A Clear and Logical Sentence
A clear and correct sentence is easily understood.
The statement that is inherent in every sentence
conveys facts and ideas that usually answer
certain essential questions posed by the five W’s
and the one H. Who? What? Where? When?
Why? and How?
A. Thousands of people jam lotto outlets
throughout Metro Manila every Wednesday
and Saturday in a last minute rush to buy
tickets for the day’s draw.
Who jam the lotto outlets ? Where are
these outlets? When does this happen?
What do the people want to buy?
B. Anybody can be a millionaire by winning the
Who can be a millionaire? How can anybody be
If the sentence gives confusing answers, it should
be rewritten. The sentence must be clear, direct,
logical. A sentence with mixed ideas not only
confuses the reader but also blurs the main point.
Therefore, you may have to spot what exactly is
the main idea and delete the irrelevant details.
Cause and Effect Relationship
Confusion may arise when two unrelated ideas are
mixed together in one sentence.
*It’s time to dust off those bathing suits or
swimming trunks because summer is here and
the terrorist are back.
(There is no connection between the coming of
summer and the return of the terrorist.)
* If you see her, she is beautiful.
(This implies that if you do not see her, she is not
These are statements that make use of faulty
generalizations with the use of words as all,
Some Filipinos have become so ultra-modern today
that they now favor living-in or trial marriage.
Some Filipinos, especially the youth, have
become so ultra-modern today that they now
favor living-in or trial marriage.
Use of Idioms and Figurative Language
The use of clinch in an effort to be colorful
may lead to non-originality or a dead language.
What is worse is when it results in confusion and
creates utter misunderstanding between writer and
Confusing: He is a nut hard to crack and life is no
bed of roses.
Corrected: He is a strong-willed fellow who knows
about life’s harsh realities.
Use of Context Clues
The cardinal word is: never define a word by
using the same word or its cognates. Certainly, you
should avoid repetitions of the word being defined.
Wrong: Democracy is a democratic government.
Correct: Democracy is a form of government whose
powers emanate from the people.
A Unified Sentence
This is a sentence which has only one
particular purpose. Whatever component parts a
sentence may have, everything results in only one
particular intention or impression. With simple
sentences achieving unity may not be so difficult.
All that may be done are:
1. Once a subject is used, see to it that the
predicates talks about it.
2. Make the verb agree with the subject and
the pronoun with its antecedent.
3. Put in parallel and uniform structures
compounded subjects, verbs and objects.
A Coherent Sentence
This means that a sentence should have all its
component parts hold on to each other. From
word to word, phrase to phrase, clause to
clause, between or among them, proper
relationships must always establish. Success in
unity leads to coherence. But more than that,
particularly in compound, complex and
compound complex structures, tense and voice.
This also requires proper coordination and
subordination of clauses as well as proper
positioning of modifiers to establish good
An Emphatic Sentence
Emphasis here means only one focus. Whatever
units of thought a sentence may contain,
everything must be so properly tied to reflect
only one developed thought. Whatever
grammatical parts it may contain everything must
be so positioned that the most important part
comes out dominant and the least important one
Again, in simple sentences, observance of
this may not be as much of a problem as that in the
compound, complex, and compound-complex
sentences, because as it is generally gives one
major thought. In compound sentences, in as much
as both or all the clauses involved are equal of
rank, parallel and uniform structuring is very
In complex sentences, there should be a
proper play-up of the more important thought over
the less important one through the use of effective
As defined, the above characteristics appear
very much related to one another. The
achievement of one appears to be the achievement
of the other.
An Accurate Sentence
Accuracy here refers to the sentence
grammatical correctness according to
standard English yardstick. This calls again
for agreement of subject and verb, of the verb
tense and the adverb of time, of pronoun and
its antecedent and other pertinent
An Appropriate Sentence
A good speech requires appropriateness. So
does a good sentence. This means speaking
or writing in sentences which consider well
status, age, sex, of the person talked to, and
the occasion, connection with appropriacy is
that what may be taken as appropriate in one
given communication situation may not be so
in another. Some typical examples are the
1. While in a Laboratory Room Jenny can say:
“Alice, look at the worms. They all enjoy
nipping the flesh of the durian. Let us
scoop a couple of them and examine them
through the microscope.”
In a dining room before the dining table
during mealtime. Jenny must not say
anything like that. That would be
2. While Terry can say: “Fely, come join me,”
because Fely is his friend, of his age, and a
fellow student., he cannot just say so the
same to Miss Vasquez because she is his
teacher. The appropriate approach would
be: “Would you care to join me, Miss
An Acceptable Sentence
It can be safely said that an appropriate
sentence is likewise an acceptable sentence.
Between and among bosom friends, anything
said, wise or otherwise, may just be
acceptable but in many instances, it may not
be so. Example of this may be as follows:
1. While Wilson can say, “You’re really
crazy,” to Rene and Rene may not mind it
at all, because they are old friends,
definitely Wilson cannot say that to
Lawrence, a new officemate.
2. To say “You look younger in short skirts,”
is acceptable than to say, “You look older
in long skirts.”
IMPORTANT WAYS TO A GOOD
This sentence, being rated here as good,
is that which is not only complete in thought
but also in part. Excluded here are those words,
phrases, and clause sentences can just be
accepted as appropriate, acceptable, and
accurate, depending on time, place, occasion,
and other communication circumstances.
Recommendations to make a good sentence are
Guard the sentence against being fragmentary.
Guard against run-on, over loaded or empty.
Do not shift into different perspectives.
Avoid misplaced and dangling modifiers.
Observe parallel and uniform construction.
Observe proper coordination and subordination.
Guarding against being Fragmentary
The ability to recognize sentence fragments will
help you write good sentences. As sentence
fragments not only break, grammatical rules but
also raise barriers to clear communication, one’s
ability to recognize said fragments can prevent his
falling into this communication barriers.
A sentence fragment is a part of the sentence that
is punctuated as if it were a complete sentence.
Often these fragments sneak into your
speech or writing and act as confusing breaks to
the smooth flow of your sentence.
Sentence fragments may be one of the
a. The statement that results from the dependent
clause is punctuated as though it were a complete
Sentence: Changed is a way of life.
Sentence: Because change is a way of life.
This may be corrected in two ways: by
eliminating the dependency word or by adding an
independent clause to make a complete sentence.
Change is a way of life.
Because change is a way of life, let us learn
how to adapt to it.
b. a group of words that has no subject or predicate
Incorrect : The office where my father works.
Correct : The office where my father works is
spacious and beautifully furnished.
Incorrect :Hoping that you’re enjoying your
Correct :Hoping that you are enjoying your
vacation, here’s some extra money for
more souvenirs, Or, I hope you are
enjoying your vacation.
Incorrect: To see you looking happy.
Correct: To see you looking happy is enough to
make me happy too.
Or, My one wish in life is to see you
c. A long infinitive phrase may sometimes be
mistaken for a complete sentence.
Incorrect : This is my dream. To see your prosper.
Correct : My dream is to see you prosper.
d. An appositive phrase may sometimes be written
incorrectly as a complete sentence.
Fragment :My health, the only precious possession
I have in this world.
Sentence My health is the only precious possession
I have in this world.
Fragment : Jocelyn, my very optimistic friend.
Sentence Jocelyn is my very optimistic friend.
Fragments with “…ing” “…ed”, verb forms but
with no predicate verbs are the trickiest kinds of
fragments to identify, in place of a verb a
participle is used.
Fragment: Raffy dribbling the ball in the
Sentence Raffy is dribbling the ball in the
Avoiding being Run-On, Overloaded, Empty
A run-on sentence is a sentence with two or more
sentences written as one sentence. If a sentence
fragment is less than a sentence, a run-on sentence
is more. There are two kinds of run-on sentence.
The fused sentence in which two sentences are run
together without any punctuation, and the comma
splice in which two sentences are linked with a
a. Two simple sentences may make up a run-on
Fused Sentence: The laughter drowned out the
speaker we could hardly hear him.
Comma Splice: The laughter drowned out the
speaker, we could hardly hear him.
b. A compound sentence can be run into a
Fused Sentence: She teaches literature and he
teaches humanities, they seldom see eye to
Comma Sentence: She teaches literature and
he teaches humanities, they seldom see
eye to eye.
A complex sentence can also be incorrectly
combined with a simple or compound
Fused Sentence: When insurgency first started
in this country, people were not keen on the
havoc it would bring they simply ignored it.
Comma Sentence: When insurgency first
started in this country, people were not keen on
the havoc it would bring, they simply ignored it
Here are some ways to correct each of these
1.Divide the run-on into separate sentences.
a)The laughter drowned out the speaker. We
could hardly hear him.
b)She teaches literature and he teaches
humanities. They seldom see eye to eye.
c)When insurgency first started in the country,
people were not keen on the havoc it could
bring; they simply ignored it.
2. You could use a semi-colon instead of a period if
the sentences are closely related.
a) The laughter drowned out the speaker; we could
hardly hear him.
b) She teaches literature and he teaches
humanities; they seldom see eye to eye.
c) When insurgency first started in the country,
people were not keen on the havoc it could
bring; they simply ignored it.
3. You could also correct a run-on sentence by
adding a coordinating conjunction (and, but,
or,) between clauses.
a) The laughter drowned out the speaker and we
could hardly hear him.
b) She teaches literature and he teaches
humanities but they seldom see eye to eye.
c) When insurgency first started in the country,
people were not keen on the havoc it could
bring and they simply ignored it.
Words like “however,” “also,” “therefore,” and
“thus,” are conjunctive adverbs. Use a semi-colon
before a conjunctive adverb and a comma after it
when it comes between two independent clauses.
The laughter drowned out the speaker;
therefore, we could hardly hear him.
4. In some cases you add a dependency word and
make one of the sentences a dependent clause.
a)Because the laughter drowned out the speaker, and
we could hardly hear him.
An Overload Sentence
When you try to cram too much information
into one sentence, the result is an overloaded
sentence. Overloaded sentences are so
crowded that too often important thoughts are
The reader’s attention is pulled in all
directions and he becomes distracted by the
many ideas presented to him.
To fix such sentences, study the following
a)Decide on the main ideas.
b)Decide which of them can be combined into
c)Write these ideas in one sentence.
d)Write a separate sentence for the other ideas.
e)Write simply and clearly, avoiding wordiness.
The following sentences try to say too much.
Notice the revisions and be sure you understand the
reason for the changes.
Overload : To me sleeping is fascinating because I
consider it as a time of sweet dreams that can come in
a very special place or it may be a place I am thinking
of, it may be a place that does not exist at all.
Revised : To me sleeping is fascinating because I
consider it as time of sweet dreams. These dreams can
come in a very special place or I happen to be
thinking of. They may even be a place that does
not exist at all.
Overloaded: I love all kinds of books, and it makes no
difference to me whether other people consider a
book. I may choose a drab, as long as I like it.
Revised : I love all kinds of books. It makes no
difference to me whether other people consider my
choices as drab.
We should eliminate words that add only weight to
our sentences and make them redundant and
boring. Look at these examples.
at eight P.M in the evening
return again next week
in my opinion, I think
green in color
a former ex-soldier
three-sided triangle 66
the surrounding environment
school drop-outs now of school
unmarried single girl
ancient antiques for sale
Some common phrases may also be eliminated
because they are considered burdensome and need
some substitutions. Study this list taken from the
at the present time
in the present circumstances use now, today 67
at this point or nowadays
in this day and age
at that point in time
in those days use then
in that period
in many cases use often
in some cases sometimes
in exceptional cases rarely, usually
in most cases
consider as/consider as being use: I consider a
I consider a college degree college degree
as being necessary to necessary to
Despite the fact that use: although
Regardless of the fact that
Due to the fact that
For the purpose of use: because
By virtue of the fact that
The reason is because
In a position to/in order to use: can
In the area of use: near or in
In the event that
In the event of use: if with a verb
In case of
In the final analysis use: finally
In no uncertain terms use: firmly or clearly
In the nature of use: like or
Things of that nature things like that
Refer back use: refer
She is of a generous nature she is generous
The car is of green color the car is green
The weather condition is bad the weather is bad
Traffic conditions are congested traffic is congested 71
An Empty Sentence
This is a sentence that says too little. Grammatically,
it is complete but it is lacking in ideas, in
substance. It contains words that repeat the idea
found elsewhere in the sentence. Here the writer
apparently does not take the trouble to think about
what he wants to say; therefore he actually ends
where he has started.
Empty: The Filipino teenager prefers rock
music to the kundiman because he really enjoys
Revised: The Filipino teenager prefers rock music
to the kundiman because he likes rock beat and its
lyrics express his feelings.
Clear sentences are a result of clear thinking.
Successful writers are people who have made efforts
to write sentences with sense. Their thoughts and
ideas are expressed in sentences that are neither
overloaded nor empty.
The facts and ideas that are conveyed are logically
arranged in compact statements which are just right
because the relationships of words are beyond
Empty sentences are a result of haste or careless
thinking. If you intend to be effective in your
sentences, fill in the empty ideas with logic and
C. AVOIDING SHIFTING IN PERSPECTIVES
This refers to a shift in voice, tense, person, and
number. It creates an imbalance that is clearly
related to faulty parallelism. An abrupt shift can
cause confusion and should, therefore, be
1. Shift from Active to Passive
If a sentence begins with the active voice, it
should finish in the active.
Confusing: I asked an intelligent question but no
answer was received.
Clear: I asked an intelligent question but received no
Confusing: She went up the stage and a song was
Clear: She went up the stage and sang.
2. Shift From Past to Present Tense
For clearness and consistency, a sentence that starts
in the present tense should continue in the present.
A sentence that uses the past tense in the beginning
should end with the past.
Confusing: I was reading my book quietly when the
stranger sits down next to me and starts whistling.
Clear: I was reading my book quietly when the
stranger sat down next to me and started whistling.
Confusing: Dodong was a strong farm boy who
falls in love and got married when he is only
Clear: Dodong is a strong farm boy who falls
in love and gets married when he is only seventeen.
3. Shift From Singular To Plural
You should also observe consistency in number.
Confusing: When a person is in trouble, they are
Clear: When a person is in trouble, he is usually
Confusing: If the ladies do not come on time, she will
be left behind.
Clear: If the ladies do not come in time, they will be
left behind. 79
4. Shift From One Person To Another
You should not shift needlessly from one person
Confusing: We love freedom but one does not
always cooperate to attain it.
Clear: We love freedom but we do not always
cooperate to attain it.
5. Shift From Statement to Question
Confusing: In the story “Footnote to Youth,”
Dodong had to decide whether he should give
Blas permission to marry or should he stop him.
Clear: In the story “Footnote to Youth,”
Dodong had to decide whether he should give
Blas permission to marry or whether he should
These shifts tend to occur most often in narrative
writing when you are asked to write a piece of
fiction, an autobiographical account, a précis or
summary of someone else’s ideas, or a plot
D. Avoiding Misplaced And Dangling Modifiers
These weaknesses in sentence building arise from
defective ordering of grammatical structures in a
sentence, particularly the ordering of the objectives
and adverbs in their word, phrase or clause forms.
Carelessness in positioning any of the modifiers
results in confusing and sometimes funny
Adjective Modifiers – these are words, phrases or
clauses that modify a noun or pronoun. The
general rule here is that the word adjectives are
placed immediately before the noun or the pronoun
being modified while the phrase or the close
adjective is placed immediately before the noun or
the pronoun being modified while the phrase or the
clause adjective is placed immediately after.
Television stations reported the good news.
Radio stations in the provinces broadcast the news
that may did not like.
The house which Joker built was sold to the
A case of a misplaced modifier therefore comes out
when any of these words, phrases or clauses are
placed distant from the noun or pronoun meant to
Consider this example:
“Radio and television stations reported the news
that the hijackers had freed their prisoners all
over the world.”
Because the student who wrote this sentence
separated the modifier “all over the world” from
the noun (stations) it is supposed to modify, this
sentence implies that the hijackers had freed
prisoners all over the world.
The corrected sentence would look like this:
“Radio and television all over the world reported
the news that the hijackers had freed their
If you read your sentence carefully, you can spot
most of the misplaced word, phrase, or clause
errors. It is very important that you make sure
your sentences say exactly what you want them to
– these are also words, phrases, or clauses that
modify the verb, the adjective, or another adverb.
Adverb modifiers of adjective and another adverb
also stand close or immediately before said
adjective and adverb. But adverb modifiers of a verb
find themselves in several junctions in the sentence
either after the object of the verb or between the
subject and the verb. Look at the following
I read an amazingly interesting book.
The terribly difficult question in the test caused a
The guest arrived early.
We met in the Conference room.
They often clash about principles.
I always feel the pressure of my major
Surprisingly, he showed up at the party.
Eventually, the moment of truth will come.
Cindy buys her stockings in Tokyo.
She sips her morning juice by the poolside of
Manila Fiesta Pavillion.
Clause adverbs are actually subordinate clauses in
the sentence; they may be placed before or after
the main clause.
When the shooting started, we stopped the car.
We stopped the car when the shooting started.
There is no difference in the basic meaning
between these two sentences. The important
difference between the two is the creation of
suspense in the first sentence.
When several clauses are used in one
sentence, place them one after another or one
clause within another. The reader, though,
must store in his memory, the beginning of the
clause so that he can integrate the whole
When a part of the sentence is left hanging in the
air, we have a dangler. A dangler modifier is a
participle, an infinitive, or an elliptical clause that
does not refer clearly to any word or phrase in the
sentence. The dangling construction which relates
to words it cannot logically modify not only
embarrasses the writer but also misleads the
Observe these sentences:
Reading the newspaper, the telephone rang.
(This sentence says that the telephone was
reading the newspaper)
To understand the subject the book must be
(This sentence says that the book must understand
Dangling Elliptical Clause
While waiting for a ride, the rain poured.
(This sentence says that the rain was waiting for a
To correct a dangling infinitive, supply a noun or
pronoun for the infinitive to modify by rewriting
the clause that follows:
Wrong: To understand the subject, the book
must be studied carefully.
Correct: To understand the subject, you must
study the book carefully.
To correct a dangling elliptical clause, supply the
missing words that made the clause elliptical.
Wrong: While waiting for a ride, the rain
Correct: While Jimmy was waiting for a ride, the
E.Observing Parallel And Uniform Construction.
In any context, it suggests similarity of angle,
direction, and form. When the parts of a sentence
match grammatically and uniform structures can
be identified as a repetition of words, phrases, or
clauses, it can be appropriately pointed out here
that not all repetitious writing is bad. It is not the
monotonous or needless repetitions that you
should avoid. Repetition of grammatical patterns
to express sameness of ideas so that parallel ideas
appear in parallel form is desirable. It makes your
Observe the parallel and uniform construction in the
Filipinos love freedom and democracy.
If we wish to succeed, we should be diligent,
conscientious, patient, and persevering.
I learned three things this semester: how to
organize a research, how to write a term
paper, and how to type a manuscript.
Beth is a popular with her friends, with her
teachers, and with her relatives.
In Subordinate Clause :
Because you have been a good athlete, and
because you have done your best, you
deserve a medal at the end of the
If I finish my work early, if you promise to
pick me up, and if it does not rain, I will
come to your concert.
She ran upstairs, turned on the radio,
gathered her favorite magazine and settled
on the sofa.
The man entered the bar, demanded a glass
of whiskey, drank it hurriedly, and left
without paying the bartender.
In Independent Clause :
I came, I saw, I conquered.
When we get sick, we want an uncommon doctor.
When we go to war, we yearn for an uncommon
general or admiral.
When we choose the president of a great
university, we want an uncommon educator.
The coordinating conjunctions and but
and or join structures of equal grammatical
value: that is noun and noun, verb and verb,
phrase and phrase, clause and clause and so
When the elements of a sentence are not
grammatically balanced faulty parallelism
Faulty: Cecile wants loyalty form her
friends and to be appreciated
for her efforts.
