York is above all a human, imperfect city. But for most the rainbow was enough. Welcome to the rainbow.
 I was born and raised here, but if you ask me to explain New York and show you its sights, I'll sometimes mumble about ghosts. More than any large American city, New York is a place where the past keeps shoving its way into the present. I see the great bridge across the Narrows on a summer morning from the Belt Parkway, and I also see Giovanni da Verrazano on that morning in 1524, nosing his tiny caravel into the wide, inviting harbor, to be welcomed with flowers by the original native New Yorkers.
 I look at the skyline at dusk, rising from the harbor, in Truman Capote's phrase, "like a diamond iceberg." But I also see the Dutch erecting their wooden forts while slaves ripped from Africa worked their way into the rainbow from a camp at 75th Street and the East River. At the Battery, I see the English lowering the Dutch flag at musket-point in 1664, changing the names of the Dutch towns ('t Vlackbos, for example, became Flatbush), building a flourishing slave market on Wall Street, and then giving us, in spite of their almost congenital hypocrisy, double-dealing, and cruelty, a common language and common law.
 I walk lower Broadway, above the bones of the old town, and in my mind's eye I see, coming out of Maiden Lane, Aaron Burr, teeming with irony and schemes, devising ways to rescue the revolutionary triumph from Hamilton's aristocrats, and inventing Tammany Hall. Burr is there, among the West Indian messenger boys, the Puerto Rican girls going to work in the banks, and the commuters in from the suburbs; so are Diamond Jim Brady and Boss Tweed, Commodore Vanderbilt and Jay Gould, all those grasping brigands of the nineteenth century, and so are the 1969 Mets, champions of the world, drowning in ticker tape and torn-up phone books on the last day in New York when everyone I knew was happy.
 But much of the time, I think about the immigrants, those millions of Irish, Jewish, Italian, German, and Polish men and women who came here in flight from czars, kings, poverty, and injustice. They survived the hazards of the Atlantic crossing and then were jammed into an old quarantine station on Staten Island or the round stone fort called Castle Garden, and, after 1892, into Ellis Island. They were humiliated in those holding pens, or robbed, or scorned; their names were sometimes arbitrarily changed; they stammered in their own languages before the steady, arrogant force of English and shivered in the winter cold or broiled in the stinking summer heat; and when they were finished, when the papers were signed and stamped, when the degrading and patronizing processes of entry were over, they picked up their sad, cheap suitcases tied with rough cord, and walked out the door and built America.
 This is their city: impatient, traditional, tough, generous, and plural. It's aport city, an archipelago with only the Bronx of our five boroughs attached to the mainland. And since World War II, it has been the port of entry for still another great migration, this time from the American South and the Caribbean, from South America, and, increasingly, from Asia. The new arrivals have strained our resources to the breaking point, because many jobs available to the earlier immigrants have vanished, or gone to the Sun Belt and other places.
 But in the face of anger, tumult, harsh words, and bitterness from older New Yorkers, the new immigrants have become a permanent part of the city. None of them have starved. None of their children have been denied schooling. And in return they've given us music, art, food, a denser, darker texture, a wider sense of the world. This is their city too. You can't see this multilayered New York from an airplane or a hotel room, because the city is too specific and too local. Here are a few places that will give you the sense of our pluralism: our past, our present, our future. Go out and walk around. You might even trip over a pot of gold.
What reasons for immigration are stated by the author?
How were the first immigrants treated?
Are the new immigrants a permanent part of the city?
Topics for Discussion and Writing
Why is the rainbow a suitable image to describe New York City?
Write an essay describing the main features of your home town or city. Like Hamill, use history, specific places, and people to illustrate your point.
Periods are used in the following instances.
1. At the end of sentences that do not ask questions or express strong emotion:
The lateral stress still needs to be calculated. Let him look
2. After some abbreviations
3. With decimal fractions:
The exclamation point
The exclamation point is used at the end of a sentence that expresses strong emotion, such as surprise or doubt:
The nuclear plant, which was originally expected to cost
$1.6 billion, eventually cost more than 14 billion!
Because technical writing requires objectivity and a calm, understated tone, technical writers rarely use exclamation points.
The question mark
The question mark is used at the end of a sentence that asks a direct question:
What did the commission say about effluents?
Do not use a question mark at the end of a sentence that asks an indirect question:
He wanted to know whether the procedure had been
approved for use.
When a question mark is used within quotation marks, the quoted material needs no other end punctuation:
"What did the commission say about effluents?" she asked.
