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Better writing ( Sách writing hay )


Preface
P ractic al S u g g e s tio n s for Writing

Pa rt (1
LESSON

The

S e n t e n c e

1

T h e P a r t s of S p e e c h










LESSON

2

S u bject and Verb (Stage One)







Contents

Noun 10
Pronoun 10
Verb 10
Adjective 11
Adverb 11
Conjunction 12
Preposition 13
Interjection 13

16

Verbs of One Word 17
Verbs of More Than One Word 18
Verbs, Not Modifiers 19
Finding the Subject 20
Compound Subjects and Verbs 23
Compound Sentences 24

LESSON

3

S u b je ct. Verb, and " C o m p l e t e r ” (Stage Two)


27

Subject Complements After Linking Verbs 28
Direct Objects After Action Verbs 29
Subjects and Verbs, Not Adjectives and Adverbs 30
Verbs, Not Verbals 31
LESSON k
S u b je c ts , Verbs. P h rases, and Clauses
(Stage Three)
• Verbal Phrases as Subjects 35
• Clauses as Subjects 36
• The Subject and Verb in a Sentence
with a Modifying Clause 36
• Explanatory Words (Appositives) 38
iii


CONT E NT S

P a r t

2

Gr ammar

L E S S O N
5
A g r e e m e n t ( L e v e l 1)

43

• The Subject Separated from Its Verb
by a Prepositional Phrase 44
• Compound Subjects 45
• Sentences Beginning with Here and There 45
• Collective Nouns 46
• Each, Either , and Neither 47
• The Pronoun and Its Antecedent 48

L E S S O N
6
Agreement (Level






2)

51

Nouns Plural in Form but Singular in Number 52
Nouns Singular in Sense but Plural in Use 52
None , Any, Some , All, and Most (NASAM) 53
The Number and a Number 54
Who and That Clauses 54

L E S S O N

7

P r o n o u n s _________________________________________________________5 7







The Subject Forms of Pronouns 58
The Object Forms of Pronouns 58
Self-Words 60
Comparisons After As or Than 60
The Possessive Form with -ing Words 61

L E S S O N
Verbs

8
64

• I f (and Wish) Clauses 64
• The Correct Forms of Certain Verbs 65
• Double Negatives 67
LESSON

9

A d j e c t i v e s and A d v e r b s
• Adjectives and Adverbs 71
• The Articles A and An 72

iv

70


• Comparing Two or More Adjectives or Adverbs 72
• This, That, These , and Those 74
L E S S O N
10
Prepositions

77

• Errors in the Use of Prepositions 77
• Special Prepositions with Certain Words 79
L E S S O N
11
Grammar Practice

P a r t

3

83

P u n c t u a t i o n

L E S S O N
12
P u n c t u a t i o n of t h e S i m p l e S e n t e n c e

91

• Words in a Series 92
• Adjectives in a Series 93
• Explanatory Words (Appositives) 93
• Parenthetical Expressions 94
• Direct Address 96
• Introductory Words 96

L E S S O N
13
P u n c t u a t i o n of t h e S i m p l e S e n t e n c e
(Continued)

99

• Verbal Phrases 99
• Introductory Prepositional Phrases 100
• Dates and Addresses 101
L E S S O N
14
P u n c t u a t i o n of t h e C o m p o u n d S e n t e n c e

1 04

• The Comma in a Compound Sentence 104
• The Semicolon in a Compound Sentence 106
• The Comma in a Command Sentence 106

L E S S O N
15
P u n c t u a t i o n of t h e C o m p l e x S e n t e n c e
• Introductory Clauses 109
• Who and Which Clauses 111

109


ONTENTS

• Parenthetical Expressions and Clauses 112
• Direct Quotations 112
LESSON

16

Punctuation Practice
LESSON

115

17

The Pe rio d . Question Mark, and E x c la m a tio n
Point

120

• The Period for Sentence Endings, Abbreviations,
Ellipsis Marks, and Decimal Points 121
• The Question Mark for a Direct Question,
to Express Doubt, for Partly Interrogative
Sentences, and for a Series of Questions 122
• The Exclamation Point After Groups of Words
Expressing Strong Feeling and After Interjections 123
LESSON

18

T h e A p o s t r o p h e ( L e v e l 1)

127

• The Singular Possessive 128
• The Plural Possessive 129
LESSON

19

T h e A p o s t r o p h e ( L e v e l 2)





132

Proper Nouns 132
Joint and Separate Possession 133
The Noun Understood 134
Abbreviations 134

LESSON

20

The Dash and P a r e n th e s e s

137

• The Dash 137
• Parentheses 139
LESSON

21

The Colon
• The Colon for Statements or Lists 142

142


CONTENTS

L E S S O N
The Hyphen





22
146

Compound Words 147
Compound Numbers from 21 to 99 148
Unit Measures 149
The Prefixes Self, Ex, and All 149

LESSON

23

Quotation Marks and Italics

152

• Quotations Marks for Direct Quotations 153
• Quotation Marks for Articles, Chapters,
Short Stories, and the Like 154
• Italics for Books, Magazines, and Newspapers 155
LESSON

