Odyssey : A Guide to Better Writing

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  • Edition: 2nd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1999-12-16
  • Publisher: Longman
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The first full-color work text in the developmental writing market, Odyssey focuses on helping students build paragraph and essay writing skills. With its encouraging tone, careful explanations, and abundance of carefully sequenced and incrementally challenging exercise sets, it enables students to view writing as a means of discovering more about themselves and their surroundings. The text's organization and self-contained chapters within each part ensure cumulative skill development and allow flexibility in course design: Part I - A thorough overview of the writing process, including exercises that help students examine their attitudes and fears about writing. Part II - An introduction to the patterns of development. Part III - A transition to essay writing that shows how to apply the patterns to longer pieces and adapt them for essay exams. Parts IV-VI - Self-contained chapters provide review and extensive practice in grammar, punctuation, and mechanics. Part VII - An anthology of student and professional readings with an introduction on critical reading and comprehension. Also includes writing exercises. Appendices - Writing with a word processor and tips for ESL students. In every chapter, Odyssey offers a progression of exercises that begin with comprehension and practice of fundamental concepts. Some exercise sets focus on invention and the writing of short pieces. Students can then proceed to exercises that call for critical thinking, drafting, and revision. Grammar, mechanics, and punctuation chapters conclude with summary exercises that call upon students to use all the grammar and sentence skills learned in the chapter. In addition, many chapters contain a pair of Discovering Connections exercises. The first, which falls early in the chapter, is a prewriting assignment with an array of topic possibilities. The second is a drafting and revision exercise based upon the prewriting and calls for peer review.

Table of Contents


1. Ensuring Success in Writing.
Overview: Understanding the Importance of Good.
Recognizing the Dynamics of Writing.
Understanding the Basic Components of Writing.
Focusing on the Reader.
Understanding the Purpose behind Your Writing.
Recap: Ensuring Success in Writing.

2. Generating Ideas through Prewriting.
Overview: Seeing Prewriting as a Way to Explore Ideas.
Understanding Prewriting.
Idea Mapping.
Maintaining a Journal.
Recap: Generating Ideas through Prewriting.

3. Composing: Creating a Draft.
Overview: Understanding Composing.
Recognizing the Structure of a Paragraph.
Focusing a Topic.
Writing a Clear, Specific Topic Sentence.
Providing the Best Support for the Topic Sentence.
Deciding on the Most Effective Arrangement.
Making Your Material Reader Centered.
Using a Reader Evaluation Checklist.
Developing a Complete Draft.
Recap: Composing: Creating a Draft.

4. Refining and Polishing Your Draft.
Overview: Understanding the Revising Stage.
Reassessing: Reseeing Your Work.
Recap: Refining and Polishing Your Draft.


5. Narration.
Overview: Telling Your Story.
Writing a Clear Topic Sentence That Establishes a Context.
Relying on Chronological Order.
Choosing the Most Effective Point of View.
Recap: Narration.

6. Description.
Overview: Creating a Picture in Words.
Previewing the Focus of Description through the Topic Sentence.
Using Sensory Details.
Relying on Objective and Subjective Description.
Using Spatial Order.
Recap: Description.

7. Example.
Overview: Learning to Illustrate Your Point.
Providing a Topic Sentence That States the Point You Will Illustrate.
Providing Specific Examples.
Ensuring That Your Examples Are Relevant.
Recap: Example.

8. Process.
Overview: Explaining “How to” or “How It Happens.”
Including a Topic Sentence That Clearly States the Process.
Using the Imperative Mood: You.
Dividing the Process into Simple, Logical Steps.
Relying on Linear Order.
Recap: Process.

9. Definition.
Overview: Making Meaning Crystal Clear.
Providing a Topic Sentence That Highlights the Term to Be Defined.
Understanding the Pattern of an Effective Definition.
Recognizing the Full Effect of the Term Defined.
Recap: Definition.

10. Comparison and Contrast.
Overview: Expressing Similarities and Differences.
Providing a Topic Sentence That Specifies Both Subjects and Indicates the Focus.
Establishing Your Bases for Comparison.
Arranging Your Ideas Effectively.
Recap: Comparison and Contrast.

