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Author BiographyRead more
Lynn Quitman Troyka, Adjunct Professor of English in the MA Program in Language and Literature at the City College (CCNY) of the City University of New York (CUNY), taught freshman English and basic writing for many years at Queensborough Community College. Dr. Troyka is a past chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC); the College Section of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE); and the Writing Division of the Modern Language Association (MLA). She has won many awards for teaching, scholarship, and service, and has conducted hundreds of faculty workshops about teaching writing and its relation to college-level reading.
Doug Hesse is Professor of English and Executive Director of Writing at the University of Denver, one of only thirty writing programs to receive the CCCC Certificate of Excellence. Dr. Hesse is a past chair of the CCCC, the nation’s largest association of college writing instructors. A past president, as well, of the Council of Writing Program Administrators (WPA), Dr. Hesse edited, WPA: Writing Program Administration. He has served on the NCTE executive committee, chaired the MLA Division on Teaching as a Profession, and served on the MLA Committee on Contingent Labor. Author of nearly sixty articles and book chapters, he has been named University Distinguished Scholar at the University of Denver.
Table of ContentsRead more
Chapter 1 Ten Top Tips for College Writers
TIP 1. Be specific: use RENNS.
TIP 2. Create a personal system to record writing ideas that pop into your head.
TIP 3. If you’re unsure how to approach a writing assignment, check Part 3, “Frames for Writing College Essays.”
TIP 4. Stay focused on the concepts of “purpose” and “audience” throughout your writing process.
TIP 5. Weave logical, ethical, and emotional appeals into your writing.
TIP 6. Engage your readers by presenting and then complicating a topic.
TIP 7. Play the “believing game” and the “doubting game.”
TIP 8. Record source information the very first time you find a source, even if you’re not sure you will use it.
Tip 9. Welcome feedback about your writing.
Tip 10. Avoid slipping into “text speak” in your writing.
Chapter 2 Ten Troublesome Mistakes Writers Make
1. Sentence fragments
2. Comma splices and run-on sentences
3. Mistakes in subject-verb agreement
4. Mistakes in pronoun-antecedent agreement
5. Unclear pronoun reference
6. Illogical shifts within sentences
7. Mistakes with modifiers
8. Mistakes with homonyms
9. Comma errors
10. Apostrophe errors
Chapter 3 Thinking, Reading, and Analyzing Images Critically
3a What is critical thinking?
3b How can understanding rhetorical principles help critical thinking?
3c How can I break down the critical thinking process?
3d How do I summarize or comprehend?
3e How do I analyze readings or ideas?
3f How do I synthesize?
3g How do I evaluate?
3h How do I use inductive and deductive reasoning?
3i What are logical fallacies?
3j How can I view images with a critical eye?
3k How can images persuade?
3l How can I analyze words combined with images?
Chapter 4 Understanding College and Other Writing Situations
4a What is a writing situation?
4b What does “purpose” mean for writing?
4c What does “audience” mean for writing?
4d What is role in writing?
4e What is genre in writing?
4f What are context and special requirements in writing?
Chapter 5 Essential Processes for Writing
5a What are writing processes?
5b How do I think like a writer?
5c How do I begin planning?
5d What role do audience and purpose play?
5e How can I develop ideas about my topic?
5f How can a thesis statement help me plan?
5g How can outlining help me plan?
5h What works in writing a first draft?
5i How do I get over writer’s block?
5j How does revision work?
5k How does editing work?
5l What strategies can I use to proofread?
5m A student’s essay in three drafts
Chapter 6 Writing Paragraphs, Shaping Essays
6a How do I shape essays?
6b How do paragraphs work?
6c How can I write effective introductory paragraphs?
6d What are body paragraphs?
6e What are topic sentences?
6f How can I develop my body paragraphs?
6g How can I create coherence in paragraphs?
6h How can I arrange a paragraph?
6i How can rhetorical patterns help me write paragraphs?
6j What is a transitional paragraph?
6k What are effective concluding paragraphs?
Chapter 7 Designing Documents
7a What is document design?
7b What are basic principles of design?
7c How do I design with text?
7d How do I use headings?
7e How can I incorporate photographs?
7f How can I incorporate other visuals?
7g What is page layout?
