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Transcript of Grammar Lessons
Lesson One: Who v Whom
Subjects do an action:
goes to school.
Objects receive an action:
The teachers like
The waiter smiled at
Who is a subject pronoun.
We use "who" to ask which person does an action or is a certain way.
Whom is an object pronoun, like him, her, and us. We use whom to ask which person receives the action.
Easy way to check if you use "who" or "whom. Ask the question and....
If you can answer the question using "him" use "whom." (the "m"s match)
do I give the car?
If you can answer the question using "he" use "who" (the vowels match).
made the birthday cake?
made the birthday cake.
1. ______ did you come to the party with?
2. _______ washed the dog?
3. _____ is going to do the dishes?
4. I know the man ______ won the contest.
5. They hired the man ______ we interviewed last week.
Lesson Two: First and Second person pronouns
What are they?
When are they appropriate (in writing)?
When are they appropriate?
First person- Narrative
Lesson 3: Affect v Effect
Most of the time, affect is a
and effect is a
had an eye-popping
Affect with an a means "to influence," as in, "The arrows affected Aardvark," or "The rain affected Amy's hairdo." Affect can also mean, roughly, "to act in a way that you don't feel," as in, "She affected an air of superiority."
Effect with an e has a lot of subtle meanings as a noun, but the meaning "a result" seems to be at the core of all the definitions: "The effect was eye-popping," or "The sound effects were amazing," or "The rain had no effect on Amy's hairdo."
Dirty little trick?
Substitute "result" or "influence" and see which one fits.
Lesson Four: Plural and Possessive
Technically, a plural word refers to when more than one or "it" exists.
For the most part, all you need to do is add an "s."
In some circumstances (if a word ends in "ch," "x," or "s,"), you must add an "es."
Under other circumstances, the singular and plural differ greatly. (Or do they?)
Technically, possessives refer to ownership.
Most of the time, this is accomplished by simply adding an 's. This is NOT a contraction.
While most singular possessives are simplistic, plural possessives can be confusing.
The bone of the dog=
The house of the girl=
The bone of the dogs=
the dogs' bone
The house of the girls=
the girls' house
In some cases, plural nouns will receive an 's:
1. The __________ house was painted over the weekend.
2. The ________ are laughing.
3. The ________ is laughing.
4. The _______ tie is red.
Child / Children / Child's / Children's
Lesson Five: SVA
Lesson Six: PAA
Lesson Seven: Homophones
Lesson Eight: Redundancy
Lesson Nine: Parallelism
Lesson 10: Absolutes and Qualifiers
Lesson 11: Latins
Lesson 12: Commas
Lesson 13: Colons and Semicolons
Lesson 15: Run-Ons and Comma Splices
Lesson 14: Hyphens, Dashes, and Brackets
Lesson 16: Writing Fallacies / Logical Fallacies
Lesson 17: Logos, Pathos, Ethos
Lesson 18: Avoiding Sexist Language
Lesson 19: Tone
Lesson 23: Active Voice and Passive Voice
The indefinite pronouns anyone, everyone, someone, no one, nobody are always singular and, therefore, require
done his or her homework.
left her purse.
Some indefinite pronouns — such as all, some — are
depending on what they're referring to. (Is the thing referred to countable or not?) Be careful choosing a verb to accompany such pronouns.
Some of the
Some of the
On the other hand, there is one indefinite pronoun, none, that can be either singular or plural; it often doesn't matter whether you use a singular or a plural verb — unless something else in the sentence determines its number.
None of you claims responsibility for this incident?
None of you claim responsibility for this incident?
None of the students have done their homework. (In this last example, the word their precludes the use of the singular verb.
Everyone and everybody (listed above, also) certainly feel like more than one person and, therefore, students are sometimes tempted to use a plural verb with them. They are always singular, though. Each is often followed by a prepositional phrase ending in a plural word ("each of the cars"), thus confusing the verb choice. Each, too, is
always singular and requires a singular verb.
Everyone has finished his or her homework.
You would always say, "Everybody is here." This means that the word is singular and nothing will change that.
Each of the students is responsible for doing his or her work in the library.
Don't let the word "students" confuse you; the subject is each and each is always singular — Each is responsible.
Phrases such as together with, as well as, and along with are not the same as "and." The phrase introduced by "as well as" or "along with" will modify the earlier word (mayor in this case), but it does not compound the subjects (as the word and would do).
The mayor, as well as his brothers, is going to prison.
The mayor and his brothers are going to jail.
The pronouns neither and either are singular and require singular verbs, even though they seem to be referring, in a sense, to two things.
Neither of the two traffic lights is working.
Which shirt do you want for Christmas?
Either is fine with me.
The conjunction "or" does not conjoin (as "and" does): when "nor" or "or" is used the subject
closer to the verb
determines the number of the verb. Whether the subject comes before or after the verb doesn't matter; the proximity determines the number.
Either my father or my
going to sell the house.
Neither my brothers nor my
going to sell the house.
or my father responsible?
or my brothers responsible?
The words there and here are never subjects.
There are two reasons [plural subject] for this.
There is no reason for this.
Here are two apples.
With these constructions (called expletive constructions), the subject follows the verb but still determines the number of the verb.
Verbs in the present tense for third-person, singular subjects (he, she, it and anything those words can stand for) have s-endings. Other verbs do not add s-endings.
He loves, and she loves, and they love.
Sometimes modifiers will get between a subject and its verb, but these modifiers must not confuse the agreement between the subject and its verb.
, who has been convicted along with his four brothers on four counts of various crimes but who also seems, like a cat, to have several political lives,
finally going to jail.
There are, further, so called
, which are
singular when we think of them as groups
plural when we think of the individuals
acting within the whole (which happens sometimes, but not often).
audience band class committee
crowd dozen family flock
group heap herd jury
kind lot [the] number
public staff team
Thus, if we're talking about eggs, we could say "A dozen is probably not enough." But if we're talking partying with our friends, we could say, "A dozen are coming over this afternoon." The jury delivers its verdict. [But] The jury came in and took their seats. Generally, band names and musical groups take singular or plural verbs depending on the form of their names: "The Mamas and the Papas were one of the best groups of the 70s" and "Metallica is my favorite band."