24

Capitalization

158

• Capitalize the First Word of Every Sentence 158
• Capitalize Proper Nouns 159
LESSON

25

Numbers

164

• Certain Numbers Written Out 164
• Figures for Certain Numbers 165
• Dates 166

Part (4
LESSON

Spelling

26

Spelling Demons
LESSON

27

Noun Plurals





171

177

The Plurals of M ost Nouns 177
Compound Nouns 178
Proper Nouns 179
Nouns of Foreign Origin 180

vii


:0 NT ENT S

P a r t

5

Style

L E S S O N
28
Clear and F orc eful Words





Simple Words 185
Specific Words 186
Outdated Expressions 187
Negative and Offensive Words 188

L E S S O N
29
Unified Sentences






185

191

Complete Sentences 192
Keeping to One Point of View 193
Using Only Related Ideas in a Sentence 193
Including Necessary Words 194
Avoiding Run-On Sentences 195

L E S S O N
30
Clear Sentences

198

• Dangling Modifiers 198
• Parallel Structure 199
• Illogical Order 200

L E S S O N
31
Forceful Sentences__________________________






Placing Important Words in Emphatic Positions 204
Varying the Beginnings of Sentences 205
Avoiding Choppiness 206
Using Active Verbs 207
Being Concise 208

LESSON

32

The Paragraph





viii

203

Unity 213
Coherence 214
Emphasis 215
Four Kinds of Paragraphs 215

212


CONTENTS

LESSON

33

Research Skills








Using the Library 220
Using the Internet 221
Weighing Authorities 222
Taking Notes 223
Writing a Summary 223
Citing Your Sources 224
Being Original— Avoiding Plagiarism 224

LESSON

Composition





219

34

227

Unity 228
Coherence 228
Emphasis 229
The Essay 231

LESSON

35

234

The Final Steps

• Revise 234
• Prepare Your Finished Copy 235
APPENDI X

A

APPENDI X

B

C o n s i d e r the Re a d er

243

A p p l y It! S o l u t i o n s

245

Index

25 1


( p) r e f a c e

Better Writing presents a new method of teaching and learning about
the sentence, grammar, punctuation, spelling, and style. It is based on
two facts: (1) before students can learn to write well, they need to
learn to write correctly, and (2) learning to write correctly— and
effectively— can be made easy.
The presentation of this new method is timely. Across the nation, students
are graduating—even from college— without the necessary writing skills.
Surveys reveal that students do not know basic grammar rules or how
to construct a proper sentence. Better Writing is an answer to these
concerns. By means of the Five-Way Method, it presents not only what
to know but also how to write in an organized way for easier and
more effective writing.

The Five Ways
The Sentence. Knowledge o f the sentence provides the necessary
background fo r understanding grammar, punctuation, and the
advanced w o rk o f style.
Grammar. The grammar section eliminates technical language
and unnecessary theory, emphasizing the most common errors to
ensure th a t w riters never make these mistakes.
Punctuation. Learning critical rules on how to punctuate the
simple, compound, and complex sentence and doing special exer­
cises to form correct habits can help elim inate errors.
Spelling. Better Writing provides easy-to-remember clues fo r
spelling problem words, helping students learn to spell them
correctly.
Style. This section gets w riters to th in k about the words they use
and the ways in which they construct th e ir sentences, paragraphs,
and compositions. It presents the great principles o f unity, coherence,
and emphasis in teaching students how to w rite well.


PREFACE

Objectives
Better Writing is intended for an introductory English or composition
course. It can be used for both classroom instruction and independent
study. After completing the text, students will be able to
• Understand and apply basic rules o f gram mar and punctuation.
• W rite unified, coherent, and emphatic sentences, paragraphs, and
compositions.
• Think and w rite critically, keeping an open mind on questions until all the
facts are in.

Better Writing can also serve as a complete reference guide to gram­
mar, punctuation, style, and writing. Even after they have completed
the textbook, students should be encouraged to continue to use it
at home, at school or college, or at their place of employment.

Special Features
Better Writing presents not only what to know in our language but
also how to use it for easier, more effective writing. The following
features of the text help improve writing skills:
The only way
to success in

©

writing is to lay
a foundation
hefore trying to
paint the eaves.
—Anonymous



The Sentence

The Sentence in Three Stages is a
special step-by-step program th a t gives
students a proper knowledge o f the
sentence. Stage 1: Recognize the subject
and verb in a sentence. Stage 2: Recog- ^
nize the subject, verb, and "com pleter" \
o f a sentence. Stage 3: Recognize phrases \
and clauses as subjects; identify the main \
subject and verb in a sentence w ith a
m odifying clause.

Do You Make These Sentence Errors?

\
\
^

A n g e la w ro te th e le tte r, th e n she
m a ile d it.

A n g e la w ro te th e le tte r. T h e n she
m a ile d it.

H u rry up , n o w is th e tim e t o go .

H u rry up. N o w is th e tim e t o go .