11. Cause and Effect.
Overview: Explaining Reasons and Consequences.
Providing a Topic Sentence That Focuses on Cause or Effect.
Distinguishing between Direct and Related Causes and Effects.
Avoiding Oversimplification of Causes and Effects.
Recap: Cause and Effect.

12. Division and Classification.
Overview: Analyzing the Whole in Terms of the Parts.
Specifying Scope and Emphasis through a Topic Sentence.
Establishing a Logical Method of Analysis.
Maintaining a Consistent Presentation.
Using Distinct and Complete Groupings.
Recap: Division and Classification.

13. Argument.
Overview: Understanding Persuasion.
Providing a Topic Sentence That Expresses a Clear Stance on the Issue.
Developing Sufficient Support through Sound Reasons.
Using a Reasonable, Convincing Tone.
Using Sound Logic.
Arranging Your Support in Emphatic Order.
Recap: Argument.


14. Developing an Essay.
Overview: Comparing the Paragraph and the Essay.
Understanding the Structure of an Essay.
Understanding the Role of the Thesis.
Examining an Effective Essay.
Examining the Process of Writing an Essay.
Looking Again at the Final Draft.
Recap: Developing an Essay.

15. Examining Types of Essays.
Overview: Understanding the Use of Modes in Essays.
The Relationship between Your Purpose and the Modes.
Using Narration to Develop an Essay.
Using Description to Develop an Essay.
Using Example to Develop an Essay.
Using Process to Develop an Essay.
Using Definition to Develop an Essay.
Using Comparison and Contrast to Develop an Essay.
Using Cause and Effect to Develop an Essay.
Using Division and Classification to Develop an Essay.
Writing an Argument Essay.
Recap: Examining Types of Essays.

16. Answering Essay Questions.
Overview: Laying the Foundation for Answering Essay Questions
Approaching an Essay Question.
Examining an Answer to a Practice Question.
Recap: Answering Essay Questions.


17. The Sentence.
Overview: Understanding Sentence Basics.
Understanding Verbs.
Recognizing Subjects.
Recap: The Sentence.

18. Fragments.
Overview: Recognizing and Writing Complete Sentences.
Correcting Fragments with Missing Subjects or Verbs.
Correcting Phrase Fragments.
Correcting Subordinate Clause Fragments.
Correcting Appositive Fragments.
Recap: Fragments.

19. Subordination and Coordination.
Overview: Combining Clauses for Sentence Complexity.
Using Subordination.
Using Coordination.
Recap: Subordination and Coordination.

20. Comma Splices and Run-On Sentences.
Overview: Understanding Sentence-Combining Errors.
Identifying Common Splices and Run-On Sentences.
Correcting Common Splices and Run-Ons by Using Coordinating Conjunctions.
Correcting Comma Splices and Run-Ons by Using Subordinating Conjunctions.
Correcting Comma Splices and Run-Ons by Using Semicolons.
Correcting Comma Splices and Run-Ons by Using Periods.
Recap: Comma Splices and Run-On Sentences.


21. Subject-Verb Agreement.
Overview: Understanding Subject-Verb Agreement.
Avoiding Agreement Errors When the Subject Follows the Verb.
Avoiding Agreement Errors When Words Come between the Subject and Verb.
Avoiding Agreement Errors with Indefinite Pronouns.
Avoiding Agreement Errors from Other Causes.
Recap: Subject-Verb Agreement.

22. Basic Tenses for Regular Verbs.
Overview: Understanding Tense.
Using the Simple Present, Simple Future, and Simple Past Tenses.
Using the Perfect Tenses.
Recap: Basic Tenses for Regular Verbs.

23. Irregular Verbs and Frequently Confused Verbs.
Overview: Understanding Irregular Verbs and Other Verb Problems.
Identifying Irregular Verbs.
Working with Forms of “to Be” .
Choosing between “Can” and “Could” and between “Will” and “Would.”
Recap: Irregular Verbs and Frequently Confused Verbs.

