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College Writing Study Guide Chapter 5: The Proposal ..........................................................................................................................................................30 5.1 The Kinds of Writing You’ll Need..................................................................................................................30 5.2 Rhetoric – An Introduction to Getting What You Want......................................................................30 5.3 Parts of the Proposal ...........................................................................................................................................32 5.4 Table of Key Terms ..............................................................................................................................................34 5.5 Discussion Questions ..........................................................................................................................................34 Chapter 6: The Analysis and Response ............................................................................................................................35 6.1 The Kinds of Writing You’ll Need..................................................................................................................35 6.2 Logic – An Introduction to Making Sense..................................................................................................38 6.3 Parts of the Analysis and Response .............................................................................................................38 6.4 Table of Key Terms ..............................................................................................................................................41 6.5 Discussion Questions ..........................................................................................................................................41 Chapter 7: Test-Taking Strategies ......................................................................................................................................42
1.1 This Study Guide Welcome to the Achieve College Writing Study Guide. This study guide will help you navigate the Achieve College Writing course, providing you with complementary material and references for all of the course’s most important concepts. While the guide is structured differently than your course, it nevertheless contains all of the material you’ll need to succeed on the test. The guide begins with the skills you need to improve your writing skills and proceeds to the application of those skills on the test. Over the next eight weeks, you will be going on a dif�icult but necessary journey to becoming a better writer. Make no mistake about it: writing is dif�icult. Even the most talented and respected published authors �in d writing to be profoundly strenuous but ultimately rewarding. And at the same time, writing is ubiquitous. Try to name a profession that doesn’t involve writing. Writing isn’t just important in your professional life, as it serves as both legal documentation and necessary communication between coworkers; it is also important in your personal life. In the 21 st century, we’ve turned most interpersonal conversation into written communication with the popu- larity of texting instead of talking on the phone, and social media apps are mostly text-based. Under- standing how to become a better writer will make every aspect of your written communication clearer, smarter, better. 1.2 The Test The test will consist of two essay questions, and you will have two hours to complete both questions. You may divide your time however you wish, spending more time on one essay and less time on the other. The �irst essay question is a proposal, which will provide you with an audience and scenario and ask you to argue for a particular outcome. The second question is an analysis and response ques- tion, which will present you with two texts on a controversial issue and ask you to argue for your position on that issue. We will go over the test questions and the skills you will need to be successful in Chapters 5 and 6.
Learning Objectives This chapter will discuss: 1. the difference between prescriptive and descriptive grammar 2. all of the required elements of a standard sentence 3. the different parts of speech 4. the most common rules for all the major punctuation marks 5. an introduction to source integration and documentation 6. some of the most common myths about writing
2.1 Kinds of Grammar Like most aspects of writing, you’ve probably been expected to understand grammar, but it’s been so long since you’ve studied it that it’s dif�icult to remember all of the terms. That’s understandable, so here is a quick guide to the study of grammar and how to avoid the most common errors on the test. There are two broad categories of grammar: prescriptive grammar and descriptive g ammar . Pre- scriptive grammar focuses on a set of rules that you should learn and apply to your writing. If you learn best by applying rules to each situation, then understanding grammar prescriptively will help, and throughout your Achieve College Writing experience, you should pay attention to your instruc- tor’s corrections on each of your writing assignments, asking yourself why commas or semicolons were added or taken out. Attempt to understand the reasoning behind each change, and apply that same reasoning to your future work. Descriptive grammar focuses on understanding how grammar is most commonly used. Rather than thinking of grammar as set-in-stone rules, descriptive grammar is more about a set of guidelines. If you learn best by example, then understanding grammar descriptively will help. You should still at- tempt to understand the reasoning behind each grammatical correction on your work throughout your Achieve College Writing experience, but the gains in your grammatical understanding will come from experimentation, observation, and reading more often. Neither of these methods of grammatical understanding is better than the other; each will work for different people. However, no matter how you conceive of grammar, the important thing to under- stand is that grammatical correctness is often viewed as a “gateway” for your writing: your audience will judge your writing based on its grammar, and some people often fail to appreciate your ideas if your grammar isn’t up to par. This makes acquiring a thorough understanding of grammar so important.
