Writing In The Discipline boaPresentation Transcript
Prof. Jonathan Marquez
As taken from the book “Writing in the Discipline “by Eleanor S. Jimenez
A Clear and Logical Sentence
Cause and Effect Relationship
Use of Idiomatic and Figurative Language
Use of Context Clues
A Unified Sentence
A Coherent Sentence
An Emphatic Sentence
An Accurate Sentence
An Appropriate Sentence
An Acceptable Sentence
Important Ways to a Good Sentence
Guarding Against Being Fragmentary
Avoiding Run-on, Overloaded and Empty Sentences
Avoiding Shifting Into Different Perspectives
Avoiding Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers
Observing Parallel and Uniform Construction
Observing Proper Coordination and Subordination
Writing a Paragraph
The Topic Sentence
Transitions Within a Paragraph
A Good Paragraph
Methods of Developing A Paragraph
The Whole Composition
Writing A Whole Composition
Before Actual Writing
During Actual Writing
After Actual Writing
What is Exposition
Types of Exposition
Explanation of A Process
Summary or Précis
Structuring The Essay
The Introductory Paragraph
The Body Paragraphs
The Concluding Paragraph
Revising Your Essay
Descriptive Writing Defined
Types of Descriptive Writing
Informative or Objective Description
Evocative or Impressionistic Description
Writing a Descriptive Composition
Selection of Details
Arrangement of Details
The Language of Description
Definition of a Term Paper
Importance of a Term Paper
A Good Term Paper
Writing a Term Paper
Basic Research Methods
Data Gathering Techniques
The Use of Note Cards
Types of Notes
The Format of a Term Paper
The Text of a Term Paper
Sample of a Term Paper Title Page
Sample of a Term Paper Preface
Sample of a Term Paper Table of Contents
Sample of a Term Paper Introduction
Sample of Footnotes in a Term Paper
Sample of A Term Paper Bibliography Page
The First Favorable Impression
Business Writing Formats
Indented Style “Extreme Format”
Modified Block Format
Full Block Format
NOMA Simplified Format
Important Details To Keep In Mind
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 lotto jackpot.
Who can be a millionaire? How can anybody be a millionaire?
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 beautiful.)
These are statements that make use of faulty generalizations with the use of words as all, always, never.
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 reader. 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 relationship.
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 subordinated.
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 important.
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 sliding words.
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 considerations.
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 following:
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 inappropriate.
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 Vasquez?”
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 SENTENCE
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 following:
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 following types:
a. The statement that results from the dependent clause is punctuated as though it were a complete sentence.
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 or both. 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 vacation. 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 looking happy. 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 hardcourt. Sentence Raffy is dribbling the ball in the hardcourt.
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 comma.
a. Two simple sentences may make up a run-on sentence.
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 simple sentence.
Fused Sentence: She teaches literature and he teaches humanities, they seldom see eye to eye.
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 sentence.
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 three errors:
Divide the run-on into separate sentences.
The laughter drowned out the speaker. We could hardly hear him.
She teaches literature and he teaches humanities. They seldom see eye to eye.
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.
The laughter drowned out the speaker; we could hardly hear him.
She teaches literature and he teaches humanities; they seldom see eye to eye.
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.
The laughter drowned out the speaker and we could hardly hear him.
She teaches literature and he teaches humanities but they seldom see eye to eye.
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.
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 almost lost.
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 suggestions:
Decide on the main ideas.
Decide which of them can be combined into one sentence.
Write these ideas in one sentence.
Write a separate sentence for the other ideas.
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
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 McGraw-Hill Handbook:
at the present time
in the present circumstances use now , today
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
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 modern music.
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 questions.
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 reason.
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 avoided.
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 answer.
Confusing: She went up the stage and a song was sung.
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 seventeen.
Clear: Dodong is a strong farm boy who f alls 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 usually uncommunicative.
Clear: When a person is in trouble, he is usually uncommunicative.
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.
4. Shift From One Person To Another
You should not shift needlessly from one person to another.
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 stop him.
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 summary.
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 unintended meanings.
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 Japanese businessman.
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 be modified.
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 prisoners.”
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 say.
– 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 examples:
I read an amazingly interesting book.
The terribly difficult question in the test caused a headache.
The guest arrived early .
We met in the Conference room .
They often clash about principles.
I always feel the pressure of my major examination.
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 concept.
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 reader.
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 studies carefully.
(This sentence says that the book must understand the subject.)
Dangling Elliptical Clause
While waiting for a ride, the rain poured.
(This sentence says that the rain was waiting for a ride.)
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 poured.
Correct: While Jimmy was waiting for a ride, the rain poured.
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 writing effective.
Observe the parallel and uniform construction in the following illustrations:
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 tournament.
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 forth.
When the elements of a sentence are not grammatically balanced faulty parallelism results.
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 efforts.
Faulty: Everyone needs love and to be attended.
Correct Everyone needs love and affection.