The comma is the most frequently used punctuation mark, as well as the one about whose usage many writers most often disagree. Following are the basic uses of the comma.
1. To separate the clauses of a compound sentence (one composed of two or more independent clauses) linked by a coordinate conjunction (and, or, nor, but, so, for, yet):
Both methods are acceptable, but we have found that the Simpson procedure gives better results.
In many compound sentences, the comma is needed to prevent the reader from mistaking the subject of the second clause for an object of the verb in the first clause:
The RESET command affects the field access, and the
SEARCH command affects the filing arrangement.
Without the comma, the reader is likely to interpret the coordinate conjunction "and" as a simple conjunction linking "field access" and "SEARCH command."
2. To separate items in a series composed of three or more elements:
The manager of spare parts is responsible for ordering,
stocking, and disbursing all spare parts for the entire plant.
The comma following the second-to-last item is required by most technical writing style manuals, despite the presence of the conjunction "and". The comma clarifies the separation and prevents misreading. For example, sometimes in technical writing the second-to-last item will be a compound noun containing an "and".
The report will be distributed to Operations, Research and
Development, and Accounting.
Instead of twenty, five came.
3. To separate introductory words, phrases, and clauses from the main clause of the sentence:
However, we will have to calculate the effect of the wind.
To facilitate trade, the government holds a yearly internation-
Whether the workers like it or not, the managers have decided not to try the flextime plan.
In each of these three examples, the comma helps the reader follow the lenience.
Notice in the following example how the comma actually prevents misreading:
Just as we finished eating, the rats discovered the treadmill.
To John, Smith was very polite.
The comma is optional if the introductory text is brief and cannot be misread.
First, let's take care of the introductions.
First let's take care of the introductions.
4. To separate the main clause from a dependent clause:
The advertising campaign was canceled, although most of the executive council saw nothing wrong with it.
Most accountants wear suits, whereas few engineers do.
5. To separate nonrestrictive modifiers (parenthetical clarifications) from the rest of the sentence:
Jones, the temporary chairman, called the meeting to order.
6. To separate interjections and transitional elements from the rest of the sentence:
Yes, I admit your findings are correct. Their plans, however, have great potential
7. To separate coordinate adjectives:
The finished product was a sleek, comfortable cruiser.
The heavy, awkward trains are still being used.
The comma here takes the place of the conjunction "and". If the adjectives are not coordinate — that is, if one of the adjectives modifies the combination of the adjective and the noun — do not use a comma:
They decided to go to the first general meeting.
8. To signal that a word or phrase has been omitted from an elliptical expression:
Smithers is in charge of the accounting:Harlen, the data management;Demarest, the publicity.
In this example, the commas after "Harlen" and "Demarest" show that the phrase ""is in charge of has been omitted.
9. To separate a proper noun from the rest of the sentence in direct address:
John, have you seen the purchase order from United?
What I'd like to know, Betty, is why we didn't see this prob-
10. To introduce most quotations:
He asked, "What time were they expected?"
11.To separate towns, states, and countries:
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is the home of Lehigh University.
He attended Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania,
and the University of California at Berkeley.
Note the use of the comma after "Pennsylvania."
12. To set off the year in dates:
August 1, 1969, is the anticipated completion date.
Note the use of the comma after "1969." If the month separates the date from the year, the commas are not used, because the numbers are not next to each other:
The anticipated completion date is 1 August 1989
13. To separate thousands, millions, etc. in numbers of four or more digits:
4,250 50,291 12,013,100
(European practice is to reverse the use of commas and periods in writing numbers: periods are used to signify thousands, and commas to signify decimals.)
14. To separate names from professional or academic titles:
Harold Clayton, Ph.D.
Marion Fewick, CLU
Joyce Camone, P.E.
Note that the comma also follows the title in a sentence:
Harold Clayton, Ph.D., is the featured speaker.
Semicolons are used in the following instances.
1. To separate independent clauses not linked by a coordinate conjunction:
The second edition of the handbook is more up-to-date:
however, it is more expensive.
2. To separate items in a series that already contains commas:
The members elected three officers: Jack Resnick, president; Carol Wayshum, vice-president; Ahmed Jamoogian, recording secretary.
In this example, the semicolon acts as a "supercomma," keeping the names and titles clear.
COMMON ERROR Use of a semicolon when a colon is called for:
We still need one ingredient; luck.
We still need one ingredient: luck.
Colons are used in the following instances.