2.2 What is a Sentence? This may seem like an obvious question and one that you already know the answer to, but all of your studies of grammar depen d on a complete de�inition of a sentence . A sentence is the combination of a noun phrase and a verb phrase . Other terminology describes a sentence as the combination of a subject and a predicate or as an independent clause, but the idea remains the same: in order to have a complete sentence you need a doer and an action. 2.3 Nouns, Verbs, and Parts of Speech So if a sentence is a noun phrase and a verb phrase, what is a noun and a verb ? A noun is a person, place, thing, or event, and a verb is an action or a state of being. There are three types of nouns: com- mon nouns , proper nouns , and pronouns . A common noun is a generic name for the noun, and a proper noun is the speci�ic name for a noun. For example, “college” is a common noun, but “Harvard University” is a proper noun; notice that “Harvard University” is capitalized. Pronouns are essentially stand-ins for proper nouns: rather than say, “Jeff,” we say, “he.” The primary error writers make in- volving pronouns is in sentences like this: “When a patient enters the hospital, they might get an infection.” This sentence sounds like it’s correct, but it’s not. The “patient” is one person, but “they” refers to many people, so the noun and pronoun don’t agree. Though some people who identify as nonbinary prefer to use “they” as a singular pronoun, in most cases, “they” should be considered plural. Verbs are action words, and they change based on when the action took place. A verb in past tense indicates that the action took place in the past, a verb in future tense indicates that the action will take place, and the present tense indicates that the action is taking place currently. Learning the dif- ferent forms of the verbs is called conjugating verbs , and many native English speakers do this nat- urally. The most common error related to verb tense is tense switching, which occurs when the verb tense in one sentence differs from the verb tense in the second sentence even though both sentences refer to concurrent actions. The writing you do for this test will usually be in the present tense, so be sure all of your verbs are in that tense unless you’re deliberately referring to something in the past. The important takeaway is to remain consistent. There are two types of verbs: transitive and intransitive . A transitive verb requires a direct object, which is another noun that comes after the verb. For example, “carry” is a transitive verb because it requires a direct object: “I carry the �lag.” An intransitive verb doesn’t require a direct object. For example, “sneezed” is an intransitive verb in the past tense, and “I sneezed” is a complete sentence. The reason we refer to complete sentences as the combination of a noun phrase and a verb phrase is both sections of the sentences can be modi�ied . Modifying a noun or a verb means providing further details or changing the meaning of the elements of the sentence. For example, “In my uniform, I care- fully carry the waving American �lag,” still retains the same grammatical structure as “I carry the �lag,” but now there are modi�iers – “In my uniform” modi�ies the noun “I,” “waving American” modify the
College Writing Study Guide direct object in the v erb phrase, and “carefully” modi�ies the verb “carry.” You can have many modi- �iers in a single sentence as long as you have a noun phrase and a verb phrase. Compound sentences combine two independent clauses – two combinations of a noun phrase and a verb phrase – with a coordinating conjunction . Here are the coordinating conjunctions: • So Notice that the coordinating conjunctions spell the acronymFANBOYS. If you combine two complete sentences with a coordinating conjunction, you should put a comma before the conjunction. For ex- ample, we’ve already established that “I sneezed” and “I carried the �lag” are complete sentences, so if we combine them – “I sneezed, and I carried the �lag” – then we need a comma before the coordi- nating conjunction. There are a few words that seem like conjunctions, but they are not. “However,” “moreover,” and “although” are common subordinating conjunctions , and when you use them in place of coordinat- ing conjunctions, they are punctuated with a semicolon instead of a comma. For example, “I sneezed; however, I was not sick,” is the correct punctuation of a sentence with a subordinating conjunction. Nouns and verbs are the basic parts of speech, and conjunctions are the connective tissue of your sentences, but sometimes nouns and verbs need to be modi�ied , as we discussed above. Usually this means describing how something was done or providing further descriptions about what a noun is. To do this, the parts of speech we use are adjectives and adverbs . Adjectives are normally paired with nouns, and they give a fuller picture of what the author is trying to communicate to the reader. Adjectives are often necessary for good writing; after all, in a language without adjectives, we would have sentences like “She had a face,” instead of “She had a beautiful face.” However, it is easy to get carried away with adjectives, so remember one of the most important rules of writing from the famous style guide The Elements of Style : “omit needless words.” Adverbs are normally paired with verbs, and they describe how an action is performed. For example, we all understand the verb “work,” but sometimes that isn’t enough to convey how someone “works,” so we’ll use the phrases, “work ceaselessly” or “work slowly.” Like adjectives, adverbs can change the meaning of your sentences in dramatic and important ways. The song title “Alone Again, Naturally” demonstrates the power of an adverb to communicate the way the songwriter is feeling. The book title Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close would just be Loud and Close if it weren’t for adverbs, but it’s easy to get carried away with adverbs. When you are looking at your sentences and notice many • For • And • Nor • But • Or • Yet
