How to writing well_8

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example, you argue, “Team sports are good for kids because they build char- acter,” why do you believe this? Can you offer a personal example or a hypothetical case to clarify and can educational system.” pages 44–45 in Chapter 2 as a brief “prompt” for a personal opinion essay de- utes to write a working thesis and a sketch outline for your essay. until you gain confidence in your ability to think, plan, and write under time WRITING THE SUMMARY-AND-RESPONSE ESSAY ter, this kind of assignment frequently asks students to read a professional CHAPTER 16 - WRITING IN CLASS: EXAMS AND “RESPONSE” ESSAYS 451 article, summarize its thesis and main points, and write a response expressing evaluate both reading comprehension and writing skills. use this format as their composition placement exam, to direct students into the appropriate writing class. Still other schools employ this kind of essay as format is often assigned as in-class writing, it certainly is not limited to this use. almost certainly be asked on more than one occasion to read information, you prepare for this kind of thinking and writing activity, here are a few sug- For example, are you being asked to present a one- paragraph summary of a professional article* first and then write a personal time now to review Chapter 8, “The Reading-Writing Connection,” in this text. This chapter will help you identify and evaluate an article’s thesis, main * To avoid confusion in this discussion between the professional essay used as a “prompt” and the student’s response essay, the word “article” will be used to refer to the professional reading. Writing the Summary Section If you are to begin with a brief summary of the article, follow the guide- article in the first sentence, which also frequently presents the article’s thesis ( In his article “Free Speech on Campus,” author Clarence Page argues The next sentences of your summary should present the article’s a word or phrase for clarity or emphasis, use your own words to present Writing the Response Section 1. Before you begin writing the “response” part of your essay, look at the haps you agree with the main ideas but think that this particular essay is a 2. Once you have a working thesis in mind, plan the rest of your essay. example, if you disagree with the article, you might want to note two or three Responding with personal examples is per- haps the most common kind of support for essays written in class, but if with a sentence that clearly indicates the “response” section is now beginning. Example Although in his article “Test!” Paul Perez correctly identifies CHAPTER 16 - WRITING IN CLASS: EXAMS AND “RESPONSE” ESSAYS 453 4. In each of your own body paragraphs make clear which of the author’s .”). Find other examples, reasons, or information that lend example, show that a particular argument is ineffective because it is based on credit for a particularly effective supporting example or a brilliantly clever 7. Don’t forget to write a brief concluding paragraph. The essay that follows was written by Teresa H., who was assigned the article “Our Youth Should Serve” by Steven Muller (pages 179–182 in Chap- ter 8) and then asked to write a one-paragraph summary and a response essay’s thesis, which she then developed through use of her own experience. After you read Muller’s article and Teresa’s summary-and-response essay, 1 In “Our Youth Should Serve,” former university specific examples supporting its claims, Muller’s national students who have no money for college and no work CHAPTER 16 - WRITING IN CLASS: EXAMS AND “RESPONSE” ESSAYS 455 to look good for work, but since my wardrobe consisted 4 Muller also has a good point about people needing example, a typical day during the summer months work, skills useful and had better self-esteem than I did hanging up CHAPTER 16 - WRITING IN CLASS: EXAMS AND “RESPONSE” ESSAYS 457 1. After reading Steven Muller’s article “Our Youth Should Serve” (pages 179–182), write your own summary-and-response essay, drawing on one paragraph critiquing Muller’s reasoning, use of supporting evi- Read and annotate the selection “So What’s So Bad about Being So-So?” on pages 200–202 of this textbook and then write your own summary-and- reasons, persuasive examples, or relevant facts. Writing in the World of Work Imagine you are a manager of a business who receives the following memo successful businesses rely on the effective passage of information among man- To help you address some of the most common on-the-job writing situa- tions, this chapter offers some guidelines for business letters, office memos, tion of résumés at the end of the chapter will suggest ways to display your COMPOSING BUSINESS LETTERS good business letters have some effective qualities in common. a business letter is clearly not a personal essay, they share many of the same paragraphs, appropriate tone and diction, and clear, concise expression of Before you begin any letter, prewrite by considering these important 1. What is the main purpose of this letter? What do you want this letter to correspondence are too many to list, but each letter should clearly state its purpose for the reader, just as a thesis in an essay presents your main idea. 2. Who is your “audience,” the person to whom you are writing? cussed in detail on pages 19–23 in Chapter 1, effective writers select the kinds matter who your letter-reader happens to be, all readers want clarity, not con- fusion; order, not chaos; and useful information, not irrelevant chitchat. cide to do after reading this letter? 