Class Overview • Reminders • Brief Quiz • Brief Assignment 4 Guidelines • Concision Practice • Sentence Structure: Identifying Characters and Actions • Eliminative Abstractions
Announcements • Catch up on coursework • Begin your 1.1 revisions early: good revisions should require returning to sources and possibly locating additional sources if necessary • Last date for student-initiated drop (counts against the drop limit) is March 26. See Registrar for details.
Brief Quiz Please answer the questions in complete sentences: • What is passive voice? • Write an example of a sentence using the passive voice. • Revise your sample sentence using the active voice.
Brief Assignment 4 • BA4 requires you to revise a substantial body paragraph of at least 6-8 sentences in length (not the intro, conclusion, or background paragraphs) and provide a paragraph (at least 350 words) evaluating your specific choices of revision concerning. • Please employ the same skills to this revision and evaluation as our peer critiques: employ specific, clear references to your revisions, include your reasoning behind those choices, and make sure to evaluate their quality in terms of the specific paragraph. • Additional directions: • Please include your working thesis at the top: label this “Working Thesis” • Next, include your original body paragraph: Label “Original” • Next, include your revised body paragraph: label “Revised” • Next, include your evaluation of revisions: label “Evaluation” • First-person perspective in the evaluation is okay, but avoid excessive use of “I”: practice our lessons from the past two weeks.
Concision • Concision is not an exact science, but one can reduce tendencies in writing that lead to vagueness or wordiness. The following are tendencies to avoid: • Use of meaningless or “doubled” words • Ex: “kind of,” “actually/really/basically/generally/virtually” • Ex: “each and every,” “first and foremost,” • Use of unnecessary or unclear modifiers (Hedges and intensifiers) • Ex: almost, sometimes, possibly, potentially, to some degree/extent, somewhat • Ex: pretty, very, extremely, clearly, obviously, certainly, without doubt, always • Use of redundant categories or ideas • Ex: “period of time,” “professional manner,” “each individual” • Use of large phrases or sayings that could be replaced by one word or shorter phrases • Ex: “There is a need for,” “The idea that,” “Despite the fact that” • Excessive use of negatives • “not often”= rarely, seldom • “not the same”= different, contrasting
Hedges Vs. Intensifiers • Hedges: adjectives, verbs, or phrases that qualify the certainty of a claim (adding hesitance) • Examples: usually, often, almost, possibly, allegedly, arguably, in some ways, to a certain extent, somewhat, partly, in some regards/respects • Adj.: most, many, some, a few • Verbs: may, might, can, could, seem/seems to, tend, appear, suggest, indicate • Intensifiers: … that increase the certainty of a claim • Ex: very, pretty, quite, rather, clearly, obviously, undoubtedly, certainly, always, literally, surely • Adj.: key, central, basic, primary, essential, fundamental • Verbs: show, prove, establish, as you/we/everyone knows/can see, it is clear/obvious,
Example “It is my firm belief that in regard to terrestrial-type snakes, a fair assumption can be made that there are probably few if none remaining in unmapped areas of the world surpassing the large size of those we already have knowledge of.” In the above example, eliminate redundancies and locate all hedges and intensifiers.
Unnecessary Adjectives and Modifiers • Hedges and intensifiers can be useful: think of instances where a claim shouldbe firm (intensifier) and when a claim will come across as more thoughtful or persuasive for its carefulness (hedge). • Adjective and adverbs cannot always be eliminated because they alter the degree and quality of an action or claim. • What happens if we eliminate all adjectives and adverbs in our paragraphs? Does the tone remain the same? Does the content?
Concision Contest! • On a piece of paper, try to rewrite the following passage in as few words as possible without losing meaning or important information: • “Depending on the particular position that one might take on this particularly interesting and problematic question, the current American educational system and its various institutions have taken on a degree of relative cultural importance that may be equal to or perhaps even exceed the family as a major source of transmission of social values and beliefs” (FYW 219).
Characters and Actions • Characters are sentence subjects that “do” or “perform” the actions of your sentence. • Tonight, as I WALKED through the parking lot, a shooting star APPEARED in the sky. • Sometimes, verbs or verbal phrases act as our “characters” in longer sentences. Usually, these result in a dependence on being-verbs (is, are, was were, will be) • Example: Running with scissors IS generally a bad idea. • Nominalization: turning verbs into noun-forms • Discover=discovery; react=reaction; realize=realization; analyze=analysis; discuss=discussion • Example: My suggestion is that our discussion of the issue be done with care.
Practice • Using your homework for this week, locate at least two longer sentences. In these, underline your characters and [bracket] your actions. • Next, identify if your sentences employ active or passive voice (Active=John kicked the ball; Passive=The ball was kicked by John [focus is not on the actor]) • On a sheet of paper, rewrite your longer sentence in the following ways: • In active voice, removing all hedges • In passive voice, removing intensifiers • The most concise, eliminating all unnecessary adjectives or modifiers
HOMEWORK For next week, please bring a fresh, printed copy of your most recently revised 1.1 and a copy of the 1.1 checklist from week 5 (on the blog). On your copy of the 1.1, pull your thesis and topic sentences and write them one after another as if they are a paragraph. Include this at the bottom of your draft. We will be work-shopping our drafts and practicing our annotation skills, so have these ready to go.