Correct Cecile wants loyalty from her
friends and appreciation for her
Faulty: Everyone needs love and to be
Correct Everyone needs love and
Faulty: Julie requested that I help her
with her Math problems and
another explanation to the
Correct: Julie requested that I help her
with her Math problems and that I
explain the procedure again.
Certain contexts, especially those that involve
comparison or contrasts, call for parallel and
uniform structures. A series of elements separated
by commas within a sentence should be parallel.
Faulty: The general was tall, intelligent,
and he was respected by all.
Correct: The general was tall, intelligent,
The two halves of a compound sentence should be
Faulty: Stevan Javellana wrote Without
Seeing the Dawn and Tree is by F.
Correct: Stevan Javellana wrote Without
Seeing the Dawn and F. Sionil
Jose wrote Tree.
Without Seeing the Dawn is by Stevan Javellana
and Tree is by F. Sionil Jose.
Certain sets of words or phrases signal a series
of related statements and call for parallel and
not only … but also
first … second
both … and
either … or
neither … nor
Faulty: The President not only vetoed the
bill but also he was against too
much government spending.
Correct: The President not only vetoed the
bill but also warned against too
much government spending.
To achieve parallelism and uniformity, you need to
match verbs, nouns, prepositions, phrases or other
elements of your sentence. See this work in
examination questions and classified ads.
Example of an examination question:
Discuss each character’s emotional problems,
describe his or her attempts to cope with
and evaluate the success of those attempts.
Example of classified ad:
College students with desire to learn sales
technique in cosmetics industry, ability
to make phone contacts, and interest to travel
some key cities.
F. Observing Proper Coordination And
Sentences are composed of a series of words,
phrases or clauses. The relationships between
these elements should be made clear to reader.
When these words, phrases, or clauses come in
equal rank or importance, they should be
coordinated. Coordination therefore, is the
process used when structures of the same kind are
joined in a sentence. The joiner word is called a
To link the coordinate elements of your
sentence, you may use the coordinating
conjunctions and, or, but, nor, yet; the correlative
conjunctions both, and, either…or, neither…nor,
so, not only…but also, weather…or; the
conjunctive adverbs accordingly, also, besides,
consequently, nevertheless, namely, indeed,
Words: Their business is buy and sell.
She loves ice cream and
Phrases: He came running down the
corridor and into the
All she wanted was to go
home and to brush her teeth.
Although the exam was difficult and although I was
feeling sick, I got a passing grade.
Since we are good friends and since she has no one
to turn to, I invited her to stay with me.
Either you sell your land or you give it free.
Not only is he intelligent but also good looking.
The boy is sick; therefore, he must rest.
I think you are right; nevertheless; I will not do as
Coordinating Subordinate Clauses
Coordinating conjunctions may also link two or
more subordinate clauses. They work the same
way for subordinate clauses as they do for phrases
or for independent clauses.
Observe the following examples:
Although I believe you are right and although
everyone also thinks so, I don’t think I will follow
Not only the way you speak but also the way you
walk make your appear very sexy.
After you finish college or after you become
financially independent, you may do as you
In front of our house but behind the school
building is the children’s playground.
Coordinating conjunctions connect similar
and but or for nor yet
Correlative conjunctions are used in pairs:
not only…but also either…or
both…and whether…or 118
Conjunctive adverbs are used to join main
clauses. They are preceded by a semicolon and
followed by a comma.
Accordingly consequently furthermore
Hence however moreover
Nevertheless otherwise than
Therefore yet also
Subordinate Conjunctions – are used to
introduce adverb clauses and link them to the
main clauses. They make clear what exactly the
relation between the two clauses. The chief
relation they show are time, place, cause, result,
exception, condition and alternative.
after although as as long as
as though because if
in order that provided as if
so that than though
till before unless
until whatever when
since whenever where
Materials of less importance are subordinated (or
put in their proper place) by the use of clauses,
participial phrases and appositives. Subordinating
conjunctions introduce the adverbial clauses.
Writing the correct subordinating conjunction as a
substitute for the meaningless makes effective and
Weak: Bert knew all the answers and he recited
Better: Knowing all the answers, Bert recited
Weak: Rita was the prettiest and the most
intelligent and she easily won the
Binibining Pilipinas title.
Better: Since Rita was the prettiest and the most
intelligent, she easily won the
Binibining Pilipinas title.(adverb
Subordination may also be used to join related
Fair: The computer machine is a big office
aid. It makes an ordinary job exciting.
Improved: The computer machine, which is a big
office aid, makes an ordinary job
Fair: Erick wants to become a soldier. He
studies at the Philippine Military
Improved: Erick, who wants to become a soldier
studies at the Philippine Military
Academy. (adjective clauses) 123
Instead of writing short, choppy sentences, choose
one idea for the sentence of independent clause,
and subordinate the other ideas.
Choppy: The Philippines, discovered in 1521, is a
series of islands, the three biggest of which are
Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Subordination: The Philippines, discovered in
1521, is a series of islands, the three biggest of
which are Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Choppy: Joey dela Cruz is the union president.
Joey dela Cruz is furious. He will lead
Subordination: The furious union president, Joey
dela Cruz, will lead a protest.
Faulty subordination results when an important
idea placed in the subordination clause.
Faulty: Dick suffered a big
disappointment, flunking his
Improved: Flunking his exams, Dick suffered
a big disappointment.
A paragraph is a sentence or a group of sentences
developing a single idea or unit of thought. A
sentence is also a unit of thought but while a
sentence expresses an idea, a paragraph develops
an idea. Although it is possible to have one
paragraph functioning as a whole composition, an
exhaustive composition usually has several
logically organized paragraphs, explaining or
giving details to support the controlling idea or
thesis of the composition.
WRITING A PARAGRAPH
Composing a paragraph is one communication
activity which can prove very exciting and
fulfilling for a student to whom any educational
undertaking is always a most welcome task. This
kind of activity often proves difficult as it
demands of the composer a great deal of mental
discipline coupled with a considerable degree of
creativity and know-how in putting down thoughts
together. However, as soon as one wholly sets
himself to it, the pen will write and having written,
will move on and having moved on, one gets the
Doing this may depend on the writer’s personal skill
in it. However, if help is needed, the following
steps are offered. These are proven very helpful in
achieving a well-organized and meaningful
1. Pitch your point
This means figure out very well what you want to
drive home to your reader or listener and lay it
Example of a point:
Market Day was usually a Bargain Day Sale
Day in Santa Barbara.
2. Support Your Point
This means that you need to back up your point with
explanations, proofs or reasons that will help bring
home a desired message.
Example of supporting sentences:
All prime commodities get sold at relatively low
The same was true with the prices of luxury
Generally, customers is able to buy every items
cheaper by as much as twenty five percent.
3. Write Your Paragraph In Style.
To do this, you should need to use effective word
and expressions. Thus, the need to use action
words, specific names, coloring words, radiant or
glowing expressions and other language devices
every time needed and possible.
Example of styling:
Market Day was usually a Bargain Sale Day
in Santa Barbara. Rice, fish, meat, vegetables,
sugar and oil gets sold at relatively low prices.
The same was true with the prices of trinkets,
handbags, fans, headbands, ribbons and flowers.
Generally, customers is able to buy every items
cheaper by as much as twenty five percent.
In styling, the general expression “All prime
commodities” was reduced into specifics--“Rice,
fish, meat, vegetables, sugar and oil” while
“luxury items” a likewise general term, is reduced
to specific trinkets, handbags, fans, headbands,
ribbons and flowers._ If further desired, the above
specifics can still be reduced so that “rice” may be
“fish”, milkfish; “meat”, beef; “vegetables”,
eggplants; and so forth.
4. Make It Grammatically Correct.
This means that you guard your paragraph against
grammatical errors or weed it out of grammatical
Example of Grammatical Correction:
Market Day is usually a Bargain sale Day in Santa
Barbara. Rice, fish, meat, vegetables, sugar and
oil get sold at relatively low prices. The same is
true with the prices of trinkets, handbags, fans,
headbands, ribbons and flowers. Generally,
customers are able to buy every item cheaper by as
much as twenty five percent.
In grammatical polishing, the verb “was” in
the first and third sentences is replaced with is
because the sentences which carry them clearly aim
to state a fact or general statement. Then “gets” in
the second sentence is replaced with “get”, its
subject being plural “All prime commodities”. The
“is” of the fourth sentence is changed to are
because its subject “customers” is plural and then
the word “items” because it is modified by “every”
which is singular should always be followed by a
singular name. Thus, “item”.
THE TOPIC SENTENCE OF A PARAGRAPH
The topic sentence which is either expressed or
implied, is the statement which points out the
central thought or the gist of the paragraph. An
implied topic sentence can be drawn from a well
known; paragraph when the reader, after reflecting
upon what he has read, can sum up, the main point
An expressed topic sentence may be the first
sentence in the paragraph which affirms what is to
follow; the last sentence which sums up what have
been said; and illustrative topic sentence,
explanation or expansion of which constitutes the
paragraph; or an interrogative topic sentence
wherein the answer constitutes the paragraph
From the above discussion of composing the
paragraph, the point driven home is the topic
Ours is a paradoxical world. The achievements
which are its glory threaten to destroy it. The
nations with the highest standard of living, the
greatest capacity to take care of their people
economically, the broadest education, and the most
enlightened morality and religion, exhibit the least
capacity to avoid mutual destruction in war. It
would seem that the more civilized we become, the
more incapable we are of maintaining civilization.
Transitions Within a Paragraph
Transition has to do with the way you tie with your
sentences together. To enable the reader to follow
your thoughts easily, you must link your sentences
within a paragraph with the use of transitional
devices. Only with this manner will your
sentences hang together. Some transitional devices
are as follows:
Use a pronoun that refers to a person, place, thing
or idea in the preceding sentence. Study how the
underlined words help to link the sentences in the
I saw Sylvia at the Rizal Park. As she walked
towards me, I realized that there was something
wrong. I noticed that she was using crutches.
These were preventing her from walking briskly.
She smiled but I know it was rather forced since
the pain was all over her face.
2. Transitional Devices
These may be used for the following reasons:
Time Contrast Cause and Effect
then however therefore
now nevertheless thus
next yet hence
first even though consequently
second despite so
General to Specific Addition Reference
in fact also the former
especially too the latter
for instance furthermore in conclusion
for example moreover besides
in summary fortunately
to sum up unfortunately
Take note of the transition that happened in this
Now that mosquitoes happily abound in my
neighborhood, I feel I should at least derive come
pleasure out of their abundance. The mosquito must
have a high and hidden purpose, as yet unrevealed
to our finite mind. Indeed I am inclined to believe
that she has, (I used the feminine pronoun advisedly,
as a mosquito which draws a bit precious blood
from us a matter of necessity is a female vampire,
the male being better bred.)
But man can never discover that purpose as
long as he depreciatingly attributes to the dull of
wit among us “mosquito mind”. Wisdom has been
said to begin with the realization of one’s
ignorance. I think it can only begin when humans
realize that we know a trifle less than a mosquito
does. (Francisco B. Icasiano-“Mosquito and
3. Repetition of Key Words
Observe how the underlined words in the
following paragraph acts as bridges between ideas.
I read an article “Psychology Today”. In this
article it is said that people’s names can influence
their personalities. If this is true, then it would be
worthwhile to recommend the article to friends so
they would discover how their names can possibly
influence their personalities.
4. Parallel Structure
This means putting your words phrases or clauses in
the same form whenever best to do so or whenever
called for by the situation.
Man is the highest creation of all creations. Woman
is the most sublime of all ideals. God made for
man a throne; for a woman, the altar; the throne
exalts, the altar sanctifies. Man is the cerebrum,
woman is the heart; the cerebrum fabricates light;
the heart produces love; light fecund, love
Man is the code, woman is the gospel; the code
corrects, the gospel perfects. Man is the genius,
woman is an angel; genius is indefinable, angel is
immeasurable. Man is strong in reason, woman is
invincible in her tears; reason convinces the most
stubborn, tears soften the hardest of mortals. Man
is the temple, woman is the sanctuary; before the
temple we revere, before the sanctuary we kneel.
Man is the ocean, woman is the lake; the ocean has
its pearl that adorns, the lake has its poem that
dazzles. At least the man is placed where the earth
ends and the woman where heaven begins. (Victor
Hugo “The Man and The Woman”)
A GOOD PARAGRAPH
A good paragraph is so organized that it moves
smoothly and progresses inevitably towards an end.
Every sentence has a reason or purpose for being
there. To attain this, the paragraph should have
unity, coherence and emphasis, the same qualities
desired in a good sentence.
Unity In A Paragraph
The principle of unity involves the choice of a basic
idea built along a single design and producing
oneness of effect or impression. To obtain unity,
the paragraph should be built around a topic
Since the topic sentence summarizes the idea
developed in a paragraph, it is imperative that all
supporting details in the form of reason,
explanation, or argument should be relevant to the
main idea. Whatever does not belong to the
development of this idea must be rigorously ruled
out. In this way, readers are guided by concrete
details, facts, or explanations. This enables them to
understand more fully what the paragraph is trying
Study the unity achieved in the following
The medium of literature is language.
Language, as we know, is composed of words that
are combined into sentences to express ideas,
emotions, or desires. Words have both sound and
meaning. The word “horse” for instance, stands
for the sound horse and animal horse. These are
usually associated and are separated only by an
effort, yet they are distinct. To understand
literature, we must know both sound and sense. We
begin with sense, or meaning.
Coherence In A Paragraph
Coherence refers to the orderly arrangement of
ideas or materials needed in the progression or
sequencing of thought. The ideal is for one
sentence to lead naturally into the next, and go on
until the end is reached. This may be achieved
with an orderly arrangement of ideas and with the
use of effective structural devices.
1. Orderly Arrangement Of Ideas
The orderly arrangement of ideas may be any of the
1.a. Chronological Order
This means the time order of the sequence in which
the events occurred.
I boarded a jeepney whose signboard read
“Blumentritt-Avenida”. All at once, a sweet
fragrance assailed my nostrils. I looked around to
find out if I could spot one particular perfumed
person among the passengers. My eyes travelled from
left to right but my nose was even more curious. I
sniffed at the young coed next to me. No,not she.
Then I shifted my seating position a little toward the
matron at the other side, to my left. Not she either. I
was about to give up when I happened to look at the
direction of the driver and I saw that the fragrance
was that of a sampaguita garland hanging from the
jeepney’s stop, close the driver’s head. 155
1.b. Space Order
Here, the details are arranged such that they come
either from near to far, or from inside to outside,
or from top to bottom, or the reverse.
Virtue is one convention that rightfully belongs to
the Filipino woman. Her spiritual power in the
community rests largely on her virtue, and the men
whose own virtue has much more comfortable
periphery, thanks to the double standard, respect
their woman folk for it. The Filipino male is firmly
convinced that his premarital and extramarital
circumstances only enriches his experience, but he
will, with a terrible sense of outrage, stab his wife
or his sister and her seducer if he so much as begins
to doubt her goodness. The newspaper
sensationalizes such stories daily and print blown
up pictures of the victims and culprits. Indeed
human drama revolves dramatically in defense of
the Filipino woman’s virtuous reputation.
1.c. Logical Order
This means that a paragraph can proceed either
inductively or deductively in its presentation or
development of ideas.
I cannot myself state positively that we should or
should not borrow money from other people, but I
am very definite that one should lend money to the
needy. A friend of mine used to say that a man
not come to borrow unless he is so hard-up that he
must part with his self-respect. Whoever has the
heart to turn such a man down, he would add, hurts
him as nothing else can. Such observations are
necessarily made by men who are good at heart, not
too well-off, and therefore, not frequently bothered
by such unpleasant matters.
2. The Use Of Effective Structural Devices
Other means that help in achieving coherence on a
paragraph are the structural devices. These are
helpful in providing a continuity from one
sentence to the next. This is synonymous with the
use of devices to effect transition between
sentences or between paragraphs. Two of these
structural devices are the reference words and the
well-organized sentence structures.
2.a. Correct Use Of Reference Words
Students are enjoined to give their studies priority
in their list of activities. They should realize that
poor academic performance leads to loss of
opportunity to succeed in their chosen career. In
the end, they will be grateful for heeding a good
Conjunctions, or conjunctional words , phrases
Below is a list of conjunctions, conjunctional words,
and phrases arranged according to their functions
in a sentence.
Time: then, now, next, first, second
Contrast: however, nevertheless, yet even though,
Cause and Effect: therefore, thus, hence, so,
General to specific: in fact, especially, for
instance, for example
Addition: also, too, furthermore, moreover,
Reference: the former, the latter, the following
Attitude: fortunately, unfortunately,
naturally, an a sense
Summary: in summary, to sum up, in
Everyone knows that a good name is a great
possession; hence, a person must strive to
preserve an untarnished reputation. Fortunately,
this is within the reach of every individual,
therefore, he must know how to live within the
bounds of decency and integrity.
2.c. The Use Of Well-Organized Sentence
These structures refers to the words, phrases and
clauses that are structured parallel and uniform
when they express similar thoughts or ideas. This
parallel and uniform structuring is very effective
in creating a coherent paragraph.
The chief source of humor is the incongruous, the
unexpected. We expect one thing and we find
another. If one man pulls a chair out from under
another, the joke lies on the fact that the second
sits on the floor instead on the chair. It is the
unexpectedness that makes comedy.
Emphasis In A Paragraph
Emphasis in paragraph means a focus on that aspect
of the subject being taken up. This can be the
logical result of a unified development of an idea
in a paragraph. Or, this can result from the
dominant play up of one aspect of a subject over
another one. Or, from the balance treatment of all
the aspects of the subject.
Communication is a process whereby a party called a
sender transmits a message to another party called
a sendee in order for the said message to be
understood. It may take place either verbally,
meaning, when the sender uses words in conveying
his message or non-verbally when the sender uses
kinesics, paralanguage, object language,
proxemics, chronemics and other similar signs of
messages. Whether verbal or non-verbal, it makes
use of different channels of transmission of
message. For it to effectively take place it must
consider the time place, audience, occasion and
medium involved. 168
If you notice in this paragraph, all sentences
focus on the subject communication. This is made
possible by sustaining it from one sentence to
another, of course, with the use of the substitute
METHODS OF DEVELOPING A
For the development of an idea in a paragraph to
be unified, coherent and emphatic, it is a good
practice to go by certain methods like the
Through Use Of Relevant Details/Deductive
Here the topic sentence is expanded or developed
by giving relevant supporting details.
The Filipino short-story writer writes most of the
time about life on the farm and in the province. His
scenes are the nipa house, the rice field, the
threshing floor, the village church. His characters
are Mang Gorio and Aling Teria. Tancio, the
young man, and Rosa, the dalaga. His mood is
often as serene as a mountain lake. (An excerpt
from “A Garland of Sampaguita” by Rodolfo
The idea is best developed by giving illustrations
Psychoanalysis gives special emphasis to
unconscious motivations. Even slips of the tongue,
forgetting of appointment and other simple acts of
everyday life are traced to motives of which the
individual may not be aware of at the moment.
Thus, the bored hostess, after an insufferable
evening, said, not what she intended (but what she
meant): “Well goodbye. I’m sorry you came.”
Likewise, the debutante at a dance, much interested
in a young gentleman, intended to ask him when he
was going to dance with her, but instead asked,
“When are you going to marry me?” There is no
good reason for supposing that all such lapses are
unconsciously motivated; some may be purely
accidental-but there is no doubt that many have such
motivation. (An excerpt from “Psychology: The
Fundamentals of Human Adjustment” by Norman
By Comparison Or Contrast
You may explain a thing by comparing or
contrasting it with another. For you to be able to
use this method of development, you should
therefore have at least two subjects to write about.