3. What overall impression of yourself do you want your letter to present? be more difficult if you are writing a letter of complaint, but remember that to before writing. . .”). In short, good business writing is clear, courteous, and direct. Business Letter Format Most traditional business letters are neatly typed on one side of 81⁄2-by-11- most all professional letters now use the “block form”—that is, lines of type CHAPTER 17 - WRITING IN THE WORLD OF WORK 461 Business letters typically have six primary parts: 1. The heading of a letter is your address and the date, typed either above the inside address of the letter or in the upper right corner. writing, the person’s title or position, the name of the company or organiza- your letter’s envelope.) Correct use of titles and positions can be tricky. a person’s title has more than two words, put it on a separate line: Whenever possible, direct your letter to a specific person. know the name of the person and cannot discover it before your letter must be 3. The salutation is your letter’s greeting to your reader. mally using the word “Dear” plus title and name (Dear Mr. Smith, Dear Ms. Jones,* Dear Dr. Black). rather than the more informal comma: you do not know the gender of the person to whom you are writing ( initials When in doubt, use the title or position and last Sir or Madam,” a phrase that seems stilted today. 4. The text of your letter refers to the message that appears in the para- business letter, most letters contain • a first paragraph that clearly states the reason for writing (think about tion of the reason for writing (think “body” paragraphs in an essay); • a last paragraph that sums up the message in a positive way, offers reader and writer make contact (think conclusion in an essay). Because professional people receive so much mail, business letters should CHAPTER 17 - WRITING IN THE WORLD OF WORK 463 for any words or phrases that might mislead or confuse your reader. precise words and create trim sentences that present your message in the (For help writing clear, concise letter to one page. Try not to divide paragraphs between pages, and do not split a word be- 5. The complimentary closing of a business letter is a conventional use such closings as “Cordially” or “Warm regards.” The first letter of the first closing word is capitalized, and the closing is followed by a comma. 6. The signature part of a business letter contains both your handwritten letter. 7. Some letters contain additional information below the signature. cal notes include the work “enclosure” (or “encl.”) to indicate inclusion of ad- persons who are receiving a copy of this letter. the word “copy” or by the letters c, cc ( for “carbon copy”), or xc ( for “Xeroxed Some last advice: Most business letters today are written on a word use correction fluid. vise misspelled words, inaccurate names, ungrammatical sentences, or 1. Find a recent business letter you or someone you know has received. 2. Business letters and personal letters have different forms and styles. Read Garrison Keillor’s essay “How to Write a Personal Letter” on Writing business letters becomes easier with practice. occasion that will require you to write a professional letter. to select a letter that you might indeed send sometime soon. to one page, and revise as many times as necessary to illustrate your good un- CHAPTER 17 - WRITING IN THE WORLD OF WORK 465 A memo, short for “memorandum,” is a common form of communication within Memos are slightly more informal than business letters, and they may be addressed to more than one person (a committee, a written initials, rather than a full signature as in a business letter. word “Subject.” CHAPTER 17 - WRITING IN THE WORLD OF WORK 467 or statement of general purpose and may use headings (such as “Background Information,” “Previous Action,” or “Recommendations”) to identify various All business memos, regardless of length, share a common goal: the clear, concise communication of useful information from writer to reader. Although the world of work will never be totally “paperless,” more businesses Electronic mail, or e-mail, has a number of advantages over the business letter, memo, and telephone. Because e-mail is so useful in so many ways to many different kinds of quently, it’s always a good idea to acquaint yourself with customary use of e-mail at your place of work. 1. Use a helpful subject line. message will be opened and read, always use specific words in the subject line helpful if your reader wants to reread your message later