" I c a n 't," h e said, " it's to o b itte r ."

" I c a n 't," h e said . " It's to o b itte r ."

T he b a n k w ill b e closed. Since
M o n d a y is a h o lida y.

T h e b a n k w ill b e closed since
M o n d a y is a h o lid a y.

T he y cam e a g re a t d ista nce . D esp ite
th e se ve rity o f th e w in te r.

T he y cam e a g re a t dista n ce d e s p ite
th e seve rity o f th e w in te r.

Do you know what a sentence is? If you are among the many students who
do not know, you can readily learn it in Lessons 2 through 4 of Part 1, “The
Sentence in Three Stages,” a special program for learning the sentence
quickly and easily.
Th e
S ta g e 1 Recognize th e sub ject an d ve rb in a sentence. You are m ore th a n ha lfw a y
th e re w h e n you k n o w these.
S ta g e 2 Recognize th e subject, verb, an d "c o m p le te r" o f a sentence. If you kn o w
th ese, yo u kn o w m ost o f th e sentence.
S ta g e 3 Recognize phrases and clauses as subjects. Id e n tify th e m ain su b ject and
v e rb in a sentence w ith a m o d ify in g clause. C on gratulatio ns! You n o w
recognize a sentence.

7

xi


PREFACE

/

Check Your Understanding exercises are
simple self-check exercises distributed
th ro u g h o u t the lessons. Each exercise follows
the presentation o f a new concept, helping to
ensure th a t students have a proper under­
standing o f it. Answers— below the exercise—
provide immediate feedback.

Check Your Understanding of Sentences Beginning with ^

Here and There
In each sentence, circle the correct verb enclosed in parentheses.
1. T here (is, are) m any fa cts th a t y ou s ho uld k n o w a b o u t d o w n lo a d in g files.
2. W h e re (is, are) th e m an ag er an d his assistant?
3. H ere (is, are) A n g e lin a an d h e r s ta ff m em bers.
4. H ere (is, are) th e backpack y ou lost.
5. T here (go, goes) th e s tu d e n t an d h e r sister.
6. H ere (was, w ere) fo u n d m any evidences o f c iv iliz a tio n .

7

I

Apply It ■

On Campus
F or each sentence, supply the correct pronoun— /or m e.
1. The English class is tra v e lin g t o Russia w ith R egina an d

.

2. Ellen, Eugene, an d _ _ _ _ _ w e re a p p o in te d tu to rs .
3. The lo u d e x p losio n d id n o t fr ig h te n m y frie n d a n d _______ .
4. No on e s ign ed u p fo r th e S aturday class e xce pt Paul a n d ________ .
5. June a n d _______ a rriv e d a t th e d o rm ito ry a t th e same tim e .

Apply It! exercises help make
the use o f proper English a habit.
These distinctive end-of-lesson
activities give students an oppor­
tu n ity to apply the concepts
taught in the lesson. Solutions
are provided at the back o f the
text fo r students to check their
answers.

6. D avid sen t m y frie n d a n d _______ tw o ticke ts t o th e ho m e co m in g gam e.
7. The te s tin g schedule w as sen t t o m y classmates a n d ________.

¥

8. The d e b a tin g c lu b sen t Grace a n d ________a bo o k.

10. The lib ra ria n an

1
1

For each sentence,

T H{

PA RA GRAP H

1
1
1
1
1

11. The in s tru c to r o
on tim e .
12. The academ ic a\
13. Few s tu de nts ca
14. Do yo u a p pro ve
debate?
15. N e ith e r C raig nc

Write Effective Paragraphs
1. M ake notes fo r a sketch o f y o u r o w n life o r th e life o f a fa m ily m em ber.


A p p ly

|
It



You m ay use th e fo llo w in g suggested to pics o r choose yo u r o w n . For
each p a rag ra ph , tr y t o th in k o f a t least fiv e details.
P a ragraph 1: Fam ily o r c h ild h o o d
P a ragraph 2: Education
P a ragraph 3: W ork
P a ragraph 4: Personal d e scrip tio n
2. C hoose tw o o f th e fo llo w in g to p ic sentences, a n d exp an d each in to a
p a ra g ra p h . Try t o th in k o f a t least fiv e d e ta ils t o use in each pa rag ra ph .
a. L a s t___________ w as a n u n u su ally busy da y fo r m e.
b.

is som e on e w h o m I re a llv a d m ire .

c. O w n e rsh ip o f a car carries w ith it m an y resp on sib ilitie s.
d. I a d m it I have o n e o r tw o m in o r fa u lts.
e. There are m any w ays o f b e com ing w e ll lik e d a t w o rk .
f. O f a ll m y studies. I have g a in e d th e m ost fro m
g.