You compare when you bring out their similarities
and you contrast when you bring out their
Lee Harvey Oswald was the diametric opposite of
John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and he was aware of
this. Significantly, he attributed the President’s
success to family wealth; Kennedy had all the
breaks. Like many delusions, this one had a
kernel of truth. One man had almost everything
and the other almost nothing. Kennedy was
spectacularly handsome. Oswald was balding,
and he had the physique of a ferret. The President
had been a brave officer during the war; Oswald
had been court-martialed. 175
As Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief;
Kennedy was all powerful; Oswald was impotent.
Kennedy was cheered ; Oswald ignored. Kennedy
was loved; Oswald despised. Kennedy was a hero;
Oswald was a victim. (William Manchester)
To be logical, a definition must have three
parts: the first, the term or the word or phrase to be
defined; second, the group or the class of object or
concept to which the term belongs; and third, the
different characteristics which differentiate or
distinguish it from all others of its class.
What is happiness? Happiness is a state of mind.
Lincoln once said: “We are happy as we make up
our minds to be.” Happiness grows out of
harmonious relationships with others, based on
attitudes and goodwill, tolerance, understanding,
and love. Happiness if found in little things: a
baby’s smile, a letter from a friend, the song of a
bird, a light in the window. “Words To Live By: The
Art of Happiness”
By Cause And Effect
Here the idea is developed by looking into the
whys and hows of things. This involves reasoning
or explaining in terms of causal relationships.
Floods are expected in Metro Manila during rainy
days. There are reasons why this happens all the
time. One, Manila and its immediate suburbs are
under sea level or just a bit above sea level.
Another reason is the drainage system is bad
because the pipes and sewers are poorly
constructed. Lastly, the residents wantonly throw
their garbage almost anywhere except in the trash
receptacles. This habit causes clogs in the pipes
and sewers. The result? Flash floods.
Series of question. The writer can arouse the
reader’s interest by asking a series of questions.
Statement. The writer gives a strong suggestion
and gives details to arouse the reader’s interest and
Definitions. The subject of the paragraph is defined
and particulars are given.
Origin. One way of giving the reader a clearer
understanding of the subject is by showing the
origin of the subject of the letter and then by tracing
Deductive. This paragraph begins with a general
statement, then proceeds to giving supportive
Narration. The incident which led to the situation
or problems is narrated. The writer must see to it
that the facts are accurate. Objective, factual
reporting is necessary.
Analogy. The likeness of two things is shown in
terms of their attitudes, circumstances or effects.
THE WHOLE COMPOSITION
As a thinking social being, you will always need to
express your thoughts, ideas, and feelings. At this
point of your study, you are expected to have a
considerably good grasp of the various
idiosyncrasies of the English language. Having
studied how to write effective sentences and
paragraphs, you are now ready to write a whole
composition. Although it is generally presumed
that of all the language skills writing is the hardest
you are bound, nevertheless to master the art of
communication through effective
Francis Bacon wrote that “Writing maketh an
exact man”. Therefore, when you can put down
your thoughts, ideas, and feelings on paper and
make your readers understand what you are saying,
you are on the road to being an exact man in
communication. As a student in college, you should
realize that relevant effective writing is the key to
future professional success.
WRITING A WHOLE COMPOSITION
Writing is a process. It moves from top to bottom
of its organizational pattern: form its title to its
beginning, body and ending with proper use of
transitions. As such, it entails a step by step move
towards a desired piece of composition, which, in
this chapter, will be tracked down as follows:
BEFORE ACTUAL WRITING
Choose a Subject.
You may use three possible sources of a subject:
imagination, observations, and experience. Your
experiential background can cover three general
areas of interest: your personal life, your college
life and your social life in the outside world of
local, national, and international affairs.
In doing this, choose a subject that is
interesting to you and to your reader, and that you
know much about. This will make the writing job
easier for you to do.
Or, a subject that if you do not know yet
much about, you know that there are enough data
that can be gathered about it. So that if you want
first to study your subject before you write, you
have enough resources to use.
Explore Your Subject
1.Before deciding on what to write think hard about
your subject. Give this your honest
consideration. Take your feelings and impulses
seriously. Honesty is essential because readers
hate insincerity. Thinking and scrutinizing ideas
about a paper can help define, shape or clarify a
2. To write about something, you must first know a
lot about it. Spend time for research in the
library. Read extensively on the subject.
Talk to friends and experts. Ask questions and get
ideas form people who have enough information on
3. List down ideas about your subject. Then write
freely ; unlock ideas in your mind. Your list of
assorted ideas on the subject has a disorganized flow
but it will provide you a chance to make specific,
orderly ground for your writing.
EXAMPLE: Summer in Barrio Ticol
Invigorating morning swim in the river
Chirping crickets at night
Suman and other delicacies
Boating and night swimming
Smell of jasmine, rosal and other May
Lolo’s pigs and poultry
Manila visitors enjoy the fresh unpolluted rural air
Fruits and vegetables abound
Mangoes and macopa in bloom
Slight evening drizzle a welcome treat
After a sultry afternoon
Rural hospitality unmatched
Visit to the small chapel
Simplicity and religiosity of country folks is very
Summer in the big city smacks of heat and dust
City folks savor the refreshing delights of the
Peace of mind and heart
Where’s the ideal place to go to during summer?
These fragmentary ideas about summer in a
barrio called Ticol help a student who will do a
personal experience of spending summer outside of his
city residence. The list of course is very disorganized.
You are expected to revise, delete, add or expand a lot
of the ideas and final ways of limiting and defining the
topic until you come up with an organized outline.
4. Ask Questions. Be reminded of the five W’s (who,
what, when, where, why) and one H (how).
Employing these journalistic questions will help you
explore your subject extensively. As you ask as many
versions of these questions you start uncovering a lot
more to contribute to your paper. 192
What is summer outside the metropolis?
Who love to desert the big city during the hot season?
Why do we jump at the chance of an out-of-town
Where do we usually prefer to go?
What different things do we observe in the countryside?
Where is the perfect hideaway?
What do we observe among the country folk?
What effect do all these observations have on us?
How do we compare summer in Manila with summer in
Determine Your Purpose
Your purpose will guide you in the further writing
steps that you need to take. It will suggest you the
type of composition you need to write and the limit
of development you have about your topic.
As there are several types of composition, namely:
exposition, description, narration and argumentation,
your clear purpose in mind will make you determine
whether you have to write an expository, descriptive,
narrative, or argumentative type of composition.
And once you have determined this matter, you will
also know the kind of composition development you
have to use because 194
the very type of composition you will write gives
you also a fitting method of development for it.
Determine The Type Of Composition To Be
As stated earlier, your purpose will hunch to
you the type of composition you have to write for
your topic. But, you can only get that if you know
the nature of each type of composition.
This is an explanatory type of writing. It is done
in order to clarify or give further information on
what a thing is, how it functions, and how its parts
are related to one another or how they are related
to other things. Thus, exposition addresses itself
to people who knows nothing or only a little about
the subject in question. That is why if your
purpose is to explain your topic, then you have to
engage in expository writing.
This is a type of composition which projects an
image by means of words. This makes description
an oral or written activity aimed at making the
listener or reader not only see but also feel, smell,
taste, and hear the nature of things. Thus, if your
purpose is to show or create a picture of your
topic, then, you engage in descriptive writing.
This is a composition type which presents a story
from beginning to end. It gives a complete story
basically constituted by life-giving characters, the
locale and the time of the event, conflicts and
crises, and moral or truth of life that the story aims
to deliver. Thus, if your purpose is to tell a series
of events about characters in a given place at a
certain time, then, you engage in narrative writing.
This means writing to oppose a contention of one
in order to assert his own. This is done by
presenting facts and pieces of evidence reasonably
supportive of the assertion.
Argumentation may be as simple and informal as
pretty quarrel over the color of a basketball team’s
banner as some would like it green while others
would like it red. Or; as formal as contending for
and against “Men are more intelligent than
Whatever, good argumentation will always require
Thus, if your purpose happens to be like this,
you engage in argumentative writing.
In whatever way the composition may be
expressed, it will make use of the language of prose
or poetry. And the fact that one is expository and the
other is descriptive or narrative or argumentative does
not mean that each type is truly distinct from the
other. In one’s seeming distinctness from the other, it
is really not because it utilizes and combines with the
other types in the achievement of its own form.
Take the composition of any of the narrative prose-
fiction types. Be it a short-story, a novelette, a
novel, or a drama, in its being narrative in nature, it
utilizes a great deal of description, narration, and
even argumentation. On the other hand, take an
essay. In its being dominantly expository, it is also
possible that it uses narration and description.
In this edition, however, the expository and
descriptive types are the only ones taken up
lengthily because these are the ones needed in the
kind of writing desired to be achieved.
Limit Your Subject
How do you limit your subject so you can write
about some aspect or angle that will interest your
reader? Achieving this particular goal is not an
easy task. But you have to try to succeed in
breaking down a broad subject into its limited
form, otherwise, you may not be able to win the
interest of anyone.
This writing step may be done by proceeding from
a general subject, then narrowing it to become a
little limited subject. From this limited subject,
you narrow this further, this time, to become
a topic which can serve as your composition title.
For instance, you may want to write in general
about love, religion or politics. Most probably
there are already thousands of books on these
subjects. But suppose you write about how love
can exist between legitimate and illegitimate
children, or the Church meddles in the political
exercise of the people? These angles of a subject
are the kind that will make it easier for you to
expand ideas about the subject.
General Subject : Religion
Limited Subject : Attitude Toward Marriage
Angled Topic : Differences Between
Catholics and Moslems
When It Comes to Marriage
General Subject : Sports
Limited Subject : Basketball
Angled Topic : Why Filipinos Are Crazy
In doing this, you usually consider the
timeframe you have or you are given for writing.
Naturally, if you have only an hour or so, as what
you may have in “on-the-spot writing” in the
classroom, you have to narrow your subject only to
as much as an extent that is feasible to cope with in
an hour or so. However, if you have a semester time
for writing, as in the case of required papers or term
papers, then, you have to limit your subject to an
extent that is workable within such time frame.
Of course, other things to consider are your
purpose for writing, the type of composition you
want to write and then rhetorical mode that is suited
to your purpose in writing. You can use either for
rhetorical modes; description, narration, exposition,
and argument. These types of composition will be
taken up in detail in a separate unit.
Engage in Free Writing
Ask anyone, a student or a professional writer, and
he will agree with you that the hardest part of
writing is getting started. At one time or another,
you have experienced holding a pen in hand
staring helplessly at a blank sheet of paper. It is
during such frustrating moment that you wish you
knew how to make thoughts and words flow into
the sheet of paper and manifest what it is you
really want to say.
Since writing is a skill that improves with
practice, the more you practice writing, the more the
words you need to use come easy. Thus, a free,
relaxed kind of exercise or limbering up should help
you off to a good start.
The following suggested exercises in free
writing should help in unwinding potential writing
abilities and breaking down on mental and
emotional barriers to this important skill.
In free writing you write about anything that
comes to your mind with no concern for correctness,
logic, or order. In this exercise, anything goes.
anything goes. Observe this example of free writing
done by a student:
Actually I have nothing to write about. This is
crazy, being asked to write about anything. The
room is hot. I’m uncomfortable. Why is my seat
very far from the ceiling fan? Many of my
classmates are still holding their pencils (or ball
pens) and not touching their papers. Not a word is
written yet. Our teacher is perhaps sleeping but
with her eye open. How many minutes did she say?
Ten? Fifteen? My mind is still blank. I’m getting
bored. I hope the bell ring now so I can go to the
canteen. The prelims will soon come. I have no
money yet for tuition fee. What a problem.
Solution? Buy a lotto ticket. Maybe I’ll be a
millionaire tomorrow. Yuck!
Or, you can also free-write through word association.
This means that you write with a word to focus on
and what you write are generally any physical,
emotional or psychological impact this word have on
you. You write anything you associate with a word.
Look at this example written by a female student
who goes free writing about the word color.
My favorite color is green. Very refreshing to
the eye. Mountains and trees are green. Nature in
all her glory is green. I love strolling across green
fields. I think red, white and blue are very patriotic.
White is immaculate. But brown lipstick looks good
on me. I owned if pink lipstick would go with a
lavender dress. For romantic people the golden sky
at sunset is most beautiful. For a perfect color
blending, give me the rainbow anytime.
Outline Your Ideas About The Topic.
This step will give your desired composition in a
framework that can be your very useful guide in
actual writing. It becomes important then to cast
your outline in such a way that it shows you a
skeletal structure that flows from a beginning to a
body and to an ending that make up a
Outlining may be done in topical form or in
Examples: Topical Outline
I. Benefits Derived from Reading
1. Discovery of new words
2. Skills to attach unfamiliar words
3. Access to various areas of knowledge
4. Keener judgment and sharpened
1. Refinement of feelings
2. Sharpened responses and sensibilities
3. Awareness of other people’s feelings
4. Cathartic and therapeutic effects.
1. Awareness of social influences
2. Better understanding of social
situations and social problems.
II. Influence on Personal Life
A. Improvement of Interpersonal
B. Better understanding of human
C. Better understanding our own selves
D. Better scholastic performance
III. Global Benefits
A. Growing consciousness of people and
events around the world
B. Deeper interests in activities that
C. Realization of our human potential as
contributors to history
D. Vision and skills contributing to a
viable future of humanity.
I. The cultural benefits derived from reading cannot be
A. The intellectual aspects offer these gifts:
1. Vocabulary enrichment results after the
discovery of new words.
2. Skills are formed to attach unfamiliar words.
3. Books give us access to various areas of
knowledge thus, making us well-informed
4. We develop keener judgment and sharper
5. We perform better in school.
B. Books offer emotional outputs.
1. We experience a refinement of feelings.
2. We develop sharpened a responses and
3. We develop awareness of other people’s feelings.
4. We imbibe their cathartic and therapeutic
C. Reading also reflects the influences on our personal
1. We become aware of the influences that society
2. We develop better understanding of social
II. Reading also reflects the influences on our
A. We acquire tips on how to improve our
relationship with others.
1. We learn to understand better human
2. We learn to assess to understand ands better
our own selves
3. We perform better in school
III. Reading benefits can also be felt in their global
A. We benefit from our growing consciousness of
people and events around the world
B. We take deeper interest in activities that involve
C. We realize our potential as contributors to
D. We acquire visions and skills that contribute to
a viable future for humanity
DURING ACTUAL WRITING
Create Your Title
As stated earlier, this title can already be ready for
you as early as the time when you have angled
your limited subject for a topic.
The title will serve as the writer’s first point of
contact with the reader. Thus, extra effort must be
exerted in constructing it. It must be constructed
in such a way that it comes out winsome. It must
have that “come on, read” effect to readers.
“The best titles indicate not a general subject
but the actual theme of the composition. The term
subject is broader and more inclusive than the word
title. If the instructor asks for a composition on “My
Reading Habits”, he has assigned a subject, not a
title, and you should sharpen this subject to a more
specific and more interesting title, “It’s fun to read
in the Mall”.
Write Your Beginning
Even logically organized composition has a
beginning. It generally introduces the subject of the
composition and explains the purpose or point of 222
view of the writer. It is the part to which the title is
luring a reader to read on. Thus, the need for it to
be effectively written by a student of composition
Every student should bear in mind that an
effective beginning must do two things.
a. It must catch the reader’s interest and lure him
into reading further;
b. It must explain why the subject should interest
the reader and how it touches his life
Title : Image of Man in Contemporary
Beginning :It is not true that the sun is the center of
No! It is man.
The use of an effective beginning is helpful.
Some of these effective beginning is helpful.
Some of these effective beginnings are as follows:
An anecdote an analogy beginning
A striking statement a general statement
A question a quotation
A descriptive opening a summary
The choice of any one of the above generally
depends on the kind of topic to be undertaken and
on the personal preference of the writer.
The anecdote beginning is frequently used by
after-dinner speakers. Its built-in humor proves
very fascinating. Its sprightly little story is
interesting. However, the writer who adopts this
technique should be careful that his anecdote has a
direct bearing on the sentiment of his composition,
and that the anecdote has not been repeated too
In the name of law, I arrest you!”
The elderly man lying face down in the dust, for
all the world like a sleeping tramp, got up and
faced the village constable; mildly he asked the
reason for this arrest.
“I’ve been watching you. A suspicious character
if ever I saw one! Come with me.”
Like a patient teacher the man explained that
he was studying insects.
“Flies!” scoffed the officer. “Do you expect
me to believe that you lie here in the morning sun to
The other shrugged, and the light caught a
twist at the red ribbon in the buttonhole of his
thread broad black coat. The Legion of Honor.
Even a country constable knew enough to back out
now. The old man imperturbably lay down to
resume his studies.
Jean Henri Sasimir Fabre was used to
humiliation. From childhood he had shielded a
sensitive nature by outward indifference. He was
born in south-central France in 1823, of a mother
who could not read or write; more, she regarded
her elder son’s love of the fields as wicked idleness;
his collecting minerals, birds nests and bugs as a
system of idiocy. (Donald Gurlose Peattie, “The
Incomparable Observer” The Reader’s Digest, May
2. Striking Statement
Speakers are afraid to be dull, and so are writers.
To be able to give a striking statement is a
difficult task, but it can actually be achieved. It is
done by being witty, brilliant, funny, outspoken,
and even paradoxical. The essayist says
something to excite the enthusiasm and curiosity
of the reader, then goes ahead.
The collapse of the Nazi Germany marked the end of
the greatest myth on racial superiority ever
imposed on a gullible world. Chances are that
“pure Aryan will never again put an appearance
in respectable society.”
Yet, this tall, blond superman could never have got
where he did except for the prejudice or race
relations. The difference we think we see between
races—and which we magnify are largely a matter
of differences in training and opportunity. There are
no superior races, only superior individuals and
they are members of all races. “As Fra Boss, the
father of American Anthropology puts it: “If we
were to select the most intelligent, imaginative,
energetic, emotionally stable third of all mankind,
all races would be represented. (Ethel J. Alpantels
“Our Racial Superiority” The Reader’s Digest,
One of the most striking ways to begin a
composition is to pose a question at the outset – a
query to which the reader is led to seek and
answer. If the question is so asked as to arouse the
curiosity of the reader, fifty percent of the battle is
won. Questions may be implied or direct.
What is this thing called Love, so indispensable to
best sellers? What is it the myriad purchases
desire so ardently to see portrayed? Plainly – as
the books show it – it is the sole end of life, the
obsession of every kind. The hero of the popular
novel always gained the heroine’s hand, after an
adventurous career. The offer awaited him the
last chapter, but there was an interesting respite
amid fire and flamed which is not granted to his
successor. The modern hero is allowed a vocation
to keep him occupied during the day, but it is
understood that this is merely an interlude in his
service to, or serving of, the various ladies in the
book. Love of power, pride in work the area of
poverty, the lust for fear or vengeance, and all other
impulses that actually move men are denied him.
He is indeed love’s slave. (Bergen Evans, “This
Thing Called Love” The Atlantic Monthly,
4. Descriptive Opening
The descriptive opening gives a mental picture –
“ideals with images rather than ideas.” This is an
effective beginning if cautiously handled and if
given sufficient vividness and life. Otherwise, it
can be dull. The essayist should try to awaken
and thrill even a phlegmatic reader so that he may
go out and see what is to come.
Day had broken cold and gray, exceedingly cold
and gray. When the man turned again from his
Yukon trail and started up a little-traveled trail led
through the fast spruce timberland. It was nine
o’clock. There was no summer hint of sun.
Though the day was clear, there was a gloom all
over the fact of things. This did not worry the
man. It had been days since he had seen the sun.
(Jack London, “How To Build A Fire”)
5. Analogy Beginning
The analogy beginning is an extended figure of
speech which may be a simile or a metaphor.