Some words end in -s and appear to be plural but are really singular and require singular verbs.
The news from the front is bad.
Measles is a dangerous disease for pregnant women.
On the other hand, some words ending in -s refer to a single thing but are nonetheless plural and require a plural verb.
My assets were wiped out in the depression.
The average worker's earnings have gone up dramatically.
Our thanks go to the workers who supported the union.
If your sentence compounds a positive and a negative subject and one is plural, the other singular, the verb should agree with the positive subject.
The department members but not the chair have decided not to teach on Valentine's Day.
It is not the faculty members but the president who decides this issue.
It was the speaker, not his ideas, that has provoked the students to riot.
Basic Principle: A pronoun usually refers to something earlier in the text (its antecedent) and must agree in number — singular/plural — with the thing to which it refers.
1. He is/are a great man.
2. They desire/desires pizza.
3. The dog and the cats run/runs fast.
4. Measles is/are a dangerous disease.
5. The team run/runs a marathon.
6. There is/are two apples.
The indefinite pronouns anyone, anybody, everyone, everybody, someone, somebody, no one, and nobody are always singular. The same is true of either and neither, which are always singular even though they seem to be referring to two things.
The need for pronoun-antecedent agreement can create gender problems. If one were to write, for instance, "A student must see his counselor before the end of the semester," when there are female students about, nothing but grief will follow.
One can pluralize, in this situation, to avoid the problem:
Students must see their counselor before the end of the semester.
Or, one could say
A student must see his or her counselor.
Too many his's and her's eventually become annoying, however, and the reader becomes more aware of the writer trying to be conscious of good form than he or she is of the matter at hand.
Remember that when we compound a pronoun with something else, we don't want to change its form. Following this rule carefully often creates something that "doesn't sound good." You would write, "This money is for me," so when someone else becomes involved, don't write, "This money is for Fred and I." Try the, "This money is for him and me."
1. The dog has ______ bone.
2. They are going to _______ car.
3. One of them is going to lose ________ scholarship.
4. Women need ________ medical history.
5. The student needs _____ books.
Homophones, also known as sound-alike words, are words that are pronounced identically although they have different meanings and often have different spellings as well.
aloud / allowed
cell / sell
hear / here
heard / herd
its / it's
know / no
right / write
site / cite / sight
seam / seem
sew / so / sow
some / sum
tale / tail
there / they're / their
to / too / two
weather / whether
which / witch
who's / whose
your / you're
by / bye / buy
cent / scent / sent
lesson / lessen
principal / principle
wood / would
knows / noes / nose
Can you think of any others?
Repeating words or ideas unnecessarily risks boring or confusing the reader. Include only words that have a real purpose. While redundancy is typical in rough drafts, when editing, make sure you remove words that serve no purpose or say the same thing you have already
Three ways to avoid unnecessary redundancy:
- Remove repeated words.
- Remove unnecessary synonyms.
- Remove redundancies.
Remove repeated words.
She is the best swimmer of the three Romanian swimmers.
Remove unnecessary synonyms.
She threw away the broken stereo that did not work.
They had never seen a dead corpse.
The purse was square in shape.
Four ways to be direct:
-Replace Wordy Phrases
-Remove constructions such as "it is" and "there was"
is the kind of person who
Jason likes music.
The plant that makes Ford trucks needs mechanics who are skilled.
The Ford truck plant needs skilled mechanics.
Replace Wordy Phrases
Considering the fact that
the bridge was under water, Rita had to turn back.
Since the bridge was under water,.....
Remove Constructions such as "it is" and "there was"
There were children playing in the yard.
Children played in the yard.
There was no way he could have murdered his wife.
He could not have murdered his wife.
Why are these redundant?
introduce a new
1. Turk gets up at 6 a.m. in the morning.
2. Loren used the fly swatter to kill the fly dead.
3. Reagan and Riley protested against the new dress code.
4. Karen mistakenly spilled the milk accidentally.
5. The pool was filled to the rim with water.
Parallel structure means using the same pattern of words to show that two or more ideas have the same level of importance. This can happen at the word, phrase, or clause level.
: hiking, skiing, and running.
: hiked, skiing, run.
: to hike, to swim, and to ride.
: to hike, swim, and to ride.
Correct: to the meeting, to the car wash, and to the game.
Incorrect: to the meeting, the car wash, and to the game.
: The salesman expected
that he would
present his product,
that there would
be time for questions, and
that buyers would
: The salesman expected
that he would present
that there would
be time for questions, and
that proposals would be
made by the buyer. (passive)
Lists after colons and Parallelism
The dictionary can be used to find the following things: meanings, pronunciations, and irregular verbs.
: ...following things: meanings, pronunciations, and
Correct or Incorrect
1. The pilot walked down the aisle, through the door, and into the cockpit.
2. He left the engine on, idling erratically and heated rapidly.
3. He ran up to the bookshelves, grabbed a chair, stepped painfully on his tiptoes, and pulled the fifty-pound volume on top of him, crushing his ribs and impressing him with the power of knowledge.
Lesson 20: Purpose
Lesson 21: Omitting Linking Verbs
All inclusive. Claims there are no exceptions. Challenges the reader to find exceptions--which weakens your point and raises doubt. Weakens credibility.
These words have no exception. They are 100% correct or 100% incorrect. Some, limited, exceptions.
Revise the absolutes:
1. All studies show that video games prove an impediment to growth.
2. No one has proven that violent video games directly cause violent behavior in children.
3. The media always exaggerates.
Qualifiers (or intensifiers)
-are words and phrases that are added to another word to modify its meaning, either by limiting it ( I am somewhat busy) or by enhancing it (I am extremely busy).