Chapter 8 Creating a Writing Portfolio
8a What is a writing portfolio?
8b What writing do I include in a portfolio?
8c How do I write my self reflection?
8d How do I format a writing portfolio?
Chapter 9 Writing with Others
9a What is writing with others?
9b How can I collaborate with other writers?
9c How can I give useful feedback to others?
9d How can I benefit from others’ help?
9e How can I participate effectively in online discussions?
Part 2 Frames for College Writing
Chapter 10 Personal Essays
10a What is a personal essay?
10b How do I plan and revise personal essays?
10c What is a frame for a personal essay?
10d What sentence and paragraph guides can help generate ideas?
10e A student’s personal essay
10f How do I write a literacy narrative?
Chapter 11 Informative Essays
11a What are informative essays?
11b How do I plan and revise informative essays?
11c What is a frame for an informative essay?
11d What are sentence and paragraph guides for an informative essay?
11e A student’s informative essay
Chapter 12 Process Essays
12a What is a process essay?
12b How do I plan and revise process essays?
12c What is a frame for a process essay?
12d What are sentence or paragraph guides for process essays?
12e A student process essay
Chapter 13 Essays Analyzing Cause or Effect
13a What is an essay analyzing cause of effect?
13b How do I plan and revise essay that analyze cause or effect?
13c What are frames for essays that analyze cause or effect?
13d What sentence and paragraph guides can help generate ideas?
13e A student essay analyzing cause
Chapter 14 Essays Analyzing a Text
14a What is textual analysis?
14b What role does critical thinking and reading play in textual analysis?
14c How do I generate ideas for a rhetorical or content analysis?
14d What is a frame for a textual analysis?
14e What are some sentence and paragraph guides for textual analysis?
14f A student’s textual analysis
Chapter 15 Argument Essays
15a What is argument?
15b What role does critical thinking and reading play in arguments?
15c How do I plan and revise arguments?
15d What are frames for arguments?
15e What are some sentence and paragraph guides for arguments?
15f A student’s argument essay
Chapter 16 Proposal or Solution Essays
16a What are you proposal or solution essays?
16b How do I plan and revise proposal or solution arguments?
16c What is a frame for a proposal or solution essay?
16d What are some sentence and paragraph guides for proposal/solution essays?
16e A student’s solution essay
Chapter 17 Evaluation Essays
17a What are evaluation essays?
17b What roles does critical thinking and play in evaluation essays?
17c How do I plan and revise evaluation essays?
17d What is a frame for an evaluation essay?
17e What are some sentence and paragraph guides for evaluations?
17f A student’s evaluation essay
Part 3 Source-based Writing
Chapter 18 Quoting, Paraphrasing, and Summarizing
18a How can I integrate sources into my writing?
18b How can I use quotations effectively?
18c How can I write good paraphrases?
18d How can I summarize?
18e Which verbs can help me weave source material into my sentences?
18f What is synthesizing sources?
18g What are possible relationships between sources?
18h What can I do when sources are about different subtopics?
18i What can I do when sources agree?
18j What can I do when sources partly disagree?
18k What can I do when sources disagree?
18l What can I do when one source is more specific than the other one?
Chapter 19 Avoiding Plagiarism
19a What is plagiarism?
19b How do I avoid plagiarism?
19c How do I avoid plagiarism when using Internet sources?
19d What don’t I have to document?
19e How do I document ideas?
Chapter 20 Writing About Readings
20a What are typical assignments for writing about readings?
20b How do I write a summary essay?
20c How do I write a response essay?
20d What are analysis or interpretation essays?
20e How do I write essays that apply readings?
Part 4 Research and Documentation
Chapter 21 Starting a Research Project
21a What is research?
21b What is a source?
21c What is a research paper?
21d How do I plan a research project?
21e How do I choose a research topic?
21f What is a research question?
21g What is a research log?
21h How does the writing situation shape my research paper?
21i What are two main types of research papers?
21j What documentation style should I use?
21k What is a search strategy?
21l What is field research?
21m What is a working bibliography?
21n How might online software help me create bibliographies or organize sources?
21o What is an annotated bibliography?
21p How do I take content notes?
Chapter 22 Finding Published Sources
22a What kind of published sources are there?
