A Short Guide to College Writing

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  • Edition: 4th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-11-06
  • Publisher: Longman
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One of the high-quality, low-priced entries in Longman's Penguin Academics Series,A Short Guide to College Writingis a clear and authoritative brief rhetoric that emphasizes analysis, argument, and research in academic writing. Engagingly written by a well-known author team,A Short Guide to College Writingoffers students clear, practical guidance. Students can turn to this book for help with everything from choosing a topic, writing an analysis, and documenting sources to constructing a paragraph and punctuating a quotation. Separate chapters provide support for revising a draft, editing a revision, or preparing a final copy. Discussion and examples of description and narration are included, but the emphasis throughout is on the most common college writing assignments: analysis, argument, and research. Students are taught the essential skills for effective college writingskills they will need when writing for a first-year composition course, or for any other college-level course.

Table of Contents



1 Developing Ideas



Checklist for a Thesis Sentence

Developing Ideas


2 Drafting and Revising

Reading Drafts

Peer Review: The Benefits of Having a Real Audience

Checklist for Peer Review

SUKI HUDSON, Two Sides of a Story (Student Essay)

Checklist for Drafting and Revising


3 Shaping Paragraphs

Paragraph Form and Substance

Paragraph Unity: Topic Sentences, Topic Ideas

Unity in Paragraphs

Organization in Paragraphs

Coherence in Paragraphs

Linking Paragraphs Together

CHERYL LEE, The Story Behind the Gestures (Student Essay)

Paragraph Length

Introductory Paragraphs

Concluding Paragraphs

Checklist for Revising Paragraphs


4 Revising for Conciseness

Instant Prose

Extra Words and Empty Words

Extra Sentences, Extra Clauses: Subordination

Some Concluding Remarks About Conciseness

Checklist for Revising for Conciseness


5 Revising for Clarity


Clarity and Exactness: Using the Right Word

Clarity and Coherence

Clarity and Sentence Structure: Parallelism

Checklist for Revising for Clarity


6 Writing with Style

Academic Styles, Academic Audiences

Defining Style

Style and Tone

Acquiring Style




7 Analyzing Texts

Analyzing an Image

Analyzing Advertisements

Checklist for Analyzing Advertisements

Analyzing Texts

Analysis Versus Summary and Paraphrase

The Gettysburg Address: Summary, Paraphrase, Analysis

ABRAHAM LINCOLN, The Gettysburg Address

Paraphrasing and Summarizing Literary Texts

Classifying and Thinking

Cause and Effect

DOLORES HAYDEN, Advertisements, Pornography, and Public Space

Analysis and Description


Checklist for Revising Comparisons

Process Analysis

ANNE HEBALD MANDELBAUM, It's the Portly Penguin That Gets the Girl, French Biologist Claims

Explaining an Analysis


8 Persuading Readers

Emotional Appeals

Making Reasonable Arguments

Claims and Evidence

Three Kinds of Claims: Claims of Fact, Value, and Policy

Three Kinds of Evidence: Examples, Testimony, Statistics

A Note on Definition in the Persuasive Essay

LENA FLORA, The Plight of the Politically Correct (Student Essay)

How Much Evidence Is Enough?

Two Kinds of Reasoning: Induction and Deduction

Avoiding Fallacies


Tone and Ethical Appeal

A Note on Critical Thinking

Organizing an Argument

Checklist for Revising Drafts of Persuasive Essays

Persuasion at Work: Two Writers Consider Torture

PHILIP B HEYMANN, Torture Should Not Be Authorized

ALAN M DERSHOWITZ, Yes, It Should Be “On the Books”


9 Using Sources

Why Use Sources?

What Is a Source? Primary and Secondary Materials

Developing a Research Topic

The Library's Central Information System

Using the Internet

Checklist for Evaluating Websites

Reading and Taking Notes on Secondary Sources

Acknowledging Sources

Checklist for Avoiding Plagiarism


10 Writing the Research Essay

Writing the Essay

Checklist for Revising Drafts of Research Essays

A Sample Research Essay (MLA Format)

BEATRICE CODY, Politics and Psychology in The Awakening (Student Essay)

A Sample Research Essay (APA Format)

JACOB ALEXANDER, Nitrite: Preservative or Carcinogen? (Student Essay)




11 Punctuating Sentences

Three Common Errors: Fragments, Comma Splices, and Run-On Sentences

The Period

The Question Mark

The Colon

The Semicolon

The Comma

The Dash



Capital Letters

The Hyphen

The Apostrophe




12 Using the Right Word

A Note on Idioms

A Writers Glossary


13 Documenting Sources


MLA Format

APA Format

A Note on Other Systems of Documentation


14 Preparing the Manuscript

Basic Manuscript Form

Using Quotations (and Punctuating Them Correctly)

Corrections in the Final Copy


Last Words



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