Qualifiers are important because they give readers clues about how confident you feel about the information you are presenting.
Qualifying, or hedging, is important because academic writers need to clearly indicate whether they think claims are certain, unlikely, or just false.
Use care though--excessive hedging can make you sound unsure of your facts AND make your writing too informal.
Qualifiers are often necessary, such as when your evidence or claim is open to doubt (which make some of the best argumentative essays). In such cases, using a qualifier allows you to present your findings with "confident uncertainty," alluding to the idea that you need to be cautious and critical of the data you present. This can be helpful when reminding your readers of the limitations of the research.
Appears Seems Suggests Indicates
impossible unlikely / improbable
all countless / numerous
never seldom / rarely
Restatement: Qualifiers express doubt and leave the reader wondering if you know what you are talking about.
that Freud's ideology regarding the id, ego, and superego is flawed.
This diminishes the strength of your argument.
Freud's ideology regarding the id, ego, and superego are flawed.
Qualifiers to limit / not use at all
A lot Very Really
Generally Kind of
Somewhat Sort of
Omitting Unnecessary Qualifiers
Mrs. Mallard is a
Mrs. Mallard is a sympathetic character.
December in Moscow is
: December in Moscow is freezing.
Omit the unnecessary qualifier or absolute
1. Community is very important in Regionalistic literature.
2. All students should attend college.
3. Watergate probably influenced Nixon's resignation.
4. People should always consider the feelings of others.
-Means "that is"
-Loosely translated to mean "therefore" or "in other words"
-Periods come after each letter, and a comma normally follows
In every case, Faye Greek Yogurt was chosen over Dannon--i.e., Faye is the best.
-Means "for example"
-Periods come after every letter, and a comma naturally follows (unless the example is a single word and no pause is natural)
I can play quite a few musical instruments, e.g., the flute, the guitar, and the piano.
I love playing board games, e.g. Chutes and Ladders.
-Means "and other things"
- Do not use and etc. (you would be saying "and and other things"
-Better yet? DON'T USE IT EVER!!
He traded corn, wheat, barley, etc.
- Means "and others"
-Always written/typed with a space between the two words and a period following the "l."
-Typically used in works cited and in-text parenthetical citations.
If Rasmussen, Hopkins, and Fitzpatrick (2004) is used, the source is cited like this:(Rasmussen et al.).
-It is used to indicate that something incorrectly written is intentionally being left as it was in the original.
-Sic is usually italicized and always surrounded by brackets to indicate that it was not part of the original.
-Place [sic] right after the error.
She wrote, “They made there [sic] beds.”
"face to face"
" or "
We are required to meet vis-à-vis once a month.
Many agencies now have a unit to deal with women’s needs vis-à-vis employment.
The advantage for U.S. exports is the value of the dollar vis-à-vis other currencies.
-Means "that is" or "namely"
-Tends to be used in legal or technical writing and footnotes.
-Followed by a period and offset by commas
This World Cup is seen to be contested between only six major competitors, viz. India, Australia, South Africa, England, Sri Lanka and New Zealand.
Citing indirect sources: Sometimes you may have to use an indirect source (a source cited in another source). For such indirect quotations, use "qtd. in" to indicate the source you actually consulted.
Ravitch argues that high schools are pressured to act as "social service centers, and they don't do that well" (qtd. in Weisman).
Note that, in most cases, a
researcher will attempt to find the original source, rather than citing an indirect source.
Lesson 22: Omitting Helping Verbs
Lesson 24: Plagiarism, Works Cited, and In-Text Parenthetical Citations
Use a comma to separate the elements in a series (three or more things), including the last two. "He hit the ball, dropped the bat, and ran to first base."
I use the Oxford Comma (or serial comma). Less confusing and, still, necessary (in my book). ; )
Use a comma + a little conjunction (and, but, for, nor, yet, or, so) to connect two independent clauses. FANBOYS
He hit the ball well
he ran toward third base
1. Use a comma to set off introductory elements, as in "Running toward third base, he suddenly realized how stupid he looked."
2. Use a comma to set off parenthetical elements, as in "The Founders Bridge, which spans the Connecticut River, is falling down." By "parenthetical element," we mean a part of a sentence that can be removed without changing the essential meaning of that sentence. The parenthetical element is sometimes called "added information."
Comma Offsets Continued
When a parenthetical element — an interjection, adverbial modifier, or even an adverbial clause — follows a coordinating conjunction used to connect two independent clauses, we do not put a comma in front of the parenthetical element.
The Red Sox were leading the league at the end of May, but of course, they always do well in the spring. [no comma after "but"]
The Yankees didn't do so well in the early going, but frankly, everyone expects them to win the season. [no comma after "but"]
The Tigers spent much of the season at the bottom of the league, and even though they picked up several promising rookies, they expect to be there again next year. [no comma after "and"]
(is a noun, noun phrase, or series of nouns placed next to another word or phrase to identify or rename it) are almost always treated as parenthetical elements.
to become a goalie in professional soccer
, is within his reach.
his wife of thirty years
, suddenly decided to open her own business.
Adverbials: a construction that modifies, or describes, verbs. When an adverbial modifies a verb, it changes the meaning of that verb. An
, why, and how.
I couldn't sleep well
throughout the night
Adverbial modifier / Adverbial clause
The adverb clause includes both a
but it cannot stand alone as its own sentence. Adverb clauses must always begin with a
(after, although, before, since, etc.).
the table, she took the turkey out of the oven.
tired, he stayed awake to finish his report.
Use a comma to separate coordinate adjectives. You could think of this as "That tall, distinguished, good looking fellow" rule. If you can put an "and" or a "but" between the adjectives, a comma will probably belong there. For instance, you could say, "He is a tall and distinguished fellow" or "I live in a very old and run-down house." So you would write, "He is a tall, distinguished man" and "I live in a very old, run-down house." But you would probably not say, "She is a little and old lady," or "I live in a little and purple house," so commas would not appear between little and old or between little and purple.