and needs to find it . Unlike a business letter, e-mail needs no head- ample, if you are writing an officer of another company to ask for information, are busy, so try to follow the advice given previously in this chapter regarding business letters and memos: clearly state your purpose, explain in a concise headings, numbered lists, or “bullets” (use lowercase “o”). Use a readable, face or italics you may use asterisks (*) around a word or phrase for empha- Your e-mail messages should sound professional and Unlike personal e-mail that may contain slang, fragments, asides, or funny graphics, business e-mails should be written in good standard English If your e-mail is performing a task similar to that of a busi- ness letter, you may wish to close in a traditional way: However, if your e-mail is more akin to an informal memo between coworkers, you may find it appropriate to end with a friendly thought or word of thanks CHAPTER 17 - WRITING IN THE WORLD OF WORK 469 Work on developing patience and give yourself time to use other methods of Business e-mail is not private. right to read any e-mail sent from their organizations. sonal information through your business e-mail. “top secret” business information through e-mail without proper authoriza- Learn to use e-mail in a productive way that protects both you and your • Don’t “shout” your messages in all capital letters. READ A SCREEN FULL OF SAME-SIZED LETTERS. may type a word in capital letters for emphasis, but use this technique • Don’t ever, ever use “emoticons” in business writing. background, work experiences, professional skills, special qualifications, and honors; some résumés also contain a brief list of references. target audience for résumés, the following section offers advice to help job To prepare each cover letter, follow the basic steps for writing the traditional business letter, as outlined earlier in this chap- In the first paragraph, clearly tell your reader why you are writing: the the “body” of your letter to noting your education or professional experience gle job, it is important to present yourself as positively as possible in your let- and résumés, hints for interviews, information on electronic job searching, rectly on the job seeker’s education and skills than on limited work placing work history in the most prominent position, listing the CHAPTER 17 - WRITING IN THE WORLD OF WORK 471 school or for those students who have worked throughout their college kind of résumé may extend to a second page, if necessary. Before you begin drafting your résumé, make a list of the information you Others omit this section, making this information clear in their cover letters. If you have the time and resources to customize a résumé for each job announcement you respond to, you can use this section to show that you plan to use one résumé for a variety of job applications, beware dates, with the most current job or relevant work experience first. sponsibilities); use action verbs (supervised, developed, organized, Use past tense verbs for work completed and present tense for current Note that résumés traditionally do not use the word “I”; beginning ,” saves precious space on a résumé. employer, you may wish to note relevant professional skills or special For example, you eign language if that might look useful to a company with overseas you don’t want to trivialize your résumé by listing irrelevant activities, charity project, for example, may indicate just the kinds of managerial Some employers ask immediately for references, persons they may contact for more information about you and your work or aca- letter, the information may be listed at the end of the résumé or on an Reference information includes the person’s full name and title or position, the name and address of the person’s business or organization, telephone number, and e-mail address, if available. CHAPTER 17 - WRITING IN THE WORLD OF WORK 473 page should be not only informative but also professional looking and easy to your section titles (education, work experiences, skills, etc.) by using bold- jammed on the page or so little that your text looks lonely, for example), go A good page design, like a Most important: always proofread your résumé for errors in grammar, look as professional as possible, make a point of having several careful “puffery” in résumés (“everyone exaggerates so why shouldn’t I?”), avoid em- the person well, use your good manners here: in person or in a politely writ- ten note or letter, ask in advance of your job application if you may name your references your résumé and any other information that might help work you did. search (such notes are absolutely required if people wrote letters of recom- Add personal information thoughtfully. You should not include on your résumé any personal information (marital status, Although you may, if you wish, include information on your résumé rescue work, etc.), you should be aware that employers may not consider such details useful. Don’t squander your résumé space on unessential information! post your résumé on such a site, choose