1. To introduce a word, phrase, or clause that amplifies or explains a general statement:
The project team lacked one crucial member: a project
Here is the client's request: we are to provide the preliminary proposal by November 13.
We found three substances in excessive quantities: potassium, cyanide, and asbestos.
The week had been productive: fourteen projects had been completed and another dozen had been initiated.
Note that the text preceding a colon should be able to stand on its own as a main clause:
We found: potassium, cyanide, and asbestos.
We found potassium, cyanide, and asbestos.
2. To introduce items in a vertical list, if the introductory text would be incomplete without the list:
We found the following:
3. To introduce long or formal quotations:
The president began: "In the last year…."
COMMON ERROR Use of a colon to separate a verb from its complement:
The tools we need are: a plane, a level, and a T-square.
The tools we need are a plane, a level, and a T-square.
We need three tools: a plane, a level, and a T-square.
Dashes are used in the following instances.
To set off a sudden change in thought or tone:
The committee found—can you believe this?—that the
company bore full responsibility for the accident.
That's what she said—if I remember correctly.
2. To emphasize a parenthetical element:
The managers' reports—all ten of them—recommend
production cutbacks for the coming year.
Arlene Kregman—the first woman elected to the board of directors—is the next scheduled speaker.
3. To set off an introductory series from its explanation:
Wetsuits, weight belts, tanks—everything will have to be
When a series follows the general statement, a colon replaces the dash:
Everything will have to be shipped in: wetsuits, weight belts,
Note that typewriters and most word processors do not have a key for the dash. In typewritten or word-processed text, a dash is represented by two uninterrupted hyphens. No space precedes or follows the dash.
Parentheses are used in the following instances.
1. To set off incidental information:
Please call me (x3104) when you get the information. Galileo
(1564—1642) is often considered the father of modern astronomy.
H.W. Fowler's Modern English Usage (New York: Oxford University Press, 2nd ed., 1965) is still the final arbiter.
2. To enclose numbers and letters that label items listed in a sentence:
To transfer a call within the office, (1) place the party on
HOLD, (2) press TRANSFER, (3) press the extension number,
and (4) hang up.
Use both a left and a right parenthesis—not just a right parenthesis— in this situation.
Hyphens are used in the following instances.
1. In general, to form compound adjectives that precede nouns:
Note that hyphens are not used after words that end in -ly:
newly acquired terminal
Also note that hyphens are not used when the compound adjective follows the noun:
The Woodchuck saw is chain driven.
2. To form some compound nouns and adjectives:
3. To form fractions and compound numbers:
4. To attach some prefixes and suffixes:
ex-governor post-Second World War
5. To divide a word at the end of a line:
We will meet in the pavil-
ion in one hour.
Whenever possible, avoid such breaks: they annoy some readers When you do use them, check the dictionary to make sure you have divided the word between syllables.
Apostrophes are used in the following instances.
1. To indicate the possessive case:
the manager's goals
the foremen's lounge
the employees' credit union
For joint possession, add the apostrophe and the "s" to only the last noun or proper noun:
Watson and Crick’s discovery
For separate possession, add an apostrophe and an "s" to each of the nouns or pronouns:
Newton's and Calileo's ideas
Make sure you do not add an apostrophe or an "s" to possessive pronouns: his, hers, its, ours, yours, theirs.
2. To form contractions:
The apostrophe usually indicates an omitted letter or letters.
For example, can't is can(no)t, it's is it(i)s.
Some organizations discourage the use of contractions; others have no preference. Find out the policy your organization follows.
3. To indicate special plurals:
two different JCL's
the why's and how's of the problem
As in the case of contractions, it is a good idea to learn the stylistic preferences of your organization. Usage varies considerably.
COMMON ERROR Use of the contraction it's in place of the possessive pronoun its.
The company does not feel that the problem is it's
The company does not feel that the problem is its
5. Informal letters and e-mails
You have received the following email from a friend in London.
Anyway, I was really writing to ask if you would like to stay a little bit longer when you come over. You've already got the wedding invitation - I can't believe my sister's getting married in a few months' time! I was thinking perhaps we could spend some time together before or after the wedding. Let me know what dates would be good for you. Also, my mum would like to know if you wouldn't mind sharing a room. We're going to be quite busy, what with the wedding and everything.
I know this is your first visit to Britain, so please let me know in your next email what kind of things you'd like to do when you're here, We're going to have a great time.
Write back soon. John
Your possible answer.