While its value as proof is nil, it makes the subject
vivid and illuminating, and take the reader directly
into the heart of the discussion.
Music has often been compared with language
itself, and the comparison is quite legitimate.
it combines easily with language, it also speaks a
language of its own, which has become a platitude to
call universal. To understand the significance of the
organizing factors of rhythm, melody, harmony, tune,
color, and meaning, the analogy of a familiar
language is helpful. Music has its own alphabet, of
only seven letters, as compared with the twenty six of
the English Alphabet. Each of these letters represents
a note, and just as certain letters are complete words
in themselves, so are certain notes that they may
stand alone, with the force of a whole word.
Generally, however, a note of music implies a certain
harmony, and in most modern music the notes take
the form of actual chords. 239
So it may be said that a chord of music is
analogous to a word in language. Several words
form a phrase, and several phrases a complete
sentence, and the same thing is true to music.
Measured music corresponds to poetry while old
measured plain song might be compared with prose.
The relationship of modern music to free verse at
once becomes apparent, and impressionism,
cubism, and futurism can all be found in music as
well as in the other arts. (Sigmund Spaath), “The
Language of Music”)
6. General Statement
The broad observation that has a wide application
is not an old way of opening an essay, but it is still
For there is perennial nobleness, and even
sacredness, in work. For he never so benighted,
forgetful of high calling, there is always hope in a
man that actually and earnestly works; in idleness
along thee is perpetual despair. Work never so
Mammonish, mean, is communication with Nature;
the real desire to get work done will itself lead one
to more and more truth, to Nature appointments and
regulations, which are truth. (Thomas Carlyle,
A well chosen quotation can be very effective.
Editors and readers however, have become tired of
quotation openings, and such should be avoided.
Use them sparingly.
“Live as if each moment were your last.” How often
have I come across such advice in the books that I
read. At least it seemed often to me – too often.
a while I accept it as being probably good advice if
one could follow it, yet to follow it I could not. For
one thing. I could never bring myself to feel this
“lastness” of each moment. I tried and failed. I
was good to make-believe, too, but this was out of
all good reasons. (Elizabeth W. Morris, “The
Embarrassment of Finality”)
The summary beginning presents the main
conclusions, high spots, or gist of the article by
way of opening. It is often used for beginning the
As a single man, I have spent a good deal of my
time in noting down the infirmities of married
people, to control myself for those superior
pleasures, which they tell me I have lost by
reminding me as I am.
I cannot say that the quarrels of men and their
wives ever made any great impression upon me, or
had such tendency to strengthen me in those anti-
social resolutions which I took up long ago upon
more substantial considerations. What often offends
me at the house of married persons when I visit, is
an error of quite different description; it is that they
are too loving. (Charles Lamb, “A Bachelor’s
Complaint of the Behavior of Married People”)
Compose Your Body
The body of a composition contains all the
discussions , arguments, or explanations that the
writer wants to say about his subject. As such as it
may be developed in three general ways. Each
way can make the reader see immediately and
clearly the relationship between and among the
parts within. The development may be patterned
in any of the following ways:
1. In Chronological Order
This type of development is especially useful in
narration when one relates events in the order of
occurrence. This device is also practical when
the topic is about a process which is to explain
something stage by stage.
2. In Logical Sequence
This one calls for the presentation of details in
any of the following patterns or vice-versa:
1. From the known to the unknown
2.From the particular to the general
3. From the simple to the complicated
4. From the abstract to the concrete
3. Climactic Order
This means that the explanations of the least
important material should precede the more
important ones. Then the composition should
gradually work up to a fitting climax. In the
structure of the composition, the end is one of the
two emphatic parts of the composition, just as it is
in the paragraph and in the sentence. The other is
Close With An Effective Ending.
Ending a composition is just like saying goodbye
after having said what are the desired to be said.
This part summarizes or recapitulates the ideas
developed in the body of the composition.
As you have effective beginnings, you also have
effective endings to help you do this part of the
composition. These are as follows:
Sometimes in order to make the ending of an
essay truly impressive, the author chooses a well-
known authority, a prominent author, or a poet
who has expressed himself on the subject he has
written about. A quotation thus chosen, must be
pertinent to the subject and must reinforce the
ideas presented by the writer.
With saint Augustine they said: “Let us not leave
them alone to make in the secret of this knowledge
as thou didst before the creation of the firmament,
the division of light from darkness, let the children
of thy spirit, placed in their firmament, make their
light shine upon the earth, mark the division of
night and day, and announce the revolution of the
times’ for the old order is passed, and the new
crises; the night is spent, the day is come forth;
and thou shalt crown the year with the blessing,
when thou shalt send forth laborers into
thy harvest sown by other hands that theirs;
when thou shalt send forth new laborers to new
seedtimes, hereof, the harvest shall be not yet.”
(Matthew Arnold, “Sweetness and Light”)
2. Problem or Question
As in the story, “The Lady or The Tiger,” it may
be necessary for the writer to finish his work with
a question or with a number of questions. If the
purpose of the essay concluded is just to present
facts and ideas to let the reader from his own
conclusions, this type of ending will be most
Thus, a strange series of unrelated events
conspired to place him in the White House. BUT
WAS IT AN ACCIDENT? Was it merely political
intrigue? … Or was it fate? Is it not just possible
that on that momentous day the end of destiny
rested upon the shoulder of Abraham Lincoln?
( G.I.. Summer, “How Chance Made Lincoln
3. Suggestion to Question
If the composition has been written to present the
validity of a certain idea over and above another
which the essay criticizes, a suggestion to take
action is often necessary at the end of the essay.
It is our urgent responsibility today to evaluate
truly and generously the achievements of the
various faces and nations of the world. The
billion people can live together on a globe grown
suddenly small only if we bring our knowledge of
human relations up to our knowledge of physical
science. Let us take pride not in a false assumption
of superiority to any other people but in our friendly
knowledge of all the people of the world. (Ethel J.
Alpental, “Our Racial Superiority”)
4. Significant Incident
Often, to wrap up the idea of the composition, it is
necessary for the writer to cite a little significant
incident to clinch his argument or to dramatize his
Then the gray-haired man appeared on the ice
with the huge goal pads and gloves on. The
galleries were silent a moment, then burst into
spontaneous applause at the gallant gesture. Les
Patrick, out of the game since 1921 and even in his
playing days, not a goalie was skating into the
ranger nets. He was the ranger’s manager. But he
was going in. The crown applauded the spirit and
get back to await the massacre. It never came.
Playing with a cold frenzy, Patrick turned back the
attach of one of the greatest teams in the game and
the rangers won 2 to 1. For the third time they got
another goalie and went on to win the series. That
stand of the gray-haired Patrick is one of the game’s
The summary is one of the most overused types of
ending for the manuscript. In the summary
ending, ideas are repeated, but a mechanical
repetition of the points advanced must be avoided.
It may be added that a short composition does not
need a summary.
And so we shall continue to be ushered through
luncheons and herded through cafeterias, until we
become chronic dyspeptics. We shall be besieged
with telegrams, bombarded with extras, and bawled
at by bell boys until we fall victims to nervous
prostration. We shall be battle –geared in
elevations, shuttle-cocked in subways, joggled in
taxi-cabs, jostled in street cars, and jolted in
Pullman’s until we succumb to apoplexy. And we
shall be kept everlastingly on the go, we are shipped
off in sixty horse power hearse to the only peaceful
place we have ever known. For thus we shall have
served the God of Time. (Percival White, “The
Check Your Transitions
This means your transition or slide in idea from
one paragraph to another. Each paragraph deals
with a central idea that is why in writing a series
of paragraphs in a composition, it is important that
you show the relationship among all central ideas
by using transitional devices. Here are three types
of these devices to help you make the paragraphs
1. Transitional devices
An example of this consequently
As a result finally
At this time incidentally
In addition first
Another for example
However on the other hand
In spite of soon
Study the paragraphs below. Explain the
relationship illustrated by the transitional words
Precision means exactness. It means hitting
the nail on the head. In writing, precision means
taking care to find not the big word or the little word
but exactly the right word for what must not say
“idiom” when you mean “idiot”, “sadistic” when
you mean “statistic,” or even, “read” when you
Such irresponsible words might result in
misunderstanding. It will prompt people to say that
the writer is not very literate. Therefore, the moral
should be obvious; don’t use a word unless you are
sure of its meaning.
2. Repetition Of A Key Word In The Preceding
Courage is not always shown in big acts. The
student who can go up to this teacher and
stammer. “Sir, I am sorry, but I cheated on that
test,” is displaying as much courage as the public
official who tells the investigating committee,
“Madam President, I’m sorry but I mishandled
project funds causing great losses to the
A pronoun that refers to a person, thing or idea
mentioned in the preceding paragraph.
Philippine Democracy is experiencing the most
crucial test of its more than fifty years of existence.
Not only has each of the past presidents done
significant reform programs but also fought all
forms of opposition to democratic ideology.
Today, one of its greatest enemies is
insurgency. It has to content the radical
demands of this group of anti-democratic
AFTER ACTUAL WRITING
1. Review your first draft for content improvement.
Ask these questions as you mark your draft for
a. Is my point of view clearly established in my
opening paragraph? Do my readers know what
my intentions are?
b. Is my opening interesting enough for my readers
to want to continue? Have I saved my supporting
points for the following paragraphs? How can I
make the paragraph more effective?
c. Have I developed a different main point in each
paragraph? Does my topic sentence clearly state
the point of the paragraph? Do I have plenty of
details and examples to support the main idea in
each paragraph? Are any of the paragraphs
extremely short or extremely long?
d. Are there things I can add – new points or details
– to make the paper more effective? Are there
ideas or details that don’t seem effective? Should
I eliminate anything?
e. Are my ideas in the best sequence? Should I
move anything around? Do I need to move
information that I added to a more appropriate
spot? Have I organized my thoughts most
f. Does the paper maintain the point of view
intended? Do my main points develop a point of
view successfully? Do I need to consider
changing the point of view or any of the
g. Have I considered my audience as I wrote? Will
they understand my purpose? Will I get the
response I intended to get? What can I do to
make the paper more interesting? Have I been
honest with my readers?
2. Rewrite the draft will all of the content revisions
you have noted.
3. Read your sentences for wording improvement.
Are there unnecessary or repeated words that can
be eliminated? Are there simpler ways to word
some ideas? Are there awkward sounding sentences
that need rewording? Are there word choices that
can be improved? Are there any words or phrases
that are out of place in any sentence? On your draft,
cross out, add, and reorder words to improve each
sentence for the nest draft.
4. Read your paragraphs for sentence variety. Do
you have a variety of sentences including compound
and complex sentences? Do you have any pairs or
groups of short, similar sentences that can be
combined for improvement? On your draft, mark
any changes you want to make to improve sentence
variety and eliminate weak, short sentences.
5. Now proofread your paper for any errors.
a. Correct run-ons by putting periods between
sentences and by combining short run-on
sentences to form compound and complex
b. Correct any fragments by attaching them to the
sentences they belong with or by adding words to
make complete sentences.
c. Check for subject-verb agreement with present
tense verbs. Check for the –ed endings on
regular past tense verbs. Make sure you have an
–s or –es ending on plural verbs. Make sure you
haven’t left out any word unintentionally.
d. Check your spelling and correct all misspelled
words. Check your “there, their, and they’re”
e. Check your punctuation. Have you put in all
periods and question marks at the ends of
sentences? Are there commas between words in a
series, before conjunctions in compound
sentences and offer introductory groups of words?
Do possessive words have apostrophes?
f. Give your draft a final look for any errors you
might have missed.
6. Type your final copy.
Exposition appears primarily to the
understanding, not to the will, feeling, or
imagination. Its purpose is to make a thing or an
idea clear to the reader’s mind. Its value as a form
of discourse is drawn from the fact that it tests
knowledge. The ideal concept here is that one must
know matters clearly and thoroughly from others.
In return, he must also be able to make his ideas
known in more or less similar clarity and
thoroughness. Just like the other types of discourse,
it can be done in prose or in poetry. Thus, the
classification expository prose and expository
Expository writing must follow a careful
method or planning, a strict logical step-by-step
This means that the data or information must
be brought out as a unit one at a time, and salient
points be driven home by means of various ways of
clarification. The expository plan must develop with
completeness, progress, and adaptation. Information
in exposition is never with value unless it is
relatively complete. Exposition seeks to answer the
what, the why, and the how of things.
Its progressive development must proceed in
a logical manner, either from the simple to the
complex, from the known to the unknown, form
the old to the new, or vice-versa, or through
deductive or inductive orders. The plan must be
built for adaptation or should be adjusted to the
knowledge and the capacity of the reader.
TYPES OF EXPOSITION
In classifying exposition earlier into expository
prose and expository poetry, the basis of
classification is obviously the language used. If
classification, however, would be based on the
manner or method of explanation made, whether
it is written in prose or in poetry, it may be
classified into the following:
2. Explanation of a Process
3. Summary or Precis
5. The Essay
This is the base of all writings whose aim is to
explain. It does not only give a name or several
synonyms but it makes a thing clear or
distinguishable from the other members of its family
The word definition is derived from the combination
of the prefix de and the Latin verb form finire which
means to limit or to set bounds; thus, definition
means boundary or termination, a fence that sets off
what is being defined to avoid confusion with other
objects, or an enclosure that separates it from all the
other things of its kind. 284
So far, definition has been rendered in three
general ways: the dictionary way, (Dictionary
definition); the one-sentence logical way, (One
Sentence Logical definition); and the extended way,
1. Dictionary Definition
A dictionary definition is the meaning given to a
word by a dictionary. It consists of bits of
information such as: the word syllabication and
pronunciation, origin, part of speech, levels of
meaning, synonym, antonym, and inflection.
Collectively gathered, such bits of details provide
a considerable literal meaning to a word,
considerable enough to familiarize one with a
word which at first looked and sounded strange.
Sporadic / spre-rad-ik / adj: occurring in scattered
Instances syn. Occasional, rare, scarce,
infrequent, uncommon-sporadically adv.
One-Sentence Logical Definition
This type of definition gives a meaning to a word
in a formal pattern consisting of three parts:
1. The term (word or phrase) to be defined.
2. The genus or object or concept to which the term
3. The differentia (differentiating characteristic)
that sets the term apart and distinct from the
rest of its clan.
is an instrument
used for converting sound waves into variations of
an electric current for transmitting or recording
4. Extended Definition
This is a definition called extended because from
one sentence stretch of meaning , it evolves further
into a paragraph or whole composition long. The
extension is made possible by the following
methods of definition:
a. Narration of Examples and Incidents:
Drop a cricket from your hand and it falls to the
ground. We say that the cause of its fall is the
gravitational pull of the earth. In the same way, a
cricket ball thrown into the air does not move on
forever in the direction in which it is thrown; if it did
it would leave the earth for good, and voyage off into
space. It is saved from this fact by the earth’s
gravitational pull which drags it gradually down, so
that it falls back to earth. The faster we throw it, the
further it travels before this occurs; a similar ball
projected from a gun would travel for many miles
before being pulled back to earth. (Sir James Jeans,
“The Universe Around Us”) 291
b. Comparison And/Or Contrast:
Comparison, as an aid to extended definition, pits
the term with another with which it has
similarities. Thus, comes out an extended simile
as well. On the other hand, contrast pits the term
with another with which it has dissimilarities.
Whichever of them may be utilized in an opposing
or an alternating pattern.
“The desert wastes of North Africa might be
likened unto quicksand, for all civilizations,
religions and cities have been engulfed by those
fine fawn particles that trickle through one’s
fingers like water. When an animal lies down to
die in the desert, the wind-driven sand eddies over
and about, sometimes, completely covering it and
again leaving it exposed. And the sand has
treated cities and civilizations in the same way”
(“Algeria, Tunisia and Libya”)
The Arctic is an ocean covered with drifting
ice and hemmed in by the continents of North
America, Asia and Europe. The Antarctic, on the
other hand, is a continent as large as Europe and
the United States put together and surrounded
entirely by oceans – the Atlantic, the Indian and the
Pacific.” (F. Kendig, “The Coming Changeover”)
Analysis may be done by partitioning or
classifying. Partitioning is applicable to a term
whose denotative meaning still calls for a further
dissection before everything about it could be
made understandable. Classification, on the other
hand, calls for a sorting out of details about the
terms for purposes of grouping them in accordance
with their common nature.
Example: Analysis by Partition
Flowers are important to plants flowers are
necessary for the production of seeds, and seeds
bring about the reproduction of the plant. Most
of the plants we know best – the rose, the daisy,
the lily, and so on – produce flowers. Most trees
have flower, and so do all of the vegetables we
eat, the grass on the lawn and all weeds (except a
couple of ferns and the horsetail, which act as
weeds in some places).
Go into a meadow where the grass has not
been cut and you will wade through thousands of
grass flowers, their golden stamens dangling in the
breeze. Watch a maple with low branches in the
spring; day by day, you will see the flower buds
open, the flowers develop and finally maple fruits
grow from the remains of the flowers. The pussy
willow is so called because someone thought the
furry flower clusters looked like body cats. If you cut
twigs of oak or cottonwood trees in the spring and
put them in jars of water their flowers appear.
A typical flower includes the following parts:
1. The sepals, usually green and somewhat
leaf like. They protect the inner parts of the flower
when it is a bud. Taken together the sepals form the
2. The petals. These are the part of the flower
we notice most, because they are often large and
brightly colored. They attract the insects, or birds,
in some cases, which carry pollen from one flower
to another. Taken together the petals form the
3. The stamens. These consist of a stalk
(sometimes thread-like) called the filament; and the
anther, which grows at the tip of the filament. The
anther is the most important part, because it
produces the precious pollen. Most flowers have a
number of stamens.
4. In the center of the flower is the pistil, or
several pistils. Most flowers, such as the cherry,
the orchid and the violet, have only one pistil.
Some have more, and the strawberry and buttercup
flowers may have a hundred or more. Botanists use
the word carpel for each pistil when there are
several ones. The pistil consists of three parts: at
the top, the stigma, which is either sticky or
feathery and which catches the pollen grains; the
style, which connects the stigma and the ovary; and
the ovary at the base. The ovary is the most
important part of the pistil. It contains one or more
ovules. The ovules later become the seeds.
(Flowers, The Seed Producers” The Book of
Example: Analysis By Classification
There are three kinds of book owners. The first
has all the standards sets and best sellers –
unread, untouched. (This deluded individual owns
wood pulp and ink, not books.) The second has a
great many books – a few of them read through,
most of them dipped into, but all of them as clean
and shiny as the day they were bought. (This
person would probably like to make the books his
own, but is restrained by a false respect for their
physical appearance.) The third has a few books
or many – every one of them dog-eared and
dilapidated, shaken and loosened by continual use,
marked and scribbled in from front to back. (This
man owns the books.) (Mortimer J. Adler Book
This is a method which explains a thing by
telling “what a thing is not.” Generally, this is a
system of weeding out from the term the negative
concept or idea imputed to it for it to be cleared of
such and be left only to its real meaning.
A university is a community of scholars. It is not a
kindergarten. It is not a club; it is not a reform
school; it is not a political party; it is not an
agency of propaganda. A university is a
community of scholars.
The scholars who compose that community have
been chosen by their predecessors because they
are especially competent to study and to teach
some branch of knowledge. The greatest
university is that in which the largest proportion of
these scholars are most competent in their chosen
To a certain extent the ability of a university to
attract the best scholars depend on the salaries it
can pay. To a certain extent it depends on the
facilities, the libraries, the laboratories it can offer.
But great scholars have been known to sacrifice
both salaries and facilities for the sake of the one
thing that is indispensable to their calling, and that
Freedom of inquiry, freedom of discussion,
and the freedom of teaching – without these a
university becomes a political party or an agency of
propaganda. It ceases to be a university. The
university exists only to find and to communicate the
truth. If it cannot do that it is no longer a university.