College Writing Study Guide adverbs, always ask yourself if you can choose a better verb that wouldmake the adverb unnecessary. For example, if you have a sentence with the phrase “look closely,” perhaps changing that phrase to “scrutinize” would better serve your meaning. Finally, prepositions , like conjunctions, are grammatical connective tissue, describing the relation- ship – or the position – of each element of the sentence. “With,” “of,” “upon,” “over,” “between,” “in- stead of,” and “because of” are common prepositions. This lesson isn’t a comprehensive discussion of grammatical rules, but nevertheless, nouns, verbs, conjunctions, adjectives, and adverbs are the main parts of speech that you will need to understand in order to get a workable grasp of grammar. 2.4 Punctuation – Periods, Commas, Semicolons In order to make your writing understandable, you need punctuation, which gives the reader clues about how to read your phrases and what those phrases modify. Imagine reading an entire book without commas, periods, quotation marks, semicolons, or question marks; it would be one big block of text. Also, commas have been so important that they have been at the center of court cases; missing commas have cost companies millions. And there are embarrassing misunderstandings like the dif- ference between “Let’s eat, Grandma” and “Let’s eat Grandma.” So here are the most common punctuation rules. Periods end complete declarative sentences. Question marks end complete interrogative sentences. Exclamation marks should be avoided in formal writing, but they convey excitement and enthusiasm. Semicolons usually separate two independent clauses. They function similarly as periods, but they convey a closer relationship between the two independent clauses. Colons are used after an independent clause and sets off a list. Dashes or hyphens are often used stylistically in place of commas, colons, or semicolons. Commas are governed by several rules, but here are the most common: • When you link two complete sentences with a conjunction, a comma goes before the conjunc- tion. For example, “I walked to the park, and there were four of my friends.” • A comma goes after every item in a list of three or more. For example, “ the American �lag is red, white, and blue.”
College Writing Study Guide • A comma should separate a long prepositional phrase that begins a sentence. For example, “with so many people going vegan, it’s best to consider whether we might alter our diet too.” • A comma should separate an introductory phrase that begins a sentence. For example, this sentence separates “for example” with a comma. • Commas should separate a non-essential adverbial or adjectival clauses. For example, “two people, walking in the woods, found a deer.” In this case, the author is indicating that “walking in the woods” is not essential to understanding the sentence. If the author removed the com- mas, s/he would be indicating that the adverbial clause is necessary to understanding the sen- tence. In this way, commas can be used stylistically to indicate where you want to put the emphasis in the sentence. • Commas separate appositives. For example, if you wrote, “I read Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, ” that would be incorrect because the comma indicates that Shakespeare only wrote one play, but the sentence, “My brother, John, read Shakespeare’s play Hamlet ,” indicates that the author only has one brother. • Commas separate independent clauses in if/then sentences. For example, if you have an inde- pendent clause preceded by “if,” then you should include a comma before “then.” Quotation marks indicate direct quotations either from a source or by a speaker. Usually, you will precede a quoted phrase with a comma. For example, he said, “I am completely sober.” Apostrophes indicate possession and should be combined with an S for all singular nouns. For ex- ample, that is James’s book, but it was originally Jeff’s. Apostrophes are used in contractions like “don’t” or “they’re.” Parentheses cordon off non-essential information or are used in citations. 2.5 Citation Styles and Source Integration The citation style used on the exam is MLA . The Modern Language Association popularized this cita- tion style, which is used in English studies and the humanities. While there are several other styles, like Chicago, APA, and AMA, similar rules apply to each even though the formatting will be slightly different. There are four elements to every MLA ci tation. Ensuring that you have each element for everything that you cite will prevent any accusations of plagiarism, which is a serious, career-threatening offense. 1. Introductory Comment – An introductory comment, or a signal phrase, indicates to your reader that your ideas have stopped and the source’s ideas have begun. Examples of popular introductory comments include “According to,” “As [author’s name] said,” and “[Author’s
