Grammar And Style Introduction


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First in an ongoing series to improve writing, based on Strunk and White's Elements of Style.

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  • Grammar And Style Introduction

    1. 1. Academic Writing A Case for Quality M. Shawn Gilliand
    2. 2. Seniors, if this looks like your most recent essay, your approach to writing needs to be different this year!
    3. 3. According to the ACT’s 2003 National Curriculum Survey, college faculty members rank grammar and style as the most important skills for entering freshmen.
    4. 4. Unfortunately, for the graduating class of 2009, 43% of students tested nationally scored a 19 or lower on the ACT English Test; these scores indicate that our students are “marginally prepared” for entry-level college coursework.
    5. 5. How could this happen? In Ohio, our instruction has become so focused on the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) that we’ve been left with just one reference to grammar in our State Course of Study.
    6. 6. What does this mean? We don’t teach grammar, usage and style in Ohio schools! Consequently, our students lack some of the foundational knowledge they need to improve as writers.
    7. 7. A plan for improvement. For the rest of the school year, we are going to work on building the foundation that you lack.
    8. 8. As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into “Quality Academic Writing.”
    9. 9. Collaboration: Writing Across the Curriculum By recruiting all of the core teachers in the SHS collaborative, we plan to help you become better academic writers, no matter what class you’re writing for. Academic writing is a part of every discipline.
    10. 10. Good academic writing: Is stylistically simple, clear, and concise. In other words, it is easy for the reader to understand. You need not "sound smart" to be smart.
    11. 11. Good academic writing: Is free of grammatical distractions.
    12. 12. Good academic writing: Clearly identifies topic, audience, and purpose (TAP).
    13. 13. Good academic writing: Uses rich and appropriate academic vocabulary that is relevant to the paper's topic. Avoids the use filler words (stuff, a lot, many, some, etc.). Avoids the use of weakening qualifiers (I believe that, it is possible, perhaps, etc.)
    14. 14. Good academic writing: Demonstrates a detailed, accurate and thorough understanding of the topic.
    15. 15. Good academic writing: Is logically organized, offering the strongest presentation of academic understanding.
    16. 16. Good academic writing: Gives credit where credit is due. All sources of outside information are cited correctly, both in the text and on a Works Cited page.
    17. 17. There is no such thing as a graded "rough draft" in the academic world. In college, what you turn in is your final product, a representation of your accumulated understanding and personal insight on your topic.
    18. 18. The drafting process as you have learned it in high school, is intended to create pre- writing, writing, and proofreading habits to be applied, as part of your personal process, to your work. This process is a strategy to make you a better writer, not an excuse to allow your teachers to be your proofreaders. In higher education and, indeed, in real life, you will rarely get a second chance to turn in something important.
    19. 19. Simply put, any piece of writing that you turn in shouldn't be a rough draft, but rather your "best draft." If it falls short, our job is to help you to understand your mistakes and correct them. We can not do this if what you turn in doesn't represent your best effort. You should want to improve.
    20. 20. Each stylistic and grammatical mistake amounts to you doing less work and your reader doing more. That equation is backwards. It is the writer's job to make meaning absolutely clear. Content and knowledge cannot be shared in the absence of good communication.
    21. 21. No-Brainers Each week SHS is going to add to a list of "No-Brainer" mistakes. Once we have discussed them in class, you are responsible for avoiding these mistakes for every paper you write. If you commit a "no-brainer" in an essay, you will be docked 1 point for each occurrence. If you make the same mistake 100 times, you lose 100 points. In other words, grammar and style will be graded separately from the content, which will still be graded according to a rubric.
    22. 22. No-Brainers: Week 1: Homonyms •its-possessive adjective (belonging to or associated with it); it's-contraction (it is) •their-possessive adjective (belonging to or associated with other people); there-adverb (in or at that place); they're-contraction (they are) •our-possessive adjective (belonging to or associated with us); are-verb (2nd person singular present and 1st, 2nd, 3rd person plural present of to be) •your-possessive adjective (belonging to or associated with the person being addressed); you're-contraction (you are); yore-noun (long ago) •to-preposition (expression motion in the direction of something); too-adverb (to a higher degree than desirable, as in, "too much," or, in addition to, as in, "He went too."); two-cardinal number •accept-transitive verb (to consent to receive); except-preposition (not including •allowed-verb (given permission); aloud-adverb (audibly) •write-verb (to compose in print form), right-adjective (morally correct), adverb (correctly), noun (an entitlement, what is morally correct, or the opposite of left); rite-noun (a ritual, as in, "rite of passage." •principal-adjective (first in order of importance), noun (the person with the highest authority in an organization); principle-noun (a fundamental truth) •whether-conjunction (expressing a doubt between alternate choices); weather-noun (the state of atmospheric conditions), verb (to survive a hardship, as in, "to weather a storm," or, to wear away over time, as in, "the rain weathered the mountains." •whose-interrogative possessive adjective or pronoun (belonging to or associated with an unknown person, as in, "Julia wondered whose it was."), relative possessive adjective (of whom or which, as in, "He is a man whose opinion I value."); who's-contraction (who is)
    23. 23. What does success look like? Better ACT scores and fewer mistakes in writing.
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