Thanks for your email. I'm glad to hear that everything is going well. Sorry I'm a bit late replying, but I've been busy studying for my exams and I haven't had time to check my mail for days.
Thank you so much for inviting me to stay a bit longer. I'd love to spend some more time with you. I'll really need a break after all this studying. My classes at university finish on 5th July. Is it OK if I come on Monday 15th July and leave on Friday 26th? If these dates sound good, let me know and I'll go ahead and book the flight.
I need to ask you a few questions about your sister's wedding. What kind of clothes should I bring? I've never been to a wedding abroad before. Also, my family really want to get a small gift for Jane. My parents are very fond of her. What do you think about some beach towels? They could use them on their honeymoon.
Finally, you asked me what I'd like to do when I get there. Well, I guess the first few days we'll be busy getting ready for the wedding. After that, though, there are one or two things I'd like to do. You know I'm a huge fan of modern art and I hear that the Tate Gallery has a fantastic new exhibition on. Do you think we could go there one day? Of course, a day sightseeing in London would be great, too. Other than that, I'll leave it up to you.
Anyway, I hope to hear from you soon.
P.S. By the way, could you please tell your mother that I don't mind about the room. Whatever is easiest for her will be fine.
An informal letter or email is usually between people who know each other fairly well. In addition to giving news, they are often used to request information, congratulate people, give advice and ask questions. There are a lot of similarities between informal letters and conversation. Informal letters ask a lot of questions, show interest and enthusiasm, and imagine a lot of shared information.
Titles and addresses
When writing an informal letter you sometimes write your own address and the date (but not your name) at the top right-hand corner of the page, and then start the letter on the left-hand side. Addresses and dates are not given in an email, but emails do need a subject title. A subject title should be brief and should summarize the main point of the email.
► Many exams do not require you to write your address and the date at the start of your letter, so make sure that you follow any instructions carefully.
Start with Dear followed by the first name of the person to whom you are writing. In emails, you can also start with Hi (and the person's name), or just the person's name.
Informal letters sometimes have a comma after the person's name, and the letter starts on the line below and is often indented. However, because of the popularity of word processing and emails, the rules on punctuation and layout have now become more relaxed. The important thing is to be consistent with the style that you choose to use (so if you use a comma after the person's name at the start of the letter, use a comma after the closing statement at the end).
► Don't forget to use only the first name of the person you are writing to, not
Dear Mr John, which is never used, or Dear Mr John Brown, which sounds too formal.
When writing an informal letter, you are usually replying lo another letter. You would normally start with a greeting, then acknowledge the letter to which you are replying often a good idea to acknowledge some information given in the original letter too. You can also make a comment on your own
Start with a greeting: How are you? How have the family been? I hope are well.
Acknowledge the original letter: Thank you for the letter and parcel which arrived this morning. | It was great to hear) you again after such a long time, I was so surprised to hear that you are going to university in America!
Make a comment on your reply: I have so much to tell you. | I'm sorry I haven’t written for so long.
Covering all the issues
When you have finished your opening comments, begin a new paragraph and co the information that you want to mention. A letter that is written accurately and a good range of language will still not be effective unless you make sure that you say all the things you need to say.
Make sure that your reply answers and questions that you were asked in the letter or email and takes into account any additional information that you have to mention.
► In many exam questions, you will 1 what to include in your reply. There also often be additional notes which as prompts for your reply. It is important that you take these into account in order get a good grade.
Using informal language
An informal letter or email is an opportunity to demonstrate informal language skills. There are a number of ways to make language informal:
► Use intensifying adjectives and adverbs to show enthusiasm: I've got a fantastic new job. | My new boss is an absolute nightmare.
Use idiomatic language: Things have been getting on top of me at work lately. It’s been ages since we last managed to meet up. What have you been up to lately? Let me know what you think. I'll fill you in when we next meet.
Use question forms to make the letter read more like a conversation: How are your studies going? How does that sound to you?
Use informal vocabulary: use get instead of receive, I guess instead of I think
Use phrasal verbs and phrases: we get on well, write back soon, get in touch.
Use contractions: I can't help thinking. I should’ve told you sooner.
It is important that you use grammatical expressions and vocabulary appropriate to the level of the exam. Even if there are no mistakes in your writing, you will not be get a good grade if you use only the language and vocabulary that you learnt at elementary level. Even in informal writing, there is a good range of language you can use.
Use the present perfect progressive to news: I've been helping my parents out at their shop.