(Robert M. Hutchins. “A University is a
Community of Scholars”)
e. Citation of Results, Effects and Uses.
“Whenever I have told people I’ve been talking
to that I am a twin I’ve always noticed a change of
expressions in their eye, a kind of
re-focusing, which I came to recognize long before I
detected its meaning. I think it is an attempt to
discern in me my absent half; everybody knows that
a twin is one-half a person. There is a distinct
withdrawal, too; the readjustment people make
when they discover that someone they have been
freely and intimately talking is married.
If you are a twin, people behave as though you
are not worth making a relationship with; and they
recoil, sensing that there is no reserve of feeling
within you which you could possibly expend on
them. They are interested, but polite. They say
“Oh, is he like you?” You can watch them adjust to
the possibility of a replica of the individual they
have just met; and feel your sense of uniqueness
assailed. They ask you if you feel pain and joy on
behalf of each other. If he is suffering, do you feel a
pang? Can you be apart/perhaps if we had been
identical twins, this might have been true. (Jeremy
Seabrook, “On Being a Twin”)
Explanation Of A Process
We are concerned with a process whenever we
explain how we do something, how a thing works
or operates, how other people do something. Our
explanation will involve time pattern and step-by-
step events or direction. This kind of exposition
can be applied to explain technical and scientific
processes, methods of work learned, creative and
critical procedures, hobbies and sports and various
The planning and organization of the materials
for explanation of a process often depends upon the
subject. In scientific and technical subjects, a question
on the basic principles of the work may have to be
answered. Some technical or semi-technical terms will
have to be defined for clarification before they can be
freely used. Pictures or description of equipment may
also be presented and their specific functions
explained. Only after these can one start explaining the
stages of the work. What possible difficulties can one
foresee? How will one detect the success of the work?
The plan for unity, proportion, and emphasis is most
important in explaining a process.
Back in my old hometown, saltmaking is an industry.
As early as February, men, women and even little
children flock to the beaches, not to cool off
(February is cold enough), but to stake out a portion
of the sandy shore for their use. About 20 to 30
square meters would be a manageable size for two
people to work on.
The sand is then sprinkled with sea water and
allowed to dry. This process is repeated twice, for a
total of three times. When the sand has caked, it is
scrapped off and deposited into a burnay (an
unglazed earthen jar) with a spout near its bottom.
Additional sea water is poured into the jar.
The resulting saline fluid is strained and collected.
This fluid is then brought to the hurno (a large oven-
like cooking place made of earth).
It is cooked for hours (sometimes overnight)
under very high temperatures until salt crystals
form. The crystals are then cooled off and allowed
to dry in a large bamboo basket.
Salt made this way is very fine, almost sugar-
like, unlike the salt from Las Pinas, which is coarse
and sometimes bitter in taste. The difference may lie311
in the way each is made. The Las Pinas salt is
simply seawater allowed to dry until only the salt
crystals remain. The Ilocano salt takes more time
and effort to produce. It entails days of work under
the sun’s heat, and nights tending the fire. It means
leaving one’s house temporarily and building a
makeshift dwelling near the seashore. It means
sacrifice and hard work.
This is the way Ilocanos make salt. (How Salt
Summary Or Precis
The précis (pronounced pray-see) form both
singular and plural is classified as an expository
form of discourse because it involves the process
of analysis. Careful reading and constructive
thinking are necessary before one can write a
précis. Inasmuch as the précis is a miniature of the
original, important details have to be carefully
chosen and expressed in just about one-third of the
original material. Adequacy in this modern type of
discourse will help a student greatly in his studies,
for instructors and professors have the habit of
oral and/or written reports in the form of
summaries in practically every subject in the
curriculum. Harry Shaw in the book Writing
and Rewriting suggests the following steps in
the writing of a précis.
1. Select a material which is moderately
long so that it could be condensed satisfactorily
and comfortably. Much too short materials
offer no room for summarizing.
2. Read carefully, analytically, and reflectively twice
or thrice looking up the meaning of all unfamiliar
words and phrases. Endeavor to answer the
How was the material been organized?
What devices have the writer used?
What kind of illustrations support the main thought?
Which are the facts and which are opinions?
3. Use your own words.
4. Limit your number of words to just about a third
of the original. Never sacrifice brevity for clarity.
While you aim to condense, you do not omit
5. Do not alter the plan of the original. Follow the
logical order and maintain the mood and tone.
Avoid rearranging thoughts and facts lest they
distort the essence of the original.
6. Do not comment or interpret. The sole
function of a précis is to summarize the
original author’s essential meaning.
7. Write the précis in Good English. It should
read smoothly. Strive to make it intelligent
to a reader who has no access to the original
or who has not yet seen it.
This is the antithesis of the précis. While the
précis is a condensation of the original material,
the paraphrase is a full-length explanation of the
meaning of the subject being tackled. Both
however, are concerned with re-wording as they
are both writing and oral activities that need re-
expression of the original meaning of the subject
in the very own words of the writer.
Paraphrase is derived from the Greek words para,
meaning beyond, and phrasein, tell.
The following are helpful suggestions by Harry
Shaw in the writing of a paraphrase:
a. Read the passage several times to get the essence
up to the point of mastery.
b. Consult the dictionary or other books for words
whose meanings are not familiar with you. In a
paraphrase, there are usually allusions or figures of
speech. Choose understandable words to make
meanings unmistakably clear.
c. Restrict your changes to passages which require
simplification and do not fail to do this, no matter
how difficult, for failure to do so means leaving a
gap in thought.
d. Include all significant details; otherwise a
distortion of the original idea will result.
e. Avoid rendering comments. A paraphrase is only
a full rendering of what the original author had in
f. Add nothing which is not in the original. This will
distort likewise, the author’s original idea.
g. Preserve the tone and form of the original and
other existing sentences.
An essay is an exposition of an author’s thoughts
or reflections on some subjects of human interest.
It is generally classified into formal essay and
informal essay, depending on its tone and its
purpose. But, specifically it may be any
expository type like the character sketch,
criticism and review, the classification of which
is based on the subject it takes up.
The purpose of the formal essay is to give
information and instruction. It is impersonal in
and is addressed primarily to the intellect. Its
structure gives evidence of great care and it deals
with a great variety of serious subject matter.
The informal essay is more free in its method
than the formal essay. It is personal in tone and
point of view and it is familiar and light in style
such as that used in easy, natural conversation and in
organized friendly letters. Because of its style, this
form of essay reveals the writer’s personality, his
whims and fancies, sympathies and antipathies,
grave and gray moods, etc. At times the tone might
be cheerful or playful even when the subject matter
is serious. Its primary purpose is to entertain, to
comment on interesting or even important matters
with a lightness of attitude interesting to readers.
A character sketch is that type of essay which
is oftentimes called personality sketch, profile,
portrait painting, or biographical sketch. Whatever it
is called, it always tackles a person whose nature,
outward and inward, is impressed on the reader by
the writer – for the purpose of making this person
goodly understood. In doing this, the writer
principally makes use of description. But of course,
he can most likely use narration and argumentation.
She is girlish, this great master of the violin cello.
An attractive figure to look at as she comes on the
platform, with her great beautiful instrument and
her tragic Egyptian face, the brown hair that half
falls and half curls around her head, wearing an
embroidered wine-colored overdress with long
hanging sleeves and underskirt of bright-green
grass silk, most like playing angel from the choir
of some Florentine of Venetian Paradise. She is
always grave and simple, she knows how to smile,
but when her instrument is in her shoulder, she is
absorbed in her art and only speaks by her
expressive eyes. She plays the concertos of
Schumann and Lolo and a truly Spanish little
Serenade Espagnole by Glaszunov. She is serious,
the artist within her is so intensely alive. At times,
when she bends back her head and long bare neck,
and the blood-eyed drapery stays from the extended
arm, she seems crucified to the instrument; with
arched eyebrows raised, there is almost an
expression of torture in her face: one seems to detect
a writing movement that only the self-mastery of art
controls; and one scarcely knows whether it is
across the belly of the instrument between her thighs
or across her own entrails that the bow is drawn to
evoke the slow deep music of these singing tones.
Criticism and review is the type of essay
which weighs, evaluates, and judges both virtues as
well as faults of a subject. Engaging in this needs
Anything that can be seen, felt, smelled, heard,
or tasted can be an object of criticism. To do this
effectively, Harry Show suggests the following
guidelines for a literary criticism:
1. Know the scope and purpose of the book;
that is, the material covered and stressed.
2. Know the writer’s style of writing, his
stylistic excellence and faults. Is he persuasive,
convincing or dull?
3. Know the theme of the piece of work; that
is, is it a social moral, or psychological novel or
So far there are three ways by which a critical
essay is written:
a. The method of the reporter in which the criticism
appears as a précis. He tells something of the
author and his method of handling the material.
Actually this kind is not critical. It is more of a
report in the daily newspaper columns.
b. The method used in monthly or weekly
magazines which is 50 percent summary and 50
percent evaluation. This is much better than the
first in as much as the writer has a week to
prepare, to weigh and to judge the object of
c. The springboard view, so-called because like the
springboard in a swimming pool, the writer starts
his critical essay from a book and then proceeds
to his review of other books of the same theme or
subject matter. He makes just few comments
about each book. This method is usually found
in monthly or quarterly magazines or in books of
An example of this would be a book on war. The
springboard reviewer makes a few comments on
“The Bridge on the River Kwai” and several other
books about war.
The good reviewer, however, is one who could
handle the three types competently.
A Criticism and Review of A Movie from a
Philippine Daily Newspaper
“One movie you will remember for a long
time is “The Other Side of Midnight” which is a
faithful adaptation of Sidney Sheldon’s best-selling
novel of the same title. The movie failed to reap
critical success abroad but it has been a commercial
hit locally. Understandably so because it is the kind
of story which our moviegoers go for.
“It is a story of love and revenge, of how love
can turn a woman vicious and so vindictive. Driven
by that urge to vindicate herself, Noelle Page
(played by Marie-France Pisier) does everything to
clothe herself with power and money. Only to find
out during the time of reckoning that the man she
truly loved and for whom she determined to exact
revenge does not remember her at all. Very painful
“If the story relates to the Filipino audience, it
is because our womenfolk are still addicted to the
concept that love is very important in a man-woman
relationship. In spite of modernity, women still
believe that love is power and that love is the very
essence of life.
“But while it may be justified that Noelle
should think of revenge, for the man who left her
heart broken, it is Cathy (Susan Sarandon) for
whom the audience feels pity and admiration.
Noelle presents a strong and powerful character, but
in the end, it is Cathy who turns out to be stronger,
the wiser. She gets the sympathy and love of the
“Larry Douglas (John Beck), the pilot for whom Noelle
waited for her heart and a wedding gown, is not
actually the kind of man a woman should die to love
but he has certainly very appealing traits that attract.
He is, along with the two women in the story, very real,
so alive, but so pathetic when taken under the mercy of
the “mistress of the richest man of the world.” But
Larry is what most women would find nakakainis in his
so confident ways with women. One who could have
his way through, just like Noelle.
“Raf Vallone plays the Greek tycoon Demiris
who loves and pampers Noelle but who has the sweet
smile of revenge at the end. He does a very good
portrayal of his role.” 334
STRUCTURING THE ESSAY
It seems logical that before you try to put a jigsaw
puzzle together you should have a good idea what
the shape of the finished product will be. This is
also true when it comes to writing an essay.
Before you spend time writing and revising, you
should decide what it is you are trying to create.
For this purpose, creating an essay means creating
a piece of writing with an introduction, body and
In college writing the standard short essay is
between 350 and 500 words long. This usually
means that your essay will have a one-paragraph
introduction, a three-paragraph body, and a one-
The Introduction Of An Essay
First section of your essay. This makes it
extremely important because first impressions are
lasting. The introduction should be interesting. If it
is dull and matter-of-fact, chances are it will turn off
readers who will not read further. 336
Purposes: Stimulate readers’ interest
State the essay’s main idea or thesis
The thesis statement is called controlling idea.
This controlling idea tells the reader what the
essay he is reading will be about. Without a
clearly stated controlling idea, your essay will be
just a loose collection of unrelated statements.
The controlling idea brings your essay into focus,
giving it direction and drawing its ideas together.
Usually put at the end of the introduction, the
controlling idea is the central element of the
essay because it indicates what points will be
discussed in detail in the body of the essay.
Generally, the introduction is a full paragraph,
not just a single sentence. It usually begins with
remarks designed to interest the readers. As it
progresses, your introduction should present several
facts or ideas that will orient your readers to the
subject of the essay. As it proceeds further, the
introduction should gradually narrow its focus and
move from introductory remarks to controlling idea.
The shape of the introduction should look
something like this:
The Body Of An Essay
This part is usually three paragraphs, each one
considering in detail one aspect of the essay’s
controlling idea. This is called a three-point
essay. At the beginning of each of the support
paragraphs is a topic sentence that tells what the
rest of the paragraph is going to be about. A topic
sentence should be as specific as the controlling
idea. The controlling idea provides a focus for
the essay; the topic sentence provides a focus
for the body paragraph.
A topic sentence needs details and facts to
support it and show the logic of your argument. It
may look like this:
The Conclusion Of An Essay
Ideas in the conclusion must be consistent with the
rest of the essay.
Draw together all that has come before by
restating your controlling idea. This statement
is usually most effective when it is located at the
beginning of your conclusion. Not only does this
repetition remind your readers of the major points
you have been trying to make, but it also signals
them that your essay is drawing to a close. An
abrupt conclusion, or one that does not follow 343
logically from what has come before it, can jolt your
readers and raise doubts about the entire essay.
None of the material mentioned in the conclusion
should contradict or change your controlling idea.
Apologies or disclaimers will only undercut your
essay’s arguments. For the same reason you should
not introduce any entirely new points in your
conclusion. New points require new proof; you
don’t want to re-open the discussion first when you
were trying to conclude it.
Make sure your essay is balanced. You should
not have an introduction or conclusion that is
excessively too long or short.
The Whole Essay
The controlling idea is especially important:
the introduction states it, each of the body
paragraphs discusses one aspect of it, and the
conclusion restates it.
The following diagram shows how all parts of
the essay work together.
Title : Writing an essay
Introductory remarks : Writing an essay, while
easy for a fortunate few, can
be a sheer torture for others.
Controlling Idea : To accomplish this feat, all you
have to do is follow a few simple
Topic Sentence : The first step in writing an essay
is selecting a controlling idea and
writing an introduction.
After gathering all the ideas or
facts that pertain to the topic, see if
they form a pattern that will
suggest a possible controlling idea.
Once you have decided on a
controlling idea, write an
introductory paragraph that
presents it in a clear and
interesting way. The introduction
should not only arouse your
reader’s interest, but should also
keep them interested so they will
want to read further.
Topic Sentence :The essay’s body paragraphs
are also very important.
Each of these body paragraphs
must be unified, coherent and
complete. Each should focus on
its topic sentence and should have
logical transitions that enable the
reader to understand the
relationship between sentences.
Finally, each body paragraph
should include enough specific
and concrete reasons and
examples to be convincing. 352
Topic Sentence :When the support paragraphs have
been completed, you should decide on
how you wish to sum up.
In your conclusion you should restate the essay’s
controlling idea as a signal to the reader
that you are about to end. Having done
this, make some general concluding
remarks, and, if you want to, end the
conclusion with a final strong
statement. If you follow these
suggestions, you should compose a
solid and effective conclusion.
Restatement of controlling idea
By repeating this simple
step-by-step process, you
can put aside your fears
and write a clear,
coherent, and convincing
essay. All you need is
and courage- and a pencil
From Topic To Controlling Idea
Starting an essay is in many ways like beginning
to build a house. Before the actual construction
work can begin, a lot of planning has to be done.
Just as no contractor would start work without a
blueprint, you should not attempt to write an essay
without a clear idea of what you want to say. This
prewriting phase is very important because it is
here that you design the framework of your essay.
1.Decide on what to write about – (General
2. Limit the general subject – (Limited Subject)
When you limit a general subject, you list all the
facets of the subject you can think of.
3. Decide on which of these facets of the limited
subject are you going to take up. (Angled Topic)
General Subject -- “A College Course”
Limited Subject -- Chemistry
Angled Topic -- The Vowel Sounds of English
Going Around The Controlling Idea
The easiest way of structuring your writings is to
plan your essay directly around your controlling
idea. If you use it as a starting point, you will find
a straightforward and unified essay easier to plan
The Narrow Control Idea
Suppose that you have been assigned to write an
essay describing the worst job you ever had, and
after a bit of thought you have arrived at this
narrow controlling idea:
Example: Working on the assembly line was
no picnic because the work was monotonous, my
foreman hated me, and I had to work the midnight-
From this narrow controlling idea you can
now outline the rest of your essay. Each of the three
parts of your controlling idea is a point you are
going to discuss in your essay. And each point can
be made into a topic sentence that will define what
one of the body paragraphs of your essay will be
The Broad Controlling Idea
Structuring your essay by using a broad idea is no
different structuring it with a narrow easy
controlling idea is no different structuring it with
narrow controlling idea. Even though the broad
controlling does not mention the specific points to
be discussed, it should usually imply them. By
glancing, by glancing, back at your list of three
main points you will be writing about, you can
readily structure your essay. While these points are
not specifically stated in your controlling idea,
they will be mentioned one by one in your essay.
THE INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPH
Remember, the general purpose of an opening
paragraph is to ease the reader into the essay, in
the process, establish your controlling idea. The
paragraph should attract your reader’s attention,
and make them want to read on. It should also
make clear what the rest of the essay going to be
about. One sentence is simply not enough to do
this: the introduction to an essay should be
carefully thought out and wee-constructed
Try to begin your introduction with a remark that
is likely to arouse interest and curiosity in your
readers. One tactic is to take the rather ordinary
generalization that is likely to come first to mind
and try to make it more concrete and vivid. For
instance, look at these initial sentences of an
Every time I pick up the paper I read about
crime in the streets. Something has to be done!
With some imagination, this bland opening
can be turned into a varied and exciting one:
“Man shot as he waited for the bus.”
“Shopper mugged as she approached her car.”
“Children beaten and robbed of their lunch money.”
These are just samples of headlines I see every day
in our local paper. Is it any wonder that people think
something has to be done about crime in the streets?
Beginning an essay with an abrupt or
argumentative statement of your position may turn
your reader off. For instance, if you were going
write a paper debating the relative merits of two
political candidates, you would not want to begin
“I think Boy Assog, a candidate for city mayor, is
a mentally unbalanced crook.
Even this is what you want to tell your readers,
it is risky way to begin; you would appeal only to
those who already agreed with you. A more gradual,
controlled presentation of your opinion would be
more likely to be read through by the undecided
people whom you want to reach. You might instead
try an opening like this:
“Although Boy Assog has built up quite a
substantial following in his two years as dogcatcher,
his 1992 conviction for embezzlement of city funds
and his subsequent confinement to a state mental
hospital raised serious doubt about his qualification
for a seat in the city government.”
STATING THE CONTROLLING IDEA
Besides attracting and holding your reader’s
attention, the introduction introduces the subject
matter of the essay and indicates through the
controlling idea, what will be discussed.
1. Remember: A good introduction should:
2. Attract the reader’s attention.
3. Hold the reader’s attention and make them
receptive to the writer’s ideas.
4. Move gradually from general opening
statements to a specific controlling idea.
All introductions that follow are different in the
way they treat their subjects. While you can
probably think of other approaches, these are the
most common forms of introductory paragraphs:
1. Direct Announcement
Often, beginning and experienced writers alike to
choose to open their eyes with a straightforward
announcement of the argument to follow.