Use a comma to set off quoted elements.
Ms. Stowers stated, "You should always use a comma to off set dialogue or quoted elements." (Side note, period is INSIDE the quotation marks.)
If an attribution of a quoted element comes in the middle of the quotation, two commas will be required.
"You should always," Ms. Stowers stated, "use a comma to off set dialogue."
Be careful not to use commas to set off quoted elements introduced by the word that or quoted elements that are embedded in a larger structure:
Peter Coveney writes that "[t]he purpose and strength of . . ."
Use commas to set off phrases that express contrast.
-Some say the world will end in ice, not fire.
-It was her money, not her charm or personality, that first attracted him.
-The puppies were cute, but very messy.
( ; Wanna try? ; )
Try this experiment:
Give your instructor five dollars for each comma you use in an essay. Your instructor will return five dollars for each comma used correctly. You should come out even. This technique for cutting down on unwanted commas has been heartily endorsed by every English instructor who has tried it.
Semicolon Used to Join Two Complete Sentences
Mary ate dinner
the dinner tasted exquisite
By age 15, Ivan had cooked 300 meals
by age 20, he had cooked twice that amount
Semicolon Used with Words Like 'however" and Phrases Like "for example" (conjunctive adverbs=type of adverb that joins together two clauses)
Mary ate dinner; however, she was hungry an hour later.
Mary's dinner was made with several spices; for example, the chicken was sprinkled with Cayenne pepper.
Semicolon Used to Clarify a List of Items When Each Item has Punctuation Within Itself
Mary's favorite dinner foods are chicken, with Cayenne pepper; salad, with Italian dressing; toast, with garlic and butter; and soup, with scallions, cheese, and mushrooms.
Colon Used to Further Explain or Introduce a List
Further Explanation with Two Sentences
: Mary's dinner reminded her of the back yard: both contained many wonderful colors and smells.
Further Explanation with a List
: Mary's dinner consisted of the following: salad, soup, chicken, and toast.
Further Explanation with a Quotation
: The words Ivan spoke were very kind: "Mary, I made this dinner especially for you, dear."
Colon Used with Ratios, Titles and Subtitles of Books, City and Publisher in Bibliographies, Hours and Minutes, and Formal Letters
Ratio: Mary's ratio of carbohydrate intake to protein was 3:1.
Titles and Subtitles: Mary enjoys reading the book Tastebud Heaven: Homemade Meals for the Distinguished Palette.
City and Publisher in Bibliography: New York: Norton, 1999
Hours and Minutes: Mary ate dinner at 9:12.
Formal Letters: Dear Editor:
A colon can also be used to introduce a definition, statement or explanation of something. For example:
I know how I’m going to handle this: I’m going to hide!
Penguin (noun): an aquatic, flightless bird found almost exclusively in the Antarctic.
1. With prefixes and suffixes: with ex-, all-, and self (ex-husband, all-encompassing, and self-help)
2. With compound words (mother-in-law, merry-go-round)
3. With compound numbers: Use a hyphen with compound numbers from twenty-one to ninety-nine.
-Specify any kind of range
-Used to connect a prefix to a proper open compound
-Very similar to a hyphen
pre–World War II
-Use dashes for special emphasis (to set off a word or phrase that is not essential to the main idea in order to
It allows, in a manner similar to parentheses, an additional thought to be added within a sentence by sort of breaking away from that sentence—as I’ve done here.
Em Dash continued
-Em dashes also substitute for something missing (as with multiple works by a single author in a Works Cited, called a 3-em dash)
If you have cited more than one work by a particular author, order the entries alphabetically by title, and use three hyphens in place of the author's name for every entry after the first:
Burke, Kenneth. A Grammar of Motives. [...]
---. A Rhetoric of Motives. [...]
Em Dash continued
-In interrupted speech--one or two em dashes may be used (not used in academic papers)
"I cannot believe this happened—"
Wait...what is the difference?
en dash (–)
em dash (—)
So, how do we construct those?
Brackets [ ]
-You can use them to include explanatory words or phrases within quoted language:
Ms. Stowers stated, "I want all of you to make sure you have your books [The Longman Writer]."
-If you are quoting material and you've had to
change the capitalization
of a word or
change a pronoun
to make the material fit into your sentence, enclose that changed letter or word(s) within brackets:
According to the DSM-5, "[
any] disorders can be co-morbid."
Stowers stated "to obtain [
] Master's, she was required to complete 30 hours of observations."
Also, remember [sic]
Square brackets have important usage in academic writing, especially when the writer needs to add information to a quotation.
"Books used [in classes] tend to sustain damage far quicker."
have italicized or underlined words within quoted language that was not italicized or underlined in the original, you can note that change in brackets included within the sentence or paragraph:
"It was the
of the gym that thrilled Jacobs, not the eight championship banners hanging from the beams [italics added]."
("emphasis added" would also be acceptable)
You can use brackets to include parenthetical material inside parenthetical material:
"Chernwell was poet laureate of Bermuda (a largely honorary position [unpaid]) for ten years."
Be kind to your reader, however, and use this device sparingly.
Run-ons: Fused Sentences and Comma Splices
Fused (two independent clauses fused together):
We took the bus to the museum we went to the mall as well.
CS (two independent clauses joined by only comma):
We tool the bus to the museum, we went to the mall as well.
Four ways to fix RO sentences
1. Period / Capitalize
We took the bus to the museum we went to the mall as well.
We took the bus to the museum. We went to the mall as well.
Four ways to fix RO sentences
2.Comma + Conjunction (FANBOYS)
We took the bus to the museum we went to the mall as well.
We took the bus to the museum, and we went to the mall as well.
Four ways to fix RO sentences
3. Semicolon (sentences must correlate)
We took the bus to the museum we went to the mall as well.
We tool the bus to the museum; we went to the mall as well.
Four ways to fix RO sentences
4. Subordinating conjunction / dependent word + comma
We took the bus to the museum we went to the mall as well.