1w ill

alw ays rem em be r th e (d a y/tim e ) th a t

h. T he re is no such th in g as an u n ed uca te d person.
i. H u rryin g does n o t alw ays save tim e .
j. If 1 co u ld change o n e th in g a b o u t m y colle ge , 1 w o u ld

Systematic w riting assignments begin w ith a most im por­
ta n t step in learning to
w rite —composing independent
paragraphs from topic sentences.
Students then proceed to w rit­
ing related paragraphs: doing
library and Internet research;
w ritin g themes and essays; and
revising, fo rm a ttin g , and p ro o f­
reading th e ir work.
XII

3. Choose o n e o f th e fo llo w in g to pics an d w r ite several pa rag ra ph s o n it:
• C om pa re a b o o k y o u 'v e read t o a m ovie m ade fr o m it.
• Id e n tify several h a bits th a t lea d t o success a t w o rk .
• Explain h o w y o u lea rn ed t o d o so m e th in g , such as skate o r play
hockey.
• D escribe a te le visio n p ro g ra m o r pro gram s th a t y o u enjoy.
• Explain w h a t you h o p e t o g e t o u t o f college.
• D escribe som e steps th a t pe o p le can ta k e fo r g o o d h e a lth .
• D escribe a place o r an e ve n t th a t is especially m e m o ra b le fo r you .
• Explain h o w to pre pa re fo r a jo b in te rvie w .

217


PREFACE

®

Improve Your Vocabulary features are
designed to improve students' reading and w rit­
ing ability. Vocabulary development contributes
to improved reading and better w riting.

IMPROVE YOUR VOCABULARY
Prefixes and Roots

A d means to or a t as adjoin, to join to, and tow ard as advise, to look
toward. This prefix may become a, ac , af, ag, al, an, a p , ar, as , or at
as in ascent, accede, a ffix , aggrandize, allot, annex, appeal, arrest,
assume, and attract.
Adjacent, to; adjoining. (jacere, to lie)
Adm ire, to wonder at; to esteem highly, (mirari, to wonder)
Admonish, to warn tow ard; reprove mildly, (m onere, to warn)
A/Fable, to speak to; pleasant, friendly. (fari, to speak)
A/fluent, to flow to; an abundance, (fluere, to flow)

The house adjacent to yours lies next to it.
To adm ire a person means literally to wonder at him.
When parents adm onish a child, they warn him tow ard avoiding
some fault or wronj
Being pleasant and friendly in conversation, affable people are
easy to speak to.
A person to whom money seems to flow to with little effort may
be considered affluent or wealthy.
Other words for recognizing prefixes and roots: adage, aggression,
allege, alleviate, alliteration, appraise, arrogant.

Vocabulary Check
1

Match
_____
_____
_____
_____
_____

words with definitions by placing the correct letter in each blank.
a. to warn; caution
1. adjacent
2. admire
b. near; close to
3. admonish
c. easy to be spoken to; courteous; kind
4. affable
d. rich
e. to regard with strong approval, delight, or
5. affluent
wonder
f. allowable

1

Style principles guide students as they
........
move beyond w ritin g correctly to w ritin g w e ll—
developing a polished and effective style. The
eight lessons in Part 5 focus on the great qualities
o f w ritin g — unity, coherence, and emphasis— and
th e ir use in constructing sentences, paragraphs,
and compositions. The section on Practical
Suggestions fo r W riting, or the w ritin g process,
provides an overview o f essential issues o f style
and a simple five-step process fo r producing
better w ritin g , from planning to finished work.

Clearness is the
fundamental
quality o f style,
a quality so
essential in every
kind o f writing
that for want o f it,
nothing can atone.
—Hugh Blair,
1783

Style

Do You Make These Mistakes in Writing?

■■■BBzeaanaHHWH
Use fa n c y w o rd s t o im press oth e rs.

Use sim p le, sp e cific w o rd s.

W rite w o r d y sentences.

Condense e le m e nts, an d d e le te
unnecessary w o rd s.

Present th e sam e th o u g h t tw ic e .

E lim in a te sentences w ith th e sam e
th o u g h t unless fo r em phasis.

W rite ch ild ish sentences.

Va ry th e le n g th , b e g in n in g s , fo rm s,
a n d kind s o f sentences.

W rite skim p y pa rag ra ph s.

S u pp ly s u ffic ie n t d e ta ils a n d p a rtic u la rs
to s u p p o rt a to p ic sentence.

C om pose d iffic u lt- to - r e a d w o rks.

Use th e g re a t prin c ip le s o f U nity,
C oherence, an d Force t o w r ite clea rly
a n d fo rc e fu lly .

Clearness, clearness, clearness. Clearness is the prize in writing and is always
the mark of a good style. Force, the ability to express ourselves in such a way
as to make it likely our readers will remember what we have said, is also
important.
Fortunately, you need to know only several principles—the great qualities of
Unity, Coherence, and Force, or Emphasis— in order to be able to write in a
good style. In the following lessons, you will learn how to apply these
principles to improve your writing.

XIII


PREFACE

®PPENDIX A


t


Consider the Reader—or the "you"
attitude— is an im portant aspect o f the
J
w ritin g process. The questions and
insights in this special appendix w ill help
students cultivate the "you" attitude
and apply it in their interactions w ith
others and their w riting.