During the last twenty years, the Supreme Court
has made many far-reaching decisions. It has
been responsible for opinions that significantly
affected the rights of individuals accused of
crimes. Several of these rulings have touched off
debates among the lawmakers. The two most
controversial decisions have been reached in the
Escobedo and Miranda cases.
Although the “direct announcement” introduction
is straightforward, that doesn’t mean it has to be
In this magazine article, the head approach uses built-
in-shock value of the word “botulism” to get attention.
Botulism – the very word strikes terror. And well
it might for this insidious form of food poisoning
usually caused by improper home canning can paralyze
in hours and kill agonizingly in days. On the rise in
recent years and threatening ever larger number of
people of because of the great increase in home
gardening and canning; botulism is now playing its
deadly game by some curious new rules. (Liz Wick
Murray, “The Case of the Homemade Poison,” Good
2. Quotation or Dialogue
A short quotation, a bit dialogue, or even a
particularly apt proverb or saying or related to your
topic can be an effective opening. If well chosen,
the quotation should immediately attract attention.
Useful quotations may come from the newspaper:
statistics, campaign promises, advertising slogans,
and even weather forecast can all be used
A personal experience essay on a death in the
family, written for an English composition course,
begins this way.
“You’re the man of the house now,” my uncle told
me. Two hours before, my father had been taken ill
on the job; within half an hour he had died of viral
infection. In those two hours nothing seemed to
have changed; my younger sister was roller
skating outside, my mother was making coffee in
the kitchen. But now I wasn’t allowed to be a kid
anymore; suddenly, I was expected to grow up.
An editorial from a student newspaper uses
quotation to involve the reader in the discussion.
“A newspaper should print news, not
opinions.” This statement seemed to be popular
after the last provocative issue of THE EAGLE,
which was roughly 43 percent opinion. It seemed
too, that an oversensitive student body prefers to
read ambivalent and dull facts, rather than opinions
that challenge the overall sentiments of this college
Another way to begin an essay is with a brief
anecdote or story, perhaps drawn from personal
experience or recent events. This device involves
the reader with the essay immediately.
Coming home late from a party one night, I stopped
at Seven-Eleven for the paper. Seated on his
motorcycle in the parking lot was my neighbor,
Honda Boy. “Look what I got for Christmas,”
said Honda Boy, pointing to the back of his bike. I
down to see. Strapped to the back was a small
metal several box with several dials set off by
glowing green and red lights. From this box,
sizzling and popping noises muffled a voice. I
leaned closer…. (Ralph Reyes, “ABS-CBN All
If you plan to write an essay whose
controlling idea involves a general, abstract,
confusing or obscure concept, the introductory
paragraph must define it. Many concepts have more
than one meaning, and you owe it your readers to
explain which one of you has in mind. 374
Or you may prefer to discuss several aspects of a
topic. This case, your reader should be advised of
A student essay begins with a definition of
Homesickness is a longing to go back to some
old familiar thing you are leaving behind. The
longing may be so great that it manifests itself in
actual physical sickness. Homesickness need not be
a longing for the family, or the home; you can be
homesick for anything you have left behind.
The strategy of refutation involves
disagreeing with a widely held assumption or
belief. This creates interest because it is
provocative; contradiction immediately
The opening paragraph of an essay on the
drop in question “Should Marijuana Be
Legalized?” uses the strategy of refutation.
Many people and many legislators believe that the
legalization of marijuana will cause a widespread
increase in drug addiction and crime. Actually, as
moderate legalization is beginning to show,
legalization probably will create a drop in crime
as marijuana ceases to be contraband and a
black-market product. Also, it is reported that as
its use has increased, use of hard drugs and the
crime associated with such drug have decreased.
You can also begin a personal opinion paper with
refutation. It is a natural choice for this student’s
All through the semester, I have heard other
students complaining about how unnecessarily
difficult the physics course was. They resented the fact
that Dr. Sicam expected us to know not only the
mathematical formulas but the theories us to know but
the theories behind them as well. Many students
criticized him when he asked us to write a ten-page
paper examining the scientific history of a great 378
discovery in physics. They claimed that this type of
assignment was a waste of time. But I disagree. This
is the first science course I have ever taken where I
actually understood what I was doing.
6. Presenting A New Slant
Sometimes you may be asked to write an essay
dealing with a very familiar topic. In fact, may be so
familiar to you that you may be hard pressed to think
of any new arguments. When confronted by a topic
such as this, the temptation is to rehash all of the
familiar overused points you have heard about the
subject. This, if course, is boring not only for you but
also for your reader. A better approach would be to
admit to your reader that although the subject is a
tired one, you will present a new and exciting slant to
A student essay on the welfare system uses this
For years now people have been criticizing the
pork barrel. Its inequalities have been exposed, its
fraud revealed. Seemingly, all that can be said has
been said. But seldom has the system been criticized
from the point of view of the recipient. 380
The first three sentences predict the audience’s
reactions and objections to the topic; the fourth
sentence, the essay’s controlling idea, announces the
writer’s original angle. The essay will go on to
discuss pork barrel issue in some detail.
7. Series Of Unrelated Facts
One way to draw your readers into your paper
is to make them curious about how you will find a
controlling idea among a series of seemingly
unrelated events or details. They discover along
with you the one thing all these details have in
A personal experience essay uses this
Early in May, 1998, a man in my neighborhood was
shot to death by a robber. Two days later a riot
broke out. Later that month, my brother’s wife gave
birth to my mother’s first grandchild. My mother
never saw her grandchild, for she had suffered a
stroke and had been in a come since April. She died
early in July. In June my sister received a full
scholarship that enabled her to become the first
member of my family to attend 382
college. The horror and joy of the summer of
1998 will always be part of me; they taught me
the profoundest lesson of my life: human
existence can be a living hell, but love and
hope can make hell beatable.
Beginning an essay with a question, or
even a riddle, may be a particularly provocative
strategy. The writer may answer the question of
leave it hanging; in other case, most readers
will want to read on.
In the following book report, the writer uses a
question to introduce his subject.
What was it like to be a black man in the Deep
South during the nineteen-fifties? John Howard
Griffin answers this question in his fascinating
book, Black Like Me. Griffin, a white writer,
chemically turned his skin black and traveled
throughout the rural areas and large cities. Black
Like Me convincingly illustrates the discrimination
black people faced daily.
The arresting opening question creates
immediate interest. Curious, the reader wants to
learn the answer. The paragraph then identifies the
book and states the report’s controlling idea.
THE BODY PARAGRAPHS
The Topic Sentence
The major job of the body paragraph is to support
your essay’s controlling idea. They provide
reasons, examples, or arguments that clarify,
expand, or develop its implications. Usually, the
controlling idea of an essay gives little detailed
information. The support paragraphs provide the
depths of discussion that a will-developed essay
Each body paragraph has a topic sentence –
most often the first sentence – that states one aspect
of the controlling idea. Like the controlling idea
itself, these topic sentences may be general and need
to be supported or clarified by concrete details,
facts, or explanations. The detailed information in
the body paragraphs enables readers to understand
more fully what the essay is trying to say.
The Body Development
Many writers have a great deal of trouble writing
will-developed body paragraphs. They often write
several support paragraphs, each consisting of a
series of generalities. Such writing is usually
convincing and dull. Often, all that is needed to
expand these undeveloped sentences into solid,
effective support paragraph is a bit of rewriting to
add concrete detail.
The word “transition” literally means movement from
one place to another. In writing transition means
moving from one sentence to another, or from one
paragraph to another smoothly and without abrupt
shifts in logic or subject. To accomplish this, a writer
will sometimes use certain words or phrases that act
as bridges to carry readers into a new sentence of
paragraph. Without these transitional elements an
essay can be like a list, at best, a group of loosely
connected elements. Transitional elements prepare for
each new idea and relate each new statement to the
last. Here is a list of a few useful transitional
elements, arranged according to their functions in
In addition to transitional words or phases,
certain techniques establish continuity between
sentences or paragraphs. Repeating words, ideas,
key phrases, or even a pattern of word orders from
sentence can often serve this function. Answering a
question, or completing an idea that has been left
incomplete, can also give an essay a smooth flow.
Finally, the careful use of a pronouns like “this”,
“these”, or “them” can carry over ideas by referring
back to the previous sentence. (But an essay
saturated with transitional elements and techniques
can be as confusing and tiresome to a reader as one
in which they have been left out.)
Perhaps the best way to see how useful transitions
are is to look at a paragraph in which they are
When I first began in attending college, I had
no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I am an
accounting major. I will probably go into business
for myself as a tax accountant. I have a much better
ideas of my goals. Last year I didn’t know what to do
with my major. When I was a freshman, I didn’t even
know I’d be an accounting major. Three years can
make a lot of difference in terms of a young woman’s
career plans. 392
The sentences in this passage do not flow
smoothly into one another. Without some signals of
their sequence and logic, the relationships among
them are hard to determine. Even the most basic
transitions can eliminate some of the choppiness and
When I first began attending college, I had no idea
what I wanted to do with my life. Now I am an
accounting major, and I know that someday I will
probably go into business for myself as a tax. 393
accountant. At the present time, then, I have a much
better idea of my goals. Last year, however, I didn’t
know what to do with my major. When I was a
freshman, I didn’t even know that I’d be an
accounting major. This show three years can
certainly make a lot of difference in terms of a
young woman’s career plans
THE CONCLUDING PARAGRAPH
Many books, movies, and speakers have achieved
lasting fame because of their final lines. A
conclusion has the power to draw together and
clarify everything that has previously been said. If
it is skillfully and dramatically constructed, the
conclusion can be not only a summing up that
bears the weight of all that has gone before it, but
also a strong, succinct message in its own right.
The fairy tale’s “and they lived happily ever
after” and Abraham Lincoln’s powerful
“government of the people, by the people. For
the people, shall not 395
perish from the earth” of his Gettysburg Address
are effective and memorable in themselves, and also
make the works they conclude more memorable –
Of course, not every essay you write – or read
– can end as a fairy tale or as forcefully as the
Gettysburg Address. But the concluding paragraphs
of your essays always deserve a lot of thought. Why
work so long and so hard at composing a
stimulating introduction and well-developed body
paragraph if your effect is too weakened by your
From one point of view, the conclusion of
your essay is its most important part. It is your last
word on the subject, your last chance to make your
point to your readers.
Many readers will judge your essays by their
final paragraphs. First impressions may be best in
judging people, but as far as essays are concerned,
the final impressions seem to be the most lasting.
Thus, a weak, abrupt, or uninteresting ending can
distract greatly from what would otherwise be a
A strong concluding statement is essential. It
should focus your reader’s attention on the main
points, and hold that attentions as effectively as the
What, then, do all writers want a conclusion to
do? Primarily, it should sum up, give readers a sense
of completeness or finality, and perhaps help
convince them. A common way of achieving these
ends is to restate, in other words, the essay’s
controlling idea. This repetition underscores the
points the entire essay has made and presents them
(sometimes actually listing them) for the reader’s
consideration one final time. Often this restatement
appears in the first sentence or two of the
Some commonly used concluding strategies
2. Chronological wind-up
5. Recommendation of a course of action
6. Quotation or dialogue 399
This is the most familiar type of conclusion. The
controlling idea is repeated in different words, and
the main points of the essay’s argument are
reviewed or restated. A straightforward essay,
whose introductory paragraph is a direct
announcement, will end this way. Restatement has
the advantage of reinforcing one last time all your
major points. For this reason, it is an excellent
concluding strategy for an essay which seeks to
prove a point.
An answer to a question on an early childhood
development midterm ends with a restatement of the
student’s major points.
If a Day- Care Center offers trained personnel,
a spacious and safe environment, and creatively
designed equipment, it can be a positive influence on
a child. As recent studies have shown, there is no
reason why a well-run-day-care facility cannot be as
warm and as stimulating as the child’s home. As
working parents realize this, many are passing up the
traditional baby-sitter and turning to day-care
2. Chronological Wind-up
When a piece of writing “tells a story,” it is natural
to have its final paragraph tie up all loose ends by
ending with what happened last. Personal experience
essays and stories narrated in the first person often
use this method.
This student ends up a personal experience essay
with a chronological wind-up.
The next few years of mu life passed quickly, probably
because I was so busy. In this space of three years I 402
got my equivalency diploma and held down three
jobs -- in sales, in the restaurant business, and in a
men’s clothing store. I also hitchhiked around the
country. When I came back from my trip, I decided
to return to school, and that’s how I wound up this
English class, taking the first step toward getting a
The last paragraph of this essay ties all loose
ends together, leaving no room for further
development. The student completes the narrative
by bringing us up to the present.
To make an abstract or general conclusion more
concrete and specific, you may choose to follow a
broad restatement of your controlling idea with an
example to illustrate it. A relevant news item can
often serve this purpose. Similarly, a personal
experience essay – or any story told in the first
person – may conclude with an example that
strikes a personal note.
You can make a general or abstract
conclusion more convincing if you provide an
analogy with another situation. A student essay
about the perils of living at college concludes with
In many ways, learning the ins and outs of
living on campus is almost like taking a survival
course. This training is not as thorough as what the
army would put you through, but it comes close; it
is learning survival in society instead of in the
Writing designed to convince or persuade your
readers may very naturally end with a prediction
that takes the conclusion a step further than a
summary. This type of conclusion does not only
sum up the essay’s main points, but it also enables
the writer to make certain additional projections on
the basis of those points.
A nursing student ended her paper for a public
health course with this prediction:
Even though there has not been a case of smallpox
in the community for years, children should still be
vaccinated against this disease. Despite the
assurances of many doctors to the contrary, some
physicians still recommend this course of action.
As far as this local minority is concerned, it is
extremely likely that failure to immunize against
smallpox could result in an outbreak of epidemic
Recommendation Of A Course Of Action
When you feel you have been convinced your
readers, you may want to recommend action.
Writers of business correspondence are especially
aware of the advantages of ending their letters
with an appeal for action. Advertisements plead,
“Don’t forget, before it’s too late. Clip this coupon
and mail now.” In editorials or political speeches,
the call for action is usually the writer’s main
purpose. In these and other kinds of persuasive
writing, it can be psychologically very effective to
conclude by appealing to the reader for action.
A recommended course of action is almost a
part of political writing. A notable example is the
very effective final paragraph of Marx and Engel’s
“The communists disdain to conceal their
views and aims. They openly declare that their ends
can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all
existing social conditions. Let the ruling class
tremble at a Communist revolution. The
proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains.
They have a world to win. Workingmen of all
6. Quotation Or Dialogue
As in the introduction, quotation can lend
authority to a conclusion. Quotations by well-
known authors can sometimes not only sum up
your essay handsomely, but also enable you to use
their distinctive writing styles to add variety and
interest to your conclusion.
Quotation can be put to good use in your writing.
This conclusion from a final exam answer uses the
word of Kurtz, a character of Joseph Conrad’s
Heart of Darkness, to sum up.
In its tone and its theme, “Heart of Darkness”
illustrates Conrad’s mixed attitude toward
colonialism. On the one hand, he left that the ideal
represented by colonialism was good and noble.
On the other hand, Conrad could not ignore the
evils and a uses being committed by Europeans in
Africa, evils best expressed by Kurtz in this final
comment, “The Horror! The Horror!”
REVISING YOUR ESSAY
When you finish writing the first draft of your
essay, you probably feel like throwing down your
pen and calling it quits. As tempting as this urge is,
you should not give in to it, because one of the
most important steps in your writing is yet to
come. Experienced writers know that there is a
long way to go from the first draft to the finished
Usually the first draft is nothing more than a rough
copy that needs a lot of work before it is ready for
an audience. Often this rough draft may have to 412
be revised several times. You should begin with
procedure for revising your essay by putting your
paper aside for an hour, a day – even a week if you
can arrange it. This “cooling off” period lets you
disengage yourself from what you wrote and view it
more objectively. Then, when you come back to it,
you may find it easier to read your essay critically
and see what changes should be made.
The following checklist might help you begin your
1. On Organization
Does your essay have: 413
A controlling idea?
A restatement of the
controlling idea in the
Descriptive writing is writing to appeal to all
the senses of the readers by creating impressions
and through words. Objects are perceived by the
observer, and these perceptions are conveyed in
printed or oral form in description.
The primary purposes of description are
portray a sense impression and to indicate a mood.
Its great value is that it brings something to life. It
creates a vivid impression for the reader or listener.
You must have learned from experience that
whenever you try to explain anything, you have to
use description to make your explanations clear and
interesting to your reader or listener. In the process
you make use impressions which you receive
through your five senses: sight, hearing, taste, smell
and touch. These sensory details are the materials of
description. Your ability to describe is a test to your
sensitivity and awareness of the world around you.
If only you would always look at objects carefully
and accurately, then you would be able to describe
fully and effectively.
In addition to words, mimicry and pantomime
may aid you in oral description. In written
description, however, you have rely entirely on
words. For the word picture to be complete, you will
have to give specific and concrete details drawing
on the impressions that an object or scene has made
on all your five senses. You will not only mention
what you see, you will have to mention also what
you smell, the delicious odor of the apples and the
oranges and the fragrance of the sampaguita. You
will have to mention also that you taste the sweet,
Two elements are involved in descriptive
writing: the object seen and the person seeing the
object. Thus, your purpose in describing a scene or
object depends on your point of view – not only
your physical point of view or the place at which
you should be but also your mental point of view or
your attitude towards it.
TYPES OF DESCRIPTIVE WRITING
Informative or Objective Description.
If the description emphasizes the characteristics of
the object, it is said to be objective or informative.
This type is used in technical reports writing that
call facts only. This is writing from the objective
or physical point of view where information alone
is your goal.
This is a perennial shrub or vine of the genius Rosa with
the family rosaceae , an almost universally distributed
group of some 200-250 species. The great majority are
native to Asia. Many are cultivated for their beautiful
fragrant flowers. These are commonly white, yellow,
orange, pink, or red. There are usually five petals,
borne singly or in small clusters. The flowers of
cultivated roses are often double, i.e., with multiple sets
of petals. The stem is prickly. The leaves are alternate
and privately compound, i.e., feather-formed. The
rather oval leaflets are sharply toothed. The fleshy,
edible, berry-like fruit is known as the hip. 425
Evocative or Impressionistic Description.
Since this is subjective writing, it appeals to the
emotions and evokes mood. The description is not
limited to the presentation of acts and is the best
met with words that go beyond mere information-
giving. It is quite clear that the writer wishes to
communicate mood or feeling or establish an
attitude toward his subject. For instance in “Your
peso will help feed this haggard mother and her
sad-eyed crippled child,” the bare fact becomes a
plea for human kindness and an appeal to charity.
Throughout her fabulous career, which lasted for
more than 60 years, she passed as a beauty. But
her looks by themselves could not have been a
major factor in Sara’s success. Her hair was a
reddish-blond mop, thick fuzzy, and completely
unruly. Her body was that of a consumptive
wraith. Her face, the shape of a young Pharaoh.
Was hollow-checked and colorless, and she
emphasized its pall with slathers of white rice
Her eyes were shaped like a cat’s, blue as star
sapphires when she was in a good mood. When she
was angry, they deepened into a brooding state
color, with threatening flashes of green. Her nose
was straight and Hebraic. Her mouth could be
passionately expressive one moment and style prim
the next. The author-painter W. Graham Robertson,
who knew her well, wrote that he had no idea
whether or not Sarah Bernhardt was even passably
good-looking. Beauty with her, he said, was a
garment she could put on or take off as she pleased.
When she put it on, “her face became a lamp
through which glowed pale light, her hair burned
like an aureole, she grew tall an stately; it was
But if Sarah Bernhardt was nota true beauty,
she could create the illusion of great beauty.
Watching her, said one critic, was as fascinating as
watching a wild animal in a cage. She moved with
a lasting grace of a panther, standing still, she gave
an impression of lyrical rhythm. Her gestures,
which at times were so extravagant that they would
have been ridiculed in any other actress, became the
joy, the wrath or the anguish of Greek sculpture.