Although we took the bus to the museum, we went to the mall as well.
After, although, before, unless, as, because, even, though, if since, until, when, while
On another, similar note
may-permission / possibility
shall-used with only "I" and "we" to make questions
then- indicates time
than- indicates comparison
, answering the
Sometimes well also functions as an
-You did a
describes job, which is a noun, so good is an adjective.
-You did the job
is an adverb describing how the job was performed.
Well is an adjective describing I.
- refers to
- refers to
I like the
has the blue collar.
I like the
has the blue collar.
Words that end in "y" - change the "y" to "i"+es.
Red Herring: This is a diversionary tactic that avoids the key issues, often by avoiding opposing arguments rather than addressing them. Partway through an argument, the arguer goes off on a tangent, often, the arguer never returns to the original issue.
Example:The level of mercury in seafood may be unsafe, but what will fishers do to support their families?
In this example, the author switches the discussion away from the safety of the food and talks instead about an economic issue, the livelihood of those catching fish. While one issue may affect the other, it does not mean we should ignore possible safety issues because of possible economic consequences to a few individuals.
Tip: Try laying your premises and conclusion out in an outline-like form. How many issues do you see being raised in your argument? Can you explain how each premise supports the conclusion?
Either/or OR False Dichotomy: This is a conclusion that oversimplifies the argument by reducing it to only two sides or choices.
Example:We can either stop using cars or destroy the earth.
In this example, the two choices are presented as the only options, yet the author ignores a range of choices in between such as developing cleaner technology, car-sharing systems for necessities and emergencies, or better community planning to discourage daily driving.
False Analogy: Disregards significant similarities and wrongly implies that because two things share SOME characteristics, they are therefore alike in all aspects.
Example: Driving while smoking a cigarette isn't illegal, so driving while smoking marijuana should not be illegal either.
Problem: You overlooked a major difference--marijuana impairs perception and coordination.
Ad populum (to the people): (bandwaggoning) This is an emotional appeal that speaks to positive (such as patriotism, religion, democracy) or negative (such as terrorism or fascism) concepts rather than the real issue at hand.
Example:If you were a true American you would support the rights of people to choose whatever vehicle they want.
In this example, the author equates being a "true American," a concept that people want to be associated with, particularly in a time of war, with allowing people to buy any vehicle they want even though there is no inherent connection between the two.
Tip: Make sure that you aren’t recommending that your readers believe your conclusion because everyone else believes it, all the cool people believe it, people will like you better if you believe it, and so forth. Keep in mind that the popular opinion is not always the right one.
Ad hominem (to the man): This is an attack on the character of a person rather than his or her opinions or arguments.
Example:Green Peace's strategies aren't effective because they are all dirty, lazy hippies.
In this example, the author doesn't even name particular strategies Green Peace has suggested, much less evaluate those strategies on their merits. Instead, the author attacks the characters of the individuals in the group.
Tip: Be sure to stay focused on your opponents’ reasoning, rather than on their personal character (unless that is your intent and the argument of the paper).
Moral Equivalence: This fallacy compares minor misdeeds with major atrocities.
Example: That parking attendant who gave me a ticket is as bad as Hitler.
In this example, the author is comparing the relatively harmless actions of a person doing their job with the horrific actions of Hitler. This comparison is unfair and inaccurate.
Tip: Be sure your associations and comparisons are fair and accurate.
Missing the point: the premises of an argument do support a particular conclusion—but not the conclusion that the arguer actually draws.
Example: “The seriousness of a punishment should match the seriousness of the crime. Right now, the punishment for drunk driving may simply be a fine. But drunk driving is a very serious crime that can kill innocent people. So the death penalty should be the punishment for drunk driving.”
The argument actually supports several conclusions—”The punishment for drunk driving should be very serious,” in particular—but it doesn’t support the claim that the death penalty, specifically, is warranted.
Tip: Separate your premises from your conclusion and ask yourself what conclusion an objective person would reach after reading them. Look at your conclusion and see if you’ve actually given that evidence required to support such a conclusion. Missing the point often occurs when a sweeping or extreme conclusion is being drawn, so be especially careful if you know you’re claiming something big.
Begging the Claim: The conclusion that the writer should prove is validated within the claim.
Example: Filthy and polluting coal should be banned.
Arguing that coal pollutes the earth and thus should be banned would be logical. But the very conclusion that should be proved, that coal causes enough pollution to warrant banning its use, is already assumed in the claim by referring to it as "filthy and polluting." Nothing more really needs to be said--therefore, no paper.
Non Sequitur ("it does not follow"): Muddying of cause-effect relationships; a conclusion is drawn that has no logical connection to the evidence cited.
Example: "Millions of Americans own cars, so there is no need to fund public transportation."
Problem: Disregards the millions of Americans who do not own cars and polloution and road congestion (which could be reduced with access to safe and reliable public transportation.
Post hoc, ergo propter hoc ("after this, therefore because of this"): This is a conclusion that assumes that if 'A' occurred after 'B' then 'B' must have caused 'A.'
Example: I drank bottled water and now I am sick, so the water must have made me sick.
In this example, the author assumes that if one event chronologically follows another the first event must have caused the second. But the illness could have been caused by the burrito the night before, a flu bug that had been working on the body for days, or a chemical spill across campus. There is no reason, without more evidence, to assume the water caused the person to be sick.
Tip: If you say that A causes B, you should have something more to say about how A caused B than just that A came first and B came later.
Straw Man: This move oversimplifies an opponent's viewpoint and then attacks that hollow argument.
Example: People who don't support the proposed state minimum wage increase hate the poor.
In this example, the author attributes the worst possible motive to an opponent's position. In reality, however, the opposition probably has more complex and sympathetic arguments to support their point. By not addressing those arguments, the author is not treating the opposition with respect or refuting their position.