22b How can libraries help me?
22c What are search engines and databases?
22d How do I use search engines and databases?
22e How do I use subject directories?
22f How do I find books?
22g How do I find periodicals?
22h How do I use reference works?
22i How can I find images?
22j How do I find government documents?
Chapter 23 Evaluating Sources
23a How did you find the source?
23b Is the publisher authoritative?
23c Is the author qualified to write about the topic?
23d Does the source have sufficient and accurate evidence?
23e Does the source pass other critical thinking tests?
23f How do strategies for evaluating sources work together?
Chapter 24 Drafting and Revising a Research Paper
24a How does the writing process apply to research?
24b How do I draft a thesis statement for a research paper?
24c How do I outline a research paper?
24d How do I draft a research paper?
24e What are frames for research papers?
24f A student’s argumentative research paper
24g How do I revise a research paper?
24h How do I edit and format a research paper?
Chapter 25 MLA Documentation with Case Study
MLA In-Text Citation Directory
MLA Works Cited List Directory
25a What is MLA documentation style?
25b What is MLA in-text parenthetical documentation?
25c What are additional MLA guidelines for parenthetical citations?
25d What are MLA guidelines for a works cited list?
25e What are MLA guidelines for sources in a works cited list?
25f What are MLA format guidelines for research papers?
25g A student’s MLA-style research paper
Chapter 26 APA Documentation Style and Case Study
APA In-Text Citations
26a What is APA documentation style?
26b What are APA in-text parenthetical citations?
26c What are APA guidelines for in-text citations?
26d What are APA guidelines for a references list?
26e What are APA guidelines for sources in a references list?
26f What are APA guidelines for writing an abstract?
26g What are APA guidelines for content notes?
26h What are APA format guidelines for research papers?
26i A student’s APA-style research paper
Chapter 27 Chicago Manual (CM) and Council of Science Editors (CSE) Documentation
27a What is CM-style documentation?
27b What are CM guidelines for bibliographic notes?
27c What is CSE-style documentation?
27d What are CSE guidelines for sources in a list of references?
Part 5 Understanding Grammar and Writing Correct Sentences
Chapter 28 Parts of Speech and Sentence Structures
Parts of Speech
28a Why learn the parts of speech?
28b What is a noun?
28c What is a pronoun?
28d What is a verb?
28e What is a verbal?
28f What is an adjective?
28g What is an adverb?
28h What is a preposition?
28i What is a conjunction?
28j What is an interjection?
28k How is a sentence defined?
28l What are subject and predicate in a sentence?
28m What are direct and indirect objects?
28n What are complements, modifiers, and appositives?
28o What is a phrase?
28p What is a clause?
28q What are the four sentence types?
Chapter 29 Verbs
29a What do verbs do?
29b What are the forms of main verbs?
29c What is the —s, or —es, form of a verb?
29d What is the difference between regular and irregular verbs?
29e What are auxiliary verbs?
29f What are intransitive and transitive verbs?
29g What is a verb tense?
29h How do I use the simple present tense?
29i How do I form and use the perfect tense?
29j How do I form and use progressive forms?
29k How do I use tense sequences accurately?
29l What is “mood” in verbs?
29m What are subjunctive forms?
29n What is “voice” in verbs?
29o How do I write in the active, not passive, voice?
29p What are proper uses of the passive voice?
Chapter 30 Pronouns: Case and Reference
30a What does “case” mean?
30b What are personal pronouns?
30c How do pronouns work in case?
30d Which case is correct when and connects pronouns?
30e How do I match cases with appositives?
30f How does case work after linking verbs?
30g When should I use who, whoever, whom, and whomever?
30h What pronoun case comes after than or as?
30i How do pronouns work before infinitives?
30j How do pronouns work with —ing words?
30k What case should I use for —self pronouns?
30l What is pronoun reference?
30m What makes pronoun reference clear?
30n How can I avoid unclear pronoun reference?
30o How do pronouns work with it, that, this, and which?
30p How do I use they and it precisely?
30q How do I use it to suit the situation?
30r When should I use you for direct address?
30s When should I use that, which, and who?
Chapter 31 Agreement
31a What is agreement?
31b What is subject-verb agreement?
31c Why is a final —s or —es in a subject or verb so important?