(Cornelia Otis Skimmer)
And soon the seed struck roots and slowly raised
themselves up from the moist dark couch of earth,
upward to the light and the sky. We did not have
to wait for long. The little plants grew, by the
inch, it seemed, every day, and then they put out
their delicate tendrils, straight at first, then
curling around the twigs which we provided for
their journey towards the trellis. Leaf after leaf
began to appear, and tendril after silken tendril
began to coil in support of the mysterious urge
which drew the sterns tenderly upward. I could
growth was audible. I could hear the life sap
stirring within the leaves and stem and the
innumerable rootless spreading beneath the soil
deeper and ever deeper. It might have been only the
murmurous kiss of the wind passing ever so softly
over the plants, or may be that of an unseen power
touching the leaves with its life-giving lips. For
true it is that without this kiss whether it be of wind
or God, there could be no growth, no upward
movement of stems, no birth of leaves and
flowering, and finally no fruits.
For there were leaves. At first they came in
pair, and did not tire me to count them one by one
every morning, like a little child ecstatic over a
discovery. And then the leaves were too many to
count, and I have to give up the delightful
occupation. There’s nothing more to do after that
but to wait, and the waiting was not long. Almost
overnight, it seemed, the leaves became a riot of
green trembling shoots in the morning sunlight and
spreading all over the bamboo trellis. The patola
and ampalaya began to flower, and the eggplants
were over a foot tall. So now the fruit, I said aloud
within me. And soon the harvesting of them.
And as the fruit took a final shape and began
to lengthen, I know for certain that this at least was
fulfillment, and as I watched the children and wife
laying on smudges under the trellis and wrapping
the young ampalaya fruit with rags to keep off the
bugs and protect the fruit from worms, my heart
swelled with joy within me. This was beautiful and
perfect. I thought – the growth of plant was, the
flowering was, the fruitage was, the ways of the
children and the wife were tending the plants with
tender and loving hands. All these were perfect and
beautiful. (Conrado V. Pedroche)
WRITING A DESCRIPTIVE COMPOSITION
Descriptive writing is governed by certain laws of
Selection Of Details
Whether the purpose is information or emotion,
you must select the sense impressions which are
relevant to your purpose. To illustrate: If you are
describing a machine in terms of its function, its
color is not worth mentioning; if you are creating
a festive mood such as Christmas or a wedding
reception, eliminate details that distract from the
Arrangements Of Details
Details are important in a lengthened description.
Because description deals primarily with terms in
space, the following arrangements of details are
1. Order of Place
In describing a room for instance. Start at one side
and work around it mentioning the objects that
meet your view as you progress. Similarly, a
person might be described from head to foot or a
landscape from near to far to near.
2. Order Of Outstanding Feature
Here, you can become more selective than in the
space relationship. To illustrate: start with an
antique portrait in the room, a person’s big round
eyes, or a large tree in the landscape – then proceed
describing from here.
3. Relative Importance
Focus your description on what you want your
readers notice most. To illustrate: a dilapidated
rocking chair, an upturned nose, tumbles down
shack – these can serve as starters around which
you choose details to create the impression
disregarding any that may be irrelevant.
THE LANGUAGE OF DESCRIPTION
The language of description must be most
descriptive of sense impressions and moods
desired to be created. This can be done by
carefully choosing your words. In doing this,
consider the following prescriptions:
1. Choose Vivid Words
When you use impose instead of require,
ostracize, instead of condemn or isolate, devour
or gobble instead of eat, then, you give distinct,
sharp, and accurate pictures.
2. Use Picture-Arousing Adjectives
Roget’s International Thesaurus will help you in
searching for synonyms or more imagination
kindling vigorous words appealing to human
senses. A descriptive writer should possess a very
broad spoken and written vocabulary.
“I am not treacherous , callous, jealous,
superstitious, supercilious, venomous, or
Studying and studying this expression,
When love or order, ardor, incircuitous simplicity,
with an expression of inquiry, are all one needs to
be! Certain faces, a few, one or two – or one to
my mind, to my sight, must remain a delight.
(Marianne Moore) 440
3. Use Absolute Phrases
A descriptive utterance becomes retentive and
picture arousing with the use of an absolute phrase
separated by a comma from the rest of the
sentence. This phrase becomes very emphatic
when uttered last.
The frightened mother ran after her baby’s
kidnappers, her feet not touching the ground.
My pale-looking student seated in the last row
stared at the question sheet for a few minutes,
mongo-like perspiration rolling down his neck.
4. Use nouns describing Adjectives
Usually we say that adjectives describe nouns. In
descriptive phrases it could be the other way
around, particularly when we attempt to specify
shades of color.
What we need is a fireman red curtain.
Apple green skirt could match with olive green
5. Use Figures of Speech
A figure of speech is an expression of
comparison, a device or arrangement of words by
which a writer seeks to deviate from the direct
and literal use of language, to speak more
strikingly, picturesquely, or accurately.
The following are some types of figures of
speech. Study them and find out how you can
pick them up and use them in your descriptive
Types of Figure of Speech
Simile – This expresses comparison between two
basically different things with the use of as or like.
I felt like a rat caught in a trap.
The night was as black as the ace of spades.
Metaphor - This also expresses comparison between
two unlike objects but without the use of as or like,
coming out then as implied or indirect comparison.
You are the sunshine of my life.
He is an old windbag.
Personification – This is a figure of one’s speech
that gives human attributes to non human creatures
and non living things.
Death be not proud.
Truth sits on the lips of a dying man.
Hyperbole – This expresses a deliberate
overstatement or exaggeration of feelings or
thoughts about anything. The deliberate expression
is meant for a better effect of meaning it conveys.
I was so hungry I could eat a whole
Control yourself, you might blow your 445
Metonymy – This figure of speech uses an
expression about one thing for another logically
related to it. It covers the relationship between the
container and the thing contained (“ten glasses for
ten glasses of water”), the sign and thing signified
(“my flag” or “my country”).
He is addicted to the bottle.
He spends the evening reading
Synecdoche – This is the figure of speech that
expresses the name of a part as a substitute for
the name of a whole or the name of a whole as
substitute for a part.
The captain sighted ten sails in the
Everybody expects a better life from the
Irony – This express a meaning in a word or words
which are opposites of the thing meant. Closely
related to irony are sarcasm and understatement.
For Brutus is an honorable
I sure love my enemies.
Litotes - This is a form of understatement as
opposed to figures of over statement. Here an
affirmative position is taken by stating the negative
of its opposite.
She’s no mean actress (She’s a good
Onomatopoeia – This is the used of the words
whose sound suggest their sense.
The bang of a gun burst into the night.
He is distracted by the buzzing of the
Paradox - This expresses a seemingly self-
contradictory statement or proposition.
Life succeeds in that it seems to fail.
His intelligence led the nation to449
Periphrasis – This is the use of euphemistic term in
place of another for effect.
The Bard remains unsurpassed to this
Mr. Clutch once again hit a shot from
the hardcourt’s 3-points area.
Pun – This is a play on words. It contains at least
one word that has two or more meanings or
associations. Sometimes one word sounds very
much like another word with a very different
meaning. Advertisers often use pun to attract
In a watch store: We give you a good Time.
This diet, will work - no two weighs about it.
Apostrophe – This is an address to an absent
person as though present or an address to an
inanimate object or thing as if it was capable of
Not yet Rizal, not yet. Sleep not in peace.
Romeo, Wherefore art thou, Romeo?
Allusion - This refers to literature, mythology,
history, the Bible or famous events from
My boyfriend is an Adonis.
Don’t be a Scrooge to your employees.
Oxymoron – this is the use of terms normally
thought of as contraries in themselves. This figure
of speech is closely related to paradox.
You are killing me with your kindness.
The loving hate is quite evident.
Allegory – a story in which characters represent
abstract qualities or ideas.
In the fable ‘The Grasshopper and the Ant,”
the grasshopper represents flightiness, while the ant
Euphemism – the use of indirect or polite language
to express a concept generally considered
“Passed away” is a euphemism for “died.”
“Fell upon hard times” is a euphemism for “lost all
Foreshadowing – a hint to the reader, which may
or may not be obvious during a first reading, about
the general direction of the plot.
The appearance of a gun often foreshadows
that someone will later get shot.
Imagery – the use of descriptive language to appeal
to one of the reader’s senses (sound, touch, taste,
smell, or sight).
“The fudge melted in his mouth, swirling
around his tongue with a rich, buttery flavor.”
Symbolism – the use of an object to represent an
Hearts often symbolize love; the color white
often symbolizes innocence.
5. Use of Idiomatic Expressions
An idiom is an accepted phrase that has a
built-in meaning that is different from the literal
meanings of the words taken one by one.
Idiomatic usage is largely determined by
custom. People agree to use an idiom to mean a
certain thing regardless of its literal meaning.
Expressions like “to bring about,” or “to put up
with” do not make sense taken word for word but
sound right to anyone who speaks English.
The following is a list of the most commonly
used idioms. Observe their use in sentences.
Term paper writing is definitely one of the
most important activities in college. It summons the
student to a mission whose main concern is to
investigate on a subject thoroughly for a period of
time and in turn present findings about it.
Successful writing of it therefore makes of the
student well-informed about a chosen subject.
Writing a term paper entails quite a procedure that
before a student could truly love the idea doing it,
he would already start hating it. But of course, a
student with genuine scholarly pursuit is never
expected to behave this way. No matter how taxing
the job, he is excepted to undertake it. Afterall, the
knowledge that could be discovered in the process
is nobody else’s but his.
DEFINITION OF A TERM PAPER
Various definitions have been given to a term
paper and some of which are the following
1. It is a written report of a research work done
during a school term, usually submitted at the end
of the semester or as a part of the requirements of a
2. It is a serious writing dealing with any subject
normally older people think about.
3. It is a factual presentation of other people’s
findings on a given subject.
(Travis L. Houser and Lee Learner Gray, Writing
the Research and Term Paper, New York: Dell
Publishing Co., 1997, p. 1)
The Importance of a Term Paper
1. To acquire skills in purposeful reading and note
taking. When you prepare paper, you gain skill in
getting the most from materials you need. You
also learn to take down notes correctly and
2. To develop accurate and critical thinking.
Because term papers call for presentation and
interpretation of facts, you learn to think
objectively, logically, and correctly.
3. To be acquainted with the basic tools research.
You will also know the different ways of
gathering data or information and the various
ways of interpreting and reporting your findings.
4. To gain in-depth knowledge of certain topics or
subject matter. Since term paper writing involves
research work, you get to know about your topic
much more than when you just read or are just
told something about it.
A Good Term Paper
1. It must be truthful. It must present facts as
accurately and as concisely as possible These
facts should be properly documented by means of
footnotes and a bibliography.
2. It must be objective. You should not be biased
or prejudiced in the presentation of your findings.
Your statement should be based on facts, not on
personal experiences. One way of showing that
subjectivity is avoided is through the use of the
third person throughout the paper when referring
to the writer.
3. It must be timely and relevant. A good term
paper should deal with a topic of current interest.
It must be of help in the solution of problems that
confront modern man.
4. It must be clear. The language used must be
simple and straightforward, so that the reader
may easily grasp the important ideas of the paper.
Grammar should be correct and the rules of
composition followed. Technical terms must be
5. It must be complete. All pertinent information
regarding the topic should be included. The term
paper must have a beginning or an introductory
chapter, a body and an ending.
6. It must be neat and presentable. The term
paper must be typewritten, following the rules of
BASIC RESEARCH METHODS
1. Historical Method – this method is used when
you want to trace the development of something
in the past. Materials for this kind of research are
usually taken from journals, reports of events and
public documents of various classifications.
Historical studies or histories enable the readers to
see their relationships with the past, and help
them draw plans for the future. It gives them a
sense of continuity in their efforts, and by
chronicling events of enduring worth, it confers
upon them the
consciousness of the importance of human
achievement. (Carter V. Good and Douglas Scales
Methods of Research New York: Appleton and
Century Crofts, Inc. 1954, p. 179)
2. Descriptive Method – There are three types of
Descriptive method: General, Analysis and
a. General Description - This method is used
when you want to present a picture of a
particular event or thing, or when you want to
give details of something.
Descriptive studies involve comparative
studies. This type of research work compares and
controls things, people or events by giving or
describing their characteristics.
Samples titles of studies which made use of
descriptive or comparison are: “Marriage Customs
Among The Manobos” and “The Teenagers of
Yesterday and The Teenagers of Today.”
b. Analysis – This method is used when you
want to show what lies beneath the surface by
analyzing the components which make up
whole. In this type of research, a whole is
broken up into pieces to see its nature
internally, and the interrelationship of its
Analytical studies give the readers an in-depth
or thorough knowledge of something. Through
them we come to know the inner realities or
essence of things.
Sample titles or studies involving analysis are:
“Two Hundred Chemicals from Lump of Cool” and
“Analysis of School Principals.”
c. Classification - This method is used when you
want to group things, people, or experiences
according to their similarities and differences for the
purpose of further understanding what each
particular kind means.
Studies involving classification help us see
logic and system around us. They make things
orderly for us so that we can understand them better.
Sample titles of studies involving
classifications are; “A Study of the Plant Kingdom”
and “Marine Animals.”
3.The Experimental Method - This method is used
when you want to try something to find out what
will happen. Experiments may be conducted in a
laboratory, classroom or other field situations.
Experiments conducted by researchers show
us various ways of discovering things.
Sample titles of experimental studies are:
“How People Are Affected by Stress” and
“Plants Have Feelings.”
4. Case and Clinical Study - This method is
used when you want to make and intensive
investigation of a particular situation in order to
understand its present status. Case and clinical
studies involve guidance and counseling of
some form after completion the study.
These studies help the reader determine
measures for adjustment, treatment and therapy
needed by cases studied.
Sample titles of case and clinical studies
are “Diagnosis and Treatment of Reading
Disabilities” and “The Case of the Problem
5. Genetic, Development and Growth Studies –
This method is used when you want to identify
causes, interrelationships and patterns of
development among such factors that affect a
person’s life like age, interests, moods,
socioeconomic status, etc.
These studies are usually done by psychologists ,
and other people involved in child development.
Results of these studies help in solving social
Sample titles of these studies are: “Individual,
Age, Maturity and Ethnic Difference in Growth of
Asians” and “Genetic Studies of a Genius.”
DATA GATHERING TECHNIQUES
As a research tool, survey involves the gathering
of data by examining, investigating, and
ascertaining the condition, situation or value of the
object under study. Under this method a report or
documentation is made to show the results or facts
of the nature or status of a group of persons,
events, conditions or any problems which the
researcher is writing a paper about. This method
also involves not just a mere gathering of data. It
should be followed by interpretation and analysis
comparison and contrast involving measurement,
classification and evaluation.
The descriptive-survey research which is used
in ascertaining facts or conditions that prevail in a
group of cases for study seeks to answer questions
to flush out data relating to existing conditions. For
instance, if you want to write a paper on social
problem like poverty in the Philippines, you have to
conduct a survey to find out answers to some
pertinent questions, such as: What part of the
country is the problem most felt, rural or urban?
What are the factors that precipitate or aggravate the
problem? What is the magnitude of the poverty
problem in the country? How does poverty in the
Philippines compare in proportion with poverty in
India or other parts of Asia?
An ideal survey requires: (1) a carefully planned
questionnaire, (2) trained interviewers and (3)
properly selected respondents. The process of
choosing the respondents to make sure they are
“typical” or “representative” of the population that can
give a more or less accurate information on the
problem, for a good interpretation of the survey
results, you need the help of an authority on data
Information is obtained through forms filled out
by respondents, either directly under the
supervision of the one conducting the research or
As a research tool, the interview is commonly
used in studies involving social and psychological
cases. This is a similar technique to the
questionnaire but is more flexible because of the
direct interactions between the interviewer and the
There are two types of interview: Formal, which
makes use of a carefully prepared questionnaire and
Informal, which may not use a prepared
questionnaire. The interviewer may just prepare an
outline of important points.
Here are some helpful hints on how to conduct an
1. Plan your questions in advance. This will form a
skeleton for the interview and will lead you to other
questions as the talk develops.
2. Introduce yourself when you arrive. Remind the
person being interviewed of your reason for
3. Listen carefully to the answers to your questions.
Take note of those you wish to repeat. In such
case, ask, “May I quote you?”
4. Be conscious of the passing of time. If the
person being interviewed answers your questions
quickly and without elaboration, keep the
interview moving rapidly. If he appears eager to
talk, make use of this opportunity within reason.
5. Throughout the interview, be polite, interested
and friendly. Terminate the interview by thanking
the person for the time and information he has
Information is gathered by watching or noting
what is happening in a systematic manner. The
observer looks for definite things around which
will serve as evidence of desired objectives.
5. Appraisals and/Or Ratings
These techniques call for evaluation of certain
items and assigning those values or ratings. The
respondents judge the worth of certain situations,
and the researcher draws his conclusions by
studying these ratings.
Whichever of those gathering techniques
mentioned is used, the researcher will always have
to take down notes. To do this, effective system
must be employed. The things is that the researcher
must be able to get the data “right” the first time.
The following suggestions from George Shelton
Hubbel in his Writing Term Papers and Reports are
THE USE OF NOTE CARDS
1. Take your notes on cards. It is handy to use some
three-by five cards that serve for Bibliography.
Some prefer the four-by-six size. The larger
cards afford more space for long notes, but they are
more expensive and more cumbersome, more
wasteful of space when notes are short. Plan not to
be without cards at your studies. Temporary notes
in notebooks or on backs of envelope can be, in a
way, worse than no notes for they promote
2. Write plainly and accurately, without crowding.
Do not count on copying your notes. Get them
right the first time. Copying only opens the way for
3. Use the upper left hand corner of the cards for the
subject heading of the note. As soon as possible,
organize your entire subject heading of notes into
system to correspond with parts of the outline for
your essay. Many notes classified under a few
subject headings promote orderly progress.
Multiplicity of subject headings leads to
4. Write upon only one topic on a card. If a note
must be long, it may occupy several properly
numbered and indentified cards. Most scholars
have no scruples against using both sides of cards.
5. Just below the note itself, state the source, clearly
and accurately, by author, work and page (line
number is better than page number for poetry
having numbered lines, since a line-number
reference serves for any edition, do not use drastic
abbreviations or code symbols in this reference.
Your corresponding bibliography card will give
complete data for the documents cited, but the
reference on the reading note should be sufficient
in itself, even years after it is made.
6. It is very important, if you are to achieve an
independent study, that the note cards should be
classified by their subject headings, at the top; not
by their sources, at the bottom. Classification by
sources leads to tractable following an
organization that others have handed down to you.
Classification by your own subject headings
makes easier your task of imposing an original
form upon your study. It is for this reason that
you should put the source reference at the bottom
of your card, where it is least likely to have undue
influence upon your plan of organization.
TYPES OF NOTES
A note may be in the form of an outline, covering
either a whole article or some part of it. Care
should be taken to make sure that the requirements
of the outline form do not wrap the actual
Summary And Paraphrase Notes
The summary may cover either all or part of the
work in question. It may omit matters irrelevant
to your subject, or to the topic that you put at the top
of the card. Of course it must be true to the word
and spirit of the work you are reading. A paraphrase
is expressed in your own words, not in the author’s
and any of the author’s language used should be put
in quotation marks. Since a paraphrase does not
condense to the same as a summary, it usually
covers only a brief passage. It is handier than
quotation, wherever the author’s words are not
exactly suitable for your purpose. You should not
misinterpret the author’s ideas in your rephrasing.
When you quote a writer’s own words, enclose
them in quotation marks. Quote exactly, even t
punctuation and vagaries in grammar or spelling.
