Lecture(1)OutlineGeneral Writing Concerns
Planning/Starting to Write
Finding Your Focus:The Writing Process
I. Planning/Starting to Write
Everyone has a writing process.What is yours?
Why do you need a writing process?It can help writers to organize their thoughts.It can help writers to avoid frustration.It can help writers to use their time productively and efficiently.
Invention: coming up with your topicExplore the problemnot the topic
Make your goals operational
Generate some ideas
Brainstorming: coming up with ideas that interest youListing:Political apathyAnimal abuseNFL instant replayAir pollutionTelemarketing scamsInternet censorshipNBA salary capsPaper TopicsBrainstorming
Clustering: mapping out ideasMEInternet censorshiptelemar-ketingscamsNFL instantreplayNBApoliticalapathythree-partysystemsalarycapssportsmanshipanimalabuseFirst AmendmentFlag Burning Amend-ment
CollectionGathering ideasLocating and evaluating researchConducting interviews
Organizing: putting information in an outlineOUTLINE
I. IntroductionA. State thesisII. BodyA. Build pointsB. Develop ideasC. Support main claim
III. ConclusionA. Reemphasize main idea
Revising: reviewing ideasReview higher order concerns:Clear communication of ideas Organization of paperParagraph structureStrong introduction and conclusion
ProofreadingReview later-order concerns:SpellingPunctuationSentence structureDocumentation style
Proofreading tipsSlowly read your paper aloudRead your paper backwardsExchange papers with a friend
NOTE: Spelling check will not catch everything, and grammar checks are often wrong!
Writing process: find your focusInventionCollectionOrganizationDraftingRevisingProofreading
II. Effective Writing
Adding Emphasis Coherence
Conciseness: Methods of Eliminating Wordiness
Strategies for Improving Sentence Clarity
1. Adding Emphasisa. Punctuation Marks for Achieving Emphasis
The employees were surprised by the decision,which was not to change company policy.
The employees were surprised by the decision--no change in company policy. The employees were surprised by the decision: no change in company policy.
b. Choice and Arrangement of Words for Achieving Emphasis The simplest way to emphasize something is to tell readers directly that what follows is important by using such words and phrases as especially, particularly, crucially, most importantly, and above all.
The inversion of the standard subject-verb-object pattern in the first sentence below into an object-subject-verb pattern in the second places emphasis on the out-of-sequence term.
Examples: I'd make fifty dollars in just two hours on a busy night at the restaurant.
Fifty dollars I'd make in just two hours on a busy night at the restaurant.
No one can deny that the computer has had a great effect upon the business world.
Undeniably, the effect of the computer upon the business world has been great.
C. Sentence Position and Variation for Achieving Emphasis
For a long time, but not any more, Japanese corporations used Southeast Asia merely as a cheap source of raw materials, as a place to dump outdated equipment and overstocked merchandise, and as a training ground for junior executives who needed minor league experience.
For a long time Japanese corporations used Southeast Asia merely as a cheap source of raw materials, as a place to dump outdated equipment and overstocked merchandise, and as a training ground for junior executives who needed minor league experience. But those days have ended.
2. Coherencea. Repetition of a Key Term or Phrase
The problem with contemporary art is that it is not easily understood by most people. Modern art is deliberately abstract, and that means that contemporary art leaves the viewer wondering what she is looking at.
Myths narrate sacred history and explain sacred origins. These traditional narratives are, in short, a set of beliefs that are a very real force in the lives of the people who tell them.
C. Using Transitional Words
I like autumn, and yet autumn is a sad time of the year, too. The leaves turn bright shades of red and the weather is mild, but I can't help thinking ahead to the winter and the ice storms that will surely blow through here. In addition, that will be the season of chapped faces, too many layers of clothes to put on, and days when I'll have to shovel heaps of snow from my car's windshield.
3. Concisenessa. Methods of Eliminating Wordiness
Eliminate unnecessary determiners and modifiers:
Any particular type of dessert is fine with me.
Any dessert is fine with me.
Balancing the budget by Friday is an impossibility without some kind of extra help.
Balancing the budget by Friday is impossible without extra help
Here's a list of some words and phrases that can often be pruned away to make sentences clearer:
kind of sort of type of really basically for all intents and purposesdefinitely actually generally individual specific particular
ExampleFor all intents and purposes, American industrial productivity generally depends on certain factors that are really more psychological in kind than of any given technological aspect.
American industrial productivity depends more on psychological than on technological factors.
b. Change phrases into single words - The employee with ambition... - The department showing the best performance...
The ambitious employee... The best-performing department...
- Jeff Converse, our chief of consulting, suggested at our last board meeting the installation of microfilm equipment in the department of data processing. (Contd)At our last board meeting, chief consultant Jeff Converse suggested that we install microfilm equipment in the data processing department.
- As you carefully read what you have written to improve your wording and catch small errors of spelling, punctuation, and so on, the thing to do before you do anything else is to try to see where a series of words expressing action could replace the ideas found in nouns rather than verbs.
As you edit, first find nominalizations that you can replace with verb phrases.
C. Change unnecessary that, who, and which clauses into phrases
Wordy - The report, which was released recently...- All applicants who are interested in the job must...- The system that is most efficient and accurate...More Concise - The recently released report...- All job applicants must...- The most efficient and accurate system...
D. Avoid overusing expletives at the beginning of sentences
Wordy - It is the governor who signs or vetoes bills.- There are four rules that should be observed: ...- There was a big explosion, which shook the windows, and people ran into the street.More Concise - The governor signs or vetoes bills.- Four rules should be observed:...- A big explosion shook the windows, and people ran into the street.
E. Avoid overusing noun forms of verbs
Wordy The function of this department is the collection of accounts.The current focus of the medical profession is disease prevention.More Concise This department collects accounts.The medical profession currently focuses on disease prevention.
F. Reword unnecessary infinitive phrases
Wordy - The duty of a clerk is to check all incoming mail and to record it.- A shortage of tellers at our branch office on Friday and Saturday during rush hours has caused customers to become dissatisfied with service.More ConciseA clerk checks and records all incoming mail.A teller shortage at our branch office on Friday and Saturday during rush hours has caused customer dissatisfaction.
4. Strategies for Improving Sentence Clarity
Sentence ClarityWhy do we need to be concerned with sentence clarity?
To communicate effectively to the readerTo make writing persuasiveTo show credibility and authority as a writer
Common clarity problemsMisplaced modifiersDangling modifiersPassive voice
Misplaced ModifiersA word or phrase that causes confusion because it is located within a sentence so far away from the word(s) to which it refers
Misplaced ModifiersConsider the different meanings in the following sentences:The dog under the tree bit Carrie. vs. The dog bit Carrie under the tree.
How might you correct the following sentence?Jennifer called her adorable kitten opening the can of tuna and filled the food bowl.
Better: Opening the can of tuna, Jennifer called her adorable kitten and filled the food bowl.
How might you correct the following sentence?Portia rushed to the store loaded with cash to buy the birthday gift.
Better: Portia, loaded with cash, rushed to the store to buy the birthday gift.
Some one-word modifiers often cause confusion:
almost justnearlysimply even hardlymerelyonly
Explain the meaning of each sentence:Almost everyon