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Rules for Writers with Writing about Literature (Tabbed Version) with 2016 MLA Update)

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  • Edition: 8th
  • Format: Spiral Bound
  • Copyright: 2016-07-25
  • Publisher: Bedford St. Martin's
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With practical and reliable advice, Rules for Writers with Writing about Literature with 2016 MLA Update helps guide you through composing and revising, writing arguments, analyzing texts, using grammar and punctuation correctly, and working with sources.

Author Biography

Diana Hacker personally class-tested her handbooks with nearly four thousand students over thirty-five years at Prince George’s Community College in Maryland, where she was a member of the English faculty. Hacker handbooks, built on innovation and on a keen understanding of the challenges facing student writers, are the most widely adopted in America. Hacker handbooks, all published by Bedford/St. Martin’s, include The Bedford Handbook, Ninth Edition (2014); A Writer’s Reference, Eighth Edition (2015); Rules for Writers, Eighth Edition (2016); and A Pocket Style Manual, Seventh Edition (2015).
Nancy Sommers, who has taught composition and directed composition programs for thirty years, now teaches writing and mentors new writing teachers at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.  She led Harvard’s Expository Writing Program for twenty years, directing the first-year writing program and establishing Harvard’s WAC program. A two-time Braddock Award winner, Sommers is well known for her research and publications on student writing. Her articles "Revision Strategies of Student and Experienced Writers" and "Responding to Student Writing" are two of the most widely read and anthologized articles in the field of composition.  Her recent work involves a longitudinal study of college writing to understand the role writing plays in undergraduate education. Sommers is the lead author on Hacker handbooks, all published by Bedford/St. Martin’s, and is coauthor of Fields of Reading, Tenth Edition (2013).