your words carefully. tive employers now use applicant tracking software to look for keywords in ré- For example, a business seeking an accountant to the words “CPA’” “French,” and “Italian.” So, if you are interested in a particu- consider repeating, where appropriate, its key words in your résumé. résumé by first listing education, training, previous employment, or special Which information would you ultimately include in a one-page résumé, and Prepare a résumé for your professional use at this time or in the near future. You might use this résumé to apply for a scholarship, an internship, a summer The résumé that follows was designed by a recent college graduate. CHAPTER 17 - WRITING IN THE WORLD OF WORK 475 Make your verb agree in number with its subject; a singular subject takes a ject; therefore, use a plural verb.] person; therefore, use a singular verb.] Listed here are some of the most confusing subject-verb agreement Correct The army of the new nation wants shoes, bullets, and weekend 2. With a relative pronoun (“that,” “which,” and “who”) used as a subject: the verb agrees with its antecedent, the word being described. 3. With “each,” “none,” “everyone,” and “neither” as the subject: use a Incorrect All the students saw the teacher pull out his hair, but none know Correct All the students saw the teacher pull out his hair, but none knows Correct Neither rain nor dogs nor gloom of night keeps the mail carrier 5. With “here is (are)” and “there is (are)”: the verb agrees with the num- ber indicated by the subject following the verb. Incorrect There is only two good reasons for missing this law class: death Correct There are only two good reasons for missing this law class: death Incorrect To help you do your shopping quickly, Mr. Scrooge, here are a list Correct To help you do your shopping quickly, Mr. Scrooge, here is a list of Examples News travels slowly if it comes through the post office. When you make a wish or a statement that is contrary to fact, use the sub- junctive verb form “were.” In most cases, the first verb in a sentence establishes the tense of any later Correct Big Joe saw the police car coming up behind, so he turned into the Incorrect Horace uses an artificial sweetener in his coffee all day, so he felt a Correct Horace uses an artificial sweetener in his coffee all day, so he feels its use. Traditional The teacher wanted Lori to communicate her ideas clearly. Don’t use a negative verb and a negative qualifier together. “Passive voice” refers to sentences in which the subject is acted upon. (For more examples of active- and passive-voice verbs, see page 132.) A. The following sentences contain subject–verb agreement errors. 5. Clarity in speech and writing are absolutely essential in the business B. The following sentences contain incorrect verb forms, tense shifts, and Correct any problems you see, and rewrite any sentences would people call you?” asked Jethro. When the emphasis is on the action, use the possessive pronoun plus the Example He hated my singing around the house, so I made him live in the When the emphasis is not on the action, you may use a noun or pronoun Example He hated me singing around the house, so I made him live in the Some nouns may be used as adjectives modifying other nouns: “horse show,” “movie star,” or “theater seats.” But some nouns used as adjectives sound the noun to an appropriate adjective or reword the sentence. Use the singular pronoun with “everyone,” “anyone,” and “each.” Correct When the belly dancer asked for a volunteer partner, everyone in Correct Each of the new wives decided to keep her own name. until he cracks.” Today, however, many authorities prefer the nonsexist “she/he,” even though the construction can be awkward when maintained movies until they crack.” (For more examples, see pages 165–167.) Sometimes you must add a word or rewrite the sentence to make the pro- Be consistent in your use of pronouns; don’t shift from one person to Correct We left-handed people are at a disadvantage because most of the (For additional examples, see page 139.) sentence. If the pronoun is a subject, use the nominative case: “I,” “he,” “she,” “we,” and “they”; if the pronoun is an object, use the objective case: “me,” sounds correct alone. In other cases, to determine the correct pronoun, you will need to add im- Examples Mother always liked Dickie more than me. A common pronoun problem involves use of the preposition “be- tween” and the choice of “me” or “I.” Perhaps you can remember this rule by Correct Just between you and me, the Russian housekeeper is a good cook the case of the pronoun in its own clause in each sentence. A. If the pronoun is the subject of a clause, use “who” or “whoever.” Examples I don’t know who spread the peanut butter on my English paper. the subject of the verb “likes” in the clause “who only likes books with pictures.”] ever offers the largest sum of money.”] B. If the pronoun is the object of a verb, use “whom” or “whomever.” Examples Whom am I kicking? “kicking.”] verb “distrust.”] direct object of the verb “kicked.”] C. If the pronoun occurs as the object of a preposition, use “whom,” Examples With whom am I speaking? To whom is the letter addressed? Correct the following sentences. Skip any correct sentences. Incorrect use of adverbs and adjectives often occurs when you confuse the adverbs; they frequently end in “-ly,” and they often answer the question “how?” One of the most confusing pairs of modifiers is “well” and “good.” We often use “good” as an adjective modifying a noun and “well” as an adverb Examples A Sap’s Fables is a good book for children, although it is not well Example Sarah is the loudest of the four children in the family. Other adjectives use the words “more,” “most,” “less,” and “least” to indi- specific words in the sentence. the beginnings of sentences and often may be corrected by adding the proper Correct Not knowing how to swim, we decided that buying scuba gear was (For additional examples, see page 127.) When modifying words, phrases, or clauses are not placed near the word they Correct There are many things people, especially children, won’t eat. (For additional examples, see pages 126–127.) Correct the errors in the following sentences. We are enclosing with this letter the new telephone number for noti- ERRORS IN SENTENCES A complete sentence must contain a subject and a verb. complete sentence; it is often a participial (“-ing”) phrase or dependent clause your prose, one sentence at a time, starting at the end of your essay. Correct This recording of the symphony’s latest concert is so clear you You can also try this test to see if a group of words is a fragment: say the plete sentence will still make sense, but a fragment won’t. Example At Liz’s most recent wedding, the photographer used an instant [This sentence makes sense, so it’s not a fragment.] Fragment Sentence Errors Rewrite the following sentences so that there are no fragments. For example, the Don’t run two sentences together without any punctuation. Use a period, a A comma splice occurs when two sentences are linked with a comma. rect this error, you can (1) separate the two sentences with a period, (For more help on correcting comma splices, see pages 500–502; coordination Run-On Sentence and Comma Splice Errors Correct the following sentences. Skip any correct sentences you find. “botulism.” This error occurs when the predicate (that part of the sentence that says Incorrect True failure is when you make an error and don’t learn anything Correct You have truly failed only when you make an error and don’t learn (For other examples of faulty predication, see pages 127–128.) (For other examples of mixed structure, see page 128.) Rewrite the following sentences so that each one is clear and coherent. Sentence Sentence Look, for example, at the confusion in the following sentences when the necessary punctuation marks are omitted: Because punctuation helps you communicate clearly with your reader, 1. Use a period to end a sentence. Examples Employees at that company are not allowed to go on coffee Examples W. Examples The elephant was delivered C.O.D. 1. Use a question mark after every direct question. Examples Jean asked why no one makes a paper milk carton that opens The exclamation point follows words, phrases, or sentences to show strong Examples Fire! 1. Use a comma to separate two independent clauses* joined by a coordi- acronym FANBOYS: “for,” “and,” “nor,” “but,” “or,” “yet,” and “so.” Always use * An independent clause looks like a complete sentence; it contains a subject and a verb, and it Do not join two sentences with a comma only; such an error is called a Use a comma plus one of the coordinating conjunctions listed Comma splice Jack doesn’t like singing groups, he won’t go with us to hear Correct Jack doesn’t like singing groups, so he won’t go with us to Correct Jack doesn’t like singing groups. Correct Jack doesn’t like singing groups; he won’t go with us to hear Correct Because Jack doesn’t like singing groups, he won’t go with us Examples Thus, she resolved never to speak to him again. Incorrect use of “however” most often 3. Set off with a comma an introductory phrase or clause. For example, one man claims his socks make a break for freedom 5. Use commas to separate items in a series of words, phrases, or last comma before the “and,” many authorities believe the comma is neces- For example, how many pints of ice cream are listed in the sentence below? Without a comma before the “and,” the reader doesn’t know comma, you clarify the sentence: 6. Use commas to separate adjectives of equal emphasis that modify the word “and” between the adjectives; if the phrase still makes proper sense with the substituted “and,” use a comma. made” modifies the unit “pecan pie,” so there is no comma.] 