1101: The First Steps

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The second lecture in the First-Year Composition series; it addresses writing an effective introduction for a college-level essay. Recorded live on September 10, 2007.

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1101: The First Steps

  1. 1. Writing: the First Steps Dr. Gerald Lucas
  2. 2. Writing: the First Steps MLA Format Title Opening Sentence Introduction Thesis Statement
  3. 3. MLA Format Hacker, pages 355-412
  4. 4. MLA Format 1” margins all around Do not justify right margin 12 point serif font — double spaced Title centered 1/2” right justified header: Lastname page#
  5. 5. Title Required aspect of all essays
  6. 6. Title Required aspect of all essays Gets attention — never too long or vague
  7. 7. Title Required aspect of all essays Gets attention — never too long or vague Informs of subject, purpose, and audience
  8. 8. Title State a position — no questions
  9. 9. Title State a position — no questions Explicitly state subject — colon effective
  10. 10. Title State a position — no questions Explicitly state subject — colon effective Imply audience, if possible
  11. 11. Title State a position — no questions Explicitly state subject — colon effective Imply audience, if possible Capitalize every noun and verb
  12. 12. Title State a position — no questions Explicitly state subject — colon effective Imply audience, if possible Capitalize every noun and verb Do not use quotation marks
  13. 13. Title Examples A Call to Action: Regulate Use of Cell Phones on the Road
  14. 14. Title Examples A Call to Action: Regulate Use of Cell Phones on the Road Star Trek’s Positive Vision: The Future of Humanity
  15. 15. Title Examples A Call to Action: Regulate Use of Cell Phones on the Road Star Trek’s Positive Vision: The Future of Humanity Treasured Memories: Keeping a Hope Chest
  16. 16. Opening Sentence Make a general statement
  17. 17. Opening Sentence Make a general statement Keep it short
  18. 18. Opening Sentence Make a general statement Keep it short Interest your reader
  19. 19. Opening Sentence Not a topic sentence
  20. 20. Opening Sentence Not a topic sentence Lures your reader into your essay
  21. 21. Opening Sentence Not a topic sentence Lures your reader into your essay Excites but does not alienate
  22. 22. Opening Sentence Not a topic sentence Lures your reader into your essay Excites but does not alienate Offers only a taste: appetizer
  23. 23. Opening Sentence Examples Cell phones are often irritating, and sometimes they are deadly.
  24. 24. Opening Sentence Examples Cell phones are often irritating, and sometimes they are deadly. Life in the twenty-third century is great.
  25. 25. Opening Sentence Examples Cell phones are often irritating, and sometimes they are deadly. Life in the twenty-third century is great. Imagine a convenient and attractive place to keep your dreams.
  26. 26. Introduction Encompasses the first paragraph
  27. 27. Introduction Encompasses the first paragraph Moves from general to specific
  28. 28. Introduction Encompasses the first paragraph Moves from general to specific Introduces subject
  29. 29. Introduction Encompasses the first paragraph Moves from general to specific Introduces subject Flows logically to thesis statement
  30. 30. Introduction Encompasses the first paragraph Moves from general to specific Introduces subject Flows logically to thesis statement Difficult but most important
  31. 31. Introduction Begins with opening sentence
  32. 32. Introduction Begins with opening sentence Gains detail and focus
  33. 33. Introduction Begins with opening sentence Gains detail and focus Ends with thesis statement
  34. 34. Hourglass
  35. 35. Intro Examples The pallet, the canvas, and the different paints. They all contribute to my final product: a landscape with towering trees and majestic mountains, or maybe a simple sunset casting the shadows of two lovers. These are some of the ideas that I use while painting a picture. Painting is very important to my life because it allows me to relieve stress and express my imagination.
  36. 36. Like many other college students, I have many hobbies to help me relax when times are hectic. They include video games, drawing, hanging out, or just sleeping. However, the hobby that is most important to me and consumes most of my time is drumming. I have been playing drums for seven years and only death could make me give it up. Drumming remains my favorite hobby because it allows me to relieve stress to build my confidence, and to express myself.
  37. 37. Thesis Statement Explicitly states the subject
  38. 38. Thesis Statement Explicitly states the subject Provides direction and structure
  39. 39. Thesis Statement Explicitly states the subject Provides direction and structure Suggests scope
  40. 40. Thesis Statement Explicitly states the subject Provides direction and structure Suggests scope Makes a promise to the reader
  41. 41. Thesis Statement Explicitly states the subject Provides direction and structure Suggests scope Makes a promise to the reader Clearly explains the why and how
  42. 42. Thesis Statement Relates directly to topic
  43. 43. Thesis Statement Relates directly to topic Be sure you stay on topic
  44. 44. Thesis Statement Relates directly to topic Be sure you stay on topic Be specific — narrow your scope as much as possible
  45. 45. Thesis Statement Relates directly to topic Be sure you stay on topic Be specific — narrow your scope as much as possible Suggest reasons for your subject (purpose)
  46. 46. Thesis Statement DO NOT
  47. 47. Thesis Statement DO NOT State Facts
  48. 48. Thesis Statement DO NOT State Facts Ask Questions
  49. 49. Thesis Statement DO NOT State Facts Ask Questions Use Unsupportable Language
  50. 50. Thesis Statement DO NOT State Facts Ask Questions Use Unsupportable Language Announce
  51. 51. Thesis Examples Cell phone regulation is needed because drivers using cell phones are seriously impaired.
  52. 52. Thesis Examples Cell phone regulation is needed because drivers using cell phones are seriously impaired. Star Trek should not be cancelled because its vision represents a positive view of humanity built on science and logic.
  53. 53. Thesis Examples Cell phone regulation is needed because drivers using cell phones are seriously impaired. Star Trek should not be cancelled because its vision represents a positive view of humanity built on science and logic. Hopes, dreams, and memories make us humans: an organized and thoughtful hope chest not only benefits the maker, but her children for many generations.
  54. 54. Title, Opening, Thesis Introduction
  55. 55. Title, Opening, Thesis Introduction Most important part of the essay
  56. 56. Title, Opening, Thesis Introduction Most important part of the essay Makes first impression
  57. 57. Title, Opening, Thesis Introduction Most important part of the essay Makes first impression Gives direction
  58. 58. Title, Opening, Thesis Introduction Most important part of the essay Makes first impression Gives direction Provides focus and scope
  59. 59. Title, Opening, Thesis Introduction Most important part of the essay Makes first impression Gives direction Provides focus and scope Makes clear your subject, purpose, and audience

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