College Writing Study Guide Integrating sources helps you improve your writing’s credibility. It shows that you have done your research, and it indicates that other experts agree with your argument. You can also use sources as a jumping-off point for disagreements. You don’t need to agree with every source that you incorporate in your paper because writing is like entering any kind of conversation: you will �ind some voices closer to your own than others. The important thing to remember is that you’re well-versed in the conversation, which will lead others to take what you have to say seriously. 2.6 Improving Your Vocabulary and Spelling Many people say that they have trouble with writing because they don’t have an extensive vocabu- lary, or their spelling could use improvement. There is no easy solution to these problems. Like most steps in becoming a better writer, learning how to improve your vocabulary and spelling will take time and effort, especially for adult learners. Primarily, the best method is a behavioral adjustment. In order to improve your vocabulary, you should read more. Find a book, magazine, or website that requires journalistic standards (Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram don’t count), and read every day. It doesn’t matter what the subject is – publications about anything you’re interested in will work – and it doesn’t matter if the publication is considered “academic.” What matters is that you’re contin- ually being exposed to professionally written words. In On Writing, Stephen King reports that he reads at least �ifty books per year, and while many of us don’t have time for that volume of reading, King’s statement indicates the value good reading has for good writing. When you read, slow down. Look up words you don’t know. Improving your vocabulary requires a patient, constant exposure to new words and a willingness to admit that you don’t know what some of them mean. Last, turn off social media apps or any other possible distractions. In order to be a good writer, you will have to get used to monotasking. In our modern age, we tend to celebrate multitasking too much – to the point where we’ve lost the ability to concentrate on a single task for an extended period of time. Even some professional writers state that “my concentration starts to drift after two or three pages” (Carr par. 2). Spending at least 30-45 minutes focused solely on reading will not only improve your vocabulary, it will also train your mind to get in the necessary state to write effectively. 2.7 “I Write How I Speak” – Why “Style” Is the Most Misused Word Since “Love” Here is a list of complaints writing students have often said. See if any of these apply to you: • “I write how I speak.” • “I don’t write smart enough.” • “I don’t write with voice.” • “I’m not creative.
College Writing Study Guide • “I don’t know what the teacher wants, and I don’t know what makes good writing.” • “Nobody ever told me I was good enough.” Almost all of these quotes come from misunderstandings about writing or from educators’ failure to properly demystify the writing process. Let’s go through each of them, and try to discover what’s really being communicated. If you write how you speak, that’s �ine: most of us do. Usually this is a problem because novice writers don’t punctuate a spoken sentence correctly. Most spoken sentences include several short independ- ent clauses, and novice writers will run these independent clauses together, creating massive run-on sentences that are ultimately confusing. Another problem indicated by the “I write how I speak” quote is that sometimes we speak in informal or collo quial English; some improving writers contend that because they don’t speak in Standard Written American English, they can’t become goodwriters. This is �lat wrong. While it’s true that we often speak informally, it’s also true that – just as often – we are called upon to speak formally. Our language constantly changes based on our audience. Not only that, nobody speaks in Standard Written American English. It’s true that there is an extent to which that learning good academic writing is like learning a foreign language, but it’s also true that your past experiences with writing don’t mean that you can’t improve. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the overall college enrollment rate for eight- een- to twenty-four-year-olds in the United States was “41% in 2018” (par. 1). Just by being in this course and pursuing your advanced degree, you are already in the elite 59% of Americans. So the next time you think that you “don’t write smart,” remember that you’re already smart. All you have to do is write like you, share your thoughts and your point of view, and that will be “smart enough.” When young writers state they don’t write “with voice,” they are once again thinking that there is a secret “code” that professional writers have access to, which we’ve somehow kept from you all this time. There is no code; there is no correct “voice.” Creativity cannot be taught, but it can be cultivated and improved. A simple de�inition of creativity is “juxtaposing two things that have never been juxtaposed before.” Creativity is putting two things in conversation with each other. Exploring the