How to Write a Cover Letter In your cover letter, you should introduce your writing to your reader; this reader is mainly me, but it might help you to envision your peers and other instructors as possible readers as well. What might I (or an outside reader) need to know in order to understand this work you have given me, the process you have used, and the growth and improvement as a writer you have experienced? Keep in mind that I have not been witness to your entire process of writing; most of your writing took place with your peers and on your own. Therefore, in this introduction, you have the chance to make me a witness, in a more full and balanced way, to your writing process and the finished essay. Here is your chance to help me to read the “whole” of your work and understand the effort and thought you put into it.
Your letter should communicate that which I couldnot possibly have learned about your writing of thisessay. At the same time, your letter should remind meof strategies and techniques we have discussed inclass and worked on together, such as ways in whichyou have responded to the readings, the peerreview, class discussions, and course materials. In yourletter, you should let me know the strengths andweaknesses that you see in your writing. Honesty isimportant here. Instead of trying to make anargument for a particular grade or way of readingyour writing, you should be engaging in a critical waywith your own writing and writing process. Writing isboth pleasure and struggle, and an ideal cover letterwill reflect both of these aspects of writing.
You have some flexibility in the way you write thisletter, but some aspects you might want to includeare the following:1. Discuss what you did best in this essay and why you think so.2. Detail the revisions you’ve made and the improvements andchanges that you want your reader(s) to notice3. Outline the process.4. Demonstrate what this essay illustrates about you as awriter, student, researcher, or critical thinker5. Acknowledge your weaknesses but show how you’veworked to overcome them6. Acknowledge the reader-respondents (includingpeers, friends outside of the class, etc.) who have influencedyour writing here7. Reflect on what you’ve learned about writing, reading, andthe topic of this paper
There’smuch that could be said here, but you also need to be concise. So you’ll have to think about what you most want to communicate to me about these Guidelines: The cover letter should be about one-half papers. single-spaced page in length.
CommonWriting ErrorsComma splice or fusedsentence Sentence Fragments
Comma splice or fused sentence A comma splice occurs when only a comma separates clauses that could each stand alone as a sentence. The fused sentence is a type of run-on sentence. It is nearly the same error as the comma splice, but without the comma. When two independent clauses are next to each other, you have only two choices: you can either join them, or you can separate them.
To join two independent clauses You must use a coordinating conjunctions. The coordinating conjunctions are for, and, but, or, nor, yet, and so. You can remember them by combining their first letters into the pseudoword ”fanboys."
To separate two independentclauses youmust use some form of end-stop punctuation. Here are all of your possible choices: the period [.], the exclamation point [!], the question mark [?], and the semicolon [;]. (Remember, a semicolon is a weak period, not a strong comma.
Ways to correct the comma splice: Comma Splice: I got up late this morning, I didnt have time for breakfast. Fused Sentence: I got up late this morning I didn’t have time for breakfast. I got up late this morning. I didnt have time for breakfast. I got up late this morning; I didnt have time for breakfast. I got up late this morning, so I didnt have time for breakfast. I got up late this morning, and I didnt have time for breakfast. Notice that in the latter two corrections, the coordinating conjunction joining the two independent clauses is preceded (not followed) by a comma.
A DIFFERENT STRATEGY: If you choose to turn one of the clauses into a subordinate (dependent) clause, then you can use just the comma between the two clauses: Because I got up late this morning, I didnt have time for breakfast.
Sentence FragmentA sentence fragment is part of a sentence that is written and punctuated as if it were a complete sentence. A fragment may lack a subject, a complete verb, or both. Fragments may also begin with a subordinating word (such as “because”) that makes the fragment depend on another sentence for its meaning. Reading your draft out loud, backwards, sentence by sentence, will help you spot sentence fragments easily.
Fixing Subordinate ClauseFragmentsWhen you have a subordinate clausefragment, removing one thing—the subordinateconjunction—will give you the necessary mainclause. Look at this fragment: Because Chase caught the eye of the beautiful brunette in algebra.Removing because makes the thoughtcomplete. Chase is the subject, caught theverb. Now you have a sentence! Chase caught the eye of the beautiful brunette in algebra.
If,however, you need the subordinate conjunction because of the meaning it provides, then you must fix the fragment by connecting it. You can put it before the main clause or after it. Because Chase caught the eye of the beautiful brunette in algebra, he smiled wildly. John was jealous because Chase caught the eye of the beautiful brunette in algebra.
Fixing Afterthought Fragments You can fix an afterthought fragment one of two ways. One option is to insert the missing subject and verb so that you have a main clause. This option works best when you have for example and for instance as the transitions beginning the fragment.
The simple addition of a subject and verbwill fix the problem: Forexample, leaky pens, candy wrappers, dollar bills, and paperclips. Forexample, the desk drawer contained leaky pens, candy wrappers, dollar bills, and paperclips.
Or you can attach the afterthought fragment to the end of a main clause. This option works best when the fragment begins with except, excluding, including, like and such as. John has many unsafe habits, such as leaving the stove on and teasing mean dogs.
Review of Common Errors Wordiness Misused Words A comma splice: occurs when only a comma separates clauses that could each stand alone as a sentence. The fused sentence: a type of run-on sentence. It is nearly the same error as the comma splice, but without the comma. Sentence Fragment: part of a sentence that is written and punctuated as if it were a complete sentence.
Check for all seven paragraphs Make sure your thesis statement is clear Check your MLA Formatting Edit for the following Get out your Wordiness Essay Let’s revise and edit Misused Words Comma Splice or Fused Sentence Sentence Fragment
Homework Revise your essay one more time. Edit for the four “common errors” we practiced in class this week Revise and Edit your cover letter Read: “The Uses of Enchantment” and “Hansel and Gretel” Vocabulary Check pp 139-142 Blog: Questions to Guide Your Reading pp 142-143; Discussion questions pp 168. I will post a space for answers online.