31d Can I ignore words between a subject and its verb?
31e How do verbs work when subjects are connected by and?
31f How do verbs work with each and every?
31g How do verbs work with subjects are connected by or?
31h How do verbs work with inverted work order?
31i How do verbs work with indefinite pronouns?
31j How do verbs work with collective nouns?
31k Does a linking verb agree with the subject complement?
31l What verbs agree with who, which, and that?
31m How do verbs work with amounts, fields of study, and other special nouns?
31n How do verbs work with titles, company names, and words as themselves?
31o What is pronoun-antecedent agreement?
31p How do pronouns work when and connects antecedents?
31q How do pronouns work when or connects antecedents?
31r How do pronouns work when antecedents are indefinite pronouns?
31s How do I use nonsexist pronouns?
31t How do pronouns work when antecedents are collective nouns?
Chapter 32 Adjectives and Adverbs
32a What are the differences between adjectives and adverbs?
32b When should I adverbs–not adjectives–as modifiers?
32c What is wrong with double negatives?
32d Do adjectives adverbs come after linking verbs?
32e What are comparative and superlative forms?
32f Why avoid a long string of nouns as modifiers?
Chapter 33 Sentence Fragments
33a What is a sentence fragment?
33b How can I recognize a sentence fragment?
33c How can I correct a fragment that starts with a subordinating word?
33d How can I correct a fragment that lacks a verb?
33e How can I correct a fragment that lacks a subject?
33f How can I correct a fragment that’s a part of a compound predicate?
33g How can I correct a list that is a fragment?
33h How can I recognize intentional fragments?
Chapter 34 Comma Splices and Run-On Sentences
34a What are comma splices and run-on sentences?
34b How can I recognize comma splices and run-on sentences?
34c How can I correct comma splices and run-on sentences?
34d How can I correctly use a conjunctive adverb or other transitional expression between independent clauses?
Chapter 35 Misplaced and Dangling Modifiers
35a What is misplaced modifiers?
35b How can I avoid split infinitives?
35c How can I avoid other splits in my sentences?
35d How can I avoid dangling modifiers?
35e How can I proofread successfully for misplaced and dangling modifiers?
Chapter 36 Shifting and Mixed Sentences
36a What is a shifting sentence?
36b How can I avoid shift in person and number?
36c How can I avoid shifts in subject and voice?
36d How can I avoid shifts in tense and mood?
36e How can I avoid shifts between indirect and direct discourse?
36f What is a mixed sentence?
36g How can I correct a mixed sentence due to faulty predication?
36h What are correct elliptical constructions?
36i What are correct comparisons?
36j How can I proofread successfully for little words I forget to use?
Part 6 Writing Effectively, Writing With Style
Chapter 37 Style and Tone in Writing
37a What are style and tone in writing?
37b What is Standard Edited English?
37c How do I write with style?
37d What defines style and tone in writing?
37e What is tone in writing?
37f How can using exact diction enhance my writing?
37g How can using specific words enhance my writing?
37h What is figurative language?
37i What is gender-neutral language?
37j What other types of language do I want to avoid?
Chapter 38 Sentence Variety and Style
38a How do sentences affect styles?
38b What are variety and emphasis in writing?
38c How do different sentence lengths create variety and emphasis?
38d What are coordination and subordination?
38e What is coordination of sentences?
38f What is the structure of a coordinate sentence?
38g What meaning does each coordinating conjunction convey?
38h How can I use coordination effectively?
38i What is subordination in sentences?
38j What is the structure of a subordinate sentence?
38k What meaning does each subordinating conjunction convey?
38l How can I use subordination effectively?
38m How can I effectively use coordination and subordination together?
38n How do occasional questions, commands, or exclamations create variety and emphasis?
38o What are cumulative and periodic sentences?
38p How can modifiers create variety and emphasis?
38q How does repetition affect style?
38r How else can I create variety and emphasis?
Chapter 39 Parallelism
39a What is parallelism?
39b How do words, phrases, and clauses work in parallel form?
39c How does parallelism deliver impact?
39d How can I avoid faulty parallelism?
39e How does parallelism work in outlines and lists?
Chapter 40 Conciseness
40a What is conciseness?
