Exploring Writing: Paragraphs and Essays

  • ISBN13:


  • ISBN10:


  • Edition: 3rd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-10-04
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education
  • View Upgraded Edition

Note: Supplemental materials are not guaranteed with Rental or Used book purchases.

Purchase Benefits

  • Free Shipping On Orders Over $35!
    Your order must be $35 or more to qualify for free economy shipping. Bulk sales, PO's, Marketplace items, eBooks and apparel do not qualify for this offer.
  • Get Rewarded for Ordering Your Textbooks! Enroll Now
  • We Buy This Book Back!
    In-Store Credit: $7.35
    Check/Direct Deposit: $7.00
    PayPal: $7.00
List Price: $136.69 Save up to $111.69
  • Buy Used
    Add to Cart Free Shipping


Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

  • The Used and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.


Exploring Writing: Paragraphs and Essaysserves as a guidebook for every step of the writing process. Emphasizing both process and practice, with a focus on revision, the new second edition helps to apply and advance writing skills using John Langan's proven techniques. Mastering essential sentence skills, learning to write effective paragraphs and essays, and becoming a critical reader are turning points for every writer, and they will prepare the students for writing situations in college and beyond.

Table of Contents


By John Langan




1. An Introduction to Writing 4

Point and Support 5

An Important Difference between Writing and Talking 5
Point and Support in a Paragraph 6

Knowing Your Purpose and Audience 8

Benefits of Paragraph Writing 9

Writing as a Skill 9

Writing as a Process of Discovery 11

Keeping a Journal 12

Tips on Using a Computer 14

Ways to Use a Computer at Each Stage of the Writing Process 15

2. The Writing Process 19

Prewriting 20

Technique 1: Freewriting 20
Technique 2: Questioning 23
Technique 3: Making a List 24
Technique 4: Clustering 26
Technique 5: Preparing a Scratch Outline 27

Writing a First Draft 28

Writing a First Draft: A Student Model 29

Revising 30

Revising Content 31
Revising Sentences 31

Editing 31

An Illustration of the Revising and Editing Processes 32

Using Peer Review 34

Identification 35
Scratch Outline 35
Comments 35

Review Activities 36

Taking a Writing Inventory 36
Prewriting 38
Outlining 40
Revising 46


3. The First and Second Steps in Writing 54

Step 1: Begin with a Point 55

Identifying Common Errors in Topic Sentences 57
Understanding the Two Parts of a Topic Sentence 59
Selecting a Topic Sentence 61
Writing a Topic Sentence I 62
Writing a Topic Sentence II 64

Step 2: Support the Point with Specific Evidence 65

The Point as an “Umbrella” Idea 66

Reinforcing Point and Support 68

The Importance of Specific Details 71

Recognizing Specific Details I 71
Recognizing Specific Details II 74
Providing Supporting Evidence 74

The Importance of Adequate Details 75

Identifying Adequate Supporting Evidence 77
Adding Details to Complete a Paragraph 80
Writing a Paragraph 81

4. The Third and Fourth Steps in Writing 84

Step 3: Organize and Connect the Specific Evidence 85

Common Methods of Organization: Time Order and Emphatic Order 85
Transitions 89
Other Connecting Words 95

Step 4: Write Clear, Error-Free Sentences 98

Revising Sentences 98
Editing Sentences 116

5. Four Bases for Revising Writing 119

Base 1: Unity 120

Understanding Unity 120
Checking for Unity 122

Base 2: Support 126

Understanding Support 126
Checking for Support 127

Base 3: Coherence 129

Understanding Coherence 129
Checking for Coherence 131

Base 4: Sentence Skills 135

Understanding Sentence Skills 135
Checking for Sentence Skills 138

Evaluating Paragraphs for All Four Bases: Unity, Support, Coherence, and Sentence Skills 139