Table of Contents

Preface for instructors 000

The Writing Process

1 Exploring, planning, and drafting 3

a Assess the writing situation. 3

b Explore your subject. 12

c Draft and revise a working thesis statement. 14

d Draft a plan. 19

e Draft an introduction. 22

f Draft the body. 24

g Draft a conclusion. 25

h Manage your files. 29

2 Revising, editing, and reflecting 30

a See revision as a social process. 30

b Use peer review: Revise with comments. 30

c Use peer review: Give constructive comments. 33

d Highlights of one student’s peer review process 35

e Approach global revision in cycles. 38

f Revise and edit sentences. 43

g Proofread the final manuscript. 44

h Sample student revision 45

i Prepare a portfolio; reflect on your writing. 48

3 Building effective paragraphs 49

a Focus on a main point. 49

b Develop the main point. 52

c Choose a suitable pattern of organization. 52

d Make paragraphs coherent. 59

e If necessary, adjust paragraph length. 63

Academic Reading, Writing, and Speaking 65

4 Reading and writing critically 66

a Read actively. 66

Sample annotated article 67

b Outline a text to identify main ideas. 71

c Summarize to deepen your understanding. 72

d Analyze to demonstrate your critical reading. 73

Writing guide: Analytical essay 76

e Sample student writing: Analysis of an article 77

Sample analysis paper 78

5 Reading and writing about multimodal texts 80

a Read actively. 81

Sample annotated advertisement 83

b Outline to identify main ideas. 84

c Summarize to deepen your understanding. 85

d Analyze to demonstrate your critical reading. 86

e Sample student writing: Analysis of an advertisement 88

Sample analysis of an advertisement 88

6 Reading and writing arguments 91

a Distinguish between reasonable and fallacious argumentative tactics. 92

b Distinguish between legitimate and unfair emotional appeals. 98

c Judge how fairly a writer handles opposing views. 100

d When writing arguments, consider purpose and context. 103

e View your audience as a panel of jurors. 103

f In your introduction, establish credibility and state your position. 105

g Back up your thesis with persuasive lines of argument. 106

h Support your claims with specific evidence. 107

i Anticipate objections; counter opposing arguments. 109

j Build common ground. 111

k Sample student writing: Argument 111

Sample argument paper 112

Writing guide: Argument essay 118

7 Speaking confidently 119

a Identify your purpose, audience, and context. 120

b Prepare a presentation. 120

c Focus on delivery. 122

d Remix an essay for a presentation. 123

Clarity 125

8 Prefer active verbs. 126

a Active versus passive verbs 126

b Active versus be verbs 127

c Subject that names the actor 128

9 Balance parallel ideas. 129

a Parallel ideas in a series 130

b Parallel ideas presented as pairs 130

c Repetition of function words 132

10 Add needed words. 133

In compound structures 133

b that 134

c In comparisons 134

d a, an, and the 136

11 Untangle mixed constructions. 137

a Mixed grammar 137

b Illogical connections 138

c is when, is where, and reason . . . is because 139

12 Repair misplaced and dangling modifiers. 140

a Limiting modifiers 140

b Misplaced phrases and clauses 141

c Awkwardly placed modifiers 142

d Split infinitives 142

e Dangling modifiers 144

13 Eliminate distracting shifts. 147

a Point of view (person, number) 147

b Verb tense 148

c Verb mood, voice 149

d Indirect to direct questions or quotations 150

14 Emphasize key ideas. 152

a Coordination and subordination 152

b Choppy sentences 157

c Ineffective or excessive coordination 158

d Ineffective subordination 160

e Excessive subordination 160

f Other techniques 162

15 Provide some variety. 163

Sentence openings 163

b Sentence structures 164

c Inverted order 164

16 Tighten wordy sentences. 166

Redundancies 166

b Unnecessary repetition 166

c Empty or inflated phrases 167

d Simplifying the structure 168

e Reducing clauses to phrases, phrases to single words 169

17 Choose appropriate language. 170

a Jargon 171

b Pretentious language, euphemisms, "doublespeak" 171

c Slang, regional expressions, nonstandard English 174

d Levels of formality 175

e Sexist language 176

f Offensive language 179

18 Find the exact words. 180

a Connotations 180

b Specific, concrete nouns 181

c Misused words 181

d Standard idioms 182

e Clichés 184

f Figures of speech 185

Grammar 187

19 Repair sentence fragments. 188

a Subordinate clauses 190

b Phrases 191

c Other fragmented word groups 192

d Acceptable fragments 194

20 Revise run-on sentences. 195

a Revision with coordinating conjunction 197

b Revision with semicolon, colon, or dash 198

c Revision by separating sentences 199

d Revision by restructuring 200

21 Make subjects and verbs agree. 202

a Standard subject-verb combinations 202

b Words between subject and verb 202

c Subjects joined with and 203

d Subjects joined with or, nor, either . . . or, or neither . . . nor 206

e Indefinite pronouns 206

f Collective nouns 207

g Subject following verb 209

h Subject, not subject complement 209

i who, which, and that 210

j Words with plural form, singular meaning 211

k Titles of works, company names, words mentioned as words, gerund phrases 211

22 Make pronouns and antecedents agree. 213

a Singular with singular, plural with plural (indefinite pronouns, generic nouns) 213