40b What common expressions are not concise?
40c What sentence structures usually work against conciseness?
40d How else can I revise for conciseness?
40e How do verbs affect conciseness?
Part 7 Punctuation and Mechanics
Chapter 41 Periods, Question Marks, and Exclamation Points
41a When does a period end a sentence?
41b How do I use periods with abbreviations?
41c When do I use a question mark?
41d When can I use a question mark in parentheses?
41e When do I use an exclamation point?
41f What is considered overuse of exclamation points?
Chapter 42 Commas
42a What is the role of the comma?
42b How do commas work with coordinating conjunctions?
42c How do commas work with introductory clauses, phrases, and words?
42d How do commas work with items in a series?
42e How do commas work with coordinate adjectives?
42f How do commas work with nonrestrictive elements?
42g how do commas set off parenthetical expressions, contrasts, words of direct address, and tag sentences?
42h How do commas work with quoted words?
42i How do commas work in dates, names, addresses, correspondence, and numbers?
42j How do commas clarify meaning?
42k How can I avoid misusing commas?
42l How can I avoid comma errors?
Chapter 43 Semicolons
43a What are the uses of a semicolon?
43b When can I use a semicolon, instead of a period, between independent clauses?
43c When can I use a semicolon between independent clauses?
43d How do semicolons work with coordinating conjunctions?
43e When should I use semicolons between items in a series?
43f How do I avoid misusing the semicolon?
Chapter 44 Colons
44a What are the uses of a colon?
44b When can a colon introduce a list, an appositive, or a quotation?
44c When can I use a colon between two independent clauses?
44d What standard formats require a colon?
44e When is a colon wrong?
44f How do I use an apostrophe with contractions?
Chapter 45 Apostrophes
45a What is the role of the apostrophe?
45b How do I use an apostrophe to show a possessive noun?
45c How do I use an apostrophe with possessive pronouns?
45d How do I use an apostrophe with contractions?
45e How do I use an apostrophe with possessive indefinite pronouns?
45f How do I form the plural of miscellaneous elements?
45g When is an apostrophe wrong?
Chapter 46 Quotation Marks
46a What is the role of quotation marks?
46b How do I use quotation marks with short direct quotations?
46c Are quotation marks used with long quotations?
46d How do I use quotation marks for quotations within quotations?
46e How do I use quotation marks for quotations of poetry and dialogue?
46f How do I use quotation marks with titles of short works?
46g How do I use quotation marks for words used as words?
46h How do I use quotation marks with other punctuation?
46i When are quotation marks wrong?
Chapter 47 Other Punctuation Marks
47a When can I use a dash in my writing?
47b When can I use parentheses in my writing?
47c When do I need to use brackets in my writing?
47d How do I use ellipsis points in my writing?
47e When can I use a slash in my writing?
47f When do I need a hyphen in my writing?
47g When do I use a hyphen at the end of a line?
47h How do I use a hyphen with prefixes and suffixes?
47i How do I use hyphens with compound words?
Chapter 48 Capitals, Italics, Abbreviations, and Numbers
48a When do I capitalize a “first” word?
48b When do I use capitals with listen items?
48c When do I use capitals with sentences in parentheses?
48d When do I use capitals with quotations?
48e When do I capitalize nouns and adjectives?
48f What are italics?
48g How do I choose between using italics and quotation marks?
48h can I use italics for special emphasis?
48i What are standard practices for using abbreviations?
48j How do I use abbreviations with months, time, eras, and symbols?
48k How do I use abbreviations for other elements?
48l When can I use etc.?
48m When do I use spelled-out numbers?
48n What are standard practices for writing numbers?
Chapter 49 Spelling
49a What makes a good speller?
49b How can I proofread for errors in spelling and hyphen use?
49c How are plurals spelled?
49d How are suffixes spelled?
49e What is the ie, ei rule?
49f How are homonyms and other frequently confused words spelled?
49g What are compound words?
Part 8 Writing When English Is Not Your First Language
A MESSAGE FROM LYNN TROYKA AND DOUG HESSE TO MULTILINGUAL WRITERS
Chapter 50 Multilingual Students Writing in US Colleges and Universities
50a What do U.S. writing instructors expect in student writing?