24. Passive Voice, Additional Tenses, and Maintaining Consistency in Tense.
Overview: Understanding Additional Elements of Verb Use.
Forming the Passive and Active Voice.
Using the Progressive and Perfect Progressive Tenses.
Maintaining Consistency in Tense.
Recap: Passive Voice, Additional Tenses, and Maintaining Consistency in Tense.


25. Nouns and Pronouns.
Overview: Understanding Words That Name.
Making Singular Nouns Plural.
Working with Collective Nouns and Cue Words.
Understanding Pronoun Case.
Using Personal Pronouns Correctly.
Using Indefinite Pronouns.
Recap: Nouns and Pronouns.

26. Adjectives, Adverbs, and Other Modifiers.
Overview: Understanding the Roles of Adjectives and Adverbs.
Understanding Adjectives and Adverbs.
Creating Comparative and Superlative Forms of Adjectives and Adverbs.
Working with Confusing Pairs of Adjectives and Adverbs.
Avoiding Dangling and Misplaced Modifiers.
Avoiding Double Negatives.
Recap: Adjectives, Adverbs, and Other Modifiers.

27. Ensuring Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement.
Overview: Choosing the Correct Pronoun.
Maintaining Agreement in Number.
Maintaining Agreement with Indefinite Pronouns.
Maintaining Agreement with Demonstrative and Reflexive or Intensive Pronouns.
Keeping the Relationship between Pronoun and Antecedent Clear.
Maintaining Agreement with “That,” “Who,” and “Which” Clauses.
Avoiding Problems with Gender in Pronoun-Antecedent Agreement.
Recap: Ensuring Pronoun Antecedent Agreement.

28. Maintaining Parallelism.
Overview: Balancing Ideas in Your Writing.
Maintaining Parallelism with Words in a Series.
Maintaining Parallelism with Phrases.
Maintaining Parallelism When Using Correlative Conjunctions.
Recap: Maintaining Parallelism.

29. Spelling.
Overview: Understanding the Importance of Correct Spelling.
Basic Rules for Forming Plurals.
Basic Rules for Prefixes and Suffixes.
The Basic Rule for “ie” or “ei” .
Basic Rules for “-sede” , “-ceed” , and “-cede” and Other Endings That Sound Alike.
Dealing with Commonly Confused Words.
Learning the Most Commonly Misspelled Words.
Recap: Spelling.

30. Commas.
Overview: Understanding Comma Usage.
Using a Comma between Clauses Connected by Conjunctions.
Using Commas to Separate Items in a Series.
Using a Comma to Set off Introductory Material.
Using Commas to Set off Elements That Interrupt Sentence Flow.
Using Commas to Set off Direct Quotations.
Recognizing Other Situations in Which Commas Are Needed.
Recap: Commas.

31. Other Punctuation and Capitalization.
Overview: Using Punctuation and Capitalization to Clarify Meaning.
Using Periods, Question Marks, and Exclamation Points.
Using Quotation Marks.
Using Apostrophes.
Using Other Marks of Punctuation.
Understanding Capitalization.
Recap: Other Punctuation and Capitalization.


* Indicates new readings.

Overview: Responding to Reading.
Taking Notes.
Active Reading Strategies.
Active Reading Illustrated.

Neil Postman, Teaching as an Amusing Activity.

* Amy Tan, Fish Cheeks.

Deborah Tannen, Intimacy and Independence.

Paul Fletcher, Nightwatch.

Therese C. MacKinnon, Caesar.

Jon Katz, How Boys Become Men.

Brian Dickinson, “Growing Up” Is Cumulative, Evolutionary, and Never-Ending.

* Robert C. Maynard, Thanksgiving Is the Greatest Holiday.

* Michaela Otway, Go and Conquer the World.

* Larissa R. Houk, The Importance of Wearing a Safety Belt.

Diane Riva, Exposed Toes.

Henry Bosquet, A Religion?

* Amanda Beaulieu, A Bully Who Wore Bobby Pins.

Greg Andree, Fear Not.

Charlotte Medeiros, To Smoke or Not to Smoke.

Charlotte Medeiros, Thoughts about Writing.

Appendix A: Writing with a Computer.

Appendix B: Tips for ESL Writers.

Appendix C: Exploring the Dictionary.

Rhetorical Index.


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