Tip: Be charitable to your opponents. State their arguments as strongly, accurately, and sympathetically as possible. If you can knock down even the best version of an opponent’s argument, then you’ve really accomplished something.
Hasty Generalization: This is a conclusion based on insufficient or biased evidence. In other words, you are rushing to a conclusion before you have all the relevant facts. In even more words, you are making assumptions about a whole group or range of cases based on a sample that is inadequate (usually because it is atypical or too small).
Example:Even though it's only the first day, I can tell this is going to be a boring course.
In this example, the author is basing his evaluation of the entire course on only the first day, which is notoriously boring and full of housekeeping tasks for most courses. To make a fair and reasonable evaluation the author must attend not one but several classes in order to have sufficient evidence to base a conclusion on.
Tip: Ask yourself what kind of “sample” you’re using: Are you relying on the opinions or experiences of just a few people, or your own experience in just a few situations? If so, consider whether you need more evidence, or perhaps a less sweeping conclusion.
Equivocation: sliding between two or more different meanings of a single word or phrase that is important to the argument.
Example: “No Peace. No justice. Know peace. Know Justice.” Equivocation, where heard, lies on "no" / "know."
Example 2: My money is kept at the bank by the river.
Here, the equivocation lies with the term "bank." Is the "bank" a physical building, or is the person keeping the money in the bank of the river?
Tip: Identify the most important words and phrases in your argument and ask yourself whether they could have more than one meaning. If they could, be sure you aren’t slipping and sliding between those meanings.
Slippery Slope: a conclusion based on the premise that if A happens, then eventually through a series of small steps, through B, C,..., X, Y, Z will happen, too, basically equating A and Z. So, if we don't want Z to occur, A must not be allowed to occur either.
Example:If we ban Hummers because they are bad for the environment eventually the government will ban all cars, so we should not ban Hummers.
In this example, the author is equating banning Hummers with banning all cars, which is not the same thing.
Tip: Check your argument for chains of consequences, where you say “if A, then B, and if B, then C,” and so forth. Make sure these chains are reasonable. (Is there a true causal chain?)
Some necessary definitions:
Premise (logic): (n) a proposition supporting or helping to support a conclusion; (v) what one bases an argument, undertaking, or theory on
Claim: (v) state or assert that something is the case, typically without providing evidence or proof; (n) an assertion of the truth of something, typically one that is disputed or in doubt
Warrant: (v) to justify or necessitate; the underlying assumption that justifies moving from evidence to claim
Conclusion: (n) a judgment or decision reached by reasoning
Circular Argument Begging the Question: This restates the argument rather than actually proving it.
Example:George Bush is a good communicator because he speaks effectively.
In this example, the conclusion that Bush is a "good communicator" and the evidence used to prove it "he speaks effectively" are basically the same idea. Specific evidence such as using everyday language, breaking down complex problems, or illustrating his points with humorous stories would be needed to prove either half of the sentence.
Faulty Conclusion: Reasoning is invalid if your conclusion reverses the "if ...then" relationship.
Major Premise: Students w plagiarize papers must appear before the Committee on Academic Policies (CAP).
Minor Premise: Yesterday, Lorna Stowers, the president of the student body, appeared before CAP.
Conclusion: Stowers must have plagiarized.
Argument: Lorna Stowers should resign her position.
Problem: There are other reasons why I could have appeared before CAP. The argument assumes that, under all circumstances, visits to CAP are the result of plagiarism.
A couple more clarifications
Inductive Leap: nothing more than an inference
Deductive Reasoning: begins with a generalization which is applied to a specific case.
Syllogism: three step form of reasoning which illustrates movement from general to specific (major premise, minor premise, conclusion)
1. Major Premise: general statement about the entire group
2. Minor Premise: a statement about an individual within the group
3. Conclusion: last step of syllogism stating a conclusion about the individual
Inductive Reasoning: examination of specific cases, facts, or examples upon which one draws a conclusion or generalization.
Logos, Pathos, and Ethos
Three factors crucial to the effectiveness of one's argument or persusaive essay
The facts, statistics, examples, and authoritative statements used to support one's viewpoint.
Cannot argue with facts, essentially.
Research shows about 25% of high school freshmen fail to graduate from high school on time.
Pathos=Emotional Power of Language
-Appeals to the readers' needs, values, and attitudes, encouraging them to commit themselves to a viewpoint or course of action. Uses connotative language over denotative language.
"If we don’t move soon, we’re all going to die! Can’t you see how dangerous it would be to stay?"
Ethos = Credibility / Reliability
-Writer's way to convince a reader that the writer knows what he or she is talking about.
As a veteran teacher, classroom management is my specialty.
PROBLEM #1: All subjects are male. Speaks to the historically patriarchal society.
When a student writes a paper, he must proofread carefully.
Such a sentence assumes that all students are male. To fix the sentence, we must include both genders in the category of "student." There are several ways to approach this.
Fixes: he or she OR make it plural
PROBLEM #2: The search for a gender-neutral singular pronoun
When the subject of a sentence is a specific but unidentified individual, making the subject plural does not make sense:
Who dropped his ticket?
Somebody left his sweater.
When possible, simply drop the pronoun altogether and substitute a nondescriptive article:
Who dropped a ticket?
Somebody left a sweater.
PROBLEM #3: Inherently sexist words
Some terms are inherently sexist, such as "mankind" and "policeman." These terms ignore the female gender in categories that should include both men and women. Often, these terms are the hardest to avoid without making the writing sound stilted. However, there are alternatives.
Rather than using "man" or "mankind," why not use "people," "human beings," "humankind," or "humanity" (Hamilton et. al. 172)? The NCTE "Guidelines" offer many alternatives for sexist terms, such as "letter carrier" instead of "mailman" and "police officer" instead of "policeman."
In order to insure gender equality, be sure to alternate singular gender specific pronouns.
The first time you use them, write he or she; the next time you write them, use she or he.
Never use he/she or she/he. It is appropriate.
Author's attitude toward self, purpose, subject, and reader.