The expression sic may indicates mistakes for
which the writer quoted is responsible. Indicate
omissions quoted in matter by three dots (…)
where words have been left out. If you add only
words of your own in a quoted passage, enclose
them in square brackets [ ]. Do not use quotation
marks for indirect quotations, or for anything
states in your own words.
Direct quotation is helpful when: (1) the point
is very important; (2) the matter is something to be
refuted; (3) the statement concerned is ambiguous;
(4) there is a chance that your citation may be
questioned; (5) the point is so well or
characteristically stated that the very style will be an
advantage in your paper. You should perhaps take
down more questions that you expect to use, and
record in full some of the passages from which you
may finally select only a few words. The
opportunity for choice and the background of
context may prove helpful.
Comments may take various forms: e.g., queries,
comparisons, criticisms of fact or argument, ideas
for using or developing certain points, notes
locating maps or diagrams. It is important to put
down such ideas as they occur to you, for you may
otherwise forget them when you set about writing
THE FORMAT OF THE TERM PAPER
Term paper writing follows a certain format. Here
are the different parts of a term paper enumerated
in their usual order of presentation in a given term
The Preliminaries – These are the first few pages
found before the first chapter.
The Cover – For an ordinary term paper, an
ordinary folder is usually used as cover. However,
special types of covers may be prescribed by the
The Title Page – This is the first page seen when
the cover is turned. It contains the following
information, arranged from top to bottom:
a. The title of the paper
b. Statement of submission indicating to whom
and for what course the term paper is offered.
c. The name of the student
d. The department to where he belongs
e. The date of submission
The Preface or Acknowledgement Page – This
page follows the title page. It contains the writer’s
foreword to the paper and the names of the people to
whom he is indebted in the preparation of the paper.
This page is optional.
The Table of Contents – This page contains a brief
outline of the contents of the term paper. It indicates
the main divisions and subdivisions and the specific
pages where they are found.
List of Tables, Illustrations, and Figures -
Visual presentations of facts included in the
text of the paper are listed down on this page.
These maybe in the form of tables, drawings,
graphs or pictures.
THE TEXT OF A TERM PAPER
This portion contains the introductory chapter, the
main body, and the summary, conclusions and
This chapter introduces the paper to the readers. It
has the following parts, each written in one or two
1. Statement of the Problem
It indicates the purpose of the paper or the
specific questions or problem it seeks to answer.
2. Importance of the Study
It indicates the paper’s contribution to other
branches of knowledge, or explains briefly how it
will solve some current problems. This paragraph
justifies the writing of the paper.
3. Scope and Delimitation of the Study
It indicates the areas covered by the study, and the
extent to which they are discussed. This paragraph
tells the reader what to expect from the paper
regarding to the topic on hand.
4. Research Method Used
It explains briefly the method used in gathering,
presenting, and interpreting a data.
5. Definition of Terms Used
This a list of technical terms or words used with
special meaning in the paper. Their definitions are
given to avoid misinterpretation of statements in
THE BODY OF THE TERM PAPER
This portion presents and interprets the data
obtained in the research work. The data in this
chapter may logically arrange or grouped into
units. In an ordinary college term paper, one
chapter may suffice for the body. However, if the
topic is somewhat complicated, other chapters
may be added.
THE SUMMARY, CONCLUSION AND
This portion presents a resume of the
entire paper and the conclusions based on the
findings of the research. Recommendations are
also given in this chapter.
These refer to the footnotes, the bibliography page,
and the appendices. The first two are the ways to
the document a term paper while the latter are
addendums for purposes of supplementing some
positions of the text.
Originally footnotes are notations at the bottom of
the age written for any of the following reason:
a. To acknowledge indebtedness and consequently
make publication of substance or words from
another writer legal.
b. For cross-reference of scholars who may not want
to relate the contents of the study of the paper to
their own researches.
c. For comments or opinions regarding something
said in the text.
d. For statistic and figures
e. And for enabling the reader makes his
independent consultation of sources of
information in the event that he gets interested.
In the process, they remain written for the
same purposes, but as to position on the page, they
are not anymore confined at the bottom. In the case
of quoted materials, some writers would prefer to
indicate the acknowledgment immediately after
In fact, even the indication of such on a
strategic part of the pages has also been done in
numerous ways. The most favored type however is
a. The Christian name of the author or initials
followed by the surname;
b. Title of book or any reference material
(italicized or underlined);
c. Place of publication;
d. Name of publisher;
e. Date of publication;
f. Volume and page reference.
Situations That Call for Footnotes
In the same Writing Term Papers and Reports
cited earlier, George S. Hubbel indicated the
situations as follows:
a. A footnote is needed to give the source of any
fact that is so recently or so little known as not to
be common property. If you are in doubt
regarding the familiarity of a fact, be on the safe
side and annotate. When several facts in a passage
are drawn from the same source, one footnote at
the end of the passage may serve for all.
b. A direct quotation that is not properly common
should be followed by a footnote giving the exact
c. Any plan or organization of material, such as an
arrangement of statistics, should be ascribed to its
d. Whenever you express a sentiment, theory, or
opinion derived from another writer, though you
agree, you should acknowledge the source. And
you should be careful not to ascribe to the other
writer any incident or attitude which is only your
own, not his, or to claim credit for anything that is
his. This calls for clarity of understanding and
e. Besides these obligatory footnotes, you may put
into explanatory notes any incidental matter that
you consider not sufficient and relevant to go in
the next and yet too important to be left out
Kinds of Footnotes
1. Source Note
This is the kind of footnote that indicates the book,
periodical, journal, encyclopedia, and other
reference materials from where a used material has
been borrowed. The entry of which may be like
that one above.
2. Explanatory Note
This is a footnote of a line or two regarding the
writer’s personal opinions, comments regarding
possible by-products of the study, additional
related information, recommendations for further
reading, etc. --- preferred to be relegated to the
footnotes slots because incorporating them in the
general flow of discussion proves them less
relevant. Thus, quite an interference.
Rules Regarding The Use of Footnotes
1. The footnote number is placed slightly above the
last word of quoted.
2. Footnotes are numbered consecutively starting
with number one.
3. If footnotes are used to show indebtedness or for
cross-reference, they should contain in the
following information: author of the book or
article, title, place of publication, publisher, year
of publication, and page number.
4. All footnote numbers which appear on a page should
have their corresponding footnotes at the bottom of
the same page.
5. When a footnote refers to exactly the same source as
the footnote immediately preceding it, Ibid. (short
form of the Latin Ibidem, meaning “in the same
place”) is used. If the reference is still the same
book but on another page, the page number
immediately follows the word.
6. When reference to the same work follows each other
closely but not consecutively and when they refer to
different pages in that work, op. cit. (Latin
abbreviation for opere citato which means “the
work cited”) is used.
7. When a second but nonconsecutive reference is
made to the exact material (i. e., the same volume
and page) previously cited, loc. cit. (Latin
abbreviation for loco citato which means “the
place cited” is used.
8. Footnotes may come by half a dozen or more on a
page, or by only one or two, or none at all. Just
be guided by the principle of “give credit to
where it is due.”
This is a list of all references used in the writing
of term paper. The references are grouped
according to their nature, that is, books,
periodicals, mimeographed materials and other
Rules in Bibliography Writing
1. Enter items alphabetically by author’s surnames,
followed by their Christian names, then the
middle initial. In case of an unknown author, list
the item by the first word (except the article a and
the) in the title. When the titles by the same
author are used, enter them chronologically
according to dates of publication. When more than
one work is cited by the same author, use a dash of
approximately one half inch long in place of the
authors name after its first appearance.
2. In case of entries that are numerous , they may be
classified in groups, magazine articles, newspaper
3. Begin the bibliography on a page separate from
the text and place it at the end of the paper.
The following information should be included
in the entries in each group of materials:
Author – Put down the last name first, followed by
a comma, then the other names just as you find
them, followed by a period.
Example: Miranda, Thomas B.
Title – Put down the title exactly and completely as
you find it, but capitalize the important words (first
word, last word, all emphatic words, all other words
except articles, conjunctions and prepositions),
underline the whole title ( a printer italicizes it), and
follow it with a period. Do not change the spelling
or abbreviate any words that you find spelled out.
You may omit a subtitle.
Example: Composition for College Students.
Facts of Publication – Give: place of publication
followed by a colon; name of the publisher,
followed by a comma; date of publication (n.d if no
date appears), followed by a period.
Example: New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 1975.
General Reference Books
A Signed Article In An Encyclopedia
Author – enter the name and punctuate it just
as for a book. In some reference works, articles are
initialed, and the initials are explained at the
beginning of the volume.
Title – The title is to be capitalized and punctuated
as in the case of books, but it is not to be underlined
(italicized). Instead, it is to be enclosed in
The name of the reference work, underlined for
italics, and followed by the edition and year, the
volume (inclusive). These items are to be separated
by commas and followed by a period.
An Unsigned Article In An Encyclopedia
Encyclopedia Britannica. 14th
Edition (1929), Vol.
11, pp. 616-617. Article, “Hockey”
Author – Put down the name as in the case of a
Title – Enter and punctuate the title as in the case of
a book, but do not underline for italics; enclose the
title in quotation marks.
Facts of Publication – Give: the name of the
magazine (underline for italics); the volume (in
Arabic numerals); the inclusive page numbers for
the article; the date (in parentheses). These items
should be separated by commas (except before the
parentheses), with a period at the end.
The author’s name as usual. If the article is
unsigned, begin with the title.
The Title, as for a magazine article, in quotation
marks. If there is no title, a brief title should be
supplied, in square brackets.
Name of the paper, exact date, (section if
necessary), page, column
Appended materials may be in the form of letters of
instruction, codes, memos, communications, or
questionnaires used in the gathering of data. This
part is optional.
1. Type size and ink. Either the elite or pica type of
the typewriter may be used. Otherwise font size
12 of the Times New Roman or Arial font type is
ideal. Black is the standard color of the ribbon or
2. Paper. White, 8 ½ “ by 11” coupon bond is used.
All the pages should be of the same whiteness and
3. Spacing. Double spaces are maintained between
lines; four spaces between paragraphs.
4. Margins. A one-inch margin is left on top, at the
bottom, and at the right side. The left side is
given one and a half inch margin to give
allowance for the binding.
5. Paging. Pages are numbered consecutively from
the first to the last page. The page numbers are
placed on the upper right hand corner. Pages
where new chapters begin are not numbered,
however, they are countered just like the rest of
6. Syllabication. Words must be properly divided at
the end of the lines. Rules on syllabication must
be observed. A dictionary can be of help in case
7. Headings. Main headings should be capitalized.
They are usually placed at the center of the page.
Minor headings may be centered or placed near
the right margin. They are usually underlined.
8. Figures. Numbers from one up to one hundred,
and all whole numbers that can be expressed in
two words are spelled out. Exact numbers over
one hundred are written in figures.
From your own experience in dealing with
friends and associates, you know what kind of
behavior and personal characteristics affect most
people favorably. You know that friendliness usually
wins friends, but sarcasm and indifference do not
produce better results. If each of your letters meets
the following ten requirements, the chances that you
are successful letter writer. A good letter meets the
Creates a favorable first impression
is well organized
avoids jargon and clichés
promotes good will
First Favorable Impression. When you meet
people for the first time, you probably form some
quick judgment of them on the basis of their
appearance. So it is with a letter. Your first
impression is stays with you as you read the
message. Just as an attractive platter of food
stimulates your appetite to eat, an attractive letter
stimulates your desire to read. The factors that help
create a favorable impression include the quality of
stationery, the attractiveness of the letterhead, the
neatness of the typing and the form set up on the
Action getting letters are easier to produce if
writers put themselves in the reader’s place. As you
compose the letter, pretend to be the reader and ask:
“What do I get out of this? What will it do for me?
Error in letter can prevent the letter from
accomplishing its mission. Of course, errors are
never intentional; even so, there is a little excuse for
them. Errors in word selection, dates, and figures,
capitalization and punctuation cause the reader to
lose faith in the company sending the letter. If they
remain uncorrected, they will have a harmful effect
Good manners are not reflected merely in a
“please” or “thank you”. The tone on which you say
or write the words makes the difference. Such
expressions as the following help to give your letter
“You were very kind….”
“We were most grateful for….”
“We very appreciate you’re…?
“We value you’re…?
“You are entirely correct in saying…”
Sincerity. Is another quality you should posses.
This means you really do wish to be a service to
your readers. Following are examples of
expressions that help to reflect sincerity.
“You are correct. We did send you the wrong…”
“Please accept our apology for the delayed
“We would like very much to help you; however,
“I am happier to explain the situation…”
Clarity. Also contribute to effective business
communication. This a gain depends on the words
you use and the way you use them. First, you must
have clear idea of what you want to say it. In general,
you should use the simplest everyday expressions –
these the reader will surely understand.
Conciseness of the letter means covering the
subject in the fewest word possible, without
sacrificing clarity and completeness. Conciseness
means saying all that need to be said and more. In
business, time is precious – a few business people
have time read irrelevant details.
1. Use words, phrases, and clauses so that your
message will be interpreted correctly.
2. Develop your written message so that each idea
flows smoothly onto the next.
3. Avoid stiff and outdated phrases that communicate
little information and detract frim a positive,
4. Use balanced words, phrases, and sentences.
5. The following are list of words, phrases and
expressions that would be much improved by
It means a letter that contains all the parts
that transmitted. It is that characteristic that
leaves the sendee without any question about
the message, generally the one complete in its
what, who, where, when, and how.
This means that all the details used are those
meant to be used. This also refers to the correct
figures, names, amount spelling, punctuation
Courtesy is a mental attitude, a way of life among
people living in a polite society. It means
recognizing and having respect for the value and
worth of other people. It further means
consideration, friendliness, and willingness to
The ingredients of courtesy are the following:
1. a positive attitude;
2. an other centered attitude;
3. a sincere and personal relationship with
4. a willingness to serve.
1. Other-centered, “You” Attitude. Makes
other people feel important because he thinks
highly of them.
2. Sincere and Personal Relationship with
People. True friendship is one which is based on
understanding, caring for others, and closeness to
others. Using the correspondents name in natural,
conversational way helps to produce a personal and
3.A Willingness to Serve Others. This attitude
comes from empathy which means placing oneself
in somebody else’s shoes. Empathy leads to a
consideration for the reader’s feelings and point of
view resulting in a friendly and kind attitude toward
Coherence, which means the process of sticking
together, is one of three levels coherence within
paragraphs, coherence with sentence in a
paragraph, and coherence within the word in a
sentence. Coherence within paragraphs in the letter
is achieved by means of planning and outlining.
Planning involves listing down the things you
want say and making sure they are in the right
Generally, the writer of a well planned business
letter uses the three paragraph approach which
includes the following:
1. an introductory paragraph explaining the topic of
the letter and possibly referring to a
2. a middle paragraph which contains the body of
3. a final paragraph which sums up and explains
what course of action to take.
To avoid this kind of error, you should consider the
1. Avoid dangling modifiers. A dangling modifier
refers to the wrong word or to no word in a
2. Make a certain that a modifier refers clearly to
the word or words modified.
3. Place words like only and phrases like at least
where they convey exactly what you mean.
Promoting Goodwill. The word “no” can cause
more ill will that any other word in English
language. Therefore letters that will potential of a
refusal letter is so great that only by drawing on
your acknowledge of human behavior can you write
a “no” that gives your reader the feeling of “yes”.
All principles of good business are essential in
written letters that say “no.” The following four
guidelines, however, are of particular importance to
bad news and refusal letters:
1. Be prompt
Delayed negative response can only offended the
recipient even more and lessen your chance of
2. Be Positive
Avoid using negative words such as fault, refuse,
unfair, and unreasonable.
3. Be Helpful
You maybe refusing but you can occasionally
provide an alternative solution. Suggest some
other plans that may help me reader.
4. Be Tactful
Do not insult the reader or indicate that the request is
unreasonable. Avoid sarcasm.
On the whole we can rightly say, perhaps with
some degree of confidence, that no one can
underestimate the importance of effective
communication in the business world.
Consequently, to achieve our goals, a mastery of
Business English is in order.
Business Writing Formats
1. Extreme format
1.1 Indented style
2. Standard formats
2.1 Modified-block style
2.2 Semi block style (also called “Modified
block with indented paragraphs”)
2.3 Full-block (also called “Block” or
3. Special formats
3.1 NOMA (National Office Management
Association simplified style)
3.2 Hanging style
The indented style, though, is the oldest
letter style. It was the style frequently used
when all letters where handwritten. Its major
disadvantage other than its rugged appearance
is the time-consuming use of many tabulation
stops on the typewriter because of the many
paragraphs and other indentions required.
The modified block differs in full- block in the
placement of the date, complimentary close and the
signature block. The modified block with mixed
punctuation, the most frequently used letter format. It
is simple to prepare and gives the letter balance.
All the parts are
flushed to the
left margin of
the paper. The
however, in case
anywhere on the
because it is a
it is on top of the
In the body, there is no indention of
paragraphs. To indicate paragraphs, leave a line
of space in between the paragraphs.
The simplified letter style is essentially the same as
the full-block style. The differences are:
the absence of a salutation or complimentary close,
the use of a subject line in a capital letters as
substitute for the salutation, and
the listings in the message are indented five spaces,
except when these are numbered or lettered. The
simplified letter style is simple to prepare, save time
and encourages directness.
IMPORTANT DETAILS TO KEEP IN MIND
1. Give the correct title to the addressee.
Dr. Alejandro Z. Prudente
President, The Medical City Hospital
2. Do not abbreviate titles of people
Dr. Alejandro Z. Prudente
Pres., The Medical City Hospital
3. Use appropriate salutations
Conventions of business writing require the
Never use “Hi” or “Hi there” or any other greeting
that diverts from the formality of a business letter.
Acceptable salutations should be used. Use the
addressee’s last name except when you are very
Dear Mrs. Garcia
Dear Mmes. Cruz and Santos:
The following salutations may be used when writing
to business organizations or when you do not
know the name of the addressee. Also included
are the salutations for selected dignitaries.
(if you know that the addressees are males)
(if addressees are females)
Dear National Geographic Channel Asia:
(Name of the organization)
(If your addressee is a male)
(if your addressee is a woman)
Dear Mr. President:
(for the highest official of the land)
Dear Reverend Father:
(if addressee is a priest)
Dear Most Reverend Jaime Cardinal Sin
(if addressee is a Cardinal)
(if addressee is the Pope)
4. Make sure your purpose is clear at the beginning
of the letter. Are you applying for a job, inquiring
about an existing office policy, seeking an
apology, requesting information, resigning from
your job? The thing to remember is: don’t
ramble, make your point clear.
5.Be simple and direct.
Avoid jargons and other flowery expressions.
Don’t use complicated language. The simpler,
6.Be brief. Long letters obscure your message.
Brevity and clarity are two of the good qualities
of a business letter.
7.Tell the recipient what you want. Marius and
Wiener (The McGraw-Hill College Handbook
Second Edition) give this model outline for a
typical business letter:
a. in the first sentence, give the purpose of the letter.
b. tell the recipient what you want.
c. Give brief reasons for what you want.
d. Tell the recipient what he or she can do next.
e. Close the letter.
8. Do not use stereotyped expressions or clichés in
closing your letter. Worn-out expressions like
“Thank you for your consideration,” “Thank you
in advance,” “Looking forward to a prompt
reply, I remain,” should be avoided, at all times
maintain a business tone. You may close with a
pleasant word or a friendly air of confidence.
9. Remember this well about the complimentary
close: the first word is always written in a capital
letter, then a comma follows the last word.
10. The handwritten signature should appear in a
four-line space between the complimentary close
and the typewritten name. Sometimes the letter
writer indicates his professional title after the
Very truly yours,
MA. GEORGINA J. SOBERANO, Ll.B