b Collective nouns 215

c Antecedents joined with and 215

d Antecedents joined with or, nor, either . . . or, or neither . . . nor 216

23 Make pronoun references clear. 218

a Ambiguous or remote reference 218

b Broad reference of this, that, which, and it 219

c Implied antecedents 219

d Indefinite use of they, it, and you 220

e who for persons, which or that for animals or things 221

24 Distinguish between pronouns such as I and me. 222

a Subjective case for subjects and subject complements 223

b Objective case for objects 223

c Appositives 224

d Pronoun following than or as 225

e we or us before a noun 225

f Subjects and objects of infinitives 225

g Pronoun modifying a gerund 226

25 Distinguish between who and whom. 227

a In subordinate clauses 228

b In questions 229

c As subjects or objects of infinitives 229

26 Choose adjectives and adverbs with care. 230

a Adjectives to modify nouns 231

b Adverbs to modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs 232

c good and well, bad and badly 233

d Comparatives and superlatives 234

e Double negatives 235

27 Choose appropriate verb forms, tenses, and moods in Standard English. 237

a Irregular verbs 237

b lie and lay 241

c -s (or -es) endings 242

d -ed endings 245

e Omitted verbs 246

f Verb tense 247

g Subjunctive mood 252

Multilingual Writers and ESL Challenges 255

28 Verbs 256

a Appropriate form and tense 256

b Passive voice 259

c Base form after a modal 261

d Negative verb forms 264

e Verbs in conditional sentences 265

f Verbs followed by gerunds or infinitives 267

29 Articles 270

a Articles and other noun markers 270

b When to use the 271

c When to use a or an 274

d When not to use a or an 276

e No articles with general nouns 277

f Articles with proper nouns 277

30 Sentence structure 279

a Linking verb between a subject and its complement 280

b A subject in every sentence 280

c Repeated nouns or pronouns with the same grammatical function 281

d Repeated subjects, objects, and adverbs in adjective clauses 282

e Mixed constructions with although or because 283

f Placement of adverbs 284

g Present participles and past participles as adjectives 285

h Order of cumulative adjectives 287

31 Prepositions and idiomatic expressions 288

a Prepositions showing time and place 288

b Noun (including -ing form) after a preposition 290

c Common adjective + preposition combinations 291

d Common verb + preposition combinations 291

Punctuation 293

32 The comma 294

a Independent clauses joined with and, but, etc. 294

b Introductory elements 295

c Items in a series 297

d Coordinate adjectives 297

e Nonrestrictive and restrictive elements 299

f Transitions, parenthetical expressions, absolute phrases, contrasts 303

g Direct address, yes and no, interrogative tags, interjections 305

h he said, etc. 305

i Dates, addresses, titles, numbers 306

j To prevent confusion 307

33 Unnecessary commas 308

a Between two words, phrases, or subordinate clauses 308

b Between a verb and its subject or object 309

c Before the first or after the last item in a series 309

d Between cumulative adjectives, an adjective and a noun, or an adverb and an adjective 309