8. Use commas to set off items in addresses and dates. Examples The sheriff followed me from Austin, Texas, to question me about 9. Use commas to set off a degree or title following a name. Use commas to set off dialogue from the speaker. Examples Alexander announced, “I don’t think I want a second helping of possum.” Use commas to set off “yes,” “no,” “well,” and other weak exclamations. Examples Yes, I am in the cat condo business. a sentence. The word, phrase, or clause is parenthet- Examples Jack is, I think, still a compulsive gambler. Comma Errors A. Study the comma rules numbered 1–4 on the previous pages. Correct any comma errors you see in the following sentences. B. Study the comma rules 5–12 on the previous pages. Correct any comma errors you see in the following sentences. C. The following sentences contain many kinds of comma errors, includ- Correct any errors you see by adding, deleting, or For additional practice correcting comma splice errors, see pages 494–495 in 1. Use a semicolon to link two closely related independent clauses. Examples Pierre has been cooking Cajun-style for years without realizing it; 2. Use a semicolon to avoid a comma splice when connecting two inde- pendent clauses with words like “however,” “moreover,” “thus,” “therefore,” and “consequently.” Examples Vincent Van Gogh sold only one painting in his entire life; how- 3. Use a semicolon in a series between items that already contain internal 1. Use a colon to introduce a long or formal list, but do not use one after Correct Jean is such a bad cook that she thinks the four basic food groups a bore: “A person who talks when you wish him to listen.” 3. Use a colon to introduce a word, phrase, or sentence that emphatically Correct the following semicolon and colon errors by adding, deleting, or Skip any correct sentences. lies an Atheist, all dressed up, and no place to go.” enough, something like this would happen.” World’s Largest Prairie Dog Turn Right at This Exit,” therefore we im- 1. Use an apostrophe to indicate a contraction. Examples It’s too bad your car burned.* Examples Jack’s dog ate the cat’s dinner. * Don’t confuse the contraction “it’s” ( for “it is”) with the possessive pronoun “its,” which ending in “s,” especially when the word is a proper name. Examples Bill Jones’s car 5. To avoid confusion, you may use an apostrophe plus “s” to form the plurals of letters, figures, and words discussed as words; no apostrophe is You use too many “and’s” in your sentence. 19h QUOTATION MARKS (“ ” AND ‘ ’) P 1. Use quotation marks to enclose someone’s spoken or written words. can’t take your money with you.” 2. Use quotation marks around the titles of essays,* articles, chapter 3. You may either underline or place quotation marks around a word, phrase, or letter used as the subject of discussion. * Do not, however, put quotation marks around your own essay’s title on either the title page or Examples Never use “however” as a coordinating conjunction. The word “bigwig,” meaning an important person, is derived from Her use of such adjectives as “drab,” “bleak,” and “musty” gives them in quotation marks; instead, substitute specific words. Specific After work Chuck liked to relax by watching old movies on tele- mark goes inside; if the quoted material is a part of a whole sentence that is a Examples According to cartoonist Matt Groening, “Love is a snowmobile neath, and at night the ice weasels come.” over, pins you underneath, and at night the ice weasels come,” Sally asked, “Do you think you’re in love or just in a snowmobile?” 6. Use single quotation marks to enclose a quotation (or words requiring Examples Professor Hall asked his class, “Do you agree with Samuel John- umph of hope over experience’?” “One of my favorite songs is ‘In My Life’ by the Beatles,” said Jane. A. Correct the apostrophe errors you see in the following phrases. B. Correct the following errors by adding, changing, or deleting apostro- 1. Use parentheses to set off words, dates, or statements that give addi- bird, for example). Examples The Colorado winters of 1978 and 1979 broke records for low tem- a. Use commas to set off information closely related to the rest of the sentence. b. Use parentheses to set off information loosely related to the rest of the c. Use dashes to set off information dramatically or emphatically. 1. Use brackets to set off editorial explanations in quoted material. Examples According to the old letter, the treasure map could be found “in 2. Use brackets to set off editorial corrections in quoted material. ing the bracketed word “sic” (meaning “thus”) next to an error, you indicate Examples The student wrote, “I think it’s unfair for teachers to count off for speling [sic].” [“Sic” in brackets indicates that the student who is quoted misspelled the word “spelling.”] [Here, “sic” in brackets indicates an error in word choice; the “steaks.”] 1. Use a dash to indicate a strong or sudden shift in thought. * Please note that in a typed work, a dash is indicated by two bar marks (“—”); one bar mark (“-”) indicates a hyphen. (To clear up any confusion over the uses of dashes, commas, and paren- 1. Use a hyphen to join words into a single adjective before a noun. Do not use a hyphen when the modifier ends in “ly.” 8 The Reading-Writing Connection 16 Writing in Class: Exams and “Response ” Essays 17 Writing in the World of Work 21 Exposition: Development by Example