Consider the Reader

Better Writing is a systematic, selfConsidering the reader—the “you” attitude— is an important aspect
of the writing process. It is a viewpoint that practically guarantees you
will write an effective composition or letter since you will want to
make your writing as clear as possible in order to save your reader
time and energy.
The following questions will help you to have this “you” attitude. In
addition, they will help you get along well with others, a key skill
desired by employers. Even if you find you already have a good atti­
tude, learn how to put your good intentions into practice by asking
yourself these questions and following these guidelines.
1. Can you be depended on to do w hat you say you w ill do? Do n o t

paced method of learning how to write.
This text is an essential resource for
students who want to improve their
writing skills and boost their career
potential.

prom ise, fo r exam ple, t o g o to a school fu n c tio n w ith a frie n d , w rite an
a rtic le fo r th e school newspaper, o r w o rk late unless you are reasonably
sure th a t y ou can do this. Trying t o d o w h a t y ou said y ou w o u ld do is
im p o rta n t fo r th is reason: It helps m ake you a depe nd ab le person. W hen
s om eone reneges on a prom ise, m ost o f us are n o t o n ly d isa pp oin ted in
th e bro ken prom ise b u t in th e person w h o m ade th e promise.

2. Do you go out of your w a y to help others? If a frie n d asks fo r he lp
w ith a h o m e w o rk assignm ent o r som eone asks y ou t o v o lu n te e r fo r a
go o d cause an d y ou can ho ne stly d o it, say yes. Being in th e h a b it o f
h e lp in g o th e rs w h e n possible is a po sitive th in g . It te lls othe rs y ou care
a b o u t th e m — an d in th e end can res u lt in a b e n e fit to you .

3. Are you careful not to exaggerate? W hen w ritin g a le tte r o f a p p li­
c atio n and a resume, fo r exam ple, be cautious n o t to o ve rstate y ou r
q u a lific a tio n s ; instead, pre sen t y o u r a b ilitie s ho ne stly an d tru th fu lly .
E x aggerating y o u r a b ilitie s can a c tua lly ba ckfire on you. If you are h ired
fo r a po s itio n and th e n d o n o t have certa in a b ilitie s, y ou cou ld cause
y ou rs elf g re a t stress— an d even possibly lose th e po sition .

Acknowledgments
The author is grateful to the following individuals who reviewed the
manuscript and offered suggestions:
Michael F. Courteau, The A rt Institutes International Minnesota,
Minnesota, MN
Elaine Giuliano, Central Coast College, Salinas, CA
Jennifer E. Marano, Silicon Valley College, Fremont, CA
Donna McCullough, W ood Tobe-Coburn School, New York, NY
Sara L. Morgan, Minnesota School o f Business, Plymouth, MN
Emma L. Tan, ASA Institute o f Advanced Technology, Brooklyn, NY
Carolyn Varvel, A rt Institute o f Colorado, Denver, CO

xi v


We must study not
only that every bearer
may understand us,
but tbat it sball be
impossible for bim not
to understand us.


Quintilian, circa

A.D. 3 5 -9 5

Practical
Suggestions
for Writing

Do You Make These Mistakes in Writing?
j

WRONG

RI GHT

Begin w ritin g w ith o u t careful th o u g h t.

Plan yo u r w ritin g . Decide on yo u r purpose,
and con tin u e to th in k a b o u t w h y you are
w ritin g u n til you have finished.

A tte m p t to w rite w ith o u t g e ttin g all
th e facts.

First g e t th e facts.

Send o ff yo u r w o rk w ith o u t checking it.

Set yo u r w o rk aside, and la ter reread it.

Be n eg lectfu l o f your reader's interests.

Consider yo u r reader, above all m aking sure
yo u r w ritin g is clear.

Focus m ore on fancy w ritin g th a n on
th e th o u g h t o f your message.

Realize th a t th e th o u g h t o f yo u r message is
th e m ore im p o rta n t p a rt o f yo u r w ritin g .

Have you had much writing experience? Do you feel confident in your ability
to express yourself? In this introductory section, you will find practical sug­
gestions for writing— especially helpful if you have not had much practice in
writing. You will learn rules for not only thinking and writing in an orderly
and efficient way but also for having good interpersonal skills and for think­
ing critically— invaluable skills especially needed for the workplace.
The more detailed problems of writing— the sentence, grammar, punctuation,
spelling, and style— are addressed in Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. You first, how­
ever, need a natural background for their discussion, which you will find here
in Practical Suggestions for Writing.

1


PRACTICAL

SUGGESTIONS

FOR

WRITING

Practical Suggestions for Writing
These practical suggestions for writing are often referred to as the
writing process.