Use a future progressive for future plans: I am going to be staying at my grandmother's house all summer.
Use conditional sentences to make suggestions: If you let me have your number, I'll give you a call at the weekend.
Use polite question forms for requests: Do you think you could send me a copy of the photos? | Would you mind if we didn't go camping?
Use question tags to check information: Nobody else knows, do they? You don't mind do you?
All good writing makes good use of connectors. However, many of the connectors you have learnt for other styles of writing are inappropriate in an informal letter or email. For informal writing, you need to use some of the connectors that are more specific to spoken language.
To introduce a topic: Well, you'll never guess who I bumped into yesterday. | I know how much you love tennis, so I've got us some tickets to Wimbledon. | By the way, did you know that John's got a new job?
To go back to a previous topic: Anyway, as I was saying earlier, I really wasn't very happy there. | Now where was I? Oh yes, I nearly forgot, Mary asked me tell you about the cinema.
To introduce surprising or bad news: Actually, he came to the party after all. | I'm really sorry but I can't make it. | To tell you the truth, I don't really like sports much.
To summarize what you've already said: Anyway, we had a really nice time in the end. | Well, to cut a long story short, we didn't get there on time.
The end of your letter is as important as the beginning. There are some standard ways of finishing an informal letter or email.
USEFUL PHRASES 1
► Give a reason why you're ending the letter: Anyway, I must go and get on with my work! | I guess it's time I got on with that studying I've been avoiding.
► Make a reference to future contact: Anyway, don't forget to let me know the dates of the party. | I'll try and phone you at the weekend to check the times. We must try and meet up soon. | I can't wait to hear from you.
A closing statement, such as Take care, Best wishes or Love should be written on a new line. If you used a comma after the opening greeting, use a comma here too. Your name then follows on another new line. People often write X below their name to indicate a kiss.
If you have forgotten something important, add it at the end, after your name, after the letters PS.
6. Formal letters
You have recently bought a computer, but it is not the thing the company promised in the advertisement. Look at the advertisement below and the notes that you have made, and write a letter, requesting a visit from one of the company's technicians.
■ We offer a wide range of home computers and laptops at discount prices.
■ All our computers come with a choice of popular free software and games.
■ You can arrange for a free home visit from one of our qualified technicians, who will arrange to come to your home at a time that suits you to help you set up your computer.
If you experience any difficulties call our free hotline and one of our staff will be waiting to help you out.
But you found the same model 150 ₤ cheaper in the local shop. Your computer has only one old tennis game and a recipe organizer. The technician can only come in the morning when you are at work and he only took the computer out of the box and left. Free hotline cost you 1₤ per minute.
► Sample answer
6 Lakeside Road
Customer number: AF 2789
Tel: mob 07790 74828
Mr A Foutain
Unit 7, Riverside Business Park
Dear Mr Fountain
I am writing to complain about the computer that I bought from your company last week. I am unhappy with the computer and the service that I have received.
In your advertisement you state that a choice of software is included in the price. I was hoping for something useful, like a word processing package or something for the Internet, but you included an outdated tennis game, and a programme to write up recipes. Neither piece of software is particularly useful for me.
I was also unhappy with the after-sales service that I received. Although you claim in your advertisement that you offer discounts, the computer that I bought was on sale for ₤150 less in my local computer shop. I was happy to pay the extra money because I am not very confident with computers and I thought your company would offer me the extra technical help that I need. However, this was not the case.
I had to take the day off work to wait for the computer to arrive, despite your claims that you would arrange a convenient time. The technician who finally came was little more than a delivery boy and he stayed for only ten minutes, just long enough to take the computer out of the box. When I had difficulties setting up the computer on my own, I decided to phone your hotline, but was shocked to be told by your operator that the call would cost a total of ₤20.
I am still having difficulties getting the computer started and would like you to send one of your technicians to my house as soon as possible to fix it. I would also like a refund of the ₤20 phone call, which I feel I should not have to pay, and a choice of a better range of software products than the ones you have sent me.
I hope to hear from you in the near future, and can be contacted at any time on the mobile number above.
We often write formal letters to people who we do not know very well. Polite forms are always used, even in letters of complaint. Formal letters use a lot of formulaic language, and even native speakers use the same phrases in their letters each time they write. You should try to include some of these phrases in your own work.
1. Titles and addresses
If the letter is not written on headed paper, it is common to write your address and telephone number at the top of the page. In British English, this appears on the right hand side, with the date underneath. In American English, this appears on the left-hand side of the page, above the name and address of the person that you are writing to.