The author's attitude is expressed through the words and details he or she selects.
light, humorous serious, grave
personal, subjective impersonal, objective
plain spoken, simple ornate, elaborate
Tone is established when the author answers a few basic questions about the purpose of the writing:
Why am I writing this?
Who am I writing it to?
What do I want the readers to learn, understand, or think about?
Objective tone-- impartial. Does not illustrate feelings against or supporting a topic.
Subjective tone--Personal, biased, emotional, and informal (typically).
absurd, amused, comic, compassionate, apathetic, intense, mocking, malicious, outspoken, serious, tragic, straightforward, sentimental, objective, hard, gentle, bitter, vindictive, detached, complex
For each of the following, a different tone is used to illustrate how tone changes with the change in language.
1. This place may be shabby, but it has a
in my heart. --Sentimental
2. This isn't the greatest place in the world, but it
3. If only there were decent jobs out there,
I wouldn't be reduced
to living in this miserable dump. --Bitter
the landlord will be making some improvements
. -- Optimistic.
5. When we move, we are going to
release 300 cockroaches
so we can
leave it like we found it
the apartment we live in. It provides shelter. --
Objective/Matter of factly
Your turn: Write a sentence which depicts the following tones. Use the following subject to narrow: School Lunches
Technically, the reason an author writes a paper.
Inform- to give information about a subject, must be relevant
Convince- to move one from one pov to another, using research and proof
Explain- make clear to someone by describing it in more detail or revealing relevant facts or ideas.
Persuade-provide a sound reason for (someone) to do something; cause (someone) to believe something, especially after a sustained effort (as with reasoning and arguments), all while appealing to their emotions
Entertain-to amuse and delight, frighten and offer suspense
To figure out an author's purpose, the reader must consider the main idea (limited subject), thought pattern (pov), and tone (attitude toward self, purpose, subject, and reader.
"Spanking a child must be avoided as a way to discipline due to its long-term negative effects on a child."
Consider the following questions: Is the author going to discuss the disadvantages of spanking? Spanking as a means of discipline? It he or she going to use verbal irony to lighten the mood of the essay?
Notice the following words:
Spanking and Discipline
Must / Negative
author's attitude about spanking
listing of effects (thought pattern)
a. sympathetic b. straightforward
c. sad d. sarcastic
e. irritated f. threatening
1. Please note how much money you spent today in your checkbook.
2. Lay off! You don't have to nag!
3. Are you going to take the garbage out sometime this year?
4. I know it has been hard. I will take care of the paperwork if you would like.
Identify the author's purpose for each of the following:
Entertain Explain Convince Persuade Inform
1. Yes. I have gained weight. I only weighed 8 pounds when I was born.
2. Global warming will, eventually, melt the polar ice caps--changing the world's climate.
3. The only way to find viable ways to end many degenerative diseases is through cord donation.
4. Based upon the destructively negative results illustrated by research, cloning human beings should be banned.
5. Numerous issues can arise from dieting.
Linking verbs are used by themselves (in contrast to helping verbs, which come before another verb: was running).
are usually followed by a subject complement (sc)--a noun,
, or adjective that refers to and describes, or means the same as, the subject.
is am are was were seems becomes feels appears be being been
appears, feels, grow, look, remain, seem, smell, sound, taste
In general, a verb is a linking verb if you can replace it with SEEMS.
Reagan looked (seemed) pleased.
Riley felt (seemed) happy.
Everyone remained (seemed) calm.
Linking verbs tend to re-identify or describe the subject.
He is a monster. (Re-identify)
He looks scary. (Describe)
While using a linking verb isn't "wrong," it can lead to weakened writing.
Using linking verbs in writing tend to "tell" readers, instead of showing them. Therefore, it is important to use action verbs--makes writing stronger and more effective.
Remove the linking verbs (and combine sentences if needed)
1. The sky is blue, and it is peaceful.
2. Wall-E is a Disney movie. It explores environmental action.
3. Paul is a very tall man. He has to duck whenever he enters a room.
Just as the name implies, helping verbs, sometimes called auxiliary verbs, help out the main verb in a sentence. They accomplish this by giving more detail to how time is portrayed in a sentence. On their own, helping verbs don’t show meaning in that they don’t communicate much when they stand alone. There sole purpose to help the main verb, which provides the real meaning.
Helping verbs help explain the sometimes complicated nuances of meaning. For example, they can show expectation, probability, obligation, potential, and directions. Though this may sound complicated, it’s really not. The examples to follow will make things more clear.
Primary Helping Verbs
The primary helping verbs are be, do, and have. They’re called primary because they can help main verbs or they can actually be the main verb. Here are some examples of the primary verbs being used as helping verbs.
1. “Be” verbs. The term “be verbs” is a little deceiving because they include more than the word “be.” They help show a state of being or a state of existing. Sounds a little boring doesn’t it? Well, they don’t show any action, that’s for sure. That’s why expressive writing discourages using a lot of “be” verbs.
Here is a list of “be” verb forms: am, is, are, was, were, been, being, be.
2. Have. The helping verb have is used to make perfect tenses. The perfect tense shows action that is already completed.
I have finished washing the dishes. (Dish washing is complete!)
3. Do. The verb “do” can perform a variety of functions:
To make negatives: I do not care for broccoli.
To ask questions: Do you like broccoli?
To show emphasis: I do you want you to eat your broccoli.
To stand for a main verb: Sam likes broccoli more than Carmen does.
Modal Helping Verbs
Modal helping verbs help “modify” the main verb so that is changes the meaning somewhat. They help express possibility or necessity.
1. Can, could.
-I can’t reach the top shelf.
-You could try using a stepladder.
2. May, might.
-The bus may arrive on time this morning.
-It might be full of rowdy passengers, though.
3. Will, would.
-Will Katy ride with James to soccer practice?
-Would she prefer to ride with Emily instead?
4. Shall, should.
-Shall I set the table now?