1. Plan Your Wr i t i ng
Begin by thinking about what you will be writing. If it is an assign­
ment, look closely at the directions, and note any key words.
Decide on your purpose. Think carefully about what you want to
say, and, if possible, choose a subject you know about or in which
you are interested. For a composition, it could be to explain some­
thing or give advice on a subject. For a letter, it will usually be to per­
suade someone to do something. Keep thinking about why you are
writing until you have finished. For unless your purpose is clear in
your mind, it will be no better in the reader’s mind.
Get all the facts. Facts are the core of composition. You cannot take
too many pains in gathering facts. You would never deceive yourself
with the idea that you can dash off a composition in a short time
without knowing anything about the subject. An old verse, though,
might help remind you that the greatest achievement awaits the per­
son knowing the most facts:
F is for Facts; you will scribble in vain
If a grip on these churls you don't get and retain.

Outline. For a simple theme or letter, it does not have to be elaborate;
a listing of key points is usually fine. Some compositions, however,
require a great deal of thought to make them understandable.

2. Note the T h r e e As p e c t s of Good Wr i t i ng
While not always included in the writing process, these three aspects
are a significant part of it.
Be yourself. Study the works of the best authors, a necessity for not
only gaining an understanding of how to write in a good style but for
supplying yourself with a stock of words on different subjects. But
have confidence in your ability to express yourself. You do not need
an unusual sensitivity to people nor a great facility with words or the
ability to write similes and metaphors. What you do need is to be
yourself and write sincerely and truthfully.

2


PRACTICAL

SUGGESTIONS

FOR

WRITING

Consider the reader. Called the “you” attitude, a caring viewpoint
practically guarantees that you will write an effective composition or
letter. Above all, you will want to make your writing as clear as possi­
ble in order to save your reader time and energy. Add the day of an
appointment— Wednesday, June 28— for example, to reduce the possi­
bility of error.
Before you can hope to write successful messages, you will want to
make sure you have a good attitude towards others. You will find
these guidelines in Appendix A. Fairness and tact, though, deserve spe­
cial mention here.

Be fair. We cannot be fair if we are concerned only with ourselves.
It has been said, in fact, that unfairness is usually the result of selfish­
ness. Although fairness is considered especially important in letters
intended to adjust differences, there are many opportunities to be hon­
est and fair.

Be tactful. Tact, the special ability to relate to others in such a way so
as not to hurt their feelings, summarizes all the other qualities and
deserves special mention. If someone present, for example, is over­
weight, the tactful person will refrain from any reference to weight
loss programs. The Golden Rule— do unto others, as you would have
them do unto you— is perhaps the best definition of this important
quality.
Think critically. Pay more attention to the thought of your message
than to its style. What you say— the thought of your message— is the
more important part of your writing. It is essential, therefore, to be in
the habit of thinking critically and judging fairly on every problem.
What is critical thinking? Mainly, it involves thinking about all sides
of an issue, continually questioning assumptions, and not being afraid
to change your mind despite what others may think. It can apply to
every subject— education, business, ethics, politics, science, and the
like. Thinking critically can be best defined as keeping an open mind
on every question until all the facts are in.

Critical thinking in the workplace. A study conducted by JeanFran^ois Manzoni and Jean-Louis Barsoux and discussed in The SetUp-To-Fail-Syndrome: How G ood Managers Cause Great People to
Fail (Harvard Business School Press, 2002) shows the importance of
critical thinking in business problems. According to the authors of the
study, managers are often at fault when an employee fails. The
3


PRACTICAL

SUGGESTIONS

FOR

WRITING

authors found that what can happen is that the employee might
receive a less-than-enthusiastic recommendation from a former
employer, the manager then will distrust the employee, and the
employee will respond by losing confidence and performing less well.
According to the authors of the study, managers could have ended
the cycle by keeping an open mind and asking these critical questions:
Is the employee’s performance as bad as I think it is? Could there be
other factors, aside from performance, that have caused me to label
this person a weak performer? Did we hire this person because
of above-average qualities? And, if so, why have those qualities
disappeared?
What is required for critical thinking, then, is the ability to think
through an issue instead of being content to simply form an opinion.
How can you equip yourself to make sound judgments? How can you
become a critical thinker instead of a merely well-informed person?
You can begin by asking yourself the following three questions, or
questions like them, every day. These questions are often called the
ABCs of Education:
A. Do I really w a n t to know the tru th about something, or do I w a nt to
prove only th a t the ideas I already have are correct?
B. Am I w illin g to consider the possibility th a t I could be w rong in my
judgm ent o f an issue?
C. Have I ever th o u g h t about the reasons fo r my most treasured opinions?
That is, can I plainly seek the tru th about something despite where it
m ight lead me?

Remember, it is the thought of your message—what you say— that
is the more important part of your writing. No matter what you
write about, therefore, you need to have a technique such as the
ABCs of Education to be able to find the truth— and become truly
educated. You need some way to be able to see the “other side of the
story.”

The final step. The final step, then, is to weigh each sentence, para­
graph, and message and question yourself about the truth of each. Are
my facts correct? Is it possible I could be wrong about this? Even if you
ask only these questions, you will be well on your way to making
sound judgments.