Faulty: Julie requested that I help her with her Math problems and another explanation to the procedure.
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, and respectable.
The two halves of a compound sentence should be parallel.
Faulty: Stevan Javellana wrote Without Seeing the Dawn and Tree is by F. Sionil Jose.
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 uniform structure.
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 them,
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 Subordination
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 coordinating conjunction .
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 , therefore .
Words: Their business is buy and sell .
She loves ice cream and chocolates .
Phrases: He came running down the corridor and into the Conference Room .
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 you say.
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 your suggestions.
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 please.
In front of our house but behind the school building is the children’s playground.
Coordinating conjunctions connect similar sentence parts:
and but or for nor yet
Correlative conjunctions are used in pairs:
not only…but also either…or both…and whether…or
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 meaningful sentences.
Weak: Bert knew all the answers and he recited confidently.
Better: Knowing all the answers, Bert recited confidently.(participle)
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 clause)
Subordination may also be used to join related sentences:
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 exciting. (appositive)
Fair: Erick wants to become a soldier. He studies at the Philippine Military Academy.
Improved: Erick, who wants to become a soldier studies at the Philippine Military Academy. (adjective clauses)
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 a protest.
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 exams.
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 skill.
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 paragraph.
1. Pitch your point
This means figure out very well what you want to drive home to your reader or listener and lay it down.
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 prices.
The same was true with the prices of luxury items.
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 flaws.
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 conveyed.
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 itself.
From the above discussion of composing the paragraph, the point driven home is the topic sentence.
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 following paragraph.
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 paragraph:
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 Literature”)
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 resuscitates.
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 sentence.
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 to say.
Study the unity achieved in the following paragraph:
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 following:
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.
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 does
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 advice.
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, despite
Cause and Effect: therefore, thus, hence, so, consequently
General to specific: in fact, especially, for instance, for example
Attitude: fortunately, unfortunately, naturally, an a sense
Summary: in summary, to sum up, in conclusion, finally
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 Structures
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.
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 word It.
METHODS OF DEVELOPING A PARAGRAPH
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 following:
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 Severino, Jr.)
The idea is best developed by giving illustrations or examples.
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 Munn)
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 differences.
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.
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 desire.
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 its development.
Deductive . This paragraph begins with a general statement, then proceeds to giving supportive details
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 topic.
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 the subject.
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 infectious
Summer in the big city smacks of heat and dust
City folks savor the refreshing delights of the countryside
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.
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 vacation?
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 Barrio Ticol?
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
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 Written
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 women.”
Whatever, good argumentation will always require intelligent reasoning.
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 About Basketball
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 composition.
Outlining may be done in topical form or in sentence form.
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 analytical ability
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 Relationships
B. Better understanding of human behavior
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 involve humankind
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 underestimated.
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 individuals.
4. We develop keener judgment and sharper analytical ability.
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 sensibilities.
3. We develop awareness of other people’s feelings.
4. We imbibe their cathartic and therapeutic effects.
C. Reading also reflects the influences on our personal life.
1. We become aware of the influences that society offers
2. We develop better understanding of social situations and social problems.
II. Reading also reflects the influences on our personal life.
A. We acquire tips on how to improve our relationship with others.
1. We learn to understand better human behavior
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 dimension
A. We benefit from our growing consciousness of people and events around the world
B. We take deeper interest in activities that involve mankind
C. We realize our potential as contributors to history
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
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 writing.
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 Literature
Beginning : It is not true that the sun is the center of the universe.
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 often.
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 watch flies?”
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 1950)
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 , September 1946.)
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 , February, 1984)
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. While
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.
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 usable.
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, “Labor”)
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. For
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 “how-I-did-it” essay.
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 the beginning.
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 effective.
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 President”)
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 main thought.
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 legends now.
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 Almighty Minute”)
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 hang together.
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 used.
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 mean “ready”.
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 Paragraph.
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 Philippine Government.”
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 elements.
AFTER ACTUAL WRITING
1. Review your first draft for content improvement. Ask these questions as you mark your draft for revisions:
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 effectively?
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 supporting ideas?
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 sentences.
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” forms.
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 poetry.
Expository writing must follow a careful method or planning, a strict logical step-by-step procedure.
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 or class.
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.
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, (Extended Definition).
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 single
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 belongings.
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 sound .
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”)
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 calyx.
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 corolla.
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 Knowledge.)
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 Owners )
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 fields.
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 is freedom.
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 vocational occupations.
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 lie
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 is Made)
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 requiring
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 following questions:
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 important details.
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 mind.
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 tone
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. (Havelock Ellis)
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 analysis.
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 story?
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 criticism.
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 literary criticism.
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 indeed.
“ 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 viewers.
“ 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 nakakaini s 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.”
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 conclusion.
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-paragraph conclusion.
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.
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:
General introductory remarks ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………controlling idea.
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:
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
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.
General Introductory remarks ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. controlling idea.