50b What do U.S. instructors expect for analysis of readings?
50c What kind of dictionary can help me the most?
50d How do I work with peer response groups, if required?
50e How can I improve my writing of American English?
50f How can I keep track of my most common errors?
50g How can I improve my proofreading skills?
50h What English errors come from other languages?
Chapter 51 Handling Sentence-Level Issues in English
51a How can I improve the grammar and vocabulary in my writing?
51b How can I improve my sentence structure?
51c How can I improve my word choice (vocabulary)?
51d How can I find and correct errors in my own writing?
51e How can I correct verb form (tense) errors in my writing?
51f How can I correct my errors in subject-verb agreement?
51g How can I correct my singular/plural errors?
51h How can I correct my preposition errors?
51i What other kinds of errors might I make?
51j How can I keep track of my most common errors?
51k How can I improve my proofreading skills?
Chapter 52 Singulars and Plurals
52a What are count and noncount nouns?
52b How do I use determiners with singular and plural nouns?
52c How do I use one of, nouns as adjectives, and states in names or titles? 52d How do I use nouns with irregular plurals?
Chapter 53 Articles
53a How do I use a, an, or the with singular count nouns?
53b How do I use articles with plural nouns and with noncount nouns?
53c How do I use the with proper nouns and with gerunds?
Chapter 54 Word Order
54a How do I understand standard and inverted word order sentences?
54b How can I understand the placement of adjectives?
54c How can I understand the placement of adverbs?
Chapter 55 Prepositions
55a How can I recognize prepositions?
55b How do I use prepositions with expressions of time and place?
55c How do I use prepositions in phrasal verbs?
55d How do I use prepositions with past participles?
55e How do I use prepositions in expressions?
Chapter 56 Gerunds and Infinitives
56a How can I use gerunds and infinitives as subjects?
56b When do I use a gerund, not an infinitive, as an object?
56c When do I use an infinitive, not a gerund, as an object?
56d How does meaning change when certain verbs are followed by a gerund or an infinitive?
56e Why is the meaning unchanged whether a gerund or an infinitive follows sense verbs?
56f How do I choose between —ing and —ed forms for adjectives?
Chapter 57 Modal Auxiliary Verbs
57a How do I convey ability, necessity, advisability, possibility, and probability with modals?
57b How do I convey preferences, plans, and past habits with modals?
57c How can I recognize modals in the passive voice?
Part 9 Specific Writing Situations
Chapter 58 An Overview of Writing Across the Curriculum
58a What is writing across the curriculum?
58b What do I need to know about audience and purpose across the curriculum?
Chapter 59 Writing About the Humanities
59a What are the humanities?
59b What types of papers do I write in the humanities?
59c Which documentation style do I use in writing about the humanities?
59d How do I write about literature?
59e How do I write different types of papers about literature?
59f What special rules apply to writing about literature?
59g How do I use documentation in writing about literature?
58h A student’s essay about literature
Chapter 60 Writing in the Social and Natural Sciences
60a What are the social sciences?
60b What are different types of papers in the social sciences?
60c What documentation style do I use in the social sciences?
60d What are the natural sciences?
60e How do I write different types of papers in the natural sciences?
60f Which documentation style do I use in the natural sciences?
Chapter 61 Writing Under Pressure
61a When will I need to write under pressure?
61b When do I prepare for essay exams?
Chapter 62 Making Presentations
62a What are presentations?
62b How does my situation focus my presentation?
62c How do I adapt my message to my audience?
62d How do I organize my presentation?
62e How do I use multimedia in presentations?
62f What presentation styles can I use?
62g How do I make a collaborative presentation?
Chapter 63 Writing for Digital Environments
63a What is writing for digital environments?
63b How do I write in a blog?
63c How do I write in a wiki?
63d How do I use photographs?
63e How do I create video and sound recordings?
63f How do I produce web sites?
63g What is netiquette?
63h What do I need to know about social networking?
Chapter 64 Writing for Work
64a Who writes in the workplace and why?
64b What are important features of work-related correspondence?
64c How do I write work-related e-mail?
64d How do I format and write memos?
64e How do I format business letters?
64f How do I write business reports?
64g How do I write business proposals?
64h How do I write a résumé?
64i How do I write a job application letter?