There may also be a reference number, for example your order number or customer account number, beneath the date.
The full name (Ms Penny Smith) or a title (The Manager, Customer Services), and the address of the person you are writing to goes on the next line, on the left-hand side of the page.
► Many exams do not require you to write addresses and the date at the start of your letter, so make sure that you follow any instructions carefully.
If you know the name of the person to whom you are writing, begin your letter: Dear Mr Smith, Dear Ms Brown
If you do not know the name of the person you are writing to, begin your letter: Dear Sir (if you know that you are writing to a man), Dear Madam (if you know that you are writing to a woman), or Dear Sir or Madam (if you do not know the gender).
If you do not know the particular company or person you are writing to (for "example, a general reference letter), begin your letter: To Whom It May Concern
Only write the title and the surname, not the first name
Dear Mr. John Brown.
In British English, there is usually no punctuation after the opening greeting, although a comma is possible. In American English, a colon should be used.
2. Covering the issues
A formal letter is always written in response to another letter, piece of communication or a situation that has arisen. There are always some things that you must mention in your letter. These are always clear from the situation.
There is often a prompt for a negative and/ or interrogative sentence in your reply. For example, the notes may contain information such as: No - Monday impossible. You are expected to write a negative sentence such as: I am sorry but I am not available next Monday.
Prompts may be in the form of notes, or in the exam question itself. Make sure that you take note of any such prompts.
In the letter on the opposite page, there are five key points to make: the four points in the notes (the cost, the poor software, the technician, and the price of the hotline) and the request for a visit by a technician in the first part of the question.
► If you do not cover all the key points your letter will not receive a good grade, even if you use a wide, accurate range of language and vocabulary. In any exam, if you fail to mention a key issue, you will be heavily penalised or may automatically fail the essay task.
3. Beginning your letter
A formal letter can begin by referring to the previous communication, stating the relationship between the two people, or by summarizing the purpose of the letter.
USEFUL PHRASES 1.
► Begin by referring to previous communication: Following our telephone conversation this morning, I am happy to confirm your offer of work with James PLC. | I am writing in reply to your letter dated 27th July. I am writing in response to your advertisement for the position of tour guide in yourLondon office, which appeared in the Daily Times today.
State the relationship between you: I recently booked a holiday to Australia with your company.
Summarize the purpose of the letter: I am writing to inform you of some changes we have made to your schedule. \ I would like to be considered for this post. | I am writing to request more information on the voluntary work programmes you run.
4. Ordering ideas
Try to group your ideas into logical paragraphs. Group your paragraphs either chronologically or in order of importance. Use connectors to help structure this order.
Chronological order: When I first placed the order with you, I was told that it would be delivered within two weeks. | Once you arrive, you will need to go to the warehouse.
Order of importance: I was very pleased with the service I received. | First of all, the staff were particularly helpful.
It is important to use high-level language and vocabulary in a formal letter. A good letter will make use of some of the formulaic phrases appropriate for the style. It will also use appropriate connectors
Another way you can show your language ability is by not repeating the exact phrases in the original communication (or exam question).
Change the part of speech of a word to avoid repetition: the instructions: You must have the appropriate qualifications. your answer: lam a fully-qualified accountant.
Use a synonym: the instructions: You recently bought a phone from this company.
your answer: I purchased a telephone from you a few weeks ago.
► Change the order of ideas: the instructions: The schedule has been changed because of problems with staffing,
your answer: Problems with staffing have mean that we will have to make some changes to the schedule.
6. Ending the letter
The end of your letter is as important as beginning. You should state what you exp the other person to do next, and tell them I they can contact you.
State the next course of action: I hope to hear from you in the near future. | I would like to request a refund of the full amount. | I will wait to hear from you before I take any further action. | I look foward to hearing from you in due course.
Tell them how they can contact you: I can be contacted at the above address at any-time Monday to Friday. | Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions.
Write a final greeting on a new line.
If you began your letter Dear Mr Brown end it: Yours sincerely (BrE), Sincerely yours, Sincerely, Yours truly, Best regards (AmE)
If you began your letter Dear Sir/Mad or To Whom It May Concern, end it: Yours faithfully (BrE), Sincerely yours, Sincere Yours truly (AmE)
If you began your letter with a comma the opening greeting, add a comma after your closing statement. In American English, always add a comma.
Sign your name on a new line and print your full name clearly on the line below. In American English, you might also add your telephone number after your name on a new line.
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