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 rules
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.
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 eagerness, perseverance, and courage- and a pencil and paper.
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 Subject)
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 and execute.
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-to-eight shift.
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 about.
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 paragraph.
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 introductory paragraph:
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 by saying:
“ 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 dull.
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 Housekeeping )
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 effectively.
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 community.
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 bent
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 Night Stand”)
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.
Or you may prefer to discuss several aspects of a topic. This case, your reader should be advised of your intention.
A student essay begins with a definition of homesickness.
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 introduces conflict.
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 course evaluation.
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
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 it.
A student essay on the welfare system uses this strategy.
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.
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 common.
A personal experience essay uses this approach.
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
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 needs.
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 sentence.
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 absent.
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.
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 ambiguity.
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.
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
perish from the earth” of his Gettysburg Address are effective and memorable in themselves, and also make the works they conclude more memorable – even famous.
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 conclusion?
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 memorable essay.
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 introduction does.
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 conclusion.
Some commonly used concluding strategies are:
2. Chronological wind-up
5. Recommendation of a course of action
6. Quotation or dialogue
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 centers.
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
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 college degree.
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 this analogy:
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 wilderness .
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 proportion.
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 Communist Manifesto:
“ 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 countries, unite! ”
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 essay.
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
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 revisions:
1. On Organization
Does your essay have:
A controlling idea?
A restatement of the controlling idea in the conclusion?
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, juicy apple.
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.
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 powder.
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 transfiguration.”
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 hear that their
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 design.
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 atmosphere.
Arrangements Of Details
Details are important in a lengthened description. Because description deals primarily with terms in space, the following arrangements of details are suggested:
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 absolutely hideous.”
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)
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 blouse.
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 writing.
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 chicken.
Control yourself, you might blow your top.
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 Hemingway.
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 horizon.
Everybody expects a better life from the sailing year.
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 man(Shakespeare)
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 actress)
This is not an untimely hour to deal with you.
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 bees.
Paradox - This expresses a seemingly self-contradictory statement or proposition.
Life succeeds in that it seems to fail.
His intelligence led the nation to bankruptcy.
Periphrasis – This is the use of euphemistic term in place of another for effect.
The Bard remains unsurpassed to this day.
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 attention.
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 hearing.
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 contemporary life.
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 represents industriousness.
Euphemism – the use of indirect or polite language to express a concept generally considered unpleasant.
“ Passed away” is a euphemism for “died.” “Fell upon hard times” is a euphemism for “lost all his money.”
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 abstract idea.
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 course.
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 systematically.
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 clearly defined.
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 typewritten manuscripts.
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 Classification.
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 various parts.
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 Child.”
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 problems
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 usually employing
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 analysis.
Information is obtained through forms filled out by respondents, either directly under the supervision of the one conducting the research or through mail.
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 interviewee.
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 interview:
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 being there.
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 given you.
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 helpful:
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 confusion.
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 more mistakes.
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 confusion.
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 discussion represented.
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 your paper.
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 paper.
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 teacher.
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 recommendations.
This chapter introduces the paper to the readers. It has the following parts, each written in one or two paragraphs:
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 text.
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 RECOMMENDATION
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 them.
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 the following:
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 source.
c. Any plan or organization of material, such as an arrangement of statistics, should be ascribed to its source.
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 expression.
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 altogether.
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 miscellaneous forms.
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 accounts etc.
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 quotation marks.
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.
Author – Put down the name as in the case of a book.
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 ink used.
2. Paper. White, 8 ½ “ by 11” coupon bond is used. All the pages should be of the same whiteness and thickness.
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 the pages.
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 of doubts.
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 following:
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 letter placement.
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 on goodwill.
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 desirable tone.
“ 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 shipment…”
“ We would like very much to help you; however, we…”
“ 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, conversational tone.
4. Use balanced words, phrases, and sentences.
5. The following are list of words, phrases and expressions that would be much improved by extinction:
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 used.
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 serve others.
The ingredients of courtesy are the following:
1. a positive attitude;
2. an other centered attitude;
3. a sincere and personal relationship with people;
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 pleasant atmosphere.
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 others.
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 order.
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 previous correspondence;
2. a middle paragraph which contains the body of the letter;
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 following suggestions:
1. Avoid dangling modifiers. A dangling modifier refers to the wrong word or to no word in a sentence.
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 retaining goodwill.
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 Extreme Block”)
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.
This format is like a modified block format. However, the body paragraphs are indented.
Full Block Format
All the parts are flushed to the left margin of the paper. The heading however, in case pre-printed thereon, maybe anywhere on the page. However, because it is a heading, usually, it is on top of the page and centered thereon.
In the body, there is no indention of paragraphs. To indicate paragraphs, leave a line of space in between the paragraphs.
NOMA (National Office Management Association simplified style)
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 traditional
“ Dear _________.”
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 close friends.
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, the better.
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 typed name.