Day 16 - Tuesday
- sign in
- paper #2: returned Thursday
- evaluations: Thanks for the feedback. I'll do my
best to implement your ideas. Those who haven't filled out
evaluations, extras are available in the paper box; fill them out
and leave them there. Note your section number.
II. Essay Three Assigned
- Note: length, internet sources
- Discussion re: article and movie
III. Introduction to Actions and
We're moving to an even more local level. We've moved
from large global issues to smaller local ones; finally we're at the
sentence level, the word level. Remember, though, that course
principles are hierarchical; the global principles re: argument, etc.
are more important. Beautiful sentences not helpful if your ideas
aren't in order.
A. Looking at troubled sentences (page one of
- Read these paragraphs. Jot down three words you
might use to describe them.
- Share responses. Responses are impressionistic
&endash; descriptive but not cause-oriented. High school writing
courses are primarily impressionistic. Even the word "passive" is
a descriptive word, not a cause-oriented one. Why are these
passive sentences ineffective? What are the causes of your
negative responses? That's what we'll begin to get at
B. Redefining the effective sentence
- What is the traditional definition of a sentence?
- ENWR is not a course on grammar, therefore that
definition won't be what concerns us. We ask you to think more
critically about the nature/purpose of language.
- We know (from studying problem statements and
creation myths) how important stories are to the human psyche
&endash; how compelling we find the story's rhythms, etc.
Translate the definition of the sentence into story terms: not
subject/verb, but character/action. The best -- most
readable, most compelling -- sentences first present an
agent (a character) and then present that agent's action. The
lesson: main characters (agents, doers) should be the subjects of
your sentences. Memorable actions should be the verbs. This method
makes each sentence a mini story.
- Writing sentences is not, in other words, just
about having a subject and a verb. Writing good sentences is about
choosing the most appropriate subject (a character) and the most
appropriate verb (the action). Is it possible to turn an action
into a noun -- to prevent it from being a verb? Yes --
to nominalize is to turn an action into a noun (see e.g. #1, first
sentence). Is it possible to avoid naming the agent? (see e.g. #3,
first sentence who must prove? etc.) This kind of writing is
often called passive.
IV. Exercises (page two of handout)
Students work them one by one. Class goes over each,
discussing individual revisions.
V. Group work [time permitting]
Groups re-write initial examples (handout page
1. Read the example on page three of handout. Why
does the writer's failure to use appropriate character/action
structuring render this paragraph unethical? We'll start with this
question next class.
2. "Translate" 2-3 consecutive paragraphs of the Kemp
article. In other words, revise Kemp's sentences so that they offer
clear characters and actions.