kinds of associative connections that your mind natu- rally makes is the heart of creativity. Most of the time, improving creativity is more about giving your- self th e con�idence and permission to express what you’re thinking , and there are few places on the planet like a writing classroom, which will always be a welcoming environment for creative expres- sion. And even if you’re not particularly creative, that doesn’t mean that you can’t be a good writer. Good writers come in all shapes, sizes, and genres, and it doesn’t require an extraordinary amount of creativity to write some persuasive, factual arguments such as the ones you will be required to write for this exam. If there is any sense of mystery about the expectations for a particular assignment, then you should ask your instructor direct and speci�ic questions about what is confusing you. More generally speak- ing, however, most writing instructors simply want to read good writing: cogent, thoughtful
College Writing Study Guide arguments that make us think. We are interested in engaging with you; we are interested in what you have to say. Spend more time thinking about what you want to say with your writing and less time thinking about what the teacher wants. If you spend too much time thinking about the assignment as a performative act – as a way of demonstrating your knowledge – then you will get caught up in a mindset that doesn’t lead to good writing. Take the assignment seriously, as though what you say matters – because it does. “Nobody ever told me I was good enough.” You’re good enough. Now, someone told you. 2.8 Table of Key Terms Prescriptive Grammar Descriptive Grammar Sentence Noun Phrase Verb Phrase Common Noun Proper Noun Pronoun Verb Conjugating Verbs Transitive Verbs Intransitive Verbs Modi�iers Compound Sentence Compound Sentence Subordinating Conjunction Adjective Adverb Preposition Period Comma Semicolon Colon Hyphen Question Mark Parenthetical Introductory Comment Quote Paraphrase 2.9 Discussion Questions 1. What is the difference between prescriptive and descriptive grammar? Which de�inition best �its how you can learn to improve your grammar? 2. What is a sentence? 3. What are the major parts of speech? 4. What are the major punctuation marks, and how are they used? 5. What are the four parts of every MLA citation? 2.10 Works Cited Carr, Nicholas. “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 23 Jan. 2020, www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2008/07/is-google-making-us-stupid/306868/. The Condition of Education - Postsecondary Education - Postsecondary Students - College Enroll- ment Rates - Indicator May (2020), nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator_cpb.asp.
Learning Objectives This chapter will discuss: 1. Paper-level, paragraph-level, and sentence-level organization 2. The Five-Paragraph, Five-Part, Rogerian, Toulmin, and Aristotelian organizational structures 3. The PIE method for organizing your paragraphs Organization is vital to your writing because it allows the reader to follow the connections between your ideas. For the two essay questions on the test, you will be required to form good, complex argu- ments, and in the academic world, good arguments build – one point follows the other, which con- nects to a third point, and all of the text convinces the reader of your point of view. Organized arguments are natur al for most people. If you are trying to convince your signi�icant other to do more chores around the house, you won’t bring up random points about where you had dinner last night. In writing, the same thinking applies, and we can break down organization into three sep- arate but related categories: paper-level organization, paragraph-level organization, and sen- tence-level organization. Effective paper -level organization ensures that your responses to the test questions will have a clear focus, which means that the essay will concentrate on a single main idea. Paragraph-level organiza- tion is about ensuring that each paragraph provides a single stepping-stone in your argument. Sen- tence-level organization ensures that the sentences connect to the paragraph’s topic and make logical connections to the main idea. Let’s go through each of these in detail. 3.1 Paper-Level Organization Paper-level organization is guided by your thesis statement. A thesis is, simply speaking, a claim. Your thesis states something to be true, and the rest of the paper seeks to prove why your thesis is true. By de�inition, your thesis must be arguable, which means that your paper’s thesis cannot be a pure statement of fact. For example, your paper’s thesis can’t be: “The sky is blue.” We don’t need your paper to prove this when we can simply look outside and discover its accuracy. Additionally, good theses can only be used in rhetorical situations . Rhetorical situations require an arguable thesis, a convincible audience, and a problem that can be solved by language. No matter how good your thesis or your argument is, if your audience refuses to engage with your ideas, you won’t be able to convince them, and likewise, if the main problem requires immediate action – like a life- or-death scenario – then the situation is not rhetorical and cannot be solved by language. In the case of the exam, you should assume that your audience will be convincible and the prompt will present you with a problem that can be solved by language.
College Writing Study Guide Once you have decided upon a strong thesis – an arguable claim – then you should proceed to organ- izing the remainder of your paper. The most common form of organization is the “ Five-Paragraph Essay ,” which breaks down as follows: • Paragraph 1: Introduction – the introduction begins with a discussion of the background of the topic and presents the thesis. It also signposts the three supporting points for the thesis. “ Signposting ” refers to deliberately and explicitly telling your reader where you are in the argument. Phrases like “In this essay, I will …” and “�irst,” “second,” and “third” at the begin- ning of paragraphs are examples of signposting. Many professional writers try to make their signposting more subtle, but at the beginning stages of your writing, there is nothing wrong with signposting to maintain your paper’s organization and clarity. • Paragraph 2: Supporting Point 1 – your �irst supporting point should be your strongest reason for your thesis. What is the most important, most obvious, most inarguable reason why your thesis is true? Put this one �irst. • Paragraph 3: Supporting Point 2 – your second supporting point should be your weakest rea- son. In order to understand your weakest reason, you have to use some self- re�lection and self-awareness, putting yourself in your opponents’ shoes and trying to understand their point of view. Within this paragraph, you should consider including the refutation ; we will discuss the refutation in greater depth later, but for now, know that it is not enough to understand the weaknesses in your argument. You should also be able to come up with counter-arguments to what others might say. • Paragraph 4: Supporting Point 3 – your third supporting point should be your most interesting reason for your thesis. The strongest point may be the most obvious, but the most interesting point is the one your opponent might not have thought of. You want to leave your reader with the argument that makes him/her think. • Paragraph 5: Conclusion – most writers think that the conclusion is simply a restatement of the thesis and the paper’s main points. While that works, it does give your paper a repetitive feel: you say it in the introduction, you say it in the body (paragraphs 2-4), and you say it again in the conclusion. Like signposting, this is a rudimentary organizational tactic, and there’s nothing wrong with it. However, professional writers ask different questions in their conclu- sions: assume that you were successful in convincing your reader of your thesis; now how does the world change? What are the results of your thesis’s truth? What’s next? What makes your argument important? If you answer these questions in your conclusion, you will get away from a simple restatement of your thesis and give your paper a more dynamic quality. Now that we understand wha t is supposed to go in the �ive paragraphs of a Five - Paragraph Essay, let’s outline an example. On the exam, you will have to discuss some controversial issues, but for right now, we will use a low-stakes argument: where to go for dinner tonight. In this scenario, let’s assume the writer wants to go to a local pizza joint, but the writer’s signi�icant other would prefer a steak- house.
College Writing Study Guide Thesis: We should go to the new pizza joint. Supporting Point 1: Pizza is one of our favorite foods. Supporting Point 2: You’ve wanted to eat more healthy foods, and though pizza is not particularly healthful, the restaurant we will be going to has some excellent salads. Supporting Point 3: Every other time we’ve gone out to eat, you’ve chosen the restaurant. Letting me choose will demonstrate that what I want is important to you. Conclusion: Going to the new pizza joint will be a good night out because we’ll both get to enjoy our favorite food – and some healthy options if you’d like – and you will be showing me that you care about my interests. Even with something as low -stakes as where to eat, a well-organized Five- Paragraph Essay can build an effective argument. We have the thesis in the introduction, the strongest supporting point �irst, the weakest (including a refutation “though pizza is not particularly healthful”) second, and the most interesting point – one that contextualizes dinner in the relationship – last. The conclusion imagines what the world will be like if the thesis is agreed to (“a good night out”) as well as recaps the im- portant points throughout the paper. A Five- Paragraph Essay is the easiest -to-use organizational structure, so it is highly recommended that you use this format for the test. Even though the Five - Paragraph Essay is recommended, the re are other ways to organize your papers. Describing these other methods helps you expand your toolbox so that you are able to write in other formats, and these other organizational methods ask different questions and present different writing challenges; adapting to these challenges will help you become a more well-rounded writer. You can use the “ Five-Part Essay ,” which breaks down as follows: • Introduction – the introduction in a Five- Part Essay is narrative rather than argumentative, which means that it tells a story. A Five- Part Essay’s introduction works by describing the conditions that led to the thesis. There is still a guiding principle to the paper, but it is demon- strated more than directly stated. • Narration – the second paragraph describes the backstory. What happened before this event that leads the writer to make this argument now? • Con�irmation – the third paragraph includes all the ideas and evidence that support the writer’s opinion. For some subjects, the con�irmation might require more than one paragraph to adequately cover all of the information necessary. • Refutation – as we discussed before, the refutation is a response to opposing points of view. In order to arrive at the refutation, you should ask yourself two questions: what is the opposite of my point of view? Why is the opposing point of view wrong?
College Writing Study Guide • Conclusion – the conclusion is the same as a Five-Paragraph essay, though there will naturally be less summary. Let’s outline an example of the Five- Part Essay using the same argument as bef ore. In this case, there will be a littlemore direct text, but understand that if thiswere a real essay, you would have to expand on the points included below: Introduction: It’s getting to be dinnertime, and we’ve both had long, dif�icult days at work. I don’t feel like cooking, and there’s nothing in the cupboards even if I did. We need to eat; given how we’re both feeling, going out for pizza is the best idea. Narration: We’ve both enjoyed pizza, ranking it among our favorite foods, and we haven’t had it in a long time. The pizza joint on the corner is fast, cheap, convenient, and most of all, high quality. Con�irmation: My friend Steve says that they have the best pizza in town, and here is a copy of their menu with all the options we both enjoy. Refutation: I understand that you want to go to a steakhouse, but they’re much more expensive. Not only that, you’ve said that you want to eat better, and the pizza joint has an excellent antipasto salad that is much healthier than steak and greasy fries. Conclusion: Going to the pizza joint will allow us to get good, healthy food quickly and inexpensively. It will also be a welcome change from eating at home, as we have been doing for so long. What can you learn by developing your understanding of the Five-Part Essay? Descriptions are argu- ments. By setting up the scenarios and framing the argument, you are creating a situation in which your solution is the most likely to be accepted. Not only that, the way people describe people and events reveals their biases, and by controlling your descriptions and the narrative, you’re presenting the world in the light you want others to see it. There is a well-known example of this:
The caption for the photo on top describes the young man “looting,” and the caption for the people on the bottom describes them as “�inding bread and soda.” The difference in the descriptions reveals a problematic understanding of race – something we can conclude based on the authors’ word choices in the descriptions. Next, you can use the Toulmin Method of organization. Developed by the philosopher Stephen Toul- min, this method works best with a complex, controversial issue that doesn’t have a clear solution. The legality of abortion, the proper response to the injustices of factory farming, or the positions of minorities in American society can all lend themselves to Toulmin’s method of organization. The Toulmin Method breaks down as follows: • Claim – the claim is another term for the thesis statement. • Grounds – the grounds are the facts or reasons that support your claim. • Warrant – the warrant links the reasons to the claim. This paragraph functions through in- ductive reasoning , which contends that a special case leads to a general conclusion. • Backing – any additional support for the claim goes in this paragraph. This paragraph could include your second-strongest points or more emotionally charged reasons for your thesis. • Quali�ier – in this paragraph, you suggest that your thesis isn’t true in every case. • Rebuttal – include the refutation, as previously discussed.
College Writing Study Guide Even though the Toulmin Method is most often applied to controversial issues, we can nonetheless apply it to the same example that we’ve been working with in the other organizational structures. Once again, this is a rough outline of the topics these paragraphs will cover. Claim: We should go to the new pizza joint for dinner. Grounds: We both enjoy pizza, and according to the menu, their prices are low. Warrant: Because we both enjoy pizza and we are trying to save money, we should go to the new pizza joint. Backing: We both want melty cheese with all the best toppings in hot, delicious slices. There’s nothing quite so good as the perfect slice of pizza. Quali�ier: Just because we eat pizza tonight doesn’t mean we have to eat pizza every night. Rebuttal: You got to choose the restaurant the last time we went out. What can you learn by developing your understanding of the Toulmin Method? Because it includes the “quali�ier,” the Toulmin Method emphasizes that some problems have multiple solutions. Some situations are context-dependent. For example, let’s say that you’re proposing a solution to the prob- lem of an increase in crime rates. It’s possible that adding additional law enforcement personnel is the correct course of action, but if the neighborhood in question has a historically contentious rela- tionship with the police, perhaps increasing the residents’ access to jobs, health care, and education might be a more effective solution. The Toulmin Method recognizes the complexity of problems and solutions in ways that other organizational formats do not. Last, we will cover the Aristotelian and Rogerian Methods concurrently. While their formats are similar, the order is different, which highlights where the writer’s concentration is. Aristotelian Method Rogerian Method Introduce the paper’s thesis Introduce the paper’s thesis Present your point of view Acknowledge the opposing point of view Address the opposing point of view Present your point of view Provide your proof Bring the two sides together in a compromise Conclude by reinforcing your point of view Conclude by discussing how both sides will bene�it from the compromise As you can tell, the Aristotelian and Rogerian Methods begin almost identically, except the Rogerian Method includes the opposing point of view in the second paragraph rather than the third. Where the two methods differ is their ultimate goals. When Aristotle developed his organizational plan, his goal
College Writing Study Guide was to win arguments – to convince the opposition to agree with what he was presenting. Psycholo- gist Carl Rogers attempted to bring two sides together in a mutually bene�icial understanding. Here is a breakdown of how each method would handle the pizza scenario that we’ve been working with. Aristotelian Method Rogerian Method We should go to the pizza joint. We should go to the pizza joint. Pizza is one of our favorite foods. I understand that you would prefer the steakhouse. I understand that you want to go to the steakhouse. I would prefer pizza because it is one of my favorite foods. However, the new pizza joint is cheaper, faster, and more enjoyable. Perhaps we could either get the pizza and steak as take- out and eat at home, or we could �ind a restau- rant that we both can agree on. You got to choose the restaurant so many times; now it is my turn. It is important that we both get a good, healthy meal that we can enjoy. You can see the fundamental difference between the two methods: the Aristotelian Method is focused on winning while the Rogerian Method is focused on maintaining the happiness of both parties. What can you learn by developing your understanding of the Aristotelian Method? You will often be confronted with circumstances that demand decisive action, or there will be issues that you cannot morally compromise about. In these cases, especially when the situation is rhetorical, winning the argument is vital. Acknowledging the other person’s point of view is a jumping-off point for your own argument in the AristotelianMethod, andwhen the circumstances require that you win the argument, you should do the best you can to downplay the opposition’s validity. What can you learn by developing your understanding of the Rogerian Method? Sometimes the rela- tionship is more important than the argument. In these cases, deploying the Rogerian Method centers on compromise and preserving the mutual respect between the two parties. Overall, we have looked at the Five- Paragraph Essay, which is the preferred organizational structure for the test questions, and the Five- Part Essay, the Toulmin, Aristotelian, and Rogerian Methods of organizations – all of which provide an opportunity to expand your thought processes as you develop what text to insert in the organizational structure. You can think of each of these methods as vague outlines – like the lines in a coloring book – for you to �ill in the text with your paragraphs. 3.2 Paragraph-Level Organization Paper-level organization helps your reader follow the steps of your argument, and paragraph-level organization helps your reader take those steps with you. The basic format of a paragraph begins