-You should wait a little longer.
You really must see a doctor about that nasty cut.
Issues with "to be" verbs (whether linking or helping).
1. Claim absolute truths, which excludes other viewpoints: "Country music is awesome." States, under all circumstances, country music is awesome.
2. Too general and lack specificity: "Be good at school today." In what way? More specific--"Don't interrupt the teacher."
3. Too vague. "GHS is great!" In what ways? Be more specific--"GHS promotes learning, student advancement, and teacher creativity."
To keep writing active and immediate, eliminate ALL helping verbs from formal and academic writing.
Don't use these words:
am is are was were been be being
can has shall will do does did have
should may might would must could
When a verb is in ACTIVE VOICE, it expresses an action performed by its subject.
The car hit the tree. (The car is doing the action.)
When a verb is in PASSIVE VOICE, it expresses an action performed UPON its subject (or when the subject is the result of the action).
The tree was hit by the car.
Academic and formal writing
requires active voice
. Side note: I know of a student who received a "D" on a paper for using passive voice (Mizzou).
Change the following sentences from passive to active voice:
1. The ball was hit by him.
2. The school was cleaned by a group.
3. Three Whoppers were inhaled by Bobby.
4. Tomorrow is the day many things will happen.
Here are some tips and strategies for converting sentences from the passive to the active voice.
Look for a "by" phrase (e.g., "by the dog" in the last example above). If you find one, the sentence may be in the passive voice. Rewrite the sentence so that the subject buried in the "by" clause is closer to the beginning of the sentence.
If the subject of the sentence is somewhat anonymous, see if you can use a general term, such as "researchers," or "the study," or "experts in this field."
To begin, any material one uses from another source should be used with the intent to SUPPORT the writer's stand...not make the stand for the writer.
What can be plagiarized?
Language, thoughts, ideas, images, and/or expressions
ACCORDING TO THE MERRIAM-WEBSTER ONLINE DICTIONARY, TO "PLAGIARIZE" MEANS
-to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own
-to use (another's production) without crediting the source
-to commit literary theft
-to present as new and original an idea or product derived from an existing source
In other words, plagiarism is an act of fraud. It involves both stealing someone else's work and lying about it afterward.
ALL OF THE FOLLOWING ARE CONSIDERED PLAGIARISM:
-turning in someone else's work as your own
-copying words or ideas from someone else without giving credit
-failing to put a quotation in quotation marks
-giving incorrect information about the source of a quotation
-changing words but copying the sentence structure of a source without giving credit
-copying so many words or ideas from a source that it makes up the majority of your work, whether you give credit or not (see our section on "fair use" rules)
Three ways to keep your work honest:
1. Direct Quote
Regardless of intent, if you use the work of another author and pass it off as your own, YOU ARE PLAGIARIZING!!!!!!!
Taking the words from the original source and placing them between quotation marks.
"A high-school dropout is ineligible for 90% of jobs in America" ("11 Facts").
DQ to be used ONLY when the text itself states it better than you could with a paraphrase or summary.
Summary: a brief statement about the main points of something.
-Not a rewrite of the original piece / does not have to be long nor should it be long.
-Use your own words to express briefly the main idea and relevant details of the piece you have read.
-Give the basic ideas of the original reading
What was it about and what did the author want to communicate?
While reading the original work, take note of what or who is the focus and ask the usual questions: Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?
A paraphrase is...
-your own rendition of essential information and ideas expressed by someone else, presented in a new form.
-one legitimate way (when accompanied by accurate documentation) to borrow from a source.
-a more detailed restatement than a summary, which focuses concisely on a single main idea.
Steps to Effective Paraphrasing
1. Reread the original passage until you understand its full meaning.
2. Set the original aside, and write your paraphrase.
3. Jot down a few words below your paraphrase to remind you later how you envision using this material.
4. Check your rendition with the original to make sure that your version accurately expresses all the essential information
in a new form
5. Use quotation marks to identify any unique term or phraseology you have borrowed exactly from the source.
6. Record the source (including the page) so that you can credit it easily if you decide to incorporate the material into your paper.
Formatting a Works Cited
1. Name and Page number in top right
centered at top of page(not underlined, in quotes, or italicized--same font size as rest of paper)
3. All sources alphabetized
4. Reverse Indented
1. In-Text Parenthetical Citation: Follows the information taken from the source and appears inside parenthesis.
"Foul is fair, and fair is foul" (Shakespeare). Notice: quotation mark at end of quote, AND period follows the citation.
2. Signal Phrase: Introduces reader to where the information came from up front.
The Merchant of Venice
, Portia points out that Shylock cannot take the "pound of flesh" without taking blood as well, which is not part of the deal.
Warning: When using the information taken from secondary sources, try to limit the number of sentences taken as direct quotes to one sentence or less. If there is NO WAY to avoid this, you must use block quoting. Block quotes are multiple sentences quoted directly from a source which take up numerous lines. To do this, you must offset it by indenting the entire quote to the right a single time.
That said, I highly advise against using numerous sentences of another's work within your essay.
There are numerous intricacies when formatting a Works Cited. One cite which helps a lot is Purdue-OWL.
Here are a few things you may need to know.
Using multiple texts by the same author--omit the author's name and replace with three hyphen, follow by a period. (Partial citations shown.) When citing in the text, use the name of the work (so as not to confuse the reader).
The Merchant of Venice
Citations with more than three (3) authors
In-text: Use last name plus et al. "Smith et al state,..."
Works Cited: Use last name and et al. (Smith et al.)
When placing information in parenthesizes, use the
information found in the Works Cited.
1. If the author's name is given, use the author's last name: (Smith).
2. If the article title is given, and the author is missing, use the article title (in quotation marks): ("How to Eat a Guava").
3. If you have two authors with the same last name, use the first initial the last name to differentiate: (R. Smith) v. (T. Smith).
4. Although you should always seek out the original source, at times, you may need to quote a source from a source. To do this, you must do the following: