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The Brief Penguin Handbook has established itself as the best-selling handbook to enter the market in eighteen years.  The design and approach of The Brief Penguin Handbook started with ideas and suggestions from real students, and thus it is uniquely successful when it comes to giving students the information they need in a format they will actually use.  With unique visual guides and models for writing, research, and documentation, distinctive coverage of writing for different purposes, and Lester Faigley’s clear, accessible explanations, The Brief Penguin Handbook makes it simple for students to achieve success in their composition classes.

Author Biography

Lester Faigley holds the Robert Adger Law and Thos. H. Law Professorship in Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin. He was the founding director of the Division (now Department) of Rhetoric and Writing at Texas in 1993, and he served as the 1996 Chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication. Faigley has published over twenty books and editions, including Fragments of Rationality (Pittsburgh, 1992), which received the MLA Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize.

Table of Contents

PART 1 Planning, Drafting, and Revising


1 Think as a Writer 

            a Think About What College Readers Expect 

            b Think About How to Persuade Others 

            c Think About Your Audience 

            d Think About Your Credibility 

            e Think About Your Purpose 


2 Plan and Draft 

            a Establish Your Goals 

            b Explore Your Topic 

            c Write a Working Thesis 

            d Plan a Strategy 

            e Compose a Draft 

            f Write as a Member of a Team 


3 Compose Paragraphs 

            a Focus Your Paragraphs 

            b Organize Your Paragraphs 

            c Make Your Paragraphs Coherent 

            d Consider Paragraph Length 

            e Write Effective Beginning and Ending Paragraphs 


4 Rewrite, Edit, and Proofread 

            a Switch from Writer to Reader 

            b Learn Strategies for Rewriting 

            c Respond to Other Writers’ Drafts 

            d Edit for Particular Goals 

            e Proofread Carefully 

            f Learn to Edit the Writing of Others 


PART 2 Analyzing, Reflecting, Informing, Arguing


5 Read and View with a Critical Eye 

            a Become a Critical Reader 

            b Read Actively 

            c Write Summaries 

            d Recognize Verbal Fallacies 

            e Become a Critical Viewer 

            f Recognize Visual Fallacies 


6 Write an Analysis 

            a Understand the Goal of a Rhetorical Analysis 

            b Analyze the Context and the Text 

            c Organize and Write a Rhetorical Analysis 

            d Sample Rhetorical Analysis 

            e Analyze Images and Other Visual Texts 


7 Write a Reflection 

            a Find a Reflective Topic 

            b Identify a Focus 

            c Organize and Write a Reflection 

            d Sample Reflective Essay 


8 Write an Informative Essay 

            a Find an Informative Topic 

            b Narrow Your Topic and Write a Thesis 

            c Organize and Write an Informative Essay 

            d Sample Informative Essay 


9 Write a Position Argument 

            a Position Arguments and Proposal Arguments 

            b Find an Arguable Topic and Make a Claim 

            c Organize and Write a Position Argument 

            d Sample Position Argument 


10 Write a Proposal Argument 

            a Find an Arguable Topic and Make a Proposal 

            b Organize and Write a Proposal Argument 

            c Sample Proposal Argument 


PART 3 Writing in the Disciplines


11 Learn to Write in Academic Disciplines 

            a Become an Academic Writer 

            b What Counts as Evidence in the Disciplines? 


12 Write in Specific Genres 

            a Write an Essay Examination 

            b Write an Observation 

            c Write a Case Study 

            d Write a Lab Report in the Sciences 

            e Write a Letter of Application 

            f Write a Résumé 

            g Write a Business Memo 


13 Write About Literature 

            a Become a Critical Reader of Literature 

            b Develop an Interpretation 

            c Write a Literary Analysis 

            d Sample Literary Analysis 


PART 4 Designing and Presenting


14 Communicate in Multimedia 

            a Multimedia Composing 

            b Think About Verbal and Visual Relationships 

            c Design Documents 

            d Choose Type   

            e Create Tables, Charts, and Graphs 


15 Design Presentations 

            a Plan a Presentation 

            b Design Visuals for a Presentation 

            c Deliver an Effective Presentation 


PART 5 Planning Research and Finding Sources


Research Map


16 Plan Your Research 

            a Analyze the Research Task 

            b Set a Schedule 

            c Find and Narrow a Topic 

            d Determine What Kind of Research You Need 

            e Draft a Working Thesis 

            f Create a Working Bibliography 

            g Create an Annotated Bibliography 


17 Find Sources 

            a Develop Strategies for Finding Sources 

            b Find Sources in Databases 

            c Find Sources on the Web 

            d Find Multimedia Sources 

            e Find Print Sources 

            f Keep Track of Sources 


18 Evaluate Sources 

            a Determine the Relevance of Sources 

            b Determine the Quality of Sources 

            c Evaluate Database and Print Sources 

            d Evaluate Web Sources 


19 Plan Field Research 

            a Know What You Can Obtain from Field Research 

            b Conduct Interviews 

            c Administer Surveys 

            d Make Observations 


PART 6 Incorporating and Documenting Sources


Using Sources Map


20 Understand and Avoid Plagiarism 

            a Understand the Purposes of Sources 

            b What is Plagiarism? 

            c Avoid Plagiarism When Taking Notes 

            d Avoid Plagiarism When Quoting Sources 

            e Avoid Plagiarism When Summarizing and Paraphrasing 


21 Use Sources Effectively 

            a Use Sources to Provide Evidence 

            b Use Sources as Points of Departure 

            c Decide When to Quote and When to Paraphrase 

            d Integrate Quotations 

            e Integrate Summaries and Paraphrases 

            f Integrate Visuals 


22 Write and Revise the Research Project 

            a Revisit Your Research 

            b Plan Your Organization 

            c Write a Draft 

            d Review and Revise 



MLA Documentation Map


23 MLA Documentation 

            a Writer at Work: Citing Sources in a MLA-Style Project 

            b Writer at Work: Creating the List of Work Cited 

            c In-Text Citations in MLA Style   

            d Illustrated Samples and Index of Works Cited in MLA Style 

            e Journals, Magazines, Newspapers, and Other Print Sources 

            f Books 

            g Library Database Sources 

            h Web Sources and Other Online Sources 

            i Visual Sources 

            j Multimedia Sources 

            k Informational Notes 

            l Sample Research Paper with MLA Documentation 



APA Documentation Map


24 APA Documentation 

            a In-text Citations in APA Style 

            b Illustrated Samples and Index of References in APA Style 

            c Periodical Sources 

            d Books and Nonperiodical Sources   

            e Online Sources 

            f Visual, Computer, and Multimedia Sources 

            g Sample Paper with APA Documentation 


25 CMS Documentation 

            a In-text Citations in CMS Style 

            b Documentation in CMS Style 

            c Books and Nonperiodical Sources 

            d Periodical Sources 

            e Online Sources 

            f Multimedia Sources 

            g Sample Pages with CMS Documentation 


26 CSE Documentation 

            a In-text Citations in CSE Style 

            b References in CSE Style 

            c Books and Nonperiodical Sources 

            d Periodical Sources 

            e Online Sources 

            f Sample Pages with CSE Documentation 


PART 7 Effective Style and Language


27 Write with Power 

            a Pay Attention to Verbs 

            b Stay Active 

            c Find Agents 

            d Vary Your Sentences 

            e Give Your Writing Personality 


28 Write Concisely 

            a Eliminate Unnecessary Words 

            b Reduce Wordy Phrases 

            c Simplify Tangled Sentences 


29 Write with Emphasis 

            a Manage Emphasis in Sentences 

            b Forge Links Across Sentences 

            c Use Parallel Structure with Parallel Ideas 

            d Use Parallel Structure with Lists 

            e Use Parallel Structure in Paragraphs 


30 Find the Right Words 

            a Be Aware of Levels of Formality 

            b Be Aware of Denotation and Connotation 

            c Use Specific Language 

            d Use Effective Figurative Language 


31 Write to Be Inclusive 

            a Be Aware of Stereotypes 

            b Be Inclusive About Gender 

            c Be Inclusive About Race and Ethnicity 

            d Be Inclusive About Other Differences 

            e Recognize International Varieties of English 


PART 8 Understanding Grammar


32 Grammar Basics 

            a Sentence Basics 

            b Word Classes 

            c Clauses 

            d Phrases 

            e Sentence Types 


33 Fragments, Run-ons, and Comma Splices 

            a Fragments 

            b Run-on Sentences 

            c Comma Splices 


34 Subject-Verb Agreement 

            a Agreement in the Present Tense 

            b Singular and Plural Subjects 

            c Indefinite Pronouns as Subjects 

            d Collective Nouns as Subjects 

            e Inverted Word Order 

            f Amounts, Numbers, and Pairs 


35 Verbs 

            a Basic Verb Forms 

            b Irregular Verbs 

            c Transitive and Intransitive Verbs 

            d Shifts in Tense 

            e Shifts in Mood 


36 Pronouns 

            a Pronoun Case 

            b Pronoun Agreement 

            c Problems with Pronouns and Gender 

            d Vague Reference 


37 Modifiers 

            a Choose the Correct Modifier 

            b Place Adjectives Carefully 

            c Place Adverbs Carefully 

            d Revise Disruptive Modifiers 

            e Revise Dangling Modifiers   


PART 9 Understanding Punctuation and Mechanics


38 Commas 

            a Commas with Introductory Elements 

            b Commas with Compound Clauses 

            c Commas with Nonrestrictive Modifiers 

            d Commas with Items in a Series 

            e Commas with Coordinate Adjectives 

            f Commas with Quotations 

            g Commas with Dates, Numbers, Titles, and Addresses 

            h Commas to Avoid Confusion 

            i Unnecessary Commas 


39 Semicolons and Colons 

            a Semicolons with Closely Related Main Clauses 

            b Semicolons Together with Commas 

            c Colons in Sentences 

            d Colons with Lists 


40 Hyphens 

            a Hyphens with Compound Modifiers 

            b Hyphens with Compound Nouns 

            c Hyphens that Divide Words at the Ends of Lines 

            d Hyphens for Clarity 


41 Dashes and Parentheses 

            a Dashes and Parentheses vs. Commas 

            b Dashes and Parentheses to Set Off Information 

            c Other Punctuation with Parentheses 

            d Other Punctuation with Dashes 


42 Apostrophes 

            a Possessives 

            b Contractions and Omitted Letters 

            c Plurals of Letters, Symbols, and Words Referred to as Words 


43 Quotation Marks 

            a Direct Quotations 

            b Titles of Short Works 

            c Other Uses of Quotation Marks 

            d Misuses of Quotation Marks 

            e Other Punctuation with Quotation Marks 


44 Other Punctuation Marks 

            a Periods 

            b Question Marks 

            c Exclamation Points 

            d Brackets 

            e Ellipses 

            f Slashes 


45 Write with Accurate Spelling 

            a Know the Limitations of Spelling Checkers 

            b Distinguish Homonyms 


46 Capitalization and Italics 

            a Capital Letters 

            b Italics 


47 Abbreviations, Acronyms, and Numbers 

            a Abbreviations 

            b Acronyms 

            c Numbers 



PART 10 If English Is Not Your First Language


48 Write in a Second Language 

            a Understand the Demands of Writing in a Second Language 

            b Use Your Native Language as a Resource 

            c Use Dictionaries 

            d Understand English Idioms 


49 Nouns, Articles, and Prepositions 

            a Kinds of Nouns 

            b Count and Noncount Nouns 

            c Singular and Plural Forms 

            d Articles 

            e Prepositions 


50 Verbs 

            a Types of Verbs 

            b Be Verbs 

            c Modal Auxiliary Verbs 

            d Verbs and Infinitives 

            e Verbs and -ing Verbals 

            f Conditional Sentences 

            g Participial Adjectives 

            h Phrasal Verbs 


51 English Sentence Structure 

            a Subjects 

            b English Word Order 

            c Placement of Modifiers 

            d Adjectives with Prepositions 


Glossary of Grammatical Terms and Usage 



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