WEDNESDAY WEEK 4 Discussing Comma Use, the Informative Readings and Consumer Issues When to use a Comma: p. 556 1. Before the coordinating conjunction that joins two independent clauses. Ex. I am terrified of spiders, so I screamed when one of them got into the bathroom. 2. To separate a dependent clause from an independent clause, but ONLY when the dependent clause comes first.
Ex: When I saw the spider, I grabbed the nearest shoe. Use a Comma 3. To separate introductory words or phrases from the rest of the sentence. Many times, these introductory words are adverbs or adjectives. Ex: Unfortunately, the spider was faster than I was. (adv) Ex: Searching carefully, I tried to find it. (intro. Phrase) Ex: To be sure I was ready, I went and got a can of Raid. (intro. phrase)
Commas and Relative Clauses 4. To separate nonrestrictive (unnecessary) relative clauses from the rest of the sentence. Example: My friend George, who is from Canada, is visiting me this week. (You don't need the info between the commas for the sentence to make sense.) On the other hand Example: Students who have passed the test may
move on to the next class. No commas are needed because "who have passed the test" is essential to the meaning of the sentence. Only those students who passed are moving on. Otherwise, the sentence would read, Students may move on to the next class. This means something different from what the original sentence said, and so who have passed the test is necessary information and should not be surrounded by commas. Use a Comma 5. To separate items in a series. Ex: She bought a cake, some streamers, and a box of candles in preparation for the party.
6. To separate adjectives describing the same noun. (sometimes) Remember our "and" test. If you can insert the word "and" between the adjectives, you need a comma. They live in an old, dreary house. (They live in an old AND dreary house. Sounds correct.) She wore a little black dress. ("Little AND black dress" doesn't work. No comma.) Use a Comma 7. To separate parenthetical expressions (extra information that interrupts the flow of the sentence).
It is a good idea, I think, to get to class early. 8. To separate transition phrases from the rest of the sentence. In conclusion, I would like to thank you for coming. Commas in Dialogue 9. To separate a quotation from the rest of the sentence. "I'm going to sleep now," she said. (Notice the comma INSIDE the quote marks.) She said, "I'm going to sleep now." "I'm tired," she said, "so I'm going to sleep now."
Use a Comma 10. To separate dates, place names, and numbers. September 10, 1984, is my best friend's birthday. (Notice the comma after the day AND year.) She has lived at 314 W. Vine St., Woodland Hills, California, for many years. (Notice the comma after the address, town, AND state.) 11. To separate phrases expressing contrast. Her hard work, not her natural talent, Todays Reading - Living By Bread Alone
Discussion Questions: 1. What is the main idea in this essay? 2. What is the title referencing? How does it relate to the main idea? 3. As a group, answer the three Understanding the Text questions at the end of the reading. Purposes of Informative Writing: 1. Describing a topic accurately and vividly. Be specific. Have a narrow, focused topic. Use details. Look carefully at our example essays. See how they use specific details and vivid descriptions? Imitate this in your own writing.
2. Communicating information clearly and descriptively. Use your writing to educate and inform. 3. To Share Specialized Knowledge General Tips about Thesis Statements A statement that contains the essays topic and point(s) Gives the reader a sense of what the essay will be about Most thesis statements are only one sentence and it must be a complete sentence. Should not be a question.
Everything in the essay must support the thesis. Usually comes at the end of the introduction: Brainstorm Your Topic Ideas! Look at the prompt for the Informative Essay again. On the back, (or in your notebook if you prefer) start brainstorming your topic ideas. I will give everyone 5-10 minutes to brainstorm.
Write down as many ideas as you can think of. When I call Time!, find a partner and interview each other about your informative essay topic ideas. Help each other come up with even more ideas! Avoiding Common Problems In Essays Problem 1: The Topic is Too Broad How to Identify the Problem: You feel overwhelmed: If you feel like the topic is too difficult or you have too much to say and you dont know what to say next, you probably have a topic that is too broad. Another
possibility is that you have chosen a topic you do not know enough about. You are writing general statements and not explaining them fully: If your topic is too broad and you have too much to cover, you will be forced to make broad, sweeping, generalized statement that you cannot fully explain or give specific examples of. How to Fix the Problem: Narrow down your topic! Check out the topic-narrowing techniques in Chapter 11, p. 295. Another way to narrow down a topic is to ask question that will limit what you are really discussing. Check out these question Problem 2: The Topic is Too Narrow Identify the Problem:
After a paragraph or two, you have nothing left to say: If you have explained what you are discussing AND given specific examples, and you still run out of ideas and keep repeating yourself, your topic might be too narrow. Your topic does not seem important or interesting: If it isnt interesting to you, it wont be interesting to your reader. You probably need to change topics. Your essay is focusing on small facts and details: You can widen your essays focus by connecting your narrow topic to another, related topic and asking yourself what they have in common. Check out tips on broadening a too-narrow topic on page 466 For example: I am writing an informative essay about lighting a campfire. After one or two paragraphs of facts and tips, Im done! I can widen my topic to looking at how to light a campfire AND how to cook easy campfire-friendly
meals. What do both of these have in common? Going rough camping successfully! Maybe I should write my paper about that. NOTICE however, I am not widening my paper to write about ALL forms of campingtrailer camping, RV camping, cabin camping, day camping, etc. THAT would be too broad. Problem 3: Thesis Needs Revision Identify the Problem: The essay does not explain or support the thesis (focusing idea). The thesis does not cover all the topics in the essay (umbrella). The thesis is vague and unclear The thesis makes a direct announcement or asks a question Fix the Problem:
Answer the Thesis Revision Questions on page 467 Rewrite your Thesis several different ways. What works best? Problem 4: The Essay is Underdeveloped Identify the Problem: The essay rambles and seems unfocused. The essay repeats information too often and just says the same thing over and over in different ways. The essay makes general statement but does not support them with examples and specifics. The essay lacks facts, examples, comparisons, or reasons.