e Before and after restrictive or parenthetical elements 310

f Before essential concluding adverbial elements 310

g After a phrase beginning an inverted sentence 311

h Other misuses 311

34 The semicolon 313

a Between independent clauses not joined with a coordinating conjunction 313

b Between independent clauses linked with a transitional expression 314

c In a series containing internal punctuation 315

d Misuses 315

35 The colon 317

a Before a list, an appositive, or a quotation 317

b Conventional uses 318

c Misuses 318

36 The apostrophe 319

a Possessive nouns 319

b Possessive indefinite pronouns 320

c Contractions 321

d Not for plural numbers, letters, abbreviations, words as words 321

e Misuses 322

37 Quotation marks 323

a Direct quotations 324

b Quotation within a quotation 325

c Titles of short works 325

d Words as words 325

e With other punctuation marks 326

f Misuses 328

38 End punctuation 330

a The period 330

b The question mark 331

c The exclamation point 331

39 Other punctuation marks 332

a The dash 332

b Parentheses 333

c Brackets 334

d The ellipsis mark 334

e The slash 335


40 Abbreviations 338

a Titles with proper names 338

b Familiar abbreviations 338

c Conventional abbreviations 339

d Units of measurement 339

e Latin abbreviations 340

f Plural of abbreviations 340

g Misuses 340

41 Numbers 341

a Spelling out 341

b Using numerals 342

42 Italics 343

a Titles of works 343

b Names of ships, spacecraft, and aircraft 344

c Foreign words 344

d Words as words, letters as letters, numbers as numbers 344

43 Spelling 345

a Spelling rules 345

b The dictionary 347

c Words that sound alike 351

d Commonly misspelled words 351

44 The hyphen 353

a Compound words 353

b Hyphenated adjectives 354

c Fractions and compound numbers 354

d With certain prefixes and suffixes 355

e To avoid ambiguity or to separate awkward double or triple letters 355

f Word division 355

45 Capitalization 356

a Proper vs. common nouns 356

b Titles with proper names 358

c Titles and subtitles of works 358

d First word of a sentence 359

e First word of a quoted sentence 359

f First word after a colon 359

Grammar Basics 361

46 Parts of speech 362

a Nouns 362

b Pronouns 363

c Verbs 365

d Adjectives 367

e Adverbs 368

f Prepositions 369

g Conjunctions 370

h Interjections 371

47 Sentence patterns 375

a Subjects 375

b Verbs, objects, and complements 378

c Pattern variations 382

48 Subordinate word groups 383

a Prepositional phrases 384

b Verbal phrases 385

c Appositive phrases 388

d Absolute phrases 388

e Subordinate clauses 389

49 Sentence types 392

a Sentence structures 392

b Sentence purposes 394

Research 395

50 Thinking like a researcher; gathering sources 396

a Manage the project. 396

b Pose questions worth exploring. 398

c Map out a search strategy. 401

d Search efficiently; master a few shortcuts to finding good sources. 402

e Conduct field research, if appropriate. 406

f Write a research proposal. 408

51 Managing information; taking notes responsibly 408

a Maintain a working bibliography. 409

b Keep track of source materials. 410

c Take notes carefully to avoid unintentional plagiarism. 410

52 Evaluating sources 416

a Think about how sources might contribute to your writing. 416

b Select sources worth your time and attention. 418

c Select appropriate versions of online sources. 421

d Read with an open mind and a critical eye. 422

e Assess Web sources with care. 424

f Construct an annotated bibliography. 427

Writing guide: Annotated bibliography 428

Writing Papers in MLA Style 431

53 Supporting a thesis 435

a Form a working thesis. 435

b Organize your ideas. 436

c Use sources to inform and support your argument. 437

d Draft an introduction for your thesis. 439

e Draft the paper in an appropriate voice. 440

54 Citing sources; avoiding plagiarism 441

a Understand how the MLA system works. 441

b Avoid plagiarism when quoting, summarizing, and paraphrasing sources. 442

55 Integrating sources 445

Summarize and paraphrase effectively. 446

b Use quotations effectively. 447

c Use signal phrases to integrate sources. 450

d Synthesize sources. 454

56 Documenting sources in MLA style 458

a MLA in-text citations 458

b MLA list of works cited 468

c MLA information notes 512

57 MLA manuscript format; sample research paper 513

a MLA manuscript format 513

b Sample MLA research paper 516

Writing Papers in APA Style 527

58 Supporting a thesis 530

a Form a working thesis. 530

b Organize your ideas. 531

c Use sources to inform and support your argument. 532

59 Citing sources; avoiding plagiarism 534

a Understand how the APA system works. 534

b Avoid plagiarism when quoting, summarizing, and paraphrasing sources. 535

60 Integrating sources 537

a Summarize and paraphrase effectively. 538

b Use quotations effectively. 539

c Use signal phrases to integrate sources. 541

d Synthesize sources. 545

61 Documenting sources in APA style 546

a APA in-text citations 547

b APA list of works cited 553

62 APA manuscript format; sample paper 580

a APA manuscript format 581

b Sample APA research paper 584

Appendixes 597

A document design gallery 597

Glossary of usage 608

Answers to lettered exercises 622

Index 636

Writing about Literature

L1 Reading to form an interpretation

a Read actively.

b Form an interpretation.

L2 Planning the paper

a Draft a thesis.

b Sketch an outline.

L3 Writing the paper

a Draft an introduction.

b Support your interpretation; avoid simple plot summary.

L4 Observing conventions

a Refer to authors, titles, and characters.

b Use the present tense.

c Use MLA style to format quotations.

L5 Integrating quotations from the text

a Distinguish between the author and a narrator or speaker.

b Provide context for quotations.

c Avoid shifts in tense.

d Indicate changes in a quotation: use brackets and the ellipsis mark.

e Enclose embedded quotations in single quotation marks.

f Use MLA style to cite passages from the work.

L6 Using secondary sources

a Document sources.

b Avoid plagiarism.

L7 Sample papers

An analysis of a poem

Poem: "Ballad of the Landlord," by Langston Hughes

An analysis of a short story (with secondary sources)

Short story: "A Jury of Her Peers," by Susan Glaspell

Index for Writing about Literature






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