ACTICAL

SUGGESTIONS

FOR

WRITING

3. C o mp o s e
Do not worry too much about minor details at this stage. At the same
time, compose slowly and with care, especially in following the great
principles of writing: Unity, Clearness, Force, and Emphasis.
Unity. A sentence should present only one thought; a paragraph, one
topic; and a composition, one subject. Supplying sufficient facts and
eliminating unnecessary ones is the key to unity of the paragraph and
composition.
Clearness. Above all, a sentence should be clear. The term “coher­
ence” (a sticking together) is often used in place of clearness to refer
to the paragraph and composition.
Force. Force is the quality that makes sentences sound mature and
sophisticated, not childish and choppy. Elements such as the use of
conciseness, active verbs, and putting something before the subject
help you gain this vital quality. The use of clear, forceful words also
contributes to this key quality.
Emphasis. Emphasis is the powerful aid to force, a quality that can
be attained by placing important parts at the beginnings and endings
of sentences, paragraphs, and whole messages.
k.

Revi se

The secret of success in writing effectively lies in the careful improve­
ment of your work. After writing, set your work aside, and later
reread it as if it belonged to someone else. If possible, have someone
else read your work and suggest how it could be improved. Now is
the time for abolishing redundancies, for arranging your sentences
correctly, for checking for incorrect grammar and punctuation, and
for bringing style into a consistent and effective form.

5. Pr e p a r e Your Fi ni shed Copy
Make your writing look professional. Whether you are writing a
business letter or a theme, correctness in form suggests accuracy and
efficiency and influences your reader’s estimate of you and your abil­
ity. Proofread carefully to make sure your document is error free, and
check the appearance of each page. In addition, place your name,
date, and other information properly on your theme to make it easy
for your instructor to identify your work— and gain a good impres­
sion of you.

5


t
PRACTICAL

SUGGESTIONS

f y

FOR

WRITING

Summary
1. Plan your w ritin g .
Decide on your purpose. Remember, unless your purpose is clear in
your mind, it w ill be no better in your reader's.
Get all the facts. Facts are the core o f composition.
Outline. For a simple them e or letter, a listing o f key points is
usually fine.
2. Note the three aspects o f good w ritin g .
Be yourself. Study the works o f the best authors, but have confidence in
your ability to express yourself and w rite sincerely and truthfully.
Consider the reader—the "y o u " attitude. Above all, make your w ritin g
as clear as possible to save your readers th e ir tim e and energy. Study
Appendix A, Consider the Reader. The tw elve questions there w ill help
you develop the "y o u " attitu de. In addition, these guidelines w ill help
you get along well w ith others, a key skill desired by employers.
Think critically. Keep an open mind on every question until all the facts
are in.
3. Compose. When composing, keep in mind the great principles o f
w ritin g — Unity, Clearness, Force, and Emphasis.
4. Revise. Always reread your w ork to improve it and to check fo r any
inconsistencies.
5. Prepare your finished copy. First impressions count! Follow the
guidelines fo r making your w ork look professional—and give a good
impression o f yourself.

6


Lhe only way
to success in
writing is to lay
a foundation
before trying to
paint the eaves.
—Anonymous

The Sentence

Do You Make These Sentence Errors?
j

WRONG

RIGHT

Angela w ro te th e letter, th e n she
m ailed it.

Angela w ro te th e letter. Then she
m ailed it.

Hurry up, n o w is th e tim e to go.

Hurry up. N ow is th e tim e to go.

"1 c a n 't," he said, "it's to o b itte r."

"1 c a n 't," he said. "It's to o b itte r."

The bank w ill be closed. Since
M onday is a holiday.

The bank w ill be closed since
M onday is a holiday.

They came a g reat distance. Despite
th e severity o f th e w inter.

They came a g re a t distance despite
th e severity o f th e w inter.

Do you know what a sentence is? If you are among the many students who
do not know, you can readily learn it in Lessons 2 through 4 of Part 1, “The
Sentence in Three Stages,” a special program for learning the sentence
quickly and easily.

T he Se nt e nc e in T h r e e St ages
Recognize the subject and verb in a sentence. You are more than halfway
there when you know these.
Recognize the subject, verb, and "com pleter" o f a sentence. If you know
these, you know most o f the sentence.
Recognize phrases and clauses as subjects. Identify the main subject and
verb in a sentence w ith a m odifying clause. Congratulations! You now
recognize a sentence.


n j

PART 1 PRETEST
In the sp a c e p r ov i de d, wr i t e one of the f ol l owi ng l ett ers (A, 6, or C)
i dent i f y the c o r r e c t a n s w e r in each se n t e nc e .

O o
sentence

1.

tw o sentences written as one

o

p art of a sentence

I have never supported tax increases.

2. As you did.
3. The purpose o f a sales letter, however, is m otivation.
4.

Ann sent her resume to the company, then she called the
human resources director.

5. That is not true.
6. As you already know, the dow ntim e w ill be less w ith private
companies.
7. The mark grew larger fin a lly we saw the sign.
8. The speaker received much applause.
9.
10.

Since his speech was a masterpiece.
It is a mistake o f course it is.

11. You should remember th a t otherwise you w ould seem rude.
12.

Please remember th a t specialists gave you these tests.

13. And th a t there are many ways o f answering the questions.
14. We were pleased when you became a member, however,
we noticed th a t your membership recently lapsed.
15. To open the file, you must have a special password.
16.

Being a chief executive officer w ho managed a
well-furnished office.

17.

Looking forw ard to hearing from you.

18.

I really should hurry to the office.

19.

Otherwise, I m ight be late.

20. They passed the examination, therefore they were happy.

8


Lesson

©

The Parts of Speech
This

lesson

covers the

following

mai n

parts

of s p e e c h :

1a

Noun

A noun is the name o f something.

1b

Pronoun

A pronoun takes the place o f a noun.

1c

Verb

A verb shows action or indicates a state or condition.

1d

Adjective

A n adjective modifies a noun or pronoun.

1e

Adverb

A n adverb modifies a verb, an adjective, or another
adverb.

1f

Conjunction

A conjunction is a joininq word.

19

Preposition

A preposition shows a relation as "w ith respect" or
"m our nation."

1h

Interjection

A n interjection expresses strong fe e lin g .

i

Contrary to what some might say, you really do need to be familiar
with the parts of speech— if only to have the terminology for under­
standing how to improve and revise sentences. A shortcut to knowing
the parts of speech is to learn by heart the names of linking verbs,
helping verbs, conjunctions, and prepositions.

9


1a
A noun is the name of a person, place, or thing. The word “thing” is
used not only for objects that we can see, hear, taste, or touch but also
for words such as patriotism , sorrow , and peace. In the following pas­
sage, the italicized words are the names of various objects called nouns.
The art o f separating a person from his money is a delicate matter,
and all the tact and diplomacy o f which a skillful salesperson is master
w ill not ward o ff every complaint. Discontent arises from carelessness
in giving or in fillin g an order.

1b
A pronoun takes the place of a noun. The following are commonly
used personal pronouns:
I, me, he, him, she, her, we, us, they, them, it, you, who, whom

You should be familiar with other pronouns in common use, a list of
which follows. Whenever you are uncertain whether a word is a pro­
noun, refer to this list. In a short time, you will be familiar with most
of them.

Other Pr on o u n s
each
every
either
neither
this
th a t
these

those
all
any
one
other
another
none

some
same
both
several
few
anybody
everybody

everyone
someone
somebody
something
much
many
which

1c
A verb, the most important word in the sentence, shows action or
indicates a state or condition.
For action verbs, however, the action does not necessarily imply
motion, such as run, jump , and skip. Action verbs can also be actions
of the mind, such as think , consider, and remember.
The consultant wrote many letters.
The members concentrated th e ir efforts on w inning the argument.


THE

PARTS

OF

SPEECH

Those that do not express action (linking verbs) make a statement and
also connect or link the subject with the word or words that follow it.
The primary linking verbs follow:
is
feel

am
look

are
appear

Andres was a student.
I remain an avid reader.

was
become

were
seem

been
remain

Jane became a friend.
The cold ice felt good.

A verb may not always be a single word but sometimes a group
of words, such as “Your order has been sent.” The following
twenty-three words are helping verbs. (The first eight are also linking
verbs.)

Hel pi ng Verbs
is
am
are
was
were
been

be
being
shall
w ill
must
m ight

may
can
have
has
had
do

does
did
could
w ould
should

Id
An adjective modifies or in some way makes the meaning of a noun
or pronoun more exact. An adjective can describe a noun (the rocky
ledge) or limit a noun (two dollars).
They worked in a busy office.
He bought the latest version o f the software.
Mr. Ito designed the company database.

1e
An adverb modifies a verb, an adjective, or another adverb. Adverbs
usually answer the questions how, when, where, why, or to what
extent and often end in -ly.
They read books often. (Describes a verb)
They were very close friends. (Describes an adjective)
They worked really w ell together. (Describes an adverb)

11


Although an adverb often modifies the verb in the sentence, it is not
always placed directly after the verb. At times, it is placed between the
parts of the verb phrase.
They were desperately looking fo r a dictionary.
The child was happily walking in the rain.
The company could easily hire six new employees.

If
Conjunctions are connecting words that join sentences, clauses,
phrases, or words.

Coordinating conjunctions connect elements of equal rank. They are
and, or, nor, but, yet, for, so
The staff meets on Monday, and the workers meet on Friday.
Courage is admirable, but patience is pow erful.
Ty knows w ord processing, yet he wants to take a refresher course.

Be sure to memorize the seven coordinating conjunctions. When you
can recall them, you will automatically know when to place a comma
in a compound sentence.

Subordinating conjunctions connect elements of unequal rank. They
introduce dependent clauses and are important because they can
remind you to place a comma after the clause.
If a le tter is to o long, it wastes the tim e o f the correspondent and the
reader.
After my money was gone, I no longer had friends.

The following mnemonic (a means used as an aid in remembering)
will help you recall these key words:
A unt

Betty

[s

smarter

than

Uncle

Wally.

after
although
as

because
before

if

since

than
though

unless
until

when
where
while


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