Fix the Problem - more on p. 468 Make sure your topic is not too broad or too narrow. Delete sentences that dont add anything new to the essay. Highlight sentences and ideas where you could further develop, explain, or give specific examples. Add the needed development through explanation, examples, and specifics. Make sure each paragraph has a clear point and that all the sentences and details support that point. Problem 5: The Essay is Disorganized Identify the Problem: Does every paragraph support or explain something about the thesis (focusing topic)? Are all the paragraphs on-topic? Do you make it clear how each idea relates to another
idea by explaining thoroughly and using transitions? Fix the Problem - page 469 Label what each your paragraphs is about in an outline Make sure all the sentences in that paragraph have something to do with that topic label Use the Revision Map on page 470-471 FINDING SOURCES Finding Sources: Keywords Keyword searches are very important. If you arent sure what keywords to use, try freewriting or building a
thought web at Wordle at www.wordle.net Evaluating Sources Know if your source is trustworthy or not. This is very important! If you are getting your information from a bad source, it can throw off your whole essay. First thing to look for when determining if a source it legit: Does the article have an author? Does the article have a date of publication? Does the website match the article? If the article is about a political issue and
the website is something like freecallingcards.com this is NOT a reliable source General Internet Research: You can also get more accurate research on Google if you learn to use Googles filters on the side bar. (News is a useful filter) Do not ever cite Wikipeida as a source. It is NOT considered a reliable or academic source. If you absolutely cannot find the information anywhere else, you may look at a Wikipedia entry for ONE PURPOSE ONLY: To use their citation system to find the ORIGINAL SOURCE of the information. When you see a
number link in a wiki article, click and it will take you to a citation at the bottom of the page. You may use this to go to the original source. If the claim or information is not cited, it cannot be fully trusted. Do not use it, or search for it elsewhere. Library Research One of the best places to do research is at the library You can ask the librarians to help you with research! You can find books on your topic! (yes, even
recent topics!) You can access e-books through the library And probably most useful of all, you can find articles through the Library Databases. Databases on the Library Website that will probably be useful are: CQ Researcher (limited number of topics, but excellent in-depth coverage) Opposing Viewpoints (again, limited topics, but good information) So what are Reputable Web Sources? Reputable websites: reliable news sources, websites run by trustworthy
organizations Treat websites with caution. The internet contains a wealth of information, but unless you know the credentials of the person posting the opinions/interpretations of a work, tread carefully. Come see me if you have any questions. Material from any of our Library Databases There are Three Steps to Using Sources: Find sources and choose the best ones for your purpose. Read the sources carefully, keeping
track of your own reactions to the authors ideas and using your sources as a springboard for your own contribution to the discussion. Use the sources in your essay, giving proper credit in the body of the essay and at the end, using MLA format. More Advice on Sources Just because you find a source and read it doesnt mean you have to use it. If you read a source and dont like it, keep looking. Keep researching throughout the writing process. If you find a wonderful source with all kinds of good ideas you want to respond to after you wrote a draft, thats fine. Include that source and your
response when you revise. Keep track of every source you use ideas or quotes from in your paper. You will need to be able to find the source again when you give it credit. Keep track of your sources as you go. General Tips about Thesis Statements A statement that contains the essays topic and point(s) Gives the reader a sense of what the essay will be about Most thesis statements are only one sentence and it must be a complete sentence.
Should not be a question. You can ask a rhetorical question in your intro, but it is not the same as your thesis. Everything in the essay must connect back to the thesis in some way. General Tips about Thesis Statements Usually comes at the end of the introduction: Introduction paragraph should follow this
format: Attention getter (commonly known as a hook) Introduce the topic and give background leading up to the thesis State the thesis Thesis Statement Practice If you had to write a thesis statement for your informative essay right now, what would it be? Remember, your thesis is your main idea, the primary thing you want to inform people about in this essay. A thesis should be a statement, not a question.
Try out a couple different ways of writing your thesis, at least two or three. If you have not decided on a topic yet, try writing a thesis for each topic you are thinking about. I will give you all about 15 minutes to come up with two or three tentative thesis statements. When I call time, you will trade thesis statements with a partner. Give each other feedback on your topics and which thesis statement works best!
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