6. Exemplification 146

Paragraphs to Consider 147

Developing an Exemplification Paragraph 149

Development through Prewriting 149
Development through Revising 151

Writing an Exemplification Paragraph 151

7. Narration 157

Paragraphs to Consider 158

Developing a Narrative Paragraph 160

Development through Prewriting 160
Development through Revising 161

Writing a Narrative Paragraph 162

8. Description 166

Paragraphs to Consider 167

Developing a Descriptive Paragraph 169

Development through Prewriting 169
Development through Revising 171

Writing a Descriptive Paragraph 171

9. Process 177

Paragraphs to Consider 178

Developing a Process Paragraph 180

Development through Prewriting 180
Development through Revising 182

Writing a Process Paragraph 182

10. Cause and Effect 187

Paragraphs to Consider 188

Developing a Cause-and-Effect Paragraph 189

Development through Prewriting 189
Development through Revising 191

Writing a Cause-and-Effect Paragraph 191

11. Comparison or Contrast 196

Paragraphs to Consider 197

Methods of Development 198

One Side at a Time 199
Point by Point 199

Additional Paragraph to Consider 201

Developing a Comparison or Contrast Paragraph 202

Development through Prewriting 202
Development through Revising 204

Writing a Comparison or Contrast Paragraph 205

12. Definition 209

Paragraphs to Consider 210

Developing a Definition Paragraph 212

Development through Prewriting 212
Development through Revising 214

Writing a Definition Paragraph 214

13. Division-Classification 219

Paragraphs to Consider 220

Developing a Division-Classification Paragraph 223

Development through Prewriting 223
Development through Revising 225

Writing a Division-Classification Paragraph 226

Argument 231

Strategies for Arguments 232

Use Tactful, Courteous Language 232
Point Out Common Ground 232
Acknowledge Differing Viewpoints 233
When Appropriate, Grant the Merits of Differing Viewpoints 233
Rebut Differing Viewpoints 233

Paragraphs to Consider 236

Developing an Argument Paragraph 238

Development through Prewriting 238
Development through Revising 241

Writing an Argument Paragraph 242


15. Introduction to Essay Development 250

What Is an Essay? 251

Differences Between an Essay and Paragraph 251

Structure of the Traditional Essay 251

A Model Essay 251
Parts of an Essay 252
Introductory Paragraph 252
Body: Supporting Paragraphs 253
Concluding Paragraph 254
Diagram of an Essay 255
Identifying the Parts of an Essay 256

Important Considerations in Essay Development 258

Determining Your Point of View 258
Doing a Personal Review 260

16.Writing the Essay 261

Step 1: Begin with a Point, or Thesis 262

Understanding Thesis Statements 262
Writing a Good Thesis I 262
Writing a Good Thesis II 264

Step 2: Support the Thesis with Specific Evidence 269

The Importance of Specific Details 271
The Importance of Adequate Details 272
Adding Details to Complete an Essay 272

Step 3: Organize and Connect the Specific Evidence 274

Common Methods of Organization 274
Transitions 276
Other Connecting Words 279
Identifying Transitions and Other Connecting Words 279

Step 4: Write Clear, Error-Free Sentences 280

Use Active Verbs 281
Practice in Revising Sentences 282

Revising Essays for All Four Bases: Unity, Support, Coherence, and Sentence Skills 287

17. Introductions, Conclusions, and Titles 291

Introductory Paragraph 292

Functions of the Introduction 292
Common Methods of Introduction 292

Concluding Paragraph 295

Common Methods of Conclusion 295

Identifying Introductions and Conclusions 297

Titles 299

Essay Writing Assignments 300

18. Patterns of Essay Development 306

Developing an Essay with Emphasis on Exemplification

Considering Purpose and Audience
Student Essay to Consider

Writing an Essay with Emphasis on Exemplification

Developing an Essay with Emphasis on Narration

Considering Purpose and Audience
Student Essay to Consider

Writing an Essay with Emphasis on Narration

Developing an Essay with Emphasis on Description

Considering Purpose and Audience
Student Essay to Consider

Wriitng an Essay with Emphasis on Description

Developing an Essay with Emphasis on Process

Considering Purpose and Audience
Student Essay to Consider

Writing an Essay with Emphasis on Process

Developing an Essay with Emphasis on Cause-and-Effect

Considering Purpose and Audience
Student Essay to Consider

Writing an Essay with Emphasis on Cause-and-Effect

Developing an Essay with Emphasis on Cause-and-Effect

Considering Purpose and Audience
Student Essay to Consider

Writing an Essay with Emphasis on Cause-and-Effect

Developing an Essay with Emphasis on Comparison or Contrast

Considering Purpose and Audience
Student Essay to Consider

Writing an Essay with Emphasis on Comparison or Contrast

Developing an Essay with Emphasis on Definition

Considering Purpose and Audience
Student Essay to Consider

Writing an Essay with Emphasis on Definition

Developing an Essay with Emphasis on Division-Classification

Considering Purpose and Audience
Student Essay to Consider

Writing an Essay with Emphasis on Division-Classification

Developing an Essay with Emphasis on Argument

Considering Purpose and Audience
Student Essay to Consider

Writing an Essay with Emphasis on Argument

19. Special College Skills 338

Taking Essay Exams 339

Step 1: Anticipate Ten Probable Questions 339
Step 2: Prepare and Memorize an Informal Outline Answer for Each Question 340
Step 3: Look at the Exam Carefully and Do Several Things 341
Step 4: Prepare a Brief, Informal Outline before Writing Your Essay Answer 343
Step 5: Write a Clear, Well-Organized Essay

Writing a Summary 343

How to Summarize an Article 346
How to Summarize a Book 354

Writing a Report 355

Part 1 of a Report: A Summary of the Work 355
Part 2 of a Report: Your Reaction to the Work 355
Points to Keep in Mind When Writing a Report 356
A Model Report 356

20. Writing a Research Paper 359

Step 1: Select a Topic That You Can Readily Research 360

Researching at a Local Library 360
Researching on the Internet 360

Step 2: Limit Your Topic and Make the Purpose of Your Paper Clear 361

Step 3: Gather Information on Your Limited Topic 362

Step 4: Plan Your Paper and Take Notes on Your Limited Topic 362

Preparing a Scratch Outline 362
Note-Taking 363
A Caution about Plagiarism 364

Step 5: Write the Paper 367

Step 6: Use an Acceptable Format and Method of Documentation 367

Format 367
Documentation of Sources 367
Citation within a Paper 368
Citations at the End of a Paper 368
Model Entries for a List of "Works Cited" 369

Model Paper 371



21.Subjects and Verbs 387

A Simple Way to Find a Subject 387
A Simple Way to Find a Verb 387
More about Subjects and Verbs 388

22.Sentence Sense 392

What is Sentence Sense? 392
Turning On Your Sentence Sense 392
Summary: Using Sentence Sense 394

23.Fragments 395

Dependent-Word Fragments 395
How to Correct a Depedent-Word Fragment 396
-ing and to Fragments 398
How to Correct -ing Fragments 399
How to Correct to Fragments 399
Added-Detail Fragments 401
How to Correct Missing-Subject Fragments 401
Missing-Subject Fragments 403
How to Correct Missing-Subject Fragments 403

24.Run-Ons 408

What are Run-Ons? 409
How to Correct Run-Ons? 409
Method 1: Period and a Capital Letter 409
Method 2: Comma and a Joining Word 410
Method 3: Semicolon 413
A Note on Subordination 416

25.Regular and Irregular Verbs 420

Regular Verbs 420
A Brief Review of Regular Verbs 420
Nonstandard Forms of Regular Verbs 420
Irregular Verbs 422
A List of Irregular Verbs 422
Nonstandard Forms of Three Common Irregular Verbs 425

26.Subject-Verb Agreement 428

Words between Subject and Verb 428
Verb before Subject 429
Compound Subjects 429
Indefinite Pronouns 430

27.Additional Information about Verbs 433

Verb Tense 433
Helping Verbs 434
Verbals 435
Infinitive 435
Participle 435
Gerund 435

28.Pronoun Agreement and Reference 437

Pronoun Agreement 437
Indefinite Pronouns 438
Pronoun Reference 439

29.Pronoun Types 442

Subject and Object Pronouns 442
Subject Pronouns 442
Object Pronouns 444
Possessive Pronouns 445
Demonstrative Pronouns 446

30.Adjectives and Adverbs 448

Adjectives 448
What are Adjectives? 448
Using Adjectives to Compare 449
Points to Remember about Comparing 449
Adverbs 450
What are Adverbs? 450
A Common Mistake with Adverbs and Adjectives 450
Well and Good 451

31.Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers 453

Misplaced Modifiers 453
Dangling Modifiers 454


32.Manuscript Form 464

33.Capital Letters 466

Main Uses of Capital Letters 466
First Word in a Sentence or Direct Quotation 466
Names of Persons and the Word / 466
Names of Particular Places and Institutions 466
Names of Days of the Week, Months, and Holidays 467
Names of Commercial Products 467
Titles of Books, Magazines, Newspapers, Articles, Stories, Poems, Films, Television Shows, Songs, Papers Tha You Write, and the Like 467
Names of Companies, Associations, Unions, Clubs, Religious and Political Groups, and Other Organizations 467
Other Uses of Capital Letters 468
Names that Show Family Relationships 468
Titles of Persons When Used with Their Names 469
Specific School Courses 469
Geographic Locations 469
Historical Periods and Events 469
Races, Nations, and Nationalities 470
Opening and Closing of a Letter 470
Unnecessary Use of Capitals 470

34.Numbers and Abbreviations 473

Numbers 473
Rule 1 473
Rule 2 473
Rule 3 473
Abbreviations 474


35.Apostrophe 479

Apostrophe in Contractions 479
Apostrophe to Show Ownership or Possession 480
Points to Remember 480
Apostrophe versus Possessive Pronouns 482
Apostrophe verus Simple Plurals 482
Apostrophe with Plurals Ending in -s 483

36.Quotation Marks 485

Quotation Marks to Set Off the Words of a Speaker or Writer 485
Indirect Quotations 487
Quotation Marks to Set Off Titles of Short Works 488
Other Uses of Quotations Marks 489

37.Comma 492

Six Main Uses of the Comma 492
1. Comma between Items in a Series 492
2. Comma after Introductory Material 493
3. Comma around Words That Interrupt the Flow of Thought 494
4. Comma between Complete Thoughts 495
5. Comma with Direct Quotations 496
6. Comma with Everyday Material 497

38.Other Punctuation Marks 501

Colon (:) 501
Semicolon (;) 501
Dash (-) 502
Parentheses () 502
Hyphen (-) 503


39.Spelling Improvement 508

Step 1: Use the Dictionary 508
Step 2: Keep a Personal Spelling List 508
Step 3: Master Commonly Confused Words 509
Step 4: Learn Key Words in Major Subjects 509
Step 5: Study a Basic Word List 509
Step 5: Use Electronic Aids 511

40.Commonly Confused Words 512

Homonyms 512
Other Words Frequently Confused 516

41.Effective Word Choice 521

Slang 521
Cliches 522
Inflated Words 524

42.Editing Tests 527

43.ESL Pointers 540

Articles with Count and Noncount Nouns 540
Using a or an with Nonspecific Singular Count Nouns 541
Using the with Specific Nouns 541
Omitting Articles 542
Using the with Proper Nouns 542
Subjects and Verbs 544
Avoiding Repeated Subjects 544
Including Pronoun Subjects and Linking Verbs 544
Including There and Here at the Beginning of Clauses 544
Not Using the Progressive Tense of Certain Verbs 545
Using Only Transitive Verbs for the Passive Voice 545
Using Gerunds and Infinitives after Verbs 545
Adjectives 548
Following the Order of Adjectives in English 548
Using the Present and Past Participles as Adjectives 549
Prepositions Used for Time and Place 551
Word Use Editiing Tests 553
Correction Symbols 558


Introduction to the Readings 562

Looking Inward 566

Shame, Dick Gregory 566
The Professor is a Dropout, Beth Johnson 572
Superman and Me, Sherman Alexie *NEW*
Prison Studies, Malcom X (personal essay) 587
Straw into Gold: The Metamorphosis of the Everyday, Sandra Cisneros
Mother Tongue, Amy Tan

Observing Others 603

What's Wrong with Schools?, Casey Banas
Propaganda Techniques in Today's Advertising, Ann McClintock 608
This is How We Live, Ellen DeGeneres 616
Advice to Youth, Mark Twain
Start By Sitting Together, Randy Pausch 629
Inaugural Address, John F. Kennedy 633
Neat People vs. Sloppy People, Suzanne Brit (book excerpt) 639
Petophila, Jon Katz 644

Confronting Problems 650

How to Make It in College, Now That You’re Here, Brian O’Keeney 650
In Praise of the F Word, Mary Sherry 659
Is Sex All That Matters?, Joyce Garity 664
Cyberbullying, Thomas J. Billitteri 671
Why Profiling Won’t Work, William Raspberry 678
Here's to Your Health, Joan Dunayer 683

APPENDIX A: Writing a Resume and Cover Letter 689

APPENDIX B: Writing a Formal E-mail

APPENDIX C: Transition Words and Phrases



Rewards Program

Write a Review